Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Death is not dying...

Someone messaged me hours ago on facebook and urged and me to watch a video entitled, “Death is Not Dying: A Faith that Saves”. So I did. And just 10 minutes into it, I pressed pause and went into my husband's office and said, "Do you have a little bit of time to watch something with me?" "Sure." He answered.

I pulled up my chair next to his and he and I watched “Death is Not Dying: A Faith that Saves” which is a talk from Rachel Barkey a 37 year old wife and mother of two was diagnosed with terminal cancer. If a miracle doesn't occur, Rachel only has weeks to live and will leave this earth and all the things precious to her...but she's is convinced that death is not dying.

"Cancer does not define me," she says. "Neither does being a wife or a mother. All these things are part of who I am but they do not define me." Watch as she shares what defines her. I was moved to tears and challenged in many ways by her talk and reminded once again that we, too, are dying. Some individuals think that they will defy death. That they will never die. That they will live forever here on planet earth and that death won't seize upon them. But that is not true. We all will die. "It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" Hebrews 9:27.

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10.

As a Christian, my hope is found in Christ and His righteousness and in His resurrection from the dead. For me to live is Christ and to die is gain! Death is only temporal and it's not that grim but I honestly have no idea how the atheist doesn't tremble at the thought of death. At the thought that this very breath could be their last and they will have to face a Holy God and give an account for the deeds that they have done in their body. But those who trust in Christ can have full assurance of where they will go when they die and full assurance that Christ's righteousness is accredited to their account. What a relief!

"The Scriptures make clear the fact that Jesus's resurrection is the promise of our own resurrection and the concrete hope of life beyond the grave. The reality of the resurrection prompted Paul's triumphant cry: "Death is swallowed up in victory." -Albert Mohler

I was so impacted as I watched Rachel's video that I wanted to share it with you immediately.
Watch HERE.

29 comments:

Brazen Hussey's said...

Death is NOT dying, it is entrance into eternal felicity for those who are Christ's, damnation for those who reject God's Son and want a 'fair trial.'

If we truly believe what we read in Scripture, death has no sting for the dying.

Thanks for sharing the testimony!

--JMH

ExPatMatt said...

Trish,

I haven't watched the video yet but I'm glad that your faith nullifies any fear of death and actually makes it an event to be almost looked-forward-to!

The Tibetans have a long-established tradition of death-preparation (I recommend the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying) and many other cultures deal with this, final, part of life in their own ways.

Yes, as an atheist, I have to accept that death is the end for me; I will cease to exist as anything other than the sum of the molecules in my body - which will eventually breakdown into worm-food - my consciousness will be no more.

I used to have a problem with this when I was a child; I really, really, really did not want to die. But I grew out of that phase and am now satisfied that my post-life experience will be just like my pre-life experience, and that wasn't so bad!

Incidentally, I've never met anyone who;

"... think that they will defy death. That they will never die. That they will live forever here on planet earth and that death won't seize upon them.".

Except for some young kids. Have you actually met adults who think they are immortal? Or have you been watching too much Highlander? ;)

One last thing;

"I honestly have no idea how the atheist doesn't tremble at the thought of death. At the thought that this very breath could be their last and they will have to face a Holy God and give an account for the deeds that they have done in their body.".

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this to you before, but atheists don't believe there is a God to face after death, so trembling at the thought of Him doesn't seem too likely.

Regards,

Matt

Stargun said...

Thanks for sharing this Trish, It is great to know that no matter what our hope is and always will be in JESUS CHRIST - my LORD & my GOD!!

stranger.strange.land said...

Thanks Trish.

I emailed the link to everybody on my contact list.

@ExPatMatt
Watch or listen to Rachel's talk, and see if it changes your mind.

Craig

Paul Latour said...

I praise God for whoever it was that sent you this and for you posting it,Trish.

I cannot remember the last time I was so intensly moved by hearing someone publicly testify to the glory of God the way Rachel did, especially in the face of physical death.

Her peace, her joy, her sadness, her humility, her honesty, her immense love for Christ, so eloquently and beautifully communicated, is a testimony in itself to the reality and truth of God's love for us through Jesus.

How much more example and encouragement do we Christians need in order for us to obey the Word of God and get out into the public square to share the saving gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world??

Thanks for this great post, Trish.

Fish with Trish said...

Glad you're all encouraged by this.

Paul, Amy Dulaney Engle is the one who messaged me on facebook. She heard about it through "Girl Talk" a blog that she follows. :-)

Heath The Blogless said...

Thanks Trish

Heath The Blogless said...

Hi Matt
I am glad to hear that you are at peace with the fact that we will all die. I just wonder that if you were told that you only had 2 weeks to live, would you conviction that this is it there is no more, be so strong.
Would you do everything in your power to cling to the life that you have. I am sure like most people you life is precious to you.
I pray that you don't die before you come to know the Lord.
And please do watch the video.

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ ExPatMatt:

Friend, you denote an observation that is in full accord with Scripture: the child-likeness of our faith.

Christ told us, that if we were to come to Him, we must come "as a little child" and "in child-like faith."

Not "child-ISH" but "child-like," as in a child fully trusting their parents.

We trust our God and Father: He is trustworthy. Unlike the Tibetan's death preparation, or an atheist's resolve to merely accept a naturalistic oblivion, we will face Christ one day: when we die.

In your opinion this is fairy tale. In history, the Resurrection has shown otherwise, and the beauty of it:

this eternal hope is yours for the taking. This God, the great "I AM that I AM," the Lord and Giver of Life, will grant you this hope and assurance as well as He makes you His dwelling place.

Praying that your eyes will be truly enlightened by the Holy Spirit.

--JMH

ExPatMatt said...

Sorry guys,

I meant to watch the video last night but I went out drinking with my buddies from work instead; a good night was had by all though!

Heath,

"if you were told that you only had 2 weeks to live, would you conviction that this is it there is no more, be so strong?".

Yes.

I'd be extremely angry that I wasn't going to do some of the things I want to do and I would feel bad that my girlfriend would have to deal with the passing of her boyfriend. I'd also be sad that my parents would have to bury their son.

But none of this would give me cause to abandon the reasoning that has brought me to my current position on the afterlife (that there isn't one) - why would it?

I hope I can face my death with dignity and that I can minimize the distraught it would cause my loved ones. I guess we'll see.


Brazen,

I'm not sure what I said that led you to talk about 'child-like faith' I was talking about being scared of dying as a child, I'm not sure it's the same thing; could you clarify?

You said;

"In your opinion this is fairy tale. In history, the Resurrection has shown otherwise, and the beauty of it:".

I don't think I've ever called the Christian belief a 'fairy tale'. Please don't put words in my mouth (unless I've actually said them!)

Regards,

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ ExPatMat:

Fair enough: you didn't use the terms "childish" nor "fairy tale," I'll explain on the former with a quote and to the latter accusation: I stand corrected. You never said that and apparently didn't mean to imply such.

As to the whole "childish" thing, I'm inferring from the following quote:

I used to have a problem with this when I was a child; I really, really, really did not want to die. But I grew out of that phase and am now satisfied that my post-life experience will be just like my pre-life experience, and that wasn't so bad!

Incidentally, I've never met anyone who;

"... think that they will defy death. That they will never die. That they will live forever here on planet earth and that death won't seize upon them.".

Except for some young kids. Have you actually met adults who think they are immortal? Or have you been watching too much Highlander? ;)
I'd add to my original argument with this note: your childhood contained a fear of dying. In your adulthood, you've "grown out of" that fear and have satisfied yourself with oblivion, which you say "wasn't so bad." How would you know? You didn't exist before, so to describe such a state as "not so bad" as if from an a posteriori standpoint isn't science, it's faith in nothing, literally.

As to the rest of your quote, you stated that you've only met young kids that are immortal, and if adults believe in immortality, they have been watching "too much Highlander." Though you obviously meant this as a joke, in fact you've made it clear that your analysis of the situation equates adults who believe in immortality with young kids.

This is the inference that I've based my observation on.

I have one observation: I have placed my faith in the omnipotent God who has shown and proven Himself in history through divine acts done in front of witnesses who testified in writing, oral tradition, and in most cases, with their own blood. The Christian faith is not a blind faith or wishful thinking, it is based on facts recorded and attested to by martyrs' blood: the very eyewitnesses who passed on the account of God's acts. The Christian looks forward to eternal felicity with their eternal Father and God.

From your comment here, it would appear you are satisfied with becoming fertilizer, a part of the ecosystem. From your description, your final state is worm food. What sort of teleology or hope is that?

And, a last question: if you believe in oblivion as your final state, what drives your day to day ethic? What do you live for if it isn't simply hedonism? Just curious, and simply looking for your perspective on this.

Fish with Trish said...

ExPatMatt,

Have you watched it yet?

Trish

BathTub said...

Heath it's funny you would bring up that example after the study was released that found The more Religious you are the more furiously you will grasp at medical straws to fight death.

stranger.strange.land said...

The day after tomorrow, it will have been 17 weeks since Rachel was told that she has terminal cancer and that the doctors estimated that she would die in between 6 and 18 weeks. (I haven't seen any updates)

I sent the link to "Death is Not Dying" to my contacts, I also wrote down the url for friends and aquaintences that I see face to face. From the feedback I have received, it seems that nobody (except me) was impressed by Rachel's talk.

Some reactions were,
"After ten minutes, I turned it off and went back to my book."

"It is tragic that it took this for her to realise that she was selfish. She should have changed her attitude earlier in her life"

"She sounded 'orthodox' in her testimony. I havent checked out her church yet."

I was really expecting someone to be inspired and encouraged by Rachel's talk, but so far, nothing but yawns. I feel like I am really out of step in my thinking.

Craig

ExPatMatt said...

All,

I watched the video at the weekend and found her talk to be incredibly moving (especially for someone who isn't a public speaker).

I'm very happy that she has something in her life that gives her an enduring peace in the face of certain death.

Her testimony was very emotional and it's clear that she fully believes that she is saved etc, but her starting assumption for the talk was the fact that the Bible is the Word of God. As I don't acknowledge that as fact, it made it difficult to watch the rest of the talk because she was talking in certainties that I didn't agree with.

It doesn't really matter, the point of the talk wasn't really to convert atheists, I don't think.

Craig,

I'm surprised at the reaction you got from your contacts, I sent the link to a few of my friends/family and they (almost) all found it, at the least, interesting, and at the most eye-wateringly beautiful!


Cheers,

1611 said...

I was really expecting someone to be inspired and encouraged by Rachel's talk, but so far, nothing but yawns. I feel like I am really out of step in my thinking.
Craig

Craig, I would guess the reason it doesn't grab their interest is because she's speaking foolishness to them. They don't desire the things of God...just like ex pat hasn't watched it...or when he does it will be with a major chip on his shoulder. This may be a video largely for saved audiences who can relate to a future hope and restoration.

ExPatMatt said...

1611,

"They don't desire the things of God...just like ex pat hasn't watched it...or when he does it will be with a major chip on his shoulder."That was a little uncalled for, don't you think?

I'm Matthew, by the way, nice to meet you.


Regards,

Brazen Hussey's said...

ExPatMatt:

You are right: that comment wasn't called for. I'm glad to read you watched the video, you mentioned something I want to address:

You mentioned how the video starts with the assumption that the Bible is the Word of God, and you couldn't get past the assumption for the rest of the video.

That was a fair observation, and I must admit: I have never had a time in my life when I didn't at some level acknowledge God's existence. I wasn't always a Christian, but was never an atheist.

I bring that up because we all have assumptions, and one of the biggest is the existence or non-existence of the God of the Bible. From that assumption, however, the Bible as the Word of God isn't that far a conclusion (though not entirely on the logical level, as if the journey is merely a rational one).

I guess what I'm trying to spit out is that we have these unprovable assumptions and operate from them as if they were true. My argument, if you could call it that, to you would be simply that only an act of God the Holy Spirit can change your thinking and heart on the subject of God's existence.

Not as if there aren't evidences on our side, and I'd argue that there aren't any evidences to prove atheism, but you and I would perhaps be pointing fingers at the same piece of evidence and arguing from our prime assumptions, or presuppositions.

Evidence, as such, must always be interpreted. What determines our interpretation? Our presuppositions. If you rule out God's existence from square one, then no amount of evidence will convince you otherwise because the conclusion is denied. Sorry for the long comment, just been thinking about this subject for a while.

Good day to you!

--JMH

ExPatMatt said...

Brazen,

Not believing in God (or any god, for that matter, they're all the same to me) is not an assumption, it's a conclusion.

Believing in God, for you, is not an assumption, it's a conclusion - based on your conversion experience and other events in your life which have provided you with enough evidence to say 'yep, this is the real deal'. Fair to say?

The Bible being God's inerrant Word, is an assumption though. Even if there is a God, just because the Bible claims to be His Word, doesn't mean it actually is. You have to assume it's true, as Rachel does in her talk/life.

It would be rather strange for an atheist to assume that the Bible is divinely inspired though, no? I don't really have any choice but to look at it as an historical religious text because I don't have any evidence to make me think otherwise.

That was the assumption I was referring to. I try hard not to assume no-God when I'm having discussions like this.

Cheers,

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ExPatMatt:

I know what you mean when you distinguish between the assumption of the Bible = God's Word, and the conclusion of "God Exists".

I, however, would include both of these as assumption. That is: I find them both, at bottom, the "atomic particle" of our faith and worldview. They are assumed. Their effects can be seen, felt, etc. They cannot be proven, ultimately, to a universally accepted "yea" or "nay."

I will say, however, that I think both can be proven to a point, and that's why I include them in the category of assumption.

I personally include both of these items under the category of "assumption" because the Bible does that with them: God exists, and the Bible as His Word expects us to simply go along with the assumption.

Nonetheless, as I've said here and elsewhere, the Christian faith isn't based merely on blind faith or simply organizational fiat (i.e.: "I believe it because the church and my parents told me to."). It is based on actual historical facts, as recorded in the Scriptures, preserved over millennia, attested to by martyrs' blood (eyewitnesses), and supported by archaeology.

Hope I'm making some sense and not muddying the waters.

ExPatMatt said...

Brazen,

Hey, if the evidence that you've seen in your life is sufficient for you to make a solid assumption that God is real and the Bible is His Word, then that's fair enough - I'm in no position to argue.

I have not seen enough (or any) evidence that I find sufficient enough to assume God exists.

But I don't assume He doesn't exist any more than you assume Zeus does not exist. We have no reason to suspect otherwise so assumptions don't even come into it.

I am curious though, what in archaeology supports the Bible as being God's Word?

Cheers,

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ ExPatMatt:

A great site for archaeological evidence in support of the Bible is facing the challenge (dot) org.

There have been a number of times in history when historians have doubted the Scripture, such as when the scholars found an inscription of Quirinius the Plutarch. First, until that dig, there was no other reason other than Scripture to suggest either Quirinius existed or his position in the Roman empire.

That's all from memory, but sufficient information to Google methinks.

You mentioned that in my life there has been sufficient evidence in support of the faith...

...to which I reply: there has been. I don't like to go down this route because it's all subjective information.

My "testimony," for instance: having been rescued from an addictive sin and a night/day change into a freed man. For me, I have been freed from much sin in my life (see my name for a hint...). It has been night and day to come to Christ.

There have been enough answered prayers to sufficiently manifest God's hand in my life. But again: this is all subjective. I don't normally submit it in forums such as these because I don't think "miracles" have happened, and it could be argued that "big deal: your friends in church supplied your need" etc.

So, instead of defending God's hand in my life, I try to keep the miraculous accounts of Christ, which are true for you and me, at center of the argument.

One of the coolest books I've read on the matter of evidence is Lee Strobel's "Case for Christ," but I read it as a Christian, so I'm not sure how it will fare under your purview.

In that book you will at least find reference material in the bibliography that may help you in your search for evidence.

I guess you're right, though: there have been evidences in my life, but the biggest evidences I studied in seminary and they centered around the Bible itself.

One of the main issues is the Resurrection: real or hoax? After studying the competing theories denouncing the miracle, the Resurrection as real account is the best fitting for the facts.

Don't let the abuses of the Roman Catholic church hinder your search: as a Protestant I also wince at their pseudopigrapha and forged documents garnering them military powers through Constantine. Clearly these are abuses of power.

The real faith leaves one with Christ as the biggest inheritance, not a sword or earthly power.

H. said...

Note to self, call ticket-broker Monday to see if court-side seats to 'ExPatMatt vs. God - Judgment Day' can still be procured.

The smart money's on Jesus!

Todd

ExPatMatt said...

H. (Todd)

Glad to see that you think that someone being sent to Hell to suffer eternal torment and torture is equivalent to a sporting event - good, family entertainment, right?


I can feel that Christian love from here!

Honestly, you guys claim to hold moral high-ground and then seem to find it amusing that people (lots and lots of people) are going to be eternally damned. I find this very strange.

Or maybe Todd isn't a 'True Christian'.....


Cheers,

ExPatMatt said...

Brazen,

Thanks for the links/book tips.

I've actually read some Strobel (a while ago) but I can't remember which of his 'case for...' it was.

I'll check out the archaeology link you supplied but I will say that just because the Bible was right regarding matters of normal history, doesn't make it right concerning paranormal history.

I'm sure you've heard the Illiad comparison, where finding the walls of Troy does not prove that the Greek gods are real, right?

By their definition, the miraculous things of the Bible aren't going to leave regular, mundane historical artifacts, are they?

In fact, what would be a good testable prediction that you could make about something from the Bible that hasn't been proven yet, but could be in the near future? Hebrew Exodus? Noah's Ark?

Regards,

bassicallymike said...

Matt said...Honestly, you guys claim to hold moral high-ground and then seem to find it amusing that people (lots and lots of people) are going to be eternally damned. I find this very strange.

Was it not King David(a man after God'd own heart) who said in
Psalm 58:3-6 ESV
"3 The wicked are estranged from the womb;
they go astray from birth, speaking lies.
4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent,
like the deaf adder that stops its ear,
5 so that it does not hear the voice of charmers
or of the cunning enchanter.

6 O God, break the teeth in their mouths;
tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!

",
True Christians, like their Lord, love justice and long for the day when it will be meted out. We also love mercy and spend time and energy pleading with those who will, to come, drink of the Water of Life. Are you thirsty Matt?

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Matt/Basically Mike:

The truth is that justice requires punishment. Everywhere in Scripture, the deliverance of God's people also includes the justice against His enemies.

It isn't simply taking delight in Hell: that isn't the case. The Biblical record shows that there is worship associated with the deliverance of God's people from their enemies, however, and though the display of God's judgment is fierce to all who view it, the fact remains that we will rejoice at justice being served.

It is not true, however, that God delights in the punishment of the wicked, as is clearly stated in Scripture: He delights in mercy.

It is also not our place to mock or take lightly the destruction of the wicked. This is not the hope and desire of God or His people, and if it has been the case that you get the impression anyone here does take such pleasure, then Matt, someone might owe you an apology.

I hope the distinction and clarification helps a bit.

ExPatMatt said...

Thanks for clarifying, Brazen. And thanks for your concern, Mike.

I just got this mental image, after the 'court-side-seat' comment, of thousands of Christians in a huge amphitheater; whooping and hollering as atheists, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslim, and all other manner of non-believer are brought before the judgment of Almighty God.

The religious fervor of the crowd intensifies and God, yet again, renders the verdict: guilty! And the screaming heathen falls down to the Pit to begin his eternal torment.

The Crowd. Goes. Wild!
[This judgment was brought to you by Bud Lite Lime - 100% Real Lime Flavor!]


I thought about how the early days of Christianity were typified by Christians being fed to the lions by the Romans at the Colosseum. The irony, it seems, was lost on our friend Todd (perhaps he needs more spinach in his diet?)

Justice is good, I've got no problem with that, and if God is real and He thinks I'm deserving of eternal torture for the sins of my life (I'm struggling to think of anything I've done that would warrant such a punishment, but hey; they're His rules), then who am I to argue.

But I'm not going to change who I am just on the off-chance that a being that may or may not exist might disapprove of the lifestyle I've chosen with the free-will He supposedly gave me.

Cheers,

bassicallymike said...

Brazen..thanks for the reminder!
Father, forgive me for failing to keep in mind that were I to receive justice, I would be toast. Thank you for your mercy! May I never take your grace for granted or give anyone the impression that I am anything but an undeserving sinner saved by grace.