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Week 3 October 2023, Devotion Part 1

And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and wizards who chirp and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? Isaiah 8:19

The prophet’s pen is dripping with derision as he strikes at the life-after-death experts who tickle ears with their chirping and muttering. We chuckle until we realize that Isaiah is lashing out at the foolish and lazy among God’s people. Verse 20 hits like a thunderclap: “To the teaching and to the testimony!” Christ-centered Scriptures are routinely read at memorial services. What if we required a test of mourners who want to speak extemporaneously on behalf of their dearly departed? Too often they profess to know for certain that their spirit is present, soaking up the love. The Bible says that the believer absent from the body is present with the Lord. Neither does He award wings. Angels are distinct from the human race. Christ did not atone for fallen cherubs.

A certain segment of the Christian media caters to biblical illiterates who clamor for glimpses behind death’s veil. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” But when Joe’s heart stopped he was content to see his favorite aunt and her poodle Fifi. Jane happily wandered through a lush meadow. The tunnel, the bright light, the magnetic love, the observer’s post above the medical drama – these all flavor the tales flowing from drugged brains and traumatized bodies, regardless, it turns out, of the individual’s religious persuasion. (Part 1 of 2)

Comment: When a body is lowered into a hole in the ground, it provides a measure of closure for the mourners. What about the hole in the heart made by the harsh finality of death? The love and support of family and friends are akin to the flowers placed on the casket, sweet gestures that cannot cover up the grief. Some embrace it, others seek distance, none can predict how long it runs its course. Few people are fans of funerals and many balk at the high cost. What about the higher cost of discipleship? Luke 9:60 records: “Then He said to another man, ‘Follow Me.’ The man replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ But Jesus told him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, you, however, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’” What if Forest Lawn stressed in their advertising that they are looking for the “spiritually dead” to conduct the rituals for the plainly dead? The “spiritually alive” would supposedly be out in droves to “go out into the highways and hedges to compel [people] to come in, that my house may be filled (Luke 14:23). The context is the king’s wedding feast for his son and the many excuses voiced for not attending. It does all come down to Salvation and the one can of worms I can open without risking more dismay. “We know that we have passed out of death into Life, because we love the brothers and sisters. He who does not love remains in [spiritual] death” (1 John 3;14 AMP). If we open the “can of worms” related to death, out come many fears surrounding it. See the proof in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”


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