“Testimony Of God’s Mercy”
There was a previous devotional about a man who had resisted God and the Church for the entire 57 years of his life. That was – until Easter Sunday when he came to our Worship Service and gave his heart to the Lord. Two weeks later this man died. The Celebration Service for this man was last Saturday.
Speaking in front of a good size crowd which included many family members, I explained the difference between a Funeral, Memorial and Celebration Service. At a funeral references are respectfully made about the deceased, but one doesn’t have any assurance as to where that person will spend eternity. Wonderful things are said about a person who has passed at a Memorial Service. People share terrific memories and stories about their loved one and friend. As a Pastor, while each of these services are difficult because of the sorrow and grieving of family members, the Celebration Service is always the best. Think of it this way. Many students will be graduating from High School and/or College before this month ends. We celebrate with the student because they graduated. They have completed their assignment and have moved on to the next phase of their life. When it is known that a person has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior passes, they truly have GRADUATED to the next and final phase of their life. This is painful to those remaining because this loved one has moved on, but it truly is a Celebration. They’ve run the race, fought the fight and all battles here are over. Their last breath here is the first breath in the presence of the Lord. Forevermore, they are free of pain, sorrow, suffering and God will wipe every tear from their eye (Revelation 21:4). Heaven has been prepared for the believer. Every person born has an appointment with death which tosses us into eternity – it’s Heaven or Hell depending on the choice we make.
Please understand, the words being written today aren’t in praise of mankind, but for the faithfulness of God! The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). Note, He doesn’t say when we must repent. He doesn’t give an age of timeframe – simply – “IF we confess HE WILL FORGIVE…”. WOW! That’s just like God. He loves us with an everlasting love. His faithfulness endures forever and He NEVER gives up on us. The man mentioned in the first paragraph waited until the final two weeks of his 57 years here on earth – but there was no question he gave his heart to the Lord. He gave it a good try, but he couldn’t outrun God. He deafened his ears, but God penetrated his mind and stubborn heart anyway. The man finally yielded and in His Divine Mercy, God saved him. Think about it. Because of his late decision, he traded a funeral and memorial service in for one of Celebration. He traded a rightful place in Hell for a Home in Heaven. Let me tell you, there were lots of tears Saturday because a Dad and good friend of many had passed … but there were also tears of joy because everyone knew there is now hope of having a reunion with this individual in the future. I have no idea where you are in your spiritual journey – but you do. If this were your last day on earth, would your loved ones be planning a funeral, memorial or a Service of CELEBRATION? God is speaking to someone right now – but He allows you to choose where you’ll spend eternity. What will your choice be? He’s willing to forgive you of all your sins – but only IF you repent. You can answer the prayers of many who have been faithfully praying for you. Don’t wait too long to make a decision.