Remembering a Friend of God

November 29, 2010

Pine cone and BibleToday I wondered how the early Christians reacted to the news of Paul’s passing. How about those closest to him—the ones who were his partners in the gospel? Did the Philippians remember Paul’s letter to them—how he desired to "depart and be with Christ" (Philippians 1:23, ESV)—and then celebrate the fact he finally was granted his wish? Did Timothy smile and think about the "crown of righteousness" his mentor received because he "fought the good fight…finished the race…kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7-8)?

No, I suspect that their initial reaction to hearing that Paul had finally paid the ultimate price for preaching the gospel in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) was the same as mine this morning at the news that Graham Maxwell had passed away overnight. Paul’s death was not unexpected; he specifically told Timothy he did not have long—that the "time of [his] departure [had] come" (2 Timothy 4:6). Neither was Graham’s a surprise—his family saw how he was losing the battle with age and were by his side during his final moments.

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Jesus Wept

(This article is based on the sermon given at the memorial service for Rebekah Warren–who passed away instantly from injuries due to an automobile accident early in the morning on Saturday, May 8, 2010. Today, November, 16, 2010, would have been her 17th birthday.)

Bekah

Although the sudden, tragic death of a child can lead to many different emotions, I suspect for most of us the unexpected passing of Bekah, once the initial shock wore off, left us with a tremendous sense of loss. How could the grandchild, the friend, the sister, the classmate, the daughter, the fellow believer, be gone?!

They must be wrong! It’s a cruel joke!

But it wasn’t. It was real.

Then the tears. Lots and lots of tears. Tears that never seemed to stop. Tears that flow again so easily at a memory.

At an empty seat in class.

At a team short a dancer.

At a "goodnight" short a hug.

At a room that no longer has the girl with the magnetic smile in it.

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Eternal

What does the word "eternity" mean to you?

In my brain unlimited words like "eternity" and "infinite" bring equations like 1/X to mind…

As X approaches infinity…

However X can never reach zero because…division by zero is undefined. Although it could readily become a lousy analogy, mentally God to me is being able to divide by zero.

But I do have a goofy brain. ☺

We are going to look at a different form of the word eternity — Eternal

[ Show, open, and discuss a concordance… ]

As a method of study, sometimes it can be valuable to study every occurrence of a word in the Bible

Although…we have to be cautious…words in the Bible aren't like chemistry equations where you can assume a symbol in one means exactly the same thing in another. Words can have multiple meanings depending on use (and the author using them)…and can change entirely over time. Take Genesis 43:19 in the KJV:

"And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there."

Your version probably says "for" instead of "against" — for example, the ESV says:

"they prepared e​the present for Joseph's coming at noon, for they heard that they should eat bread there."

Translations should, as a whole, remedied any issues with "opposite" meanings…but not treating words like parts of a chemistry equation remains: if it didn't why would people continue to have so much time realizing that Paul and James aren't using the word "faith" in the exact same way?

Eternal

Eternal is a word that lends itself very well to studying using this method.

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