Dealing with Death

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Sermon Link [Why not have a listen to the sermon?]

I heard a great truism once, which is you can tell a Christian by the way in which he lives, the way in which he loves and the way in which he dies.  And since a plethora of things have been written on Christian living and Christian loving I thought that I would use this opportunity to deal with the way in which a Christian deals with dying.    

 

1. Death is Inevitable

Firstly, the Christian recognises that death is inevitable for all for it is only the proud, the naïve and stupid that cannot and will not accept their own mortality or the mortality of others.  This means that the Christian should be one who accepts each day as a gift, keeps short accounts between others (and God), uses their life productively and does not take others for granted for they realise that their lives are “a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14b

 

2. Death is Unnatural

Having declared the inevitability of death the reader must also understand that the Christian believes in the unnaturalness and unfairness of death.   This is because death is an intruder within the created order (Genesis ch3).  It is for this reason why death seems to take us by surprises; it shocks us and can even leave us seething with anger.  So let us never identify this “stiff-upper-lip” Western stoicism, as the Christian response to death for it could not be further from the truth.  If we are to imitate Christ then should we not mourn the loss of our loved ones (John 11:35), work against all the manifestations of death (1 John 3:8) and look forward to the day when death will be no more?

 

3.  Death has been Conquered

Finally, a biblical understanding of death teaches us that it should not be feared, for we know that God is in control and that He has purchased for us eternal life.  As Christians we recognise that while man is responsible and satan is hostile, all things are either determined or permitted by God and will be used for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).[1]  Therefore, we rest at peace in the providence of God and are fully confident of eternal life and the coming of a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1-4), which are guaranteed to us purely by His power and not by our own (John 10:25-29).

 

Conclusion

If we hold on to these truths then we can both live well and die well, boldly declaring with the apostle Paul, “O Death, where is thy sting?  O Grave, where is your victory?”  1 Corinthians 15:55.

 

 

[Matt Chandler is one of the great preachers in the world today.  He is wrestling with cancer and in the sermon jam speaks about dealing with death.]


[1] Even satan is unable to work outside of the pre-set boundaries given to him by God (Job ch 1-2).

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Dealing with Depression – Book Review

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This post originally appeared on kjsmcknight.wordpress.com on February the 21st 2013 :

This morning I finished reading ‘Dealing with Depression – Trusting God through the Dark Times‘ by Sarah Collins & Jayne Haynes (Christian Focus Publications) that I purchased at the Good Book Co Youth Work Conference.  The book was very eye opening and one that I would whole heatedly recommend to all Christians particularly full time gospel workers.

“Depression is a common complaint in the doctor’s surgery and 1 in 5 of the population that is 20% of people will have at least one major episode in their lifetime. We are reassured here that just like our physical health we can go through good and bad emotional health. But how does the Christian deal with this? It is so easy for us to be riddled with guilt but in this book the Christian is reassured that God knows and deals with us by grace, He helps us move from guilt to grace. Written from a Biblical and medical perspective.”

The book is split into 7 clear and helpful chapters as well as 3 Appendixes which are as follows:

  • 1. Depression – what is it?
  • 2. Why do people get depression?
  • 3. Medical treatments for depression and a Christian perspective on them
  • 4. Depression and the Christian
  • 5. Trusting God in the darkness – Help from the Psalmists
  • 6. Trusting God in the darkness – Using what God has provided
  • 7. Helping the depressed
  • Appendix 1: Struggles with Depression by Roger Carswell
  • Appendix 2: Coping with my wife’s depression – a husband’s perspective
  • Appendix 3: A Pastor’s experience of helping someone with depression

The book deals with the issue of depression through the lens of scripture and through the lens of up to date medical research and thought. It is important that we do not see depression as purely a spiritual problem or purely a medical issue. It is essential that help is sought from medical professionals and it is important to listen to their advice. However it is also important for those suffering from depression to not isolate themselves from the Body of Christ as fellowship is particularly important along with prayer and bible reading; even though at times it will be a great struggle indeed.  I appreciate how the book straddles the medical and spiritual as we have a tenancy to hold one above the other.

I found the 3 Appendixes particularly useful where 3 people from different vantage points share their experiences with depression, each giving useful practical advice.

Some of the most useful advice was:

Listen- Just being there is important. Don’t make the depressed person a project, just be there for them, always listening before speaking.

Prayer- Encouraging the depressed person to pray. It may be very difficult. But short, honest, angry prayers are ok. By not praying the ‘lines of communication’ are down, and the person will feel further from God.

Bible- Reading God’s word like prayer is very important, although a real struggle. Often people with depression find them self able to relate to some of the darker Psalms.

Before reading this book I knew very little at all about depression, after reading it I am just a little bit clearer about this very difficult and complex illness. So go and buy it, it’s not even a fiver!