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Some Further Thoughts on the Death of Robin Williams

I have seen it all when it comes to the death of Robin Williams.  I have seen people defending him for committing suicide (some even calling it a brave decision).  I have seen people defending his right to take his life in the midst of his depression.  I have seen both worldly and Christians cheering on Williams as an actor.  I have seen people having “Williams Memorial” parties where they sit and watch Williams’ movies to celebrate his life (and his death I guess).  I have seen some Christians cheering Williams burning in eternal hell (no I am not kidding).  I have seen even one Christian rejoicing that Williams is now healed and in the presence of the King.

I have seen it all.

Williams’ death sparks a conversation about death that worldly people don’t want to face and that is that we all will die.  All of us will face the great equalizer in death.  On the same day that Robin Williams committed suicide, over 146,000 people died as well.  In the end, the 146,000 people who died the same day as Robin Williams are all the same: dead.  Their money, fame, fortune, poverty, disease, etc. could not help them.  They are all dead.  They all will end up the same as you and I: worm’s food (unless you cremate them).  From dust we came and from dust we shall return (Genesis 3:19).

Now in this post let me just address a few things.  First, as disciples of Jesus I don’t think we should make light of the death of anyone.  In Acts 12 the wicked Herod has James the brother of John killed (Acts 12:2) and he wants to kill Peter (Acts 12:3) but God hears the cries of the saints and He rescues Peter from sure death (Acts 12:5-11).  Later on, God strikes down Herod (Acts 12:20-23).  What you don’t see is the Church rejoicing in this.  You find the gospel going forth (Acts 12:24) but nothing is said that the Church rejoiced that Herod was killed.  Herod, no doubt, was an enemy of the gospel but the Church allowed God to handle Herod and they accepted His judgment.

My point is that the Church didn’t rejoice in killing of their enemies.  Paul the Apostle wrote in Romans 12:19-21 something completely different about this.  He wrote:

19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Jesus said that we were to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) to be like our Father in heaven.  

I don’t see room for disciples rejoicing that Robin Williams is dead or celebrating that he is in hell.  This is not from the Lord.  

That said, I don’t see that disciples should use Robin Williams as an example either.  This was a wicked man.  Let us not play games here about this.  Here was a man who had a vulgar mouth, made jokes about God Almighty, ridiculed Christ, was addicted to drugs and alcohol, etc.  That is only his public sins.  This was not a “good” man as some are saying.  This was a typical man.  A wicked man (Romans 3:10).  

Yet Williams is no different than us.  Without Christ and His grace, I too would be hell-bound (Titus 3:4-7).  Were it not for the grace of God in my life, I too would be lost in my sins (Ephesians 2:4).  Were it not for the cross, I too could be chasing women, addicted to drugs, bound up in my sins.  It was the grace of God and His grace alone that saved me.  It is tempting to belittle Williams and not see our own sinfulness and the grace of God intervening in our lives to save us.  Let us not ridicule Williams for his sinful life without stopping and pondering the grace of God in our lives.  In the words of Steven Curtis Chapman, let us “remember our chains.”  

Before a holy God none of us are worthy.  Before a holy God none of us deserve heaven.  We deserve His just wrath.  But thanks be to God for rescuing us from our sins (Romans 5:8-9).  It was not me that saved myself from the wrath of God.  It was God in Christ saving me from His wrath (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  As Dr. R.C. Sproul wrote, “We are being saved from the wrath of God by the sacrifice of God.”  I didn’t earn this salvation.  I didn’t make myself worthy to be saved by being a little better than Robin Williams.  I am saved only by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).  

I pray that this truth, the truth of God’s grace, will flow in our minds and hearts as we consider the death of those around us.  We too will die but what separates us from the world is the Lord Jesus and HIs grace (John 11:25; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57).  We are not like the world who grieve because they have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13) but we rejoice that Christ is risen from the dead and He is our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  Christ alone saved us from death and He alone gives us the assurance that there is more than the grave.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/14/2014 at 12:00 PM

What We Learn From Robin Williams

Robin Williams is dead at age 63.  He died, according to news sources, from suicide.  He joins a list of over 300 actors who have committed suicide.  Ironically, the world longs to be like these “stars” and to have their fame and fortune yet Williams struggled his entire career with various “demons” including cocaine abuse, alcohol, and depression.

I don’t want to make light about Williams’ death.  After all, we all will face death unless Christ returns (Hebrews 9:27).  All of us are going to die (Romans 6:23).  This is the way of humans.  We have sinned against a holy God and thus we have earned what we deserve, death.  Your death and mine are coming.

Yet what we learn from Williams’ death is much.  Here was a wealthy man, a man whom the world loved and adored.  Here was a man who made many laugh with his comedy and many cry with his acting.  His movies ranged from funny to weird and everything in-between.  I was not a big Williams fan but enjoyed him the most in the 1992 Disney film, Aladdin.  I also give him some credit for his acting in Good Morning Vietnam and Dead Poets Society.  Williams’ films were not always wholesome such as his vulgar language in Good Will Hunting or even Mrs. Doubtfire.  

As far as Williams’ religious views.  He was raised by an Episcopal father and a Christian Science mother.  Yet he seems to have embraced agnosticism (as there are not true atheists according to Romans 1:21).  Williams mocked Christianity at times and made many jokes about God.  He said that cocaine addiction was God’s way of telling you that you have too much money.  His comedy routine was full of vulgar and sexuality.  Williams was a long-time supporter of the Democratic Party and poured thousands of dollars into liberal causes such as abortion rights and homosexual marriage.  In essence, Williams was just what the world wants from a Hollywood actor.  Sinful.

In the end, Williams died depressed.  A man who had used his humor to entertain millions dies depressed and lonely.  He had struggled nearly his entire career with drugs and alcohol abuse yet he never repented of his sins.  He tried and tried to overcome his “demons” but they controlled him (Genesis 4:6-7).  Williams could have found peace.  He could have found victory over his flesh.  He could have had the power to fight those demons yet he never repented, never turned to Christ Jesus in saving faith.  Instead he mocked the Creator of all.  He mocked the Bible.  He mocked the truth that could have set him free.

Williams now knows there is a God (unless you believe in soul sleep).  His life is over.  His time is gone.  Some are seeking to find mercy in the Lord and some have been posting on Twitter and other social sites that God could have given Williams grace at the last-minute.  Therefore, they argue, we should not be quick to cast Williams into hell.  After all, he did so much good.  But I remind you friend that the Bible says that there is none righteous (Romans 3:10).  I remind you that all our good works are nothing before a perfect and holy God (Isaiah 64:6).  I remind you that our only hope for salvation is found in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).  I remind you that are only time of repentance is now (Luke 16:27-31).  There is nothing in Scripture to suggest that we have hope once we die apart from trusting in Christ now.

The lesson we learn from Williams’ death is that we too will die and nothing can stop that.  Further, your money will not bring happiness.  Success will not produce peace.  Having women or men will not bring satisfaction in this life.  We must repent of our sins to find peace (Romans 5:1).  We must not love this world (1 John 2:15-17) but instead we must love Christ above all else (Luke 14:25-35).  The promise we have is His presence no matter what we face (John 16:33).  Jesus promised us that He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  No matter what may come, I have the assurance that Jesus is my strength and that nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:31-39).

In closing, let us pray that God sends a revival to Hollywood and that many of them will repent and trust in Christ alone to save them.  Let us pray that the “demons” that controlled Robin Williams (and many others in Hollywood as well) will be cast out by the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/12/2014 at 4:21 AM

Dr. Stanley Horton Has Gone Home

I was sad to hear that Dr. Stanley Horton passed away on July 12, 2014 at the age of 98.  Dr. Horton was a well-respected scholar with the Assemblies of God and he wrote many books including What the Bible Says about the Holy Spirit which was one of the first books I ever read on the Holy Spirit.  He also served in various educational capacities for the Assemblies of God before his retirement.

Dr. Horton continued to travel the world teaching the Bible up until age 92.  He was general editor of the Assemblies of God systematic theology text.

One a personal note.  When I was first saved in the early 1990’s (before the Internet), I had some theological questions so I wrote a letter to Dr. Horton.  To my surprise, he sat down and wrote me back in his own hand.  I have never forgotten that simple gesture toward this young disciple.

I rejoice that Dr. Horton is now resting in His Lord.  His faith has now been made sight.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/13/2014 at 4:12 AM

Posted in Books, Death

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Howard Hendricks (1924-2013)

I was sad to read today from Christianity Today of the passing of Dr. Howard Hendricks.  A great man of God has received his reward (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Dr. Hendricks was a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary for many years.  I used his book, Living by the Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible, with teenagers back when I worked with teens.  His book was an easy to use basic biblical interpretation book.  His wisdom and wit were well-known and his books reflected that.  While in college I had to read his book, Teaching to Change Lives: Seven Proven Ways to Make Your Teaching Come Alive.  At the time, I didn’t think that the book was very useful but boy have I learned from it since.

Praise God for godly men such as Dr. Hendricks.  He is now resting in the Lord’s presence and worshiping his King.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/20/2013 at 2:57 PM

The Death of Adam Clarke

The following is the story of the death of Dr. Adam Clarke, the great saint of God who sought God with all his strength until his final day.  May we learn from Psalm 116:15, Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”

Thomas Stanley requesting him to fix a time for preaching a charity-sermon, Dr. Clarke replied, I am not well: I cannot fix a time; I must first see what God is about to do with me.’ “At supper he was languid and silent; and, in the hope of gaining upon his appetite, his kind and considerate friend Mrs. Hobbs had got for him some fish, to which he was always partial; but he could not eat of it, and took a little boiled rice instead. “Ever since Dr. Clarke’s return from Bristol he had been affected with some degree of diarrhea; but now, contrary to custom, it was not attended with the slightest pain. On being pressed to take something for it, he took ginger and rhubarb, but refused every other recommendation “The diarrhea increased all night. On the Sabbath morning he was heard to be up very early, but this was no unusual thing. At six o’clock, however, he requested the servant to call Mr. Hobbs, who obeyed the summons with all speed, and on coming down saw Dr. Clarke standing with his great-coat on, his traveling-bag in his hand, his hat lying on the table just ready for a journey. Addressing Mr. Hobbs, he said, ‘My dear fellow, you must get me home directly: without a miracle I could not preach. Get me home — I want to be home.’ Mr. Hobbs, seeing him look exceedingly ill, replied, ‘Doctor, you are too ill to go home; you had better stay here. At any rate, the gig is not fit for you: I will go and inquire for a postchaise, if you are determined to return.’

Shortly after Mrs. Hobbs come down, with Miss Hobbs and Miss Everingham, the servant having informed these ladies of Dr. Clarke’s indisposition. “By this time he had sunk into a chair; and, finding him very cold, they had got a fire, and the three ladies were rubbing his forehead and hands, while Mr. Hobbs sent with the gig for a medical gentleman, — Mr. Greenly, a friend of the family, who chanced to have come to town on the preceding evening from Chatham, where he had professionally attended the cholera-hospital. In the meantime Mr. Hobbs had called in a medical man in the neighborhood, and sent off to inform his sons of their father’s illness. Mr. Theodoret arrived shortly, and Mr. John not long after, accompanied by the Doctor’s nephew, Mr. Thrascyles Clarke, who had been for many years a surgeon in the Royal Navy, and had frequently seen cases of cholera in the East.

As soon as the medical gentlemen saw Dr. Clarke, they pronounced the disease to be cholera. The family wished him to be taken up-stairs; but he was by this time so weak, that it was found he could not get up. A small bed being in the adjoining room, he was conveyed there, and laid down upon it. Mr. Hobbs then said, ‘ My dear Doctor, you must put your soul into the hands of your God, and your trust in the merits of your Saviour.’

To which Dr. Clarke could only faintly reply, ‘I do, — I DO.’ “Dr. Wilson Philip arrived about nine o’clock. All the means that skill, experience, and attention could devise and employ were used to arrest the disease.

Service-time having arrived, the chapel, as usual on such occasions, was filled. An aged minister, after reading prayers, ascended the pulpit, and announced that Dr. Clarke was laboring under an attack of cholera. The impression may be better imagined than described.

A friend of Dr. Clarke’s, Mr. Thurston, on hearing this, immediately left the chapel, and hastened to the house of Mr. Hobbs, to learn if indeed it could be true, and if, in the dismay and hurry of the family, Mrs. Clarke had been sent for. He immediately drove off to Haydon Hall to bring Mrs.

Clarke, who arrived a little before four in the afternoon. On her entering the room, Dr. Clarke feebly extended his hand toward her. One of the Doctor’s daughters, Mrs. Hook, on hearing that her father was indisposed, though she knew not the extent of the calamity, had set off for Bayswater; and her father opened his eyes feebly, and strove to clasp his fingers upon her hand. But he had not attempted to speak but twice; once in the morning, when he asked his son Theodoret, ‘Am I blue?’ and again at noon, on seeing him move from his bed-side, he asked, with apparent anxiety, ‘Are you going?’

Dr. W. Philip again visited him in the afternoon; but Mr. Thrasycles Clarke and Mr. Greenly never left his room, nor relaxed in their efforts to save a life they saw to be fast hastening away. The female members in this kind family forgot all personal risk in attending upon the affliction of one who had to them been so often the minister of peace. His two sons chafed his cold hands and feet frequently in the day, and often stepped behind his head to lift him higher on the pillow. Hope did not abandon them; nor could Mrs. Clarke be brought to believe that death had made a sure lodgment, and that life was fast sinking under his power. “From the first, Dr. Clarke appeared to suffer but little pain. The sickness did not last long, and a slight degree of spasm which succeeded it had all passed away before eleven o’clock in the forenoon. But there was a total prostration of strength, and difficulty of breathing; which, as night advanced, increased so much, and proved so distressing to Mrs. Clarke, that she was obliged to be removed into the adjoining room. “A few minutes after eleven Mr. Hobbs came into the room where she was sitting, and in deep distress said, ‘I am sure, Mrs. Clarke, the Doctor is dying.’ She passed with him once snore into the sickchamber, and said, ‘Surely, Mr. Hobbs, you are mistaken; Dr. Clarke breathes easier than he did just now;’ to which Mr. Hobbs in strong emotion replied, ‘Yes; but shorter.’ “At this moment Dr. Clarke heaved a short sob, and his spirit went forth from earth to heaven.”

Deep and solemn was the feeling which the announcement of the death of Dr. Adam Clarke produced in London, and throughout the land. The Methodist communion felt that they had suffered few such losses since the day when their founder himself was removed to his eternal rest. And not only the body to which he more intimately belonged, but good men of every name, deplored his departure with a sincere and religious lamentation, as if bereaved of a personal counselor, companion, and friend.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/18/2013 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Adam Clarke, Death, Life And Death

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My Mama Is Gone But In Many Ways She Is Here

I know that my mama is gone.  She passed away on August 7, 2012.  I greatly miss her.  I remember a line from a Chicago song, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”  That is true for me.  My mama was not the most educated woman.  She was not wealthy.  She didn’t sit with me and pour her wisdom into my life.  She just loved me.  She loved me no matter what.  I remember a conversation I had with her before she begin to slip away.  I said to her, with tears in my eyes, “Mama, I’m sorry I was not a good boy.”  She said, “I’m sorry I was not a good mama.”  I said, “You were a good mama” and she said, “And you were a good boy.”  She never had much but she gave all she could to me and my sister.

It’s been months now but I still see my mama all over the place.  I drive her car now and I left her things in place.  Her hair brush is still in the car with her hairs still in it.  Her water bottle that she never finished is rolling around on the floor.  Her Jim Reeves CD sits in the door.  Her sunglasses are still in there.  Her little notebook that she dotted things down on is still there with her handwriting.  Her last entry is directions to the doctor that would ultimately reveal her cancer and end her life.

Her Bible sits here on my desk.  My mama never could quote many scriptures but I can see where she would check chapters as she read them.  Proverbs is full of these checks.  She had a habit of cutting out newspaper obituaries and placing them in her Bible.  My grandma’s obituary is there.  My uncle’s is there.  And now my mama’s is there.

I miss my mama dearly.  I praise God for His comfort (Psalm 27:10).  I praise God for the presence of His Spirit that comforts me (John 14:16).  We tend to think of God as being out there but He is not.  He is here with us (Matthew 1:23).  Jesus said that He would be with us always (Matthew 28:20) and Hebrews 13:5-6 says that our God will never leave us nor forsake us for He is our helper so that we may not fear.  I’m grateful for my mama.  I wish I could talk to her.  I wish I could tell her just once more how much I love her and miss her.  But I know that someday I will see her again.  That gives me hope (Romans 8:25).

Thank God that He is forever faithful! 2 Timothy 2:13.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/01/2013 at 8:52 PM

Death is Hard

Death is hard.  I know what the Scriptures have to say about death, that death is defeated (1 Corinthians 15:54-55) and that for the child of God, death is powerless (Hebrews 2:14-15).  I know that death cannot separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).  I know that Jesus will deliver me from death (2 Timothy 4:17-18).  I know that Jesus is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26).

Yet I struggle with death.  Death seems so final.  Those who die, we will never see again on this earth.  I have to live out my life in the hope of seeing them again in eternity.  I have pictures.  I have memories.  But I don’t have my mama.  I can’t hold her.  I can’t touch her.  I can’t hear her again.  I can’t be a boy again with her as my mama.  I only sit here hating cancer and hating death.  I do know the promises of God and this gives me hope but I long to be with my mama now.  Not later.  Now.

Rest assured that I trust in the Lord.  He is my strength.  I find He is a wonderful comforter for me.  I shall continue on in the Lord knowing that my salvation is secure in Him (Philippians 1:6).  Jesus is my everything and He will bring me safely into His kingdom.  Then I shall see my mama again.  I shall see the great saints of God long gone.  Until that day, I will press on to know Christ and bless Him in this life (Philippians 3:8-11).

I sure do miss mama though.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/16/2012 at 9:50 AM

Posted in Death

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