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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

How Do You Measure A Life?

One biographer of Abraham Lincoln said that you can’t measure an oak tree until its fallen to the ground.  His summary is true of a life.  How do you measure a life?  How does one measure the life of a man like Abraham Lincoln or even a man like Jacobus Arminius?

I ponder this today as I mourn the fact that my mama has been gone now for one year.  She died on August 7, 2012.  My last words to her were a few days before this.  I was about to go to work and she said to me, “Be safe.”  That was her last words to me.  She slipped into a coma and died a few days later.  How my heart still hurts for her.  I know that she is okay.  I know that is now healed but it still hurts.

My mama never had much money.  She never had much education.  I remember asking her when I was in high school if she could help me with my Spanish and she replied in her own southern way, “Boy, I’ve got enough trouble with English.”  My mama was known for her sayings.  She would say things to me such as, “When I leave this box, I’ll head to another box.”  She had a saying hung on her kitchen that read, “The faster I go, the behinder I get.”  That was my mama.

I remember her sitting in the kitchen and eating her peanut butter and crackers.  I would give my mama papers to sign for school and she would always have a coffee stain or a peanut butter stain somewhere.  My mama would wash dishes by hand (despite the fact that my daddy bought her a dishwasher that she didn’t use because she said it cost more to use) and she would often sing songs from the Everly Brothers or a song from Marty Robbins or a song from Jim Reeves.  I can still hear her in my mind singing, “Wake Up Little Suzie” in the mornings before school.

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I have here before me my mama’s old King James Version Bible.  It was given to her by my daddy on December 25, 1977 according to the front of the Bible.  Inside you’ll find a Bible that was read.  My mama had a habit of putting a small mark next to the chapters she would read.  The book of Psalms and Proverbs are full.  Also inside this Bible you’ll find that I signed my name twice.  The first was done on April 10, 1981.  The second was done on August 9, 1987.  My mama’s Bible is full of obituaries that she would cut out and put inside of her Bible.  She got that habit from my grandma who did the same before her.  Also inside is a napkin from my own wedding date, October 27, 2001.

The world has gone on without my mama.  99% of the world has forgotten her.  But I haven’t.  I never will.  Her life can’t be measured by things.  Only memories will do.  I am starting to cry now as I type this because I miss her so.  I miss her hugs.  I miss her voice.  I miss how sweet she was to me and my boys.  I ache for the times I let her down.  I hurt for the mean words I said as a teenage boy who was lost in sin.  I ache for the time I pushed her when I was mad.  I ache for the time I said that I didn’t like her.  But I smile at her picture.  I smile at knowing I did love her so.  I smile at knowing that I was able to be with her until the end.  I smile in knowing that I will see her again.

I miss Esther Lela Wilson Ingle.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/07/2013 at 11:25 AM

Posted in Life And Death

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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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Just A Note

I sure do miss my mama.  That is all.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/11/2012 at 8:42 PM

Posted in Life And Death

Tagged with

>Latest Fad: Books on Near Death Experiences

>Recently I went to the local Christian bookstore to browse and the lady working there tried to get me to buy a book, Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back.  Now I can’t make a judgment about the book because I have not read the book and nor will I.  I have never enjoyed these types of books.  When I first became a disciple, someone gave me the book, A Divine Revelation of Hell by Mark Baxter where the author claimed that she was commissioned by God to write the book.  As a very young disciple I read the book believing that the book was from God since He was the one who told her to write the book.  Yet it entered into my mind back then, “Why would God want to give us more information about heaven or hell when He has already given us His Word?”

I have noticed that these types of books are popular again.  I think most people do think about death.  We do wonder what will take place when we die.  Oscar Wilde’s final words were, “And now the mystery begins…”  Thomas Edison’s final words were, “It’s beautiful over there.”  People have debated whether Edison was speaking about the after life or about the fact that his wife had opened the window for him to look outside.  All of us are curious, I think, about death.  We wonder what will happen to us.  What will heaven be like?  For unbelievers, what is hell like?  This one thing is for sure, all of us will make it.  100 out of 100 people still die.  None of us can escape the fact that, apart from the second coming of Jesus, we will die.  We will cross that sea that John Bunyan wrote about in his classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress.  


For disciples of Jesus Christ, I want to issue this warning.  First, we should always heed the Scriptures as the final authority for all things including heaven and hell.  Jesus crossed the river of death and He now holds the keys of death and of hell in His hands (Revelation 1:18 KJV).  Jesus destroyed the power of death according to Hebrews 2:14.  Jesus said in John 11:25-26 that everyone who believes in Him will never die.  Yes we will die in this flesh but not in the spirit (Luke 12:5).  In Jesus, we will live forever (Romans 6:23)!  What a hope for the Christian that when we die, we actually begin to live (Philippians 1:21).

Therefore what the Bible says about heaven and hell, angels and demons, salvation, death, etc. should guide the disciple and not books written by fallen creatures.  Only the Bible is the God-breathed truth (2 Timothy 3:16).  Only the Bible will last forever (Matthew 5:17-18).  Only the Bible sanctifies (John 17:17) and only the Bible produces true life (James 1:21).  Books written by people claiming to be by divine inspiration are wrong.  Books claiming to speak for God about heaven, no matter how good they may seem, are not on the same plane as Scripture.  Scripture is sufficient and Scripture is enough.  Further, Scripture is clear on the subject of heaven and hell.  We don’t need revelations by little boys or people claiming to be “in the Spirit.”  What we need is to read the Bible and allow it to be the one guide that we listen to and obey in all areas (John 8:31-32).

My reply to the lady who tried to sell me the book about the little boy going to heaven was this, “I have everything I need to know about heaven in the Bible.”  She said, “Oh but this story is so good and it doesn’t take away from the Bible but brings more light to it.”  I just smiled and said I wasn’t interested.  Someday I will go to heaven when I die (Philippians 3:20-21) and I will get to see the mystery unfold before my eyes.  Revelation 21:1-9 reveals all that I need to know about heaven and hell.  It reveals the glory of heaven that Jesus has gone to prepare for His bride (John 14:1-6).  Others can speculate about heaven and hell but I will stick with the God-breathed revelation that He has given to me in the Bible.  That is enough for me.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/15/2011 at 2:28 PM

What We Learn From the Death of Michael Jackson

I grew up on Michael Jackson’s music. I was one of the 25 million who had Michael Jackson’s Thriller album back in 1983. I grew weary of Jackson in the early 1990’s and after I became a disciple in 1992, I never listened to him again except when I would hear him playing in stores or perhaps on a radio I was near. I watched as Jackson’s life became strange and news about him was bizarre. I was not shocked when I learned June 25th that Jackson was dead. Nothing shocks me about celebrates anymore. To me, Jackson became another casualty of the celebrity casualties who die too young and too soon (no matter how old it seems they are).

But as I ponder Jackson’s death, I am struck by the reaction of the world to his death. One biographer of Abraham Lincoln wrote, “You never truly can measure an oak tree until it dies and falls to the ground. Then you can measure the tree to see what kind of oak it really was.” Jackson, no doubt, will be bigger in death than life. Like others who have died before him such as Elvis Presley, John Lennon, or Jimi Hendrix – death makes these stars even bigger. But how do we measure the life of a person? As a disciple of Jesus Christ, the conqueror of death and the grave for us who believe, what can we learn from the death of Michael Jackson that we can pass on to others?

1. Everyone Will DieHebrews 9:27 establishes that everyone will die. 100 out of 100 people still make it. All who read this post including the writer will die. While the fact that we will die remains intact, the way we live is not. Many die without living (such as Michael Jackson). Apart from Christ, we do not live our lives (John 15:5). Jesus said that He came to give us life (John 10:10) and Jesus said that He alone could take away our heavy burdens (Matthew 11:28-30). What we learn from Jesus is how to prepare for death, our deaths. I want to be able to say with Paul that I have fought the good faith, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).

2. We All Stand Equal Before the Judgment Bar of GodRomans 14:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; and Revelation 20:15-20 establishes clearly that every person must stand before God. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that we will not just die but that after death we must stand before the judgment of God. In other words, when Jackson died he went directly before the throne of Almighty God. Jackson faced certain judgment for his life (Romans 2:7-8). Jackson’s knee bowed before God and he confessed with his lips that Jesus was Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). He was then judged with Satan as his accuser and God as his Judge. Jackson was found not to be in Christ and was then cast into Hades awaiting final judgment at the Great White Throne judgment.

Yet no matter how much money Jackson had or how many hit songs he recorded, all of us stand equal before God. We are all guilty (Romans 3:23). God’s Law judges us (1 Timothy 1:8-11) and declares that we are guilty (Romans 3:19-20). Our only hope is Jesus Christ and if we did not repent and have faith in Him on earth, we are condemned (Mark 16:16; John 3:19-21). The important thing to do in this life is to be ready to stand before God. I am ready but only by the grace given to me in Christ Jesus (Romans 5:1). I know that I have peace with God through His Son (Romans 5:8-9) and that I have no fear in the final judgment that I will be His son (1 John 3:1-3).

3. Disciples Do Not Mourn As The World Mourns1 Thessalonians 4:13 tells us that we are not to mourn (or grieve in the ESV) as the world mourns. How does the world mourn Michael Jackson? By writing him notes that he will never see. By playing his videos on VH1 all day. By not speaking of his bizarre behaviour but only of his gracefulness and kindness. By crying because he is gone.

But no so for the disciple. I lost a friend a few years ago to a traffic accident. He was only 27 years old and too young to die but in a moment he was gone. I cried over his loss but I did not weep as the world weeps over Jackson. I know I will see my friend again. He died a disciple, ready for Jesus by having his sins washed away (Acts 22:16). If I die today or tomorrow, I know my wife and friends will mourn for me but I pray they know that I am with Jesus Christ and ready to see Him face to face. I pray that they know that I lived my life, ready for heaven, and longing to see my Saviour’s face (Philippians 1:21). Disciples don’t mourn like the world mourns but we rejoice (even with tears) that our fellow disciples are now with Jesus and we will see them again (John 14:1-6). Jesus is our resurrection and our life and if we believe in Him, we shall never perish (John 11:25). Jesus is our comfort, our hope, our righteousness, our security. We hope completely in Him!

4. Life Is Like a VaporJames the Apostle would say to Michael Jackson and to all of us that our lives are like a vapor (a mist in the ESV; James 4:14). In the context of James 4:14 we find that James is warning us to prepare for our deaths (James 4:13-17). Like Jesus taught in Luke 12:13-21, we should take heed to our lives to prepare for our deaths since we don’t know what day or hour our souls will be called into account for our lives. Michael Jackson did not know that he would die on June 25th but he did and he is gone. You and I are alive now reading this post and we can prepare for death and be ready to see Christ in His glory.

In the measure of time, Michael Jackson lived a little over 50 years on this planet. He now enters into eternity along with billions of others who have gone before him. When he died on the 25th of June so did thousands of others. And before God, apart from Christ, all were guilty. Life is a vapor and unless we prepare for our deaths, we have never lived.

5. Evangelism Is VitalI don’t know if anyone ever shared the gospel with Michael Jackson. He was raised a Jehovah’s Witness but in the last years of his life he had turned to many segments of the New Age movement. Jackson longed for peace in this life but he found none other than in drugs and they destroyed his life (and possibly killed him). I pray that someone was able to tell Jackson of the gospel but it does not matter now.

Evangelism of all people is vital since all will die. Every person alive today needs to hear the gospel. Why? Because all will die and stand before God and be judged by His supreme Law. Jesus is the only solution for the forgiveness of our sins (Hebrews 9:28). Jesus must be preached in every nation, every village under heaven (Matthew 28:19-20). Everyone must become disciples of Jesus and we must baptise the nations. Jesus promised us power to be His witnesses so that the Michael Jackson’s of the world do not have to die in misery and pain but in the precious knowledge of our sins forgiven through Christ’s blood. Every person: small or great, must hear the gospel. We must not allow time to slip by and not evangelise as many as possible.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/27/2009 at 7:32 PM

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