Tag Archives: Heaven

God is Good – Nathan Junker UPDATE

I just saw my dad’s status on Facebook and they found Nathan’s body.  Please pray for the family. Nathan is in Heaven, but his family is left here and I’m sure their hearts are broken. A friend of mine reminded me that the fact he is in Heaven is a miracle. Again, please pray.

“I write to you with a heavy heart. This afternoon, Pastor Nathan Junker and Al “Herm” Hermiston, a long-time youth leader at Faith Baptist Church, were with the Jr. High youth on Pokegama lake. The two of them and 5 of the youth were on a sand bar near Drumbeater Island and were swept out by the waves and wind, unknown to others who were on a beach nearby. They struggled to swim back. Several of the youth and Herm were wearing life vests, but Herm gave his to one of the kids who did not have one. All 5 of the youth made it safely back, but the two men did not. Herm was found face down in the water and taken to the hospital, where he died. At this time, Nathan has still not been found in spite of the search efforts of others in the party and law enforcement. Please pray for Herm’s family, especially his wife Nancy, and for Nathan’s family: wife Samantha (Sam), and children Lauren, Alexandra, Journey, and Lincoln. Nathan’s father Randy Junker is pastor of the Grand Rapids Alliance Church. His mother’s name is Debbie. And pray for the people of both churches and the community who have been affected by these men.” (http://www.hogshadows.com/2009/06/praying-for-nathan-family.html)

Last night we received the news that Nathan Junker was missing. His father pastors my grandma’s church. He is a casual friend of my dad and a fellow pastor from the area. This winter when our church hosted the yearly Missions conference in our area, he was involved in a skit with my dad, another associate pastor, and a missionary that we were sending out. I remember his kids. They were so little. He is only about 30 himself.

It’s so hard to look at these situations as see God’s goodness. I’m struggling today to do just that. Baring a miracle, Nathan is dead, his wife widowed, and children fatherless. To see God’s goodness in such a devastating situation is hard. But no matter what we think or feel, God is good. He is good and this is all in His perfect plan. Even when our heart screams against it, God is still good.

In all… we hold on to the future hope. While hope that Nathan is living wears away more every minute, we have a future hope. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”(Revelation 21:4) Nathan was a believer therefore, we do not grieve as those that have no hope. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep,that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”

Please keep the Junkers in your prayers, as well as Al Hermiston’s family. I still am praying for a miracle, but the fact that Nathan had no life jacket and it’s now been overnight… they are only expecting to find a body. But in all of this. God is good.

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Heaven (No Fear of Death)

I was reading again from the book They Found the Secret, this time about John Bunyan and was again underlining and writing many things in the margins. While studying this third chapter today I came across a quote that I loved and I wanted to share it with you all.

“I saw myself within the arms of grace and mercy; and though I was before afraid of a dying hour, yet, now I cried, ‘Let me die’; now death was lovely and beautiful in my sight, for I saw we shall never live indeed until we be gone to the other world… God himself is the portion of the saints.”

Well that just spoke to me so clearly. This was a man that had been in fear of death, and struggled with understanding the assurance of salvation, and now he had found such joy in knowing that nothing could separate him from the love of Christ and that heaven is far better than earth.

People are often so afraid of dying, even Christians. Most people don’t want to die. We don’t grasp the brilliance of heaven compared to the scum of this world. Sometimes we even think heaven might be boring because we can’t sin. But heaven is going to be amazing. Having the presence of Jesus in the flesh will be wonderful! We often focus more on the things of heaven like “everything will be beautiful and there will be palaces of gold and yada yada yada”. We often do not dwell on the fact that JESUS, our redeemer, savior, Lord, maker, lover of our soul, our saving grace, will be there. We will be with Jesus! What a sweet time that will be!

I love this quote from C.S, Lewis in The Last Battle, the last book in The Chronicles of Narnia series.

“All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one of eather has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

 Hold tight to the promise of heaven. That someday all our troubles on this earth will be done and we will begin a story that each chapter is better than the one before. Each day more glorious. Each moment more precious. And it will never end. We need no fear of death or dying, for even the momentary pain we will experience will be nothing compared to the overwhelming joy that we will have in heaven.

 Heaven isn’t so great because there isn’t “bad stuff” or because there is a lot of “good stuff” or a lot of perks or a lot of amazing people. Heaven is awesome because Jesus is there. I pray that we will never forget that and that we will dwell on that constantly.

Your sister in Christ,

Olivia

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Why Me?

 That question is one that I ask frequently and it should be asked frequently by all Christians. I am not talking about questioning that God is sovereign or in control of a situation. God has his plans and he has them for a reason. What I am talking about is giving thanks to God for his blessings.

 No matter how hard your life is, you don’t deserve your life. The only think that any of us deserve is death. We are sinful, bad people, that deserve death in hell. But if you are a Christian God has chosen you to receive his mercy and grace, and his atoning sacrifice on the cross. He has give you life, freedom, peace that passes understanding, love, joy, hope for tomorrow, he removes our guilt. He has given us more then we could ever of dared to dream of.

 A holy God chose ME. A holy God loves ME. A holy God gave his only son for ME. ME. A dirty, filthy, sinner, without the ability to do right. It doesn’t seem possible. I don’t deserve him. You don’t deserve. No one that has ever lived has deserved God except Jesus. Because we are all born into sin.

 Why would he save us? Because he loves us. I don’t quite know why. I don’t understand that he could love us, even while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8) I don’t understand how he could let his perfect son die a painful death for me. I don’t understand how he could chose a wretch like me. I don’t think I will ever understand. Ever. Because it is just one of those things far beyond the reach of our small finite minds. It is something so mind blowing that I don’t think we can ever truly take hold of it.

 But in our messed up culture people, even those who claim to be Christians, don’t understand this. They don’t understand that they don’t deserve heaven. They don’t understand that the only thing they deserve is death and eternity in hell. I breaks my heart that in our churches religion is so strong. The belief that we can somehow reach up to God or that we can attain heaven by ourselves. Religion is man trying to reach up to God. I am not a religious person. I know I can never reach up to God. I can’t even try. But God reached down to me. He came down and lifted me up when I was dirty and filthy and depraved.

 Using Ezekiel 16 as an example, I was bloody and unwanted, cast out to die. Then he found me and had compassion on me. He took me in his arms and washed be and clothed me. He looked on me with love. Though I didn’t deserve it. Though no one wanted me. Though I was not worthy of the love of anyone. He rescued me.

 Why me? There is no logical answer that God chose me instead of the person next door. But I thank God every day that he chose me. He didn’t have to, but before I was born he predestined me to receive his grace. It is something that we are not even supposed to know. It is a mystery of God. I encourage you all to thank him for it everyday. If you have been saved by him, it is wrong not to thank him. At the risk of repeating myself, God is holy and we could never deserve him. We need to bow our knees and thank the God of earth and sky for rescuing us. We should constantly be amazed. We need to bask in the wonder of the cross. And let everyday reflect that he has saved us.

Love in Christ,

Olivia <><

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