Daily Devotional for Friday November 7, 2014
29 Year Old Brittany Maynard Took Her Life Last Weekend
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, it seems to me that one of the things the parable of the Wheat and Tares is telling us is that some people are just "born bad."
ANSWER: We are ALL born with "original sin" or the sin of Adam. The Bible clearly tells us that there is NONE who is good, no not one! During our life, we each have to make the freewill choice to obey God or rebel against God, We are all sinners and in need of a Savior, but the "Wheat and Tares" speaks clearly that some will make that freewill choice to accept Jesus by faith, while others will exercise their freewill choice to reject Him.
29-year-old Brittany Maynard took her life last weekend. Instead of being just one of many sad cases of suicide that occur each day, hers became a national story since she was diagnosed with an aggressive and advanced form of brain cancer, given only months to live, and took to social media to tell her story that included the date she had chosen to end her life. She subsequently changed that date but finally did take a lethal prescription over the weekend that ended her life.
This has re-ignited the national conversation of a person's right to die such as the intense debates on this issue during the reign of Dr. Jack Kevorkian in the 80's and 90's. Maynard and her husband purposely moved to Oregon, one of 5 states (Vermont, Washington, Montana, and New Mexico are the others) that has "right to die" laws and became the 753rd person to have participated in that state's physician-assisted suicide.
I have been inundated with emails about this story since it broke over a month ago, and is something I have sadly dealt with dozens of times over the past 15+ years of Liveprayer with people and families in a similar situation. It is not just a theological issue, but a societal one that we will be dealing with often in the coming years due to the fact we have minimized the value of life by slaughtering apx. 4,000 innocent babies each day in this nation. When it becomes so easy to take a precious life at one end of the spectrum, it becomes that much easier to take a precious life at the other end of the spectrum.
Let me be perfectly clear, and this is the counsel I have always given those who come to me in a similar situation to Brittany's. Life is from God. Period! It is only God who can give life, and it is only God who can take life. Contrary to secular belief, it is NOT our life, it belongs to God. We never know what God's plan may be, and when we interfere in that plan by taking our own life we never will!
I am fully aware of the powerful arguments made, especially by people in their later years, whose quality of life has deteriorated to the point there really isn't much life to speak of. I am also fully aware of the constant pain many deal with on a minute by minute basis, the costs involved, the care involved, a whole host of very legitimate issues that come in to play.
My best counsel to people facing such challenges is that they can control the amount of efforts used to keep them alive. Personally, I have outlined specifically that I demand NO artificial forms of continuing life be used in any way. Like most, I have no desire to be kept alive just to say I am alive. All I ask is for whatever pain medication that may be necessary so I don't suffer and let nature take its course as it did until the last 50 some years when modern medicine advanced to the point it could prolong human life in numerous ways even when there was no life to prolong.
IT WAS GOD WHO GAVE YOU LIFE TO BEGIN WITH. IT IS GOD'S LIFE UNTIL HE SAYS IT IS OVER. IF YOU ARE SAVED, IT IS HIS LIFE IN EVERY WAY FROM THE MOMENT YOU ACCEPT CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR BY FAITH. IF YOU BELIEVE THAT, THEN YOU ALSO HAVE TO TRUST GOD WITH YOUR LIFE AT THE VERY END AS WELL. AGAIN, LIKE MANY THINGS IN LIFE WE MAY NEVER FULLY UNDERSTAND "WHY" GOD DOES WHAT HE DOES, BUT IT IS NOT OUR JOB TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING, JUST TO TRUST HIM BY FAITH...EVEN IN DEATH!!!
Suicide is one of the saddest things that I have to deal with every single day is the tragedy of someone taking their own life. It seems that during this time of year, the number of suicides increase. The fact is, right now there are people reading these words who are actually contemplating killing themselves. If this is you, or if you have had thoughts of killing yourself, know that it is no accident you are reading these words today. God is trying to speak to you, so please, LISTEN TO HIM!
You see my friend, God not only loves you very much, but He is the one who gave you your life and wants you to live. It is satan who wants you dead! Never forget that satan has come to what, KILL, steal, and destroy! Satan wants you dead! The thoughts you have of killing yourself don't come from God, they come from satan. He is the one telling you that you would be better off dead. He is the one who is telling you that you should just give up and kill yourself. He is the one who is telling you that the best answer to your problems is to take your life. He is the one who is telling you that everyone else will be better off if you were dead. He is the one who is telling you that your life is meaningless and it is not worth living any longer.
SATAN IS A LIAR! In John 8:44, Jesus tells us that he is the "father of lies," that when he speaks, he "speaks his native language," LYING! The thoughts you have of killing yourself are coming directly from the pits of hell, from the very lips of that liar satan!
God on the other hand wants you to LIVE! God is Truth! It is God who is telling you to live. It is God who loved you so much He sent His very Son to die for your sins. It is God who is telling you to cast your cares on Him and let Him see you through those difficult times. It is God who says you are not alone, that He will never leave you nor forsake you. It is God who is telling you that your life has meaning and purpose. It is God who is telling you that He has given you life and life abundantly. It is God who is telling you to trust Him and LIVE!
So what this really boils down to is who do you listen to, satan, who is a liar, or God, who speaks Truth? Seriously, if you are having thoughts of killing yourself or if you have ever had thoughts of killing yourself, you have got to understand where those thoughts are coming from and ultimately make the choice who you are going to listen to. If you are having thoughts of killing yourself today, or if you have ever had those thoughts, make sure you take a moment to ask yourself the critical question of who you are going to listen to, satan, a liar who wants you dead, or God, who represents Truth and wants you to live.
Now let me answer one of the most asked questions I get each day. Killing yourself does NOT keep you from Heaven, the only thing that keeps you from Heaven is rejecting Christ as your Savior. *THIS DOES NOT MEAN IT IS OK TO KILL YOURSELF OR A PASS TO COMMIT SUICIDE!!! Make no mistake, killing yourself IS a sin. To even think of suicide is rebelling against God. However, the ONLY sin that will send you to hell is rejecting Christ. If you have truly accepted by faith Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and you commit suicide, you will spend eternity with God your Creator.
The reason suicide is a sin is because it is God who gives us life for the purpose of serving and glorifying Him, and it is ONLY God who can say when our work here on earth is finished. Remember, if you accept Him into your heart it is NOT your life any longer, it belongs to Him. That means it is NOT your right to end your life. That right only belongs to God. Suicide is an act of rebellion towards God!.
I know there are some people who erroneously believe that if you kill yourself you can't go to Heaven since you died without repenting of that sin. According to that erroneous theology, if you commit a sin, have a massive heart attack and die instantly without confessing that sin you committed prior to dying you would be lost for all eternity. Sorry, but that is simply not what the Bible teaches.
Some may ask, what are the consequences of the sin of suicide since it ends your life? One of the consequences of all sin is it keeps us from enjoying our relationship with the Lord. Sin keeps us from being all God wants us to be. Sin keeps us from knowing the joy, the peace, the abundance the Lord promised to us in this life. Those who commit suicide have already allowed the enemy to blind them to God's love, otherwise, they would never make such a horrible choice. Someone who commits this act misses the fulfillment of God's perfect plan for their life. It is a very sad way to end this wonderful journey, and a way God never intended!
Suicide is really nothing more than an act of cowardice and is one of the most selfish things anyone can ever do. Despite all the reasons that satan the liar gives you to kill yourself, it really boils down to the fact that only a coward chooses this course of action. Rather than deal with the problems of life, fight through them, work towards victory in the power God can give you, you chose instead to simply stop living altogether. That my friend is a coward's answer to their problems.
Suicide is also one of the most selfish acts a person can commit. One of the great lies satan feeds a person thinking about killing themselves is that their family and friends would be better off if they were dead. The truth is, a person who kills themself leaves behind family and friends, who in many cases, spend the rest of their life carrying around unnecessary guilt over what role they may have played in causing the person to kill themselves. I deal daily with family members and friends of a person who has committed suicide and they experience tremendous guilt over what they may have done to force their loved one or friend into taking their life.
*To you family members and friends of someone who has committed suicide, YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT THEY CHOSE TO DO! They, not you, made this sad and tragic choice. So please, don't put yourself under the unnecessary burden of carrying around guilt from something you didn't cause and didn't do.
Let me speak directly to anyone who may be contemplating suicide this very moment. It is God who gives us this precious gift we call life. Dealing daily with some of the most incredible human situations you can ever imagine, I understand the pain, the difficulty, the hopelessness so many live with each day. It is always at the lowest points in our life when the enemy attacks us. Like with everything, there are always scenarios, always circumstances we can point to, but sin is sin, and no amount of justification changes that. THERE IS ALWAYS AN ANSWER OTHER THAN SIN!!!!
I love you, and I care about you more than you will ever know. The pain I feel daily as I walk with you in your time of need is sometimes overwhelming. But I keep the truth and promise of God's Word in my heart, and the hope and love we have in Christ in my every thought. I will be praying today for you, that you will never even consider suicide as an option. IT IS NOT AN OPTION BECAUSE YOUR LIFE BELONGS TO GOD. Only God can say when it is over.
Instead of focusing on the lies of the enemy, on the pain and the circumstances in your life, look instead to the Truth we find in God's Word, the promises and hope we have in Christ and the fact God will ALWAYS give us a path of escape. God has a wonderful and perfect plan for your life. The key is you have to be alive for that plan to unfold. Don't ever take this wonderful gift of life for granted, because it will be over soon enough. In the meantime, we need to be focused on what it is God wants from our life, what it is God wants us to accomplish each day for Him.
Let me leave with you two powerful truths from God's Word. The first is, He loves you so very much. The second is, He is a God of answers. Embrace His love for you today, and let Him help you find the answers to those questions you have. There is only one option if you know Christ as your savior and that is to LIVE for Him.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,