“I’m afraid.” This was whispered to me by my 82 year-old friend who was very weak and lying in a nursing home bed. She had fractured her back when she fell on her porch and then broke her arm when she fell in the nursing home. I loved this lady.
We both attended the United Brethren Church in Munson, Michigan. A few months before, she and I had our last outing at the Pizza Box in Morenci, Michigan. I was 59 years old at the time. We had hand-dipped ice cream and “held court.” Between the two of us we knew and “knew of” everybody that came through the door. This was small town hanging out and being social. We had “facetime” with the folks that passed our table and “live chat” with those that sat awhile with us.
When she confined in me that she was afraid, I got a bit anxious because it brought to the surface all my doubts and jumbled Christian thoughts about death and the hereafter. However, I prayed for her, at the moment I do not recall the words. She calmed somewhat and began to breathe easier by my presence, and not so much by what I said. She died the following day.
At that time, I too had fear when I thought about death. I wasn’t sure about my eternal destination because I did not have a clear road map for salvation. I was told to just love Jesus and my neighbors, and keep a bunch of denominational requirements that changed each time I changed churches. I saw too many preachers and church goers violate all of the 10 commandments, and when they died, they were still “preached into heaven.”
When I attended a Catholic wake, my Protestant friends and I quietly left the room as the priest prayed over the open casket of a young mother that had committed suicide. By repeating numerous “Hail Mary …” prayers, he was supposedly praying her from purgatory into heaven.
I attended the memorial of a University colleague at a Universalist Unitarian church where her friends were given the opportunity to speak. One fellow said he knew Anne was happy now that her molecules were mixing with the molecules of his wife, Anne’s dear friend.
If all the people that there prayed into heaven were actually there, heaven would be no better than here on earth. Actually, heaven would be worst because it is eternal.
All of this foolishness was the source of my confusion and it spawned fear whenever I allowed myself to think of my own mortality, but HalleluYAH, I finally found the truth.
Efraiym spoke of fear as being separated from Elohim (God). This is so true. Listen as Efraiym gives the clear road map: Keep Elohim’s commands and seek Him with your whole heart.
By the way, our minister David Rogers has an excellent teaching on What Happens When You Die? Check out David Rogers teachings here.
Summary of the Teaching
Efraiym’s titles to his teachings pull you in to find out what he later reveals as the dynamic central message. The Big Picture, does just that too. No spoilers here!
Efraiym starts out challenging us to move from sand lot fighting over the petty issues and focus on the big picture. As he dives into the message, he quips, “Let’s cut weeds and till some soil!” With that we were off to dealing with issues such as:
- What does scripture say about the concepts of good and evil, perfect weights, and accuracy?
- How do we maintain a righteousness relationship with Yehovah when He knows we aren’t always right?
- What is the main thing to remember when we go through trials and dire straits?
- What was Israel’s original true purpose?
- Why do some people have short-term deliverance?
- As fishers of men, who are believers hoping to bring back to Yehovah?
Listen to a snippet of Efraiym’s teaching. He is illustrating so much meaning for our daily living from Jacob’s all night wrestling with a man.
Efraiym left us a cliffhanger! Why did Yeshua say in the verse below, “there is none good but one, that is, God,” when nowhere else in scripture is Yeshua called evil?
Matthew 19:17 (King James Version) 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
If you have an answer to this, please write a comment at the bottom of this page in the reply section. Thanks!
Buzz on the Teaching
After the teaching, we had a short congregational meeting. One agenda item was discussing the duties of the 10 volunteer greeters. Included in their responsibilities was to have a conversation during fellowship with each guest that comes to HOI. Efraiym reminded us that each of the saints at HOI has a responsibility to greet every guest. They could be our sisters and brothers in Messiah and they were definitely our family from Adam!
I have been a guest at many churches. Rarely am I not spoken to, because I am very outgoing and I enter into new environments speaking to whomever I see. However, all people are not like me. Many will be silent and wait to be spoken to. This was an issue at a Nazarene Church I went to. The pastor asked a stranger to come to the church and sit through service. After service, the stranger reported that not one person spoke to him!
We must be very aware not to form cliques and not just gravitate to those we know or like.
Let’s follow the advice from our brothers in Messiah:
"10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." - Romans 12:10-13 King James Version
7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. - 1 Peter 4:7-10 King James Version
Until next time… Blessings to You and Yours,