Friday, 7 October 2011

By life or by death

This week at my faith family we lost a man of wisdom and great witness, his name was Doug Duncan.    This time last year we lost a dear woman of faith, Esma Gribble.  I feel like we had more to learn from these wonderful folks.  Their job was done, they had both fulfilled the purpose for their lives.  Our loss, heavens gain.  Not more than a month ago Doug Duncan spoke a powerful and poignant message to our faith family on Philippians 1:20-24.  Since Doug had suffered from cancer for a long while, this sermon was delivered with such relevance and experience that you had to sit up, listen and take notes. I've never been in a church service when the preacher finished he received enthusiastic, lovingly respectful applause. The power of experience and perspective when reading these verses, I'm write them out for you, so you can see why Doug was applauded;

"as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account." (Philippians 1:20-24)

May we all have the perspective of someone who could breath their last breath tomorrow. The beauty of eternal perspective. Doug Duncan had that in life, now he has that for real, in Jesus' presence. What joy and what a view - we can only imagine. Thank you Lord for your servant Doug, and your servant Esma, such encouraging witness to us of faith. 

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