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The E.Newspaper By Dr. Howdy, Ph.D. A.P.E., N.U.T.
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Miners' Notes Reveal Their Final Moments
TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) - Tom Toler identified the body of his youngest brother. And then he was handed a message from the dead man. In wobbly printing, written in ink on the back of an insurance application, 51-year-old miner Martin Toler Jr. said goodbye. For now.
"(I'll) see them on the other side," the note said. "It wasn't bad. I just went to sleep. I love you."
His brother, a miner himself for 30 years, was so shocked by the simple, eloquent farewell that he didn't think to ask - standing there in a newly opened morgue in a long-closed elementary school - just exactly where his brother had stashed the piece of paper. In his pocket? In his lunchbox?
"It just shook me up when they gave it to me," he said.
And as he read the boxed letters fashioned with a shaky pen, "I took it to mean that it was written in the final stages. I'd call it more or less scribbling."
Of the 12 miners who died after Monday's explosion, at least a handful managed to scrawl a last testament to their families, according to loved ones. The exact number of messages is not yet known.
What would you write at a time such as this? What would be important to you then? Sooner or later each of us...
If you consider yourself a religious person, boy, have I got good news for you! Recent research indicates that those who consider themselves religious tend to have lower blood pressure than the rest of the population, and they are less likely to be obese, or to have cancer, or to be hospitalized, and they have a 29% greater chance to live longer! And religious people tend to have lower rates of depression, less suicide, greater sexual satisfaction in their marriage, and overall a greater sense of well-being. What do you know, Jesus was right when He said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness" and "Blessed are the pure in heart" (Matthew 5:6, 8). Yep, lots of good news if you're a religious person, and some very disturbing bad news.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Bad News About Being Religious."
That bad news comes through loud and clear in our word for today from the Word of God in Matthew 7:21-23. Jesus is describing some horrible surprises when some religious folks stand before God.
Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you.'" The unsettling bad news is this: some very religious people will be stopped at the gates of heaven!
These are clearly people who know a lot about Jesus - who've done a lot of things in Jesus' name - who are, no doubt, considered to be Christians by the people who know them. Except for one thing - Jesus says, "I never knew you." Somehow, in the middle of lots of Christianity, it's apparently possible to miss Christ. It's possible to be very religious, very involved with Christian things, and to miss Jesus - to miss heaven!
How does this happen? Jesus said that what these people missed was "doing the will of my Father in heaven." Well, in John 6:40, Jesus tells us exactly what that is. "My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life." That's what God the Father wants. That's what He demands as the only way to get into heaven. It's not doing Christian things or believing Christian beliefs or observing Christian rituals. It's putting your total trust in His Son as your only hope of having eternal life.
And that's the problem with some of us church folks - we're actually counting on our Christianity, our church attendance, our religiousness, our spiritual track record as the thing that will make us right with God. But none of that can do it. That's why Jesus came. Your sins and mine carry a horrible, eternal death penalty in hell - one which can't be paid by any amount of human goodness, but only by Jesus' death on the cross. And it may be that for all your years of being around Jesus, of agreeing with Jesus, you've never grabbed Jesus like a drowning person would grab a lifeguard. You've never told Him that you're abandoning any trust you have in your religion or your goodness and you're putting your total trust in Him to be your rescuer from your sin.
If you've never taken that step that makes all the difference, would you do it today and say, "Jesus, I abandon all hope but You. I now come to you totally on the basis of your death on the cross and your resurrection; turning from my sin to You controlling the rest of my life."
I would love to help you make that commitment to Christ and cross that line to belonging to Him. I just wish you would visit our website because there you can either read about or you can listen to an explanation of how to begin your relationship with Jesus. Just go to yoursforlife.net. Or if you'd like to just get it in booklet form, Yours For Life, you can call toll free at 877-741-1200.
Jesus said that some very religious people would not make it to heaven because they never looked to Him and Him alone to take them there. Today He's calling you again - one more time - to make Him your Savior. He does not ever want you to hear those awful words, "I never knew you."