Amy Winehouse died earlier today, most likely of a drug overdose. Although I was not an fan of Amy’s music and did not approve of her lifestyle, I was sadden by the news of her passing. Only 27 years old, Amy should have had most of her life ahead of her.
The first time I remember hearing of Amy was in the fall of 2007 when an Internet news service ran of photo of a fornlorn Amy after her husband arrest. I don’t typically read gossip about entertainers; however, I was drawn to Amy’s photo. It was not her trademark beehive hairdo, her outlandish makeup, or the tattoos that covered her body that attracted my attention. Rather , it was the desperate look in her eyes. She reminded me of a lost child in need of help. As I read the accompanying article, I learned that Amy was a talented but troubled young woman addicted to alcohol and drugs.
I felt led to pray for Amy that day and occassionally since. My prayers were that Amy would find her way to God. Only God could provide the love and peace that Amy sought. Alcohol and drugs could neither solve Amy’s problems nor allow her to hide from them. In the end, it appears that they killed her.
Unfortunately, I have no reason to believe that Amy sought a relationship with God. And now it is too late for her. However, for anyone reading this, it is not too late. God loves you and He sent his son Jesus to die for your sins. Making Jesus your Lord and Savior is the only way to achieve true peace and happiness. God wants to give you the wonderful life He planned for you. Won’t you let him? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Upon my arrival at work on Wednesday, I was informed that a coworker, Larry, had died during the night. I was stunned! I spoke with Larry on Tuesday and nothing seemed to be amiss. He was smiling and friendly, as he always. Yet Larry, at 54 years of age, had suffered a massive heart attack and passed away without any warning.
Larry was a “salt-of-the-earth” guy. The kind of man the world could use more of. Larry did everything with a smile. In fact, Larry received an award in May entitled, “We couldn’t do it without you.” His nominator wrote that Larry was “flexible support with a smile.”
Outside of work, Larry was supportive and helpful to those around him. He donated time to tutor at-risk children and volunteered with hospice. He taught Sunday school and VBS at his church, where he also served as chairman of the deacon board.
I will miss seeing Larry’s smiling face at work each day and our frequent chats. However, I take great comfort in knowing that Larry is in Heaven. Larry did not make it to Heaven because he was a wonderful man, although he was. And Larry isn’t in Heaven because he was kind to those in need or faithful in church attendance. Rather, Larry is in Heaven because Jesus Christ loved Larry (and you and me) so much that He died on a wooden cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Larry believed that and invited Jesus Christ into his heart. Larry accepted Jesus’s free gift of salvation. This gift is available to all who will call on the name of Jesus.
When Larry left work on Tuesday evening, he had every intention of coming back to work Wednesday morning. He was looking forward to many years left on earth. I don’t think Larry had any thought that Tuesday would be his last day on earth. Fortunately, Larry was prepared for death when it came.
If today turns out to be your last day on earth, are you prepared to enter eternity? If not, I urge you to accept Jesus’s free gift of salvation today. None of us are promised tomorrow.
Yesterday I learned that Kristi DeVore Shores’ life on earth had ended. I was saddened by the news that this beautiful, vibrant thirty-nine year old woman had lost her brief battle with stomach cancer. She was diagnosed with the illness less than three months ago. As she fought her brave battle, family members and friends interceded with God on her behalf. On Tuesday God healed Kristi. It was not the healing we had hoped for, yet it was an answer to our prayers. When Kristi’s eyes closed, her soul was transported into the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
My heart aches for the family she left behind: her loving husband Ryan who dreamed of growing old with her, three precious children who are young enough to need a mother’s daily care, godly parents who set a wonderful example for their children in their marriage and their daily walk with Christ, and three siblings who have stayed close despite busy lives of their own. From their Facebook posts, I know the family members are sad, but they are also happy that Kristi is pain-free and they are secure in the knowledge that they will see Kristi again when their time on Earth comes to an end.
There are hundreds of posts on Kristi’s Facebook page and web site. Some friends share the many ways Kristi touched their lives, while others tell funny stories about her. Most offer words of condolences to her family. All loved her and were better off for having known her.
Those of us who knew Kristi have perfect assurance that Kristi is in Heaven. Kristi is not in Heaven because she was kind or loving. She didn’t earn her way into Heaven through generosity or good works. She isn’t there because she was a loving wife, a caring mother, a dutiful daughter, and a precious sister. Kristi was all those things and many more. Yet, Kristi knew that she could never be good enough to get to Heaven on her own. Many years ago Kristi acknowledged what is true of all of us, that she was a sinner in need of a Savior. Kristi believed that Jesus Christ died for her sins and she confessed Him as her Lord and Savior. And because she did, she is spending eternity in Heaven.
Perhaps you’ve been told that there are many roads to Heaven. It sounds nice and many people believe that. However, God’s Word teaches us that Jesus is the only way. “There is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.
Where will you spend eternity? If you haven’t accepted Jesus’ free gift of salvation, I urge you to do so today. The rest of your life on Earth will be better, and you will receive the promise of an eternity in Heaven.