Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Religion

July 6, 2014

PASTOR POPHIN: Joy in heavenly thinking

By TOMMY POPHIN

For six years, I had the honor and privilege of serving as chaplain for a hospice organization.  Those years are ones that made an impression on my life that has changed me forever.

I served a variety of people during that time. I served those of strong Christian faith, agnostics, atheists and those of other faiths. As far as those who had the same Christian perspective that I have, the group was a little over half.

This life experience impacted my view of life here on Earth, eternal life and facing death. As a result I have come to the point of identifying very closely with Paul. I may not face the same persecution and trials as this great first missionary, but I have come to the same outlook.

In Philippians 1:21 Paul writes: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” From a world perspective, we should all ask, “What does he mean by that?”

The shocking part of that statement is, “to die is gain.” As a hospice chaplain, as well as one who visits the elderly and terminally ill all the time, I am most surprised by the view that even too many ministers and pastors have toward death. Two pastors stick out in my mind.

One was a Pentecostal pastor who was mad at God because He prayed over and over for God to heal him and extend his life. It was apparent that God was not going to answer his prayer in this way. Finally, after listening to him complain against God, the Holy Spirit spoke through me and I told him, “God is going to give you the healing that you so much desire, but that healing will not take place in this world.”

I also told him that the healing would be the “ultimate healing,” where sin and sickness would cease to exist and time would have no restraints. What shocked me about his response is that he had never considered that Bible truth.

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