The Right To Live And To Die: Brittany Maynard

Brittany has died.

It is not my intention to glamorize anything about death or the choice to die.
Life is worth living…
but what happens when the life you have is cut short by a terminal illness?
What then?  I have a very hard time justifying suicide for anyone…but can we find fault in the search for dignity in death?

I look at the story of Brittany Maynard and her very difficult choice and I am saddened.  No one should ever have to face the knowledge that they have an incurable, terminal illness.  No one should ever have to face the knowledge that they only have months, even weeks to live.  Yet millions do each day.  Lives irrevocably changed.  It boggles the mind.

Brittany  Maynard chose to die while she still had the human faculties to remember her husband.  She chose to die while she still had the capacity to speak.  She chose to die while she still had the capacity to say goodbye.  Did you catch that, SHE chose.   I know I might receive a lot of heat from this, but I find it hard to equate her choice here to suicide when her life was utter agony and would soon end terminally anyway.  I find it hard to see this kind of suffering continue.  I don’t advocate suicide in any manner and even in this context it can become a very slippery slope in determining who and why one would choose this.

Yet…I mourn today.
I mourn for Brittany’s husband.  I mourn for her family.  This isn’t some sort of glamorized Hollywood movie, this is life…and death.  This is visceral.

I believe in a mighty God whose capacity for grace and mercy far exceeds my own understanding of it.   I believe in His ultimate healing for all afflicted lives and those who seek Him.  Of these things I cling to, for He holds the keys to life and death.  There is one thing that I do know, I am not the ultimate judge, God is and no one else can or should step into that role.   Despite our comprehension of right or wrong and our understanding of even life and death, I don’t think that we truly know the answers beyond the veil on this side of heaven.  What we can do, however, is to live our lives in such a way that others see Christ in us regardless of the circumstances that we face.  Does living for Christ provide us answers to these troubling questions?  Yes, Someday, but until then let’s be the best representation of God’s grace in a world that desperately needs that hope and Grace. -Just a thought.

Brittany Maynard Story

More to ponder…

Heaven is for real…and so is pain and suffering.


Yesterday I blogged a bit about not living completely in the Christian-ecosystem that sometimes is known as the “Bubble”.  


I would like to explore what people are saying about Heaven as well as pain (even if the pain isn’t even spoken about).  

What are people saying about life after death?  





As a Christian living in this world I recognize that to me this life is a gift…but that doesn’t always mean there isn’t pain and difficulties along the way.  Life is not just about the destination but also about the journey.  


Sometimes the journey is painful.

Why do some people endure more pain than others?  
Why is there suffering in this world? 

I understand that suffering and pain is a part of our fallen world but to me that answer sometimes just isn’t good enough…I want more.  I yearn to get to the bottom of this whole pain thing.  Isn’t that why some doctors feel called to their practice in the first place?  They want to help ease the pain in this life?  Isn’t there relief in sight?  Sometimes I look around me and am staggered by friends who have lost parents and other loved ones through the blight of cancer and other terminal diseases.  


It hurts my heart to see servants of God, who deeply love God and serve Him and yet they are afflicted with these cancers that eat away and ravage the body.  I often ask “Why God?”  

When I think of the verse that Jesus said (even within the context of loving your enemies) – “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” I recognize that God is fair and just in this world.  I also recognize that the fallen nature of this world is the ultimate cancer that ravages our world.  The rains can, and some times do, include times of emotional and physical drought for the sinner and the saint.  The rains can include times of healing and times of sickness…and even death.  

Although I know this to be true, can I be honest with you?  It doesn’t do much to ease my hurt when I see friends hurting.  I hurt right along with them as they suffer…but as a Christian I do know that there is ultimate healing and that death is not the end.  

What other people are saying…


Last night I asked friends of mine a question.  The question was -” who else do you long to see in heaven besides Jesus?
Their answers ranged from grand parents, spouses, relatives and friends and even children that some had lost.
Even though we have this hope and assurance of Eternity with Christ we still endure hardships and sufferings.  Life is not easy and we still carry these wounds of those loved ones we have lost along with us.  Sometimes their memories comfort us while other times they help us to endure through rough patches we ourselves are going through.  




Here’s a revelation, perhaps you already know this – We don’t have to wait for heaven to get here to experience God’s Kingdom now! 
 Luke 17:20b-21 (NIV) Jesus said, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God  is in your midst [or,within you].”

Jesus experienced suffering in His very human life.  He was hurt by betrayal, but abandonment and He even suffered the worst of deaths.  I think it is safe to say that Jesus knows a little bit about human suffering and what we go through still today.  Despite the fact that suffering exists here’s a source of hope for you and for me:  The Kingdom of God is here and now!  Jesus may have been implying the He was the Kingdom in physical form and though He isn’t physically here His Presence in the form the Holy Spirit is.  We are not alone in this world…we never were.  God’s Kingdom is among us still.  Eternity is around us…we just haven’t recognized it yet. 

It is true that when we die we will see Eternity in all of its glory, but we do not need to wait for that day to experience God’s presence every day!  His presence is the essence of eternity and despite the sufferings of these human forms and the fallen world we live in, He can provide us the victory through it all!  This may be difficult to swallow for some of us…I still struggle with it myself, but I do believe despite pain and suffering God is very present with us right here and right now!  

Heaven is for real, so is pain and suffering, BUT the Almighty is also very, very real as well!  

-Just a thought.  


At the Well…





He seated himself beside the well 
sun beating down, heat of the day
swelling and shimmering in the heat
a mirage swiveled and swirled in the distance
she came, reputation and all
she walked the dusty path alone
she bore the scorn and shame
every day like this.

He saw her pensively waiting there,
waiting for Him to move on  
waiting for Him to step aside
so that cool water, crisp and clean
could be drawn and taken home…
Yet He doesn’t falter
He looks at her, as if He knows her shame.
Yet, undeterred He remains
no look of disgust
of retribution
of Anger
He looks at her, 
asks for a drink
then offers her something more
something lasting
Identities are shared, 
His sends her running back into town
with news beyond her reputation
beyond her guilt and fear of the town’s gossip…
Messiah – with Eternal Water
drink deeply, receive and share
it is for the whosoever…
after all.  





My Feelings About Fred Phelps Sr. – Pastor of Westboro Baptist Church

“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi



Pastor Fred Phelps Sr. is dying.  Over the course of many years now the Westboro Baptist church has been at the forefront of many controversial public protests.  You might remember them for their many anti-gay signs and their now infamous quotes like “Thank God for dead soldiers” and “Thank God for 9/11”!  (Link:

I’m not here to slam Pastor Fred.  He’s already taken a lot of heat and his “church” has even been labeled a hate group.  I will say however that I seriously doubt Jesus would have ever stepped foot in the doors of a church like this…okay maybe He would have to confront them perhaps…I digress.  But I’m not here to judge them on their merits or lack there of.  I’m not even here to condemn this pastor.


I wonder what it would be like to go to the hospice facility that Pastor Fred is now located at and hold signs not of hate and condemnation, but signs of love and concern?  I’m not saying we should do this but it certainly would be interesting to see the response.  Another thought that came to mind when hearing about his impending death – every person should face death with human decency and dignity including Pastor Phelps.  

At the end of the day if we stoop to the level of outrage and hate like these protests conducted by the Westboro baptist church, we in essence are no better.  I’m not implying that we’re better than they are, don’t get me wrong, I’m just suggesting that instead of celebrating his soon to be passing, let’s pray for Pastor Fred and others like him in our world.  

This world is already too full of hate, too full of extremist fundamentals (and to be fair on the other side of things extreme leftist liberals as well)…this world is already too full of condemnation as well.  We don’t need to fall into these ranks as well.  Jesus once said; “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

2 reasons to love our enemies and pray for them: 



1) It frees us of hate

This section is hard for me.  I personally want to retaliate when someone wrongs me, I want to inflict the same kind of pain on any person who dares do me wrong…but I shouldn’t because it only empties bitterness into my heart.  They say you become what you think about most often, and if I allow this thought of hurting my enemies and vengeance inside me then I am no better a person than they are.  When we open our hearts, as Jesus suggested, to love we catch a glimpse of the divine original purpose for all of humanity.  If I love that person, if I love Pastor Fred despite his actions, I free myself of a kind of hate that destroys hearts and lives.  

Does this mean that justice isn’t pursued or sought out?  Of course not, but remember that God is the judge and ultimately every person will have to stand before Him, so be careful that we have sorted out our own hearts and motives for wanting such justice on others.   

When we are freed from hatred, we can learn to love more…and this leads to being like Christ in our pursuit and His workings of Holiness.  

2) It opens up opportunities for our enemy to find salvation



What takes place when we extend grace to those who have spurned us and done us wrong?  One it really messes with their heads (not our purpose of course) but two, it hopefully causes them to want to change!  Obviously not every one of our enemies will change because we loved them, I don’t want to sell you a pipe dream here, but God can and still does perform miracles does He not?  Enemies still need salvation too, and perhaps someone to show them what real authentic love looks like.  

I want to pray for Pastor Fred Phelps Sr, and for His church.  I know that hate is our natural response to others who show hate, but if we’re to be like Christ, no matter how hard it may be for us, we ought to show love as our response.  Shining dark into dark will only make things darker, but if we shine the light of Christ into that absence of light, lives can be redeemed and drastically changed!  

Pastor Fred, I pray for the remaining hours of life that you have here on earth.  You have a Father in heaven who loves you and wants you to love Him back in return.  May His grace, peace and especially love find its place in your heart.  To the members of the Westboro Baptist church I say, love opens doors that hate never will.  Repent, seek grace and forgiveness and know that other Christ-followers are praying for you with the love of Christ.  We also pray that you will once again see what God is truly saying to you and that you seek to bring peace and grace into the doors of your church.  

-Sincerely in Christ.

“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” 
― G.K. Chesterton

Attention: People Pleasers…it’s pointless.


When it is all said and done, our feeble meanderings and our efforts of people pleasing will be meaningless…in the grand scheme of things and in God’s glory if we have not lived as servants first and spent our time sharing the grace of God with others we will have little or nothing to show of our earthly efforts and endeavors. -Just a thought.


Some Say…(Poem)

Some Say

that these moments 

will all fade away 

like the waning of the seasons

never to return again. 

Some say 

there is no turning back

no joy in the journey

no rhyme and no reason.

Some say

all we are is now

nothing waits 

nothing begs us for more.

Some say

our dying breath

each staggered step

leads to nowhere.

Some say…

but fools maybe,

I don’t buy the lie

there’s too much

to fathom that I cannot


Some say

but they don’t

sway me.

I know that I 

have been set free.

That’s what 

saves me, 

This Savior at Calvary

Some Say, 

I Say Believe

He is the way.

In our Eternal Lingerings (poem for my family)



We linger in one another’s presence

As if minutes even hours can replace

the years that have separated us…

Yet we try.

The love that binds

us all, wound in affection,

Storied and often flawed

We love regardless…

I cling to our conversations

And our passing here

For with each passing year

Our time grows ever shorter.

But our love, this love yet remains…

Steadfast, firmly grasping on

To the times that make sense

The times, like still frames

Captured sentiment and warmth

That bathes us in its brilliance.

These moments are glimpses

Mere impressions and fragments

Of what we have yet to discover

In the great unknown. 

Yet I know but one thing,

This lingering, the drawing close

Of heart to heart will never fade

Only increase as Eternity

comes ever nearer. 


‘The Way’ or the ‘LOST’ way


They gathered there in the stained glass chapel, the final meeting of a group of people from all walks of life.  The stain glass depicted various cultural and religious forms, from Jesus to Buddha, to the prophet Muhammad…they gathered there and reflected, realizing they were dead and they would enter eternity together as the lost members of Oceanic flight 815.  

I absolutely love the show ‘LOST’, I enjoyed the plots, the characters and the notion of being stranded on this amazing deserted island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.  It kept me coming back for more until…This series finale of the show ‘LOST’ which left me with a bitter taste and heavy heart.  Still to this day I look back at this finale and shake my head, ask myself “did I understand that right?”…I tell myself they ended the show poorly…an amazing journey only to end in some cosmic universalistic afterlife experience which pleases everyone from every religiosity yet offers no consequence or judgement upon evil and wrongs…I recognize redemption and acknowledge the plight of man, but this finale truly bothered me.  It bothers me still to this very day because there’s a lie involved within the premise of the final show and I don’t buy the lie!

The lie is “All roads lead to heaven”…this lie is so immersed in our culture today that many blindly accept it without looking deeper.  It’s an attempt to be all inclusive and yet muddies the waters of morality, ethics and theology.  I don’t buy the lie because I’ve read the words of Jesus when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).  Jesus said I am THE WAY, not one of the ways, or just another path to the Father.  


Do I believe that Jesus is THE WAY?  You bet I do!  I believe that there is only one path to God and Hindu, Islam, Buddhism or any other ‘ism’ aren’t paths leading to God.  Our Creator and loving Father wants us to accept Him and that of His one and only Son Jesus who is the only way to the Father.  

One day we will see Him and all will know the truth of Christ’s words.  Don’t buy the lie and get ‘Lost’.  Just a thought for today. 




It’s been around for a while, but I think the significance of this four letter acronym should be explored.  “You only live once” is what it tells us.  What does it mean?  People have used it as a hashtag signifying & justifying poor judgement and bad decisions with this excuse “you only live once”.   There is even a ‘YOLO’ clothing line that has been started.  We’ve gone from ‘Just Do It’ and ‘No Fear’ to ‘YOLO’.  Hmm…it seems to me that what culture is telling us is that it’s okay to do what you want, when you want, where you want because you only live once.

I recognize that everyone makes mistakes in this life but if we don’t learn from them and acknowledge that we’ve made them we run the risk of never growing and maturing.  As a Christian I don’t believe that I am going to live just once and then nothing, I believe that there is an eternity and that this life we live leads us to the next, and what we do here and now counts…it matters!  So if I adopted  ‘YOLO’ as my philosophy , what I’m saying essentially is that the only thing that matters in life is the ‘here and now’.  The problem with that is that it doesn’t account for the consequences.  For example if someone sleeps around aren’t they more likely to contract an STD than someone who waits until marriage?  If someone starts smoking and burns through at least a pack a day aren’t they opening themselves up to a slew of medical problems down the road the worst being cancer and death?   I could add so many more examples of choice = consequence here but these are just two examples.

YOLO isn’t really a new phrase, it’s just wrapped in new packaging.  Some have taken scripture out of context as well when they quote passages like “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!” Isaiah 22:13 (NIV)  The meaning behind it has been eliminated and taken to mean ‘well what the heck, we can do what we want because we know we’re all going to die someday’.  

I’m not too keen on living that way because I recognize that one day each person is going to have to account for the life that we’ve lived before the Father in heaven.  That doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy life, on the contrary God has given us this life for enjoyment and pleasure but we ought to recognize that He also wants us to include Him in our lives.  When we forget consequences and forget about the future, we lose focus on what is at stake.

One of my favorite bible verses is a good guide for each of us in how we ought to live.
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 (NIV)  If we are walking humbly with our God we will enjoy this life so much more than the emptiness of comes knocking on our doors after we have lived it up and gone down roads that we now regret.  

On the plus side, perhaps there is merit to ‘YOLO’…perhaps you can take this phrase to mean ‘hey you only live once in flesh and bone so make it count, do what you can to live a godly life and glorify the Lord in your living’!  I think if I were to embrace YOLO that is what I would take it to mean.  Will I make it count?  Can I live a God pleasing life?  Can I help lead others to Him along the way?  ‘YOLO’!

-Just a thought for today!

Here’s some humor for your Monday:


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