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Remembering You
After Death?   

I remember well the bad headache I got the night Roger let-out the stark truth in our Bible Study meeting:

"Hey guys…Who's gonna remember you after you die?" Roger asked quizzedly. "Think about it…I mean…maybe your kids will think of you from time to time after that first year. Once in awhile your grandkids might think about you - but not much - they've got their own lives to worry about. And then what? You're gone…poof"

Less than a Handful

Continuing his depressing point Roger noted, "That's probably less than 3-4 total people - fewer than you can count on one hand. That's all who will remember you. That's for less than a generation long, fewer than about 25 years. Then you're gone. Vanished. That's it for memory of you."

How Often do you Think of Them?

Roger finished with, "If you don't believe me, then ask yourself who YOU remember and how often you think about THEM? How often do you remember your Grandpa? Once a year? Once every five years? Other than sharing a few stories during family get-togethers at Christmas, how often do you even think about your own parents? And once you're gone, who will EVER think about your grandparents or parents, let alone think about you?"


Ouch…good grief…how depressing! Those comments stirred up discussions among us that night and for months afterward. I pondered it because I don't have any children to begin with. Where does it leave those of us without kids or grandkids? I guess we're just "history" sooner. But, even with an armload of babies we will be forgotten before we know what hit us.

Homeless without Families

Then there are many Christians around the world who have been rejected by their own families. Some have been thrown out of their homes! Others have been left destitute without family or belongings. Some are not allowed any contact with their young nieces or nephews, brothers or sisters because they are Christians. Many languish in dark, dank prisons awaiting death because of their refusal to reject Christ.

Gen. Moshe Dayan

Rexella Van Impe tells a story about a time she was to interview the heroic Israeli military leader, General Moshe Dayan (the one with the famous eye-patch). At the last minute he canceled their meeting. Rexella says,

"I was stunned because I had worked hard to make all the necessary arrangements, and politely inquired what had happened to change his mind.

"Oh, it's nothing you have done," he said. "I've just realized that this is pointless because no one will remember me when I am dead anyway!" And he walked away.


A Lasting Legacy

Have you ever thought about this? This is sobering stuff. I mean…where do you focus your time and energy? What things do you consider important? Will anyone remember you after you are dead? Does it matter to you? Do you wish you could leave a lasting legacy upon this earth? What would it be? How would you do it?

Baby-Bommer Bummer Question

In the United States especially, Christian "baby boomers" are faced with this "bummer" of a question:

What have I Done with my Life?

If we face the issue squarely and honestly many of us already know the answer. We know that we wasted our lives. Some of us took drugs in the sixties, joined protest marches, and vowed we would never be like the "establishment" - like our traditional parents with their money-oriented jobs.

Greediest Bunch in World History

Then we turned around and became exactly that - in fact, worse! We became the greediest group of citizens in world history. All we cared about was making money - tons of it. Many of us bought 3,000-7,000 square foot homes, owned sailboats, recreation properties, and drove fancy cars housed in four-car garages.

And if we were not greedy, then we were status-seekers pushing for a job as a famous musician, writer or artist. We wanted a Ph.D. and fame - lots of it. Forget marriage, kids, and things. Just give me a terrific career and loads of fame!

We squandered our lives on our own pleasures and self interest with little regard for anything or anyone but us. We thought we "had it made." We were so sophisticated and complex. But, in truth we were vapid and ignorant. Really empty, shallow people.

Okay. There we are. Now what? What do we do for an encore?

Nothing but Debt-Junkies&Consumer Clones

Well, now our youth is gone and our hair is gray. The pounds are piling on without effort. And arthritis is slowing us down. We're up to our eyeballs in debt and yet some of us want still more. We know that with luck, maybe - just maybe - we have another twenty or thirty years left - if we aren't destroyed by a nuclear holocaust or bio weapons first.

We look around faced with our own bankrupt value system and the wreckage of our lives and wonder…

"Have I lost my chance to really make a difference?"

"Do I spend the rest of my years trying to look young, or thin, or rich and loaded down with bling-bling?"

"Am I nothing but a debt-junkie and consumer clone? Is that all there is?"


Pursuing what Matters - Discarding the Rest

We need to take a good look to see where we measure-up with this evaluation. After all, it isn't too late. Those of you who know us understand that we feel passionately about this subject. And we do not let ourselves "off of the hook," either. Pursuing what matters and discarding what doesn't is a daily goal and a daily battle.

Teach us to Number our Days

I'm not sure what changed for us exactly. But, one of the first wake-up calls came when my cousin - a strong surfer-type - regained his equilibrium after a life on the streets with gangs and drugs. Mike returned to school in his late forties and got a bio chemistry degree.

What a success story! But, then he was diagnosed with a fatal form of brain cancer. Mike died within four months of his diagnosis. We all took a "crash course" along with Mike in God's first lesson:

…"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12, NKJV).

It became crystal-clear to us that we are all running out of time.

Psalm 39:4-6 also became our daily prayer - listen to it carefully:

"Lord, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how transitory I am. You, indeed, have made my days short in length,and my life span as nothing in Your sight. Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor. Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow. Indeed, they frantically rush around in vain,gathering possessions without knowing who will get them." (HCSB)

It Ain't Over Til It's Over

Okay, so what can we do to begin to change our lives to count for more beginning with today - right now?

It would take a book to answer these questions. But, here are a few thoughts to consider. First, if you are an aging baby-boomer as we are, you are probably in a good position to begin to accomplish those things that have eternal consequences. However, the enemy would have you think that your most powerful days are over…done…that you are useless now.

That is a lie! Begin to focus on what you can do right now. Forget the past. It does no good to think about and talk about and fret over things that happened yesterday. That won't change anything. Instead, move on and work with what God has given to you today. Paul says it like this,

Press On!

"but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14, NASB).

Tom the Youth Director

On June 23, 2007 many of us were enjoying a game of golf - or perhaps a lazy, sunny afternoon around the barbeque in the backyard of our homes. Not so, for Tom Vetterani and his wife, Rebecca. Tom was the Youth Director at First Presbyterian Church of Upland, California. His wife, affectionately known as Becca, was a seminarian intern. On their way home from a mission to a sister church a truck hit the church van head on. Becca and three 15 year-old teens were killed in the fiery inferno that burned especially hot in the desert sun.

Months have passed since this tragic accident. Youth Director Tom has been engaged in a painful recovery process from burns and the loss of his spouse that few of us will ever have to endure. It is the ultimate spiritual battle. Many church members have paid him visits and wished him well - expressing their grief and sorrow over such suffering and loss.

Is it over for Tom? Is God through with him?

No…of course not!

Young Samantha, one of the girls under his charge, began to worry that perhaps she wasn't really saved. "How do you know you're saved?" she asked her Mom. "How do you know you're a Christian?" "How do you know that the words you said to Jesus when you asked Him into your life were enough to be saved?"

Mom and Samantha decided to pay a visit to Youth Director Tom to ask his advice about the issue. Tears rolled down Sammy's cheeks as she shared her worries with Tom.

Mom Diane notes that Youth Director Tom "had so many people who came to visit during his recovery and he had heard so many 'I'm sorry's,' that I'm sure he was getting down over it." But, Diane points out that, "The minute Tom began to minister to Sam, his eyes lit up and the Holy Spirit kicked in. Even though he was getting tired and his voice was beginning to labor, he would not stop! The whole thing was such a wonderful testimony to the Word of God!"

Focus on Someone Else

Folks, God isn't through with us yet. There is so much tragedy and loss in the world that God wants us to stop thinking about ourselves and to consider how we might help someone else. My problems are nothing compared to Tom's. But, no matter what our circumstances, Paul tells us to forget the past and move on with what God wants us to do today. No matter how much we've lost we are to work with what we have left.

Toss the Junk&Misplaced Loyalties

Another thing we can do today is to begin to toss the junk and misplaced loyalties. Wean yourself off of useless pursuits and time consuming hobbies. Perhaps that might include 24/7 sports, or empty gossip parties. What about the phone in your ear at the mall? In fact, how about walking in the mall with your mate instead of shopping?

Stop Loving the World

1 John 2:15-16 tells us:

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world" (ESV).

The desires of the flesh encompass things like illicit internet porn or too many rich foods. The desires of the eyes could mean an obsession with youth, plastic surgery or a "smoking hot body." Possessions include the acquisition of fancy cars, homes, clothes, stuff, degrees, and a general misallocation of God's stewardship responsibilities for each of us.

Lose it all. It's not worth it now.

"To love" the world in this context means that we fail to give ourselves over to those things which please God. Instead, we emphasize the world's system with its materialism and consumerism. Let's change that.

Turn off the TV

For a good start perhaps we can do things as simple as turning off the TV for several hours daily. The Bible says,

"I will walk within my
house in the integrity
of my heart.
I will set no worthless
thing before my eyes"

(Psalm 101:2-3)

Maybe we could set aside our political aspirations for an evening and take the grandkids to a biblical movie. Who rules this kingdom here on earth anyway? Who runs political schemes and elections, rallies and so forth?

Satan rules these things!

That's the truth. Look up John 14:30, Ephesians 2:2,&2 Corinthians 4:4, for yourself, for example. It's an eye-opener.

Our Kingdom is not of this World

If the truth be told our kingdom is not of this world anyway. In fact, we are told that "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19). Perhaps we should think about this the next time we are pressured to write time-consuming letters to Congress or to the mayor of our town. Although these are not bad things to do, they soak up valuable time and energy better spent by perhaps helping the poor, studying our Bibles, and assisting Christian martyrs' families. You need to decide for yourself.


Examine Ourselves Continually

A key theme in Scripture is to examine oneself continuously and then remove temporal values. Instead, we are to focus upon those things that count for eternity.

The reason for this is simple. This is because, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10, NKJV).

Finally, at the end of our lives each of us will be judged in three key areas:

1. We will be judged for our words…"people will give account for every careless word they speak…" (Matt. 12:36-37).

2. We will be judged for our motives or for why we do things…"the Lord…will disclose the purposes of the heart" (1 Cor. 4:5).

3. We will be judged for our works…"God is not so unjust as to overlook your work…" (Hebrews 6:10).

Who's Gonna Remember You?

So who will remember you after your death? What does Rexella Van Impe wish she could have told Moshe Dayan after he lamented, "No one will remember me when I am dead anyway?"

Rexella pondered the issue and then wrote, "But even if no one on earth remembered Dayan after his career and his life were ended, there is Someone who will not and cannot forget who you are in birth, in life, and in death. This friend is aware of even the most minute details of our lives. He is the Lord!"

The Lord tells us that even if a mother forgets us, "Yet I will not forget you" (Isa. 49:15). God engraves us on the palms of His hands (just like we post pictures of our children on the refrigerator door) (Psalm 49:16). The Bible tells us that "even the hairs of your head are all numbered" (Luke 12:7).

Focus on the Saints

God has two rules - love God and love people. In the book of Hebrews and the book of Galations the authors point out that believers are to focus on God's children as the means to show our gratitude for what He has done for us. We are to be His ambassadors to His forever family. So we need to associate with other belivers and encourage them in their work for our Lord.

Focus on Making Disciples

My late cousin's sister, Diane, Director of Education at her church, recommends that we focus upon making disciples as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19.

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you…"

Diane notes, "My legacy and who will remember me is about who will pick up where I left off. Will I share the gospel with those in my life who will take over sharing the gospel with others when I die? It is what I will do until that time comes!"

Amen, little cousin…

Solomon's Wise Words

God remembers and cares about you! In the end all that matters is God, as King Solomon wisely stated at the end of his life:

"Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone's duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad" (Ecclesiastes 12:13, NLT).

A Place and a Name

For those of you without children or families for whatever reason, God sets aside a wonderful memorial for you, too. You are not alone nor shall you be alone in death. Listen to the Lord's comforting words:

"And don't let the eunuchs say, 'I'm a dried-up tree with no children and no future.'For this is what the Lord says: I will bless those eunuchs who keep my Sabbath days holy and who choose to do what pleases me and commit their lives to me. I will give them - within the walls of my house - a memorial and a name far greater than sons and daughters could give. For the name I give them is an everlasting one. It will never disappear!" Isaiah 56:3-5, NLT

Yad Vashem

Oh, and by the way - the Hebrew words for that "memorial" and a "name" which God promises in Isaiah 56:5 for His beloved eunuchs? Those words are: Yad vashem.

Yad vashem was the name chosen for the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem - a monumental memorial for families, children, old men, young women and all of the known and unknown millions murdered by Hitler.

Indeed, God cares for you as He cares for them, too. The Lord remembers us. The Lord never forgets.




Emilio, V&Mike Frisbie. Teach us to number our days. Available from: www.remnantreport.com.

Emilio, Ken&Val. Bummer baby boomer question. Available from: www.remnantreport.com.

Van Impe, Rexella. 2007. Jack Van Impe Ministries Intl. Online newsletter. 24 Sept. Available from:www.jvim.com.

Life Application Study Bible, NLT. 2004. Carol Stream, ILL: Tyndale.

Authors: Valorie Emilio received her M.A. in History from UCLA. Her cousin, Mike Frisbie, received his degree in bio-chemistry from OSU, and went to be with the Lord in March of 2005. Mike's sister, Diane Sutley, has served as Director of Education and champions the cause of Christian education for believers worldwide. Ken Emilio has his Bachelor of Science degree from CSU Long Beach, an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Louisiana Baptist University and a Certificate in Persecuted Church Ministries from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

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