“I will be found by you
if you search for me
with all your heart.”
— God, Jeremiah 29:13, The Bible

I knew Gary for close to 20 years. We met soon after he accepted Jesus
Christ as his savior. When we met we became close friends almost
immediately. Why was that? It was because Gary was serious about
Christianity. He was serious about the Lord’s offer of salvation. If
you knew Gary before he was saved you will know that he was in serious
deep trouble and was rescued. He was quite literally at the end of his
rope. Now God wants to do us good and not harm and Gary is an example
of that desire in action. When he became a Christian, Gary got serious
about heaven (the Bible says set your mind on things above), serious
about the Lord’s return, and serious about the Bible, learning and
studying it with a sincere desire to understand God’s words.

I well remember the time when Gary thought we should learn Greek so
that we could study the New Testament more deeply. He searched for a
class, scouring the local community colleges, but found no offerings.
Gary found a man teaching modern Greek, not what we wanted, but the
man seemed to be a Christian and Gary found out that he knew both
ancient and Biblical Greek as well as modern. So on behalf of a small
group of those that he rounded up, we hired this man, bought
textbooks, and met for study each week for a number of months.

That is just an example of how serious Gary was about spiritual
things.

It is fitting that he should be so serious:

  • God is serious.
  • Christ is serious.
  • The Holy Spirit is serious.
  • Angels are serious.
  • Scriptures are serious.
  • Creation is serious.
  • The devil is serious.
  • All in heaven and hell are serious.

Well, that was the first thing that I loved about Gary, but not the
only thing or the last thing.

And it’s not just me, but he was beloved by christians all over the
US. If you are hearing this and are not a Christian, you may wonder
why we speak about this mantis way. It’s not that he was better than
others (but he became better off). And it’s not that he was always
easy to get along with, he wasn’t. Sometimes he was a royal pain, to
be blunt. But through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ he became
God’s gift to the church. God enabled him to function and to fill a
role that was desperately needed. He was enabled to care and pray for
each of you. Who can take his place? God will raise up someone, I
have no idea who, to continue to minister to His church so that
nothing is lacking.

A poet has said:

A noble life is not a blaze
Of sudden glory won,
But just an adding up of days
In which God’s will is done.

None of us knows the day or hour when we will breathe our last. Gary
died with many todo lists undone, a kitchen table full of lists. He
left this life with many plans unfinished, with many hopes
unrealized. Yet his primary, fundamental hope was to be in heaven with
the Lord he loved and served. For the Christian to be absent from the
body is to be present with the Lord. Gary did not die the death he
deserved. Christ died that death in his place. What about you? Can you
know if you will go to heaven when you die?

There are two things you will need to think about. You wil need to:

  1. Agree with God about the problem
  2. Agree with God about the solution

Each of these items has two sub-components:

  1. Agree with God about the problem
    • All have sinned (Romans 3:23)
    • The soul that sinneth it shall die (Ezekiel 18:4)
  2. Agree with God about the solution
    • Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)
    • Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved (Acts 16:31)

Imagine you live in a nice two story house. You are in a bedroom on the
second floor when the house catches fire. There is no way of escape.
You run to the window and throw it open. Too far to jump. But you see
a fire truck coming down the lane. The firemen stand a ladder up to
your window and one of them climbs up to help. He comes to the window
and says “I am a fireman and I am here to rescue you.” You have a
choice to make.

1. You can believe about the fireman. “Sir, I believe you are a
fireman”. If you then close the window on him and stay inside you will
surely perish.

2. You can believe the fireman. “Sir, you say you are here to
rescue me and I believe you.” If you then close the window on him and
stay inside you will likewise perish.

3. You can believe on the fireman. That is, put yourself into his
care and allow him to carry you down the ladder in the manner he
designates. If you do this you will live.

This last is the language of the Bible. We are to believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. It is not enough to believe
about him, nor to merely believe him. But we must put ourselves
into his care and keeping, believing on him and gaining
eternal life (John 3:36).

God did a lot of good for Gary. If you knew him before and after he
became a Christian you know how true that is. Gary got to the point
where he sought God with all his heart, and God was found as He
promised.

God wants to do you good as well. He wants to be taken seriously.
Where your soul spends eternity is a serious matter.
It is too important to leave to

  • what your parents said.
  • what you always heard
  • what a church/minister/priest says
  • what I say

You are invited to take God seriously today, to read what God himself
says about salvation and to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

These are the things that Gary would have wanted you to know.
I know that he was praying earnestly for you right up until the end.

The King there in His beauty,
Without a veil, is seen:
It were a well-spent journey,
Though seven deaths lay between.
The Lamb, with His fair army,
Doth on Mount Zion stand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

Oh! Christ He is the Fountain,
The deep sweet well of love!
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
More deep I’ll drink above:
There, to an ocean fullness,
His mercy doth expand,
And glory, glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

from “Immanuel’s Land”, Anne Ross Cousin