As I did seven months later in this edited 2012 repost, I am following last week’s repost reflecting on Amy Winehouse’s death with that of Whitney Houston’s. For whatever all of the reasons, many moderns do not seem to take death seriously nor do they understand that unlike video games there is no reset button to delete its reality and start again. Physical death is typically irreversible except by God as demonstrated by Jesus Christ and even then is only a temporary delay to the inevitable permanent departure from this mortal life (John 11:38-44). Only Christ to this hour has suffered death, been buried and resurrected to immortality (John 19:28-20:18; 1 Timothy 6:13-16; Revelation 1:18).
While I do not declare the eternal end of Ms. Houston as a professed Christian, in this repost I am led by the Lord to soberly challenge all of us that make up His churches to consider yet another means Satan takes some of our number captive with destructive intent. We so easily forget he is called “Destroyer” because that is his perpetual mission and work done so well among mortal humanity (Revelation 9:11, NKJV). I also warn all of the naively idealistic engaged in any pursuits of this world that without a solid grounding in Christ, Satan lurks in the shadows seeking an opportunity to lure you away from your steadfastness in Him (Colossians 1:19-23, 2:4-10; 2 Peter 3:14-18).
Originally Posted February 19, 2012
Stunned and immediately grief filled was my reaction to the news Whitney Houston had died last Saturday. I had just returned from out of town conducting the funeral of an in-law where I used as my eulogy topic, The Reality Of Death. Many in the small gathering prayed to receive Christ thereafter and I am glad. But for the few who did not pray and anyone reading this without assurance of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, Whitney Houston’s sudden death ought to serve as a sobering reminder that death is possible for any of us at any time. My heart goes out to Ms. Houston’s daughter and entire family.1
I was led by the Lord to write last July 31st of the tragic death of another female singer, Amy Winehouse. While then I wrote of how deeply Ms. Winehouse’s death affected me without knowing much about her background and musical accomplishments, Whitney Houston is another story. Even without all of the details, her story is very grievously familiar to me. In fact, it is for men as a first priority, but also women like Whitney Houston that my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics is written;2 professed Christians in and coming out of the churches for whatever reasons whose lifestyles reflect not the image of Christ in strength, but continued human frailty and weakness in sin.
Though they are not the rule by any means among the churches, Black American churches have a long history of losing their congregants to the world as they go forth to parlay their God given talents into fame and fortune. Without making excuses, it is understandable why since the world stage offers a wider audience and greater financial rewards than the churches for the many that historically come from poverty and sometimes--as in the case of Whitney Houston--middle income homes. Nonetheless, I will never be convinced that the Lord’s Church was intended to be the devil’s bullpen where he can easily call in relief for those he tires of, disables and/or destroys.3
Christians belong to Christ who purchased us with His blood on Calvary. We live for and serve Him using our natural talents and spiritual gifts for His purposes, to His glory! It is about Him, not us. Therefore, whatever occupation Christians go into, we labor under His Lordship and to please Christ (Colossians 3:23-25). The entertainment and sports fields especially are rigged by Satan to trap and destroy those who with starry eyes and little if any Christ-like character pursue them. Whitney Houston--as so many before her--left her church and for a while soared to the highest heights of fame and fortune as an entertainer. She then got trapped by the devil’s sorcery embodied in drugs, alcohol and carnality.
As a disciplined minister, I will not automatically put Whitney Houston in Heaven as so many are doing. Indeed, this is what Satan wants because if he can convince us that sin has no eternal consequences, then his bullpen of churches will stay full with others eager to follow in the footsteps of Ms. Houston. And so, faithful to my calling (Ezekiel 33:1-9), I warn my reader to consider the words of Jesus concerning the life priorities of His disciples in Mark 8:34-38. Too, make no mistake: it is not enough to grow up in a church and perform any work including singing in the choir that saves (Matthew 7:21-23). Nor does God play favorites; we will reap what we sow (Romans 2:4-11; Galatians 6:7-8)! Finally, it is not enough to emotionally believe Jesus loves you that saves, it is faith in and love for Him displayed in obedient lives (1 John 2:3-6).
1 Unfortunately, since writing this post, Ms. Houston’s daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, followed her mother in a heartbreakingly similar death in August 2015. She was just
22 years old.
2 The book is available at all major internet book sellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
3 For the uninitiated, “bullpen” is a Baseball term that refers to the area and the relief pitchers themselves that warm-up and wait to be called up to replace a pitcher
already in the game. This is fine for Baseball, but not the Lord’s churches with Satan as a manager calling Christians up as naïve players to get in his game with the
intent to destroy them!
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