Jack Kelly of Grace Thru Faith Goes Home to His Lord

October 20, 2015 at 8:29 AM 7 comments

gracethrufaithheaderNot sure how many of you may be aware of Jack Kelly or the ministry he began called “Grace Thru Faith.” If you are not aware, though he has passed onto eternity, his ministry is still in effect. Grace Thru Faith was/is a Q & A type of ministry where folks would write in with questions and he would answer them. He, along with his family, lived in Baja Mexico where they were volunteer missionaries.

Last Thursday – October 15th – Jack became weakened and dehydrated. After going to the hospital, tests were run and it turned out he had developed cancer throughout many of his major organs. There was nothing the doctors could do. Last night, he passed from this realm to eternity and is in the presence of the Lord he loved and served so much. He is free of pain and sin and now lives (as all Christians will live), praising and glorifying the God of Creation and redemption, Jesus. Please continue to pray for family and friends as the loss of this type is always so difficult. Pray that their faith would grow in this difficult time, allowing God to shape and mold them for the next phase of their lives without Jack Kelly. Pray that the reality of their future reunion with Jack would become a living reality.

To that end, I’d like to republish an article that Jack Kelly’s ministry family published on the Grace Thru Faith website. It’s rather longish, but well worth the read. It shows Jack Kelly, who trusted the Lord, who understood the reality of loss and a response to it that brings God all the glory.

One day, all of us who have trusted the Lord for salvation will go to be with Him. There, we will shine forth like the light of a thousand stars, without sin, without fault, always praising and bringing glory to the One who saved us from sin and death.

It is odd for me to look back over my life and realize that I am nearing 60 (I’m 58). A question I ask myself from time to time is how much longer has God-given me to live on this planet? Of course, I have no answer and the timing is in God’s very capable hands. In the meantime, I want to live the remainder of my years with a life that praises Him, that brings Him glory. I want – more than anything – to be used of Him to plant seeds, to water seeds, or to be there for the harvest in what He has called the Great Commission. I want to be an encourager in the faith and I want to fully trust Him for all things. I know that there are things I can and should do better. I know that there are holes in my life because of sin, insincerity, and unbelief. I know that they need to be eradicated and that can only be accomplished by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and my desire to rely on Him.

I want to be able to stand before Him one day and hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” In the meantime, may we all seek His will, His power, His enabling to make us better witnesses of His salvation and grace.

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A Question We’ve All Asked – Monday, October 19th, 2015

Update: Last night after a beautiful time of prayer and worship over him, Jack went home to meet his Savior. It wasn’t the healing I, and so many others, had asked and believed for. But it is, in Jack’s words, the ultimate healing. Below are the words that he wrote in 2006 that bring me comfort in this while my heart is broken. I pray they give you comfort as well.

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

The following question was emailed to our “Ask a Bible Teacher” column this week. Since it’s such an important question, I’m responding in our feature article format so as to provide greater detail. This will also allow more people to see it, because it’s a question we’ve all asked.

Q. I have recently discovered your website and have found it to be very informative. I have learned a great deal about many of the issues discussed.

However, there are still a number of things I do not understand. About two years ago, I discovered God, His Plan of Salvation, and the many wonderful promises that He has made to us. I read in Romans of how He causes all things to come to the good for them that believe in Him. I read in the Gospels about how two or more believers praying for a common thing would have their prayers answered. I read of how believers should ask of the Father and it shall be given unto them.

Imagine how I felt in the summer when my partner was diagnosed with cancer, and after a short battle, was called home in August. I know that many people, including myself, prayed for her recovery, but in vain. I find it impossible to reconcile the circumstances which have prevailed in my personal life to those promises that God has made to us and which I have made mention of above.

Can you help me to bridge this gap in my understanding?

A. Who among us has not had prayers of this sort seemingly go unanswered and wondered at the conflict that it creates between the Bible’s promises and our experiences?

Life After Death
In the death of a believer we have to understand two things. The first is that we’re all infected with a terminal disease. It’s not a case of if we’ll die but when. No one dies a natural death because it’s not natural for eternal beings to die. Death came into the world as a result of sin.

And the second is that for a believer, death is the ultimate healing. Death brings the life we were always intended to live, and would already be living if not for our sin nature. For the “dead” believer, all of this life’s problems, pains, and sorrows are over and a glorious eternal life of blessing and abundance awaits.

The more we know about the life after death the less we cling to the life before. And since only God knows the end from the beginning, only He can know the pain and suffering He’s prevented in calling someone home early. The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. (Isaiah 57:1)

So what about the surviving friends and family? How can the death of a loved one bring good to the survivors? First is the obvious knowledge that the separation is only temporary for believers and a glorious reunion will follow. We have the benefit of an eternal perspective. And for non-believers it presents an opportunity to be saved from the 2nd death, the permanent one, and be reunited forever with departed loved ones.

But then our faith comes into play. If we believe God’s promises, then there has to be a more direct and beneficial cause and effect relationship between the death of a loved one and the life of the survivor. Our job is to look for it. We’re told to walk by faith not by sight, but our enemy will try to keep us focused on what we see, the absence of our loved one, causing our faith to falter and hindering us from experiencing the good that can come. God’s promises are more real than our reality, So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18)

By far the most heart wrenching experience of this sort I’ve ever encountered was the case of a mom and dad I know. While walking along on the city sidewalk with their 2 year old son, a delivery truck jumped the curb, fatally striking the toddler. The driver was drunk, and in fact had a history of drunkenness on the job. In the lawsuit that followed the court awarded a substantial settlement to the devastated parents. They took the money and founded a Christian pre-school in their son’s name that soon expanded into a private Christian school for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade on a beautiful safe campus.

Several thousand children have since benefited from a quality, affordable Christian primary education and this couple has helped dozens of grief stricken parents cope with similar losses along the way. It’s an example of 2 Cor. 1:3-4 that all who know them feel privileged to have observed. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. They took these verses seriously based on their belief that for all of us, our life is a ministry and our sorrows are our credentials. In other words, each of us is uniquely qualified to minister to someone experiencing similar tragedies to those we have faced.

They had every right to become angry, bitter victims, and to yell and scream at God for allowing this to happen to them. But they chose a more excellent way. They understand that God didn’t kill their son. That was the work of the evil that pervades this dark place. We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. (1 John 5:19)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

God never promised us that nothing bad would happen to us. In fact, He promised the opposite. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) What He did promise is that He could make even the bad things that happen work for good. It’s up to us to believe that promise and look for its fulfillment. For my friends, the school keeps the memory of their son alive in their hearts while their faith tells them that soon they’ll be reunited forever. The blessing they’ve provided for thousands of others through this tragedy is obvious.

Unanswered Prayer?
Where our prayers are concerned there are also a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is that God reserves for Himself the right to choose both the timing and the means by which He answers prayers. We have to understand that His ways are not our ways and His timing is always perfect. We neither lose time by waiting nor gain time by trying to force His hand. He answered Abraham’s prayer for a son, but waited 25 years before doing so. The world is paying a huge price today for Abraham and Sarah’s refusal to wait upon the Lord.

Just because we don’t get something when we want it and in the exact way we want it doesn’t mean that God has stopped answering our prayers or keeping His promises. There may be some other things we have to take care of first, or God may choose another way to answer the prayer that we don’t see, a better way.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

God has promised Israel a Kingdom and a King who will bring them peace. They’ve been praying for Him to keep that promise for thousands of years. The world, even much of the Christian world, laughs at them and tells them that God has forgotten them. It’s never going to happen, they say.

God is faithful, and He fully intends to answer their prayers and keep His promise. But there’s something they have to do first, and until they do it He has to wait. They have to recognize who their King is and restore their relationship with Him. Then God will act.

Union And Fellowship
So it is with us, and this is the second thing to keep in mind. This may not sound familiar to those of you who’ve been taught “Christianity Lite” but there are two components to a believer’s relationship with God. One is called Union. It concerns our eternity and is irrevocable, guaranteeing our place in His Kingdom. (Ephesians 1:13-14) Union happens at the moment we hear the Gospel and believe it, and God seals His Holy Spirit within us.

The other is called Fellowship and it comes with Union. But Fellowship affects our life here on Earth and is subject to suspension. (1 John 1:8-9) When we fail to confess our sins, we temporarily suspend our relationship with God, because He can’t dwell in the presence of sin. We can’t lose our salvation (Union), but during those times when we’re out of Fellowship we don’t have the right to ask God for anything except forgiveness. And what’s more, we’ve stepped out of His protection and are fair game for the enemy’s mischief.

The Book of Job is an example of the difference between Union and Fellowship. Job’s righteousness made him proud, a sin in God’s eyes. When Satan asked to torment him, God had to agree in spite of the fact that Job was one of the most righteous men on Earth, because he hadn’t confessed his sin. As long as Job relied on his own righteousness he was vulnerable to attack, and none of his complaints could change that, even though he remained a child of God. When he confessed, God put a stop to the torment and restored him. The lesson Job learned through his ordeal (and that we’re supposed to learn as well according to Romans 15:4) is that when we justify ourselves, we condemn God. Whenever we start thinking that we don’t deserve something bad that’s happening to us, we in effect accuse God of being unjust. It’s part of our human nature to look outside of ourselves for the blame, but it delays our reconciliation with God.

For a New Testament example, read the Parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32) The prodigal never stopped being his father’s son, but while he was living a sinful life he was out of fellowship, deprived of his father’s blessings. When he came to his senses and confessed, he was restored. All Christians have Union with God and are guaranteed a place in His Kingdom, but many live their whole lives out of Fellowship because of their unconfessed sins and miss out on untold blessings, stacking up mountains of unanswered prayers.

Because of the cross, maintaining our Fellowship is as easy as invoking 1 John 1:8-9. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

God is just and righteous and cannot lie. He has a 6000 year track record of unblemished performance. Whenever it seems like His promises aren’t coming true, you can bet that it’s due to our lack of understanding, not His lack of integrity.

Thank you Peter, for submitting this question we’ve all asked. Selah 11-04-06

Entry filed under: christianity, eternity, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , .

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7 Comments

  • 1. Rick Freeman  |  October 20, 2015 at 5:27 PM

    I read Grace thru Faith daily and have for years. Jack was a great blessing and will be greatly missed. Our prayers go out to his friends and family. I pray The Lord will comfort us all in this time of such great loss. I know the first words he will hear will be “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.

    • 2. modres  |  October 20, 2015 at 5:43 PM

      Thanks Rick.

  • 3. Terri Lewis  |  October 20, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    I am so grateful for this word of encouragement this morning. I had never heard of Jack Kelly, as I’ve only come to faith in the last few years. (I can help anyone else in similar circumstances by sharing my testimony of what life without Christ might look like). When I feel weak, I have my Bible, a church that I attend, Christian friends. . .and the Study-Grow-Know emails. I will pray for Jack Kelly’s family, but he is already in a much better place. May we all find strength in his words.

    • 4. modres  |  October 20, 2015 at 9:22 AM

      Thank you, Terri. I’m so glad to know of your faith in our Lord. Thank you for praying for his family. I cannot agree more about him being in a much better place. There, we will all meet one day 🙂

  • 5. Sherry  |  October 20, 2015 at 8:50 AM

    I hesitated opening my GTF email this morning…but our loss is heaven’s gain…Jack’s gain!

    To live is Christ, to die is gain. ~Phil. 1:21

    • 6. modres  |  October 20, 2015 at 8:52 AM

      I know. It’s so odd how it happened so quickly. I’ve enjoyed much of what Jack Kelly wrote. You’re correct as well – this world has lost, but heaven has gained. Still, we both know that the Lord knows what He’s doing 😀

      • 7. Sherry  |  October 20, 2015 at 1:08 PM

        \o/ Yes, He sure does!


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