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What lives when love dies?
What gives when Death pries
Swinging a searing scythe
Halting stampeding feelings - mid-stride?
The energy released is explosive
A nova-like display, untamed,
A date is recorded
Eventually...cold remnants remain.
And yet the sky contains beautiful clouds
Testimonials, subtle, serene,
Rarefied trails of Refiner's labor
Indirect shining reflecting beams.
Who miss the heat
May find consolation in beauty shown
The burned out, used up, exhausted star
Shimmers, a jewel in a heavenly home.
Collection of ebooks and software FREE for CIR Members
According to Billy Graham Christian Worker's Handbook
- The Bible contains hundreds of references to death. It is a formidable foe:
"The last enemy that will be destroyed is death." (1 Corinthians 15:26); but also a conquered foe: "Death is swallowed up in victory." (1 Corinthians 15:54).
Jesus Christ has changed the meaning of death, as Scripture shows. At death, the spirit of the believing Christian enters immediately into the
presence of the Lord. Physical death is but a transition from life on earth with Christ to life in heaven with Christ. Death does not alter the continuity of relationship; it only enriches it.
It seems like many are transfixed with death, not that we are interested in experiencing it, but that we want to avoid it. One of the big topics of conversation about universal healthcare is the idea of people not receiving "certain" care and thus dying. It’s always interesting to me that we think that there is a medicine, a procedure, or a doctor that can prevent our death.
Euripedes said "but learn that to die is a debt we must all pay." The fact is, everyone is afraid of death. That was the point! What the unsaved failed to understand is that "the sting of death is sin" (1 Cor. 15:56 NKJ). For even those who deny that there is anything after death, within their hearts there is the fear of what they may have to face after death.
Perhaps one of the things we fear about death is a loss of control,
Gethsemane: Code For... "I don't want to do this."
We've uttered that statement frequently in our lives.
This time of year, there's a great deal of emphasis on Jesus. As we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, we read and remind ourselves just how this whole thing came to be: hope, salvation and reunion with God. It didn't just happen.
And a large part of it depends on Gethsemane.
Yes, Jesus is amazing and loving. But He still had a night of decision. Hours away from being crucified, there was a real moment; He didn't want to do it.
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going." John 14:1-4
What’s the ultimate adversity?
One week before Christmas, adversity may boil down to long lines at the mall or difficult weather conditions for holiday travel. My wife’s scrambling to prepare for a party and receiving little help from a spouse who’s glued to the keyboard—that’s adversity. But I’m thinking along the lines of something a bit more elemental.
One of my best friends is dying.
It’s not the Christmas gift we hoped for, but there it is. The conclusion of a courageous battle with a terrible enemy finally approaches, and we’ll soon have to accept the loss of his physical presence in our circle.
Death doesn’t fit nicely into the Christmas story. Birth and lights and gifts proclaim a priceless promise of hope and beginning. Tinsel and glitter prompt smiles and celebration. Christmas isn’t the time for sad farewells.
All our steps are ordered by the Lord;
how then can we understand our own ways? Proverbs 20:24 NRSV
Over Christmas break, the son of one of my fellow teachers was killed in an auto accident. Both of his parents work for our school district and are loving, wonderful people. Their younger daughter was in one of the plays I helped with. It was a devastating loss for our small community.
When it happened, I tried to get my head around it. Oh, not the fact that such a young person had died and the reason for it, but rather simply that it had happened at all. I began to think about games, in particular computer games, and the ability to "redo" a game when the outcome wasn't what I wanted (in effect, when I lost). I began to wonder if his parents wished that they could "redo" those few hours before he died, keeping him at their home rather than allowing him to drive several hours to his house and subsequently dying.
I think that all of us, at one time or another and for one reason or another, wished that life had a "redo" button, wished that we could relive a certain situation in order to change the outcome. When Proverbs speaks of the Lord ordering our ways, some in the Christian community would see this as confirmation that God has predetermined everything that happens to us and that we don't have free will. I personally don't agree with that view. But what I see this as is the Old Testament version of Romans 8:28:
And we know that God causes everything to work together" for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (NLT)
Matthew Henry writes:
Now that I am ill, why does God seem to be so far away?
Regardless of how you feel, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then He is right beside you. In Hebrews 13:5, we are reminded of a promise that God made,
"Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."
Illness can often affect our emotions, and it is possible at times to feel very alone. You must believe that God will never break His promises to you.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Another wonderful promise, the best one, I think, is found in Revelation 21:4:
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
How can I overcome health-related discouragement?
A physical disability is another avenue through which Satan can attack your mind. He can whisper thoughts of anger, confusion, disappointment, and worthlessness in your ear until you begin to claim those feelings as your own. But, the Lord has a different plan in mind for you. His plans is to work ALL things, in your life, together for His good purposes (Rom. 8:28).
When Jesus was taken down from the cross,
Satan called his counselors in.
He called the meeting to order and looked own at the three,
And the first that he called on was Sin.
"Oh Sin, you've let me down this time.
Why couldn't you pull Him away?
For thirty-three years you tried, and you failed.
Not once did He falter or stray.
Then He picked you up like a little whipped pup
And took you to Calvary with Him.
Then He knocked you down with one single punch
And paid for the sins of all men."