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Category Archives: Eternal Life

Joy in Death?

God’s Word…Life and Truth

A Merry Christmas

A Christmas card from a long-ago neighbor arrived with sad news.

Her beloved husband of fifty-seven years went home to be with Jesus.

Our family lived next to Bud and Iris for ten years.

Bud was kind and friendly to everyone, including our rambunctious children.

I think it appropriate, learning of Bud’s passing through a Christmas card.

He and his sweet wife know Jesus as their personal Savior.

There is joy in death, when we know our loved one is in the loving arms of Jesus.

May the Psalms draw you near to God.

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).

 

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Posted by on December 17, 2015 2: 46 pm - in Christmas, Eternal Life, Joy in Jesus, Psalms, Salvation

 

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God’s Word…Life and Truth

“Holy Splendor”

rose

 “Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor” (Psalm 96:9).

Splendor: great and impressive beauty (Merriam-Webster)

My husband recently surprised me with a dozen red roses.

One of the twelve survived the shock of over-fertilizing.

Underserved, I’m now delighting in its beauty.

 Analogy of Christ’s amazing grace:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

My Jesus is due all my honor and praise.

His holy splendor is displayed in all the nations.

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

Facebook friends: May the Psalms draw you near to God.

Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! He is to be feared above all gods. The gods of other nations are mere idols, but the Lord made the heavens! Honor and majesty surround him; strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.

O nations of the world, recognize the Lord; recognize that the Lord is glorious and strong. Give to the Lord the glory he deserves! Bring your offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. 10 Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!” The world stands firm and cannot be shaken. He will judge all peoples fairly.

11 Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! 12 Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the Lord, for he is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth” (Psalm 96 NLT).

 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2015 12: 04 pm - in Eternal Life, Joy in Jesus, Psalms, Salvation

 

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God’s Word…Life and Truth

 Joy in the Journey

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever. (Psalm 16:11)”

joy in the journey

Anticipating beautiful fall foliage in Minnesota – JOY!

A professor once told me, “Don’t miss the joy in the journey.”

He was right!

Awaiting Jeff’s graduation from Bible College, we explored the

Colorado Mountains…cheered at volleyball games & homecoming courts…made new friendships…and experienced God’s presence.

By the saving grace of Jesus, I anticipate my eternal home with gladness, and thank God for granting me joy in the journey of life.

Facebook Friends, May the Psalms draw you close to God.

“Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.

I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them! Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods. I will not take part in their sacrifices of blood or even speak the names of their gods.

Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. 10 For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave. 11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever” (Psalm 16, NLT).

Faith at Home Moment:

Living for Jesus brings great joy into our lives. Yes, at times we have sad and lonely days during our days on earth, but praise be to God, His presence is with us, filling us with hope, peace, and eternal joy in the journey of life. Our children need to see the joy we experience by living for Jesus. The Gospel is Good News! Take a few minutes each day reading through the Gospel of John with your children. Pray that God will fill you with His joy even in the midst of struggles. An oldie but goodie song to sing along with children: Joy, Joy Down In My Heart – http://www.psalty.com/track/687853/joy-joy-down-in-my-heart?feature_id=140418

 

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“Nana, look, there’s blood on Jesus.”

 

Max with cross 2

A crucifix (from Latin cruci fixus meaning “(one) fixed to a cross”) is an image of Jesus on the cross, as distinct from a bare cross. The representation of Jesus himself attached to the cross is referred to in English as the corpus (Latin for “body”) — Wikipedia

Several years ago, a friend made a ceramic crucifix for us. The crucifix depicts an image of Jesus bleeding from his side, while dying on the cross.  Since that time, I set the crucifix out in our home during the Lenten season.  It serves as a visual reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for me, our family, and for the entire world. Jesus suffered and died a horrible death, so that we could be reconciled into a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

This year, I placed the crucifix on our kitchen hutch. I thought to myself, “This will be a good location for it, so the grandchildren won’t knock it over and break it, yet still at eye level so they can easily see it, from a distance.”

The first week passed and nobody noticed it, or at least they didn’t mention it. A week later, our four-year-old grandson, Max, pointed to the crucifix and said somberly, “Nana, look, there’s blood on Jesus.” We walked toward the crucifix, and I said, “Yes, isn’t this sad?” We then dialogued about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.

max 1The following week Max asked his mother to come and see Jesus on the cross.  As they walked over to the hutch Max said, “Look mom, Jesus is bleeding. He died on the cross.” There was a slight pause,–then the most beautiful declaration of “He is risen!” resounded from my precious grandson’s mouth: “But Jesus isn’t dead anymore!” My heart began to melt as Max realized the Easter message with such an exuberant simplistic faith.

I have to believe that this special encounter between our Savior and Max put a big smile on the face of God.

Each Easter my heart is full of thankfulness and gratitude to our LORD, who loved me, our family, and the entire world, enough to reconcile me (a sinner), to the One True God, through His (Jesus’) death and resurrection.

I encourage parents to display Christian symbols, especially the cross/crucifix, pictures, and other home décor inscribed with Scripture, around their homes. This is a simple, yet very effective way to share the love for Jesus with family and guests.

The Saturday before Easter morning, I will remove the crucifix and replace it with an empty cross or an empty tomb. Just like Max said, “Jesus isn’t dead anymore!”

The cross of Jesus Christ symbolizes the epitome of love and self-sacrifice. “Greater love has no man, than that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate sacrifice of love that reconciles us to God. Crosses and crucifixes are powerful visual reminders of God’s love and serve as a witness of hope to the world.

I invite my blog friends to reflect upon God’s love while reading through the following Scripture and notations.

Peace and Hope (Romans 5: 1-11)

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

The Crucifixion (Notation of Mark 15:15b-32) – From Bible Gateway:

The brevity of Mark’s report is striking. Jesus chose to endure death fully conscious rather than drink the sedative offered him (see Pr 31:6). The division of his garments (see Ps 22:18) underscores the humiliation of the Crucified One. The notice affixed to the cross, the taunts of the passersby, and the mockery of the chief priests and teachers of the law are all ironic. They communicate a fundamental truth that would not have been lost to the Christians of Mark’s day: In the suffering and weakness of the Cross, God’s power is manifest.

15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified” (Mark 15:15).

 The Crucifixion of Jesus (Mark 15:21-32)

21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.

27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. [28] [a] 29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus (Mark 15:33-39)

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[c] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

 Jesus Has Risen! (Mark 16:1-6)

16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.

Romans 6:9-11

9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

May the remembrance and affirmation of Christ’s death and resurrection bless you and your family this Easter.

He is risen!

All Scripture is NIV unless otherwise stated.

 

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God is the Lover of our Souls!

While reading my Bible this morning, I was reminded of how much God loves me. Interestingly enough, this early Valentine’s message came through a very unlikely passage of Scripture: Numbers 25 and 31 New International Version (NIV). The swiftness of God’s punishment came upon some of the Israelite men and the Midianites for their sexual immorality and idolatry. As I read the chronological events of this difficult portion of Scripture, the Holy Spirit helped me to correlate God’s divine love for His children with the severe penalty of sin. I concluded it is because of God’s amazing love, that He protects us from that which has the potential to not only rob us from our present blessings, but even worse, prevent us from entering the “Promised Land,” the eternal home God has prepared for those who love Him.

When the Israelites were preparing to enter the Promised Land, they were seduced by the Moabite and Midianite women to participate in idolatrous practices (Numbers 25:1-18); thereby provoking a jealous God to anger, and resulting in the death of thousands because of their sin.  Just like those who posed a threat to the Israelites’ entrance into Canaan, sin poses a threat to us and must be dealt with—to secure our entrance into Heaven.

I am thankful God takes every precaution to keep me from spending eternity apart from Him. He does this by demonstrating His amazing love and grace…daily in my life, and at times warns me of danger, and on occasion, delivers just discipline for my sin.

Because I want my children and grandchildren to enter the Promised Land (Heaven), I want them to know the love of God that is always demonstrated through His mercy and grace; and I also want them to understand the Holiness of God, which is often upheld through His protective and corrective hand of justice. God is the lover of our souls!

When teaching our children and grandchildren of God’s love and the beautiful plan of salvation, these verses come to mind. Help your children memorize them and take time to help them understand their meaning. Pray that God will prepare their hearts to receive Jesus as their Savior if they haven’t already done so.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7).

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Children enjoy making Valentine’s cards for their family and friends. Go to the Bible Parent website to print Valentine’s Cards based on 1 Corinthians 13: http://www.bibleparent.com/valentines.asp

Valentine’s Day is a great time to tell our children and grandchildren how much we love them, and it’s also a great time to tell them that Jesus loves them even more. And that’s a lot!

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“For great is [God’s] love, higher than the heavens; [His] faithfulness reaches to the skies” (Psalm 108:4).

 
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Posted by on February 12, 2015 8: 49 pm - in Bible Truths, Eternal Life, God's Word, Holy Living, Morality, Salvation

 

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Life is but a Vapor

“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life?

It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

 “Ella Volunteer Homeless ShelterIt certainly adds weight to the scripture’s characterization, life is like a vapor.” This is the response I received  from a friend after notifying him of a mutual friend’s tragic death. It made me pause, then reflect upon my life. Have I been wasting much precious time with things that don’t really matter? Yes, I’ll be honest, I have spent way too many moments with worry, over thinking, harboring ill-thoughts toward others, spending money I don’t have on things I don’t need (or at times, even like), trying to figure out the end results, and so on.

Our most recent losses:

  • A friend, who was a loving father, grandfather, and faithful Christian.

  • Our friend’s son who died from cancer this past year. At the same time, she made the difficult decision to place her husband* into a nursing home.

    * Charlie, a dear man, who led many souls to Jesus, including my husband. Charlie selflessly visited the lonely and forgotten at nursing care facilities and homes for the disabled. Now, as his life draws near, he is the one in need of love and care. His dear wife Marilyn provides this for him, during her daily and tiring visits.

These most recent losses fill me with deep sorrow and thoughtfulness, as I ponder my own impending death; when God chooses to take me to my “forever” home.

Our oldest daughter and her husband recently moved into their new home, which took nearly a year to build. Jennifer recently told me that she didn’t mind all the extra effort and resources they poured into their new house, because it will be their “forever” home. I like that!  We, who call ourselves Christians, should have the same outlook, as we plan and co-labor with Christ, building the Kingdom of God, our forever home.

I recommit my life to wholly living for Christ and His Church. Help me, God, to prioritize my life according to Your will and purpose in my life.

TRAINING CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO EMBRACE LIFE WITH A SENSE OF GRATITUDE, THANKFULNESS, AND AS FAITHFUL STEWARDS, MAY BE CHALLENGING TO MOST AMERICAN CHRISTIANS.

Let’s not only prepare our children for academic excellence, playing sports, and securing a good-paying job, but let’s help them realize their life’s purpose:  To use their gifts and talents for the glory of God.  

I recently spent a day volunteering at a homeless shelter with our oldest granddaughter. It was a very rewarding experience. My prayer is to have more of these kinds of opportunities with all my grandchildren…to serve others in the name of Jesus.

It’s important to teach our children (age-appropriate) about death. I’ll never forget when our now 10-year-old granddaughter began asking me this question, “How does Jesus take people to heaven when they die?” After trying to explain, Ella profoundly stated, “I know, Jesus carries people to heaven with balloons.” Since then, when a loved one passes away, we release balloons. When Jesus takes me home to heaven, I hope to have a large bouquet of rainbow-colored balloons released on a warm summer day.

Similarly, our 5-year-old grandson recently said goodbye to one of his pet ducks that was born with a birth defect. Jack named him Donald and was quite attached to this little white-feathered creation. Jack is beginning to realize there is a time to be born and a time to die. His parents took this opportunity to explain death and eternity to Jack. They also had a burial for Donald and placed a little wooden cross on his grave.

Having experienced the death of both of my parents by age 7, I fully understand the importance of talking to children about death, and eternal life. 

I came across this article from Scripture Union: Talking with your children about Death… Issues to think about.

Based on and adapted from: Children and Grieving (SU) J Goodall 1995

http://www.scriptureunion.org.uk/Families/Parents/Talkingabout/Death/1200.id

Celebration Ideas for Grandparents Day, Sept. 7.

http://www.grandparentingwithapurpose.com/2014/07/celebration-ideas-for-grandparents-day-sept-7/

 

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