“With these words…”

“But I would not have you to be ignorant (unaware) brethren, concerning them which are asleep (have passed away) that we sorrow NOT, even as others which have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, EVEN SO THEM ALSO WHICH SLEEP (have died) IN JESUS WILL GOD BRING WITH HIM.

For this we say unto you BY THE WORD OF THE LORD, that they which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep (the living will NOT make it to heaven before the dead in Christ). 

FOR THE LORD HIMSELF SHALL DESCEND FROM HEAVEN WITH A SHOUT, WITH THE VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, AND WITH THE TRUMP OF GOD; AND THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST.

THEN WE WHICH ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN SHALL BE CAUGHT UP TOGETHER WITH THEM IN THE CLOUDS, TO MEET CHRIST IN THE AIR;

AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORDWHEREFORE COMFORT ONE ANOTHER WITH THESE WORDS.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 

No sorrow on earth can rival the agony that the death of a loved one.

Since the fall of Adam which brought the curse of death upon all mankind, it has been our worst fear and greatest enemy.

Psalm 23:4: ” Yea, though I walk THROUGH the shadow of the valley of death….”

This earth, this life, this place IS the valley of the shadow of death.

Death ever looming, its shadow trying to obstruct us from the light, ever stalking, ever to be feared, though God does not want that.

Death at any age is tragedy.

Losing a mother or father at eighty years old is just as a devastating loss as it is for the person who lost a parent that had been in the prime of life.

We love our parents, we are formed from them and taught by them, and even people who have had “bad” parents still suffer the hurt at the loss of that parent because the parent/child bond is inseverable.

Just as many parents have stated during troubling times with their grown children, “You ALWAYS love your children.”

And in turn people stating that even though their parents were not good parents “They are still (my) parents” ( I put that in quotes because I am using examples, I am NOT referring to my own parents, whom I love dearly).

So the loss is tragic no matter the age, for us it is much harder to see children lose a parent but still, even a sixty year old losing a Mom or Dad IS still at that moment a child in their grief.

A loss of a sibling comes with its own agony, as I understand very well.

A brother or sister is a friend, a playmate, a companion, a person you can laugh with, be scared, with, and most of all be yourself with, they are made of you and you are made of them, same blood, same DNA, a competitiveness that will sometimes fight one another but a love and bond that would fight someone else over them, and once you have lost them, everything thing your life had been up to that loss will never be the same.

I had been planning on doing this several weeks ago but hadn’t quite made it, So today as I write this it is my brother’s sixth anniversary with Jesus and you can read that story at the link below.

I wrote it not only as a memorial and to deal with my own pain but I felt like my family’s story could help someone else get through times of absolute heartache, and trying to hold onto God in faith as we were having to let go of him.

When I think of grief and think of how much others have suffered through loss, I always think of the story the slaughter of the male babies when Herod had sent his soldiers out in an attempt to kill Jesus as a baby.

Herod ordered the slaughter of EVERY male child under the age of two and here is the scripture that sums it up:

Matthew 2:17,18: “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy (Jeremiah) the prophet, saying,

IN RAMA WAS THERE A VOICE HEARD, LAMENTATION,(wails of sorrow and mourning) AND WEEPING, AND GREAT MOURNING,

RACHEL (symbolic of the entire city) WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN, AND WOULD NOT BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT.”

I can not even fathom the horror of that loss and that verse that she would not be comforted means she could not. I still can not bear that story because I can not imagine the slaughter of all these babies or the anguish that these mothers suffered.

And again, your child is your child and as we do view it much worse to lose a little child, still to  another that has lost her son in his prime it is just as devastating because again, to her that child will always be her child.

We believe and have faith and we struggle with how and why, when we suffer loss and I will absolutely admit that more than once I reminded the Lord that I loved my brother just as much as Mary and Martha loved Lazarus.

But the resurrection of Lazarus was to show the glory of God and God spared my brother’s life when he coded and allowed him more time to be saved and accept salvation.

And imagine Mary as she watched her son beaten beyond  recognition, bloody, hurting, and staggering under the weight of that cross, and being there when they nailed him to that cross and having heard the screams of the people, “Crucify him” and THIS was HER  BABY.

Thirty three years old and even God, but for Mary at that cross, THIS WAS HER BABY and it fulfilled the prophecy that she had been given, Luke 2:35: “(Yea, a sword shall PIERCE thy own soul also) ..”

And as that spear pierced through his side into his heart, the piercing of her soul would have been unbearable had all of heaven itself not strengthened her.

Death does pierce our souls and the are no words that will ever take that hurt away but there is comfort through the Word of God.

You must also be careful of this world, there are those who prey on the bereaved. Proclaiming themselves as “mediums” and “psychics” and for fee and the risk of one’s soul if trapped by their deception.

They pretend to speak to loved ones and some through WITCHCRAFT and divination (read Acts:16:16-19 for ONE example, there are many others) they offer to “communicate” with the deceased, but this is a lie.

It is  lie from satan and they are communicating with demonic forces and they can tell you all that you WANT to hear but it is not true and it is not from God.

Others worry and seek an alternative way to heaven, seeking comfort about the eternal fate of that loved one whose salvation they are unsure of, seeking hope, hope from a hopeless source.

Touching that subject I want to say this, find your peace in Jesus Christ and this does require you to be saved.

I want to be careful how I say this, because when God calls we must answer and I never want to encourage anyone to wait until they are on their deathbed to ask for forgiveness.

BUT I personally believe that unless a person has just absolutely turned on God and been turned from God, that in those last moments of life, He does give them a final opportunity to accept him, because He is very merciful and as the Bible says “it is NOT his will that ANY should perish” but they are required to accept him but I do believe He asks, and “Whosoever shall CALL upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.”

And of course the classic, the thief on the cross, TO DAY, that VERY day in paradise with the Lord and Jesus saved him then and there and this man did not have time to do anything other than ask for forgiveness and as we know as Jesus promised him, that he IS with Jesus FOREVER, 

So what I want to do is give some verses that I hope will be of comfort and blessed assurance, because death is a part of life and it will never be any easier but it IS NOT forever. It IS NOT the end and I will start it with my favorite,

2 Corinthians 5:8:” We ARE confident, I say, and willing rather TO BE ABSENT FROM THE BODY, AND TO BE PRESENT WITH THE LORD.”

And as the Lord was telling what happened when Lazarus died:

Luke 16:22: “And it came to pass, that , that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man died, and was buried.” 

One died and was carried by the very angels of heaven and the other died and was simply buried later to open his eyes in hell. But that is not what this one is about but I couldn’t leave that alone because of false teachings that the grave is hell. 

Psalm 116:15: “PRECIOUS in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

Jesus takes the pain out of the crossing and He takes control over the grave and it has no more power and those who have died in Him, do LIVE and will LIVE FOREVER.

1 Corinthians 15:55: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”  

Jesus said, Matthew 5:4: “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” Which takes us to:

Revelation 21:4: “And God shall wipe away ALL tears from their eyes, and there shall be NO MORE DEATH, NEITHER SORROW, NOR CRYING, NEITHER SHALL THERE BE ANY MORE PAIN; for the former things are passed away.”

And let’s take a look at one more that Solomon had written, he had been so blessed, then he fell off the boat by worshipping false God’s with his pagan wives, but then HE RETURNED to God and held the most inspired of the wisdom he had been given from God.

As he reflected on his life and the years he had wasted and all the years he could not bring back, as he knew death would someday come because it comes to us all. Not because God doesn’t love us, God loves us very much, but God knows the number of our days on this earth before we even arrive here.

This IS not our home, This IS NOT the end.

This IS only for a little while and then we will LIVE again.

All this is about death, it is poetic and it is deep, it is beautifully written and it has what we all need, HOPE.

Ecclesiastes 12: 1-7: “Remember now thy Creator, in thy days of thy youth ( think about God while you are young), while the evil days come not, NOR the years draw nigh (aging sets in), when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.

While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be NOT darkened, NOR the clouds return after the rain.

In the days when the keeper of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, And those that look out of the windows be darkened.

And the doors shall shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and DESIRE (will to do anything) SHALL FAIL; BECAUSE MAN GOETH TO HIS LONG (eternal) HOME, AND THE MOURNERS GO ABOUT THE STREETS;

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. (Descriptive of different ages and seasons people die) THEN SHALL THE DUST RETURN TO THE EARTH AS IT WAS: AND THE SPIRIT SHALL RETURN TO GOD WHO GAVE IT.” 

Death comes at many times, many seasons, and in many ways BUT we all suffer the effects the same but we have eternal hope in knowing this that even though those that are gone on can not come, we can go be with them.

King David had fathered a baby with Bathsheba, and he had fasted and prayed WHILE the baby was still alive, and this was backward to what people did in those days and when asked why, this is his answer, PLEASE think about what he is saying:

2 Samuel 12:22,23: ” And he said,  WHILE THE CHILD WAS YET ALIVE, I FASTED AND WEPT; for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?

 But now he is dead, wherefore (why) should I fast? CAN I BRING HIM BACK AGAIN? I SHALL GO TO HIM, BUT HE SHALL NOT COME BACK TO ME.”

David knew that he would certainly be with his child.

And that is what we must remember and even if you do not know the state of your loved one’s soul when they passed, please, again don’t let the enemy lie to you.

God is a merciful and just God and you don’t even think anything else. Keep your eyes on heaven and on the hope eternal as our starting scripture stated, the souls which are with Jesus will be reunited with resurrected glorified bodies (and yes, he can make them again if needed) and together with those alive, gathered from earth, will meet in the air and it will be FOR EVER. 

Please have peace and comfort in that and as you seek God, He will give you peace and He will give you comfort, and often He gives us answers and THESE are the words, HIS WORD that we will find that comfort in.

Εξυπνιζω NBJ 2017  REVISITED 09/19/2021

“Feelin’ Fifty”

To background our starter verses, this takes place at the time that the Lord and two angels came down to tell Abraham of cries of Sodom and that based on the findings there, the certain destruction, these verse are after they had eaten.

Genesis 18:9-18: “And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life, and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. 

And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women (she had passed the age of childbearing).

Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed (grown) old shall I have pleasure, my lord (a term often used in Old English, not to be confused as subservient) being old also?

And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore (why) did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of surety bear a child, which am old? IS THERE ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD?

At the TIME APPOINTED I will return unto thee, ACCORDING TO THE TIME OF LIFE, and sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. and he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.”

Now let’s go to another angelic visitation, Gabriel had been sent to inform Zacharias that he would soon be a father, and let’s hear how Zacharias took the news:

Luke 1:18,19: “And Zacharias said UNTO the angel, Whereby (how) shall I KNOW this? For I am an old man, and my wife well stricken (advanced) in years.

And the angel answering said unto him,I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings (this good news), And behold,: thou shalt be dumb (mute), and not be able to speak, unto the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, WHICH SHALL BE FULFILLED IN THEIR SEASON.” 

Now we go down a few verses after Gabriel has given Mary the wonderful news of Jesus’ birth, Verse 36,37:

And Behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, WHO WAS CALLED BARREN. FOR WITH GOD NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE.”  

I can not help but to stop for a moment and say a couple of things, first, how awesome would it to have been to have the Lord and two angels for dinner and how awesome is that Gabriel even told Mary that Elisabeth was six months pregnant?

We fail to realize just how close heaven is entwined with earth and that may sometimes be a good thing because I don’t know that our human minds could take constantly being aware of the spirit world that surrounds us. And even those with discernment experience times that it is hard to “bounce back” from some of the “things” they encounter.

And that is NOT my subject today, this and the following post will be a little lightening up the way to a more serious “breaking point” but first we have to figure out WHERE we are and HOW we got there, and realize that we may NOT be as “off course” as we have thought!

AGING, oh what a cute jingle that could be.. “OH, OH, OH, I am A.G.I.N.G., A.G.I.N.G. and I don’t know what is happening to me!!!

Sound good? well, you’d have to hear me sing it to get the tune and since I am definitely NOT a songstress you are really better off singing it yourself 😉 now to be serious.

Let’s talk about menopause, wrinkles, and the hard cold reality, as for me, “the Old Brown mare ain’t what she used to be” and all the aches and pains trying to get out of bed let me know that EVERYDAY!

Of course, I have degenerative scoliosis, and two vertebrae in my neck that had already fused together at twenty, so some of the aches and pains are not new and the Lord has helped me so much that actually I have less problems with my spine than I did in my twenties but the hips, knees, and shoulders are a different story.

And every symptom of the “M” word sends me into an emotional battle royale with the imagery coming to mind being quite like a Clint Eastwood western, complete with the theme song for “The good, the bad, and the ugly”, it is high noon and it is me versus the inevitable “M” staring me down saying with a bad western accent, “Mam it’s time, your gonna have to surrender that right to bear children now” and I spit, strike a yoga pose and and say “Look, Big “M” you ain’t taking me today!”

Wow, my mind is a scary place!  I have no intention of having more children, it is just knowing that I can. And I have managed to completely convince myself that I was actually born with these wrinkles on my forehead! And I really don’t think “neck scarf” will ever have the same meaning for me since I developing one made of actual skin!

Turning fifty made me think a little harder about things, like what do I want to be when I grow up?

AND then I thought, wow, I am half a century old and maybe should have thought a few things out a little better while making life decisions! BUT I thank God for another year and I know how blessed I am to have every single day that I have because it is of God’s mercy, so please don’t take my comedic take on it wrong! I AM thankful for another day to age!

Why do so many of us as teens wish our lives away, just waiting for the day we turn the infamous eighteen? Me and my friend Genia have spent quite a bit of time pondering this, we have been friends forever and now we are like, what were we thinking?

We were thinking that life would be so much better, so much easier once we made our decisions and plotted our own course in the wide open world. SO WRONG, marriage, the worries of motherhood,work, bills, life, heartache, health issues.

Those choices we were so gung-ho to make now bear the realization that if we fail to make the right one consequences will be paid and most of all the awful, awful changes that come when we inevitably lose loved ones and are are faced with the horror that our lives will truly NEVER be the same because loss CHANGES everything.

So, I don’t know about other ladies but I know for me, personally, my biggest struggle is this, I view menopause as another change that brings AN END to part of my life, and I don’t want the change in my life because I have had too many changes already and I have came to understand through loss after loss of friends, church family, my cherished uncle whom I absolutely adored and aunts, and most of all my Brother Donnie and having countless family members having battled cancer and other diseases and the recent health issues my husband has had, I realized that is it NOT always seasons of life.

Sometimes it actually comes down to natural occurrences encountered as WE age.

Years go by, time fades but we are who we are and none of us usually FEEL our age but that does not change the time on that clock.

I don’t think I really even realized any of this until I was FACED with my husbands illness and going through the foggiest summer season that I remember.

I had been driving forty minutes to work and having to drive home after dark in this horrid fog, and I live in the mountains and for most of the travel you have a bank on one side and  over into”treeville”straight DOWN crash potential on the other and the first night I was honestly in tears and I was like “Lord, I CAN’T do this” and the OVERWHELMING feeling of loneliness and just truly being ALONE in this fog, in the dark and I thought, if I can’t see my way home what will I do? Who will I call?

I had ALWAYS called my brother. My brother had ALWAYS been there for me and anyone else who needed him and we were neighbors, and I think as I was overwhelmed by the dark and the fog, I was actually overwhelmed by the fact that he was no longer there for me to call.

Which became not as much about needing help but being  painfully reminded THAT HE IS NO LONGER HERE nor will he be again, those days ARE gone and nothing I will ever do can make them come back.

I had to do this countless of times, and it seemed each fog was worse than the one before, one night in particular when I could see the fog from work, covering the mountains, then even the parking lot at work fogged over and I was in tears before I even left but God always put someone in our life, and I worked with a wonderful Christian lady named Melanie, and we would talk about the Lord and could just feel His presence and I had asked her to please pray that I could get home, and my Mom and my sister would pray every time they saw the fog start, but by the time I made it to the top, the fog had lifted and there were actually stars out and there was just something about the feeling of reaching the clear top that is just indescribable.

But fog after fog, time after time, every time me telling God the same thing, and every time God would comfort me and get me home.

Sometimes I think we are faced with the dark and with the fog, not that God brings it, but that He allows us to go through it so we WILL know that he is there and he makes us stronger as we FACE the changes age and years inevitably bring about.

And that IS the thing, it is ALL in our heads, and of course our aching bodies, and greying heads try to sway us to believe otherwise.

And I believe that is why Sarah laughed. I don’t believe it was a “ha-ha never gonna happen” laugh, I believe it was a “oh, my goodness, could it really be” laugh. I love the fact that she “laughed within herself” but God still heard it as he HEARS our hearts and there is so much comfort in knowing that.

The word surety in those verses would be like guarantee, which is why I think her laughter was more of the mind blown this is too good to be true but it is true giggle that we get when we are given the greatest news possible, and if this were the “wrong” kind of laughter, I don’t believe they would have named their son Isaac, it means laughter, it meant JOYOUS laughter.

Zacharias  was muted so he could not one more time proclaim that he and Elisabeth were just too old to be having a child.

ALL these verses have the common theme, HUMANS thinking that they are just too old to receive what has been promised to them by an AGELESS, TIMELESS CREATOR WHO HAS NO BEGINNING AND NO ENDING.

Once we think of it in that aspect, it is quite comical that we DECIDE when we are too old!

So Sarah, who lived to be one hundred and twenty-seven years old, and Elisabeth, and even Samson’s mother were all WELL PAST their prime or even the prime of the post prime, but God MADE things new, new births, completely new lifestyles, such as being a first time mother at ninety years old!

If you will notice also, ALL the things WERE to be FULFILLED IN THEIR SEASON. God KNOWS His plans for us, just as the Bible tells us.

God Himself asked, “IS THERE ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD?” 

Gabriel proclaimed, “FOR WITH GOD NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE.”  

NOTHING is impossible for Him and NOTHING is too hard for Him and IN THAT WE TRUST!

And I think that is really what ails us all deep down inside, it really isn’t the aging itself it is the uncertainty of what those years will hold, but God is good.

And just as with Moses, he was still in good health, the Bible states that “his eyes were not dim” but when it was time to for him to die, God had to tell him it was time.

We are promised the “renewing of the dew of our youth”, I believe it is from the inside out, doesn’t mean we will not show some wear and tear but it means because our soul has prospered in Him and in His word that we will have vitality, joy, and health.

Paul said he knew in whom he had believed and that he was persuaded  that he would keep those things he had committed unto him AGAINST that day, and that day can be different days for us other than the obvious day of our death.

It can be the days we fear, the days we dread, and in committing THOSE things unto the Lord, He then CAN make them NEW and those things we had feared will not even come into mind again.

I like to think that when I lose that battle, that I know will eventually be lost, I hope to be like the old saying and just go peacefully and gracefully because I KNOW another appointed time will come, a season will change, and SOMETHING GOOD will be in that golden age!

Εξυπιζω NBJ 2017  Laughter is merry medicine and I simply could not resist!