Got The Power?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for May 31, 2020; The Day of Pentecost

Numbers 11:24-30; Psalm 25:1-15; Acts 2:1-21; John 7:37-39

 Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7: 37-39a)

This coming Sunday is Pentecost; the day that Jesus, according to his promise, sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples. Wow what a day to be a fly on their wall. The disciples must have been in awe at the power and ability that came over them, not to mention the passion and desire to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Saviour to all! And they were able to proclaim to all people, in all languages, so that all would understand. How awesome is that!?!

The coolest thing though is that the Holy Spirit wasn’t just given to the disciples on that day, like a bucket being dumped over them as if they were doing the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS. Oh no, this pouring out of the Holy Spirit descended over them and then wafted over all who could hear, like the aroma of the sweetest smelling fragrance. It’s as if the words that the disciples spoke carried the fragrance, the Spirit. No actually, it is exactly that the Holy Spirit carried the words of Christ into the ears of all who could hear, and then into the hearts of all who received Him. Is it any wonder that about three thousand people came to believe in Jesus Christ as their Saviour that day? Wow!

No wonder Jesus warned the disciples while he was walking with them that he had to return to God the Father in order for greater things to be done among humankind. On Earth, Jesus had to still live as a man, and generally speaking, was bound by human limitations. People had to come to see this one man-God and through his touch and words, they came to faith and were healed physically and spiritually. But now. Now in all his glory, our God comes to us in His Spirit, his Holy Spirit, and he, the living Word, wafts into our ears and then our hearts, and desires to take up residence by instilling faith and the assurance of the forgiveness of our sins through our Saviour.

Yes, this Holy Spirit that descended upon the disciples on that day we call Pentecost is the same Holy Spirit that entered your heart through the words you heard about Jesus when you first believed. Whether it was God’s words said and received as a little child or when you were older, the Holy Spirit wafted into your heart and cleansed your soul. And “How can you be sure, you ask?” Well, we are assured that, ‘No one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.’ (1 Corinthians 12:9) Therefore, by simply having the ability to say “Jesus is my Lord!” assures you of the Holy Spirit in you, and with that comes all his power upon you to transform lives: You with God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are a power to reckon with. So release that power that resides in you through the proclamation of God’s Word. Then watch the Holy Spirit float through the ears of all those who hear you and he will envelop their hearts in order to bring the faith that assures them of God’s salvation and love. Yes, Jesus himself proclaimed that “ You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) So go on, live your own pentecost. You got the power!

Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for your Holy Spirit who has instilled in my heart this most precious gift of faith and the assurance of Jesus as my Saviour. Please help me to willingly and actively live in your power by your most precious Holy Spirit in me. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Just Wait, But Be Ready…

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for May 24, 2020; The Ascension of Our Lord

Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53

[Jesus said,] “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)  . . . but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49b)  After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. (Acts 1:9)

Oh to be one of the disciples the day that Jesus ascended into Heaven. What a sight to behold! The disciples must have felt so many mixed emotions: awe in the sight of Jesus floating higher and higher, anticipation of Jesus’ promise of receiving power from on high, and sadness in the departure of their beloved friend and Lord. What a mixed bag of emotions they must have felt!

But what were they to do next? According to Jesus’ instructions, they were to simply go back to the city and wait until they were given this “power from on high; this gift of the Holy Spirit”. And they did just that. They went back to the temple and stayed there. They worshipped the Lord. The were in close fellowship with each other. They ate and drank and continued on with their days; their worship-filled, ordinary days. Sure they were different days from when they were fishermen and tax collectors. For sure their lives had been changed, but something even bigger was going to happen. Although they didn’t know what it was, they worshipped, fellowshipped and they waited for Jesus’ promise to be fulfilled. And whatever it was, they knew it would happen, because they knew, without a doubt, that Jesus was true to his word; if he said it would happen, it would happen! So they waited…

Well Jesus promises the same promise to us. He promises to send the Holy Spirit upon us. We know through his words that we receive the Holy Spirit through Baptism and through his word. He also has plans for us. Our Heavenly Father, bestows upon us his power to fulfill all that he desires to be accomplished through us. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

So just as the disciples continued to worship their Lord, fellowship together, and live their regular lives, they were ready to ‘go and do’ when God bestowed upon them his power. In the same way, we too can be assured of the Holy Spirit’s constant presence in our lives, and continue to seek the Lord in his word and worship, be with his people, and always be prepared to serve and proclaim him when he calls us to serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. Whether we are sent to do big or small proclamations of his love and salvation, it does not matter. We simply need to be ready and willing; saying “Here I am Lord. Send me! Send me!” And he will do it. Just wait and see.

Prayer: Dear Lord, I know that when you ascended into Heaven, you promised to send the Holy Spirit and to live in me and sanctify me through faith in Jesus. Thank-you, that through him you are always with me; you in me and I in you. Please help me to always seek you and to be ready to willingly heed your calling, confident in the Spirit’s power in me. Open my heart and mind to follow you and to fulfill the good works you have prepared in advance for me to do. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Overflowing Abundance Now? Absolutely!

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for May 17, 2020; The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Acts 17:16-31; Psalm 66:8-20; 1 Peter 3:13-22; John 14:15-21

Praise our God, all peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver… but you brought us to a place of abundance. Psalm 66:8-10,12b

With weeks of quarantine and being separated from loved ones, this passage of testing and refining, of feet slipping and burdens, can be felt worldwide. However, this passage also proclaims praises upon praises. It speaks of victory and abundance. Not only does God work all this in order for us to receive victory and abundance following the testing. In Christ, He works victory and abundance in the midst of the testing. I believe this, and I say this first hand.

Yes, with weeks of quarantine and being separated from loved ones, with life being out of sorts and the world treading on new ground, it is no secret that people have been feeling the weight of the pandemic. People have been voicing their burdens- emotional, physical, mental, financial. We all have been feeling, at least a little bit, the weight of it all, and that is not even including depth of pain of those people who have experienced the death of loved ones because of it. There is no doubt there have been questions by some of God’s testing or God’s reasons for allowing this virus to sweep over the whole earth. Our lives have been and are being changed. The routines we knew, no longer exist, and we have been forced to stop, adjust, and create a new normal. Our minds have been forced to be still.

It’s in the midst of this refining and our adjusting, I have seen and experienced first hand how God, in the midst of it all, has brought about abundance and a new purpose, a fire and a passion, right from my own livingroom. I have seen how God continues to use his children when our minds are open, clear, humble and seeking him. And doesn’t this new normal provide the time and opportunities to do just that- unencumbered time to seek our God?

It has been in this most lonely time of solitude that our God has put on the hearts of a group of ordinary, small town, rural, Godly women a fire and passion for a project for Christ. Because we have been forced to stop and be refined, he has provided us the time and clarity to get caught up in the excitement and motivation of proclaiming his name, spreading his word and serving others. Our hearts and minds are focused on our Lord and reaching out to others like never before, and I believe, we would not have paid attention to the opportunity nor attentive to the Holy Spirit fanning the flames of this project in our hearts, if we had not been given this testing, this refining, this clearing of our schedules and minds. I also believe we are not unique. I believe God is filling and desires to fill all his children in such a way. I am in awe and thanksgiving that our Lord desires to fill us, and to use us according to his purpose.

Therefore, stop and acknowledge your refining. Go to God. Desire to seek him and know him, and he will fill you to overflowing. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33) You may not know where He will lead, but you can trust that you, and all those who seek him with you, will be brought to abundance and you won’t be able keep yourself from proclaiming, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name!” (Psalm 103:1)

Prayer: Dear Lord, I don’t know how you do it, but you can take the most terrible earthly thing, and turn it into something that allows our souls to soar and our hearts to overflow with joy and anticipation. Be with me now as I desire to seek you, to know you, and to be filled to overflowing with your peace and purpose. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

In Isolation But Never Alone.

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for May 10, 2020; The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Acts 6:1-9; 7:2a, 51-60; Psalm 146; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14:1-14

Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. Psalm 146:1-6

What comforting words of assurance we have in the above psalm. They are words to remind us of whose we are, and who is watching over us. Even before Covid 19 struck, God took care so that Covid 19’s worst outcome would not win this battle over us; it does not have the last say. In the same way, cancer, nor heart disease, nor anything in all creation has the last say, because even if all those terrible earthly diseases and evils cause us to face death, we still have victory, because in Christ we have victory over death.

Oh I know we don’t like talking, or thinking, about death. However, in days like these we are faced with the reality that we are mortal beings and that death will come to each of us eventually. I acknowledge the grief that we feel towards all the dear souls plagued with Covid 19 that have faced their final days alone and in isolation, void of any touch or family love. But this is the message we can share: in Christ, they were never ever alone. I truly believe that it is in these times that Christ is more present than ever. In Christ, our loved ones are not alone; they are being held in the arms and in the presence of their Saviour. He is more physically present than ever before. I have no doubt! My only prayer is that all people turn to the open arms of Jesus, even in their final moment, and receive his flood of mercy, grace, and life eternal.

We talk about things as if they are final and forever. They are only final and forever, if people choose to deny the one who conquered death on their behalf. Therefore if you, me, and all our loved ones clung to the cross of Christ and acknowledged him for all he has done for us, we do not need to fear this earthly death and our separation from them, for we will surely see them again. Will we grieve and miss them while we are separated? Oh, yes! Without a doubt. But it will be only temporary.

Therefore, just as Jesus says to his disciples to comfort them, he says to us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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.” (John 14:1-3) … FOREVER!

Prayer: Dear Lord, these are scary days where we all are faced with the reality of death due to Covid 19, not to mention all the other diseases and events that destroy our earthly bodies. I give you all praise and glory and thanks for your love and faithfulness that before such terrible things happened, you took care of my salvation by redeeming me in the blood and sacrifice of your son, Jesus. Help me always to be reminded to live in this victory and continue to share your love and grace to all! In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Social Distancing?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for May 3, 2020; The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:42-47; Psalm 23; 1 Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

How are you? Are you ‘social distancing’? Have you been ‘social distancing’?

Some people may be able to handle ‘social distancing’ and self-isolation better than others. However, it is not surprising that, although we do what we must do for the sake of each other and society as a whole, we – followers of Jesus- just don’t feel quite right when we are not in fellowship with one another, especially for our weekly Worship ‘fix’. And it is no surprise, really.

We are called to be together. We are strengthened by one another through the work of the Holy Spirit in and among us. In fact, Jesus himself tells us, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) We are meant to be together and we feel his presence when we are together in his name, whether it be for a time of prayer, serving together, worshipping together, or simply sharing a meal as fellow brothers and sisters-in-Christ. We desire to be together and we feel something missing when we are not together.

Do not be discouraged. This time will pass, and eventually, we will be back together. In the meantime, take advantage of communicating, and even praying, with fellow believers by electronic means and/or over the telephone. We can be encouraged and thankful for the advancement of technology that allows us to continue to be connected so easily.

Then, in any case, always remember that despite everything that is going on in this world, there is absolutely no need to distance yourself from our Lord. Let him in your heart. Seek him. Embrace him. Fall into his arms. He is knocking at the door of your heart, ready to enter and remain with you this day and always, no matter where you are. He does not wait for you to come to him in his house. You are his house! He is with you and never will he leave you. “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, [neither deadly pandemic viruses nor isolation,] nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate [you] from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) He is with you now and always. You are not alone in these days of isolation, ever!

Prayer: Thank-you Heavenly Father for never leaving me. Help me to always be reminded of your constant love and presence in my life, through Christ Jesus. Keep me strong in this knowledge. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Heeding Authority These Days?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for April. 26, 2020; The Third Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-14; 1 Peter 1:17-25; Luke 24:13-35

All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever. 1 Peter 1:24-25

My husband and I are on day thirty four of self-quarantining during the Covid 19 pandemic. As I sit here in isolation, I can’t help but think that never, in my lifetime, has the above passage rang so true globally. Every nation has been bombarded with the frailty of its citizens, its economy, and its health care systems. Individually, we all have been faced with the lack of control over our freedom, our health, our family’s health, our jobs and our finances.

So, in the midst of these unknowns and chaos, we look for answers. We trust those in authority to guide us in the ways we should follow in order to rid ourselves of the worst case scenario that this disease could inflict upon us; a disease that can come innocently with no symptoms for some and then attack others with great pain and even death. We get upset with those who defy the guidance given us for the good of all people. Not only do they endanger themselves by ignoring the wisdom shared, but they potentially endanger all others with whom they come in contact, as they could be carriers.

So, what about if we treated sin and its certain and eventual results, like we treat Covid 19 and its potential results. Or conversely, what if we treat Covid 19 how many people treat the outcome of sin and its remedy. Would we say with Covid 19, “Oh, I’m not enforcing my beliefs about Covid 19 upon my children? I’m going to let them decide how they wish to handle it on their own. They’re their own person. Who am I to guide my child in such a way?” Or “They don’t want to stay in the house. It’s boring; so we don’t.” or say to those we meet, “Yes, I have the remedy to Covid 19, but I’ll just keep it to myself. No need to get involved.” or “It doesn’t matter if they have the disease they can do whatever they want. We need to be tolerant.” And the list can go on and on with the excuses we say to ourselves, about keeping the good news of our Saviour- the remedy over sin and death- from others, especially our families and friends. It’s something to think about isn’t it?

May you be blessed with good health and safety in these days, and with the assurance of life eternal as you heed the words of the wisest authority ever. Be confident in his instructions and diligent in carrying them out: to ingest the remedy against sin and death, that is faith in Jesus; that even though we- you and me, our children and our most beloved- are like flowers that will wither sooner or later, that we too will endure forever!

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to share your good news of my Saviour, as willingly as I share the desire for all to be safe and healthy in these pandemic days. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Souls Rejoice

Good day friends! He is risen! He is risen indeed! Happy Easter!

I pray your Holy Week and Easter weekend went well! Let us top up our coffees and rejoice together…

Readings for April. 19, 2020; The Second Sunday of Easter

Acts 5:29-42; Psalm 148; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end results of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9

The solemn season of Lent is over, our Saviour has conquered sin, death, and the power of the devil, and we rejoice in the salvation of our souls. Praise the Lord!

Is there anything more joyous than the assurance of knowing that no matter what this life holds, we have a life free from sin, pain, and grief awaiting us, where our God will sweep us into his arms and welcome us home, into his heavenly kingdom, when our earthly days are over? We have all this because of the most blessed sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. Thanks be to God!

Just as John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb, so our souls leap with joy at all Christ has accomplished for us. For we are those children of God whom Jesus spoke about when he said to Thomas, “… blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(John 5:20b) That’s us, and all believers this side of Jesus’ ascension. So let us bask in this reality of our salvation and share this inexpressible and glorious joy, and rejoice as David did by proclaiming, “My soul will rejoice in the Lord and delight in his salvation.” (Psalm 35:9) He is risen. He is risen indeed!

Prayer: Dear Lord, I praise you for your glorious resurrection. The battle over sin is finished. You have accomplished salvation for all of humankind. Be gracious with those who struggle with this truth, as you were with Thomas. Guide all hearts to the truth of their souls’ salvation being found in you. In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

It Is Finished!

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Oh what a week ahead! We have the last of Christ’s teachings at the Last Supper on Thursday, the terrible events of Good Friday that lead to our Saviour’s death, and then the ultimate joyous celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and our victory over death on Easter Sunday. To speak on one event and leave out the others just doesn’t seem right. So, I will make an exception to my Liturgical Devotion guidelines. This week I will focus on the Scripture for Good Friday. Then next Monday, I will rejoice with you with the Easter passages.

Well, let’s top up our coffees and head into the most grievous week in the history of the creation…

Readings for Apr. 10, 2020; Good Friday

Isaiah 52:13—53:12; Psalm 22 or 31; Hebrews 4:14-16;5:7-9; John 19:17-30

Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30b

Have you ever strived for something so hard, where you gave it your all, and at the end of it, once you knew you were completed what you set your mind to, you simply collapsed? You’d given it your all through the whole process, and once finished, you were drained?

As a member of a dragon boat team, I usually feel like that, to some extent, following a 500 meter race. From the start of the race, my mind is set, and vision focussed on the finish line half a kilometer down the river. Then at the sound of the horn determination, drive, and adrenalin kick in and I give it my all, and for the next two and a half minutes I ‘empty the tank’ as we say. Finally, once over the finish line, my whole body is jello. It takes everything in me to casually paddle to the unloading dock.

Whether it is a sporting race, or competition, or (you name it), most of us can identify with taking ourselves to the brink of our existence, enduring beyond what we could normally endure in order to attain a goal on which we have set our minds, a goal that is self-satisfying and not necessarily important or beneficial to anyone else. And when it is complete, we proclaim, “It is finished! I did it!”

Well, Jesus too set his mind on a goal. A goal which meant he would endure not only exhaustion but ridicule and pain and suffering and death. It was a goal where he would not receive anything from it. He was not desiring to be self-satisfied. Oh no! His mind was set on a goal that would 100% benefit someone else. He set his mind on the goal of redeeming you and me, and all of humankind; to being the lamb without blemish or spot that was to be sacrificed once and for all in order that all humanity would be reunited with the Trinity for eternity; to conquer this earthly death and to have victory over sin, death and the power of the devil. There was nothing he ‘had’ to do for himself, but he did it all for us. The hatred from others, the lies, the ridicule, the thorns that lodged in his skull, the scourging spikes that ripped apart his body, and the piercing nails through his hands and feet that kept him hanging on a cross- he endured it all with the goal of his love for us. In fact, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame…” (Hebrews 2:2b) Joy? Really? Oh yes! Think about it: It pleased him to endure such pain because it meant his precious creation would be reunited with their Creator. His love is that strong. His love is that selfless. And it’s the love he has for you.

So, as you walk to this most holiest of weeks, take time to lay yourself at his altar, sins and all, and remember and give thanks for God’s love in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Saviour of the world, and proclaim with him, “It is finished!”. Then together “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. . . .  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1. . .3)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, Forgive me all my sins. Thank-you for enduring all you did in order to redeem me. Help me to live in thanksgiving to you in all I do, say, and think, and help me to not grow weary in doing so. In your name I pray. AMEN!

Paying It Forward

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Readings for Apr. 5, 2020; Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 118:19-29 or 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; John 12:12-43

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very natureof a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Philippians 2:5-8

Back in the ’90s, there was a stretch of time where it was difficult to make ends meet financially. I was home with our young children – in fact I believe I was pregnant with our youngest child at the time – trying to bring in some income as a home day care provider, and Rick was working hard as an auto mechanic with a dealership that kept reducing hours. Funds were slim. Expenses were plenty.

One particular evening, in the midst of this trying time, we received a knock at our door from a couple from our church. Looking back, they were probably the same age Rick and I are now- mid-fifties. After a few niceties, they proceeded to hand us an envelope with the words, “it may not be much, but we do hope it will help with a couple expenses.” Inside the envelope was a cheque for one hundred dollars. We were so thankful. I cannot express how deeply that gesture touched our hearts and the money helped with the bills that month. However, along with the cheque, came these words, “We do not want you to pay us the money back. However, down the road when things get better, we would like you to pay it forward, if you wish. Someone helped us out many years ago and asked us to pay it forward. So as we pay it forward to you, we only ask that you pay it forward to another in need.”

Well over the years, that $100 has been extended to others multiple times. That initial act of love shown to us decades ago continues to be fresh in our hearts, and with thankful hearts we continue to extend the same practical love to others in our life’s path. It is with this ‘practical love’ and the desire to pay it forward that I think of the above passage. As Christ hands us a cheque for salvation, with love and compassion, mercy and grace, we can cash that cheque for our own life eternal and reap his benefits. But then we need to continue to share those benefits with others. For just as Paul says to us, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) Therefore, may we live each day in the thankfulness for all that Christ has paid on our behalf and go pay it forward to all those we meet.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank-you for the sacrifice that you made on my behalf. Thank-you for continuing to extend your love, faithfulness, and forgiveness to me each and every day. Help me to pay such blessings forward. In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

Grief VS Faith? No, Grief & Faith!

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well! Despite the chaos and uncertainty that Covid 19 has brought to the world at large, I pray you are able to find beauty, joy, and the blessings.

Let’s top up our coffees and be thankful for our time together.

Readings for Mar 29, 2020; Fifth Sunday in Lent      

Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130; Romans 8:1-11; John 11:1-53

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

These words of Jesus are part of a conversation he was having with Martha after the death of her brother Lazarus. Oh how Martha grieved.

I remember when my mom died. I remember standing beside her open casket just moments before the casket was to be closed and taken to the front of the procession line and the family was to file in behind it at the start of her funeral service. I knew that once that casket was closed, I’d never see my mom face-to-face again. Although her body lay lifeless, I could not sever myself from her. The pain of grief encompassed me: heart, body, mind, and soul.

Did I believe the words of Christ above, as if spoken to me directly: “Jesus said to [Brenda],” I am the resurrection and the life. Do you, [Brenda], believe this?” Oh yes, I believed it. I do believe it. I never stopped believing it. But, there were times when I felt guilty of feeling grief and saddness. I knew better. I knew where my mom was. I knew she was no longer in pain and misery from the cancer. I knew all that. So, in the midst of it, I questioned my faith because of my grief. If I really believed in Christ’s salvation, and knew Mom believed it too with all her heart, what was my problem? Get over it, already!

Well, it’s in the words and actions of Jesus surrounding Lazarus’ death, where “Jesus wept,” (John 11:35) that brought me great comfort. For if the one who is life eternal, the resurrection and the life, himself, wept for his deceased friend, then I can weep too. His tears did not nullify him as being the Son of God and my Saviour. His tears which expressed his deep compassion for the grieving family of his deceased beloved, are the same tears of compassion he shed when he saw my pain. I found comfort in knowing that Christ was not angry at me or questioning me, but instead, he had compassion on me and wept for me. In the same way, find comfort in knowing that Christ loves you and has compassion on you in your pain and grief. Do not try to deny your grief or toughen up or get over it because you feel like that’s what you should do. But take your grief, your sadness and your pain to the Lord, and in the midst of it proclaim as Martha did, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”(John 11:27) Then, let him heal you in his time, in your time. Finally, go and be compassionate to those who are working through their grief. Be patient and compassionate, weeping with them, and praying for them. Christ will carry them through their painful season, as he does with each and every one of us, if we let him.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I believe you are the resurrection and the life, and that by believing I have life eternal. Thank-you for your great love and compassion for me. Hold me close to you when storms come and I must say an earthly good-bye to loved ones. Help us all through our pain of loss and grief, to an unexplainable peace and joy. In your name I pray. AMEN!

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