Dealing With Loss

As I was writing this blog this week, our family and I had to say goodbye to my wife’s stepfather Donald, who had been battling cancer for the past year. Though we miss him we take comfort in the fact that before departing this life he gave his heart to Jesus. He now walks with the Lord in heaven upon the streets of gold, free from sorrow and pain and ever praising the One who gave His life for all of us. Jesus has overcome.

Yet, that does not mean those of us left here on earth do not feel sorrow and loss, but it is mixed with the joy found in our hope and faith in Jesus. The same faith that promises that we will see our friends and loved ones again one day.

Whatever trials you may be facing today, remember that this life will always be full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely to keep our heads above water. When this occurs, we will find the material things that we believed would hold us up and keep us afloat will not save us. So what can we do? Where can we go to find peace and security the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace to you all.

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A Quick Thought…

Encouragement for difficult times.

Life is not fair. From birth we are not promised a comfortable and easy life. Along the way, we will face adversity. Some of it will be our own doing and some of it will be through no fault of our own. I’m everything, God promises to be with us but Ge doesn’t promise to take away every difficulty. The apostle Paul uses his own life as an example of this.

“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:8-10‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

How many times do we ask God to take away our problems? How many times has He answered with “no.” Paul asked for a burden to be lifted not once but three times, signifying his earnestness in seeking relief. Yet God still said “no,” not because He’s mean or wants to withhold deliverance from us for some vindictive purpose. God allows difficulty in our lives so that we can grow and mature; exposing our weakness and forcing us to rely on Him and His power. Paul was content to rely on God for strength to live with his difficulty and we must learn to do the same. Whether it’s physical, mental, spiritual, or any other situation or hardship, we must remember to rely on God first and foremost. “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”
‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NASB‬‬)When difficulty times come our way, the question we should ask is: what can I learn from this, not simply: when will this be over? Please be encouraged and remember that in every situation God is with us. In dark times and times of joy, He loves us and wants to see us grow and rely on Him.

Tempted to Surrender

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” -Harper Lee

Here are a few quotes to encourage you and help you persevere through the difficult times. Remember that great and admirable accomplishments were always achieved by taking one step at a time. Trust in God’s plan and He will see you through.

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.” -Helen Keller

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Everyone has noticed how hard it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us… While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable, we will not surrender it to Him. What, then, can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible sources of false happiness?” -C. S. Lewis

“Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there’s a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan.” -Charles Stanley

Easter Quotes

Happy Easter!

Easter is not about a bunny or springtime. It’s not about egg hunts or flowers blooming. It’s not about going to church or big family gatherings. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves mind you, but Easter is about one thing: forgiveness of sin. Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross provided forgiveness for every mistake we’ve ever made. Every “white lie” to the other extreme can be forgiven if we place our faith and trust in Jesus.

So when you’re hunting eggs, going to church, or enjoying Spring’s beautiful vistas, remember that today is all about Jesus and His love for you. That He was willing to die for you on the cross so that your sins would be forgiveness.

“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” (Matthew 28:1-7)

“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
‭‭(Romans‬ ‭10:9, 13‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'” -Billy Graham

“There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love.” -Charles Stanley

“You must make your choice: either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” -C. S. Lewis

Hope in the Midst of Despair

In life we will inevitably encounter seemingly impossible situations and circumstances. The paths we have chosen in life, however carefully, will at times lead us to confront insurmountable obstacles. These obstacles may take the form of people, events, places, or situations even when we think that we’ve plan for every contingency. When we inevitably fail to find solutions to our circumstances, our first instinct is to despair and seek someone to blame. We blame God, the people around us, even ourselves.

Billy Graham tells the story of a man who became shipwrecked on a deserted island many years ago. Upon reaching safety, the man built a hut and filled it with all the supplies he’d managed to save from his boat before it was wrecked. He built a fire and each day he would watch and wait for some sign of a ship or airplane passing by. He prayed to God for help. Some days he would get discouraged and wonder if he would ever get off that island, but still … he prayed.

Then one day while he was exploring the other side of the island, he noticed some smoke coming from the direction of his hut. With sudden realization and horror, the man ran as fast as he could back to the hut only to find it and all his supplies caught in a blaze of fire. He sank to his knees, realizing that everything he’d needed to survive had gone up in a pillar of black smoke.

He shook his fist skyward demanding to know why God had allowed this to happen. Then he lowered his head in dispair.

Several hours later as the man gazed out into the endless ocean, a small speck appeared on the horizon. The man watched elated as a ship grew closer and closer. He yelled greetings as a landing party arrived, took him onboard, and told him that they were plotting a different course but noticed smoke off in the distance and thought the smoke was a signal for help.

It was then the man knew that God had sacrificed his meager possessions on the island for a much better future elsewhere.

This life is full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely stay afloat. We may not understand what God is doing, but we can keep our confidence in His plan for our lives.

“‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

(‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

So where do you go to find peace and security in the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ. In the midst of the storms of this life, I choose to place my hope in Jesus.