Tag Archive | life and death

The End is The Beginning: A Test of Choices

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Believe in God’s Promises

I spent the weekend canoeing on a lake with a group of girls. The weather was utterly picture perfect. The water was too cold to swim in but the fall colors of the trees surrounding us were at peak.

I’m glad this is where I was yesterday. I’m glad I got to sit in the middle of the lake and gaze in wonder at the palate of colors God created. Whispy white clouds draped the sky line. Red and brown tree leaves that fluttered in the wind were an amazing contrast to sky blue. The sun’s rays shining through those rusts and reds and the sunlight sparkling on the water was awesome to behold.

But there is another reason I’m glad I was there yesterday. Because yesterday marked 31 years since my Mom passed away.

In some ways, it still feels like yesterday but in reality it was a lifetime ago.

The focus of this post won’t be on how much I miss her or how I’m grieving. That’s NOT how this works. This blog is God’s corner of the World for Encouragement!

What have I learned?

Our physical bodies do deteriorate over time. It’s just how we were designed. I know of too many people who believe that when the body dies, your “dead” and THAT’s IT! There is nothing else. Your body “rots” in the ground.

I don’t believe that. That is just not possible.

I no longer resent, regret or feel true grief or mourning over Mom’s passing. My solace didn’t happen over night and it didn’t happen because I “WILLED” it too.

 

I grew up with my Mom taking me to church. I remember she read her bible. But I remember distinctly that after she was diagnosed (post surgery) in February ’83 that she spent a lot more time reading her Bible and outside in the garden (which didn’t last long). My memories of her are dim but I remember them as God allows.

What I now realize is what she learned back then. Her physical body was destined to die but she was preparing for something bigger: Her Soul, Her Spirit for Heaven.

The time she spent reading The Bible: The Word of God, was a LIFE-giving source of sustenance for the part of her that was “trapped” inside a cancer ravaged body.  Our bodies are more than what we can see. Our skin and physical manifestation covers the WHO we are inside. And that WHO we are inside can have a different destination than the casket, an urn, or a whole in the ground.

My mom was sad to be leaving the people she’d lived life with. I’m certain she was sad about her own past regrets. Sad about unrealized dreams.

I’m also certain her sadness was short-lived. She was learning to love and trust in God. His Word was a lamp in the darkness she faced. None of us knew what she was feeling, but Jesus did. Jesus had already walked in her shoes. He’d felt her pain. He was showing her through each verse she was reading how REAL HE IS. She was hungry for the PEACE of God, and God was providing.

Her ultimate trial of persecution would end up with her physical body breaking down, stopping her heart, her breathing and finally her brain. But the part that we couldn’t see (her Spirit/Soul) separated from a now defunct body and returned to its origin, her Savior.

Her dying was the end of THIS PHYSICAL earthly life but not HER SPIRITUAL demise; at the moment of her death, I know she went into God’s presence. I have felt her there.

The Enemy will try to tell us that there is nothing else beyond this mortal existence. And that might be easy to believe or to WANT to believe. Too many of us want to believe WE are in control. In control of our destiny’s, our future’s, our families; even the money we earn or the food we eat.

Let’s remember something: When you were born you came into this world with NOTHING. You arrived NAKED and in NEED of care.

You may not die Naked, you may have clothing on. But when you die, YOU TAKE NOTHING with you. You leave the same way you left.

 

Why are we here then?

 

You were given life as a TEST.

A test of character.

A test of humility.

A TEST of LEARNING to LOVE.

 

If you decided in this life not to believe in God.

If you opt to reject the belief of Jesus as Savior, because you have not seen Jesus, then you are a Doubting Thomas.

Do NOT let doubt cloud your mind.

 

Jesus Appears to Thomas

24 One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin),[a] was not with the others when Jesus came. 25 They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

26 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

 

Dying is not the end.

It was never designed to be the end:

But our ultimate destination is determined by our

CHOICES.

 

Matthew 10:39New Living Translation (NLT)

39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

Instead of posting a music video,

I am posting a video story that will change how you look at life.

Watch it.      Share it.      Understand.

Please Click on the link below his photo

 

Have you met Clayton McDonald?

 

Dying is a frightening premise.

We fear what we can’t see.

So allow yourself to TRUST; a mustard seed of Faith is all it takes

 

Matthew 13:31-32New Living Translation (NLT)

 

Parable of the Mustard Seed

31 Here is another illustration Jesus used:

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field.

32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants;

it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

Dear God,

Thank you for my Mother. For the Blessing of her love and the example she was of how to seek YOU and Love YOU.

Help each of us to find you before we take our final breath and fill the grieving with your peace…to bring them closer to YOU.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

-Kenzel

 

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Easter in the rearview: an everyday celebration

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It’s the 11th hour, literally, as I write this.

Easter Sunday is nearly over. and here I sit munching on a favorite snack: sliced & salted cucumber.

Yeah, not the best thing to do at this hour of the day. But I figure that it’s a better option than a pint of ice cream (which I do not have in the house anyway.)

I do have Easter candy around here. I hope to finish this blog post before it comes to that. I’d chew gum if I could, but gave up on that years ago. *Sigh*

Oops, cucumber slice…sorry.

So, back to the task at hand. This blog post.

 

Weeks ago I had wanted to write a post for Good Friday. No such luck.

Last Monday I tinkered with getting an Easter entry ready to go. Didn’t happen. I had an excuse, my neighbor died. His funeral in fact, is tomorrow. *heavy sigh*

I now realize with each death I am being “tested.” I know that sounds weird.

Yes, I’m being tested (so are we all) and all too often I feel like I am looking at an EpIC Fail: at least in my eyes… In God’s Eyes: maybe not.

Cucumber slice.

I am caught in a “time capsule” of life. A time capsule of God’s making.

He created me. He knows exactly what I am here for, while I do not. In addition, He is watching me with baited breath from his Throne.

That might seem creepy to some, but not to me. In fact, it’s mildly comforting albeit frustrating.

I wear His cross as a symbol of my belief in His sacrifice and mercy.

I belong to HIM. Yet, I fail Him everyday.

Even as I meander through this “maze” called my life.

Not unlike you, I am

  • flying
  • running
  • stumbling and
  • searching for my way to successfully navigate some really tough waters in a tiny row boat – and better yet, I’m doing so blindfolded – and it’s DARK.

“I don’t know who I am or where I’m going” I once said to my Godmother. I was in my teens or early twenties when I uttered those words and her instantaneous reply left me speechless on the phone: “You ARE a child of God and your are going to Heaven.”

I’ve never forgotten those words. But that is of little comfort when the storms swell causes the sea to rise… and all you can think about as those waters get choppy and you feel sea sick is:

Why am I blindfolded?

Why am I in a tiny row boat?

Why am I the one doing all the paddling?

While I may recognize I’m already “dog-tired” I don’t immediately realize that I’m trying to get control of a boat that isn’t meant to be controlled by me. I also can’t see that the storm I’m facing is too big and too powerful to face alone. The waves could drown me and capsize my boat!

 

Yeah, I am a little tired. I’ve been working diligently for more than 2 years to sift through piles of stuff and clear out excess. Don’t we humans just love to accumulate?

But I’ve come to recognize all this accumulation is a really BIG test. The accumulation has accrued because loved ones have died. I’ve spent 3 decades working on getting “tough” and recognizing death for what it is: The passage way from a sin filled life to peace and perfection with God in Glory.

I’ve managed to develop a fairly thick skin over the years because….well, that’s what God needs from me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hardened…I’m being prepared – and that’s all I know (for now.) That’s all He wants me to know, for now. And I’m okay with that. Inevitably He wants me to depend on HIM. And in the long run, I need to. I need the wisdom from His “macro” view point!

Not long ago (okay, get real, last week) I was feeling really frustrated that I have been a guest at so few weddings. I’m not kidding. I’ve probably been to less than 5 weddings in my life. On the other hand, I’ve been to so many funerals that I often feel callous about the funeral proceeding process. Again, I’m sure that’s gotta sound weird. But I hope not.

See, God wrote about death when He said in:

1 Corinthians 15:55-56

New Living Translation (NLT)

55 O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?[a]

56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.

And maybe that’s why I’ve developed somewhat of a callous over my heart. God allows our hearts, yours and mine to be broken just like His is.

He also stitches it right back together. Which is really, really good…because His stitches tend to make our hearts more resilient and able to tolerate the lessons He NEEDS us to learn. Death isn’t pleasant (and for the unsaved: it’s downright ugly) but death is downright necessary. It’s our FINAL test.

Cutting to the chase: death is NOT the end. We even avoid the subject of death. We may even avoid homes and people where death has “come knocking” – simply because it is an ill-fated reminder of what’s to come for us.

But what’s to come IS God’s greatest achievement in our lives yet. Because of HIS miracle in, through and with Jesus – this life is not ALL there IS. There is MORE. And that example is clearly seen when we take our bruised, battered, torn and broken hearts and LOOK to Jesus words in

John 19:30

where He says we have no reason to turn our back on facing our demise because “It is finished” AND that (in turn) leads the way to

John 11:25

when Jesus has come back to life, having conquered sin and death and HE says:

25 “I am the resurrection and the life.[e]

Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.

26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.

That is why we have Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. But most important of all is a reality that gets lost each year as Easter Sunday comes to a close.

Easter is 1 day. Easter is ONE day. EASTER IS A DAY ON A CALENDAR –

We should be living as if EASTER is EVERY-DAY.

 

As if Jesus resurrection NEVER ended just because His resurrection is complete. His good news for us is just the start. Death is the door way we must cross to see THE Light.

The Resurrection lead us to Pentecost. Pentecost is God’s living spirit that will abide IN US if we allow it. We can be a testimony about the amazing FEAT we have gained in what EASTER brings:

Hope for today! It’s time to ignite our light, to shine in the darkness as we WoRk our way HOME.

Prayer:

I long for you Jesus. I pray that in all we do: you will make our lives a living testament of who Jesus was and is. Help us to surrender, to allow you in..to mold us and make us NEW. Soften our hearts and help us to see that by surrendering we are really making ourselves stronger. Sanctify us and help us to feel your presence. Help us to find you in the midst of the storms we face.

Give us Peace and Grace, Grant us Mercy…..

I hope you had a blessed and joyous Easter Weekend!

Thanks for “hanging out” with me…and remember: You are LoVED by God!

-Kenzel