When Christians Die

This morning a celebration of life will be observed for a woman who was part of my Life Group from church. She passed away and entered the presence of Jesus on Good Friday shortly before midnight. My first thought was what an Easter celebration she had. 🙂

Her final days in hospice care provided some poignant moments. One that I will never forget was bringing some grape juice and gluten free crackers to observe communion with her, her family, and a few Life Group members. I sat near her and read scripture to her, played some worships songs, and prayed as we shared communion.

When a Christian friend passes away, I am always mindful of what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 about grieving:

brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope

Even in death we have hope because of Jesus. He defeated death for us through his resurrection. The plan is already set for our resurrection which Paul wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4:

 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

When a Christian dies, our spirit/soul enters into heaven enjoying eternal glory but we also wait for that day our bodies will be resurrected. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:8:

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

and home it is.

So as we celebrate my friend’s earthly life, I will be mindful of the truth that she lives on in heaven and is much better off than I am at the moment. I will also remember that for Christians death is not goodbye. It is see you again.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- A Woman/Faithful by Amy Grant and Ellie Holcomb

Imagine watching as the man who delivered you of seven demons, welcomed you into his group of friends, brought healing to your life, and took you from outcast to member of his group, die on the cross. Imagine how you would feel.

Now picture yourself being her at the empty tomb feeling confused and distraught eyes full of tears so you can’t see straight. A man asks you, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

You don’t recognize him because of the tears in your eyes. Then he says your name:

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

When he says your name, you immediately know who it is.

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” 

Then he tells you to go tell the men.

That was the experience of Mary Magdalene the first Easter Sunday morning. Jesus bestowed upon her the honor of being the first to see him after his resurrection.

I love this song which is about the experience of Mary Magdalene that first Easter Sunday.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Resurrection Sunday- Jesus Lives

The first Easter Sunday some of the women who followed Jesus went to Jesus’ tomb. The tomb was empty and two angels were there. They asked the women a question we read in Luke 24:5-7:

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ 

These women had seen Jesus die on the cross. They knew he had died. What a question-“why do you look for the living among the dead?”

Jesus defeated death for us. His resurrection is proof that when he died for our sins, it accomplished the plan of God.

Jesus lives. He is alive on his throne in heaven and one day he will return.

Because he lives, we can face the problems of this life. Because he lives, we can face tomorrow whatever it brings. Because he lives, we have hope in any situation.

Happy Resurrection Sunday to all of my readers.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Because He Lives by Crowder, Johnnyswim, and Tori Kelley

This is certainly a tumultuous time that we are living in with the COVID-19 virus, tension and protests, and economic uncertainty.

The question could arise in our minds, souls, and spirits of how can we go on. It would be completely understandable to have doubts and wonder what else could arise and if tomorrow will bring any hope.

I love this song Because He Lives. It helps me to refocus on the truth that Jesus defeated death. Jesus lives. He is alive forevermore and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Because Jesus lives, because he defeated the worst thing that can happen to use- Death, we can face what tomorrow brings. We can face the problems of today and whatever tomorrow brings.

We can have hope in any crisis, any situation, because Jesus lives. He has all power and he loves us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Understands Sorrow

Sorrow is a word we do not hear used much. It runs much deeper than simply feeling sad. Sorrow is defined as- “a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or other” -online dictionary.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

During this time of global pandemic, there is a lot of sorrow being experienced. There has been loss of life, loss of jobs, disappointments such as canceled graduation ceremonies, weddings, and much misfortune.

Jesus understands sorrow. He experienced it the night before he was crucified. He knew what was about to happen, so he went to pray. In Matthew 26 we read:

“Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Jesus felt great sorrow. His agony and distress was so much that he sweat drops of blood. But he endured it because of his love for us.

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Jesus also defeated death through his resurrection. He understands our sorrows and struggles. Because of that, he is our sympathetic High Priest as Hebrews 4 says:

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Dear reader, we can come to Jesus in prayer and give him our sorrow knowing he understands. We can come to him just the way we are and be honest with our thoughts and feelings. We can find grace to help us.

That is so comforting to me during this time of global pandemic.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Morning with Worship Songs

Spending the morning listening to worship music is totally making my day 🙂

Worship music lifts my spirits so much. My morning class finished yesterday and I have a 2 week break from it. During the next 2 weeks, my desire is to stay connected first of all with Jesus and also with others.

Lauren Daigle shared a Social Distancing Version of her song Still Rolling Stones. I am listening to it on repeat right now to celebrate the fact that no matter what happens around us, Jesus has defeated death and is our eternal hope.

He Rescued Her and He Appeared to Her First-Mary Magdalene

It was the first Easter Sunday morning. There was much turmoil over the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus among his followers. They were in hiding. Soldiers were guarding his tomb. The emotions of Mary Magdalene would have been very intense.

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Jesus rescued her from a life of being an outcast. He healed her of seven demons, so she would have been on the fringes of society when Jesus delivered her from her torment. She followed him and spent a lot of time with his mother.

Mary was at the foot of the cross as Jesus died. She saw the man who rescued her from a dismal life die a brutal death.

Sunday morning came and she went to care for his body, but the huge stone in front of his tomb was rolled away. The tomb was empty. Tears filled her eyes to the point she could not see straight. He came to her and asked who she was looking for. Through her tear filled eyes she mistook him for the gardener and begged if he knew where the body of Jesus was until, he spoke her name.

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

“She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” which means “Teacher”

She wanted to cling to him. The greatest miracle out of all she had seen him do. He was alive again. She wanted to hold onto to him, but he gave her a job- Go tell. He commissioned her to be his witness. A woman be a witness? He elevated her status.

Now she will forever be the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection, It was not by accident. It was by design. Jesus appeared first to the one who was the lowliest before becoming his follower. The message? Jesus loves all people. No one is too low in life to receive Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Lives

2 greatly profound words because of what they mean to us. Jesus lives. He defeated death for us through his resurrection. Because he defeated death, it means that his death on the cross accomplished what was planned. He came to die for us, so that we can have eternal life. If he had not defeated death, then he would have just been a good man dying as a martyr. He was no martyr. It was the plan. He knew he would be crucified.

Because he lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, we have hope. Because he lives, we can look forward to an eternal future with him if we receive him.

Jesus lives. Jesus is alive. He is seated on his throne in heaven and will return one day.

I would like to share a classic Easter song with you. It is Easter Song by Second Chapter of Acts. 2nd Chapter of Acts was one of the first Contemporary Christian Music groups back in the 1970s. I love this song with the lyrics of:

Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They’re singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the word, He has risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah
He’s risen, hallelujah

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Saying Goodbyes- Jesus with His Followers

I have had the privilege of joining many special meals for special occasions. Some of them have been goodbye dinners for people leaving my city to return to their countries after completing their education. Those have been especially poignant moments as friends realizing they will probably never see each other again say goodbyes.

In such moments, we share what is on our hearts. We long to be with the people who have been important to us.

I will also never forget my friend from Korea who died of stomach cancer in June 2006. I was one of his spiritual advisers from the day he was diagnosed until the day he died. Many times he would confide in me that he was not concerned for himself because he knew Jesus. His concern was for his wife and three children. I was with him and his family the night he died. I leaned down and whispered in his ear that I would help them. It was the last time he smiled in this life.

Jesus knew he was going to die. He knew he was going to be arrested, tortured, and crucified. He also knew he would defeat death through his resurrection and return to his throne in heaven. Jesus wanted to prepare his disciples, the men he had been mentoring, for his death, resurrection and return to heaven. In John 14 he told them:

“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. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

He was reassuring them that he would come back for them to bring them to heaven to be with him. But Thomas said what would have been on our minds by saying- we don’t know the way so how can he get there.

Jesus answered:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

He told them that he is the way to heaven. We only need to know him because he is the way.

Jesus proved that when on the third day he rose from the dead in a glorified body. He defeated death for us.

As we go through this time of uncertainty, we can say- My Redeemer Lives. Because he lives I can face tomorrow.

Nicole Mullen sang it so beautifully in her song Redeemer. I would like to share it with you. Thank you for reading. God Bless.