The Lost Art of Grieving

Loss is a part of living; but grieving is a lost art. We do not want to face the pain, so we stuff it inside, wallow in self-pity and depression, and ignore the one safety valve God gave us to overcome the deep abiding sadness we carry around with us every hour of every day.

If we would allow Him to, our God of all comfort would fill us with His joy and peace as we trust in Him. He enables us to overflow with hope by the power of His Holy Spirit within us (Romans 15:13).

People usually ignore us when we are grieving, because they do not know what to say. They may want to speak to us but cannot decide how to word their feelings. This is common and we do not need to feel insecure.

We can simply say, “I am not sure what to say, but I want you to know that I care about you and that I am here for you in any way that I can be of help.”

We tend to use phrases like: passed on, passed away, graduated to heaven, went to be with the Lord, etc. Using the word “died” will allow the grieving person to realize that it is okay to refer to their loved one in that same way.

We can express our concern by sharing our sorrow that they are experiencing this loss. “I am so sorry for your loss. I really care about you. How may I help you?”

A simple, “What do you need from me right now?” or “What can I do for you?” are appropriate ways to offer help, because they show you support them during this time of grief.

Do not tell the grieving person that their loved one is in a better place, or that they will get over their grief in time, or that this loss was part of God’s plan, or that you know how they feel. Instead, ask them, “How are you feeling right now?”

You do not need to remind them of all they still have to be thankful for or that they can find comfort in the fact that their loved one really cared about them.

Do not tell them what they should feel or do. Let God direct their steps in His timing and way. If they ask you, then start your comment with, “Have you ever considered …”getting a part-time job”, “volunteering at a shelter”, “helping us with our children’s ministry” (in the office, on workdays around the building).

The worst thing you can say is, “It is time to get on with your life.” You could say, “God still has plans for your life and He will show them to you as you are ready.”

Everyone has a different way to grieve and different time frames in which to do this. Some take longer than others. Some never get over the intense feelings of grief and it shapes their future life.

Many friends forget about the grieving person once the funeral is over. That is when the person needs us the most. Take them shopping, to get their hair done, or for a quiet walk in the park on a pleasant sunny day.

Take them a hot meal, but do not stay to watch them eat it. Offer to buy them some groceries or to do their dishes or wash a load of laundry. These basic needs often get neglected when we are grieving.

Send cheerful cards, invite them to a movie or over to your house to join mutual friends for dinner. Do not force them to be outgoing or cheerful. Just allow them to silently enjoy your company.

Honor their requests, don’t push your ideas on them, but ask them, “What would you like to do this week?” Do this regularly for the first year after their loss. Be patient and don’t push them. Love them with the love of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, knowing what to say to a grieving person is so nerve wracking and our ineptitude is paralyzing. Teach us how to comfort. Give us Your Holy Spirit’s wisdom for how to minister to each new grieving person. Put Your ideas in our mind, inspire our creativity with Your ideas on how to be a special blessing to this grieving friend, relative or church member.

We also ask that You comfort us in our grief. Help us not to wallow in self-pity but to rise and shine with each new day and to seek Your will in each new moment. Help us to realize that You have plans for us that do not include our loved one; and that we still have purpose and meaning for our life in You.

Thought for the Day:
Give a bereaving person the gift of your time and attention.

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Lift Up Your Head

Rahab hid the Israelite spies who came to scope out the land for the Israelite invasion. She was rewarded with salvation during the destruction of Jericho.

The amazing part of this story to me is that she lived in the outside wall, and God sent her deliverance before the wall fell straight down on the seventh day.

God kept her safe even through this time of destruction, as well as redeemed her from her former profession. She married Salmon; and her son, Boaz, married another gentile convert, Ruth.

Rahab is the great-grandmother of King David and is in the ancestry lineage of Jesus Christ. God truly lifted up her head and turned her ashes into a thing of beauty (Psalm 3:3-4).

Our Father God does this same thing for anyone willing to surrender their will to His will (Luke 22:42). He exalts our head above our enemies (Psalm 27:5-6).

When our soul is depressed and unsettled within us, we hope in God and praise His name, and He puts a smile on our lips and joy in our heart (Psalm 42:11).

He sets our feet to dancing (Psalm 30:11) and gives us something to shout about (Psalm 98:4). He changes our focus from the temporal to the eternal and gives us a future full of hope and blessings (Jeremiah 29:11).

Eventually, we leave this carnal earth behind and enter into the glories of Heaven, living in the presence of God for eternity and inheriting His Kingdom with Jesus (Revelation 21:23; Psalm 16:11; Romans 8:17).

Prayer:
Father God, we praise You all the days of our life and still do not have enough time to thank You for all You have done for us. We look forward to eternity and having endless eons to worship You in all of Your beauty and holiness. We give you praise, honor and glory.

Thank You for Your love for us, for holding us in the palm of Your hand and for lifting up our head when we face the trials we encounter on this earth. You fill our hearts with joy and peace; not the tentative harmony that the world offers, but Your lasting and eternal peace that surpasses our human comprehension (John 14:27).

Thought for the Day:
God leads us by His Spirit each moment of the day and fills our life full of divine appointments which make a difference in our life and in the lives He brings across our path.

Continual Filling from the Rivers of Living Water

 

We receive God’s Spirit at salvation, which is the river of living water within us (1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:3). We receive all of Him, all of Christ and all of God at that very moment (Romans 8:9).

God’s Spirit seals our redemption in Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14). He gives His gifts and fruit to all Believers to enjoy and to share with the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Galatians 5:22-23).

He reveals to us the riches, which the blood of Christ purchased for us, and which God prepared for all those who love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:12-17; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

He is the supplier of every spiritual blessing, which Christ has for us in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). These blessings provide us with everything we need for an abundant life of holiness (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Out of His presence within us flows rivers of living water (John 7:38). As we walk in the Spirit, we no longer carry out the desires of the flesh, because we follow Him one step at a time throughout our day (Galatians 5:15-25).

The world, the flesh or the devil may tempt us, but we rely on God’s Spirit to vanquish every foe. The fruit and gifts of the Spirit gain ascendancy over our former carnal nature, and we do only the will of God (Ephesians 2:10).

If we do not have the Spirit of God within us, we do not belong to God (Romans 8:9-10). If God’s Spirit abides within us, we are a watered garden with unfailing springs of living water flowing from us (Isaiah 58:11).

We shall never thirst again (John 4:14). We joyously draw life from His springs of salvation and share them with those around us who hunger and thirst after God (Isaiah 12:3; Ezekiel 47:9).
Prayer:
Father God, there is nothing in this life, which we desire more than You. We find our lasting peace and joy in the center of Your will. Everything else compromises our ability to enjoy the filling of Your Spirit each moment of our day.

Remind us that the pleasures we receive at Your right hand are lasting and fulfilling, and so much better than anything this world has to offer. What we once found entertaining or enjoyable loses its luster and we see it for the counterfeit that it really is.

Thought for the Day:
For the glory of God, our spirit and soul need to experience a continual filling of God’s Spirit as we daily lay down our life and anything in it that may grieve or quench God’s Spirit.
– Ephesians 4:30, 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Never Alone

We never go through a trial without God in the midst of it with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). Christ and the Holy Spirit reside within us (Galatians 2:20).

Even through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us (Psalm 23:4). Whenever we feel that God is not with us, it is due to our behavior, not the Trinity. We leave them or grieve them by our choices and behavior (Psalm 13:1-6).

This causes us to lose courage, strength, joy and heart. We feel abandoned and forlorn. We have no will to go on any more. We may even feel betrayed by those who are supposed to love us, including God.

God is just waiting for us to completely surrender to His love. The Way, Truth and Life is always with us and in us, giving us wisdom and bringing us into God’s glory (Colossians 1:27; John 14:6).

The Lord wants us to accept His will without any conditions or self-will. Praise opens the gates of hell, which we are experiencing, and allows us to understand the freedom of our union with God (Act 16:16-40).

Praising God for the negative circumstances, for the seed for a miracle within the trial and for His goodness, even when we are hurting, is the key to spiritual victory.

Jesus knew Calvary awaited Him. He first requested that God save Him from the cross (Matthew 26:37-42). Then, He prepared Himself for this trial through a time of prayer in the garden with His disciples.

Jesus knew that the only way to traverse any trial is to embrace the will of God in and through it. Therefore, He changed His focus to the glory, which awaited Him (Hebrews 12:2).

We follow Jesus’ example and praise God regardless of His deliverance or blessings for us in this life, because we know the glory, which also awaits us in Heaven (Romans 8:18). We know that God will work out everything – even the most unbearable circumstances in this life – for our ultimate good.

Prayer:
Father God, teach us to worship You in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Remove any hypocrisy in us and help us to live, move and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28). Draw us close to You, because we know You will never, ever let us go.

We will pour out our love for You even when the flames of the fire, winds of the tornado, or destruction of the disease rip our life out of our clutches; because we know that our last breath on earth is followed by our first breath in Heaven.

Thought for the Day:
The God of the universe never, ever leaves or forsakes us; so, what is there to worry about? – Hebrews 13:5

A Contagious Smile

A smile is a wonderful blessing. It lights a fire in our heart every time we see one. It inspires us to inhale a deep breath and to exhale the tension built up in our body.

Sometimes, all a person needs is for someone to smile at them. Even if they are a stranger to you, they may need your sincere smile to revive them from their desperate thoughts.

Medical science agrees with the Bible when they say that a smile improves our mood (Proverbs 15:13-15), strengthens our immune system and lowers blood pressure (Provers 17:22), reduces pain (Proverbs 15:30), and relieves our stress (Psalm 126:2-3).

The easiest way to keep a smile on our face is to think only about issues that are accurate, moral, true, wholesome, divine, commendable, exceptional and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

The Apostles recommended that we even consider our trials as a joyous occasion. Trials test our faith in God’s faithfulness and mature us as spiritual beings (James 1:2-4; Matthew 5:12).

Our hope in the Lord gives us something to smile about, so that through prayer we can have patience in any affliction (Romans 12:12). God smiles on His Saints as He teaches us His ways (Psalm 119:135, 4:6, 31:16).

Prayer:
Father God, we can smile throughout our life, regardless of the circumstances, because they strengthen our confidence in You and our hope of eternal salvation, through Your steadfast love, as they develop Godly character in us (Romans 5:3-4; Psalm 31:16).

Help us to change our focus on the negative aspects of our life, so that we can change the expression on our face and smile (Job 9:27

Thought for the Day:
A smile is actually contagious, so give someone a smile today and bless their life.

Eternal Connection

Prior to Jesus’ death on Calvary’s cross, no one had the privilege of Christ dwelling in them. Only those of us born in this dispensation of time have this blessing of union with Christ (Colossians 1:25-27). This is one of God’s mysteries, because it seems impossible for all of us to have Christ in us at the same time. However, this occurs by God’s Spirit dwelling within every Born Again Believer as one Body (1 Corinthians 6:17; 1 Corinthians 12:27).

We are no longer two separate beings. Jesus dwells in us and we dwell in Him. He functions through us as one entity. We are one spirit with Him (John 17:21). The entire power and majesty of the Godhead dwells in Christ and He dwells in us (Colossians 2:9). Our carnal humanity is replaced with His divinity within us, which manifests through the process of sanctification (Romans 8:9; Galatians 2:20).

Jesus changes our whole life. We fellowship with other Believers and enjoy Jesus in them (1 John 1:7). We feed on His Word. We depend upon His fullness in us (Proverbs 30:5). We tithe of the first fruits of our income to increase the ministry of His Kingdom on the earth (2 Chronicles 31:5). We praise Him with our whole heart, because He inhabits our praises (Psalm 22:3). No exercise or ritual can bring us closer to Him than we already are.

As we stop relying our self and others, and trust in God instead, we grow in faith with a new perspective on trials (John 3:30). Now, we experience trials as adventures ending in God’s special miracles, tailored just for us. There is no need to draw any closer to the God of the universe, who is sitting on His throne in Heaven, because this same Christ is eternally connected with each Born Again Believer.

In our union with Christ, we live, move and have our entire being and identity in Christ, who is our whole life (Acts 17:28; Colossians 3:3-4). He is now the central focus of our choices. We are not autonomous any more, which also means that we are no longer afraid, insecure, lonely, unhappy and unfulfilled. We follow God’s plan for our life, and we exemplify His nature to the world around us (Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:4).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that we are no longer the focus of our life. We no longer live to amass worldly goods and prestige for our self. We live only for Your honor and glory. Regardless of our lot in life, we are forever linked with the almighty power of Your Godhead dwelling within us in complete fellowship. We are Your children and Your Spirit leads us moment by moment throughout the day (Romans 8: 14).

Thought for the Day:
We are dwelling in Christ, and He is in perfect union in us.
– John 15:4