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I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit over the last several weeks and have hoped that these truths from the Scripture might encourage you and help you in the days to come.

As disciples of Christ one of the most difficult trials that we find ourselves confronted with along our journey of life is the loss of someone we care about and love. The depth of the emotions that we experience and the grief that we encounter at times can be just a little bit overwhelming. In addition, we discover that there are a myriad of adjustments that will occur. They seem to begin almost immediately with the simple changes that happen within our daily lives, and then quite unexpectedly they continue to expand to new and unanticipated changes which are uncovered day by day.

We grieve... and the deep and personal emotion that we experience during these times of grieving turn out to be gifts from God to us because they reveal the depth of love that we can share and have shared with another and they draw us closer to Him. The revelation of the Scripture never instructs us not to grieve. What they do say is that if a Christian dies, we do not grieve as those who have no hope.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)

We have hope because we know, not just wish, that our separation from our loved ones is only temporary.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (ESV)

It most certainly is a powerful revelation to know that the ones we have loved and cared about are now in heaven with the Great Shepherd, Jesus, who has taken them through “the valley of the shadow of death” into the presence and fellowship of the Father along with those who have preceded them.

We have hope for the future and yet we still need help for the day. It is at times like this we find common ground with all humanity, for we all need the same things...comfort, rest, hope, strength and peace...and all of those things are found in Jesus.

We find the testimony of the Apostle Paul, who certainly had his share of sorrows and disappointments and yet each time the Lord saw him through, giving him the strength he needed. Paul could say without hesitation and with deep gratitude. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,” 2 Corinthians 1:3 (ESV)

I’ve watched it throughout the years and have experienced it myself when Our Lord offers and provides us with the comfort and the peace we need, when we need it the most. The Scripture penetrates into our heart with the assurance brought to us by the compassion of our Lord, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” Isaiah 66:13

We have a heavenly Father who understands the sorrow that we have when we lose someone we love. He knows what it’s like to lose a loved one...a Son... on the cross... dying for the sins of the world.

We have a Savior who is described in the Scriptures as a “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” Isaiah 53:3

We have a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who brings the comfort of Christ into our lives.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. John 14:26 (ESV)

Yes, the Lord God understands, but He is willing to do more than that if we let Him. He is willing to bear our sorrow. “ casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)

That really means a lot to all of real life...with real stuff going on. He offers us comfort and He offers us rest and He offers us peace. It’s just so true that Christ makes such a discernable difference in our lives; in the way we live, in the way we think, and in the way we heal. We just couldn’t do it without Him. Our hearts are comforted, and our lives are motivated, to not only receive His blessing but to share it with others who long for and have need of the same inner peace that brings such indescribable joy.

It may be that right now you’re not experiencing the loss of someone in your life, but the time will come if the Lord tarries. And when that time comes in your life or in the life of a friend, you will have an opportunity to receive what the world cannot give. The “peace that passes understanding”. People will try to help one another...and they should...and that is good...but it’s not enough...we need more...and only Christ is sufficient.

When someone we love dies, the same offer that was given by Jesus many years ago still holds true. It is a promise to be claimed and experienced. May the Lord be lifted up and glorified.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)


Posted by Ralph Sawyer with
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Isn’t that a true statement? Tools are great, aren’t they? But the right tools are essential for getting the job done efficiently. Nearly 15 years ago, Chad and I bought a home in Temecula, California. We were house poor leaving very little money for any suggested upgrades. Consequently, we were content with the builder grade flooring that consisted of a mix match of tile, carpet and linoleum . . . at least for a while. Then the day came when it was time to take out the linoleum and install matching tile. We first had to remove a metal transition strip between the different flooring. And so with tools in hand (safety glasses, flat head screw driver and a hammer) we sat crossed legged, facing each other and began the task of chipping away at the grout and glue holding the transition strip in place. Forty-five minutes later with little progress made, Chad says to me, “Want to just hire this out?” Of course my answer was an enthusiastic “YES”! The next week a gentleman enters our home and within seconds . . . seconds mind you, the strip is removed! What? How? He had the right tool, not a flat head screwdriver but a small hand held jackhammer – I was impressed! And I’ll never forget that lesson – the right tools make all the difference!

It’s the same in our relationships. We need the right tools to help us live our lives effectively for Christ. What are some tools that will help? Well, I’m certain there are several but I will list four that help me personally; knowledge, friendship, prayer, and God’s Word. Now you can chew up the meat and spit out the bones on any number of these suggestions, however, tools are important and they can make the labor of living more productive and rewarding.

Knowledge is key and on a recent outing with our oldest, she suggested I take a personality test, the Myers Briggs personality assessment to be specific. So, as she drove, I took the test and received my results. Results that my daughter would laugh and say “these are spot on, mom!” Turns out, according to Myers & Brigg, I’m an ISFJ personality (“The Defender”). She would say . . . “mom, this is best played out at the dinner table with someone’s getting in trouble”, and I have to laugh because it is true! Conflict is the enemy in my mind and is to be avoided at all costs! Why is a personality test listed as a tool? It gives me knowledge! Knowledge about what makes me, and those around me, tick! This knowledge brings light to strengths and weaknesses, helping build into my heart compassion and appreciation for differences that are housed in our home. If you’re curious about your own personality you can find the test at or you can just ask your kids!!

Friendship is another tool I use to help me on this journey. Friendships push me out of my comfort zone; probably because I’m an ISFJ – HA!! But really, they do . . . they push me to stay focused. I have one such friend who on a weekly basis we seek the LORD on behalf of each other. We don’t really spend a lot of time together physically however we share each other’s burdens and praises in prayer, on which I place great value! Find that friend, dear reader! God’s Word commands it in Proverbs 27:17, as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Prayer is the connection to

  • our Creator,
  • our Savior,
  • our Lifeline,
  • our Hope,
  • our Breath
  • our Purpose

I lift my eyes unto the hills,

Where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,

Maker of heaven and earth! From Psalm 121:1-2

I love the LORD, because He has heard

My voice and my supplications.

Because He has inclined His ear to me,

Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2

We sing it in worship and God desires it in our communication through prayer. He desires that we cast our cares on Him because He cares for us! Just like I desire for Chad to tell me how his day went at the office so that I might carry his hurts and worries and his joys. God not only wants to carry our burdens, He wants to see us through them so a lost world will see His Grace. Prayer is pivotal and powerful, being quiet before the LORD, lifting up our praises and problems.

And finally, where would we be without God’s Holy Word? One place we will find ourselves is “without excuse”. We have the WHOLE Bible, in it’s entirety from beginning to end and we (I) will be without excuse if I chose to avoid its wisdom. On the bright side – what a fantastic tool and oh so necessary for life! Just listen to what He said today from Proverbs 18 . . . death and life are in the power of the tongue!! My words have power and that makes me pause. Am I an encourager to Chad? Do I respect the men in this family; all three, Chad, Colin and Dylan? Do my words bring life or am I full of nagging death? See the power in God’s Word to change us? Now that’s an effective tool!

Cause me to hear of Your loving-kindness in the morning,

For in You do I trust;

Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,

For I lift my soul to You. Psalm 143:8

As I think about working on that transition strip with a flat head screw driver, making lots of effort and having very little success; I want to be intentional with the good tools God has given. It can be the key to living the labor of life with power and purpose.


Posted by Tracy Smith with

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