Never Give Up Hope

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:42-43

LORD Jesus we praise You for You are not only our Creator but also our Savior. Thank You for shining Light into our dark world. Thank You for opening our eyes and ears so that we can see and hear. Thank You for coming into our life, reaching out to us, and changing our heart for good. You are mighty to save. Hallelujah! In Jesus’ wonderful and precious name we pray. Amen.

The last couple of years of her life my mom was very sick. Her health deteriorated quickly and more and more with each day until her death in 2011. One of the days I suggested to her that we should pray to which she replied: “No. You pray for me. I cannot pray anymore.”

If you have ever read my testimony before you know that I have been raised in a more or less “traditional” but maybe not a Christian home filled with truly born-again believers.

A few days after mom’s death I began to wrestle with God. I wanted to find out if mom has made it to heaven, but His answer was a very different one than I had ever expected. It went something like this:

“If you would know that mom went to heaven you are in danger of pride thinking this happened because of your own influence on her. And if you would know that mom is not in heaven how could you ever go on living like this?”

Honestly, I found comfort in the fact that God knows where mom is at and that His timing and the plans He has for each one of us are always perfect.

Six years and three months later my dad died and I struggled with the same issue all over again. Where did dad go? Could it be that he has been saved in his very last minutes? I don’t know. What I do know, though, is that God is Love and that there is hope with God.

Here on earth we might never find out whereto that special someone we so dearly loved and tried to convince that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life has gone. The Word says that it is once for a man to die and then the judgment — so that someone’s destination has been set and there is nothing else we can do to change it. We should, however, never be tempted to judge wrongly. God knows the heart of man, and He knows for sure where this someone has gone to — we don’t.

A claimed atheist or not, never give up hope that your loved one has been saved — even within the last seconds of his or her life.

Hope in God today.

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He Who Came to Heal the Brokenhearted

And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.
And when He had opened the book,
He found the place where it was written:

“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR;
HE HAS SENT ME TO HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED,
TO PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET AT LIBERTY THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED;

TO PROCLAIM THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”

Luke 4:17-19

What a treasure to read Isaiah 61 this morning. So often I’m amazed about how perfect God’s timing always is. Hallelujah!

There is so much heartache going on in this world. And now, since Covid 19, suffering and loss seems even more intense — way more painful than ever before.

True, it has always been hard for the brokenhearted to cope with their situation; and, of course, it has never been easy to be held captive or to be oppressed; the pressure, however, feels stronger than it would have years ago. How come?

People are now being told to keep their distance, to isolate at the slightest sign of a symptom, and to avoid crowds. We cannot be together and should not hug each other under any circumstance. But what about the brokenhearted, the ones who grief the loss of a loved one, the ones who are held captive by others or who are in a spiritual prison cell — who is there for them?

Reading Isaiah 61 I this morning I dwelt on verses two and three for quite a while. They so touched my heart. Isaiah 61:2 says that the Messiah would proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. This was fulfilled the day that Jesus Christ has read the Scripture (see Luke 4:21). It also makes mention of how He has been sent to comfort all who mourn. And the words that follow in verse three are such an encouragement from the God of all Comfort and Love.

Precious one, if you are mourning go to the LORD in prayer; tell Him your sorrows and find — beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness today.

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Support in Times of Trouble and Weakness

I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

Psalm 18:1-3

LORD Jesus we praise You for You are our Strength. Forgive us, O LORD we pray, whenever we look to all kinds of sources but to You for help. Enable us to trust in You and to believe in Your Word — no matter what situation we are in and no matter what troubles or weaknesses we are facing in our life. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.

Looking back to past weeks, months, and years, it is easy for me to say: “Praise the LORD for what He has done in my life!” It was not that easy, though, while going through my troubles and being aware of my weakness. Yet the LORD has always carried me through the good times and the bad. Hallelujah!

This past weekend I exchanged some texts with my dear 49-year-old friend who is going through a really hard time right now. Today will be her husband’s funeral. Tomorrow and this coming Thursday I will be thinking of another dear friend, who is a widower since 2018. It would have been his wife’s birthday tomorrow. One of their sons has lost his battle against cancer in 2017. So this is going to be quite a painful week for our friend, too.

My grandma used to say that it is such a horrible, nearly unbearable pain, if a mother’s child faces death before herself. She knew. Her firstborn girl died at the age of 2 and my grandma never really got over that fact.

What can you say? How do you comfort people who are grieving over the death of a loved one? Ultimately there is only One who is truly able to comfort and strengthen the weary soul. It’s the LORD, the Rock, the Fortress, the Deliverer, the Shield, the High Tower and the very present Help in times of need. There is, however, one thing we can do: We can be there for them and we can…

Weep With Those Who Weep today.

 

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