We’ve arrived at the time of year when folks are once again engaged in the activities of holiday planning. We have triple holidays forthcoming that are close to one another, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Lots of people consider this season a favorite. Yes, planning; church programs; traveling; shopping; decorating; cooking; diet busting eating; social gatherings; sports engagements; and time off from jobs and school. How many people, though, are mindful that folks had loved ones who transitioned during holiday seasons? Some have loved ones who passed away on Christmas Day last year. How challenging will it be for them this Christmas? How will they cope with the grief and the memories? What are ways that we can ease their holiday sorrows? Scores of elderly people are often lonely. It’s enhanced during this time of year. There are folks in nursing homes that rarely, if ever, get visitors. Gratitude extends to people who are considerate to include elderly folks in their holiday events. It’s good that nursing homes haveContinue reading »

Sorrow came to visit, and grief sought to consume him – It was challenging to escape the inner turmoil – Remedy? He helped his neighbor – Reaching out to help eased his sorrow Widowed and lonely What did she do? She wallowed awhile then unselfishly, she “kissed” her self-pity goodbye – In she went to soothe neglected elderly folks who welcomed her in earnest – She adds the Lord’s light whenever she visits the assisted living home – Truly, helping others helps her Retired and bored – Bingo and golf aren’t enough to fulfill – Seeking, seeking more to complete his mundane life – Ah ha! He found more to satisfy – How so? He’s now a volunteer for the church bus ministry Yes, giving transpo drives folks and fuels his inner “engine” Yes, indeed, helping others gives plenty joyous gains. Certainly, helping others helps us.

Recently, we learned of yet another mass shooting, the likes of which have increased considerably. We certainly don’t understand the full scope of why people resort to such horrendous measures of cruelty and hatred. At present, the family members of the most recent victims of a mass shooting, in Oregon, likely feel that their grief is insurmountable. But we know that God heals sorrow. I can’t wholly imagine the heart pain that loved ones experience when their family members and friends are no longer present here for them to enjoy. And the pain is particularly enhanced when acts of violence remove those whom they love. Healing is a process and it often happens in stages. No two people grieve alike. My heart goes out to people who have losses to the family dynamic and the interruption of valued friendships. My thoughts extend to the children who will grow up without their parents. Their realities are significantly altered. Their fragile beings are shaken to the core. What a treasured relief thatContinue reading »

Grief is at the door. No invitation was extended so why is it at our door? Why is it a necessity? Why the “rude” interruption into our blissful lives? Grief enters. We have no choice about its presence for this season in our journey. Oh, grief, we implore you to delay your strikes at the core of our hearts. Silence is the “reply.” Instead, it lowers the “hammer” that pounds to the core of our beings. Tears flow as our bodies quiver with sorrow. We plummet in depths of depression. This must be until … Lo, we see slivers of light in the midst of the shadows. As we focus, it broadens and breaks the yokes that attempted to “strangle” our steadfast postures. Coping mechanisms kick in and we’re encouraged. Jesus, you’re a rest for our weary souls. Your presence is water in our dry lands. Yes, living water to quench our parched thirst Thank you! We’re anchored in hope and assurance that grief shall exit in this trying timeContinue reading »

No one has ever, or will, ever suffer more than Jesus. Isaiah called Him “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” Isaiah 53 is speaking of Jesus 700 years before His birth. The Bible tells us that God’s plan from “the foundation of the world” was Jesus Christ as our Savior; the whole Bible is the story of Jesus; the fall of man, the payment for that sin, and the glorious return of our triumphant King of kings and Lord of lords. “He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and thatContinue reading »

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul. In 1873 Horatio Spafford wrote this powerful hymn. Spafford was a wealthy businessman who lost his wealth in 1871 in the Great Chicago Fire. Coming hard on the heels of this blow, his four daughters were killed in a shipwreck while crossing the ocean, sparing only his wife. As he himself was crossing the Atlantic shortly thereafter, he wrote these words as the Lord gave him utterance as he passed near the scene of the tragedy. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. He is speaking of the act of Jesus on the cross, as the pardon for all who are bound for Hell lest they accept His pardon. Even though things are going wrong onContinue reading »