Stricken with Grief

Psalm 23:He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

I will guarantee you that when David wrote Psalm 23, he wasn’t on top of the world, rather he was stricken with grief and sorrow. David suffered the death of his infant son and another son of his sought to murder him, and instead of castigating God, he turned to Him. David realized a peace without total understanding.

We are ALL subject to extreme grief as we live in a fallen world filled with sin, instant loss, failed promises, failed relationships, and all sorts of sorrow. Grief is one of the ways we know we are human beings. We feel the darkness and pain to our very core. But I am here to tell those who are going through the horrors of sorrow and grief, there is a LIGHT which shines and this is God.

During these times of grief, the devil swoops in and tempts you to read God the riot act or to try to get you to believe “there is NO light, just give up!”. And sadly that sentiment wins at times, usually with those who weren’t turning to God before this grievous circumstance enveloped their life. At which point, even though there is a light shining, they ignore it for the darkness and sadly some will never believe they’ll come out of that darkness and take their own lives.

When your loved on is grieving, pay attention! Don’t pass it off, don’t tell them to “suck it up” because it is a serious situation. It can’t be cured with drugs and alcohol which only numb the grief and darkness, but it won’t heal the sorrow. Listen to the grieving, be there for them in any way you can. Lectures on life or the Bible are probably not going to be well received. Just simply exhort them to turn the Master, the God Almighty and keep turning to Him. Telling them where they went wrong will only bring the darkness in more. Rather you has a healing agent must exhort the LIGHT which is there.

When dealing with the grieving, understand there is a VAST darkness they are going through. It seems endless. They’ll tell you this by their tears, their anxiety, their lack of sleep, their depression. So YOU must be that agent of LIGHT by simply reminding them that there is a light of God. And remember, it isn’t YOU who is going to be the healer. You are there to simply help by being there in any way you can for this grieving person. If they ask, give! If they tell you things, LISTEN! Hardly any grieving person will be in need of worldly advice, so don’t give it unless they ask.

Grieving is a process, and that timing is known to God. Some will spend days, some months, some years. There is NO set time by mankind, although mankind believes they can prompt the hand of God.

Grieving also has a PURPOSE from God. Some will need to look back during that time to see what those purposes were, and many times it is NOT what we thought or expected.

Grieving is a way God does commune with His children. The distractions are all removed. And the enemy knows this, so he will try to also commune. I can speak from experience, that during the times of extreme grief it is a minute by minute communing, and if you are turning to God, that peace will overcome the sorrow.

Lastly, no one is above such grief, not even God Himself who grieved the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the Cross. So never think you are more powerful, that your flawed willpower will be able to ignore this grief. Turn to God alone, He will see you through!

A True Guardian

Today, I remember Samson, my sister’s dog who passed away recently. He was 18 plus years old and lived a long life. We hear of “guardian angels” from some, but I do believe dog’s like Samson are also a blessing from God as a true guardian, one we can communicate with, see, touch, feel.

Samson was my sister’s true guardian. He was by her side all of his life. He didn’t beg, he didn’t sulk, he didn’t ask that she do things so that he’d get things. He was content on just one thing, being hers and being her stalworth. Those who haven’t owned a dog might never come to realize in this lifetime just how awesome this type of relationship is. No matter the day whether it be good, bad, ugly, they do not change their love and devotion and loyalty towards their owner. And sadly some only come realize it when the dog passes away, speaking from experience.

Dogs, pets, are not to be taken for granted. Because they are lower in the creation order from God does not mean we get to treat them like expendable garbage. To her credit, my sister realized her blessing from day one with Samson and never took him for granted. She treated him as a true family member and Samson treated her and her husband as his family members.

We can learn so much from our pets! As again, I believe they are sent by God to teach us many things such as patience, true love, obedience, self control, kindness, and true unconditional giving. If they could talk, they’d without question or hesitation give up their life for their owner and this type of love Jesus spoke about as “no greater love”. And this is the love my sister had with Samson. This type of relationship is truly unique and it is actually the biblical relationship we ourselves should have for our owner who is God.

This is why it is so hard when they pass away. We are not granted a lifetime with them and those reasons are known to God alone. Maybe it is to teach us to count our own days and realize our blessing of our own life. Maybe it is because that God Himself experienced the loss of His Son, Jesus Christ, at a young age and we get to feel a snippet of what He felt. Maybe it is to teach us very quickly on that owner/servant relationship our dogs have with us, and how we should be with our owner, God.

The empty house and broken heart are things we go through when they go, the time is mighty sorrowful and hurtful and hard. But be assured, God has promised to “wipe every tear away”, which means I personally believe their lives were not lived in vain, we will see them again in the Kingdom, that is for those who have placed their faith alone in Jesus Christ, saved by Him.

Which leads me to this, if you truly would want to see them again, do not waste another day in unbelief! Repent and follow Jesus Christ now in a full heart, cling to Him during these times and you will surely be comforted. Samson for example was a true guardian to my sister, but Jesus is the ultimate King, the ultimate guardian by which all good things flow! Trust in Him, turn to Him! Say this prayer “I trust in you God alone” until you begin to actually believe it!

Two Christmas Celebrations

There are actually two Christmas celebrated in this world. A Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ each and every day, and a singled out day in December celebrated by most everyone else of which I call the Secular Christmas.

The secular celebration comes complete with Santa Claus and his fictional reindeer, Christmas trees and lights, gift exchanges, family get togethers, a feast, Hallmark cards, and of course a couple of days off from work. Some don’t even call it “Christmas”, it is a “Holiday”. Once this day is over, the CC bills are a headache, the celebration ends as quickly as it started, those presents gave and received with the cards are forgotten, the tree gets burned or put in the closet with the lights, and all that “goodwill” gets put in the closet until next year. It is also engrossed in superstition, “the miracle of Christmas” in the secular mindset is a worldly gain.

You can see this in real time on Facebook and other social media, where Christmas is something wholly different to the poster as Christ is removed from the equation.

Whereas the true meaning of Christmas was the gift of salvation that God granted through His Son Jesus Christ. A birth of the God-man Jesus of which He left His eternal throne not because man was inherently “good”, but because we are inherently BAD. And by “bad”, I mean bad to the literal bone! The mere baby depicted in the lonely manger of Jesus had ONE mission, and it wasn’t to show us how to be better people. It was to SAVE us from our sins!

Yes, that mere infant Jesus started the death clock as soon as He was born. He was to fulfill all the prophesy of the Old Testament Messiah and march to His death on the Cross. By which He would redeem His children by His death, and three days later rise from a tomb which confirmed He surely was who He said He was, the eternal God incarnated. THIS IS WHAT ACTUAL CHRISTIANS HUMBLY CELEBRATE.

It is sad when I see professing Christians caught in between and caught up in the secular celebration and the divine celebration. They desire both, when there is just one TRUE celebratory birth of Jesus Christ that is IF He paid your sin debt. Without this incarnation, all would be condemned to hell, not a one would go to Heaven. Something to ponder if you haven’t done so. And do NOT be deceived who is behind the secular Christmas, it is Satan himself. Santa Claus for example replacing God in every respect is a way to indoctrinate children into that secular Christmas. The fictional Santa did not die for any sin! So why in the world would any Christian parent even teach that nonsense of “Santa Claus’? The removal of Jesus from His own birth is and will be the goal by a degenerate fallen people.

Yes, Jesus was born of a virgin just as promised. He came to save sinners who are born hating Him! “Goodwill to men” should now give you a different notion than useless coffee grinders, and other presents you get. Because there is NO GIFT you will ever receive that is even CLOSE on the scale of your salvation!! We thank a merciful God who by His grace alone saved His children through the person and work of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!

Merry TRUE Christmas!

A December to Remember

In 2019, my dog Leo and myself embarked on a perilous journey by the grace and mercy of God. We uprooted our lives in Minnesota and hastily and temporarily moved to Colorado so that Leo could receive possible lifesaving cancer treatments.

As I look back on that time, it will always be a month to remember because it was a total surrender to God’s will and purpose. I had to leave all doubt in my mind, and completely trust in Him that He’d help us survive the month. Why a dog, you might ask? Well in my case, Leo was the symbol to my new life God granted me, a true blessing. And I wasn’t going to just trash that blessing for selfish means, God was leading me. God made it known to me that Leo was not to be taken for granted as I have done in my former life with a previous dog.

The feeling of putting all this trust in God was pretty much like driving blindfold without your hands on the wheel. It was ALL Him or we would crash and after the initial natural anxiety, you settle in and enjoy the ride. You see, some SAY they trust God, but this is only realized when He puts you into a situation where you put up or shut up!

2 Chronicles 20 comes to mind. The Israelites surrounded by their enemies from all sides were put to that test. God told them they couldn’t help, all they could do is cheer Him on with song and instruments. Joshua and his congregation before Jericho for example, they would march around the gates of an enemy deadset to kill them because God told them to trust Him. Peter walking on water, and then sinking because he started to doubt is another example.

Now I am not saying I am some sort of awesome Christian, that I by myself exerted this trust. The fact is, my natural tendency was to grasp the wheel, to pull the blindfold off and help drive the car so to speak. So that trust didn’t come from me! It came from God. I cannot for a second take ANY credit or applause for trusting God. As is also the case in those biblical examples I mentioned, it wasn’t the Israelites, it wasn’t Peter, it was ALL God by His providence, mercy, and grace to give this supernatural trust to people totally UNDESERVING of it.

And without that trust in the December of 2019, where would I be? I would be a broken miserable person, regretting everything. And let me tell you something about this trust He grants, when and if you receive it, as Psalm 23 states “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”. These WORDS ARE FULLY REALIZED DEEP IN YOUR CORE, YOUR VERY SOUL!

Until you do walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will not know if you fear or not fear evil. Again, that TEST of whether you trust God where you truly do not fear or yourself where you are totally fearful. So pray for this trust from God! Without it, you WILL surely fail. Do not EVER think, “I can do this on my own” or in my analogy “I will drive the car without that blindfold and help God”, because He will leave you up to yourself and again, the battle is lost before it even started!

Although at the time, I didn’t know what God’s purpose was, I know now it served as a witness to others! That unconditional and total surrendering yourself to His Dominion will never fail you!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me

Staying Positive in God’s Will

John 16:22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.

In the past month, I decided to sell my home and move to a different state. Or at least that was the plan. I put my trust in God that if this was His will, it would all work out. So I priced the home aggressively, and got it ready to sell. If you ever have done this, you do realize the amount of instant stress which incurs.

While listing the home, I was also looking at different properties in a couple of states. And recently went to view many of them. The Lord reminded me yesterday of 3 years ago, as I drove to Colorado with my severely ill dying dog Leo in a blizzard to try and help him, and the extreme terrible wind/cold, as I faced off the same type of conditions while viewing properties on Friday and then proceeding home. The same rest/calm encompassed me as I drove through white-out and terrible roads.

While in North Dakota and viewing a home, a realtor mentioned a town he was from, and I just so happened to have a friend who grew up there as well. I had not talked to her for sometime, and he mentioned that her brother just passed away. Small world I thought, but at the same time, I probably would not have known this if I had not went there to see this particular property. You see, it was my plan to possibly buy a place at this moment in time, but God’s will was something totally different.

So based on the lack of selling my home, and the properties I viewed not to my liking, I decided to take down the listing for a later date. The aggressive timeline and sale price weighed on my mind, along with the winter being a brutal time to achieve this endeavor. But if it was God’s will? I would being moving.

In my former life, I probably would be upset with God, and asked “Why didn’t You help me!”, much like the thief on the cross Jesus didn’t save when he said in defiance, “save Yourself and us”. But now, I understand, that even though it wasn’t to my finite understanding, God’s will in this was not wasted, He DID help me!

If you trust God, trust in His will, you will ALWAYS see the positive aspect of it! I literally drove 400 miles in a blizzard/white out yesterday without a hitch, just as I did 3 years ago with Leo to the day. This was ALL by God’s protection! I was also able to reach out to a friend in need whose heart was broken by the passing of her brother. So the time was not wasted.

It is ALWAYS better to thank God, than to ask “why”!