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Tag Archives: grief

The Resurrection – Our Great Hope

GravesI believe in the soon return of Jesus Christ. As I see what’s happening all around us, it looks like we should be working to bring in the end-time harvest of souls. I want to take a couple of posts to talk about what Paul wrote concerning the Second Coming in his first epistle to the Thessalonians.

First Thessalonians was written because Paul went there, evangelized that area, and then had to leave quickly. We learn in the Book of Acts that persecution broke out, and the people of that region threatened to kill Paul. The church sent him out of the city very quickly.

Because of this, he didn’t have time to really establish their church the way he usually did. When things started to calm down, he began to worry about them. He was afraid that they were not grounded well enough and that they were in danger of quickly falling away.

Paul sent his spiritual son, Timothy to check in with them and see how they were doing. When Timothy came back, his report was better than Paul could have hoped for.

The church was doing great. They were established in the Lord. They weathered the persecution and they were growing in grace and in the power of the Spirit. Paul then wrote this letter to thank God and encourage their church to continue on in the faith.

When Timothy got back to Paul, he also brought some questions that the church had asked during his visit. Paul sent the answer to these in his letter as well.

One of the questions they asked was this: When Christians die, does that mean they’re going to miss out on the Second Coming of Christ? That’s a good question. Another thing they asked was; when are all of these things going to happen? When is the END OF THE AGE going to take place?

The first question he answers is about those who die in the Lord, and whether or not they miss out on the coming of Christ.

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
I Thessalonians 4:13

Please realize that the term ignorant was not being used in a bad sense. Paul means that he did not want them to be without knowledge. He did not want them to be lacking in their teaching on the Lord.

He also uses the term fall asleep. The early church used this to signify that someone was dead. They realized that when a believer dies, they don’t cease to exist but rather enter the presence of the Lord. Their body, however, looks like it’s sleeping.

They would say, “Brother John fell asleep” as a nice way of saying that he died. So in effect, Paul is giving them more godly information on those who die in Christ.

His first instruction to them is that they’re not to grieve as the world does. We are not to act as people who don’t have any hope. We have an eternal hope.

We know about the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day. Because of this knowledge, funerals don’t hold the same fear over us that the rest of the world has. We shouldn’t act like we’re never going to see the departed Christian again.

Yes, I realize that there’s a parting process. You’re not going to see that person for a long time – so there’s going to be that kind of grief. But don’t grieve as if you’ve lost them forever. Don’t mourn like somebody who has no hope.

Question: How should our future hope affect the believer’s view of death?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

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Change is the Constant

TrailGoing through changes in our life is never easy. I wish it were. If you want to lay hold of your destiny, then you need to accept change.

Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you have another son.” As she breathed her last – for she was dying – she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
Genesis 35:16-18

Sometimes going through change is like we’re dying to ourselves. Psychologists say that when change takes place there’s a grieving process that we must walk out.

The fact is that we can’t stop change from happening. The only thing we have control over is our attitude. It’s how we deal with change that makes all the difference.

In this Scripture, Jacob and his family were “on the road” when his wife Rachel died in childbirth. If anyone could have had a reason for bitterness, he did. But he didn’t wallow in self-pity. She named the child Ben-Oni, which means, the son of my trouble. The hurt of that day would have followed the child for his entire life.

Instead, Jacob immediately changed the boy’s name to Benjamin, the son of my right hand. He released the pain into God’s hand. I don’t know what you’re going through right now. But if there’s a great change you’re grieving over – give it to God.

Only the Lord can bring you through. As you spend time in His presence you’re allowing Him to turn your Ben-Oni into a Benjamin.

So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.
Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder.
Genesis 35:19-21

There are many changes that are hard to deal with. That’s why it’s so important to work on our attitudes during those times.

When God speaks to our hearts as we’re quiet before Him, He may require us to make a great change in our lives. Sometimes the change is so big, that it may seem that our old way of life has died and we’ve been reborn to a new way of living. It’s like our life is going through a huge makeover.

It’s essential that we learn to bury the “old man” and then move on. Unless we leave the past behind, we can never enter His future.

One of the ways Jacob moved on was in the setting up of a pillar – a memorial – to remind him of what happened. You could set up a “memorial stone” as well, by commenting in your journal or placing a sticky note in your Bible. It could be a kind of tombstone for your old way of living.

God wants to bring you from glory to glory but you’ll have to leave your old self behind. Change is really the only constant in life. Either you’re going through it right now or you will in the near future.

Make the choice now to rely on God’s grace in times of change. Be willing and ready to accept His leading, whatever form it may take. Only then will change do its work and make you a better, stronger person.

Question: What are the changes God is leading you through right now?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, Prayer, Worship

 

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