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Comfort and Hope

Christmas time and the overall holiday season can be a difficult time for those who have ever lost a loved one. When families come together, it’s another reminder of the gapping hole that person once filled. Many times families won’t decorate or truly celebrate the season if they lost that loved one that year. It’s understandable and we have to remember that each person grieves in their own way. There are no rules or timelines on how a person is to grieve or how long. I understand their are stages of grief, but each person follows them in their own way.

As Christians, it’s ok for us to grieve as well, but we do so with the hope of seeing that person again one day. For us, it’s not goodbye. It’s see you later. The pain is still there. We still go through the stages of grief, but we have hope. We can be comforted in knowing that death is not the end because we serve a savior who holds the keys to death, hell, and the grave. As I Corinthians 15:55 put it, “Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your power to hurt?” (GNT)

For those who have accepted Jesus as their savior, death is no longer defeat. Death is not the end of life, but rather the beginning of eternal life. With that knowledge, Paul wrote this in I Thessalonians 4:13, “Our friends, we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope.” Death doesn’t make us grieve uncontrollably and hopelessly because it is not final for a believer. We can still grieve and we can still feel the loss because of their absence though.

In the final verse of that chapter, Paul wrote, “Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.” He knew that we would need encouragement and comfort in our time of grief. So, if you’re grieving and hurting this holiday season over your loved one, it’s ok to do it in your own way, but don’t do it as one who is hopeless. Take comfort in knowing that the same reason we celebrate Christmas is the same reason we have hope.

Photo by Tom Skarbek-Wazynski on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Comfort And Hope


Christmas time and the overall holiday season can be a difficult time for those who have ever lost a loved one. When families come together, it’s another reminder of the gapping hole that person once filled. Many times families won’t decorate or truly celebrate the season if they lost that loved one that year. It’s understandable and we have to remember that each person grieves in their own way. There are no rules or timelines on how a person is to grieve or how long. I understand their are stages of grief, but each person follows them in their own way.

As Christians, it’s ok for us to grieve as well, but we do so with the hope of seeing that person again one day. For us, it’s not goodbye. It’s see you later. The pain is still there. We still go through the stages of grief, but we have hope. We can be comforted in knowing that death is not the end because we serve a savior who holds the keys to death, hell, and the grave. As I Corinthians 15:55 put it, “Where, Death, is your victory? Where, Death, is your power to hurt?” (GNT)

For those who have accepted Jesus as their savior, death is no longer defeat. Death is not the end of life, but rather the beginning of eternal life. With that knowledge, Paul wrote this in I Thessalonians 4:13, “Our friends, we want you to know the truth about those who have died, so that you will not be sad, as are those who have no hope.” Death doesn’t make us grieve uncontrollably and hopelessly because it is not final for a believer. We can still grieve and we can still feel the loss because of their absence though. 

In the final verse of that chapter, Paul wrote, “Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.” He knew that we would need encouragement and comfort in our time of grief. So, if you’re grieving and hurting this holiday season over your loved one, it’s ok to do it in your own way, but don’t do it as one who is hopeless. Take comfort in knowing that the same reason we celebrate Christmas is the same reason we have hope. 

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Comfort In The Chaos


To me, one of the most comforting promises of God is found in the first two verses of Isaiah 43. God says, “Do not be afraid—I will save you. I have called you by name—you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you” (GNT). I can know that whatever mountain I’m facing, trial I’m going through, or difficulty I’m having, God will not let me go through it alone.

This verse reminds me to get rid of fear first. Fear takes my eyes off of my savior and puts them on my problems. Fear makes my problems appear to be bigger than God. It can cripple me and prevent my progress in the middle of a trial I’m called to walk through. It makes me want to give up because the struggle is so difficult. But God does not give me a spirit of fear. He gives me a spirit of power and a sound mind so I can advance through whatever I face.

The next part reminds me that I’m His child. When my own child gets in danger, the first thing I do is shout his name to get his attention. God does that to us. In the midst of our chaos, God calls our name to get us to look to Him. When we’re facing uncertainty and feel like we’re drowning in sorrow, it’s His voice we need to listen for. He reminds us that we are His, and He will not leave us nor abandon us in our times I’d desperate need.

When I feel like I’m overwhelmed and I can’t seem to find the light of day, I have the promise that God is with me. He is the rock that higher than I am when those floods come in and wash me down stream. When everything I’m standing on appears to be sinking sand, He is the rock of my foundation. I know that my life is built on Him, and even though everything else seems to be lost, I can trust that my foundation is sure.

Finally, I can rest knowing that my trials will not hurt me in the long run. I know that God works in all things for my good. Set backs, unanswered prayers, times of darkness in my life, and fiery trials all make me stronger and purify my faith. When I feel like giving up, I remember that there’s no fire great enough to burn me when God is with me. I know He leads me by still waters while protecting me with His rod and staff. I can find comfort in the chaos because He sees me, knows me, and walks through fire with me.

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Words Of Comfort

Life can be very unpredictable. Things can be going well and then the rug gets pulled out from under us. I heard someone say, “All people are in one of three places: in a trial, coming out of a trial or heading for one.” Life is a series of ups and downs. No one gets to stay on top of the mountain forever, no matter what they say on social media.

In my own trials and tests, these scriptures have brought me comfort; I hope they do the same for you.
  
1. From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. 

Psalm 61:2-3 NLT

2. May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.

II Thessalonians 3:16

3. When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil. With one hand strike my foes, With your other hand save me. Finish what you started in me, GOD. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now. 

Psalm 138:7-8 MSG

4. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles. 

Psalm 34:17 AMP

5. Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect GOD to get here soon. 

Psalm 31:24 MSG

6. God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 

Psalm 46:1 NASB

7. I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. 

Psalm 34:4 AMP

8. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time. 

Psalm 34:19 NLT

9. Call to me when trouble comes; I will save you, and you will praise me. 

Psalm 50:15 GNB

10. My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; he is all I ever need. 

Psalm 73:26 GNB

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10 Scriptures To Comfort The Grieving

1. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. (Matthew 5:4 MSG)

2. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. (Isaiah 61:2 NLT)

3. The LORD cares deeply when his loved ones die. (Psalms 116:15 NLT)

4. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 ESV)

5. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4 AMP)

6. He will swallow up death [in victory; He will abolish death forever]. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; and the reproach of His people He will take away from off all the earth; for the Lord has spoken it. (Isaiah 25:8 AMP)

7. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalms 30:5 NLT)

8. To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3 AMP)

9. You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. (Psalms 71:20 NLT)

10. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NLT)

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The Hope Of Heaven

As we sat around the dinner table last night, the conversation began to focus on Heaven. We went around the table asking who would be the first person we would want to meet in Heaven aside from Jesus. As we discussed different people from the Bible, I decided to post on Facebook asking others who they would like to meet. I was surprised by their answers. Instead of people from the Bible, most came back with family members they had never met. Several spoke of children they had lost through miscarriage.

What I read in other’s replies was there are so many of us who live our lives with the hope of being reunited and being made complete. Family units will be as they could have been. We’ll be able to see from one end of the family tree to the other. Heaven, for many, will be a great big family reunion. We’ll be joined together with families who were with us here on earth and with fellow heirs of Christ. I don’t know how it will work or how we will be known, but I do know that There is a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on to complete our race. Those who have gone on before don’t want us to quit.

When I think of eternity and the prize that is waiting, it always encourages me to keep going. Let’s face it, living how God called us to live isn’t easy. It’s difficult to be successful at it in a world that cheers us on to live like them. There are days where it’s just easier to quit running this race than to take another step forward. There are times when things happen that we don’t understand and we want to be angry at God. In those moments when I get frustrated and doubt that God really cares, I think of those who have already made it to Heaven and how I want to see them. I look beyond the pain of today to what is to come.

Yes, life is full of loss, hurt and pain, but God didn’t leave us without hope. He gave us the Comforter to guide us and to remind us of God’s promises. He gave us the hope of being reunited with lost loved ones. He gave us that cloud of witnesses who are cheering for you to keep going. Can you hear them? Can you imagine them standing all around you wanting you to complete the race? When I doubt or want to quit, I hear those cheers and it encourages me to keep going. They’re cheering for you too. Your family members, unborn children and a host of others will be waiting at the finish line to welcome you home. You just have to keep running even when they’ve gone on before you.

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Friends in Need

I have several friends going through some difficult times right now. Some have lost a parent, others have been given news that one of their parents has a terminal disease, one is fighting for her life in ICU and another going through a painful divorce. I’m sure there are others who have kept their struggles private not wanting to bother anyone else. This year has started off very difficult for a lot of people I know.

While every circumstance is unique, their pains and fears can be empathized with. When I went through a difficult period in my life, I was the one who didn’t want to bother others with my pain. People didn’t know how to respond. Some would say, “Time heals all wounds.” Others would say, “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.” Then there were those who would not know what to say and simply say, “I’m sorry.” I’ve often thought about what could someone have said to ease the pain.

For me, I think there was nothing anyone could have said. Pain, loss and suffering are part of the furnace of life. It’s what molds us, strengthens us and pushes us onto other paths. There were no words that could have brought the healing I desperately needed. Looking back, I simply wanted someone to love me enough to stand by me in the hard times. Someone who would put their arm around me and say, “You’re not alone in this.”

One of my friends, who is going through one of these situations right now, once said, “When you have someone to stand with you through thick and thin, pain is divided and joy is multiplied.” While I can’t take the hurt, fears or questions away, I can stand with my friends to help divide their pain. Platitudes don’t bring much relief, but actions do. One action each of these friends can use right now is prayer.

When you struggle through difficult times like these, you need others who will lift you up and pray for you. When you don’t have the strength or words to pray for yourself, it helps to know that other believers are standing in the gap and fighting on your behalf. Psalm 28:7 says the Lord is our strength and shield. That’s what these people need. They need strength to make it through each day. They need protection from other things that would come against them when they’re down. They need peace that passes all understanding to come into their lives.

When there are no answers to the question of “Why”, God can still give peace in the midst of a storm. We may not understand why each of us experience these difficult times, but we can rest in the peace of knowing our God walks with us in difficult times. We can find comfort in knowing that God is still on His throne and He sees us in our dark times. He still heals. He still comforts. He still answers prayers. He still comes to those in need. May He do all of these to my friends in need and anyone reading this in need.

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