Tag Archives: death

Times Of Rain

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.

Rain is something we need, but don’t really want. We’ve given it a negative connotation too. It started when we were children singing the song, “Rain, Rain, go away. Come again another day.” Rain disrupts the times of sunshine and happiness that we feel. When it’s rainy outside, we say it’s gloomy. We think of the gray clouds and associate them with depression. Rain changes our path, our timing and our plans. It messes things up for us so we resist it. We forget that rain is a necessary part of life. We forget all the good that it does.

I’ve got several friends right now who are experiencing rain in their lives. Several friends have had loved ones pass away unexpectedly. I’ve got a couple of friends who can’t seem to find a job. I’ve got a few friends whose lives have been turned upside down because of choices their spouse made. For them, it seems like the rain just keeps coming. It feels like their lives are being flooded with only negative things. As I’ve thought about all their situations, Matthew 5:45 came to mind. It says, “It rains on the just and the unjust.”

I’ve read or heard that scripture my whole life. I was always under the impression that it meant that bad things happen to Christians and non Christians alike because I associated rain with bad times. When I read it in context and then in several versions and interpretations of the original Greek, the Message Bible stood out. It said, “This is what God does. He gives His best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone regardless.” The times of rain in our lives are meant to nourish us. Just like our yards, lakes and crops need rain for nourishment, so do our lives. 

When bad things happen, it usually pushes us closer go God. We spend more time in prayer. We take the time to talk to God and to read His Word to try to find answers. Days of sunshine rarely push us to spend time with God, but rain does. When we go a long time without rain or without spending time with a God, we go through a drought and that isn’t healthy. If you’re going through times of rain in your life right now, don’t pray for it to go away. Instead thank God for the nourishment and for the shelter He provides

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Leaving A Legacy


I have a friend who attended a leadership workshop. On the last day, he and the others were taken to a cemetery and were asked to write their own epitaph. It seems morbid at first, but the instructor was wanting them to to start thinking with the end in mind. It got him to start thinking about what he wanted to be remembered for at the end of his life. When he wrote it down, he started thinking about the things he needed to be doing in his life to make his desired epitaph come true.

One of the things I tell new employees at the company I work for is that everyone is known for something. I ask them, “What will you be known for?” I let them know that no matter what has happened in their past, they have a chance to start over and build their own brand. The brand they build for themselves will determine their success in the company and how far they want to go. Both of these lessons are true for each one of us. We need to be thinking about what we want to be known for and how we want to be remembered. 

In II Chronicles 21, Jehoram was king over Judah. He was given a good legacy being from the lineage of David, but he squandered it. In his jealousy, he murdered all his brothers. He also rebuilt the shrines to foreign gods that his father had torn down. Parts of the kingdom revolted during his reign. God then cursed him, had the enemy attack him and gave him a terrible disease. In verse 20 it says, “No one was sorry when he died” (NLT). Can you imagine?

I once heard someone say, “Live in such a way that the preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral.” So what do you want to be remembered for? What legacy do you want to leave behind? Psalm 37:18 says, “The Lord knows the days of the upright and blameless, and their heritage will abide forever” (AMP). What do you need to start doing today to finish your life well and to leave a heritage that will abide forever? It’s not too late or too early to start thinking about the legacy and heritage you want to leave behind.

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Losing To Win


Several years ago, when things were going downhill in my life, I started to get upset at God. I was losing everything. Several friends had abandoned me during the process. I lost my business, had a vehicle repossessed, lost my business, and had to file for bankruptcy. I cried out, “God, where are you?!? Why are you letting this happen to me? Have you abandoned me? Don’t you care that I’m losing everything?” I didn’t get an answer and I continued to lose more until I had nothing left to lose.

I didn’t think God was there in those moments. Every once in a while though, my friend and Sunday School teacher, would say, “Chris, I believe God wants me to say this to you…” While those messages were encouraging, and I believed they were from God, I wasn’t personally hearing from Him. I was doing my best to keep from getting bitter towards Him because I felt abandoned and was upset over everything I had lost. What I couldn’t see, was what I was really losing though. 

I realized later that I didn’t just lose a bunch of material things and relationships, I lost my pride. God used that time to strip me of pride that was keeping me from a deep relationship with Him. I also lost my dependence on my self. Somehow I thought that everything I had in life, I had earned on my own. I forgot that God was my source and Jehovah Jireh. Through all of that, I gained a deeper faith and a dependence on God to be who He wanted to be in my life. I just couldn’t see it when I was losing the things that I thought mattered.

I Peter 4:12-13 says, “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner” (MSG). God uses difficult times to refine us. When they come, the dross in our life floats to the top and is skimmed off by God. What’s left over is pure gold. If you’re in the thick of it now, don’t quit or think God doesn’t care. He’s refining you and cleaning out the things in your life that are keeping you from Him.

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Finding Healing


Several years ago, I went through some very dark times in my life that I wasn’t sure I’d make it through. They left some very deep scars that I thought would never heal. Instead of going through a true healing process, I decided that it was best to treat that portion of my life as if it were a dream. I covered the wounds and vowed to never speak of them again. I thought that if I pretended it never happened, then I wouldn’t feel the pain of it. That seemed to work for a while until Dave Roever spoke at our church one Sunday. 

Dave is a Vietnam veteran who had a phosphorus grenade blow up in his hand near his head as he was throwing it. He survived the explosion, but as a result of the explosion, he has a very disfigured face and hand. He told his story of his recovery and how God has used that terrible event to help him reach so many vets for Christ. Then he wrapped up his sermon by saying, “Don’t hide your scars. For in them, others will find their healing.”

I knew at that point it was time to unwrap my wounds to let them heal. I had to dig down inside, bring up all that hurt again to deal with it properly so God could use my story to help others find their healing. That’s how this site began actually. It was a way for me to process the hurt, but also a way for others to find their healing too. II Corinthians 1:4 says, “He (God) comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us” (MSG).

I don’t know the pain you’ve been through or are going through, but I do know that God has never left your side. He wants to help you heal your wounds so that He can bring others along side you who are going through something similar. He wants to use your scars to bring healing to others if you’re willing to let Him. Their situation may not be identical to yours, but the pain is the same and so is the healing process. Don’t hide your scars. Let God use them to help someone else who desperately needs your story.

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The Author Of Life


The guest preacher at our church shared his story of hardship and how God used his brokenness to rebuild him. He shared how everything was going wrong and no one was giving him any hope. It was then that the Lord spoke to him some powerful words that I believe God has been trying to tell us since the beginning of time. The Lord told him, “I am not the author of your crisis, but I am the orchestrator of the outcome.”

As I read through the Bible, I see the same story repeated over and over. People fail to trust God, they fall away from him, crisis happens, they call out to God for forgiveness, and He orchestrates redemption. As I sit and read the Bible, it’s hard to grasp the timelines of how long these things happen and go on for. What takes minutes to read, could have taken years to happen. In those minutes, it’s easy to wonder how they could quit trusting God.

However, when we are in similar crises that drag on for days, weeks, months, and years, it can seem like it will never end. It’s hard to see a light at the end of a tunnel when you’re surrounded by darkness. It’s difficult to trust God in those times. In fact, we often blame Him for our troubles and ask why He brought it on us. If we aren’t careful, the unexplained, never ending storms in our lives can cause us to grow bitter against God because we falsely believe He is the author of them.

Jesus knew we would forget that the bad things in our life don’t come from God. So He reminded us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness” (GNT). If your life is under attack, that is not from God. While none of us are exempt from bad things happening, all of us can have the author of life orchestrate something good from those bad things.

God can take the broken pieces of your life to rebuild you stronger and better. We must keep perspective of who He is in our storm. You can’t fall for the lie that God is the one who destroyed your life. You must remember that He is the one who restores, renews, and redeems. Your storm will come to an end. God is already working this out for your good even though you can’t see it now. Trust in the author of life to do what He does best in your own life. He sees you in the storm and He’s orchestrating the outcome.

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Nothing Is Final

Because of a recent death in the family, I had to try to explain death to my 4 year old. He wanted to know why people were crying. I told him, “Her husband went to Heaven to be with Jesus.” He then asked, “When is he coming back?” I said, “Never. Once you go to Heaven, you don’t come back. That’s why she’s sad.” As soon as I said those words, I heard God say, “What about Lazarus? What about Jarius’s daughter? What about the widow’s son that Elisha brought back?” He was right. Death is not always final. 

A few days later, God took me to Ezekiel 37. In it, He led Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones. The people the bones belonged to had been long gone. In verse two, Ezekiel wrote that the bones were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then God asked a question, “Can these bones become living people again?” I’m sure Ezekiel thought like I did as he looked at that valley. He didn’t want to say, “No” because he was talking to God and knew anything was possible with Him. So he replied, “You alone know that.”

Knowing he thought it was impossible, God spoke to him and told him, “Speak to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with ski I will put breath in you and you will come to life.” Ezekiel didn’t question God. He spoke to the scattered bones and they came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then muscles and flesh covered them. Finally God had Ezekiel speak life into them so they could live again.

God showed Ezekiel and us that nothing is impossible for Him. We can look at loved ones who have died and think they are gone forever, but God has the final word. We can look at relatives who don’t know Christ as their savior and think they’ll never come to know Him. We can think of the dreams we had for our lives and feel like they’ve died because of our decisions or what life has thrown at us. We can look at any scenario in our life and see what once was, but will be no more and think it’s over. When we think something is permanently gone, we underestimate God’s power.

God looks at us and asks, “Can these dry bones live again?” We know in our hearts the answer is, “No” until we remember who God is. There is no dream, calling, family member or anything else too dead and gone that God can’t resurrect. He is the God who gives life. He is the one who can turn a dead end into a new beginning. He can make a river in the desert. There is nothing impossible for Him. If He spoke it to you, it will come to life. You have to stand over the valley of the impossible and speak what God tells you. You have to believe that what He promised, He will do. Your dreams can be broken, scattered, dried out and dead, and God can speak life to it. Nothing is final until God says it is.

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Long Term Lessons

In the summer between my Fifth and Sixth grade years of school, my parents informed me that they were taking me out of the school system I had attended all my life and we’re putting me into a Christian school. I was devastated. All I could think of were the things I was going to lose and miss out on. There was no social media so I was going to lose all the friends I had been making since kindergarten. The Christian school was small and didn’t have much of a sports program. I went from a class of 20 something students to an entire grade that had only six students.

All I could focus on we’re the things I was losing. I pled with my parents about their choice. I wasn’t happy about it and let them know it! They were focused on my bigger picture. They knew that there was a higher percent of Christians in the Christian school than where I was meaning I would more than likely make friends with good influences. They knew that a grade that had six students would mean I would get a more individualized learning situation. They knew that even though sports were a big deal to me, I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete so they focused on things that benefited my future.

Thirty years later, I can see now what I couldn’t see then. I appreciate the choices they made even though I disagreed with them. As an adult in life, I forget that ultimately I’m a child of God. Even though I call Him “Father” in my prayers, I don’t often think of us being in a father / son relationship. I think of myself as an adult and He is more like my guide. I don’t think that’s how He wants it though. The truth is, I don’t know anything about what’s best for me long term just like I didn’t as a Fifth grader.

When God makes choices to take things out of my life, I still stomp and tell Him it’s not fair. All I can see are the things I’m losing. I’m too focused on the short term comforts rather than His long term goals for my life. I feel like God speaks to me sometimes in the way he did in Job 38 to get my attention during my tantrums. In verses four and five, He asked Job, “Where were you when I made the world? If you know so much, tell me about it. Who decided how large it would be? Who stretched the measuring line over it? Do you know all the answers?”

I don’t always agree with the decisions God makes in my life, but I’m learning that He knows what’s best long term for me. He may take away people or things from my life so that He can put prepare me for what’s ahead. He may do things that look like sacrifices now only to reveal years later that it was for my good. I wasn’t there when He laid the foundations of the earth. I don’t have the answers, but I do know the One who does. In times when I feel like I’m losing important parts of my life, I’m learning to trust His overall plan because He will do what is best for me long term.

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