Most High God Almighty,

Today is an election day in America. I recently went through some training to be a precinct official at a local voting place. I was newly amazed at the great value placed on each and every single vote. Every single vote is treated with the upmost care and privacy. There are so many safeguards in place to ensure every single vote is counted and verified. For a long time, I have not taken this right to vote for granted. It brings me to tears to think of how many lives have been sacrificed throughout America’s history to make sure my vote counts. I’m certain my views did not perfectly match up with all those who were killed defending my right to vote. It was given to me at a high cost. Through the years, I have learned to not place my vote according to mailers received, signs seen, ads paid for, or how someone speaks or looks. This is too important. So, I research, ask people who might know the candidate or issue, study and pray over all I can find. Lord, I ask You to guide me for I know it is ultimately You who places certain people in authority at specific times. I pray for my vote to line up with Your choice.

More than once, I have voted for a candidate who seemed clearly to line up with Your Spirit and character. More than once, someone else was elected than the person I voted for. And yet, I always trust Your ultimate authority. You have designed us to be Your people, for You to be our King…and yet we want our own way. We want to choose our own earthly leaders… so You allow us to do that. Then we must live with the human authorities that we choose. Yet, You never leave us alone. You still work within our choices, always trying to lead us back to You. You even use our poor choices to draw us to You.  You, alone have our best interests in mind at all times. You, alone, have no selfish agenda. You, alone know what’s best for us-even when we don’t believe that, trust You or submit to You. You rule with Your almighty power, yet loosely to allow us to make our own choices, to cast our own vote, to live with those choices…and yet You still are always at work in those circumstances hoping we will choose You as our King. You created us with free will though You know we will never be complete without You.

When You knew there was no other way for us to belong to Your Kingdom, You sent Jesus, Your very own Son, as a willing sacrifice, to open up Your Kingdom to all who accept Him, the only One worthy enough to give Himself so we could all choose eternal life with You. The price was great, but Your LOVE was greater. You are my choice. I vote for You above all others. Out of all my votes, this is the most important decision! It is so simple, too good to be true- that You would be willing to give so much to have us in Your holy Kingdom that offers so much more than this earthly life could ever offer. I’ve done my research. I have read Your platform and what You stand for. I trust You, Lord, with my life, my loved one’s lives, this country, this world, and for an eternal future filled with You. I vote for You as my King. I am honored to serve You, worship You and live for You!

 

 

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“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”        1 Timothy 6:11-16

 

“Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us[a] from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!’”           Revelation 6:15-16

 

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”      2 Peter 1:10-11

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-

Lord, have I fully chosen You as my King?….

Dear friends,

Some of you are new to grief (and this blog or group). Some of you have learned to gracefully carry your grief over a longer period of time. Some of you are grieving the death/passing of a longed-for baby or an adult child. Some are grieving the deep loss of your soulmate, sibling, friend, parent. Some saw their loved one peacefully slip into the next life. Some are still traumatized by a murder, suicide, tragic accident. Some were able to say “goodbye” while others did not get that chance. Some have no regrets as they know their loved one absolutely knew ow much they were loved. Others have to face unresolved disagreements, last harsh words, wounded or dysfunctional relationships. Our hearts are broken and it seems our world has ended. There’s no way around it, grief is hard! So how in the world can we grieve with hope?

 

There is no way around grief—we all have to experience it, each in our own way. The HOPE can only come through our ultimate relationship with God made possible by Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY one who will never leave us. Death can never separate us from His love and care. He created us to love Him and others. He created us to have an eternal love relationship with Him and others who love Him. Sin separates us each from Him, yet He has an eternal plan to share all eternity in love with Him. All we have to do is accept the fact we need Him and cannot be reunited without accepting Jesus—the way God provided to bring us back to Him for all eternity. Even when we share that life united to Him through Jesus, we still grieve the deep loss of our loved ones.

 

As Jesus walked this earth as both Son of Man and Son of God, He knew the eternal plan. He knew when his friend Lazarus had been dead three days that He was going to bring Lazarus back to life. Yet when Jesus saw his friends’ deep grief, “Jesus wept.” Jesus knows the pain of grief. He cries with us. There are no tears or sighs or anguish He doesn’t see in each of us…and yet He also knows that no matter how deep our anguish is, it is only momentary when compared to the joy set before us—the joy our loved ones are already experiencing at this moment and for all eternity.

 

So go ahead and grieve for the loss of your dear loved ones’ presence. Thank God for the rich gift He gave you through sharing however much time you had with them. No, it was not enough. But grieve with hope- knowing You have all eternity with them ahead with no more death or separation, misunderstandings or deep wounds.  Grieve with hope- knowing the Lord is with You and will never ever leave you. Grieve with hope- knowing that this life is painful but our eternal home with the Lord will be pure love, joy and peace.

 

Grieve with hope, dear friends!

Eva

 

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind who have no hope.”  1 Thessalonians 4:13

Dear friends,

I’m writing more as a griever today than a “grief guru.” That’s the humorous nickname my forever pastor/friend gave me. I’m still missing Jerl’s place in my life—he’s only been gone 9 months. I didn’t think I would ever publicly use that title, because I try to just be a friend who encourages grievers, but it seemed fitting today because I am fully aware there can never be an expert on grief except for God who helps all who will let Him. I lost two brothers within hours of one another four days ago- one from a week-old diagnosis of cancer—and the other by suicide. These two men have been my brothers for 50 years. They were the last two brothers of a gang of four boys, from my late husband’s family who have all gone on to their glorious home and left me behind. I have officially moved into the matriarch position.

Here are a few things “the grief guru” is rediscovering about grief:

*Death can come softly and tenderly (I was singing to one brother when he peacefully passed) or violently (by suicide). Most of my family missed the peaceful blessing because they had to leave to deal with the other death just before. The brothers are still gone either way. I have no doubt God was with them both…and they are more alive than ever with Him because of Jesus Christ.

*The effects of suicide last for generations. The first brother to die was from suicide. Praying for it to STOP with this generation!

*Photos provide snapshots of memories with incredible life stories that need to be told.

*Pictures provide proof there were happy times—even if someone couldn’t see that in the end.

*Death lasts an instant but lives are eternal. They slip from their flesh into a glorious spiritual world that we can only imagine.

*Grief brings out powerful and shocking emotions- of fun memories, hurt feelings, deep wounds, past grief, unresolved issues, the deep need to express forgiveness and regrets…

*It is the most important time to listen, and be there for one another, as every single person is grieving in their own way and needs to find ways to express it safely without correction.

* The storm is ripe for further misunderstandings, hurts and miscommunication because every single person is so very wounded and vulnerable. The need to listen to the hurt underneath the words is vital.

*We cannot grieve in a healthy manner without the hope, help, love, strength of God, who understands us each better than anyone else possibly could. HE knows all the hidden scars that go into each of our reactions. He understands when others cannot.

*God is also faithful to use these times of grief to heal each of us in amazing ways as we keep asking Him to. I have been praying non-stop over all my family…and I have witnessed God at work in incredible ways through heart-breaking circumstances.

* I can’t help but cry when I thank God for the gift of family- that includes adult children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great nieces and nephews, my 88-year-old mom, church family, neighbors and friends. Hugs, tears, messages, and most of all prayers- help more than we can ever know!

*Each of my relationships are eternal. I have an ever-growing heavenly cheering section urging me on. Suddenly, I feel like singing that last song I sang to my brother again, “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!”

*I love you, Larry and Wayne. See you soon!

This so-called “grief guru” is still learning that true healing can only come through reaching out to the Eternal Counselor who knows us better than we know ourselves and loves us anyway.

Love and prayers,

Eva

Most Holy Father God,

I do not trust my eyes. They tend to wander in their gaze. Something catches my attention and can lead me off course. My sense of balance depends on where I fix my gaze. I am one of those who, if I’m not careful, when I’m driving (or even walking), if I start looking at the scenery—my feet tend to follow the direction my eyesight is wandering to. I can easily trip or drive off into a ditch. If I watch worldly news, I can get caught up in the hopelessness of how things appear. If my eyes soak up too much social media, I began to see and believe what the enemy wants me to. Oh! But, Lord, when I look to You….

When I look to You, the dark clouds roll away! The problems of this life which completely obstruct my vision begin to vaporize as I gaze at Your glory! The funny thing is that I can’t truly see You with my weak human eyes; I have to look through faith at what my fleshly eyes can’t see. Yet I see so much more clearly when I do! Everything becomes much more clear and real—even more real than what I think I see in this world. But it is up to me to look towards You. Some days, I have to physically fight myself to turn my face back to You. I recall once, when I actually felt Your hand lift my gaze from despair toward You. But You want me to train myself to do it on a regular basis.

Today, I am purposely turning my eyes back to You! You are the Great I Am! You are true when lies abound. You are Beauty, Glory and Majesty. You reign above all else. You are the Beginning and the End because You are Eternal. You are the Light in utter darkness. You are Life and Love. You make life purposeful, full of goodness. You restore my soul. You are patient and tender-hearted towards my weakness. Everything changes when I look at You. I see You, this world and even all those around me through the loving eyes of Jesus Christ. One day, I will no longer need these weak unfaithful eyes to see You for all eternity…but for now, I will keep practicing turning my sight towards You. I love You, Lord!

 

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“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”   Proverbs 4:25

 

“Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.”    Psalm105:3-4

 

“Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”    Jeremiah 29:12-13

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-

Father, forgive my wondering eyes. Help me turn to seek You…