Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
Your love is outlandish! How incredible that the Lord God, Maker of all the earth and everything in it and all the galaxies should love me so tenderly?! You are always with me, meeting my every need, satisfying my desires, singing over me, protecting me, guiding me, watching me when I am asleep and when I am awake! I try to love You back in a way that honors a love that was willing to send Your own Son Jesus to be born as one of us, to live and die for the penalty I deserved for my sin- so I could be with you for all eternity. I try to set aside time just to be with You alone and enjoy Your presence…and yet I am so easily distracted by the most ridiculous things. I have this chance, this opportunity, this honor to come to You at any time. It was paid for at the highest price ever paid. And yet I neglect or take this gift for granted. You, Lord, loved me first. I can never out-love You. I would have no comprehension of what love really is- if not for You loving me first. But I truly want to make You my first love…

Not the amazing kind of first love I encountered with my parents loving me as a tiny baby…not the first love of that little boy (forgot his name!) in kindergarten who professed his love for me and mine for him…not the unconditional love from or for my brothers…not the true love from my high school sweetheart Steve, who I went on to marry(I didn’t forget his name!)… not the even the breath-taking love I’ve known holding each one of my newly born children or grandchildren or the love that continues to grow…not the surprising love I thought was not possible—to love another husband after the death of my first (his name is Tex, I mean Dwight!)…not the love for so many friends and even strangers. There are so many experiences of love both received and given that I am eternally grateful for, Lord. And they all flow from You! Yet I want You to be my first love..

Lord, it seems the only way we can know true love is to first experience it and receive it from You through Your eternal gift of Jesus Christ. I’m glad to know that You realize how frail our love is compared to Yours, yet You give us the capacity to give and receive it like You do. I long to love You more, Lord. I desire to keep You as my first love; for when I do, I am capable of loving others so much more. I love because You love me first!

 

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“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

 

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-38

 

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” Revelation 2:4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I loving You as You deserve?…

Dear Friend,
I am so sorry for your pain. You probably just lost a loved one to death. Whether it was your child, your husband or wife, a parent, a brother or sister, or a dear friend; you probably feel as though your whole world has collapsed. You fear that you will never be the same. You’re right. You won’t. As you work through the most difficult challenge you may ever face, may you grow in peace and hope, as you recover from your heartache. It can be very difficult and lonely as you climb up out of the deep abyss of grief. You may wonder if you can ever survive the pain. The death of a loved one cuts deep into your very soul. I know. My husband died at the age of 37, leaving me behind with four children to raise by myself.

Around the time of Steve’s death, there was a story on national television which I identified with. There were Siamese twin baby girls whose bodies were joined together at the chest. When one turned to reach for a toy, the other followed in perfect synchronization. They were separate individuals, yet they were one. Watching the videos of their first two years of childhood, I noticed the love in their eyes as they glanced at one another, sharing a language and bond no one else could understand. They never argued over which way to go or what to play. They enjoyed each other so much, their parents couldn’t imagine them apart.

When they were two years old, their doctors decided they were ready to be surgically separated. The operation saved one twin’s life, but the other sister died. The reporter interviewed the parents, who told how worried they were for the surviving twin. The once-lively little girl moped around looking for her other half, not knowing how to live without her. Her parents and doctors were very concerned, because the little girl wouldn’t eat or talk. No one knew how her grief would affect her recovery from such an intensive surgery.

I felt her pain. It was my own. Steve and I had spent 23 years of life together. We started dating at 15 years old and never had any other serious boyfriend or girlfriend. After high school, we couldn’t wait to get married and start our life together. That life included four children and working side-by-side in a business. We enjoyed being a team. We could read each other’s thoughts and met every trial and joy together. When Steve became increasingly ill, we faced insurmountable physical, emotional and financial challenges. We faced them as a team, truly connected in our very souls.

When he died, it seemed as though we had been cut apart with no anesthesia for the pain. I was left with a huge bleeding wound where my husband once stood by my side. I looked for him, grieving his absence, not knowing how I could ever go on in this life without him. I knew I would never be the same. I’m not.

It’s been a long healing process, but there has been tremendous growth as I have recovered from my grief. The Lord has healed those deep wounds that I thought would never quit breaking open. Your wounds will also heal-in time and with work. There will always be a deep scar, though. It will remind us of the eternal love we share with our loved one. We will also be able to comfort others with a depth of compassion the unscarred cannot offer. The scar also serves as a permanent reminder that we need to cherish each moment and every person in our life.

My Forever Memories of You is lovingly written just for you, so you may know that you WILL survive your grief. Not only that, but you will grow from it. You will live again. There will even come a time when you will be happy again. The joy will be even greater, because of the sorrow you are experiencing now.

It’s true that your life will never be the same, but there’s no need to fear. You are being led into new territories of your life by the One who knows the way. If you already have a relationship with the Lord, hold on to Him tightly through this rough time ahead. He will guide you through your pain. If you don’t know where you stand with the Lord, this is the very best time to reach out to Him and let Him know you need Him, because you do. Grief will destroy a person without the hope of the eternal life promised by Jesus Christ. You may have lost the person that you depended on the most in life; now is the time to depend on God! He knows we are torn apart by death; but He views death as the sweet homecoming of one of His precious children to an eternal life that we can’t even imagine. There is a huge difference between grieving without hope and grieving with the hope of seeing our loved one again in a place that is far better than this earth.

There is no way to get away from the pain; but grieving with hope means knowing that you have not been left alone in your pain and sorrow. It means knowing you can trust the Lord to get you through the gut-wrenching trauma of being torn apart from the one you love.

Even if you already know the hope of eternal life with our Lord and your loved one, you will still experience many emotions more deeply than at any other time in your life. Don’t be afraid. Work through all your overwhelming emotions with God’s help. Soon you will be surprised to find that you are not alone. May you discover an ever-deepening relationship with God that will more than fill the huge vacuum left in your heart (as time goes on).

During my own grief, I had two dear friends help me through- My Lord God Almighty and Steve’s dear mom, my mother-in-law, Barbara. They gave me hope and encouragement when I thought all hope was gone. Now I long to pass that same hope along to you. I cannot take away your pain, but I promise that you WILL make it through this. If I was with you now, I would give you a big hug, for sometimes hugs are more comforting than words. Since I can’t be there, please accept these words of hope and encouragement as my hug. I can also point you to the only One who will never leave you. He will be there for you, just as He has been for me. May you experience Jesus’ loving arms around you, comforting you and holding you up when you feel you can’t go on.

Whatever happened to the little surviving Siamese twin? It was kind of strange. When I finally got to the point in my life when I was healing from my grief, I saw a follow-up report on her. I was sitting on the sofa in front of the TV next to a wonderful man I was falling in love with. It was a total shock to me, to discover I could love again. That’s a whole different story, though. We were watching TV when this story came on. The little girl had undergone more surgeries, extensive treatments and therapy to reconstruct her body. She had been fitted with a fake leg so she could walk (they had shared legs). She was giddily sprinting around looking for adventure. Her face glowed with excitement. She had undergone some healing of her own! I’m sure she will always think of her twin as she goes on with her life. The scars will always be there to prove they were once joined together. They will be forever joined in spirit.
Someday there will be a tremendous reunion when those twins embrace once again in Heaven. Someday, we will all be reunited the Lord and with our loved ones who have been separated from us. It will be GLORIOUS! In the meantime, we still have more life to live here until it is our time to go.

If God can heal that little girl (and me) from our grief, He will surely be there to help you recover, also. Go ahead and grieve- but grieve with hope.

Love and prayers,
Eva

 

“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who is compassionate and the Father who gives comfort. He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Heavenly Father,
What a treasure we have been given in the ability to come to You at any time with anything through prayer and yet we often neglect this highest honor and responsibility. Many prayers are shot up to You in desperate need- even by those who supposedly don’t believe. There is a difference between a one-time prayer and a life lived in prayer. There is a difference between a prayer from our flesh and prayer in the Spirit…but it has to start somewhere! So when does a prayer from our own selfish will change to a prayer in the Spirit?

I know it’s probably different for everyone because we are all such unique people -designed and loved by You. Yet praying in the Spirit involves living with Your Holy Spirit in us. It begins with believing that Jesus died for us on the cross. It is believing that our old life/ nature/ selfish will has been crucified with Jesus. Jesus sends the Spirit to live in us in a resurrected life that is much more real than this earthly life. It is knowing that He really lives in us and through us. I know it’s crazy, but to pray in the Spirit is not just asking You to make my wish come true. It is being still in Your presence. It is praying for the richer things of the Spirit that might come even from very challenging situations. It is trusting that You are at work in me, and in others, bringing about Your Kingdom that is high above this earthly life.

Praying in the Spirit is knowing it is no longer my blood that runs through my veins, my goals to obtain, my answers to problems, my demands…it is Your Spirit running through my surrendered heart and soul. You said that the prayers of a righteous man can accomplish much…but I realize that there is nothing righteous about me. The only righteousness in me was given to me by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. I am a new creation in Him. Your Spirit truly lives in and through me. I find myself praying in whole new ways and trusting You in all situations. Praying in the Spirit is yielding to Your will/ Your intercession/ Your answers/ Your amazing work. There are times, I am tempted to slip back into my powerless prayer life so I have to re-surrender to Your unseen powerful Spirit. What a crazy mysterious plan You have- to work in and through our prayers in the Spirit. Thank You for this amazing gift, Lord! Let me get myself out of the way so Your Spirit can flow through me.

 

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“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

 

“If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for He lives in with you and will be in you.” Jesus’ promise in John 14:15-17

 

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I accept Your sacrifice on my behalf for my sin of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Let me die to my old life and let Your Spirit live in me…

Dear friends.
When we hear of a death or a group of deaths, we think of it as a tragedy. It is tragic to us because we are left behind. It is especially tragic to us if we love or are close to the one who died. Praise God! Death is not the end!

Tragedy

Those of us who have loved someone, and then had them pass from this life, have to struggle with the tragedy of death. Death was not God’s perfect design. It was His will to have us live in the Garden with Him forever and ever. He gave man the freedom to choose and mankind chose to not trust God’s perfect will but to disobey. Ever since that first sin, we have all been born with sin as part of our DNA and there is a separation between us and God’s perfect presence. Ever since then, there has been death. (But Praise God! He overcame the tragedy and finality of death by sending His own sinless Son Jesus Christ to willingly die on the cross, once and for all, for our collective and personal past, present and future sin! God Almighty turned the greatest tragedy of all time into the greatest victory of all time…so of course, God sees death differently than we do. Yet He knows us well enough to understand our tragic viewpoint and weeps with those of us left behind.)

Reality

Anyone who has been with someone when they died knows full well the reality of death. Our loved ones are here one moment and in the blinking of an eyes, they are gone. Their empty body may be in front of us, but the person (the essence of who they really are) is gone. It is more than we can comprehend. Where did they go? Will I ever see them again? How can I go on without them? How can God let this happen? These are all questions we wrestle with as we deal with the reality of learning how to live here—when they have gone on. Death might have come from a tragic accident, long or sudden illness, suicide, war, murder, old age, or in the womb. It is a painful time to go through, but when we put our faith in the reality of what Jesus accomplished on the cross and in His resurrection, it becomes easier to finish our own race with our eyes on the finish line. Our real life is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eternity

This earthly life is short and temporary (no matter how long it is lived). When we accept God’s loving grace and the gift of His Son dying for our sins and being raised in eternal life, we also are willing to die to our old earthly lives and be raised with Jesus as new creations into eternal life with our Heavenly Father. Nothing can ever take that life away. It begins the moment we believe that Jesus died for us personally so we could live with Him eternally. We may still have to wrestle with the pain of a loved one’s passing, but we can trust the reality of eternal life through Jesus Christ. The true tragedy is for those who have not yet believed in the reality and finality of what God has given us through His own Son Jesus Christ—who not only made a way for us to be intimately joined with God but who never ever leaves us.

I will be praying for you as you struggle with the reality of death and life. I pray you choose LIFE!
Love and prayers,
Eva

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18

 

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

 

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.” Psalm 116:15

Most Glorious Father,
I must admit I love prayers, both public and private…but I also know the public prayer is empty and meaningless when there has been no private prayer. The thing I love most about prayer is that is being with You, being aware of You, talking to You, resting silently in You, singing to You, trusting in You, bringing everything and anything to You, seeking You, finding You, being corrected, refreshed, restored and re-created by You… so many amazing things happen when we come to You in prayer. Prayer is not the power. It is simply our coming to You—the One who has all power, authority, direction, peace and love. I suppose, then, it is not prayer that I love…but You!

Both Public and private prayer can be vital links to You, Lord. I am always amazed when I read Jesus’ public prayers for us. The longest recorded section of words spoken by Jesus is actually the most incredible prayer ever prayed. John 17 is Jesus’ out loud prayer for His beloved followers, but was also recorded because Jesus said He was praying for me and all “who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21) He continues to pray for us, when we are willing to leave this old-world order and accept Him as our King and become His subjects, in His Kingdom. He is still praying for us: “Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34) I am forever grateful for Jesus’ private and public prayers for me!

I am also so thankful for the many times someone else has stopped what they were doing just to pray for me and with me. I recall times of overwhelming situations, when I have been weary, unsure, in battle, approaching a new crossroad, needing help praying for a loved one, unsure of direction…I love to know there are others praying for me in private, but there are times I sure have needed those out loud prayers! I believe in passing that on. We all need someone to pray out loud and privately for us (and with us) on this challenging journey.

That brings me to these Prayer Peeks I write. I know Jesus said to pray in Your closet where no one sees, but He certainly didn’t say to never pray out loud. We each need to have our own private relationship with You—one that no one else has. When we have that, we want others to have their own private relationship with You, Father. We know that special relationship comes through becoming a new creation through Jesus Christ. Our new lives in Your Kingdom grows and matures as we spend private time with You. But as someone once said, “If you are already going to the throne room of God, grab someone’s hand and take them with you.” Lord, I write these prayer peeks and prompts to grab someone’s hand and lead them to Your throne—so they can have their own relationship with You. Here they are. I pray they want more of You publicly and privately.

 

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“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them for Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 5:5-8

 

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:18-20

 

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Prayer Prompt-
Lord, help me spend more time with You in private and public prayer…

Heavenly Father,

Even though I was young, when I first heard Martin Luther King’s dream of all Your children playing and living together someday in peace, I knew this is how You want it to be. It sounded perfect, but like many dreams, it takes a lot blood, sweat and tears for it to come true. It often takes someone’s earthly life like it did Dr. King’s. In my lifetime, I have seen huge advances toward that dream becoming reality…and yet I don’t know that it will be fully realized in our present earthly lives. Our sinful nature finds too many reasons to prejudge by one another’s appearance, to be divided, and even to hate for the smallest differences.

Lord, You spell out Your own dream (actually a promise) in the last book of the Bible in Revelation 7:9—”After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” You gave us a glimpse into the new heaven and new earth where all Your people are praising You in one voice—with one spirit—in one love. Jesus was willing to give up His life for our oneness with Him and with You, Lord.

Our love for You, as we more fully realize Your love for us, will spill over for love for one another. Oh Lord, how I long for that day! Just when I think I am making headway towards this fullness of love, You expose some way I still let something divide my love for others. Lord, Your love is pure, holy, perfect, all-encompassing—even for those who disrespect the very One who gives them everything—the very One who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us while we were full of sin. There is no greater love!

Father, I will not be able to end hate, prejudice, racial or other types of divisions here on earth, but I surely can let Your love rule in me. Here I am, Lord, will You continue to create in me a clean heart that loves the unworthy, those who hate me, those who hurt my loved ones, those who misjudge me, those who sin against You. Let my heart and spirit be one with You because of Jesus…and let me give others a glimpse of all Your people praising You in the white robes that only Jesus gives us as we acknowledge Him as our personal Lord and Savior.

 

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“And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

 

“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.’” Acts 10:34-36

 

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, use me to help bring Your dream/promise of oneness of Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven…

Dear friends,
It is absolutely true that death is at the forefront when your loved ones dies. Sometimes your loved one’s death hits you out of nowhere like getting hit by a semi-truck. The awfulness and finality of death has to be dealt with and relived until the reality can be absorbed. The deep wounds and traumatic injuries must be attended to. The shock of how they can be here one moment and gone the next must be dealt with. A lot of questions, regrets, and emptiness must be wrestled with. Death is definitely the cause of grief, but I propose it doesn’t have to be the outcome of grief. After 25 years of personal grieving and standing with others through grief, I have watched death turn into life over and over again. You may have to walk through the pain of death but Life is worth it!

 

Your Life Together
No one else can understand the relationship you shared with your child, baby, spouse, sibling, parent, grandparent, friend or person who meant so much to you. You shared a one-of-a-kind relationship that no one else has ever had in history because there has never been another you or another them. You share so many memories, hopes, dreams, battles…Some were fulfilled and others were not. Grief helps you review what you shared together and what you hoped to share forever.

 

Their Unique Life
Your loved one was a special individual—never before replicated even by those who shared the same DNA. They have left a trail that has impacted others in one way or another. It is amazing how the absence of someone causes you to realize who they really are and how many lives have been touched by them simply being who they are. You can choose to carry the best of them with you as you keep going.

 

Your Life Without Them
There is a huge learning curve as you process the fact you must go on without their physical presence. There is a huge recognition of loneliness as no one else can fill that particular void. Much of grief is the hard work of figuring out how to live without them. Nobody but you can do that. I believe it takes the realization of knowing that you never go forward alone. Not only do you carry them forward as part of who you are, but I pray you discover as I have (and many others have) that the Lord is with you and will never ever leave you.

 

Preciousness of Life
It’s sad to say that we too often take life for granted. We assume loved ones will be with us always. There is nothing like the death of a loved one that makes you more fully appreciate life, relationships, the air we breathe, being careful what you say and how you treat others because it could be the last time you see them or they see you in this present form. One of the most often repeated sentiments by grievers is to hug your loved ones tighter and tell them you love them for no one is promised tomorrow.

 

Promise of Eternal Life

However, we are promised eternal life—a life without end. It can be a glorious, unspeakably wonderful life with our Lord, our Creator, our God and our loved ones. There is nothing like the death of someone we love that smacks us into the harsh reality of how short this particular life is and that we go somewhere afterward. Often during grief, we may even get a little peek of the glory of the life to come if we are watching and we know who to watch for. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He has gone to prepare us a place where there is no more death, illness, violence, darkness or tears of grief.

Dear friends, I pray that as you face death, you ask Jesus to lead you through this valley of the shadow of death. Death is caused by sin, but God gave us Jesus to overcome death and make a way to eternal life. Ask Him to be your Savior, traveling guide, comforter, friend, counselor…He brings life even from death!

Love and Prayers,
Eva

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“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” 1 Corinthians 15:54-56

For More hope during grief, go deeper with My Forever Memories of You interactive book

Most Glorious Father,
How I love my quiet time with You. There can be sparks of war, reports of violence near and far, deaths of loved ones, misunderstandings, relationships divided or under attack, threats of bad health or uncertainty of finance…but when I come to You to simply be in Your presence, it all melts away in Your glory and peace. There are times, the attacks of bad news and the veil of darkness are so palpable that I have to fight my way to my sweet spot in You. But You are always there waiting for me to come. When I find my way to You through Jesus, I find all I need in You. Your quiet peace is so much more powerful than all the noise the blustery bullying that evil makes. Here I come once again to You, Lord!

You are and ever will be victorious over anything this world and darkness throws at us. All we have to do is be still and know that You are God! Father, You are fully aware of how weak we are, how vulnerable we are to the threats and attacks. How I thank You for all I have been through which has taught me over and over again, to come to You through Jesus Christ. Some days I just breathe and remain in You all day. Other times, the struggle is real and the attacks come from all directions trying to keep me from You.

Some days, it appears I have to fight to get to my sweet spot in You. At least that’s what the enemy wants me to think—that the battle is too big; that Your silence means You are gone—but You never leave me, Lord. I just need to place my focus, my hope, my life on You and Your presence once again. The best way I have found to fight my way to You is to be still, to praise You, to remember who You are, to seek You with all my heart, mind and strength—the Lord God who is over me and all that is. You are the One who commands heaven and earth. You are the One who loves me more than anyone else possibly could. You are the One who restores my soul, fills me with Your Holy Spirit, uses little ole me to defeat giants. You are the One who refreshes me in Your sweet presence even here on earth and who promises an eternal sweet spot with You that I will never have to leave! It seems a little silly to call You my sweet spot, Lord- I am but a beloved little speck in the vastness of Your Holy Presence! There is plenty of room in Your Holy Sweet spot for every beloved little speck You’ve created!

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“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:10

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father God, help me turn to You and find You….

Heavenly Father,
On the last day of 1999, when most people thought the world might end when it turned midnight and started a new century, my family filled a time capsule. It was actually a large empty popcorn tin. My husband and I and four of our children from ages 9-14 filled out a questionnaire and placed a memento in that capsule that we all agreed to open in twenty years. We actually opened it on Christmas day this year since that was when we were all together at the same timer. What a fun and enlightening experience we had opening that time capsule for the first time in two decades.

The questions we each answered 20 years ago included: “What I think will happen in the next hundred years, What I hope to accomplish in the next 10 years, My greatest prayer for my family and friends, Note to my future children or spouse…” It was remarkable to see these letters written by children and read by the same people as adults! What a joy to see how many things had come true (except maybe the prediction of playing Major League Baseball and having a dream room with his three brothers still in the same room sharing bunkbeds!) It was like we all slipped back in time!

Memories are a powerful thing. They become a part of us and help make us who we are. It is good to look back at memories (even the painful ones at times) because we can see how far we’ve come and how love lives forever. Yet we are not created to live in the past. You made us to live fully in the right now- with an eye always on our final goal—our finish line—our eternal Home with You!

Father, as another year changes on the calendar, I thank You that I can see You have always been with me—through every moment of my life—that You have a Home waiting for me that goes far beyond what I can ever imagine where there will be no more time constraints…Most of all, I thank You that I know You are with me now and are always will be. I can rest in that assurance. I can count on You to not change or leave. Let this old year end and a new year begin- I LOVE living with You right now in this moment and forevermore through Jesus Christ!!

 

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“For he says, ‘In this time of My favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2

“You are my hiding place (my time capsule); You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

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Prayer Prompt-
Father, Give me eternal life through Jesus to live with You right now and forever…

Dear Friends,

Christmas can be very painful for those who are grieving the death of a loved one, but have you ever thought that Jesus was born to bring hope to those who are low in spirit, the broken-hearted; those who think they just can’t go on? This deep gut-wrenching, life-shattering, paralyzing loss in your life is one of the few critical points in your life when you fully realize your great need. How can you go on? How can you possibly ever celebrate again? How can you find any hope or joy or purpose for living without the one you love so much? The answer lies in that quiet, lowly stable where the Son of God was born, mostly unnoticed by a hopeless dark world. It is possible to find all that you need as you kneel before that manger this Christmas-even in the midst of your grief….

 

Kneel in the Darkness

Most likely, there have been few such times of darkness in your life as when someone you love suddenly left this life. Perhaps it was your child who you must somehow learn to live without. Whether they were a baby, a teen or an adult child—you grieve all the future Christmas and other life celebrations you will miss sharing with them. Perhaps it was your spouse that you hoped to grow old with and you are filled with Christmas and other past memories. Maybe it was a parent, fiancé, sibling or friend. It could have been a violent or a peaceful death—expected or unexpected, but you were not ready (even if you knew it was coming!) Now your world has been shaken. Everything seems unstable, fearful and dark. I respectfully and gently suggest you kneel in the darkness as the Light of the World was born for you long ago in that unnoticed stable.

 

Solemn Stillness in a Crazy World

Your world seems chaotic, out-of-control and void of the love you depended on, that you were counting on. This is the most critical time in your life to kneel in the lonely stillness. You need this baby Jesus who was born to be King of your heart. Nothing will be right until you do. He is the only One who can heal your heart, who will walk faithfully with you through the Valley of the shadow of Death. No one else can understand you like He does. No one else will stay with You when everyone else leaves. No one else can give you peace and joy in the midst of your grief.

 

Drop to Your Knees

Grief will knock you off your feet; punch the life right out of you. While you are there flat on the ground, make a choice to kneel before Jesus, the baby who was God-in-the-flesh; the one who lived as one of us yet without sin to willingly offer Himself as a holy eternal sacrifice for our sin. Jesus is the only one who could overcome death (the penalty for our sin) and make a way for us to live with Him in holiness forever and ever. If Christmas seems different this year because of your great loss, kneel quietly before Baby Jesus in a manger who gave everything to become your king! He will never leave you, and will be with you as you learn to live in even greater joy with the Son of God—the very One your loved one knelt before as they left their earthly body. We each have a reason to celebrate Jesus at Christmas time–especially when you stand in grief at the crossroads of heaven and earth.

 

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying. ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.’” Luke 2:10-14