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Tag Archives: overcoming death

When God is No Where to be Found

At the beginning of chapter 23, Job is in a desperate search to find God. Despite crying out to God in prayer, the Lord was silent. When Job’s own friends began to assume that his current hardship was part of a curse, payback for some hidden or un-confessed sin, panic set in. When no one believed that Job was innocent, demons of doubt, frustration and uncertainty wore on Job’s soul.

If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!
I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments, Job 23:3-4.

Perhaps, 2020 has brought some unpleasant experiences so far. Maybe, one of you has endured a Murphy’s Law kind of week, “if anything can go wrong, it does.” Just as military leaders prepare soldiers and troops for worse case scenarios, the Bible seeks to prepare Christians for the “what ifs” in life. Yet, tragic news like the sudden death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter have left many running to God for answers.

I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me. Would he vigorously oppose me? No, he would not press charges against me, Job 23:5-6.

Fortunately, Job understood the nature of God, that it’s okay to vent the burdens on your heart. When God is no where to be found, Jesus encourages believers to ask, seek and keep knocking until you receive a reply, Matthew 7:7-8. While many quit before finally sensing the presence of God, the parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 serves a blue print to get God’s attention. Although you may experience days, weeks, months and years where God is silent, sometimes you simply need to come to your senses like the prodigal son, Luke 15:11-31. Whatever your current circumstances, may this blog provide some peace of mind to weary souls.

by Jay Mankus

Death Knows Where to Find You

The older you get, the presence of death becomes more of a reality.  In the past year, I have lost a cousin, aunt and father in law.  At the last funeral I attended, I received news that my wife’s aunt Rose was recently diagnosed with cancer.  Last week, Rose went home to be with the Lord.  A homecoming in heaven, but a painful reminder of our temporary status on earth.

And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.

According to Solomon, our bodies are on loan from God.  The Hebrew word for Adam is Adamah, symbolic of God forming Adam’s body out of the earth.  The moment death strikes human beings, souls return back to God.  While your body is left to decay beneath the ground, your spirit awaits judgment before spending eternity in heaven or hell.

Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good, 1 Corinthians 12:4-7.

The apostle Paul referred to human bodies as a temple.  When the Holy of holies was torn in two during the earthquake immediately following Jesus’ death on a cross, this event set the stage God’s presence to no longer be limited to a physical building.  Rather, Jesus’ resurrection and the Day of Pentecost opened the door for the Holy Spirit to enter your life.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” Revelation 21:4.

In the last chapter of the Bible, John has a vision of Jesus in heaven.  Seeing the toll death takes on friends, family and relatives, Jesus promises to provide an eternally environment where they will be no more tears.  Heaven is the final destination where God will make you whole.  Since death knows where to find you, make sure your plans are secured before your time is up, 1 John 5:13.

by Jay Mankus

Cry After Cry…God Comes to the Rescue

When people cry, there could be several reasons.  Cries of joy, tears of pain, touched by words, moved by a kind act or mourning after someone dies.  In the famous Aesop fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, this story refers to individuals who try to gain attention with impure motives.  As for this person, God will not come to their aid immediately, Isaiah 1:15.

However, Psalm 106:44 suggests that a heart felt cry is heard by the Lord.  Although you may not receive a reply right away, God’s timing is perfect, Ecclesiastes 3:10-11.  Cry after cry is duly noted by God, observing the distress that you and I go through over the course of a week, month or year.  Subsequently, each earnest plea is rewarded with a sign, word of encouragement or by a person sent to ease your pain.

According to the Bible, there will be no tears in heaven, Revelation 7:17.  Yet, until then, disappointment is a daily reality while calling earth home.  In your struggle to stay positive, Ephesians 6:12, don’t try to do this all on your own.  Rather, cry out to the Lord, following in the footsteps of David, Psalm 4:1, so that God will come to the rescue.

by Jay Mankus

 

Coping With the Silence of Death

Three weeks ago, Nascar driver Tony Stewart was living his dream, driving and racing on whatever surface he could find.   While competing on a dirt track race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, Stewart spun out Kevin Ward going into a corner.  One lap later, Kevin got out of his vehicle, stepped toward on coming traffic and was struck by Tony’s back tire.  Flying several feet in the air backwards, Kevin laid motionless as a hushed crowd waited, not sure if what they saw was real.  This is the silence of death.

One of the biggest mistakes individuals make at a funeral is to try to relate with someone who has just lost a loved one.  Although your words may be eloquent and motivated by compassion, the silence of death is different for each person.  Some never recover, like a widow who dies shortly after their spouse passes away.  Others go through months or years of depression before the sun shines upon their bruised and broken soul.  Regardless of where you fit into this spectrum, the silence of death takes its course, using time, reflection and seeking God to ease the pain.

An unnamed author provides insight to the process of healing.  According to Psalm 93:16-17, divine intervention is sent from heaven to those struggling to carry on with life.  Whether through angels, friends or the power of the Holy Spirit, God reaches down to give footing for those slipping away, Psalm 94:18.  Though anger is a natural emotion connection with death, consolation comes once you let go of “what if, why me and how could you?”  As the silence of death lingers for those still not able to cope with this harsh reality, may joy rain from heaven to touch and encourage your soul, Psalm 94:19.

by Jay Mankus

 

The Funeral Ends Today

As human beings with hearts, souls and minds, its hard to move on, especially when someone or something is gone.  Just before Christmas an old friend had their grandparents house explode due to a gas leak, erasing any existence of their home and possessions.  Fortunately, they were not home at the time, but every album and cherished picture was obliterated, becoming a distance memory.

In the film We Are Marshall, based upon a true story, when a plane crash wipes out 69 members of the Thundering Herd football program during a storm in the late 1970’s.  Jack Lengyel, played by Matthew McConaughey is hired to rebuild a program, attempting to rise from the ashes of this disaster.  Slowly rebuilding a team, piece by piece, Coach Lengyel gives a touching pregame speech in front of the statue dedicated to their fallen teammates.  Before getting back on the bus to play their game, the motivational talk ends with the words, “the funeral ends today!”

While just a movie, these words provide sound advice for 2014.  The apostle Paul uses a similar expression in Philippians 3:12-14.  Despite what you’ve accomplished in the past, whether good or bad, its pointless to beat yourself up inside, leading to misery and regret.  Therefore, you should press on toward the future, taking hold of the things God has called you to do on earth.  Whatever pain you’ve endure throughout your life or in 2013, make Coach Lengyel’s words your prayer, “the funeral ends today!”

by Jay Mankus

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