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One of the most difficult things we do in life (if not THE most difficult) is to grieve. Adjusting to the loss of someone close and dear to us seems like an insurmountable challenge. The emotional, and sometimes the physical, pain is so intense we literally feel we cannot breathe. And yet, when that person has lived their life for God, with God, their eyes and hope on Heaven, that life is one of victory and should be celebrated.
But how do we celebrate when our hearts are shattered in pieces, torn in two, even emotionally ripped from within us, knowing life will never be the same again? How do we celebrate when we feel so devastated, so overwhelmed, so totally drowning in grief that just living life seems impossible?
As in other victories and celebrations in our lives, this celebration is not one of loud laughter and frivolous actions. Rather, it is the intellectual knowledge and recognition of the promise from God our Father , that our loved one is in a better place, no longer enduring pain or any kind of suffering, and is enjoying a new life in a new home in the presence of The Godhead. For a Christian that knowledge alone should bring a measure of joy and comfort to our hearts for years to come.
Part of that celebration includes our memories and the sharing of those memories with those around us, especially with our church family. They are our support system (Galatians 6:2) and will help hold us up and hold us together until such time we are able to once again stand on our own and even be their support in their time of need. (Let me say here that being part of someone’s support system does NOT mean you know how that person feels in their grief. Even if we have suffered the same loss, we cannot know exactly how that person feels. We are all different and only God knows how we feel.)
However, the major portion of this celebration of life should not be simply the knowledge and mental recognition of God’s promise, great and wonderful as it is, or even recalling those precious memories. Celebrating that life should be telling how they lived and sharing their beliefs with others, as is appropriate to do in memorial services. To go even further with this thought…what greater celebration of a life than to imitate them as they imitated Christ. Paul tells the Corinthians to do that very thing In I Corinthians 11:1. Then, in the imitating of Christ, being of the same mind of Christ, the true honor and glory will go to God.
What is the victorious life? How do you get it? How do you know you have it? It begins by making sure you are IN Christ by having your sins washed away (Acts 2:38; 8:36), making sure your life is clean and pure in God’s sight. Then you must always seek His Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33), ever doing what He wants you to do….. walking in the light, having fellowship with other Christians (I John 1:7) (We cannot have a victorious life alone), serving others (Ephesians 4:1-3), always striving to have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16; Phil. 4:6-8), ever building your relationship with God the Father as well as God the Son (John 17:3; 8:32; 14:6, 15; 15:14) which includes daily study and prayer.
A life of victory is not easy. It is certainly not a smooth straight road from the waters of baptism to Heaven. Many things we encounter along the way will distract us, entice us, take us by surprise and knock us down, and yes, even challenge our faith. But it is with God’s Word (the Sword of the Spirit–Ephesians 6:17) in our hands, our hearts, and our minds, the support and encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ, and prayer and faith that we will have that help to get us through (Psalm 23:4; Philippians 4:13; I Corinthians 10:13) that brings the victory.
Many examples in our congregations readily come to mind whose lives have been victorious. Think back on those lives. They had challenges, temptations, heartaches—all which made them stronger, deepened their faith in God and more fully focused their walk to Heaven. They, like those mentioned in Hebrews 11, along with John, Peter, and Paul (just to name a few) never knew a life free of problems. That is what made them strong. That is what made them long for Heaven (Philippians 1:21-23) and kept that hope for Heaven strong. They knew there was something better out there than this life (as good as it can be).
Therefore, as we go about our daily lives, celebrating births and birthdays, baptisms and marriages, graduations and yes, even winning awards and ball games and such (for such is what makes this life so enjoyable), the real goal in life is to live victoriously…..to live so we can later hear “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23; Luke 19:17)… to live so that when we pass on our family and friends can– and will–celebrate our victorious life. And as they celebrate our victorious life, they, too, will gain their measure of comfort from it, and will in turn imitate us as we sought to imitate Christ.
By Beth Turner
For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matt 5:45b. Everyone, no matter if they live a righteous, or an evil life, has good and bad days. We all have days when we feel on top of the world and want to celebrate, and we have those days when we feel hopeless.
God’s Word teaches us that as Christians, we have reason to celebrate in time of heartache, to celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ and to celebrate our future inheritance waiting for us in Heaven. “Who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelations of Jesus Christ.”-1 Peter 1:5-7
As a Christian, I can learn to celebrate heartaches. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”-Psalm 23:4 In this world there are heartaches, frustrations, disappointments and pain. My family has dealt with many sicknesses. I’m sure that every family has dealt with things like my family has. Even though it may not have been health problems, we all have troubles and they are always very difficult. But what I have learned is everything He does is for some reason that maybe we do not always see right away. Sometimes why we go through pain and problems is because God wants us to be closer to Him and He wants us to be stronger in our Christianity.
James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Even when we are going through struggles we have something to celebrate about because we have a wonderful Savior who is going to bring us to the amazing and perfect Heaven where there will be no pain and sorrows. So it does not matter what happens in this life because even if we go through rough times we can try to see it as a time to get closer to God and to just trust in Him because He knows everything that is ever going to happen to us.
As a Christian I must learn to celebrate and share our hope. “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”-1 Peter 3:15 Why do we as Christians read these scriptures and not share the hope we have in Jesus with everyone we know? That is something I find myself often dealing with. Everyone deserves a chance at a wonderful inheritance just like we are getting. Like it says in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” He died for everyone who believes in Him & will obey His commandments.
Have you ever noticed how excited a newborn babe is after they have put on Christ? They want to celebrate their new birth, praise God and share their joy with everyone! Recently, my sister, Anna, was baptized into Christ at 1 am and then afterwards we stayed up with her and just sang praises to our God together. It was a joyous occasion. We celebrated our hope that we have in Jesus. Isn’t it wonderful being in the Lord’s family?! Shouldn’t we always want to share and celebrate this?
As a Christian, I have the privilege of celebrating my future inheritance waiting for me in Heaven. Really, could there be a better reason to celebrate than Heaven? And the Great Day that the Lord comes back for us will be the most wonderful celebration we will ever know. Not only that, this celebration will never end! “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4:16-17
One of the most exciting songs celebrating Heaven says, “Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, Sing His mercy and His grace. In the mansions bright and blessed, He’ll prepare for us a place. When we all get to heaven, What a day of rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!” (When We All Get to Heaven)
“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” 1 Cor 15:51-52
Life for the Christian is a joyous celebration. Heartaches turn to hope, and our hope will one day be realized forever in Heaven. 1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you.”
By Abby Warnes
Printed in the 2012 Summer Issue of N5V3
n our day and age, we love celebrating birthdays, promotions, graduations, and many other exiting events. We celebrate these events by doing honor to those whom we love. What happens when we think about celebrating is we think “parties, friends, family and fun.” Although, when we think about celebrating Christ, it seems to be somewhat more difficult. We think “Hard work that we are continually working on.” What I want most is to encourage us all to celebrate Christ on a daily basis.
You might know exactly where to take your friend for their birthday because you know them so well. In celebrating Christ, wouldn’t we have to know him just as well? We can’t assume, “if I do this for Him my way, it’ll be okay.” There is only one way; God’s way. In order to celebrate Christ in a manner that will please him, we must know God’s word, study it, and keep it close to our hearts. There is not a way that we can celebrate Him with our own ways; only through studying God’s word. John 7:17-18 says “If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself…” And 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.” And the Psalmist said “Thy word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalms 119:11
There are many examples where people claim to be doing God’s will. But throughout time, people tend to change to the will of man, which displeased God. One such example is Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10: 1- 2. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded them. And there came forth fire from before Jehovah, and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah.” They did not honor God’s command and therefore paid the consequences of their sin. We have to follow God’s word exactly as it requires us to do. We can’t change it in a way that will better please us. A way that we perceive as easier to please Christ. All we have to do is follow it. 2 Timothy 1:13 encourages us to “Hold the pattern of sound words which thou hast heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” And 1 Corinthians 4:6 further warns us that we should not add to God’s word : “Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes: that in us ye might learn not to go beyond the things which are written.”
Celebration is about being excited. When I found out that I was going to have a baby, I told everyone I came in contact with. The same when I found out I was going to be a grandmother. I was excited and full of joy and enthusiasm. The thing is we all need that feeling of enthusiasm when it comes to thinking about Christ and what He has done for us in our lives. We should not be afraid to show the world our commitment, but instead we should expand it enthusiastically. We want our friends to be able to see how committed we are from the lives we live and the love we have for the Lord. We want to show them how devoted we are. What we need is continuous spiritual fuel to celebrate Christ to the absolute fullest. You may ask how you might get this fuel, or if it’s hard to obtain. We get this fuel through fellowship with others who are just as enthusiastic about Christ. Fellowship is exampled for us in Acts 2:42 “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.” And we are encouraged to be unitifed in fellowship in Philippians 2:2 “Make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind;” Our enthusiasm of celebrating Christ needs to be contagious. We need the help of our brothers and sisters to help spread the word. By working together we can show the world how much we have to celebrate. Hebrews 10:24 says “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.” And Hebrews 3:13 tells us to exhort one another day by day…..”
We are so blessed and should celebrate to the fullest extent that Christ is in our lives. We may think we are ordinary people, but we are just the opposite. We are extraordinary because we have Christ in our lives. No, we are not perfect. Yes, we do fall down. Yet Christ has never failed to pick us up, brush us off, and press us forward. We get our strength from Him and His word. He provides us with spiritual fuel. How can we do anything but celebrate Christ and all he did for us.
By Janie Reed and Alex Reed
Printed in the Summer 2012 issue N5V3
Since April of 1923 millions of children have sang, with gladness, the song “I’ve Got the Joy in my Heart.” Many have sung and celebrated its message throughout the years. It’s a great song to sing to help teach our children, and to remind ourselves, the many reasons for celebration we share through our love for our perfect Lord. Even as children we understood the joy that can come from a relationship with our Heavenly Father. As adults and mature Christians we more fully, though probably not completely, understand and appreciate the joy that we experience as children of God. Peter describes our joy as a joy that is inexpressible. “And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:8) Peter had known Jesus personally, he was writing to those who had not seen Jesus in the flesh, yet they loved him even though they had not seen him. Just as Christians today have not seen him, but through His word, we are able to know Him, believe in Him and love Him, and experience that inexpressible joy that Peter refers to. With the practice of regular Bible study we can have that joy deep down in our hearts to stay.
The song has a variety of verses which deals with blessings that we receive from God where we can celebrate His spiritual gifts. In one verse it refers to the faith we have in Jesus. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” (1 John 5:4) Faith is what gives victory to Christians. Many times it looks as if the world and those who commit sin live the best lives, get the most breaks and are the happiest. This is one of Satan’s illusions. Victory and joy do not come from sin. Victory and joy come by living a life of faith in Jesus Christ. That, my friend, gives us reason to celebrate!
As faithful Christians we have the “glorious hope of our blessed redeemer way down in the depths of our heart.” Paul writes: “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1Cor 15:19) If the only hope Christians have is in this life, then we have no real hope. If there was no resurrection then we are to be pitied because if Christ was not resurrected from the dead then what we believe is all a lie and we have nothing. But, because Christ was resurrected from death we can be baptized into his death and raised to walk in newness of life. “…born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet 1:3). We joyfully celebrate because we will have an eternal life in Heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ. Think just a moment about the most fantastic place you’ve ever been, or the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, or the best time you’ve ever had, or the most exhilarating mood you’ve ever been in, or the deepest love you’ve ever felt, or the most scrumptious flavor you’ve ever tasted. All those things are blessings from God. Now just think a moment longer, all those wonderful things that are from God, He has said that he is preparing for us a place that’s even better than we can even imagine. “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Cor. 2:9) — I get excited thinking about it!
Losing my father to cancer this past year has been a difficult challenge. It was extremely hard watching him suffer for many years as he fought with the illnesses that eventually took his life. Many have offered their condolences, and have wished us well, and have offered help in any way that they can, and we are very appreciative for all of them. But I can’t describe to you the peace that comes over me when I think of my earthly father nearing that home my heavenly Father is preparing for him. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) My father is no longer in pain. He is resting peacefully in Paradise awaiting the home he has longed for. I miss him terribly but my heavenly Father thought so much of me that He left me with the spiritual gift of comfort. Because of that gift I have a peace of mind which comes from having a relationship with God and I am able to rest assured all is well and one day we will be able to celebrate our eternity together in our Heavenly home.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. (James 5:13) I did a study on the effects of singing and I read where all types of singing have positive psychological effects. The act of singing releases endorphins, the brain’s “feel good” chemicals. When we sing while praising our Lord it can put us in a celebratory state. The next time we sing the song “I’ve Got the Joy in my Heart” let’s listen to the words we are singing and celebrate the wonderful love we have for our Lord, Jesus Christ.
by Karen Bookout
Printed in the Summer 2012 issue N5V3
“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice”
As a young teenager, I consumed my time reading countless occasions in the Bible involving suffering. Being cut in two by a sword, drug out of homes, stoned by multitudes, hung upside down, spat upon, beaten, mocked, burned, trapped with deadly animals—the list of suffering experienced by Christians seemed exhausting.
I was unable to wrap my mind around what early Christians experienced for God’s sake. What boggled my mind even more, however, was the fact that in the midst of all of this suffering, these Christians were told to rejoice always.
How on earth could a human being rejoice while having their body beaten? How could a woman rejoice as her husband was dragged out of her home and thrown into prison? How could a young man rejoice as his greatest role model lay on the ground feeling stone after stone thrown by an angry, non-believing mob?
The two concepts—rejoicing and suffering—clashed so strongly in my mind until one day, I realized the source of joy revealed within the verse.
God did not ask us here to rejoice always. He would never require His children to be happy when facing pain, agony, misery, and death for His sake. God would never force us to deny the very emotions of sadness and anger that He Himself placed inside of our hearts for specific purposes.
God did, however, tell us to rejoice in the LORD always.
When our boyfriend dumps us, or best friend moves, or we fail that important test, or we lose our beloved grandparent, we are allowed to express sorrow and grief—God given emotions. But in this verse God is teaching us that at the heart of any problem, no matterhow great, we still have a reason to celebrate, and that reason is Christ.
A perfect example of celebrating God in the midst of a life storm comes from our dear brother Job. After losing his livestock, his home, his servants, the support of his friends and wife, and even his health, he still managed to fall to the ground and praise God in worship. He understood that though he had lost everything on earth he held dear, he still had a reason to celebrate, and that reason was Him.
No matter the trials you are facing—maybe a broken relationship, an exhausting friendship, struggles with a teacher, a stressful transition in life, feelings of rejection—Christ loves you, suffered for you, died for you, rose for you, and will return for you. That alone, is a reason to celebrate in the midst of life’s storms.
Celebrate Him! Always!
by Jennifer Savage
Printed in the Summer 2012 issue V5N3
A wedding is one of the most celebrated events in a woman’s life. The wedding day itself is a day of celebration with flowers, feasts, beautiful clothing, and happy tears shared with family and friends. Then each year after, the wedding date is celebrated again as the couple remembers their commitment to God and to each other.
Weddings have been a cause for celebration since the very beginning. Throughout the Bible we can read about wedding feasts and the celebration involved with the start of a new marriage. Jesus was even invited to attend a wedding celebration during the early part of his ministry (John 2).
The first wedding ceremony, although simple when compared to today’s standards, must have shared much of the same happiness and emotion. Surely Adam must have felt overwhelming joy when presented with his bride. God created Eve and “brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:22), much as a father walks his daughter down the aisle to her groom. As Adam looked as his bride and they were joined together as man and wife, there must have been much love and hope for their future as he said “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife.” (Genesis 2:24)
Marriage is truly a wonderful gift from God – one that should be celebrated. As our creator, God knew the nature of man. He knew that we could better enjoy this world He designed for us if we had someone to share it with. “It is not good that the man should be alone,” God said. (Genesis 2:18). So God created a suitable helper for the man, someone who would complete him in every way. And in creating the woman for the man, God also created the union that would join them together – the union of marriage.
Marriage is not an institution created by men. We did not design the idea of marriage; therefore, we do not make up the rules. Marriage is a union created by God alone. But as men often do with God’s creations, there are some who try to change God’s plan for marriage to make it fit their own wants and desires.
What is God’s plan for marriage?
1. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. This is not a popular idea to discuss anymore, but being unpopular with the world does not make it untrue. Marriage was never designed to join together two men or two women. In fact, God calls the very idea of this kind of union an abomination (Leviticus 20:11). God did not create a man AND a woman for Adam to choose the partner he preferred. Adam, the man, was created first. Then Eve, the woman, was created to be his helper. From the beginning, God designed marriage to be a union between a man and a woman.
2. Marriage is to be between one husband and one wife. Once a man and woman are joined together in marriage, they are to be committed only to one another. God outlines His plan for the marriage relationship in Ephesians 5. The husband is to be the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church. The wife is to submit to her husband; while he is commanded to love her the way Christ loves the church and even gave himself for it. (vs. 22-25) There is no room for other men or other women in a marriage that follows God’s plan.
3. Marriage is God’s chosen vehicle for bringing children into the world. Children are one of God’s greatest blessings. They are a “heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3). After God joined together Adam and Eve, He blessed them and encouraged them to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28). But God’s plan does not encourage all people everywhere to have children with whomever they wish. Over and over throughout the Old Testament, God warned His people “Do not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14). In the New Testament, Jesus even takes the law a step farther when he said that even looking on a woman with lustful intent is the same as committing adultery in the heart. (Matthew 5:28). If we follow God’s plan for marriage, children are a blessing to be enjoyed within the marriage because the sexual relationship is only to be enjoyed within the marriage.
4. Marriage is intended to last. This is quickly becoming another very unpopular, although very true part of God’s plan for marriage. Today couples plan little and marry quickly without much thought for the future. Divorces are granted every day for any reason a couple can invent. But God’s plan for marriage does not provide for an “easy way out” in case the couple changes their mind in a year or two. Jesus taught that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery (Matthew 5:32, Mark 10:11). In fact, the only reason that divorce would be permitted is if one partner is unfaithful (Matthew 19:9). “A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives” (Romans 7:2).
Marriage is not an institution that needs a makeover. It is not the job of the government or any other group to insert their opinions or determine who can marry or when and how a marriage can be dissolved. Marriage is an honorable institution (Hebrews 13:4), a law created by God (Romans 7:2-3). And as the creator, God is the only one with the authority to make or change the plan for marriage.
A marriage between a new husband and his bride is certainly a cause for celebration. And so is a faithful, mature marriage that has stood the test of time. Marriage involves more than just finding our own personal happiness and sharing our life with another person as long as we find happiness in it. Marriage involves a lifelong commitment – to our spouse and to God’s perfect plan.
By Valerie Enoch
printed in the Summer 2012 issue V5N3
Women excel at organizing and hosting celebrations. Consider for a moment your purpose for these events. Marriage represents love, commitment, and unity. Celebratory birthdays conjure thoughts of life, hope for the future, and thankfulness for relationships. Graduation celebrations commemorate accomplishment, and the beginning of a new chapter in life. Long awaited homecomings receive exuberant celebrations over the much anticipated reunification, peace, and reward for the angst of time spent apart. Sometimes, just a simple vacation can be cause to celebrate the blessing of sweet rest from our toil and labor.
Study of the purpose behind our earthly celebrations reveals God’s design once more. Knowing your fleshly needs, He provides these physical reminders of the spiritual celebrations available to you through Christ.
Consider if you will, the marriage of the Church to Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:22-33 expresses Christ’s devotion and love for His church (His Bride). Jesus gave Himself for her in order to cleanse and purify her and now “nourishes and cherishes” her. Bask in the love that Christ showed for His church, for the blessings of fellowship, unity and love it provides. Remember that Christ, through the Church, cares for each member oft he body. Celebrate Christ’s love for you!
Nothing is more precious than the salvation of a soul. Spiritual rebirth through baptism into Christ provides a cause for rejoicing just as the Ethiopian eunuch did in Acts 8:38-39. Philip helped him understand that this new birth provided an eternal hope of a home in Heaven and ongoing fellowship with the Savior. Celebrate the opportunity to die to sin and live life anew!
Your Christian walk is progressive in nature. Although already an apostle and devout Christian, Paul would say, “I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 3:13-14). For a faithful Christian, the goal will never be reached while on earth; however, you can still celebrate the triumphs you achieve through Christ. Whether you graduate from a basic understanding to an in-depth Bible study, overcome a sin you have struggled with for many years, or triumph over a fear holding you back from giving God your best – celebrate that God, through the blood of Christ, sustains you until the day you strive no more!
In times of war, homecomings offer joy and peace from the angst of waiting. Thus will be the case when Jesus returns to take His followers home. If you are a child of God, rejoice! While engulfed in your fleshly battle, the tears you shed in anticipation of the long awaited promised homecoming will be wiped away (Revelation 21:4) and you will be rewarded with an eternal rest and peace. Jesus promised to prepare us a place and return to take us there. (John 14:1-33) Rejoice! “`Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on’!” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.” (Revelation 14:13) Celebrate the joy and peace this reunion will provide!
Before His death on the cross, Jesus said to His disciples, “…I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” (John 16:22) Jesus’ triumphant return from the grave fulfilled this prophecy and the apostles rejoiced because of the spiritual blessings it meant for them. Blessings including love, unity, and nourishment through the body of Christ; new birth, and hope for the future; strength, and grace to sustain their Christian walk; and the promise of a homecoming, with eternal rest and peace. The same blessings are available to you today, and your intent should be to rejoice because of them.
Celebrate on purpose!
By Beth Drake
Printed in the Summer 2012 issue v5n3