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Fear paralyzes.  It thwarts spiritual growth, stymies one’s relationship with Jesus, and makes a saint encumbered and inactive.  Loss prompts fear.  Even threat of a loss can make one fearful.  Jesus does not want us to be fearful.  He came to vanquish fear—forever.

Losses in life are real.  They hurt.  All of the emotions that attend a loss are valid.  But for the Christian, no loss is experienced alone.  Jesus is there in the steps of loss and pain to carry one through a season that is painful.  Moreover, anything that one is fearful of losing, can be governed by Christ if it is given over to Him.  Give your fear over to Jesus.  Today.  He has the power to set you free from fear.  Let Him.

Jesus, You made a way for us to be free from fear—You are the way.  Thank You for the active way that You take fear away to release believers from its burden and paralysis.  May those who fear come to trust You to be their courage and defense, and to receive comfort from Your strength and presence.  In Thee, Lord Jesus, Amen.

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There is nothing that the Lord Jesus cannot see you through.  Do you believe that statement?  Do you believe it today?  Did you believe it at another time in your life?  Whatever your answer is right now, Jesus has not left your side.  He is with you.  He wants to see you through these days of challenge.  He has the power to do it.  Do you have the faith to let Him?

In its own way, weak faith is a gift.  It enables God through the Son, Jesus, to uphold us with His strength and allow us to see how much He loves us and how faithful He is.  God’s commitment to you and to me is stalwart.  Nothing and no one can break that bond.  However, painful seasons in life test the bond.  He is holding on to you.  Let Him. 

Lord, You are there.  No matter what.  No matter who.  Your power and Your love abound when life’s storms come, and when they subside.  Jesus, may Your faith encourage this reader today, and for all tomorrows yet to be.  In Thee, Amen.

Tomorrow.  This word can prompt hope.  This word can stir dread.  To live is to know these polar opposites, and the many feelings in between in the spectrum of human emotion.  When a loss occurs in life, tomorrow can be hollow and full of dread.  The absence of someone or something can make for a painful reality.  Tomorrows become just another block of time to manage through.  Jesus knows that. 

Jesus is the One—the only One—who stays through the days and nights of sorrow, and leads the way to a tomorrow of hope.  When you go through another day, you are living in hope.  Even when emotions are challenging, energy is weak, and motivation is limp, Jesus makes possible your passage through that day.  The closeness of Jesus assures that each tomorrow is leading your spirit toward tomorrows that will eventually feel more hopeful.  Truly they will be filled with hope for Jesus will be there—just as He is there right now.  You are not alone.

Jesus, sorrows in life can deplete people of hope and make the future seem fruitless.  Because of Thee, it is not.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, for comforting those who need Your companionship and love.  Thank You, Jesus, for the hope You offer by simply staying near.  In Thee, our Lord, Amen.

Spiritual blindness can be brought on by grief.  An inability to see God for all He is and life for what it is via God’s plan and by God’s love is a common occurrence in times of despair.  In a human state of grief, it is beyond human ability to see beyond goodbye and see a clearing.  Grief blurs and mars vision to make for a gray and foggy view of life.

Life with Jesus assures that His eyes are wide open and that He leads the way.  Jesus sees.  Jesus leads. Let Him.  Follow Him.  When grief debilitates and actions are seemingly futile, Jesus guides you.  Blurred spiritual vision may come for a season.  Jesus came to accompany people throughout all seasons in life, and to draw others to Himself for the life to come.  Hold on to Jesus.  He is holding on to you.  He has the clear spiritual vision for both of you.  He wants to be your vision.  Let Him.   

Lord Jesus, someone reading this is hurting.  He or she needs a gentle touch from You.  They need to see a clear path to tomorrow.  Give it to them.  You make the path.  You are the path.  Please grant spiritual vision to those who grieve.   Thank You, Lord, Amen.

Do you know that whatever you do on any given day is seen by God.  Even if you take your eyes off of Him, He is still watching over you.  Life’s circumstances, pains, sorrows, memories, decisions, and disappointments, can cause eyes to shift away from God.  Nothing—nothing—takes His gaze away from you.

Where will you look today?  Perhaps the answer is at your pain, the pain of someone else that hurts you, and maybe your focus is on the unknown.  Wherever your gaze rests, a loving and healing God has His eyes fixed on you.  How could it ever be otherwise for Him.  You see, this is where His heart is fixed—on you.

Lord, Your watchfulness is a gift and a balm.  Even when we may not realize how close You are, Your eyes of love remain on us.  Lord, help the person reading this to know that Your eyes shall be on them throughout the course of this day, the course of this week.  Give this person the touch of Your Spirit so that whatever days bring, there is assurance that You are there and that no breath is taken alone.  In Jesus Christ, Amen.

PET REMEMBRANCES

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning. James 1:17

To live with a pet is to live with family.  These creatures grow on us and grow into the framework that is our family.  Great Danes, gold fish, kittens, snakes, horses, canaries, and hermit crabs are named and engrafted into hearts and memories.  Therefore, when a pet dies, sorrow follows.  A member of the family has died.

Some people who experience the loss of a pet may be surprised at how such a loss grips them.  After all, one may reason, it was not a person.  However, the kind of relationship shared with pets is often unique and indelible.  Pets give their love and affection in an unconditional and consistent manner.  When that is gone, there is a large void to fill.  Until a pet dies, people may not realize how much a pet’s presence meant as a source of affection and acceptance; affection and acceptance given and received.

When we love someone or something, we give.  The absence of a pet to care for and to give ourselves to is part of the pain of grief.  When grief comes as a result of pet sorrow, it is a season of emotional, physical, and mental challenges.  Routine activities, special events, and daily responsibilities are bland and perhaps arduous to manage.  During times of grief, energy wanes and enthusiasm fades.  Even activities preferred and pleasurable can lose their appeal.  For a time.  This is normal in a grief experience but it feels and seems abnormal.

Pet remembrances have a respectable place in our lives because these creatures make their mark on us.  Therefore, expressions of sympathy, memorial services, cards, crying, humor, and story telling are essential components in a season of pet loss.  These are compassionate and purposeful expressions of grief and expressions of gratitude for the gift of a pet that held a special place in one’s life.

James 1:17 informs us that every gift is from above.  Scripture’s beautiful truth and reminder to us that all gifts are from God is a timely one to read when living with loss.  All we have loved at one time or another is a gift from God. However short or long in duration, the opportunity to exchange love and time with a special person or a special pet is something God grants.  In memory, this exchange remains blessed by Him.  With the Holy Spirit’s comforting presence, the ache of loss can gradually be softened into the magic of memory; memory to savor and to share forever.

Father of giving, thank You, for the gift of pets.  In the Bible, You gave to Adam the joy and the responsibility of naming the animals.  In Your grace, You grant to us the joy of befriending some of Your creatures along with ways to share love and life with them.  When they are gone, You know how much it hurts.  Lord, as You have blessed with love, bless with comfort to soothe the spirits and minds of those who grieve their pets.  Give to others sensitivity with which to comfort those who grieve and seek ways to foster meaningful pet remembrances.  In Thee, Lord Jesus, our dearest friend, Amen.