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Has anything in your life experience been spellbinding?  Has something happened to you, has someone happened to you, that has made you completely overcome?  Most of us can say yes to this question.  Most of us know the power of certain moments–and years.  And when life changes and such moments have their season, grief can be as powerful as being spellbound for good reasons.  This is where Jesus makes all the difference in maintaining balance.
 
Jesus is the keeper of our lives, in whatever season we are living.  Do you believe that?  Do you trust that?  It is your ounce of faith that makes this truth active.  Jesus is willing to walk with us through seasons of departure but we must give to Him that seed of faith so He has something to work from.  To be in tandem with Jesus is to give Him our faith, however small, so He can keep it strong through His own massive faith.  Reach for Him today.  This Lord of lords wants to spellbind you with His love–eternally.  Let Him.  When you do, He shall make every other special moment one of value, purpose, and fulfillment–in Him.
 
Lord Jesus, Thank You for being the power of love.  You alone, Jesus, make love all that it is, and all that it looks like in every relationship, in every experience.  Through the might of Your love, may all who hurt and wonder about their relationships find healing, restoration, and direction in Thy complete and unending love.  In Thee Lord Christ, Amen.

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When Jesus came into the world, it was for many reasons.  First and foremost was to redeem man’s sins and claim souls for God for Eternity so Satan could not.  This was accomplished by His finished work on Calvary.   In addition, the Lord Jesus came to have vibrant fellowship with us for the course of our lives.  That course includes seasons of goodbye and transition.  Jesus is there.  This is part of why He came.
 
When we go through times of sadness and grief, Jesus goes through those times, too.  We are never in them alone.  What hurts our heart hurts Jesus’ heart.  This fact gives comfort to know that we are not alone in what we face, and that the Saviour who carries our griefs is with us in love and in constant fellowship.
 
Lord Jesus, Your heart is vast.  It has room for all that hurts.  Your love covers and contains all.  Today, Lord Jesus, may all who hurt know that You are there, and that You are carrying the lionshare of burden, and that Your love never fails.  In Thee, Amen.

It certainty is a test of faith to walk through seasons of life that involve loss of some kind.  Until one is actually walking through such a season, it can seem as though such things only happen to other people.  When personal loss strikes a heart, loss takes on a new meaning, and a new depth of compassion as well.
 
Lose, as difficult as it is, serves as a catalyst to allow you and me to plumb deeper depths of Christ’s heart and understand the woes of others because of our pain.  To live through a time of loss is to come into contact with a warm measure of sensitivity that we may not even realized we possessed until someone or something of value was no longer there.  Not only can personal losses stir deeper compassion, they can make us mindful of all that we have with others today–to share, remember and forgive.
 
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your steady presence that makes a sensitive heart possible at all.  Thank You, Jesus, for staying with each one who grieves to make such seasons meaningful as compassion increases and our relaitonship with You grows deeper and broader.  In Thy Name, Lord Christ, Amen.

Why?  Why me?  How come?  Such questions arise for each one of us from time to time.  A faith in Jesus Christ does not exempt one from times of difficulty, challenge, and wonder.  But faith in Christ assures us that Jesus will be with us in seasons of trials.  Still there are times when we want answers.  Jesus understands.  Times of loss can be one of those times; questions come but answers may not–yet.
 
Often the Lord will reveal certain aspects of answers to us over time.  It may be a long time that passes before He allows us to fill in gaps.  He may give details here and there, all of which is to encourage and deepen our faith.  Without the unknown there would be no reliance on God and His perfect plans.  God knows what He is doing in our lives–and why.  Sometimes circumstances reveal less than we would like to know but if we apply our faith to an all-knowing God, He will extend to us revelations that are beneficial, timely, and bring us closer to Him.
 
Lord God, Thank You for the perfect way that You impart into our knowing the answers to our questions.  Especially when loss occurs and grief makes matters cloudy, Your wise way of giving us information is such that it expresses Your love as You give us what we need to know and when we need to know it.  Thank You, Father, for the dear and steady presence of Jesus with us.  Lord Jesus, You walk through the days of questions with us and remain our answer of love when all else is unclear.  You are ever the certainty on which believers can rest and remember that Your love never fails.  In Christ alone, Amen.

DISMEMBERMENT

Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.    Romans 6:13

Wash, 0 God, our sons and daughters, where your cleansing waters flow Number them among your people, bless as Christ blessed long ago.

Weave them garments bright and sparkling; compass them with love and light. Fill, anoint them; send your Spirit, holy dove and heart’s delight.

Music: The Sacred Harp, Philadelphia, 1844
Text: Ruth Duck, 1947

Recently attention was given to New York by a story that gripped everyone. Leiby Kletzky, age 8, was murdered in a horrific act of evil. The medical examiner concluded he died of acute intoxication as the child was forced to ingest a large dose of drugs, smothered with a towel, and had his feet severed from him and placed in a refrigerator. Levi Aron was arrested for the crime. Spirits have been arrested with grief and guilt as Leiby’s parents, family, and a watching community live with regret thinking that this could have been prevented. Only the Lord knows how devastated his parents are over the loss of their beloved son.

The loss of a child in any manner is an inimitable experience. Time stops. Hope stops. For a time there is emotional paralysis, weariness, and a depth of emptiness that only God fully understands. When children die violently, grief is compounded. Innocence, in every way, is killed and the sense of loss is indescribable and seemingly inescapable. Such pain is only known to those who have borne it. Others look on in compassion and gentleness to offer a word, an act, that may in some small measure soothe and heal. But ultimately, such losses are only for the Lord to cover and comfort.

We are members of the human family. When tragedy of any kind strikes a community, we are all dismembered. Each suffers a loss. A loss of collective hope in what might have been. We are connected to each other, whether or not we are conscious of that connection. What I do for you, I do for the community at large—whatever that community is in size or variety. What you do for me increases my investment in your days as well as those around me. Actions matter. Attention matters. We are linked, not as much by technology or social websites, as by the heart and purposes intended by a holy and remarkable God.

Grief is lessened when we bear it for each other. We bear it with our prayers, our offerings to help with household tasks, with notes, phone calls, and with our silent yet compassionate presence. God wants us—needs us—to bear each other’s burdens. We are incapable of walking through challenging seasons in life without the help of others. When grief strikes a heart and a home, the support of others is essential. We become to others the presence of Jesus. The Holy Spirit ministers to us as to how we can help and then the Holy Spirit supernaturally ministers to those through their season of sorrow.

God’s plan for your life and mine is one of wonder, fulfillment, purpose, and peace. It is a plan conceived out of love and sustained by love. Although that plan can at times seem lacking when suffering occurs, remembering the life of Jesus and what He did for love’s sake insures that our sufferings shall be redeemed as well. God promised. May you trust God’s love and promises for yourself. May you be the one to be a witness to hold them true for someone who grieves that needs to be reminded of the same.

Father, You show us throughout Your Word that sorrow is real, and that it is experienced due to all sorts of endings and challenges. Lord God, because of Jesus, Thy dear Son, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, we have been given the capacity to endure for each other as need requires. We only do so by leaning on You for strength, wisdom, and direction. We do this only because it is Your love that is holding on to us. Thank You, Lord, for holding on to us with Your unfailing love. In the Lord Jesus and His precious Name, Amen.