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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Facing Death"

Date published: 12/15/2014
2 Corinthians 4:17-5:2 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”  (NIV)

   This was one of my sister Anne’s favorite verses. Unfortunately this week she passed from life in her earthly tent into the hands of God. This passage was illuminated as never before as I watched a woman of faith living out her final days without fear, but in the firm hope of Jesus Christ. Early on in life she experienced several afflictions, yet she lived as a radiant child of God. She embraced who she was in Jesus Christ and experienced the riches she had in Christ. Revelations 2:9 “I know your afflictions and your poverty — yet you are rich!” (NIV)  She endured a terrible cancer in the comfort of her Lord and Savior knowing that her body was temporary, but her eternal place in heaven was secure.  Revelation 2:10 “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.” (NIV) She did not allow her earthly frame or life to consume her God, but she found great peace and joy while bearing great fruit in the lives of others, as her God consumed the world and its difficulties. Psalm 126:5-6 “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” (NIV) Many looked at Anne and saw someone awkwardly different. Many reacted to those differences instead of allowing those differences to be a transforming experience in their life. Whether you received Anne with irritation or delight; puzzlement or joy; challenge or reflection; you always experienced the character of God as described in Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (NIV) Anne was truly a gift from the Lord that touched and changed the lives of many. Psalm 127:3 “Behold children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (NEB)

1 Corinthians 15:53-57 “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 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. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV) 

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Do you know someone who needs this message on the loss of a loved one or who too may be facing death. If so, forward them this devotion as a blessing for their “growth in Christ.” 

Resources on death: Lesson 1, “The Good News,” in “Your Life in Christ. ” “Deeper With God”  to cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ during a difficult time, "Grief" to cope with sorrow, and “Hard Times”  to help you process through difficult times.