Posts belonging to Category Death



A Pastor’s First-Hand Response from Newtown, CT

For those of you who have been praying for the Newtown community in the wake of Friday’s shooting, I recommend this first-hand account from Pastor Joey Newton, pastor-teacher of Newtown Bible Church in Newtown, Connecticut.

Weeping with those who weep–a first-hand response from Newtown:

The church I pastor is three miles from the site of Friday’s slaughter, where 26 people were murdered. Certainly this event will in some way define and shape the spiritual life of the community for decades to come. I know it will profoundly affect my family; many of those killed were the same age as one of my three daughters.

I spent last Friday in the counseling center the town set up, where families had gathered waiting to hear the names of their child, or to see if any new information came out. (Click here to read the full article.)

MaryBeth Chapman on Maria’s Death One Year Later

MaryBeth Chapman shares her feelings on the anniversary of her daughter Maria’s accidental death one year ago.

Here is what I FEEL as this day starts out. Sad beyond sad that she isn’t here, angry and mad that this had to happen, confused and bewildered that it had to involve Maria’s big brother that absolutely adored her, paralyzing fear that I won’t be able to pull through the pain and be able to completely let her go…because she wasn’t mine to begin with, and speechless to know how to grieve my baby girl who gave me soooo much laughter and joy and then turn around and hold tightly to the young man who is walking through this tragedy at 18 years old…Maria’s buddy, Will, (the bravest young man I know!), and at my darkest place, I wonder…God, where are you and why in the world would you choose us to walk this out…It isn’t fair!

And then, all of a sudden, I hear this other voice in my head that reminds me over and over again of not what I FEEL, but what I KNOW…It might on certain days be buried deep down in my heart and have a hard time computing to my brain, but here is what I know and what I choose to believe, over and over again…even when it is really just a bad day! I know God loves me and my family, I know God is sovereign and He knows what is best for us, I know He has our days numbered and makes NO mistakes, I know that He will bring beauty from ashes…He has too…that is what I cling to in order to make it through another 24 hours.

HT: Tim Challies

Related posts:
    • Steven Curtis Chapman’s Daughter Killed
    • Steven Curtis Chapman on Good Morning America

The Accurate Watch

This watch marks the one appointment we all must keep.
 
The Accurate Watch

Actually, it might not be such a bad reminder to carry around.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

HT: Gizmodo

Losing a Husband in Old Age

I just got back from the nursing home where I lead services twice a month. A dear, sweet woman named Verniece shared with me that her husband passed away Saturday. They had shared a lifetime together and even shared a room at the nursing home. Now he is gone. She told me, “I just can’t stop grieving. I miss him so much.” I held her hand as we talked and told her it was okay to grieve, God made us that way. That seemed to help some, but her grief runs deep. I am sure we will talk more in the days to come.

Driving back to the church office, I thought of these song lyrics by Sara Groves (“What Do I Know” from Conversations, one of my favorite CDs):

I have a friend who just turned eighty-eight
And she just shared with me that she’s afraid of dying.
I sit here years from her experience
And try to bring her comfort, I try to bring her comfort.
But what do I know? What do I know?

She grew up singing about the glory land,
And she would testify how Jesus changed her life.
It was easy to have faith when she was thirty-four,
But now her friends are dying, and death is at her door.
And what do I know? What do I know?

    Well I don’t know that there are harps in heaven,
    Or the process for earning your wings.
    And I don’t know of bright lights at the ends of tunnels,
    Or any of these things.

She lost her husband after sixty years,
And as he slipped away, she still had things to say.
Death can be so inconvenient.
You try to live and love. It comes and interrupts.
Oh what do I know? Really, what do I know?

    Well I don’t know that there are harps in heaven,
    Or the process for earning your wings.
    And I don’t know of bright lights at the ends of tunnels,
    Or any of these things.

    But I know to be absent from this body
    Is to be present with the Lord,
    And from what I know of him, that must be pretty good.
    Oh, I know to be absent from this body
    Is to be present with the Lord,
    And from what I know of him, that must be very good.

Here is a clip from the song. Please pray for Verniece at this time of loss.

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Larry Norman Sings Goodbye Farewell

Death Comes to Us All (Larry speaking)

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Click “►” button to play | Length: 1:24

“When we’re young, growing up, we don’t think about death. We think death is for our grandmother. Death is for the old man down the road. But death comes to all of us, at a time when most of us do not expect it. We’re not looking for it, and then it is there. And sometimes people are not ready to die. They’re unprepared. They haven’t thought about getting their life together. But I’ve had this opportunity. I’ve had three heart attacks in the last year and a half. And I’ve had a lot of time to think about life and death and what’s important. And I’m glad that I have some time to talk to God, to talk to my friends, to think about what’s important, and get ready for my end, my death. We should live each day as though it might be our last day, because it might.”

Goodbye Farewell

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Click “►” button to play | Length: 4:03

Goodbye, farewell, we’ll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will walk with God,
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.

The light grows dim, but in this hour
I have no tears to cry.
My heart is full, my joy complete,
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.

I feel no loss of hope as I’ve grown older,
Only this world’s weight upon my shoulder.

My heart beats to a slower song,
So softly in my veins.
The night is warm, but in my sleep
I dream of heaven’s reign.

Everything I am I’ve tried to show you;
In this life I’ve been so blessed to know you.

Goodbye, farewell, we’ll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will walk with God,
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye,
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.

Related posts:

The Power of a Question: “If you died today . . .”

Having been trained in Evangelism Explosion and as a frequent listener to WAFG radio when I lived in South Florida, I found the following paragraphs from the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church press release on Dr. D. James Kennedy’s death very interesting:

Dr. Kennedy was born Nov. 3, 1930, but his Christian life did not begin until 1953. Sleeping late on a Sunday morning, his radio alarm went off and a preacher’s booming voice invaded his slumber. “Suppose you were to die today and stand before God and He were to ask you, ‘What right do you have to enter into My heaven?’—what would you say?”

Dr. Kennedy soon discovered that answer was to trust in Christ alone for eternal life, and shortly after he made that commitment was called into the Gospel ministry. Crediting this radio program for hearing the call to Christianity, he founded WAFG (90.3 FM) in 1974 as an outreach for Christ to the South Florida community.

Anyone who has taken E.E. (Evangelism Explosion) knows the two diagnostic questions that help you transition a conversation into sharing the gospel:

  1. “Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven, or is that something you would say you’re still working on?”
  2. “Suppose you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ what would you say?”

I have personally seen the power of asking these questions to many people over the years. What I didn’t know is that God used a variation of these questions to bring Dr. Kennedy to faith! I also did not know that God used the medium of radio to bring this question to bear on Dr. Kennedy’s life, and that this was part of what inspired him to launch WAFG so many years later. What a wonderful testimony to God’s grace and how he works in our lives to advance his kingdom!

Related posts:

D. James Kennedy Passes Away (1930-2007)

Dr. D. James Kennedy passed away “peacefully, in his sleep, at home” earlier this morning. Dr. Kennedy had just retired as pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church ten days ago. A memorial site has been set up at www.djameskennedy.org. Here is a great quote from Dr. Kennedy featured at the memorial site:

Now, I know that someday I am going to come to what some people will say is the end of this life. They will probably put me in a box and roll me right down here in front of the church, and some people will gather around, and a few people will cry. But I have told them not to do that because I don’t want them to cry. I want them to begin the service with the Doxology and end with the Hallelujah chorus, because I am not going to be there, and I am not going to be dead. I will be more alive than I have ever been in my life, and I will be looking down upon you poor people who are still in the land of dying and have not yet joined me in the land of the living. And I will be alive forevermore, in greater health and vitality and joy than ever, ever, I or anyone has known before.

D. James Kennedy, Ph.D.

Related articles:

Related posts on this blog:

Tony Dungy: Asking ‘What’ Instead of ‘Why’

Here is a great quote by Tony Dungy from his new book, Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life. Tony lost his 18-year-old son, James, back in 2005.

Why do bad things happen? I don’t know. Why did Jamie die? I don’t know. But I do know that God has the answers, I know he loves me, and I know he has a plan – whether it makes sense to me or not. Rather than asking why, I’m asking what. What can I learn from this? What can I do for God’s glory and to help others?

Tony Dungy is head coach of this year’s Super Bowl winning Indianapolis Colts.

Related articles:

They Sit Together on the Porch

I found this poem earlier today at the WorldMag Blog. Very touching.

“THEY SIT TOGETHER ON THE PORCH” – by Wendell Berry

They sit together on the porch, the dark
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark.
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried
The dishes–only two plates now, two glasses,
Two knives, two forks, two spoons–small work for two.
She sits with her hands folded in her lap,
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak,
And when they speak at last it is to say
What each one knows the other knows. They have
One mind between them, now, that finally
For all its knowing will not exactly know
Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding
Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.

Click here for poems by Ray Fowler.

A quote from Billy and a quote from Ruth

There is too much information on the Grahams flying around the web right now to post it all, but I really liked these two quotes that Matt McCarnan posted over at PastorBlog.

I have been asked the question, ‘Who do you go to for counsel, for spiritual guidance?’ My answer: my wife, Ruth. She is a great student of the Bible. Her life is ruled by the Bible more than any person I’ve ever known. That’s her rule book, her compass. Her disposition is the same all the time–very sweet and very gracious and charming. When it comes to spiritual things, my wife has had the greatest influence on my ministry.
—Billy Graham

I saw a sign on a strip of highway once that I would like to have copied on my gravestone. It said, “End of construction. Thank you for your patience.”
—Ruth Bell Graham (from “A Hearing Heart,” InDecision Magazine, January 1970, ©1969, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)

Related articles:

Ruth Bell Graham – Poems

Update: The poem “Home Address” has been added to the comments below.

Update 2: Free commemorative book of Ruth’s poems – click here for more information.

Noel Piper shares the following poems from Ruth Graham over at the Desiring God blog. They are both from Ruth’s book Footprints of a Pilgrim.

The first poem is about choosing to love through the difficult times when Billy would have to leave her and the children to go on the road.

Love
without clinging;
cry
if you must—
but privately cry;
the heart will adjust
to the newness of loving
in practical ways:
cleaning
and cooking
and sorting out clothes,
all say, “I love you,”
when lovingly done.

So—
love
without clinging;
cry—
if you must—
but privately cry;
the heart will adjust
to the length of his stride,
the song he is singing,
the trail he must ride,
the tensions that make him
the man that he is,
the world he must face,
the life that is his.

So
love
without clinging;
cry—
if you must—
but privately cry;
the heart will adjust
to being the heart,
not the forefront of life;
a part of himself,
not the object—
his wife.

So—
love!

The second poem is about losing a loved one and reflects what the Graham family must be experiencing right now with the loss of Ruth.

A house
is not the same
when she who made it home
is gone;
it looks
as it has always
looked
and yet
forlorn.
There is an emptiness
within,
a silence
where her chuckle was.
From now on
it is me alone
who once was “us.”

Related articles:

Letter to James on his Thirteenth Birthday

Elle, at A Complete Thought, has written two very moving posts about her firstborn son, James, who died at age 2 1/2 after two years of illness and extended hospital stays. James was born on April 3, Easter Sunday, 1994.

The first post is a letter written to her son this year on what would have been his thirteenth birthday. In the second post, written on Easter of this year, Elle shares openly about her own struggle with faith following James’ death, along with the added difficulty of learning how to celebrate Easter once again, which now represented not only the resurrection of her Lord but also the birthday of the son she had lost.

I pray that these two posts will minister to others who have lost children as well as deepen the hearts and understanding of those who have never experienced such a loss. Thank you, Elle, for sharing personally and from your heart. May God continue to comfort you and your husband with his strong hand of love.