Death is shocking. No matter if it is sudden or there has been some warning. Death is still shocking. When someone has been such a big part of your life and they are no longer there to share experiences, it is heart and mind and soul devastating. We lost a dear one this week and there is a hole the size of China in our hearts. And as far as I can tell it doesn't matter how many years go by, we still miss the ones we love as if they passed on just a few days ago.
This is one of the reasons I'm convinced there is eternity. The fact that I can still feel something about someone who is no longer here cements in my soul that this is not all there is. If we were just a species that ceased existing after so many years, why would the ability to feel the loss of another being after they pass on, be such an intrinsic part of our makeup? I am again reminded of a passage in Ted Dekker's Book The Martyrs Song, (one of Paul’s favorite books) where some renegade soldiers were terrorizing a small village, particularly those congregants of the village church. They wanted even the children to deny Christ, and beat them & made them carry heavy wooden crosses, including beautiful little Ivena, and the madmen brutally beat Brother Michael and made all watch in horror.
"When Father Michael looked up, his eyes met Ivena’s as she trudged under her cross. They were bright and sorrowful at once. She seemed to understand something but he could not know what. Perhaps she, too, had heard the song. Either way, he smiled, somehow less afraid than he had been just a minute ago.
Because he KNEW something now.
He knew there were two worlds in motion here.
He knew that behind the skin of this world, there was another. And in that world a man was singing, and the children were laughing. ….
“….Christ lives. He is not dead...” the priest told the soldier. Father Michael drew a deep breath. “Christ lives in me, sir. His spirit rages through my body. I feel it now. I can hear it. The only reason that you can’t hear it is because your eyes and ears are clogged by this world. But there’s another world at work here. It’s Christ’s kingdom, and it bristles with his power.”
I am also reminded by the words of Jesus in John 14: ͞Let not your heart be troubled: Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.͟ John 14:1-3 ASV
And, ͞O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?͟ 1 Cor 15:55 KJV
Paul Cowell knew this! Christ lives! He makes all the difference in how we see life and how we handle life. Sickness is the same for all of us, unkindness is experienced by all of us, fear is experienced by all of us, pain is the same for all of us, growing old is the same for all of us, rejection is the same for all of us, trauma is the same for us all, exhaustion is the same for all of us, uncertainty is the same for us all, death is the same for us all...whether it is natural, sudden or cruel. But if we know that Christ lives, that His Kingdom is real, and that it is just a step beyond the veil, then in the midst of the pain, and the despair, and the exhaustion, and the agony that can sometimes be life, we can have HOPE. We know that there is more than what we are experiencing in the here and now, another Force, our everlasting Source, the Lord God Almighty, at work and we can face whatever is thrown in our face, no matter how frail our outward aging human body is or how dark things are all around us. Paul would tell us to have Faith, trust Him (or get to know Him if you don't) and keep Hope in your heart!
By: Valerie May
Several weeks ago I visited with a nurse practitioner who volunteered to go to West Africa in 2014, to battle the outbreak of the Ebola virus. With 69 other medical personnel these brave nurses and doctors put themselves at great risk to care for those who had been infected with this deadly virus.
Without the help from these American volunteers, death was eminent!
In 90 days, the Ebola threat was diminished and fear was alleviated. President Obama called this courageous team to thank them when they returned to the United States. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon toured their clinic.
Time magazine named this courageous group of 70 the “collective” person of the year.
My friend said this was the most significant time of his life.
I see some parallels and some differences between these Ebola workers and missionaries.
Missionaries see a serious problem and travel overseas at great risk and tremendous personal sacrifice. Missionaries say that the overseas service they have volunteered for is the most significant time of their lives.
They distribute mosquito nets, drill clean water wells for remote villages, operate aids orphanages, run medical clinics in blighted urban slums and distant jungles filled with dangerous animals, dangerous natives and hostile governments.
They don’t get accolades from political dignitaries.
They basically go unrecognized except by those they serve.
And they stay for years away from home.
The underlying motivation for all that missionaries do is to rescue souls from eternal separation from God.
Their work has eternal consequences.
If they burn out and quit, there are people who will never hear the good news that JESUS SAVES – from sin, death, hell, and the grave.
They are moving beyond earth’s limitations to eternal issues.
That’s why we take care of missionaries and pastors. They need to be told how important they are to the kingdom of God and that they make eternal differences. In March and April missionaries rested at Whitestone 121 nights at no cost to them. Pastors came to be refreshed for 89 nights.
We must do all we can to keep these front line warriors in the battle at maximum effectiveness.
Unless I receive support from those of you who see the importance of keeping them strengthened and connected to God and to their family, we can’t provide for their needs.
There are more needs than resources and I struggle to minister to all who come. Your help is valued and needed!
Please consider donating now and helping us support the mission.
Paul CowellExecutive DirectorChristian Hospitality Network
Recently Paul had the opportunity to speak with David Joannes, Director of Within Reach Global through video conference last week. Here’s a link to the replay. We discuss the growing issue of missionary burnout and our approach to meet their needs to give them much needed rest.
Watch the video replay on Blab here.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
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