Power to Face Death, and Win!

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. John 11:25 (NLT) 

Jesus’ dear friend Lazarus had become deathly ill. Even though Lazarus’ sister, Martha, had alerted Jesus to his friend’s illness, Jesus chose to delay coming to them, arriving 4 days after his death.  The mourners had filled the house, and wailing could be heard from quite a distance.

When Martha was alerted their dear friend had finally arrived, she ran out to meet him, leaving the mourners and their sister, Mary inside. “Why didn’t you come sooner?  You could have healed him?” Questions and hurt clouded the face that usually beamed upon seeing him. “Martha, your brother will rise again”, Jesus responded compassionately.

“Well, of course he will rise at the end of time, like all others who follow you.”  Martha was certain.

Jesus insisted, “But, Martha, I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me, even if he dies will live.  Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (My rendition of the biblical account in John 11.)

Moments later, Jesus proved his authority by commanding death to give up its claim; and Lazarus, obediently came out of the tomb.  Death had no choice but to obey “the resurrection and the life”!

Not too many days later, Jesus himself was nailed to a cross, and 3 days after, death spewed him out of the grave as well, because it could not hold “the resurrection and the life”!

Upon Jesus’ resurrection, it is also reported by eye witnesses, many graves were opened, and followers of Jesus who’d died were raised to life and were seen walking around Jerusalem!  Death powerless to hold “the resurrection and the life”. (Matthew 27:50-56)

It is promised that one day, all who have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for them, following him rather than their own way, will also be raised by “the resurrection and the life”.

This is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.

It isn’t a glimmer of hope.  It’s a fact, born out by Christ’s resurrection, and eye-witness accounts of those who not only saw and spoke to the risen Christ, but those who later willingly gave their lives for what they saw and heard.

No one would willingly die for a lie or a glimmer of hope.

From ancient days until now, thousands (possibly millions) have chosen to willingly die sometimes gruesome deaths, because they would not recant their belief in the truth of Jesus’ resurrection.

Others have sought to discredit the accounts, only to eventually realize their validity.

And millions have died with peace, knowing one day, their bodies will be raised.

No one is able to face death with the ability to “fake peace”.  Facing death has a way of unmasking even the best actor. 

Less than a week ago, a very dear friend of mine, and Senior Pastor of our church, Paul C. Foster Sr., succumbed to death, his body too weak from cancer to fight any longer.

Over the previous months, as his cancer spread, and great pain became a moment by moment companion, he faced the pain, and suffering with a perspective only miraculous.  Even in his death, I am told he was valiant, a warrior.

In December 2016, months after the pain from the bladder cancer had begun to etch the marks of its talons into his body, our Lead Pastor, his son, Sammy Foster, held an interview with his father.  In it Paul Sr shared how God was using the pain and the uncertainty to change his life dramatically.  During the interview, there was a peace about him other-worldly, because he had more than a glimmer of hope. He had a certain hope of life, even if he died.

The video (about 10 minutes) powerfully portraits someone who, without mask, faced death, knowing who would win. “From Interruption to Invitation”.

Friday last was his funeral.  After, this was posted on our church’s Facebook page:

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Am I sad?  Yes.  I miss my friend.  But I know where he is.  He’s not lost.  He is safely home, where no pain can touch him, and no sadness can mar the glory now surrounding him, with his Master.  He wouldn’t come back if he could.  In a way, I’m jealous – for he’s seeing only what I longingly envision, and he experiences what I in faith believe, for now.  He’s far better off.

Because of Jesus’ power over the grave, one day my grave will also yield to “The Resurrection and The Life”, and my body will shake off its dust.  What a blessed, solid hope!

Lovingly praying for your hope as well,

Robin <3

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How to Ride Out the Waves

Day 5 of “Fighting Fear”

First of all, a heartfelt thank you to all who have prayed and given encouragement the last week.  How blessed I am! 🙂  Unfortunately I still have no news!

Last Thursday morning as I sat in my Bible study, knowing that Evan’s doctor’s appointment was only hours away, I suddenly began to feel panic rising within me – and there was nothing I could do to stop it’s ugly head appearing after so long an absence.  I couldn’t stop it’s appearance, but I’ve learned over the years how to more effectively keep it from escalating.

The things I had written all week weren’t theory.  And rehearsing these truths over and over again all week truly strengthened me.  I began to learn the power of the truths I shared last week 8 years ago.

About 6 months before Norman’s death, I began to experience anxiety attacks, unaware at first what was happening.  I was never given the luxury of a warning.  Day or night, I’d sense a sudden rush of adrenaline followed by lightening bolts and fireworks coursing through my body at speeds that made me want to jump out of my skin and run.  The more I fought the rising emotion, the worse it became.  I felt so hopeless!

The first time I realized Jesus could help, I had just pulled into a Target parking lot, was about to open the door, when wham – “it” began.  As the cycle of panic ramped up, I heard the preacher on the radio calmly begin the story of Jesus fast asleep in a boat, as his disciples fought to keep the boat upright in a fierce storm. In their panic, they awoke Jesus.  “Master, aren’t you concerned we’re going to drown?”  Surprisingly, Jesus chided them for their lack of faith, then spoke peace to the storm, and all became suddenly calm. The preacher then said something I’ll never forget.

“Jesus was in the boat with them, so they didn’t have to fear the storm.  They only needed to ride out the waves.”

jesus_stormThis statement began my training in learning to “ride out the waves” of panic and anxiety. Over the next several years, I learned the things I shared last week, finding greater and greater victory as time elapsed. I have also learned other needed tools to ride out the waves.

We are made up of soul, body, and spirit – and every aspect of our being is greatly effected by stress.  So, this week, as I continue to go “live” in dealing with concerns about Evan’s health and my need to overcome fear, I’ll share how I’m learning to “ride the waves” as I provide what is needed for my physical body and my soul.

Tomorrow, I will share some things I am learning about the effects of excessive stress on the body, and how the Lord used this knowledge to keep those feelings of panic last Thursday from moving into a full blown panic attack.  I am certainly not a medical practitioner, so anything I say is solely from my personal experience.

Please join me.  I would love to hear how you have successfully dealt with anxiety, since we all deal with it throughout life.

With love,

Robin <3

p.s. If you felt last week like I just don’t get where you are in your journey, I’m so sorry. I hope that this week helps!

 

Pressing In

Today’s plans to up-end fear:

Press in to Jesus.

Seek Him with my whole being.

Promises I hold onto today as I “press in” (above my fear):

“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT)

If I’m pressing in to Jesus, I can’t be pressing in to other things, including fear.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” I John 4:18 (NIV)

Jesus is perfect love, and so as I press in, fear will flee. (But maybe not without a fight – so I must persevere!)

In this case, fear is a tactic from my enemy to bind me in chains – deal with it as such.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

I don’t have to press in with my own strength.  I have a powerful, compassionate Ally to defend and protect me, if I choose to take shelter within his walls:

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord:  He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.”  Psalm 91:1-2 (NLT)

When I take shelter within his walls, I will find the rest I long for:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

Pressing into Jesus allows me to exchange the backpack of fear for the gift of rest.

The promise is for any who will press in.

Thank you for doing this with me,

Loving you,

Robin <3

 

 

 

Resting In God’s Peace

Good afternoon friends!  No further news at this time, as our appointment with the specialist isn’t until Thursday.

My plan to up-end fear today:

Rest in the peace of God. He has this under his command.

How is this possible?  This song by Jonny Diaz, “Breathe” explains it well.

Care to take a deep breath with me?

 

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Thanks for being here today.  I appreciate it more than you realize.

With love,

Robin <3

p.s. I’m making a copy of the Matthew 11:28 available in a pdf format, to use on your phone, for anyone who emails me a request at “email.rlseaton.com”.  I will then add you to my email subscription list for you to receive an invitation to receive emails in your inbox.  I won’t use your email for anything other than for things pertaining to this blog without first getting your permission.

The Power of Our Ally

There have been many times in my world when anxiety, fear, or turmoil prevailed in the midst of my circumstances, and yet when I began to worship God with all my heart, His peace took over and circumstances began to change, as I placed my trust in him alone. God is amazing, and our most powerful ally!

James 4:6-7

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

I would love to hear your stories of victory, because God has been your ally!  Later in this series, we will go more in depth as to how praise and worship will effect the outcome of our battles, but for now let me encourage you that God is bigger, and his praise is effective.

Should you be in a battle today, fill your home and mind with worship music, and then begin to worship God with your heart and soul. Let the words fill you, and strengthen you. Don’t remain a listener only- by your worship proclaim who God is!

Lord, I pray any who read this post, who are in battle, that your word through praise and worship would route the enemy – for you are the most powerful ally.  You are God alone!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Please also remember that I would love to stand with you in your battle.  We were never meant to battle alone. My private email for the blog is “email.rseaton@gmail.com”.

God is our most powerful Ally – and his praise is effective to route the enemy!

With love,

Robin <3

 

Uncertainty is Part of Life, But Fear Doesn’t Have to Be

Advent Week 2, Day 3 – Uncertainty Is Part of Life, But Fear Doesn’t Have to Be

1 John 4:16-19

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first. (NLT, emphasis mine)

Uncertainty breeds fear like rabbits.  I know, as it has been my companion for far too long. I’m beginning to realize that it doesn’t need to be.

Uncertainty is part of life, but fear doesn’t have to be

because of the promises contained in the above verse and others like it.

So, what do I do to expel fear?  The verse gives the key, “we have put our trust in his love”.

As I grow in trusting God’s love, I am finding that fear lessens its grip.

Praise God.  This song really ministered to my heart this morning as I deal with my own fears and uncertainties.

No More Slaves, Bethel Music

You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mothers womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
So I could stand and sing
I am child of God
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/bethel-music/no-longer-slaves-lyrics/#S0sDkyEWmxL5aBgo.99

Are these posts bringing life to you this holiday season?  I’d certainly appreciate your comments and encouragement.  These posts are birthed from my heart to yours because I’ve been there, and am still at times, and so want to share with you where I’ve found light and hope.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

Grace for Today’s Uncertainties

Advent, Week 2, Day 2 – Grace For Today’s Uncertainties

Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 12:9

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (NLT)

My pastor once told me as I bawled my eyes out hysterically as I told him the proposed cancer treatment alone could kill my husband,

“God’s grace is for today. So we won’t receive grace for today until it is today. Worrying about tomorrow won’t work because the grace for then hasn’t come yet.”

Wise words, that kept me through cancer wards, ICU, panic attacks, death, uncertainty, and change.  Any time I began to think ahead, and began to panic, the Lord would remind me of those words, and I knew I could forgo those thoughts for another time when I was more prepared.

Do I always remember to do this now?  No, I too need a lot of reminders as I face new challenges and uncertainties.  You have my permission to remind me when you see I need it! Please!

Where do you need to wait for the grace to fill “today”?  In Jesus’ nail-scarred embrace.

God offers us his grace to face today’s uncertainties, but not tomorrow’s worries

With love and prayers,

Robin <3