Why did He have to die?

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‘AFTER JESUS had finished all…He entered…’

These words of God were highlighted by the Holy Spirit for me this morning as I was reading my devotional.

“AFTER JESUS had finished all that He had to say in the hearing of the people [on the mountain], He entered Capernaum.”

Luke 7:1 AMPC

Jesus was only 33 years old when His life on earth ended.

Many would say He died way too young. Ever think about how His friends and family felt when He passed away?

There were people who loved Jesus who grieved when He passed…

Yet God had a plan and a purpose for His life… to impact the lives of a multitude of others.

The people who lived life with Jesus grieved deeply when His life on earth ended.

Just as WE grieve, when OUR loved ones pass on.

God cared about Jesus’s friends.

And God cares about us.

Yes, God cares about their (and our) broken hearts…

Yet God had a purpose.

One that most of us simply do not understand.

Just like God has a plan and a purpose for ALL life-

Life is a gift from God. Whether alive for 1 day or 100 years-ALL life is significant and carries Gods purpose for a bigger picture…HIS picture.

Sometimes it’s not what the individual life can accomplish by themselves and for themselves that matters, but what that life represents in the span of another’s life.

Stop and think for a moment about some of the knowledge that we possess.

Where did we learn from? Who did we learn from?

Sometimes we learn from mistakes.

Our own and also those of others.

But more often than not, we learn by example. We follow the example of those around us.

Infants learn to imitate what their parents do and continue to grow throughout their life… shaped and formed based on their childhood experience.

Ever bump into a personality type that rubs you the wrong way? That just kind of gets on your nerves?

Yeah… me too. I often wondered why… and then I asked God.

Instead of asking God to change them, He let me know that there was something in ME that needed changing…

God was providing me an opportunity through the difficult personalities of others to teach me and develop me.

An opportunity to be chiseled… to be pruned… to be sharpened… to grow… to improve my love walk…

Perhaps the sharp edges of others are being used to file off rough spots on our own hearts… after all, diamonds in the rough need to be revealed by harsh treatment of others…

Proverbs 27:17

‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’

Both blades are being sharpened and transformed into efficient and effective tools, when used together. By themselves, they remain dull and ineffective.

The truth here is that we need one another.

And the passing of ones life is very important to those who remain and continue to live without them.

We influence one another… and sometimes the detriment of one life coming to end has a lasting, significant impact on the life of another or on a group of people.

Often times, we get so lost in our grief that we are blinded to the blessings… and the lessons, God has for us.

There’s often good that comes out of bad.

The impact of loss forever changes how the lives of others are being shaped, and formed, and molded into Gods perfect plan.

Remember, God is the Potter, we are the clay.

Isaiah 64:8 ESV

‘But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand.’

Sometimes, in life… we just plain out feel like a lump of clay.

And we feel like ‘life’ keeps throwing sucker punches at us… a quick jab to the left, and POW 💥- a major blow to the stomach. Right?

Ever hear or say the expression ‘when it rains, it pours?’

We get to the point where we can’t seem to catch our breath, and BOOM! There’s yet another test and trial facing us.

Yikes!

It sometimes hurts to be pressed, pushed, pounded, shaped and molded, as clay… doesn’t it?

When a loved one dies… it leaves a hole in our hearts… we feel lost. We are filled with unanswered hard questions… and often, people blame God.

God knows exactly how we feel!!!

Look at Jesus. His life on earth was short too, but significant to all mankind.

He only lived to age 33.

His life was cut short.

Have you ever thought about it?

I’m sure many of those who loved Him felt robbed and shortchanged when He died on the cross.

I’m sure many said things like ‘it’s not fair!’ Or ‘He didn’t deserve to die’ or ‘He was such a good person’… and in Jesus’s case- it WAS not fair! He DIDN’T deserve to die! He WAS a good person!

In fact- He was SINLESS.

We’ve all heard people ask ‘why do bad things happen to good people?’

Maybe you’ve said it yourself or at least thought it…

I have a few questions for you:

What is ‘good?’ What is ‘bad?’ By who’s standard?

Can not BOTH things or circumstances that are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ be worked out for our good?

Yes. Absolutely.

Romans 8:28 NASB

‘And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’

God had another purpose for His Son’s life that was greater than His life itself.

Like Jesus, let’s consider the life of others that ended…leaving a gap in ours….

What does this persons life have to teach me?

How might my life be enhanced for the better because of this persons life?

How has the life of my loved one impacted the lives of others?

Am I thankful to God for the gift of their life in mine?

We often times think we have it all figured out don’t we?

Sometimes the perspective is always introverted and we think ‘life is only about me’ or ‘what’s in this for me’ or ‘how can I bear all of this?’

‘Why do I have to endure this?’

These are some of the heart wrenching thoughts and questions many who are grieving experience.

Perhaps instead we should be looking at other questions?

Maybe asking God ‘show me Your purpose in this.’

Or ‘What is it Lord I need to learn from this?’

Or ‘Help me Lord fulfill Your plan for my life regardless for the length.’

God places others in our lives to help us in our development of becoming who God wants us to be.

God uses every emotion and every experience for His good.

Every tear shed, every disappointment, every heart ache, every mistake… God causes even our mistakes to prosper and work out for our good.

Not every ingredient in a recipe taste good by itself.

In fact there’s some ingredients that are downright nasty tasting- for instance, try taking a spoonful of baking powder or baking soda and see how that taste.

By itself NO ONE would eat it and say ‘yum this is so good!’

Yet it (as each ingredient) has a purpose, and by the time the cake comes out of the oven, the entire house smells wonderful and every bite of that cake is going to taste good.

I believe our lives are like a cake recipe…

Throughout our lives, there’s different experiences, good ones and not so good ones… and painful ones.

These experiences are similar to an ingredient of a cake recipe- that by themselves independently appear to be bad and leave a yucky taste in our mouth.

But at the end of our lives, when it’s all put together, we can look back one day and see how God intricately woven in every ingredient of every experience, good and bad, into His beautiful masterpieces…

Our steps are ordained established by God.

  • Ordained and established for HIS plan. HIS big picture.
  • Psalm 37:23

    ‘A man’s steps are established by the LORD, and the LORD delights in his way.’

    We need to stop thinking we know it all.

    And we need to truly relinquish control to God. Do we trust Him?

    Do we REALLY trust Him?

    Really? Even when we don’t understand?

    Even when it doesn’t make sense?

    EVEN WHEN IT HURTS?

    Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

    Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    It’s not always easy to surrender. God is faithful, and He knows all things, and He’s working things out for good…

    Not only for YOUR good… but for the good of His Kingdom.

    It’s good to plan… but it’s BETTER to seek out GODS plans… for His are the one that matters.

    Gods ways are not our ways. We can’t possibly understand everything about God. Only His ways He puts in His Word are we able to understand… to a degree.

    Every life matters, and is significant in Gods plans- and…

    Every life has a beginning, and an appointed time to end.

    Treasure all life. And give your treasures to the Keeper of your heart. 💗

    Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)

    ‘Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.’

    Hope arising-Sunflower miracle

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    Every time I see a sunflower, I smile.  It reaches deep into my soul, and takes me back to a time where I was filled with despair, heartache, and anguish over the death of my beloved Great-Aunt Zippy, but how faithful is my God who hears and heals the brokenhearted!    What does this have to do with a sunflower?  With Hope arising?  With a miracle?

    I’ll tell you.  Growing up the oldest of three, and the only girl, and as a military child was difficult for me.  My younger brothers had each other as playmates regardless of where we moved to, but I never seemed to fit in.  My Aunt Zippy, who lived in Charles City Iowa, had a soul connection with me.  Though I didn’t get to see her often, the times we did get to visit were so instrumental and profound, the memories of our visits boosted me.  She always had a way of making me feel special, even long-distanced.  She seemed to read my mind, and know when I was struggling.  Sometimes, I’d get a letter in the mail from her, in her curly old-fashioned handwriting; always ending with “Aunt Zippy loves you!”  Other times, I’d get a phone call from her, with her saying “Aunt Zippy just needed to hear your voice dear. Is every thing OK?” And all of my troubles would spill out into her listening ear.

    Well, the day came when she passed away.  When my mother called me, and said she had to tell me something that was going to upset me, suddenly in my heart, I knew.  “Is it Aunt Zippy?” I asked.  And mom confirmed.  A part of my heart stopped beating at that moment, and I fell into a depressed, numb shock. NOOOOOOOOOO!  I screamed silently.  It couldn’t be true!  I wasn’t ready for her to die!

    We weren’t sure how we were going to afford driving to Iowa for her funeral.  Our available cash was non-existent. At the time, I was selling Longaberger Baskets, and had a large amount of the collector baskets, and a few avid customers who loved deals.  I decided to bundle a bunch together and offer a grouping too irresistible to refuse, and was soon able to exchange a truck load of baskets for the cash we needed, and we were on our way, with our 3 children in tow.

    We were asked to sing at her funeral.  Our son plays the guitar and sings, along with the rest of us.  We decided we would sing “I Can Only Imagine”.  I couldn’t imagine being able to sing, when I wasn’t able to talk without crying, and breathing was difficult.  I kept praying for the Lord to give me strength.

    Aunt Zippy’s favorite flower was the Sunflower.  Due to a drought in the area, it was difficult  finding sunflowers for her funeral.  Her son, my cousin Paul, was able to get a few ordered for her casket.  Seeing her like that was the hardest sight I ever witnessed.  I missed her so much!  I was consumed with the deepest anguish, and struggled to find peace.

    You see, only a few weeks before her fiftieth wedding anniversary, her husband, my Uncle Red, passed away following complications with heart surgery.  She was so angry at God!  She felt cheated.  When I would try to talk with her about it, she’d clamp up, and I sensed the bitterness that was settling in, mixed with her heartache.  I knew she was raised in a church, and knew she was a member of the local church in fact; but didn’t know for sure she’d given her heart to Jesus, and received Him as her personal Lord and Savior.  The uncertainty of her eternal rest was eating away at me, and was the source of my agony!

    Desperate to know, I cried out to God.  On our return trip home, still numb with grief, still in shock, still searching within, I asked God “Father God, You know where she is.  You know how much she means to me, and how much I am hurting.  I know all things are possible with You.  I ask that You show me a sign dear Lord, that she is with you in Heaven.  I need a miracle dear Lord.  Please let it be, In Jesus Name, amen.”

    My head against the window, looking out at the roadside, tears streaming down my face, Iowa corn fields passing by us as we traveled, all of a sudden, I see the most amazing sight!  There on the right side of the road growing wild were several beautiful, tall sunflowers!    I jumped up, and exclaimed to my family “Look!  Did you see that?  There were 2 or 3 large sunflowers right there!  I know God placed them there as a sign for me that Aunt Zippy is alive in heaven with Him!”  My husband laughed and teased me, “Mommy must have had a dream kids” he said.  They laughed a bit too, while I insisted I wasn’t dreaming, and that I knew what I saw. I even suggested my husband turn around and go back to see it himself, but he didn’t.

    I guess I must have dozed off, but shortly after I was awakened by my children hollering “Mommy!  Look!  Look!  Look out the window!  Look at all of the sunflowers mommy!”  I looked and couldn’t BELIEVE what my eyes were seeing!  The entire roadside for about a mile or so was FULL OF SUNFLOWERS!  Amazing!  I couldn’t believe it!  They were soooo beautiful!  God is so good!  He answered my prayer, and tears were flowing, as I was knowing…my aunt Zippy was in heaven!  God is faithful!

    I called my cousin Paul and shared with him.  I just wanted others to have the peace that was flooding my heart in knowing she was with God!    He seemed subdued, and a little skeptical, but was happy for me.  I can’t describe to you the depth of my joy!  I was thrilled my children and husband witnessed it too.  WOW GOD!  And just like God, when we finally pulled into our driveway of our Virginia home, after 2 days of driving, guess what was there at our front door, welcoming us?  Yep.  You guessed it.  The biggest, largest sunflower bloom you ever saw, growing in our flower garden next to our front steps, with its petals wide open.  I’ve never planted sunflowers there before.  It wasn’t growing when we left.  It was heaven-sent, with arms wide open, welcoming us home.  Our sunflower miracle!

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