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Article by Nancy Guthrie

But for those who’ve recently lost someone they love, the holidays can seem more like something to survive than to enjoy. The traditions and events that can add so much joy and meaning to the season are punctuated with painful reminders of the person we love who is not here to share in it. Many have wished they could find a quiet place to hide until January 2.

While those of us who surround grieving people can’t fix the pain of loss, we can bring comfort as we come alongside those who hurt with special sensitivity to what grief is like during the holidays. Grieving people wish we all knew at least five truths, among others, at Christmas.

1. Even the best times are punctuated with an awareness that someone is missing.

I remember a conversation I had with a friend as we prepared to head out on a holiday trip shortly after our daughter, Hope, died. “That should be fun!” she said. I sensed I was supposed to agree wholeheartedly with her.

What I didn’t know how to explain is that when you’ve lost a member of your family, even the best of times are painfully incomplete. Someone is missing. Even the best days and happiest events are tinged with sadness. Wherever you go, the sadness goes with you.

2. Social situations are hard.

I have never been able to figure out why crowds are difficult when you’re grieving, but they are. Small talk can be unbearable when something so significant has happened. Meeting new people will likely bring questions about family. To walk alone into a room full of couples when your spouse has died, or into an event filled with children when your child has died, can be a soul-crushing reminder of what you have lost.

If you’ve invited someone in the midst of grief to your holiday event, let them know that you understand if it seems too hard at the last minute and they have to cancel, or that they may only be able to stay for a short time.

If you’re going to an event, give a grieving person a call and ask if you can pick her up and stick with her throughout the event for support. When you come upon a grieving person at a holiday social event, let him know that you are still thinking about the person he loves who has died, and invite him to talk about his memories with that person. Don’t be afraid to say the name of the person who has died. It will be a balm to the grieving person’s soul.

3. Extended family can be awkward and uneasy.

Grief is often awkward — even, and perhaps especially, with those to whom we’re closest.

My husband and I host weekend retreats for couples that have lost children, and the difficulty of being with family at the holidays is often a topic of conversation among these couples. They know that some family members think they’ve grieved long enough and want them to move on. Others want to initiate a conversation about the person who died but aren’t sure how. What often happens is that the name of the person who died is never mentioned, and it feels to the person who is grieving that they have been erased from the family.

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Another reason why we must continually pray for genuine spiritual revival!

(Tea Party 247) – The Catholic Church has been in the business of politics for quite some time now. It should come as no surprise that recently German Bishops gathered together and declared homosexuality is just as “normal” as heterosexuality and that adultery should no longer be considered a “serious sin.”

The church should be a beacon of morality and righteousness but instead the Catholic Church is succumbing to the pressures of the LGBT mafia and embracing sexual immorality at the cost of sound theological doctrine.

Breitbart reports:

Both the homosexual and heterosexual orientation “belong to the normal forms of a sexual predisposition that cannot and should not be changed by any specific socialization,” the Dec. 5 communiqué stated.

The bishops embraced the findings of a study group on sexual morality chaired by Berlin Archbishop Heiner Koch, which will form a starting point for the “Synodal Way of the Church” in Germany to rethink Catholic teachings and praxis for the present day.

“There was agreement that the sexual preference of humans is expressed during puberty and assumes a heterosexual or homosexual orientation,” the statement reads.

Since one’s sexual orientation is unchangeable, “in church thinking, this means that any form of discrimination against homosexuals must be rejected, as has long been required by the magisterium and is also explicitly emphasized by Pope Francis in the post-synodal letter Amoris Laetitia,” the bishops note.

There was, however, no consensus on “whether the magisterial ban on homosexual practice is still opportune,” the bishops declare.

The communiqué also called for an update regarding Church teaching on adultery, declaring that “a sexual relationship after divorce and remarriage is no longer qualified as a serious sin and thus no general exclusion from the reception of the Eucharist is foreseen,” stating that such a conclusion is “supported by humanities and theology” as well as by “developments that are already apparent in Amoris laetitia.”

The findings of the meeting, sponsored by the Bishops’ Commission for Marriage and Family to deal with issues of sexual morality, will be used to update the Church’s teaching staff on sexual morality, the communique revealed.

This is a disturbing development and should concern all Catholics. Conforming the Church to meet the demands of social movements is both dishonest and dangerous. It is an ineffective way to draw in more believers and will only result in the apostasy of its members.

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By Eg1s0Zh1

World renowned evangelist and author Reinhard Bonnke has passed away. He was 79 years old.
Evangelist Reinhard-Bonnke
Evangelist Reinhard-Bonnke

Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke has touched the lives of literally multiple-millions around the world. More than 79-million people made Christ their Lord as a result of Evangelist Bonnke’s ministry, according to a report by CfAN. Bonnke was best known for his gospel outreach campaigns throughout Africa. It is no exaggeration to say that his work transformed the continent.

His death was announced in a statement signed by his wife, Anni Bonnke.

She wrote:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is with sorrow that the Bonnke Family would like to announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on December 7, 2019. For the past 60 years he has preached the glorious Gospel of Jesus throughout the entire world. We want to thank you on behalf of him and our family, for your kind love and unwavering support, which enabled him to preach the matchless message of salvation to countless people.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”

~ 1 Thessalonians 5.16-18

Image result for memorial day 2019

HE IS RISEN INDEED!!

A Good Friday Communion Meditation by Trevor Miller

I recall a story of how a group of Christian missionaries in India arranged to visit Mahatma Gandhi in order to discuss faith and the Way to God. Before they left Gandhi asked them to sing one of their Christian hymns. Which one, they said? He replied, “The one which best expresses the heart of what you Christians believe!” My! What would you have chosen?

They chose ‘When I survey the Wondrous Cross… love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all’.cross_4

They were right! The Cross is central; at the very heart not only of our faith but of God Himself! Even the mighty resurrection is but God’s vindication that what happened on the Cross was under His total control and that all was going according to plan!

To preach Christ without the Cross is like writing a biography of David Beckham or Wayne Rooney without mentioning football; like making a documentary on Theresa May without mentioning the Conservative Party or Donald Trump without mentioning the US Presidency.

In this Good Friday Eucharist meditation, I want to hone in on one phrase, the 6th of the 7 phrases uttered by Jesus from the Cross. More than any other it forcibly reminds us that even in the darkest night, God is planning for the brightest day! It is found in John 19:30 ‘It is finished.’

What it meant then!

Reviewing the scene on that black Friday makes us realize that many others would have said these very same words that day

– the Soldiers, after their dreaded execution shift was over, it’s finished, thank Jupiter!

– the Crowd, now that the hideous entertainment was done, it’s finished.

– Judas, when he realized the enormity of what he had done in betrayal, it’s all over, finished.

– Peter and the disciples, after 3 wonderful years, then denial and desertion, it’s finished.

– the Priests, having seemingly come through a really tricky business, “we’ve managed it, it’s finished now.”

However, no one could say it the way Jesus said it or mean it the way Jesus meant it!

The other gospel writers give us a clue. All of them say Jesus cried out with a loud voice but only John records what He said. One word in the original language, a cry of triumph, satisfaction, and victory = Finished! Accomplished! Done! Jesus in complete control, despite the agonizing pain that we must never minimize. It was a real pain, real thirst, real death BUT this was no resigned victim, it was a Reigning Victor! Not, I am finished but it is finished, for on the Cross God’s will was being done perfectly on earth as it is done in heaven! The Cross is no place of failure but of fulfillment. If we look at John 19:28 we will see that exactly the same word is used and translated in the NIV as ‘completed.’  So it reads that Jesus “knowing that all was now completed … said … completed … finished!  The task the Father began in Eternity had now been accomplished in time!

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Joni Eareckson Tada Hospitalized After Cancer Treatments

Joni Eareckson Tada

“Having accomplished the series of radiation treatments for recurrence of cancer, Joni Eareckson Tada has been challenged in the weeks following with significant pain issues including most recently, difficulty with breathing,” a statement from Joni and Friends reads.

Tada announced she was battling cancer again for the second time in November of last year. Her first cancer diagnosis occurred in 2010, and Tada underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy. It took five years of treatment before Tada was ruled cancer-free.

Tada shared on her blog in February that the skin on her chest is wounded and causing her pain. Her doctor said she would need to hold off on radiation treatments until her skin had a chance to recuperate. “That area has been damaged so many times over the years from pressure sores and surgeries, little wonder it’s hard to mend,” Tada wrote.

Now, Tada’s hospitalization brings to light a new concern. “With…the corollary inability to get the sleep needed for recovery, she has been hospitalized for observation and medical oversight,” the statement reads.

Joni Eareckson Tada Remains Positive

Just as she did when she announced her diagnosis in November, Tada is asking for prayer and keeping her mindset positive. On her blog, she regularly expresses gratitude for the care her husband, Ken, provides. She also thanks readers and supporters for their prayers and notes of encouragement.

Referencing James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective,” Tada and her staff are confident that good things will come from the prayers of fellow believers.

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My family and I lived here from 1985 to 1993. I was the pastor of First Baptist Church of Dannebrog. This village holds a special place in our hearts!

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