When We Grieve a Loved One in Heaven

When We Grieve a Loved One in Heaven

Lisa Appelo

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  • 2017May 06

 

#grief #heaven #comfort

I stooped to give my 7-year-old a goodnight hug and pray with him.  He’d made a pallet on the carpet in my bedroom, something he often did after Dan died.

By day, he played like all the other little boys in neighborhood. You’d never know he was carrying a heavy blanket of grief.

It was at night, tired and finally quiet after the day’s activity, that I’d often hear him crying or see the silent tears as we talked.

On this night, I listened as Matt prayed. He thanked God for the good day and prayed for kids all over the world that needed help.  And then he closed with this:

Tell my dad I said hello.

A thousand knives went through my heart.

Inwardly, I wrestled over the brutal honesty of his words even as I steadily bent to kiss his forehead. Tears stung my eyes at the cruel unfairness that a little boy would even have to pray those words and I could see Matt’s eyes were filled with tears too.

I had cried more tears over the last few weeks than I ever imagined a person could cry. Our days were filled with constant reminders of missing Dan. I’d instinctively reach for my cell phone to tell him some news — and then remember. I’d hear the back door open and my heart would beat a little faster like it always had when he came home from work — and then I’d remember.

Every single routine in our family had an empty hollowness.

Dinner held plenty of conversation – even laughter — but always overshadowed by Dan’s seat at the table so obviously empty.

His briefcase sat just where he’d left it next to his chair in the living room and boxes where we’d packed up his office were sprawled on the ping-pong table in the garage.

There would be no more rides in his truck to and from practice, no more bedtime reads for the littles as I did the dishes, so many no more’s.

Tell my dad I said hello.

Those words held pain but they also held connection.

Dan on that side of heaven, us on this side. Him in the presence of God, us still walking it out in faith. Him face to face with God, us still veiled from full glory.

Heaven had always seemed far off in time and space. It was a sure thing but a someday thing, so distant from the busy days of our life raising kids and paying bills.

And then it wasn’t.

Death had brought pain but it also brought connection. I wish I could say I felt that connection to heaven before but Dan’s death made it immediate and palpable. Like we had a deposit, waiting for us just after we met Jesus.

Because when you love someone in heaven, you carry part of heaven in your heart.

It was in church that I could most easily picture Dan in heaven. Caught up with the words and music of worship, I imagined him just the other side of eternity.

Us in our pew, him in the true tabernacle. All eyes on Christ. All of us worshiping. All of us part of one body.

The body of Christ is more than my congregation. It’s more than the believers in the next city over and next continent over. The body of Christ includes believers right now in the presence of God.

As we worship God here, we’re joining the chorus of believers worshiping in heaven.
As we serve God here, we’re joining the band of believers serving in heaven.
As we praise God here, we’re joining the multitude of believers praising in heaven.

The seen and the unseen. The groaning and the freed. Those whose life is Christ and those whose death is gain.

Yes, Lord Jesus. Tell him we said hello.

 

The above story touched my heart. Enjoy it

Michael

 

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A route to ‘mental superpowers’

Dr. Jim Denison | May 9, 2017
“Real-time fMRI” is a new technique that teaches people how to manipulate the level of electrical activation in their brains. Such training is being used to control pain, fight obesity, and treat PTSD, depression, and anxiety. In a world as challenging and chaotic as ours, such progress is welcome.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted, “We must constantly build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”

Yesterday, our Israel study tour took us to Masada. After the Romans destroyed the Jewish temple in AD 70, they turned their attention to this desert fortress near the Dead Sea. Here, 967 Jewish men, women, and children retreated from the Empire, barricading themselves in a massive enclosure designed by Herod the Great.

They had enough food and water to withstand years of Roman siege. However, the Romans built a siege ramp, battered down the wooden gate to the fortress, and prepared to assault the rebel stronghold. On the evening of April 16, AD 73, the leader of the Jewish rebels stood before his people. Eleazar ben Ya’ir exhorted them:

“My loyal followers, long ago we resolved to serve neither the Romans nor anyone else but only God, who alone is the true and righteous Lord of men. Now the time has come for us to prove our determination by our deeds.

“We were the first to revolt, and we shall be the last to break off the struggle. And I think it is God who has given us this privilege, that we can die nobly as free men, unlike others who were unexpectedly defeated.

“So let our wives die unabused and our children without knowledge of slavery. After that, let us do each other a great kindness, preserving our freedom as a glorious tribute to ourselves. But first let our possessions and the whole fortress go up in flames, as this will be a bitter blow to the Romans to find our persons beyond their reach and nothing left for them to loot.

“One thing only: let us spare our store of food. This will bear witness when we are dead to the fact that we perished, not through want but because, as we resolved at the beginning, we chose death rather than slavery.”

Since suicide is forbidden in Judaism, the people could not kill themselves. Instead, the men drew lots. Ten were chosen; the others lay on the ground beside their wives and children. The ten then killed them all. They drew lots again, and one was chosen. The other nine lay down beside their families and were killed. The last survivor then killed himself. Two women and five children hid in a cistern and later reported their deaths and ben Ya’ir’s speech to the Romans.

Skeptics considered this a legend, but archaeologists have discovered clay fragments inscribed with the names of eleven men, including ben Ya’ir. Many believe these to be the actual lots used by the men of Masada.

Today you and I face the same decision as the Jews resisting Rome: death or slavery. We can be enslaved to this fallen world, or we can die to ourselves and be liberated by our Lord’s grace. We can conform to our culture, or we can surrender to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:1–2).

But we cannot do both.

Purposeful Consistency With The Right Mindset Will Make You Unstoppable

A large part of success is putting in the time each and every day. Consistency is important for making progress, doing better work, getting in shape, and achieving some level of success in most areas of life.

When you decide to be better than you were yesterday and maintain that attitude, you will reach peak performance. Benjamin Disraeli says “The secret of success is consistency of purpose.”

Warren Buffett, for instance, is famed for his discipline and the hours he spends studying financial statements of potential investment targets.

The good news is that your lack of a natural gift is irrelevant — talent has little or nothing to do with greatness. You can make yourself into any number of things, and you can even make yourself great.

Don’t underestimate how much time and discipline contribute to your success. Consistent effort lies within the reach of anyone and is ultimately a much greater factor in success.

Anything to which you apply consistent focus will show progress.

Only sustained movement in one direction can bring tangible results. You have permission to change your goal, rethink, choose another, by all means.

Consistency develops routines and builds momentum. It forms habits that become almost second nature.

There is no way to get around the fact that mastery requires a volume of work.

No matter how grand your goals are, you will never taste victory if you are not ready to apply a high level of consistency.

Consistency trumps everything

To succeed in anything you put your mind to, build a system that makes it easy to stay consistent.

Jim Rohn said “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”

Defining your direction as early as possible is the most important decision in sport, and everybody knows it. But, curiously enough, this is also the most important decision in life in general, but much fewer people realize it.

In order to get what you want, you have to choose one direction and move towards it, constantly improving over a prolonged period of time.

As Anders Ericsson, author of “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” notes, “Elite performers in many diverse domains have been found to practice, on the average, roughly the same amount every day, including weekends.”

More deliberate practice equals better performance. Tons of it equals great performance.

John Maxwell said: “Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.”

In order to reach big goals you need time, during which you must continue moving in your chosen direction.

Be deliberate. Be consistent.

You can’t be consistent accidentally. It has to be a deliberate choice you make, every day. Deliberate consistency doesn’t feel good because it’s hard work and requires discipline.

It’s about knowing where you want to be, and creating habits, behaviours and actions that will support you in getting there.

Then doing or being them as often as you can, intentionally and deliberately. Over time your deliberate and intentional consistency will become natural consistency.

The shift from deliberate to natural is powerful and transformational.

Stop aiming for radical personal change!

“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” — Stephen Covey

People always look for the easy way out. Many people practically look out for secrets, tricks, and hacks that will make EVERYTHING better right now. But unfortunately life doesn’t work that way.

There are no “overnight successes”. Think of all the incredible people you truly admire. They didn’t succeed because of one giant move, but rather a series of small and consistent actions over time.

A magic bullet cannot save you! You’ve got to embrace the process, enjoy it and stay consistent. You can’t escape the hard work it takes to get better.

Every incredibly successful person you know today has been through the boring, mundane, time-tested process that eventually brings success. So, stop looking for “quick hacks” that bring faster results.

Instead of reading every self-improvement post for the one golden tip that will make you superhumanly efficient, focus on doing the actual work that needs to be done.

You can inspire yourself to take action. The hard, long process is the only way though. You can’t achieve tremendous life success with a quick fix. Nobody gets it that easy.

Embrace the Kaizen approach

Kaizen— Japanese for continuous improvement.

It was developed by Depression-era American business management theorists in order to build the arsenal of democracy that helped the U.S. win World War II. The Japanese took to the idea of small, continual improvement right away and gave it a name: Kaizen — Japanese for continuous improvement.

While Kaizen was originally developed to help businesses improve and thrive, it’s just as applicable to our personal lives.

The idea here is to focus on consistent improvements in your life, every day, not matter how small the step you take to be a better you than you were yesterday.

According to Brett and Kate McKay of The Art of Manliness:

“Instead of trying to make radical changes in a short amount of time, just make small improvements every day that will gradually lead to the change you want. Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you’re trying to improve. That’s it. Just 1%.

It might not seem like much, but those 1% improvements start compounding on each other. In the beginning, your improvements will be so small as to seem practically nonexistent. But gradually and ever so slowly, you’ll start to notice the improvements in your life. It may take months or even years, but the improvements will come if you just focus on consistently upping your game by 1%.”

Here is why Kaizen works

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens — and when it happens, it lasts.” — John Wooden

The Kaizen approach is a reminder that all improvements must be maintained if we wish to secure consistent gains. Think of the smallest step you can take every day that would move you incrementally towards your goal.

Becoming 1% better every day is a simple, practical way to achieve big goals. 1% seems like a small amount. Yes, it is. It’s tiny. It’s easy. It’s doable. And it’s applicable in most things you want to do or accomplish.

In his book, The Talent Code: Unlocking the Secret of Skill in Sports, Art, Music, Math, and Just About Everything Else, Daniel Coyle writes:

Spending more time is effective — but only if you’re still in the sweet spot at the edge of your capabilities, attentively building and honing circuits. What’s more, there seems to be a universal limit for how much deep practice human beings can do in a day. Ericsson’s research shows that most world-class experts — including pianists, chess players, novelists, and athletes — practice between three and five hours a day, no matter what skill they pursue.”

The 1% approach feels less intimidating and is more manageable. It might feel less exciting than chasing a huge win, but its results will be stronger and more sustainable.

Robert Collier once said “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Consistency and a series of purposeful actions will transform the way you work and hone in your chosen craft.

Be consistent. Be relentless.

Before you go…

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