Tag Archives: lostness

The Best Way To Die

“We know what it is to lose health and wealth and reputation, but what is the loss of all things compared with the loss of the soul?”-D. L. Moody.

I realize my title is a BIT morbid, but hang with me for a minute. If you haven’t heard, Brittany Maynard, a beautiful 29 year-old woman who is battling cancer with a stage 4 brain tumor is planning to end her life on November 1st. She is newlywed who recently moved to Oregon with her husband, mother, and step-father so that she could take advantage of the state’s “Death with Dignity Act”. This would allow Brittany to end her suffering by taking medications that will allow her to die from something other than suffering in pain from her brain tumor and the complications that would result.

“I don’t want to die but I am dying,” Maynard tells PEOPLE in a new interview. “My [cancer] is going to kill me, and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So to be able to die with my family with me, to have control over my own mind, which I would stand to lose – to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

While I have my opinions on this story, that is not the point of my blog. My heart absolutely aches for this girl and I’ve thought about her many times day and night and prayed for her this past week once I heard about her situation. I walked closely with my cousin, Tess who battled cancer for 7 years while we were kids. I remember the pain and the suffering that she faced and how hard it was for my aunt to walk through. It’s horrible and I can’t remotely comprehend having a brain tumor like Brittany so I’m not saying this to be insensitive, but I’d say that dying of a brain tumor is not the worst way that you can die.

A theme for some of our denomination’s missions work in Africa has been centered on this concept of “Lostness”. I wrote about it a little bit last year here. In short, there are many conditions in which a person can die particularly as we look at Africa. There are diseases like Ebola that are prominent in the news right now along with AIDS and other various diseases. There is extreme poverty and unsanitary and unsafe living conditions that many are faced with. However, even as horrible as any one of the above mentioned conditions are, the absolute worst condition for a person to die from is being separated from Jesus Christ.

What has deeply troubled me about Brittany’s story more than her terrifying medical diagnosis or her controversial decision to end her life, is a statement she made about her death.

“When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, “I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever’s next.”-Brittany Maynard.

“Into whatever is next” indicates to me that she sees no hope for her eternal future. That she has no assurance that Jesus Christ is alive, that He died for her, and that she can spend eternity with Him. I realize that I am stepping on some toes here and some people will disagree with this blog, but that’s ok :-) While I don’t want to judge if she knows Jesus for certain, her words seem to indicate she doesn’t have an assurance. I pray that she does. I pray that if she doesn’t at this moment, that she will. I pray that before she dies from either medicine, brain tumor, or else, that she comes to a TRUE PEACE in her soul that can only come from salvation in Jesus Christ.

And I pray the same for all who are lost. All who don’t know Jesus are truly in the worst state possible. For those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and live rightly for Him, there is an assurance of where we will step “into next”. We have a HOPE that this world and these present sufferings are not our home. That we will live forever with God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit in Heaven forever where there is no more tears or pain. One can die naked, one can die blind, one can die poor, or one can even die of a brain tumor, but if that person knows Him, they die in peace of spirit.

The worst way to die is not being naked, blind, poor, or even of a brain tumor or Ebola. The worst way to die is without the peace of knowing where we are going eternally.

Brittany Maynard thinks that the best way to die is as she stated above, with her loved ones nearby and peacefully in her sleep. She wants to be able to control the timing and forbid the horrors of what the tumor could do to her body. I think everyone if they thought about it would choose to die peacefully and surrounded by those we love. My cousin did this even though she was in great pain. Yet even if we were all assured that we wouldn’t be in pain when we die, that doesn’t assure us we will step into a pain-free peaceful eternity. If we are without Christ, our eternal life (which is FOREVER unlike our physical one) will be anything but pain-free and peaceful. Since we don’t know how, when, and where we will die, the best way to die is to know that you’ve made Jesus the Lord of your life.

Hebrews 9:27 says, “And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment”
For those who know Jesus, we will live eternally with Him after our physical death. There is a hope available to everyone no matter what we are faced with that we can call on Jesus and be born again in spirit.

If you are suffering right now, I pray healing over you reading this in every area; that physically your body would be healed, that your emotions would be healed, and that your mind would be at peace. I pray that no matter what you’re facing today, that you would know that there is HOPE in Jesus Christ. If you’ve never made Jesus Christ the Lord of your life, I invite you to pray this simple prayer;

Jesus, I acknowledge that I have sinned against You. I believe that You died for me, that You rose again, and that You are in Heaven. I want to live for You on this earth and live with You for all eternity. Be my Lord and my Savior. Fill me now with Your love, Your grace, and with Your Holy Spirit so that I can live for You. Thank You for saving me and filling me with hope.

Congratulations!!! You’ve now found the best way to die (again that sounds morbid, but who cares–you’re saved!!)

Revelation 21:14 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.

Romans 8:24-25 – For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Titus 1:1-2 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies,promised before the ages began

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Hebrews 9:27

Lostness (Part 3 of 3)

The Lostness Around Us

My husband and I just returned from a walk around the block before I started writing this. On our walk, we discovered a small lost kitten that was hiding in someone’s yard. Now anyone who knows me well enough knows that I don’t like cats, but I can’t resist feeling compassionate when the cat was in this lost state. The second time around the block, the cat lay really low as if trying to blend in with the grass. This cat had no collar and seemingly was without hope. Then we turn the corner and spot one of our neighbor’s dogs running around in the street. This sight is not too uncommon as the dog’s name is “Smokey” and escapes out the front door as my neighbors take smoke breaks ;-) As I’m typing this I can hear a little girl yelling, “SMOKEY!!!!” outside my window. While this dog has a home, it’s continually in a state of being overlooked and running around as if lost. 

Today’s blog concludes the topic of lostness by addressing the lostness around us. Monday I referenced how in recent missions meetings, that it had been discussed that being lost was the absolute worse condition to die. That some would die poor and in disease, but could still leave this earth to spend eternity with the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit. Lostness is the most important thing on God’s heart and the greatest hinderance from His kingdom coming further in power to overthrow darkness and sickness. He “desires that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance”, according to 2 Peter 3:9. We must be like Jesus and “be about His Father’s business”. How do we see and hear like Jesus? Especially in the midst of our busy lives?

Let’s face it, is easy to overlook opportunities to be compassionate. Lostness surrounds us, yet we must have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a mouth to speak the right words and act rightly. This is where we must look to Jesus. He said in John 14:10,”Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.” If the Son was fully dependent on the Father to be moved in all acts of righteousness, how dependent should we be? Jesus wasn’t just able to perform great miracles of healing the sick, raising the dead, and bringing salvation forth solely because He was the Son of God. He rested in His Father’s love and direction and yoked Himself to be obedient to the Spirit within Him. Likewise, we must rely on the Spirit to see lostness around us. 

Just as the cat tried to blend into it’s surroundings this evening, the co-worker in the office next to you might try to hide the abuse at home from you. When we feel lostness in our own lives, we tend to retreat and become immobile. This is where the fear of the enemy can paralyze us. When someone is separated from right standing with God, they tend to be at a stand still. They aren’t necessarily moving towards or away from Him. They are lost. This is where the truth of the word of God can come into action through our lives.

I addressed in Part 2 of his blog that we must filled and be continually filled with Holy Spirit in order to overcome the lostness in our own lives. This infilling enables us to see the lost around us. According to the Joshua Project, a non-profit that deal with unreached people groups around the world, 40% are still considered unreached. This doesn’t mean that the other 60% necessarily knows Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior. It just means that they have had adequate exposure to the gospel. This is scary if you consider that most of the United States would be termed “Christian” culture. Yet even here and in every city, there are people facing lostness and hurting. 

Of course it may seem easy for me, a missionary, to be so passionate to write about reaching the lost around us, but it’s not easy or convenient no matter your occupation. However, if we are a child of God, a joint heir with Jesus, we must fall in love with Their heart and it directly beats for people. 

I return to the quote I put on the 1st entry; “We know what it is to lose health and wealth and reputation, but what is the loss of all things compared with the loss of the soul?”-D. L. Moody.  With this, I challenge you to hear the whisper I heard a few days ago. To press into what Holy Spirit would be saying for this hour. He cares about the lostness in each of us. He cares about those who are separated from hIm eternally. We must let the pain of our own lostness drive us to be filled, so that we are “found” and that we might reach others with His great love. “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

God wants to continue to save the lostness in each of us. May we lose our lives in the shadow of the cross of Jesus to find everlasting life in Him. May all of our broken hearts caused by great loss be ever filled with the indwelling of Holy Spirit and may the lost come to know Him fully.

Lostness (Part 2 of 3)

The Lostness Within Us

Monday night I decided that I needed to unwind and watch a movie. My husband graciously suggested I watch “Love Comes Softly” while he cooked dinner for me. We had purchased this movie some months ago on sale at Mardel’s. It seemed right up my alley just from the title. I quickly scanned the description on the back and read how many minutes the movie was, 88, perfect! I popped in the DVD and sat down. 5 minutes into it, not the ending, but 5 minutes in I’m crying. This young couple is pioneering new land in “the West” and came upon their new settlement together. Mixed emotions fill them as they argue and celebrate. Then my husband, Stephen enters the room and asks me a question about our food, so I pause the movie and regain my composure. Then I say ,”If the husband dies, I’m turning this off!” Well within two minutes “tragedy” hits and I lose it! I’m not ruining the story for you because what I had overlooked on the cover was the explanation that “tragedy” hits this young couple and she meets someone else! So much for a relaxing family movie!
Why am I sharing this silly story? Because I’ve been praying and preparing my heart this week to speak on lostness and while this was a movie, my heart was in far too sensitive of a place to handle that storyline (especially as a newlywed who is to embark on new territory myself as a missionary). Loss that we feel in our individual lives can leave us with a lot of pain. Pain that is not dealt with properly can become toxic emotions that hurt us and those around us. When we suffer loss, we are grieving and reeling and it effects all that surrounds us. Ever loss we incur creates new emotions and belief systems that form how we act and react.
There is a precious family I know who lost two of their three daughters in tragic events. The oldest daughter, who was married, died in the same car accident their youngest daughter survived. When the policeman came to their house and informed them of the news, the father yelled, “JESUS IS STILL LORD!”!!! His immediate reaction in a moment of trauma was to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus over the situation. He didn’t think that through, but it was a result of years of a solid dependency in Christ through the far smaller “losses”. This response and testimony shook me. This family later on lost their middle daughter because she had a seizure in her sleep while away at school. I met this family a couple of years after both of these incidents and was so loved and accepted by them. I couldn’t believe how steadfast they were and how graciously they opened their home and discipled young adults. This was a family who learned to allow Jesus to heal them, fill them, and flow through their lives even when pain occurred.
There are real psychological and physicolgocial things that occur in a moment when you lose something. Even if it is as simple as misplacing an item like your phone or your wallet. The “fight or flight” mode that our bodies rush into immediately cause us to deplete certain hormones in our bodies. Amplify the response by losing sight of your child in a crowd or losing a large research paper as it suddenly disappears into the oblivion of your computer, and your body reacts strongly. When we experience loss, our bodies need to refuel and recharge. This is why it is so important to turn to the Lord in our suffering. Loss in our lives will always create a need to be filled and God desires that we be filled with the right things.
Heaven’s perspective on lostness starts in creation when God, the Father lost continual fellowship with man. Then He gave His son so that we wouldn’t be lost. The Son sacrificed His blameless life so that we wouldn’t be lost. The Holy Spirit was then poured out so that we could be filled and continually filled while on this earth. This “infilling” of the Spirit is to bring us to revelation of who the Father and the Son are and empower us to be victorious in this life. This does not mean that death and destruction won’t effect our lives, but it does mean in the face of loss, we can overcome and be filled. When we have hurt over a loss, that gives us an opportunity to know how great His love really is. Jesus said in John 4:23-24 says, “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” This was affirmation that one day, we as lost people would know truth to worship God fully by. This is why worshipping Him can be so powerful! We can get lost in worshipping Him and receiving His love and restoration of all things lost.
Lostness strips away the superficiality of life so that you can truly find fulfillment in the fullness of God. I do not mean that God causes these losses in our lives, but we live in a fallen and broken world in which we are all really lost without Him. Until one recognizes their lostness, they can’t properly depend on His Lordship and embrace His fullness.
My prayer for you today would be that you would see the lostness in your life as an opportunity to turn to Jesus. That if you know you aren’t right with Him, you’d see a hope to the separation you feel from the love of God. If you are living for Him, I pray that through the hurt of the loss in your life that you could experience the fullness of how great His love really is.
If you didn’t read Part 1 of “Lostness” and my testimony, please scroll down. Friday will be on the Lostness around us.

Lostness (Part 1 of 3)

“We know what it is to lose health and wealth and reputation, but what is the loss of all things compared with the loss of the soul?” D. L. Moody
The other morning as I was being, you know super spiritual and curling my hair ;-), I was pondering a sad reality of a loss I suffered this past year. The pain of this loss has hit me in waves at times, but on this particular morning there was a full realization that the way things were will never be the same ever again. It was different than other relational losses I’ve encountered and somewhere in my mind I hadn’t realized the finality of the situation. As my thoughts settled in that morning, I began thinking about lostness. 
You see, I lost my cousin, Tess who was also my best friend to cancer when we were both 14 years old. I have felt the loss of a close friend before. I remember being in the first couple of months of my Freshman year of High School walking through the halls with a gaping wounded heart. I felt numb and the ability to cope let alone thrive was beyond me. I would sit in Algebra class and try to retain at least one principle of it’s foreign language ( X=Y+?!!!!!). This gap in my heart, this loss of close love drew me to the Cross in one way or another. It wasn’t immediate, but the wounds in my heart called out to be filled. As I went through this time, I began to value life differently. I wanted to live my life in such a way that people would be changed positively my life. I watched how my cousin had suffered for 7 years in her body, but she did so with joy and made a positive impact in many lives. I knew I could either satisfy myself in the desires of a typical teenager, or maybe, just maybe God had the fulfillment that I was needing. I had already prayed a “prayer of salvation” as a 6th grader and faithfully attending FCA. This may or may not have been because of the good looking older male athletes that were there each Wednesday morning ;-) but nonetheless, I came and desired the realness of God, but knew something still was missing. I ended up having beautiful encounter with the Spirit of God about two years later at 16 years old and made Jesus Christ the Lord of my life. I became a daughter of the Most High God and was exposed to His marvelous light and felt not just “saved” but a relationship! For me, this was the greatest restoration of the lostness in my heart from losing Tess.
When I was pondering lostness and my own scenario, I thought about how much it really hurts to suffer loss. No matter the situation, loss hurts. My thoughts were stopped as I felt Holy Spirit whisper to my heart that morning, “Imagine how broken I am over those who are still lost and don’t know me.” I broke. Not that my loss of relationships, health and other occurrences aren’t valid or aren’t losses. They are and they matter deeply to the heart of God. I just believe in this particular moment, God wanted to bring healing to my heart from this particular incident by showing me a higher perspective. In speaking this to my heart, I was able to connect the sorrow of lostness I was feeling to a glimpse of His heart for those lost in darkness and separated from Him.
Luke 19:10 says,”the Son of Man (Jesus) has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The word lost here means perishing, destroyed fully or cut off entirely. When Jesus was sent to this earth, He came to bring those who were lost, without hope and completely living in darkness to the Father. He was to restore what had been stolen from God’s original intent for us and redeem us from death, Hell and destruction. You can’t “sort of” be found or “saved”. You are either a child of God with a surrendered life to Jesus, or you are lost and perishing outside of the intent of God for your life. The whole purpose of why Jesus came was lostness. If as Christians we are His followers, we should walk in the steps of Jesus and bring salvation to those who are lost.
In a recent missionary training, the topic of lostness came up from our Director of Africa Missions. He mentioned that the worst possible condition that anyone could die in was lostness. There will be those who die hungry. Those who will die naked or in disease. Yet there is no worse way to die than by being separated eternally from the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. 
This week, I want to challenge you to ponder lostness. Today’s entry is just an introduction to this topic, but I pray that as the week unfolds you’ll receive healing in your lives and impact those around you.
Wednesday’s topic will be on lostness in us and Friday’s will be on the lostness around us.