Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 3:39 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 21 (selected ESV). The Heart 1 The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will. 2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. 3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Yesterday I lost my youngest sister to death. I had never lost a sibling before. It hurts. I am sad at heart, yet I believe she is with Jesus, so that gives me hope. I spent a good portion of yesterday crying and talking with family members who were also grieving her loss, so a lot of tears were shed yesterday. I am certain there will be many more to come as we visit with family and cry and laugh and share memories together today, and in the days to come. It is helping to share pictures with each other and to remember days gone by. I have 61 years of memories with my sister. She was the youngest of five. I am the middle child, but the oldest of three girls, so I also have another sister. We also have two older brothers. So, it was comforting to me this morning to read this first verse, and to be reminded that my heart is in the hand of the Lord. Amen! He knows all about me. He obviously knew this was coming, although I did not, so he had my heart prepared. He has gone before me and prepared the way for what he wants to do in my life and in the lives of all those who were touched by the life of my sister. I don’t know what lies ahead, but he does. He is the potter and I am the clay. I know that through this grieving process that he will bring much healing to my heart, and that he will mold and make me according to his will. I trust in his love. Pursue Kindness 8 The way of the guilty is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is upright… 13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered… 15 When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers… 21 Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. My sister was a very giving person, although she never had much in the way of material wealth at all. She never met a stranger. She had a way of always making people feel at home. She had a great sense of humor, and she could always find something to smile or laugh about, even when life was kicking her hard. Her heart always reached out to those who were in need, or to those who were hurting and lonely. She would have taken in all of the strays if she could, I think. She would have given you the shirt off her back if you needed it, even if she had to do without. That is the kind of person she always was. Yet, she had emotional scars from our troubled childhood, and she had great difficulty dealing with that pain. I empathized. It took me a long while to be healed emotionally from the things that took place in our early years. I battled many years with depression. I turned to other things, other than to God, at times, to try to mask my pain or to escape what I was feeling inside. I know she wanted to be healed. I did, too. And, yet, the pain lingered. She had many physical ailments, too. She suffered much in this life. I cried with her and over her often. I wanted so much for her to be free and to be healed. I believe God has now healed her. I believe he heard her cries for mercy and that he delivered her from her suffering. I believe he has now turned her weeping into dancing and that he has now clothed her with joy, and I find great comfort in that. It brings healing to my heart. The Upright 22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust… 29 A wicked man puts on a bold face, but the upright gives thought to his ways. 30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord. 31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. One day we are all going to die physically. It is inevitable unless Jesus comes back first, and we are one of his, and so we go to meet him in the air. When someone we love dies, it is cause for reflection concerning our own lives. How have we chosen to live our lives? What will we be remembered for? Have we wasted our lives, living for ourselves and for our own pleasure? Or, have we trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and thus we have given our lives to him to be lived for his honor and glory? Jesus Christ, God the Son, shed his blood on a cross for our sins so that we could go free of the punishment of sin – eternal damnation – and so we could be free of slavery to sin. As well, he died to set us free to no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See: 2 Co. 5:15). He created each one of us for a purpose. He has a plan for our lives. He gives meaning and direction to our lives. He heals the brokenhearted. He sets the captive free. He receives us and he loves us even when humans have rejected and have abandoned or mistreated us. He is my life! Without him I don’t know where I would be. And, one day I will get to be with him forever, too. Amen! So today, upon the reflection of the death of a loved one, and in consideration of the shortness of life, I pray that we will all think about our lives and where we are headed, not just in the sense of eternity in heaven or hell, though that is most critical, but that we would give thought to our ways here on earth. If someone were to write a eulogy about our lives, what would that look like? Are we living for Jesus Christ and making a difference in the lives of others for God’s eternal kingdom, or are we focused mainly on ourselves and on what we want? Are we holding on to sin, or have we given Jesus everything? Are we going our own way, or do we truly want God to have his way in our lives? I pray it will be the latter. I pray for myself today that God/Jesus would have his way in my life in my grieving process, that he will heal my hurt, and that he will use me for his glory to show his love to others who are also hurting and grieving over difficult or painful situations in their lives. I pray he will mold me and make me after his will, while I am waiting on him, yielded and still. I pray for his will to be accomplished in my life through this pain, as well as I trust him to heal me and to help me through this grieving process. And, I pray that through it all that Christ Jesus would be seen in me in how I respond to this pain, in how I treat others, and in my own heart response to my Lord in allowing him to do in my life what he wants to do through this time of sorrow. Have Thine Own Way, Lord / Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934 George C. Stebbins, 1846-1945 / Tune: ADELAIDE, Meter: 54.54 D Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, While I am waiting, yielded and still. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Search me and try me, Master, today! Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now, As in Thy presence humbly I bow. Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Wounded and weary, help me I pray! Power, all power, surely is Thine! Touch me and heal me, Savior divine! Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold o'er my being absolute sway. Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me!