Friday, January 10, 2014

A beautiful soul in Heaven!

 Today was a day of remembering and celebrating the life of 13 year old Lydia Kizziar, who went into the open arms of Jesus on the afternoon of Saturday, January 4th, 2014.  She was a beautiful young lady, who you could tell adored her Father.  Lydia passed quietly from this life into Heaven, after a short battle from influenza: the H1N1 swine flu.  Nothing can compare to the sorrow we face as friends of this dear one, or the joy that Jesus is experiencing, finally getting to meet and take care of one of His children.
Philippians 3:20-21
"But our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself. "
This is what Christ has done for Lydia!  He has transformed her body into a glorious body that resembles Himself, only by His power. . .because her citizenship is in Heaven.  She is now in her real home.  The place she was designed to live in.  The city that God has made for her.  This was His plan, even before Lydia was born.
Most of us as humans view death as a bad thing.  Something that could have been prevented "if only. . ."  And then we realize, for a few weeks afterward, how short life is.  We then move on and forget the valuable lesson we have just learned: until someone else dies.  What we don't really realize is that death is a beautiful thing.  In fact, we should change the word to 'pass'.  Passing from this life, into the arms of Jesus is something that should be celebrated, awesome, and lovely.  Yes, there will forever be an empty spot in our hearts, but think about the joy that our Savior has to finally have His daughter come home! Really. Think about it. God is giving us the privilege to take care of the children He has blessed us with.  And yet they are really not even ours, He is just lending them to us for a period of time. They are His kids. We are His kids. So when time came for Lydia to come home, it was probably one of the best days of His life : )
Psalm 116:15
"How precious in the sight of the Lord is the death (or passing) of  His saints."
Another version also says," Precious in the sight of Jehovah. . ." (ASV)
"Dear in the eyes of the Lord. . ." (BBE)
"The death of one who belongs to the Lord. . ." (NCV)
"The death of His faithful Ones. . ."  (CSB)
To Him, having His children come home is a precious thing.  Something that is beautiful to our Lord, and makes Him happy.  You would be too, if your child came back home after being away for years.
Something that I have been questioning throughout this time is, why would God take someone so young?  A mere 13 year old.  I keep thinking, 'she had so much potential.  She had so much more of life to live.'  But no. Lydia was not made to live past thirteen years old.  She wasn't supposed to live until she turned 80 or 90.  The Lord had already numbered her days, even before she was born.  He knew exactly what time, what day, what age. And so He does for each and every one of us.  He knows exactly how long I am going to live. He knows what time, what day, what age. He knows when you are going to pass away into His Kingdom.  The crazy part is that we as humans don't know : ) We have no idea when our time will come to be with Him in Heaven.  So why don't we enjoy the time we have with each other now, before we regret the time we didn't spend, later?
I would encourage all of you parents, to love spending time with your children, young or old. To enjoy the noise, to appreciate the tears, to get to know your kids and encourage them in their walk with Jesus.
I would ask all you young adults and children, to adore your siblings. To not just think of them as an annoyance, or bother, but a blessing that God has graciously given to you. Read to them. Take them on dates. Play at the park. Enjoy doing what they enjoy doing. Be an example of love to them. Because you don't know how long God has planned for them to be here on this earth. It may be 2 years. It may be 19. They might even make it to 40 : )  You never know. So treasure the time you have to spend with your siblings. It's a blessing.
And for all of you that are an only child of the family, I would encourage you to love on your parents. Spend time with them. Bless them with a special dinner you prepared. Make them play games with you (my favorite part!). Take walks with them. Listen to music while decorating the house with your mom, or rearranging furniture. Learn from the special qualities they possess. And just enjoy your time together.
For those who don't have any family around, find someone to love on. I'm sure there are plenty of children around where you live, that you can reach out to and bless. Spend time with them. Tell them about Christ, if they don't yet know. Hook up with a family who maybe needs a little help around the house or yard, and encourage them with your service and love. There is always someone who could use help. . .
As I was sitting in a chair at the back of the church, I was struck with how many peoples lives were touched by one life. 13 years. Probably over 1,000 lives touched, inspired, blessed and strengthened. A room only meant to hold 300 people, with about 350 jam-packed in there. People lining the walls. All there to celebrate one lovely life. To remember the years she was with us. And as I was sitting there, the pianist lead everyone in singing 'It is well with my Soul.'  Everyone started singing on the top of their voice in unison. . .it sounded like angels worshipping the Father. Tears were streaming down my face, as I pictured Lydia singing with us, 'it is well with my soul.' She had made it. She ran her race well, and was sitting at Jesus' feet while we were down here crying, praying, worshipping, and remembering a life that was lived for Christ. Lydia is home.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
"But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
For this we say to you by the Word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
 For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore comfort one another with these words."
May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26) Amen.
He is worthy and greatly to be praised


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blessings. . .

I've been thinking over the past couple weeks, how blessed we are.  With earthly blessings, spiritual blessings, and heavenly ones.  These earthly ones have been coming in the form of checks, cases of beef, and friends who have said they are praying for us. . .when I don't even know why.  I really don't understand why people are giving so much, when it's not like we're dealing with something traumatic and horrible, or just had a baby, or anything of that nature.  But it's made me in awe of God and the blessings that He loves giving to His children.  It's made me realize that someone doesn't have to be struggling in order to bless them with a prayer, gift card, check, or even some food. . .they could be doing wonderful financially, physically, and spiritually.  Yeah, I know that physically we aren't always doing that great. . .but comparatively, we aren't that bad off either.  Maybe there are some financial things that are going on that I don't know about in our family.  But just maybe, these gifts that have been given over the past month are just little blessings to show us the character of Christ, a character of love.
I don't know what to say, besides thank you : )  I'm so shocked at all the things people have graciously given:  I feel like we don't deserve all this. But it has caused me to notice this thing about Christ, that I've never seen before.  A different side of His character of love. I've never really thought about His blessings and love in this way until now.  And maybe that's all God wanted, out of all of these blessings.

James 1:17
"Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
The spiritual blessings that we are honored to have, is just the fact that we are saved.  We have the most awesome privilege anyone could ever own: we can talk to a wonderful God and Creator of this planet that we live on, the Creator of us personally.  We don't have to know Him, but He chose us, out of all the people in the world.  He saw you.  He saw me.  Why?  We'll never know, but it sure is a blessing beyond measure.  It's not like we're anything amazing before He saves us. . .in fact, we were pretty ugly as far as I'm concerned.  But He saved us, and makes us amazing. . .makes us, shapes us,  and changes us to be like Him.  It is a spiritual blessing we'll never be able to repay.  Not even a life lived for the Lord will be enough.  But we can at least start there : )
The other spiritual blessings that God has given us, is character.  To me, it's a blessing when God teaches me a new character that reflects Jesus and I finally get it.  Maybe you understand forgiveness, love, joy, courage, compassion, or being a servant.  There are many characters of Christ that we all need to learn, and isn't it a joy when He teaches you one that you can finally put to practice!  It's a blessing to learn and understand the characteristics of Him. . .even if it takes a little while to learn.  Are there any other spiritual blessings that you can think of?

Philippians 2:13
"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."

The next heavenly blessings that we have, are at least 2 little children in heaven with Jesus.  They went straight to see Him without us ever meeting.  Never once, did they come into this evil world.  All they know is streets of gold, glorious gates to welcome those from this life into the next, beautiful landscapes, delicious fruits, and the best Father they could ever have.  Their names?  Charity, and Jubilee.  When my mom delivered Levi, the midwife asked if we had miscarried one because it looked as if Levi had been an identical twin.  So, us kids named him just in case : )  His name is Aaron.  When it is our time to be with Jesus, there with probably be 3 little Lodi's running around that we'll finally be able to meet, after all these years.  But Jesus has had the privilege of taking care of them for us, until we all unite with Him. . .and I'm quite sure He's done a better job raising them, then we ever could have done!

1 Corinthians 2:9
"But it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for those that love Him."

Praise the Lord for all these blessings.  He gives us earthly blessings, spiritual ones, and heavenly blessings.  Don't you see how blessed we are?  What more could a person want when we have Jesus and His character?

Ephesians 1:3
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ."

How have you seen God bless you?  And can you see Him in the little things, or only the big ones?

He is worthy and greatly to be praised