But God had mercy

Philippians 2:26-27 Epaphroditus was very distressed that you heard he was ill. And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.

Before we got out of bed this morning, Dave and I prayed for a long list of people we know who need God’s mercy. I ask you to pray with us for three of them today:

  1. Luciene and the team that has planned for a large gathering in Manaus, Brazil in the coming days for a conference on emotional healing. I have the privilege of being one of the speakers. Pray for Lu especially because she has just suffered the sudden death of her brother-in-law Sigis to cancer. Lord, have mercy.
  2. Pastor Juan Carlos, in Pereira, Colombia, will be leading an Intentional Disciple-Making Churches conference this weekend. He and his wife Nidia always work together—but Nidia will be in Manaus attending the REVER Congress cited in my first prayer request! Please pray for Juan Carlos, and for Dave and others as they speak and care for the attendees. Lord, have mercy.
  3. Next week a group of Venezuelan pastors will, God willing, join Dave and pastors from several other countries for a training event. Our Venezuelan friends live with unimaginable hardships. Pray they will be encouraged through their time in fellowship with other pastors in Bogotá. And pray for a way out of the Venezuela crisis! Lord, have mercy.
Venezuelan Heroes of the Faith: Edgar, Héctor, Otto, Freddy, Carmen, Josué, Álvaro

Thank you so much.

But God gives victory

1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50, 57 Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. . . These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. . . But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our beloved friend Sharon died last night. The last few weeks before she died, she listened often to “No More Night” sung by David Phelps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iPIi7sunEU

The pain is sharp. The grief of her family is deep and will take a long time to heal. The coming days, weeks, months, and years will be tough.

I’ve been there. Maybe you have too. After Karis died, it took me about five years before I felt significant relief from the hurt of that loss.

At the same time, I have a bright vision of Sharon radiant now, healed, flooded with light and joy. A friend told me, “I feel jealous of Sharon. I wonder how long it will be until I get there, face to face with Jesus.” I believe it’s only a matter of time until I see Sharon again.

Only Jesus can take brokenness and transform it into glory.