Babies Dancing On Streets of Gold

GOLD

 

A glorious day is coming, when our babies will dance on the streets of gold,
They will hop, skip, and jump towards the throne of Jesus Christ our King,
We will hold our beauties in our arms, not an ounce of love will we withhold,
As we make up for lost time, we will hug them, & laugh and dance and sing.

As we gaze upon their beautiful faces, and kiss their little, bubbly cheeks,
We will shout to everyone in heaven that our babies are here to stay,
Our days together will last forever, not just days or months or weeks,
This is the New Heavens and New Earth, our baby’s favorite place to play.

A place with no more stillborn babies; our littles will dance like no one’s watching,
On earth we never saw this, no chance to see them display their wonderful graces,
We saw the horror of a life extinguished, nothing but death, bruises, and blotching,
Oh to see our precious littles dancing! And to one day see their tiny, beautiful faces!

They will rejoice in the presence of King Jesus, and upon His face they will be gazing,
And for all the mommies and daddies who believe in Jesus, this will also be our story,
We too will dance on streets of gold; all of our movements will be a glorious praising,
Yes, one day mommies, daddies, and babies will all rejoice, being amazed by His glory.

So remember, as you’re feeling overwhelmed at the loss of your precious, little baby,
And you can’t understand why this would ever happen, why this sad story would ever have to be told,
When you can barely speak or get out of bed, and your painful loss feels ever so weighty,
Know that your baby’s soul is with the Savior, and one day they will, with body and soul, dance on the streets of gold!

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

 

 

 

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The Place Where Hatred Will Be Gone Forever

HEAVEN PIC

 

There is a place where hatred and racism cannot, and will not, exist. But in case you haven’t noticed, we aren’t in this place……..yet. What will be so different about this other place? How will we view people who are different than us? How will we interact with people of a different skin color? Or people who were from a different country? What will it feel like to be in such a place? Well, I can only imagine (cue the music) what it will feel like to be there? But……..don’t we already know something of what it will be like in this place? Yes, we know some things about it, for God has told us about this place. Here is just a snippet of some things we know.

In this place……………

No more will people hate one another.

No more will people be angry with one another.

None will slander or gossip about others.

There will be no murder.

Babies who were aborted will now be loved……perfectly.

People won’t shoot other people.

Only righteousness will dwell.

We will embrace others with joy and love.

We will see Jesus and adore Him, the One who is love.

We will be with Jesus, the One who teaches us to love others.

In this place…………

Racism will be a thing of the past.

The cross of Christ made sure of this.

Racism will be gone forever.

There will be no walls of separation.

There will be no more white supremacy.

There will be no more black supremacy.

There will only be Christ’s supremacy.

White people will love black people.

Black people will love white people.

White people will love other white people.

Black people will love other black people.

The reason is because we will all be one people.

Black, white, red, yellow…………one, all one.

In this place……………

Former democrats will love former republicans, and vice versa.

There will be no more politics, just one King.

One nation’s people will love another nation’s people.

In fact, there will only be one people.

All people will love all people perfectly.

We will be with Jesus, the One whose blood makes us all one.

Yes, by His blood, He has made us all one.

We will love as God loves us.

The Holy Spirit will perfectly rule all hearts.

ALL people and angels will supremely love the Christ!

In this place…………….

There will be no more protests.

There won’t even be anything to protest about.

There will be no one setting things on fire.

The only fire to be seen are the eyes of Jesus, eyes like blazing fire!

No one will be scared.

The world will be perfectly unified.

There will be perfect joy, love, and harmony.

No one will silence anyone else.

No one will want to silence anyone else.

We will love hearing others sing glorious praises to our God.

In fact, we will join them in song.

No protests, only fellowship…….glorious fellowship!

Only worship of God………glorious worship of God!

Our free speech will be used to praise the Name of Jesus!

In this place……………

There will be only one Kingdom, made up of all who love Jesus.

A Kingdom made up of all races and ethnicities, but yet still one.

There will be no elections, for Christ is forever King.

He will never need to be voted in.

Christ has no need of votes.

He has been appointed forever by God the Father.

No one else will ever lay claim to His throne.

We will be forever thankful that He is the only Ruler.

In this place………….

There will be no more ruthless and oppressive dictators.

There will be no more threats of nuclear war.

No more will one nation attempt to overthrow another nation.

No more terrorism.

Our perfect Lord and Father will rule over all.

He will rule with perfect wisdom and love, as He does now.

All earthly kings will give up their tiny little, futile kingdoms.

All earthly elected officials’ terms will have come to an end.

Only Jesus Christ will reign forever and ever.

All earthly kings will bow in adoration to this one true heavenly King.

This place, this glorious place, is the New Heavens and New Earth.

A place where God and righteousness dwell.

But, there is another place…………

As for those who die in their sin, for those who don’t repent, who don’t bow to the King in adoration,

All those who hate others because of their skin color and never repented,

All those who harbored hatred in their heart for others, those who murdered with their hearts, and those who murdered with their guns, and never turned to Jesus………….

These will all be in another place. A place where righteousness will never dwell. A place of weeping, pain, and eternal fire. A place where unrepentant racists (black or white), and unrepentant haters of any kind, will dwell forever.

This place is hell. Don’t end up in this place. Turn to Jesus and be saved!

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

 

 

 

 

 

Two Sad Legacies Buried Together

887d9af2076a9bf5

 

“Spending eternity next to Marilyn Monroe is an opportunity too sweet to pass up,” Hef once quipped. And while this quote was probably spoken somewhat in jest, it gives many clues into his twisted, self-centered worldview. A worldview that believes women are placed on this earth to be objectified, exploited, and used to further the satisfaction and reputation of ungodly men.

No Glamour in Death

As news broke over the recent death of Hugh Hefner, there is one little known fact about his life that was made widely known rather quickly. According to numerous sources, the Playboy mogul purchased his own gravesite directly next to Marilyn Monroe in 1992 for the price of $75,000. Their remains will be interred side by side in Los Angeles at the Westwood Village Cemetery, the resting place of many historically famous names. One thing this tells us is that, even in thinking of his impending future death, Hugh Hefner could not break free of his idol. The idol to turn a woman’s outward sex appeal into the be-all and end-all of existence………..his existence. Even in death, he wanted her sex appeal to be linked with his legacy in some lasting way. A way which he believed would give his life ultimate meaning, even when he wasn’t alive to enjoy it any longer. Yes, Hefner used Monroe’s lifetime sex appeal to further his post-mortem reputation. In the eyes of others, he could still be seen as “Hef…..the ultimate ladies man.” This was one of his driving motivations in buying the grave lot to begin with. By purchasing a grave next to hers, Hef was using her beauty for almost the same reason he made her the first cover girl and centerfold of his infamous Playboy magazine. That reason: attention, pleasure, and adoration………..for himself. Indeed, this is a very deep, disturbing level of depravity. 

A Faulty Worldview

Hefner believed these things with all his heart. That is why he wanted Marilyn “next” to him in death. He was pulling teeth to make sure his worldview (of exploiting women for his benefit) would “fit” his situation when he actually died. Because if not, his worldview collapses into nothingness. If your worldview doesn’t give meaning after you die, then get rid of your worldview. It is phony. And you are deceived. Ultimately, I am certain that Hugh Hefner believed in an afterlife, but one devoid of all meaning. At some level, the Bible recognizes that everyone is aware of this thing called ‘forever and ever.” It is made clear in the Book of Ecclesiastes when the preacher declares, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Idols Only Bring Destruction

There is something deeply evil- even satanic– about the opening quote at the beginning of this article. Notice that he used the word “eternity.” I believe that there is something more going on here than simply the ‘pleasant’ thought of being buried next to Marilyn Monroe. Hefner was so blinded by the enemy, and his own evil heart, that he was fooled into believing either one of two things. Either that he would be buried forever on this earth, next to Marilyn, in an unconscious state of being, with no end of the world ever coming. Or, as I suspect, he may have been saying that he believed that he and Marilyn would somehow, some way, spend eternity together…….consciously……sexually. And why wouldn’t he think this way? If you are dead in your sins, and you create an idol in your heart about how to live while you are on earth, then why would you not make an idol out of the afterlife too? Oh Mr. Hefner, what did you become?

A Deeply Troubled Beauty

There is a strange irony in all of this ‘being buried next to each other’ stuff. Both Hefner and Monroe were very lonely people. Lonely in very different ways, but lonely nonetheless. When most people think of Marilyn Monroe, they don’t imagine her, first and foremost, as a deeply troubled and unhappy woman. They remember her as smiley and carefree, standing over a subway grate in a beautiful white dress which was nearly blown over her head. They remember beach photos of her laughing and playing in the sand, again while wearing teeny, tiny outfits. And yes, they most certainly remember that magazine cover. In every instance, men ogled. Women were envious. These are the ways most of the rich and famous are remembered, especially if they died young and beautiful.

More Than Just Pretty

How sad that Marilyn was exploited instead of treasured. How sad that she was, for the most part, an object of lust and riches in the eyes of men. Yes, she made poor decisions. But where were the rescuers? Where were the real men? Why didn’t some young, chivalrous man run over and pull her dress back down to cover her fully-exposed legs? And did anyone ever warn Marilyn about having her naked self plastered all over a magazine circulated to millions of perverted men? Did anyone really care? Did anyone sacrifice for her? The men who saw her in Playboy and with her dress riding up did not care about her gasping, starving heart. They just wanted her body. For the most part, she will be remembered as a sexy blonde who appeared on the first cover of Playboy, made some decent movies, and ended up committing suicide. How sad it is to remember people without their struggles, emotional pain, and loneliness. Her face may have been really beautiful, but her life wasn’t. Folks, as beautiful as she was, there was more than meets the eye. Her face was the face of loneliness.

A Lonely Playboy?

But Hefner was lonely too. Yes guys, Hef was a lonely man. I imagine some men might read this and think I was smoking weed or something. No, completely sober I am (Yoda moment……sorry). But yes, he was lonely. His life was a series of jumping from one idol to another. Most of the things he desired were good things (or neutral things), in and of themselves. But as is the case with idolatry and the wicked heart, he took good things and made them ultimate things…….destroying many lives in the process. One of his many idols was money. Money which gave him more of a platform to exploit and use women. For it was his money which purchased his infamous “Playboy Mansion.” A place known for unspeakable debauchery and exploitation of women. And this same money also increased his desirability among the opposite sex, which ultimately didn’t help him in the least. You see how one idol fuels another idol. What a vicious cycle. Girls, sex, money, fame, reputation, mansions? What do all these things mean to him now? They all have one thing in common: they are things that cannot produce steadfast and eternal joy. And he knew it. No doubt about it. Hef was a lonely man.

A Modern Day Solomon

Hefner’s life sounds a lot like Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes, doesn’t it? The former King of Israel experienced many of the same pleasures as Hugh Hefner did, and it never completely satisfied him either. Their lives were strikingly similar, at least in Solomon’s early years. But Solomon learned from his folly, and wrote about what he learned. He passed it on through the written Word of God. Readers, pay close attention. Here is the some of the gold Solomon passed down……..

I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem as well—the delights of a man’s heart. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:8-11)

The Same, But Opposite

On the other hand, Marilyn was craving genuine attention and affection from men, and she never found the satisfaction she was looking for. Sadly, she sought escape in turning to prescription drugs. But satisfaction didn’t come from pills either. Ultimately, the pills led to her demise. But the drugs were simply the evidence that she was a tortured and lonely soul. Hefner was lonely because he didn’t want that which was real (love, stability, family), and therefore never searched for it. Marilyn was lonely because she did want that which was real. She just never found it. She wanted real feelings, real joy………….real love. It wasn’t about the sex for her. Not primarily anyway. Forget about the bikinis and the dress flying over her head. She was looking for something more ultimate than sex. Things like genuine affection. Love. Good and natural desires for sure. But when we expect humans to ultimately and always fulfill those desires, they will disappoint us. And we become disillusioned. Again, what loneliness this is! How sad and desperate she must have been. The only One who can satisfy us with infinite love, joy, and satisfaction is Jesus Christ. His love is eternal. I hope Marilyn found this out before the pills became too much for her body to handle.

How These Things Should Affect Us

Christian, we ought to be so thankful everyday that we never have to be lonely. Yes. we may feel like we are sometimes. But God still says to us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Let us take comfort, and rejoice in that precious truth. And when we see others struggling mightily to replace their loneliness with idolatry, let us reach out to them with the precious gospel of Jesus Christ. I can only hope that someone did that for Hugh Hefner in his final days. I can only hope that God’s Holy Spirit gave Hugh Hefner and Marilyn Monroe a new heart before they died. And if that were the case, neither one would be searching for happiness in sex, money, fame, or emotional affirmation. None of that “striving after the wind” anymore. They would be where Christ is, wondering why they ever searched for ultimate joy in the temporary, finite things of the earth. God help us to minister to the hurting people of our day and age. God help us to point them to the hope of the gospel!

Conclusion of the Matter

After searching for ultimate fulfillment in just about everything except God Himself, Solomon wrote these famous words:

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

And C.S. Lewis once said………

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

Being buried next to a sex symbol like Marilyn Monroe adds a final, disturbing notch to Hefner’s name and legacy (a very sad legacy). And not only that, it adds insult to injury for a woman who struggled deeply with the pain of loneliness. We Americans have defined “beautiful, successful life” in all the wrong ways.

I know that both Hugh and Marilyn are in another world right now. I just hope it is the world where God is pleased to look upon them as His children. I do not take any pleasure in the thought that either, or both, of them could be under God’s wrath for eternity. But if they died the same way they lived, searching for and clinging to idols that cannot satisfy, then hell is where they would be. Sad, terrifying thought.


Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

10 Things Parents of Stillborn Babies Want You To Know (Part 7): Ask Us About Our Baby

QUESTIONS

 

There was no blood flowing in her little baby body. There was no healthy glow. Her little skull was sunk down. Her eyes were closed. And the bruises were too devastating to even imagine. If you are the parent of a stillborn baby, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You can get to the point where you’re not even sure if you want people to visit you in the hospital. You’re afraid they may be traumatized. That’s how bad it is. But yet, he or she is still your baby. Despite all the pain and chaos of that fateful day, you miss your baby something terrible. You have hard memories. Really hard memories. But you still want to keep them. God keeps your baby now, and He gives you precious memories preserved in thoughts and pictures. Thanks to my parents, I still have a beautiful picture of my Ariana. And she is beautiful. Bruised and beautiful. How often do you ever see those two words put together? Yes, bruises and all. She was my baby. And I wanted to show her off.

As I continue with this series of articles dealing with parents of stillborn babies, we move to point #9.

Parents of stillborn babies want you to………………….

 

#9 We want you to ask questions about our baby (eye color, hair color, height, weight, did you get to hold the baby, did they look like mommy or daddy, do you have pics, etc.)

 

An Unforgettable Supervisor

“Do you have pictures? We want to see some pictures of your baby!!” These were nearly the exact words spoken from the lips of my supervisor a little over 15 years ago. It was a phrase so shocking that I never, ever believed that someone would ask it about my baby girl, Ariana. And although it was shocking, it was also a breath of fresh air in the midst of intense suffering. Shocking because……..well……..I didn’t think anyone would want to see pictures of another person’s stillborn baby. Too disturbing, right? At least this is what I thought at the time. I mean, according to the world’s standard of “cute”, a stillborn baby doesn’t quite pass the test. No soft, color filled cheeks. No developing facial features. No healthy glow to make people say, “Awww, would you just look at how beautiful she is!” In fact, sometimes your stillborn baby’s most noticeable features are the bruises and the blood red lips. Not exactly Facebook material, is it?

She Knew a Secret

What my supervisor said to me on that day was a breath of fresh air. I needed to hear that someone……anyone……. wanted to see what my baby girl looked like. Yes, my dead, already-decaying baby girl. Other than perhaps your immediate family, most people would never think to ask you for pictures. I suspect she had her fears about how disturbing the pics might look. Anyone would be apprehensive of such a thing. Not only that, but what if there was a really awkward reaction when she looked at the photos? You know, something totally out of her control. Like she might cringe, or look away really quickly, or even make a sound expressing her shock. I don’t know if she thought through all of these possibilities beforehand, but in the end her decision was to make much of my baby. And it is every parent’s joy to have people make much of their child. So just having the courage to ask me for pics was worth more than I can put into words. She knew how disturbing the pictures would be to look at. But it didn’t matter to her. She knew that my stillborn was created in God’s image, and that I loved her. She instinctively caught on to the fact that I wanted to show off Ariana, but there was no way I could ever initiate such a thing. She took the first difficult step, and did the work for me.

One Reason You Don’t Ask

You may not ask us for pictures because you’re afraid of what you will see. You may not ask us questions about what our baby looked like because you’re afraid it’s going to conjure up horrible images in our mind. Both may be true. Depending on how soon after birth the photos were taken, they may be extremely difficult to look at. Especially for those who are a little squeamish. And yes, when you ask us about what our baby looked like, our brains may recall some of the more broken aspects of his or her physical appearance. But guess what? We wish you would ask anyway. It would mean more to us than all the money and gifts that could ever be sent. It would mean more than a thousand words of good counseling. Often times, it is the simple things that mean so much. Simply asking me if I had the chance to hold my baby would run circles around all the books on “how to grieve the loss of a stillborn baby.” 

We understand your hesitation. Really, we do.  Well……..at least to a point. I mean, when our loved ones die, we typically don’t walk around showing pictures of what they looked like after they died. We show them when they were vibrant and alive! But there is something unique about our situation. We don’t have any pictures of our babies when they were vibrant and alive. The day of their birth is also the day of their death. Parents of stillborns have such a hard time with this. The day of our baby’s birth is a joyous event and a tragic ending all at the same time. It is a cruel irony.

Don’t Be Shocked

We only had one day we could take pictures of our little one. That’s all. And not even a full day. We are talking hours here. Maybe not even that much in some cases. So, why wouldn’t we want to take pictures of our precious time with them? Why wouldn’t we want to preserve whatever memories we possibly could? And why would we not want to share our pictures of them? We understand if you can’t bear to look at them. We don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable. But please don’t be shocked that we love our baby’s pics. Don’t be shocked that we want people to bring up the subject. Remember, the only living pictures we have of them are ultrasound images from inside the womb. But who shows off their ultrasound pictures after the baby is born? No one that I know.

Grief Happens

There is another reason you don’t ask. It is because you think we will feel more hurt to be reminded of that fateful day of birth. Well, my response would be that we are already reminded of our babies every day. And we are ok with that! It is automatic. You don’t forget people you love. Nor do you ever want to. God has created such a beautiful bond between parent and child, that not even death can destroy it. As long as the memory centers of our brain are functioning, we will constantly remember our baby. That is why I believe Alzheimer’s is one of the most devastating of all diseases. To forget loved ones is such a heartbreaking thing to imagine for families.  So asking us to see pics isn’t going to create any more pain that isn’t already there. It may bring tears, but that is what grief does. Tears are healthy. In a fallen world, grief is essential. So remember this: what hurts far more than being reminded of our baby is not being reminded of our baby.

Daddy’s Hair Color

“She has dark hair just like her daddy” was the first thing my supervisor said after I showed her Ariana’s picture. But it was the way she said it that I remember more than anything. You know that kind of teasing voice that someone uses when they are trying to make you laugh? Especially when laughing is the furthest thing from your mind. She said it something like this, “Jamie, I see dark hair on Ariana, hmmmmmm……..(with a slight smile on her face)………….I wonder where she got that from??!!” (I actually still had some hair at that time!) It is a moment I will never forget. She knew that Ariana mattered to me. And she gave me some precious few moments that I cherish to this day. She asked for pictures. She made a reference to my baby’s hair color. She personalized Ariana for me. Priceless.

Wish We Had Cuter Pictures

People go crazy over cute pictures, especially baby pictures. And now that we live in the age of social media, it is easier than ever to satisfy everyone’s visual itch. And this quest for “cuteness” starts long before the baby is born. Mommies all over the internet are taking pictures of their baby-filled tummies. Tummies at 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 20 weeks, 30 weeks, and on and on. And it is completely innocent too. It is all about the baby, a little preview of what’s to come. These mommies are giving everyone an appetizer before the meal. They are simply displaying to the world that an adorable, tiny human being hides just beneath the surface.

The anticipation of birth increases with every picture of her growing tummy. The day inches ever closer. Family, friends, and co-workers are all getting excited for that special day when the baby will arrive. They can’t wait to see the baby pics. And when that day finally comes, all of the anticipation is so worth it. The joy is overwhelming. Except, that is, if you are the mommy of a stillborn baby. Now, every time you see those old pictures of you looking preggers, you feel the pain of loss. The pain of what could have been. You never thought your only pictures to show off now would be ones that people would quickly scroll past- in horror – if you put them on Facebook. Tragic. My heart goes out to all you mommies.

Conclusion

Society places way too much value on outer beauty. Beauty that contains perfect skin, with no blemishes. No defects are allowed for. Even little babies do not escape these cultural thought patterns. No, blood and bruises are not beautiful. They are disturbing. Especially when you are looking at a baby. But here’s the thing. The beauty comes when you look past the bruises and realize there is so much more to your baby. The beauty comes when you realize how much love you have for your baby despite the bruising. The bruises are temporary. Love is not.

I saw Ariana up close and personal. I held her flimsy body tight. I saw her placed in a casket. I saw people lower her into the ground. But she is not just a dead body buried in a grave. She, and all other stillborn babies, are with God as living souls. And one day, when Jesus Christ returns, they will have their physical bodies join their souls. But for now, they live in our memories with the physical traits that we saw them with. Even as damaged as they were, they are the memories we have. They are preserved in our hearts, our minds, and in pictures. Would you consider asking us about them?

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

A Simple Little Prayer When Thinking of Houston

FLOOD

 

Dear Heavenly Father, cause us as the body of Christ…………

To remember the plight of our neighbor, and pray fervently for Houston,
To unite, join hands, pull together, seek the comfort of others, and pray,
For the devastation we see is for real; it is not made up and it is no illusion,
Cause us to approach Your throne boldly for Texas; there is so much to say.

Dear Heavenly Father, remind us as the body of Christ…………

That we must stop devouring one another and fighting over trivial matters,
That the city of Houston needs us, that they need us to give, pray, love, and serve,
For when God’s people stop loving and stop praying, all hope suddenly shatters,
Remind us to learn from the example of Jesus; let us watch Him and observe.

Dear Heavenly Father, motivate and inspire us as the body of Christ………….

To have compassion, to bear one another’s burdens, and redeem our precious time,
To take advantage of these critical moments; moments when others truly need us,
To remember the suffering; for if we neglect them it is just like committing a crime,
Inspire us to pray for hurting people; failure to pray is to throw them under the bus.

Dear Heavenly Father, teach and empower us as the body of Christ…………..

To serve wholeheartedly, sacrifice often, pray consistently, and love better,
To see the city of Houston as Jesus does; teach us to weep with those who weep,
To do good to our neighbor by the power of the Holy Spirit, and not the letter,
Empower us to love the city of Houston; this is what You command of your sheep.

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

The Brightness of the Son Eclipses All

ECLIPSE

 

The anticipation was overwhelming, and the people’s response was not to be believed,
The world watched with utter fascination, as the moon passed between earth and sun,
But many did not dwell on its Creator, of whom no human mind can fully conceive,
The brightness of His glory eclipses all, for He is truth and light; He is God the Son.

Even such a mind-blowing stellar event cannot compare to the brightness of Christ Jesus,
For created things can never rise above their Creator; He stands infinitely far above all,
His face shines like the sun in full strength, and with His blazing eyes He sees us,
Earth and sky will at once flee from Him; His majesty makes them seem so very small.

Upon that day when they finally see Jesus, there will be no protective glasses for unbelievers to wear,
They will hide in the mountains, and call for rocks to fall on them; they spurned the cross and all it stands for,
They rejected Christ and will forever be consumed by His holy fire; He will not give them even one kind stare,
For they have turned away from the King, and treated redemption like it were something cheap, to be bought in a store.

The creation of the sun, stars, and the billions of galaxies; all of these came from the mighty Word of God,
He sets everything in motion and decrees from eternity past the time of every eclipse, long before the world even began,
And one day Christians will see Him with unveiled glory; no need for glasses, no need to fear or put on a facade,
For God loves His children, those who trust in Him; for the perfect Lamb has rescued them from the terrible fall of man.

Remember the transfigured Jesus before His terrified disciples? Remember Isaiah’s reaction to seeing the pre-incarnate Christ?
Well……..the brightness of that eclipse you witnessed is like a light bulb, unable to be perceived when in the presence of its Maker,
I hope the sight reminded you of Jesus, of His infinite power and wisdom; and that He came down from heaven and was sacrificed,
For if you only see the eclipse as an end in itself, not pointing to the King, then fear for your soul; you are an unforgiven lawbreaker.

To all unbelievers, whether you are an atheist, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Muslim, of even a regular churchgoing hypocrite,
Look to the Light, look to the heavens and be saved, look to the Christ who died and rose again, so that you might live,
Look to the One the recent eclipse merely pointed to, the One who bled and died for sinners, go to Him and admit,
That you have worshiped lesser things, maybe not sun and moon, but yourself; repent and turn to Jesus; He will forgive.

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

Our Stillborn Baby’s Greatest Gain

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The next time you visit your stillborn, and you’re crying at the site of their grave,
Remember: your baby is more alive than ever; they have no crying, no tears, no pain.
He or she is now in perfect joy with all the saints, those whom Jesus came to save,
You must remember that the day of our greatest loss was our baby’s greatest gain.

Jesus has a special love for babies, and He knows each one by name,
Right now they are with Him in spirit, and one day with glorified bodies.
They can’t stop being near our Savior, for in heaven He is worth all the fame,
Our littles are well taken care of; no need to worry daddies and mommies.

So for those of you in Christ, you will one day join your baby at the throne,
And see for yourself the majesty, beauty, and wonder of His glorious Name.
At that moment all your heartache will be lifted, and you’ll finally be at home,
And you’ll realize that the day of your greatest loss was your baby’s greatest gain.

They are now with their Lord and Savior, far better than being here on earth,
God has many plans for them, and an infinite number of days to work with.
Our babies love to praise our God and King, for they have been doing so since birth,
You may or may not believe this, but I tell you the truth; heaven is no myth.

The joy of heaven is Jesus Christ; our babies know this and experience it every day,
They have just begun to enjoy His glory, and I hope one day you will do the same.
For when we finally see His face, shining like the sun with beams headed our way,
There will be no question, that the day of our greatest loss was our baby’s greatest gain!

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

 

A Warning To Men Behaving Badly On Facebook

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I do not enjoy writing posts like this. But I feel compelled to do so. Some of you men are in spiritual danger. You need to be awakened. While women do bear a certain amount of responsibility for what I am about to address, this post will be directed toward my own gender. It is addressed to both married and single men. Men who profess to know and love Jesus. Men who want to be gratified in the flesh through Facebook interaction with the opposite sex. Men who are in grave danger, because you are playing with fire. 

Over the last few months, I have been grieved by men behaving badly on Facebook. I am seeing comments made on female Facebook profiles that prompts me to write this. I am referring to the comments you make when a female posts a new picture of herself. And I am not referring to just any picture. I am talking about pics that are mildly provocative, or in some cases blatantly provocative. There is a very real danger here that some of you guys are either blinded to, or even worse, are willfully engaging in. Either way, it is time for you to respond to the Word of God, and put to death what is earthly and sensual in you. If you are born again, bought with the blood of our precious Savior, you will heed this warning. Before writing this, I prayed for your repentance. I know the struggle very well. God saved me from a life given to sexual sin. He can do the same for you. I want you to know what true freedom is like.

Are You the Flirting Type?

Some of you guys are the flirting type. And I don’t mean the type of flirting that is normal, healthy, and acceptable. After all, if every type of flirting were wrong, then hardly anyone would ever meet, date, and get married. DUH. But men, those of you who are behaving badly on Facebook, your flirting is different than this. To those of you who love making suggestive comments on female threads, especially when they post a new picture of themselves, and THEN say you love Jesus, you are in danger. Why? Because, as R.C. Sproul says, “A profession of faith doesn’t justify anybody. It’s the possession of faith that justifies.” If you are engaging in sinful and unrepentant flirting, you may be deceived into thinking that you are truly a redeemed man. But this may not be the case. Redeemed men love Jesus. And if you love Jesus, you will also love and respect women who are created in His image. So, if you find yourself gawking at, lusting over, and commenting on sexy female photos…….examine yourself. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

You Can’t Hide From God

You love it when females post the sexy pictures, don’t you? You know, the ones with the provocative clothing. The ones you are just dying to compliment. The ones that get you sexually charged, especially when you make suggestive comments on them. Trust me. I’ve seen the comments from some of you. And here’s what you need to know: Your suggestive comments are not going unnoticed by God. He not only sees you commenting, but He knows the depths of your perverted motivation behind the act. Men, please wake up. You are making an idol of a pleasure that is wicked and fleeting. You are choosing a sexual “high” over the King of kings and Lord of lords. Sin always has pleasure attached to it. If it didn’t give you pleasure to comment on her picture, then you would just stare at her without commenting. And, of course, there would be enough sin in the staring to condemn you anyway.

The Reason You Comment

But I believe there is a reason why you go a step further than simply looking. When making suggestive comments, it fuels your lust even more. Making those provocative statements gives you more sexual release. The exchange gives you a sort of “sexual connection” to the woman.  If you make a comment like “Wow, hot stuff!”, you know that she knows that you are turned on by her. If you simply looked and lusted after her, she would never know. God would know, of course. (And He matters more than anyone!) But if you type a comment, now she knows you think she looks “hot.” And you may even fantasize that she is now turned on because you think she is hot. And that knowledge alone produces all manner of wickedness in you. It makes your hormones rage even more, and your mind race with uncontrolled lust. What a vicious cycle this is. I know this sounds like I am being hard on you. But trust me, I’ve been where you are. Before I got saved, the danger took place in “chat rooms.” Remember those? Well, now, it’s a different medium. But the heart behind it all is still the same. Your flesh is weak and satan is a roaring lion. Neither one will let you go easily. You need this warning.

Easy To Justify, Right?

I know……….it’s very tempting, isn’t it? I have red blood running through my veins just like you. We don’t always know temptation is coming. We are simply scrolling. Yes, the very innocuous act of “scrolling.” And then, out of nowhere, some girl from across the country who you are never going to meet has posted a pic that is a bit too alluring. Maybe for her the pic was just “cute” when she and her friends were hanging out on the boardwalk. A picture she may even think is innocent, with no ill intention to provoke men to lust. But unfortunately, her good intentions don’t help you when she is standing there in a teeny bikini. And all of a sudden, it happens. You get sucked in like a vacuum pulling up dirt.

What’s The Big Deal?

Guys, if you’re not careful, Facebook can be a breeding ground for this type of deception. The common scenario works something like this. Her picture is enticing. It catches your eye. And then, your hormones begin to kick in. You better keep scrolling or look away because next, of course, is your heart. You are in danger of worshiping yourself over God by gratifying yourself at another’s expense. You’re tired. You’re stressed. And it would feel great, wouldn’t it, if you could just flirt a little? Ya know, just a tiny bit? You know, tell her how good she looks. What harm could that possibly cause? I mean, it’s not like you two are going to be vulgar on Facebook or anything. At least not publicly. Your comment is just going to get lost in a sea of 100 other comments from men anyway. So what’s the big deal? It even looks like she is enjoying all the comments! You’re just being “friendly” like everyone else, right? Well, no.

The Words of Jesus

Here’s why it is a big deal. “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). So there you have it guys. When a girl is wearing revealing clothes, and you keep staring at her picture, you are committing sexual sin. As Jesus said, you are an adulterer at heart. And when you compliment her, you are diving head first into further sin. If she were to see you in person and make sexual advances toward you, you would not be able to fight her off. You would welcome her advances, and in fact, invite them. Men, start guarding your heart! (Proverbs 4:23) I tell you this because I care about you, and I don’t want you to become enslaved to the deception of sexual sin.

It’s All Her Fault

Oh, but you say, “Jamie, she flirted with me first!” Or “She shouldn’t be showing off her tummy when she takes selfies!” What about this excuse? “I didn’t start making provocative comments. It was her.” Or how about “I was caught off guard. Really, I was!” Ok, then I give you these words from God: “For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, Her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life— Her ways are unstable; You do not know them(Proverbs 5:3-6). You are never just “caught off guard.” You have a worship problem. When you say you love Jesus, and then cater to the sexual advances (verbal or physical) of cute women on Facebook, you do not love Jesus. You don’t love those women. You love yourself. Period. 

Jesus Died For Facebook Sins

You can’t blame Facebook. Facebook isn’t the problem, of course. Your sinful heart is the problem. Facebook is merely a tool for you to get what you want. So, put the sin to death when you first recognize the temptation. When you see the mini skirt, keep scrolling. As God told Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” So go ahead and master it. The Holy Spirit has infinite resources to keep you from falling. But you must be active and engaged, as the Scripture teaches us! Remember, we only have a brief moment to decide if we’re going to take a close gander at her, or instead keep scrolling. So…….just keep scrolling. Look away…….scroll down…….close the laptop. Pray. And as you do, think about how Jesus hung on that cross and took the punishment for all the lustful thoughts and actions of every Christian throughout history. And that includes the thousands of lustful looks and comments on Facebook.

The Progression of Sin

And don’t forget the progression of sin as described in James 1:14: “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Men, listen to me please. Your sin doesn’t originate from Facebook. It doesn’t originate from women in bikinis or mini skirts. It comes from within your heart. The skirt just gives you the opportunity that your lustful eyes, and commenting hands, were waiting to latch onto. I know that stings a bit. It is meant to. You cannot control everything you see posted on Facebook. But you can decide (through the work of the Holy Spirit) to obey Christ by not feeding your lust.

What To Do Now

If any of this describes you, you already have something to pray about, don’t you? You could pray that God would give you pure and holy desires, and that He would grant you repentance over social media sins. Or you may even need to pray that God would save your soul. it’s quite possible that your persistent, unrepentant Facebook lust indicates that you do not really know Jesus. But it is not too late. Get right with Jesus now.

I love you and do not want you to end up in hell. I myself am still a sinner who is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. I have to battle the sin of lust every day, just like every other man. I want you to know Jesus, and the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10). I want you to be forgiven. Repent, turn to Jesus, and have your sins blotted out.

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

A Letter To My Beautiful Bride: Happy Anniversary From Your Undeserving Husband

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                               Dear Leah, my beautiful bride,

It was a rather simple day, much like any other, as I walked toward my computer, wondering what to do, not knowing my life story was being rearranged,
As God was working something amazing for His glory and my good, as I clicked onto a Christian dating site, my world would forever be changed.
I began searching for a woman, a woman who loved Jesus, who loved Scripture, a woman with character, a woman who cared about right and wrong,
I found you, and so much more; God gave me a woman who loved Jesus, who was a beauty to behold. You stole my heart; I wanted to break out in song.

From the day I first saw your profile picture, an Asian beauty, standing in a pretty yellow dress; I never could have imagined that you would see anything in me,
I never thought that God would so richly bless me, that you would one day pledge to be mine in marriage; Am I imagining this? How can this be?
My mind is still swimming in elation, still thankful every day to my great God and Savior, that this Asian beauty, Leah Francis, has become my bride,
On that very special day, in June of 2008, you graced your way down the aisle toward me; you chose to spend your earthly life walking with me, side by side.

Thank you Leah………….

For marrying me, even with all of my many imperfections,
For caring enough about me, to lovingly offer me correction.
For helping me to be a better husband, one who treats you with care,
Oh Leah, to think of life without you, is a thought I cannot bear.

Thank you Leah…………..

For putting up with me when I’m a total mess,
For lifting me up when I am depressed, and………
For loving me when I am stressed.
And though I have been for you a very difficult test,
Your love doesn’t judge me; you always give your very best.

And thank you Leah……………….

For watching me dance………horribly I must say………and patiently listening to me sing,
And for the day you said “YES” to my nervous marriage proposal, and accepted my ring.
For laughing at my jokes, even though few…….well……none of them are really that funny,
For being so kind and encouraging, making our home always feel so bright and sunny.

You may not think it’s true, but I think you are truly stunning,
When I see your beautiful face, it makes me come-a-running.
I cherish every moment with you; I love to hear your every thought,
How gracious God has been to me! I’m enjoying every moment He has brought.

Nine years after our wedding, it still feels to me like a dream come true,
That I get to call you my bride, grow old together, and share my life with you.
You are too good for me, and I received far better than I deserve, a woman who loves Jesus, an Asian beauty who stole my heart,
I have to pinch myself every day, because I still can’t believe you looked into my eyes and spoke these words, “Till death do us part.”

I hope you enjoy this little poem, even though you’re worth so much more,
For you are more than just beautiful, kind, and gracious; you are the woman I adore.

 

Happy Anniversary Leah!! I love you!!

Your undeserving husband,  Jamie

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie

10 Things Parents of Stillborn Babies Want You To Know (Part 6): The Power of Parental Bond

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Death does not break the bond between parent and child. God is the one who created this bond. And stillbirth does not, and cannot, sever it………ever. You don’t have to change a diaper to be a parent. You don’t have to be awoken at night to a crying baby to be a parent. You don’t have to suffer through a “Walmart fiasco” when your child can’t have their favorite toy. You don’t need to read stories to your little ones at night to qualify as a parent. You don’t need to have tons of cute pictures and videos to upload on social media to qualify as a parent either. Those things happen for most parents, but they are not an option for parents of stillborn babies. But, you know what, we are still parents. And nothing will ever change that.

As we continue on in this series of posts dealing with stillborn baby loss, we come to this vital piece of the puzzle for those who have lost stillborn babies. It is crucial for us as the parents, and others who are part of our lives, to know that we really are parents. And it is so important to us that everyone clearly acknowledges this. Otherwise, we suffer needless heartache. When people don’t have this understanding for parents of stillborn babies, it makes things so much more difficult than they have to be. As weird as it sounds, we feel like we have to accommodate you. We feel like we have to make you emotionally comfortable in talking to us. Like we have to offer the perfect explanation so as to remove all the awkwardness from you. Like we have to justify calling ourselves parents, or referring to our baby. Strange, but unfortunately true.

With that said, we come to #8. Parents of stillborn babies want you to acknowledge………

#8 We want you to acknowledge the powerful bond that we have with our babies, and want you to refer to us as their parents.

 

Yes…….We Really Are Parents

Should be obvious, ha? I mean, doesn’t a stillborn baby have the mother and father’s genetics? Isn’t a stillborn baby comprised of sperm and egg? Doesn’t a stillborn baby grow in the mommy’s tummy? Isn’t a stillborn baby created in God’s image? If you really think about it, why would we be referred to as anything else besides the baby’s parents? But parents of stillborn babies know exactly why I mention all of this. Sadly, many people don’t think of us as parents, at least not in any meaningful, life-changing way. Well, unless of course, we have other children…….then most folks will boldly pronounce us as “Class A” Parents. Top of the line, real, living, “just like us” kind of parents. But even then, an odd distinction is made between living children and stillborn babies. People don’t want to engage you as much regarding your stillborn. Somehow they miss the fact that your eyes just lit up with the mere thought of being able to talk about your baby! They just blow right by the opportunity. And it never gets easy. It is always frustrating beyond belief. Your baby’s memory gets sideswiped like a car on a hit and run that just drives away like nothing serious even happened.

No Bedtime Bible Stories

I don’t have any living children, but the sense I get from people is that a stillborn baby just isn’t as deserving of all the conversation as other kids are. Why is this? Most people make no favorable comparison between a living child and a stillborn baby. What a crying shame this is. It’s almost like the real reason someone is considered a parent is because they have ongoing celebrations and hardships that parents of stillborns do not have. For example, we can never talk about our stillborn baby as being a 2 year old toddler who is out of control, or a 10 year old who made the honor roll again this year, or how long it’s taking to potty train them, or how enjoyable it is to read them the Bible every night. Parents of stillborns do not have these particular joys, heartaches and stresses. We have different ones. We don’t have an experience that the majority of parents can relate to. And because of that, they do not typically acknowledge us as being like them.

Getting Your Hands Dirty

If you haven’t gotten your hands dirty (so to speak), and you haven’t dealt with all the things parents normally deal with, then you just simply fall short. Even worse, it feels to us like our precious little baby is the one who falls short. If you’ve had a lot of experience (diapers, crying fits at night, cute pics, sports, discipline issues, etc.), then you get acknowledged by others as being real parents. And your baby is acknowledged as a real baby. Otherwise, for the most part, you and baby get overlooked. Yes, there are compassionate people out there who are the exceptions. But sadly, those people are few and far between. Achievement and experience should not be the deciding factor in whether someone qualifies as a parent or a baby. Because if that is the case, then all miscarried, aborted, and stillborn babies have nothing to show. And that is tragic.

The Not-So-Terrible 2’s

But what if you were not dealing with the difficulty of child rearing? What if you were only dealing with the difficulty of not being able to rear a child, because your only baby is dead? What then? Is it your lack of experience in raising children that determines whether or not you should be called a parent? Is it somehow an easier burden to deal with a baby’s death than it is to go through the struggles of parenting? I don’t remember where I saw it, but there is a saying out there that goes something like this: “A new mommy can’t sleep at night because of her crying baby. But a mommy of a stillborn can’t sleep at night because she doesn’t hear her baby cry.” Parents of stillborns would do anything for our baby to be with us, even if that means they would have a screaming fit inside Target when they turned 5 years old. We would do anything to have seen their first poopy diaper. We would have loved for our baby to go through the “Terrible 2’s.” But they never made it to 2 years of age. We would have savored even 2 hours with our baby. This is reality for most parents of stillborn babies. Even parents who have other children rarely hear their stillborn acknowledged in the same way as their other kids. This should not be.

So, How Many Kids Do You Have?

This is one of the hardest, most dreaded questions a parent of a stillborn baby ever has to answer. You might be thinking that this should really be easy for us. But it isn’t. We have to be thinking before we answer. And we only have a few seconds to contemplate how we answer. We don’t have a straightforward, one-size-fits-all answer for every person who asks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve agonized over the fact that I did not acknowledge my daughter when people have asked me “The Question.” I can’t understand why I even do it. That is the most difficult part. I know I should say something like “Yes, I am a dad. And I have a beloved, beautiful baby girl named Ariana who died as a stillborn. I love her and miss her very much!” But most of the time, I do not say this. And even though I can’t pinpoint exactly why, I suppose it is mostly fear. Fear of the type of response I am going to receive from others. Fear of really awkward silences. Fear of people looking at me like I’m crazy for thinking I’m a father when my baby never even took a breath outside the womb. Yes, all these possible outcomes can dart through the mind at lightning speed when you are the parent of a stillborn baby.

Conclusion

So please remember this: God formed our stillborn baby’s inward parts. And just because those parts were stillborn, God still formed them inside mommy’s tummy. Nothing will ever change that. Not even the most awkward conversation. And not even the failure of a father to acknowledge his beloved baby girl, all because of the social fear and awkwardness involved. If death itself cannot break the parental bond we have with our stillborn baby, then it is absurd to think anything else will. God is the One who creates this powerful bond. It is His design alone. And no one can ever undo what He has done.

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Your likes or comments are always appreciated! I will do my best to respond to each one. And if you enjoy my posts, I wouldn’t mind an extra subscriber either. (-:  God bless you, and thanks for stopping by!  – Jamie