When Death Surrounds Us
January 18, 2016
We are are now three weeks into 2016 and the only word I can use to describe it is HEAVY.
It seemed as if every time I logged onto Facebook, my eyes fell upon the tragic news of someone passing away.
One by one, headlines announced that another beloved artist in the music and entertainment industry had taken their final breaths here on this earth.
Then one by one, memorial service details for friends’ loved ones began to fill my feed.
Then I started receiving texts with more news of…
They were taken too soon.
This seems like a dream.
I can’t believe they are gone.
Heavy thoughts. Heavy words. Heavy hearts.
One of the many precious people who have gone from this life was a part of my own blood family (a distant great uncle of mine), and the other, just today, was my husband’s uncle.
My heart is so, so heavy with those grieving who I know very well and those who I may never meet.
What do we do when death seems to completely surround us?
The best advice that I can give is run to the Word of God.
It is full of promises of eternal hope, light, and life.
I have spent the last couple of days finding comfort in Psalms 121:
God the Help of Those Who Seek Him
When death seems to surround us, what do we do? We lift our eyes upward towards the heavens. Click To Tweet
A Song of Ascents.
121 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore. (NKJV)
The Apostle Paul encourages those of us who are believers:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-3 ESV)
We know that no one will be able to escape natural death (unless you are caught up to the heavens when Jesus returns), but once we spiritually die with Christ, we receive the promise of His resurrection life. We become born again!
This is this hope of eternal life that we hold fast to.
Although when our loved ones leave us, we have to remember that this world is not our home.
Our bodies may taste death in this life, but when we trust in Christ and the sacrifice He made for us on the Cross, our spirits will never truly taste death because there is a life to come and a resurrection of those bodies are promised when Jesus returns in glory, as Colossians 3 proclaims.
But I have to ask, is your life hidden in Christ? Do you embrace the gospel truth of John 3:16?
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 NKJV)
Do you believe on Jesus?
If so, everlasting life awaits you and there is no need to fear death or hell. Death, hell, and the grave has been overcome by the Cross!
The Apostle Paul brings us more hope in 1 Corinthians 15:
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:55-56 ESV)
We continue to grieve the passing on of those whom we hold close in our hearts, but we must keep our eyes on the life to come. I will continue to pray for those of you who are mourning the loss of someone close to you today. Look up to the heavens where your help dwells and know that He sent a Helper and Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to hold you during this time. He is our Peace.
I also pray that you begin to see this life with eternal lenses and embrace the promises of everlasting life with Christ. Hide yourself in Him until your dying day or until He returns in His glory.
None of us know what day will be our last, so I pray, believe on Christ today, beloved!
December 7, 2015
I haven’t spent too much time lately on my blog sharing current personal events. It doesn’t mean there hasn’t been anything important to write about, I just haven’t felt the need to dive into some of the messiness of our life.
Paul and I have been through a lot of major transitions and changes throughout our six years of marriage, but for some odd reason, I never can seem to get used to it. Since I’m a “go-getter,” I pull up my boot-straps, bite my lip, and move forward full-speed-ahead.
In early May of this year, through studying the Word of God in a new light, we began a journey of discovering why we believed what we believed. We began to realize that so much of what we embraced was not sound doctrine. After hearing the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, our eyes were opened to the truth that we had become victims of the prosperity gospel– giving to get more in return, visualization boards, believing we could speak things into existence just like God did (we are not “speaking spirits” or “little gods,” my friends- that is not what being made in His image is about) positive declarations and confessions, seeking increase in possessions and finances, etc. That’s when we began to ask questions to spiritual leaders whom we trusted. We wanted to make sure what we were hearing, whether on Sunday morning or YouTube videos from well-known Bible teachers, lined up with the Bible, and most importantly, the words in red.
Within just a few weeks of studying, the Lord spoke to us about selling our house, so we obeyed. We started that process and within seven days, the home was under contract. Within 30 days, we packed up our three bedroom home in the country and moved into a two bedroom apartment closer to the city and closer to our church.
About two months after we got settled in and used to our shorter commute to church (we spent more time there than at home sometimes), the Lord started speaking to us about finding a new church home.
Again, we obeyed, relieved ourselves from our leadership positions appropriately and completely wrapped in love, and just trusted God would lead the way. Within a month, we were divinely invited to a church where some of Paul’s family (whom he had lost touch with over the years) attended. Being a product of numerous denominations over the years, it didn’t bother me that this church was a Baptist church. Paul’s religious upbringing was different than mine though. He spent his whole life at non-denominational churches, rooted in the charismatic and Word of Faith movements. This theology and doctrine became spiritual reality and truth to me since 2008 when I began attending the church he grew up at. Once we left that church, we found ourselves in an environment similar to that of which Paul grew up in. Since this was all he knew, we never thought about questioning it.
But we did start to question it.
And what we found out, over the course of several months of studying God’s Word, revealed the deception that had clouded our minds about God’s truth, salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, here we are, having attended the Baptist church for two months, learning more about the names of God. About HIM. Not US. About what we can do for JESUS. Not what Jesus can do for US. And in our own studying at home, continuing to learn more and more about the lies of the prosperity gospel and Word of Faith movement, of which they often go hand in hand.
I’ve realized that the devil will try all He can to distract you, bring doubt, and confuse you regarding the will of God for your life. Yesterday, I experienced that in the form of waking up from a terrible dream, which caused me to be completely out-of-sorts all morning- on my drive to church, the sound-check for the worship set (I joined the choir a few weeks ago), the whole church service, and my drive home. I was an emotional mess, all from one stupid dream the night before involving some rejection that occurred over the last few months. Because of the lingering feelings from the dream, I was finding myself missing our involvement at our previous church home and began to question our decision to leave.
I walked into the sanctuary at our new church as round 1 of sound-check was going on and I said, “Lord this isn’t me.” I had been involved in leading worship with different music styles, had experienced what charismatic churches like to call “prophetic flow” in worship services, and had many tangible encounters with God’s presence in that kind of environment, and to be honest, I was missing that in my current corporate worship situation.
While waiting for sound-check to start for the choir, the Lord spoke to my heart:
Stop mourning past seasons. I want to do something new in your life…trust Me.
We made it through sound-check and then 15 minutes later, I made my way onto the risers for worship service to begin. I tried all I could to “enter in,” ignoring the blank stares, straight faces, and lack of enthusiasm and expression from the congregation (I’ve concluded this isn’t just at Baptist churches, but can be found in churches all over the US…it’s just the fact that many don’t fully understand how much they have been forgiven and what great sacrifice Jesus made for them to be free), and centered-in on the One whom I was worshiping.
We were celebrating the Lord’s Supper and one of the song selections was “Jesus Paid It All” by Kristian Stanfill– a favorite of mine.
Just as we got to the bridge, I lifted up my hands in surrender and tears began to fill my eyes.
OH, PRAISE THE ONE WHO PAID MY DEBT/ AND RAISED THIS LIFE UP FROM THE DEAD
I have heard and sang those lyrics to this song countless times. I have stood on a stage for many years, whether performing in musicals and plays or leading worship. And this type of spontaneous overwhelming experience while singing, especially to the Lord, has only happened to me when I was involved in charismatic circles. I thought this was a result of “the anointing” or because our worship services were able to “flow” or they lasted longer than 30 minutes (sometimes).
In that moment, my ideologies and judgement about certain denominations crumbled. It doesn’t matter if I am in a “spirit-filled” church (which is actually a term that should be used for all churches who are filled with believers because all believers are “spirit-filled,” otherwise they wouldn’t be saved, and not ones who simply speak in tongues and embrace charismatic worship styles).
Above all, I believe the Holy Spirit is filling a place when He is allowed to guide us into all truth, bring conviction, and grant people repentance that leads to the revelation of Jesus Christ in whom they will put their whole trust in, thus becoming born-again or having restored fellowship with the Father once again.
“Prophetic flow,” extended times of worship, singing in tongues, dancing, hands raised, or clapping doesn’t make my worship in song better or more anointed.If the Holy Spirit is in a place, He is the anointing. Click To Tweet
And if you are a born-again believer, you are anointed!
God was doing something in my heart yesterday and my soul was trying to dominate with mixed emotions.
Knowing that there was something not quite right with my struggle to try to control my situation and questioning God’s will in my life, I went down to the alter towards the end of service and asked God to purify my heart.
Just then, the song that was being sung by our worship pastor met me right where I was:
“Make Us New” by Doug Mickan
Saturate us with your presence
Illuminate the sin within us
Help us to see the things that need to change
You know too well of our transgressions
Now we come with full confession
You are Holy and we are so undone
Purify our hearts
Make us new, make us new
Change our desire
Make it you, make it you
Remove the stain of shameful sin
Restore Your joy to us again
All consuming fire make us new
Tears streamed down my face and I lifted my hands in surrender.
I know that I may not be completely comfortable in my current season, but I do know that I must let go of the past and let God do a new thing in me, even if it is sometimes painful.
Then I’m reminded, the Potter’s wheel is never comfortable, and the molding process can hurt, but it is worth it to see God further shape me into a vessel that seems best to Him. He is making me new…again.
Daughter of the King.
Wife. Stay-at-home momma.
Writer. Author. Speaker.
Hello there and welcome!
My name is Emily Rose Massey (as my website so cleverly lets you all know) and one of my greatest desires in life is to give God glory with my whole life! I long to point others closer to Jesus Christ and tell of His redemptive and transforming grace, as we discover more and more of our intended purpose here on this earth, all while learning what it means to glorify God with every fiber of our being!
It is by God’s grace that I can say that I have been forgiven of much, therefore I love much. Loving others, to me, is connecting them to a life of wholeness (nothing missing, nothing broken) that only can first be found in Jesus Christ.
- My life has been radically changed since I embraced the truth of the scandalous message of God’s grace, mercy, and love! (To read a little more about that, visit here).
- Through my BLOG, all of that may look like a devotional, while we dive into the Bible, (perhaps, a lesson on His grace because I always want to know more and more about that!), discussions on prayer , dreams, or Godly financial decision-making, book reviews, helpful ideas on natural alternatives regarding health and wellness (or what I like to call “God’s original design”), marriage advice, encouragement for other moms out there, or sharing some new worship music with you.
No matter the topic, I want to be a vessel for God’s truth and love, giving God all of the glory and all of my worship in every single word!
Because of my very own personal journey with discovering my identity in Jesus Christ by God’s grace, my heart is also to encourage anyone who has struggled with belonging and self-worth, and let them know that nothing will ever be able to satisfy like the Father’s love.
I live in St. Louis, MO with my husband, our furry son, and our two sweet princes, who I get the joy and privilege of watching grow up as I work from home as a freelance writer for various ministries and magazines.
I am a contributing writer to iBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com and a journalist with Grace Hill Media. My writing has also been featured in print publications such as Lifeway Women’s Journey Devotional Magazine (contributing writer since 2015) and Shattered Magazine.
Links to my various guest blog posts on The Praying Woman, Ungrind Webzine, (in)courage, Devotional Diva, Start Marriage Right, and many more are available through my Pinterest Board below.
Follow Emily Rose’s board on Pinterest.
If you have any questions or would like to connect with me, don’t hesitate to reach out to me via social media or shoot me an email on the CONTACT page!
Photo credits: J & H Creative
Fifty Shades of Grey: A Red Flag to the Church
February 11, 2015
As we quickly approach Valentine’s Day, buying our sweetheart chocolate and roses, or quite possibly those cute, silky boxers with hearts on them (that I’m sure men just LOVE, right ladies?)…
…I am reminded of a home-made gift that I received for Valentine’s Day ten years ago- a short film featuring me in a fantasy love story.
Up until a few years ago, it was hiding itself in the midst of other movies that I enjoyed watching while cuddled up on the couch with my husband.
No, this wasn’t footage of me and my husband..
…or my high school sweetheart…
…or even my boyfriend from college.
This Valentine’s Day gift captured moments of my secret adventures with a man I was in love with when I was 19…
…who was married.
It was the ultimate fantasy love story- we were involved in a musical production together. And even though he was almost ten years older than me, he played my boyfriend in the show. After he confided in me about his failing marriage, the feelings that I was only supposed to be portraying on stage, followed me home one night. I began to wonder if I was falling in love with this man. And once he said those three words all insecure girls like me want to hear, I was definitely in over my head.
I was desperately longing to find love and be loved, so much so, I found myself trapped in a lie that God just wanted me to be happy, even if it meant becoming “the other woman.” And I was a Christian!
That longing to be loved still burns within me, but is now satisfied by the love of my Savior, Jesus Christ and my God-honoring husband.
Yet, I know for a fact that I am not the only woman out there experiencing that deep desire to be pursued, cherished, and intimately loved.
Over 100 million copies sold of the book, Fifty Shades of Grey, and record-breaking pre-sale tickets sold for the film version boldly screams that fact to the world.
On the surface, it may look like women are just after a steamy sex life.
But under the sheets, you will find a broken soul longing for true love- a love that can only come from God Almighty, Love Himself.
According to Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh’s book, Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart, women have five longings:
- to be cherished by a man
- to be protected by a strong man
- to rescue a man
- to be sexually alive
- to escape reality
These are longings that only God knows how to satisfy because He created us.