All Saints Sunday

All Saints Day is the day Christians give thanks for all the “Saints” the good people God has placed in our lives, those living and especially those who are already with God in heaven.

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Durer, The Adoration

All Saints Day

All Saints Day (November 1), is also known as All Hallows
(hallows = saints) or Hallowmas (mas = Mass), with Halloween (een = evening before or eve), All Hallows Eve (October 31). Hallows Eve is generally abbreviated to Halloween. Since most years November 1 falls on a weekday and most Protestant churches do not have weekday services, usually the Sunday following November 1 is celebrated as All Saints Sunday.

All Saint’s Day focuses not just for honoring departed members of the Church and local congregations, but also those still living who have contributed to the work and ministry of the Church in significant ways.

It is also a day when Christians give thanks for the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and in the lives of all people.



If I had only known

If I had only known
It was the last walk in the rain
I'd keep you out for hours in the storm
I would hold your hand
Like a life line to my heart
Underneath the thunder we'd be warm
If I had only known
It was our last walk in the rain

If I had only known
I'd never hear your voice again
I'd memorize each thing you ever said
And on those lonely nights
I could think of them once more
Keep your words alive inside my head
If I had only known
I'd never hear your voice again

You were the treasure in my hand
You were the one who always stood beside me
So unaware I foolishly believed
That you would always be there
But then there came a day
And I turned my head and you slipped away

If I had only known
It was my last night by your side
I'd pray a miracle would stop the dawn
And when you'd smile at me
I would look into your eyes
And make sure you know my love
For you goes on and on
If I had only known
If I had only known
The love I would've shown
If I had only known

-- Reba Mcyntire

Dedicated to Sarah Rozell for the loss of her husband Baron Rozell.
God be with you... till you meet again.

Follow Sarah on Facebook!



God is Always Working
In Our Lives!

God is Good; All the Time.
All the Time; God is Good.
God is Working; All the Time.
All the Time; God is Working

Yes, God is ALWAYS working in our lives! See: The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Matthew 20:1-16. God in NOT distant, indifferent; a mere spectator watching man stumble and fall. God is right here working in our lives.

God is NOT always in heaven! God spends much of His time here on earth – working – looking for Workers, Kingdom Builders, looking for Disciples, watching for us!

God is ALWAYS altert, patiently watching, looking, searching for us, wooing us, calling us, beckoning us to Him! See: Parable of the Lost Son, Luke 15:11-32.

Now since God is ALWAYS working and since God is ALWAYS watching over us; What are our Saints in heaven doing? Are they just sitting on a cloud with no cares in the world? NO! The Saints in heaven are working just like God! Much of our Saints time is spent here on earth! We are surrounded by this cloud of Witnesses and Saints, ”All of the Time.”

As Christians we do not spend most of our time in church. We do not spend most of our time cutoff and apart from the world. We spend much of our time out in the world; not separate from the world. We are called to go out into the world to bring the Word of God to all of the peoples of the earth.

“Go and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20 NIV


The church scatters after Sunday’s Worship. We are called to go out into the world to the ends of the earth to proclaim the Word, the Love, Grace, and Forgiveness of God. And like God we do not spend most of our time in church. We need to go where people are suffering and hurting. We are called to go into some of the darkest places to point to the Light God does some of his best work in terrible places! to bring people hope, comfort, encouragement, love, understanding, and peace.

God tells us that he will never abandon us, will never leave us, forsake us, will never forget us, so Why would we think that our loved ones, our Saints would leave or forget us???

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the LORD your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Deuteronomy 31:6


Since God is working all of the time and since we are called to be like Him, our Saints must be working too!

So what are our Saints in Heaven doing?

· Loving Us!
· Watching over us!
· Praying for us!
· Helping us!
· Encouraging us!
· Caring for us!
· Guiding us!
· They are even helping Jesus to make preparations for the room reserved up in heaven for us!

1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:1-3

· Not even death can separate us from the love of God or our loved ones, our saints!!!

38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ this is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Matthew 22:37 NIV

Our Saints, their love for God, their love for us continues after death for they are Reborn. Loving God and loving one another is true in heaven and on earth!

How do we keep in contact
with our Saints?

· Through God!
· Through Prayer!
· Through our words, deeds, and actions!
· Communion.

Our Saints are with us all of the time, just like God - during our good times and our Saints are with us to wipe away our tears during the sad, painful, hard times. Just like God our Saints are in constant contact with our "spiritual-selves." Our Saints - all of them from the beginning of time are all with us. This is our cloud of Witnesses and Saints, which are always around us at all times. And this cloud of Witnesses and Saints are also always present within, within our very hearts, souls, and etched into our memories. And we are especially close to our Saints when we take Communion; this is our Communion of Saints from the Apostle's Creed.

Like God, our Saints are working; serving God!

Our loved ones, our Saints loved us on their time here on earth!

Our loved ones, our Saints continue to love us NOW here in the present!

Our Saints are riveted to what is happening in our lives.

Our loved ones, our Saints will continue to love us forevermore -
everlasting love!

We need to remember that Love conquers all things!
Love Never Fails!!!
1 Corinthians 13

Serving God’s people does not stop just because our Saints died here on earth. They are Reborn to a new life of Love, Prayer, and Service. Their new lives have work, purpose, and meaning. These Saints are working for us each and every day! Our Saints are NOT distant, disinterested spectators. Our Saints are actively, lovingly, prayerfully working in our lives!

… and it is in dying that
we are born to eternal life

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord,
make me an instrument of thy peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that
we are born to eternal life
Amen.



YouTube Video: The Prayer of St. Francis
by Sarah Mac Lachlan


We do not have to go through Saints to reach God. Nothing can separate us from the love of God! They are not a middleman, a go-between, or an intermediary that we must go through. But why wouldn’t we pray for a familiar Saint in our lives to watch over and guide us?

I love St. Francis’ Blessing of the Animals. I may pray that St. Francis will be an advocate for my beloved pets because of St. Francis’ great love for animals. We do not worship our Saints but because of their close connection to us, we ask them to pray for our cause. God is the One who answers all prayers!

We are only on this earth for a short time!

14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
What is your life?
You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

James 4:14


6 A voice says, "Cry out."
And I said, "What shall I cry?"
"All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.

7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.

8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever."

Isaiah 40:6-8



Holding on to our faith during times of personal loss may be difficult and challenging. Part of the grieving process is deep sorrow and pain, depression, and even anger before we reach a time and place of comfort. And yet a part of our souls will be restless until we are united with God, our loved ones, our Saints in heaven.

It takes time but our Saints want us to look back on their lives with joy and celebration; not endless tears and depression. Celebrate their lives; celebrate your time together. And take comfort in the great mystery of faith that someday we will all be together with God at the great celebration banquet in heaven.

54The bodies we now have are weak and can die. But they will be changed into bodies that are eternal. Then the Scriptures will come true, "Death has lost the battle! 55Where is its victory? Where is its sting?" 56Sin is what gives death its sting, and the Law is the power behind sin.
1 Corinthians 15:54-56 Contemporary English Version

51-57But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I'll probably never fully understand. We're not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it's over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we'll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:

Death swallowed by triumphant Life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
1 Corinthians 15:54-56 The Message



Sometimes... people, places, times of the year, or special objects may remind us of our Saints. Cherish these moments, cherish these fond memories. Like Mary the mother of Jesus, “treasure and ponder all of these things in your heart.” Adapted from Luke 2:19

And Mary’s heart was also pierced, her heart was broken at the crucifixion of Jesus. Mary suffered great anguish and pain at the death of her son.

34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
Luke 2:34-36 New Living Translation

JESUS KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH!
Your hurt feelings are legitimate and real! Even Jesus was brought to tears at the death of Lazarus even though Jesus knew that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead!

After Lazarus had died when Jesus saw Mary and Martha (the sisters of Lazarus) and those who were with them, Jesus had great compassion for them.

JESUS WEPT.
John 11:35 – (the shortest verse in the Bible.)

Jesus knew that Lazarus was dead: "...Lazarus is dead” John 11:14

And Jesus knew that he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead: "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." John 11:11

33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34"Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied.
35 Jesus wept.


Jesus entered into their suffering and pain.
Jesus was with them at their "worst of times!”



The Death of Lazarus
John 11:1-43

1Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."

4When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." 5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

7Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea." 8"But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?" 9Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. 10It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."

11After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." 12His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." 13Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 15and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."

16Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

Jesus Comforts the Sisters 17On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Bethany was less than two miles] from Jerusalem, 19and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." 28And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she said, "and is asking for you." 29When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."

33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34"Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied.
35Jesus wept.

36Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" 37But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"

Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead 38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39"Take away the stone," he said.

"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." 40Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."

43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."



Sometimes we say things like:
“They are in a better place now.”
“They are no longer hurting.”
This is all true but we are still hurting.

There is even a part of us that we hate to admit that we even have. A part that is angry with our departed loved ones for leaving us. We even feel guilty for having these feelings! We know that in our logical minds that they had no control over their dying. These feeling may not make any sense but yet we can still have them and feel guilty for having them.

Our loved ones, our Saints had no control over the when, where, and how they would die. But our loved ones, our Saints, they did have control over how they led their lives! Our Saints chose to freely follow Jesus Christ in word and in deed. Our Saints want us to follow their example – Following Jesus Christ! Our Saints are in heaven loving us, praying for us, and encouraging us to always keep on the Path to God, for us to always strive for a closer relationship with God.


Loss of a Saint is bittersweet.
Loss of a Saint is filled with tears.
Loss of a Saint, our memories are filled with JOY.



GOD KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH TOO!
God knows what it is like to lose a Son, to lose a loved One.

God’s Point of View.
Imagine what God saw when He looked down from heaven.
Can we imagine how God must have felt?
Can we grasp how much God loves us?


“For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish
but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world
to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.”

John 3:16-17

If your are having with depression with the loss of a loved one your feelings are legitimate and real. But there are times when the grieving is overwhelming and we don’t seem able to break the cycle of sadness. If you need to get help – Recognize and see that you need help and GET HELP!

Many churches of different denominations have grief recovery programs. Call a church in your area for help and information; if they can’t help you they may be able to refer a place, which can.

The Stephen’s Ministry is a wonderful nondenominational organization for helping people with Grief Counseling, Recovering from Divorce, Bankruptcy, and Addictions.

DEPRESSION FACTS AND HELP

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Candles in the Sand
is a beautiful ceremony of giving thanks to God
for all of our blessing.