Pastor Lucy Paynter
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The Sting of Death

Mystery

The end of life has been a mystery over thousands of generations. Death is unexplainable to humanity, yet it happens all the time globally. The issue of death has for ages defeated the human mind.

 Presently the underlying mysteries have not been unraveled. In fact, during these technological and scientific advancements, the mystery surrounding death has been weighty than ever before.

Moreover, no scientific knowledge gathered offers an elaborate explanation of what transpires after one dies. However, religious beliefs and conscience give hope and create the image of an afterlife.

The only thing that most people are in consensus about death is its sense of finality-an end. In the quest to understand death, people have different analogies and philosophies to understand the afterlife.

Humanity tends to find comfort in knowing death collectively depending on the culture, race, religion, or geographical area. The worst menace about death is that it occurs in infants throughout to the aged. It is known as the only certainty of life because it is inevitable.

The unpreparedness of when it might happen grips many with fear. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a known psychiatrist and author of many books on death, tried to analyze death and came up with theories on dealing with death as no concrete evidence gives a picture of what follows death.

No matter how we try to deal with death, the questions remain, is death merely the absence of life? Can understanding death alleviate its fear? Can anyone reach the level of not being afraid of death?

RELIGION

Therefore, the religious perspective about the antecedents of death holds a prominent place in such discussions. For instance, most renowned world religions share a common stand about transforming from one life to the other upon death. It is a common belief that; death is not an end of life per se, but it is rather a bridge or a stepping stone to the next life.

As such, many religious denominations use their sacred writs to offer this explanation. The Christians use the Bible, the Muslims the Quran, which shares lots of similarities in the afterlife. Hence, it is evident that religion answers the question that science fails to.

The Bible and the Quran base their stories on a promise. Both books expressly provide that there is a promised land purposely prepared for dwelling by those who follow the deity rules. Moreover, in this case, it is the rules of God and Allah, respectively, as referred.

For instance, the Bible categorically states that Jesus (John 14:3). Went to prepare a place for those who believe in Him and abide by the rules of God.

Moreover, it further says the believers will inherit eternal life in paradise. Similarly, the Quran propounds the same message. For instance, the Quran provides that those who follow Allah’s will shall be partakers of the heavenly kingdom referred to as paradise. The followers rest assured of a reunion with their loved ones who died before them. Therefore, death’s image as the end of life is nullified by religious beliefs; they give the hope of an afterlife.

Therefore, gathering from what these Holy Books offer, the earthly life is just fleeting and temporary. It is just an avenue where people are vested with the free will to choose either: to abide by the law, which leads to eternal life or to go astray and experience eternal suffering. It is evident that regardless of the ways that the subjects choose, the notion of life after death exists. Either way, death leads to another life where one receives the rewards of their deeds in the physical life.

CULTURE

Different cultures perform rituals and rites to help them understand or deal with death. Eastern and some Asian cultures believe in the incarnation, the reappearing after death in another form. Some believe in returning in the form of animals or inhabiting the life of a newborn baby. Vilma Ruddock, the author of “Death Rituals in Africa,” states, “

Death rituals in Africa are deeply rooted in the continent’s cultural beliefs, traditions, and indigenous religions. Africans’ view of existence guides them after death and the power and role of the deceased ancestor. Rituals evolved through the infusion of Christianity, Islam, and modern changes, but traditional themes survive in Africa and among people of African descent in the Caribbean and the Americas.”

Fear of displeasing the dead among some cultures in Africa leads them to perform theatrical rituals. All night vigils are held at the deceased home to allow family, friends, and neighbors to pay their last respects. During that mourning season, all people shave their heads bald and wail all night. Some go to the extent of hiring expert Wailers to perform the mourning dirge.

They slaughter cows and goats, the blood and traditional drinks are poured as libations to appease the ancestors. Others rituals follow the funeral to ensure that the deceased spirit rests in peace. Failure to appease the dead is believed to cause nightmares and bad luck in the family.

Gillian Welch, an American singer, and songwriter sang a song dubbed “Am Not Afraid To Die.” There may be people who echo that phrase, but if sincerity were measurable, they would be found wanting. In the Western cultures, society has a way of creating a fantasy that some people have immortality, great leaders, celebrities, and mostly our loved ones.
Guy Somerset wrote about “The Four Stages Of Western Celebrity Grief Syndrome.” The stages range from disbelief to devotionals to exaggeration and finally capitalization. The same case applies to many with the death of a loved one. The first reaction is denial because, in our minds, death should never occur to them.

The disbelief that death has found a way to sting where it hurts most reflects on the illusion many have created around themselves as a way to ignore its existence. In the case of celebrities, some weeks later, after their death, was the breaking news. The funeral rituals are performed. Their wealth is divided among the heirs, and a month later, they tend to be forgotten.

Unfortunately, when death occurs to a loved one, reality sets in. The mask is torn apart, and then one can only hold on to a belief that will emanate inner strength to face reality. The demise of a loved one going on a journey never to be returned. The bereaved go through grief on different levels, throughout the mind trying to understand the meaning of death.

Behind the grief is the overwhelming fear that death may find its way to them. There are cases where death occurs, and body is not recovered, and there is no closure; there remains a ray of hope that one day the presumed dead would reappear.

Moreover, the loss of interest in living may occur to someone grieving. Lack of appetite, sleep, and lack of general life drive may be displayed by the bereaved. Some go to the extent of declaring they have no more desire to live.

However, if something threatening happens, they may react with the flight or freeze stress reactions. Both responses display hidden fear of death. Nobody wants to die, no matter how verbal his or her lack of interest in life.

Finally, some hide their fear of death by becoming angry at the dead. They blame the dead for allowing it to have victory over their life. There is a fantasy that there could have been an action powerful enough to stop death in their anger.

Ironically when asked to explain what measures could overcome death, all they have is the question, “ why did they die?” Eventually, some might end up taking the behavior of the departed to preserve their memories.

In conclusion, death will remain the scary hidden monster that produces its painful sting in random time to all humanity through countless generations. No scholar, culture, or group has answers to reduce the personal fear of death in humankind. There is comfort in trying to understand the afterlife, but we are yet to understand death and its sting.

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55‭-‬57 NIV

As a believer, I draw strength from knowing that death has lost its sting through Jesus Christ. How do you try to process loss, especially now in the pandemic era, and death has taken away someone you knew? Let us have conversations about it. Your suggestions, views, maybe what someone else needs. Others need to know they are not alone.

Check out this sites for more resources on griefsupport.

Undoing isolation for young adults grieving the illness or death of someone close to COVID-19.”

Home


Helping you cope with life after loss using meditation for grief, yoga and journaling http://mindfulnessandgrief.com/

deal with complex feelings and emotions, and figure out ways to move forward when everything seems kind of bleak.”

Front Page

Find a griefshare support group nearyou https://www.griefshare.org/about

Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.” http://www.refugeingrief.com/

©Lucy Paynter

Prayer Closet

At the beginning of the year, many believers spend more time in the Prayer Closet. Prayer and fasting for twenty-one days, thirty days, or forty days cycles. What a joy to spend time in the presence of the Lord. To dwell in the secret place of the almighty.

In my Prayer Closet this year, the holy spirit started teaching me about hindrances that cause unanswered prayers. Among the issues, the Lord taught me I felt compelled to share two of them with friends and parishioners.

1. Praying according to the will of God.

As we started the prayers and fasting, I shared this truth that the Holy Spirit was emphasizing in my heart. We need to pray according to the Agenda and will of God.

For a long time, we receive a new year, and we rush to proclaim ” this is my year”. However, there was something different with 2021, the Lord is saying “2021 is the year of the Lord “.

Therefore, when in the Prayer Closet it is up to us to yield and align ourselves to him so that we fulfill His agenda, His Purpose, His Plan for this year.

2. Deal With Unconfessed Sin

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:6 KJV

Understanding that transactions of the Prayer Closet are privy between you and God is the first step to liberation.

We are in an era where the pressure to keep appearances is on the higher end. Sometimes we forget that we can not keep appearances with God. There is nothing to hide from Him. If we keep appearances it for people not for God. Because He looks into the heart. He rebuked Samuel when he sent him to anoint a king. Like us, Samuel was looking at appearances.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

In the process of hiding our shortcomings, failures, and sins from others let us not carry it over to the Prayer Closet. Like David we can tell the Lord to search our hearts and if there be any wickedness to lead us in his way of everlasting.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts;
Psalms 139:23 AMP

And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in an everlasting way.
Psalms 139:24 AMP

To listen to a playlist dedicated to this topic. Check out this link below. You will discover

  • The Cause of Unconfessed Sin
  • The Condition of Unconfessed Sin
  • The Consequences of unconfessed sin
  • The Conclusion.

Listen to Prayer Closet, a playlist by Pastor Lucy Paynter 

 

 

KEEP MOVING

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
Proverbs 16:3 NIV


Do not say 2020 was a wasted year!.. It started like any other year but a global pandemic brought everything to a standstill but time never stopped.  The hours went to days, weeks, to months and now 2020 is almost over.

At first I was startled like everybody else and spent the first few weeks complaining or completely worried.
Then one day, I looked up and realized that a month has just gone by and we may not know how long this will go on.


I  remember looking at the calendar and asking myself what did I do with April? I have been on lockdown but how comes I allowed my brain to be on lockdown? I  stood there and I  addressed the calendar and declared, I  maybe on lock down or curfew or red zone,social distancing,  mask era or whatever terms we have gotten used to but I refuse to have any of those terms dominate my mind.!


I am sure you have heard of the terms, when life gives you lemon make lemonade.  Or when the enemy throws stones at you use them to build something.  You can add your quotes here …..


Eventually,  I stopped complaining and worrying and deciding to do what the time was doing.  Keep Moving. 

I kept moving.  The goals I had for 2020 although they had been delayed,  I resumed working on them and kept moving.  I completed my Book Perfected Praise Purview before the deadline because I Kept moving.


Today I  want to encourage someone to do as I did,  I  was inspired by Time it keeps moving no matter.  Do not worry about 2021 or what it will bring.  Do not be afraid of planning and committing those plans to God.
KEEP  MOVING.


As a gift I will giveaway copies of PERFECTED PRAISE PURVIEW here just comment with which format you prefer.  We have audio, Ecopy and Paperback.
*Disclaimer. The hardcopy can only be shipped currently in USA and Kenya.

Restful Bliss

I love nature,there is something calming and assuring in the way the trees flow with winds,whistling and sometimes clapping. The flow of waters on the rocky streams,or sometimes just flowing quietly and smoothly. But what I love most is to lie or sit on a well manicured, green land under the shade of a tree and just relax.

Whenever I do this I reflect on Psalms 23:2

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psalms 23:2 KJV

The Lord is concerned with our rest. In the midst of the busyness around us, He encourages us to take rest and reflect. I believe rest is a part of life that cannot be skipped or ignored. No wonder from the Genesis of the world rest was introduced on the seventh day.

Take time to rest from your busy schedules

Take time to rest from your worries and cares

Take time to rest from your pursuits and passions

A restful bliss brings rejuvenating energy and strength to go on. You may not have a budget to go for vacation but do something restful and relaxing often.

There are times in life when I have not practiced this concept of rest in life. Needless to say the results of continued work with no rest is a burnout and a rollercoaster of emotions that affect everything and everyone around me.

Enjoy some restful bliss moments and let me know how it turns out.

Blessings

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