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By CFFM Staff

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

We as a spiritual body at Christian Family Fellowship Ministry have recently suffered a devastating loss. One of our amazing teen campers and Jesus followers passed away unexpectedly. She was a vibrant and courageous young woman, but that strength was grounded in kindness. Like Jesus, she enveloped those on the outskirts in her love and warmth. Even her high school volleyball team referred to her as the “mama” of their group.

And like Jesus, she had a great sense of humor. We will always remember her smile and laughter. Because some of the good stuff is the most menial stuff, we will always remember her moose song, too – she showed us that jazz beats and antlered animals can in fact go together!

While we remember her with joy and laughter, we also mourn her with sadness and longing. In I Corinthians 15, God through Paul calls death an enemy, and says it comes with a sting. We do feel that sting.

Our camper accomplished much and left a huge legacy in her short time on earth – but what a short time it was. Jesus told us that it’s the thief – the devil – that sets out to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). In this case, the devil won that battle for her life.

BUT he doesn’t win the war. In the same breath that Jesus gave the devil credit for death, he said that HE came to bring life, and not just life, “more than abundant” life (or as our Pastor Tom reminds us, life “to the full, till it overflows”)!

That sting of death will not linger forever. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, DO have a hope. God promises in Isaiah and I Corinthians that “death has been swallowed up in victory!” That victory is one that we get through our Savior.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – I Corinthians 15:57

He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the Lord has spoken. – Isaiah 25:8

We will see her again, and our other spiritual brothers and sisters whom we have lost, looking good in a brand-new body one day! Jesus has promised that he WILL return.

And when he does, look out! The “dead in Christ,” meaning those who are dead but believed in the Lord Jesus Christ while they were alive, will rise first. They get first dibs at the Resurrection and Return.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. – I Thessalonians 4:14-18

Oh, what a glorious day that will be. We wait with anticipation to see our precious Savior’s face, and hug again those whom we love – including our YES! Camper. Until then, we press on in the faith, knowing that our labor is not in vain. We have a lot of work to do and love to give while we’re still here on this earth! May God bless and keep you all in His mighty love today.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. I Corinthians 15:58

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