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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”-1 Peter 1:3

The death of a loved one brings sorrow and sadness. But the Bible says that those of us who know Jesus Christ as Saviour are not to sorrow as those who have no hope.

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (dead), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”– 1 Thessalonians 4:13

In April 2021, my youngest sister, Laura Ellison, passed away. (She was preceded in death by our parents, brother and older sister.) My husband, Ted, was asked to preach the Lake Hills graveside service. It was a huge encouragement to me and others who were in attendance. It brought both hope and comfort.

I now share this message with you, during the Easter season, in an effort to also give you a living hope, understanding, and comfort concerning your loved ones.

A Graveside Service

On April 23, 2021, Friday night, at 11:59 pm, in Room 12, in the ICU at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, something happened. What Happened?

What Happened? The answer is found only in the Bible. Only the Bible tells us of eternity, the hereafter, and what happens at death. So what do the Scriptures say? There are three times the Bible clearly tells what happens at death. Note: These Scriptures are written for those which have hope in Christ (1 Thessalonians. 4:13).

What Happened? Before death, Paul stated, “The time of my departure is at hand (near)” (2 Timothy 4:6). Well, you cannot have a departure without an arrival. Paul also said, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown” (2 Timothy 4:8).

What Happened? Paul had a departure and an arrival. At 11:59 pm, Laura departed this life. As the stroke of midnight began – bong – bong – Laura arrived in Heaven. She was here, but she is now there. We say, “She is gone.” But in Heaven they say, “Here she comes. She has arrived.”

What Happened? “To be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” 2 Cor. 5:8). At 11:59 the roll call was made in Heaven. At midnight, in Heaven, she said, “Here.” She is absent here, but present there.

What will Happen? We are now at a graveside service. Here is her casket that holds her body. Her body has ceased to live, but she still exists. What will happen to her body? Scriptures have the answer. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:16-18). There are only two groups of people: those in Christ and those without Christ. Are you in Christ? Only those “in Christ” will be caught up to be with the Lord. What will happen to them? One day the body of Laura will be caught up “together” with them (those who are alive in Christ) to “meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Laura has departed and arrived. She is absent here, but she is present there. At this time we are absent, but one day we will also arrive and be present, together, forever. The Scriptures are from the God of Heaven who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Scriptures inform us of God, Heaven, Hell and eternity. Scriptures give hope with sure expectations. Scriptures are our only assurance, authority, and absolute.

This is what happened and what will happen. So what do we do now? “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

Because the Lord Jesus Christ lives, we who are in Christ shall also live. Of course, I miss my family who have gone before me, but I have God’s Word, that I will be with them again.

This is shared, because I care. – Carlene

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