Thinking Christianly about Death: The Life (and Death) of a Christian (Part 1 of 4)

Every one of us has an appointed destiny with death. That should not cause us to fear, but it should encourage us to clearly understand our purpose here on earth, live that purpose and prepare for our eternal destiny.

This is the first post in a series on the difficult topic of death. While it may seem unusual to discuss this subject in such detail, death is something that we are constantly faced with in our fallen world. This series will include:

  • How should a Christian think about death?
  • Talking to children about death.
  • Losing a loved one and what happens to the family after.
  • How to honor and remember a loved one.

I hope that you are able to find encouragement and help through this series. Please feel free to leave a comment or question in the section below.

The Life(and Death) of a Christian

At some time in your life you have heard the saying that “in this world Sunset.nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”1 A skilled tax accountant may be able to shield you from taxes but death awaits all of us.  Death is defined as the action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism.2 The Bible puts it this way: And it is appointed once unto men to die (Hebrews 9:27a KJV).

Every one of us has an appointed destiny with death.  That should not cause us to fear, but it should encourage us to clearly understand our purpose here on earth, live that purpose and prepare for our eternal destiny.  Jesus is a perfect example; He was purposed to come into this world to be sacrificed by dying on a cross and the shedding of His blood for the sins of mankind.  After Jesus completed His appointed task He was resurrected (raised from the dead) and is sitting at the right hand of the Father today.

What comfort does that give us today?  The comfort that gives to those who have accepted Jesus Christ into their lives and made Him Lord and Savior of their lives can rest in knowing that when we have accomplished our purpose here on earth and our appointed time approaches – we have a savior waiting to receive us.  He tells his disciples in John 14:1-3:

Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God, trust also in me.  In 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, and 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.

Therefore, we can take comfort in knowing those loved ones who have made their appointed transition from this world and our own appointed transition will be met with the secure hand of Jesus to usher us into the Father’s house where we will spend eternity with Him.

Sandra L. Jackson

Sources:

  1. The Works of Benjamin Franklin, 1817
  2. Oxford Dictionary

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About the Author

Sandra L. JacksonSandra L. Jackson, LICSW, LCSW-C, is a licensed social worker/therapist with more than 20 years of experience assisting families/individuals through an accepting relationship. She is instrumental in helping families/individuals in reaching goals, learning new skills, knowledge and approaches to resolving challenges and difficulties. Sandra is skilled in assisting women in discovering their strengths, affirming their capacity for growth, change and maintaining healthy purposed relationships. She and her husband pastor St. James Baptist Church in Capitol Heights, Maryland and are often called upon to conduct biblical marriage counseling sessions, couples retreats, workshops and seminars.

Click here to read more about Sandra’s background.

Welcome to the Life Christian Counseling Network blog!

Our first blog post! We hope that this blog will help Life Christian Counseling Network continue to serve local communities in DC, Maryland and Virginia with clinically sound, thoughtful Biblical counsel.

LCCN hands logoThank you for joining us! Our hope is that this blog will help Life Christian Counseling Network continue serving local communities in DC, Maryland and Virginia with clinically sound, thoughtful Biblical counsel.

What can you expect from this blog?

This platform of helpful discussion will center around questions and issues that our counselors are faced with every day. You’d be amazed how often counselees think they are the only ones involved with a particular struggle! The truth, however, is that many of the issues individuals bring up are extremely common, from depression and anxiety to the less talked about issues of infertility and addictions, and everything in between.

We want this blog to be a conversation starter.

Can I ask questions?

Yes! We want to hear from you! Please make comments and ask questions. You can even write us with questions that you’d like to see answered in future posts.

Who will be writing the posts?

Posts and questions will be answered personally by the counselor that has the best experience to understand and respond to the issues at hand. Go to our website at www.lifechristiancounseling.com to read more about our contributing authors.

The primary contributors will be:

Dr. Christine Buckingham, Executive Director
Chris Buckingham, PhD, LCPC, LPC, NCC
Sandra Jackson
Sandra L. Jackson, LCSW-C, LICSW (DC)
Eugene Harris
Eugene Harris II, LGPC, MA, MPA, NCC
Daniel Zeiss
Daniel Zeiss, LPC, MA, NCC

Look for weekly updates to this blog!

Our hope is that Life Christian Counseling Network will continue to be a valuable source of healing and comfort for you and your loved ones.

Blessings,

Dr. Chris

 

Feeding Your Child’s “Good Wolf”

At a very young age the battle is brewing between the two wolves in your children. Recognizing the right things they do will ensure the virtuous wolf wins over time.

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life… “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

This parable seeks to explain the spiritual struggle we all face between living according to the Spirit and giving into the temptations of the flesh. “Flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another” (Gal 5:16-17). Our children and teens are similarly engaged in a struggle to find their identity and choose which paths to follow.

WolfAs parents we can play a major role in feeding “the good (virtuous) wolf” of our children from an early age.  How can we do this? We can help our children and teens grow in self-esteem and virtue by recognizing their positive behaviors. All too often, we can be so consumed by what our child is doing wrong that we ignore the many more numerous things they do right.

In child therapy, we of course have to talk about the negative behavior a child is displaying, but focusing primarily on the negative can lead to poor self-esteem and actually reinforce unwanted behavior. Feeding the “bad wolf” by constantly harping on our kid’s shortcomings, we can teach them to label themselves as “bad kids” and they may play the part by continuing the very behaviors we are trying to stop. Instead, if we really take notice when our child does something right—like setting the table for dinner without having to be asked or helping his little sister get dressed—we are increasing the chances they will continue this good behavior.

Noticing our children’s good behavior can be as simple as giving him or her a hug and telling them we are proud. Research has consistently shown that it takes about five positive comments to negate a negative one in the psyche of child. I challenge you to record for even one day how many positive comments/actions you direct towards your child compared to negative ones and commit to making a change if your negative comments outnumber positive ones.

It is also important to note that often a child/teen’s negative behaviors are an expression of something else going on their lives, something that they don’t know quite how to communicate such as a trauma, loss, or issues at school. Feeding their “good wolf” will only strengthen your relationship with your child, increasing the communication you have about important issues that might be troubling them.

I know it can be very difficult to try and focus on the positive and feed that “good wolf” when your child or teen is being disobedient or engaging in other harmful behaviors. But remember: At a very young age the battle is brewing between the two wolves in your children. Recognizing the right things they do will ensure the virtuous wolf wins over time. I will end with words from the Apostle Paul: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thess 5:11).

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About the Author

Dan Zeiss, Charlottesville, VADaniel received a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University in January 2013. During his training, he completed a practicum placement at Fort Belvoir’s Chaplain Family Life Center where he worked with members of the military and their families. He collaborated with clients on a wide range of issues, including those struggling with depression, addiction, couples seeking marriage counseling, and children coping with the deployment of a parent.

Click here to read more about Daniel’s background.