Sunday, December 22, 2013

In Christ Alone

Yesterday was a memorial service for a very dear lady know to me as “G’ma Jerke.”  It was a special service because she was special to each person there, and so many more.  It was also special because her life was one well-lived, inspiring, encouraging, and always full of love.  Because the most important person in her life was the Lord, and it was evident in the way she lived.  

In many ways I wasn’t ready to say “goodbye” to this beautiful lady.  It’s hard knowing I won’t get to see her and receive her hugs and kisses and sweet comments that she lavishly showered on all of us kids.  But mostly, I will miss her sparkling eyes, bright smile, her giggly laugh, and the way she instantly brought joy and happiness into whatever room she entered.  She was always giving.  She was an encourager, sending thank you notes and “thinking of you” notes in the mail to everyone she knew on a regular basis.  She was a model of selflessness.  She was not proud in herself or her accomplishments, (she was an incredible quilt-maker, cross-stitcher, embroider, baker…ect) but always rejoiced and praised the Lord for His goodness.  It was almost impossible to complement her on things, because she’d always change the subject.  Grandma Jerke was a joy to be with.  She struggled with terrible pain for the last few years, but you’d almost never know it.  Even in her struggles she was constantly thanking the Lord, and praying fervently for her friends and family in need and of course, sending notes.  She loved unconditionally and deeply.  She absolutely loved children, and enjoyed spending time making Christmas crafts and cookies with us.  

After coming home from her service yesterday I just happened to turn to Philippians to read.  I couldn’t believe it.  The tears started to flow again as every verse seemed in some way to describe this lady.  I could practically read the letter as if it was from Marilyn Jerke rather than the Apostle Paul.  I wanted to write a few of these verses down in her memory.  She was a woman who loved her Savior with all her heart.  What an example to all of us that were blessed to know her.  Thank you Lord for bringing this wonderful person into my life.  Though I wish she could have been here longer, thank you for ending her suffering and allowing her to spend her favorite time of year…Christmas…with You. 

Philippians 1:19 “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that will all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” 

Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.  Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:14-17 “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have the reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.  But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.” 

Philippians 3:7-10 “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…”

Philippians 3:12-14  Not that I have already attained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Philippians 3:20  “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I will say Rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.  The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication make your requests known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and see in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  

My sisters and I played this song for Grandma Jerke's service.  I am so thankful that Pastor Dean asked another lady to sing the song, because even when I sing this song for church services and not a dear friend's funeral it still makes me cry!  What a powerful song.  

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live, I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again

And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From a life' s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Could ever pluck me from His hand
'Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand

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