Why Am I So Happy? (Despite My Circumstances)

Written by Calvonia Radford 7.25.2022

“I have always kept the Lord in front of me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. That’s why I’m so happy! That’s why I am full of joy! That’s why my body lives in hope!” Psalms 16:8-9

A few years ago, many of us could be seen singing or dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy. We sang it to acknowledge genuine happiness or to usher ourselves into a state of happiness.

I still like the song lyrics and love the beat. Yet, truth be told, I can sing and dance to the catchy beat all day long and never become legitimately happy. Why? Because happiness is determined by what is happening.

Happy –

  • fortunate and convenient
  • Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment
  • Having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation)

Happiness is rooted in current circumstance. When we think the circumstance is bad, then happiness flees. In contrast, joy can share space with other emotions — sadness, fear, anger … even unhappiness. That’s because happiness is externally motivated, while joy comes from within. It’s a fruit of the spirit exuded through those who are planted in Christ.

“Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and when we find joy it’s infused with comfort and wrapped in peace. It’s an attitude of the heart and spirit, often synonymous with but not limited to following Christ Jesus and pursuing a Christian life.” The Difference Between Joy and Happiness (

In this passage, the psalmist declares that he has kept the Lord in front of him. David has set his gaze on the Lord as his leader, always keeping him in scope of vision and range of hearing.

“I have always kept the Lord in front of me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. That’s why I’m so happy! That’s why I am full of joy! That’s why my body lives in hope!” Psalms 16:8-9

David’s decision to keep his eyes on Jesus had major benefits. Let’s see what they were.

Motivated to Meditate Psalms 46:1-3

When we focus on Jesus our hope, we find ourselves pondering on his goodness, recalling his wondrous works. In Psalms 46:1-3 David thought about God being a refuge in troubling times. He testified that even in earth shattering circumstances, his ground remained steady. I like how he closed with the word Selah. Selah is a musical symbol prompting the musician or singer to pause.  As a musician, David uses this note not only to pause musically but to ponder and take time to reflect.

Filled with joy Psalm 16:11

When we go through challenges, we tend to step back from God. We seldom pray and read our bible. Many stop attending Church and rarely tune in to preaching online. Yet, when we lean into God, we find joy in sorrowful seasons because Jesus is the source of joy. When we crawl up in his lap and allow him to comfort us our joy is filled to the brim.

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV

Embraced Hope Psalm 62:5, NASB

King David had experienced all kinds of trauma and drama. Some self-induced and some brought on by enemies. He was a competent and awarded warrior who had slain ten thousand, however he found his confidence in God. (I Samuel 18:7)

“My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.” Psalm 62:5 NASB

David, a Type A personality strategically planning a hot pursuit, knew when and how to sit still and wait on God his only hope, to win the battle for him.  And like David, we too must learn to find our anchor in Jehovah Nissi, The Lord Our Banner. He surrounds us on every battlefield and gives us the victory. We can expect God to win all our battles.

David confessed that his body lived in hope. His hope did not come and go like a so-called friend. It was never-ceasing, unfailing and often persistent. Hope takes up residence when we position ourselves near God. No matter what we are currently facing we can lean in to the one who gives us joy unspeakable.

Prayer: Father, the ebb and flow of life can get us down and makes lose faith. What a privilege to know you the source of hope and the giver of joy. Help us to resist the urge to walk away from you but to remember when we lean in, we find everything we need to carry on. In Jesus name, Amen!

Ponder: When was the last time you felt genuine joy? If it’s been a while, write down each of the scriptures highlighted in this blog and read them aloud, over and over until you sense God’s presence.

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When Adversity Comes, Understand the Assignment

Written by Calvonia Radford 6.20.2022

The phrase “understood the assignment” is a slang term used to give someone kudos. It implies someone is giving 110% on a job task, a wardrobe selection, a performance, or any aspired achievement.

As a child I often got in trouble for not doing what I was asked. It wasn’t that I was being disobedient or lacked a desire to do what I was told. The reason I failed to comply was because the directives weren’t clear.

Think about it. “Go clean your room”.

Had anyone ever modeled room cleaning? Was I provided step by step instructions with graphics? Was the task broken down into doable segments? Did someone check in on me to make sure I was on task and to see if I needed any help. Huh?

Life can be like that command to clean your room. We see the mess, feel the tangible chaos and disorder. Yet, we have no clue what we are supposed to do.

The story of Job is the epitome of adversity. Within 24 hours Job’s life transitioned from picture perfect to worst case scenario.

Job 1:13-19KJV

  1. The Sabeans took Job’s oxen and donkeys and killed his servants.
  2. Lightning struck and burned up Job’s sheep and his servants.
  3. The Chaldeans took Job’s camels, killing his servants.
  4. Job’s children were having a birthday party at his oldest son’s house when a tornado swept through, collapsed the house and took the lives of all Job’s children.

In the words of children’s author Judith Viorst, Job had a No Good, Horrible Very Bad Day.

As in Job’s situations, when adversity hits it is not one bad event but a culmination of very bad things. We don’t know how to respond.

Yet Job, understood his assignment. He had an appropriate response to adversity. We see it here in Job 13:15a

“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:”

  1. Have Faith filled Worship 13:15

Job’s response was to  worship the one who allowed his distress. He stood, tore his robe and shaved his head. This ceremonial act marking tragedy, was a public expression of grief called Kerah. The grieving person would tear their clothing over the heart, to emphasize their broken heart.

Job allowed himself to mourn and to grieve. Both of which are essential to the healing process. Grief is what we feel that no one knows unless we choose to share. Mourning on the other hand is what we show. Its grief gone public.

Then Job fell prostrate on the ground and worshipped.

After giving way to the natural, he offered a sacrifice of praise. (Psalm 42:11)

In a season when giving thanks and recognizing the giver and taker of life was burdensome, he did it anyway. He worshipped the one who gave satan permission to cause this trauma. Putting his trust in the God who pulled down his hedge of protection.

In a season when giving thanks and recognizing the giver and taker of life was burdensome, Job did it anyway. He worshipped the one who gave satan permission to cause this trauma. Putting his trust in the God who pulled down his hedge of protection.

2. Maintain your integrity 2:3,9

Additionally, Job stayed true to who he was. His lifestyle was consistent. He got up early, interceded for his children and offered sacrifices on their behalf. Day in and out, Job did what Job always did. When life pushes us to our limits, we must still stay true to who we are in Christ.

3. Submit to the plan 42:1

In chapter 42, Job acknowledges that he had previously only heard about God, but now, he had seen him with his own eyes. Just like Job, many of us are reared in God fearing homes, taken to Sunday School and VBS but the God of our fathers has not become personal to us. The only way to truly know God is to experience him.

In Sickness – He is a Healer (James 5:15)

When Broken hearted – He is a Lifter up of our heads (Psalm 3:3)

When In need – He is a Provider (Genesis 22:14)

When you know God, you trust His plan. Job confessed:

“You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” Job 42:3

In my College Choir we sang a song that said, “Lord, I want to know you. I want to know you so well, that I can hear everything you’re saying to me.” It is only when we worship God, especially in difficult seasons that we come to know him so well. He wants to meet us at our point of need and show us things too wonderful for us. Turn on that worship music, dust off your favorite hymn or offer some sincere adoration to God today. That my dear, is our assignment.   

Lord, help me to understand my assignment and deligently commit to doing it. I know that worshipping you in the hard times can be burdensome but you will give me strength as you meet me at my point of need. I want to know you and see your wonderful works. In Jesus name, Amen

Unexpected is Not in God’s Vocabulary

Photo by Hal Gatewood@Unsplash – Written by Calvonia Radford 5.16.2022

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! “Psalm 139:16-17 NLT

I hate being caught off guard.

Routines and a handwritten calendar are my sweet spot. I want to know the who, where, when, what and the why. I mean, down to what time you plan to leave the house because I will not be ready one minute earlier.

Unexpected is the opposite of anticipation and looking forward to something happening. It’s proof of life’s unpredictable nature.

Often, when the unexpected happens, they are welcomed surprises such as a pregnancy diagnosis when infertility had impacted our lives or a check in the mail from an overpayment months ago.

At other times. The unexpected hits us like a semi leaving us tragically wounded.

A spouse asks for a divorce.

The car breaks down and needs costly repairs.

A loved one dies suddenly.

A baby miscarries.

A routine mammogram reveals a tumor that leads to a cancer diagnosis.

In January, I had my annual mammogram, receiving a letter a few days later to schedule a diagnostic follow up, which was routine for me.

I knew the drill. Don’t wear deodorant or lotion. Put on this gown fastened in the front. Sit in this room full of other women and watch HGTV or read something until they call you back.

“Ms. Radford, follow me”.

Every year, it seemed, I was called back to take more mammogram pictures. And then I would wait.

“Ms. Radford! The doctor wants an ultrasound to get a better look at the abnormality.”

After a couple hours or so, they would call me into a room and inform me that everything looked good. I was free to go.

But, not this time.

While laying there having the ultrasound the unexpected occurred. The doctor stated, “Well, we see a new growth. We are going to have to do a biopsy while you are here. And whether it is cancer or not, it will need to come out”.

After a very uncomfortable biopsy and follow up mammogram to ensure the clip was placed in the correct place, I was led into a room with a kind and compassionate nurse who outlined my life for the next few days. “We will send the sample to the lab. They will do a pathology report. We will call you…. Wah wah wah wah wah.”

March 15th , four days before our 40th wedding anniversary, while sitting in an empty parking lot I was informed that my fear had become a reality. I have cancer.

I was caught off guard, blindsided and stunned. But God, was not alarmed. This was all part of His plan. Perfectly written in this chapter of my life.

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! “Psalm 139:16-17 NLT

Several biblical versions say, “Your eyes saw my unformed body”. In the original Greek it means an unformed embryonic mass.

God has been planning my life since before my Momma told my Daddy she had missed a period.

Before my gestational sac was visible on an ultrasound, God had planned out my days. Nothing about what I do, where I go, what I say and how I react to life’s circumstances surprises God.  

“You know when I sit and when I rise; You understand my thoughts from afar.” Psalm 139:2

The one who said “Let there be” to a formless mass also formed us. He created the universe and all that is in it. And,He made us. He flung the sun and moon in their perspective places, and they still hang there. His plan for us is as solid as His plan for the planets. He holds them in place, and He will do the same for us.

God’s plan for us is as solid as His plan for the planets. He holds them in place, and He will do the same for us.

“Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:” Jeremiah 32:17

Cancer is nothing in the hands of the creator. He’s got me and regardless of your unexpected situation, He’s got you. Only trust Him now.

There is no situation so unbearable that God can’t carry our load. (Psalm 55:22) No terrain so rough we will not find him there walking through it with us. (Isaiah 43:2). Every hill and valley is written on His calendar in indelible ink. He expected THIS, whatever THIS is and He planned to be there. Only trust Him now.

Prayer: Father, I am thankful that nothing catches you by surprise. You are always ready, always working behind the scenes, always working things out for our good. Remind us when doubt trys to creep in or fear raises its ugly head that you are still the creator, maintainer and sustainer of everything. We love you Lord and we trust you even now. Amen!

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The Reward of Trusting God

“The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” Daniel 6:23 NIV

Monster poll reports, 38% of U.S. respondents are afraid of interviewing. When I applied for my first job in State Government, I found it unnerving to be interviewed by a selection panel. Each of them taking turns to ask me questions while the others took notes. It reminded me of an interrogation.

Daniel, the Hebrew captive was interviewed to serve King Darius as one of 120 supervisors and governors. Daniel was a great candidate. A faithful servant of God, intelligent, bilingual, disciplined and courageous. (Daniel 1)

Because of Daniel’s excellent spirit the king strongly considered appointing Daniel as head of supervisors and governors. Jealousy reared its ugly head.

The other governors and supervisors gathered in cahoots hoping to uncover incriminating evidence. Searching as hard as an opponent during election year, but no charge or fault could be found. Daniel was a man of integrity.
Knowing Daniel was a devout believer, praying three times a day, they decided to trap him. They approached King Darius.

“King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” Daniel 6:6-8 KJV

Trust me, they lied like Pinocchio! Daniel was not consulted, nor did he agree to this unholy proclamation to bow down and pray to an idol or another man. The impulsive King basked in the idea that no one was worthy of worship except him and agreed.

Remain Faithful

Life can hit you hard. An unexpected job loss, tragedy, scary diagnosis. An order to do something unethical. Bad news can literally hit us in the chest and knock the wind out of us. It has the tendency to propel us into making irrational and reactionary decisions.

Yet, when Daniel heard about the King’s decree he didn’t sway. He pressed in, choosing to remain faithful.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58 KJV

When Daniel got the news of the decree, he continued to pray. Same time of day he always prayed. Same position. Same frequency. Same fervency.

 Opened his windows
 He faced Jerusalem – the capital city of all Israel
 Knelt three times a day to pray (an appointed occasion)
 Went into praise and thanksgiving

When Daniel got the news of the decree, he continued to pray. Same time of day he always prayed. Same position. Same frequency. Same fervency. Daniel had an appointment with God no proclamation could hinder.

Daniel had an appointment with God no proclamation could hinder.

Trusting God = Good Trouble

The late Representative and Civil Rights leader, John Lewis said, “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
Daniel didn’t muffle his prayer with a pillow. He opened his window, knelt beside it and prayed audibly. Loud enough to be heard by passersby. Daniel willingly got himself into some good trouble.

The gospel writer Matthew says this about inviting trouble into our space.

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10

There is a blessing in trusting God even when it gets us into trouble.

The traitors found Daniel praying and reported it to the King. The King regretted his move but no one, not even he himself could change it.

King Darius had Daniel cast into the den of lions and said to him, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” This unbelieving King was hoping that Daniel’s God was able to save him. He was so disturbed he fasted all night from food and sleep.

Faithfulness to God is Rewarded

In the morning King Darious hurried to see how Daniel had fared. Upon arrival he dreadfully exclaimed, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

Daniel yelled, “O King, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me.” (Daniel 6: 22a)

Verse 23 lets us know why Daniel wasn’t harmed. “because he had trusted in his God.” It was Daniel’s unfailing trust in God that saved him. (Hebrews 11:3)

The King rejoiced and commanded that Daniel be released from the den and his accusers thrown in. Before those jokers touched the floor of the den, the lions broke their bones into pieces. (v.24)
Daniel was saved and the King proclaimed.

“for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6: 26b-27 ESV

We all have seasons when it is difficult to have faith. When things are hard, it is easier to give up. But giving up is not an option.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9

The reward is on the other side of faithfulness. We must go through before we can get to the reward.

Thought to ponder: What challenge are you currently facing? Has it drawn you closer to God or pushed you away? God is trustworthy. He loves us through our drama and trauma. Put your trust in Him today and what Him show himself to you in a very real way.

Pray with Me: Father, I think you that nothing surprises you. Whatever we face today and in the days to come through your hands. Increase our faith. Help us to totally trust you even now. Holy Spirit, prompt us to continue praying, fasting, studying God’s word that we might be endowed with power to hang in there. In Jesus name, Amen!

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Trust God Completely

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5 KJV

Have you ever participated in a Trust Fall activity? Trust Fall is an activity used by groups who want to build confidence and trust among teammates. During this exercise, one team member deliberately falls backwards from an elevated platform into the arms of their teammates.

I have a fear of heights, so falling backwards into the arms of my teammates or anyone else freaks me out. Truth be told, sometimes trusting God is just as nerve racking. Having faith in a God I cannot see to catch me, hold me up, steady me in seasons of turmoil and distress is easier said than done.

In his compilation of proverbs, King Solomon advises us to take a trust fall into the arms of God.


In the original Greek rendering, the word trust בְּטַ֣ח (bə·ṭaḥ) means to cling to. Every mother knows what it feels like to have someone cling to them. Our babies cling as they emotionally bond with us. From the day that little baby is lain in our arms, he clings.

Clinging is the most intense when a toddler enters a strange environment and is left with a stranger so Mommy can go to work. I’m not sure which it is harder on the child or the parent.

As children of the Most High God, we sometimes feel abandoned in a room of strangers. When God allows our discomfort or pain and the people or behaviors are difficult to navigate, we wonder if He has left us alone. In those times we must cling to His promise. He will never leave us or forsake us.

“Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the LORD your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 CSB


Secondly, this proverb teaches us to trust the Lord with all our heart. Solomon was not talking about that fist sized organ lodged in our chest wall pumping blood through our bodies. He was pointing to the core of our existence; our thoughts, feelings and will. Trusting God requires us to say, not my will but thine be done. Jesus modeled that for us in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42 KJV

While Jesus prayed in the garden, he agonized over the pain he would endure on the cross for us. He knew he was facing unfathomable suffering. He perceived he would be ridiculed as he died for those who called him everything but a child of God. He understood the disgrace of the crucifixion.

As the Son of God, He had never experienced detachment from His loving Father. The separation anxiety was unbearable. He became so anxious, his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:43-33 CSB) Yet He cried, “Not my will but thine be done.”


I remember leaning on a porch railing while visiting a friend. Unbeknownst to me, the railing was in poor condition. It quickly began to give in, and I started falling backwards. Thankfully, someone standing nearby grabbed my arm and pulled me to my feet.

Wise King Solomon knew that leaning on something in poor condition was not wise. I mean, he was the wisest man who ever lived.

Lean in Hebrew is לִבֶּ֑ךָ (lib·be·ḵā), to lean, support oneself.

No one intentionally leans on something weak. We chose a strong and sturdy object that can support us. We identify people who will endure all life’s seasons; the good the bad and the ugly. Who can find someone better, more reliable than God?

For far too long we have leaned on philosophies and mind sets that cannot hold them up. Superstitions, astrology, old wives’ tales or the world view. Instead we should lean on the one strong enough to keep us from falling.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 1:24 KJV

Our powerful heavenly father is so capable that his name alone can keep us safe.

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10 KJV

God is able! He is strong! He is reliable! He alone can not only catch us when we fall. He can keep us from falling. Why not free fall into His arms today. Whatever we are going through. Regardless of how difficult. He is always standing near, waiting for us to trust Him.

Challenge: I challenge you to offer up a trust fall prayer.  Today, I am worried/anxious/fearful about ___________ but, I trust You, Lord.

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What You Need to Know About Death

Written by Calvonia Radford, 2.21.2022

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know?” No matter how well read you are, how many degrees you have or how innately intelligent you are, there are some things we just don’t know.

Paul in his letter to the church in Thessalonica told them they didn’t know what they didn’t know. He took it upon himself to fill in the eschatological gap (study of end times) , giving them a clear and concise lesson on the rapture. Paul didn’t want them to be unaware about the dead in Christ.

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

Paul had invested in these new converts. Teaching them by precept and example. As a result, the Thessalonians had abandoned their idols, surrendering their lives to Jesus.

In every chapter of this letter, Paul mentioned the soon coming King. He reminded them that Christ would return and charged them to live in a way to be found blameless and holy in the presence of God.

Some of these new believers passed and left the others scratching their heads, wondering what would happen to them since they were no longer here for the rapture. Henceforth, Paul addressed their concern in chapter 4:13-18.

Deep Sorrow and Hopelessness

Ignorance about end times caused the Thessalonians to be sorrowful to the point of hopelessness. Paul says they have no reason to be hopeless. We should be hope filled. Why? Because there is something better awaiting us. Just as God had something better planned for the old testament saints, he has something better planned for us.  (I Thessalonians 4:14, Hebrews 11:40)

Confidence in the Resurrection

Our belief in Jesus’ salvific work on the cross and his resurrection from the dead gives us confidence. Because Jesus rose, we too shall be resurrected.

“But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[a] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:10-11 ESV

Personally Escorted

We have heard of the death angel being dispatched to take a child of God home. Yet, when it’s time for the church to go home, Jesus himself is coming to get us.

As I write the blog, there is a war threat in Ukraine. President Biden is strongly encouraging US citizens to come home immediately. He has given them due warning of impending danger, but never has he offered to personally bring them home. (This is not a political jab.)

Conversely, my Lord and savior himself, is leaving the comforts of heaven to meet us in the air. He will ensure we get home safely.

The Dead Will Rise First

His first order of business will be to wake up those who are sleeping. (v.16) He’ll do that with a shout of a King. Very similar to the shout he gave to raise Lazarus from the dead. (John 11:43-44)

It doesn’t matter how long they have been dead, what condition their body is in, or the cause of death. They will all get up out of the grave. (v.14)

Then, those of us who still have blood running warm in our veins will be snatched up to meet them in the air. (v.17) Can you imagine that? ALL the saints of God gathered in the air. What a grand event that will be. A family reunion that never ends.

When I get home all troubles will be ended

When I get home my joy will be completed

I’ll see my savior’s face

I’ll take a seat at his feet and be blessed

I’m going to rest from my journey

When I get home

When I Get Home, GMWA Women of Worship defines home as the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.

Heaven is our eternal residence. Our forever home, where we will live with our heavenly father throughout eternity. A place where there are no evictions. No domestic violence. No sickness or pain. No more sorrow. Always howdy, howdy and never goodbye.

With this truth the Thessalonians could comfort one another, and we should encourage one another. (v.18) Death is merely a temporary separation. On the day of Jesus’ return, we will all meet together again. We will all meet the Lord and be with him forever and ever! Hallelujah!

Let’s pray: Father I find such comfort in knowing we will get home safely. We will get home in time. Because you son, Jesus has promised to meet us in mid air and take us to our heavenly home, our eternal home. Yet, I’m concerned for my unsaved family members and friends. Those who have said no to your sweet invitation. Those who have allowed the world view to distract them from the real view. Lord let us be salt and light. Help us to share the reason of the hope within. Save Lord Jesus, before it is too late. In Jesus name, Amen!

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What is So Precious About Death?

Written by Calvonia Radford, 2.14.2022

“Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15 NKJV

Have you ever had a near death experience? An accident that could have taken you out of here or a time when a vehicle barely missed hitting you head on. A sickness that had your medical team scratching their heads. An encounter with someone who meant you physical harm. A depression so thick death looked better than life. Most of us know what being near death feels like.

In Psalm 116, we find King David thanking God with exuberance for delivering him from a near death experience. David’s situation was so bad, he described it as “snares of death”. It was like a horror movie where hands shoot out of the grave to snatch you.

In this passage, David takes a retrospective glance to a time when he cried out in prayer, begging God to save his live and God rescued him. David expressed his gratitude to God for hearing his prayer and coming to his rescue. King David is so appreciative that he promises to share his testimony publicly and he begins to search for ways to pay God back.

And then, King David makes a profound declaration.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15 NKJV

As a part of his testimony of God saving him from death, he let’s us know how God feels about his children’s death.

Precious יָ֭קָר (yā·qār) Precious, rare, splendid, weighty, costly as precious stones

Of all the words in the Webster’s dictionary of that day, David pulls out the word precious. He says that God views our death as costly as precious stones. The death of a saint is valuable to Him.

God doesn’t take the death of his saints lightly. God values his saints and their death is a costly thing in his sight.

How valuable is a believer to God?

God has considered us invaluable since the day of our conception. His word proves it.

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:13-14

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:9-10

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: “ I Peter 1:18-19

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:20

Life itself is precious to God. So precious, he took the time to knit us in our mother’ s wombs with his own hands. So valuable that he sent his own son to redeem us for the enemy’s hands.

God considers our lives so costly that Jesus defeated death and the grave. We no longer fear death, because death has been, is being, and will be defeated ( 1 Corinthians 15). 

Death is inevitable.

Hebrews 9:27 reminds us that each of us has an appointment with death. An appointment we can’t miss. Those of us who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus are so dear to God that even our deaths are precious to him.

Each of us has an appointment with death that we can’t miss. Those of us who have been redeemed by precious blood of Jesus are so dear to God that even our deaths are precious to him.

As I write this blog post, I am grieving the loss of my friend Wanda who passed four days ago. We were close friends. We shared good conversation, meals, laughter and tears. We were sisters. Our relationship was special. Her life valuable. Her death precious.

Wanda had been ill for months. The doctor’s said she wouldn’t see her July birthday, but God had a different plan. He gave her family and friends more time to love on her. Precious time.

In death, God is near.

God is love. He is relational. For that reason, he is close to his children. He is near when they stand at death’s door. He watches over them when they are transitioning from earth to glory, ushering in peace. Making His presence known.

And then, at the appointed time he bids them come home. To a place prepared for them. A forever home. Where there is no more pain. No more crying. No more goodbyes. A place where they can spend eternity with a loving and compassionate father.

Do you have a personal relationship with God? Have you accepted Him as Savior? If not, I encourage you to get to know the one who loves you to death. Literally. (Plan of Salvation)

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When Saying Goodbye is Only Temporary

” 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” I Thessalonians 4:16 KJV

Have you ever been awakened by the full blast of a fire alarm?

The piercing, pulsating alarm reaching out its arms to shake you compulsively. You immediately experience heart palpitations and veer in and out of consciousness. Is this a nightmare or do I need to run?

My friend Robin lived in South Carolina and I in Kentucky. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year. On May 17th, 2019, Robin and Roger were in the area visiting their son. We arranged to meet them so we could spend some time together.

We planned to meet at a restaurant, but when we when we found out they were planning to check into a hotel for the night and leave out early the next morning we begged them to stay with us.

I will never forget that night. We stayed up into the wee hours of the morning although I had to work the next day and had a 45-minute commute.

We laughed until we cried. We talked about everything from the serious to the mundane. We ate, drank and enjoyed each other. We sucked all the life out of every moment.

April 15th, 2021, I received the call that my friend had transitioned to glory.

Cue Fire Alarm

I knew she was in the hospital fighting for her life. We prayed. We held on to our faith. But then the deafening sound of the announcement awakened me out of my sleep. Robin was gone. I would never see her again on this side of heaven.

Robin and I had so much in common. We were both Pastor’s wives, mothers, grandmothers and educators and we shared the ebbs and flows of every category of our lives. More than anything else, we talked about the Lord. Our intimacy with him. How he had brought us through difficult days and how one day we would be with him in heaven.

I knew where my friend was. “Absent from the body is present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:6-8)

I had heard her bellow out the lyrics to John P Kee’s Any Day with conviction,

After the dead in Christ shall rise

We who remain are still alive

Shall be caught up, caught up

We shall be caught up to meet Him in the air

She sang it. I believe it.

In Thessalonians Chapter 4, the Apostle Paul told the new converts not to cry like those who have no hope.  Unbelievers are hopeless when their loved ones die because to them it’s over. On the other hand, we who know the Lord are hope filled.

We believe that Jesus died and rose again. In that resurrection he conquered death and the grave. Se we have hope that Jesus will resurrect all those who belong to him in the rapture.

Listen to Paul’s words:

15 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 [d]asleep. 16 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. I Thessalonians 4:15-18

For my friend, death was like laying down for a short nap. She laid down in the land of the dying and woke up in the land of the living. A place where death has no name or description. She is living her best life.

I miss my friend. I miss our video chats and phone calls. I miss sitting beside her in church conferences and staying up late in a restaurant after services. I miss her sending me random videos or text messages. I get sad because our sister circle is broken and I mourn for me.

My friend Robin, My Mother and Stepfather, my Grandparents who reared me and countless other loved ones are good. Better than good. I don’t cry for them. I cry for the pause I must experience without them.

My loved ones who have passed are good. Better than good. I don’t cry for them. I cry for the pause I must experience without them.

Nevertheless, before you know it, Jesus is going to meet us in the air. The archangel is going to blow the trumpet’s alarm and they are going to rise up out of the grave. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye. We too will be caught up to meet them in the air. And then, we shall be with the Lord forever.

Saying goodbye is excruciatingly painful. Yet, knowing it is only temporary takes the bite out of grief. One day their nap will be over and when they get up, we all get to go home.

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Jesus Wept, And So Can I

Written by Calvonia Radford 1.31.2022

“Jesus Wept.” John 11:35

Have you ever lost a loved one in death?

Do you know the kind of hurt that has no words descriptive enough to accurately articulate your thoughts and feelings?

Have you experienced the deep, stabbing pain that permeates your entire being? A pain that epitomizes that kind of loss.

I know that pain well. I’ve lost parents, grandparents, a sibling, cousins and dear friends. None of which were easy. I have experienced pain induced by personal loss and I’ve walked alongside others and felt empathetic pain.

Jesus knew the pain of losing a loved one and the pain of sharing with a friend grieving the death of a loved one.

When Jesus got the news that his good friend Lazarus was ill, he took his time getting there. There was no need to rush. He was God in human flesh. Death was no barrier for the giver of life.

Two days later he headed to Bethany knowing that Lazarus had closed his eyes on this side.

When he was almost there he was informed that Lazarus had been in the grave four days. People were standing all over the yard and flowing in and out of the house to comfort the bereaved family. They were sobbing, wailing aloud and flailing their arms uncontrollably.

Somebody ran in to tell Martha that Jesus was on his way, so she ran to meet him. She asserted, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” Jesus loving responded, “Your brother will rise again”. (John 11:21-23)

Martha knew Resurrection day was coming but Jesus shared a few truths she needed to hear.

I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, through he were dead, yet shall he live:” (v.25)

“And whosoever liveth and beileveth in me shall never die. Believeth thou this? “ (v.26)

Martha went to get her sister Mary and when she laid eyes on Jesus, she fell at his feet and repeated, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (v.32)

“When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,” John 11:33

The Greek word for groaned here means to snort like horses with intense emotion. Jesus was disturbed by their outward display of grief to the point of snorting. They were mourning. Their personal, internal grief had gone public.

Jesus saw them. Not merely with his eyes. He discerned their hearts clearly; he experienced their pain.

Their model of mourning caused Jesus to become agitated and indignant. Angry at death and how it invoked certain thoughts and feelings in his friends. Perhaps his mind rushed to his impending future. Carrying our sins on his shoulders up Golgotha’s hill to a cross carved just for him. His instrument of death. He may have considered his mother and the disciples who would soon mourn for him.

Jesus then inquired, “Where have ye laid him?”. They said unto him, Lord, come and see. (v.34)

Jesus’ reply is found in the shortest verse in the bible.

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35

His cry was unlike those standing around weeping and wailing. His was a calm shedding of tears Ἐδάκρυσεν (Edakrysen). Jesus shed tears of sympathetic sorrow.

36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

Jesus cried that day for his friends, Mary and Martha. He cried for himself. And he cried for us as an example of allowing emotional healing.

Jesus cried that day for his friends, Mary and Martha. He cried for himself. And he cried for us. As an example of allowing healing emotions.

Crying is Helpful

  • Crying is self-soothing. It activates the papa sympathetic nervous system, helping your body rest and digest.
  • Prolonged crying releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids AKA endorphins, the feel-good chemical and helps invoke a sense of calm or well-being.
  • Sobbing can lift your spirit. While sobbing, you take in quick breathes of cool air that helps regulate and lower the temperature of your brain. As a result, your mood may improve.
  • Crying announces to your friends and loved ones your need for support

Jesus wept and so can I. So, should we. When we are sad and inconsolable. When we feel alone, forsaken, vulnerable and fragile.

We need the healing elements of our tears. We need to allow our grief and mourning to overlap. So, we can receive the comfort that can only come from a God who handles our precious tears with care. (Psalm 56:8) A God-Man, Jesus who cares enough to cry and sit with us during our time of grief. (John 11:35, John 14:16)

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Are PK’s Really the Worst Kids?

If you grew up in church, you have probably heard the stereotypical statement, “Preacher’s Kids are the worst kids”.

Neither of my pastors had young children so I had no frame of reference until I married a preacher.

My husband and I married in March and he started pastoring in July. We are the proud parents of three.

My children have lived experience as PK’s. They grew up in a church parsonage, serving alongside their Dad in voluntold positions. Not only do I have a frame of reference, but I now know how to interpret the meaning behind the acronym PK.

“He’s a PK.”  –  Because he is the preacher’s child, there is a higher standard of behavior set for him. We expect the best. His father must rule his household well. Misbehavior will not be tolerated. (I Timothy 3:4-5)

“She’s a PK.”Her father is a preacher. We can call on her at anytime to serve in any capacity. She is obligated to serve.

“He’s a PK.”  – Yes, his behavior is inappropriate, but we should expect that from the preacher’s child.

“She’s a PK.” –  She is a preacher’s child. She should shine in youth group and set a good example for all the other children.

If you know one PK, you know one PK. Like any other child, preacher’s kids are unique in temperament, personality and character traits.

If you know one PK, you know one PK. Like any other child, preacher’s kids are unique in temperament, personality and character traits.

I’m not sure who the first person was to determine that preacher’s kids are the worst kids.  Perhaps as long as there have been preacher’s kids; there has been a stereotype that is imbedded within our society. Children of ministers are considered capable of any level of bad or defiant behavior.

A glance into the bible seems to justify that belief.

The Sons of Eli were corrupt. (I Samuel 2:22-25)

Eli’s sons had no regard for the Lord. They ate the sacrificial meat while it was on the altar. Sometimes, they didn’t wait until it was laid on the altar. They convinced the people coming to make sacrifices that God would only accept raw meat. So, they could cook it and have a meal. They also had sex with women at the entrance of the tabernacle.

Samuel’s sons Joel and Abiah were corrupt judges. They were guided by bribes and their perverted minds. (I Samuel 8)

David’s son Amnon raped his sister Tamar and out of fury, their brother Absalom plotted Amnon’s murder. (II Samuel 13)

Based on those biblical characters, PK’s could get a bad rap.

Within the definition of stereotypes by psychologists, there is something called a “Kernel of Truth Hypothesis”. It is an idea that all stereotypes are based on some part of reality or truth. The truth can be exaggerated until the stretched-out remnants of the truth become believable.

However, generalizations are nearly always destructive, and labels are dangerous. They can invoke judgements, hearsay and stereotypes. Labelling makes it hard for the group of people being labeled to separate from the label itself. Stereotyping and labelling are corrupt.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 KJV

Some parents refuse to let their daughters date the preacher’s son because of a stereotypical belief. Others chose not to allow their children to play with PK’s because they may be a bad influence on them.

Children are children learning social norms. Teenagers are teenagers pushing back at every rule and regulation. Young adults are young adults seeking for self-identity. Period. Point blank. Not preacher’s kid, everybody’s kids.

“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.” Proverbs 20:11 KJV

Wouldn’t it be more loving to judge a person based on his or her own behavior?

What if a preacher’s child could demonstrate his gifts, talents and skills without undue scrutiny and critique?

What would it be like for a child of a minister to sit in a Sunday School class and snicker with the other children without rebuke or sing off tune unnoticed?

Children will be children. PK’s or not. I beg you today to give the preacher’s kid a break.

  • Let them be children, not miniature pastors.
  • Help your pastor and his family protect their family time.
  • Invite a PK over to play with your children or take them with you on a fun outing.

Many preacher’s kids grow up with insecurities. Some leave church to never return. Let’s proactively make church a safe place for them. A place of love, understanding, compassion and community. Let’s pull the labels off.

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