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Precious in the Sight of the Lord

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John 14:1-6


   1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 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. 3 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. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7  The Gift of Death
Elda Askelson

    Elda Askelson, a mother, a friend, and a child of God.  Today we celebrate the homecoming of one for whom Jesus Christ made a difference in her life.  The Bible reminds us that we do not grieve like other who have no hope, but in our grief we have the sure and certain hope of life after death with our savior and brother Jesus. And Yet we do grieve, because while we all acknowledge that Elda is now free from this veil of tears and is home with the Lord, each of us in our own way has lost something special.  Karen and Kay would like to read a poem that was written in honor of Elda’s 75th birthday as a way to remind us of how she touched so many lives… 
     It says in Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.  Let it be known today that something precious happened in heaven, last Friday morning when Elda breathed out for the last time.  She found freedom from the body that was keeping her from serving the Lord in the way she wanted to serve.  Today, we’ve got a reason to be happy for her on this day.
      Elda’s death was precious, because she died in the Lord.  My friends death has a date set for us all, but that date will only be precious if we die in the Lord.  All of life is journey to death.  Some of like Leo are called home at a young age and others have to wait to reach our destination, but we eventually will get there.  Some of us take fancier and more prestigious routes than others, but the final exit is still at the same stop called death.
      Once we reached that stop, the issue becomes whose waiting for us to give us directions on the other side.  Jesus said, "I’m going away to prepare a place for you and I will come back and take you with me that you also may be where I am." There’s nothing like having a guide when you reach unfamiliar territory.  Elda several guides this side of glory that assisted in her journey, including pastor Bruch who baptized her in 1924 and Pastor Hielman who assisted her in confessing her faith through confirmation and more recently pastors Moog, and Illian who comforted her with visits and communion and just hours before her earthly journey was complete pastor Umbarger who commended her into the care and keeping of our Lord.  And now she is led by the only true and perfect guide who has been by here side through the tragedy’s and triumphs of this life and was there to greet her when she past into life eternal; Jesus."
     Going to heaven is not a matter of having done more good things than bad ones.  Going to heaven is dependent on the work of Jesus Christ alone.  Elda’s death was precious, not because she lived the holiest and most moral life possible.  Her death was precious because she died in Christ.  She was baptized into his name and receive the forgiveness and eternal salvation that Jesus won on the cross.We rejoice in knowing that Elda life was not in vain.  Jesus had made a difference in her life.  From the very beginning of our lives God is at work in us whether we know it or not.  He gives us gifts, personalities, and temperaments to be used to make this world a better place and to lead others to Himself.  When God looked at Elda, He decided to give her both love and a servant heart.  It’s a blessing to have both.  Her loving heart is clearly seen in the way cared for her children especially after Leo’s death.  It was evident in how she would make those around her feel welcome and comfortable.  
 Elda was also a servant.  She truly lived to serve her family her friends and the lord.  Like the apostle Paul, Elda’s life has not been lived in vain.  His word of encouragement to us in found in the Scriptures in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 " the time has come for my departure.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.Elda believed and was baptized and therefore trusted the words of Paul when he said “nothing can separate me from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus.” She could echo the word’s of Simeon, “Lord let your servant depart in Peace.”  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Elda has heard the trumpet blast and answered the loud command of the arch angel She is home with her Lord.  Each of us who share that same faith in Jesus Christ can eagerly await the day we will be reunited with the saints who’ve gone before and receive the gift of death.

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