Jerry Coon Tribute

After receiving the call that Jerry had passed, I just began interceding for his family and all of his loved ones. All I could hear Jerry saying was how he is loved and how he is now new again. The blood of Jesus had transformed him and he is now in the presence of the almighty Lord, where disease, sickness, and pain have no place.

Spending the final days with someone is a profound experience, one filled with mixed emotions ranging from sadness and anger to joy and hope. Jerry was one tough man and there is no doubt he fought the good fight until the very end. On my morning runs, I pass by their house everyday and this morning the sky was crystal clear and the moon was as bright as the sun and today there was also a bright star next to the moon. It was one I had never noticed before and it appeared directly above the Coon residence. It made me ponder Jerry in heaven looking down on us and wanting us to know how he was in such peace and to not mourn his passing.

In some of our final conversations, we talked about what questions we would ask God when we went to heaven and as I told him the first person he would see when his sight would be restored was Jesus, the tears rolled down his face. He was so thankful for the redemptive work Christ had done in his life and for the blood He shed at Calvary to make our salvation possible. The blood of Jesus has the power to compel, convict, transform, and raise the dead, which is exactly what happened to Jerry late last night.

To be absent in the body is to be present with the Father and Jerry’s last prayers in this temporal world were for his wife Glenda to have strength and faith to walk the road ahead and also that God would provide for and protect her. His second prayer was over his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We specifically prayed that the seeds, which were planted in their lives, would begin to take root, growing into mighty God-fearing trees that would bear much fruit and bring glory to God.

I am truly honored to have spent so much time with Jerry during his final days on this side of eternity and I still cannot fathom the literal and figurative blind faith he walked his final days with. He completely trusted in God’s plan and His perfect timing. This is an area so many of us get wrong. We want God’s best, but we aren’t patient enough to wait according to His timing. Jerry understood as long as he still drew breath, God was not done with him and it was only on the exact day of his passing that he ever said he was ready to go home and be with the Lord.

Jerry leaves quite a legacy behind and my prayer now is that his family and loved ones will continue where Jerry found himself in his final days, which was in the palm of God’s hand, living life in the fear and admiration of the Lord. My final word of faith to Jerry was that the Lord’s word does not return void and that it always accomplishes the task for which it was sent. Jerry truly understood how the Lord’s presence enables us to face each day with confidence and peace. Our trust in God is a testament that anxiety and restlessness is only a reality when we envision our future without Jesus in it.

Rest in peace my brother in Christ; you will always be loved and missed!

Until we meet again… JD

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Final Act of Devotion

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I found myself in tears this morning, as I read the morning paper about an older couple that perished in a house fire on Monday. The act itself was tragic, but the final reconstruction and last moments of their lives are what opened up the floodgates. The gentleman was a Vietnam disabled veteran who lost his legs and suffered brain injuries, as the result of stepping on a landmine. The sweet couple met as kids in school and they were inseparable.

As the fire engulfed their home, the wife was attempting to rescue her husband from the blazing inferno and instead of just saving herself, she stayed right beside the man she loved, so they would be inseparable in life and in death. This type of love is rare and this type of heroism is something you only hear about on the battle field, while in the home, our families are disintegrating and the person we once said, “I do” to now only receives disdain, contempt and little concern or value. This is not the model God instituted and our disregard for His word has led our country to have the highest divorce rate in the world and has caused over 27 million children to grow up in a fatherless home.

This story of love and compassion shown by the veteran’s wife is what God has called each of us to do. The culture and de-narration of life makes you believe you can go through life simply believing you are the most important thing and that you don’t need family and community to exist or to be happy. Each of us must find something and someone we are willing to die for because if something or someone is not worth dying for, then it is certainly not worth living for. Each of us has a part to play in something so much bigger than ourselves, but if we can’t demonstrate love in our own homes, how are we going to share it with the lost and hurting world God has called us to reach?

Everybody should know what it’s like to love and be loved by; it is through this realization that we find our hope, meaning, purpose, and our sense of redemption. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family members and friends for their loss, and I hope it is a reminder to everyone who reads this story of not only what God has called us to do, but also the sacrifice Jesus made when He laid down His life to save our own. True love and devotion is shown by what we are willing to sacrifice.

Photo by: JENNIE McKEON
315-4434 | @JennieMnwfdn
jmckeon@nwfdailynews.com

Ashley Marie Curriston

Ashley
This morning was one filled with denial and shock, followed by anger and sadness because what had happened wasn’t fair. As I began asking myself why something so horrible could happen to someone so compassionate and loving, memories of all the things she did to better the kingdom of God began racing through my mind. She was an angel in our midst who is now with the Father.

Early this morning, Ashley Marie Curriston went to be with the Lord following a severe car accident. Saying the world was a better place with her in it doesn’t began to describe the impact this woman of God had on everyone she came in contact with.

When I first heard the news, God gave me the sweetest image of Ashley. On Sundays, I tend to sit in the front because I don’t like distractions especially when I am worshipping God, but I would often find myself fixed on Ashely during praise and worship. We all have pathways to God, meaning when or how we feel closest to God and for Ashley and me praise and worship was our greatest pathway. Some may feel close to God reading the Bible or seeing God in nature, but praising God is how we felt closest to Him. When God gave me this image of her this morning, I broke down in tears because all I could think about was that she was in heaven doing just that: crying out, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

With Ashley, what you saw is what you got and I loved that about her, just like when she worshipped God, she did it with her all. The same was true with every other area in her life. I realize the Lord’s ways are so much higher than our own, but to take such a sweet angel who was so on fire for God and was so compassionate about feeding God’s hungry children, I began to wonder why God would take someone who accomplished so much for the kingdom at such a young age. I then began to think about Jesus; in His life he accomplished so much, but it was through His death that the world was changed forever. My prayer is that even though we can’t answer why this happened, God would give us peace that He is accomplishing more than we could ever fathom. I pray this be a wakeup call to everyone that our days are numbered so we better make the best of them as Ashley did. I pray everyone who reads this would look at the priorities in their life and ask how they stack up against what God has called us to do. Ashley’s motivation was based on what she could do for others. It’s true the world was a better place with her in it, but her memory in our hearts makes us better people because her passion for Christ was so contagious.

We all have everlasting life whether we want to admit it or not; however, where we spend it is up to us. Ashley would tell you the same and she would also tell you not to weep, but to rejoice because she is with the Father in heaven. Death is only the beginning and death can’t kill what never dies! Nothing can separate us from God’s love so even though the pain you are feeling is very real, know that there are far better things ahead than lie behind.

It will break my heart not seeing her across from me worshipping God, but knowing she ran the race and kept the faith and endured till the very end and that she is with the Father gives me such joy. Ashley impacted everyone she came in contact with and probably the people they came in contact with; we can call it seven degrees of Ashley, so I pray the way she lived her life would be an example to others and that even in her death others would be impacted by the way she lived her life with love, acceptance and forgiveness. We love you Ashley and we miss you and we can’t wait to see you again on that sweet day!

Don’t Ever Give Up

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Errick Springfield
John F. Kennedy once said, “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” Errick Springfield personified this statement. He was known in school for both his physical and mental strength, but later in life, he would be known for his spiritual strength as endured 3 years battling a very aggressive stage IV cancer which metastasized to other areas of his body. Despite his athletic prowess, Errick’s ultimate legacy will be how he walked out the final days of his life and despite the numerous surgeries and treatments which would have killed most people; his faith and trust in the Lord only grew stronger.

This loss of such a great man has really impacted me and inspired me because we are the same age; we are both husbands and fathers and despite the horrible things I have had to walk through in recent years, none of them compare to what this brave man of God battled through. Near the end, his only sadness was leaving his wife, his 2 year old son and all his family and friends behind.

I was so encouraged to see how Errick and Errick  & Laurie
his wife chose to live their lives. When trials present themselves, you can either cling to God or you can run, but as they clung tightly to God’s promises, He gave them comfort and peace which transcended all understanding. When others would quickly have quit and even as this cancer robbed him of his future here on earth, he never gave up on God, his family or his friends. Errick finished the race strong and he persevered all the way to the end! The way he lived his life should be the standard upon the way we live ours. He didn’t live each day as though it was his last; he lived each day as though it was the last of the people he came in contact with. When you met Errick, you knew there was something different about him and that was the love of Christ in him.

Errick allowed God to do so much not only in him, but through him! If you knew Errick or came in contact with him, the light and compassion of Christ would shine through him so brightly it would nearly blind you. His heart for his family inspires me to be a better husband and father and his heart for the Lord inspires me to pick up his torch and continue what he started. I pray God watches over Errick’s family and I hope one day in the future I will have the opportunity to tell Errick’s son what an awesome man of God his daddy was and what he meant in my life. We will miss you tremendously Errick and I am so proud to have called you my friend.
http://www.ErrickSpringfieldDonations.webs.com

Where Will You Go?

Something most people don’t always realize is that we all have eternal life.  The real question is where and how we will spend it.  Our time here on earth is our most precious gift from God because we only have a set amount of it.  What we chose to do with it while we are here is our gift to Him.  Our sacrifice and the way we chose to live our life are the essential acts of our external worship.   With the recent passing of a young man that personified godly living we are all left asking questions of why?  Blake Andrew Martin was someone who not only loved the Lord, but also loved and respected his family.  Wherever he went, the light of Jesus would shine through this great young man.   I have never met someone who always would show the love of Jesus by the way he treated others.  This world was a better place with him in it.

Since, we believe that Jesus died and was raised from the dead; we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him all the believers who have died.  I can only picture Blake smiling and riding some pimped out chariot with 22” rims down to meet all his family and friends in the air!  I often thought of Blake when I would read Isaiah 43:2 – “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”  Blake at this very moment is with the King of kings and Lord of lords because God has given us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Blake knew that there were two kinds of enlightenment.  The good kind that comes from seeking God and the terrible kind that comes from sinning against God and feeling the full consequences of our actions.   He chose to honor, love and obey not only God, but also his family.  He knew that each of our lives is but a breath and that our time here on earth is but a vapor.  He understood that we must make every moment we have here count and that we must never leave things unsaid.  He lived life with a conviction to do what God had called him to do with the excitement of spending eternity with the Father when his time here was done.  I implore you; don’t wait to live until it is time to die.  Engage life with a sense of urgency and fulfill your destiny as a child of God.  Say what you have been afraid to say, mend whatever relationship you thought could not be fixed before the chance fades away.

God promises to send us fresh new mercy each day, so even though we can’t see past the pain of today, trust in God because His love will never fail.  His grace is sufficient for you, and His power is made perfect in our weakness.  Though He brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love.  While we are mourning the loss of our loved ones, those already with the Father are rejoicing to meet them behind the veil.  God views the death of his adopted children in Christ as a joyous occasion and He wants us to view it the same way.  We can be certain that we will see them again in Heaven, if we too have accepted Jesus as our Lord.  The last enemy Christ will defeat is death itself.  “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things will be gone forever.”  The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.  So don’t be afraid, because He is with you. Don’t be discouraged, because He is your God.  He will strengthen you and help you and He will hold you up victoriously in His right hand.

Blake, your memory lives on in all of us.  God Bless.