Archive for the ‘Jay Poore’ category

Letters of James Henley Thornwell.

July 18, 2011

From Mr. Robbins:

my Dear James: I have just received your letter,conveyning the afflictive intelligence of the loss of your dear babe.We are both much afflictited by this unexpecred calamity,and desire to join our sympathies in the sorrow of the parents.We can do so most deeply and affectionately.We know what it is to watch the gradual unfolding of the physical and intellectual faculities of a dear child,a first child; and in the full flood—-tide of our enjoyment,to have the dear object of our love snatched from our presence and our care. Such a loss is heart-rending indeed; and the mourner is disposed to attach little value to other blessings of life, for a season, since the greatest has been withdrawn. But a short time and a little reflection will dispel the blackness of the cloud, and show us a clear and serene sky beyond it.We do know,James that our Heavenly Parent, whose love to us surpasses that of a woman to the child of her bosom, is the immediate author of these bereavements.We do know that he never afflicts willingly, or grieves the children of men; always for some cause–great, good, adequate cause. What this cause is, it is our privilege and our duty to inquire.Sometimes it is wisely witheld from our search; but frequently; very frequently, it is within the reach of our reflection.It may be in mercy to the child, to rescue it from a more dreadful calamity which would have attended it in life; It may be in mercy to the parents to spare the more acute suffering at beholding an unworthy life, or an unworthy connection in life.Those were some of my own reflections when called on to mourn,as you now do; but, my dear James, I beleive most men can find—I think I found——-some unfaithfulness in myself, for which the visitation befell me; and with the blessing of God, I have endeavoured to reform it. Should this be your case, I pray most devoutly that He, whose grace is sufficient for us, may enable you to discover and cast it out. Rest assured of the sincere personal and Christian sympathy of yours.



When Christians Grieve:Voices of Grief.

November 10, 2010

When C.S.Lewis wrote of his wife’s death, his opening words were, “No one ever told me…that grief was so like fear.”

At the age of 40, my wife contracted breast cancer.The happy and active mother of four teenage children, her life soon resumed with a favourable prognosis after successful surgery.

Over a year later she suffered a rapid loss in weight.The organism was in the bone and further surgery was necessary.Her life expectancy was six to eighteen months, but she enjoyed reasonable health for another four years.The end came nearly two years ago when she was 46.

Encouraged by family and friends,and fortified through faith in Christ, we were prepared for death.

But I was ill-prepared for grief, for “No one ever told me…that grief felt so like fear.”

The Bible regards grief as a very real thing.The word it uses signifies sorrow, pain, or a wound.It applies mainly to sorrow of soul, such as that of the disciples at the imminent death of Jesus.

“Grief”, says Jay Adams, “may be called a life-shaking sorrow over loss.Grief tears life to shreads;it shakes one from top to bottom.It pulls a person loose;he comes apart at the seams.Grief is truly nothing less than a life-shattering loss.”

Those who grieve over death are called “bereaved.” The word “reave” means to commit ravages, to forcibily deprive or take by force. A “bereaved” person is literally one who is broken up in what is an intensely personal experience.

Bereavement describes the whole reaction to loss;it includes the emotional response and our adjustment to that loss.One’s thought, feeling and behaviour are so drasctically affected that the condition may be viewed as an illness.


When the well-known minister, William Sloane Coffin, lost his twenty-four-year-old son, Alex, in a terrible automobile accident, he said he received letters, cards and telephone calls from many friends and acquaintances, all of them well-meaning, but very few of them helpful.He said some of the worst of them came from Reverends who proved by what they said that they know more about the Bible than they do about the human heart.“I know all of the right Biblical passages,” said Coffin, “Blessed are they who mourn.Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.I know all of that.But the depth of my grief made those words unreal.”

Lynn Caine wrote a book about her experience of suffering the loss of a husband, then sinking deeply into grief.Her book was called Widow.She said, “being a widow is like living in a country where no one speak’s your language.”

To enter into grief is like being in a country where no one speaks your language.Or as William Shakespeare could be paraphrased to say:Everybody knows how to heal grief, except those who actually experience it.”

The psalmist in Psalms 77 speaks very honestly about grief:

“Because of you, Lord God, I can’t sleep.I am restless and can’t even talk.I think of times gone by and those years long ago.Each night my mind is flooded with questions.” Then he says, “God Most High, what’s hurt me most is that you no longer help us.” Then later in the Psalm, the psalmist has come to an insight: “You walked through the water of the mighty sea, but your footprints were never seen.You guided your people like a flock of sheep and you chose Moses and Aaron to be their leaders.”

Charles de Gaulle was a World War two hero and president of France.What many do not know is that Charles de Gaulle and his wife, Yvonne, were parents of a Downs Syndrome child, a daughter named Anne.Regardless of what was going on in the affairs of stae, Charles de Gaulle would come home every day and would spend time with Yvonne, giving special attention to Anne.When they would put her to bed at night, Yvonne would sometimes say to Charles, “I am deeply troubled about Anne. I have prayed so often that she could be like others. Charles, why is she not like the others.?” Anne did not live to adulthood.They had a private grave side funeral service.And at the funeral the priest said, “When Jesus was on the cross, all that the world could see was suffering and death, but the hidden hand of God was at work to bring victory and redemption, just as the hidden hand of God is at work to bring healing to Anne.” When the service was over, Yvonne could not pull herself away from the grave. She was stricken with grief. Charles went over and touched her on the elbow and said, “Come yvonne, did you not hear the words of the priest? She is now like the others.”

In the midst of our grief, the hidden hand of God. If you are in the midst of grief, look for the hidden presence of God in the midst of the churning waters.{Thomas Long}.

O Lord, how long will you  forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. But I trust in your unfailing love, I will rejoice because you have rescued me.I will sing to the LORD becaus he is good to me.(A psalm of David,Psalm.13).

You can hear the cry of grief and loneliness in David’s voice as he exclaims in Psalm.102:1,2. I am like an owl in the desert,like an owl in a far-off wilderness.I lie awake,lonely as a solitary bird on a roof.

About 700 years before our Lord was born, Isaiah the prophet described Jesus as, “A man of sorrows and aquainted with grief.” (Isa.53:3). His grief was expressed for others, as when he wept at the grave of  His friend Lazarus and mourned over the city of Jerusalem. (John.11:25 f,; Matt.23:27 f).He also knew what it was to grieve for Himself. A few hours before His own betrayal and death, His humanity endured such suffering in Gethsemane that “His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.( Luke:22:44).

Great though His grief was, He went to the cross, that through the perfect sacrifice of Himself He might secure the salvation of His people from their sins.(Heb.5:9, 9:26). The person who acknowledges Jesus Christ as absolute king of his life receives forgiveness of sins and enjoys a personal relationship made real by the Holy Spirit. (Acts.16:30 f.;Acts.10:43). This bond is particularly meaningful in grief, because Jesus shared our earthly experiences, including suffering and death.( Donald Howard,Christians grieve too.The Banner of Truth Trust).



Job,Charlie Brown,Suffering and…You.

November 9, 2010

In one of the Peanuts cartoons Charlie Brown is shown in one of his favorite roles—-that of a pitcher for his sandlot baseball teams.

In the first cartoon frame we see him on the pitcher’s mound in deep trouble.He looks toward the team at bat and exclaims, “Nine runs in a row——-good grief!”

Then he opens his mouth and begins to wail, “What can I do?”

Schroeder walks out to the mound, dressed in his catcher’s mask and chest protecter, as Charlie Brown says, “We’re getting slaughtered again,Schroeder…I don’t know what to do…”Why do we have suffer like this?”

Schroeder just stands there and very philosophically answers:”Man is born to suffer as the sparks fly upward.” Charlie Brown looks puzzled and says, “What did you say, Schroeder?”

Then Linus comes up from behind and says, “He’s quoting from the book of Job, Charlie Brown…seventh verse,fifth chapter.” Linus continues with, “Actually the problem of suffering is a very profound one,and…”

Before he can get another word out of his mouth, he is interrupted as Lucy chimes in”…If a person has bad luck, it’s because he’s done something wrong, that’s what I always say!!!”

Schroeder moves back into the little cluster of people surrounding Charlie Brown.

“That’s what Job’s friends told him,but I doubt it…” Again Schroeder is interrupted by Lucy, who shouts, “What about Job’s wife? I don’t think she gets enough credit.”

Schroeder continues: “I think a person who never suffers, never matures…Sufferring is actually very important…”

Lucy interrupts again and screams, “WHO WANTS TO SUFFER? DON’T BE RIDICULOUS!!!”

By this time the whole team is gathered around Charlie Brown,including a wide-eyed Snoopy, who is listening to every word.

One player says, “But pain is a part of life, and…” Another interrupts and says, ” A person who speaks only of the patiece of Job reveals that he knows very little of the book. Now the way I see it…”

Disgustedly Charlie Brown walks back to the pitchers mound, looks at his ball team,one by one, and says,“I don’t have a baseball team-I have a theological seminary!” {Peanuts by Charles M.Schulz}|

The next time you think you are having a bad day…Read Job chapter one.

The truth is….God’s children do suffer pain:Consider Job.The Bible declares that Job was perfect and upright and yet in one day there was a terroist attack and Job’s servants were slain and his oxen and donkeys were taken away. Job.1:15. Then without warning fire (lightening) fell from heaven and killed 7,000 sheep and more servants were destroyed.The Chaldeans came and stole 3,000 camels.And finally his seven sons and three daughters are gone forever…all in one day.

Then Job’s body was inflamed with a sore and angry swelling until his entire body was covered with one universal boil that stretched from his head to his feet.

His entire appearance changed until his face became grim and distorted.His skin was encrusted and constantly running with pus.{See Albert Barnes,Job,vol.1,Grand Rapids:Baker Book House,1949,p.116}

Here is a list of just some of the pain and suffering Job experienced:

1.His appearance was so hideous he was banished to the local garbage dump to sit in the ashes.Job.2:8.And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal;and he sat down among the ashes…garbage.

2.He could not sleep-he continually tossed until dawn.Job.7:4.When I lie down,I say,When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossing to and fro unto the dawning of the day.

3.He used dirt clods to cover his running sores.Job.7:5.My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.

4.Worms crawled in his flesh.Job.7:5a.My flesh is clothed with worms.

5.The thought of food made him sick.Job.3:24.For my sighing cometh before I eat,and my roarings are poured out like waters.

6. His pain was so intense that he was forced to bite his own flesh to tear out the boils.Job.13:14.Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?

7.His flesh rotted before his very eyes.Job.13:28.And as a rotten thing, consumeth a garment that is moth eaten.

8. The itching never ceased.Job.2:8.And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

9. He was flushed and red from weeping.Job.16:16a.My face is foul (red) with weeping.

10. His eyes were dark and recessed from lack of sleep.Job.16:16b.On my eyelids is the shadow of death.

11.His body was shriveled and wrinkled. Job.16:8. And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leaness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.

12. Job was exhausted and alone. Job.16:7.But now thou hast made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.

13. His breath was foul. Job.19:17. My breath is repulsive to my wife.

14. He could barley breath. Job.9:18a. He will not allow me to take my breath.

15. His soul was bathed in bitterness. Job.9:18b. but filleth me with bitterness.

16. He was emaciated to the point that his bones clung to his skin. Job.19:20. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh.

17. His flesh turned black.Job.30:30a. My skin is black upon me.

18. He was constantly burning with fever. Job.30:30b. My bones are burned with heat.

19. And the pain never ceased. Job.30:17. My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest.

20. He was deserted by his friends and mocked by his enemies.Job.16:9,10. Mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.

21. He describes himself as a rag doll, grabbed by the neck and shaken to pieces. Job.16:12.I was at ease, but he has broken me asunder; he has also taken me by the neck and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his target.

22. He was as a target set up and shot through with arrows. Job.16:13.  His archers surrounds me round about, he splits my kidneys asunder, and does not spare; he pours out my gall upom the ground.

Job’s response was to worship God. He declared… Naked came I out of my Mother’s womb, and naked shall I return hither: the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. Job.1:21

“Anybody can say, ‘The Lord gave’ or ‘The Lord hath taken away’; but it

takes real faith to say in the midst of sorrow and suffering, ‘Blessed be the

name of the Lord.'” {Dr Constable}.



“Please,God,Take The Pain Away.”

November 3, 2010

Dr.Robert F.Browning,Pastor Smoke Rise Baptist Church,Stone Mountain,Georgia shared this testimony.

Matthew.28:20b.Lo,I am with you always even unto the end of the world

When my daughter,Amy Blair,was four years old,she broke her leg.It happened at church when some bricks stacked under a canopy fell on her.She spent the night in the hospital because the doctor wanted the swelling to subside before he put a cast on it.

I’ll never forget one thing that occurred the next day.The doctor came in to set her leg and of course it hurt when they started moving that leg to prepare it for the cast.She looked at me with big tears in her eyes and said, “Daddy,make him stop.It hurts.”

I don’t recall hurting that badly up to that point in my life.I was a mess on the inside while trying to act so composed and calm on the outside.I wanted nothing more than to take her pain away, but I could not do it. So, what did I do?

I held her hand ever so tightly and told her I knew it hurt.I assured her that what the doctors were doing was absolutely necessary and that the pain would soon ease.I told her to grip my hand tightly and look at me, not the doctors.I let her know I would not leave her and be close by her side through this entire ordeal.

That was twenty years ago.While the memories are fading, the lesson I learned that morning is not. I think of it often, especially when I hear someone ask,”Why can’t God take away my pain?” For one brief moment, I think I can identify with God and understand why even He cannot take away pain from the children He loves so much.Let me explain.

It is not uncommon for me to hear someone ask, “Why won’t God take my pain away?” I have heard it from people who have lost loved ones, victims of abuse or neglect and people whose dreams have been shattered.

Most of the time, the request comes from people who are hurting so badly that they are not sure if they can continue another day or hour.It is usually spoken out of deep anguish.

How would you answer that question? Here is what I have learned.

For God to take away our pain, He would have to take away all feelings.He would have to strip us of joy, happiness, pride, love and a host of other emotions. To take away our feelings would leave nothing but an empty shell.That’s not what He wants for us and I have to believe we do not want that either. Oh, we may want that temporarily, but not permanantly.

To take away our pain,He would have to erase our memories.While there are times when we might not mind that, there are other times when that would be the last thing we would want.

Have you ever been around anyone with Alzheimer’s? It has to be one of the most debilitating diseases anyone could endure. How pitiful to observe the actions of one that has no memory. It is heartbreaking, isn’t it?

If you have lost a loved one, I know it hurts and hurts badly. At times,the pain seems unbearable. However, as bad as the pain is, I think it would be worse to have no memory of the person you knew and loved. That would be sad for them and us.

An unknown author has written, “It is better to have gained memories from a love than to have never had the chance, for memories remain in the heart.” Sounds like the more familiar quote, “Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.”

However, when you love someone, you are going to grieve. In some ways, the level of pain indicates the level of love you had for that person.How can you expect to love someone and not grieve when he or she is gone? That’s impossible unless you had no memory of them. I’ll take the pain because I want the memories.




Pictures of Jay Poore’s daughter,Haley Ha Ne Poore:July,2009

October 17, 2009

Seon Mi and Haley visited us in July.p11030s1103132_13_1p11030s1103132_19_0p11030s1103132_2_1p11030s1103132_8

Grief..To say..or not to say..

September 15, 2008

Eventually all families have loved ones who die..they may be old or even young.”The old must die,the young may die.”But we all die.Statistics prove that one out of one persons die.

From my heart and experience,I want to share a few thoughts on what to say or not to say to the bereaved.

1.Don’t say,”Well he’s better off  in heaven.” Their loved one may not be in heaven.And even if  he is in heaven…right now,we want him here.Is that selfish?Yes,but true.

2.Don’t say,”well,it was his time to go.”I do not think you can know that.Heb.9:27,I believe teaches that man is appointed to die once…he is not re-incarnated to live and die again.In my opinion, it is not saying that everyone has a certain calender date on which he will die.

3.Don’t say,as I used to say,”time will heal all wounds,it will get easier.” Yes,the pain will lessen somewhat..but the emptiness will never go away.

4.Don’t,please don’t say,”I know what you are going through.”

5.Don’t try to force a grieving person to eat.Make sure they drink plenty of fluids and eat sparingly.

6.Don’t be afraid not to say anything.just be there.

7.Don’t just say,”I’ll be praying for you.”Do it.

Pray that we will learn from this tragedy.The word “chasten”has in it the idea of being taught.

Pray that we will have a teachable(humble)spirit.

Pray that we will sense God’s presence even when He seems so distant.Encourage us to read the Psalms.

Pray that through this experience we will be better comforters to others who will one day be where we now are.

Pray that we will not just talk about God’s sovereignty,but that we will rejoice in his rule and reign.

Pray that we will be able to distinguish the difference between happiness and joy.Happiness comes and goes but joy remains.In our darkest hour we can have joy because we have something to rejoice about..Our loved one is dead,but our Lord is alive.

Pray that though we are experiencing the greatest storm of our lives..that we will be on top of the storm and not under it.

As you pray for us..share with us a few of your zanexes.We may need them for awhile.

Poore visits Psychotheripist.Thinking,Feelings,Actions

July 22, 2008

About 15 years ago after a serious heart attack I had a conversation with my physician.My doctor was a mormon.He was also my friend.I told him that I was having a difficult time with depression and could not sleep at night.My concern was that I did not want medicine for depression or sleep,but I knew that I needed help.

He suggested that I see a Psychotherapist,Dr.Frank Green in Wake Forest,N.C.I had never been to a Psychotherapist and preached against them.I now believe that probably everyone(especially Southern Baptist pastors need to pay a visit to the good Doctor).

When I walked into his office I had just come from leading a class at SEBTS where I was a facilitater in “Supervised ministry.”

I assumed that Dr.Green would have on a suit and tie.To my surprise he had on shorts,a casual shirt and white socks with flip flops.Dr.Green had a grey beard and reading glasses..the kind that fit way done on your nose.

After a brief conversation,he paused for a few moments and said,What are you feeling?”I immediately told him “how”I was feeling.He said,”that’s not what I asked you,I want to know “what”you are feeling.To my dismay, I began to weep and said,”I’ve never thought much about “what” I was feeling,my concern has been what others are feeling.”I started on a profitable journey that day that saved my life.My feelings…love,anger,fear,despair,joy,hate and many more emotions are important and must be dealt with daily.

Dr.Green said,’When you go on vacation,do you take your theological books with you?Does everything you do center around your ministry without giving attention to your personal feelings?Do you know how to relax?Are you happy when you are not preaching or preparing to minister?IAnd on and on he went..nailing my hide to the wall.

Here is what he said to me that day.”Your biggest problem is…control.”You try to control your church,your home and everything that is going on.He said basically that I had to stop trying to control everything and everybody.I learned in the coming weeks that our emotions are important.Men tend to suppress their emotions like a real man.If you doubt what I’m saying,just ask a man sometime,”what are you feeling?I’ll bet you he will tell you how he is feeling.

When Dr.Green shared with me that…what we think affects our emotions(feelings) and our feelings affect our actions,I began to see that…right thinking leads to right emotions and right thinking and right feelings lead to right actions,my life began to change and it still is today.

Dr.Green suggested an excellent book for me to read,”Unlocking The Mystery of Your Emotions by Dr.Archibald D.Hart,who is a christian Psychotherapist.Dr.Hart maintains a private clinical practice specializing in ministers and their families.My copy is worn and held together by tape.I have used it in counseling other people.A fellow church member years ago asked me to counsel his wife who was suicidal.I met with her and shared with her the Biblical principles in Hart’s book.I also suggested that she see Dr.Green and she did.After awhile she said to me,”I want to thank you.You saved my life.”And may I say that knowing Christ as my Lord and with the help of Dr.Green and Dr.Hart my life was saved from an early death.

Sixteen months ago,our oldest son,Jay died .He died on his 33rd birthday leaving behind a wife and 6 month old baby girl.For several weeks I devoured the Psalms and re-read Hart’s book.I have not hesitated to deal with what I am feeling as well as how I’m feeling.

For those of you who think that emotions are for women and girly men,I feel sorry for you.I once thought that way,but I am free at last. Right Thinking…feeling…acting.Simple but profound.Simply profound.

Three books that I recommend other than the best…The Bible are:

1.The Velveteen Rabbit(one of my favorites).

2.All books by Dr.Archibald Hart.

3.Reaching for the Invisible God.Philip Yancey.