Devotional Thought for Today – 04/17/2021

God’s Providential Blessing

Romans 8:28

Y’all are probably wondering what in the world a little trailer has to do with a daily devotional. Well, welcome to the latest addition to the FSM/FBM arsenal. For some time now I have been looking for a lightweight trailer or camper to pull behind the bike for whenever we (the wife and I or on cross country trip my grandson and I) are riding together. I need one to put the additional clothing, camping gear and secure my LARGE medic bag.

With the Heartland Heroes Tour coming up in just a few short weeks I must admit I was getting a little concerned I would not be able to find one that was suitable and we could afford. Then of course GOD stepped in. He had this planned way in advance, my daughter saw this on Facebook (irony) messaged the folks, I go and look at it, of course, we get to gabbin (it’s a southern thing) I explain all about #Mission M25 Ministries, #RFTW, #Tribute to Fallen Soldiers, and the other ministries we are involved in, being a Chaplain/Medic and a church building counsultant and all. So get around to price, they were asking $500.00 which was not unreasonable, when I go to pay them, they hand me the title and say put it to good use in the ministry for the glory of God, no charge. What? I am sure I had the dumbest look on my face.

I promised after I cleaned it up and get all the stickers off and add the ones we want, I would run it by and show them. We exchanged cards (felt like I was in Japan 😉) and agreed to stay in touch. Can you say HUGE BLESSING!

As always God is in total control, His great concern over our daily lives causes causes all things to work together…according to His plan and purpose. That is Divine Providence, it makes our wisest plans look dumb by comparison and our best endeavors weak.


Grace Gems

Our wisest plans and best endeavors!

(Letters of John Newton)

We are disciples – Jesus is our Master. The world we live in is His school, and every person and event is under His management, designed to forward us in the great lessons which He would have us to learn – such as . . . self-denial,  a distrust of creatures, and   an absolute dependence upon Himself.

In this view,
 afflictions – are mercies,  losses – are gains,  hindrances – are helps, and all things, even those which seem most contrary – are working together for our good.

Creatures smile upon us – or frown upon us; caress us – or disappoint us; friends grow cool – and enemies become kind – just as His wisdom sees most expedient to promote our spiritual progress.

Where we look for most blessing – it often comes to little; where we look for nothing – we often obtain most benefit.

Our wisest plans and best endeavors at one time produce great troubles! At another time, what we do at random, and what we account the most trifling incidents – are productive of happy, lasting, and extensive consequences.

It is well for us if, by a long train of such changing, checkered experiences – we at length attain to some proficiency, and can say with David, “My soul, wait only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.”

The heart possession of two maxims of Matthew Henry, is well worth all that the acquisition can cost us:
  1. Every creature is to us – only what God makes it.
  2. We cannot expect too little from man – nor too much from God.


In this school I am placed – and these lessons I am aiming to learn. But I am a poor scholar and indeed any master but He who condescends to be my teacher – would turn me out as an incorrigible dunce!

Yet I sincerely wish to be willing to be what, and where, and how the Lord would have me be – to cast all my cares simply upon Him, and to be always satisfied in my mind that He assuredly cares for me!

Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?

Question: “Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?”

Answer: Yes, Jesus is the only way to heaven. Such an exclusive statement may confuse, surprise, or even offend, but it is…

Source: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-only-way.html

National Prayer Luncheon for Life to Award $85K to High-Impact Pro-Life Organizations

DALLAS, April 16, 2021 /Christian Newswire/ — Thousands of pro-life advocates from across America will gather together online and in-person for the National Prayer Luncheon for Life on April 30, 2021, to honor high-impact pro-life organizations and award $85,000 in grants for ongoing effective pro-life ministry and advocacy…

SOURCE: http://National Prayer Luncheon for Life to Award $85K to High-Impact Pro-Life Organizations

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/14/2021

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part XII

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In yesterday’s posting, we began looking at the various roles or positions that Chaplains can hold. We listed a total of 14 and I have broken those into 5 main areas:

  • Business
  • Disaster
  • Medical
  • Military
  • Public Safety

As we look at each of these areas I hope to expand upon them, give some idea of a job description, roles filled, and the need for the Chaplains in each. Under the heading of Business, I have grouped the following; Corporate, NGO’s and other Private Organizations, Sports Teams and Workplace.

People spend more time at work than anywhere else. But just because they go to work does not mean they’ve left their worries at home. Anxieties crowd out focused work time. Hospital visits create mounting unpaid days off. Illness and death devastate families and burden employees with skyrocketing health care costs.

Employees are not the only ones who suffer during crises. Time after time, employers repeat stories of inadequate workplace support programs and feelings of helplessness.

https://chaplain.org/mission/

First I had no idea the number of Chaplains serving in positions like this across America nor the need until I started looking for a Chaplaincy position myself. Jobs in corporate America kept popping up. I found the following job description helpful:

A corporate chaplain provides spiritually-based care to persons in the context of their employment, respecting the diversity of the workforce being served. They respond to individual and family needs, as well as work-life concerns such as job stress, coworker relations, and career direction. They also provide consultation to management about issues affecting employee and company well-being, including organizational change, ethical challenges, conflict resolution, team development, and outplacement. Corporate chaplains are called upon to lead first responder teams in the event of critical incidents affecting the workplace. Corporate chaplains are highly trained in the services they provide, whether this takes place on the corporate premises or externally at a chaplaincy provider center.

https://www.spiritualcareassociation.org/corporate

Employees in corporations big or small all have problems, many times they do not want or feel comfortable sharing those problems/issues with their boss or the HR department. That is where the Chaplain can be most helpful.

The same applies to NGOs, Private Companies, and Sports Teams. Remember as Chaplains our primary mission is to provide compassionate care, comfort, and counsel (4 C’s) to those assigned to us. Making our presence known in these businesses, being seen, being accessible, having an open-door policy, lets folks know they can come to you for those 4 C’s.

One thing we/I can never forget as a Chaplain is that the folks we serve may or may not have the same ideals, morals, or standards as we do. Therefore we must approach the position with a few assumptions:

  1. We strive to make folks better through the 4C’s
  2. We minister within the spirituality of those we serve, that is we do not impose our religiosity upon them
  3. Every person has some spirituality but not everyone is religious

This does not mean we “give up” our beliefs in order to serve, God forbid. It just means we do not serve with disdain, judgement or imposing our beliefs upon others.

Romans 1:1

In closing, you may have noted I left Workplace off the above list I did so purposely. Although it would seem to fit or even be another way of saying the same thing, here it refers to our own workplace. Many Chaplains (volunteer, part-time, etc.) are bi-vocational. As such, their other “workplace” is no less a place where they can be a servant of God and the Gospel of Christ.

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/14/2021

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part XI

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Yesterday we looked at some dos and don’ts of Chaplaincy. Today I would like to explore two things, first the difference between Chaplains and Pastors, and the various positions or jobs that a Chaplain can hold.

1 Peter 4:10 - Each of you should use whatever gift you have r...

1 Peter 4:10

I am convinced that Chaplaincy or any Ministerial position (Pastor, elder, etc.) must be more than a job it needs to be both a calling from God and a gift of the Holy Spirit. If we approach this like any other (secular) job, what happens when we grow bored, are tired, or get a little burnt out? Do we quit on God? Trust me all of those are a reality in the hard roles of Chaplains.

Chaplains and Pastors usually differ in that usually whereever a Chaplain is serving there is not a Chaplain for every Christian denomination. In fact they maybe the only Chaplain for all denominations (this is real common in smaller jail settings; for example I was the only Chaplain for a 250+ person facility that housed Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, and others.) Pastors on the other hand rarely have a need to minister outside their church or denomination. Of course there are exceptions to both but the “norm” is such.

What is most important for us as Chaplains is what I have continued to refer to as our mission to provide compassion, care, comfort, and counsel no matter the individuals personal beliefs.

The roles of Chaplains are many. The Association of Professional Chaplains says: A chaplain is an individual who is ordained or endorsed by a faith group to provide chaplaincy care in diverse settings including, but not limited to:

  • Colleges and Universities
  • Corrections
  • Hospice
  • Hospitals
  • Long-Term Care
  • Mental Health
  • Military
  • Palliative Care
  • Sports Teams
  • Workplace

Here are some I think are also critical:

  • Business/Corporate
  • Crisis/Disaster Relief
  • NGO’s and other Private Organizations
  • Public Safety (Fire, Police, Etc.)

Can you add to the list? We will explore each in more detail over the next couple of days.

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/13/2021

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part X

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Over the past 9 articles, we have looked at the basics of what a Chaplain/Ministerial duties or mission is (provide compassionate care, comfort, and counsel) and the Stages of Grief. We noted the importance of understanding what stage an individual is in so that we can better minister to their needs.

Today I would like to discuss some dos and don’ts that I have gleaned over the years. As a reminder, my primary duties as Chaplain have been with inmates (and ex-mates) and veterans, of that population however quite a few have had mental health, serious physical, terminal illness, or other issues that I hope to relate to all areas of Chaplaincy.

Some of the things I find most important when dealing with individuals in the Stages of Grief, or the DO’s (I put them in alphabetical order)

  • Affirmation – reassure them that the feelings of grief are normal and support them in the process.
  • Acknowledgment– Do not try and sugarcoat the situation. I am not suggesting we be blunt, rude, or anything of that nature. I am referring to the language that Paul mentions in Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 4:6.
  • Empathize – One of the best explanations for this I studied explained it this way; Pity: I acknowledge your suffering, Sympathy: I care about your suffering, Empathy: I feel your suffering, Compassion: I want to relieve your suffering. In short, empathy is sharing feelings of Grief with the individual, while Sympathy is feeling sorry for them. No one wants you to throw a pity party for them or feel sorry for them, they need you as a professional to provide Compassionate Empathy.
  • Listen – I do not care if you have to sit there for 15-20 minutes before they say 3 words, be willing to listen. everyone has a story and 99.9% need to tell it.
  • Listen without Judgement – Folks will not talk if they think you are going to censor their speech.
  • Truth – Always be truthful, if you don’t have an answer say so, do not “wing it” folks will see right through that.

Some of the most common MISTAKES I find when dealing with individuals in the Stages of Grief, or the DON’Ts (I put them in alphabetical order)

  • AdviceMy advice to you is…, that is not our mission, they are going to get that from the Job’s of the world. Stick to the mission and use biblical counseling.
  • Assume – Never assume you know what they need, yes they need Care, Comfort, and Counsel, but I am speaking of the application of that here.
  • CichésThey are in a better place now, It was God’s will, or At least he/she is not suffering. These may all be true but are of no help especially in the initial stages of Grief.
  • Criticism – Even unintentional, saying something seemingly as harmless as, I know but you can… tells them that you think they are doing something wrong and are criticizing or judging their actions. They are suffering enough we need not pile it on.
  • Mr. or Mrs. Fix It – Never promise what you can not do. Sometimes there are individuals beyond our help that need professional counselors.
  • Pity – See Empathize above
  • Story Time – Unless directly asked keep your war stories to yourself. They only distract from the issues at hand.

I hope these are a help, when I first became a Chaplain I was basically thrown to the wolves, with no training so I made many mistakes listed above. If you have anything to add to either list please comment below.


Prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that no unwholesome words would proceed from my mouth, but that the words of my lips and the meditation of my heart may be gracious and good. I pray that my speech would give compassionate care, comfort and counsel to those whom I meet. All the while giving honour to Your name by speaking the truth in love. This I ask in Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Modified from Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Ephesians/4/29


Crisis Hotlines

855-FAQ-HOSPICE (327-4677) – Hospice Hotline

1-800-662-HELP (4357) Mental Health Hotline

1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1-800-273-8255 Veterans Crisis Hotline

1-800-985-5990 Disaster Distress Hotline

Pro-Life News Updates (Various Sources)


Abortions worldwide this year:

😥 11,937,150 😪

The number of abortions performed worldwide so far this year and counting.

This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. In the USA, where nearly half of pregnancies are unintended and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion [1], there are over 3,000 abortions per day. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies in the USA (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion. [2]

Stats are from https://www.worldometers.info/abortions/


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider and promoter of abortion.  In 2019, Planned Parenthood performed 345,672 abortions.  Only 4,279 patients were referred to outside agencies for adoptions; therefore, abortions outnumbered adoption referrals by nearly 81 to 1.  According to their 2019 annual report, Planned Parenthood received $616,800,000 from taxpayers and made a profit of $110,500,000.

SIGN THE National Petition to Defund Planned Parenthood

SIGN HERE


Abortion much more than a dollars-and-cents decision


Stand 4 Life

Will the Supreme Court Take Up Abortion Case? It Depends, Says Pro-Life Author

Democrats Are Using Misleading Claims about Abortion to Scrap the Hyde Amendment | National Review

Viral TikTok shows how Safe Haven Baby Boxes save lives

Jamie Foxx remembers late sister DeOndra Dixon on World Down Syndrome Day

Judge Prohibits Release of Undercover Pro-Life Activist’s Recordings – Washington Free Beacon

What My Miscarriage Taught Me

Undercover Videos Protected for Animal-Rights Activists, but Not Pro-Life Ones | National Review

Fetal Personhood and the Law: Some Emails | National Review

The Left Does Not Like the Supreme Court’s Recent Decisions

Michigan deputies rescue 4-month-old baby boy abandoned on creek bank, suffering from hypothermia

Wyoming Governor Signs Born Alive Act

Abortion Industry Puts Its Cruel Paws on Pet Dogs


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Pro-Life News Report

Top Stories

 Catholic Nun Claims Supporting Abortion is the “Real Pro-Life Stance”
 Joe Biden Says Taking COVID Vaccines Linked to Abortion is the “Godly Thing to Do”
 Nancy Pelosi Blocked Bill to Stop Infanticide 75 Times, This Pro-Life Congresswoman is Fighting Back
 This Pastor Went to the Supreme Court to Stop Government From Locking Down Churches. He Won

More Pro-Life News

 Democrats Lie About Abortion to Try to Make Americans Fund Killing Babies
 French Parliament Defeats Radical Bill to legalize Euthanasia
 Andrew Yang Celebrates Abortion: “It’s the Right Thing to Do”
 Supreme Court Strikes Down Gov Gavin Newsome’s Restrictions on At-Home Bible Studies

Read these news stories and more at LifeNews.com


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NRLNews/NRLNewsApril2021.pdf

Local judge invalidates Kansas law barring the dismemberment of living unborn babies

Abortionist, herself 18 weeks pregnant, feels her own baby kick while aborting 18 week old unborn baby

“Born-Alive” bills and the 2021 legislative session

30,000 Physicians Respond to ACOG claims that elective abortions are “essential healthcare”

Pro-life former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brilliantly critiques Biden administration for paving the way for PPFA to receive tens of millions of dollars of family planning money

MIRACLE: Noah Wall, born with just 2% of his brain, celebrates 9th birthday

Behind the Abortion Industry’s Obsession with At-Home Chemical Abortions

Vermont’s terrible Proposal 5 would “enshrine” unlimited, unregulated abortion rights!

Second Chances at Life Act passes West Virginia Senate 27-6, Now Awaits Governor’s Signature

Document reveals how pro-abortion movement came up with term “pro-choice”

‘Dignity in dying’ legislation fails in France and Latvia

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/12/2021

Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series – Part IX

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When we started this series back on March 31st I had initially thought I would take a Psalm a day dealing with grief and apply it to Chaplain/Ministerial care. Obviously, this has taken on a whole different look.

We have just finished looking at the 5 Stages of Grief, and I could leave well enough alone, but more and more today folks are expanding upon these stages and I think it prudent to look at these models.

Researching this I found two modern models a 7 Stage and a 12 Stage. We will only concern ourselves with the 7 as it closely relates to the material we have already covered.

Basically in the 5 Stages of Grief; Shock/Disbelief and Denial are combined just as Bargaining and Guilt are also combined, whereas in the 7 Stages they are spelled out. Here is an example of the 7 Stages:

The 7 stages of grief

The seven stages of grief are another popular model for explaining the many complicated experiences of loss. These seven stages include:

  • Shock and denial. This is a state of disbelief and numbed feelings.
  • Pain and guilt. You may feel that the loss is unbearable and that you’re making other people’s lives harder because of your feelings and needs.
  • Anger and bargaining. You may lash out, telling God or a higher power that you’ll do anything they ask if they’ll only grant you relief from these feelings.
  • Depression. This may be a period of isolation and loneliness during which you process and reflect on the loss.
  • The upward turn. At this point, the stages of grief like anger and pain have died down, and you’re left in a more calm and relaxed state.
  • Reconstruction and working through. You can begin to put pieces of your life back together and carry forward.
  • Acceptance and hope. This is a very gradual acceptance of the new way of life and a feeling of possibility in the future.

As an example, this may be the presentation of stages from a breakup or divorce:

  • Shock and denial: “She absolutely wouldn’t do this to me. She’ll realize she’s wrong and be back here tomorrow.”
  • Pain and guilt: “How could she do this to me? How selfish is she? How did I mess this up?” How could she leave me because of my faith?
  • Anger and bargaining: “If she’ll give me another chance, I’ll be a better boyfriend/husband. I’ll dote on her and give her everything she asks.”
  • Depression: “I’ll never have another relationship. I’m doomed to fail everyone.”
  • The upward turn: “The end was hard, but there could be a place in the future where I could see myself in another relationship.” I need to pray for her soul and not be bitter.
  • Reconstruction and working through: “I need to evaluate that relationship and learn from my mistakes.”
  • Acceptance and hope: “I have a lot to offer another person. I just have to meet them.” If God wills I will He will show me, my true helpmate.

Note: the above is from https://www.healthline.com/health/stages-of-grief#7-stages and modified to have some Christian thoughts by me.

As you can see during our previous articles we covered all the key subjects under each of the 5 Stages. Again some things to remember is that this is not a cut in stone chronological order. Some folks skip stages altogether, some go back and forth between stages before reaching Acceptance and Hope.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

As Chaplains and ministerial folks, providing compassionate care, comfort and counsel is our number one priority, and having an understanding of the stages of grief, and which one the people we have been charged with serving are in will go a long way to fulfilling that mission, v.17 so that the [a]man of God may be complete and proficient, outfitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Sunday Sermon Series – The Man of Sorrows and Grief

Logos.com

Isaiah 53

The Suffering Messiah or Servant is the Major theme of Chapter three. Matthew Henry divides it this way: The person. (1-3) sufferings. (4-9) humiliation, and exaltation of Christ, are minutely described; with the blessings to mankind from his death. (10-12)

In keeping with our ongoing Comfort for the Grieving, Hurting, and Dying Series, the above artwork was in my inbox this morning and of course, just begged to be today’s feature sermon.

Last Sunday, we returned to Lakeshore Baptist Church, Pastor Don Elborne preached a sermon from 1 Peter 2:24 & Galatians 2:20, entitled;  “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”. In it, he reminded us of the old Black spiritual of the same name. If you have never heard it, here is the 1899 version (v.1-4), the oldest known written copy as passed down and likely the closest to the original.

1 Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (were you there?)
Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh!
Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

2 Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree? (to the tree?) Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree? Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

3 Were you there when they pierced Him in the side? (in the side?) Were you there when they pierced Him in the side? Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they pierced Him in the side?

4 Were you there when the sun refused to shine? (were you there?) Were you there when the sun refused to shine? Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when the sun refused to shine?

5 Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb? Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb? Oh! Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb? * Added around 1907

6 Were you there when he rose from out the tomb? Were you there when he rose from out the tomb? O–sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble;
Were you there when he rose from out the tomb? * Added around 1950s

No one suffered or grieved on earth more than Christ Jesus. Man cannot even begin to comprehend the weight of all sins bearing down upon him. The inability to grasp this should not deter in fact it should sour us to think about it frequently.


Sermon

The Man of Sorrows

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, March 1, 1873,

Scripture: Isaiah 53:3

From: Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Volume 19


Other Resources:

Surely He Has Borne Our Griefs, John Piper

“Acquainted With Grief”, Oswald Chambers

Why is Jesus referred to as a man of sorrows in Isaiah 53:3

Made Righteous In HIM!

Devotional Thought for Today – 04/10/2021

6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

Romans 5:6-8

We can think and talk long and hard on Christ’s deed at Calvary. Yet we too must be willing to Crucify our sins to be truly a follower of Christs.


Grace Gems

Crucify your sins

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(William Dyer, “Christ’s Famous Titles”)

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24

Crucify your sins
, which have crucified your Savior.

Did the rocks rent, when Christ died for our sins?
And shall not our hearts rent, who have lived in our sins?

Oh, that the nails which pierced His hands,
  should now pierce our hearts.

Oh, that they should wound themselves with their sorrows,
  who have wounded Christ with their sins.

Oh, that they who have grieved His heart,
  should be grieved in their hearts.

Oh, that I should be such a bad a child to Him,
  who has been such a good a Father to me.

My sins have been my greatest terror, and
  my Savior has been my choicest helper.

Oh, put sin to death, for sin was the cause of Christ’s death.

If someone killed your father—would you hug him and embrace him as your friend, and let him eat at your table? Would you not rather hate and detest the very sight of him!

If a snake should sting your dearly beloved spouse to death—would you preserve it alive, warm it at the fire, and hug it in your bosom? Would you not rather stab it with a thousand wounds!

And were not our sins the cause and instrument of Christ’s death? Were not they the whips that scourged Him; the nails, the cords, the spear, the thorns that wounded Him, and fetched the heart-blood from Him? And can we love our sins, which killed our Savior? Can a wife truly love her husband, and still embrace an adulterer?

We complain of the sins of Judas, and seem to hate them, and shudder at their mention. And can we love our Judas sins, which put Christ to death? And yet how many are there—who had rather have sinful-self satisfied, than to have sinful-self crucified.

Oh, sin is that mark at which all the arrows of Divine vengeance are shot!

Were it not for sin, death would never have had a beginning.
And were it not for death, sin would never have an ending.

Man began to be sorrowful, when he began to be sinful.
The wind of our lusts, blows out the candle of our lives.
If man had nothing to do with sin, death would have nothing to do with man.

Oh, did sinbring sorrow into the world?
Oh, then—let sorrow carry sin out of the world.

Of all evils, sin is the great evil. “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23

Oh, sin is worse than punishment, banishment and imprisonment.

Sin kills both body and soul:
  it throws the body into cold earth rotting,
  and the soul into the hot Hell burning!