Prince’s death and other questions about life

With North Korea playing around with missiles, a probable Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton fight for the Presidential election, and a Canadian man being beheaded by Abu Sayyaf gunmen, there’s a lot going on lately. 

As Christian believers, we know that today’s news headlines are prophecy being fulfilled before Jesus’ second coming. Time is very short.

Why then do I tend to obsess about the 80’s music legend Prince’s sudden death at the age of 57 this week?

Prince
Prince

I’ve always had a morbid fascination with celebrities, movie stars, musicians, and other wealthy/famous people living drama-filled, unhappy lives or dying young or suddenly.

I’ve never understood why, despite their millions of money and fame, many seem so unhappy, have broken relationships, become alcoholics and addicted to drugs, or come to a tragic end through suicide or dying young or suddenly. 

Like many people, some of the lives and deaths of famous people I’ve obsessed about were:

  • Elvis
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Michael Jackson
  • Whitney Houston
  • Princess Diana
  • Amy Winehouse
  • and many more. 

Controversy surrounds these celebrities’ deaths. Rumors abound of suicide, drug overdoses, murder, and the Illuminati.

I’m an extremely analytic person, and unanswered questions like the cause of Prince’s death and if he was truly a Christian believer or now in hell really bother me, to the point where I read online news and watch YouTube videos for days or weeks afterward, talking to my family and friends about it until they wish I’d just shut up!

I’m just trying to understand why they wind up so unhappy, committing suicide or dying so tragically when they were pursuing their big dreams and seemed to have the “good life” that so many Americans dream of. Could it be that good life is merely an illusion, a mirage?

Personally, I don’t believe many people can handle great wealth and fame. The very thing they desire winds up destroying them in the end. They don’t have the integrity and the character to sustain it.

Prince performing
Prince performing

Prince also was found dead in an elevator. He hated elevators and called them the devil. Is this just a coincidence? Or was he murdered as rumors have it, or possibly overprescribed drugs? Suicide and trauma have been ruled out as a cause of death. It’s certainly eerie and I think a little suspicious he died in an elevator–or perhaps he was sensing something prophetically. Odd that he called them “the devil.”

He was not known for abusing alcohol, although there are questions that his death may have been caused from use of the potent painkiller Percocet (he had severe hip pain from jumping on stage in high heels). Hopefully the news will release the toxicology report soon.

What happened to Prince? What were his spiritual beliefs?

I’m so very tired of celebrities dying so young and suddenly. I wish they’d find out what happened to him.

I read articles about his “spiritual transformation” with interest. After a two year friendship/discussions with fellow musician Larry Graham, Prince changed. From news online, I’ve learned that Prince grew up Seventh Day Adventist and later converted to a Jehovah’s Witness

Jesus on the cross
Jesus on the cross

Don’t die without knowing the Cross

He also sang the song, The Cross, about Jesus. 

The lyrics are: 

Black day, stormy night
No love, no hope in sight
Don’t cry, he is coming
Don’t die without knowing the cross…

As writer Denny Burk wrote about Prince’s death being like a punch in the gut, his music was a window, but it was a murky one and had a lot of dark stuff. But this is a good word: “Don’t die without knowing the cross.”

Prince compared joining the Jehovah’s Witness to “Morpheus and Neo in ‘The Matrix,’” even going door to door to witness and reports saying that he wished he could’ve talked to Michael Jackson more about his beliefs before he died.  He apparently shared his beliefs with many.
Morpheus and Neo, The Matrix
Morpheus and Neo, The Matrix

I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness and believe it is a cult. So I don’t know if Prince was saved or not, but it’s not my place to judge. I’ll leave that up to God, and others should, too. I pray he made it to heaven. I don’t want anyone going to hell. It’s a horrible place. I am encouraged he sang about the Cross, about Jesus. 

Prince
Prince

Prince’s Gift is from God

What I do know about him is that he was a musical genius, playing 27 instruments, with a wide vocal range. 27 instruments, wow!

As I’ve watched his videos on YouTube since his passing, I’ve been amazed at his range, going from the deepest baritone to the highest . No matter what his songs lyrics were or how sensually he performed them, he truly had a gift from God. 

Prince wrote and produced many of his songs, selling over 100 million records worldwide, winning 7  Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain. He’s listed at number 27 on the list of the top 100 greatest artists of all time by Rolling Stone. He also penned other songs that made other singers famous. (Resource: Wikipedia)

This is what struck me about him: Prince credited his musical gift and inspiration to God in his interview with Larry King. There’s no denying it, Prince was extremely musically gifted and had a powerful singing voice.

I believe even his name was prophetic of his life. When you look at pictures of him, you sense a princely air about him.

Purple was Prince's signature color
Purple was Prince’s signature color

Purple was Prince’s signature color and he had a custom-designed purple guitar. Purple is associated with royalty and authority in the Bible. His explanation for purple was associated with his interest in the mid-80’s about the apocalypse:

“When there’s blood in the sky – red and blue = purple.. purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith/god”guide you through the purple rain”

Purple Rain

In my teens, I confess that I was a fan of Prince’s. By far my favorite is Purple Rain. I still love it.

He performed it in a downpour during the Superbowl Halftime, the rain coming down almost as if on cue. (The song starts at about the 8:12 minute mark.) 

Rain
Rain

I love these lyrics to it:

“I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain.”

The other song that he’s famous for that I liked was 1999. (Disclaimer: it has some inappropriate words and scenes, but Prince was known for being risque.)

To me, the song speaks about being positive about the future and not being afraid, since he recorded it before the 2000 Y2K scare.

I laughed when I read this in the article about one woman’s big concern about Y2K:

“By midafternoon, Juanita Serrano had grabbed one of the last large containers of water left in the store. She said it was an essential part of her Y2K survival kit, along with a 10-pound container of coffee and milk. “I have to have my coffee,” she said. “I cannot go on without my coffee, no matter what is going on around me.”

Starbucks cinammon dolce coffee
Starbucks cinammon dolce coffee

Yes, I relate about the coffee! Anyway, I digress…back to Prince. 

I believe he was a musical legend, and an amazing singer and artist. He accomplished great things while on earth.

Prince died while still young, only age 57. The world is reeling with shock that he’s dead. So young. So unexpected.

hand

Really, we shouldn’t be shocked. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27 that we’re all destined to die once and after that is the Judgment from God. Am I ready? Are you?

I don’t know why so many stars, celebrities, musicians, wealthy and famous people seem to have such unhappy, troubled lives. We’re all seeking.

As I shared before, I believe there are very few people who can handle great wealth and fame, due to a lack of character. Ultimately, only God can satisfy that black hole deep inside all of us. It is a God-void.

I don’t know why so many die so young or and/or so suddenly. All of us will face death and God one day, and we need to be prepared because we don’t know when that moment is. Tomorrow is not promised.

The way to find joy, peace, and the abundant life is through Jesus Christ. Do you know Him? Don’t die without the Cross. 

Prince, I pray you are resting in peace.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Do you have dormant spiritual gifts?

Do you have dormant spiritual gifts?
Leah's violin instructor & Leah
Leah’s violin instructor Emily & Leah

We are into February now, usually Missouri’s coldest month with the greatest amount of snow and ice. Annuals’ seeds contain hormones that cause them to germinate in the warm spring weather that follows winter cold. Perennial plants, deciduous woody shrubs and some trees go dormant in the winter and begin growing again in the spring.

Like some flowers, plants, and trees that go dormant, you may have spiritual gifts that are dormant. Gifts you’ve never used or don’t even know about.

I believe our daughter Leah has some dormant gifts. This past Christmas, Leah suddenly told me that for her Christmas wish list, she wanted either an electric violin or a keyboard. She wanted to learn how to play them. This was nothing I  suggested to her or ever talked to her about and, like Mary, I pondered these things in my heart.

It’s interesting, because there is no one musical in our family. I believe this is just something that God put into Leah’s heart because He created her with a musical gift and He’s wanting her to use it.

God has also put spiritual gifts inside of you. Do you know what they are? Are you using them – and using them to their fullest potential?

Leah is an incredible artist and a very creative person so it shouldn’t surprise me that she might have a musical gift, too.

Leah researched electric violins and keyboards, looked at positive and negative reviews on Amazon and YouTube, and then showed me which ones she would like.

Leah was inspired by Lindsey Stirling

Leah also showed me a video of the incredibly talented Lindsey Stirling, a violinist who combines classical music with a modern twist, whom she had found on YouTube. I got goose bumps watching this video Crystallize. She is flat out anointed playing the violin!

I was so excited about this and immediately began praying for God to provide the money for this gift and for God to help me find a violin instructor for her, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to teach her myself.

I even asked God that if it were possible, for me to find a Christian instructor for her – but one who was really good as an instructor.

Ask and you shall receive

For Christmas, we bought Leah an electric violin! I don’t know who was more excited, her or me!  🙂  She thought from the shape of the package that she was getting a keyboard. She had the biggest smile opening her present.

Don’t you know that is what God does when you open your presents from Him – your spiritual gifts?

If Leah had never told me this is what she wanted to do, I would have never known about it and she wouldn’t have gotten the violin. God wants you to tell Him what you want. He wants to bless you with good things. Ask and you shall receive!

One day I was having Mexican lunch with my friend Diane Bishop and at the end of the conversation, I asked her, “Do you happen to know of a good violin instructor?” I explained how Leah wanted an electric violin and we bought her one for Christmas.

Leah and her electric violin
Leah and her electric violin

Huge Answered Prayer

Diane then referred me to Emily, who was Diane’s stepdaughter Hannah’s violin instructor several years ago. She’s an anointed violin instructor and plays violin very well herself! I got her number from Hannah and called Emily and we set up Leah’s lessons right away. She is so sweet and I just love her and so does Leah. This was HUGE ANSWERED PRAYER! God is so amazing how He does these kinds of things!

Leah has now had two violin lessons and is doing really well. She’s excited about the lessons and Emily is pumped about teaching her. Leah has never had any type of music lessons, so she is learning music theory (learning to read notes) as part of her lessons.

We also bought her a small amp and a shoulder rest for the violin. It came with the nice black case, the bow, and the rosin, which is to grip the strings and make them sound. Without rosin, a violin (or other stringed instrument) won’t play. It causes  the tiny scales on bow hairs to stand up and cause friction when dragged across  the violin’s strings.

It brings tears to my eyes and gives me so much joy hearing Leah practice on her violin each day. I’m sure this is how God feels about us, too, when we use the gifts He has given us-for HIS glory.

Do you have dormant spiritual gifts?

To find out more about the spiritual gifts and how to use them, I recommend two excellent resources: Step Out and Take Your Place by Krista Dunk and Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit by Lester Sumrall.

You can also take spiritual gifts tests at your church or tests online.

I also recommend the incredible movie August Rush, about an orphaned musical prodigy who uses his gift as a clue to find his birth parents.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

My thoughts on Amy Winehouse’s death

I mostly listen to Christian music, but this weekend I saw the eye-catching headlines that Amy Winehouse recently was found dead in her London home, for unexplained causes (an autopsy is being performed). I’m not a news hound and I’d never even heard of her. She was a British singer-songwriter, who, according to Wikipedia, was known for her powerful contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres including R&B, soul and jazz. Some find her very offensive because of her film history, her lifestyle, her addictions, and her music’s and videos’ sensual content, but her album Back to Black led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins. She was said to be a big influence in the rise in popularity of female musicians and soul music, and for revitalising British music.

I looked at a few pictures of her on the internet. Amy was beautiful and had coal-black hair; she borrowed her Beehive hairstyle and Cleopatra makeup from The Ronettes, a 1960’s girl group from New York. (Wikipedia) When she died, she was only 27 years old – just three years younger than our daughter Heather. The prime of her life. It is incredibly sad.

While I don’t subscribe to celebrity magazines or even often read news about celebrities, ever since I was little I’ve always had an interest in their lives -I suppose because their lavish lifestyle is intriguing and so far removed from my own ordinary lifestyle. I‘ve especially always had a fascination with famous, successful people whose fate was met suddenly by a premature, tragic death. It’s made me wonder: WHY did they die, especially when they seemed on the pinnacle of their career, the moment of their greatness?

Apparently Amy led a very troubled life, struggling with drug addiction, drinking, self-mutilation, eating disorders, and violent mood swings. This kind of lifestyle isn’t atypical for gifted, very successful musicians and celebrities. Nor are their untimely deaths unusual. We’ve seen it time and again – Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Margaux Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, River Phoenix, and most recently Michael Jackson.

We look at their lives from afar, often with blatant curiosity, awe, disgust, and even envy at times. We sometimes think that having millions of dollars like these celebrities have made will solve all of life’s problems and will make us happy. But that isn’t true.

There is nothing wrong with being prosperous or becoming famous. God wants to bless His people financially – to further His kingdom. It takes money to run ministries and to take the gospel to the nations. But without an intimate relationship with God there is no life and there is no fulfillment or true happiness. Without Him there’s a deep, dark hole and void inside of us. We are all searching for something from the time we are born. We try to fill it with many things. But that emptiness and longing is only filled through a relationship with our Creator, and we receive and develop that relationship through a faith in Jesus Christ.

Do you know the God who made you? We will all meet Him one day face to face. Are you ready? I wonder and grieve, did Amy know Him? 27 years old. So young! She’s now gone.

After I read the news of Amy, I googled about her and then went on YouTube to hear her music. Even if you and I don’t agree with her lifestyle or even her style of music, there is no doubt that she had an amazing gift and talent from God for writing and singing. Here is her award-winning song, Back To Black. It is eerily prophetic of her early death with its lyrics, “I died a 100 times.”

My prayers are with Amy’s family and friends.

What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments below.

DISCLAIMER: You may not want your children or teens to view this video. This video is NOT G-rated (family-friendly) and its lyrics may be offensive to some. The lyrics contain one very sexually-explicit line at the beginning of the song and other lyrics that reference drugs. Amy was not known for dressing modestly, either. But this is the real world we live in today, and that our children and our grandchildren live in. I share the video simply to let you hear the gift which God put inside this woman that, so sadly, could have been used in a great way for God’s glory…and her life was tragically cut short by the enemy.

Video – Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail