It is with sadness, relief and joy that we announce: Joan Kolseth has passed from this earth to her Heavenly home around 9:30 am this morning. She is now at peace with her Savior and her soul mate.
Joan F. Kolseth, 85, of Todd, NC, entered into the Lord's rest on August 14, 2017. She was in hospice care at Ellen Memorial Healthcare Center, and had been living with her daughter, Julie Eschler and her husband, Edward, in Honesdale, PA, prior to entering Ellen Memorial.
Joan was a loving wife and mother, a faithful servant of Christ and example to her children in her devotion to her husband and zeal for God's word.
She was preceded by her husband, Richard S Kolseth in 2015. She is survived by her three children, Richard Kolseth and wife Katrina of Todd, NC; Julie Eschler and husband Ed of Honesdale, PA; and Sharon Robinson and husband Tim of Manlius, NY; 16 living grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren. She is remembered by numerous dear friends and a legacy of people she touched with her testimony.
A graveside memorial service will be held September 8, 2017 at 2pm in Memory Gardens, for family and friends. The address is 983 Watervliet Shaker Rd, Albany, NY 12205.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to: Thru the Bible, P.O. Box 7100, Pasadena, CA 91109, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., PO Box 908, Bellmawr, NJ 08099, or Institute for Creation Research, P. O. Box 59029, Dallas, TX 75229
I typed in the URL, hit send, and it just sits there.
Nicodemus was puzzled by something Jesus said to him. There are many things in the Bible that puzzle me; I’m in good company. Things that I just don’t understand because I don’t have the background in the ancient cultures or language, passages that seem too convoluted and things that just don’t seem to fit. This seems to be a deal breaker for some people as far as faith goes, but I’m comfortable with ambiguity.
For example, the story in Numbers 20 and 21 about the Brass Serpent taking place while the Israelites were still walking in circles in the wilderness.
Why is it there? It seems random, unrelated to any other practices of the age.
The Jews were discouraged. Understandable: they had just lost their religious leader, the High Priest Aaron. They had come under attack by Arad the Canaanite, who had captured some of their people. A military defeat, and a hostage situation. Plus, they were taking the long way around Edom, and their feet hurt.
So, they complained. God punished their whining with “fiery serpents”. That’s not hard to understand, either, and it’s also entirely understandable that they pleaded for relief.
What is mystifying is what God did about it. This Serpent thing. God told Moses to make what is essentially an idol. What about Commandment the First?
This account puzzled me as a boy: I had noticed the contradiction back then. I thought and thought about it, but it still seemed to me to be a really bad idea: it was too easy for someone to get this wrong, to start worshipping the snake.
But recently I’ve come more to terms with it.
1. It was used only once, as far as I know: it probably got packed away in Moses’ luggage, and after he died, it went into the Moses Memorial Library. Actually, good king Josiah is credited with destroying it for exactly this reason.
2. My two cents: God did this one awful thing, a unique event, that one time as a symbol of what he would do for real; an awful, awful thing that he would do one time only, far, far in the future. I’m pretty confident I’m right, because in John 3:14, Jesus tells Nicodemus:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
The Jews didn’t have to sacrifice an animal, splash blood on a doorway, or pay money to be saved from an agonizing, lingering death. They just had to look. Centuries later, the prophet Zechariah said:
Zec 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
We perform *this* ritual, this communion, each Lord’s Day, as often as we do it, in remembrance of Him, who was lifted up on a pole, that we may look at him, and believe and not perish.
I have no need to eulogize my father. Everyone here knows a little bit about him, and I know that you all remember him as a gentle man, a faithful man, a patient man. A man who loved, who held to a standard of truth, but without being haughty or arrogant.
I do, though, want to talk a little about what I learned from him in the last days of his life. I want to mark his life, and his passing, before we rush on in our frantic schedules.
Death, among other things, reminds us that we are not permanent.
We want to hold on to things. We want to hold on to our youth, to memories of our childhood, to our illusions about ourselves, about the world around us.
We wanted to hold on to Dad: we didn't want him to go. Now, it's really my turn to hold the baton out to my kids: there's no one else to do it!
But he needed to move on. His physical condition was deteriorating, we would say that his mental state was deteriorating. But his spiritual state was excellent, and even in his last days, the obvious love that he and mom shared warmed everyone who saw it. He inspired his children and grandchildren to follow in his footsteps, even when those footsteps faltered. Isn't that what we would like to say of our lives?
I'd like to share just a few verses from the Bible. This first verse is after Christ's resurrection.
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”
Please don't misunderstand. I'm not saying dad was Jesus, and this is a very deep verse, but I'm applying it to our situation: dad had somewhere to go, and it was important, and it wasn't fair for us to keep him from it.
Earlier Jesus had said:
1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
We all know dad was a builder, a remodeler... Since Christ hasn't come back yet, I'm assuming that dad has found a room or two to spackle, just to help out.
There are two last verses I'd like to look at, and I think they give us a glimpse of two sides of what dad is now.
I John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
1 Corinthians 13:12
12 For now we see in a mirror, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I also am known.
The first is what we will be in that future state. Our best ideas can never approach the future reality. But this verse says that dad will be able to see Him as He is-in all His glory- enabled by the heavenly change that dad has undergone.
The other half is what we shall know. We try to imagine heaven, but it is distorted by our earthly limitations and lack of proper measuring sticks. Paul promises us that this limitation, and even the ravages of age and dementia will be wiped away. God knows us thoroughly: we will be able to know Him thoroughly as well.
My father left this life early on a Saturday morning for his new home in Heaven. I want to thank everyone for their support and prayers for Joan and the family.
Born Sverre Richard Kolseth, October 9, 1929, Richard went to be with the Lord on Saturday morning, April 25, 2015.
A memorial celebration was held Thursday, April 30, at 4pm for local family and friends at Beaver Creek Christian Church in West Jefferson, NC.
A graveside service will be held at Memory Gardens in Albany, NY, May 30 at noon for family and friends.
The address is 983 Watervliet Shaker Rd, Albany, NY 12205; a google maps link is below.
In leu of flowers, gifts may be sent to Thru the Bible Radio Network, PO Box 7100, Pasadena CA 91109. Website: ttb.org
He slipped out quietly, early on a Saturday morning, so as not to disturb anyone. His youngest daughter heard him go, but the rest of the crew had said their goodbyes already. They would have liked to stay and wait him out, but life happens, the body, schedules, time and space make their demands.
Dad was a quiet guy. Never said much, and this quiet was enforced in the latter years by an increasingly uncooperative nervous system. But near the end his wife, his two daughters and I were by his side, and when he rallied and was able to look around from time to time, he saw us and smiled.
I know it was difficult for him to leave; he and Mom were inseparable. These last four years they were known as the "walkers" as they strolled arm in arm along our road, up to the stop sign and back, and then for shorter and shorter distances as his strength diminished. Neighbors would slow and stop on one of the few straight bits of road in the county to say hello.
Their closeness and obvious love for one another were an inspiration to their children and grandchildren. Their story will be told to the great-grands, and he will be missed. We've not lost Richard, he's just gone on ahead, scouting the territory for the rest of us.