Heaven

Not Afraid

Blog_MountainGloryThere’s something far worse than a deadly pandemic. It consumes more quickly, reaches farther. And it kills on a whole different level.

It’s called fear.

Fear begins by infiltrating our minds, methodically working its way to target our hearts.

If we allow, it will steal our future, and possibly our very lives.

These days it’s easy to get caught in the grip of fear. Leave the news channel on all day. Read the headlines. Listen to every alarming broadcast. Soon enough, you’ll fall victim.

Of course, we don’t want to be blind to what’s going on around us. We don’t want to be ignorant of world events. And we certainly need to be aware so we can respond with compassion.

But if we’re not careful, panic will overwhelm us and choke our breath more than any virus ever could.

When faced with the threat of death by fiery furnace, the three young Jewish victims spoke boldly to their tyrannical persecutor, “…we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18)

Even in times when I feel afraid, fear is overcome by the knowledge that my God can rescue me. He has a history of coming through in the most impossible of circumstances. Yet even IF he didn’t come through as expected, I have a greater hope that goes beyond the here and now.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. suspected his life was nearing its end when he spoke to a weary crowd in Memphis, Tennessee. “We’ve got some difficult days ahead,” he declared. “But it really doesn’t matter now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop…Like any man, I would like to live a long life. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will…I’ve seen the Promised Land…And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

He was killed the next day.

How could a man whose life was in imminent danger speak with such great confidence?

He knew of a greater Promised Land.

God is able to rescue us from the worst of circumstances. He is mighty to save. And YET…

When our purpose here is fulfilled and it comes time to breathe our final breath, there is a greater hope that lies beyond this earthen soil. Those who have placed their hope in the promise of Jesus Christ know that our last breath here ushers us into a place where there’s nothing left to fear.

And knowing this, we can live without fear.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Joy. And pain.

Blog_SunAndRainWhen my friends share stories of the joys and labor-pangs accompanying childbirth, I can only offer a blank stare in return. My journey to motherhood did not involve the physical pain that characterizes the hospital labor room. And while I was spared the typical ordeals of delivery, I can say the emotional and spiritual travail that come with adoption equal and possibly out-measure the challenges faced in the average neonatal ward.

Whatever the path by which one arrives at parenthood, all share very similar tribulations when it comes to parenting. No heart is immune to the ache of love, the raw desire for our children to grow and live to their fullest potential. The exploits and outcomes of child rearing can be summarized in two words.

Joy. And pain.

The Bible speaks of a time of great tribulation come upon the earth, equating the related events to birth pangs.

We have a heavenly Father who adopts those who accept his offer of forgiveness. He loves us to the point of dying for us. And he uses any and every circumstance to birth the best in us and through us. Often that means allowing trying events to awaken a remembrance within us that a greater glory is yet to come in our eternal home with him.

The ultimate glory is not in the here and now.

And so, as it is written, comes “nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…famines and earthquakes in various places…an increase of wickedness.” Calamity upon calamity. Hatred and persecutions. The full outcome of human will independent of God. And love grown cold.

These things must come, it says.

They. Must. Come.

A woman must endure the pains of labor to experience the joy of holding a newborn baby.

And the world must travail that greater things would come to birth.

Joy. And pain.

Our Father desires that none perish and all come to repentance. What circumstances will bring lost, treasured souls into the adoptive care of our loving father? What will bring our own souls closer to him than ever before?

And what tribulation must come to bring us to the fulfillment of the ultimate promise—that of an everlasting home in which “he will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 22:4).

 

Photo Credit: Rain, River, Sun from Wallpaper Flare, labeled on Google Pics as free to use or share

The Hope of Christmas

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God has stepped into the darkness of our world, offering the hope of reconciliation. In Him, there’s hope even in the deepest depths of darkness, that we were created for something far greater than what we’ve settled for. We were made for a world where there is “no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Christmas, Candlelight – Free Image on Pixabay – 1050965

A Passing Reminder

It helps to remember that this is not our ultimate home. All the good we encounter here is but a taste of greater things to come. And the pain? It’s but a passing reminder that our heavenly treasure is held in jars of clay.

 

Photo Credit: Jetty – Free images on Pixabay

Every Small Blessing

Receive every small blessing as a taste of the promise of our final home. Let every investment we make be for those things that truly last. And may the hope of heaven penetrate our hearts with purpose, the constant cognizance that if we have breath, there is reason to live.

 

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Shadows

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The best things on earth are mere shadows of the best things of heaven.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Meadow, Trees, Sunshine, Shadows – Free Image on …

Keep in Mind

 

If it seems life’s not worth living due to the fleeting nature of good, take heart. If it seems not worth the effort to live another day because all your investment yields little return, keep in mind. We’re not home yet.

 

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