Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘eternity’

Why do we do what we do?

Why do we the things we do every day?  How much would be different if we know there would be no tomorrow?  What we believe about the future determines how we live today.

People paint their houses so they will be able to sell them in the future. 
People take blood pressure medicine to avoid serious health problems. 
People change the oil in their cars because they need them for future use.
People go to school so they can get a job and support themselves. 
People diet and work out so their body will be attractive & healthy.

Likewise, what we believe happens after we die should determine how we live this life.  As the apostle Paul said, if we believe that there is no life after death, we might as well “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Cor. 15:32) IF there is nothing beyond this death to prepare for, why be concerned about living a pure life, helping others sacrificially, getting to know God better and doing what pleases Him? Why not live a totally self-centered life, focused on pleasure, applause, and comfort?  After all, as some fallaciously say, “you only live once.”  (I looked up this quote on the Internet and it gave 7,810,000 results!)

But IF we believe that this life is only the entryway to an eternal existence–either enjoying unimaginable delights in God’s presence OR unrelenting misery away from Him—this is what will determine and motivate what we do here and now.  The short-term costs of hard work, delayed gratification, and even suffering (along with the many delights the Lord furnishes along the way) won’t be worth comparing the glory that we’ll experience when we finally get Home!  Which will it be?  We have a lot of choices to make every day. 

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  (1 Corinthians 15:58)

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Wise Investment

Every once in a while my husband and I wonder if our modest retirement savings are in the right place.  Will they be there when we need them?  Or should we invest them somewhere else?  Experts don’t agree, and of course they can’t see into the future. 

Even more important—because its effect goes way beyond our retirement and even our death—is how we invest our affection, our priorities, our time, our energies.  Are our thoughts and efforts focused on physical pleasure, possessions, power, and popularity—OR on things that will last forever?  Why is this such a difficult choice?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.  (1 John 2:15-17 NLT)

The Stuff of Nightmares

The taxi ride was really stressful, dodging traffic and dangerous situations.  Wondering if my driver was really “there” and competent.  By the time I got to my destination, I was so rattled that I jumped out of the car without even thinking of my purse, the flowers in the back seat, or my suitcase in the trunk!  Then—you know the physical feeling you get when you just realize you’ve lost your wallet?  Well, it was awful.  I wanted to deny it, delay whatever had to be done.  But a friend took me aside and advised me to take care of things right away.  But how?  I hadn’t taken down the number of the taxi, and it was a yellow taxi just like gazillions of other taxis teeming the streets.

And then it was all over.  I woke up.  It WAS a nightmare!  Thank God.  It’s a beautiful Saturday morning and life is normal. 

But wait.  One day I really will “wake up” in the most wonderful place of all and realize that this earthly life was just a dream.  All the stresses and sorrows will be faint memories as I open my eyes to focus on true reality, true beauty, true LIFE!

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

On a Journey

In the past few hours, I’ve taken a big step into another world—or rather, to the other side of this earth.  Upon entering the first airport, I got this same old feeling of rootlessness.  My feet were no longer planted in the environment where I’d spent the past four months, nor were they set in the world to which I was going.  I was on the journey, and life went on pause.  Nothing seemed real except for the meals, movies, and vain attempts to sleep.   

Lines from a couple of songs express my feeling and remind me of this present journey to my real and eternal Home:

“There is a joy in the journey…”  (by Michael Card)

“And let this journey be my home…”  (from “I Will Go,” by Steve Green and Douglas McKelvey)

On my journey, I am not in control.  I stand in line as instructed, pass through inspections, sit in my assigned seat, endure delays).  On my way to heaven, I am trying to learn gracious submission and flexibility to whatever situations God allows, knowing that it means growth in character and usefulness to Him.

On my journey, there are fellow travelers.  Others are traveling with me to heaven—my brothers and sisters. I need to learn to love and serve them, enjoying the trip together.

My journey has a limit and a destination; it will not last forever.  Whatever frustrations and difficulties I experience in this temporary life will be forgotten as soon as I step into that joyful new world. 

God, give me grace to be sweet, patient, flexible, and useful to You, to make the most of this journey, however long it may be—for Your glory, for the benefit of my fellow travelers, and even for my own sweeter pleasure when I reach my Real Home.

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus!

My Awesome Jesus!

I love the paradoxes that describe Jesus.  He defies being put into a box.  Those who know Him revel in the fact that he’s both…

My Shepherd and yet my sacrificial Lamb (John 10:11 & John 1:29)

My God and yet my Brother (John 20:28 & Luke 8:21)

My Creator and yet my Companion (John 1:3 & Matthew 28:20)

Eternal yet killed (and of course raised to life)  (John 1:1; 19:30 & chapter 20)

Master and yet Servant (Jude 1:4 & Mark 10:45)

And much, much more!

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
    for through him God created everything
        in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
        such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
    He existed before anything else,
        and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body.
He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
    and through him God reconciled everything to himself.
        He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
            by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.  (Colossians 1:15-20)

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

“A Life Worth Living”?

A few days ago I caught the last part of an ad on TV:

“…tasting exquisite foods, driving fancy cars–

–A LIFE WORTH LIVING!”

What a worldview!  Where are God, others, and eternity?  And does my life bear out what I claim as my values?

     A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” ’
      But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
     Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.  (Luke 12:13-21 NLT)

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Fading Flowers

On our way to work we pass a wall covered with magnificent morning glories and creamy white flowers.  In the morning, they bloom brilliantly.  But on our way home in the afternoon, we see that they are shriveled and about to fall…and make way for a whole new batch coming the next morning!  This reminds me of several Scriptures:

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Exodus 16:17-18—Each family gathered manna and had “just enough” for a day. 

Lamentations 3:23—”Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

2 Corinthians 12:9—“My grace is enough for you”—one day at a time.

1 Peter 1:24-25—”The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.”

2 Corinthians 4:18—”So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

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