Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘heaven’

Undercover Boss

The other evening we watched, for the first time, an episode of “Undercover Boss.”  The CEO of a pretzel company changed his appearance and spent time at several of his franchises posing as a new employee.  His purpose was to really see the situation of the people who worked for him and how he might help and encourage them.  Getting up close with them, he experienced the difficulties they faced with transporting their goods, heard how hard it was to make ends meet or pay college debts.  He got to share their hopes and their fears, their struggles and their tears—and to appreciate and admire these hard workers.  With tears he expressed how he longed to help them!

At the end of the episode, these lowly laborers were summoned to the boss’s  beautiful office where the disguise was discarded.  The boss expressed his appreciation of their diligence and empathy for their difficulties.  Then each one was rewarded with gifts suited to his particular need—a vacation, payment of a debt, new equipment to make his work easier.  And finally, a huge hug for the faithful employee.

Are you beginning to see what I saw in this?  Jesus Christ …

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!               (Philippians 2:6-8)

Yes, He came as one of us, looked like us, hung out with us, suffered the difficulties we humans endure, got hungry and thirsty and tired, was lied about and mistreated—and ultimately killed—all for our good. 

–Not just to give us a vacation but an eternal home in heaven. 
–Not just to pay our college debts but to pay the penalty for our sin and grant us a clean slate to stand blameless before God. 
–Not just to give us new equipment to do our job but to live with and in us day in and day out—teaching, guiding, encouraging and giving joy and strength. 

And one day when I get to see my Boss face to face, the best reward will be to feel His arms around me as He whispers in my ear, “Good job, my faithful daughter!  Welcome to your heavenly home!”

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The Gift of Tears

Tears don’t come easily for me.  My indignation rises when I hear of  godlessness and injustice, but do my deeply held convictions really grip my heart?  So I was thrilled the other day when God granted me the gift of tears.  I had just been thinking about the travesty of unborn babies being ripped apart for the convenience of their mothers and/or the insistence of family members and for the sake of abortionists’ greed in accordance with our society’s high value of sexual license.   Then unexpectedly I found my tears mingling with the dishwater there at the sink, sobbing at the fate of those precious children!  Thank you, Lord, for giving me tears!

Lord, please give me tears often to cry…

…for my brothers and sisters imprisoned and tortured for your sake.

…for women and children in slavery, exploited by cruel, greedy, and lustful men.

…for hearts so hard as to do these things to others.

…for unborn children bring torn limb from limb every day.

…for people longing for the freedom I take for granted.

…for my self-centeredness.

…for the cold, hungry and homeless.

…for those who have never known the true love of a mother, or father.

…for the poverty of my love for you and others.

…for those existing day by day with no hope of heaven to give meaning to their lives.

Your kingdom come
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

A Very Special Meal

Communion Sunday today.  We were reminded that this is not fast food. 

It’s fine dining—an intimate meeting of  friends, lovers–the Lord and me. 
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. (Revelation 3.20 NLT)

It’s a family dinner shared with my brothers and sisters, hosted and paid for by our Father. 

It’s the appetizer for that great Marriage Supper of the Lamb when all of God’s people from all ages finally join together at His table for the glorious feast that inaugurates our life of unending bliss with the Lord. (Revelation 19:9)

Wedding Supper in heaven

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

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!

All Tribes and People and Tongues

The other day we watched the annual parade in the city where we live, celebrating the ethnic diversity of its inhabitants. What a dazzling array of ethnic costumes and dance!  And the pride in the the cultures they represented!  

Dancers 2 photos

Do you suppose that in heaven, when “people from every tribe and language and people and nation” are assembled, we’ll all forget our languages and national origins and cultures and just all blend into one another?  Or will each be given opportunities to praise God in our own language, dressed in our cultural finery and performing in our unique way?  What a program that would be!  What fun, and what glory!  I’m looking forward to it Smile.

How Far from Here to Heaven?

Tears came as we sang “Hallelujah to the Lamb.”  We were in a small group of a dozen or so, but in my mind were other settings:  One was in church singing the same song ten days earlier with hundreds of people.  But even more, I visualized the larger choir that we were a part of:  the family of God all over the earth and in heaven—of all races and languages since the world began. 

More specifically, I pictured my newly-departed granddaughter in that choir, singing beside my dad (also who “couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket,” as he said, while on earth) and with David the psalmist—all in beautiful harmony side by side praising Jesus, the Lamb on the throne:

Lord I stand in the midst of a multitude
Of those from every tribe and tongue
We are Your people redeemed by Your blood
Rescued from death by Your love …

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!  Hallelujah to the Lamb
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! By the blood of Christ we stand
Every tongue, every tribe, every people, every land
Giving glory, giving honor, giving praise unto the Lamb of God  (by Don Moen)

I turned to my husband and asked, “How far do you think it is from here to heaven?”  We think of heaven being gazillions of light years away, somewhere outside our universe.  But I suspect it’s much, much closer than we realize—in another dimension just beyond a gauzy veil.  When our songs of praise and those of our loved ones already in God’s presence join together to delight His ears, just imagine the glory!  What a privilege to be part of that! 

One more note here:  I was blessed yesterday to read a friend’s blog about an experience in a dentist’s chair where her dentist started humming the song, “Because He Lives.”  That happened on July 3 here in the eastern hemisphere.  Calculating the difference in time, I realized that this was within the same day (July 2 in the US) when we grandparents and parents were singing that same song around the newly-vacated body of our beloved granddaughter, Emmeline.  (It was her lifelong favorite song. The lyrics are below.) Do you think someone in heaven was coordinating the music?  I think so—and with a smile. Smile Note

God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Chorus
     Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
     Because He lives, all fear is gone;
     Because I know He holds the future,
     And life is worth the living
     Just because He lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to vict’ry,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns!  (by Bill Gaither)

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!

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