December 12, 2017

I Know He Lives

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I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

I, myself, will see Him with my own eyes.
Job 19:25-27

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This has been a hard week. Tears have been shed by all of us as our family has had to say goodbye to our sweet cats that have been with us for almost twelve years.  And it has me thinking of the awesome place that we will go when we leave this earth…Heaven.

Every one of the characters in the Bible couldn’t wait to see God and Job was no different.  He was in such anguish when He said those words in the verse above.  He knew that one day his body would grow old and die but that He would see God face to face.  And so will we.

As human beings, we will be resurrected, standing, kneeling, walking and talking people. Doesn’t that bring you hope? God is our greatest gift and His presence brings satisfaction.

As a deer pants for water, so my soul pants for You, o God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
Psalms 42:1-2

What do you long for when you have a hard week?  When you think that you cannot do this one more day, what keeps you going? Here’s a story you might relate to….

In 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, California. She wanted to swim to the mainland. She was an experienced swimmer and had already swam the English Channel. The weather that day was foggy and chilly, and she could hardly see the boats that were along side of her. Still, she continued to swim for 15 hours. When she began to beg to be taken out, her mother encouraged her and told her that she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, Florence stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was aboard the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away. The next day, at a news conference, she said, “All I could see was the fog…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

What if you could ‘see the shore’ on your hard days? What if you could take your eyes off the fog in front of you and strain to see the place where God is. I am pretty sure that we could make it a bit longer, right? We have God cheering us on, all the way, He is in the boat alongside you, telling you that you are almost there. And one day, He will say “Well done!”.  And we will be with Him for all eternity!

I end with an amazing verse…

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind
and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize
for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

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Let us pray: Dear God, thank You for giving us the hope of being in Heaven with You.  And for all the promises in Your Word that daily get us through the hard stuff.  Lord, sometimes we get our eyes stuck on the fog that is ahead and take our eyes off of You.  Please guide us back to the path that leads to You.  Remind us that there is a beautiful prize at the end of this hard life—and it is You.  We love You and praise You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Stars In The Night

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No matter where you lead, we want to follow You
Trouble is we forget who we belong to
We chase the wind and tides
We chase the reasons why
Chase the spark inside each other’s eyes
Desires are a war, we want that final shore
Sailing on until we find what we’ve been looking for

Hallelujah, we’re running to You
On fire from the mercy in Your eyes
And through the dark, singing we are Yours
Your love will lead us through the fight
Like stars in the night
Stars in the night
Stars in the night
Lead us through the fight

We fix our eyes on what we know is true
Even in our shame, grace makes a way through
Be our obsession, our constellation
You are light in and out of every season
So we keep pressing on with our redemption song
No one can undo what You’ve done

All our lives for the other side, where we’ll never die
And in the darkest night, we will lift our eyes
The life that lies ahead is more than all we leave behind

Tenth Avenue North
Mike Donehey, songwriter

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What if the only thing we really chased after was God’s own heart?  And what if the things of this world really didn’t matter and we consciously thought of how fleeting they truly are…because they really are.  What if the spiritual gifts were the only gifts that we asked for.  What a beautiful, loving, peaceful world we would live in!  But it seems we are really always looking for and hoping for something else to fill the void. We want what our friend has…or what we used to have…or what we have always dreamed of.  That void can only really be satisfied with God, your Father and your Creator.

And when we really have tried it all and nothing works—not money or alcohol or a woman or a man—we run as fast as we can to the God Whose arms are waiting and Whose love can really heal all wounds and fulfill all our needs.  Even though there may be shame in how far you may have gone, your Savior took your guilt away.  There is enough grace,  too, for every sin you ever have or will commit.  There’s redemption, too, in His name.

Are you down today?  Dear soul, I ask you to lift up your face and look up. There is hope and healing today.  And though it has been dark, His light shines bright.  No, we cannot go back and change the past…but we can cling to the One that holds our future and it is full of Jesus!  And, remember, this is but a blink.  Earth is so temporary as we are created for so much more than this…Heaven waits for us.

But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love Him…”
1 Corinthians 2:9

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His Name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their Light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Revelation 22:1-5

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Pray with me today…

Dear Lord, You are so amazing and awesome.  Your Name is above all other names and You are worthy of all praise and honor and glory. Lord, may we realize that all this chasing and looking for things that we think will make us happy or fill our cup is only a temporary fix.  We will never be fully satisfied until we empty everything and fill the void with only You.  And though You have made this world full of beauty and wonder, it is not our permanent home…Heaven is ours and we will live with You!  What a day of rejoicing that will be!  But until then, keep our eyes on You and our hearts so full of You that love just spills over.  In Jesus’ name, amen.