Tag Archives: eternity

Partakers Of Eternal Life

weekly theme #23*

week containing the second Sunday of Easter

When Barnabas arrived in Antioch (Acts 11:23) he showed not a smidgen of self-focus.  He rejoiced in what others had done and encouraged them.  Then he went to get an expert for these kinds of situations – Saul (Paul).  Verse 24 of Acts 11 is a wonderful testimony of him.  “Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith.”  In a sense, God used Barnabas to resurrect Paul.  Paul was going through a personal, inner crucifixion – the death of his heart’s desire.  Because of Saul’s zeal for Jesus, the apostles had sent him to Tarsus for his own safety, and they seemingly had forgotten him.

Waiting can be a painful, suffering time.  Nevertheless, when my heart’s desire dies, it allows God’s desire to grow within me, and I am resurrected to his service.  I am also given the promise of life everlasting where all things are new – earth, heaven, my body, even my way of living.  I am unable grasp what everlasting life will be like, but I can believe in the concept of it. “That is why we live by believing and not by seeing.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  Sometimes belief in the next life sustains me during this life.

I cannot expect a “good” life now, at least not if I’m a warrior in the battle between good and evil.  If I am on the sidelines, caring mostly for my own affairs, then I tend to expect a “good” life.   However, the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians describes a life of spiritual war with terms like: pressed by troubles, perplexed, hunted down, knocked down, and suffering.  Yes, I can experience all these things even if I’m not in the war, but if I’m not in the war I will not share in the rewards of victory available to me now and in the future.  “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather we look forward to what we have not yet seen.  For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.”  (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Sacrifices and suffering seem less intense, even ignorable, when they are for someone I love.  Moreover, love can move my fear out of mind.  (1 John 4:18)  If a loved one is in a burning building, I can look past the source of fear to the one I love.  It is love that propels me.  It is not fleeing from where I am, but running to my love.  The way through my crucifixion is not by more willpower or courage but by greater love for what is on the other side of what I fear.

*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections.  I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used.  It truly lives up to its title.

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Christianity Beyond Belief

Todd D Hunter has written an engaging book.  In my opinion, the foundation of the book is the idea that the goal of the Christian life is not to get into heaven but to live like Jesus.  I venture to say some of you are saying, “Of course!”  But there are many in the USA church who do not live that way.  It’s actually an interesting clash in most of us.  We certainly want to go to heaven, and we’re counting on going there, but our minds and lives are rooted deeply in this world.  The concept Jesus mentions in his most famous prayer, “thy Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”, doesn’t really get fleshed out.

I really enjoyed Hunter’s concept of living in God’s story.  The Bible starts with creation and ends with the eternal river of life.  All of human history falls between those two events, and that includes my life.  And yours.  We are part of God’s story.  We have been given a speaking part in a story that includes some of the greatest characters of all time.  I awake in God’s story every day.  All I have to do is play my role as it’s written.  Yet, even though all of us have gone off script, he keeps us in the story.  He keeps pointing to the script that’s prepared especially for me.

I’ll close with a couple more of my favorite thoughts from the book: 1) My need is not so much to add spiritual activities to my life, but to make my daily activities spiritual.  2) Learning to walk with the Spirit includes some stumbles and falls.  Keep walking.  Trying and failing is success.  Not trying is failure.

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog.

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What Will Heaven Be Like?

I was listening to people talk about what heaven will be like.  It made me kind of sad.  I don’t think heaven will be about games of golf, or food, or fishing, or even having a nice house.  I think it will be more than that.  I think it will be less than that.  Here’s what I think.

Have you ever loved someone?  I mean illogical love.  I mean love where you wanted to be around the person just to be around them.  You didn’t have to go to dinner, or the show, or anything.  Just being with them was enough.  Being beside them for an hour seemed like the blink of an eye.  You wished time would stand still and you could be with them forever.  That’s what I think heaven is like. 

I’ll just want to hang around Jesus.  We don’t have to do anything special because just being with him is enough.  No earthly activity, person, or object will come close to the satisfaction of being with him.  I’ll be content for eternity.

Boring?  Never!  Experiencing the infinite Christ will take an eternity, and the more I’m with him the more I’ll never want to leave his presence.  The love will only get stronger.

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