Tag Archives: Heaven

Advent & Looking to Mary.

Today marks the beginning of Advent.

Like other Jews, Mary (mother of Jesus) longed for the fulfillment of the prophecies promising a Savior to Israel. (Never could she have imagined, even in her wildest dreams, that she would be the one to bring Him into the world!) In my life, I’m (still) waiting for the fulfillment of so many of God’s promises to me.

As I go about Advent, I am going to look at Mary and the hope of her Son. No matter how painful the waiting (for all kinds of fulfillment), I want to be strong as Mary was. I want to trust His promises to me. I want to grasp onto His faithfulness, to trust, even when there is no hope within my line of sight.

I want to say “yes” as Mary did, and not to count the cost. Her cost for saying “yes” to conceiving the Savior could have meant death for her. I don’t know if the cost for me will ever mean physical death (as a martyr), but it does mean dying to myself and my own plans every day.

I want to say “yes” and not question why He asks a certain experience of me. Mary didn’t question why she specifically was being asked to carry out the magnificent task of carrying the Son of God within her womb and mothering Him. She simply said: I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) I have many questions about why I am asked to carry certain things. Why am I entrusted with this or that? Yet, His plan is sovereign and wise. I want Mary’s courage to simply say “yes,” only looking forward and keeping my eyes on Him.

I can’t imagine the temptation to impatience there was for Mary during her pregnancy. Can you imagine being told by an angel that you would conceive in a supernatural way…And not only that, but that the child would be the Savior of all humanity! Mary protected Jesus in her womb for 9 months and waited all those months to behold her beautiful Savior face to face. She must have faced persecution for her out of wedlock pregnancy, most people not having a clue of Whom she carried. Yet she carried the evidence of what people believed was sin in her body, waiting and waiting to hold Him, and for the world to know Who this special Child was.  In all of my waiting…To finish school for a more fulfilling job where I will no longer live paycheck to paycheck, in waiting to meet or know who my husband is, in waiting to find a more permanent living situation…Impatience. Yet most of all, longing for the day I meet my Redeemer face to face, and live in perfect joy forever with Him and all the saints. Waiting. There is always something to wait for. The waiting, the longing, the feelings of never being settled…Mary teaches me to wait. She is teaching me endless strength, and to have faith. She shows me the example of a woman who followed the Lord without fear, no matter where it led her.

So now I step into Advent, a season of the Church where my daily lived experience is made manifest. I’m thankful to have Mary to look to for the virtues I need the most at this time. Most of all, I’m grateful that she said “yes,” so that our Savior could come into the world!

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:45

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Courtesy of Howard Lyon
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He Wants Your Heart.

Events are hitting the world that turn realities upside down. Events are happening in our personal lives to turn our lives upside down. I believe that now is a corporate sifting time. Whether it be through a natural disaster, a breakup, a job loss, or any other event that turns life in a totally different direction…The Lord is sifting hearts, and purifying them. He is seeking continued faithfulness from those who have been faithful. He is desperately trying to get the attention of those who are far, and those who have never known Him. (Though I don’t believe He is causing these disasters, for some reason He is allowing them.) The thing is, our trials ultimately aren’t to push us to lean on worldly sources. They are meant to lead us into the arms of our Heavenly Father. When events happen that are simply beyond our control, and we feel that we simply cannot do it any longer…That is the time when nothing is left to lean on but Him, and it is the time to surrender! 

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Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

I don’t know what is happening in your life. Maybe you’ve been devastated by a hurricane, and the home you invested so much money and love into is now gone. Maybe you’ve done what you thought God was calling you to do, and life looks like a mess. Perhaps you or a loved one were just diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness. Friend, no matter what, your Creator is looking for your heart. He doesn’t care if your heart is in pieces–He’s in the business of putting broken hearts back together. Jesus wants to be with you through all you are facing or ever will face. He wants to walk with you through it all. Most of all,  He wants to welcome you into Heaven one day, the place where broken hearts and pain will be no more.

Give Him your heart. Let Him hold you and carry you through this life, and onto eternity with Him one sweet day.

 

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

“Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26

 

Christian=Spared From Troubles?

Did you ever think being a Christian would make your life…easier? I think a lot of Christians are in that boat. We think (even subconciously) that knowing Jesus and the truth about salvation will make this earthly life a breeze. It is true that knowing our Savior and the waves of grace makes life manageable, and even joyful. Yet an easy life is not a promise in the Bible…Far from it, in fact!

Recently I faced a situation that I never, ever anticipated would happen to me. I

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Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

thought I was wiser. I thought that my knowledge and education would keep me from that situation. If I’m completely honest, there was even a part of me that thought Christ would spare me from that type of situation. Yet…Christ never promised our life on earth would be easy. Never. Recently, I discovered that Matthew 11:30 (“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”) is not translated well. Instead of “easy,” the word from Greek is better translated as “suitable,” “well fitting,” or “useful.” The crosses we have are well-fitted to us, and useful for the particular growth we need as individuals. As much as we protest our crosses, they are fitted to our shoulders, not someone else’s. Christ gives us many forms of grace to endure whatever it is we face. 

Being a Christian doesn’t make us immune from the troubles of this world. Countless Christians have done the “right things” and still faced martyrdom, spousal abuse, bankruptcy, natural disasters, chronic illness, and any other struggle you can name. We are in the world, though we are not of it. The advantage we have as Christians is knowing Who helps us carry our burdens. We are never left to our own devices, but in every moment we are completely loved and upheld. We know that the suffering here is not the end, but there is a life of eternal joy that awaits us one day. Our suffering is not without meaning. Remember what came after the crucifixion? We can look forward to the same, whether on the horizon of our earthly lives or in Heaven.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

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Photo by Will van Wingerden on Unsplash

 

Leave a Legacy.

Recently I received word that a friend’s family member passed away unexpectedly. The news came as a shock. I had just seen her a few months ago, and we’d spent a delightful time together. She treated me as a family member from the first day I met her. Whenever I went to visit my friend, I knew that her smile and hug would be there to greet me as well. Yet in an instant, her earthly life was gone. A surgery went wrong and it was over. She went to her eternal home with Jesus.

Though she left this earth so soon, she left a great legacy. I remember her kindness and gentleness toward all. She was constantly generous. In each moment, she radiated joy and love. She left a mark on me, one of goodness. When I recall her life, I recall only good.

We, too, are leaving legacies. It is happening at each moment, though we do not realize it. Our legacy is in our action and inactions, the words we speak and those we do not say. Our legacy begins in the small. everyday moments.

What kind of legacy are you leaving? 

Heaven Is Where I Want to Be.

This is my new favorite song. At the end of the day, this is what Christians are meant to live for. We wait for our eternal home. We live this life in hopes of the next. “Willing to die for,” the song says. I am thinking about so many of my brothers and sisters throughout the world, who are dying for their faith. Pray for them. Their example is so beautiful, so courageous. We never know if and when we will be asked to make that choice, or when some occurrence will speed us to the next life. Are we ready to take Heaven over earth?

Listen and be reminded of the beautiful place/state of being that we await. The place where we will never need to leave. “A place where love will never cease.”

Oh, how beautiful it will be.