Posts Tagged ‘new’

Time and Eternity

July 17th, 2015

“They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.” Hebrews 11:16 NIV.

Each birthday I celebrate creates anticipation rather than melancholy.

My thoughts and comments today are about “time and eternity.”

Live wisely each day that you are given. “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength, they are eighty years . . so teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:10/12. One’s years are limited and the number unknown. As I approach another birthday tomorrow, I am aware there are more years behind than remain. That reality creates anticipation in my heart rather than melancholy. I fully intend to enjoy life as long as I can, to savor its joys and extend its years. I choose to be numbered among those described as, “longing for a better country – a Heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:16 NIV.

The longing in the heart is not for just more of the same. The human spirit recognizes that man was made for much more than these limited years. Solomon declared it simply; “God has set eternity in the hearts of men.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV. You and I were created with an inner, insatiable desire for life – life abundant now and eternal forever, and for an eternal place to enjoy it. Heaven is just as real as the world that you now know and enjoy. Heaven is what makes death bearable, and Jesus’ sacrificial death essential.

To those for whom life has not seemed kind, God has promised every Christ-follower a place so much better. “And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold I make all things new.’” Revelation 21:4-5.

To those for whom life is good right now, eternal life will be exquisite. Paul was seldom without words except when he wrote of Heaven, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him, but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NIV.

A personal faith in Jesus prepares you for the place He has prepared for you. As a pastor, I have said too many final farewells to family and friends. Each tearful farewell is only temporary and has only made Heaven nearer and dearer. Jesus assured His worried disciples and us, “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” Read John 14:1-4 NIV. The good news is this: when you invite and keep Christ in your heart as Savior, Heaven is where you go when you die. Read 2 Corinthians 5:6-9 NIV/1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NLT. I do not want to imagine Heaven without you there.

Today, I pray for you to recognize that your longing for life is really about Heaven.

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The Process of Progress

September 16th, 2014

“Old things have passed away; all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV.

Exchanging the expendable for the expedient is the process of progress.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the process of progress.”

Life is a process of perpetual change. It is a delusion that things can remain as they were or are. They never do, nor should they. Paul envisioned the boundless intention of God for your spiritual development while warning of the tragedy of stunted development, “Until we all come . . to a [maturing] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we be should no longer be children . . but may grow up in all things into Christ.” Ephesians 4:13-15. Anything less is inadequate and unworthy of the grace God has shown to your life. Progress is not at all sudden; it is deliberate and incremental.

SIGN 2 (3)

Growing is natural; remaining the same is not. Without necessary change there would be no process for progress. If your life remained static, you would be less than you could and should be. I often reflect on the unconstrained potential that redemption restores to any and everyone who comes to Christ in faith. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God.” John 1:12 KJV. What expansive potential is held in those words, “given the power to become.” What you become in Christ has so much to do with your choices and desire. “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

John later wrote, “We are already God’s children, and we can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when Jesus comes, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is.” 1 John 3:2 NLT. Now the power of the Spirit is at work in you until the day the transformation into Christ-likeness is complete.

There are elements of your Christian life that are accomplished, finished works of grace. Yet there are also dimensions of Christian life that continue in the process of your becoming less of what you were and more than you had ever been. When you have done all that you are to do, God has not yet completed all that He will do. Read Philippians 3:12-14 NIV. You and I remain a glorious work in progress. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV.

Paul wrote, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Wonderful, new things await you in Christ, being released as you willingly relinquish your old ways. Meditate on Ephesians 4:21-32.

Redemption occurs in a moment of transformation; Christ-likeness is a lifelong process of conformation. Read Romans 8:28-29 NIV. Writing about his Christian liberties, Paul said, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 NIV. Exchanging the expendable for the expedient is the process of progress.

Today, my prayer for you is to never accept the good as a substitute for God’s best.

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