Christianity IS Interdependence

Spiritual people are not independent; they are interdependent.
We are a blessing to other people, and they are a blessing to us.

 

 

And He said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.’” (Mark 4:23-25)

 

 

Do you all remember Barbara Jordan, a Congresswoman from Texas, Houston, I believe. She said that “I don’t want to be a run-of-the-mill person.” I don’t think any of us want to be just “run of the mill.” We want to be the best we can be – give it our all. Each of us would like to make a difference in at least some small way.

 

 

Say to yourself that you WILL make a difference in at least someone’s life today. We can do it alone or we can do it together. But, in actuality, we are never really alone.

 

 

Small differences accumulate adding up to major changes in people’s lives. You can make a difference, you can add to the equation to someone’s positive life. Do you know how easy that is? How profoundly it changes your life when you make that commitment? It is so joyous when you go out there and go on your search. You wonder who is going to be “the one” today. You wait to find that person.

 

 

Here is a story that happened long ago in Nigeria, West Africa. We hear so many scarey things about that general area these days. This story, however, happened way before politics played its dirty hand.

 

“There was a small village in Nigeria, West Africa, which is an agricultural community, a farming community. This village is in a large valley, plush with trees and vegetation. The villagers live in houses of dried mud which women decorate with colorful designs each year during the harvest festival.

 

Surrounding the village are fields filled with crops of yams, corn, and other vegetables. Just beyond the fields is a deep river that the villagers call “Baba,” which means, “Father.” The river has been a friend to the villagers and a provider for the people. The men fish in it. Women wash clothes on its banks. Children play in its waters. But, in the rainy season, it can overflow and the people are very fearful of its power. It could wipe out their crops and even threaten their safety.

 

There was a man in the village named Modupe, which means, “I am grateful.” Modupe was a shy, quiet man whose wife had died and whose children were all married. Modupe lived all alone, so he moved to the top of the mountain overlooking the valley. There he built a small hut and cleared a small piece of land to grow his vegetables. The people did not see Modupe often, but they loved and respected him.

 

One year at harvest time, there were unusually heavy rains. But because the crops had done so well and there was much work to do, no one paid much attention to the rains. One morning, Modupe went outside his house and was looking out over the valley when he noticed that the dam had been damaged.

 

The heavy rains were pouring down, and the river had become so swollen from the rains that the dam was going to break. Modupe knew he did not have time to run down to the village to warn the people. It would be too late and all would be lost. Even as he watched, the wall of the dam began to break and water started to seep through in several places. Modupe knew that his friends in the village, their crops, their homes, and their very lives were in danger of being lost in the flood. He had to warn them. But how was he going to do this? An idea came to him. He rushed to his hut and set his own home on fire.

 

When the people in the valley looked up, they saw Modupe’s house on fire. They said, “Sound the alarm. Our friend is in trouble. Let’s go help him.”

 

Then, according to the custom, men, women, and children ran up the mountain to help. As they reached the top of the mountain, a loud crashing noise from behind caused them to turn around and look down into the valley. Their homes, their crops, everything was being destroyed by the river, which had broken the dam and flooded the valley.

 

 

The people began to cry and moan about their loss.

 

 

Modupe said, “Don’t worry. My crops are still here. We will share them while we build a new village.” The people began to realize what had happened and they began to give thanks. They knew that in coming to help a friend, they had saved themselves.

 

 

You also save yourself when you help someone else because God and His love is coming through you. You are, just by your actions, displaying the love of our Lord. God is so wonderful.

 

 

When we stand alone and we become so independent that we do not care about another person – that is when we all fall. United we stand.

 

 

As spiritual people, we are interdependent. Together we bless others, help others, pray with and for others. You can look for someone to help, and God will lead the way. When you bless another, you also are blessed as he is. “ It comes back to you, pressed down, shaken over. It comes through you and yet, it comes back to you from the outside, too. Wow! You are the blessor and the blessee. You serve God by become a blessing in your world.” You are interdependent.

 

 

I talk a lot about our Spiritual Family Prayer Room – our Bethel. (http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com/)

 

It was here that many of us became interdependent or more focused on our interdependence. We reached out and blessed and prayed for each other and those who we knew outside the Bethel that were in need – physically and spiritually and emotionally. At the same time, we blessed and prayed (and still do) for each other. We now are a family – we are interdependent with each other and with God. Please feel welcome to join us in our Bethel at anytime. There are usually people there all day and evening – long into the night. We would love to have you join us.

 

 

I pray that you are known by the positive difference you make in other’s lives. That is really what counts, isn’t it? We passed their way, and we made their life better because we took the time to make their lives better. Isn’t that what Jesus did. And Jesus was interdependent. He had God with Him the whole way. Plus He had his disciples helping and standing beside Him also.

 

 

How well we remember actor Paul Newman. In addition to being a great actor, he was also a great humanitarian. He formed and built a company named “Newman’s Own.” It was and is jars of wonderful foods. He did this as part of his humanitarian efforts. And today his $150 million company gives all its profits (after taxes of course) toward helping the needs of others. He was and his company still represents the wonderful humanitarian. He will be known for his acting, but he will always be known for his humanitarian achievements,

 

 

Bill Gates and Michael Dell will probably be the same, as will Warren Buffett. Living a life of giving and sharing and one will never be forgotten.

 

We don’t need to show off or boast about our life. None of that matters. What matters is what you can do now. What kind of effort can you do now to help in some way to make that difference in another’s life.

 

 

So take this pledge with me. “I will make a difference in at least one person’s life today, every day, and find that happiness and bliss through the blessings received doing so.”

 

 

Let me tell you a story: One time, there were students of a rabbi. They approached their spiritual leader with a complaint about the evil that was everywhere in the world. They were intent upon driving out the forces of darkness. They requested that the rabbi counsel them. The rabbi suggested they take brooms and attempt to sweep the darkness out of the cellar.

 

The bewildered disciples applied themselves, using all their vigorous energy to sweep the darkness out of the cellar, but to no avail. The rabbi then advised his followers to take big sticks and to beat vigorously at the darkness to drive out the evil. When this likewise failed, he counseled them to go down again into the cellar and to protest against the darkness by lighting a candle. When they kindled their lights, the darkness had been driven out.

 

 

It is the same with us. When we kindle our light, something very special is going to happen.

 

Mark 4:21. “He said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket, or under the bed, and not on the lamp stand?’”

 

 

This is asking us if we were born to hide under our light. Are you supposed to hide it deep inside of you where no one could see it?

 

No.

 

’For there is nothing hidden, except to be disclosed; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’ And He said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.’” (Mark 4:22-25)

 

 

This means that “For to those who have, more will be given. When you are giving more blessings every day, you are going to have more blessings come to you. When you give nothing, even what you have will be taken away. You will lead an empty existence. We all want to do God’s will, but are we willing to walk in God’s footsteps?”

 

 

Each of us is called to a different blessing to give. Your mission is right where you are. Your service, your blessing is different than mine or your friend’s or your cousin’s. Have faith totally in God’s direction in your life and work with Him in your area of the country. He wants you to hold your lamp up high so you can be the guide, the blessing to another.

 

 

Always be where you are to make it better there, to be that positive element that can put a smile on someone’s face. Not only will they smile, but you also will smile.

 

 

We all wish we were able to give gifts to others which would add to their joy and happiness. One of the greatest gifts we can give is the gift of blessing . Everybody wants to feel blessed. When you get up, tomorrow morning, how much more alive you will be as you crawl out of bed if you think, “I’m going to meet my good.” How much more alive you will be if you crawl out of bed and say, “I’m going to do good.” Because, as you do good, you are going to meet good. I am needed.

 

 

Do you know when it is the most fun to be a blessing? It is when you are a blessing to people who are hard to bless. That is where it really becomes entertaining.

 

 

Charles Harvey tells this true story. He said, “I made a commitment to being a blessing. Then, that very morning as I was driving to a job interview, running 15 minutes late already, I saw a middle-aged woman stranded with a flat tire. My conscience made me stop. I changed her tire and headed to the interview thinking I could just forget about getting the job now.

 

 

“But I filled out the job applications anyway, and went to the personnel director’s office. Did I get the job? Sure thing! The personnel director hired me on the spot. She was the woman whose tire I had just changed.”

 

 

That is the way God works.

 

 

I close with this piece of poetry. It is so meaningful.

 

 

The Day’s Result

 

Is anybody happier because you passed their way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to them today?
The day is almost over and its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Does the one whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?
As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God would say, “You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?”

 

 

My friend, don’t be a person that lives just for self-betterment.
Make a difference with your life in the lives of others.

 

 

Jesus spoke these words about you: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before humans that they may see your good works and glorify your God in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

 

 

Let us pray. “I give this day the God-touch and I glory in God’s blessings. I pray that I bless others as God’s love is reflected through my thoughtful acts, my gentleness, and courtesy, my words of praise and gratitude. The God-touch of my words and actions has an expanding, uplifting quality.

 

Today, God, with Your help, I give attention to others. I hold only positive thoughts.
I think of the many blessings that I can give, and I am constantly blessed.

 

Lord, help me become an imitator and one with You; help me to be gentle and giving. Let all my expressions be a reflection of You and let me become an imitator of Your wonderful ways.

 

In Jesus Christ’s name we pray.”

 

Thank You, God. Amen.

 

God bless you!

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Do Not Gloat Over Me

8 Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be my light.
9 Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the LORD’s wrath,
until he pleads my case
and upholds my cause.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.

18 Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
in days long ago.  Micah 7: 8 – 20

 
Well, it is official. Fall has arrived. Our summer growing season is over, and harvest has probably also happened, if there even was a harvest. If you ever tried to grow vegetables in a garden, you know that it is not an easy endeavor, or an inexpensive one. It requires a great deal of energy, patience, and always a hope and a prayer. And then we wait and sweat and wait some more.

 

So many things can go wrong in the garden. Insects are vicious; birds can destroy a garden before the seeds have even begun to sprout, different types of diseases can also take out the plants in a whisper. A summer storm can destroy a garden in just a few moments, and then there is nothing but mud. Here in Texas, drought is another destroyer of gardens. It just never ends.

 

 

But hope continues; patience abounds for most. Often, however, disappointment, frustration, anxiety, can take over our emotions as we look outside and see the work and love, hope, and tenderness we put into that garden, now nothing but a patch of devastation.

 

 

There is a story about a man “ who had tried everything. He had attempted to grow vegetables in his yard, but they had come up puny, hard, inedible things. He had gone from vegetables to fruit trees, but they had sat there season after season with nothing but a few pitiful buds to show for his efforts. He had given up on the fruit and planted grass, but the trees shaded the grass too much, and it would not grow. He even tried hardy ground cover, and even the ground cover turned yellow and died. And so in a fit of disappointment, he did the only sure thing. He called in the concrete mixer and had them pour green concrete over the whole yard!”

 

 

Now that is probably a true story. When I went to grad. school in Tucson, many people had concrete yards or rock yards, painted green, no less.   Let’s think for a few minutes about our summer of disappointment. Micah talks about the summer fruit being gathered and then there is no more. There is eventually nothing left at all. But Micah is not just talking about the harvest and gardens, he is talking about our personal growth and enlightenment. He is talking about me, and he is talking about you.
Micah was a great prophet during the eighth century BC. He tried and tried to preach to the Judahites about faithfulness of the Covenant and justice, but he does not sense that they are even listening, much less taking his words to their hearts.

 

 

Here is some history to get a grasp of what was going on then:

 

“The historical context is that Israel, the northern Kingdom, has already fallen, long since placed under Assyrian domination. And the southern kingdom, Judah, where Micah lives, has just narrowly escaped destruction, again at the hands of the Assyrians. It has been an absolutely devastating few years. You would think that it would call the nation to a time of self-examination. . You would think that it would be a time of re-evaluation and renewal. Micah had hoped that his preaching would make that happen. He had expended a great deal of energy. His had been the springtime of the heart, when all things are possible.

 

 

But now Micah has moved past the springtime of possibility and he sees the summer of reality. He has been disillusioned about the springtime of the heart and has moved into the summer of disappointment. The people have learned exactly nothing. What he had worked for is just not going to happen. Micah says it’s like growing summer fruit … you grow it, but once it’s gone, it’s gone. There is nothing left. It’s bitterly disappointing.”

 

 

Can you just imagine his disappointment and distress? All he worked for, all he had done has been for nothing, Why even bother. It was like much ado about nothing, “Woe is me! For I have become like one who, after the summer fruit has been gathered, after the vintage has been gleaned, finds no cluster to eat: there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger.” I can just imagine and almost relate. Just like when I did my garden and worked and worked and in one day the grasshoppers totally destroyed everything.

 

 

And when I talk about faith and belief in our God, many just shrug their shoulders. I have spoken many times about the country turning from God and what the ramifications of that will be. See history lesson above. Not many care or believe, thinking that this will never happen to us (me, me, me).

 

Now, let’s stop a minute and take a look at Micah’s disappointment and distress. Where is this coming from? It is coming from him. It is pulling him down into the abyss. It isn’t upsetting because people or our gardens didn’t turn out the way we expected but because we created these amazing expectations. “We set ourselves up for disappointment. We program ourselves for failure.”

 

 

Are you a Micah? Do you cry aloud, full of feeling sorry for yourself? “Woe is me, for I have become like one who, after the summer fruit has been gathered, after the vintage has been gleaned, finds no cluster to eat; there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger.”

 

 

Are we filled with self-pity also. Do we let this destroy our sense of freedom, our relationships, our faith? Have you let your “unsuccess” dig into you like a knife and then start digging in to those you love and care about? Is that what I have set myself up for? Micah even goes so far as to be disappointed in his family and tells us to watch out that they may also betray us.  He says to “Guard the doors of your mouth ……”  

 

 

Remember this quote, “The whole world is wrong except for me and thee, and sometimes I wonder about thee.”

 

 

NOW, it is time to take a deep and careful look at myself and you to look at yourself. You may be headed downward, and you took yourself there. Note where you stand in your life, in your faith. Who and what is your focus. “Oh, woe is me – me – me – me.” The fiddle is getting worn.

 

 

What we are disappointed in here is that God has not done for us – me – me –me what we prayed and asked for. Our focus is on ourself. We are doing what we do for us, not for God. As long as that is happening, we will never be satisfied.

 

 

Now, let’s see how Micah ends this complaining of his and see how he finally understands how he has sinned.  “I must bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he takes my side and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall see his vindication.”

 

 

Okay, here now we are at the true need – judgment and forgiveness.   Repentance is the road that will deliver us from the discontentment we feel.

 

 

We often hear, “ You see, the issue is not whether we are disappointed in God. The issue is whether He is disappointed in us!”

 

 

and  “The question is not what I can do to make myself happy and satisfied. The question is what I can do to center my life on God and His will. And that is repentance. That is turning it all around. “

 

 

Repentance – from Micah – 7: 19 You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

 

That is turning our focus on Jesus Christ, not on ourselves. Jesus did all for His Father, nothing to embrace himself, nothing for His own benefit and contentment. He always thought of His sheep and strived to take care of them/us. And it is our place to work toward becoming Christ-Like. To make ourselves one with Him.

 

 

In our daily life and prayer time, we must confess to the Lord. Ask Him to help us live fully for God, not self. We never need to complain, we can find total satisfaction and contentment when we turn to God and focus ourselves on doing His Will, not He doing our will. That is exactly what Christ’s life was all about.

 

 

So once we repent, our life can be full.  we have taken that step of repentance,  Our focus and personal power and success is for and through Jesus Christ.

 

 

All we have to do is focus on God, through Jesus Christ, and our lives are full and plentiful – all in the realm of God.

 

 

We, therefore, Praise God. He has restored us and brought us into the light because God IS the LIGHT.

 

 
Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light. Micah 7: 8

 

(thank you to Pastor (retired) Joseph Smith for his insights and stories.  Quotes are from his sharing)

Genesis 22:1-18 (NIV)     Abraham’s Sacrifice
22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.  2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.  9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.

 

11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.

 

12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.”
15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”

 

This last week through this week has been and is a high holy one for our Jewish friends. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur was celebrated over the ten day period ending Saturday the 14th.

 

Now we as Christians have a relationship with the Jewish people. They may not be our ancestors biologically, but the relationship we have with them is that from the root of David came our Lord and Savior.
And because I believe that we are connected – Judeo-Christian – I support them, I pray for them, I feel a certain unity with them. Our Jesus was a Jew.

 
Since Christ ascended to heaven after His resurrection, our entire spiritual focus changed. We no longer have to do live sacrifices; Jesus sacrificed Himself as the one living sacrifice to cover for all times. We now have a direct link to God. Martin Luther said we were the sainthood of believers. We have that direct link and do not need an intercessory. So our paths have changed a bit, but I think we need to remember where we (as a Christian body) actually came from.

 
“Able is rushed to the hospital in an emergency. His life is passing before his eyes. He is sure that his time has come. He prays to God with all his soul. God’s presence descends in a brilliant light and assures Abel that he will make a full recovery…it’s only appendicitis. In fact, God tells Abel that he still has many good and productive years left. When Abel is released from the hospital, he is jubilant; buoyed by the great news that was revealed to him. Immediately Abel decides to make the most of his remaining years. He goes out and has some plastic surgery done, he buys himself a complete new wardrobe of fancy clothes–even a top hat and walking stick, and to cap it all off he purchases a brand new car. As he drives away, feeling like a million bucks, a bus comes careening around the corner and crushes him and his little sports car like a tin can. Abel is furious and appears before the heavenly court to file a complaint with God. “God,” he exclaims, “Why?! You promised me many more good and fruitful years. Why did you let me die?” ‘Abel?!, Abel!?’ God calls out, ‘that was you!? I didn’t recognize you!’”

 

This old classic of a story makes me wonder if God would recognize us as the one He originally called us to be. Do we recognize ourselves? Are we the person we want to be or planned to be? Have we stuck to our guns, grown in our own spirit? Or have we killed, sacrificed, that – our beliefs, our dreams, our values – so we could more fit in and be accepted, so we could get ahead?

 

Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, the love of his life, his “self.”

 

Let’s take a look at ourselves today and the “me” we were years ago when we still knew who we were. How have we changed – have we changed?

 

It’s easy to just not focus on ourselves as a spiritual being. It’s a lot more fun to just “play house” or “play business” during the day and then honour ourselves with television and playing with the kids in the evening. How easy it is to forget who we are! Are we alienated or separated from our own selves, spiritually? If we suffer and cry out in our hearts for God, I would guess that we are.

 

The Jewish holiday being celebrated beginning last week and ends this weekend is marked and called Days to REMEMBER who we truly are, who we are called to be!

 
From a young rabbi, “And yet, isn’t it so easy for us to let the most precious things in our lives {our spirituality, our beliefs} slowly slip through our fingers, almost without noticing? It happens all the time. We don’t really feel that we are giving up on a dream, a passion or a deep yearning in the moment that it happens. But then we notice that they’re gone; that we’ve settled for much less. Often, it is hard to feel that we can get them back. This Rosh Hashanah, I want us to remember. I want us to remember all of the idealism, the relationships, the goals and hopes, the passions nestled deep in our hearts”.

 

 

We seek our own Rosh Hashanah weekly in church, in prayer, as we ask God to come into our lives, forgive us our trespasses, and walk with us on our spiritual journey.   As we remember when we were the closest to God (and that may have been long ago or just yesterday) that we can remember and be there once again. We can ask God to walk beside us.

 

First we have to remember. We have to remember who we are and remember the relationship we had or have with God. Then we have to remember what we are. We have to realize and hold to what we love. How many of us have given away our love, stuck it somewhere out of sight? Is that not like Abraham preparing to lay Isaac on the mound of wood to burn? Is that not us sacrificing ourselves as said earlier?

 

 

So, what have we let drop or put in our subconscious to deal with later? What have we put off for tomorrow what we could be doing today, right now.  What have we given up on totally because it was too difficult to accomplish or think about?   My friends, it is never too late. We must Stop, Look, and Listen – just as we did as children at the railroad tracks. We must pay attention to the life that is happening right before our eyes and connect this life to God. That is what God is always trying to tell us.

 

Never give up on your dreams, never let go of those things that bring you joy and fill your life with meaning. This crucial message, which we need to hear again and again, is also communicated in a surprising and unexpected way in the story of the Binding of Isaac by Abraham which is our scripture reading for today. Let’s look at this scripture as a focus and reminder to pay attention to our lives.  Abraham was about to sacrifice the one love of his life, his only son. What have we sacrificed in our life or given up on? What dreams have we put away? When our heart used to cry for a desire, why have we given up on it and allowed ourselves to forget? What a sacrifice we have made! We sacrificed what Abraham did not – ourselves. Think about that.

 

Which of these if not all do you associate with yourself:
Long work hours
Wild schedules at home with kids and other family
Important relationships (on hold?)
Emotional Health                                                                                                        Physical Health
Intimacy with our mate
Spiritual connections

 

If you identify with any of these and are letting the world control you, you are out of balance and you are sacrificing your lost soul.   But now, let’s think about what we are going to do about it.  Look at these areas of your life so you can live and work in a balanced and healthy way.

 

 

“Life is a holy dance, a balancing act. We are in danger, though, when we fail to honour and value all of the disparate parts of our life…our career, our family, our continuing education, our spiritual, physical and emotional well-being. We become unrecognizable, even to ourselves, when we sacrifice our most cherished hopes and dreams of our lives on the altar of illusory and transient pursuits. To truly serve God, we now learn from this scripture that we must never sacrifice the things we love.”

 

 

Abraham answered God each time He called, and He only had to call his name once. When Abraham was preparing to make the most difficult sacrifice, the angel of God called him twice. Why? Perhaps because Abraham had even forgot who he was in his desire to serve God. We all need to be called and reminded who we are and what is really important in our lives. We must always remember.

 
God is calling our names. Let us remember always who we are and what we value – spiritually, morally, earthly.

 
Let’s always hold on to the balance which creates the peace in our lives.

 

The tightrope is easy to walk across when you look straight ahead at God, knowing who you are and what you value.

 

Grace and Peace to you from God, the Father, and our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Heaven, I’m in Heaven

“Joy is the business of heaven.” -C.S. Lewis

Since one of our dear children has gone to heaven this week, out of pain, horror, sadness and into perfect health and happiness, I thought I would write today about heaven, Trey’s new home where he is smiling down at his family and all of us who prayed for his health, comfort, salvation.  He was given perfect health and comfort because he did receive salvation in January of this year as a delightful and insightful young man of seven years old.  Our Trey was stricken with a rare form of leukemia and fought the brave fight.  We all loved him and will see him again one day.  . . in real heavenly time.

 

 

Thursday, I taught a Bible Study at a Nursing Home.  I had decided to do a study on THE MYSTERIES OF HEAVEN  by, of course my favorite author and pastor, David Jeremiah.  So I began this little series today with gospel music which the group thoroughly enjoys and began to then ask them about heaven.  Many said most of what we are discussing here now.  A few had tears in their eyes – tears of joy and anticipation.  One was quite anxious to be in good health.  We laughed as we discussed how well we ALL would be able to hear (I am hearing impaired myself).  Then we danced – in the wheelchairs but we danced and discussed how dancing in heaven would be a lot more active.  The group really got into the ideas of eating whatever they wanted and not gaining weight or having blood sugar problems, no pain, no frustrations, no fear.

 

So on that note, let’s discuss what heaven is and is not, according, of course, to scripture.

 

Scripture does not go into specifics because as 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him”.

 

Our human mind could never encompass or comprehend all the spectacular and magnificence of heaven.  The Bible, however, does give us an overview, an idea of what heaven is like so let’s take a look.

 

For openers, here is something to ponder – we will be like Him “Dear friends, now we are children of God and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him.” (1 John 3:2)

 

Now, once in heaven, since we will be like Him, what does that mean – what is that going to be like. Let’s look at scripture.

 

Phlippians 1: 6 says, “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”    Once we are in heaven, He will take away all our sins and create in us a new creation.  It will be like that new microwave oven you recently purchased or are thinking of getting.  All the new features are on it that the old microwave never had.  Plus it keeps everything in perfect order, unlike the old that burned a lot of things and left other things still frozen.  Imagine that! We are going to be in perfect order in heaven,

 

I am wondering if, like in John 20:19 and 26 we will be able to walk through walls and locked doors and appear and disappear and travel in the blink of an eye.  Jesus said we would be like Him.  I think as a heavenly spirit that would be “a simple walk in the park.”

 

Surely, we will recognize those we know and love in life.  In Matthew 17: 3, Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus and visit with Him, and Peter recognizes them.  I think this shows us that we also will recognize others.  And not only will we recognize but our relationships with each other will be more real, more honest, more loving than anything we could ever experience in life.  There will be total purity.  Nothing but perfect relationships exist in heaven.

 

If we read Revelation 22: 2 we see that delicious fruits grow on the tree of life. And it describes a lovely and tasty food each month.  So, we will be eating and drinking for enjoyment without the worry of weight gains or illness.

 

Today’s world is lost with illness, wars, suffering, death.  In heaven we are told in Revelations 22:3  No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him.  

  and  Revelation 21:4 tells us: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  

 

There will be no more suffering in Heaven.  There is only perfect health and happiness.

 

 

We will live in New Jerusalem, the “city of peace.” which will be made of gold and jewels and be massive. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the Throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the Throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” – Revelation 21:1-4

 

Revelation 21:10- 11 – 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.  11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

 

And God will be in the city.  Can you just imagine what this will be like – God’s brilliance shining in all His Glory as we bask in its richness and singing “Hallelujah” and praises to Him.  And as great as that is (and it could not get any greater), Jesus Christ will be at His right hand; and we will be with Him forever and be face to face with Him as told in Revelation 22: 4.

 

“When we see Christ face to face His presence will dominate heaven the same way the sun dominates the hot summer sky. If heaven had streets of gold, precious gems, and angels singing overhead but no Jesus then we wouldn’t even notice those other things. Because just as the sun illuminates the summer sky, so the glory of Christ illuminates all of heaven.

We will be able to talk to Him, ask Him questions, and listen to Him speak. Imagine hearing His voice – the Bible says it will be “like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder (Revelation 14:2). Imagine the stories He’ll tell, the lessons He’ll teach, the love He’ll share.”

 

Our famous scripture John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

We all know the history – that Jesus died on the cross for our sins – all of our sins  His blood shed to cover all of our sins and by doing so, He offers to each of us total forgiveness.  We just have to accept Him as our Savior and admit we are sinners and that He, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took on all our sins and died for us.

 

Now He offers forgiveness to you. All you have to do is acknowledge you are a sinner, and that Jesus, the Son of God, died in your place, and accept Him as your Savior. You can accept Jesus as Savior by praying this prayer:

 

Lord, I realize that I am a sinner. Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior now. Please show me your will and help me become the person you want me to be. Amen

 

 

Heaven is God’s home. God is perfect and so heaven is perfect. Nothing imperfect can ever enter heaven – from Revelation 22:14-15.

 

Believe and trust and I will see you there in the by and by.

 

God bless you.