I remember looking up excitedly as I saw the new International Space Station passing right overhead! That was more than a decade ago now. This morning at precisely 6:43 am I looked up and, for the first time since then saw it pass over again, right on schedule. Since I first looked up more than 200 visitors have been to the ISS while its odometer has approached the two billion mile mark! Since I first saw the ISS it has passed within my sight over 2, 700 times and not one time have I looked up to see it until today.
I have to admit though that while the ISS has circled the globe over 75,920 times I haven’t really thought much about it. For me it has been ‘out of sight and out of mind’. But though I have not been aware of it, looked up to see it, or thought much about it, none of this changed the activity, research or impact of the ISS on the nations and crews with their families who have actively worked with it.
Late one night in a conversation never to be forgotten Jesus chastened a very religious man, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? … But if you don’t even believe me when I tell you about things that happen here on earth, how can you possibly believe me if I tell you what is going on in heaven?” (John 3:10-12) Just because we are unaware of what God is doing in the world and in people all around us it doesn’t mean He is not busily working in all sorts of ways!
My prayer for all of us is that the ‘eyes of our heart’ will be opened to become more aware of the God all around us who always has been, who is and who will always be. (Revelation 1:8) It is only through knowing Him that we shall always be.
The thought was overwhelming. Although I was driving I took my phone out of my pocket to call my wife who was several counties away for an appointment. At that very moment I saw she was calling me. Now I had forgotten to take my phone out of its silent mode and I had not been aware of the incoming call.
Although the call was not an emergency, it was a reminder in a wonderful way of God’s very presence inside me. “Into my heart, into my heart. Come into my heart Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay. Come into my heart Lord Jesus!” I still remember learning that song as a child. I remember believing it as I asked the Lord Jesus to come in.
It has taken a lifetime from that moment so long ago to appreciate how powerful a change this has made on my life. God is truly our Great Friend, unlike any other. He consoles, guides, promises, protects, chides, disciplines, encourages. He loves!
In my life as this wonderful Friendship has grown I have long lost count of the many ways He has done these things. I cannot imagine a life without Him! My greatest concern is displeasing Him. I know that I am far from perfect and that I do displease Him at times. It is at those times, when I realize I have gone astray in some way that my heart breaks and I run as fast as I can back to Him. How thankful I am for His many wonderful promises! “I will never (ever) leave you!” “Your sins and transgressions I will remember no more” “I will come and I will receive you to myself” “I am with you always, even to the end of this age.” And they go on.
As I said, I cannot imagine life without Him. Into my heart He came. In my heart He stays. Have you asked? Do you believe it? If you don’t I would love to talk with you and tell you so many, many stories of how good, how faithful, how wonderful is this, the greatest of all Friendships. It is an offer to everyone no matter who you are or what you have done.
Walking our dog after the rain had swept through I noticed, caught in the shrubs along the drainage ditch plastic shopping bags caught in their branches. Looking more closely I realized that most of them had been there for some time, dirty, tattered, deteriorating from sun, mud, wind and rain. They have no value.
Later in the day after paying for my purchase the sales clerk placed in another plastic bag not unlike those along the ditch back. That bag placed on the seat of my car continued to serve a purpose. That bag contained something important and was needed until the contents were safely home.
With a new year has come the ever renewed resolution to take better care of our bodies. In some ways our bodies are like those plastic bags. Their real value is not in the bag but in what they contain. Our bodies are NOT us. Our bodies DO serve the purpose of containing “us”, holding us, keeping us alive in this world and able to do what we were put here to do.
Sooner or later, these bodies fulfill their responsibility and are set aside. We call this death, passing away, or just “passing”. We may spend a moment looking at them but then they begin the same journey as those abandoned bags along the bank.
Resolutions to work on our bodies are important. But infinitely more important is the care of our souls, the contents of “the bag”. Feed the body. Feed the soul.
Sand blowing on the Kelso Dunes, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Permanent Change of Station” or PCS is what we called it in the military when we were assigned to a new location. “Temporary Duty Assignment” or TDY is what we called it when we were only to be there for days or a few months. When TDY I sometimes stayed in a tent, an old WWII barracks and even a spare bunk in the bottom of a ship. We learned to ‘make do’ because it was just for a little while and then we would be back home. Home. That was where our family, friends, regular meals, car and all the things that made life more fulfilling were.
Being in war games out in the Mojave Desert many years ago, living out of a duffle bag at the end of my cot, I was thankful not to have too many things to try to keep up with because there wasn’t room for them. They would have gotten in the way of my job and besides all that the desert wasn’t my home assignment.
Christmas is about a permanent, PCS assignment. This world is a temporary, TDY assignment. Things didn’t start out that way. God set up the Garden of Eden to be a permanent place but then we messed that up. From that day to this our world has become a TDY assignment.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem to die and change all that. His death was the price for a PCS assignment out of this world where there would be no pain, suffering, sickness, poverty or death. For most of us Christmas is not the idealistic painting of a perfect life in a perfect family in a perfect village. For most of us, the celebrations are merely a pause, or not even that, along what can be a grueling journey of life. Thanks be to God that the Reason for the Season is that we now have a way out of this temporary assignment. When Christ returns or our body dies, our trust in Him brings with it orders for a Permanent Change of Station!