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.
Revelation. Jesus Christ … Revealed! The line is longer to read the latest scandal revealed in the tabloids than this. That said there is no shortage of speculation about what these words mean. “When is the end? “, seems to be the major concern.
In recent years I have been struck by the correlation between the projections for what will occur if the world warms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 degrees on average. At one degree (about where we are now) there begin to be noticeable changes in rainfall, drought, and ocean levels. These events and their effects are daily in the news. However as the global average temperature creeps toward the point of averaging 3 degrees above average (the point where future increases and their effects are irreversible) these effects become increasingly dramatic.
I am certainly no expert on global warming but I have observed a correlation between these effects and the description of the process of world judgment in the second vision of Revelation (4:1 – 16:21). In Revelation 8:7-12 one third of sea life dies, one third of freshwater becomes un-potable, and the heavenly bodies become dimmed in the night sky by one third. I cannot help but see the correlation here to the effects upon our planet of our life here.
No generation since the Revelation of Jesus Christ was given has seen these things. Jesus said, “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28).
We must therefore give greater heed to the things of eternity for we surely have less time than we imagined.
Modern Christianity has a serious problem. It has been hijacked by a consumer culture dedicated to proclaiming what is popular, doing what is fun, and devoted to what makes us feel “ok” about everything. At some point down the road of authentic Christianity, each of us will discover why Jesus said that only those who took up their cross and hated their lives in this world could follow Him.
What we see in our culture today is not true Christianity. It is a hybrid of Christianity and political correctness designed to offend no one. When challenged by the claims of Jesus Christ it will not accept Him or anyone else who insists that He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life.
In looking at the life of Christ we see one which ended in a lonely, painful death. To the multitudes who followed him, the Jewish leaders, and the Roman authorities this is where His story ended. Only those who were empowered by His Holy Spirit ever learned of His resurrected life and The Rest of the Story. As it was then, so it is today. Why should we expect that the world would treat us as His followers any better than they treated Him and His disciples over 2000 years ago?
So – the question becomes this: why follow Him at all? Taken within the context of this world and an earthy life it makes no sense at all. However, Christ teaches us that this world is not our home. His Kingdom, our true Home, begins when this world ends. This is why Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourself riches that rust, get stolen or corrupted. Instead lay up for yourselves true riches that are safe from these things.” The problem is this: there is a big part of us that still wants much of what this world has to offer. We want its acceptance, its love, its opportunities. When we find ourselves in a place where these two worlds collide we come to the valley of decision.
Let’s face it. From the world’s perspective, there is nothing logical about the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The God of the universe left the heavenly realm and took on flesh to save a people who had long ago set their faces and hearts from Him. He became nothing, gave up everything, so that those very same people who were poor and lost could become rich and found. No logic in these things! Why would He do it? It doesn’t make any sense! The answer to the question is a four letter word: Love. Love is not very logical at all when you think about it!
Those who do not love fail to understand those who do. Those who love the things and the ways of this world before the things of God cannot begin to understand the concept of sacrificial living for Christ. They can afford to be logical about all things and to rely on this logic as a compass for their lives. There is nothing else for them, really. They are self endowed paupers dressed in what they think are riches. The problem is that this temporary world we live in with all its illusions is fading fast. A day will soon come when each of us will stand on the other side of eternity. On that day, we will all be stripped bare of rank, title, wealth, prestige, education, logic and whatever other things we have made a god of in this life in place of the Real One. On that day, the nature of our true soul and our utter and complete nakedness will be all too apparent to the only eyes that really matter.
God in love uses times of conflict and difficulties in life to “dress” us better for the life to come. The more He strips us of the things of this world, the more we find the need to “clothe” ourselves in Christ. To the world we may seem afflicted, poor, abandoned (think of Job here!), but as we grow dim in the eyes of the world, we grow ever more lovely in His eyes. God sees each of us as His bride growing ever more radiantly beautiful as we await with great anticipation the day of our rejoining with Him. So much of the Christian world misses the entire point. This life means nothing at all. In every action, every thought, God is moving past this time to the end of the ages and into the beginning of the next. Those who are wise, those who hear His voice, strive not for a legacy to leave here on earth, but rather focus on building one for eternity instead. Amen!