10 Things You Won’t Find in Heaven

29 05 2015

I love my life. There is very little about who I am, where I am, or what I have that I would change. One thing that does color every one of my days, however, is my longing for heaven. Anticipation is a glorious burden. Philippians 3:20-21 reminds us that “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to Himself.” Do you see it? We not only get to go to heaven, He is going to transform everything!

So many things here give us a peek into heaven, but there are some things that remind us that we live in a broken world.  Here is a list of ten everyday things that you won’t find in heaven.

  1. Handicap parking spaces
  2. Kleenex boxes
  3. Medicine bottles
  4. Obituaries
  5. Light bulbs
  6. Pain relievers
  7. Laundry soap
  8. Calendars
  9. Bills
  10. Smoke detectors

My Jesus Resolution today is to let the here and now help me focus on someday. The beauty of today allows me a glimpse into the glory of heaven. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, so those moments give us a taste of the wonderful things God is preparing for us. There are things, however, that should remind us that God has promised a new, whole, unbroken eternal life with Him. As I do my laundry today or reach for a Kleenex, I am going to smile, knowing that these things are temporary. I can’t wait.





Singing in the Rain

27 05 2015

We had a terrible thunderstorm this week. Rain fell in sheets, thunder boomed and rattled the earth, and lightning lit up the sky. It was awesome, a little scary, and left the echoes of God’s words to Job ringing in my ears. “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt…?” (Job 38:25)

Thunderstorms are noisy. There is obviously the thunder, the crack of the lightning, and the pounding rain. The thunder was so intense it set off car alarms. The wind blew through the trees. As we listened to the howling storm outside, my husband noticed a new sound. He told me to be quiet and listen to the sounds below the storm. That’s when I heard it – the frogs were singing in the rain. I smiled. Even here, even now, His creation was praising Him.

Today the sun is shining, but I have not forgotten the lesson of the frogs. It is easier to praise God when the sky is blue, the rainbow is visible, and the way is bright. It is harder in the storm. When the sky is dark, the wind is screaming in my ear, and everything I know feels under attack, praise is often the last thing on my mind. Fear often stomps on my faith. Worry trumps worship, while doubt drowns out delight. The frogs reminded me of the importance of singing through the storm. When the storm hits, God is still sovereign. He is still in control even though I feel completely spun out of control. He still loves me even though storms make me feel isolated and alone. He is still watching over me, making a way for me, even when I can’t see the next step. Singing changes the sound of the storm.

My Jesus Resolution today is to sing in the rain. Choosing to sing in the rain means I make the deliberate decision to praise God even when things are dark and tough. Praise doesn’t necessarily change the fury of the storm, but it does change my focus on the storm. It tells my fear, doubt, and worry that God is bigger than the storm scaring my heart. The frogs taught me that I don’t have to sing louder than the storm – just sing. A quiet whisper of praise will be heard by those who choose to listen.





Celebrate

25 05 2015

Reading through my Bible, I keep coming across an interesting command – celebrate. Over and over, God commands His own to be a people defined, shaped, and identified by celebration. We are to celebrate His movement, His timing, His love, His protection, His mercy, and His provision. Psalm 145:7 says, “They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”

This command has caused me to pause and look hard at my heart. Am I a celebrator? Do my children know that celebrating God’s goodness is going to be a constant priority in our family? Do my friends know that every time we talk, we are going to come around to the marvelous things of God? Do the people I meet through my day walk away with a little bit wider eyes for His movement and His love? Amazingly enough, celebration doesn’t come naturally to us. It has to be rehearsed, practiced, and formed into a habit. But imagine the possibilities if we let celebrating Jesus shape our souls….

Here are three steps to making celebration a holy habit:

  1. Notice God’s movement in your day. Keep your eyes open for things to celebrate – blessings, answered prayers, reminders of God’s promises, His fingerprints on your day.
  2. Stop and say “thank you.” Express your appreciation and offer your praise to God for His love and presence in your day.
  3. Tell someone what God has done for you today. Celebration is meant to be shared. When you share your celebration, it opens your eyes, softens your heart, and multiplies joy in unimaginable ways.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be a celebrator. Celebration has the power to transform my perspective, my priorities, and my prayers. I want my children to have a mom who sees God around every corner, points Him out, and cheers. I want my husband to be encouraged by the way I see God working in him and through him. I want my friends to expect to hear that the best news of the day is the way God is keeping His promises and empowering His purpose in them. Today I am going to celebrate. With all that Jesus has done for me, how can I do anything else?





Courage

22 05 2015

This morning it’s the quiet, solid, determined words of Paul that are speaking perspective and strength into my soul. Listen. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Do you hear it? Paul looks at his struggles, his hardships, his brokenness, and his heartaches and sees God at work in them all. I don’t know what is pulling at your heart today, but I can hold your hand and remind you that God doesn’t waste anything. He uses every moment to draw us deeper into His purpose and more tightly into His love. Grace has the power to weave its way into our desperateness and change our souls. It can be slow. It can be hard. But Paul reminds us that because of Jesus, it is possible to experience joy and abundance right where we are today.

My Jesus Resolution is to be courageous. Fear has a way of making my soul feel like it is filled with cement. Doubt sneaks in, coloring my vision. Weariness just makes me wonder if it is all worth it. Jesus tells me to not lose heart. He is renewing me, igniting hope, instilling love, and infusing peace. He is preparing me for beyond imagination treasures. Often it takes courage to walk through what the day holds, and sometimes that seems overwhelming. I like what Mary Anne Radmacher said, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”





Bird Songs

20 05 2015

I heard them while my eyes were still closed. The sunlight was just beginning to filter through the clouds. As grey melted into pink and gold, their songs grew in intensity as they called to one another from the canopy just outside my window. I have been listening to the birds fill the morning sky with their songs of praises to our God.  There are familiar warbles and new chirps, but what is interesting is just the variety of voices that make up the chorus just outside my window. Together they raise an anthem of praise that proclaims to the world that God is God and there is no one like Him. Individually, they each bring their own note to the table. Together, they become a chorus of worship.

People and birds have something in common. Each of us has our own beauty, own voice, and own way in which God has prepared us to praise Him. Every day I have the opportunity to offer myself in worship. When we come together, our lives blend into a chorus of praise that is unique and lovely as it rises in the world to point others to Christ.

My Jesus Resolution today is to learn from the birds. I am going to take time to listen today. I want to hear how the earth is offering itself in praise. I want to notice how the wind, the birds, the flowers, and the sun all join together to proclaim His name. Then I am going to join them. Let’s fill the earth with His praise. You never know who might be listening to you sing.





Pain

18 05 2015

My son had his tonsils out last week. After years of strep throat, sinus infections, and general misery, the doctor said it was time for them to go. The doctor walked through the procedure, outlined the process of recovery, and warned us about the pain. He was blunt that the days following the surgery would be dominated by discomfort. Despite the warnings, my son was ready to go. Anything had to be better than all the problems with his sinuses.

Then he woke up.

My son made it through the surgery fine. He is expected to make a full recovery. But today he is dealing with the pain. Somehow the warnings about pain never quite capture the reality. His face aches. It hurts to swallow. He has pain medicine, but it has to be taken with food, which, of course, has to be swallowed. He has to endure the pain in order to be able to experience the health he longs to have.

I see myself in his tears. I am infected by sin. In order to bring me to a healthier place, God must remove those pieces of me that belong to the world. Transformation is about more than installing peace, joy, and contentment. If I am going to wear the image of Christ, God is going to have rip out pride, anger, and greed. And it hurts. It is painful to die to self. It is hard to let go of me, and embrace a new way of thinking, walking, talking, and acting. The familiar, even if infected, is comfortable. I have to be willing to give up comfortable in order to experience everything it means to be cherished in Christ.

My Jesus Resolution today is to surrender to the Great Physician. God wants me to be healthy, strong, and shaped for His glory. He will do all that is necessary to form Jesus in me. Even if that means pain. Even if that means asking me to let go of comfort. Even if that means walking through the fire because that is faith is refined. God doesn’t inflict pain unnecessarily, but He does use pain to help us shed the world and take on the image of Jesus.





Counting the Raindrops

15 05 2015

We were watching the news when the tidbit about the rain caused me to take notice and listen. Right now things are a little soggy in my neck of the woods. The ground is drenched. There are puddles in the yard. Baseball teams have cancelled more games than they have played.  So when they mentioned a fast fact about rainfall in my state, I perked up. Ready? In the last week alone, over a trillion gallons of rain water have fallen on the state of Texas. In one week. Over one trillion gallons. That is a one with twelve zeroes. I wonder how many raindrops it takes to make a gallon. Whatever it is, it is a God-sized number

As raindrops continue to hit the roof, we are reminded of the truth that God is blessing us. Through recent years, we have experienced the devastating effects of drought. It is amazing how that time of scarcity has reframed how we see this time of abundance. No one is complaining about the rain. We have a greater appreciation for its power, have a deeper understanding of its necessity, and are looking at the sky with new eyes.

The rain just reminds us of a principle that we see played out in our hearts every day. Grace is sweeter when we run smack into sin. Joy is richer following a period of sorrow. Peace is a marvel during a storm. The balance of God’s world teaches us to seek His face, reach for His hand, and embrace His presence no matter what the moment brings. Sunny days brighten our hearts as we soak in His warmth. Rainy days encourage us to crawl into the comfort of His arms and rest. Either way, we spend the day with Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to be thankful for the rain. Sometimes I tend to roll my eyes about the weather rather than dropping to my knees for the opportunity to see God at work. The rain carries His blessings, as well as the sunshine. I can pray for places and people in our land that thirst for rain. I can remember that there is not a drop of rain that falls without God counting its number and directing its path. And it doesn’t matter if it is a single drop or one trillion gallons, God wants the rain to remind me that He wants to reign in my heart.








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