Monday, January 7, 2013

Looking Forward to the Things of Heaven More than Ever!

This morning as I was drinking coffee and spending time in God's Word I read a passage in Isaiah that forced me to think about my God,
"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: "I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself...." (Isaiah 44:24)
and
"I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)
Immediately after reading this I'm thinking back to a Psalm that also blew me away,
"The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble." (Psalm 16:1-4)
I'm reading all of this thinking about C.S. Lewis story The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe where Susan asks Mr. Beaver, in regards to Aslan, "Is he safe?" and Mr. Beaver's reply was quite extraordinary, "Who said anything about safe? Course he isn't safe. But he is good." In this one tiny portion of the story, Lewis explained Christ absolutely perfectly! For a long time I sat thinking about this concept of God being safe vs good, and I became frustrated. "WHY? Why do you create calamity? Why do you allow bad things to happen? Why would you create evil? Why? Why? Why? How does creating calamity and evil make you good?"

Here I was questioning GOD!  So, I decided to keep reading, hoping an answer would come to me, and BAM, this verse hit me like a ton of bricks,
"Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles?' Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' or to a woman, 'With what are you in labor?' (Isaiah 45:9-10)
Ok, ok, ok. You're right God! You are the potter. I am the clay. You created the heavens, the earth, and me! I have no right to question what you have created, with or without handles, because you have created whatever you have created, for YOUR purpose. I am merely living in your world.

I love that verse because a potter, for example, can create a pot for whatever purpose he so desires. Who's to stop him from creating one pot for evil and one pot for good? He created it, right? So that's his right, right? After all this thinking, I was reminded of a quote from our pastor, "Once you have created something out of nothing, then you can make your own rules! Until then you live on His earth for His purpose! Deal with it!"

This concept of God is so new to me. We spend so much time talking about His love, His faithfulness, His kindness to His people, that we never stop in our busy lives to read about what God says about Himself! He IS all those things (loving, kind, faithful)! But holy camoly - He is not safe.

He is perfect.

He is good.

His knowledge far surpasses my measly brain. So I reminded myself, to not think for an instant, that I am safe! He knows my heart, is He #1 in it ALL of the time?

No.

Dang it! Yesterday I was only thinking of my family! The day before my daughter was #1, I've been guilty of putting my husband before Him. I've spent so much time thinking about, 'if only I could take this to heaven with me, or this, or this!' He knows all of this and yet He chose to die for me! So I need to do as it says in Romans,
"... confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)
because I know that through Jesus is the only way to life,
"... there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Well, you can't get much more explicit than that. So I am sitting here evaluating my own heart.

Is HE #1?

ALL

THE

TIME?

Do I go to Him first for my problems? Can I allow my problems (that HE CREATED) to draw me closer to Him? To teach me? To refine my faith? To force me to look upwards, to the things of Heaven and NOT the things of earth?

So I began thinking about heaven and being with Him. What will that be like? The Bible talks about Jesus being the husband coming back for His bride (the people who believe in Him whole heartedly) and I was thinking about being His bride and a flood of emotions poured over me. I was drawn to tears as I sat thinking about sitting on His lap listening to stories. Holding His hand as we go for a walk. Leaning my head on His shoulder, knowing that He loves me more than anyone on this earth could possibly love me! So why on earth do I put the things of this earth before Him? Who could love me as He loves me? Who would give His own life for me? Who would endure the agony He endured for me? Who has His knowledge, His understanding? Who created love in the first place? As I continued thinking about this I began to praise Him all the more. The more I praise Him, the more I read about Him, the more I understand Him, the more I can't wait to worship Him in heaven. After the events of this last October, I've been thinking about heaven more and more. I'm evaluating my own heart, daily. I came so close to meeting Jesus, and the more I read about Him, the more I look forward to Heaven!

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