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Friday, April 19, 2013

Life Giving Stories – Being Ready

            What do you live for?  It’s a pretty important question and the answer drives everything we do.  Different seasons of our life get us thinking about different ends.  When we are young, we live for fun, success, or fame.  In the middle years we begin to live for successful children and a secure retirement.  In retirement we can, interesting enough, come full circle and live for fun, doing what we want, having experiences that are meaningful.
            One of the beliefs of the Christian faith is creation had a beginning and it will have an end.  God was in control of the beginning and God will be in control of the ending.  At the end of this life though, there is a life that is promised for eternity.  And there are two options for eternal life – one option is eternity with God enjoying his glory.  It isn’t about harps and clouds and white robes.  It is about joy beyond our imagination, peace that can’t be disturbed, and love deeper than we could have thought.  We don’t know exactly what eternity with God will be like but think about it this way – what is the most pleasurable, enjoyable, peaceful, exciting, fun, adventurous experience you have ever had – multiply the intensity of that experience a thousand-fold and you get a small sense of life with God.
            There is another option as well.  It is eternity without God.  We don’t know what that means exactly either but it will be exactly opposite of eternity with God.  Life with God is a life of light, peace, joy, love and hope.  Life without any of that seems quite torturous.  It isn’t a very pleasant thought.
            “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13, ESV)   How would it change your today if you lived with this perspective of forever?  How would it change how you talk to the people in your life?  How would it change the way you spend your money?  How would it change the way you spend your free time?  What you live for?
            Confession time:  Most of the time I’m quite “today” oriented.  I’m caught up in work and bills and kids and cars and…, and…., and…  Can you relate?
            Everything is going to come to an end some day.  I believe it is more likely we will come to an end on this earth before this earth comes to an end but the result is the same – we’ll stand face to face with Jesus.  Are you ready?
            There is a great chapter in the Bible where Paul tries to help people understand the other side of eternity.  In 1 Corinthians 15 he is comforting the church with the promise of an eternity with God.  At the end of it all he moves back to today with these words:  “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV)
            Paul tells us, in light of eternity, work for Jesus today.  And everything you do for Jesus will not be without reward. 

Dear Jesus, I do not know when you are coming again but I believe you are.  In the mundane details of my life today, lift my eyes to see your greater purposes.  Help me to live for you today and be a conduit of your love wherever you put me.  Thank you for your grace to carry me through.  Amen.

Peace and grace,

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