I wonder what you have in store for me in heaven

0-BK 7-ShadowOfDeath-Cover-new-MediumWhy would I want to glorify a cross? It’s a hideous instrument of torture by suffocation, taking days to die, and reserved only for hardened criminals?  Because a part of you, Lord God, willingly died on it in my place. Why would I want to glorify the electric chair or a noose or the executioner’s needle? It’s for the most hardened criminals? If a part of you, my Lord, had died on it in my place, I would glorify any of them. I would carry a miniature gold or silver electric chair or noose or needle on a chain around my neck if that is how you died in my place.  I would glory in the electric chair, the noose, the needle. Why? Because it would symbolize what you did to save me from hell and allow me into the safety of your heavenly home.  All because you took my punishment for me, paid the ransom, and set me free. How I worship you.

Thank you, Lord, for modern forms of communication. I remember only hand-written or typed letters, the smudged newspaper, radios with a lot of static in them, messy mimeograph machines, and telephones that had to be plugged in at home. Everything was so slow and even slower if a message went to the other side of the world. Methods were slow then, but I thought they were fast. I did not comprehend fast, so I appreciated what I had. Now I have instant everything ~ telephones I can carry around with me and the internet. I can communicate all over the world instantly. Thank you. It helps me a  bit to understand how you can hear everyone all over the world at once. But only a little bit. This whole communication thing is mind boggling, Lord. I wonder what you have in store for me in heaven.

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Follow your heart

The scripture for today, December 3 (12/3), is Romans 12:3 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

0-Titus-Cover-Medium“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

The context of this verse is members of a congregation getting along with each other. He explains that each person is given certain gifts such as serving, teaching, encouraging, contributing, and so on (12:6-8).

Within congregations, disagreements can come about because one person has an idea about a good work, and someone else has a different idea about it, and still, someone else says some other good work should be done. All sincerely believe their way is the best form of outreach, and each wants  a committee to be formed to carry it out. Then egos tend to get involved.

Perhaps the best way to judge whether you are thinking of yourself more highly than you ought, is to ask yourself this:  If I moved away or if I died, would this congregation survive without me? Of course, it would.  Keep praying, Lord, help me see myself as others do.

It does not matter if you can get a committee formed to help you.  If your heart is set on a certain good work, you can always do it alone. You do not need a committee.  If your heart is truly set, stop waiting for others whose hearts may be on something else. If your heart is truly set, get out and do it.

Perhaps others will see your results and want to join you later. Perhaps not. Just keep following your heart. Be true to your heart. Be true to the souls that will be helped because you got out there and just did it.

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You invite me to sing a song with you

My soul takes flight, my God, and soars to your throne. I leap from star to star in wonder. I arrive at your gate of priceless pearl and it is opened for Silver Cover-KINDLE-thumbnailme. I rush up your street of gold and purity, lined with the tree of life until I see ahead of me ~ ah, I see ahead of me your throne. There, in tears of love and rapture, I bow at your wounded feet. The feet that were impaled in agony in my place. You reach down and place your hand ~ the nail-pierced hand ~ under my chin so I can look at your lovely face. I ask your forgiveness once again as I have so many times in my life for my many sins. You smile and wipe away my tears, then invite me to sing a song with you.  What joy. What unimaginable joy.

I was sad and you became sorrowful with me. I was overjoyed and you celebrated with me. I was tired and you rested with me. I was energetic and you ran with me. I was bereaved and you grieved with me. I was confused and you pondered with me. I was awestricken and you marveled with me. My Lord, you treat me as though I am the only person in the world. You are everywhere at once. You are in my heart, my spirit, my soul. Thank you for being God of the universe.

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He’s still out there, still beautiful, still suave, and still lying.

The scripture for today, November 30 (11/30), is Proverbs 11:30 as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:

Road to Heaven-COVER-KINDLE-MEDIUM“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”

Remember back in the Garden of Eden? Going by the age of their three sons, Adam and Eve were in the Garden close to one hundred years.  Instead of centering on what they did wrong, look at what they did right.  They were sinless for nearly a century! Hardly any of us can accomplish that in 100 minutes.

Just think. Walking through a garden lush with the beauty of holiness.  Walking through a garden with the water of life to drink. Walking through a garden with God (materialized) himself.

How many times did that snake Satan, raise himself up like a king’s scepter and perhaps with a crown of gold and ruby on his head, make his way gracefully through the garden, laughing and enjoying the company of newly made humans? How many times did he coil up his tail like a maelstrom spiraling through the heavens full of light and beauty as he watched the couple enjoy the fruit of the garden? How many times did this magnificent creature sway back and forth, back and forth as cobras do as he spoke hypnotic words to make them feel like gods?

“Oh, look at the fruit on that tree over there? God told you never to touch it, but God is wrong.  Go ahead. Touch it. That’s right. Did anything bad happen to you? Of course not, because God is wrong.  How about touching it with your lips? That’s right. You’re not really eating it. You’re just touching it. Smell it too. Have you ever smelled anything so wonderful? God doesn’t want you to have it. He knows you will learn what evil is and then be as smart as him. God is jealous of you. Go ahead. Take a tiny bite. It won’t hurt you.  See there? Are you dead like he said you would be? No. You are still alive. God is a liar. I am the only one who tells you the truth. I am on your side. God hates you. Sure, go ahead and take another bite, and Adam might like some too.  It’s harmless. Do not believe anything God says. He hates you. I am the only one who loves you.”

How many thousands of times did Adam and Eve chase him off, only to have him back in their lives a few hours later? How many thousands of times did they try to resume what they were doing and try to put him out of their minds? How many times did they do it right? One stumble was all the enemy needed.

That was a long time ago. Now the Tree of Life, which God withheld from Adam and Eve, is in heaven waiting for them. Waiting for you.

And as you wait, win souls.  Snatch them out of the beautiful flower-strewn web of mankind’s enemy number one. He is still out there, still beautiful, still suave, and still lying.

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But when, Lord?

The scripture for today, November 29 (11/29), is Matthew 11:29f as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

Applied Christianity“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Ah, Lord Jesus. I am so weary worn.  It seems everything that could ever go wrong in my life is happening right now. Just when I think I have one problem at least partly under control, another raises its ugly head. Or should I say Satan raises his ugly head?  Satan, why are you doing this to me? It is you who is causing all the diseases and problems at work, and the car wreck and progressive blindness.  Was it you who set me up in that posh job which you knew was never popular in the company and would only cause me grief? Was this new house I bought with my pay raise worth it after all?

I am so tired. Help me, God.  I don’t know which way is up anymore. God?  I’m calling for you. God? Don’t you even care?

“Let’s trade, my child. I’ll take your burdens, and you take mine.”

But, Lord, I do not understand. What could your burdens possibly be? You’re all comfortable in heaven.

“My child, my burden is to reach out to everyone and tell them how much I love them. My burden is to take their burdens on my shoulders. You can do it too. You can write encouraging messages to my children every day. You can open up the newspaper and pray for everyone in it by name. You can call someone who is depressed like you and sing them a sweet song.”

But when, Lord? When would I find time?

“Use your brooding time, your crying time, your anger time. Let loose of them so I can brood, cry, and be angry for you. Remember, it’s a trade.”

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