Monday, March 24, 2014

God's Extreme Makeover - I Can Only Imagine

First i must apologize to you - my readers & friends - for not posting last Monday. Between the pain & sleep deprivation, i just could not focus on anything. But i'm sleeping better now, only it's in the recliner instead of the bed. But at least i'm sleeping.

Yesterday at church, we closed the service with one of my favorite songs, "When We All Get To Heaven" I'm sure that the majority of you know, at least, the chorus....

"When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We'll sing & shout the victory."

When i sing this song, i can't help but imagine being reunited with many loved one who have passed. Plus, meeting my little brother, who had a life span of only a few hours. Maybe this reunion with those i miss is in the forefront of my self conscience, because last Friday was the anniversary of my dad's farm accident, that took his life, 33 years ago. I was an only child & definitely a Daddy's girl. I still miss him every single day.  But enough about that.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

This "old order" is characterized by the debilitating effects of sin, suffering, sorrow, death, mourning, & pain. All of these things will be gone forever! Hallelujah! God will wipe away ALL tears & death will be NO MORE! Now THAT'S a victory!!!

Do you picture yourself in Heaven like this? I do. "When We All Get To Heaven" was written in 1898. I don't think that it's a coincidence that just a little over 100 years later, a song for this age was recorded. In 1999, the group Mercy Me recorded "I Can Only Imagine". Again, i'm sure that most of you at least know the chorus.

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my hear feel,
Will I dance with You, Jesus, or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall,
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all.
I can only imagine."

We CAN ONLY imagine. But i want to share with you a "God Moment" that i had with this beautiful song. Last fall, was when my arthritis really began to get painful. The pain was not 24/7 like it is now, but really was becoming an issue. On the way to church on a beautiful fall Sunday morning, i realized that i had not put the CD of music for the service in my purse. (OHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!) Well, church is about 7 miles away from home in a neighboring town. So hubby got out of the truck at church & i high-tailed it back home. The radio was on our local Christian station & i was singing along, hurrying back home. guessed it..."I Can Only Imagine" cam on the air. I was singing as loud as i could, because i LOVE that song! And i felt the Spirit with me. I KNEW that i would make it home & back to church in time & without incident. Singing the chorus, filled with the Spirit, i KNEW that Jesus was listening. And after the chorus, i also knew that "to my knees will I fall". I have had issues with my knees since High School & i'm not telling you how many years ago that was. I can't remember the last time that i was actually able to get on my knees & pray. But i KNOW that "When We All Get To Heaven"..."on my knees will i fall". What an awesome EXTREME MAKEOVER!

What extreme makeover are you looking forward to the most? As we wait for that time, & live the lives that God has blessed us with, we CAN look forward to that day, that we meet Jesus face to face. Or as the last verse of "When We All Get To Heaven" says....

"Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty will behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold."

See you there!!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Friends Are Blessings & What We Can Do For Them

As most of you know, i've been dealing with physical pain & lack of mobility for awhile now. But do you know that i am very thankful for this affliction? I am! I'm thankful, that i have learned how many people really do care for me & are praying for me. I've always known that i have been blessed by a wonderful circle of friends that have always been a great support system & i thank God for them every day. But i never realized, until recently, how large that circle has grown. I can never thank God enough for so many blessings!

Reflecting on all this today, it made me think of how we pray for our friends. Very often, i just say thank You & ask for God's blessings on them. There's nothing wrong with that. Often, we don't know what's really going on with our friends & that's fine too. God knows. But yesterday, i read something that was placed on my heart to share with you today.

In Colossians, Chapter 1, Paul sends a powerful prayer for his fellow Christians. Now, i don't know how many times i have read this passage. And i'm sure that i am not the only one who may read some scripture & then just go on. But today, i'm asking you today to read this prayer as i did yesterday & i have broken it down just that way.

"...Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you & asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom & understanding.

"And we pray this in order that you may have a life worthy of the Lord & may please Him in every way:

"bearing fruit in every good work,

"growing in the knowledge of God,

"being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance & patience,

"and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

"For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness & brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves

"in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
Colossians 1:9-12 (NIV)

I hope that you felt the power of this prayer as i did.

Yes, we can always go to Jesus in our time of need & in our friends' time of need. We ARE connected to the One who has authority over ALL things....knows ALL things...loves us UNCONDITIONALLY. He wants to hear our hearts' desires, & bless us with His wisdom & strength to walk in His ways. And He wants that for your friends too! Just as you do. Think about someone whose eternal life you are concerned about. Then, using Paul's powerful example, daily pray & petition God to work in that person's life. There are several people that i have been concerned about their eternal life. So, i am vowing to do this - to intercede for some dear friends. And in faith, i KNOW that i'm going to watch & see how God changes their lives & experience the blessings of His good works.

Monday, March 3, 2014

After Stretching - Exercise....Meditation

Last week, i talked about stretching for God. Carving time out of your day for your Bible Study & Prayer Stretches. I pray that you are feeling more Spiritually fit already! Now it's time to really start exercising. Don't worry. You can handle it! Just keep your stretches at the forefront. Those are you basic preparation for you exercising.

This week's exercise is MEDITATION.

"Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the sea of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, 
and on His laws he meditates day & night."
Psalm 1:1-2 (NIV)
By keeping God's word on your heart & in your mind, your reassured that God is right there with you all day long. What a wonderful comfort that is. Knowing that you are never alone.

There are many ways to meditate on God's Word. And it is more simple than it sounds. Do you remember those memory verses from Sunday School &/or Bible School? Yep! That's how to begin. Take time to read a passage of scripture over & over & over again, & memorize all, or part of it. It will always be in your heart. Then quiet your hear & listen. Ask & allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through scripture. Have you every read a passage of scripture that you became emotional about? AWESOME! Allow yourself to feel what God wants you to feel. In an adult Sunday School class, that i used to lead, we were always in awe of how a passage of scripture, can give us a different message at different times in our lives. THAT is allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you through scripture.

"I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your law is within my heart."
Psalm 40:8 (NIV)

If you want to know the will of God for the future, be disciplined. When the time is right, your Spiritual senses will be alert to the perfect will of our loving Father.