Christmas Has Its Cradle

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Christmas Has Its Cradle

by Rae E Whitney

Christmas has its cradle, where a Baby cried;

Did the lantern’s shadow show Him crucified?

Did He foresee darkly His life’s willing loss?

Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its cross.

Christmas has its cradle, shepherds came to see

Little Son of Mary Lamb of God to be;

Had His Father warned Him, none would grant Him room

Save in the Christmas cradle and in the Easter tomb?

Christmas has its cradle, Wise men came to bring

Myrrh and gold and incense, offerings for a King;

Myrrh alone stayed with Him, death’s balm for this Boy,

From the Christmas cradle and to His Easter joy.

Christmas has its cradle, where that Baby cried;

In the Easter garden, Christ lay, crucified;

When death’s power was conquered, God’s life through Him poured;

Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its Lord!

We celebrate Christmas in part for the manger, and in whole for the empty tomb. The One who came as the greatest gift wasn’t fully delivered until He finished the work He came to do: to seek and to save the lost. To take the punishment of mankind’s sins upon Himself then defeat death and conquer the grave. Hallelujah He is risen indeed makes provision for us to sing oh holy night and proclaim good tidings of great joy!

Christmas most likely finds many, if not most of us, weary of the sin-filled world where death temporarily stings and where Jesus’ rule has not yet been eternally established.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

And so, even as we celebrate Jesus’ first coming, we look towards His coming again when God’s Kingdom will reign in the new Heaven and new earth. Where all will be full of truth, beauty, and good. Where we can be joy-filled forever and live holy as He is holy. Where we can see face to face and know Him even as we are fully known by Him. Where we can live at peace with men and nature. Where all is reestablished aright.

Even so, come Lord Jesus, come!

May we ever strain our eyes towards Jesus and Heaven. May we major on the people and the work that is important, and minor on the mirage of material possessions, status, and striving for fleeting pleasures. May we live as Christ. Lord Jesus, help us to do so!

Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its Lord…

Merry Christmas,

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Homeland: Until We’re There

Homeland Part 3

He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

~O’Holy Night

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:14, ESV)

We find find ourselves waking to a world akin to the setting Christ entered into over 2,000 years ago. He came to bring peace and redeem lost mankind; even now, especially now, the Prince of Peace is needed on this earth.

The hopeful message of Christmas is that God became man and sympathizes with our weaknesses, our daily needs, and the temptations that are common to man. He is no stranger to the sting of death, separation from loved ones, betrayal, want, and the disappointment of broken relationships and broken people. Christ knows that rejoicing in darkness is impossible apart from the Light of the world; so He came to deliver the Light–Himself–for all mankind. (See John 1:9-13)

He is the Light that gives birth to the sons and the daughters of God. He is the Light that pierces the darkness with the full knowledge of how the darkness bears weight on all mankind. Jesus drew near to us so that we could draw near to the Father. How are we to press on in the meantime? How do we live until we reach our Homeland?

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Hebrews 4:15, ESV)

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11-12, ESV)

So, until we reach our Homeland, until we cross the threshold of time and space to Heaven and eternity, Christ sets the example for us to follow. He gives us a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12) to imitate their faith and patience so we may inherit the promises of God–eternal life through Christ Jesus.

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:14-16, ESV)

He knows our needs, and to our weaknesses He is no stranger. Behold our King this Christmas season and before Him lowly bend. God is with us and if He is with us and for us, then none shall stand against us.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

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Will I Be in Heaven?

 Will I Be in Heaven

Many people believe that they are “good people.” Failing to compare ourselves to God, we can always find someone worse than us. Like Pilate (See Matthew 27 :24-26), we wash our hands of Jesus blood when our pride says, “I have not sinned, I am a good person.”

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

~Romans 3:23-24

So if no one is truly good, then who will be in Heaven?

Jesus did not drink the cup of God’s wrath for good people. Rather, when sin entered the world through Eve and Adam eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, good people ceased to exist. All people thereafter became fallen, sinful, lost people separated from their Creator by our sin nature. Christ drank the cup of God’s wrath against sin so that fellowship between God and man could be restored for eternity.

Do you have a hard time thinking of children as sinful? Consider, we are sinful from birth because of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. One example of children’s sin nature, we do not teach children to lie, but rather to be truthful even when consequences of punishment are at stake.

Christ’s sacrifice is not a blanket forgiveness for all people. His blood sacrifice provides forgiveness of sins for those who repent, turn from their sin in confession and action, and believe on Christ Jesus for salvation.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. ~Romans 10:9-10

In Matthew 27:25, the priests and onlookers shouted out that Christ’s blood be on them and on their children. However, His blood is on each of our hands as we have all sinned against God.

The only way to Heaven is through faith and forgiveness in and through the person of Jesus Christ. Following our conversion experience, the act of putting our trust in Christ to save us and repenting from our sin, our lives tell the story of our eternal change:

Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God. (1John 3:7-10)

 

 Thank you dear friends for joining me on this final post in the six-part series on Heaven. I dearly look forward to His return and the beginning of eternity in the New Heaven and New Earth. Until then, we will live in our temporary home with an eye to the eternal.

God bless you and keep you,

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Will My Pets Be in Heaven?

Will My Pets be in Heaven

Furry puppies, kitten-paws, and the horse’s mane possess a common denominator for me, they all have the ability to ignite an allergic reaction of hives, itchy-watery eyes, and a runny nose. To say I am an animal person would be the falsehood of any day of the year. Yet I love to witness animals and their ways.

 My family never tires of looking for deer in our neighborhood or feeding the horses apples while visiting family in Alabama. I have laughed with friends at an occasional cat, YouTube video or  Pinterest mime as well. However, when a person mourns the death of their pet, it is total sympathy not empathy that I offer. I don’t have a personal connection with any animal. Sorry pet lovers… please keep reading!

The beautiful animals that God created from the dust of the ground and with the breath of life as an initial offering of companionship to Adam share commonalities with man given by our Creator. First that we were all formed from the dust of the ground and with the breath of life. (Genesis 2:18-20) Next, our DNA is similar in that all living organisms have DNA strands or sequences made up of differing combinations of four chemical bases: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). These chemical bases are combined in differing codes which combinations are found in all the living organisms we observe today. Just like the alphabet we use to form words and produce differing languages, the chemicals are not what separate us from the animals,  but the exact combinations which produce different animal kinds and mankind. Finally, reproduction and gestation are primarily the same for mammals with the exception of the time of gestation differing between animal kind.

With all these similarities between mankind and animal kind there remain a few significant differences that place humans above animals. The primary difference is that God made mankind in His image and to rule over the animals of the earth:

The God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26, NLT)

To be created in the image of God is to possess the ability to love, be holy, communicate through a spoken language, to think, reason, create, desire immortality, have freedom of will, and possess a spirit that remains when our body dies. Because the Lord is a Spirit He had to take on a bodily form in the man of Christ. The highest of His creation, man, also possess a spirit that will be judged at the time of death.  Consider reading more here and here.

Secondly, that Christ left Heaven and came to earth to save mankind from His sins. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost of mankind. When Eve and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3, the result was the curse of death on all of creation and the entrance of sin into the world. Additionally, some animals which were all herbivores in the beginning became carnivores and omnivores post fall of mankind. This is pertinent here because we see animal kind affected by sin of man and the fall as well. However, we never see Jesus say that He came to save animals from their “sin” although He will make all things new when He comes again. (Revelation 21:5) Christ didn’t explicitly come to save animals and restore their relationship with God for eternity. He came for us.

So, what about animals? Will they be in Heaven? My answer is assuredly yes, some form of animals will be in Heaven based on the teachings of the scriptures. Consider the “living creatures” or animals that are” giving glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne” (Revelation 4:8-9) Additionally, God’s declaration that, “all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. Every bird of the mountains and all the animals of the field belong to me.” (Psalm 50:10-11, NLT) Horses are mentioned throughout Revelation and in conjunction with taking people to Heaven. Consider Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) or that the armies of Heaven ride on horses (Revelation 19:11-14). Finally, a favorite passage in Isaiah 11:7-12 we read of harmonious living between herbivorous animals (like the original creation of Eden) and man. Animals, some of which are presently carnivorus, including: bears, cobras, lions, lambs, goats, leopards, wolves, and cows.

I have no doubt that animals will be in Heaven, and assurance based on the accounts recorded by John in Revelation that some will be talking animals. (Revelation 4) However, we have no promises in God’s word that the animals which will fill Heaven’s streets and skies will be our own pets made new. Conversely, to this last point, God is the giver of all good and perfect gifts and He possess the power and the freedom to recreate your pets into a heavenly form.

The bottom line concerning pets and Heaven is this, God has created the animals for man’s enjoyment, for man to rule over, and for them to bring glory to their Creator. God loves the animals and mankind He created and declared His original creation to be very good. When the New Heaven and New Earth are established, God will produce an Eden-like experience once again and the inclusion of animals will be a part of that. Your relationship of companionship with animals on earth is a foretaste of the divine.

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What Activities Await in Heaven?

What activities await in heaven

The children followed, somehow able to move against the thundering flow. Nothing like this was possible in the old world.

“Further up and further in!” Were the words spoken? Or were their hearts shouting from within?

They reached a golden gate that suggested the beginning of an even greater discovery.

~C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

Many a cartoon has depicted heaven as a place where we will sit on clouds of white and strum harps for eternity. However, the God who created the universe, galaxies,  and starry hosts, in addition to carving canyons, raising mountains, and flooding grassy plains with wildflowers seems a bit more apt to consider an eternity of harp playing even more mundane and pointless than we would.

God is the greatest artist, most well-known author (the Bible is the number one best selling book of all time), the all-knowing scientist, judge of all, and Master of the time, space, and matter He created in every way.

Because we are created in the image of God, we are then able to create, design, and imagine even in our fallen state. The New Heaven and New Earth will contain elements of the earth we now know: art, worship in music, song, and dance, perhaps building, decorating, designing, and instruction.

Simply because we will know God for who He is and comprehend His greatness and majesty in a way that is veiled to us at present doesn’t mean that we will know every craft and trade and possess all knowledge to complete jobs. Perhaps in Heaven we will learn new trades by which we can benefit our heavenly society and magnify God.

While the absence of crime, death, and decay will necessarily delete some jobs from Heaven (physicians, dentists, police and firefighters), not all levels of judiciary are swept away. Consider, many verses concerning heaven state that the saints will rule the universe, judge the angels, and that the Lord will appoint the rulers and authorities of heaven in accordance with His will and our faithfulness. (See Mark 10:40, Luke 19:11-27, 1 Corinthians 6:3

All this talk of jobs may have you thinking that Heaven may instead be a place of all work and no play. Nonsense!!! I should hope not. I must tell you that I am looking forward to heavenly recreation as well. Hiking, kayaking, sports, and horseback riding may be just a few of the recreational enjoyments that await. One difference in heaven is that our work will not be toil but an outward working of enjoyment and worship. An outworking of our mind and body minus the hope deflating struggle we battle spiritually and physically on fallen earth.

Consider the following words of King David:

In Your presences is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” ~Psalm 16:11

God has the best yet to come for us in Heaven as perfect relationship and dominion over His creation will be restored.

The God who created us to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) will not cancel this purpose when he resurrects us to inhabit the new universe (Luke 19:11-27). ~Randy Alcorn, Heaven

Perhaps you will spend time in study seeking what the scriptures have to say regarding Heaven and the activities that await. Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, sections seven and twelve go much deeper on these subjects if you would like further reading. He also has multiple quotes from other resources that will direct you further in your study.

Looking forward to all that awaits us in Heaven,

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Relationships in Heaven

Relationships in Heaven

One of the things I most look forward to in heaven is a restored relationship between man. Here on earth we have striving, jealousy, dissensions, miscommunications, misunderstandings, and a selfish pride that impedes our ability to live in unity with one another despite our best efforts and good intentions.

In heaven we will no longer hold the title or relationship of husband and wife (See Mark 12:18-27, 22:23-32), I am unsure of mother and father, but assuredly we will all be brothers and sisters united by the blood of Christ. To press further the matter of no spouses in heaven, Jesus says that we will be like the angels. As far as my study has taken me, there is no reference to angels procreating in the Bible. In fact, it is unknown if they possess the anatomy to have sexual relations. Earth and this temporary life are the only place where we can join together in marriage and the full consummation of physical oneness.

Marriage is a relationship only enjoyed on this earth and set up to paint a picture of Christ loving His church. The relationship I now enjoy with Ron will be even richer in the life to come as I see him the way that Christ sees him and as we live in perfect holiness together. I can only love him as a wife in this life, but I will love him as the brother he is in Christ in the next.

Heaven will bear the fruit of relationships that are always mutually edifying and pleasing unto God.

I eagerly anticipate the holy communion with God, and my fellowman. Relationships that bring me joy here on earth will only grow richer in the absence of evil and the presence of the deepest desire of my soul…God.

Paul writes of the believers he preached to and encouraged in Thessalonica:

What is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)

Paul eagerly anticipated heaven and living in the continual presence of the Lord Jesus. Here we see he also deeply desired and enjoyed the relationship he had established with the believers in His ministry.

We can desire Heaven for the ultimate relationship it will bring with God and the fulfillment of perfect relationships with fellow believers: familial, friend, and all of God’s children. People we have ministered with, too, as well as those we have been the recipient of in ministry and friendship will eternally dwell in unity in Heaven.

This brings me such joy to think of the eternity I will experience building upon the richer relationships that began on earth and the promise of rich relationships to come: relationships with saints I haven’t even met yet. Best friends, minus the jealousy of others, are awaiting discovery in heaven! That is a rich reward to anticipate.

Life beyond cannot mean impoverishment, but the enhancement and enrichment of life as we have known it here at its best.~W. Graham Scroggie

Dear friends, it is impossible for me to cover in 500 words what eagerly awaits us in heaven in the area of relationships. I encourage you to study the scriptures and some of the books that abound on the topic of heaven for more information. I hope that today’s post has spurred your thinking and anticipation of the joys that await us in the Celestial City.

Seeking Heaven with You,

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Seeking Heaven

Seeking Heaven

Heaven, an eternal destination described in the scriptures yet a seeming mystery to man. Even so, the bible teaches that we are to set our minds on it:

Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1)

The Greek word translated “set your hearts on” is zeteo, which “denotes man’s general philosophical search or quest.” It is a diligent, active, single-minded investigation. So we can understand Paul’s admonition in Colossians 3:1 as follows: “Diligently, actively, single-mindedly pursue the things above”–in a word, Heaven. (Randy Alcorn, Heaven, pp. 20-21)

If we are to seek Heaven, why does the Bible seem so vague on what it will look like? Let’s consider the following:

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

I agree, the scriptures seem a bit vague on what Heaven will look like, but perhaps that is because I have not searched them, studied them. Perhaps I haven’t sought Heaven. Additionally, heaven is a place for which the only reference point we have is our present earth.

The Holy Spirit will show us God’s deep secrets to the degree our finite time and space bound minds can fathom. With that in mind, join me on a 6 part series seeking to understand Heaven as our eternal home.

First, we need to address the topic of the present heaven and the eternal heaven for these are two different points of reference.

When a Christ-follower dies he or she is immediately in the presence of God. We know this for certain as Paul tells us that to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) Additionally, as Christ spoke to the repentant thief on the cross, “And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Paradise, or the present heaven, is where Christ-followers go when they die prior to the second coming of Christ.

The word paradise comes from the Persian word pairidaeza, meaning “a walled park” or “enclosed garden.” It was used to describe the great walled gardens of the Persian king Cyrus’s royal palaces. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Greek word for paradise is used to describe the Garden of Eden. Later, because the Jewish belief that God would restore Eden, paradise became the word to describe the eternal state of the righteous, and to a lesser extent, the present Heaven. (Randy Alcorn, Heaven, p. 55)

Could it be that paradise or the present Heaven is the Garden of Eden? Perhaps. But the scriptures simply do not say.

My first question to this idea is, did God rescue Eden from the destruction of the earth during the world-wide flood? Did God take Eden up into heaven to be paradise or the present Heaven? The scriptures do not say this. However the Bible does tell us that Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden so that they would not eat from the tree of life and live forever. (Genesis 3:22-23) In the eternal Heaven man will live forever and Revelation tells us that two trees of life will be used to heal the nations. (Revelation 22:1-5) Thus implying a restored Eden of sorts.

Our God is a master storyteller and only He knows the answer to the question of the Garden of Eden’s fate with certainty.

After the final judgment (see Revelation 20:11-15) of all men and their works, God will create a new Heaven and a new earth in which God will make His home among His people.(Revelation 21:3) The New Jerusalem , the holy city, will be God’s eternal home to share with His people forever.

In closing, here are some physical descriptions of the eternal Heaven:

  • There will be no sea. (Revelation 21:1)
  • There will be no sun or moon for God illuminates the city. (Revelation 21:23)
  • There will be no night. (Revelation 22:25)
  • The holy city will be surrounded by a great wall made of jasper (with 12 foundation stones made of exquisite gems) and twelve gated entrances made each of a single pearl and guarded by angels. Three gates will be on each side of the square city and each will bear one of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Revelation 21:12-13,18)
  • The wall of the city has twelve foundation stones, and on them are the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Revelation 21:14)
  • There will be streets of pure gold like glass. (Revelation 21:21)
  • There will be a river flowing through the city from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the main street. (Revelation 22:1-2)
  • No evil will be allowed to enter the city. (Revelation 21:27)
  • No temple will be in the eternal Heaven for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22)

Seeking the things above with you,

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The Changing of Seasons

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The fall, a time of tailgating, football, pumpkin treats, and the fading smell of freshly sharpened pencils. This fall finds our family at more soccer games than football because our Emily is playing Upward Soccer with her good Coach Dad.

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This fall also finds us saying goodbye to Little E for four days a week as he goes off to visit his biological parents respectively. I am fighting this one however as any sane person will admit that a two and a half year old boy needs a steady home…not a rotation of three. The joys and struggles of foster care are abundant this harvest season. However, this little boy is abundantly worth both the joys and struggles we sow in hopes of an eternal harvest of joy.

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From the acorn caps scattered under our feet to the delicious caramel apples gathered in the grocery store, signs of fall are everywhere.

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Finally, as the fall season approaches on the 22nd of September, the fall of man also is on full display… everywhere. Diagnosis after diagnosis, declaration of judges in federal and local courts, and a call to weapons of war resound in our ears constantly reminding us that this earth is in a state of decay.

As we face the decay of life, season after fleeting season, we must remember the hope to which we are called. Ponder the hope of a new heaven and a new earth. We are to seek the changing of the eternal seasons from finite time to the infinite realization of relationship between God and man. We long for the return of God’s created order to earth. We long to see the miraculous a midst the fall.

We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of the natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order. The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that he has power but also wonderful foretastes of what he is going to do with that power. Jesus’s miracles are not just a challenge to our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming. (Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, p. 99, emphasis mine)

This season as we tromp crunch, crunch, crunch through the dead and decaying leaves, let’s also look up and admire the blazing colors of the glorious changing of seasons and pray for the changing of the eternal season to come.

As we hear the acorns falling plunk, plunk, plunk on the rooftops and the hoods of cars, let’s pray in turn for the miraculous falling of the Holy Spirit over the multitude of hurting people in our spheres.

May this change in season tune our souls to seek the eternal season to come.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. ~Ecclesiastes 3

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Five Verses to Help You Live For Your Eternal Home

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  • Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
  • In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:10

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  • The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. John 15:19
  • He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:8-9

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  • Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:7

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Gradual Gratitude

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Have you ever found yourself in a new place in life and completely nostalgic for the comforts of familiarity?

A few short months after Ron and I were married we moved to his childhood home in Florida. Having lived solely in Alabama for the first 21 years of my life (18 of those in my small hometown boasting two red lights and a McDonald’s) I was excited about the move, but unaware of the challenges of change.

Moving to the beach intrigued me. Continuing my studies in communication disorders at a new university excited me. However, I was unaware of the differences in culture, accent, and even socioeconomic differences that awaited.

When change happens we crave the small, steady denominators that made home home.

I missed knowing the cashiers at the grocery store, seeing people in Walmart with whom I attended school, and familiar faces at church that held common memories in time and space. It took me many years to embrace my new identity as a Floridian.

I was focused on yesterday and the hopes of one day which would bring a return move home to Alabama. I had little desire to explore the greatness of the area in which God had placed me.

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Unfortunately my inability to embrace the changes in my life perhaps robbed me of a portion of present joy.

Today, almost 11 years later, I love the area I live in. My family enjoys the recreational parks, habitat preserves, the beach, and the museums and sites near our home.

Within the last year or two I have often wondered why I spent much time and energy trying to make my current home more like my childhood and less like the newness of life that God had placed me in. I missed opportunities to enjoy God’s creation in my own backyard because I was longing for the backyard 500 miles away in which I grew up.

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Are you in a new location be it geographical, vocational, or missional? Maybe the novelty of your experience leaves you longing for the familiarity of yesterday. Take heart my friend! There is good to be gained from every new venture. Look around you today and purpose to find a good to be grateful for. Gradually your gratitude will give you a change in perspective. Your eyes will see not as a pilgrim longing to turn back, but as one set to forge ahead to the lasting pilgrimage of the celestial city. (See Pilgrim’s Progress)

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