Monday, October 21, 2013

This Is Not Where I Belong

                My sister in the Lord and I went out last night to a concert. As we were waiting in line, she asked me what God had taught me through the trials of sickness that I have recently experienced. I responded, “The Lord has shown me how I need to let go of this earth and embrace the life in heaven that is waiting for me.” This past week has been a constant battle for me. Not only because I was sick, in the hospital, but at one point, I really thought I was dying. The Lord and I have had this discussion before, and He has asked me before if I was ready to come to Him. I have struggled with the fear of death ever since I watched my mom take her last breath. You may be saying right now, “but you’re a Christian, you should not fear death.” And you would be correct, but I believe that more of us Christians fear death than we would like to admit. This past week has shown me the reality of my time on this earth and the glory that is waiting for me, a simple woman who loves Jesus.

                For since the beginning of time man has been looking for a way to live forever. They have tried to cheat death, find a magical fountain that would give to them eternal life, made up stories of creatures that roam the night and cannot be killed. But in all truth, there is only one way to live forever, and that is through the Cross of Jesus Christ. We all face the fear of death; the bible tells us that death is the last enemy, the last obstacle that stands in our way of true peace. For those of us who are in Christ, death has nothing on us, but yet, I found myself faced with the fear of it once again. The Lord, as I was praying and seeking His healing asked me, “Are you not ready to die?” He and I have had this discussion before, and I told Him that I was. But then, the thoughts of my children, the life I have on this earth with my family, friends, church, etc, all come crashing in on me and I realize that I have not let go of the things of this earth yet, and in all truth, not only was I not ready to leave this earth, I was not fully trusting Him either.
                “…while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 4:18-5:1
                I want you to stop and pause for a moment and ponder on this thought- you will never die. Those of us, who are in Christ, will never die. We will live this life on earth, and then when the Lord (as He has predetermined-Psalm 139) takes us, we will not face death. We will be transferred from this earthly kingdom to the Kingdom of God. Paul, tells us that we need to shift our focus, we need to stop looking at all the things of this earth- including our children, family, friends, jobs, etc and shift our focus to the heavens, toward the internal and eternal glory that awaits each and every believer. This life that we live here on earth is but for a moment, it is fleeting and brief, temporary and set on a course that cannot be hindered. We will all die.
              
  The Bible tells us that “all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers and its flower falls away.” (1 Peter 1:24) Think of fall changing into winter as a metaphor for your life. The last petal from the rose falls to the ground, there is brown, cold, lifelessness all around. The cold and snow comes and swallows up any life that was left, and all beneath its blanket becomes dead and dormant. This is the way of all men. We will wither away, our lives, which are seen with our earthly eyes will fall to the ground and become dead. But, for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, there is spring on the horizon! As the warmth of His resurrection takes hold of our mortal bodies, life is brought forth and we, as the flower of spring will bud forth into a new body, into a new home, into an eternal glory that cannot and will not ever die.
                We work until we can work no more; we do all that we can to stay alive in this earthly house. We strive for success, we strive for happiness, joy, peace, love in the earthly sense. We seek it through houses, cars, money, happy homes, happy children, and all these things are fleeting; they are brief and will wither away just as the grass in your backyard withers. There is only life in Jesus Christ, and this life that we now live is not our own, we belong to Him and to Him we shall return.
                The Lord God has shown me, (and I pray He reveals this to you as well) that we do not need to look at what see, we do not need to put our focus and attention on these things. Our lives are but for a season, like the grass of the fields, we will fade. Instead, He wants us to focus on the life that we have with Him, the life that He has given us, eternal, everlasting, never to die, never to fade, always to live with Him forever and ever. (AMEN!) When we look at our life with earthly eyes we lose the spiritual life that the Lord wants us to see and experience.
                Our circumstances may look bleak; our days may be filled with trouble on every side. Let’s face it, our world is dying, sin has overtaken every aspect of our life, and death looks like it is winning. It is easy to become discouraged, but discouragement is the tool the enemy uses to turn our focus from the heavenly and put it back on the earthly. God our Father wants us to look beyond death and see Him, our Eternal God who is our help and our strength, and to the eternal rewards that awaits all those who hope in Him.
              After these past few days I have seen how I am clinging to the things of this earth, to the temporal instead of to the eternal. If I am worried about my children, my family, and anything else upon this earth than I am not fully trusting in Him. For if I fully trusted the Lord God- then even in my death, I would trust Him with those I leave behind. Am I ready to leave this earth? If the Lord says I am, then yes, I am. Am I ready to leave behind my loved ones, no, but I trust God to care for them, to love them and to save them, just as He did me. We must trust God in all things, even in our death. Even as He takes us from this earth and transports us to His Kingdom, we must trust Him.
                This earth has nothing for me. Yes, I love my children, yes I love my husband, and yes I love my family. But this is not where I belong. I belong with Him, in the heaven that He has created for me. I belong to Him, who awaits my return, who longs to be with me as I long to be with Him. This earth is not our home. We must not allow our focus to be on the things that we see here, but we must turn our focus to Him, who is to come and is to take us home. He gave you breath, and when He says its time- its time. Do not fear the death that is to come, but embrace the hope that waits for us, the hope of eternal glory, and the hope of eternal life. For us, as Christians, we have nothing to fear- because we will never die. Amen and Amen.

               If you have never accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, I want to pray for you and with you right now. I pray that the words that you have read this day will bring you to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Father God, I pray for this person who is reading this right now, who is crying out in their heart to know you. Father God, through the power of Your grace, and the glory of Your Sacrifice, reveal Yourself to them. The Bible tells us that if you “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Take this time to bow your heart and your knees to Jesus Christ, who died so that you could have eternal life, so that you would not have to die, and ask Him to come into your heart. That is all it takes to be saved. Father I pray that Your Word would go forth today, that all those who walk in the shadow of death would turn around and see the Son of God who loved them and gave Himself for them, in Jesus Name, Amen.