some link love

I love it when a blog post or article written by someone will stick with me all week long. These three posts have inspired and challenged me in a ton of ways.

That being said… it would be silly wrong for me not to share them with you. Enjoy!

Women and Pride: 1 by Sarah Markley. This post got me thinking about the prideful, critical thoughts I’ve had before that I’ve never evaluated or maybe even thought to be sinful. Still chewing on this one.

Heaven isn’t a reductionist Gospel by Ben Arment. Short, but so insightful, this post reminded me that those who have experienced real suffering, hold on to heaven… and that is enough.

–  Article: 6 Ways Fathers Pursue Christ in their Fatherhood by Scott Thomas, President of Acts 29. This post inspired me to help Jeremiah on his journey of fatherhood and the dependance we must have on the gospel as we grow our family.

Heaven isn’t what you think

Growing up, I heard that in heaven I would worship God all the time, throughout eternity, f-o-r-e-v-e-r… I pictured harps, angels, clouds and the ability to fly. I always wanted to fly as a little girl (still do).

My mom taught me that God was going to build a new city, a new Jerusalem for us here on earth one day. And I especially liked the part about there being streets of gold.

But I also know that there is so much more that my mind has never conceived about what heaven will be like. All throughout the Old and New Testament, God talks about a kingdom that he is building on earth. And I’m just now starting to grasp that he is, as we speak, preparing a real place for you and I- his people, his church- the bride of Christ.

There will be no need for the sun or moon to shine on this city because the glory of God gives it light. His glory will consume the new city and we will see it fully. We will finally be with the One we’ve been waiting for. He will wipe away our tears. There will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain. The former things will pass away and all things will be made new (see Revelation 21). The greatest sins we struggle with will be no more. We will partake in the ultimate wedding feast as sons and daughters of the King.

Hell too is a real place that is so awful, where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:36-42) because God’s presence will not be there. Those who reject his Son will be outside the gates of the holy city- unable to join in on the celebration. And to not be with God is the worst punishment anyone could ever receive. That’s why he desires that everyone would turn to him for life and salvation.

As believers, we have lots to look forward to in the future. No matter what frustration, hurt, or sorrow we face in daily life, we know that in the end, we will be with God in the new city- one that will be unlike anything we’ve ever tasted, touched, seen, heard, or read. Even our greatest imaginations of what we think heaven will be like, won’t even come close to its splendor.

I can’t wait for that city!

Oh me of little faith

Heart’s racing. Knees weak. Stuttered words. What will they think of me? Will I be rejected? Laughed at?

Sharing my faith with other people isn’t always easy.

I fear and worry still today even when the last time I tried to get things going spiritually, everything went fine. My waiter was receptive. It was an awesome conversation. The last time I had the opportunity at my eye doctor’s office, I didn’t take it. I had a hard time transitioning into spiritual matters. I think most of all, I feared what the admin. assistant would think of me.

I’ve been really thinking though- what is the worse thing that could happen when we share our faith? The worse thing that has happened to me so far is that my husband was fired for sharing his faith on the job three months into our marriage. You can hear more about our story in this 3 minute video.

I remember in high school being called “religious” at times. I’ve had people change a spiritual conversation on me really fast. I’m guessing I’ve been made fun of for my facebook status updates that are about God. And I’m guessing someone may have chosen not to be around me because I love and talk about Jesus. But I can’t pinpoint anything (as of yet) where people cussed me out or just hated me after loving on them and sharing my story of grace.

And even if they did, that’s okay. I’ve been commanded not to be silent. Heaven and hell are at stake. I know, no one talks about hell anymore. But it’s the hard truth. It’s okay if our heart races a little and we feel like we’re going to fall over and die! Because God is the one who cultivates. Convicts. Redeems. Restores. He is the only one with the ability to raise a life up from the dead.

He just chooses to use us in his plan. I’m so thankful he does despite all my crazy, ridiculous fears.

Michael Jackson’s Dash

the-jackson-5.0.0.0x0.432x355.jpegMichael Jackson’s Thriller album was released the year I was born (1982) and it was in my elementary years in South Carolina that the king of Pop ruled the world. In the third grade, I remember dancing with my friends to the songs “Black or White”, “Billie Jean”, and “Beat It.” I remember the lines and beats to this day. I remember the particular inappropriate, awkward move that he displayed on stage once… that my classmates would try and imitate! (you know what I’m talking about!)

Regardless of the good and bad in his life, I remember Michael during my childhood so those were good memories of him for me. I lost track of him completely after that and I didn’t care much about him. Today, I’m amazed at how for so long, not much was said about him but all of the sudden since his death, the world is texting, twittering, emailing, and calling all those they know in shock. And I don’t know if it’s just because of his unmatchable talent, or how we associate our memories with his music. It takes us back.

The one thing I noticed about his death yesterday is the dash between 1958-2009. A simple dash yet so critical. The dash represents his life and what was done in that time. The dash compared to eternity is so tiny, like an ant in a mountain of sand. I thought about my life and that some day I too will have a dash- whether I want one or not! God’s word says that every man has his appointed time to die. We cannot ignore the reality that death will come to us too one day. We cannot ignore the reality of heaven and hell and the consequence if we do not choose to accept Jesus Christ, God’s son as our personal Lord and Savior. How we live on earth does impact us when we die.

I don’t know where Michael truly is now, only God does.

But because of the seriousness that’s involved in his dash, I’ll never forget the day the king of Pop died.

Romance and Realism

It might seem cheesy but I’m listening to my Pandora Radio and Bryan Adams just started singing “When You Love Someone”… you know the song that goes “you’ll shoot the moon. Put out the sun… when you love someone.” It popped up on my Josh Groban radio and all the sudden it’s playing romantic songs. (I didn’t think I was a hopeless romantic… really). But you know there are times when my heart longs for romance. A definition of romance, out of the many is:

to invent or relate romances; indulge in fanciful or extravagant stories or daydreams.

I romance about walking on the streets of Italy, breathing the air, tasting the food, and experiencing a different culture. I dream about being somewhere different than here- on the turquoise blue ocean, basking in the sun. I daydream about peace and living in a world that is perfect. I create stories in my imagination of what heaven will be like and the house that Jeremiah will live in next to mine. I often allow the beauty in music to wash me away to an unfamiliar place.

Romanticism though, is the opposite of realism. The world as it is- Imperfect. Sinful. Ugly. Struggling. Destructive. Relationships as they are- sometimes hurtful, filled with conflict and strife. Not really the world we want.

But I know God gives us glimpses of what our hearts truly long for. Because He wants us to see there is something more than this life- It’s a life lived in perfect harmony with Him. A life lived with him forever where there will be no more tears, pain, and war.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.   – Revelation 7:17

When I start daydreaming again, I want to be more reminded that God is enough and that one day, those things will be attainable. But for now, they’re on hold… until He returns. And when I daydream of what my heart craves, I’m ultimately longing for the one thing my heart was created for… to love and worship God.

Well now my Pandora Radio is on to playing Michael Buble’s, “Dance for Me.”

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