Archive | June 24, 2013

An Eclipse of Heaven

solar eclipseSolar eclipses are an amazing phenomenon. As the moon slides between the earth and the sun, the sun’s brilliance gradually fades. Its light grows dim, as if there’s a layer of dust on everything you see. The effect is most dramatic on a bright cloudless day. While the eclipse is in full force, it’s easy to forget that the sun is still there in all its force and glory.

As amazing as a solar eclipse may be, more amazing is the fact that as followers of Jesus we often live with heaven eclipsed in our hearts. I don’t know what you think of when you think of heaven, but count on it, heaven is a glorious destination and, as Paul described, because of Christ’s presence there, it is far better than anything we could experience here (Philippians 1:23).

But heaven’s glory and the excitement of getting there often fades in the light of our dim view of heaven and the lure of lesser stuff here on earth.

If the word heaven evokes images of an eternity lounging on clouds, plucking out melodies on a harp, adjusting our halos, and singing in a choir, then no wonder that the brilliance of heaven may be going through an eclipse in your heart. It’s hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm if we think that heaven will be boring! But believe me, the God who died for you is not planning an eternity of boring assignments for you!

If your thoughts about what heaven may be like aren’t distorted, then you’re not necessarily off the hook. Heaven is often eclipsed in our hearts by the lure and glitter of earth-side stuff. It’s easy to think we can create heaven on earth by stacking up all that we think will make us happy and comfortable. Only to find that the initial thrill of it all quickly wears off as we disappointingly discover that there is no such thing as heaven on earth.

So let’s dismiss our twisted thoughts about heaven and forget trying to make heaven here on earth. Getting heaven in clear view starts by focusing on what we do know to be true about heaven. Your first thoughts no doubt are about streets of gold and gates of pearl. As spectacular as that might be, they are not the draw of heaven. We get used to stuff like that. The real excitement of heaven will be our eternal delight in living in the unveiled presence of Jesus, our Savior and friend! No matter how nice the place, it’s the people in the place who make the place—and in this place it is the presence of God in the new heaven and the new earth that will fill our hearts with delight and unfading joy. It’s the way it was meant to be before sin raped the landscape of our existence. It’s Eden all over again!

In this city there will be no power outages! Our text today tells us, “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Rev. 21:23). And this Lamb, who conquered death, guarantees that there will be no more sorrow, death, or dying. In fact, He Himself will wipe away all our tears (Rev. 21:4)!

The Journey

Photo sources : National Geographic Magazine

God,Make Me an Instrument

Antonio Stradivari Edgar Bundy painting cropAny music player, especially the violinist must know a violin made by Antonio Stradivari. A Violin master craftsman from Italia. On the very occasioan when becomes avalaible it will sell for amounts of well over a million dollars. What makes it violin so expensive and very special? What the difference with other violins and what makes the sounds from the “Strads” so great?

The “Strads” violins was made from wood which taken from polluted harbor in Stradivari’s Village. The harbors were the same with our town dumps. They were a smelly,dismal stew of trash,human and animal waste, and garbage. It can be concluded that Antonio Stradivari used wood that has been contaminated. The polluted water (containing microbes) is permeated into the inside of the cells in the wood. But of course Antonio Stradivari has a formula for next processing of the wood.That is one of the reasons why the sound of a “Strads” violin was so great and different with other violins.

The core of this article is not on the Stradivarius violin but the above is a picture of what God has done for us. Jesus came and pulled us from the sludge. As the Bible puts it, He loved us while we were sinner. In other words, even though we had been eaten hollow by sin, He reached down from the Cross and wiped us clean. And then He crafted us into priceless instrument to resonate the strong and distinct sounds of His love,grace and glory.

David wrote,” Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness!” (Psalm 100:1). And Paul reminds us that with the indwelling Spirit in control,our lives should be filled with ” Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). Our lives should resound with gratitude and not grumpiness,thanksgiving and praise regardless of our life circumstances. When Paul and Silas sang in jail, the jailor had never heard anything like it before.

Like the Stradivarius violin, the sound quality of the song that Jesus puts in our restored souls should be noticeably different than the other “violins” around us. The song we sing with our lives should be joyful and glad. And this difference is not for our benefit,or the benefit of those around us. It is for the listening pleasure of the master Creator.

God, makes me an instrument to echoes the sounds Your love, peacefulness, joyful, grace, and glory. Amen

“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make knowns Thy faithfulness to all generation. (Psalm 89:1)

“The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:19)

Karina

(Cited from RBC Ministries Devotional,Strength for The Journey)

Photo  sources : http://www.deceptology.com