Desiring Heaven

“There have been times when I think that we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else…. It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends, or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work…. all your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it.”

-C.S. Lewis

A Great Incongruity

Do we as Christians live lives that are shining examples of godliness and inner peace?  I would say many Christians do.  But do those in the world who watch us know the reason for our joy?  If not, our good lives can actually be a stumbling block to nonbelievers.  I read the following story in the book “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Donald S. Whitney, and it rocked the way  I think about being a witness for Christ.

“I heard the story of a man who became a Christian during an evangelistic emphasis in a city in the Pacific Northwest.  When he told his boss aout it, his employer responded with, ‘That’s great!  I am a Christian and have been praying for you for years!’

But the new believer was crestfallen.  ‘Why didn’t you ever tell me?’ he asked.  ‘You were the very reason I have not been interested in the gospel all these years.’

‘How can that be?’ the boss wondered.  ‘I have done my very best to live the Christian life around you.’

‘That’s the point,’ explained the employee.  ‘You lived such a model life without telling me that it was Christ who made the difference, I convinced myself that if you could live such a good and happy life without Christ, then I could too.’ “

I realized when I read this that living a good Christian life is not enough; unless I give the glory to God so that everyone knows the source of my joy, I can actually be a stumbling block to unbelievers who see my “good life” and yet do not see the Reason behind it.  1 Peter 2:12 exhorts Christians to, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitiation.”  The point of our good deeds is that when the world see them, they will give the glory to God.  We must attribute our good deeds to the One who enables them, and give the gospel clearly through our lives and through our words.  Living the gospel is not enough; we must give the reason for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15), for faith comes through hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

Do those you know realize that the reason for your hope and joy is your saving faith in Jesus Christ?  Or do they think you are just a good person making a good life for yourself through your own power?  Are you using your life as a powerful witness for the glory of God?  Or are you distracting that glory from Him?  Let’s be challenged.

Happy Earth Day.

This morning I read Psalm 89 in my Bible, and I was fascinated by verses 36-37:

“HIs seed shall endure forever, and His throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.”

The psalmist (in this case, Ethan the Ezrahite) is referencing God’s promise to David and the covenant He made with him.  But what strikes me about this verse is how the moon is described as a “faithful witness”.  It made me think of other passages in Scripture that talk about the creation as witnesses to God and subject to His power.

“…the heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord…” Psalm 89:5

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…” Romans 1:20

“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delievered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” Romans 8:19-22

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.  For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.” Psalm 24:1-2

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.  Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge.  There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.  Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.  In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridgegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race.  Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” Psalm 19:1-6

“Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds; He scatters His bright clouds.  And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth.” Job 37:10-12

“Then the earth shook trembled; the foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry.  Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; coals were kindled by it.  He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet.  And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind.  He made darkness Hissecret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.  From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.  The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.  He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.  Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were uncovered at Your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.” Psalm 18:7-15

“With Him, have you spread out the skies, strong as a cast metal mirror?” Job 37:18

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place…[?]” Job 38:12

“Have you entered the treasury of the snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?  By what way is light diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth?  Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water, or a path for the thunderbolt, to cause it to rain on a land where there is no one, a wilderness in which there is no man; to satisfy the desolate waste, and cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?  Has the rain a father?  Or who has begotten the drops of dew?  From whose womb comes the ice?  And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?” Job 38:22-29

“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4

“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?  Who provides food for the raven, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food?” Job 38:39-41

“At this also my heart trembles, and leaps from its place.  Hear attentively the thunder of His voice, and the rumbling that comes from His mouth.  He sends it forth under the whole haeven, His lightning to the ends of the earth.  After it a voice roars; He thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain them when His voice is heard.  God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.  For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength…by the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen.” Job 37:1-6

“Do you know how the clouds are balanced, those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?” Job 37:16

“Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him; nor can the number of His years be discovered.  For He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist, which the clouds drop down and pour abundantly on man.  Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds, the thunder from His canopy?  Look, He scatters His light upon it, and covers the depths of the sea.  For by these He judges the peoples; He gives food in abundance.  He covers His hands with lightning, and commands it to strike.  His thunder declares it, the cattle also, concerning the rising storm.” Job 36:26-33

“Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?” Job 38:16

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding.  Who determined its measurements?  Surely you know!  Or who stretched the line upon it?  To what were its foundations fastened?  Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38:4-7

“And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves.  But He was asleep.  Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us!  We are perishing!’  But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.  So the men marveled, saying, ‘Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’ ” Matthew 8:24-27

Bless the LORD, O my soul!  O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed ith honor and majesty, who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.  He lays the beams of His upper champers in the waters, who makes the clouds His chariot, who walks on the wings of the wind, who makes His angels siprits, His ministers a flame of fire.” Psalm 104:1-4

“These all wait for You, that You may given them their food in due season.  What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good.  You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.  You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104:27-30

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” Psalm 8:3-4

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them…” Matthew 5:26

“Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with  loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying: ‘ “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!” Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’  And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, ‘Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.’  But He answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.’ ” Luke 19:37-40

 

These passages and so many more richly illustrate the power and glory of God manifested in His creation.  Today is Earth Day, and people around the world are “worship[ing] and serv[ing] the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25) as they “exchange the truth of God for the lie”.  Our society praises “Mother Nature” and almost feverishly worships our planet.  And yet Jesus tesitified that the very stones long sing His praises.  That is what truly amazes me about these passages.  If God allowed trees and rocks and lakes and rivers and oceans and mountains and stars and moons and planets and flowers and waterfalls to speak, they would shout the glory of God and sing to His name.

Please take the time to read the last few chapters in the book of Job, full of glorious pictures of God’s power and sovereign control, or Psalm 104, a beautiful poetic attribution to the Creator.  I wish I could have quoted these chapters in their entirety here!  Search the Bible for more beautiful passages about the Creator that I didn’t include here (I’d love it if you comment with what you find!).  Our God is so great.  While the world celebrates Earth Day, I pray that you will take this opportunity to celebrate our good and awesome Creator.  We should be good stewards of this world He has given us, and we should appreciate the beauty and majesty of what He has created.  But we should also remember that this world is passing…Romans 8 says that it is literally aching in anticipation for the return of Christ and the revealing of His true children…and our time here is to be spent in service to our all-wonderful and all-deserving Lord.  I love to know that the God who calls the stars by name and visits the storehouses of the snow knows and loves and cherishes me.  That is a truth to embrace and to lean on in these turbulent times.  God bless you!

A day in my life….

Outside my window it’s a gorgeous, sunny day!

I am thinkingthat its going to be very hot at softball practice today. 

I am thankful for swimming pools and icy cold rivers.

I am wearingmy bathing suit under a white shirt and jean shorts.

I am reading “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens and 2 Corinthians.

I am creating this post, at the moment!

One of my favorite thingsfamily pictures.  I’m looking at my friend’s right now.  It’s cute to see families all together and happy!

For education this weekI have to get back into the swing of things after spring break.  I worked on economics a lot today.

A spiritual lesson I’m learning……
to be unashamed of the gospel.  If I can’t be bold and effective right now where I’m at, how can I be used by God anywhere else?

 

A godly character trait I plan to work on…well, I don’t even know where to start with this one.

Scripture I am memorizing… Romans 8:35-39.

 

I am praying formy friend, who recently lost his dad in a car accident.  Salvation for a couple friends.  And that a family I know will be able to keep their house.

For the rest of the weekI’m going to be doing school and going to softball practice.  Two softball games this week!  And then on Friday I’m leaving for LA with my friend.  On Sunday there is a 5 K cancer walk/run in my town in memory of some members of our community who have struggled with cancer, including my friend and teammate’s mom, who passed away recently.  I would love to be able to participate if I’m back from LA in time.

A picture I’d like to share… in honor of the excessive heat, here is a picture of Dodge Ridge, where I went snowboarding a couple months ago.  Ahhhh.

Praise Him

“Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens;

Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Your righteousness is like the great mountains;

Your judgments are a great deep;

O LORD, You preserve man and beast.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!

Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,

And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.

For with You is the fountain of life;

In Your light we see light.”

Psalm 36:5-9, NKJV

New!

You’ve probably already noticed, but there’ve been several changes around SK lately!  I gave the site a remodel, with a new format that leaves more room for links and fun extra stuff like that.  I think this layout is a little more fun and personal, but what do you guys think?  Ideas and criticisms are welcome, so if you love it or hate it leave a comment because I could definitely use the help.

I’ve also added a couple more links to the blog roll!  These great sites are managed by Christian young women and are very well-done and encouraging; I know you’ll enjoy them!  A Quill and Inkwell, written by Phylicia, and Empowered Traditionalist, by Christa Taylor.  If you have a blog or know of one, let me know so I can check it out!  I always love to add new links to the blogroll, but I have to warn you that I’m pretty picky!  I don’t necessarily agree with everything on the blogs I link to, in fact I may disagree with several topics or at least differ in my approach to them, but the overall atmosphere has to be Biblically sound and encouraging.  Just a little disclaimer for ya!

Coming up soon, more fun stuff!