Hope of Heaven

I see myself at heaven’s door

I can hear its hinges creak

Around its frame a light shines out

As it opens before the King

 

What have you brought He asks

From the life you lived on earth?

Oh not a lot I sadly say

As I struggle to begin

Light at Night

Well, there were the mission’s trips

And every day I prayed

And regularly I read your word

And all the tithes I gave

 

When I stopped – he paused and gently said

That’s not why angels sing

Those were not from your deepest heart

But just temporary things

 

But the forgiveness you gave your parents

When their divorce left you alone

And the love you shared with strangers

When you opened up your home

And the tears of repentance that you wept

And your confession in the dark

These are the things that I truly treasure

And for these there is a crown

 

 

 

Hope of Heaven

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. Psalm 73:25

Hoping for heaven has sometimes been given a bad rap by the church. Some of this has been a push back on old hymns and past sermons that focused exclusively on heavenly bliss and ignored the importance of our time on earth.  But neither our greatest victories, our worst failures, our highest dreams nor our worst sufferings can compare with what lies ahead for us in heaven.

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When our boys were young they made for themselves wooden plaques with their names carved in them to hang over the doors to their rooms. It was their way of staking out their own personal territory.  In the same way God has staked out a territory in heaven for each of us who have put our hope in Jesus Christ. He has engraved our name over the door of our home there. There is nothing wrong with that great joyful longing to be together forever with Jesus in the place He has prepared for us.  We can say with David, “Who do I have either in heaven or earth but you Lord?”  This hope of heaven strengthens our hearts in life’s storms and lightens our load so we can carry the burdens of others. This hope shines through any dark night and lights our path all the way to our home!

From Hope to Praise

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 43:5

Have you ever been so down that you just couldn’t even sing even in church? You don’t need to feel alone because even King David the writer of the song book of the Bible, came to that place; and said so not once, not twice but three different times. David had bravely faced had Goliath and defeated him, but when he found himself hunted by his father-in-law and some of the same soldiers with whom he had fought beside in battle he became discouraged. Then his wife was taken from him and given to another man and he was separated from his best friend Jonathan and was forced to hide in the countryside. That was when he reminded himself that he would again praise God because all his hope came from Him. Yes, there are times when we as believers struggle to praise God. But God’s word gives us hope so that at those exact moments we can say, “Hold on! This is not the end! There is still hope! I will praise Him again!

Hope for the Soul

God in Hiding

And I will wait upon the Lord , that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.
Isaiah 8:17 KJV

As I drove up the road this week I was greeted by a mother deer with two fawns. They lingered just long enough for me to snap a few shots then bounded off to a hidden place in the woods.

But God does not hide His face in that way. In fact it is our own sin and selfishness that hides his face from our eyes. No in fact our greatest hope is in a God who longs to be found!

A Life Worth Living

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15 ESV

Your life may be the only Bible someone else will come across. Live it true to the hope that God has pit inside us and they may stop to read

When we forget our eternal hope in Christ and begin focusing on the things of this world His light shines just a little less to the people around us. But when we sink under the waves, others will be sure to ask us what it felt like walking hand in hand with Jesus when we climb back into the boat!

Going through Samaria

But He needed to go through Samaria John 4:4

In Jesus’ day Jews rarely went by way of Samaria. We could speculate that Jesus needed to go through Samaria to avoiding the Jewish leaders or maybe just because it was shorter and he was tired! We don’t know the reason but we can all identify with having to go somewhere that we would prefer to avoid.

Samaria was a bit like the business district we go around so we don’t get stuck in traffic. It could be a job you don’t like or a family commitment that is getting heavier every day. You may have to sit by the bedside of a loved one for whom the doctors have to hope. There could be a surgery or a crushing debt that must be paid looming on your horizon. All of our Samarias are different but the one thing they each have in common is that we must go through them.

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It is comforting to know at those times of trial, temptation and weariness that Jesus doesn’t just command us to keep going, He has gone ahead of us to prepare the way. Jesus had to go through Samaria because Samaria is where he found you and I. Samaria is where He gave us hope. Samaria is where we discovered we could be accepted by God. Samaria is the place Jesus chose to go and He calls for us to go with Him through our own Samaria today.