Posted by: Kimberly | Wed Feb 26, 2020

It’s a Small World

Over the Christmas holiday, we visited my daughter and her family 1,100 miles away in Texas. While we were there, we attended church with them. During the praise and worship service, their praise team sang a song titled, “Here Comes Heaven,” which spoke of Jesus, being heaven, coming to earth. There are times the message in a song or the Holy Spirit will trigger a response in me that brings me to tears and this is one instance that it happened. It isn’t often, but the words are what hit me between the eyes, because I see the church as a whole not getting this message. As many churchgoers, or followers of Christ “wait” for heaven or look for an escape out of this world, we are missing the great gift God bestowed on us… Jesus and Heaven on Earth. Let’s look at the words to that song: 

 

Children, weep no more
Hope is on the horizon
Weary world behold
Your promised Messiah
Angels, let your song begin
Here comes Heaven
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Here comes Heaven
Sinner, wait no more
Love has broken the silence
Come let us adore
The Savior is with us
Angels, let your song begin
Here comes Heaven
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Here comes Heaven
Here comes Heaven
Now, behold His glory
Glory in the highest
All the earth rejoice for Christ is born
Now, behold His glory
Glory in the highest
All the earth rejoice for Christ is born
Over all who mourn
Breaks the dawn of salvation
Darkness reigns no more
For Jesus is greater
He is greater
Angels, let your song begin
Here comes heaven
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Here comes heaven
Angels, let your song begin
Here comes Heaven
All creation worship Him
Here comes Heaven
Here comes Heaven
Elevation Worship
When the song was over, I wanted so desperately to get up and exhort that congregation to really listen to the words of the song, to stop crying about the troubles of this world, which are only fleeting and to realize that Heaven dwells among us, that God sent Heaven to earth. He sent His Savior to us to redeem us. We are heaven on earth, if we trust in Jesus, because God inhabits his people. Jesus told us in the book of John that we would do greater things, meaning we would reach more people, but many look at that and expect to outdo God. Let me tell you, we will never outdo God, but we have the ability to reach more with our technology today and the advances we have made in communication. We can advance the Kingdom of God to more people more quickly than they could in Jesus time. As I thought on these things, and the millions hurting needlessly, I turned to my daughter, with tears streaming down my face and asked her the name of the song, but she didn’t know, which is unusual for her. After the service, I cornered one of the worship team members and complimented them on their praise portion of the service and asked him about the song. He said it comes from a church in North Carolina, called ‘Elevation.’ My husband and I looked at each other and smiled, we are from North Carolina and know this church about an hour and a half away. We told this young man why we were grinning. What a small world, but isn’t that what God wants? To take our vast world and bring it into ONE. To take a song and unify us, to bring Heaven to Earth so that we aren’t waiting for it? To bring us into Unity. To give us all that we could ask or hope. No, children of God, don’t wait for that pie in the sky, sometime, somewhere, somehow… Know and Believe that heaven is on earth and he dwells among his people! Give praise to God for he sent Heaven to earth and he Never took it away. Heaven still lives in us if we grasp the Truth. Jesus is that Truth.
Follow these scriptures for more on Heaven: Matthew 3:16-17, John 1:49-51, John 6:32-33, Ephesians 2:6-7, 19-22
Posted by: Kimberly | Sat Aug 10, 2019

The Light of Godliness

How much do we truly identify with our new nature as Christians vs the natural conditions we face on this Earth? Jesus said we would face trials and tribulations. There’s no getting around them, but do we identify with them more than we identify with who we are in Christ? Do we allow them to be our excuse or our cop-out for bad behavior when we should use restraint or allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into better behavior?

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 5:47-48 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Downstream

Jesus is our best example of how to treat others, think of him when he was being beaten and scourged, he didn’t lash out. Not that we should take illness as our lot, we shouldn’t, because he paid the price for us, but while we are enduring, we should remain humble. He is our refuge and healer.

I know Christians who face serious illnesses with Grace and mercy. If you were to meet them for the first time, you would never know how ill they are. I’ve even known friends who were dying of cancer and never uttered a word to others about their condition, except when they were in horrific pain. Otherwise, they kept a cheerful attitude facing the world with dignity and never complained. Then I’ve known others who cry over the smallest paper cut as if they needed great attention and care, leading others to think they were the ones dying with their dramatization. And some who scream or are short fused with their family when they feel the slightest twinges of problems, or scream at them when they did nothing wrong. Who in these instances are allowing the light of godliness to shine through?

2 Peter 1:5-9 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

I’m not saying we should hide our feelings, but we shouldn’t use our conditions for ill behavior. For instance, if you’ve had a bad day at work or driving home in traffic, do you take it out on your family when you get home? That isn’t godliness. It’s allowing your circumstances to control your outlook and ruin other people’s days, when they weren’t the cause of your situation. If you feel ill, should you snap at those around you? Should you bark orders and expect others to wait on you hand and foot? No, and they shouldn’t feel obligated to do so either. They may feel sorry for your condition, but it isn’t their fault that you have the medical or emotional condition you have. I’ve known families that cater to one person with an illness because they play a guilt trip on others for their lot in life, making everyone in the family wait on them hand and foot. By the same token, I’ve known family members who ignore family members who seem to have one illness or problem after another. Neither attitude is right. There should be a balance; a give and take. The one who seems to keep having medical issues certainly never asked for them and needs understanding and compassion. They need acknowledgement from their family, not a ‘sweep it under the rug’ as if it doesn’t exist. Certainly, we have a hope that any illness or calamity will be healed by the blood of Jesus, but in the meantime, show them you care without making their condition a reason for them to act out. Obviously, some conditions may limit them from physical abilities they’ve had before, but it shouldn’t limit the one suffering the ability to show kindness, mercy, and grace. In fact, if anything, it should do the opposite and make them more compassionate and tenderhearted towards others. Sadly, that isn’t always the case and many lash out in anger.

James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

When I see this in Christian brothers and sisters I want to say, “Get over yourself! Who is your source?! What are you drawing on? What makes you entitled to special favors and treating others poorly?!” I’m not saying I’ve never been grouchy when I feel ill, I have and normally I catch it and apologize quickly to anyone I’ve said any harsh words to, but I don’t live there. I’m talking about people who live in that state and wear it like a badge. You are not defined by whatever “fill in the blank” condition you have, you are defined by God and who he created you to be! You are his righteousness and his holy ones, act like it and treat others how you want to be treated. You are not this disease, this condition, this illness, this whatever. You were created in the image of God…. Think about that… Created in the Image of God…

Ultimately, if we are Christians, we will grow and have the fruit of the Spirit, which does not burden others or put upon them or put forth angry words or speak harshly. What are the fruits of the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

Posted by: Kimberly | Tue Jul 30, 2019

The Greatest Love

What is the greatest love? It is Jesus’ death on the cross and his willingness to give up his life so that we might live more abundantly. He didn’t want us to go on in the same life we’d been living.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. -Jesus John 13:34

Ephesians 5:25-33 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

If we follow his humble example… let’s think of how that scenario plays out. If we are to live like he lived and love like he loved, that’s a tall order! Think how he didn’t condemn sinners – (the woman at the well, the woman the people wanted to stone, and others) but he didn’t party with them or hang out, he was working, living set apart*, he was there to deliver, to minister, not to participate, much like a physician administers a cure, Jesus did the same.  He had the cure, the purest love, with no conditions, except that the person turn from sin. Even when they don’t, he still loves them and is there for them/us when they/we do. Yet he does condemn sin. Jesus doesn’t look down on the ‘scourge’ of the earth, as some might call the unfortunate or the lowliest people, he forgave their sins, and he healed them. He looked beyond their frailties and saw their potential. He looks beyond our faults and sees us as he created us, in his perfect image.

His image covers our faults, our sins, our shortcomings, our inabilities to do things the way others want, our inability to love deeply or to show love freely to others. He sees himself instead of us, because he sees us covered by his blood, not the way we look without his transformative power. That’s what his blood will do, it will wash away all our impurities. It’s good for us to remember that his blood washes our lives clean and makes us look as pure as he is. He loves all of us – the church. Have you thought of how unkempt the church is? Have you looked around and seen the mess many are in and how needy? They were during Jesus’ time also, just different people and different circumstances. So don’t think he has given us an impossible task, because with God all things are possible. He wouldn’t give us anything he couldn’t do. But in our human selves, apart from God, most of us fall short, and we must go back to his reminder, to love each other as he has loved us, with his greatest love. We must Allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts, our words, and our actions towards others, then we may also show the greatest love. But it is only by submitting weekly, daily, and hourly to the Holy Spirt and let him be in in control of our thoughts and attitude to share the greatest life and love.

 

*set apart: He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. – Hebrews 7:26

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