especially in view of the horror of Afghanistan
Acts, 62. Acts 17.31
Boat rides on the San Francisco Bay are an experience--especially if you are in a small boat! I remember well . . . we would set out from Alameda, my hometown, to cross the bay to Sausalito, sometimes even going out under the Golden Gate Bridge. It could be quite harrowing at times in my dad’s 15 ft. inboard/outboard when the swell got big, or the waves especially choppy because of wind. I would tug on my dad’s shirt and say, ‘I’m scaa-ared…’ and then he would have me stand next to him, grabbing a hold of the tops of both seats. ’Look out there . . . do you see that building way out there? That is where we are heading. You keep your eye on it, as we get closer, it will get bigger,’ Dad said. And so I would fix my eyes on the horizon, as though my eight-year-old life depended on it; then, I would bend my knees to absorb the crash of the waves, and hang on….
Paul had his gaze firmly fixed on eternity--that is why he cared so much about sharing the Gospel; he surrendered himself daily to do ‘whatever it takes’ to point people to God. Which is why he reasoned and debated with, and explained to the Athenians. Take a look at Paul’s instruction on how and what we ought focus:
2 Corinthians 4.18 - We don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
5.1 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body. 2 Corinthians 4.18 – 5.10
Paul, the tentmaker, describes our bodies as tents that we occupy for a while—for a tent is never meant to be permanent, but temporary. Tents are not meant to be places of comfort, or of security, though they do offer shelter for a time. Tents are easily destroyed, as are our lives in our physical tents--our bodies; they can be quite awkward, uncomfortable, even painful, and certainly not meant to last forever. Unless the Lord returns in our lifetime--which it certainly seems he could, our tents will wear out; unless he comes back while we live, one hundred percent of us will die.
Are you afraid to die? If folks are honest, most would admit that they are afraid. The reasons vary from the fear of the unknown, like the fear of what’s on ‘the other side’, to a fear of great physical pain at the time of death. Having been bedside numerous times near the end of someone’s life, I will tell you that it is an intimate moment, a sacred time. And like you would guess, for the person who has a strong faith that she will be with Jesus and be reunited with loved ones, there is peace, and then, death can even be beautiful. On the contrary, when one is unsure, there is often unrest, sometimes torment, even if the individual cannot speak. It is eerie.
Scripture tells us right here what is going to happen to us when we die.
1) Our spirits will depart from our bodies, at which time
2) We will be present with the Lord
3) We will be given new bodies that Christ himself has fashioned for us
4) We will be judged (Paul explained this in Acts 17.31) --judgment for those who do not know Christ will be for sin—and will mean eternal separation from God forever
--judgment for those who do know Jesus... rewards!
God does not play guessing games with us . . . and that is good news. And, though life can be rough, it is not all there is. We can bend our knees in faith, trusting God to guide our boats when in big waves; all the while, we keep our gaze firmly fixed on our destination—our heavenly home, and meeting him. Nothing on earth will compare with seeing Jesus face to face!
What will he say to you? ‘Hey, what’s your name?’ I truly hope not.
Or will he say, ‘Welcome home, Milo…I have been expecting you, and have gotten things all ready, just for you! Oh, welcome home, good and faithful child.’
In view of Afghanistan and all that is so troubling in our world today,
we must keep our eyes on Heaven!
To encourage you more, listen to this song: WELCOME HOME!
Brian Littrell, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSqywOCc_MM
With love from~