“Is everything sad going to come untrue?” (Sam Gamgee to Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings)
“[Some mortals] say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.” (C.S. Lewis)
There are words that do not exist in Heaven. Words that are not uttered. Sickness. Poverty. Pain. Disease. Disability. Death. The moment we step into eternity they will all fall away. There is no place for them, no memory of them left in Heaven. Here on earth though, we look around and the evidence of the fallen world is everywhere. Those words that bring such pain and devastation are spoken, endured and lived with.
But the promise that we have in Jesus, is that there will be a new day and those words will cease to exist. Our pain will be non-existent, not even a memory. Every sad thing will come untrue.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21: 4-5
On earth as it is in Heaven – for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Come Lord Jesus.
As a child I was enchanted with the books from the Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis. The world of Narnia, Aslan and the adventures of the children intrigued me. Even now, as I read these books again as an adult, I can’t help but be captivated by the world of Narnia that greeted Lucy as stepped through the door of the wardrobe – a world so unlike that of what she had left.
This weekend as we celebrate Easter we look at another Door that takes us from where we are today into another world, another realm, another reality. This door offers us salvation, eternity, life restored and relationship with God, the Creator of all. This door however isn’t part of a mere wardrobe taking a child into a fantasy world. For us, this door is Jesus – Son of God, crucified on a cross. And the world is not a fantasy – it is the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
The way to eternal life, the way to God is offered to us all through the sacrifice and death of our Lord Jesus on the Cross. His crucifixion all those years ago is the one time for all times sacrifice for us. The cross did what we could not do ourselves – it gave us the right to talk with, love and live with God. The Lord Jesus Christ’s death took away all our sins and His Resurrection gave us life, a new life and a new identity as a new person. His death gave us a life of freedom – free from guilt, no more reproaching ourselves and most importantly an opportunity to grow in relationship with God.
The door is always there, it is just up to us to walk through it.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” (Intro to Love Actually)
I love this intro to the movie Love Actually. The vibrancy of airports is just so like – reunions, love expressed. 2 days before Christmas I arrived home from a business trip at 1am in the morning. Normally at that very late hour the arrivals hall is empty except for a few very dedicated and a few committed taxi drivers. Not this time though. As I walked through the doors from Immigration into the Arrivals hall I was greeted by a sea of faces – people all ages, all eager to welcome their families / friends home for Christmas. The crowd was just amazing. The atmosphere was amazing. At 1am in the morning love was indeed all around!
In 1967, the BBC asked the Beatles to come up with a song for “Our World” the first global television link. They were asked to come up with a song containing a simple message to be understood by all nationalities. The song – “All you need is love.” It was said “It was an inspired song and they really wanted to give the world a message, the nice thing about it is that it cannot be misinterpreted. It is a clear message saying that love is everything.”
And the simplicity of the song’s message is still the same today – all you needs is love – but to that I add God’s love. Life is about learning how to love. Life is full of adventure, triumph, tragedy, and changes that enable us to grow in love and mature in Christ likeness. Being a Christian is not about a ten point plan, a list of dos and don’ts. It is about relationship, relationship with God.
The hallmark of the believers life is not his or her ability to observe certain spiritual disciplines – to go to church regularly, to read the Bible, and to avoid doing bad things. As Bill Johnson says “Christianity was never meant to be a life of disciplines. It was always meant to be a life of passion.”
“We have come to believe in God’s love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, that gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.” (Pope Benedict)
Have you ever heard the saying “What you behold, you become?”
I believe this statement applies to our relationship with God. If we are in love with God, then out of that love relationship and time spent in His presence will flow a love for humanity and for the world. His heartbeat becomes our heartbeat; His passions become our passion; His priorities become our priorities. Love awakens.
God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. (C S Lewis)
When asked what was the most important commandment, Jesus responded that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength. To love God with everything we have and everything we are is the most important commandment and is our true calling as Christians.
To be secure in who we are we need to lay hold of and keep hold of the revelation of God’s love for you. For that will be what will sustain you through life – through the trials, through the trenches.
The late theologian and author Father Henri Nouwen, used to say that the spiritual life is a life in which you gradually learn to listen to God’s voice saying: “You are my beloved son; you are my beloved daughter. I love you with an everlasting love. I have moulded you together in the depths of the earth. I have knitted you in your mother’s womb. I’ve written your name in the palm of my hand and I hold you safe in the shade of my embrace…You belong to me and I belong to you. You are safe where I am. Don’t be afraid. Trust that you are beloved. That is who you truly are.”
The way we live is important but if we live without love, it is meaningless. The reality is, if we love God we will find that the way we live changes – it is much easier to obey out of love. We can only give away what we have. If we are called to represent Jesus to the world around us, we must have regular encounters with His love, because it’s his love that He is trying to communicate to the world through us.
Passionate love should be the substance that primarily characterises us as believers. The most natural thing in the Christian life is to be passionately in love with Jesus and for this blazing love to infuse all that we are an do. The greater thing we were made for – the thing we were meant to give our lives for – is relationship, first with God and then with one another. Our ultimate purpose, which is loving Him and being loved by Him.
Rick Joyner said this “the love of God is not only our greatest treasure. It is the most powerful force that will ever impact the earth.”
Christ did not die for us that God might love us, He died because God already loved us. Love is not the result of redemption, it’s the cause of it. AW Tozer