Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Heaven is Here

Jesus said, "I am making everything new,"(Rev. 21:5). The newness started for me when I first believed, but I know a great day is coming when we will see Jesus face to face. What a glorious day! Until then we have these things to remind us His love and promise to us:

The pines at Mt. Lassen seemed to stand more majestic. The Feather River flowed with rushing white water over boulders and logs. I wanted to run through the lush meadows as Julie Andrews ran on the hills in The Sound of Music. The fish in Lake Almanor jumped with exuberance whether for fun or feeding on flies. The songs of the birds sounded sweeter.

When Jesus was here, He called twelve men to be in His small circle of friends. He knew the value of companionship. He needed relationship and so do we. My friends inspire, encourage and pray for me. When I can do the same for them I feel vital and fulfilled.

My friends know my interests, likes and dislikes. We meet for lunch or prayer or just to have fun. Sometimes we serve in church or community programs together. I depend on them for fresh perspective on issues that challenge me. When I am down, God causes one to call me at just the right time. I am amazed when He uses me in the same way.

The more we experience God’s love, the more need we desire to respond, to give something back. When God created us, He gave each one talents and abilities we can use to tell others about the wonder of God. We love others because God first loved us. Fulfillment comes from using our gifts whether we are preachers, teachers, singers, bakers, doctors, writers or custodians. Whatever we do, if we do it for God and others, we find our purpose.

In my favorite picture of Jesus, He is carrying a black lamb on His shoulders. Although I usually relate to being the black sheep in His arms, the picture reminds me that God created animals for His and our pleasure. While riding my bike on the American River trail in Sacramento, I saw a coyote and appreciated the untouchable beauty in his markings. The squirrels on our backyard deck bring my husband John and me great entertainment. They play and chase each other and they eat what John puts in the feeder houses. When their food is gone, they look at us, squawk and bang their front feet on the trellis.

Some day I want to be as wonderful as my late dog, Boo, thought I was. She waited at the door every day at 5:00 for me to get home from work. And when I worked in my home office, she sat on my feet. She loved going on walks with me and she loved teasing John. Even though we miss her, God gave us a picture of her in His arms and He is giving her treats until we get there.

New Heavens and New Earth:
When Jesus said, “I am making all things new,” I believe He means He makes all things new from the first time we believe and trust Him. He also told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them (us too) and if He went to prepare a place for us, certainly He would return to take us to that place to be with Him. That place will be better than the Heaven we experience now because there will be no sin, pain, suffering or death.

In the New Heaven we will walk the golden streets of the New Jerusalem. God will be all we need—our light, life and worship. We could dangle our feet in the River of Life or eat of the Tree of Life or we enjoy a good book. Whatever we enjoy doing, it will be there. I can hardly imagine. What glorious expectation.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for lavishing your love on us and giving us hope. Amen.

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