Tuesday, April 13

daily heavenly mindedness

It's recently become a dilemma.  Spring really is here.  It really did arrive early.  Now I need to deal with that fact.

It seems strange because spring is my absolutely favorite season of the year.  Yup, I adore it!  Oh yes, I do fret a bit when all the mud comes into the house as we go through the thaw  - why can't dogs learn to wipe their feet on the rug by the door? - but other than that it seems that the arrival of spring can't keep anyone indoors including me.  So, all through March I enjoyed basking in the springlike weather outdoors thinking it was only temporary and there'd be plenty of time when winter returned to work on my big winter indoor projects. 

But I kept waiting and now it appears winter is not going to return and I'm feeling like I got caught off guard.  My winter indoor projects will not get done at this point as I check my upcoming calendar.  Argh!  Lots of unfinished business!

As I've been lamenting this very thing, God has been running a fascinating thread through my life over the past several weeks as I've been reading about eternity in Scripture which began with our Bible study in First and Second Peter, in a few different books, in devotional selections, and even in our school devotional time as we go through the book of Revelations. I didn't get it at first, but am having "Ah ha!" moments left and right lately.

Let me share a quote with you from a book I'm reading through right now that was written fifteen years ago...

"As we race toward the close of the twentieth century, most of the emphasis in Christianity is on becoming happier here, healed here, more blessed here, and more fulfilled here.  Worship must excite our spirits, sermons must entertain and enthrall our minds, music must penetrate and propel us.  And our counseling must make us feel better about ourselves and strengthen our human bond of friendship and family.  While this may be nice and necessary, without heaven in clear view our Christianity fails to have a heavenward compulsion pulling us closer to God, closer to eternity, closer to home.  It tends to become instead self-serving entertainment or a therapeutic center.  A heavenless church seeks to satisfy longings and needs here rather than serving and sacrificing here with a view to satisfaction there.  Without an eternal transcendent God as our compelling force and heaven in clear view, self becomes the center of attention and increasingly the center of our universe." ~ Joseph M. Stowell

Does that paragraph hit anyone else like it hit me?  Am I someday going to be caught off guard at the end of my life realizing that I selfishly basked in life here and ran out of time to serve and sacrifice for Him with my eye on eternity?

As I've been reading through Scripture and books about the lives of early believers, looking ahead to eternity was a key and main factor influencing their lives and how they lived.  Serving in sacrificial ways was common as they lived out God's love and passion for the lost of the world.  That aspect is lost in today's church.  We become believers in Jesus Christ and rejoice knowing we are going to Heaven someday, but that fact is tucked away as we move along in life in a self-seeking manner.  We serve *if* it's convenient and sacrifice *if* it serves our purposes as well.  And you know, it's all about balance....

As much as I'm reaching general conclusions as I ponder aloud, I'm also checking my own heart here.  I don't want to just pay lip service to these words, I want to live them.   It can only happen with the strength and help of God as He works in my life and in my heart to become heavenly minded on a daily basis so that when I get to the end of my life I'm not feeling like I'm leaving behind a bunch of unfinished business.  

May you have a moment or two in your garden to ponder eternity, too!

Tammy ~@~


LaughingLady said...

Oh man, you are speakin' my language, sister!! I SO wish we could chat about this in person! That's an incredibly stirring quote and such an important realization. We hear a fair some talk about living as though heaven were at hand, but I think we have far too few regular reminders. We're so easily distracted by everyday life!

(What's the book called, by the way? Seems like a book I should probably add to my never-ending, always-growing Amazon wish list!!)

ChiGirl said...

That very thought is what I've been hammering home every week in Bible study, yet that quote and your commentary was good for me to hear. Sometimes I get so busy teaching, I forget to be taught. So thank you. Love you!!

mom said...

The book is Eternity - Reclaiming a Passion for what Endures by Joseph M. Stowell. My copy is from 1995 and I dug it out of my son's book box when I was looking for something else.

It's definitely a topic that needs more talking about!

Tammy ~@~

val said...

Thank you so much my dear sister for this timely message. I feel very much in need of the lessons here and inspired to set out to walk more closely with my Lord.
Blessings and thanksgivings,

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