“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.
He arrived at our home to clean the carpets. He was late, stressed and focussed on negativity. He came in swearing like a trooper, frustrated. Yet by the time he went to leave he was calm, happy. His parting comments to my husband were “I was in such a bad way when I came, but I feel so at peace now.” I know for sure that this change in demeanour had nothing to do with the ease of the work he accomplished at our house. It was jolly hard work – the carpets needing a serious clean (think kids here!). I also know that we have the ability to impact the atmosphere and therefore the people around us.
The atmosphere we hold in our hearts and therefore in our homes can influence those around us. As carriers of the peace of God we can release that peace into the environment around us. The fruits of the Spirit too should be evident around us – joy, kindness, love….As Christians we can decide whether to be a thermostat or a thermometer. A thermoster merely taking the temperature and conforming to its environment. A thermostat though transforms its environment. We can be influencers or merely reflect the environment that we engage. In this situation it was my husband’s attitude that made an impact on our carpet cleaner. Peace prevailed!
It’s what I think God means in the Bible when He says “you are the light of the world.” It’s what we should be like. Standing out. Shining light. Impacting the world around us. Transforming darkness into light. Making a difference and releasing the Kingdom of Heaven into the earth around us. We can be God’s grace and love in action to those around us.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)
Peace. A welcoming atmosphere. A place where people leave feeling better than when they arrived. We can make a difference on the world around us.
Be the light.
“We need to let the pace of our lives be set to the metronome of Heaven” (Kalley Heiligenthal)
As a child I learned to play the piano. Not with much in the way of aptitude I must confess, but definitely with great diligence. And as such I remember the times when the metronome would be used. It helped me learn and keep to the right time. Over the sound of the music the steady beat of the metronome could be heard. It stopped me from rushing through sections and also from letting the music drag. The metronome was the heartbeat of the song. Steady, calm, consistent.
When our daily rhythm is aligned to Heaven’s we find peace. Peace in our daily lives – peace between our outer world and our inner world. We need to pay attention to what God is saying for our lives. It could be leaving a season behind, the end to a project or task – like the break between movements in a symphony. Perhaps it is time to add a layer to our lives, rather like the introduction of an additional instrument in a symphony – an outworking of the call of God for us. A stepping up, a stepping out. It’s about being in rhythm to what is important to God – what or who are on His heart for today and responding to that.
One thing we can be sure of, when we set our lives to the heartbeat of Heaven it grounds us and provides harmony to our days whether at andante or allegro speed. When we live within the call of God and His direction for our lives we find it is sustainable, enjoyable.
A Sacred Rhythm is one when Heaven is the baseline beat for our lives – our metronome.
My parents have always been ones to travel. I can still remember the excitement I had when I was a child when they would return home knowing that there would be gifts inside their suitcases. The anticipation of knowing that little treasures would have been tucked away in them ready to be given on their return. Souvenirs of the places that they visited, samples of the chocolates and sweets. I still have the Beatrix Potter china cat from England and the Weather Barometer from Switzerland. I remember the mini chocolates from Europe. The gifts were little tasters of countries that I was yet to visit. Samples of what life was like or what traditions were important to each country. Treasures indeed! Years on, I too have travelled and in my suitcases are also little gifts and souvenirs tucked away for my children.
When we receive a prophetic word, a healing, an answer to prayer, when we feel the tangible peace of God, we are touching another Kingdom. They are tastes, samples of life from the Kingdom of Heaven. But the heart of God is that we don’t just experience glimpses of the Kingdom of Heaven, but that we would reside in it. That our experience of the Kingdom of Heaven is part of our day to day lives. And not just a part – but the main reality of our lives. That we would live from Heaven towards Earth.
The life Jesus lived was of one brings Heaven’s reality to earth, of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth. When there was lack, He brought provision. Where there was affliction, He brought freedom. When there was sickness, He brought healing. Where there was death, He brought life. Bill Johnson wrote this “What is free to operate in Heaven – Joy, peace, wisdom, health, wholeness, and all the other good promises we read about in the Bible – Should be free to operate here on this planet.”
“Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, “Here it is” or “there it is”, because the Kingdom of God is within you. “ (Luke 17:20-21)
“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)
It was I thought just a simple act of kindness and generosity on my behalf, for a friend’s 4 year old daughter. Nothing significant. But as it turns out it there was more to it. God had purposed me and Heaven breathed on us.
You see many years ago I had bought a beautiful Madeline rag doll. Having loved the Madeline books, I could not resist buying the doll in case one day I had a daughter. As it turns out my heart is full with 3 sons, and so the doll languished in my wardrobe until I was sorting through some boxes and came upon it. I decided to sell the doll on Ebay knowing I would get a good price as it is now very collectable.
However, a conversation changed my mind. Catching up with my friend, she shared how her little one could not sleep at night. Her daughter had problems with her hip and ever since she was a baby she has had several operations. After each operation she would not be able to sleep for fear of waking up in pain. Sleep for her became terrifying. As my friend talked, a random thought popped into my mind, to give this special doll to this special girl as her sleep buddy. And so I did.
What I did not know, is that the Madeline Doll carries a scar. In the storybooks, Madeline has to go to hospital to have her appendix out and ends up with a scar from the operation. To be true to the Story Book , this Madeline doll also has a scar hidden under her blue coat. My friend’s precious daughter who carries a scar from her operations, has discovered that her special doll has one too. Buddies.
Meant to be!
In our lives, God is always there, working at times behind the scenes and so discreetly that we do not notice. God is always ready to partner with and encourage us and others through us. His heart is to be present and involved in our everyday. We will find that when we look close enough we will see evidence of His helping hand through our days. When we take time to see and respond to God’s involvement in our everyday lives we will discover more about His nature, His character and His unfailing love for us and for those around us.
When our hearts and lives are centred on God we will find that our random thoughts, and simple acts of kindness carry with them the Kingdom of Heaven and the presence and heart of God.
I think back to the time when I discovered the Madeline doll and on a whim decided to buy her. God was already at work then preparing to bless a little girl who had been through so much.
[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. (Philippians 2:13 AMP)
A colleague of mine recently returned from a holiday in New York. His first time there. He showed me the photos he’d taken. There were the typical photos of the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State building and Times Square. But then there were the photos of the more normal, everyday sights and experiences – the photos of the NYPD car, the hot dog stand and a random squirrel, the selfie of him on the subway and of Macy’s. For this first time visitor to New York, even the normal life was exciting and something to be remembered.
For the residents of New York, many of these sights, from Time Square to Central Park, and particularly the subway, taxis and police cars are part of their normal, everyday experience. I imagine that they wouldn’t be pausing to take a photo of the hot dog stand on the corner, and they may not even look up as they walk past the Flatiron Building. I confess I’m the same in my city of Auckland. Driving to work along the waterfront I drive past tourists taking photos of the view, while I, engrossed in my thoughts give it little attention. As I rush from appointment to appointment I fail to look up and appreciate the Volcanoes that grace our landscape.
I wonder if it is the same when living the Christian life. Those new to faith are wowed by the revelation of the love of God, of His forgiveness and grace towards them, of how He speaks to us and wants to speak to us! They are so amazed as to how good and loving He is that they can barely contain it. Can we, residents of the Kingdom of Heaven for longer, become nonchalant about the life that we now live, do we take for granted grace and forgiveness?
Do we forget to look up?