14 “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe[a] in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. (John 14:1-3 CSB)
This place we reside in is temporary. It is not really our home. Christ has prepared a place for us in heaven and scripture gives us a little insight into that eternal home.
A place has been prepared for us that far exceeds anything we could hope for or strive for here on earth. Yet, we put most of our time and energy into trying to make more for bigger, nicer places to live while we are here. Knowing that they will pass away and crumble into dust.
Look, there is nothing wrong with striving for more, unless we are only striving for more. If the striving is for God and better is the outcome so be it. But only striving for ourselves leaves us with very nice piles of dust.
49 And look, I am sending you[a] what my Father promised. As for you, stay in the city[b] until you are empowered[c] from on high.” (Luke 24:49 CSB)
Scripture is peppered with many promises from God. The first of which is to send The Spirit to be both our guide and interpreter of the messages within scripture.
Leaning to live in and lean on these promises can make life a much more enjoyable journey. It does not mean that sky’s will always be fair, the road never rough nor the tempature always perfect. But it does mean that no matter what we can lean upon God’s promises for the outcome of our lives.
For those who have struggled with much this can seem a distant promise. But upon closer reflection we can often see God’s grace even in the difficulties in life.
Staying faithful can only be done by looking expectantly toward the God’s promises in scripture. There is much to mine within those sacred words.
21 So what fruit was produced[a] then from the things you are now ashamed of? The outcome of those things is death. 22 But now, since you have been set free from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the outcome is eternal life! (Romans 6:21-22 CSB)
Feeling free is great!
I know when I get to break away on the bike for a few days and sense the freedom of the open road or a quiet trail somewhere there is nothing more liberating.
We live our lives sequestered. We have jobs to do, families, things we must keep up and maintain. And during the holiday season that can all feel very heavy. We can feel burdened and not have a sense of freedom at all.
Yet, Christ came to give us a life free of sin and the ability to live with the freedom that comes from this knowledge. So no matter how heavy life might feel, we can look up and remember to feel that sense of freedom.
29 When you sacrifice a thank offering to the Lord, sacrifice it so that you may be accepted. (Leviticus 22:29 CSB)
While we are no longer under the law and no longer have to provide sacrifices, we are to come before God in thanks.
Our offering now is our prayer and they should be as heavily weighted with thanks as with petitions.
We tend to pray most with petitions, thanksgiving is sprinkled in as a good measure. Instead we should be giving thanks for prayers not yet answered more than anything else.
You see, God always fufills His promises. Maybe not on our timeframe or in the way we would always like, but He is faithful. Thus we should approach our petitions with thanksgiving, showing our faithfulness in knowing that He will answer us.
6 We do, however, speak a wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age, or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 On the contrary, we speak God’s hidden wisdom in a mystery, a wisdom God predestined before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:6-7 CSB)
We want to think we are living in an age of unsurpassed wisdom and innovation. Technologically we are. However, there have been many times when the world went through great periods when revolutionary change happened.
In each period, in our own eyes, we were making great strides. However, were these strides for humanity or simply for industry? More often than not, simply for industry.
From a humanity standpoint many of these great periods came to nothing. In fact they often created more want than existed before. Our current time moreso than others because technology now drives consumerism and separation. All of our great technological strides are coming to nothing. They are doing nothing to bring us together and truly improve lives.
If we could but shift this coming to nothing to coming to something. Something that moves man forward and does not shove us back. Only striving for God comes to something that can improve all of humanity.
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not[a] consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly[b] call in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:!3-14 CSB)
Many things in life can hold us back, become obstacles to pressing forward. However, success values forward motion. Setbacks are typically temporary and our mountains are often made from molehills.
With God’s strength we can continually press forward to make the most of each day. Even when we are not feeling it, simple forward motion keeps us from stagnating and allowing negatives to set in.
We must ever press forward toward the goal. Hopefully, that goal has something to do with our faith life and our desire to please God and not focus wholly upon our vain striving.
Our home is not here, we press ever forward to our home in heaven. However, while we are here we have a job to do, a plan to fulfill, one uniquely put in place for us alone.
But we must press ever forward.
12 I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry— 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, (1 Timothy 1:12-13 CSB)
Paul goes on to say he was “the chief among sinners” later in this section of scripture. There are many times when I too have felt like the chief among sinners. But Christ paid the price and bought me and brought me from my sins as he did you.
When we are faithful we will be used, even in our sinful state, for the good God has planned. We may not fee worthy, because we are not. We may not feel ready, because He uses the unready. We may not feel strong enough, because He uses the weak. We may not feel smart enough, because He uses the simple to confound the learned.
Make no mistake, God can and will use us just as we are … warts and all!
We each have a divine appointment if we will but be open to it.