Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Mark 8:25 - Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
Mark 10:16 - And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
Luke 13:13 - Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
As we prepared for our grandchildren’s visit, I pondered the BEFORE and the AFTER of an Event. The excitement, anticipation and love made the preparation easy. During the visit there would be laughter and joy and sharing the pictures of their parents when they were young and the re-telling of ‘do-you-remembers’ in our relationship as grandparents and grandchildren. The sharing of food, finding out what their favorite foods now. And there was much more, learning what productive citizens they had become in their adult life. We have a window in what their life is and will be – their dreams and goals for the future.
Suddenly the time is gone and it is the AFTER. After our prayer circle, final goodbyes and hugs, we watched our grandchildren pack their cars, climb in and leave. It was the AFTER. We held hands and waved until our grandchildren were beyond our sight. The AFTER was accompanied by the familiar lump in the throat and tears that threatened to escape our eyes.
We looked at each other wordlessly and walked into the quiet house. Every where we looked, we saw signs of the visit. Our next few days would be AFTER with laundry and left-overs and “I should have sent the bananas with Demian.”
Then I realized that every event has a before and an AFTER. The AFTER is the reality of this life, where we truly live. The events in our lives are a roller coaster of highs and lows. Getting a driver’s license, dating, graduation, going to college, marriage, the first job, the new car or buying a house or going on a vacation are events with a BEFORE and an AFTER. Watch a senior in high school chaff at the slow passage of time before graduation with so much homework to finish. An expectant mother’s last month seems to wait forever to hold the anticipated tiny baby. Observe a new bride count down the days and the tasks she must complete before the happy day, to live happily ever AFTER.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, anniversaries and birthdays involve the BEFORE of preparation. Sharing a celebration of an event makes it an event. The AFTER is easier when shared as well.
Education, resumes and interviews preface the exhilarating moment before the words, “You are hired!”
I remember my first teaching job. I would have paid my employer to hire me. It is an exhilarating sense to have a job. Then the AFTER comes. The responsibility, the planning, the duties of a teacher, the interaction with a room of students and with their parents.
Sometimes the AFTER in our lives creates discouragement and we begin to doubt ourselves. When the event is acquiring a new possession, the AFTER comes more quickly. For possessions become an opiate, always wanting more to recreate the exhilaration of ownership or ‘keeping up with the Joneses, the Smiths and the Browns..
Every AFTER has new responsibilities and new things to learn.
Does this circular life seem useless or redundant? Perhaps it does. If so, we agree with King Solomon who said said long ago, "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." Ecclesiastes 1:2
However, there is one BEFORE that lasts a lifetime. There is an AFTER that lasts for an eternity – where there is life, love and joy eternal.
Accepting Jesus, and living for and with Him in this life is a preparation for the greatest event everlasting. There is no let-down in the AFTER of life, there are no tears or sadness of parting. We can never stop preparation of praising and serving Jesus in the BEFORE of the AFTER of eternal life with Jesus.
Why choose Jesus? Why spend a life time being His?
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12.
What is the AFTER?
Can you imagine a place where the fruit of the spirit abounds?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Can you imagine a place where is no power outage?
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. Revelations 21:23
Can you imagine a place where there is no death or tears?
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelations 21:4
Can you imagine a place where there is need for forgiveness?
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
Can you imagine a place where praise is the communication?
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. I Timothy 1:17
Can we imagine Heaven? No, for our minds are finite. I accept God and live for Him in the BEFORE. It is enough for me to know that there are no earthly AFTERS in Heaven!
I can only imagine what it will be like,
When I walk by Your side.
I can only imagine hat my eyes will see,
When Your face is before me:
I can only imagine.
I Can Only Imagine – Jeff Carlson