Thursday, January 23, 2014

Something To Look Forward To by Mike DeCamp

As I write this, I’m sitting in a condo in Orlando, Florida.  A quick look to my left, and I see the bright sun reflecting off of the lake five stories below my room, and this morning I strolled through Bluespring State Park as I watched the Manatees lazily meandering upspring.  Earlier in the week, I soaked in the sun for a little while on Anna Maria Island.  Ahhhh, the life.

Okay, I’m betting that some of you…maybe all of you…just thought something like:  “That’s not fair!” or “That’s not nice!”

Don’t worry, by the time most of you read this, I’ll be back in the northland enjoying the frigid weather with you.  It was only a short escape.

In the meantime, I understand how you feel.  Just the other day, we were at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure Theme Park, and I had a similar feeling.  You see, they have a policy there that allows people with more money to pay extra to be able to go through the “Express Line” to the front and bypass all of us folks who stood in the normal line.  (I kind of figured that I’d paid enough as it was and I wasn’t willing to pay more money just to be able to cut in front.)  At one particular attraction, the line would stop dead for 10 minutes at a time.  We’d done that maybe four times and we were in sight of the end, when all of the sudden a bunch of the “legally paid line-cutters” just showed up to take the front spots.  For one clear time in my life, I think I struggled with envy.  Arrrgh!

My “not fair” siren was going off -- screaming in my head!

Aren’t you glad the ultimate “attraction” is not programmed that way?

Our access to eternal life and our heavenly home is not based on how much money we are willing to pay, and you can’t pay more to get to the front.  In fact, someone else paid the entry fee for us, and all we have to do is accept the trip and make the journey.

Ephesians 2:4-10

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I asked Nancy or one of the girls at one point:  “What would happen here if everyone paid the extra for the Express Line?”  Well, the obvious answer was that it would not be very “express” anymore.

The cool thing about God is that all of us who choose to take God’s ride are automatically expressed to the front.  We are in.  It doesn’t matter if you have more money or less money.  It doesn’t matter about your worldly status.  No attention is paid to any social standing.
When you come in, your slate is cleaned and there are no lines.

And, thankfully, when we reach that new Jerusalem, there is no mention of any subzero temperature or piles of snow.  Ahhhh, the life!

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look!  God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘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.”  Revelation 21:2-4

It sure is something to look forward to!

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