April 24, 2011

Heavenly Easter

How Great Thou Art

Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel he gentle breeze;

And when I think that God his son not sparing,
Sent him to die - I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home- what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great thou art!

This evening at church we finished up a sermon series and focused on "The Kingdom of Jesus." The resurrection is really just the beginning--it is the trumpet blast that triggers this LIFE that we now have the ability to live. Our hope is in Jesus' coming back to life after dying (in our place) for our sin. When I was reading over John 20 today, I could not help but think of the early followers of Jesus and how sad and confused they must have been after he was crucified. To think that their leader was dead--if I were one of them I would have wondered if everything I had staked my life on until that point was a lie. What a painful thought! Thankfully they only had to spend 3 days in despair before their hopes soared and Mary Magdalene saw Jesus, her teacher and Lord, in the garden that morning.

So...now that we have the resurrection, what does that give the Christian to look forward to? Well, a life of eternity that we will spend with God. However, we are not to fall into the secular trap that heaven will consist of fluffy clouds and angels playing harps all day. This does not sound particularly appealing to me. Our passage tonight was Isaiah 65:17-25- read here. On the contrary, Isaiah tells us that heaven and earth will a place where there is no more weeping, sadness or sickness. We will be BUSY: "They shall build houses and inhabit them they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands." (vs 21-22) However, this work will not be in vain or for others to enjoy--we will be the direct beneficiaries. I'm not sure how all of this will play out exactly, but the thought of it thrills me. God created work--and work has such a negative connotation in our society--that I cannot wait to see was "perfected work" is like.

What else do we have to look forward to? Verse 24 tells us that God knows what we want before we can ask for it-- a level of knowing us that most people can only dream of finding in another person. This brings me to an earthly check for myself--do I know God well enough where I feel like I can finish his sentences and vice versa? Am I spending enough time in the word and prayer to foster a close relationship with him?

The best realization of Easter for me is the reminder that death is the beginning for the Christian. After death, we will be perfected--we will "blossom in places we didn't know we had buds"--we will be nurtured by the Creator and Perfecter of the Universe, the One who selflessly gave His life for us. As the day closes, I am thankful for Jesus' sacrificial love that allows me the chance to live for Him--each and every day.


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