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The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. Isaiah 11:6

Have you ever wondered what heaven will be like? Ever thought about what we, as Christ-followers, will do for eternity? Eternity is a long time! Will we have jobs? Will we recognize our loved ones? Will we have any recollection of earthly events, or see earthly events from our vantage point?

Even though I don’t have answers to those questions there are some things we can be sure of. We can be sure we’ll see Jesus. I can’t wait for that. I figure I’ll sit at his feet for the first one or two million years and just worship him before I venture out to explore the place.

We can be pretty sure we’ll feel at home there. Jesus says he’ll have a place set up for us in his Father’s house. While I’m not entirely sure I know how that will work out, I think once we cross that line from today to eternity we’ll feel completely at home.

The Bible tells us there will be no death, no illness, no gender gap or generational gap. We’ll all live in complete and perfect harmony. Isaiah gives us the examples of mortal enemies like the lion and the lamb laying together in complete harmony.. The same with the leopard and the goat and the calf and the lion.

What will cause enemies to live together in peace? A little child. That little child is Jesus. He was there at creation when they were created. Paul tells us he is the glue that holds this entire universe together! Perfect peace has its origin and its power in the leading of the little child in the manger. The baby that grew to be king. King over death. King over sorrow and sadness. King over guilt and shame. King over my enemies.

We won’t likely see peace in our world for some time. Jesus says things will get much worse before they get better. Someday, though, if we hold Jesus as our Lord and Savior we’ll know what perfect peace is. Peace from finances. Peace from relational conflict and political upheaval. Peace from illness and worry. Peace from sin and guilt.

Until then, the sustainer and creator of peace lives within each of us. It’s unlikely that any of us will be able to exert enough change on planet earth to bring world-wide peace. But we can work towards peace in our own little corner of the world. Go ahead. Start a peace chain by praying for your enemies. Commit your worries and fears and feeling of inadequacy to the one who can bring peace in the midst of the storm. Someday we’ll live in a world of perfect peace, but until then do what you can to bring peace to your corner of the world.

PRAYER: Father God, I don’t know what it will be like to live in heaven with you for eternity. There are some days when I struggle so much here on earth that I long to ‘come home’ to you. Thank you for the peace that you promise me in eternity. Thank you that you can bring some of that peace to my world today. Empower me with your Spirit to sow thoughts of peace in my world where ever and however  I can. In Jesus name, Amen.

Won’t God protect his chosen ones who pray to him day and night? Won’t he be concerned for them? Luke 18:7 (CEV)

Someday, when this life on earth is over, I’ll cross over into the presence of my Lord Jesus. I don’t really know what awaits me or how it all works. I only know who will be there and that is enough for me.

When I get there, my plan is to spend the first 1-2 million years worshiping him at his feet. Gazing into those eyes of love I’ve waited to see for so long. Examining the scars on his hands and feet and the scar on his side, the very markings that made it possible for me to even enter his presence, much less spend eternity with him.

After those 1-2 million years are over, I’d like to ask him a few questions, respectfully of course and in extreme love. I want to ask Jesus why so many of us have prayed for healing only to see that healing come in the way of the grave, while other people pray for healing and see miraculous, unexplainable healing.

I want to ask him why some kids from very good families make choices that harm their family and themselves, while at the same time kids from very dysfunctional families make good choices that glorify God.

I want to ask him why so many women and children are abused when they are surrounded by loving, praying, caring friends. And why natural disasters and political upheavals and financial greed were allowed to run so rampantly when so many people prayed against it.

There are so many other questions I want to ask Jesus when I get there. Then again, maybe not. While I consider all the pain of my own life, the stupid choices I’ve made, the rebellious, selfish, harmful decisions that affected my life, I realize that in so many ways my prayers have been answered.

I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. I wish he would answer my prayers in my time and in my way. But his timing is always best. We see tragedies in life in need of ‘fixing’ for life to be complete. He sees opportunities in life to draw us closer to him. When the bad stuff happens we can choose to be angry (and miserable) or trusting (and at peace). His goal is for a life of peace in the midst of the struggles. His desire is for us to experience the forgiveness and freedom of grace.

Christian Author, Max Lucado says, in his book ‘A Gentle Thunder’, “Though you hear nothing he is speaking. Though you see nothing he is acting. With God there are no accidents. Every incident is intended to bring us closer to him.”

I may not understand why bad things happen in this world, but my trust is in the one who loves me and promises to meet my needs.

PRAYER: Father God, there are some many times that I am confused by what happens in life around me. Prayers seem to go unanswered. Relationships fail. Bills increase while income decreases. In the midst of all this, I trust your promises. Empower me to trust you for all my needs. Thank you for Jesus. I can’t wait to see him face to face. Amen.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Have you ever meditated on what it means to have the Creator God, the almighty, all knowing, ever present God in relationship with you? He’s not watching us from heaven on high like we often think of. He’s walking with us! He’s sitting in our car with us during rush hour traffic. He’s holding our hand in the doctor’s office when the test reports come in. He’s got his arm around you when the news comes that a loved one has joined him for the eternal portion of their lives.

You know that feeling of elation you have when the boss tells you that you have a promotion coming…and a raise? Well, he feels it too and he smiles with pride. Just like he does when he’s sitting with you at the basketball game watching your son/daughter score the winning basket! And he cheers too!

When your little one lays sick with fever he has one hand on their tiny little body, and the other on your shoulder. I think he may even have tear on his cheek. Not because he’s worried about the baby, but because he feels your pain of worry and the pain of the little one.

During those times when the challenges of life seem too much to bear and you feel like you are bearing them all alone, he’s there. You may not sense his presence. Especially during those times of weakness when you give into temptation. You may not sense him during those times of disappointment with a spouse, a child or your parents. But God’s presence with you isn’t determined by your awareness of him. He’s always by your side. Watching your back, guiding your future. Comforting your present.

The next time you are attacked by the enemy named worry, worship instead. Worship isn’t reserved for Sunday. Worship isn’t reserved for any particular place or time. Worship is daily walking with the assurance that the one walking with you and loving you is God. That’s grace. That’s relationship. That’s God for you.

PRAYER: Father God, I praise and worship you for your promise to always be by my side. Forgive me for the times I forget that you not only watch over me but you walk with me, side by side and hand in hand. Today I ask that in every circumstance we go through together I will be aware of your presence by my side. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19

God is pro-choice. Not in the way some people would like to think. His definition of pro-choice goes far beyond the abortion controversy. God’s version of pro-choice has to do with everything we encounter in life. Moses says, “This day…” and it’s a reminder that every day, when we first open our eyes we choose. We choose between life and death, between blessing and cursing.

We have no choice but to choose! To choose between blessing and cursing means that our daily life will either be a blessing to those we come in contact with or a curse. It’s our choice. Paul adds to that when he says in Romans, “So much as is possible live at peace with all people.” Like Moses he’s telling us that every day we must choose to live peacefully with others to the best of our God-given ability.

When we are abused we have the choice to bless through forgiveness or to curse through hatred.

When we are disappointed in God or others we have the choice to bless through contentment or to curse through growing bitter.

When we suffer injustice we have the choice to bless by accepting the decision or to curse through growing bitter.

When we go through broken relationships we have the choice to bless by taking responsibility for our part and moving on or curse by living in shame and regret.

When we others let us down we have the choice to bless by trusting or the curse of accusing them before all the facts are out.

When we choose to bless, it doesn’t mean we agree with the other person. When we choose to bless it certainly doesn’t mean we condone what they have done to us. When we choose to bless we release our own bondage to the person so that the free life of Christ can live through us. Blessing always brings life. Cursing always brings death. Blessing enables us to live in freedom; cursing forces us into bondage. Blessing means I realize who I am as a Christ-follower; Cursing means I’ve forgotten what it means to be a child of God.

Humanly speaking, we don’t have the strength to take the actions to bless on a daily basis. We need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit for that. But we do have the power to choose! When we choose to bless we choose life not only for ourselves but for others and life is freeing! All of heaven is watching you today, to see which you choose!

PRAYER: Father God. I ask that today I would be a blessing to those around me. I choose life over death. It is so easy to curse through words and actions and so hard to bless when others are so selfish. I ask that you would empower me through your Spirit to see ways in my life to be a blessing and impart your life to others. Amen.

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