Tag Archives: Eternity

A different perspective on safety

“You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.” (Luke 21:16–19)

Bullet ProofHow can some of us be put to death, yet realize the promise that “not a hair of your head will perish”? The answer can only be found in a radically different concept of safety. Jesus sees things from His Father’s perspective. In His eyes, the passage from this world into eternity looks more like a coming-of-age, or a rite of passage. It’s a beginning of something much more than it is an end of something. Remember your high school graduation? Caps and gowns, hugs, high fives, and perhaps a few tears. It’s a bittersweet occasion marking the passing of one phase of life, but the sadness is overshadowed by the anticipation of the many experiences awaiting you on the road ahead.

~ Excerpted from Bulletproof by Chuck Holton

How willing are you to put your safety in Jesus’ hands?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, Trusting God

A Peek Behind the Curtain

They were dispersed over a large area and feeling quite alone. Experiencing great difficulty on many levels. They likely felt very discouraged. Perhaps they even questioned their faith in this carpenter from Nazareth who had come back to life.

I’m speaking of John’s intended audience, those first followers of Jesus who would have read the book or letter of Revelation and marveled at all the strange imagery.

I don’t imagine that the life of following Jesus was turning out exactly like they had expected. It seldom does.

John the Baptist saw Jesus and declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

But just a short time later when he sat in jail about to lose his head, John sent disciples to ask Jesus if He was the One they had waited for or if they should wait for another. I’m guessing that John thought doing life with God would be different.

Hadn’t Jesus come to heal and comfort and restore? Why is following Him so difficult, so unpleasant at times? Is it really worth all the hardship and sacrifice?

In The Wizard of Oz Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal a man masquerading as the great and powerful Oz. They are given a different perspective on what’s really going on and who is in charge; and it’s a big disappointment.

But the peek behind the curtain given to John in the form of a vision is much different. In it we catch a glimpse of what life will be like in the very presence of God. And it’s awe-inspiring!

In John’s day, Rome appeared to be in control; but it was really God who was working behind the curtain of our reality.

In our day, Washington, D.C. appears to be in control; but it is really God who is working behind the curtain of our reality.

The center of the universe is heaven, and the center of heaven is a throne, and there is Someone, our triumphant God, sitting on the throne.

Why is following Jesus often so difficult now?

Because we are not home yet!

So hang in there and keep running the race. Keep fighting the good fight. Hold onto the faith.

One day soon God will make all things new!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Eternity, God, Heaven, Hope, Kingdom of God, Persecution, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Suffering, Trusting God

Obedience to biblical principles can be wrong?

It’s a surprising thought, and not a little disturbing, that obedience to biblical principles can be wrong. But when doing right is a strategy to get what we want, our energy is pride and our focus is self. ~ Larry Crabb in The Pressure’s Off

Think about it.

We live in a world absorbed with linear thinking. If I do A then I get B as a result. It’s simple cause and effect.

If I want to enjoy dessert then I must eat my vegetables or clear my plate.

If I want to avoid another spanking then I will pick up my toys.

If I wear the right clothes or am a standout athlete then I’ll be popular in school.

If I dress and look and talk a certain way then I’ll get the guy/girl I want to go out with me.

If I get good grades in school then I’ll have a better chance at a good career.

Linear thinking – cause and effect – has its place, but not in relationships. When we apply this principle to getting what we want from people we are manipulating them. And regardless of the outcome… it’s wrong!

This same thought process is especially dangerous in our relationship with God.

“If I read my bible regularly and pray and tithe and volunteer and ________ (fill in the blank), then God will (must) bless me with the good things of life.”

Really? Where is that written?

But I’ve been faithful to You God, why…
… did my spouse leave me?”
… is my kid rebelling?”
… are we struggling with finances?”
… are we experiencing a health crisis?”

It’s not always obvious but it’s often there just below the surface; this notion that God owes us certain blessings.

I don’t think that Jesus is opposed to such blessings in our lives, but when we seek those blessings from God more than we seek God Himself then we are committing idolatry.

And following biblical principles in order to secure blessings from God is a cheap attempt to manipulate and control God.

Jesus said that real life is being in relationship with the Father. This is what eternity in heaven is all about but it starts right here and now.

Forgives us Lord and stir our passions for wanting You more than anything or anyone else in life.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Bible, Choices, Christianity, Desire, Eternity, God, Heaven, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Loving God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture

Fix our eyes on…

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Eternity, Faith, Kingdom of God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation

Our ultimate hope

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

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Filed under Christianity, Death, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, Hope, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, Serving

Legacy

Memorial Day is set aside as a special time to recognize and honor those who have given their very life in defense of our freedom. A freedom we should never take for granted.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Navy SEAL Adam Brown and his story as told in Fearless. If you missed that post you can read it here, but I want to share with you the impact it had on the man who wrote about Adam.

Despite the impact and magnitude of the bin Laden mission, Adam’s story stands on its own. Throughout his life he inspired scores of people, and his story has continued to change the lives of many—including mine.

He’s reminded me to appreciate every moment with my family, to be goofy rather than grumpy, to get back up no matter how hard I might get slapped down, to sometimes buy my children a cupcake when I pick up coffee in the morning but to call it a muffin “because,” as Adam would tell Savannah, “as long as you call them muffins, they’re okay to eat for breakfast.” And though I hadn’t opened a Bible in more than twenty-five years, his faith encouraged me to question my own questioning about religion.
~ Excerpted from Fearless by Eric Blehm

Adam Brown’s life and legacy could be summed up with one word: Fearless

What one word do you want people to use when describing your life and your legacy once your story on this side of the grave is complete?

Are you living living that kind of life?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Choices, Commitment, Courage, Determination, Eternity, Faith, influence with the world, Memorial Day, Sacrifice

This is not the bigger reality

A few weeks back our family enjoyed several days at Disney World in Florida where our oldest son is doing a college internship. As our time came to a close and we packed up to head home we all shared a common sentiment…

(Sigh) “Back to reality.”

We’ve all been there. It’s a familiar way to express our disappointed that another vacation has come to an end. On a smaller scale, Monday can bring the same sentiment as it looms on the horizon of our weekend.

It signifies entering back into the work-a-day world and the often tedious or pressure-filled daily routines that all-to-often grind us down and zap our energy.

But during the long drive back to Indiana – 16 hours – it struck me that what we refer to as “reality” isn’t really the bigger reality.

Sure this world is what we know best. It’s familiar to us on multiple levels. It is tangible and real. We can taste it, touch it, smell it… experience it in every possible way. But…

This is not the bigger reality.

Speaking of how we tend to be overconfident in making plans here in this present world James writes:

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. ~ James 4:14

Our lives are like an early morning mist that disappears with the rising sun. Very real but very, very temporary.

Speaking of the nature of our earthly bodies Paul used the term tent; an apt comparison with the eternal nature of our true essence. In his 2nd letter to the disciples in Corinth he wrote:

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:1

Tents are great, when they serve their intended purpose. They enable us to visit places where no permanent residence exists. They are a shor-term solution, just like our earthly bodies.

It would make sense to put all your trust and resources and efforts into preserving a tent only if it were your only reality, your only option.

But for those of us who belong to God’s kingdom, there is a bigger reality waiting for us beyond this life.

Whatever’s going on in your life that is good, enjoy it but don’t put too much stock in it. It’s only temporary.

Whatever’s going on in your life that is bad, endure it and don’t give up. It’s only temporary.

This is not the bigger reality!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

10 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Heaven, Hope, Kingdom of God, Life in General

Our Magic Moment came at a price

It was our last day at Disney World. We had gotten to the Magic Kingdom at 10:00 am and it was 10:25 pm. We were spent… but wanted to squeeze in one more ride.

When we got to the ride the sign said there was a 40 minute wait. The park was only open for another 35 minutes so we couldn’t use a Fast Pass.

As we stood there talking about what to do an older gentleman who works at Disney came out to chat with us. Learning of our dilemma he told us we only needed to know two words – Magic Moment.

After a bit more chit-chat he took us to the Fast Pass line and sent us through with instructions to tell the ride attendant those two special words.

As we stood there waiting to board the ride Eli said, “You just had your Magic Moment.” He explained that those who work in the parks try to give out special treats like that to help add an extra spark to your visit.

It was a great way to end our fun-filled day at the Magic Kingdom. But I couldn’t help thinking about all those people who had been waiting in line before we got there. They were still waiting when we got on the ride.

Our Magic Moment came at a price.

Those of us who belong to the kingdom of God have freedom from sin and death. We have a new identity and a new lease on life. We have a restored relationship with God and the promise of an eternity with Him forever.

We did nothing to earn it.

We did nothing to deserve it.

It comes to us free, but it came at a price.

It cost Jesus His life.

What will we do with God’s gift today?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Forgiveness, Freedom, God, Grace, Heaven, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Love of God, Relationship with God, Sacrifice, Sin, Stewardship, Thankfulness

Our Magic Moment came at a price

It was our last day at Disney World. We had gotten to the Magic Kingdom at 10:00 am and it was 10:25 pm. We were spent… but wanted to squeeze in one more ride.

When we got to the ride the sign said there was a 40 minute wait. The park was only open for another 35 minutes so we couldn’t use a Fast Pass.

As we stood there talking about what to do an older gentleman who works at Disney came out to chat with us. Learning of our dilemma he told us we only needed to know two words – Magic Moment.

After a bit more chit-chat he took us to the Fast Pass line and sent us through with instructions to tell the ride attendant those two special words.

As we stood there waiting to board the ride Eli said, “You just had your Magic Moment.” He explained that those who work in the parks try to give out special treats like that to help add an extra spark to your visit.

It was a great way to end our fun-filled day at the Magic Kingdom. But I couldn’t help thinking about all those people who had been waiting in line before we got there. They were still waiting when we got on the ride.

Our Magic Moment came at a price.

Those of us who belong to the kingdom of God have freedom from sin and death. We have a new identity and a new lease on life. We have a restored relationship with God and the promise of an eternity with Him forever.

We did nothing to earn it.

We did nothing to deserve it.

It comes to us free, but it came at a price.

It cost Jesus His life.

What will we do with God’s gift today?
***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, Forgiveness, Freedom, God, Grace, Heaven, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Love of God, Relationship with God, Sacrifice, Sin, Stewardship, Thankfulness

It was worth the wait!

There we were, having stood in line for 25 minutes already, and it was our turn to go next… then they left. We were the next in line to meet Winnie-the-Pooh and Eeyore, but it was their time for a break. Arg!

(Warning: Spoiler – In reality, its only a 4-5 minute break because it’s a different team coming out to the meet and greet. Sorry if that spoiled any of the magic for you!)

So we kept our place in line and waited. But then we heard rumors that Tigger might be coming out too!

Now, just to be clear; Tigger is one of my all-time favorite characters and when people tease me about having  all manner of Tigger memorabilia blanketing my office I simply remind them that everyone needs a hero. I even had a dog named Tigger when I was growing up.

I don’t know if its his bounce, his laugh or his optimism; but Tigger has been a favorite for as long as I can remember. I have various sizes of stuffed Tiggers. One bounces. One sings. And one does both!

Other than a couple new ones which my family bought me, the rest are garage sale specials or second-hand stores deals.

So we waited, and he came! Tigger was in the house!

It was worth the wait!

God’s timing tends to work that way too. God seems to be on a different schedule or rhythm than me. I’m guessing you can relate.

I’ve seen the plaques and posters declaring that if we’re waiting on God it’s because He has something even better for us. But I’m not sure. I think it depends on how we define better.

If better means something I’ll enjoy even more, then no, that’s not always the case. But if better means a more complete fulfilling of God’s kingdom plans, then yes, I would agree.

Waiting, on this side of the grave, sometimes leads to something more enjoyable here and right now; but not always. Sometimes waiting is followed by heartache and tragedy.

  • Waiting for a medical test that comes back as bad news.
  • Waiting for that special someone to call or come back and make things right, but they don’t.
  • Waiting for that promotion or pay raise that will help make ends meet, but it doesn’t come.

Yet even when waiting doesn’t turn into something better here and now, God’s bigger kingdom purposes continue to unfold. That’s when we can wait with hope because of the glory that will be ours with Jesus in eternity beyond this life.

No matter what it is you’re waiting on God for, and no matter how it turns out…

It will be worth the wait!

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

5 Comments

Filed under Eternity, Glory of God, God, Hope, Kingdom of God, Patience