04 April, 2014

Heavenly Perspective

My monthly meditation on Hebrews 12:1-3:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Our recent OMF gathering.
Now there are plenty of faults here, but being involved with
groups of people like this is like a taste of heaven.
I've read a couple of books on heaven recently. One that's become a bit famous  and has recently been released in the US as a movie is called, "Heaven is for Real." The story of a young boy who testifies that he went to heaven during an operation, it is very believable. An aside is that the boy's birthday is almost the same as our eldest son's.

The second book is by Joni Eareckson Tada: "Heaven . . . Your Real Home."

The third book that I've just begun has touched on this topic too. It is called, "On Asking God Why?" by Elisabeth Elliot.

I didn't intend to head down this path. I'm not researching this topic at all, it's just happened. But it has been a helpful reminder that my true home is heaven, and having a focus like that helps to keep things in perspective here on earth.

The start of Hebrews 12 gets us looking in heaven's direction also. Considering those who've already gone to heaven, but also Jesus. Joni gives us good perspective on this. She writes:
Although I wouldn't normally call three decades in a wheelchair "momentary," it is when you realise that "you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14). Scripture is constantly trying to get us to look at life this way. Our life is but a blip on the eternal screen. . . .
The Lord had come from heaven, and He knew how wonderful it was. Thus, He was always focusing on end results. . .
Nothing more radically altered the way I looked at my suffering than leapfrogging to this end-of-time vantage point. Heaven became my greatest hope. In fact, I wondered how other people could possibly face quadriplegia, cancer, or even a death in the family without the hope of heaven. 
That's what this sentence in Hebrews 12 is all about: "For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Jesus knew that His suffering was just temporary and not much at all compared to where he was headed: straight to His Father's side.

Then He calls us to have this perspective too, so that we won't give up too easily, so we won't declare we are too weary to persevere through the dirt and scum that this world throws at us.

Let us not just fix our eyes on Jesus, the man-Jesus. Let us fix our eyes on the Jesus who's sitting at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven. Which, by the way, sounds magnificent beyond earthly words if the testimony of the above mentioned young boy is to be believed.

We're about to book our tickets for Australia. The next four months will be full of busyness and temporary pain as we relocate. But if I can just keep lifting my eyes to heaven where all  will be right and good, I can make it in His strength.

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