Are We There Yet?

Often before starting out on a journey, we make plans on how to get there; what we will need for the journey? what will the weather be like? and most importantly, what is the best route to get there?  These days this last task is much simpler with the invention of GPS devices and Internet sites such as Mapquest, but there was a time that you would have reached for the most recent edition of a Rand McNalley Road Atlas.

This task was full of adventure and frustration for some.  We would see several options available for our travels, but try to pick the fastest, shortest route involving the most modern roadways such as interstates.  Some might actually do quite the opposite and choose the more scenic route.  Either way, the goal was to reach our destination.  Sometimes, though, our journey would involve a detour or perhaps between the driver and the navigator, an exit was overlooked or a turn was missed due to poor signage or human error.  Ah, the joys of travels. 

One thing remains constant in the midst of all these examples: the search continued until our destination had been reached.  After all, why continue to search once you’ve arrived.  We would be insane to keep looking for something we’ve already found.  Here is where the problem begins.  What if where you are is not really where you need to be or wanted to go? 

In life we are in pursuit of a purpose. Why are we here? Who put us here? How can my life most fulfill its original purpose? How do I get to the ultimate destination?  These questions require many answers and a faith in the answers that come.  Thankfully, we have been given a book, an instruction manual, or in this case, a roadmap.  Unfortunately, though, this book is worthless if you don’t have faith in its validity and author.  The book I’m referring to is the Bible and the author is God. 

Many people are spending lots of time and energy traveling, but where are they going?  A life without God, the creator of the universe, is useless, but until someone realizes this, they rarely begin their journey or ever quit traveling, because there is no goal.  Oh, there is a goal.  Their creator is wanting them to look for Him and set their goal on Heaven.   Several people have found God, but have ended their journey there.  They think they have reached their destination and no longer feel their need to keep searching.  What they don’t realize is that while we remain on this Earth, we need to keep searching for our destination, Heaven.  God is our travelling companion and guide if we allow Him to be.

Some people even claim to know how to get to Heaven, but what if they are wrong? They have become lazy in their searching and are spending their days giving out directions instead of making sure their information is correct.  As with any journey, it always seems easier in our plans than in our actual execution of the steps.  Things look different in person than they do on paper.  This is true for the Bible as well.  Reading the Bible is one thing, living it is another.  Just like the old saying, easier said than done.  I’m not saying that living according to the scriptures is difficult, but experiencing something is always different from reading about it.

Until we die, our journey and our searching for the correct paths cannot end.  We must be diligent about making sure that we have not been led astray or distracted from our travels by the world around us.  This is the most important journey we will ever take and it’s important that we get to Heaven.  There is no substitute or alternate location that would be just as nice to visit.  I’m not looking for just some nice place to visit, I’m headed towards my new home, Heaven. 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.   (Revelation 22:5)

In Heaven we will feel no more pain.  We will be given a new body and become perfect.  No more night, no more tears, no more sadness, no more sickness, no more crime: these are just a few of the benefits of our new residence.  I don’t know about you, but there is no vacation spot that can compare what Heaven has to offer.  I can’t afford to go on many vacations here in this life, but I can’t afford missing the opportunity of living in Heaven for eternity. Such a matter of existence does not leave room for error or half-heartedness.  I have to dot my i’s and cross my t’s.  I can’t trust just anyone with my soul.  It is necessary to read and study the Bible for myself.  Above all else I need to talk to my Guide and ask for directions.  It’s of ultimate importance to check and double-check every step of the way and make the necessary adjustments when I discover that I’ve made an error.

In this life, travel plays such a huge role in allowing us to enjoy this world we live in, giving us a temporary break from the stress and pains we experience in our everyday existence.  Whether plans are made in advance or not, the journey requires time and effort on our part and when it’s all said and done, we still have to return to our daily lives and whatever that entails, good or bad. There is coming a day when we will all reach our eternal destination, whether we’ve made plans or not.  When dealing with something as important as eternity, we should at least have a choice in the matter.  Once we have chosen the desired destination, then every effort should be poured into making that happen. 

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:37-39)

I feel like Traveling On

My Heav’nly Home Is Bright And Fair,
I Feel Like Traveling On,
No Pain, Nor Death Can Enter There,
I Feel Like Traveling On.

Chorus:
Yes, I Feel Like Traveling On,
I Feel Like Traveling On;
My Heavenly Home Is Bright And Fair,
I Feel Like Traveling On.

It’s Glittering Towers The Sun Outshine,
I Feel Like Traveling On.
That Heavenly Mansion Shall Be Mine,
I Feel Like Traveling On.

The Lord Has Been So Good To Me,
I Feel Like Traveling On.
Un-til That Blessed Home I See,
I Feel Like Traveling On.

-James David Vaughn

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What’s Another Bucket?

Sometimes, when a trial goes on for long enough, the initial shock effect wears off and we are left with a dull, nagging pain that hurts just enough to remind us that it is still there.  As humans we have an ability to adapt to our surroundings, with some adjustments to our way of living life.  It sort of reminds me of the war that was set into motion by the attack on 9-11-2001 in our country. 

I can remember the images of that day and the emotions that were stirred on that tragic day.  Our entire country was motivated to do something about what had been done to us, regardless of how much controversy has arisen since then doubting our need to be in the war that has continued to this day.  The only difference is now we’ve all pretty much settled back into our own little lives and it only hits home when someone we know has been killed or wounded over there. 

Personally, my life has been full of tragedy.  About the time I’ve adjusted to the current set of circumstances, something new happens to upset the apple cart, so to speak, and the current pain is compounded by all the hurts from the past.  Some people will argue that I haven’t allowed healing into my life for these past hurts or that perhaps I am holding on to them for pity or some other crazy reason.  I think that past hurts are just part of who we are, regardless of where we are in the healing process.

This evening though, the house was quiet.  The kids had plans and Eric was asleep due to his work schedule.  I started thinking about our current struggles that began about 3-5 years ago.  Many things have improved, but on the current path, we are looking at about 3-5 more years before we see some remarkable relief, unless God chooses to deliver us sooner.  I was thinking about how I can see growth in myself.  My husband and children have grown as well and our relationships have also strengthened, all of which are things to be thankful for.  I have to admit though, we’ve had a few things added to our current situation and I asked God, “Didn’t you have enough to do already?” …lol

Almost as soon as I asked the question, my mind was directed to the story in the Bible of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.  They were going to have a contest. Elijah instructed them to call on their gods and he would call on the name of the Lord.  The God that answered by fire would be declared the true God.  As the story goes along, the prophets of Baal called out to their gods to no avail.  Elijah mocked them, suggesting their god was busy talking, away on vacation, or just sleeping.  They got desperate and began cutting themselves in an attempt to get the attention of their god.  Still nothing.

When it came to be Elijah’s turn, he not only placed the sacrifice on the altar, but also dug a trench around the altar and requested that four barrels of water be poured over it.  Then he requested four more barrels be poured upon the sacrifice.  A third time he requested four more barrels of water to be poured upon this altar.  He then prayed a very simple, confident prayer, to which God quickly responded.  “And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.”  (I Kings 18:39)

I started thinking, God can and has been taking care of our circumstances.  We’ve even seemingly adjusted to our current life and although different, we are doing well.  God steps in and performs miracles each month to provide for our financial needs.  The additional financial strains that have come our way just recently are just barrels of water.  The comforting thought is realizing that there are no limits to Gods power.  Nothing is too hard for God.  Oh, sure, we make these statements, but do we believe them?  Are we really trusting in God or just holding our breath until the current trial goes away?  I’ve been guilty of the latter, but I’m thankful for a God that talks to my heart and sometimes even takes the time to spell out the lesson for me in such a way that I am able to understand and remember it.

With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14)

In our home, we had a running joke.  Whenever the kids would claim possession of their rooms, my husband would correct them and say that they belonged to us and that we were merely allowing them to stay there while they lived at home.  My son even corrects me when I tell him to clean ‘his’ room, reminding me that it is ‘the room that dad allows him to stay in.’  Too funny, but true.  In all reality, what do we own?  Everything we possess are just things that God allows us to have while we are here.  It all belongs to him, even our own bodies.  When we finally realize this, it relieves a lot of pressure.  We wear ourselves out trying to bear the load alone, when all along, God is just waiting for us to ask for His help. 

Our struggles will not always disappear the moment we pray, but we will see results.  Our load will become lighter and we will see the answers that we need in all areas of our lives, in His time.  Probably the most important result in the story above was the impact it had on the people who were once unbelievers.  If we allow Him to, God will not only provide for us, but use our struggles to show His ability to everyone that is watching our lives.  What an important role that is for us!  

My God is more than enough, 

He can supply all of my needs,

He is my El-Shaddai,

He always looks out for me.

Jehovah-Jirah, He is my God!