Look Up

Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but what is unseen.
For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.
(2 Corinthians 4:16b-18)

It all started when I hit 40.

First, I separated my shoulder when I fell going over a ski “jump” that was approximately four-and-a-half inches high. Then I tore my ACL trying to play football with teenagers. Then I developed permanent ringing in my ears from listening to too much loud music. Then I tore a groin muscle trying to guard my niece in a friendly game of basketball. Then I had to get my feet scraped by a foot doctor because they grew creepy-looking “mega calluses.” Then I had to get a pair of root canals because my teeth started falling apart. Then my hair started rapidly retreating from my head and popping up in expected places like my ears and nose.

Instead of grumbling about my sudden cornucopia of nose hair and other physical ailments, I should pry my eyes away from the mirror and LOOK UP.

When we fix our eyes on God and see things from his eternal perspective, everything looks different. Our bodies falling apart is a blessing. God’s work is an inside job. Our troubles are temporary.

What we see ain’t all there is. God’s got something much bigger and better in mind — eternal glory.

FIX YOUR EYES

Help!

My most frequent prayer consists of one word:

HELP!

That one little word captures our basic human condition in a nutshell. The Beatles put it this way:

Help!
I need somebody
Help!!
Not just anybody
Help!!!
You know I need someone
HELP!!!!

When I find myself in times of trouble, the problem usually is one of perspective: I’m looking at things from my tiny little human viewpoint, rather than God’s. Here’s a great Psalm that I use to remind myself to stop whining and look up:

PSALM 121

(A song of ascents.)

I lift up my eyes to the hills–
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip–
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you–
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm–
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Every Second Counts

You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.
You are just a vapor that appears for a little while
and then vanishes away.

(James 4:14 NASB)

Be very careful, then, how you live —
not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil.
(Ephesians 5:16)

Stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord,
because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:58)

God’s message is clear.
Life on this planet is short. Eternity is long. Live like it.

LIVE FOR GOD TODAY

We Are Aliens

. . . you [are] aliens and strangers in the world . . . (1 Peter 2:11)

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)

Aliens?

Think about it. We believe that:

  • We’re not really from here. Our real home is Heaven.
  • Our leader came down from Heaven to save His people.
  • He was mistreated by earthlings and killed.
  • He came back to life and then returned to Heaven.
  • He sent His Holy Spirit to continue His work on Earth.
  • The Holy Spirit lives inside us.
  • Our leader will one day return to Earth, we’ll meet Him “in the air” and then He’ll take us home to live with Him forever.

Sounds pretty freaky. But it’s true.

Christians should be different. We should stand out. We should be a little strange. We should be aliens.

So, what’s our mission here on Earth? To “live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)

Want to really stand out? Love your enemies. Be joyful in tough times. Be humble. Be gentle. Be like Jesus.

REMEMBER WHERE YOU’RE FROM

Top Ten Bible Verses: #7

We’re counting down the top ten Bible verses of all time, based on an exhaustive study conducted by research scientists with very large brains who determined how often each verse appears in print.

Here’s this week’s verse. Read it. Think about it. Memorize it. Chew on it. Marinate in it.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Most of us have seen this verse dozens of times. But don’t let familiarity rob it of its power.

This is where it all starts. We didn’t get here by accident. There is a creator. That simple, beautiful truth changes everything.

Knowing that God himself created this world and all that is in it — including you and me — gives us all dignity, meaning, hope and a purpose. So, here’s the question: What are you doing with your God-created life?

YOU ARE GOD’S CREATION

Look Up!

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16b-18)

As soon as I hit 40, my body started falling apart. First, I separated my shoulder going off a ski “jump” that was approximately four-and-a-half inches high. Then I tore my ACL trying to play football with teenagers. Then I developed permanent ringing in my ears from playing too much loud guitar. Then I tore a groin muscle playing hoops in the driveway. Then I had to get my feet scraped by a foot doctor because they had grown creepy-looking “mega calluses.” Then I had to get a pair of root canals because my teeth started falling apart. Then my hair started rapidly retreating from my head and popping up in unexpected places like my ears and nose. And, as I write this, I’m suddenly noticing that my eyesight seems to be fading fast.

Instead of grumbling about my sudden cornucopia of nose hair, I should pry my eyes away from the mirror and look up.

When we fix our eyes on God and see things from His eternal perspective, everything looks different. Our bodies falling apart is a blessing. God’s work is an inside job. Our troubles are temporary. What we see ain’t all there is. God’s got something much bigger and better in mind — eternal glory.

FIX YOUR EYES

Perspective

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  Psalm 19:1

Monet Refuses the Operation

Doctor, you say there are no halos
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen Cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors:  fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolve
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent.  The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases.  Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

–Liesel Mueller