A Sweeter Purpose

“My eyes fail, looking for Your salvation, looking for Your righteous promise.” -Psalm 119:123

This is the lowest point in the octave. Our afflictions or disappointments overwhelm us to the point where we can’t think straight on what is true. Our faith may shrink but does not evaporate. The psalmist is still praying, still pleading to the Lord even though he does not sense His Presence. God is always actively at work in His children, and in the affairs of men. Puritan Richard Baxter comments on God’s mysterious providence. When we stand in Heaven, looking back on how our lives played out here on earth, if we still can’t understand God’s infinite wisdom, we can surely rest in His eternal goodness toward us:

“The Lord had a sweeter purpose and meant better than you would believe. Your Redeemer was saving you as much when He crossed your desires as when He granted them, and He was saving you when He broke your heart as much as when He bound it up.”

Our earthly eyes will fail us since we are finite creatures, with limited understanding to only what is seen. May God give us grace to have heavenly eyes of faith to comprehend the unseen, but very real spiritual warfare marching over the face of the earth. The angels in Heaven are clashing against Satan’s demonic forces in real time, each and every day. So when you and I are in despair, let us look up. Who is in Heaven? Who gives Satan any authority to speak of? Who allows the wicked to roam the earth for a set time? Who is longsuffering like God, not wishing any of His image-bearers to perish in Hell? Who died on the cross for redeemed sinners? Look to Jesus and ask Him to give you an eternal perspective. The story does not end here, it begins here. When we see things as God does we can be at peace, remembering He is in control and has never lost control over Heaven and Earth. On this particular verse Matthew Henry writes, “Though our eyes fail, yet God’s word does not, and therefore those that build upon it, though now discouraged, shall in due time see his salvation.” The battle is in the King’s Hands, His promises sure. We have certain victory over our enemies.

Help us, Father, in our weaknesses, fears and doubts that threaten to snatch up what has been planted inside of us. We have this treasure in but jars of clay. Be our Deliverer day by day until we see Christ face to face. 

Grace upon grace,


Growing deeper: Revelation 20-22

‘We will feast in the House of Zion’

This is a newer song I’m not as familiar with. Yet since I first heard it, it is one of the songs I wake up thinking about. What we have to look forward to in Glory far outweighs this fleeting life. The first few lines of this song are a sweet reminder of this: “We will feast in the House of Zion, we will sing with our hearts restored. He has done great things, we will say together: We will feast and weep no more!”


Ode to Joy

I stumbled upon a video the other day of something I have never seen before. It appears to be just one musician in a public square, playing for a little girl who places a coin in his hat. He begins to play Beethoven’s Ode to Joy and what happens in the next few minutes is beautiful. I won’t spoil it for you, except to say it reminds me a bit of what Heaven is like. The Christian hymn Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee, written by Henry Van Dyke, is set to the music from Ode to Joy. I couldn’t help but think of those words during this video. Think of it, one day thousands upon thousands of Christians will lift up our voices in song to praise our Heavenly Father. Heaven is not at all boring contrary to the lies we’ve been sold in our culture. We won’t be sitting on marshmallow clouds plucking harps, yawning away the day. Heaven is one big adventure without sin entangling us. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we too will enjoy sweet, unhindered fellowship with our Creator. I believe we will get to explore the new Heaven and new Earth, just as our first parents had free reign over God’s Creation except of the one tree. But I digress…

Even though this video is an orchestrated ad for a Spanish banking company, I was moved to tears nonetheless. 

Here is the video: Ode to Joy

Grace upon grace,


We are family eternally

482140827   There is a ladies Bible study at my church that meets on Thursday mornings. We are going through the book of Colossians right now. I am so excited to be a part of this group again since my last time to participate was before Jesse was born. Four years later it is the same familiar faces I love. Most of the women are seasoned in life, veterans who have been walking with the Lord before I was even born. They have so much wisdom among them, I just sit there soaking it in.

I look around the table at all of us, about a dozen or so, and take in their smiles, laughter, and love for one another. It is a privilege to be a part of this group. I start thinking, “This is my family. These are my sisters. We are a sisterhood of believers.” Have you ever thought about that? The people you will spend eternity with? It hits me that those who have put their faith and hope in Jesus are more family to me than actual blood relatives.

I think about the thousands of Christians who have gone before me, and the thousands now who love Jesus like I do. Some personalities may not jive, there may be vast differences in culture, language, interests, hobbies, and talents, but the one thing that binds us forever is Jesus the Messiah, our Redeemer and Savior to poor, wandering lost sheep. Followers and lovers of Christ all share the same heart. We are beautifully intertwined into His Church, the Body. We get to be included, all of us, grafted in for all eternity.

When we get to heaven we will see in panoramic view the dynamic, colorful, joyful true family that we really belong to. Haitians, Chinese, Russians, Americans, Swedish, French, Kenyans, Indonesians and so much more will grace the gates of heaven, bowing down to the Morning Star who saved us all from certain death.

My relationship with Jesus is the most vulnerable and intimate part of me. Who knows me better than the One who created me? This is where our hearts connect and the Spirit within us testifies when we speak of Jesus with each other. There have been moments when I am expressing my love for Christ, or talking through a specific passage in Scripture, or remembering a sermon we both heard with a sister of faith and I get so excited because we can share our deepest passion: Jesus. She gets it, because she too has experienced the wonderful salvation of the Lord. We are forever unified, because: “There is one body, one Spirit- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6 ESV).

Brothers and sisters, we are the church in which God is using in 2015. We are the ones who carry out the work and love of Christ “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 ESV). We are His witnesses. We are the hands, the feet, the mouth, the eye, the big toe meant to preach the life-saving, life-giving Gospel to those without hope. I know what the admonitions are to reach the perishing, but do I treat my eternal family members as if they are truly my family?

Acts 2 takes place at Pentecost. After Peter’s sermon to the crowd the Bible records 3,000 were added to the number of believers. The next passage is simply wonderful. It says all the Christians lived in harmony with each other, “with glad and sincere hearts” (2:46 NIV) and worshipped the Lord together. It sounds like heaven to me. I imagine this as a little peek into our eternal home with one another, living in glory with King Jesus. It fills me with eager anticipation.

Our first century brothers and sisters in Christ were not selfish with their time or possessions, and freely gave to anyone who had a need. They studied the Scriptures together, ate dinner in each other’s homes, prayed with one another, loved, served, fellowshipped, and praised our Heavenly Father- side by side. What if we did more of this? Do we do this? I think this kind of community living is harder today given that we are further spread apart geographically, and we each have our own little worlds to live in that demand much of our time, schedules to follow, meetings to attend. But we can strive for it anyway. It has to be intentional. In our local churches, in weekly small groups, in non-denominational Bible studies we can and should pursue Christ together.

As I ponder what exactly joy and grace look like I begin to realize that those things can be experienced in the body of Christ. As family, we can extend grace upon grace to one another and allow the joy of the Lord to take root when we realize we do not have to walk this Christian life alone. It’s hard enough as it is. I may not know you personally, but if you have placed your faith in the One I love then you are a part of me and I am a part of you. I also care for you because you are my brother or sister. We will see each other someday. We may share a meal or sing praises in heaven together.

These are the people we will enjoy heaven with- forever. But that isn’t even the best part. We will not have our flesh in sin to compete with the Spirit who dwells in us. No more misunderstandings or hurt feelings or wrongdoings. The imperfect community experienced on earth that is marred with broken, sinful vessels will one day all be restored to perfect communion. I cannot wait to worship with you, my brothers and sisters, to be alongside Paul, Ezekiel, Ruth, Moses, John the Baptist, Hannah, Stephen, Charles Spurgeon, Elisabeth Elliot, C.S. Lewis, and the myriad of saints that we can call family. Imagine all the interesting conversations we will have! When we are finally home together leaving this world behind, arm in arm, hand in hand, all of us will delight in the presence of Christ together, because we are family eternally.

Grace upon grace,