Category: Eternity

hidden in Christ

When you read a passage like 2 Corinthians 5:17 which says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” What goes through your mind? We all say we believe that, but when it comes to actually walking this verse out in our lives, do our actions actually line up with what we say we believe? because this verse talks about change and transformation. Maybe when you came to faith, God pulled you from a life of sin and you had a pretty dramatic conversion and the contrast between the old and the new was very clear. Or maybe you’ve been walking in the new life since you were a little kid and the distinction between the old and the new has never ever been that clear to you. Either way, as we grow and mature, we can reach a certain level of comfort in who we are and it’s real easy to begin to settle into that image of ourselves. When this happens, it’s really easy to simply stop growing and take on a complacent, even an indifferent attitude toward change.

Do you remember the Rubik’s Cube? Oftentimes the image that we hold of ourselves is like that one completed side that we can all accomplish. I don’t know about you, but when I finally complete that one side I am pretty cautious about doing anything to mess it up. In many ways this is like the image we keep of ourselves that we guard and protect. Have you ever said to yourself: “Oh, that’s just the way I am.” When we say things like that, what we are really saying is that I’d rather stay the way that I am than try to change. Maybe you believe that you can’t change. But, thinking like that excludes God from the picture. In this Rubik’s cube example, what I’ve wanted to emphasize is that we as people as limited. Our desires are limited, our understanding is limited, and our view of ourselves is limited. It’s because we are only creations. But, God is the Creator who is able to see everything going on, when we can only see a portion.

God’s Word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and we all know this to be true because I don’t know about you, but I know that I’m complicated. And I don’t know about you, but just thinking about trying to get every side of a Rubik’s Cube seems almost impossible, but God knows what He’s doing and though it may seem like He’s messing up our one little side, what He’s really doing is working to complete the good work that He started in all of us: Philippians 1:6 says: “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” So, when God begins to bring change into our lives, it’s because He’s trying to make us whole. He’s putting together and completing all the other sides. But, we must always remember that it’s only through Christ that a believer is given new life because Jesus is the source, power and goal of all Christian growth.

Colossians 3: 3-4 says: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” There are two truths in these verses: 1) that a believer’s current life is hidden with Christ in God and 2) that all believers will one day appear with Christ in glory. Do you believe that your life is hidden in Christ? That everything that we need in understanding who we are can be found in Christ? What Paul is saying here is that believers are “with Christ in God” and therefore reside in a place other than this world, a place where divine grace transforms us into a new creation. Where are you looking for your life? Are you looking for your life in Christ or out in the world?  

  • It’s in Jesus that we find eternal life.
  • It’s in Jesus that we find our inheritance.
  • It’s in Jesus that we find our true identity.
  • It’s in Jesus that we find peace with God, others and ourselves.
  • It’s in Jesus that we find joy.
  • It’s in Jesus that we are given the Holy Spirit.
  • It’s in Jesus that we are healed.
  • It’s in Jesus that our hearts are mended.
  • It’s in Jesus that our minds are renewed.
  • It’s in Jesus that our souls are refreshed.
  • It’s in Jesus that we are redeemed.
  • It’s in Jesus that we are adopted as sons and daughters of God.
  • It’s in Jesus that we find true strength.
  • It’s in Jesus that we experience the Father’s love.
  • It’s in Jesus that we are under the protection of the Father.

Everything that we need to experience the fullness of life that Jesus promised (John 10:10) us can only be found in Him. That’s why Paul says that our lives are hidden with Christ in God. But, we must also remember that this fullness of life that believers experience is only in part (1 Corinthians 13:12) because it is only at Jesus’ Second Coming will the Kingdom of God be fully realized where as Paul says: believers will “also appear with Him in glory.”When Christ appears we also will appear with Him in glory because God will have completed the good work He’s begun in each believer (Philippians 1:6). God’s grace truly is amazing!

raised with Christ

The way that we live our lives reflects in a lot of ways the type of person we are. It reveals who we are and what’s important to us. It reveals our core values, both the good and selfish and sinful ways. What does your ideal day look like? If your human, than you’re a creature of comfort like me who likes your day to go smoothly, without any surprises. Take a minute to really think about your day to day routine. Do you shy away from confrontation? Do you purposely schedule your day so that you’ll meet the least amount of resistance? Do you try to avoid conflict at all costs? If you had to compare your ideal day with a type of music, what would it be? If I had to describe my ideal day with a type of music, it would have to be “Muzak” you know the music that you hear on elevators. The calming and comforting music that fills up the uncomfortable silence with nice, soothing and relaxing melodies. Kind of boring I know, but it’s safe.

Our natural tendency is to only think of the temporal side of life, what will make us the most comfortable, our immediate security. Most of the time this won’t include the spiritual aspects of life: what God may want to do on the inside of us, in our character by pulling us from the idols of comfort or materialism or money or selfishness or fear or whatever is getting in the way of having Christ formed in us. We ask God to transform us, but then we do everything we can to stop God from actually doing that. If we trust that salvation is found in Jesus then we also must trust that God’s grace will always be about us and that by His grace we will be transformed so that we are then able to set our hearts and minds on the purposes of heaven as Colossians 3:1-2 says: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Maybe the reason that we just coast through life is that we don’t see the urgency of our situation, in who we are and what we do, because we don’t recognize the spiritual component or realize the eternal ramifications of the things happening in our lives. We don’t take into consideration the reality that who we are, what we’re all about and our actions do impact eternity in some way because we’re so stuck on the temporal side of life. Earthly things have become more important then heavenly things. If we realize it or not, what we do in the visible has some affect on the invisible because the physical and spiritual components of life are intricately connected.

God know this. He can see the whole painting when all we can see are a few brush stokes and when we set our hearts and minds on things above we are more apt to be able to sense and see life from God’s perspective. We will be able to see life with an eternal perspective. But, our earthly desires are in direct conflict with the purposes of heaven. So, the more focused we are on the temporal side of life, the less able we will be able to set our hearts and minds on the things above. The kind of people we are in Christ and the kinds of actions we take as his disciples must always reflect what and in whom we believe. We must also remember that God’s work of grace is inside out, meaning the private matters of the heart are always fleshed out in public. The reality of heart transformation is revealed in changed lifestyle.

That’s why God brings change into our lives, so that He can break up the routines of safety and comfort that we covet so desperately. I believe a child of God can get to a place where the rocky path of sanctification will be more desirable than the smooth road of comfort. I believe that a child of God can get to a place where they are so engaged with Jesus that when God does bring change into their lives, they will almost be expecting it because it will feel so absolutely and completely right. But, this means intentionally setting our minds on things above, more so than on earthly things. I believe the more we do this, the less worry and more joy we will have in our lives.

Redemptive Relationships

Friendships are important. When I think back on my life, what I remember most are my friendships. Sure, I may remember certain times and places, maybe things I’ve done (or wished I did). But most of all I remember the people who shared those moments with me. When I look through the photo album in my mind that stores the snapshots of my life, I see people because if we really boil it down, all we truly have in this life are our relationships. Now if I call myself a Christian, the Bible challenges me to make all my relationships redemptive ones. What is a redemptive relationship? It’s a relationship that always has eternity in view. Jesus was a man who lived His life on earth in this way. When Jesus talked to someone or touched someone He made an eternal impact on their lives. Sometimes it was for the better (those who accepted His message and believed), but other times it was for the worse (those who rejected His message). Either way, people left Jesus changed because redemptive relationships have eternal impact.

As followers of Jesus, being redemptive needs to be infused into who we are. It needs to be part of our spiritual DNA, so that no matter where we are, we will be living as God has called each of us which is to first and foremost love Him but also to love one another. When we are truly living out our faith, we will be caring for one another in genuine community as a family, uplifting the Body of Christ and we as God’s people will experience a deeper understanding of Christ’s love for us. When this happens, we will begin to see the deep need to be actively living redemptively in all our relationships because when we are, we will touch people’s hearts with the love of Christ. Now, if we are to be thinking redemptively, we have to remember that it’s our faith in Christ that activates love and empowers us through the Holy Spirit to be grace and truth to people. And when we are this way, people’s hearts will be refreshed which will not only bring renewal, but will also inevitably impact their lives with the transforming power of God’s love which will deepen their understanding of who God is and His love for all of us. This is what it means to be redemptive.

There’s a difference between counseling someone’s flesh and refreshing someone’s heart by encouraging their spirit. Encouraging someone’s spirit means washing them with God’s Word, but that doesn’t mean spiritualizing everything by giving Bible verses like aspirin. Sometimes being God’s Word to a person is what shows greater love. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Sometimes a person just needs you to sit, weep and mourn with them. Just your presence speaks volumes. Being intentionally redemptive in a relationship also means not just dealing with a person’s behavioral or heart sins, life burdens, pains and fears, but also a person’s heart longings and desires. We all have deep longings and yearnings (wishes, hopes and dreams that long to be released from our hearts), but oftentimes they go unspoken or unnoticed because we can get so caught up in telling people how we think they should act instead of taking the time to draw out who God has called and redeemed them to be.

Now, on my journey with Jesus, He has taken me through the depths of my heart where I’ve had to be brutally honest with myself. Spiritual self-awareness is a blessing and whenever I’ve taken an honest look at my life, both in my heart and in my behavior that’s when change began to happened: that’s when redemption was able to take hold. This also meant allowing others to speak truth and life to me, even when it was hard to hear. Facing our fears can be terrifying at times, but on the flipside of our fears are the desires of our hearts. If you have a fear of being judged, your desire maybe to be known, to be heard, to be real, to be loved. If you have a fear of rejection, your desire maybe to be accepted, to belong, to be included, to be appreciated. If you have a fear of failure, your desire maybe to be recognized, to be valued, to be validate, to be a blessing. What this means within the context of a redemptive relationship is that we not only address a person’s fears, but we also draw out their desires. You nurture them, so that their desires become greater than their fears. Of course, I am talking about healthy and godly desires and not sinful ones. All of us have desires that God has put into our hearts and when we act redemptively in a relationship, we help draw out these desires. Proverbs 20:5 (TNIV) says, “The purposes of the human heart are deep waters, but those who have insight draw them out.” 

longing for Love

I have this longing in my heart to love and to be loved. We all have this feeling. I believe it’s because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). God is love (1 John 4:8) and so He designed us for love. Love is a relational concept, for love to be fully realized there needs to be a relationship in place. That’s why when God created Adam, He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18). So, God creates Eve and she and Adam become one flesh (husband and wife). Maybe that’s why loneliness is so difficult, we were not made to be alone. That’s where I’ve been this past week. Longing for a wife. Wait, I’m a bit more passionate than that – what I’m longing for is to be wildly in love. I’ve always had this longing, it’s nothing new, but this past week has been particularly rough. Maybe it’s because I’ve been wrestling in my heart with the desire to throw caution to the wind and being pursuing this woman that I’ve recently met, even though there are some cautionary flags that have come to my attention. Though I would love to pursue a deeper relationship with this woman, there are quite a few obstacles that would need overcoming. Now hear me on this, I fully understand that love is a choice and that love takes work. But, it just seems like we are at differing life places. So, what I’ve been wrestling with is, in essence, surrendering this desire to God which hasn’t been easy.

In the midst of this struggle, there has been a song that has really ministered to me by Patty Griffin called “When It Don’t Come Easy.” Coming to terms with the loneliness in my heart is rough to say the least. Then, surrendering the desire to pursue this woman has been also very difficult. So, this song has been a good reminder that I’m not alone and that God is with me and for me. Being reminded of this has helped me to embrace more fully the reality that in many ways, this longing in my heart is for a love greater than just human love. It is a longing for divine Love.


Songs of Heaven

Music plays a big part in how my heart sings to the Lord in worship. I love to sing and dance for the Lord. I am always so amazed at the diversity of cultures and peoples in the world. Of course, all cultures and peoples need to be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. But, I imagine heaven to be one huge celebration around the throne of God where the Lamb sits. God loves celebration. When I read Revelation 7:9, 10: “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'” What comes to mind is celebration. Celebration from every culture and language in reverence and worship to the Lamb of God.

I long to be fully united with all my brothers and sisters. When everything that separates and divides us will be forever removed and we will all worship God together as one. So, when I heard Richard Twiss say: “no one language could ever capture the fullness of who God is or no one music style could ever echo the sounds of heaven.” This stirred something inside of me. His words made the Holy Spirit leap within me with joy. I long to sing and dance before the throne of God where people from every nation and tribe will lead us in worship to God, our Creator, Savior and Redeemer. This song “Hina Na Ho” by Susan Aglukark I believe reflects a glimmer of this.  It also makes me happy to see all the children singing, dancing and celebrating their Native American and Inuit heritages. I believe in heaven people will know and love all cultures and languages as much as their own, where celebration becomes not about style, but solely about Jesus. The joy it must bring the Father when His redeemed children come together as one to sing, dance and celebrate in their many diversities around His throne as they praise Him for all of eternity. I can’t wait. Come Lord Jesus Come!


What does Jesus say is part of an ideal life?

Right from the get go, let me say that: the way Jesus views the world is very different than the way that an average person does. Everything that Jesus did was redemptive. When He walked the earth, He was more concerned about being about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49), making Him known (John 14:7, 10) and bringing Him glory (John 14:13), than anything else. Now, this meant of course moving in signs, wonders and miracles throughout His life on earth. Jesus always had an eternal view of the world. His encounters with people reveal this as He was constantly proclaiming truth and compassionately healing people and forgiving sins. I believe a major part of an ideal life is making an eternal impact in people’s lives by following Jesus’ exemplar life of redemption (John 14:12). Now we cannot die for sin, but we can do all we can to deny ourselves, in order to follow Jesus (Mark 8:34). What was Jesus’ mission? to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18, 19). Jesus was a missionary. He came into this world to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 10:19), meaning people. So, when we think about the components of an ideal life, being on mission for Jesus is central.


Now being on mission for Jesus does not necessarily mean going off to some foreign land, though some people are called to overseas missions. Being on mission means impacting those around you, wherever you are with the light of the Gospel. It means looking at the world through a redemptive lens. The more this happens the more you will begin to see the world as Jesus sees it. When Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (Luke 10:2), He meant it. Jesus is constantly challenging me to press into His Word and Spirit, so that I will be able to more readily see the brokenness, lostness and depravity of this fallen world. It is when I am filled with God’s Word that I will be able to stand more steadfast for Jesus and not be tempted away into sin (John 8:31, 32). And the more filled with God’s Word I am, the better I will be able to discern and understand the voice of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15). It is when we are following the leading of Holy Spirit that we will begin to see more readily the underlying brokenness of people which will, only by God’s grace, move us towards compassion rather than pride and judgment.


Bottom line, an ideal life includes: loving God (Matthew 22:37), loving others (Matthew 22:39) and serving the world (Matthew 28:19, 20). These are non-negotiables when it comes to living an ideal life because an ideal life isn’t about accomplishing our own selfish ambitions, but about following in the footsteps of Jesus (John 13:14-17) and making an eternal impact in this world for the glory of God (John 17:4). An ideal life is one of servitude (Matthew 20:26) which will include storing up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20), loving our enemies (5:44), forgiving people and not judging or condemning them (Luke 6:37), giving to those in need (Matthew 6:2-4), trusting in God (Matthew 6:26, 30) and seeking His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). A good plumb line in gauging an ideal life is the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10), spend some time meditating on these following verses. Let them shake up the very foundations of your value system by replacing them with a kingdom value system.


3Blessed are the poor in spirit,

     for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are those who mourn,

     for they will be comforted.

5Blessed are the meek,

     for they will inherit the earth.

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

     for they will be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful,

     for they will be shown mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart,

     for they will see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers,

     for they will be called sons of God.

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

     for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


*NOTE: the phrase “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” in verse 3 and 10 form a literary device known as an inclusio which acts like bookends in framing one continual thought. So, how this functions here is that everything listed between verses 3 and 10 describe the values of the kingdom of heaven. Those who are part of the kingdom of heaven will exhibit these traits and characteristics. But, in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven, a person needs to recognize that they are spiritually destitute (v.3) which then culminates with those who are fully committed to God’s cause and are now being persecuted because of this (v.10). The equality of the kingdom of heaven is revealed in these verse bookends (inclusio), for being poor in spirit and being persecuted for righteousness though seemingly at opposite sides of the spectrum have the same reward.

An Eternal Hunger & Thirst

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) says: God has planted eternity in the human heart. Understanding this truth can really help in illuminating the reality of why addiction is so rampant in the world. What is it that can satisfy the hunger and thirst of our hearts? Though we desperately try to find satisfaction in what this world has to offer and maybe it does pacify us for awhile, but (I think we all know from personal experience) this contentment never stays long.  Is it because we hunger and thirst for eternity that we will never find the lasting satisfaction that our hearts long for in this earthly world? If this last question resonated with you, then like me, you have to ask this next question: So, what will satisfy my eternal hunger and thirst?

Now we are all prone to addiction at varying degrees, some more than others and still others (like myself) have been completely captivated by addiction to the point where life became meaningless. For me, life became a vicious cycle of feeding my addictions which made life despairingly tedious. Maybe deep down you are wondering if there is something more to life than what you are currently experiencing. I believe there is. I have personally experienced the riches of eternity in the here and now which has helped me to see the treasures of this world as mere trinkets in comparison.

The Bible also says: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV). In this journey through transformation that God has been taking me on, I have come to cherish this verse in my heart because it has helped to remind me that 1) the power of God runs through me and that 2) there is a far greater treasure within me than any treasure I may encounter in the world. This treasure which has been placed within everyone who believes is “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV).

Whenever I pause long enough to internalize this truth, to really embrace the reality that right now within me dwells eternal hope, the temporal cloudy skies that darken my heart – part – and heaven’s eternal light breaks through. Just as Paul marveled, we too should marvel, because God has entrusted to us, weak and fragile vessels (jars of clay), with the treasure of the gospel of God’s glory that is revealed in Jesus. In Him, our eternal hunger and thirst is satisfied because God has sealed those who believe in Jesus with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14). Right now within each and every believer through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, literally, dwells eternity to the praise of God’s glory. Such amazing grace!

So, when the battle within overwhelms you to the point of despair or when the treasures of this world take you hostage, remember this truth, that within you resides eternity, that within you lives the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). Be encouraged!