Priorities.

I was with my cousin Lindsey a few days ago hanging out at the mall, we were ooh-ing and ah-ing as we were looking in all these expensive stores that we would in no way be able to afford. My cousin and I love to shop!  Every year on New Years Day we meet up and go to the huge Dillard’s sale. We wait outside in the line with all the crazed shopaholics, just waiting to score that great deal! Anyway, we are walking around the mall and I am saying how I want this and want that, and then my cousin started to tell me a story. She said, “well I was just humbled recently.” My ears perked up, “Really? What happened?” She began to tell me about this young family that she knew through her husband. The parents were in their 30’s and they had two young children. The wife’s father had died several years earlier from a rare form of colon cancer. Lindsey went on to say that they found this rare cancer in the daughter. She was diagnosed and only lived a few more months. She died leaving behind her husband and young children. Lindsey said this family was active in their church and faith and just all around a family to admire. Here’s the clincher!  Lindsey then went on to say that on her death-bed, the last thing she told her husband was,

“Run to Jesus, cause that’s all that matters.”

She didn’t say walk, she said, “run!” There was urgency. I stood there in the mall feeling humbled myself. Priorities.

I thought about my good friend Donna who just died of ovarian cancer. Her last words to everyone, that I was honored to sing at her memorial service at her request was,

“Give me Jesus, you can have all this world, but give me Jesus.”

Priorities.

Not long ago my brother was at home and he witnessed a fatal car accident right outside his house. He told us the story, he heard the terrible crash. Emergency crews were on their way, but the young driver didn’t make it. My brother told us he bent down over the body and said,

“Look to Jesus.”

This tears me up just thinking about it. Priorities.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Goodwill, a local resale shop. As I was browsing one of the clerks and I started chatting, just small talk, but the small talk soon turned into something more. Robyn, the clerk started opening up to me and telling me of her anxiety and how paralyzing it was, she worried about something catastrophic happening all the time. As she was telling me this, her eyes started to well up with tears. I started to feel my eyes tearing up. I reached out and gave her a hug. I really did understand, because I deal with anxiety too. I shared my own sufferings with her, and how I could empathize. I told her I would be praying for her and I walked off. I prayed silently, “Lord, Oh Lord, what do I say to her? What should I do?”  I went up to the cash register to check out and she was standing there. I told her,

“Look to the Lord. Nothing else will fill that space but Him.”

I gave her another hug and left. Priorities.

It’s easy to get our priorities out of whack, but here recently I have had several incidents that keep shouting, “JESUS!”  I know when you put him first everything else falls into its rightful place.

Blessings,

Johanna

 

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Heaven? Never Ending Church Service?

I grew up in church. We went Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and if there was special things going on maybe more. This was the norm and the routine.

Now this is not a anti church post, but more of our view of what Heaven is going to be like. I have to say, for a long time I have always thought heaven is just going to be sitting around for eternity singing songs and well just being at church all the time. This idea of heaven did nothing for my longing for eternity, and as a result effected the way I lived out my faith.

I get these sensations a lot, they don’t last long, maybe not even a second, but its a wave that makes my heart burst with joy and fulfillment. Sometimes music will trigger it, or a smell, or being at a place, or sometimes I can’t even pinpoint the trigger, but as quickly as it comes, it’s gone and I go chasing it to get that sensation again. I think this sensation is a small dose of what eternity will be like. God gives us these glimpses to awaken in us life, abundant life; then we go screw it up by our misplaced desire. C.S. Lewis said the beauty was not in those things, rather it only came through those things.

My husband and I  watch a show called American Pickers. Its a show where these two guys go around the country and pick for antiques and collectibles. Most of the places that they pick from are these people who have been collecting their whole life practically and have so much stuff that it kind of looks like a hoarder. They have so much stuff, you have to climb through it to find the “rusty gold” like they call it. In one of the episodes the collector was asked what got him started collecting, he said, ” It reminds me of the things I grew up with. I don’t really know the attachment, but kind of wish I didn’t have it cause it’s like a disease.” I was taken by his genuine honesty. It got me thinking this guy was chasing after a longing inside him, and by his own admission I don’t think he understood that fully, but what was interesting was his comment about wishing he didn’t have this attachment because it’s like a disease. I could see how all that collecting, searching for that one item would bring that sensation of heaven back, and you might get a glimpse, and then poof it’s gone just as quickly as it came. Then you have to get another item and another, and soon you have barns and barns of stuff, and none of it is doing anything of eternal value. He tapped into something when he said a “disease”. In reality it really is a growing malignancy that he was feeding. All that stuff wasn’t bringing ultimate fulfillment. Was he trusting in the “stuff” for the beauty and sensation of heaven?

Our view of heaven is of the most utmost importance. I know this now. How much we anticipate eternity, will determine how we live our life here on earth. If we give no thought to it or there is no excitement for it, then most likely the way we live our lives on earth will have very little eternal benefit. On the flip side, when we are embracing the longing for eternity and looking on it with great anticipation, the more we will want to live for eternal benefit. God gave us deep longings, but when we trust in anything but Him to fulfill it we end up with a heap of junk, a disease that just grows and grows, and the bigger it gets the harder it is to control.

If we truly believe in eternity with this great anticipation, this gives the motivation to share the gospel. This is what we have to look forward to. Jesus said, “Look, I am making all things new.” That feeling you get when you buy something new, like new car, going on vacation, etc. well thats just a simulated feeling for what Jesus is talking about. I can’t even explain it, but the thought is making me excited. The newness will never where off, and it will be all your longings fulfilled!! And its all IN HIM! Jesus wants you to feel the desires he has placed in you and then trust in Him. Jesus would always question, what are you seeking? What do you want? It all had to do with desire.

ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT ETERNITY!?  I hope you will never think of heaven as just a big never ending sing-along again. Go and share this truth the next time you share the gospel. Just asking someone what they want, and what they are seeking can open up doors for them to do their own reflection and then we can say I know who can meet your deepest longing!

He created you, He can complete you!