|Root Beer Float Theology
|Thursday, February 10, 2022|
When we go camping, the Saturday night root beer float is a tradition that approaches the sacred. There's something of heaven in the marriage of ice cream and root beer. And no one comprehends that more than a child. We had four of them that weekend (kids, not root beer floats!).
Throughout our time, we enjoyed ice cream at Culver's, ice cream at McDonald's, and ice cream at the canteen. But the fact that we didn’t have the Saturday night root beer float at the campground was not lost on the grandkids.
Upon reviewing the weekend, their mother asked them how it all went. “Pretty good. But we didn't have root beer floats!" As if we'd ripped them off.
At first, I thought, Those little stinkers! But then I realized…I am one of those stinkers. Maybe you are, too.
We have enjoyed the kindness of Jesus in saving us from our sins. We have experienced the miraculous intervention of God in countless personal crises from which there appeared to be no escape. We have tasted the generosity of our Savior again and again and again. And yet, there’s this “root beer float,” this ONE thing that eludes us.
It's the job we always wanted but didn't get. It's the house we always wanted but never had. It's the girlfriend, the boyfriend, or the—what is it for you?
Too busy counting the little we don’t have, we’ve forgotten the much that we do have: God's favor, forgiveness, and forever love.
Here’s what I’m learning—and I apologize that I’m just a beginner:
I must have Jesus and His smile. And if I have that, I will have everything worth having.
(Read that last sentence again).
(And have a nice day!)
|What Will We Do in Heaven?
|Thursday, February 03, 2022|
What will we do in heaven? Some say we’ll be playing harps or singing praises—maybe flying about with wings. But very little is told us in Scripture.
In Revelation, we get snapshots of some worshipping and singing. Then there are the 24 elders who fall down before God and cast their crowns at His feet (Rev. 4:10). But what about us? When Thessalonians assures us “so we shall ever be with the Lord,” many of us are looking for the “rest” of the sentence. We shall be with the Lord doing…what?
Some have suggested we will be doing in heaven the very things we’ve been doing on earth for Christ. Artists will paint. Singers will sing. Dancers will dance. Maybe.
But lawyers will—what? No guilty folks in heaven to represent. Doctors will…what—marvel that no one is ever sick?
I mean no disrespect, but I think the question, “What will we do in heaven?” might be wide of the mark. It presumes that activity is the only way to be fulfilled.
No question that there is value in work and godly activity (we find these in the Garden of Eden!). And I can’t imagine that God won’t have something for us to do in heaven. Imagine having all eternity to explore His grand recreation!
But locking eyes with the Savior, tracing His wounds with our fingers, and hearing Him speak to us—personally—will render any need for any other activities inconsequential. Being with Jesus—simply being with Him—will be overwhelmingly enough.
The reason we don’t find this idea sufficiently attractive is that we are insufficiently attracted to Jesus. We vastly underestimate—perhaps to the point of sinning—how lovely and awesome and overwhelming He is and will be to us forever.
When Diana and I are in sync and connected emotionally, the sense of just being together is all-encompassing. Same thing when you’re with a close friend. You don’t care much where you’re going or what you’ll be doing so long as you are with them. I’m convinced that’s a partial, though imperfect, preview of what heaven will be like.
The takeaway for us? Let’s fall in love with Jesus now, so we can love the idea of loving Him forever. Does that sound like such an awful assignment? (I didn’t think so).
|Thursday, January 27, 2022|
Why do I seem to lack peace? (Or am I the only one feeling this way?).
Sure, the growing sense of uncertainty—even insanity—in our world is a factor:
All of this is a massive part of my problem: where I’m looking—my focus.
By contrast, Isaiah 26:3 promises,
Catch those two prerequisites? Our minds are to stay (continually) on God, with our trust fully invested in Him. We’re never offered any peace in any other way.
In the end, peace is a choice. And peace is a Person.
Peace is a choice: “whose mind is stayed on you.” Despite our excuses, we absolutely, hourly, daily choose where we anchor our minds.
Peace is a Person: “He trusts in you”—as in God Almighty.
Not our culture.
Not our country.
Not our savings accounts.
Not our hopes.
Not our dreams.
A parting thought. In the middle of writing this blog, the Lord pointed out a sinful attitude I needed to address. In an unhurried way, I took time to confess that sin. The sense of peace that followed was remarkable.
|Turn My Outside Inside
|Thursday, January 20, 2022|
Ava's head plopped low. Exhaling, she gave off a sigh full of as much frustration as a five-year-old can muster. She'd tried putting on her puffy winter coat all by herself. Instead, she'd managed to ball it up in a pretzel. That's when her sweet voice intoned, “Can you turn my outside inside?”
If only fixing adult problems was as easy. Within the last 24 hours, my wife and I have been made aware of:
Every single one of these families now wonders how life got so twisted so quickly. But because they're believers, in their own way, they're also asking the Lord, "Can you please turn my outside inside?"
How will their stories turn out? We know how we’d write the script, given a chance. But God is the Author of life. Still, it feels like all that’s left to us is prayer and an agonizing appointment in the waiting room of life.
But as we pray and wait, it’s good to hear an ancient reminder from our most reliable Friend. In Isaiah 30:18, God assures every one of us with lives that are balled up into a pretzel, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.”
Which means we can come to Him. Lean on Him. Cry on Him. So, gather your courage, find your voice—if only a whisper—and just say, “Can you turn my outside inside?” Spoiler Alert: He can. Even if the ending turns out differently than we expect.
|If Jesus Wore Cologne
|Thursday, January 13, 2022|
What if Jesus wore cologne—and it rubbed off on you?
A former boss was ferociously fond of a strong cologne which he wore religiously. You could step into the empty elevator on the first floor and clearly sense his fragrance even though he may have ridden ten floors up in that elevator ten minutes earlier! It still hung thick in the air.
After a recording session, the splash of his cologne even managed to rub off on the studio headphones. And if you ever shook his hand, you surely "shared" his cologne for some time afterward.
Did you ever consider that the Son of God had a fragrance? It was the cologne of kindness and compassion. It preceded Him and followed Him everywhere He went. A fragrance so compelling, so intoxicating, it drew people to Him like butterflies to a bloom.
Kindness for outcasts—Jesus had a splash for them.
Compassion for the bruised and broken—Jesus had a splash for them.
Need hope? Here’s a splash.
Need healing? There’s a splash.
In a world reeking of self-preservation, self-fulfillment, and self-promotion, the fragrance of Jesus is as strong as it ever was. But it won’t rub off on you and me unless we’re with Him. It's the only way.
Maybe you could use a splash of that cologne right now at this very minute. There’s only one way to get it. So, I dare you—don’t be in a rush. Go to Him. Be with Him. Touch Him in prayer. And let others smell the fragrance of Christ on you!
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