Friday, December 24, 2010

Jesus--Our Gate to God ~ 2

We who have believed enter that rest. Hebrews 4:3
Thinking of everyone I know in these hours before Christmas Eve,  who is blessed to be sharing time during the holidays with family and friends. And I think of the blessings God  has given us in our lives--gifts of food, shelter, clothing, health and family, as well as the freedom to study His word. Last night after going to bed, I watched a program about William Tyndale, the English priest who was determined to give the Bible to the people in their own language. Not only did they burn him at the stake, but they strangled him first. The Catholic Church had forbidden the general public to have the Bible. So when I think of my blessings, I include the word of God in my list! 

 Meeting God in Quiet Places: The Cotswold Parables shows us in this chapter how  Jesus is our gate to God. I want to take your mind again to the majestic gatehouse at Stanton in England that I spoke about yesterday. It takes your breath away to see the gate to the manor house! And imagine approaching that beautiful gatehouse...what expectation would you have of the grandeur beyond the gate? Approaching such a beautiful and ornately decorated entry gate, what would you expect to find within the manor house? Certainly, those who enter through the gate of the manor house in Stanton aren't disappointed, because the manor house itself is palatial...grand beyond belief! 

Looking at the manor house at Stanton reminds us of what Jesus said about the rooms in His Father's house: "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." To our human minds, the palatial mansion at Stanton with its three-story gatehouse is grander than grand, but it helps us to appreciate the picture of heaven that Jesus has given. And yet, heaven is so grand that it is impossible to describe!

Imagining all the grand occasions held at that mansion, can you also imagine being on the guest list? Can you imagine riding in a carriage through the grand gate, and arriving in front of the manor house? The cream of society, lords and ladies, dressed in their finest would be consorting with you! But while you're imagining so much finery and beauty, try to compare it to the glories of heaven. Paul repeats the words of the prophet Isaiah when he says: "As it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him'." Heaven is about celebration, and praise, and relationship with God!

Knowing that heaven is a place where God has prepared a spiritual mansion for us, we think about what the  apostle John saw in his vision given by Jesus on the Isle of Patmos. He said: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.... And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' "

Surprising for us is that when Paul said eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God has prepared for us, he wasn't talking directly about heaven. God wants to share a relationship with us in this life! Before we are in our eternal home! Paul tells us that whatever God has prepared for us, He has revealed it to us by His Spirit. We don't  have to wait for heaven and eternity to have a relationship with God! 

Starting over for most of us in our lives would be do things better with our family, with our neighbors, and with our gain forgiveness and begin again. How can we start fresh and be like Cinderella at the ball in our new clothes, moving among the best? Who is on that invitation list? Like us, King David, Peter, Paul, and Miriam have all been given a new beginning, along with many others. You and I also have an invitation to join have a new beginning. God wants you to have life to the full today! There are many waiting for you just inside the Gate...ready and waiting to celebrate with you. Won't you go through the Gate and join them?

Wishing you a wonderful holiday with those you love and who love you! Give thanks and praise God for all the blessings we enjoy!



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