Saturday, April 30, 2011

Heirs To The Throne

I confess that I was one of the two billion people who tuned in for the royal wedding. I was not up at 4:00 a.m. to catch the beginning but tuned in just as the final guests were arriving and Princes' William and Harry were on their way to Westminster Abbey. The royal wedding was everything that commentators hoped it would be and in some cases it exceeded expectations. Reporters were constantly referring to the event as a "fairy tale" wedding.  Spectators stated that Kate's experience was what every little girl dreams of, which is finding her prince and becoming a princess. The point was also repeatedly made that Kate Middleton was no longer a "commoner" (a word that seems to define someone as a second class citizen) but now she is Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge. "Commoners" are now expected to bow to her. However, while others pined away somewhat envious of the gorgeous bride and her equally handsome prince, it struck me that believers in Jesus Christ are royalty. In fact we have been royalty for longer than the British Monarchy has been in existence. We are the bride of a King and that King is Jesus. Moreover we are co-heirs with Christ. Listen to what the Scriptures tell us about our royal identity. "Now if we are His children, then we are heirs---heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory." (Romans 8:17) "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:29) "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9) italics mine. We will also inherit an eternal kingdom, "I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 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." (Revelation 21:2-3) The great part is that God's kingdom will have no end, it is everlasting. Unlike Prince William and Princess Catherine there will be no need to produce an heir to the throne. We don't have to envy the British royal family because we already belong to a royal family. We can hold our heads up high and declare we are princes' and princesses of the King. Try putting that royal title in front of your name! Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Blessings in the name of King Jesus!
"Princess" Sheree

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Bread That Sustains

Like many Christians, I chose to give up something for Lent. In my pride I decided it had to be something "worth suffering for." I had to give up something that would impress others.
I poked fun at my husband when he decided to give up his favorite candy. I decided my big sacrifice was to give up one meal a week. I chose to give up my dinner meal on Wednesday nights. Wednesday is one of the days I work at my counseling practice and the only day I work at night. I figured this would be easier as I did not have to be at home preparing dinner and then sit and watch my husband eat in front of me. Furthermore it would be easier to work through the hunger and focus on my clients than on my stomach. And as I committed myself to this sacrifice I began counting down the Wednesdays until I could go back to my normal routine. I seemed to be handling things fairly well until last Wednesday evening. I had a fairly spotty schedule with lots of time in between clients. As a result the pains in my stomach became a distraction. I tried to find a way to refocus my attention and then I remembered a question one of my colleagues asked me when I told her about my Lenten sacrifice. She asked, "Oh are you praying during that time or are you going to work through it?" I replied, "I'm working through it." However on this particular Wednesday I could not work through it so I decided to take the time to pray. I had heard from others that when we pray through these times of deprivation, we often hear from the Lord more clearly. So, I figured I had nothing to lose. I began praying and thinking about how it feels to the many people who do not have enough to eat but in the back of my mind I knew my suffering was going to be temporary. Besides, I was truly "suffering" for the Lord versus those who give up what seemed to me to be mediocre sacrifices. That's when the Lord impressed upon my heart the words of Christ as Satan was tempting Him in the desert. Satan's first temptation was aimed at Jesus' physical needs, as He had been fasting forty days and forty nights. ( Now that's a sacrifice!) Satan says, "If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written; 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:3-4) italics mine. What the Lord was saying to me was that He alone is my sustenance. He is the true bread of life. His word is what I need to feed on versus my prideful martyrdom. In feeding on His word my spirit is strengthened and I find real life, eternal life. When all is said and done, it is the life I have in Christ that matters most not the food I put in my stomach. Praise the Name of Jesus, the Bread of Life!
Blessings on your Easter!
Pastor Sheree

Monday, April 11, 2011

Seeing The Glory

I was reading a meditation from the devotional booklet, "Our Daily Bread" last week which focused on Revelation 22:1-7. This is one of the passages that speaks about sights believers will see when the New Jerusalem has come down from heaven to earth. I was taking in the description of the river of life and the beauty surrounding it when I was captured by verse 4, "They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads." (italics mine) I was overwhelmed in thinking about seeing the Lord's face. Moses longed to see God's face. In fact in Exodus 33, Moses asked God directly to see His glory. The Lord responded that He would cause His glory to pass in front of Moses but told him, "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." (Exodus 33:20) There are also numerous experiences in the Old Testament when individuals who encountered angelic hosts or came into the presence of God would respond by falling on their faces.  Likewise in the New Testament we are told that no one has ever seen God (John 1:18; 6:46; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 John 4:12) except for the Son.  Jesus Christ, God incarnate has made the Father known to us. However, God had to robe Himself in flesh not only so He could identify with us but also protect us from seeing the fullness of His glory revealed, lest we perish in our fallen, sinful state. Paul gives us a preview of what is yet to come, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (1 Corinthians 13:12) italics mine. Our delight and joy will finally be when we see His face. That is the longing of every believer's heart, so much so that it has been captured in song. From the old hymn, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" which states, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." To today's contemporary praise song, "I Can Only Imagine" which declares, "I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by your side. I can only imagine what my eyes will see when your face is looking at me.." Yes, I can hardly wait to see the face of Jesus. How about you?
Pastor Sheree