Called Home


GodReflection: When God Calls

gary portraitI don’t intend for this post to sound over-dramatic.

It is my observance this is not a subject given much thought nor much direction from the pulpits of the churches.

Perhaps, among the many advantages of an energetic and younger pulpit this is a weakness. Maybe elder-teacher types should receive more encouragement toward growth and be given a greater platform from which they might share age-gained wisdom within congregations?

I would love to learn from those who perceive that God’s call home is in the near future.
With the death rate still at one hundred percent every child of God will be called home to live with Father God and His Son Jesus.

home1In most churches where I have worshipped there are numerous gray and white aged heads assembled. In one of those congregations the elderly members were in such abundance that it was often declared to be their last stop prior to eternity.

Paul’s call to the church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17) is read more often than not at funeral services rather than in the assembly of the congregation for worship:

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

home12According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever. 

In my greying years I find it more than coincidence that good books on heaven and the next reality were handed to me. It is more than accidental that in my annual trek through Scripture verses and section that highlight the new heaven and the new earth become more ingrained into my soul.

My guess is that it is not by chance that my ponder-time is so often pulled toward an attempt to sort the real from the unreal in my life, in the church, and in the world.

home4Hymns that paint the promises of God for now and in the next life make their entrance and exit across my consciousness as they create a pull from my heartstrings.

The decay of my bodily health does not go without noticed. Yes, in the faint distance syllables seem to morph into the sound of words.

Could it be? Am I beginning to hear the words turn into some muffled order? Is God sending forth a hint? Is it an initial, but slight call from home?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Called Home

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

 

 

By Faith We March


 God Reflection: Faith Certainties

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what de do not see. Hebrews 11:1

By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army marched around them for seven days. Hebrews 11:30

garyguarujaWere it possible to go back in time and witness some of God’s dramatic miracles, the implosion of the grand walls of Jericho would be on my Bible Times Top Ten Bucket List.

What a picture—as the nation of Israel follows God in unison. For seven days, they moved together as one.

On day seven they marched around the walls of the city seven times. What they seemed to know for sure was the instruction anytime, “you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priest carrying it, you are . . . to follow.” (Joshua 3:3)

march3We aren’t told if they were aware of the exact nature of the drama to take place on day seven. Someway God would provide victory over the people of the city for they marched by faith.

Once again I live thousands of years down the history line from Jericho. Is there a story for me in the Jericho march?

I like the image of God’s people moving together in unison. As they marched they trusted God for the outcome. By faith they marched.

What about me? I’ve been called to march by faith with His church.

march18I am not a lone warrior called to fight with everyone who holds an opinion that differs from mine.

God hasn’t called me to set everyone right as I see rightness. 

God hasn’t called me to divide His church and to define who is in and who is out. I have a greater mission than to get to heaven. I want to learn to march in unity.

It is to my detriment and to the detriment of others that I sometimes see the church of Jesus as a narrow path with lone strugglers in an uphill battle to sneak under a space in heaven’s door. That idea is a holdover more from revivalist preaching over three hundred years ago rather than an idea found in Scripture.

My end state will not be to stand face to face in judgement and be shamed by the God of the universe.

I don’t have to fear His review of my life. 

The truth is I have enough accumulative sin over seven decades to fill volumes of books. My Adamic self has committed far too many mistakes. I have come up short far too many times and in incalculable ways failed to treat others as I would have them treat me—not to mention the fact that I never totally and completely treated anyone as God, Spirit, and Son have treated me.

I will get a pass. I will not be judged.

march6The good news is I will enter the new earth with the saved of all ages as a family member of Jesus.

Yes, Jesus saves his church one person at a time as individuals joyously submit to him as savior. He adds each one to his great body of children from every corner of the globe.

He must bubble with expectation in anticipation of presenting us as a whole—his family of brothers and sisters—to Father God. 

We march together as redeemed children.

One of my own “aha” moments was when I began to see that the church will not be judged because of all the implications that flow from the cross.

Within the church I am safe and saved.

There are passages like Isaiah sixty-two that speak of the joy God has in us.

In the company of the Son heaven God will declare, as a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Pass through, pass through the gates!

march15

The gates of the new Jerusalem are wide open for God’s people. It will give Him joy to hear His Son say “These are Yours.” 

The Apostle Paul paints the picture of the world’s judgment and heaven’s gate. As he enters the new city, Jesus the head is followed by the body as he presents to God his church (1 Corinthians 15:21-24). It is if the Son will say to the Father, “Don’t worry about these. All of them march11together are cleansed. They are mine. They are my sisters and brothers.” 

I can’t close without the description of the end times by the Hebrew writer. As the Savior Jesus presents himself to the Father he is accompanied by the church he loves. Then he addresses God, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” For, both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So, Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2).march19

Like those who encircle Jericho as one body we too march as one in step and in unity, yes, and in faith with our elder brother Jesus the head I boldly march with his entire church toward eternity.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on By Faith We March

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

By Faith We See the Future


GodReflection: Faith Certainties

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Hebrews 11: 24-26

garyguarujaI’ve changed my mind about heaven.

The best I can tell what I think about heaven’s details—even if I am dead wrong—won’t cause me or anyone else to be lost.

I cannot remember a time during my life when I didn’t believe in an eternal heaven even though my early concepts were rather blurred.

I wasn’t sure how we were all going to fit onto one street paved with gold, not to mention how we were to walk on it if we were floating spirits confined to an eternal chorus.

Truth is the details of the eternal city aren’t all that important to me. I suspect whatever God has prepared will make me laugh when I realize   what I thought was a grand vision back on my old earth home was only puny speculation when compared to God’s new heaven and the new earth.

For now, it is enough to live with Jesus promise, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” 

future10By faith—confidence and assurance—I envision the future.  

To trust that Jesus will fulfil his word to me and all who sign on to trust him as Lord is sufficient to believe he will have an eternal home ready as he promised. I take him at his word. It is enough to have a vision of my future by faith. By faith I see the future.

After a lifetime of Genesis to Revelation travel through Scripture and incalculable hours of thought let me describe the future I anticipate.future5

I anticipate a new earth under a new heaven. Both will be recreated and restored by perfect God to align with His perfection.

There will be no further degeneration and decay. God will return the creation to perfection where He can once again pronounce His blessing, “It is good.”

Since Satan will have received his own final judgement he will not have a presence on the face of the new earth. Thus, there will be a complete absence of sin, suffering and death. Evangelists, lawyers, physicians and undertakers will all need a new profession. 

future2On the restored earth, I will inhabit a new eternal and perfect body. There will be no need for diets, Pepto-Bismol, or blood pressure cuffs.

Every relationship will find eternal fulfilment. No harsh words will ever again pass through my lips. I fully anticipate a rich friendship with every person in God’s family who I knew on my earth walk.  

In addition, I look forward to dialogue and rapport will those from other centuries and from other nations. I suspect I will be surprised at the size and the make-up of God’s family.

I anticipate a new life in new city with blessings and amenities beyond what I could imagine in my wildest dreams.

future11And best of all I will live with and in the eternal presence, warmth and light that flows from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Just think, I will be able to see and to know more fully the Creator, the Christ and the Spirit. What an experience it will be to hear the sound of each Holy One call me by name as we live forever in perfect relationship. 

Yes, one of the many ways I am blessed is the absolute fact that I am blessed to see the future.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on By Faith We See the Future

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

By Faith We Go


GodReflection: Faith Certainties

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country . . . For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:-8-10

garyguarujaA commonality among the Hebrews chapter eleven list is the call and the go. When God called they went.

They went with confident assurance that their walk was under the power of the Almighty even though they did not see the fulfillment of God’s promise within their lifetime.

Like the ancient ones—to sign up with God is to go forward in faith. I am blessed to live further down the line of history than they. In my rearview mirror I have the cross, resurrection and ascension in view.

That view opens even wider the curtain of what God did through Jesus to make it possible for me to begin to see where the promise is headed. I too may not see it fulfilled during my lifetime but am beginning to catch the aroma of the Great Feast.

In kinship with the Hebrew chapter eleven group Jesus’ disciples of all centuries are called to go.

by-faith-we-goWe are called to go forward in faith to administer the gifts and assignments the Holy Spirit sets before us.

To some that calls includes other nations, unfamiliar cities, towns, or unfamiliar villages. It is a call to go to the unknown to learn new languages and new cultures to live Jesus before the peoples of the world’s population.

To others the call includes alertness to watch for open doors in a familiar context to be and to spread the love and forgiveness found in Jesus.

By faith each one of us who together makeup the body of Christ go on mission in the same spirit as Abraham “looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

By faith we go with confidence, hope and assurance in our yet to be seen final destination of arrive in the Holy City. There with the saved of all nations we will celebrate with Abraham the Great Feast of God in the eternal home of the Holy Architect.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on By Faith We Go

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

 

 

 

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God Rewards Faith


GodReflection: Faith Certainties

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

garyguarujaIn Hebrews chapter eleven as the roll call of the great cloud of witnesses begins, the writer lists eighteen people who knew that God always answers His promises. They reached a point in their lives where certainty was a solid descriptor of their faith.

One of the eighteen was Enoch. A short vignette in a Genesis five linage list is all we know about him:

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away (Genesis 5:22-24).

The story is highlighted in Hebrews eleven:reward3

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:5-6).

To have faith is to please God and from that very faith overflows confidence and certainty of expectation that God rewards hearts that connect with Him.

Enoch passed into the presence of God without the death experience. Unless Jesus returns during the short life I have left I too will pass through death—unlike Enoch. Yet, like Enoch faith assures me I too will reside in the presence of God.

I have always believed in heaven. To tell the truth throughout most of my life I didn’t have a visual picture that was clear. I’m not sure how spirits can sing without voices and how an eternal song service is all that desirous. But, maybe spirits will sing on the right key.

Sure, God will be present but that still sort of left me with the spirits of angels, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and we humans floating around.

reward1Three years ago all of that changed. My reward took on new and visual meaning. When I read a couple of times a book by Randy Alcorn with the title Heaven, I realized that up until then my theology of heaven lacked examination.

The basic premise of the book was to begin with Genesis and track the realities and implication of creation, and the restoration after the fall, through thenew heavens and a new earth” of Isiah 65:17, and on through Jesus teaching of eternal life, until the “I am making everything new” of Revelation 21:5.

So three years later here I am. Perhaps it’s influence by age but I find more so than any time in my life I now look forward with faith-confidence to the reward of resurrection.

I was made for the next reality.

I can hardly wait to live again in a perfect body with a sinless spirit to enjoy a brand new earth under new heavens with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God’s people from all of history.

It will be an earth like God created in perfection prior to Satan’s destructive action.

confident2And we will all experience the Holy Wonder that results from faith that pleased God, while loving Him and from assured belief that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

I would love to set a coffee time with you in the next reality. That would just add to my reward.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection on God Rewards Faith

Gary@Godreflection.org     www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Seven Reasons to Rejoice: Redemption


denise-croppedGood, beautiful and uplifting music is connected to relaxation.

In an article entitled “Music and your unborn child” from babycenter.com written in September 2013, there was inconclusive evidence that playing music to a child in utero nurtures its future inner genius. The recommendation is to “play music because you enjoy it, not because you’re trying to make your unborn baby smarter. Music can help you relax, fall asleep, or perk you up if you have the pregnancy blahs.”

clef-593912__180An article on WebMD.com entitled “Relax! Your baby will thank you!” published July 11, 2005 stated that “Yet another study published in the journal Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics in 2003 found that anxiety-related increases in the mother’s heart rate had a direct impact on the fetal heart rate.” There is a correlation between a mother’s emotions and a child’s emotional development.

Capture1Science continues to unfold the beautiful connection between the need for good music that inspires good human behavior. An article from March 11, 2009 on abc.com called “Want to Rewire your brain? Study music” stated that there is a connection with early musical training and expressed emotion.

music-853704__180“Although many other studies have tried to show the beneficial effects of musical training, the researchers said their findings ‘provide the first biological evidence for behavioral observations indicating that musical training enhances the perception of vocally expressed emotion.’ The findings have implications far beyond the world of music.”

I find playing relaxing background music from different genres in our home creates a place of peace.

sun-622740__180Where does music come from? Animals have their own communications. Dolphins, whales and other animals are observed as singing to each other as a form of connection. But the idea of composing melodies, marrying them with messages comes from the beyond.

When words seem lacking to bring the right connection, melody can impart rich feeling. In an instant music can lift a heavy heart with no obvious scientific answer as to why. The Word of God speaks a better thought on this phenomenon.

i-am-429698__180Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. – James 5:13

In my opinion, good music is God-directed music. It can bring one in line quickly into what is important. What is more important than a daily reminder that my ransom from the prison of sin was paid by Christ?

The concept of redemption is tied to payment, and in some cases, ransom.

air-17306__180This great choir sang a wonderful new song in front of the throne of God and before the four living beings and the twenty-four elders. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.            – Revelation 14:3 (NLT)

bird-313614__180

 

Redemption is tied to a new song to be learned in my resurrected body in the New Heavens and Earth. Meanwhile Heaven is reflected in bytes of data from the beyond through tiny moves, much like God’s still small voice mentioned in I Kings 19:12.

A smile is a silent song reminding others that God lives. Who better to wear this silent song than those bought back from sin seeking others who want this promise of eternal life?

smile-191626__180A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.           – Proverbs 15:13

While on earth it is easy to reach for the panic button. But wouldn’t it be better as a Christ-follower to press the redemption button, reminding my heart to sing and my face to reflect my Heavenward walk?

Just wondering.

My Heart Stands Between Me and God’s Grace


GodReflection: Power Words

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; – Psalms 95:6

garyguarujaA graduate class comes to mind.

The professor drew a circle on the board in front of our class. The challenge placed before us as students was to place the core words of Scripture within the circle and peripheral words on the outside.

heart12I suspect until my involvement in that classroom exercise I hadn’t given a lot of thought about the weight of words in God’s communication with His children. I came to see that certain words and concepts are so crucial that they support both the core of what God is doing as well as the core of my response to Him.

A few posts back I spoke of heart as the vital link to worship in song. Heart is such a powerful word I feel the need to re-massage it—hopefully to a greater depth.

heart16Today, the power word ‘heart’ would appear near the center of my classroom whiteboard circle. It would snuggled close to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

For it is only through a surrendered heart that I receive the benefit of God’s grace resulting from the cross, the tomb, and from risen life.

My heart is the fountain for the most significant decision of my life. I must give away its allegiance. Do I present it to God or give it to Satan? By its very nature, I cannot hoard it for myself. However, only I can offer my heart to another.

There is a quandary with my heart. I find that even when I present it to God, I am always on Satan’s radar as he works to change or weaken my loyalty.

Satan knows the importance of my heart. He knows it connects to my eternal destiny. To steal my heart is to strike at God.

My life’s purpose is to give my heart to God as a 24/7 gift of worship.

The Gospels and the Letters paint the contrast between fertile hearts loyal to God and hard hearts filled with deceit and rejection.

heart17Jesus makes the case for importance when he reminds me, where [my] treasure is, there [my] heart will be also.

Once I present my heart to God, I accept His gift of grace and in gratitude flowing from my heart I pledge to love him with all [my] heart, with all [my] understanding and with all [my] strength, and to love [my] neighbor as myself . . .”

In that state I become one in heart and mind with all believers. As one raised with Christ, I set my heart on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Here is what I think.

In God’s time, my soul will live on a new and perfect earth under a newly created heaven. God will clothe my soul with a new and perfect body.

Both my heart and my mind will make the journey.

heart23I anticipate the joy of receiving a renewed mind and a pure and perfect heart.

To my heavenly delight I will live forever free from Satan’s advances.

God’s future will be mine as long as my earthly walk keeps my heart true to the center of God’s power circle. It must remain ever close to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, while I attempt to live out His gift of grace.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – a GodReflection on the Power of the Word Heart.

Gary@GodReflection.org     www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com