Monday, March 9, 2015

My Lips Repeat

I give up on editing this, after the 263rd interruption. Apparently, everyone in my house is cold, needs to poop, has a tummy ache, and is in desperate need of cartoons. And they're hungry, though I could have sworn I just fed them multiple biscuits.

First of all, let me apologize for mentioning my underwear in my last post. I have continually thought that it was very crass and unladylike of me. I choose to blame it on the insanity that sets in during two weeks of confinement. Please forgive me. I cannot promise it won't happen again upon my next stint of spending day after day with whiny sick people. There is a reason I'm not a nurse.

There is rarely a day that goes by that one of my prayers to the Lord is not, "Help me set my mind on things above...eternal things." We are told that children of the Lord do just that, set their minds beyond this earth and themselves, to things in heaven. I know that I need to do it in order to live this life here for the Lord, but I've always just thought of that, practically, as having the thought, "Remember the things that last," or perhaps, "All of this junk will someday pass away." In something I read last week, however, it encouraged me to actually think of the place of heaven, to envision what is going on there, what it will be like, and who is there already, all within biblical parameters, of course, and not simply things of my own imaginings such as piles of chocolate that won't make me fat.

But I would be okay with piles of chocolate that won't make me fat. I just want to be clear about that.

That was a new thought to me, to actually ponder the things that are happening right now in the heavenly realms...the praise of the Lord, the Lamb seated beside the Father, the intercession that is occurring on my behalf, the joy that awaits me there. What powerful things to set my mind on as I do laundry or intervene in the 38th fight of the morning between kids who think they both have a right to sit their fannies on my pillow on my couch at the same time. Because they couldn't possibly sit somewhere else! Sheesh!

Heaven...

Yesterday as we gathered for worship and the preaching of the Word on Sunday morning, we were reminded of the twenty-one Christians who were martyred in Egypt recently. I'll just be honest. The thought of being martyred or of seeing those I love being martyred makes my stomach tie up in knots and my chest feel extraordinarily heavy. Mention a little burning alive, and I find myself having to stave off a serious panic attack. I have a hard time facing my daily trials of dirty toilets. How would I ever be able to face beheading?


It was mentioned that those who know the martyrs could see on the video that was released of their execution that their lips were repeatedly murmuring the name of Jesus Christ as they knelt before their executioners. Later, as we sang:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
Jesus died my soul to save,
my lips shall still repeat.


I thought, "That's how they did it." Those men must have set their minds on things above. They must have set their minds on Jesus, who paid it all, as their lips repeated his name over and over. And then I realized that, in the instant it takes for a sword to sever a head from a body, they went from repeating "Jesus Christ" as they knelt on earthly soil to repeating "Jesus Christ" in the very presence of Jesus in heaven. And so now when I imagine heaven, I can add the vision of twenty-one rejoicing men, thankful and excited beyond words to be free from this world of suffering and in the presence of their Savior.

That is setting your mind on things above. It is the grace of God which allows us to face every day of this life here on earth as we wait for the moment when we are transported to heaven, with our lips repeating, "Jesus died my soul to save."

In order to be ready to set my mind on things above in the "big things," I must be able to set my mind in the heavenly realms in the "little things." What a beautiful gift we've been given: descriptions of eternity in the Word, a mind and imagination to think of and envision something of what it must be like, and the righteousness of Christ through salvation that allows us the assurance of one day being in His presence.

Lord, help me to truly set my mind on things above today.

At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.

In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying:

“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”

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