To Infinity…….and far, Far, FAR Beyond

[Topics for Teaching in this Post:  infinite mercy, the lavish and limitless love of God, the indescribeable joy of His presence, Heaven
(read the post as inspiration for what you will share with your children about these topics during teachable moments.)]

One of the things that I love about music is that it is always moving. It is not a stationary art form. One note ceases and the next begins. One phrase is followed by another. Underlying chords are changing. The melody pushes forward, embracing the mood of the piece and the message of the lyrics. A moment of dissonance gives way to a glorious major chord. There is dynamic contrast to provide the shading and shadow, as if an artist’s brush were painting a visual representation of the tune. Meter changes or modulations to a new key intrigue us with a surprise twist on the theme. The intensity of melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, and interpretation move ahead to a glorious big ending or a more quiet and contemplative finish. When the movement of notes and patterns comes to a close, the music stops. A final note can only be sustained for so long, and yet the expression of love or joy or hope or longing that was contained in the music seems to linger, as though it is suspended in the air that surrounds us. The experience of making the music or of sharing in it through listening has awakened something within us, and we often remember a certain song or concert or performance.

Talented artists and sculptors can also create a sense of movement visually. In looking at a finished painting, we glimpse the clouds that are sailing across the sky, a breeze rustling the leaves of trees and foliage, an almost solemn expression betraying the smile that is a just a moment away, barely perceptible ripples in the surface of a tranquil pond, or a mother’s gentle, rocking motion as she soothes her child. The work of a sculptor is often a three dimensional study of a moment in time. A horse’s flank reveals muscle in motion, and marble clothing drapes the sculpted human form in fluid movement.

It goes without saying that there is movement in dance. Whether the dance is the refined and intricately choreographed poetry in motion that reveals the work of a true ballet master or a jubilant, impromptu celebration of good news, it is also the expression of our deepest longings. We desire to witness the power of human emotion and the experience of living as it is visually portrayed through movement. The beauty of love, the excitement of a dream come true, or the tragedy of loss are particularly touching when portrayed through the movements that we call dance.

If the arts reveal the soul of mankind, then it becomes obvious that movement is very important to us. What is so appealing about movement?

“I’m goin’ somewhere, and I’m takin’ Teddy with me!”

Movement is life. Movement is a constant for us. Even when we are lying completely still, our hearts are at work, beating in life-sustaining motion. Movement is healing for us. By working and exercising, doing things, and having fun, we strive to make our own lives better and to enrich the lives of those we love in some way. As human beings, we are always yearning for something more, for something better than what we know. Our longing to make things more convenient, more efficient, more comfortable, or more beautiful allows us to use our God-given intelligence and creativity to solve problems. Inventions and innovation result from our desire to somehow continue moving forward in our lives. Most of us are life-long learners, always seeking to know more and to use that knowledge in some positive way. Even though we acknowledge the truth with the phrase, “Nothing’s perfect”, we still long for more and keep striving. Our lives are a journey of discovery. As soon as we recognize a need for change or improvement, we begin to seek a solution and discover ways to make things better. Other than the obvious reasons for personal, relational, and environmental improvement, I believe that there is something else at work deep within each of us.

God’s word has something to say about our longing for something more than what we experience in our day to day lives. Here, from the New Living Translation, is Ecclesiastes 3:11.

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

Somehow, our hearts know that we were made for more than a brief span of time in a beautiful and majestic and yet imperfect world. As we look at the symmetry and amazing creativity of God’s creation, we know that perfect beauty and harmony can exist. The astounding complexity of the tiniest creature and the fragile and ferocious balance of nature testify to the supernatural intelligence of our infinitely caring Creator. He has placed a longing for more within our hearts. It is a longing that can only be filled within the context of relationship with Him and ultimately in reaching our eternal dwelling place with Him in Heaven.

“Your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch.” 1 Samuel 25:29 (New Living Translation).

All of our movements, our work, our striving, our creative expression, and our efforts toward life management and self-improvement can never be enough to erase the longing for more. God has set eternity within our hearts. The universal longings of the human heart and soul can all be fully met only in Him.

The longing to love and be loved, fully and perfectly.
The longing to live in an environmnet of perfect serenity and peace.
The longing to live forever.
The longing to live in a place where there is no heartache and no pain.
The longing to have a dwelling place that is uniquely designed to meet all of our needs perfectly.
The longing to know and understand things that seem difficult and beyond understanding.
The longing to find delight and joy in living that goes beyond our wildest dreams.

We cannot find true and perfect fulfillment of all of these longings in this earthly life, but for those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, who love God, and who have surrendered their own desires and longings for something better, there is a promise of the life to come. It is a promise that we cannot fully grasp because we don’t know all of the facts. It is impossible for us to completely understand the fulfillment of God’s promise, because we have no basis for comparison. His answer to the longings of our hearts and souls goes beyond anything we have ever experienced. Our eyes have never seen anything like it. Our ears have never heard anything like it. Our minds have never thought of anything so wondrous, even in our most extravagant dreams.

I Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”

I can’t wait to see, to hear, to experience, and to know! As I am now, I am unfit for Heaven. My mind is too easily distracted from things of eternal importance to the mundane tasks of every day and even the earthly interests that draw me away. I would not be able to fully enjoy Heaven without a change. Although the process of change began many years ago when I said “Yes!” to Jesus, there is much change that still needs to take place in my life and heart. I cannot live in a Holy place as I am now. My presence would render it unholy. However, I will not stay in my current state. God’s promises assure me that He will continue to refine my soul and my life while I am here on earth, moving me forward in my journey toward Christlikeness. In Phillipians 2:13, I find His promise for the here and now.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

This is God at work. I am not alone in this journey. God himself continues His creative work as He creates a clean heart and a right spirit within me. I cannot achieve holiness on my own, but when I have Christ within me, I have the hope of glory.

God also promises to finish His work within me. His work did not cease when the Earth was formed and filled with life. He is still at work, and He never leaves a job unfinished. When he begins a work, He will complete it! Phillippians 1:6 shares the confidence we have in His promise:

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

And on that day, what will Heaven be like? What will eternity with God be like? Although we can learn what the Bible reveals about heaven, there is much that we will not know until we arrive. We do know that we have never seen anything like what we will see. We have never heard anything like what we will hear. And, we could never imagine anything so incredible if we dreamed and thought about Heaven every day for the rest of our lives. It will be that different, that wonderful, and that extraordinary. There are no words in our language that could adequately describe what we will experience, because it will be so far, far beyond anything we’ve ever known. Yes, we will have eternity. We will have forever. We will have an infinite amount of time, a never-ending life. But, we will have so much more than just time! The idea of living on is certainly appealing to us, but the time itself is only a part of the gift of God’s mercy that will alllow us to experience what He has prepared for us.

Think of someone who loves you. Do you remember a time when someone did something just for you? Perhaps you think of someone who planned a special surprise for you, or hosted a party for you and tried to include all of your favorite things, someone who prepared a special meal for you, spent time with you when you needed companionship most, or planned an outing with obvious care that revealed a concern for you in every detail. Perhaps someone invested their time and made a special gift just for you or helped to plan and prepare for your wedding shower or baby shower. Perhaps a buddy invited you to play golf at your favorite course, followed by barbecue at the place your wife doesn’t care for but that you love. Maybe a friend at work went out of the way to help you with a project or to keep things going when you were home sick. Someone has done something nice for you, keeping in mind what you need most or enjoy most or love most. Now, remember the last portion of I Corinthians 2:9: “…neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” Think about that for a moment. This is what Jesus said about God’s desire to bless us and to “give good gifts” in Matthew 7:11:

“If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

In this passage, Jesus was talking about prayer. His point was that we should not be afraid to ask God for anything, knowing that He is good and that He wants to demonstrate His love and caring to His children. Even though I have not written about prayer in this post; and even though we have been considering the unknown of what God has prepared in Heaven for those who love him rather than His desire to bless us while on earth, the Bible tells us that our God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever! If His desire was and is and always will be to bless us and demonstrate His love for us in this earthly life and in the life to come, we cannot begin to fathom what that means for eternity. He is preparing a place for us. With thought, and care, and love, and every resource at His disposal, the God of Creation and of all Eternity, the Savior of Mankind, is preparing a place for us. Sometimes in this earthly life, we get carried away with our expectations for an event or a surprise, and then the actual event or gift is a bit of a let-down in comparison to our over-active imagination. In Heaven, it would be impossible to be disappointed with what God will have prepared for us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He has been creating and preparing and longing for the day when we will finally know Him even as we are known. We cannot begin to imagine the wonder, the beauty, the joy, the love, the peace, the comfort, the surprise, the caring, and the paradise that awaits us.

Welcome….

Infinity (or, eternity) is good. Inifinity is beyond good. It is impossible for us to even imagine infinite time. Then, when we add God’s love and care and preparation for us beyond all imagining… it is mind boggling to even consider. What will it be like to experience something that is infinitely better than the best we have ever known? What will it be like to take the best gifts we know…life and love…and see them manifested in the Divine and Holy? When we are told that God’s best for us is more than we can imagine, we must remember that with God, everything is infinitely more and infinitely beyond. Only in Heaven will we finally begin to understand infinitely lavish Love in the person of God Himself. Here is His confession of Love:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

God is Love

It is as though a bridegroom has secretly built an extravagant and wonderful home for his bride. After their wedding, she sees it for the first time. It is wonderful beyond her wildest dreams. In every detail, she sees the love that the bridegroom has poured into this lavish and unexpected gift. The thoughtfulness and caring, the knowledge of what she would love, and the obvious truth that no effort or expense has been spared overwhelm the bride with the goodness of the heart of her beloved.

Dear ones, you who love the Lord, we are the beloved ones ! Infinitely more than we have loved, we have been loved. We are God’s beloved. We are the bride of Christ. He has given everything for us! He has invested himself in the gift of His creation, sustaining it in ways that we cannot begin to fathom. He has provided us with a Savior, personally coming to earth in the form of a human child who was also fully divine. He has given Himself in caring for us, loving us, comforting us, drawing us to Himself, and helping us to mature in Christ, answering the prayers we prayed in his infinite wisdom and even the prayers that we didn’t know how to pray. And finally, He has given Himself to us fully in His preparation for eternity and in His Presence with us for all of eternity. Your “mansion” will be your smallest gift, not your largest. That’s just one that we happen to know about. What about the surprises that are beyond our imagination? I can’t even write about what He has prepared, because it is infinitely more than my mind can understand and infinitely beyond what my words could ever convey. This is the one thing that I do know: His Presence and our full knowledge of the depth of His love will be our most treasured gifts for all of eternity.

So, meanwhile, here we are in our human bodies with our love of life and movement and fun and joy and song and people. We are using our earthly eyes to try to see as we read or write these words. We are using our finite minds to understand as we try to grasp the meaning of all of this. We are living, loving, crying, giving, hurting, sharing, wondering, knowing, and striving. At various times we are joyful, sad, elated, depressed, celebrating, devastated, confused, happy, bitter, or hopeful. We are experiencing this world with all of it’s ups and downs. And yet, somehow, we know there is more. We try various ways to move toward what we think may be better. Those of us who know the Lord have the answer; but we don’t always walk in it, and we don’t share it with others as we should. What if we knew all that God is preparing for those who love Him even while we were still living the earthly life? Then, would we be more eager to share the best news that mankind has ever been given? I ask myself this question: Why isn’t His promise enough? Why do I have to know what is inside all of the gifts of eternity if I know the Giver? If I know that He is infinitely more and that His love is infinitely beyond, why would I even hesitate to share such incredible news? Why would anyone?

My little boy, Logan, loves Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movies. The favorite Buzz phrase for every fan is “To infinity…and beyond!” The first time that we heard it, many of us adults may have had an inward chuckle, thinking of the redundancy of this phrase. How would Buzz know that he’s saying the same thing twice? He’s just a toy. We smile, and we enjoy our young ones as they imagine something beyond what their little minds have experienced thus far and sum up all of that unknown stuff that is out there somewhere using their hero’s ‘buzz word’ (pun intended). “To infinity and beyond!” shout the little voices, ready to go wherever that is and do whatever there is to do there. We smile and think about the fact that he or she doesn’t even know what the word infinity means. Our minds expand on that fact. How could you keep going on forever and then go on beyond forever to a place that is beyond the beyond? We chuckle again. Animated movies…plastic toys…big imaginations! They’ll learn soon enough what is real, we think.

Today, I’m ready to challenge those notions. There is a Love without limits. There is a Life without end. There is a reality that goes beyond what we know to be “real”. Who could love beyond infinity? Who transcends space and time? Who is and was and always will be? Almighty God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth. He who gives Himself infinitely and always has more to give. He who knows me intimately and loves me anyway. He who will give us an infinity of time and life….and so much more! He who gives infinity and far, far beyond…

Romans 8:35 “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36. Just as it is written, “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”

37. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39. nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” *

God loves you, my friend! To infinity, and far, far beyond….

*(from the New American Standard Bible)

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This post was written by C. A. Boyd.  It was originally published on our primary blog, which addresses the subjects of life, ministry, worship, music, and discipleship.  You’ll find many other posts on our original blog which are not on this blog at http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com

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C. S. Lewis addresses the longing for more that can only be fulfilled in eternity with our God and Savior in these writings:

“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts,  would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in  this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to  you, but they never quite keep their promise.

At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern  the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We  cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament  are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing,  we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is  only the first sketch.

We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be  united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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We have another post about how much God loves you. It is: You Are Greatly Loved!

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A Little Boydie told me…

Just a reg’lar Mom in a house full of boys

praise4ever

praise4ever

I'm a busy wife and mother of 7, with 6 incredible boys still at home and a beautiful married daughter. Our boys range in age from our 10 year old twins to our 22 year old. We have 2 in Elementary School, 2 in Middle School, one in High School, and one High School grad. They are all incredible and special. One of our boys has special needs. I'm a musician, singer, writer, composer, blogger, and teacher. I'm thankful for our home and family, for Travis, my amazing husband of 39 years, and for family and friends near and far. Most of all, I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy and that He has given the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

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Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

As a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and a father of 7, and a Minister of Music and Worship, I am very blessed. For a total of 32 years, I have served as a Minister of Worship for some wonderful congregations in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia. It is a joy to lead God's people in worshipping Him through music, and I am very blessed to serve at First Baptist Church of Duluth, Georgia. I'm also a composer, lyricist, arranger, and orchestrator, with choral anthems, songs, and orchestrations published by Shawnee Press (now with Hal Leonard), Lorenz, Choristers Guild, and Lifeway. My web-based music publishing site, WorshipSounds Music (formerly Boydbrain Music), offers Choral Anthems, Orchestrations, Congregational Praise, and Vocal Solo music. Our worship blog has become an extension of worship ministry, and it is a privelege to share information and inspiration with other worshippers. My desire is to glorify God through my life, ministry, and composition work. I believe that music is a wonderful way to communicate the truths of God's love and mercy and to glorify Him. My wife, Cindy, and I have been married for 36 years. We have 7 children. Daughter Meredith lives in Texas. Sons Jared, Zachary, Braden, Logan, Austin, and Camden range in age from 7 to 19 and are still living at home.

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