Hopefully…

hopefulIt’s just a little change in the word (and in thinking); but for me, this could be BIG!

Certain common phrases can pop into our minds regularly: “hopelessly lost, hopelessly behind, hopelessly chaotic, hopelessly delayed, etc.”

But what about hopefulness? No one is hopelessly lost as long as we continue to hope to find or be found.

HopeFULLY behind means I’ll never give up.

HopeFULLY chaotic means joyfully busy!

HopeFULLY delayed (or injured, or ill, or limited, or challenged) means the human spirit + God’s spirit can conquer obstacles that men name ‘impossible,’ ‘improbable’ or ‘highly unlikely.’ (Yes, Logan!)

Since we’ve been born again to a a living hope (I Peter 1:3), we are NEVER hopeless!

We may feel hopeless, but we have Christ in us, the hope of glory! (Col. 1:27)

Years ago, I bought a chapter book (about a pioneer girl facing challenges) for our daughter. The name of the book was “Be Ever Hopeful, Hannalee.”

We have every reason to be hopeful (Jeremiah 29:11). The Lord wants to give us a future and a hope!

It’s my new motto: “Be ever hopeful, Cindy B.”

See our page called “Hope” for Scriptures and quotes about hope @ https://familysong.wordpress.com/hope/

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Disappointment…and Grace

All of us experience disappointments in life. These can be relatively minor circumstances, disappointments that turn out to be merely a misunderstanding, devastating choices that lead to major life upheavals, or even heart-breaking betrayals of trust. I believe that every disappointment has the potential to change us in some way. If we can learn to respond with grace to the disappointments that come our way, they can lead to growth and perhaps to eventual reconciliation where there is a need for that. Many times, situations have consequences that reach far into the future, but that just makes it even more important to respond in a way that prevents bitterness from taking root and leaves an open door for God’s grace to bring good out of the pain of disappointment.

There are several types of disappointment that we need to consider. First, there is what I’ll call a Circumstantial Disappointment. Secondly, there are Relational Disappointments. Third, we will deal with Regretful Disappointments. Finally, we can sometimes feel disappointment with God when the answers to prayer are long in coming or seem not to be coming at all. We’ll call that Spiritual Disappointment. There are some general truths for dealing with all kinds of disappointment and some specific considerations for different types of disappointment.

Some people feel that the best way to avoid disappointment is by choosing not to expect too much. I remember not long ago hearing some dialogue in which an individual took issue with the phrase, “Don’t get your hopes up.” I don’t recall the source of the dialogue in question, but it may have been in a movie. The response to being told, “Don’t get your hopes up!” went something like this: “Why not? Why wouldn’t I want my hopes to be up? That’s a very good place for hopes to be. Why would I want to hope for less?” There’s a lot of truth in that. While our expectations in life should be a lot broader than hopes for more of everything good in our own lives (and should include hopefulness for our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, our community, our state, our country, and even the world as a whole, hoping for much more than just material blessings and ‘happiness’), it’s certainly much better to be hopeful than hopeless. Yes, we will sometimes be disappointed; but it’s still worthwhile to live hopefully. Hopes can bond the hearts of people, give individuals something to look forward to, give us a reason to keep working and trying and overcoming, and speak to the world around us with a message that the life of Christ within brings us “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.” (lyrics from the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”)

The first key to dealing with disappointment is to hold on to hope. Our hopefulness is an indication of trust in God. When we know in the very depths of our souls that God is good and has our best interests on His heart, we can trust that whatever circumstance comes our way, God will use it to bring about good in our lives and in His Kingdom. So, the first and most important key to dealing with disappointment is a choice. We must choose to live hopefully. We must choose to reject the negative thoughts that enter our mind when we have been disappointed. Thoughts like “No one really cares about me” and “nothing ever works out in my life” are counter productive and depressing. To counter these kinds of thoughts, you may have to sit down and make some lists. Make a list of everyone who has been kind to you and demonstrated caring. Make a list of the blessings in your life. Make a list of the times when things have worked out well for you, and include times when something that seemed negative at first eventually turned into a positive. Seeing these truths written in black and white can do a lot to help you choose hope.

Precious promises for you!

Secondly, it is essential for us as Christians to look to scripture for help when we are dealing with disappointment. Study the ways that Biblical characters such as Joseph dealt with disappointment and even betrayal. Read the Psalms. Here, you will find a desperate longing for God, and sometimes the broken-hearted pleas for God’s deliverance from trials. No matter what the circumstance, the writers of the Psalms turned to God as their source of help and hope. Another helpful thing to do is to fill your mind with the promises of God. If you don’t have a little book of God’s promises from scripture, buy one and keep it on your nightstand.

Or, go to websites such as these:

God’s promises arranged by topic: http://www.smilegodlovesyou.org/promises.html
Daily scripture promise blog: http://www.365promises.com/
God’s promises in every book of the Bible: http://bible.org/article/selected-promises-god-each-book-bible
John Piper’s sermon on the promises of God: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/all-the-promises-of-god-are-yes-in-christ

New International Version (©1984) “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
II Corinthians 1:20

Romans, Chapter 5, NIV
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wea have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And web rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but wec also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

(Scripture references above are copied from the Online Parallel Bible) http://bible.cc/

SPECIFIC TYPES OF DISAPPOINTMENT

Circumstantial disappointment

All of us face times in life when circumstances change in a way that we did not expect or that seems less desirable than what we had hoped. These kind of circumstantial disappointments may involve something that didn’t happen as you had hoped. Or, they may involve something that happened which seems contrary to everything you had hoped. Sometimes these disappointments lead to eventually letting go of one dream for your life and grabbing hold of God’s promises and His new dream for you. Circumstances will happen to disappoint us all, and each time we must choose to look at the positives in the situation. The reactions we have to the disappointment of our hopes can range from mild irritation (having to re-arrange your schedule because a flight was cancelled, for example) to feeling absolutely devastated (the sale of your home fell through, or you were laid off, or you didn’t get admitted to the University of your choice). No matter how strong our reaction may be, each disappointment results in the following choices:

1. Choosing to continue to dwell on what has been lost even though nothing can be done about it OR eventually choosing to let it go and move on.

2. Choosing to give up on a hope or dream OR seeking God’s direction about whether to allow Him to give you a new dream or to persevere in seeking this hope but perhaps through another avenue.

3. Choosing to become bitter about what has been denied OR allowing God to use disappointment to refine our character.

4. Choosing to become stuck in the past and our unfulfilled hope OR moving forward with trust and faith in God, knowing that He will work all things (even this disappointment) for our good.

5. Feeling hopeless OR allowing God to restore our hope as time passes and the mental and spiritual adjustment is made not only to the reality that the disappointment has occurred, but to the possiblities of the future!

There is a grieving process with any disappointment, and it is necessary. After all, it takes time to re-adjust your thinking to a new reality. However, we must always be seeking God as the Source of our comfort, our transformation to the likeness of Christ, and ultimately, our hope. God wants us to be honest with Him in prayer. He knows we are devastated and disappointed, but He wants us to talk to Him about it. His Spirit can only minister peace in a situation that has been turned over to Him. A new dream can only be given when we choose to allow Him to turn our disappointment into possibilities that we’d never imagined. Give yourself the grace of seeing each day as a new beginning, full of possibilities and promise as you release the disappointments of the past and surrender each moment to the Lord. The reality of your disappointment can become a stepping stone to newness in your life and even to a reality more joyful or profound than anything you could have dreamed. Hold on to your relationship with God through the grieving and adjustment period, and hold on to hope!

Relational Disappointment

Relational disappointment can be the most devastating type of disappointment. Someone has let us down or even intentionally hurt us…often in a BIG way. Broken hearts result from relational disappointment. Here, we are not only dealing with our feelings about what has happened. We are also dealing with the ongoing relationship. When we have been badly hurt, anger is often our response. However, the expression of anger can cause even more relational difficulty. It’s good to keep in mind some considerations of the other person and the relationship you have to them. As you work through the process of dealing with the disappointment and hurt that you feel, you can choose to show grace by valuing the person and the relationship more than your right to be angry and hurt. Although the grieving and adjustment process for relational disappointment is the same as for any other type, the feelings and the potential relational consequences involved require careful consideration of a few additional factors.

First, remember that you, too, have at times disappointed someone. None of us can perfectly meet the needs of another person. We will all make mistakes, forget something important, or fail to handle a situation appropriately from time to time. We all will have times when we need to apologize for disappointing someone else (as well as times when we need to forgive someone for disappointing us).

Secondly, we need to realize that what seems a big failure or disappointment may have been out of someone’s control or may have resulted from a miscommunication of some type. Here, I will give an example of something that occurred at one of the churches where Travis had served. There was a person who was a part-time employee in Music Ministry at the church, and this individual had been serving for a number of years. Travis was new at the church and was still learning how things were done. Procedures and policies very widely from church to church, and that fact would be brought home in this situation. At the church Travis had left prior to coming to this new church, the Personnel Committee had always taken care of farewells and thank yous to those who were leaving a paid position in the church. However, when this person was no longer employed by the church, nothing was done by that committee. By the time that Travis realized that things were handled differently at the new church, the former employee was already very upset and feeling unappreciated. Though he tried to correct the mistake he’d made by assuming procedures were similar, the attempts were rejected by the former employee. Travis would have liked to have had the opportunity to show appreciation properly; but because of a misunderstanding and the resulting disappointment, that never happened as it should have.

Many times, relational disappointments do result from some sort of misunderstanding. When there seems to have been a mess up or a large oversight that affects you, try not to automatically assume the worst and get all upset without knowing the facts. There may be reasons why things happened as they did of which you are unaware. Sometimes, knowing what happened can help and can even save a relationship. Therefore, we all need to give each other the grace of refusing to jump to conclusions. If you can talk to the person or persons who were involved in whatever led to your disappointment and tell them, “I really felt… (disappointed, betrayed, unappreciated…fill in the blank) because….” (Keep it short and mention only one or two main factors, without detail. Hopefully, this can come across without condemnation or anger.) Then, ask for clarification, “I didn’t want to assume anything without giving you the opportunity to explain, so can you tell me what happened?” Give the person some time to think and consider a response. Just sit and wait without saying anything further. It could be that there are real reasons for the way things happened that you never knew about. The problem could even have resulted from something that you did or said that the other person did not know how to handle. The truth could immediately make you feel better. If so, you may have prevented permanent damage to a relationship by seeking understanding. Or, the truthful answer could hurt at first. It may be that the truth is a mirror, reflecting an area in your own life where some change needs to take place or just an outright failure or oversight by the other party. Either way, these kinds of hurtful truths can be stepping stones to growth and to better understanding eventually if we keep the door of relationship open and work to have better understanding and resolve problems. Regardless of the steps that need to be taken, forgiveness is always appropriate. Even if something happened that was totally wrong, forgiveness will ultimately set you free from bitterness and from living in the past. Ask God to give you an open heart to any changes that you need to make and grace for the other person, just as you have been shown grace and mercy.

When you think that you have someone figured out and that you are disappointed in who they are, remember that there may be many things that you do not know about this person or about their life. Some of your asumptions may be totally wrong. Give others the grace of forgiveness and a second chance. You may be making yourself totally miserable by harboring negative feelings that are not even based upon fact. Pray for this person, and allow God to work in them and in you. You may be surprised at what He will do!

If a relationship proves to be totally unhealthy, seek counsel about what to do. No one has to stay in an abusive situation. You cannot change another person. Change can only come when the other person desires to change, and a lot of changes require God’s help.

Regretful disappointment

Sometimes, our lives can become filled with regret if we dwell on past mistakes or on what we wish we had done in a situation. These things are truly beyond our control. They are in the past. What matters is how we live NOW and what we do to make things better NOW. Give yourself the grace of letting go. Learn from past mistakes, fix what you can, and then remember Paul’s testimony and advice:

“It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already become perfect. But I keep pursuing it, hoping somehow to embrace it just as I have been embraced by the Messiah Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have embraced it yet. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in the Messiah Jesus.” – Phillippians 3;12 – 14 (International Standard Version)

The Serenity Prayer can also be helpful.

Spiritual disappointment

Spiritual disappointment can be extremely difficult. As Christians, we know that God is good and that He is able to do anything and to meet our needs. We feel that we should be content to trust His wisdom about the when and the how. We often don’t feel that we can even talk to other Christians about our disappointment. This kind of scenario can lead to feeling totally alone, as though one is abandoned by God but can’t talk about it because to do so would only lead to rejection from other believers who may want to comfort you but who actually fear the pain and loss you have experienced and want you to repeat phrases like “God is so good!’ or “His timing is perfect” for your good and for their comfort. The Book of Job is about just such a struggle. It’s a battle for Job between what he knows he should feel and what other believers are telling him to feel versus how he actually does feel. At the beginning of the time of trial for Job, God expresses confidence in the faith of Job. And yet, even for a mature believer, there is a process of sorting through thoughts, grieving loss, and finding that your faith still holds true. Job wants to know why. He knows that he has done nothing wrong to provoke God’s judgement in the form of the calamity that has come upon his household, and yet He acknowledges that God is sovereign over all. God Himself speaks with Job, and the truths that come out of this conversation are that God does not have to reveal His reasons to us and yet, He wants us to come to Him with our questions. There is no way that we could fully understand the interactions of every human heart and every circumstance as God does. We don’t have the infinite understanding to fathom God’s reasoning, but God gives us the mercy and grace to allow us to question Him, to ask why, and to express our pain, our deep grief, our disappointment, and even our anger. After we have asked out questions and cried out our pain, peace comes only when we finally choose to trust. It is a process, and that process is part of the healing and growth. So, the ultimate message about spiritual disappointment is that it will come to everyone, that we must take it to Him, and that He will teach and comfort us through the pain.

Turning to God in our disappointment and being honest with Him in prayer is the third key for dealing with disappointment. In earlier paragraphs, I had stated that the other two keys are choosing to live hopefully, based upon your knowledge of God’s goodness and your desire to have a positive outlook, and then turning to scripture for help in coping with disappointment. So, my friends, choose hope! Seek answers in God’s word, and turn to Him with all of your questions and hurts as you work through the process of moving forward in your life after you have been disappointed. These three keys to coming through a disappointment and moving forward without bitterness are not a ‘quick fix’. There is no easy answer and no quick solution. Allow yourself the grace of processing all that has happened and thinking through what this means for the future. God wants to bring possibility and promise out of this situation for you. He wants to heal your heart and give you new hope. He wants to communicate His love for you and renew your confidence in His goodness. Blessings to you in the journey!

* A SONG FOR YOU * Here’s a link to a song that may be helpful to you: http://soundcloud.com/travis-l-boyd/god-is-faithful-satb-choral

* HERE’S A BONUS *
Check out this excellent teaching about disappointment by TV host, author, and speaker Michelle McKinney Hammond on the 700 Club’s “Voices of Hope” series (segment #2) about facing life issues.  Here’s the link to the series.  (You will have to select and click on the Segment #2 link to see the video with the teaching about disappointment.): http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/voiceofhope/

Interestingly, in the 700 club interview that allows her to explain her teaching on disappointment, Ms. Hammond also speaks of the need for demonstrating grace when facing disappointment, saying, “Don’t expect divinity from humanity.  Have grace for people, and place your expectations on God.”  Additionally, she also speaks of trusting God through the disappointment (as in our blog article), but she does state some of her teaching in some unique ways that will be helpful to anyone who is seeking additional insights to learn the lessons of disappointment while holding on to faith, preserving relationships, and dealing with pain.  Listen near the end of the interview for your assignment, when Ms. Hammond speaks of God’s plan in the disappointment and our corresponding job as the steward of the experience.

Here is a link to information about her book called How to Get Past Disappointment;
(
Note: I have not read the book, but I am recommending it based upon hearing the teaching in the above link, which is a portion of what is contained in the book. – C. A. Boyd)
Book info: http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Past-Disappointment-Finding/dp/0736937862

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>This post was written by C. A. Boyd
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>><><><>Do you know Jesus?The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.

http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus

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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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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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