Greetings fellow sojourners! Do you know that you are incredibly valuable to the Kingdom of God? You absolutely are. Be in eager anticipation every day of your life for ways you can turn your heart over to God and allow Him to do remarkable things with it; even to turn beauty from ashes! He is marvelously able. I would love to sit down with each of you, look you in your eyes and encourage you regarding your incalculable value and beauty.
Many years ago someone gave my husband a book titled, My Dream of Heaven: A Ninteeth Century Spiritual Classic by Rebecca Ruter Springer. I have picked it up several times over the years and for some reason never took an interest in it. Recently I picked it up again and it has given me great encouragement. I don’t think I have ever spoken about a book on this blog before but since I could perhaps speak on end regarding the topic I thought this might be a good place to share it with you! Hoping it also brings you encouragement!
The author of this book suffered an illness and during that time had a vision of Heaven; thus this book was born. Her brother was also in heaven and the following was one of the heavenly things he shared with her.
“What strange ideas we mortals have of the pleasures and duties of this blessed life! We seem to think that death of the body means an entire change to the soul. But that is not the case, by any means. We bring to this life the same tastes, the same desires, the same knowledge we had before death. If these were not sufficiently pure and good to form a part of this life, then we ourselves may not enter. What would be the use of our ofttimes long lives, given to the pursuit of certain worthy and legitimate knowledge, if at death it all counts as nothing, and we begin this life on a wholly different line of thought and study? No, no; would that all could understand, as I said before, that we are building for eternity during our earthly life! The purer the thoughts, the nobler the ambitions, the loftier the aspirations, the higher the rank we take among the hosts of heaven; the more earnestly we follow the studies and duties on our life of probation, the better fitted we shall be to carry them forward, on and on to completion and perfection here.”
I absolutely love the last sentence. The purer the thoughts, the nobler the ambitions, the loftier the aspirations…the more earnestly we follow the studies and duties on our life of probation, the better fitted we shall be to carry them forward, on and on to completion and perfection here. What we must be striving for is the purest of thoughts, the noblest of ambitions, and loftiest of aspirations. Why? So that we can carry our divine thoughts, ambitions, and aspirations to completion and perfection in heaven. Very divine indeed. Are you building for eternity during your earthly life or are you focusing primarily on things that will not be carried on into heaven? I just wonder…if we realize what we do now carries over into eternity (in whatever way God chooses to use it) would we live more intentionally?
Here is how she describes a picture hanging on a wall. It “was a life-size portrait of the Christ, just opposite the couch. It was not an artist’s conception of the human Christ, bowed under the weight of the sins of the world, nor yet the thorn-crowned head of the crucified Savior of mankind; but the likeness of the living Master, of Christ the victorious, of Christ the crowned. The wonderful eyes looked directly and tenderly into your own, and the lips seemed to pronounce the benediction of peace. The ineffable beauty of the divine face seemed to illumine the room with a holy light, and I fell upon my knees and pressed my lips to the sandaled feet so truthfully portrayed upon the canvas, while my heart cried, “Master, beloved Master and Savior!”
Beautiful indeed. We have all seen “Christ bowed under the weight of the sins of the world and/or the thorn-crowned head” of Him crucified either in our minds or hanging on walls in our buildings. I am not suggesting we dismiss these images but I am going to suggest that we also, and maybe even more so, see Him as “Christ the victorious, of Christ the crowned” King! Yes, He bore our sins! But He also ascended into Heaven and IS the Victorious crowned King! How much more will this image bear a powerful witness to our hearts, transform our lowly emotions, and energize our prayer lives! I just wonder…if we see Jesus as more than just a sin-bearer and a Savior on a cross (not diminishing any of these) but as THE mighty and majestic King of Kings and Lord of Lords would we behave as a different sort of Chrisitan? Maybe even the sort of Christian we have heard about in the early church?
In His grace,