Tag Archive | heaven

The View From Here

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. 
John 14:3, ESV

Sunrise in the Chilean desert

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for just 5 minutes without heavy editing on a one-word prompt and see what happens. Today’s prompt is “From.”

If we only look around us, we can get very discouraged. Poverty, death, an ongoing pandemic, people arguing with each other in very uncivilized ways, adverse weather events, wildfires. The list goes on.

But I am choosing to keep my eyes focused on where it is I’m going. I have the promise of eternal life with Jesus in a place where there will be no more sorrow or tears or death. If I think that this world is all that there is, then I am in big trouble. I might as well just bury my head in the sand and forget everything. Cover my ears and say “la la la la la!” It’s a completely discouraging world!

But this is not all there is, praise be to God. It’s like being on the Titanic, knowing that it’s going down, and wanting to rescue as many people as we can. Live in such a way that we shine the light of Jesus into this present darkness. Jesus is the only light.

I’m not generally a sunrise person. It happens way too early in my book. But if you have the chance to watch the light start to break through the darkness of night, it’s invigorating. It’s hope giving. We know that the night does come to an end. Every day. Every single day. Without fail, morning comes. The light always shines through.

Keeping heading toward the light. The view is lovely from here.

Photo by F. Char-ESO

Christ Is My Reward

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for 5 minutes on a one-word prompt, stream-of-consciousness style, without heavy editing. It’s harder than you think! Let’s see what I come up with today on the prompt “reward.” 

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When our dog was younger, we taught him some basic commands: sit, stay, lie down, come, back off, leave it. Stuff like that. Nothing extraordinary. We added roll over, shake, speak, when he had gotten the others down pat. Each time he obeyed, he would get a reward. In dog training, rewards are key.

In my life with Christ, I’ve had to learn that His love is not a reward that I have to earn. If I learn to obey well, I will receive His favor.

I’m so grateful that’s not how salvation works. He loves me no matter what. My reward comes in eternity from those things in which I’ve invested on earth. I’m not exactly sure what those rewards will look like. Will they be jewels in a crown that I then cast at His feet, signifying that all I did was for His glory? Will I have a bigger mansion than some if I do more for the Lord here on earth?

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Hillsong has a popular worship song that says:

Christ is my reward
And all of my devotion
Now there’s nothing in this world
That could ever satisfy

If, when I get to heaven, I have no crown waiting for me, if I have no jewels that sparkle in the sun, but I have Jesus, that will be enough.

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There’s A Place For Us

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. We write for five minutes on a one-word prompt, without heavy editing, and see what we come up with. Today’s prompt is “place.”

In the last month or so, we have been in the process of wondering where our second son is going to live next year for college. We are in the same city as his university, but he has lived on campus his first two years. The university has a housing lottery, however, and this time, his name was not chosen to have on-campus housing in the Fall.

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So, we waited until the second drawing and then when his name still wasn’t picked, we knew we would have to seek another place. He could always come home, but his financial aid covers housing, and the daily drive + parking madness would not be ideal for him. And lo and behold, even University affiliated off-campus housing would be cheaper than the dorm he’s in now.

So on Wednesday he and I set out to tour apartment complexes. Wow, are these places ever nicer than the one I lived in when I was in college.

We settled on one that is affiliated with the university and we signed the lease yesterday. It’s nice to know that he’ll have a place to live near campus in the Fall. Who he will live with is still up in the air.

All this got me thinking about how much comfort we find in having a place to call our own. We know at the end of a long day, or after a vacation, we can come home. Ideally, that place is safe, restful, comfortable, peaceful.

I’m not ignorant enough to believe that everyone’s home is this way. I know there is strife, noise, clutter. And I also know that there are so very many who have no place they can call home at all.

I’m so grateful that, eventually, I will be able to call heaven my home.

No more tears. No more sadness. No more sickness.

Indeed, as the children’s song goes, “Heaven is a wonderful place.”

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A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging—a book review and a giveaway!

Place to Land coverI’m a California girl, but I have lived in Florida for nearly 27 years. My parents are both gone now, and much of my extended family doesn’t live in the state anymore, but I will always consider California “home.”

There’s something about the place of our birth that binds us. It might be just a piece of land, but it holds a piece of our heart. But if that “place” no longer contains the people who meant so much, where do we find “home?”

I worked with an international missions organization for more than 30 years. People came from all over the United States to work at the headquarters. Along the way, many moved overseas to tell people about Jesus. Early on, my husband and I opened our home on holidays to friends who had no family nearby. To this day, we crowd our home with those who fit that category.

In Kate Motaung’s memoir, A Place to Land: A Story of Longing and Belonging (now available for order from Amazon), she wrestles with the question of home as she lives cross-culturally in South Africa and loses her mom to cancer while she’s overseas. (This is not technically a spoiler as it’s revealed in the very beginning of the book.)

Kate writes with candor about her home life, her parents’ divorce and her father’s remarriage. About forgiveness, about sin, about grief. And about home. Must we be all or nothing to the place we live? Does it matter where we live? If God has called us to service in one place, but all that we love is in another, do we lose? Or do we gain more than we can ever even see?Place to Land

In describing her feelings following her parents’ divorce, Kate writes, “One day, . . . Mom whisked Sarah and me off for a weekend away. When we got back, Dad was gone. The next afternoon, when I came home from school, he was still gone. And the day after that. And the day after that. Every morning that followed, for months, when Mom dropped me off in my second grade classroom, I went straight to the coat closet, tucked myself inside, and cried. Terrified that one day I would get home from school, and, like my dad, Mom would be gone too.”

Your heart will be captured when Kate expresses what losing her mom felt like. You will walk in her shoes as she eloquently describes landing on the foreign soil of South Africa. You will smile as she reveals how she felt when first meeting her husband, Kagiso. And you will weep with her as she lets go of her mom.

Turns out, “home” means much more than a location, and “A Place to Land” captures that truth in a story that you will not want to put down until you’re done.

A-Place-to-Land_3I will be giving away a copy of A Place to Land on April 6th. To enter for a chance to win, just leave a comment about what “home” looks like to you and why you would like to read this special book. I will pick a random winner on April 6th. Don’t miss a chance to be challenged and changed by this beautiful book.

Meanwhile, visit Kate Motaung’s author page here. You can also read the first chapter for free here.

 

 

10 Ways To Know Your Cats Love You

Ha ha ha ha! That’s a good one, isn’t it? Not only are there not 10 ways to know your cats love you, I’m not sure there’s even 1. But I’ve owned more cats than any other animal, so here’s what I’ve experienced in my more than 40 years of having kitty companions.

1. No two are the same, even if they look like it on the outside.

Here are Stella and Luna. They were abandoned and we adopted them in May. TheIMG_1421y are sweet little girls who wreck havoc in the most innocent way possible. Luna tends to cuddle with me more, but Stella has taken to coming in my room and jumping onto my bed and purring and pushing on me until I acknowledge her presence, even at 4 in the morning. Yea. That’s kitty love. Stella vocalizes more, and is the slightly smaller of the 2. She was diagnosed with a heart murmur when I first took her to the vet.She hasn’t had any issues since. Luna is a master lizard hunter and will growl at you if you try to take away her catch.They are virtually identical in looks, but different in personIMG_5206ality. Luna likes to be in or under something at all times. I can almost always tell which is which by what they’re doing. Unless they’re sleeping. Then they’re identical.

 

2. Even one who loves and trusts you can inflict pain.

Before Luna P1030013and Stella, we had Oreo. Oh my, what a big lover he was. He would snuggle up with me every night and curl himself into the curve of my body. He was big and he was rough and tumble102_0829. He loved to lie on his back with his belly bared for all to see. That was his favorite position. But don’t rub that belly or he’d dig those fangs into you in a second! He died unexpectedly 2 years ago yesterday. He was the first cat my kids knew from kittenhood. He was 17 weeks when we got him from a friend whose son wasn’t taking care of him as he should.

3. Even when you care for them their whole life, they’re not always going to act the way you want them to.

The first kitty I had when I moved away from home and started my adult life was a 5-week old little black ball of fluff living in the bushes where her mom was a straIMG_5086y. She fit into the palm of my hand.  Ashley lived to the ripe old age of 18. She was kind of crotchety and would growl at my husband if she was on the bed and he moved in a way she IMG_5085didn’t like. That didn’t go over very well with someone who doesn’t like cats in the first place. But she was my baby, totally devoted to me. She’d been  known to scratch people on a regular basis, but as seen100_0002 in the photo, when she was quite old, she let a toddler be her friend. She loved tuna, windmill cookies, and smoked turkey. Sometimes she would crawl all the way under the covers to the bottom of the bed. I always wondered how she could breath.

4. You never forget your first love.

My very first cat was Meshach, a Maine Coon. I only have very bad printed photos of hIMG_5083er, so forgive the quality. I got her when I was 13 and she passed away after I went away to college for my junior and senior years, about 7 years later. She was my baby, so she was devoted to me. She would sleep right on top of me and was with me all the time. It broke my heart when I learned she had died and I wasn’t there for her. It’s funny that though I very distinctly remember my sweet kitty, I don’t remember the fine details of life with her. But I remember the love. I remember that IMG_5084she would frequently get these sores on the bottoms of her hind legs that we could never figure out. We had to keep them bandaged and she walked funny while the bandages were on. Had Instagram and Facebook been around back then, I’m sure I’d have much more of a chronicle of her life.

So those are my feline friends, Meshach, Ashley, Oreo, Stella and Luna. I miss each one and never go very long before getting another after one passes away. It may be hard to say how they show their love, but somehow we just know they do.

I’d love to hear about your fluffy loves.