A Very Quick Flight

I’ve had the joy and excitement of traveling on so many airplanes that I truly can no longer give an accurate count of the number of flights taken.  Each one has its own story.  There have been times when flights were delayed, twice when an air pocket was hit and the plane dropped several hundred feet in a matter of seconds.  That put our stomachs in our throats.  There have been bumpy landings and smooth ones.  I’ve had friendly seat parters and others that were grumpy.  I’ve had no-stop talking seat partners and those that pretended they didn’t hear me, or anyone else, when they spoke.  Food has never been the best on any flight but some much better than others.  On some flights the weather was clear and I could see for miles across the landscape when coming in to land.  At other times it has been cloudy with very low visibility.  Flights vary but every flight that takes off without incident and lands safely is a great flight.

I took another flight this week.  As the plane taxied down the runway and lifted its nose off the ground, I could feel the force of gravity push my body into the seat.  Then the plane leveled and all felt normal and smooth again.  Yet another airplane ride reminded me of one flight I have yet to take.  I’m looking forward to it.  In fact, the older I get, observing world events, I realise with keen and glad awareness that there is a flight I may take which will literally be out of this world.  Christians refer to it as “The Rapture.”

The Bible promises that one day Jesus will come again; it will be His second coming.  At that time He will set up a new kingdom that will last for a 1000 years.  Then comes the time of Judgement, but that’s not what I’m referring to at this time.  I’m thinking of the greatest flight to be taken ever, and it could happen at any moment!  The Rapture!  Read I Corinthians 15:52-53: “It will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown.  For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever.  And we who are living will also be transformed.  For our dying bodies must  be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.”  Now read I Thessalonians 4:16-18: “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God.  First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  Then we will be with the Lord forevermore.  So encourage each other with these words.”

Can you imagine that flight?  The sad thing is that not everyone will be on board.  I hope everyone reading this has their flight reserved.  It’s easy to get a ticket.  It’s John 3:16.

 

Out Of This World

I read a snippet of an article this week which caught my attention.  Desiring to share it on my blog I searched for the name of the author who wrote the piece but it was no where to be found.  So, with that information, that the following analogy is not from me, I share the following:  “Imagine planning the trip of a lifetime.  You board the flight to proceed to your destination.  You are filled with excitement until you hear the following announcement. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, we hope you are enjoying your flight.  We have no destination; therefore, we will fly until we run out of fuel and plunge into the ocean.'” The writer of this article went on to imagine how one would feel being caught in such a situation, comparing it to how we all live life.  We all need to know our life’s destination; not just for our numbered days on earth, but most importantly for eternity.  That was the point that the writer of the above was emphasizing.

It really made me think about those I care about who still have made no decision to invite Jesus Christ into their lives.  It’s like attempting to pilot a plane when you’ve had no flight training whatsoever.  You will surely crash land.  It will be catastrophic.  Such a destiny awaits those who have no spiritual flight plan on earth.  Surely there is more to life than the here and now.  Surely there is something that will take us into eternity.

Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:19, “If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.”  While it’s so true that knowing Jesus in a personal relationship affords us daily access to His guidance, peace and joy no matter what comes to us, it’s also wonderfully true that there is a life beyond that is literally out of this world!

John wrote in Revelation 21:1 & 5, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared.  And the One sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!”  John goes on to tell us that when we get to heaven there will be no more tears and no more death.  Isn’t that amazing?

Life on earth today, with our family and friends, can be so good but it’s only temporary.  If all we can count on is some hopeful days while we are alive now, then what is there to look forward to?  Nothing at all.  But if we are living today with the very Spirit of God residing in us, which comes to anyone who believes that Jesus died for them, will forgive them of everything, and make them a new person, then we have that glorious hope that when we breathe our last breath on earth, we inhale our first breath in heaven which will know no end.  It is eternal.

If I am the pilot of my life, there is no good end in sight; but if Jesus is both the navigator and the pilot, I have nothing to fear and everything wonderful to anticipate.

“For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son to die for us, so that all who believe in Him, should not die without hope, but should live with Him for eternity.”  John 3:16

When Bad Things Happen

The young girl lay in her bed and tried to think but thoughts were all jumbled.  Nothing seemed to settle into anything clear.  How would she tell her parents?  They were both so full of love for her; so devoted to God.  What would she say?  Perhaps it really was all a dream; or should she say, a nightmare?  No, it wasn’t a dream. A vision maybe?  Her body felt a trembling.  She turned to her side and lay her hands on her abdomen.  No, it was neither a dream or a nightmare or a vision.  It was real.  She was pregnant; yet she had never been with a man.  How would she tell her parents such a thing; and equally disturbing, how would she tell her fiancé?

Haven’t you and I been in similar situations?  Oh, I don’t mean surprisingly pregnant; I mean, loving and serving God, when suddenly with no warning, the world goes all topsy-turvy.  Everything is going wrong.  You find no words to explain.  Perhaps you can’t explain because you don’t understand yourself why bad things are happening in your once-upon-a-time peaceful world.  Why is God allowing all this, you wonder to yourself, or perhaps your complaints are out loud for all to hear.

Joseph couldn’t sleep.  He never would have dreamed any such thing of Mary.  She came from a devout family, true to God.  Her parents carefully raised their children in His ways.  How heartbroken they would have been to have Mary publicly shamed.  He couldn’t do that to them.  He couldn’t even have done it to Mary.  He had made his decision to break the engagement quietly, hoping that with time idle gossip would subside.  It was in the middle of these thoughts that it happened.  Was it a dream?  A vision?  No, it was a messenger from Almighty God.  What an amazing message indeed. Mary was pregnant by the divine hand of God.

Joseph and Mary were required by law to go to Bethlehem to pay their taxes.  Mary was due anytime now but she pleaded for Joseph to take her with him.  He understood.  Cruel words had been hurled at them both.  “Never mind the words,” Joseph had comforted her,” God’s ways are not our ways but always they are the best ways.”  Mary continually thanked God in her heart for giving her such a man of faith and understanding.  The days had been so difficult, but he was right.  God’s ways are always for our own good, even when the way forward is so unclear and the path difficult to walk.

It happened the very night they arrived in Bethlehem.  So many people were in the town to pay their taxes.  Every inn was booked.  Jospeh could find no room for he and Mary.  Finally, seeing Mary’s very pregnant condition, a kind innkeeper said if they didn’t mind, they could find a place where he kept his animals.  Joseph was grateful.  He piled hay into a sort of bed.  Mary lay there and gave birth to the most wonderful gift God would ever give mankind.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but would have life eternal.”  John 3:16

This is why we have Christmas; the day to celebrate when Jesus Christ was born.  God had Him born in human form.  He had one mission only.  To pay for the sins of mankind by His own death.  It had to be Him to pay the penalty because only He is holy and only holiness could be presented for lasting payment.  It is for anyone for the asking.  There is nothing God will not forgive.  We only need come to Him with a sincere heart.  Seek that forgiveness and you will find it — in Jesus.  There is no other way.  What a wonderful, amazing, peaceful life it is to have Jesus in it.

Merry Christmas and may this New Year be filled with God’s blessings.