Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Looking at Difficulties with Forever Eyes

How do you live with a sickness or infirmity that is unexplainable? How do you come to a place of acceptance, understanding, or peace when you or someone you love is caught in the web of a disabled or diseased body or an infirm mind?

It can be a real struggle to see these tough conditions through Forever Eyes, but with much effort, look beyond the here and now. The suffering is nothing compared to an eternity with the Lord.

Transformed Suffering

There are so many examples throughout the history of the church of people who have been dealt a terrible physical blow, and yet that very condition has given them a voice for God that they would never have had otherwise.

The apostle Paul left us the ultimate example of looking at suffering through Forever Eyes when he faced a debilitating disability. He called it a "thorn in my flesh" and referred to it as a "messenger of Satan, to torment me" (2 Cor 12:7).  Three times he pleaded with the Lord to take it away from him.

God responded to his threefold plea:

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.      2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Paul was able to arrive at a place of acceptance because he could look beyond the current suffering to see the eternal purpose. He saw his suffering through Forever Eyes.

Let your life be a testimony to God. He is our Savior, Healer, and Lord. He is all around you. He will never leave you or forsake you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Looking at Success with Forever Eyes

Fighting the Performance Mentality

Are your driven by performance?  From birth on we discover that much of our success and our value is based on our performance.  We quickly learn that our performance determines whether we have or have not; whether we win or lose; whether we succeed or fail. Before babies can talk we're telling them they're good or bad based on their behavior.

Living in a performance-driven world leads us to lots of comparisons. If my performance is better than yours is, I feel I am better than you are. If I am better than lots of other people at something, I really feel good about myself and think I'm something special. If, on the other hand, you outperform me, I'm in trouble, because I base my worth on how I perform, compared to you or to someone else.
So, we judge success by performance and achievement, position and power, riches and possessions. God doesn't. Looking at success with Forever Eyes is a shocking revelation to our performance-driven minds.

Success in Eternity

How will success be judged in eternity?  One of the greatest truths in Scripture is that salvation is by grace alone through faith, not by works. We secure a place in God's eternal heaven through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Our entry into that place of bliss is determined by our relationship to the One who died to redeem us.

We will face a judgment in heaven called the Judgment Seat of Christ, and it is a judgment for believers, not believers and it will be on the other side of eternity.

We will stand individually before Christ for our works to be judged. What we have done that has no eternal significance or benefit will be burned up in fire. Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.  We will finally see our lives from an eternal perspective.

A Model of True Success 

In 2 Chronicles 32:30b, it talks about a man named Hazekiah. He had great success. Let's look at what he did:
  • He cleaned the land of everything that was defiling it.
  • He gave worship and praise a very high priority in his life and in his land.
  • He was totally obedient to God in every area.
  • He encouraged people, and motivated them to do their work with excellence.
  • He sought God in everything he did, not trying to do it on his own strength.
  • He worked very hard and did everything really well.
  • He didn't fold under attack from the enemy, but reaffirmed his faith in God
Forever eyes change our idea of success, and this sets us free from the driving ambitions of this world and the need to achieve some earthly plateau in order to prove our worth. For some of us, it is difficult to let go of those success dreams, but to do so is to find life abundant in the good work that the Lord Jesus has planned for us.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Looking at Desires with Forever Eyes

Esau is a good lesson for us in the importance of looking with Forever Eyes.
He was consumed with the here and now, with having what he wanted when he wanted it. With his twin brother, Jacob, he grew up and became a skillful hunter and a man of the outdoors. Here is the familiar story of his downfall:
Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!"
Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright."
"Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?"
But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau some break and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.
Genesis 25:29-34

Esau sold the eternal for the temporary. He knew the importance of that birthright, but in a moment of hunger, he could see only his temporary need.  Do you sometimes settle for temporary satisfaction at the cost of eternal pleasures?

View Your Needs Through Forever Eyes
Our continual challenge is to see our legitimate needs and desires from God's perspective. When we do, we can endure unmet needs without selling our birthrights. We can look forward to the day when God will supply al of our needs and meet our deepest heart's desires. We can learn to find our desires and needs met in ways we never thought possible, healthy and holy ways.

David was a man after God's own heart, for in spite of his many failings, he understood this truth. He writes:
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.   Psalm 16:11

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Looking at People with Forever Eyes

What if you could change every person in your life so that each one was just the way you wanted him or her to be. Does it not cause your heart to miss a beat to even imagine such a scenario? We all know that we cannot change people, but what if we choose to look at people with Forever Eyes?

Looking at Difficult People with Forever Eyes

It's easy to see the good people in our lives with Forever Eyes...you know...the ones that bring great joy to us.  But, what about the difficult people? The ones who are not easy to get along with or are complaining all the time or goofing off at work or gossiping about everyone. Do you know that you can have an entirely new attitude toward them?  What if you decide to intentionally look at them through Forever Eyes? What would you see? You might see a broken heart and much pain. What if you reached out and took this person to lunch and just let them talk?  You might see them in a whole new light. Remember, God loves that person just as much as he loves you.

Looking Through the Eyes of Love

Paul tell us to operate out of love all the time, because love will never fail.
1 Corinthians 13:8 "Love never fails" and 1 Corinthians 16:14 "Do everything in love".
When we relate to others out of love, our efforts will never fail.  They will never fail to heal, to calm, to transform relationships. Love never fails. Name any other relationship tactic that is guaranteed never to fail.

Remember, God looks at people differently than we do. He sees beyond the outward appearance and looks at the heart. As Samuel was informed, "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at" (v. 7).

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Looking at Myself and My Past with Forever Eyes

If seeing yourself as others see you is challenging, seeing yourself as God sees you is more so. It definitely requires Forever Eyes. You must first know how God sees you and then you must intentionally set your mind on that knowledge.
So, how does God see us?

We Are God's Intentional Creation

For by him, all things were crated: things in  heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. ( Col 1:16)

Since you are earth and you are visible, you can be certain that you, too, were created by Him. Yet consider the last two words in that verse: you were created for Him! Not just by Him, but for Him! To create is to cause something unique to come into being. A creation is something that comes from a person's own thoughts or imagination, like a work of art or an invention. When you create something like that, it belongs to you. The depth of this truth is life changing. The Almighty God created you and me, and we were created for Him—for His purposes, for His reason. That knowledge alone brings significance into our lives. 

Worthy Because We Are Loves 
In his book Reaching for the Invisible God, Philip Yancey quotes from a sermon he heard by Ian Pitt-Watson: "Some things are loved because they are worthy; some things are worthy because they are loved." We are worthy because we are loved by the eternal God. When we can see ourselves through Forever Eyes and not only acknowledge in our heads but rejoice in our hearts that God loves us just because He loves us, it begins to change the way we see ourselves.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Looking at God with Forever Eyes

I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!  (Job 19:25-27)

We all share his yearning to see God. Can you imagine seeing God? One glimpse would take your breath away. It would be more than your earthly eyes could handle. Yet how many time shave you thought that if you could see God a little better, see some evidence of His existence, some proof of His love, some confirmation of His protection, then you could have faith? Then you could face the unknown. Then you could handle life. If only you could see God. 

Look at Jesus 
We often miss seeing the Father because we're not looking at the Son. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that " The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Heb 1:3a) The One at the Father's side is Jesus, and we can see God because we can see Jesus. Someday we'll see Jesus face to face in His glorified body. Someday our faith will turn to sight and we shall behold Him. Yet for the here and now, we see Jesus by looking with Forever Eyes.  

Get to Know Jesus
Jesus said, "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who you have sent" (Jn 17:3). How do we get to know someone? By spending time that person; by sharing our life with that person; by making that person a high priority in our life. The same is true in getting to know Jesus. We must get to know Jesus through the Bible, specifically through the four Gospels. Read about Jesus with Forever Eyes and with a prayer that God will open your eyes to understanding and help you to truly get to know Jesus.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What Are Forever Eyes?

Here are some valuable lessons that God has taught me about polishing my personality so that it would become more Christlike. You don't need to change your personality, you just need the Holy Spirit to smooth off the rough edges. I then thought of a sentence that I had read about that made a huge difference:
What difference will this make in twenty-four hours?

This helped me establish a rule for myself: I am not allowed to expend any energy or emotion on anything that won't matter in twenty-four hours. The secret to this trick is to force myself to have a longer perspective. As soon as I can get my eyes off the here and now and look ahead even a short twenty-four hours, my coping ability increases immensely. And all because I look at it from a long-term rather than a short-term perspective. 

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is see, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Much of the Christian walk doesn't come naturally, I've discovered. Living by biblical principles has to be a God thing, something that He does in me. It's more than just being disciplined or hardworking or persistent. It has to begin with a motivation and a will on your part that is God-inspired and God-empowered. 

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Luke 9:24)