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Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)
By Barbara Green
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We live in the here and now where there can be suffering in seasons of our lives.
As a young divorcee, I remember waiting 20 years for Mr. Right. After the wedding he transformed into an abusive person I didn’t recognize. Through it all God provided protection, wisdom and sanity.
We live in the here and now where we can experience loss. I remember my dear Dad who survived my Mother by 2 years at the Brethren Village. I watched him transition from independent living to skilled care. It’s difficult to watch someone you love suffer especially when you’re praying for healing. But God’s comfort and the comfort of family ministered to me.
We live in the here and now where we can experience trails and temptations. Trials can be God’s way to conform us into the image of Christ. If we yield to Him, God can modify our character as we go through circumstances we wouldn’t choose. Of course, we have an enemy who knows our vulnerabilities. We need to be alert and stand firm in Christ when he rears his evil, deceptive head. He only roars “like a lion,” but Christ is the “Lion of Judah!” As we depend on Him and his Word we’ll make it through. Spiritual supplements, speaking God’s word in the battle, can make all the difference.
We live in the here and now where we can praise and worship with the saints. As we reach out to the Lord he will meet us and make his presence known. Through communion we can remember Christ and his sacrifice, and be drawn into his presence. Prayer, meditation, his Word, and fellowship help us maintain our relationship with the one, true God who created the here and now.
How we responded in the here and now will be rewarded when we enter Paradise. The trials and temptations we endured will be obliterated in the Glory, splendor, beauty, and eternity of heaven.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:16, 17 NAS)
They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:16, 17 NAS)
Imagine the awesomeness of seeing Christ face to face! Imagine the joy of being united with loved ones! Imagine no more struggles with the enemy! Oh, what a Glorious Day!!!!
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