Wednesday, December 27, 2017

TO BE CONTINUED...

2017 is on its way out. Time to see what 2018 has in store for us. How will we face it? What will be our Focus? What changes will we make? When you think about it, each new year is just a continuation of the last. When you see the words "to be continued", you understand there is more, an addition to the story you just read or the episode you just watched on television. Most of the time I am hit with a feeling of disappointment because I want to know what happens next! I might have to buy the next book in a series or make sure nothing interrupts my schedule for the night the continuing story will air. In some way or another, I am going to make the rest of the story come to light for myself. That might work for these particular instances but when it comes to the "continuing story" of our lives... we have no control over the next chapter. Have you ever thought of the faith it takes to believe we will be able to pick up the book or turn on the TV to see the rest of the story? We believe it because we know the authors and producers have already written it. We just need to be available to connect with what has been written. We don't know what the outcome will be but we wait in anticipation to see what happens next and most of the time, IT ISN'T EVEN REAL! It is a fictitious story! That being the case... have you ever wondered why we have such little faith to trust the Author and Finisher of our Faith, Jesus Himself, to have written the "rest of the story" of our lives; the part we cannot as yet see? For a season, I used to read every day to my late husband's mother when she was in our care. The book was one of those stories from the early west with all the hardships families would face. We would both wait in anticipation for the next day so we could see what the characters were experiencing. It brought us closer to one another in a small way as we shared the moments. None of us know the exact details of our future. However, as we look into God's Word, the Bible, we can see an overview of what he has in store for us. We can understand that the end of the story is and always will be, good! I know we understand that the road to the "rest of the story" will be laced with hardships because we dwell in a fallen, sinful world which no one can avoid. The road will be blessed with many joyful occasions as well. They all come and they go.... from the Grandmas and Grandpas going to the babies arriving. It is all part of this story. We will come to a place where it will all stop. A place where our life on earth faces eternity... the words "to be continued" will flash before us. Those who have put their trust in Jesus, the Son of God who took our punishment to the Cross will have no doubt about what comes next. As one of those, I live my life in preparation for my future home. Citizenship has already been established. I have been studying for it  for 45 years. The Apostle Paul told me in the book of Philippians chapter 3 verses 20 and 21: "But our citizenship is in heaven and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Everything that happens to me here is preparing me for the continued story. Because I have received the Gift of Life my Savior Jesus Christ gave me through the shedding of his blood, I have no concern as to the outcome of my future. There are so many who don't have that assurance. They walk in fear of the next chapter; fear of the unseen. I love the words to this old Hymn: "Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine. Oh What a Foretaste of Glory Divine. Heir of Salvation. Purchase of God. Born of His Spirit. Washed in His Blood." If this is your Story, you are praising your Savior all the day long and are confident that when it is time for you to leave this world there will be nothing but amazement and wonder in store for you. "He (God) will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:4 Until then, encourage those who believe, pray for those who don't, be available to share the hope that is within you as we wait together for our stories "to be continued...". Blessings to all who read!