Contributing Writer: Amy Sizemore
A prayer of David from Psalm 17:14
“Deliver my soul…from men of the world whose portion is in this life.”

This life versus the next life. That’s my struggle. To live this life for life after death is radical and strange. Unless I believe it’s true. Isn’t that what Christian living is all about?

Jesus died and came back to tell us about it. To tell us that He conquered it and that there is indeed life after death. He even had a new-and-improved body!

Lately, I have found myself struggling with the invisible. We are promised an inheritance that is beyond words in Heaven and in Jesus. I’ve looked into it in myriad ways. The Bible is very descriptive about it and vast books and movies have been written and sold about it. I’m very interested. I’m very curious. I want to know if forsaking this life is worth it. What do you think?

Beauty. Majesty. Grandeur of every kind.

As a gift to me, the Lord did not give me birth into a wealthy family. My flesh craves comforts and luxuries. With those things, I would not seek Him. I would have my fill on superficial indulgences and need nothing from Him. I know it. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” I cannot sing those words from “Come Thou Fount” without immediate tears stinging my eyes. “Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.” That’s the cry of my heart. Do it for me, Lord Jesus. I can do nothing apart from You. I want to be in Your presence where there is joy forever. Purity. Indescribable treasures of every kind.

They Royal Wedding of Prince William and soon-to-be Princess Kate is rapidly approaching. The fanfare is extraordinary. Really lavish. Beyond compare. “The wedding of the century!” they are saying. I have to admit, it is exciting. Such pomp. Every young princess’ sweetest dream. Yet it is this life. It’s earthly. If it is a picture of the wedding feast of the Lamb, does it even compare? I think it does compare. It IS our picture for Jesus’ unity with His bride, the church. Our grandest picture. No holds barred. Every stop pulled out. No expenses spared anywhere. The most royal of royal galas. At best, this royal wedding is an ancient black and white to the wedding of the Lamb. 2 Corinthians 2:14 says that God, in Christ, always leads us in triumphal procession. I really like that picture. As if we, the church, are already enroute to the event. The thing is, it’s a spiritual picture. No one sees but God. Well, and that “great cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us as described in Hebrews 12:1. I know it’s true, why do I doubt?

I care a lot about people. I really do love people. I love their differences, their creativity, their style, their intellect, their ambitions, their passion. I see them like the most exquisite art pieces at only the best galleries and museums. Pieces whose Artist I just happen to know and know well. And isn’t everything more special when you know a little inside secret about it? I know the Artist of all men. How amazing is He? When I look at the intricacies of what He has created, it is impossible to take it all in. And yet, do I really doubt He’s true? Why is that?!

Could it be because, as His church, His bride, we struggle to see ourselves in that triumphal procession? Do we forget who we are to Him? On the way to the wedding, caught up in all the details, would soon-to-be Princess Kate forget who she was marrying?

I think that’s me. I’m on my way to the most exuberant jubilation and I keep getting thrown off course by the mud being splashed on me by those who are content with their current earthly position. By the sneers of the mockers who hate all that is good and cling to all that they have. By those as David says, “whose portion is in this life.”

Dear fellow-Believer, are you with me in the triumphal procession in Christ? Do you know the Artist of mankind? Do you love His creation? Do you live your life as if your portion is here or in Heaven? I want to live as if I am certain that my portion, my greatest treasures are with Jesus in eternity. I want His greatest creation, Humanity, to know it too. Will you help me share the great news and make our triumphal procession more clearly visible, more inviting? Unlike the royal British wedding, our triumphal procession has an open invitation to all. I just need help getting the word out and staying focused on the Splendor of the awaiting Bridegroom. Are you with me?

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

Contributing Writer: Susan Sampson

You have washed me clean. I am yours because you tell me that I am. Get behind me Satan! You cannot condemn me or accuse me. Christ, the Messiah, my Lord, has made me free from accusation! He is my Righteousness! You’re right, I am a sinner, who deserves to die. My sins are disgusting! But Jesus took all my sins from me and bore my punishment for me. My sins have already been condemned in the body of my beloved Jesus. He became a curse for me (Gal. 3:13). He became sin! (2Cor. 5:21) He bore the wrath of God. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..” Rom. 8:1

I am in Christ. “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Col. 3:3 Jesus is my Hiding Place, my Refuge, my Shield. Your fiery darts cannot penetrate my Shield, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One! He alone is perfect. He is my life. We are one. He lives in me and I in Him.

I was once under your power Satan, but no longer! Jesus rescued me! He is my Savior, my Deliverer, my Redeemer! He ransomed me. His blood was the purchase price and He already poured it out at Calvary. And now He lives in me! AND I am seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2). I was dead and used to follow the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Eph. 2), but no longer! “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col. 1:13-14)

I was once far away, but God brought me near through the blood of Christ! (Eph. 2) Jesus is my peace. I used to be excluded from citizenship in Israel, a foreigner, without hope and without God (Eph. 2). But God chose me and I belong to him who called me out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). I am the daughter of the King, God has made me His heir (Gal. 4:7). I am a co-heir with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17).

Jesus is my Hope. Christ in me, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

I was once God’s enemy, alienated from Him, but Jesus has made reconciliation for me through His death on the cross and NOW I am holy in God’s sight, without blemish and free from accusation! (Col. 1:21-22).

Please Father, help me to put the old girl to death and live in the new! Forgive me for not believing your truths, for exchanging the truth of God for a lie (Rom. 1:25). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2Cor. 5:17).

I know your words are true because you demonstrated your love for me in that while I was still a sinner, you allowed them to crucify you on a cross at Calvary (Rom. 5:8). Thank you Jesus! “This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” 1John 3:16

Please help me Lord. Please give me your grace to enable me to lay down my life for you and for my “brothers.” (1John 3:16).

Help me offer my body as a living sacrifice in light of the great mercy you have poured out on me (Rom. 12:1). You did not treat me as my sins deserve (Psalm 103). I deserve to die for the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). But out of your great mercy and love, you have given me life instead of death! “But the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 6:23

“Death has been swallowed up in victory. ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1Cor. 15:54-57

Contributing Writer: Amy Sizemore

Do you love God as much as you would like to love Him? That is the question. That is the question posed on page 13 of Falling In Love Again with Your Lord that stopped me in my tracks for 3 days. How do I…where do I begin to answer that question?

Here were my issues:
1. How do I measure my love for God? A: Through my obedience to Him.
2. Do I measure my love for God? Do I give myself a point each time I obey Him? A: No.
3. How do I measure what I can’t see? I’ve said “I love God, I love Jesus” my entire life…born a preacher’s daughter. Do I really? My eyes cannot see Him. I do believe He’s there. I do believe Jesus has revealed the Father to me as He says in Mt. 11:27 and Luke 10:22 and I do believe I have seen myriad evidences of Him. I think Heaven sounds like a place I cannot wait to get to and I’ve read as much as I can about it. I’ve read as much description of God and where He is as I can find but it’s all very vague since after all, “man cannot see God and live” (Exodus 33:20). The 2nd commandment tells us we cannot make an image of Him. Hebrews 1:3 says, “Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being” I accept that, but One’s a Father and One’s a Son. My human mind is certain there must be some distinguishing differences.
4. Then there’s the part about suffering. God allows suffering. And if we are going to love God and follow Christ, we are going to suffer. That is the deal-breaker for me. I don’t like that part. I have had periods of suffering in my life. One, the first, was very traumatic. Extremely traumatic, and the suffering continues to this day. I don’t like it. What happened? Well, the living body of Christ surrounded my family and I met the living God for the first time. And…permanent scars were left on my family and on my heart. Was there really no other way?

I hear His still small voice gently say to me, “Amy, there was no other way.”

Why would I run to the God of the Universe for healing and help if I was never wounded beyond what was fixable? If I have everything I want and never need something beyond what I am able to obtain, why would I need an ongoing relationship with God? I believe He is there. I believe in Jesus and His powerful sacrifice for my soul. I am redeemed. So what would keep me in a daily relationship with Him? I can tell you that. Not a thing. My eyes feast on every natural and material beauty of this world. My body craves applause. I want more and more and more of everything. All the beauty my eyes can behold. I want to be there. I want to see it. I want to go. I want to collect it. I want, I want, I want.

God has everything. Everything. Greater beauty than any man has ever seen. It’s my inheritance. Do I get that? Do I really believe Him? Do I really take Him at His word?
What God wants is me.
At any cost. He already gave His only Son on my behalf. Would He stop at a little suffering on my part?
Truly, I hope not.
Do I want Him?
Do I want Him at any cost? Yes!
Do I love Him as much as He wants me to love Him? There’s no way.

Do I love Him as much as I would like to love Him? Judging by my relationship with my husband, I love every day we have together. I love his joy, his exuberance, his nearness, that he knows me inside and out and loves me still, and that he is always for me. Do I love my husband as much as I would like to love him? There’s no way. I think he’s wonderful and I fall so far short in showing him and telling him that.

So I guess the question for me is…Do I love God enough to be willing to suffer for Him?
Would I suffer for my husband if good was to come from it? Yes, absolutely.
So should my response be any different for the God of the Universe Who has already suffered for me?
He has loved me with an everlasting love says Jeremiah 31:3. He has so many great things in store. More than I could ever even ask for or imagine says Ephesians 3:20. He desires for there to be no more suffering and there will be a day when it is no more. I know that from Jeremiah and Revelation.

Until then, Father God, in Your ever loving kindness, help me to love You with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to know Your love that surpasses all my human knowledge and understanding. Help me to trust Your ways. All your ways toward me are good and You are loving toward all you have made says Psalm 145. Help me to get that. You are worthy, O Lord. You alone are worthy of ALL of my praise.