Saturday, December 14, 2013

Homesick for Heaven

I want to start by asking you when the last time you were homesick was? If you are young, maybe a college student who has experienced traveling the world alone, or a fellow student missionary- it might have been a recent experience. If you haven't encountered homesickness recently think of one thing you really miss or anticipate happening. I want you to grasp all the emotions of looking forward to something with all your heart. Waiting, hoping, and dreaming...

Now I want to ask you when was the last time you were homesick for heaven?

Kenny Chesney recorded a song titled "Everybody wants to go to heaven." The lyrics of the song say that everyone wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to go now. Honestly that song really bothers me because as much as I'm ashamed to admit it I find alot of truth in that song in my life and probably many people identify with not dreaming about going to heaven tomorrow but instead making plans for our life in the future and hoping we have time to live on this Earth.

There's a few big problems I can see with that. One of them is that we are too consumed with worldly things. God calls us to be unconcerned about this world. He says this world is not our home but only a temporary dwelling place. 

1 Corinthians 3:2-3 says What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away!

Another problem is that if we are so consumed with the world right now, when will we get ready for Christ's coming? Will we be ready in time? Especially because Christ is coming soon!

"In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus describes a parable that relates to the kingdom of heaven. The parable essentially describes 10 virgins that were going out at night to meet the bridegroom. They all took lamps, but five didn’t bring extra oil, while the other five were prudent enough to bring extra oil. As the night progressed, the lamps of the five who didn’t bring extra oil burnt out and they had to go buy more. However, at that time, the bridegroom showed up and the five prudent virgins went into the wedding feast and the door was shut. The point of the parable is then told in Matthew 25:11-13:

“And later the other virgins also came , saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ “But he answered and said, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

The problem with the five foolish virgins was the fact that they did not prepare themselves. Whether it was carelessness or ignorance, when it was time for them to enter the wedding feast, they were not ready. Christ’s intention with this parable was to describe two attitudes people can have toward heaven. Some can wisely strive to always be right in God’s eyes, and some can foolishly put God on the back burner and live life on their terms for the time being. The major issue with the latter scenario is that we don’t know when our time is up on this earth. Sure there are average life spans, and the availability of great health care, but it’s still a tremendous risk to depend on those “odds” and leave your life in eternal jeopardy. Being honest with yourself, if your life ended today suddenly, would you be as ready as you need to be? How would you change your life if you knew your life was ticking down, and if you knew it was going to be shorter than normal? Are you ready?" 
So often I forget how close Christ's coming really is! This past week at the English school I teach at in Pucallpa, I got a nice reminder that He really is coming soon. The kids had their morning chapel and the pastor was saying that the students' didn't have time to keep living as they wanted. They needed to get their lives together. They needed to give them to Christ today to transform them. Then the pastor called for baptism and 8 kids chose to be baptized into the family of God! Later that day, I helped Miss Carmen our English teacher, pass out our English finals and on the bottom of every test she had wrote "Dear students, I enjoyed the year with you and love you very much. Jesus is coming soon! Please never forget that! Get ready."
And it hit me, am I ready? Are you ready? Because we are in the last days. We are the church of Laodicea: the lukewarm church that is not prepared for the coming of Christ. We have wars, terrible wars, terrible earthquakes, tragedies, and shootings-- and yet now is the time when the message that "Christ is coming soon" is not commonly preached like it was 100 years ago. People are sleeping. People have given up on God. And I'm ready to go home! This world has so many needs. Kids are dying over here in Peru because they are malnourished or have fevers. I'm ready for them to be fed and taken home. I'm tired of going to visit the dying paralyzed guy who lays in pain on His bed. I'm ready for Jesus to take Him home and give Him feet to run again! 
My prayer is that God transform my heart and yours as well and give us a genuine longing and homesickness for heaven- that our eyes might rise above on eternal things- and we can share the good news with others that "Jesus Christ is coming soon!" because I truly believe He is.

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