Going Up – Philippians 3:12-20

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV).

In the book of Philippians the Apostle Paul highlighted the need for advancement or progress in one’s Christian life by inciting the Philippians to “work out their own salvation” (vs. 2:12) and then by rallying them to follow his example and “press on toward the goal” (vs 3:14).

It’s as if living their Christian lives was like participating in a footrace. And, the finish line for this race was not ahead but up!

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Living Forward – Hebrews 11:24-26

FutureExit“By faith Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter when he was grown up. He chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of having the temporary pleasures of sin. He thought that the abuses he suffered for Christ were more valuable than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking forward to the reward” (Hebrews 11:24-26, CEB).

A few years ago I wrote a book entitled, The Kingdom Order: Living for the Future in the Present.  It took me 12 chapters and about 250 pages in the book to make the same point about the Christian life that the Hebrews writer makes in these 3 verses describing the godly legacy of Moses.

Like Moses, Christians live life by looking forward to their reward–living forward!

Human beings were created for eternal life! God created people for eternity and eternity is ever present in the life we now live.

So, when you follow Jesus, you start to live life life forward…

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Desperately Seeking Humans: Part 3, A Cosmic Love Affair – Revelation 21-22

desperatelyseekinghumans“I heard a loud voice from the throne say, ‘Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away’” (Revelation 21:3-4, CEB).

Because God is love, He is seeking humans to receive His love. But, God’s love is eternal so His love affair with the human race is of cosmic proportions.

You see, God is preparing a place for Him to live together with us, forever!

While God dwells with us (in us) by His Spirit in this world, in the world to come this cosmic love affair will no longer be constrained by distance. God plans to dwell among us!

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The City of God – Psalm 48:1-2

kingdom_of_God2“How great is the Lord, how deserving of praise, in the city of our God, which sits on his holy mountain! It is high and magnificent; the whole earth rejoices to see it! Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King!” (Psalm 48:1-2, NLT).

Zion is the Hebrew name for the mountain in Jerusalem where the Temple was located. On the one hand Zion was synonymous with the actual city of Jerusalem that was destroyed in 586 BC and again in AD 70. On the other hand Zion was the City of God that transcended geographical location. Zion was the City in which God dwelled!

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Heavenly Graduation – Revelation 2:17

GraduationCapAndDiploma“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it” (Revelation 2:17, NLT).

The book of Revelation opens with a series of personal messages to the seven churches of Asia. Asia was a Roman province in the geographical area that is now western Turkey. The cities where the seven churches were located were joined by a road system that formed a geographical triangle.

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A Present and Future Kingdom – Psalm 145:11-13

kingdom_of_God“They will speak of the glory of Your kingdom and will declare Your might, informing all people of Your mighty acts and of the glorious splendor of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; Your rule is for all generations” (Psalm 145:11-13, HCSB).

The creative and redemptive activity of God in His universe is so inexplicable that we have to rely on figures of speech to communicate it. One of the figures of speech used to describe the reality of God’s rule and reign over the universe is to describe it as a “kingdom.”

A kingdom is a form of government. In the kingdom metaphor God is portrayed as a merciful monarch who loves the subjects of His Kingdom and solicits them to come under His loving care and righteous government. In God’s Kingdom He is both a Sovereign King and a Benevolent King.

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Two Camps – Genesis 32:1-2

“Jacob went on his way, and God’s angels met him. When he saw them, Jacob said, ‘This is God’s camp.’ So he called that place Mahanaim” (Genesis 32:1-2, HCSB).

After spending twenty years in Aramea, God commanded Jacob to return to his homeland. As Jacob entered the country God promised to Abraham and his father, Isaac, he was met by the angels of God.

Jacob called the place where he met the angels, Mahanaim, which means in Hebrew, two camps.

Jacob may have designated the place as Two Camps because he was acknowledging the convergence of two realities at that place—the unseen world of God as represented by the angels and his own physical and material world consisting of his family, servants, and livestock.

Jacob consecrated and memorialized the place as Two Camps because he recognized God’s providence in his return to the Promised Land.

And the appearance of the angels authenticated that Two Camps was the place where the Divine Will crossed the path of human history.

Two Camps was a point in time where God’s plans for the future intersected with the everyday affairs of Jacob’s life.

Once Jacob encountered God, it was like he now lived in in parallel universes.

A new perspective had been superimposed on the old!

Like Jacob, when you encounter the unseen world of God’s reality, which is personified by Jesus, your perspective becomes drastically transformed.

Suddenly, your expectations for the future begin to impact how you live in the present!

When you encounter Jesus, you begin to live at at the crossroads of time and eternity:
 …the place where the Divine Will crosses the path of human history!
 …the point in time where eternal life begins!

When you encounter Jesus, eternal life becomes activated in your life. You begin to live in this present reality because of the way things will be in the future.

Now you live in two camps! Now you live for the future in the present!

“You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God (the heavenly Jerusalem), to myriads of angels in festive gathering, to the assembly of the firstborn whose names have been written in heaven, to God who is the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus (mediator of a new covenant)” (Hebrews 12:22-24, HCSB).