Longing For Forever
Longing For Forever
by Lonnie Lane
I live in North Florida. The smoke from fires elsewhere in Florida caused me to cover my mouth, as it was hard to breathe as I walked my dog. The smoke impeded visibility, even at this distance. I reminded myself as I walked that “He himself gives everyone life and breath…” (Acts 17:25) and told the Lord that I was trusting in Him to protect mine and everyone else’s ability to breathe. I prayed for Him to put out the fires. Sometimes we pray “Peace, be still” to storms and sometimes we pray for storms, at least rains, to come. I got to thinking about the people who were closer to the fires and the smoke than I. I prayed for the firemen and others who had to be near the site of the fires, asking Him to protect their lungs, oxygen levels, and to give them strength and wisdom. I thought of how much I trust in Him to bring me through in difficult situations, to keep me from harm, to enable me to keep on keeping on when I am fatigued and the task seems overwhelming. Task like getting those fires under control. Those are special people doing that work, staying with the task. I suspect many of them and their families have their trust in the Lord as well.
Coming back in the house I sat down at my computer to answer some emails. One contained a quote: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16, my emphasis). The KJV uses “everlasting life” in place of “eternal life.” I’ve read John 3:16 a million times before as I’m sure you have, but this time I saw something I had never seen before. It is in continually believing “in Him” in every situation in our lives, in the good and the not-so-good, in times of trouble and times when His blessings are all over us, that we can experience being “in” eternal life, because He is eternal. Yeshua said that whosoever “believes in Him” has eternal or everlasting life. It is in believing “in Him” as our life style, as much a part of us as our breathing in and breathing out; it is when we believe that we are so one with Him that He is intricately a part of our very being; it is when our lives are lived in tandem with Him in our normal way of living that we can experience or live in the state of eternal life, because God is eternal and we are eternally connected to Him by faith. Whoever is one with Him, has entered into eternal life because as we fully believe “in Him”, we are found “in Him”, and He in us. When we live our lives “in Him” we can begin to experience the security of His “everlasting” presence, influence and security in our lives in the here and now.
When we live our lives “in Him” we can begin to experience the security of His “everlasting” presence, influence and security in our lives in the here and now.
When the doctor gives you a less than optimistic report, or even tells you something minor, are you believing what the doctor says or in the Lord to be your healer? Are you believing in your job or in the Lord to be your provider? Do you worry about money or do you believe “in Him” to provide for you? Where is your faith really? Are you worried and upset about someone you love whose life seems to be going in the wrong direction, away from God? My own father who was saved, for a long time, thought that you didn’t really love someone unless you worried about them. Maybe that’s a Jewish thing; maybe it’s an everybody thing. Finally he came to putting his trust in the Lord. Do you equate worry with love? That’s not love, it’s unbelief! Is your faith in what your loved one is doing or in the promises of God? For those of you who are praying for Israel, are you praying only about events or praying Scripture and what God has declared are His intentions and promises regarding Israel? Is your faith “in Him” or in circumstances or feelings? This issue of faith is such an important question, one which could determine the way our lives go. We would all do well to come before Him with these questions, answer them truthfully, repent for any unbelief and ask His help for where our faith is in need of adjustment.
I know these are not new thoughts. At least I hope they’re not. This shouldn’t be profound, but yet, when I saw those words, “in Him” anew, I suddenly had a faith-filled expectation of God’s blessings, protection and favour that brought me a greater rest in God. I ‘experienced’ this verse: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). I like that is says “now” because “now” I have a greater faith “in Him” having been given that insight. I’ve thought for a while that one of the great end time divides between God’s people and everyone else, is the rest, the peace that defines us as God’s. We rest in our lives being God’s responsibility and believe He is faithful and powerful to care for us and will enable us to remain faithful to Him in love and trust and victory. “For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God” (2 Cor. 1:20, my emphasis).
We rest in our lives being God’s responsibility and believe He is faithful and powerful to care for us.
We pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). Heaven is eternal, right? There is no lack in eternity, no striving for provision because God provides all. I mean ALL! There is no concern for well-being on any level because there is only completion, everlasting satisfaction and joy in eternity. If Adam and Eve were fully reliant upon God before their fall from a perfect union with God so they had need of nothing but to enjoy all He had given them, how much more in eternity. We strive for things here on the earth. We may seek for wealth, recognition or accomplishment, but ultimately it is for peace, fulfilment, a sense of belonging and security that we all long for. We all want to find our way home to a security that is eternal and everlasting, don’t we? There’s something in us that longs for forever. “He has put eternity in (our) hearts” (Eccl. 3:11). Yeshua is, of course, the only way to that eternal and everlasting security. As we believe “in Him” we can begin to live in the ways of everlasting security “in Him” even now in our every day lives. There’s a tinge of glory available to us even in the mundane when we trust “in Him.”
Are there things that happen in the world that are threatening? Are natural disasters occurring at a greater rate around the world, including huge fires to large areas making it hard to breathe even many miles away? Are we possibly going to find ourselves in a turn of history that may not be our idea of the “Once upon a time” stories we were told as children? Possibly. But no matter what comes about, when our faith remains “in Him,” we can live with a peace and confidence in God to help us with whatever each day brings, and to know in the end we will “live happily ever after” in Him! It’s all a matter of faith. And trust. Faith is believing it will come to pass, trust is acting accordingly. Now is the time to shift our trust from things in the natural to trusting in God. How do we do that? One thought, one decision, one concern at a time. May I suggest turning off the CDs ,the TV, your PC or MAC and any other two or three letter things that occupy your time and your mind. Spend some time just chatting with God. I know He loves it when we just hang out with Him. It’s not irreverent to say that. He does love it. He went to a lot of trouble to bring us close to Him. Why would He not want a close relationship with each of us? Yes, including you. Being His is about relationship, and it’s about just enjoying being with Him.
You may have heard the Jonathan Edwards quote, “God is most pleased with you when you are most enjoying Him.” Make a time to be with Him without needing something, or worrying about whether you’re worthy or getting it all right. Tell Him what you would tell your best friend if they were sitting with you, except that He’s God, so you may want to ask Him how He sees things. He’s got a much better perspective than your best friend would have. On the other hand, He wants to be your Best Friend. He is mine. Hope He’s yours too. Don’t forget to listen. Don’t make this harder than it is. He will talk to you in your thoughts, or in your “knower” and you’ll just sense what He’s saying. If you think it’s what He may be saying, respond to it and answer back. You can’t say anything wrong. Life “in Him” is all about learning Kingdom ways, one step at a time. He’ll teach you. He’s our Father. And He’s just delighted to be with you.
I’ve gotten several emails lately from people feeling unworthy, hopelessly wanting to know why the Lord isn’t talking to them. They can’t hear Him because they are engulfed in sin consciousness (Heb. 10:2) rather than righteousness conscious. In other words, when our conscious thoughts are so filled with our own inadequacies, there’s no faith. We come to the Lord through faith, don’t we? What is that faith to be in? Him! Faith “in Him,” not in ourselves. Faith that He has made us righteous in God’s eyes, based on His atonement on our behalf. There’s nothing in us that will get us saved. He did all that needed to be done to make us acceptable to God. It’s only through believing that we get saved. That’s what righteousness is, believing God. When Abraham first believed what God was telling him, his trust that what God was telling him would come to pass made him right in God’s eyes. “For what does the Scripture say? ‘ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS’” (Romans 4:3). It wasn’t about what Abraham would do, but what God would do. Once we’re saved, that doesn’t change. We stay saved by still believing that He did all that needed to be done to continue to make us acceptable. We got saved by faith and we receive His blessings by faith. We even obey by faith because He enables us to keep His commandments.
We even love Him by faith. But we have to receive His love for us before we can love Him in return. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). If you’re having trouble loving Him, you have to put aside your unworthiness and accept His love for you before you can love Him back. He needs to put it in you, but there’s no room if you’re all filled up with yourself and how you’re not good enough yet. Never will be. Might as well stash the trash of your independent life and put your dependence in the goodness of God that is there for you. Will the devil fight you and lie to you to keep you focused on you and your failure? You bet he will. But he won’t win. It’s as simple as a matter of choice, and staying with the choice to trust in the character of God which is love. Including for you. You’re not worse than His goodness! See the lie for what it is, a lie, and accept the truth of God that He loves you and has made a way through Yeshua for you to come directly to Him. Pour out your heart to Him, and then leave it all there at the foot of the cross. That’s why He died, to take all that sinfulness upon Himself. It doesn’t have to be yours any longer. That’s why the Gospel is GOOD NEWS.
We also enter into His presence by faith. The Word tells us to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts (presence) with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name” (Psalm 100:4). You can look at those words as a commandment though David or whoever wrote that Psalm didn’t mean compulsive worship. He meant it as the way to God. We can come in confidence of His welcoming us, and that He loves when we come to Him. The next line to the Psalm tells why we can be assured of that: “For the LORD is good (to us); His lovingkindness is everlasting” (:5). Everlasting! Eternal life doesn’t start when we die, or the Psalmist wouldn’t have told us to come to Him now. We can enter into His eternal and everlasting lovingkindness now, today, right here on earth, even as it is in heaven. As we thank Him for His goodness to us we open ourselves up to see all the good things He’s done for us and all the ways He’s blessing us. The glass is more than ? full, dear ones. Focus on that, not on your own personal emptiness. Shift your focus, if need be, to what you have “in Him.”
We can enter into His eternal and everlasting lovingkindness now, today, right here on earth, even as it is in heaven.
Put your trust “in Him,” and believe “in Him” that His blood paid for your sins. That means your sense of unworthiness, failures, weaknesses, poor self-image, screw-ups and whatever else the devil tells you that make you feel like your sin is bigger than His Grace. It ain’t so, folks. The devil is a liar and he’s the one that tries to make people think that we’re bogged down in the mire of sinfulness just like the world is. No, if you believe “in Him,” then, tell the devil to get lost. Get your eyes off of yourself and repent for being so self-absorbed and faithless. He died so you can be “accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6 KJV).
Let me give you the whole Ephesians passage. Pay attention now. Read it slowly and let is sink in. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph 1:3-7).
OK, some of you read that and you’re saying, “But I don’t “feel” holy and blameless.” Trying to feel holy and blameless is a lost cause. That’s where faith comes in. Start believing “in Him” and what He says is the truth and your feelings will follow. And even if they don’t for a while, it’s still true. Here’s one of my most favorite verses to consider: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:24, 25).
Notice who makes this happen. You might as well start living as if this is true. Forsake your feelings of unworthiness; they are keeping you from the very thing you want Him! Your wrong focus…on yourself…is keeping you from what He died for you to have – peace and delight “in Him.” Exchange your trying to be right for trusting “in Him.” Your trying will never get you what you’re wanting; only faith “in Him” will.
Now how about this? “Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth” (Eph. 1:7-10, The Message). How wonderful is that?!
Here’s a challenge for you. As you pray, turn the Lord’s prayer into personal prayer and pray something like this: “Lord, I want to put aside my doubts and unbelief and I want to exchange whatever unbelief I’ve had for trust in You. I put my trust in You and I let go of the weak faith I had that was connected to who I am. Lord, let Your will be done in my life so that I can trust you here on earth according to Who You are in heaven. I want You to be manifested in my life here on the earth. Teach me to so trust in You and to know you more and more so that my life is a witness to Your present and Your eternal reality. Help me to see things from an everlasting perspective as I rest now in Your finished work. Lord, you know the “longing for forever” that’s in my heart and my desire to be with You always. Help me to understand what it is to put my “treasure in heaven” (Mathew 6:19) while living in a manner pleasing to You here on earth. Lord, I choose to always trust that You’re right here for me and with me. You have said, “I’ll never leave you or forsake you” (Heb 13:5), and “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). If you meant it when You said it, Lord, now that we are closer to the “end of the age” it surely applies to me today. No matter what comes, Lord, my eyes are on you with a grateful heart that You have made a way for me to enter into Your eternal life through Yeshua’s blood as I put my faith “in Him.” Amen.
Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2011.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.