Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Heaven Hunger"

Greetings to all God's girls! I have an exciting and challenging message to share with you. I hope you are as touched as I was when God revealed this simple phrase to me in a parking lot outside The Mall. Yes, the shopping mall that I was visiting in Vancouver, Washington, this weekend with my daughter. The phrase is: Heaven Hunger.

First, a little background. I am always drawn to what we now refer to as "bling." Yes, bling-bling, anything shiny, glittery, gleaming, colorful, vibrant, breathtaking, both natural and not.

A beautiful landscape and a pair of rhinestone earrings both have the capacity to dazzle me. I also have to admit that I have a soft spot for STUFF. Yes, stuff. Things. Items. Pretties. Bobbles. STUFF. Too much of the time the stuff that I'm drawn to costs money. Not necessarily a lot, but money that I don't really need to be spending.

Okay, you say, that makes sense, Carol, you're a woman. We like to shop. Most of us anyway. Pretty things catch our attention. Nothing strange with that, right? Well, I guess it depends how you look at it. And why you want the stuff to begin with.

First, let me be very open. I won't go into details, but I have not always been wise with my finances. In fact, I'm working to get out of debt. I like to buy things for you, me, and everybody. This is not a good habit when it conflicts with God's goals for your life, not to mention, puts a major dent in your pocketbook. I think there is something deeper than a shopping addition going on, not that overspending can't be a serious enough issue in itself.

But, consider this: God created us with our senses. Sight. Smell. Hearing. Touch. Taste.

Stay with me! I promise this will be more than a summary of our senses.

For starters, this weekend I spent money on the following things/activities/stuff. Money that could have been used to pay bills and help others. But I was on a quest. Here's my list:

1. Purchased deliciously fragrant lotion, bodywash, and spray from the place where I can't comfortably fit into their underwear anymore. Did you figure it out? Victoria's Secret. I didn't care about the lacy undergarments anyway. I was lost in the tantalizing fragrances and succumbed to my desire to have those yummy smells with me at home and on my body. Fed my sense of smell.

2. Me and my daughter (both with weight challenges) shared a huge peppermint marshmallow creamy sundae thingy at Boppin Bobs. The taste and textures were so enticing and enjoyable that I continued to indulge far after my actual body hunger had past. Fed my sense of taste.

3. At another retailer, I was bombarded by glittery, rhinestone, costume jewelry. I'm talking some major bling. I couldn't seem to resist a giant ring full of shiny glittery stones. In fact, even while driving home, I couldn't stop staring at my ring finger. Of course, I cut the tag right off and wore my purchase home so I could enjoy the shimmery sensations. Fed my sense of sight.

4. Went, like half of America, to see Alice in Wonderland 3D (Good movie by the way). Fed my desire for incredible sights and images and sounds.

I'm not going to list everything I did, but are you getting the picture here? There were also plenty of things that I was drawn to and ignored. I did say NO! a lot, but, obviously, not to everything. It seemed as if I was hungry for for certain things. I was ravenous for these beautifully created items, tasty treats, exciting images... are you with me, ladies?

I've spoken a lot about how we all have hungry hearts that hunger and thirst for the One Thing that will sustain them -- Jesus Christ. I also realized as I was driving away from the mall, we have another hunger that is built into us, tied into the One Thing.

Feeling a little guilty about what I did purchase, I was talking to God, and the two words I heard were: Heaven Hunger.

I explained to my daughter what I was thinking. How we are drawn to beauty, both those things in nature and that are created. Things that sparkle, shine, and smell good. Flowers, a baby's cheeks, a flashy handbag, a colorful painting, a lovely throw rug, pristine sandy beaches, white snow-covered mountains, puppies and baby kitty cats. And that's just the eye candy stuff, I didn't even highlight the sound of crashing waves, cry of a seagull, strings in a symphony, or, the wonderful feeling of a rabbit's fur, a puppy's tongue licking your cheek, a hug from a loved one. I could go on and on and on.

Why? Well, I believe that God was reminding me that this isn't my home. Not my permanent one anyway. I have a strong "heaven hunger" that desires the incredible, supernatural, awesomeness of Heaven.

Think about it.

The Bible talks about streets of gold, and beautifully blinding jewels that we've never laid eyes on. A new Heaven and a New Earth. As if sunsets and diamonds aren't already glorious enough.

What will make this heavenly home so beautiful is God Himself. His glory will be beyond our now limited imaginings. Our senses will be flooded with His glory and highly inventive creations. I believe we long for this place of ultimate beauty. For there, we will finally find the fulfilment that we never quite experienced here on this fallen and imperfect planet.

Even as Christians, who taste God's goodness now, we will be absolutely stunned by the avalanche of His greatness featured in everything we see, smell, touch, taste, and hear.

Get this! According to His Word, we will feast on fine foods (without gaining weight) have rooms in our very own mansions, and walk down streets of gold so pure it's like walking on glass! They'll even be gates of pearls. I can't wait to see this jasper stone that John mentions in the Book of Revelation. My point: I'm hungry for heaven. God loves to create and surround Himself with beauty. We, princess warriors, are royalty created in His image. Why wouldn't we want the same?

Now, before you think I'm giving approval for us to race off on a quest to gather all the beautiful STUFF we can, let's think again.

I need to tell you something huge. Something you have more than likely experienced yourselves. After my day of seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling, and hearing of this world, I was left even more hungry for His home. That's right. No matter how shiny the ring, how cute the baby, how lovely the seashore, how tasty the Thanksgiving turkey or hot fudge sundae, NONE OF IT IS LASTING or ETERNAL. It is but a substitute of what awaits us in our future heavenly home.

We're back again to the "real deal" stuff. Reigning real as princess warriors, we must understand that everything here, right now, is but a dim substitute of what is yet to come.

If we expect an old black and white film to have the same degree of technical definition as Avatar in 3D, we will be sorely disappointed. So it is with this temporary place we call home.

Once again, I'm brought back to the fact that nothing or no one will every satisfy me here and now except my Heavenly King. My yearnings for Heaven are real and expected, but I am wasting my time and money if I think I can buy a piece of that heavenly real-estate now.

So, what are we to do? Continue to keep our eyes focused on the Author and Perfector of our Faith -- Jesus Christ. Spend our time collecting the heavenly rewards that we can enjoy forever in Heaven.

Just like when we're far from home, we yearn for it. I suspect that we will continue to long for Heaven until that moment in time when Jesus takes us in His arms and says, "Welcome home, good and faithful servant. Enter your reward."

Please, don't you dare stop enjoying sunsets, sundaes, and sapphires, just remember there is far more to come. This is but a taste of the true treasure. Stay focused on the real prize, princesses. With our eyes on Jesus we are surely headed the right direction.

God bless you all.

For some great reading about our heavenly home, consider:

Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Heaven by Joni Earechson Toda
The best option: The Bible by God

As the Revelation of John describes Heaven:

It shown with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. Revelation 21:11 NIV

This woman, Diane, has taken time on her site to list a ton of scriptures related to Heaven and the afterlife. You may want to visit.

Until next time ...

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