Worship Pastor / Composer Travis L. Boyd and his wife, Cynthia, provide inspiration and resources for the worship community and all believers through sharing the blessings of worship, faith, family, ministry, music, love, & life. We also share information about Worship Sounds Music, which can be found on our Worship Sounds website at worshipsounds.com ~ Downloadable Choral Anthems * Solos * Orchestrations * Worship Songs * Accompaniment Trax

Posts tagged ‘Heaven’

To Infinity!………………… and far, Far, FAR beyond!

One of the things that I love about music is that it is always moving.  It is not a stationary art form.  One note ceases and the next begins.  One phrase is followed by another.  Underlying chords are changing.  The melody pushes forward, embracing the mood of the piece and the message of the lyrics.  A moment of dissonance gives way to a glorious major chord.  There is dynamic contrast to provide the shading and shadow, as if an artist’s brush were painting a visual representation of the tune.  Meter changes or modulations to a new key intrigue us with a surprise twist on the theme.  The intensity of melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, and interpretation move ahead to a glorious big ending or a more quiet and contemplative finish.  When the movement of notes and patterns comes to a close, the music stops.  A final note can only be sustained for so long, and yet the expression of love or joy or hope or longing that was contained in the music seems to linger, as though it is suspended in the air that surrounds us.  The experience of making the music or of sharing in it through listening has awakened something within us, and we often remember a certain song or concert or performance.

Talented artists and sculptors can also create a sense of movement visually.  In looking at a finished painting, we glimpse the clouds that are sailing across the sky, a breeze rustling the leaves of trees and foliage, an almost solemn expression betraying the smile that is a just a moment away, barely perceptible ripples in the surface of a tranquil pond, or a mother’s gentle, rocking motion as she soothes her child.  The work of a sculptor is often a three dimensional study of a moment in time.  A horse’s flank reveals muscle in motion, and marble clothing drapes the sculpted human form in fluid movement.

It goes without saying that there is movement in dance.  Whether the dance is the refined and intricately choreographed poetry in motion that reveals the work of a true ballet master or a jubilant, impromptu celebration of good news, it is also the expression of our deepest longings.  We desire to witness the power of human emotion and the experience of living as it is visually portrayed through movement.   The beauty of love, the excitement of a dream come true, or the tragedy of loss are particularly touching when portrayed through the movements that we call dance.

If the arts reveal the soul of mankind, then it becomes obvious that movement is very important to us.  What is so appealing about movement?

“I’m goin’ somewhere, and I’m takin’ Teddy with me!”

Movement is life.  Movement is a constant for us.  Even when we are lying completely still, our hearts are at work, beating in life-sustaining motion.  Movement is healing for us.  By working and exercising, doing things, and having fun, we strive to make our own lives better and to enrich the lives of those we love in some way.  As human beings, we are always yearning for something more, for something better than what we know.  Our longing to make things more convenient, more efficient, more comfortable, or more beautiful allows us to use our God-given intelligence and creativity to solve problems.  Inventions and innovation result from our desire to somehow continue moving forward in our lives.  Most of us are life-long learners, always seeking to know more and to use that knowledge in some positive way.  Even though we acknowledge the truth with the phrase, “Nothing’s perfect”, we still long for more and keep striving.  Our lives are a journey of discovery.  As soon as we recognize a need for change or improvement, we begin to seek a solution and discover ways to make things better.  Other than the obvious reasons for personal, relational, and environmental improvement, I believe that there is something else at work deep within each of us.

God’s word has something to say about our longing for something more than what we experience in our day to day lives.  Here, from the New Living Translation, is Ecclesiastes 3:11.

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

Somehow, our hearts know that we were made for more than a brief span of time in a beautiful and majestic and yet imperfect world.  As we look at the symmetry and amazing creativity of God’s creation, we know that perfect beauty and harmony can exist.  The astounding complexity of the tiniest creature and the fragile and ferocious balance of nature testify to the supernatural  intelligence of our infinitely caring Creator.  He has placed a longing for more within our hearts.  It is a longing that can only be filled within the context of relationship with Him and ultimately in reaching our eternal dwelling place with Him in Heaven.

“Your life is safe in the care of the Lord your God, secure in his treasure pouch.” 1 Samuel 25:29 (New Living Translation).

All of our movements, our work, our striving, our creative expression, and our efforts toward life management and self-improvement can never be enough to erase the longing for more.  God has set eternity within our hearts.   The universal longings of the human heart and soul can all be fully met only in Him.

The longing to love and be loved, fully and perfectly.
The longing to live in an environmnet of perfect serenity and peace.
The longing to live forever.
The longing to live in a place where there is no heartache and no pain.
The longing to have a dwelling place that is uniquely designed to meet all of our needs perfectly.
The longing to know and understand things that seem difficult and beyond understanding.
The longing to find delight and joy in living that goes beyond our wildest dreams.

We cannot find true and perfect fulfillment of all of these longings in this earthly life, but for those who have trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, who love God, and who have surrendered their own desires and longings for something better, there is a promise of the life to come.  It is a promise that we cannot fully grasp because we don’t know all of the facts.  It is impossible for us to completely understand the fulfillment of God’s promise, because we have no basis for comparison.  His answer to the longings of our hearts and souls goes beyond anything we have ever experienced.  Our eyes have never seen anything like it.  Our ears have never heard anything like it.  Our minds have never thought of anything so wondrous, even in our most extravagant dreams.

I Corinthians 2:9   “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”

I can’t wait to see, to hear, to experience, and to know!   As I am now, I am unfit for Heaven.  My mind is too easily distracted from things of eternal importance to the mundane tasks of every day and even the earthly interests that draw me away.  I would not be able to fully enjoy Heaven without a change.  Although the process of change began many years ago when I said “Yes!” to Jesus, there is much change that still needs to take place in my life and heart.  I cannot live in a Holy place as I am now.  My presence would render it unholy.  However, I will not stay in my current state.  God’s promises assure me that He will continue to refine my soul and my life while I am here on earth, moving me forward in my journey toward Christlikeness.  In Phillipians 2:13, I find His promise for the here and now.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

This is God at work.  I am not alone in this journey.  God himself continues His creative work as He creates a clean heart and a right spirit within me.  I cannot achieve holiness on my own, but when I have Christ within me, I have the hope of glory.

God also promises to finish His work within me.  His work did not cease when the Earth was formed and filled with life.  He is still at work, and He never leaves a job unfinished.  When he begins a work, He will complete it!  Phillippians 1:6 shares the confidence we have in His promise:

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

And on that day, what will Heaven be like?  What will eternity with God be like?  Although we can learn what the Bible reveals about heaven, there is much that we will not know until we arrive.  We do know that we have never seen anything like what we will see.  We have never heard anything like what we will hear.  And, we could never imagine anything so incredible if we dreamed and thought about Heaven every day for the rest of our lives.  It will be that different, that wonderful, and that extraordinary.   There are no words in our language that could adequately describe what we will experience, because it will be so far, far beyond anything we’ve ever known.  Yes, we will have eternity.  We will have forever.  We will have an infinite amount of time, a never-ending life.   But, we will have so much more than just time!  The idea of living on is certainly appealing to us, but the time itself is only a part of the gift of God’s mercy that will alllow us to experience what He has prepared for us.

Think of someone who loves you.  Do you remember a time when someone did something just for you?  Perhaps you think of someone who planned a special surprise for you, or hosted a party for you and tried to include all of your favorite things, someone who prepared a special meal for you, spent time with you when you needed companionship most, or planned an outing with obvious care that revealed a concern for you in every detail.  Perhaps someone invested their time and made a special gift just for you or helped to plan and prepare for your wedding shower or baby shower.  Perhaps a buddy invited you to play golf at your favorite course, followed by barbecue at the place your wife doesn’t care for but that you love.  Maybe a friend at work went out of the way to help you with a project or to keep things going when you were home sick.  Someone has done something nice for you, keeping in mind what you need most or enjoy most or love most.  Now, remember the last portion of I Corinthians 2:9:  “…neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.”   Think about that for a moment.  This is what Jesus said about God’s desire to bless us and to “give good gifts” in Matthew 7:11:

“If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

In this passage, Jesus was talking about prayer.  His point was that we should not be afraid to ask God for anything, knowing that He is good and that He wants to demonstrate His love and caring to His children.   Even though I have not written about prayer in this post; and even though we have been considering the unknown of what God has prepared in Heaven for those who love him rather than His desire to bless us while on earth, the Bible tells us that our God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever!  If His desire was and is and always will be to bless us and demonstrate His love for us in this earthly life and in the life to come, we cannot begin to fathom what that means for eternity.  He is preparing a place for us.  With thought, and care, and love, and every resource at His disposal, the God of Creation and of all Eternity, the Savior of Mankind, is preparing a place for us.  Sometimes in this earthly life, we get carried away with our expectations for an event or a surprise, and then the actual event or gift is a bit of a let-down in comparison to our over-active imagination.   In Heaven, it would be impossible to be disappointed with what God will have prepared for us.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.  He has been creating and preparing and longing for the day when we will finally know Him even as we are known.  We cannot begin to imagine the wonder, the beauty, the joy, the love, the peace, the comfort, the surprise, the caring, and the paradise that awaits us.

Welcome….

Infinity (or, eternity) is good.  Inifinity is beyond good.  It is impossible for us to even imagine infinite time.  Then, when we add God’s love and care and preparation for us beyond all imagining… it is mind boggling to even consider.  What will it be like to experience something that is infinitely better than the best we have ever known?  What will it be like to take the best gifts we know…life and love…and see them manifested in the Divine and Holy?  When we are told that God’s best for us is more than we can imagine, we must remember that with God, everything is infinitely more and infinitely beyond.  Only in Heaven will we finally begin to understand infinitely lavish Love in the person of God Himself.   Here is His confession of Love:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”   Jeremiah 31:3

God is Love

It is as though a bridegroom has secretly built an extravagant and wonderful home for his bride.  After their wedding, she sees it for the first time.  It is wonderful beyond her wildest dreams.  In every detail, she sees the love that the bridegroom has poured into this lavish and unexpected gift.  The thoughtfulness and caring, the knowledge of what she would love, and the obvious truth that no effort or expense has been spared overwhelm the bride with the goodness of the heart of her beloved.

Dear ones, you who love the Lord, we are the beloved ones !  Infinitely more than we have loved, we have been loved.  We are God’s beloved.  We are the bride of Christ.  He has given everything for us!  He has invested himself in the gift of His creation, sustaining it in ways that we cannot begin to fathom.  He has provided us with a Savior, personally coming to earth in the form of a human child who was also fully divine.  He has given Himself in caring for us, loving us, comforting us, drawing us to Himself, and helping us to mature in Christ, answering the prayers we prayed in his infinite wisdom and even the prayers that we didn’t know how to pray.  And finally, He has given Himself to us fully in His preparation for eternity and in His Presence with us for all of eternity.   Your “mansion” will be your smallest gift, not your largest.  That’s just one that we happen to know about.  What about the surprises that are beyond our imagination?  I can’t even write about what He has prepared, because it is infinitely more than my mind can understand and infinitely beyond what my words could ever convey.   This is the one thing that I do know:  His Presence and our full knowledge of the depth of His love will be our most treasured gifts for all of eternity.

So, meanwhile, here we are in our human bodies with our love of life and movement and fun and joy and song and people.  We are using our earthly eyes to try to see as we read or write these words. We are using our finite minds to understand as we try to grasp the meaning of all of this.  We are living, loving, crying, giving, hurting, sharing, wondering, knowing, and striving.  At various times we are joyful, sad, elated, depressed, celebrating, devastated, confused, happy, bitter, or hopeful.  We are experiencing this world with all of it’s ups and downs.  And yet, somehow, we know there is more.  We try various ways to move toward what we think may be better.  Those of us who know the Lord have the answer; but we don’t always walk in it, and we don’t share it with others as we should.  What if we knew all that God is preparing for those who love Him even while we were still living the earthly life?  Then, would we be more eager to share the best news that mankind has ever been given?  I ask myself this question:  Why isn’t His promise enough?   Why do I have to know what is inside all of the gifts of eternity if I know the Giver?  If I know that He is infinitely more and that His love is infinitely beyond, why would I even hesitate to share such incredible news?  Why would anyone?

My little boy, Logan, loves Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movies.  The favorite Buzz phrase for every fan is “To infinity…and beyond!”  The first time that we heard it, many of us adults may have had an inward chuckle, thinking of the redundancy of this phrase.  How would Buzz know that he’s saying the same thing twice?  He’s just a toy.  We smile, and we enjoy our young ones as they imagine something beyond what their little minds have experienced thus far and sum up all of that unknown stuff that is out there somewhere using their hero’s ‘buzz word’ (pun intended).  “To infinity and beyond!”  shout the little voices, ready to go wherever that is and do whatever there is to do there.  We smile and think about the fact that he or she doesn’t even know what the word infinity means.  Our minds expand on that fact.  How could you keep going on forever and then go on beyond forever to a place that is beyond the beyond?  We chuckle again.  Animated movies…plastic toys…big imaginations!  They’ll learn soon enough what is real, we think.

Today, I’m ready to challenge those notions.  There is a Love without limits.  There is a Life without end.  There is a reality that goes beyond what we know to be “real”.  Who could love beyond infinity?  Who transcends space and time?  Who is and was and always will be?  Almighty God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  He who gives Himself infinitely and always has more to give.  He who knows me intimately and loves me anyway.  He who will give us an infinity of time and life….and so much more!   He who gives infinity and far, far beyond…

Romans 8:35  “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36.  Just as it is written,  “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;  WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”

37.  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.  38.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  39.  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” *

God loves you, my friend!  To infinity, and far, far beyond….

*(from the New American Standard Bible)

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This post was written by C. A. Boyd

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You may have experienced the loss of a loved one.  We hope that these thoughts and scriptures about Heaven will be helpful to you.  Here are some additional scriptures of comfort.

Years ago, Travis and I went to a Christian concert, and one of the artists was talking about a friend who had what the Doctors called “terminal cancer.”  This man had a joyful attitude because he believed that the two possible scenarios for his future were to either (a) be miraculously healed or (b) be with the Lord.  He held onto the Lord and held on to hope!

Every person has a unique time to be born and a time to die.  For those left behind on earth, there is deep sorrow and mourning.  Grief is a process that all must someday endure.  It means that we have loved deeply.  But, remember the words of the previous post.  Even beyond the depth of our love, God’s love is deeper still… infinitely deeper.  He loves you, and He loves your loved ones.  Below, you will find some scriptures to bring comfort even in the pain of loss.

TRUST  GOD TO HAVE THE BEST INTERESTS OF YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES WRITTEN ON HIS HEART!

Here are some scripture verses that offer comfort and hope.

  • The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who  are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
  • Jesus said, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you  again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” – John 16:22
  • I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them  comfort and joy instead of sorrow. – Jeremiah 31:13
  • …weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the  morning. – Psalm 30:5
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3
  • “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you,”  says the Lord. – Isaiah 66:13
  • I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will  bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done  what I have promised you.” – Genesis 28:15
  • I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar  paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before  them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:16
  • But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it  in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the  fatherless. – Psalm 10:14
  • And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in  Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore  you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10
  • The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a  sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a  well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. – Isaiah 58:11
  • For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who  have no one to help. – Psalm 72:12
  • This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if  we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14
  • The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.  The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he  saved me. – Psalm 116:5-6
  • For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on  his afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13
  • Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we  may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
  • In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your  sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy   when I called to you for help. – Psalm 31:22
  • In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help.  From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his  ears. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out  of deep waters. – Psalm 18:6, 16
  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father  of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our  troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort  we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of  Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort  overflows. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  • The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my  rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my  salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2
  • For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted  one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry  for help. – Psalm 22:24
  • Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak  with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief…But I trust in you, O LORD;  I say, “You are my God.” – Psalm 31:9, 14
  • A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD  delivers him from them all; – Psalm 34:19
  • In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered  them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were  not disappointed. – Psalm 22:4-5
  • For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6:8
  • You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage  them, and you listen to their cry, – Psalm 10:17
  • For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver…we went  through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. – Psalm 66:10, 12
  • The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has  made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him  in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their  cry and saves them. – Psalm 145:17-19
  • Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my  unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be  removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10
  • My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from  him. – Psalm 62:1
  • He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in  the shadow of the Almighty. – Psalm 91:1
  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as  the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be  afraid. – John 14:27
  • Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – I Peter 5:7
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in  him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
  • He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms  and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have  young. – Isaiah 40:11
  • You understand, O LORD; remember me and care for me. – Jeremiah 15:15

  • Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out  weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying  sheaves with him. – Psalm 126:5-6
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In  this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the  world. – John 16:33
  • Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will  never let the righteous fall. – Psalm 55:22
  • Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace  with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained  access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice  in the hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5:1-2
  • My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves  my life. – Psalm 119:50
  • Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry  for help, and he will say: Here am I.  – Isaiah 58:9
  • He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me  because he delighted in me. – Psalm 18:19
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and  petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the  peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your  hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
  • Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of  your wings. – Psalm 17:8

We do not want you to be uninformed about those who fall asleep, or to  grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus  died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus  those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word,  we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming  of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command,  with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and  the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive  and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet      the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore  encourage each other with these words. – I Thessalonians 4:13-18

  •  Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among  the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10
  •  The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take  great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice  over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17
  •  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a  willing spirit, to sustain me. – Psalm 51:12
  • Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me  with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. – Psalm 73:23-24
  • Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the  LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:21-23
  • For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor  demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither  height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to  separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
  • Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes  refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the  disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills  {his purpose} for me. – Psalm 57:1-2
  • I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my  fortress, my God, in whom I trust. – Psalm 91:2
  • I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with  power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell  in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and  established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to  grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to  know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the  measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:16-19
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4
  • But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your  love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16
  • He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will  find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. – Psalm 91:4
  • The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for  those who trust in him. – Nahum 1:7
  • I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in  the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and  wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:13-14
  • The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to  it and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10
  • The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie  down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my  soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even  though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no  evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm  23:1-4
  • I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my  fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered  with shame. – Psalm 34:4-5
  • May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to  your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your  law is my delight. – Psalm 119:76-77
  • I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven  from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And  I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God  is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and  God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear  from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or  pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation 21:2-4
  • O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for  you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no  water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your  glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. – Psalm 63:1-3
  • And my God will meet all your needs according to his  glorious riches in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:19
  • Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great  mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me  quickly, for I am in trouble. – Psalm 69:16-17
  • …because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake  you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be  afraid. What can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5-6
  • But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the  Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Scripture verses copied and edited from http;//www.joeagoglia.com/resources/scriptures.asp

© Copyright 2003-2012 Justin Agoglia. All Rights Reserved.

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For those who love and mourn through valleys of deepest sorrow…love and prayers to you.

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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We have another post about how much God loves you.  It is:  You Are Greatly Loved!

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Victorious Savior!

Have you ever been confronted by the reality of eternal truth in such a way that the experience is always remembered and can bring you to tears, even years later?  This post tells the story of such an occasion, when I was confronted with the reality of the resurrection (through “The Resurrection”) and the glory of my victorious risen Savior in an unexpected place.  I will never forget what it was like to gaze up into the depiction of the face of my Savior. with the central figure of the victorious, risen Christ over 7 feet tall and displayed impressively upon a long, raised platform, flanked with the figures of the two cowering Roman guards on the ground.  There was strength, life, vitality, and victory in the figure’s movement, love and benediction in His face, and a gesture of blessing through his raised hand.  Hallelujah, He is risen!

I Corinthians 15:54 is a victorious scripture for all Christians.  Because of the resurrection of Christ, His victory over death, and God’s power over all that is, this verse tells us that “Death is swallowed up in victory!”  (a reference to Isaiah 25:8  “He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces…”)   The source of our victory is our victorious Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, and our all powerful God of love, who will demonstrate His compassion with the tender act of personally wiping away our tears.

Here are several translations of this amazing promise from God’s word: 

I Corinthians 15:54

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

International Standard Version (©2008)
Now, when what is decaying is clothed with what cannot decay, and what is dying is clothed with what cannot die, then the written word will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up by victory!”

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
Whenever this destructible puts on indestructibility and this mortal, immortality, then that word which is written shall come to pass, “Death is swallowed up by victory.”

GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
When this body that decays is changed into a body that cannot decay, and this mortal body is changed into a body that will live forever, then the teaching of Scripture will come true: “Death is turned into victory!

Confronted by a powerful visual depiction, 
“La Resurrection”

When I visited the Louvre Museum in Paris a few years ago, one work of art struck me with the power of an image that has since been brought to my mind every time I think of our victorious Savior and His Resurrection.  On the ground floor, in the Richelieu Sculpture Gallery, one enters a large doorway to a section of the gallery and is immediately confronted with a sculpture of the Risen Christ striding victoriously from the tomb, with the awe-struck Roman guards on the ground on either side of the central figure.  Greater than life size at over 7 feet tall, the stature of the risen Christ is further magnified by the height of the pedestal on which all 3 figures are mounted.  I could have stood and looked up at this depiction of my Lord for hours, with tears and emotion overwhelming me.  For me, this image was so powerful and moving.  It is impossible to adequately describe the experience of seeing this work of art in person.  It was a visual representation of the very real power of God and His promise of eternal life in Christ.

French sculptor Germain Pilon (1537 – 1590 )West facade of the Basilica of Saint-Denis, in a northern suburb of Paris created this 3 piece work in marble at around 1572.  It had been commissioned by Catherine de Medicis, the widow of King Henry II of France.  It was to be housed in a circular funerary chapel built on one side of the Basilica of Saint-Denis (the burial place of the kings of France).  Construction of the Valois Rotunda began in about 1560, but the structure was never completed due to civil strife and lack of funds.   The Basilica still stands in a northern suburb of Paris (see photo), but the rotunda was destroyed in the early 18th century due to fears that the structure would collapse.

As a result of the incomplete structure, Pilon’s powerful sculpture, called “La Resurrection,”  never left the sculptor’s studio during his lifetime.  For part of it’s history, the sculpture’s three figures were then separated and displayed in different locations.  Now,  on display in the Louvre at the gallery entrance, in front of a wall which provides a backdrop and sections off this sculpture from all the others in that particular gallery, the three figures have been reunited in a setting that allows the emotional and spiritual power of the sculptor’s original vision to be seen and experienced once again.  Though I cannot help but marvel at the God-given talent that allowed the creation of “The Resurrection”, I can’t look upon this wonderful scene without thinking of our very real Savior and His love for mankind, His victory over death, and the salvation that is available to all in Him.  Below, you will see a photo of “The Resurrection.”  Though a picture can be powerful, there is no comparison to gazing up into the face of this depiction of the victorious Christ in person.  And, as powerful as that experience can be, it will pale and be nothing in comparison to meeting our Lord and Savior face to face.  Praise God!  Death is swallowed up in victory!

The Resurrection

Here is the description of the statue from the Louvre’s website
http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/resurrection

“Two Roman soldiers have fallen to the ground in awe at the sight of the resurrected Christ. With head bent at a slight angle and lowered gaze, this handsome, athletic-looking, muscular-legged Christ seems to be rising upwards into the skies. The group was commissioned by the queen Catherine de Médicis for the Valois Chapel that she was having built in the abbey of Saint-Denis, but it never left the sculptor’s studio during his life.

A weightless Christ

If Germain Pilon did not design the sculpture himself, his execution imbues the work with its moving beauty. The slender, lithe, wiry legs, which seem too frail to support the muscular torso, stride forward and barely touch the ground. They thrust the figure upwards, as if the body were weightless, a justifiable impression since this is the glorious body of Christ ascending into Heaven. The position of the body emphasizes this impression of weightlessness: bust pushed forward, head bent, lowered gaze, the risen Christ appears to be leaning forward to bless mankind who must remain on Earth. The gesture of benediction is highlighted by the size of the hand, out of proportion with the rest of the body. Christ’s idealized facial features are combined with a very humane expression and gentle gaze.”

To the reader, it may seem that too much focus is placed upon a work made by a man and not enough focus is placed upon the work of God in providing salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  However, I think that it is fitting to recognize the works of men that do bring glory to God, which is our chief purpose for living.  The very image provided by this sculpture and the impact that seeing it has made in my life is a reminder to me of God’s power and his provision for us.  If I were a sculptor, I would want my hands to produce something that conveys the truth that death has been swallowed up in victory through the saving work of Christ on the cross and the power of our almighty God that raised him from the dead.  I don’t happen to possess this particular talent, but all of us can bring glory to God just by doing what we do “as to the Lord and not unto men”, seeking to bring Him glory.  If you are a singer, sing of His glory and grace, His victory and might, His love and compassion.  If you are a writer, write about it.  Whatever you do, do it to bring glory to the One who gave his all so that we might know him, have victory over sin and hell and death, and live forever in Heaven with the Lord.

None of the gospel accounts of the resurrection tell us exactly how Jesus left the tomb.  The account that follows, from Matthew’s gospel, tells us that he was already gone when the stone was rolled away.  Perhaps he did come striding right through the outer wall of that tomb, giving the guards the fright of their lives, as Pilon depicts in his sculpture.  Perhaps he left through the tomb’s ceiling, bursting through the rocky hillside above.  However he left that place of burial, I’m just glad he did!  I like to think of the risen Christ much as he is depicted in the statue, fully alive!…  strong and victorious! …confident in His purpose! … the compassionate and caring Lord of all creation, reaching out to all mankind in demonstration of the love, the amazing grace, and the power of God.

See Matthew’s thrilling resurrection account below:

Matthew, chapter 28
The Resurrection of Jesus

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

The Guards’ Report

11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The Great Commission
 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
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Post written by C. Boyd, in celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter Sunday, 2012
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Do you know someone who is looking for answers? 

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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