Dear Friends,
A father and his two young boys were flying on a crowded airplane and the boys
were extremely noisy and rowdy upsetting all the passengers around them. Yet
the father was oblivious to their behavior as he stared out the window at the
clouds. Finally, one of the passengers said, “Mister, would you please
quiet your children down. They are disturbing everybody around them.” The
man seemed to come out of a daze and said: “I’m so sorry, my wife and their
mother just died and I’m still in shock. Please forgive me.” Immediately,
the perspective of the passengers changed and they began to entertain the boys
and try to comfort the man.


The word perspective means to “see through”. The angry passengers
were looking at the problem but then saw through the situation and it changed
their hearts and their actions. As Christians God calls us to have an eternal
perspective on all of life. We are to look through God’s beautiful creation,
through God’s Word, through God’s witnesses, through the trials and blessings
of our lives and through Jesus Christ as the ultimate revelation of God and
His purposes and glory. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through
the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has
spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom
he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation
of his being.” Hebrews (1:1-3)

J.R.R.Tolkien’s books and the new movie series The Lord of the Rings has been
very helpful to me in seeing through life to gain God’s perspective, an eternal
perspective. Tolkien’s Middle earth is in its third age and we too are in God’s
third age. The first was eternity past when the eternal Triune God fellowshipped
with each other in perfect love and Oneness. The second age was when God created
the world and mankind out of love and were in perfect union with Adam and Eve.
The third age was the horror of the Fall, that rebellion of Satan and mankind
to make us a traitor race and enemy of God into which God Himself entered in
the person and God-Man Jesus to redeem us and rescue us from hell and empower
us by His Spirit to co-labor with Him to be ambassadors of His new creation
and ministers of reconciliation to others in a fallen world. The fourth age
is eternity future: the glory and bliss of heaven or the torment of hell where
all evil will be forever confined. With this perspective we can understand the
fight of faith portrayed by Tolkien in his story. Thus we must see this brief
life in a fallen world as it truly is – a battle against the world system that
hates God, the devil and his demons who are still alive and active today, and,
our flesh, our own fallenness as we live independently and unsubmitted to God’s
Spirit and purpose through our lives. “As for you, you were dead in your
transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways
of this world and of the ruler (Satan) of the kingdom of the air, the spirit
who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among
them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature (flesh) and following
its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”
(Ephesians 2:1-3; Also see 6:10-18). The devil uses the world system and our
fallen flesh to deceive us into serving him rather than serving God’s purposes.
Our pride and Satan say, “Get it now, look out for yourself. You only go
around once so go for the gusto.” God through Jesus’ own life and example
says, “Give your life away to others for the glory of God for you are going
to live forever -you don’t have to get it now.” Yet, if we don’t truly
believe it is worth it to sacrifice our lives in this world, we will go for
the gusto now. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned
to his own way (We write our own story.); and the LORD has laid on him (Jesus)
the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

The faith story as seen in people in the Scriptures and that can be lived out
in our own lives needs to read over and over again. “Consequently, faith
comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of
Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware in their book Finding
God in the Lord of the Rings
puts it this way: “The scenes of your
life serve a story much bigger than your own
.” “You are a very
fine person Mr. Baggins, and I’m very fond of you; but you are only quite a
little fellow in a wide world after all.” Often the scenes
we least desire (trials/suffering) are those most important to God’s story being
told through our lives

Let’s look at some of the stories of faith in Scripture. “But Joseph said
to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm
me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving
of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19-20) Joseph patiently and obediently endured
years of unjust suffering enabling God to humble him and thus be able to handle
great power and authority which he righteously used to save the lives of his
brothers and his family. This small family of seventy was the seed that God
multiplied to become the Jewish nation. Without the humility Joseph learned
through patiently suffering he could have missed God’s purposes through his

“He sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in
the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent
at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place,
but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have
come to royal position for such a time as this?” ” I will go to the
king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.””
(Esther 4:13; 16)

Esther risked her life to save the Jewish nation. But as the Scripture says
if she had chosen to look out for herself she would lose but God’s eternal purposes
would not be thwarted for He would raise up someone else. Each of us has been
called by God for such a time as this to serve God’s purposes and people in
our generation. If we as Christians attempt to protect our lives and miss God’s
purposes we won’t lose heaven but we will suffer loss at the judgement seat
of Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

Isn’t it amazing that the God who calls us to live by faith in His ultimate
goodness and blessing actually became a Man and taught and modeled the life
of faith and eternal glory, suffering more than any one ever will or even can
imagine. “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save
me from this hour’? (The cross) No, it was for this very reason I came to this
hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28) “Your attitude should
be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not
consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being
found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8)

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me,
he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants
to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his
soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is
going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward
each person according to what he has done.” (Matthew 16:24-27) We are called
by God to exchange our temporal, selfish story for His eternal redemptive story
for others and His glory. Only His-story has eternal value for others and ourselves.

Don’t write your own story. It will be to our eternal loss and nothing in this
fallen world can satisfy our deepest longings even if we gain the whole world.
“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the
outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:17)
Am I modeling a life of faith by living out God’s story before others day by
day, trial by trial, blessing by blessing? If so we can be sure we will hear
the words we long to hear: “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter
into the joy of your Master” (Matthew 25:21) and live happily ever after
forever and ever and ever………………………….

Until He comes,

Len and Kristen

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