Thoughts to Ponder

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
1 John 14:1-4

Where is your home?

When I was a child I remember hearing old people's testimonies in church. I remember some of them crying and saying that they could not wait to go to heaven. I did not understand it then. I could not figure out why a person would want to die.

I was a Christian, I had accepted Christ into my heart as my Savior, but I didn't want to go see Him anytime soon. I was happy with my life, even though I complained about it a lot, still it was what I knew. I loved my parents and my brother, my friends, my pets, my toys, etc...

I heard a lot of preaching about Christ's return and that scared me. I did not want Him to come back because to me that was like dying. I was not ready to leave my home here on earth. Who knew what that would be like? I saw heaven as one big church service. Now I did not mind church but I didn't want to be in there all the time. There were a lot of things about this world that I still didn't know. It would not be fair, those old people had all done everything they were going to do, that was why they wanted to get to heaven fast. And that was okay with me but don't drag me along, I'm not ready!

Then as I got older I kind of went my own way. I said a prayer now and again and asked Jesus to forgive me for all the things I had done. You know just to make sure my ticket was punched in case the Rapture occurred. I didn't want it to happen because I was still not ready to leave my earthly home, but hey you needed to cover all the bases. I figured as long as I made it to heaven that was all that counted. The worst heaven had to offer would be much better than anything I could imagine. After all that was what I was always taught. No use going overboard, who needs stars in their crown anyway? When I get to heaven then I will spend all my time worshiping God, what else will there be to do?

I wasn't very happy. I tried hard. I felt like there was something missing inside of me. I tried to fill it with all kinds of things. I became a Police Officer, something I had wanted to do all my life. I loved my job, but I just wasn't as happy as I thought I should be. There was still something missing. I worked even harder, maybe if I made rank that would do it. I got married too, maybe I was just lonely. No, that did not do it. Maybe I needed more toys. I went into debt trying to find things that would make me happy, but nothing lasted.

I got burned out on the job, my wife got burned out on me, and I still felt that something was missing in my life. I quit my career and went back into the military. My marriage ended and I was alone again. I got stationed on a nuclear aircraft carrier, the most awesome war machine known to modern man. One day while in the Indian Ocean I went up to a weather deck ( a place where I could stand and look out at the ocean). We were in a storm. I stood there and watched as 30 foot waves came towards us, one after another. The sea seemed to be boiling. Our gigantic war ship was nothing more than a cork on the ocean, bobbing around. I realized how insignificant I was in God's creation.

I think that was the first time (but not the last) that God hit me upside the head with a two-by-four to get my attention. I could not help but see God, but I soon forgot because I had things to do to try to fill that void in my life, maybe after I figured out what it was I was looking for I would worry about God.

Even though I did not realize it at the time God had another two-by-four waiting for me when we got back to our home port. Her name was Mylene. She grew up in a Catholic home, but always felt that there was something missing. We were put together on a blind date. We tried our best to not like each other, but we kept crossing paths and soon fell in love.

After we were married Mylene wanted to start going to church, that was fine with me. Catholic church was fine. But Mylene said no, she wanted a church where she felt something. We looked around and found a Spirit filled church in Oakland, California. We started going. It was great, we both felt the Spirit of God there. Mylene learned for the first time that a person could have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That the salvation He offered was free, by grace alone. She found that you did not have to come up to His standard, because He had already come down to ours, when He took our sins on Himself and died for us.

As for me I found that Jesus was still there waiting for me. He never showed me the error of my ways in anger. He always treated me as a loved child and gently showed me the path that I had taken and how wrong I had been. My guilt was overwhelming, but it came from inside. It came because the more Jesus showed me the more I saw how far from the mark I was.

I look back now and see so many things that I did that I would give anything to change but I can't. Just getting to heaven is no longer important. I don't deserve to be allowed in. My goal now is to serve Him in anyway I can. I will never earn my way into heaven no matter what I do from here on out. But you know that hole in my life is gone. Jesus stepped in and filled it to over flowing. If God told me that I could never join Him in heaven I would still serve Christ, because of the rewards I now have on this earth. But lucky me, He has not said that I cannot join Him someday, rather He has said that He is preparing a place just for me!

I now long with tear filled eyes to go home to my Father who is in heaven. I am no longer home in this world. I am still human, I still don't want to leave my loved ones, but deep in my heart I want to be with my Lord and Savior more than anything. I want my earthly family with me. And then there are my friends, and the guy standing on the street corner, the mother and children in the mall. You see God has built a fire in my soul for the lost. Every time I feel that I don't want to go on anymore, I just want to go home, He has a way of showing me why He is waiting. There are hundreds of millions of people who are not ready. God has shown me that now that I have gotten onboard at long last it would be wrong to ask Him to close the door on those still searching for the entrance. No, I should charge my batteries and go out into the darkness and shine my light on the entrance for those who don't yet see it.

E-Mail Ralph

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