I Can Only Imagine: What Will Heaven Be Like?

I Can Only Imagine: What Will Heaven Be Like?

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

Some songs touch us more than others.  For me, one of those songs is “I Can Only Imagine.”  I cannot listen to it without tearing up.

Although I do not remember when I first heard it, I do remember when it first touched me.  The church I attended was doing a walk-through drama.  I guided people through each scene.  The last scene depicted “heaven” and “I Can Only Imagine” was playing in the background as “Jesus” spoke to each of us.  This was so powerful and tears streamed down my face.

We all try to imagine what heaven will be like.  The Bible is filled with references of it…streets of gold, walls adorned with precious stones, gates of pearls.  Even with the description, I do not think we can fully comprehend what it will be like.  I believe it is beyond our mere mortal comprehension.  All we can do is imagine what it will be like.

Recently, I took my children to see the movie I Can Only Imagine.  While I knew the basics of the story behind the song–the writer and lead singer of Mercy Me, Bart Milliard, wrote it due to an event in his life–I wanted to know more.  So that I do not spoil the movie for anyone, I will not go into detail about the event.  When we went to see the movie, I really did not know what was in store for me.  It is labeled as a movie about redemption, but it was not what I expected–it is about so much more.

This powerful movie is based on Bart Milliard’s life starting at a very early age all the way up to when the song was released.  He went through so much throughout his childhood and so much of the movie is just heartbreaking.  The movie is very touching, and luckily, I took tissues with me (a friend warned me, and like I said, just the song itself makes me cry).  As a side note: The movie was very well-made, felt like a high-budget film, and had incredible acting.  It is a must-see for everyone.

We each have our own story.  That story, good or bad, is what makes us who we are.  It is what forms us, how we react to traumas and celebrations.  We can push people away and hide within ourselves.  Or, we can turn to God to get us through these things.

We all try to imagine what heaven is like.  We will never realize its true magnificence until we get there.

Can you imagine what heaven is like?

The Best Life is Only One Step Away

The Best Life is Only One Step Away

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Do you remember when you decided to follow Christ?

Do you remember what feelings overcame you?  Were you just in awe that Christ would actually die for you and take away all the wrong things you have ever done?  Did you feel unworthy but at the same time overjoyed that Jesus died just to forgive you?  When did that realization happen for you? Do you remember the events that led up to it or the time and the place? What brought you to the point of surrendering your life to Christ?

Maybe, you truly surrendered when you came back to Christ?

Sometimes, our faith journeys are initially like a yo-yo – close to Jesus and then far away.  But then He does something to bring us back to Him.  Our hearts begin to understand  more than before what it means for Him to love us and for us to love Him back.  Sometimes, this is just us maturing in our faith and our hearts growing more in love with Him day by day. Other times, it literally takes us turning back to Christ after going away.

Either way, it brings us new life in a way that we have never known. It’s exciting to see that we are never more than one step away from Christ.  We can turn our lives around at any moment.  Jesus is always there to call us back home, even if we go astray for a while.

There is nothing more joyous for Him than for those he loves (and he loves everyone) to come home to him.

 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. 
Jesus, Luke 19:10

The Best Life is only One Step Away

It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone
Mercy says you don’t have to keep running down the road you’re on
Love’s never met a lost cause
Your shame, lay it down
Leave your ghosts in the past ‘cause you know that you can’t go back
But you can turn around
You’ve never been more than
One step away from surrender
One step away from coming home, coming home
One step from arms wide open
His love has never let you go
-Casting Crowns, “One Step Away”

When I hear Casting Crown’s song, “One Step Away,”  I can’t help but praise God and thank him for letting us walk away from our shame and enjoy the name Child of God, Redeemed by His son! What about you?

The great news is that this isn’t just for us…IT IS FOR EVERYONE! God’s most amazing gift is being able to wipe away all the shame that the devil tries to pile on us, so that we can see Christ’s outstretched arm calling us to a life filled with mercy, grace, love, redemption, and ultimate forgiveness.

We are never far from God’s love and forgiveness no matter how much the devil tries to convince us otherwise.  The devil wants us to believe that we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness and because of what we’ve done, we will have destroyed any hope of forgiveness. But Christ proves that is simply not true.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
– John 3:16

Share Your Story

God has given us such an amazing gift in Jesus Christ and we want to rekindle the excitement in sharing the good news with others by sharing testimonies as to how He brought people to Him.

Now, the word testimony might make you shy away but in truth all it’s about is sharing your story.  How God worked in your life or is working in your life now to continue to bring you to Him and grow your faith.  In sharing these stories with others we not only glorify God and all that He is doing but we encourage others in their faith and even plant seeds of faith where none might currently exist.

So will you share your story?  Share it personally with someone today, this week, this month!

Every time you share how God is working in your life with others, you will get excited and be reminded of just how amazing our Lord and Savior is. Encourage someone to step towards Christ!

 

Strange Way to Save the World – Michael Crawford

Strange Way to Save the World – Michael Crawford

Lana W

Lana W

I’m Lana, a native Oklahoman. Married 17 years to the first boy I ever dated. Mama to two amazing, darling girls. I’m a coffee-drinking, book-reading, home-educating night owl! An accountant in my life B.C. (Before Children), my dream job would be getting paid to read all day.And if you’re into Meyers-Briggs personality tests, I’m an ISTJ. Most important of all, I’m a follower of Christ.
Lana W

Joseph’s Reaction to Mary’s News

Don’t you wonder what Joseph thought when Mary told him she was going to have a baby? I can just imagine his shock at the news. I’ve always thought he must have been hurt and disappointed at first, maybe even angry. Matthew tells us that Joseph’s first reaction was to divorce Mary quietly. If Joseph had divorced Mary, how drastically different the story of Jesus would be! Once he accepted the news as God’s plan for a Savior, don’t you think he must have thought it was a strange way to save the world?

Fortunately for us and for the rest of the world, the Bible tells us that “while Joseph considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream” and gave him the rest of the story, so to speak. Aren’t you glad Joseph followed the angel’s instructions and married Mary despite his first doubts?

Have you ever considered that Mary might have had doubts about what the angel told her as well? Luke 1 says that Mary was greatly troubled at the angel’s greeting. And although she had questions for the messenger, she seemed to quickly accept what he told her.

Knowing our human penchant for questioning and doubting is one of the reasons I like this song so well. If I were Mary, I don’t know that I could have accepted the angel’s message as easily as she seemed to. But it seems to be part of her personality to reflect and carefully consider everything she observed concerning her son who would be the Messiah. (Luke 2:19; Luke 2:51).

May we all have a simple faith and an obedient trust like Mary did!

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Colossians 3:16

“Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix {Music Monday}

“Mary, Did You Know?” by Pentatonix {Music Monday}

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

“I am the servant girl of the Lord, let this happen to me.”  

This version of Luke 1:38 is from an easy-to-read version.  It is powerful on so many levels, but one in particular because it begs to ask the question:

luke-1-38

Am I willing to be a servant girl of the Lord?

We’ve shared this version of “Mary Did you Know?” by Pentatonix before.  Not only is it beautiful, but it really seems to let this idea echo off our hearts.

Did you know that God would call you for this?

Are you ready and willing to trust Him so completely that at a moment’s notice you will accept a complete life change?

Are you ready to possibly be shunned by your family, friends, and/or society because of how God will work through you?

Are you ready to be the “servant girl” of the Lord, no matter the cost?

Are you ready to love so completely and trust that God will carry your broken heart?

If you knew all these things would happen, would you still choose to follow God’s calling?

Prayer Over Our Hearts

Lord, you are awesome and holy and your ways are beyond our imagination.  You have created the world, conquered the hold death had over us, and brought about a total and complete hope into our lives!  Help us to trust you like Mary did.  Help us to readily trust and obey your calling in our lives and to trust that you will walk with us every step of the path you call us to walk.  When things get tough, help us to hold firm in our faith and not doubt your truth.  In the One who knew what it would mean to leave heaven, walk this Earth, and save us from our sins – Amen!

This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let it Shine

This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let it Shine

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

Start a Fire

Do you ever hear songs on the radio but you do not actually listen to them?  I do it all the time.  I hear the music but I do not pay much attention to the words.  Recently, I was listening to the radio while driving and “Start a Fire” by Unspoken came on.  As I began singing along, the words just hit me.

Start a fire in my soul,
Fan the flame and make it grow.
So there’s no doubt or denying.
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see,
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need.
Start a fire in me.

When did we lose our fire?

As children, we learned “This Little Light of Mine.”

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel? No!
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Is Your Light Shining?

These songs have the same basic message, so we have learned this from an early age.  Is our light shining?  Do we share the love of God with people who come across our path?  What does this look like? Shining your light can look like kind words or actions to people we know or people we do not know.  Encourage those who are having difficulties.  Mow a neighbor’s lawn.  Babysit for a friend.  Of course, these do not have to be overtly “Christian” acts.  We shine our light by words and deeds.  We should be asking God to put in us a fire burns so brightly that our light shines for all to see.

This Little Light of Mine

How do you shine your light?

 

 

What Faith Can Do: The Hebrews 11 Hall of Fame {Music Monday}

What Faith Can Do: The Hebrews 11 Hall of Fame {Music Monday}

Toni D

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

Faith!

We talk about it all the time.  Faith is the basis of our religion.  But do we truly have faith?

A few Sundays ago, my husband filled in for our pastor.  He was asked to share his testimony about when he had his heart attack.  His story is incredible.  We experienced so many miracles that day, all because of my husband’s faith that God would get him through it.  As soon as he realized what was happening, he started praying!

Let me back up a minute and share that our daughter begins our service by leading a praise song.  She had no idea that her father would be preaching on faith.  The song she chose that week was “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless.  Is it not wonderful how God puts everything together?

Hebrews 11: The Faith Hall of Fame

This “testimony” led to a full-blown sermon on faith.  As my husband prepared his lesson, he felt God telling him that he was missing that point of his testimony.  He preached from Hebrews 11.  The first three verses state:

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.  By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”

Hebrews 11:1-3, NASB

Throughout Hebrews 11, Paul tells of the faith of people in the Old Testament: Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Noah, and many others.  These people had faith that God would get them through difficult times and/or give them promises.  They believed God would deliver them no matter how bleak things looked.

Share!

My husband ended his sermon with the fact that we should be sharing our faith, teaching others about what faith really is.  As Hebrews 11:6 says, “…Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  We must have faith!

Do you truly have faith?

Do you share/show that faith?

Please share a story of when God provided because of your faith.

 

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