Wednesday, May 3, 2017

HEBREWS 11:10, 14-17

"For those who say such things
make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.
And indeed if they had been thinking of that country
from which they went out,
they would have had opportunity to return.
But as it is, they desire a better country,
that is, a heavenly one.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God;
for He has prepared a city for them."

"For he--Abraham--was looking for the city
which has foundations,
whose architect and builder is God."
(verse 10)

There's no looking back for the Christian.  I don't want to go back to that old stomping ground just like I don't want to go back to high school.  I don't want to be like the "dog who returns to its own vomit." (The Bible can be gross like that, Proverbs 26:11) I don't even want to go back to previous places we've lived, even though we had some good years there.  Just like we had the chance to view Mt. Shasta this past weekend, harkening to the old days, we can enjoy its beauty while visiting, but not living in its shadow any more.  (My husband climbed it, conquered it, so been-there-done-that...just kidding!)  I want to go on.  Instead of "Go West, young man," it's "Look up, young Christian."  But whatever you do, don't look back.  Remember Lot's wife? 

Even if our happy days in some ways are behind us, we press on.  As I've said many times before, I love Lake City, Colorado.  At one time, my whole family lived there, except us.  We had rich times of visiting in this place where I had vacationed since the age of three.  Now none of my family lives there after 30 yrs residence.  My father built his dream home on a rock by a waterfall with the river running underneath.  But they don't live there any more.  They have gone to a better country.  They have blazed the trail, as have generations of ancestors before them.

I am excited that I just found Huguenots in my family tree.  The term means house fellows or confederates bound together by oath.  These Protestants were persecuted for their stance of believing in reading the Scriptures for themselves and salvation by faith alone, not through the church.  Persecution continued under Louis XIV.  Many of these were Protestants who escaped a bloody massacre in France under Catholic rule in 1562.  Those left had to flee, leaving everything behind.  This was when a whole city was invited to a celebration of St. Bartholomew's Day put on by the royals.  However instead, soldiers were ordered to systematically kill them by the sword, man, woman, child, 1200 of them.  Many survivors fled to Holland then to the Netherlands before immigrating to America.  My Huguenot kin landed in Long Island in the early 1600's having taken this path, probably intermarrying with the Dutch and Scandinavians while being in exile proving my French-Netherland DNA leaves on my family tree.  They were forced to look for another country.  There was no going back. 

It's about desire, longing for a better country of the heavenly kind, the one God--who is not ashamed of us--has prepared for us.  God is not ashamed to be called their God.  Jesus said,

"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men,
I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.
But whoever denies Me before men,
I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
(Matt. 10:32)

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words,
the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory,
the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."
(Luke 9:26 )

"Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men,
I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven.
But whoever denies Me before men,
I will also dey him before My Father who is in heaven."
(Luke 12:8)

"If we deny Him, He also will deny us."
(II Timothy 2:12)

"He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments,
and I will not erase his name from the book of life;
and I will confess his name before My Father
and before His angels."
(Rev. 3:9)

So I would guess that this little blip about not being ashamed is a pretty big deal to God.  As for me, I don't want God to get out his eraser while He is looking for my name in His book of life.  I take that threat seriously.  It's not like when we were teenagers, being ashamed to be seen with our parents, not because we didn't love them, but because it just wasn't cool.  If my dad picked me up from school in the black Lincoln which my friends called the Mafia car, it wasn't cool.  If he picked me up in the 1964 Mustang, it was cool!  Yep, I was petty like that.  But God our Father in heaven--which Jesus stressed in these verses--is not One to be ashamed of.  He's not ashamed of us.  In fact He has been preparing the city in which we will dwell.  It's pretty cool.  No only that but, He is sending His Son to ride in on a white (Mustang?) horse to pick us up!  How cool is that! 

"Are you not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land...
and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever."
(II Chronicles 10:7, NKJV)

The cavalry officer who preached at the reenactors church Sunday told about his anthropology class at Chico State, back in the day.  The teacher began the class  by asking how many Christians there were among his students.  Several raised their hands.  The teacher then assured them that by the time he traced back all the evidence of evolution, they would no longer believe what they had been taught, but would know the truth.  One pretty coed raised her hand and said, "Sir, I know the One who is the Truth."  He went on to say that it was stuck in his head, not understanding, but he thought she was too pretty for him to approach and ask what she meant.  That was a turning point in his heart becoming open to finding the One who is the Truth, the Life, and the Way, all because a pretty coed was not ashamed. 

Do you see what I mean?  Just like Abraham, God wants to be our friend forever, our BFF, imagine that!

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