Jul162016
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God Rewards Those Who Seek Him

By Jenna Devotions Leave a comment

What kinds of sensory experiences make you feel most alive? I love the smell of lavender, coffee brewing in the morning and pine forests. I savor the taste of fruity green tea and dark chocolate. I rest in the sound of rain, the sight of firelight and the feel of warm sand on the skin.

God gifted us with these 5 senses to explore, experience and enjoy all that’s around us. But God also gifted us with something deeper: an intense longing in our spirits to experience something even …more.

So. Much. More.

God has hidden inside our hearts a longing for eternity, for things that cannot simply be experienced physically, but must be experienced spiritually.

Yet sometimes we mistakenly try to fill up that longing with physical pleasures that really never quite satisfy. Not deeply enough.

So what do we do about that? Let’s go take a look…

Our Life Journal readings have carried us into a very sacred place in God’s Story. We’ve come to the breathtaking and beautiful Hall of Faith. When I read Hebrews chapter 11, the whole world seems to slow down, my breath catches and somewhere deep inside I’m stilled with awe.

I think walking into a reading of Hebrews 11 is like discovering an old wooden chapel hidden in the woods. You slowly step inside and find yourself bathed in brilliant light as you lift your eyes up to drink in the kaleidoscope of brightly colored stained-glass images of saints and heroes. The sunlight highlights these men and women who sought God with their whole hearts and let His light shine through.

This “Hall of Faith” is an account of the daring adventures of those who lived their part in The Sacred Story by risking everything for something far beyond what they could see, taste, smell, touch or hear. “They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one.” (Hebrews 11:16)

Stained Glass

When I was pregnant with our first child God led me to memorize this chapter. I recited it aloud over and over again, often times in desperation. We had been stumbling our way into this call of living by faith and I desperately needed to soak in the stories of those who had lived that way before me.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1-2)

Do you remember the old adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”? The thought is that if you invest all you have into just one place, your losses will be great if anything happens. Multiple streams of income and diversified investments are widely considered to be part of a healthy life plan.

But in Hebrews 11, the people that invested their lives into God’s Sacred Story didn’t diversify. They pretty much put everything they had into just one basket.

They put ALL their eggs into God’s basket.

One basket. All the eggs.

Sounds crazy, right? Of course it does.

So how did it turn out for them?

Their lives became broken, transparent, rearranged. They faced famine, lions, giants, murderous kings, killer storms, enraged crowds, stoning, beatings, death.

Like glass, they were stained by the colors of sacrifice and marked by the sharpness of obedience.

And so it is that the picture of their broken, stained, transparent lives now takes our breath away.

stained-glass-wall

Light streamed through their vulnerable places with flames of heavenly power. “And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Sampson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength.” (Hebrews 11:32-24).

They were given a reward, so rich and strong and powerful, that though attacked, it could never be broken, stolen or cheapened. A reward that withstands all the roar of evils until it eventually crushes them. It is a reward that will always be worth it. Always worth everything.

Saints carry the promises of heaven into the passions of earth.

Saints let the Light stream through.

We live in a world hesitant about the Light. In this world people seek comfort in shadows, in physical pleasures, and in a shaky acceptance that this is all there is, take from it what you can get.

But if this is all we get – this place with these wonderful pleasures and painful heartaches – is that enough?

Is it enough for you?

Hebrews 12 promises that our hunger for more has a Source and a fulfillment.

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of the righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)

I think we all hunger for God. Whether we want to or not.

This beautiful world we’ve been given to enjoy is not all there is. It is only the beginning, the opening show, the morning shadows.

The Son is rising and the world is shaking itself off.

God is on the move.

He is building a kingdom that is so different from the kingdoms of this world that it looks quite foreign at first glance. Many miss it.

But He’s building it inside us.

So when we look again, when we lean in and reach out and focus on what we can’t see with our eyes, we’ll see that this Kingdom is the place our hearts have always known should exist, and exactly what we’ve always longed would exist.

May the God of peace, through the blood of the lamb and the eternal holy promises, fulfill your deepest longings with spiritual, heavenly rewards. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

{I encourage you to reread Hebrews 10-13 today. Listen for His voice call out to you from within His Sacred Story.}

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