Old Friends. New Chapters.
by Jason Cruise
Not long ago my wife and I attended my 20th high school reunion. I had waited for months for this day to arrive, for I really do miss the crew that I knew in those years. On a side note, there is a point of pain in going to these gigs, because you will inevitably see a small percentage of people who have yet to gain one pound, have seen no wrinkle in the mirror, nor have lost one, single hair from their head, in all these twenty years. Why does God choose to give this sort of blessing to some and withhold it from the vast majority of others? I find no real reason for it, and when I cross over the river, I plan to ask Him about it once we have talked about more important things for a while before turning to the smaller matters.
For the most of us, our faces had changed. Our dancing, while pathetic in concept, was at least an attempt to remember how we once could groove to Journey or Tone Loc. Our stories were vastly different from those we were writing twenty years ago. The chapters were filled with victories and defeats, and you could see evidence of both in our eyes. The beauty of it all was that we were together, and this time around, it seemed as if we really did just want to talk. Our 15th reunion had, for some reason, failed to materialize, and so for many of us this was the first time we'd seen one another in a decade. For that reason alone, it was sweet to hug someone and look into their eyes, meet their spouse, and just catch up.
For the next few days, I could not help but think of my classmates. Their faces filled my mind's eye. It made me think about Heaven.
I'm forever bothered about the vast majority of people's view of Heaven, for many make is sound like this great family reunion, when the true star of Heaven will be Jesus and not some uncle or business partner I've not seen in thirty years. That being said, I cannot help but anticipate what Heaven will be like when we are able to share time with one another. What a healing moment it will be to sit down and talk, with stories that have no recollection of pain or disappointment. I eagerly await the timeless feeling that will be ours in Christ when we all can share life that ages not.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."
- Revelation 21:1-4
Living As If God Doesn't.
by Jason Cruise
If you've been around Christianity for any length of time, then you have no doubt heard the phrase, "You just have to trust God." Have you ever thought about why God wants your trust? I can promise you that it's not because God wants you to have less stress in your life. Less anxiety may be a derivitive of a trusting faith, but it's not the chief aim of a faith that trusts God with everything.
Jesus gave a simple insight into why trusting the Father is critical to the spiritual journey when He said, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them." (Matthew 6:31-32)
Did you spot it? "For the pagans run after all these things ..."
God is a sovereign God. He set the planets in motion, and He put life in your bones at the moment of conception. He is fully capable, and fully deserving, to manage your life both here and now ... and in the hereafter. When you and I reject the Father's love by rejecting His sovereign reign, we live as if God doesn't exist.
Worry is going to creep into your mind; it's what you do with it that matters. What is at the heart of this passage is a lifestyle that tends to gravitate to anxiety instead of faith. When worry creeps in, sovereignty must overcome it. It is to the sovereign heart of the Father that you must take your thoughts and plant them deep within your spirit in order to eject worry from the soul. When you live as if you are the one in control of the final outcome, whether you realize it or not, in that moment, there is no evident distinction between a disciple and pagan.
Not If You're My Kid
by Jason Cruise
Jesus seemed to be in a constant state of trying to drive the point home with His disciples. Sometimes they got it, sometimes not. I like reading about the disciples and how they handled situations, because I feel better about myself. Think about it. When Peter wants to fight, instead of reasonably come to an agreement, doesn't it make you feel a little bit better about yourself?
When teaching them about the heart of His Father, Jesus tells them "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?" (Luke 11:11)
"Which of you fathers ..." It's a comical question that Jesus asks if you really think about it. It's a question that only a dad would understand, for every dad knows that there is a love that goes beyond vocabulary when trying to describe how much you love your kids. Would I give my son a copperhead when he wanted food? Not if he's my kid. He's getting food.
God takes care of His kids, because that's what a father does. That's what Jesus was trying to say to them, and this time, I think they got it.
The Man Minute "Sixty second investments in Christ-like manhood"
Endurane that Produces
by Jason Cruise
I could be the poster child for "He's Not The Sharpest Tool In The Shed But He's Still Around." Maybe that should be a new start up as a non-profit organization that helps kids who struggle academically but have lots of drive. I've always said that I'm living proof that you can go all the way in education if you know how to get your hands on extra-credit! Perseverance is one thing I do know I have; and, to be candid, I'd rather have drive than talent. I'll take heart over talent any day. How many under-achievers do you know who have crazy talent yet refuse to use it? My point exactly.
James tells us that when life brings tests our way, we should not scorn the classroom exercise because "the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:3-5)
Walk backward through that verse for a second. If you want to be complete, with an understanding that you are content with life and lacking nothing, you're only going to get it through maturity. The only way you obtain maturity is to learn how to persevere through the years and the experiences they bring.
Jason Cruise is the founder of Mission. Mission was created to "vindicate the fatherless" in a country known as Moldova. To learn more go to www.themissionvision.net Jason is a well known speaker traveling across the country sharing his love for Christ at wildgame dinners and conferences. Jason has created many valuable resources for the outdoorsmen to take them deeper into their walk with their Creator. These items include DVD's, Bibles, and Bible studies.