Heaven’s Supreme Court
Have you ever given much thought to how you are going to score on the most important test of your life? When we all stand before the living God to give an account of our lives? Before you start shifting uncomfortably in your chair or try to clear that spiritual lump in your throat, be assured that God has already provided the answers to our test before we have to take it.
I used to display a bumper sticker on the back of my car that read “As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in school!” A rather funny thought to an age-old dilemma that we all seem to struggle with. So why all the uneasiness in regard to accountability?
As I researched the topic, I became aware of my own feelings of trepidation — a kind of uncertain agitation that arises at the mention of “That Day,” sometimes referred to as “The Judgment.”
It is appointed unto man, once to die, but after this, the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
The whole thing really began to puzzle me because I am a born-again believer — counted among those whose lives are supposed to be so grounded in the Word that nothing shakes or quakes us. I wanted to settle any looming doubt that had mercilessly harassed me. I found myself shrinking back at the very thought of just how I would fare on that day.
I knew I had to take my case to the Supreme Court of Heaven. I could pose my questions directly to the honorable judge of the universe Himself. But I hesitated to step into His hallowed chambers without adequate counsel. I knew I needed an advocate.
If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1)
I sought the advice of the Clerk of Courts, The Holy Spirit, who reassured me that the decision had already been made. My case had been thoroughly deliberated by a well-known attorney whose name is Jesus Christ. The outcome was NOT GUILTY by reason of forgiveness! Hallelujah!
For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13,14)
The good news is that when we stand before God, we will be complete in Him! This means any sin we have ever committed will already be covered under his blood, long forgotten, and never to be brought up again. Instead, only the good things in our lives will be brought to light. Our Lord will be looking to recognize every prayer, every heart cry, every tear, and every groan of the Spirit. He will call to mind the cup of cold water given to the thirsty and the morsel of bread given to the hungry. He is going to bring every good deed out in the open.
God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:6-7)
You may still ask, “How can we be sure that our bad works won’t be held against us?” We have to keep in mind there will be two groups at the Judgement–sheep and goats. Each will appear separately. One group will be on the right (sheep) and one on the left (goats). This scene is described in Matthew 25:32-33. The bad deeds are to be accounted for by the unbelievers on the Day of Judgment. This would probably be a good time to make sure you are recorded among the correct column of divine contrasts. For example:
A Believer – an Unbeliever
A Wheat – a Tare
A Wise Virgin – an Unwise Virgin
Walking the Narrow Path – Walking the Wide Path
As a child of ten, I was a gangly tomboy, who like clockwork, would drop whatever I was doing and race home at 4 p.m. to flop down in front of the black and white Zenith TV. With my chin cradled by palms, I would gaze almost hypnotically at the popular series Dragnet, anxiously awaiting Detective Joe Friday to say, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Even as an adult, I’m still one who wants to know the facts, the bottom line, and the truth is, we will all be summoned before a Holy God one day to answer the charges.
My prayer is that we understand that our final plea will be “Innocent” of all charges because the precious atoning blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us of our sins! This message of truth is a wonderful anchor for my soul, and I pray it will be for you as well. As you stand before the great “I AM” on that awesome day, recognizing His eyes of love for you, then in front of the entire human race, He will reach out to embrace you as His bride.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)
God’s “Summons to our Soul” is His calling us to a life of complete surrender to His Lordship! So when we stand on that grand and glorious day of reckoning, we will joyfully hear the words we longed for from our Master:
Well done, Thou good and faithful servant. (Matthew 25 :21a)
The Year of Hidden Blessings
by Katherine Britton, crosswalk.com
“For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.” – Job 5:18
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17
I’m evaluating all that happened last year. I always appreciate the post-holiday lull that allows for more quiet reflection, even if I don’t go crazy on the New Year’s resolutions. I need that time to stop going, going, going, and just take a look at what God has done.
In summing up this year, I’m calling it the year of hidden blessings. I nearly burned my house down in February, ended up the smushed middle car in a five-car highway accident in May, nervously watch the school system where my husband works make staff cuts, and more. I feel lucky to have survived the year, and I don’t mean that as an exaggeration. Mentally, I know that I’m dependent on God’s sustaining grace every year. This year, though, I practically had my nose rubbed in the fact. All the close calls made me face “what could have happened” and respond with thankfulness that it didn’t. But the crazy thing is, the Lord didn’t just deliver me through all these instances unscathed. He used my own stupidity to bring about good things. In other words, I experienced a whole lot of divine grace this year.
In what has become known as “The Fire” (that’s capitalized), half our cabinets burned, our refrigerator and stove were effectively destroyed, and various portions of drywall got pulled down by a fire department focused on safety precautions. But in the aftermath of The Fire, we found out insurance would pay for much of the remodel. So we went to work installing a much more functional – and beautiful – kitchen. For me, this was an object lesson in how God rescues his people. I’m a results-oriented person, so I often struggle with being “good enough” for God, with “earning” favor by being a good little Christian. But Christ provides us with the gift of life despite our best efforts to fumble it. As I looked around my soot-stained kitchen, knowing that my actions had caused the destruction and that someone else would finance the essential repairs… believe me, that’s humbling.
I could go on about the other life scenarios we lived through this year, but you get the idea. In any case, each circumstance began with heartache and a “what do we do now” cry. Each ended with God making his provision known in funny, little ways. Sometimes the situation was made better materially; sometimes relationally; sometimes spiritually. Now, I look back on each of those minor catastrophes and see that God was at work. He truly does work for the good of those who love him.
When You Don’t Understand God’s Timing
“God has given them a desire to know the future. He does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what he is doing.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NCV)
We were curled up on the couch on a long-ago December day when my daughter announced her secret Christmas wish.
“I just want our baby to be here on Christmas morning,” 5-year-old Hannah confided. She exhaled a wistful sigh, then patted my belly.
Hannah had been rehearsing all things “big sister” for months. She’d practiced burping her teddy bears, swaddling her baby dolls, singing lullabies to the dog and tiptoeing past the crib. And as the baby beneath my heart grew, Hannah’s anticipation did too.
“You’re going to be a great big sister,” I said with a smile, “but it’s not time yet.” I waggled eight fingers in the air to remind my little girl of the weeks that remained until my due date.
Suddenly Hannah’s shoulders drooped. “But, Mommy! I want to be a big sister now.” Her eyes clouded with tears and her sighs turned to sobs. For a child whose life is measured in moments rather than days, the delay felt agonizing.
“Waiting hurts,” she murmured as she buried her head in my lap.
I could have lifted Hannah’s chin and tried to explain all the logical reasons for the wait. I could have offered a science lesson on human development or a lecture on the value of patience.
But instead of trying to expound on things beyond my kindergartener’s understanding, I simply reminded her that we can trust God with the timing of our baby’s arrival. Then I wrapped my arms around my daughter and held her as she cried.
It’s been over a decade since my daughter climbed onto my lap with a stream of troubled tears and an ill-timed Christmas wish. But this morning, when I scan the pages of my prayer journal, I feel the ache of waiting too.
My journal holds candid conversations with God about unfulfilled promises and unanswered prayers. And as I sit with my hopes and hurts today, I feel a surge of indignation. I’ll admit: It’s easy to feel offended in the midst of delay.
But I’m learning that when God’s timing doesn’t match my pining, I need to focus on what I know rather than what I feel. So, I turn to Ecclesiastes 3:11 and read the words of King Solomon:
“God has given [us] a desire to know the future. He does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what he is doing.”
This verse helps me filter my frustration through God’s unchanging truth. It reminds me that my delays aren’t a sign of God’s indifference, but an expression of His wisdom. I’ll never fully understand the complexities of God’s eternal plan while I’m bound to the dust of earth. But I can place my hope in God’s integrity even when I can’t comprehend His itinerary.
When my hope is tied to God’s trustworthiness instead of His timing, it changes my attitude in the waiting.
I am prone to recall His faithfulness instead of questioning His fairness. (Psalm 77:11)
I am able to respect His wisdom instead of disputing His ways.
I am inclined to celebrate His majesty instead of second-guessing His motives.
But, best of all, when I place the crux of my faith on the trustworthiness of God’s character, I discover an unexpected gift in the grit of delay.
The same God who is orchestrating plans too marvelous for my mind to grasp is within my reach right now. His ways may be higher than the heavens, (Isaiah 55:9) but His presence is as near as my next breath. He is with me in the aching and anticipating. He comforts me with His Spirit and strengthens me with His love. Even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.