Monday, July 18, 2016

Do you have Heaven-on-Earth moments?

Nearly 49 years ago, when my son was just 6-weeks old, I remember a little mini-vacation to Hilltop Lakes, Texas, that my husband and I took with cousins, Ron Haake and Noreen Haake. It was one of those 3-day, 2 night FREE gift packages to encourage guests to come and enjoy the place, with the hopes they would want to purchase property there. "FREE" was so inviting for these newlyweds. This was the first time we were away from our baby boy, so there were already anxious moments while we were on our much-needed vacation.....which ended up being somewhat like the movie, National Lampoon's Vacation. LOL!

The first thing we did when we arrived at our "get-away" house was turn the air conditioner up as high as it would go, so that we could turn the fireplace on. We wanted romantic ambience, but what we got was a smoke-filled house. Wanting to check-out the facilities, we headed over to the clubhouse and all we saw were ping pong tables, broken and folded up against the wall. In the same area was a "greasy spoon" diner which didn't appeal to our desires for a fine dining meal. The guys wanted to take us girls out for a romantic canoe ride, but when the guys got in the canoe and shoved it off the bank, the canoe tipped over with both guys falling into the water. My Ron's banlon shirt was stretched to his knees. We checked out horseback riding, but the poor horses were so exhausted that they had no vitality for this foursome. When we were out in the paddleboats, our big paddle fell off into the lake. After all those misadventures, you can imagine the "panic" mode Noreen and I went into, when our guys gave us the news that they had bought a lake lot there. How relieved we were when those mischievious guys fessed up.

In spite of it all, we have those "now" hilarious memories of our romantic get-away. Indeed, we could call it our "heaven on earth" that gave two couples, so desperately in love with their spouses, to have memories that have lasted a lifetime.

"Heaven on earth" is when we pause to bring worship from earth to heaven and then God brings heaven to earth. When we take time to be thankful for the journeys, whether they are winding and twisting, or 4-lane smooth highways, and have gratitude in it all, heaven shows up on earth. Any time we pray, “God, let your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we’re asking God to declare the truths of heaven into this world.

I know what heaven on earth is and everyday I invest my time in looking for and living in my heaven on earth. Yes, one day, I'll get to graduate for this earth to heaven, but I sincerely believe God delights in our appreciating the heaven we can have daily as we commune with Him and let Him make His presence known in every facet of our lives. Here's some of my "heaven on earth" moments:

~ savoring the "kisses from heaven" in nature, in children, in sweet friends and family.
~ seeing my kids and grandkids loving and worshipping God, singing His praises, and speaking His Word.
~ watching my kids and grandkids excel in their careers, in their schoolwork, in sports, in music, in their friendships
~ celebrating God's goodness each week with the women in my Life Group and hearing answers to our prayers.
~ eating my favorite foods
~ blogging and posting and hearing that God used me to encourage someone.
~ being used by God to speak and encourage people to know God and His unconditional love for them -- and then watching them become fully devoted followers of Christ.
~ hearing someone talk about the impact that my husband and I had on their lives -- like yesterday morning in church when a man just had to say "I remember your strong, distinguished husband, Ron, and was so impressed with the love you had for each other."
~ feeling alive and filled with God's love, peace, joy, strength and courage.

Yes, all those "heaven on earth" times sure makes this journey so sweet on the way to "heaven in heaven". Every day, we can make the choice to have "heaven on earth" moments. Maybe it's time to take stock in YOUR "heaven on earth" blessings, too!