Further Up and Further In

In C.S. Lewis book The Last Battle (part of the Chronicles Of Narnia series), the characters eventually find themselves–after the battle–on the way to “Aslan’s Country”. As they near it, they begin to see its beauty, and they encourage each other to go ‘further up and further in’, where they can experience more of Aslan’s paradise and remove all hindrances to fellowship with Aslan.

It is a great allegory to Heaven, and our eventual union with the Lord, where all of this earth, and the things that hold us back, are left behind. At that time, we will understand that following Jesus has been the best way to the best life–here on Earth, and in Eternity. We won’t look back longingly on the ‘stuff’ we left behind…rather, we’ll just be consumed with the Glory of the Lord (aka ‘Aslan’ in this series). We will want to go ‘further up and further in’ to be closer to Him.

Have you ever felt that?

Ever felt the ache in your heart and the thirst in your spirit that you want to go ‘further up and further in’ to the Lord?

–Where you want to eliminate the things that distract you from Him?

–Where you want to take positive steps forward, into real ongoing intimacy with God?

 

David wrote about it in Psalm 42:1-2 

“As the deer longs for water, so my soul longs for You.

I thirst for God, the living God…when can I go and stand before Him?” 

In this Psalm, David FEELS the ache. He hungers for God, and longs to be close to Him.

 

Many times I’ve felt this way…often times, when my circumstances are discouraging and my heart aches within I sense that ache.

Sometimes after I’ve sinned…again…and I’m tired of myself and irritated with my inconsistency, I long for God.

Occasionally, when life just gets hard, I want to know Him more.

 

I think that ‘ache’ is a good thing. In fact, I think it’s something put there by God Himself. I think the Holy Spirit wants us to feel that ‘ache’, to sense that longing and thirst.

It reminds us that this life isn’t ‘it’. We’re not content with this life–we know there’s something better! We know we’re headed for more!

We know that we need to–more accurately, “GET TO”–move “Further Up and Further In”. 

 

That’s what He’s destined us for. It’s what He calls us to.

This week, let the Spirit give you that ache. Let Him make you ‘thirsty’.

 

Ask Him to take you–even while in this life–to a closer relationship with Himself.

He wants to lead us to more. 

 

“Further Up and Further In!”

Could We Do It Again? Would we?

D-Day.

June 6, 1944–the day on which approx. 160,000 Allied Troops landed on the shores of Normandy, France in a relentless effort to push Hitler and his troops out of France, and to take back Europe, standing against Fascism and tyranny.

At least 9,000 men lost their lives in the battle…in that battle alone. However, the Allies kept coming…wave after wave, they refused to give up. General Dwight Eisenhower reminded them that “Th eyes of the world were upon them”, and that they were part of a “Great crusade” for freedom and liberty.

Those men (18-22 years old) knew, when they jumped out of their Amphibious Assault Vehicles, that they may not make it. First, there were the 8 foot waves with 80 pounds of gear on their backs…then there was the relentless machine-gun-fire, then the mines, the obstacles…then the cliffs!

Yet, they kept coming.

Why?

Why not just turn around, go back home, and try to get comfortable in their lives again?

Why? Because liberty and freedom were under assualt! If the Nazis weren’t stopped there, they would never stop–after all, they believed they were the ‘chosen race’, and they wanted to wipe everyone else off the face of the earth (or at least to rule over them).

QUESTION:

Could we do this today? Would we?

In today’s culture, where instant media brings us graphic visions, do we have the stomach for war? Do we have the iron will that those men did–not only to speak out, not only to stand up, but to put their lives on the line–to stop evil?

There is still evil in the world, and all it takes is one person or one group with a big weapon who believes that they have the right to exterminate or dominate others to start something.

If that happens, will WE stand up? Will THIS generation rise to the occasion?

Today, President Obama declared June 6 a national remembrance day.

In a declaration Friday, he said, “Seventy years later, we pay tribute to the service members who secured a beachhead on an unforgiving shore — the patriots who, through their courage and sacrifice, changed the course of an entire century. Today, as we carry on the struggle for liberty and universal human rights, let us draw strength from a moment when free nations beat back the forces of oppression and gave new hope to the world.”

Good words.

I hope we still believe them.

 

Baby Food

I remember it well…trying to feed our kids baby food when they were very little. I’d pretend that the spoon was an airplane, make the ‘flying’ noise, and try to get the spoon into the mouth (then use the spoon to gather the extra food that they’d spit out).

Usually, my kids seemed to be entertained and it worked, but occasionally it wouldn’t work, and they’d just close their mouths tightly and try to move away. On one such occasion, I was curious and actually tasted what I was giving them (I think it was baby peas).

YUK!

No wonder they spit it out! Disgusting!

Some baby foods, however, were good. Baby applesauce was always good. Now I saw that there’s a babyfood Burger and Fries! I have no idea whether or not it’s ‘legit’, but that may have made it easier to feed!

Here’s the deal though: Baby food–even Burger and Fries flavor–cannot sustain a growing person. Even the baby food makers acknowledge this, and design other foods for toddlers, etc. They assume that, after about 1 year, that child is then going to be eating solid food. Progression is normal, healthy, and expected.

Spiritually speaking, there should be growth also. The writer of Hebrews wrote,

You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.[c] You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding.” (Hebrews 5:12-6:1)

Some of US–today–need to be progressing from ‘Baby Food’ to Solid Spiritual Food…but we’re not. Rather, we’re being ‘spoon fed’.

Sometimes we may go to church and feel inspired, convicted, or moved. That’s great…but no matter how powerful the Sunday service is, that cannot be all that you ‘eat’ that week! You need to be digging into the Word and seeking God on your own too.

THAT is one way that we can grow, develop and mature.

This week, don’t settle for baby food…take a bite into some spiritual meat!