Sunday, October 5, 2014

Waking Up in Heaven: & Things That Really Stuck Out To Me

Book: Waking Up in Heaven
Author: Crystal McVea and Alex Tresniowski

I was really excited when I saw this book in the book store. I am always interested in these kind of books, just because I am curious about what heaven might be like. 

I read this book in a couple of days, even when Travis was sitting next to me watching football. And if you know me, I don't read books hardly ever.. and if I do, it will honestly take me like a month to finish, but this book was different. It kept me wanting to read the next page. I really liked it, although it wasn't too much about heaven though, but instead a strong book about Crystal's life and how God was there throughout her life through the darkest times. I would highly recommend reading it.

And like I say, my faith is growing more than ever before in my life so some things I really found some of the things she wrote really interesting because it's some things that I am starting to believe in/or wanting to know:

*"And you know, back on Earth, I had so many questions for God. 'If I ever meet Him,' I'd say, 'I'm going to ask Him how He could let someone molest me when I was a child. How could He abide brutality against children or the suffering of starving people or cruelty towards the weak? How could He allow such evil to exist in the world?' Why, i would ask Him, was he such a punishing God? But in heaven, all those questions immediately evaporated. In His presence I absolutely understood that in every way God's plan is perfect. Sheer, utter perfection. Does that mean I can now explain how a child being murdered fits in God's plan? No. I understand it in heaven but we aren't meant to have that kind of understanding here on Earth. All I can tell you is that I know God's plan is perfect. In His radiance, it all makes perfect, perfect sense."

-- I have this question all the time. Why all the bad things in the world? Why do people have to suffer? Why do people have to go through such difficult times? Why does one die so young without living a full life, or why would this happen in someone's life? Why would God allow this to happen?

--When talking to my best friend, Kate {who is the most Godly person I know}, she also mentioned that during a sad time is when you do the most growing with God because you either 1.) Run towards God or 2.) Run away from God. You have to trust God during this time because you are so angry/upset. Sometimes you have a conflict with God and that will make you have a crossroads with beliefs. Do you really believe in God? It will convict you. 

*{When she talks about her husband and his beliefs} "Something about the concept of salvation really struck with Virgil, and that year he entered into a relationship with God. There was no elaborate ceremony or ritual. Virgil just went off on his own somewhere and spoke a few words to God. 'Lord I am a sinner, and I ask that you forgive me for my sins,' he said. 'I believe that you died on the cross for my sins, and I ask you now to enter my heart as my savior.' As Virgil would later explain it to me, that was the start of a long and beautiful process. From that day on, Virgil has never looked back. He has never doubted, not even for a moment, that God is real and lives in his heart. 'I can trust God,' he will say, 'I know He will help me and protect me.' "

--I have asked God to save me. I believe it's different than being baptized when you are a baby. This is you coming to God and asking him to enter into your heart when you are ready.

*"There's another question that people always ask me. 'What does God's voice sound like?' I don't know if they expect me to say God has a big, booming voice that comes down from the heavens, but it's not like that at all for me. When I hear God's voice - when one of those thoughts pops in my head or I get one of those sudden nudges - what I'm hearing is my own voice. And because it's my own voice, it can get confusing. Early on I used to confuse God's commands with silly, random thoughts, like when I fought so hard not to leave a $100 tip, or when I almost didn't tell Patricia about 'blue rabbit.' But now I can recognize God's commands, because they are usually something that I don't want to do. They're something that probably will embarrass me, and like I said, I hate to be embarrassed. But that's how I know it's God and not me - He puts me in positions that I would never put myself. 

That's not to say I don't have internal debates over a thought, because sometimes I still do. And that's because the enemy also uses my voice to talk to me. So I have to stop and ask myself, If I follow this instinct, is it going to help me or help someone else? Is it in the flesh or is of the spirit? And if you think about it for a while, you can usually figure it out. No that is not God. That is of the flesh. You can begin to recognize your own voice, the enemy's voice, and God's voice.
But God doesn't use only words to speak to us. Sometimes it can be a feeling or the sense that you're being drawn to a person or place. And sometimes, God comes to us in our dreams."

--Kate is the most Godly person I know. She told me a long time ago about God's voice, which is exactly how Crystal describes it. She questions those nudges/voices as well. 1.) Is it going to cause her to sin? 2.) Is it going to hurt anyone? God will push us into something that makes us uncomfortable because we will never grow. “Do this even though you don’t understand it.”

*"Choosing that relationship with God is what salvation is all about. Salvation isn't some Get Out of Jail Free card that allows you to do anything you want and gives you a clean slate. The sins you commit on Earth will always have consequences. I still grieve for the child I lost when I was younger, and my heart still breaks whenever I think of all the bad decisions I made. My human form will always bear the scars of these sins, but because I chose God over everything else, God has cleansed my spirit. God has given me salvation. God has bathed me in His love.

Which is not to say that salvation is just reserving your spot in heaven. Salvation is something that exists here on Earth. God has a purpose for us here, today, right now. He wants us to live our lives in the kind of fullness and goodness that glorifies Him. But we can't do that if we are plagued by secrets and shame. The walls of our salvation start to crumble and collapse, allowing the enemy to get in. And so we must restore these walls, brick by brick, so that we can live in the fullness and glory of God."

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