Practicing Eternity

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Each day, as we exercise the discipline of worshipping our King, we get to “practice” what we’ll one day experience for all eternity.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart …. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

With my heart racing, I sit motionless on the piano bench … still as a statue.

Hovering over the keys in the “ready” position, my palms sweat uncontrollably. A slew of conflicting emotions play within me. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m anxious, fearful, elated, overwhelmed!

I’m about to put my hours, days, months and years of practice and preparation on the line for the first (and potentially last) time. Here I am … awaiting a moment of either sublime success or my deepest failure. Having lived 14 years up to this point, there has never been a bigger moment than now!

Silence swallows the room. Beyond the blinding stage lights, thousands of eyes are staring right at me. Positioned in the front and center of the stage with a full orchestra to accompany me, I sit behind a grand piano awaiting the beginning count from the conductor. I lock my eyes with the eyes of the conductor. A silent nod in my direction signals the inevitable.

With tiny micro-movements of his baton, the conductor begins the count …

One … Two … Three … Four …

During the early years of my life, few things piqued my interest more than music. By the time I was five, if there was a stereo in the room, I’d be nearby. I’d take my family’s records and play one after the other for hours on end. My parents, noticing my proclivity towards music, made the wise decision to sign me up for piano lessons when I was nine.

As I began taking lessons, I was amazed at how I could read and play hundreds of notes on a page. Instead of passively listening to music, I could create music with my fingers! But I soon learned a large investment of practice was needed to grow in my newfound skill. Soon, my fascination of performance was coupled with the fatigue of practice! Although I never wanted to give up playing the piano, I sure wished someone would come up with an easier way to learn without such a large time investment. I quickly learned, in order to grow and develop in my craft, I needed a plentiful dose of good, old-fashioned discipline. So, because I loved playing the piano so much—and with the help of a few “gentle” nudges along the way from my parents—I practiced hour upon hour every week to become a better musician.

Through the process, I discovered the true joy of being able to master a piece of music and play with confidence. Although my practice time was extensive, I found joy in the journey. Even during the commitment of practice, I’d get caught up in the pleasure of the music … to the point where my time felt more delightful than dutiful. Sure, I needed a good dose of gumption to get myself going; but once I did, I loved it and couldn’t imagine life without it!

So here I was at my defining moment. After years of unending practice and preparation, I was about to perform a Rachmaninoff piano concerto in front of the biggest audience my mind could imagine. (Since I couldn’t really see past the lights, I could only imagine how many throngs of people were there.) After the conductor gave the opening four-count, I played with all my might. At the end of the performance, in the midst of the applause and with the greatest sense of accomplishment I had felt in my life, I once and for all settled this in my heart—every single moment of practice and preparation was worth it!

One day—very soon—we’ll all have THE defining moment of our lives. We’ll gather together from every nation, encircling the throne of God, offering our worship, adoration, love and thanksgiving. We’ll sing melodies more beautiful than have ever been heard. We’ll bow, we’ll shout, we’ll worship!

But until that day, we have moments right now—every day—preparing us for the moment when we’ll worship our King forever. Each day, as we exercise the discipline of worshipping our King, we get to “practice” what we’ll one day experience for all eternity. As we worship, we truly get a glimpse of the beauty of His holiness. And it is so much more delightful than dutiful! Sure, some days are harder than others, but once we enter into worship, the pleasure and sheer joy of His presence displaces all the worries and fears this world brings.

A taste of heaven is waiting for you. Practice eternity today. Worship the King!

What we do in life, echoes in eternity. ~ GLADIATOR

PRAYER

Father, I can’t wait to spend the rest of eternity in Your presence, worshipping my King forever and ever. But until that day, I want to begin practicing for eternity right here and right now. Some days are easy while others require more discipline. But I know that once I’m in Your presence, all the cares and worries of this world fade away in the light of Your glory. Help me to persevere and continue expressing my love for You and seeking Your face day after day after day. I love You and adore You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

ACTIVATION

Practice the presence of God during the week by asking yourself how you would live if He were right there with you in person 24/7.

Learn to praise God by reading through the Psalms. Read them. Memorize them. Use their language when you talk and sing to God.

Develop an attitude of expectation for corporate times of worship with your congregation of believers. Come for services early and seek God in prayer. Pray for your pastors and leaders that God’s glory would surround them. Look at people as they enter and

FOR FURTHER STUDY

1 Chronicles 16:29

Mark 12:30

John 4:23–24

Read the book Practicing the Presence of God: Learn to Live Moment-by-Moment by Brother Lawrence

by Thomas Miller

 

Taken from Love Expressed, a Gateway devotion. 

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