Between

“You send the springs into the valleys; they flow between the mountains.”

To be in between two things is neither always good nor always bad, but it can be a thankless position to occupy. The attention always seems to be on the things one is between; the valley between the mountains is made to be overlooked, yet in that valley the waters of life flow.

Of course, life is lived between.

  • The moments of arrival are far outnumbered by the years of travel.
  • The time we carefully manage with our hard-earned life-skills is the time in the middle, between the inception and the completion of any job.
  • Screenwriters and playwrights will tell you the second act is the most difficult to write. The crash-bang beginning and the thrilling climax practically write themselves. Act Two, where characters are developed and subplots and themes are explored, is the most taxing on the writer’s creativity.

Our lives are one big Act Two in which our character is developed, our life themes are discovered, and we work our way through one subplot after the other. It seems random characters come and go in our story and unexpected events happen while expected ones fail to happen.

All the time our hearts are faithfully beating, asking no questions, seeking no respite and our minds swell with more and more information, so many facts stored away for some future use. (Soon our supply of numbers is used up and we have start writing them down to remember them.)

But there is no surprise here—we are on track, on the journey between the beginning and the end. We don’t remember the beginning but we celebrate the date every year watching the candles crowd to the edge of the cake. We don’t know when the end will be so we don’t think about it.

Two Possible Endings
If we don’t know when, and it is a blessing that we don’t, we can be sure of one of two endings:

  • Jesus will return in our lifetime, or
  • We will, as the old preachers used to say, “Go by way of the grave.”

What these two outcomes have in common is that we must prepare for them. We can’t stop either from happening.

  • We are living in Act Two—between the beginning and ending of our lives and
  • we are living in the Church Age—Act Two—between the Coming of Christ and His Return.

If we properly prepare for them, either ending will be a graduation from earth to glory.

If we fail to prepare either conclusion will bring the curtain down on the most precious thing we human beings possess—our ability to choose. Dying without Christ or living without Him when He returns will be the end of our options. Before our coffin closes our chance to choose Jesus will have flown away forever. When the trumpet sounds and graves open and saints around us disappear, we will just be spectators, watching in wonder and regret that we did not prepare our hearts for this day.

Today is another day to be lived between the beginning and the end. If we did not begin well, or it we need a new beginning, we still have these choices. Remember it is between these two mountaintop events, that the waters of life freely flow. Worship the Lord today!

Scriptures:
Psalm 104
Bless the Lord, O my soul; O Lord my God, how excellent is your greatness! You are clothed with majesty and splendor. You wrap yourself with light as with a cloak and spread out the heavens like a curtain. You lay the beams of your chambers in the waters above; you make the clouds your chariot; you ride on the wings of the wind. You make the winds your messengers and flames of fire your servants. You have set the earth upon its foundations, so that it never shall move at any time. You covered it with the Deep as with a mantle; the waters stood higher than the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the voice of your thunder they hastened away.
They went up into the hills and down to the valleys beneath, to the places you had appointed for them. You set the limits that they should not pass; they shall not again cover the earth. You send the springs into the valleys; they flow between the mountains.   All the beasts of the field drink their fill from them … I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will praise my God while I have my being. May these words of mine please him; I will rejoice in the Lord. Let sinners be consumed out of the earth, and the wicked be no more.  Bless the Lord, O my soul. Hallelujah!
Psalm 51:5 NIV
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Hebrews 9:27-28 NKJV
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Matthew 24:36-47 NIV
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.  “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, on this, the day that You have made, I will sing Your praise with all my might. I see that I am in the Second Act of my life’s drama. In Act One You found me, saved me, filled me with Your Spirit and anointed my life for ministry. In Act Three You will call me home to my eternal reward and to glorious things I can scarcely imagine. Today, I will worship You, serve You, and tell Your Story in public worship. Tomorrow Act Two will continue in my work. May it also be a witness to You at home and out in the world. Lord, You are with me in this in between time! Thank You! Amen

Song:
When Jesus Returns for His Own
Words: Herbert Buffum; Music: Robert Winsett

1. There’s coming a wonderful, wonderful day,
Its glory has never been known;
When free from our burdens we’re going away,
As Jesus returns for His own.

Refrain:
When Jesus returns for His own,
And carries us up to His throne,
There’ll be no more sadness,
But all will be gladness,
When Jesus returns for His own.

2. Then those who have suffered and toiled for His name,
Tho’ hated, rejected, unknown,
No longer shall suffer the world’s scorn and shame,
When Jesus returns for His own.

Refrain

3. Triumphant they’ll rise with their Lord in the air,
And sit with Him soon on His throne,
While those who once ridiculed weep in despair,
When Jesus returns for His own.

Refrain

4. No longer we’ll think of the trials down here,
The days when we suffered alone,
For God’s loving hand wipes away ev’ry tear,
When Jesus returns for His own.

Refrain

5. Then let us be faithful, e’en down unto death,
Nor ever our troubles bemoan,
But render Him praise, and rejoice full of faith,
That we may be counted His own.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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