Chapter-6.7   Eight Irresistible Characteristics Of God

 
He Rewards Those Who Seek Him
(With Reflections On “Back To The Future”) *1*
 
 
What We Have To Look Forward To
 
Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Mad Scientist, Doc Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) co-star in the zany, imaginative and highly entertaining movie trilogy, Back to the Future *1*, one of my all time favorite stories. As they travel back and forth between 1985, 1955, 2015 and 1885, they find themselves interacting with ancestors, descendants and bullies, all doing life in their own ways.
 
And while Doc draws Marty into a value structure that professes great adherence to preserving the “Space Time Continuum” (the natural progression of time through recorded history and beyond), in more instances then they would care to admit, they find themselves trying to straighten out the time warps they have created by their untimely presence. And needless to say, when they encounter personal life and death circumstances, they justify their minor alterations with the notion, “Ah, what the heck!”
 
Marty, seeking to escape his own demise, after watching as Doc is brutally shot to death by Libyan terrorists (1985), launches the first episode, by jumping into the Time Machine (a Doc altered DeLorean sports car), to elude his assailants. When he reaches the speed of 88 mph, in the local Mall parking lot, with flashes of intense light and great explosions, he finds himself plowing through a farm crop and taking out a scare-crow some 30 years earlier in 1955!
 
The plot thickens as Marty happens to meet his Mother, Lorraine (Lea Thompson), and in different scenes his Father, George (Crispin Glover) – both, due to the time machine, now the same age as their son Marty (high school students). As Lorraine starts to develop a mad crush on Marty, instead of George, Marty’s brother starts to disappear from the photo of his family that Marty happened to have in his pocket when he found himself in 1955. When he finally hooks up with (the 1955 version of) Doc Emmett Brown, they conclude that this mystery is occurring because the photo is a currently accurate record of the projected 1985 outcome of circumstances as they are presently unfolding in 1955. And if Lorraine doesn’t marry George, then Marty’s brother, his sister, and finally Marty will all cease to exist. Photographs become a valuable tool in all of their subsequent time travels to guide them in their efforts to preserve the “Space Time Continuum”. If you have never seen these three movies, I strongly encourage you to do so!
 
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel back to the past? To have been on the Mayflower? To have seen Lincoln deliver his Gettysburg Address? Or been there when they dedicated the Golden Gate Bridge? Have you ever wondered the experiences of the people who ignored the preaching of Noah and died slow agonizing deaths? *2*. Or maybe the future; like being there when they develop a cure for cancer? Or being part of the Women’s Beach Volleyball team, that wins the gold medal at the 2032, Summer Olympics? Or being there when Christ returns to set up His Kingdom on Earth? *3*
 
Ironically, all of us are invited to travel through time. In fact God not only provides us with a Time Capsule (the Bible) He wants us to know the past with all its pitfalls (and His actual responses to them) as well as the future. In the future, He wants us to examine carefully the tragic and horrifying demise of those who reject His beloved Son, Jesus, as well as the joys of those who have embraced Him! He then wants us to so interact with the stories (like Abraham’s journey to the promised land *4*, David’s slaying of Goliath *5*, Jesus’ healing of blind Bartimaeus *6*, the return of the Prodigal Son *7* or Peter’s denial of Jesus *8*), that we leave these encounters as changed people who reverantly bow, and come back ready to be ambassadors of reconciliation *9*.
 
He wants us to travel back and rediscover the people we have hurt (as a result of our transgressions) that we might apologize (where possible) and mend relationships *10*.  There are also those we might rediscover, that we need to forgive and release *11* (even if they never acknowledge the hurt they may have caused us). And finally, there are experiences that we have had that he wants us to simply forget *12* and trust him for the outcome.
 
He then wants us to travel back to the present and with His grace and help He wants us to disrupt the “Space Time Continuum” in our lives and the world around us forever! Perhaps we now refuse to abuse our spouses or our kids. Perhaps we spend some time at the hospital with a friend who is sick, or kindly give space to the driver who is trying to merge onto the highway, rather than running them off the road. Or, maybe we share our faith with a hungry soul. And just as Jesus has promised a reward for anyone who ‘gives one of these little ones a cup of cold water, in his name…’. He will reward each of our attempts to change the “Space Time Continuum” for His glory *13*.
 
Then someday (like Marty and Doc), we too will gaze upon the photo we have been carrying in our pockets. But for us, we will not only be shocked at the quality of it’s content and finish but we will be delighted to see the very artistry of God blended into the final print!
 
Onward And Upward
 
So let’s join all time travelers and respond to the voice that calls out to each of us (along with all readers of the Book of Revelation), to join the Apostle John, as he ascends God’s holy mountain and watches the Angel measure the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, as it comes down out of Heaven *14*.
 
But as we ascend, I must caution you that the view out the left side of our craft is not very pleasant, and the stench is overpowering. If you glance that way, you will see people to numerous to count, suffering in various degrees of torment in the ever consuming, never satisfied, unquenchable Lake of Fire, reserved for those who did not want God in their lives. So in the end, He granted them their wish – they will live in this condition forever! *15a*. One of the real tragedies in this, is that at a great number of funerals for people here, surviving loved ones were falsely comforted with the assurance, “Oh, he (or she) is in a much better place.” This phrase can easily lull people into a complacent state of mind that blinds them to their own need to adequately prepare for eternity. *15b*
 
As we peer out the windows on the right, we will all get a brief glimpse of this New Paradise of God and the things that await us beyond our present time, for our faith in Jesus. However, I must caution you that the closer we get, the more foggy our windows become. This is because the glimpses that we are allowed to see are limited or veiled with intent by God. As it is written, “We see through a glass darkly.” *16*. It also says, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of people, the things that God has prepared for those who love Jesus!” *17*. Yes, God has decided to keep some things hidden!
 
I have however been able to compile a partial list (from common Bible verses) of the future things that God has permitted us to see during our journey — where time fades out of existence, and we are no longer strangled by the hands on our clock (see footnotes for verse references):
 
1–Our “perishable” bodies will be replaced by “imperishable” bodies. *18/19*
 
2–We will exchange that which is “mortal” for that which is “immortal”. *18/19*
 
3–We will be rewarded with the gift of being able to see God’s face. *20*
 
4–We will be sheltered forever by the one who sits on the throne; thus, we will never hunger or thirst again and we will no longer be subjected to the burning of the sun or any scorching heat. *21*
 
5–The Lamb will lead us to springs of Living Water and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. *22*
 
6–There will be no more death, mourning, crying or pain. *23*
 
7–The victorious will be allowed to eat from the Tree of Life in the very Paradise of God. *24*
 
8–The victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death. *25*
 
9–The victorious will receive some hidden manna, and a white stone with a new name written on it known only to the one who receives it. *26*
 
10–The victorious will receive authority over all the nations and the power to rule. They will also receive the Morning Star. *27*
 
11–The victorious will be dressed in white and their names will remain in the Book of Life forever. Jesus himself will acknowledge their names before His Father and His Angels. *28*
 
12–The victorious will become pillars in the Temple of God — they will never leave it. They will forever bear the name of God, the name of the New Jerusalem, and they will receive a new name. *29*
 
13–The victorious will sit with Jesus on His throne. *30*
 
14–We will finally be reunited with family members and loved ones who went before us, believing in Jesus. *31*
 
15–We will judge the world as well as the Angels. *32*
 
16–Anything that has been given up in following Jesus will be returned with a significant increase. *33*
 
17–Faithful followers will be welcome at the marriage supper of the Lamb. *34*
 
18–We will be blessed with “Pleasures Forever”. *35*
 
19–We will be rewarded amply for the wise and fruitful use of the gifts and talents He bestowed upon us! *36*
 
20–We will get to see the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, flowing down the middle of the great street of the Heavenly City. *37*
 
21–On each side of the river we will get to see the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And we will get to experience the soothing effects of the leaves of the tree that exist for the healing of the nations. *38*
 
22–The curse will be completely removed. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and we will have the privilege of serving Him. *39*
 
23–There will be no more night. We will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give us light. *40*
 
24–We will reign for ever and ever. *41*
 
I was struck quite pointedly by two things as I did the research and writing of this chapter. [A] There are almost no references to things quite common to us in this world included in the lists of blessings that await us. There don’t seem to be references to deluxe cars or boats as rewards. Rather, the list of revealed blessings tends to focus on painful, annoying and dreadful things (from our experience here on earth) that will cease to exist in that time/place. Or, tremendous blessings that will further alleviate the pain caused by the symptoms of the curse. Bottom line to me is that our perspectives on life and people and most importantly, God, have been so corrupted by “The Fall”, we can hardly anticipate with genuine appreciation an eternal, joy filled, blissful experience centered and focused primarily on the Triune God, and not the things of this world. [B] All of these blessings are possible, because as Scripture says about God (which I believe with all my heart – and have seen evidence of), “…[He] rewards those who earnestly seek Him!” *42*
 
So Lord please help us to set our hearts on things above and on You! And please guide us in the renewing of our minds, and help us find You, as we seek You! Thank You for your great grace and love that passes all understanding — and the many blessings You plan to lavish upon us! ~Amen
 
So, we now close this chapter on our time travel and settle again back into our present reality, a little bit more hopeful and a little bit more confident regarding the future. Yes, we are free to return to the future as often as we please – there is a blessing promised us for simply reading the book of Revelation. And with each journey, we become a little better equipped for that moment in time, when Jesus calls us individually by name and says, Today I am sending you, FOREVER, Back To Your Future! *43*
 
America, where are you? Reader, where are you?
 
 
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REFERENCES AND NOTES:
 
All Scripture References in this chapter are from:
 
A New International Version / Zondervan / Distributed through Tecarta Bible Study App / Tecarta, Inc. / ©️2019 Tecarta, Inc.
 
Unless otherwise noted.
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*1*.  “Back To The Future” is a Registered Trademark of Universal/U-Drive Joint Venture.
 
*2*.  Genesis 7:4 NIV
[4] Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made. ”
 
*3*.  Revelation 20:6 NIV
[6] Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
 
*4*.  Genesis 12:1-4 NIV
[1] The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. [2] “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. [3] I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. ” [4] So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.
 
*5*.  1 Samuel 17:48-50 NIV
[48] As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. [49] Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. [50] So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
Read the full story:  
 
*6*.  Mark 10:46-52 NIV
[46] Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. [47] When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” [48] Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” [49] Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” [50] Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. [51] “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” [52] “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
 
*7*.  Luke 15:21-24 NIV
[21] “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ [22] “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. [23] Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. [24] For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Read the full story: 
 
*8*.  Mark 14:69-72 NIV
[69] When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” [70] Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” [71] He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” [72] Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
 
*9*.  2 Corinthians 5:18-20 NIV
[18] All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: [19] that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. [20] We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
 
*10*.  Matthew 5:23-24 NIV
[23] “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, [24] leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
 
*11*.  Mark 11:25 NIV
[25] And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
 
*12*.  Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
[13] Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, [14] I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
 
*13*.  Mark 9:41 NIV
[41] Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.  
Ephesians 2:10 NIV
[10] For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
 
*14*.  Revelation 21:2 NIV
[2] I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
 
*15a*.  Revelation 20:14-15 NIV
[14] Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. [15] Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
Read the entire story of the Rich 
 
*15b*.  2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NIV
[20] We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. [21] God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
 
*16*.  “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=1%20Corinthians%2013:12&version=KJV
 
*17*.  1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV
[9] However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—
 
*18/19*.  1 Corinthians 15:52-53 NIV
[52] in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. [53] For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
 
*20*.  Psalm 11:7 NIV
[7] For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.
 
*21*.  Revelation 7:15-16 NIV
[15] … and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. [16] ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ a nor any scorching heat. …
 
*22*.  Revelation 7:17 NIV
[17] For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ ”
 
*23*.  Revelation 21:4 NIV
[4] ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
 
*24*.  Revelation 2:7 NIV. (Ephesus)
[7] Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
 
*25*.  Revelation 2:11 NIV. (Smyrna)
[11] Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
 
*26*.  Revelation 2:17 NIV. (Pergamum)
[17] Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
 
*27*.  Revelation 2:26-29 NIV. (Thyatira)
[26] To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— [27] that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’ —just as I have received authority from my Father. [28] I will also give that one the morning star. [29] Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
 
*28*.  Revelation 3:5-6 NIV. (Sardis)
[5] The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. [6] Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
 
*29*.  Revelation 3:12 NIV. (Philadelphia)
[12] The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.
 
*30*.  Revelation 3:21 NIV. (Laodicea)
[21] To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
 
*31*.  Genesis 25:8 NIV
[8] Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.  Hebrews 12:1 NIV.  [1] Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…
 
*32*.  1 Corinthians 6:2,3 NIV
[2] Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?  [3] Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!
 
*33*.  Matthew 19:29 NIV
[29] And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
 
*34*.  Matthew 25:10 NIV
[10] “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
 
*35*.  Psalm 16:11 NIV
[11] You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
 
*36*.  From The Parable of the bags of gold:  Matthew 25:20-21 NIV
[20] The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ [21] “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
 
Read entire story:  
 
*37*.  Revelation 22:1-2a NIV
[1] Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.  [2] down the middle of the great street of the city…
 
*38*.  Revelation 22:2 NIV
[2] down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
 
*39*.  Revelation 22:3 NIV
[3] No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
 
*40*.  Revelation 22:5a NIV
[5a] There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light…
 
*41*.  Revelation 22:5b NIV
[5b] …And they will reign for ever and ever.
 
*42*.  Hebrews 11:6 NIV
[6] And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
 
*43*.  Revelation 16:11 NIV
[11] and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.  Revelation 22:12 NIV  [12] “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
 
 
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