Friday, March 25, 2011

Five Facts About Heaven

I grew up listening to country music. One of my favorite female icons is Miss Loretta Lynn. She has been dubbed "The First Lady of Country Music" and for good reason. Of her many, many songs recorded over the years is one that includes this line, "everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die." 


Kenny Chesney recorded a song that included this hook line, "everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now." Cute song, but sadly too true. Ask anybody around you if they would like to go to heaven, I dare say the answer is almost always, yes! Ask them, OK, how about right now?" Watch all of them sputter like an arc light. There is just something about that word "now" that puts a whole different spin on it, doesn't it?

Many people wonder what heaven is like? Many people wonder what will we do when we get to heaven? Of course, TBN and the Holy Hardware Stores have a ready supply of people with "testimonies" who have been to heaven, been given grand tours, and opportunities of playing around in a river with Jesus himself. They will gladly tell you all about it for a love offering of 29.99 or more.

Sadly, most believers do not have a biblical view and understanding of heaven. Unfortunately a large portion of that fault lies with the Elders and teachers in the church. Sermons and series on heaven should be included in the preaching plan of every body of Elders in order to help prepare people for heaven.

Having made the statement, I don't have the time or the space today to do a series on heaven. I may work on that as a project for "Sundays in the Study." Today, I would simply like to share five (5) thoughts or facts from God's Word about this wonderful place called heaven.

Heaven is the dwelling place of God. God dwells in a place the bible calls the third heaven. The bible calls this place the heaven of heavens. The apostle Paul was "caught up" and transported to the third heaven and given a small glimpse of heaven's glory. (II Corinthians 12:2) The apostle John was also transported into heaven where he saw many wonderful things. (Rev 4:2) Heaven is where God dwells. Heaven is a specific place. (Matthew 6:9; John 14:2-3). Study these scriptures and ask God to illuminate your spiritual understanding about this real place where God dwells. We will one day live where God lives and with God!

Heaven is a place of unmatched peace and beauty. We have a brief sneak peek at the beauty and glory of this wonderful place in Revelations 21:1-Revelations 22:6. Take some time to read this section today. Notice in this passage that the holy city called New Jerusalem descends form heaven. Look at the description; New Jerusalem is adorned or dressed as a bride who is adorned or dressed for her husband. Guys, I don't know about you, but I can close my eyes and see Irene in her white gown at the back of the church coming down that aisle towards me. She was beautiful. Her dark hair flowed down around her brown shoulders and that white dress - isn't it something that when God wanted to emphasize the beauty of New Jerusalem He chose a bride as an example?  There is no more pain, sorrow, tears, or death.There is a beautiful spring available. There is in this account a description of a beautiful crystal river that flows from the throne of God. Meditate on this passage and the cross references and drink in the peace and beauty of heaven.

Heaven is the current dwelling place for all those in Christ who have died. All who have died, before the cross anticipating by faith and those after the cross having been given faith are immediately transported to this place when their regenerated spirit leaves the body. (Phil 1:23; II Corinthians 5:8; Matthew 17:3-4). Every family member and relative, every friend, everyone we have known who died in Christ is there enjoying all that God has provided. So many have gone on before us and we miss them. One day, we too shall cross that great divide (those who are in Christ) and we shall join them in that splendid place. "What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q51R0UdtqSk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kshw-OnxDns Take the time to listen, will you? I can't wait, can you?

Heaven is be a place where we will be very busy. Unfortunately, many people think of heaven as place of harps and clouds. Some even think we will be very bored sitting around for billions of years on soft fluffy clouds. Study the scriptures and see just how busy you will be for eternity. First, of all, heaven doesn't stay located beyond the atmosphere. Heaven comes down to this earth. Here are some of the things that will keep you busy:
  • We will worship God. (Rev 5:12)
  • We will rule and administrate. (I Cor 6:2-3; Ro 5:17, Rev 22:5; II Tim 2:12
  • We will rebuild cities. (Amos 9:14; Isaiah 61:3
  • We will build houses. (Isaiah 65:21, Isaiah 32:18
  • We will work. (Rev 7:15, 22:3; Titus 2:14
  • We will farm. (Isaiah 30:23; Hosea 2:22; Isaiah 32:20)
  • We will care for orchards. (Isaiah 65:21; Amos 9:13-14; Isaiah 55:13
  • We will raise livestock. (Psalms 8:3-9; Isaiah 30:23; Joel 3:18)
  • We will fish. (Ezek 47:10)
So, you won't have to worry about sitting around on some cloud for a billion quatrillion gazillion years plucking a harp. Some of you are going to look good feeding cows and riding horses. But wait, there is more, wait to you see me holding a hammer building a house.

Heaven's anticipation teaches us how to live now. There is no doubt that we live our current life on this earth. Regardless of where we were born and what our nationality might be or what our citizenship is, we as blood bought redeemed children of God are citizens of heaven. (Phil 3:20) All believers have "dual-citizenship." Lynn's and Chesney's songs remind us that nobody wants to go heaven now. We are way to "rooted" in this world and this life. However, Paul told the Colossians to not let the thingss of this world capture your mind. Think on heaven and think on it often. Anticipate heaven. Live life today for heaven. C. S. Lewis wrote: "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exist...If I find myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world...Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing." 

Does this life arouse you for heaven? 

Do you have a spiritual longing and desire
 for that which only heaven can satisfy?

How are you preparing for heaven right now?

8 comments:

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Did you know Loretta Lynn is Daniel's all time favourite star,
She even went over to Kincalssagh where Daniel has a festival to be "Belle Of The Ball"?

Loved reading about getting ready for Heaven but I am a person who hate to dwell on my mortality,
As long as I live a reasonable clean and helpful life and live this life to the full I'm happy.
When you have health issues one don't really want to dwell on the fact we're not going to be here for ever,

Have a good week-end.
Yvonne.

Cathy M. said...

I think about heaven a lot more when I'm going through a time of trial. I long for the ending of all sorrow; but most of all, I long for the end of this body of sin. Oh! How wonderful that will be. Thanks for this great post.

[Hey, is that picture of heaven from a Jehovah's Witnesses tract? (snickering)]

Arlee Bird said...

I do look forward to Heaven, but I also see my life as a blessing and a precious gift from God. I try to focus my thoughts Heavenward and keep at attitude of praise and thankfulness to God. I enjoy life and I believe that God wants us to be positive and enjoy the gift of life he has given us.

My spritual longing and desire is to be in the absolute and undistracted presence of God and to be able to have so many difficult questions answered.

Heaven is always a wonderful topic.


Lee
Tossing It Out
Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

Gregg said...

For Cathy - Why, yes it its, leave it to you to notice. :) It was the "prettiest" pic I came across to make my point about heaven being beautiful. I hoped no one would notice.

Ron T. O. Geezer said...

"everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die."

I think going through the death process is what most sane people do not look forward too.

The Bible tells us that death is our enemy, not our friend. Death and sin are close cousins and the believer should be repulsed by both.

Of course God has taken the sting out of death for all of us who believe in the sacrifice of Christ for our sins. But nobody I know wants to die...at least not a normal healthy person in their right mind."

Maybe that's because God created us to live forever in these bodies and we still have that desire within, even though we are a dying race.

Praise God that "ALL" He has chosen for eternal life will be saved and live forever in a new body that will never die or see corruption.

Thank you Jesus for your death, burial and resurrection from the grave and your victory over death, sin and the evil one. Amen!

Penned Pebbles said...

Thank you for the scriptural and edifying glimpses of heaven. You're right, there is very little taught or preached on heaven. I wish it wasn't so! This post was a real treat! Blessings!

Michael said...

ABIDE IN ME

Jesus was very clear in what we must do in order to have Him ABIDE in us and we in Him.

He left this command for us in John 6:53-57, and it is the only place in Holy Scripture in which you will find it:

53 " Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (the taken away branch);

54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

56 HE WHO EATS MY FLESH AND DRINKS MY BLOOD ABIDES IN ME, AND I IN HIM.

57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."


What does "Truly, truly" mean to you in verse 53? What does "unless" mean?

The body lives because it receives real food sustenance. Starve the body and it will die.

Just as the body needs real sustenance, so does the soul, else it will not bear fruit.

The soul lives by real Divine sustenance, the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Michael said...

WHAT YOU MUST DO TO BE SAVED

To be saved, you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

However, that's not all. Sacred Scripture clearly shows other things you must also do to be saved:

• You must endure to the end. Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13.

• You must accept the Cross (suffering). Matthew 10:38, Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Luke 14:27.

• You must be baptized with water. Mark 16:16, Titus 3:5, I Peter 3:20-21.

• You must be a member in God's true church. Acts 2:47.

• You must confess your sins. James 5:16, I John 1:9.

• You must keep the Commandments of God. Matthew 5:19-20, Matthew 7:21.

• You must heed the words of St. Peter, the first Pope. Acts 11:13-14, Acts 15:7.

• You must eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ. John 6:51-58, I Corinthians 10:16, I Corinthians 11:23-29.

• Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to His call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. CCC 1996, John 1:12-18, John 17:3, Romans 8:14-17, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

The only Church that meets all the requirements of Salvation is the Holy Catholic Church.