Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Misconceptions of Heaven

If I were to ask you what you think heaven is like, many of you would answer, "I don't have a clue", some would say, "It's like "and you would tell what you think it is like" and I've even heard this. "The Bible says that we can't know what heaven is like and they would quote 1 Corinthians 2:9 which says, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard. Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." If we stopped right there, perhaps we all could agree with their perception that there's no way we can know. However, if we continue on in verse 10 we read this; "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God." Well, now, that sure sounds like it's possible to perceive heaven and know what it is like by allowing God's Holy Spirit to reveal it to us. So now, let me ask again, What do you think heaven is like? Your answer may be "I don't know" or "I haven't thought that much about it" or it could be, "I don't really care, I just know that I'm going there". Whatever your answer is, I do believe that God has given us glimpses of heaven and I also believe God wants us to know some of the things we can expect. If that's true, let's think about heaven and what it might be like.

First things first! We must admit that Jesus is in heaven and any where Jesus is, would be heavenly. The fact that Jesus is there may negate every other aspect of heaven and it just could make it a mute question. However, because Jesus has gone back there to prepare for us a place, then anything that Jesus has to do with, we should be excited and anticpating what it will be like. Second, we will also see friends and family there. Yes, I believe we will see people we know such as my Dad and my Mom and my Grandparents. That too will be heavenly for me to be able to talk to them again and to be able to worship with them again and we get to do this in the presence of Almighty God, Lord of Heaven, Savior, King and Heavenly Father.
Thirdly, the Apostle John writes, "The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. Can you imagine a peral that big? Imagine this, these gates are set in walls that are two hundred feet thick. How about those streets of gold that look like transparent glass. Can you imagine, that heaven will be fourteen hundred miles wide, deep and high. Now that's big. If you can, imagine the size of the United states west of the Mississippi River and then imagine that footing going fourteen hundred miles into the air. Remember this will be a new heaven and a new earth and so oxygen is not a problem for our Creator and the earth's orbit perhaps will certainly be different than now, but again, for our creator, no problem.
Can you imagine a new body, a new resurrected body that is no longer subject to sin. You see, heaven isn't absence of the body, but the attainment of a new sinless body. A Spirit without a body or a body without a spirit in incomplete and not human. No where do we find that we no longer are human. Remember, God created man sinless and it was man who committed sin,however God meant for men to be sinless.
Revelation 21:1, 3-5 says; Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth And I heard a loud voice fromt he throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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. He who was seated on the throne siad, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
Yes Heaven is going to be a great place and I've only mentioned a couple of things that we know about heaven, but we can be assured that heaven is real, heaven is where God is and Heaven will be our Eternal home.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is your joy in Heaven

In 1985, I was living in East Tennessee where four seasons are realized and enjoyed. I had just accepted a job in South Florida where temperatures were sub-tropic all year long and seasons didn’t occur. The only difference in weather was it was either rain or sun-shine but normally always hot. Prior to moving to South Florida, I had only paid one visit there and really didn’t know much about it. I was anxious about going and anxious about knowing about the place I was going to. I had heard about South Florida, but had never really visited there ever before. I had seen pictures of the Florida Keys, Florida Bay and of course the ocean, the palm trees, the ficus trees but had never been there. Needless to say, much of my anxiousness came from not knowing what to expect. Would it be like being on vacation all the time or would it be like living in a Sauna all the time. These among many thoughts were to be considered and thought about prior to our moving. I read everything I could and talked to as many people as I could, but nothing really prepared me like going and seeing for myself.

As I think about that time, I realized I was a short-timer in East Tennessee and was moving to a foreign place that I knew little about, but I was excited. Scripture tells me that I am a short-timer here on this earth and that one day I will be moving to a foreign place that I know little about, but a much bigger issue is at hand. Am I excited about this move like I was about the move to South Florida. You see, I perceived that moving to South Florida would fill in the blanks of my life for me. I thought happiness would follow me there and I thought problems would be left behind and all would be well but that didn’t happen. Yet I’m told in scripture, that one day those things will happen and yet, I have to ask the question over and over again. “Am I as excited about that move as I should be?” Just think about it, you are leaving the place where you were born, where you’ve grown up and the place where you have lived all you life and your going to a new place and your going to have a new life. Why don’t we learn as much as we can about the new place we are going. Surely, if we hope to live there in this much better place than we now live in, we ought to know all we can about it and become acquainted with it.

Jonathan Edwards, the great Puritan preacher once wrote, “ Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can.” The only way that happiness could become reality for Mr. Edwards would demand that he plan and know something about this place he was going to. You see, if Mr. Edwards didn’t find happiness in Christ, why would he ever think he would find happiness in heaven. Many people today don’t find their happiness in Christ, therefore, they don’t see heaven as a viable option from the place they now live. They are so wrapped up in the present, that heaven doesn’t have an attraction to them. They are so enveloped in the things of this world, that they can’t imagine being without those things.

Then again, heaven doesn’t have an appeal to many people because they don’t have a clear perception of what heaven really is. Some think that when we go to heaven, we will just float around heaven all day strumming on our harps and feeling googooly-goock all the time. That’s not what heaven is like and even if it were, I know enough about Hell that I would rather be in a state of non-existence than to be in torment all my life. In fact, let’s just admit it, most of us know more about the place we don’t want to go than the place we do want to go. Right?

OKAY! Just so this blog is not too long for you to read and enjoy, I will break this up into several blogs, which will require you to come back and read the remaining thoughts I have concerning heaven. Since my blog on “Will we know each other in Heaven, I have had more hits on this than anything else I’ve written so I intend to keep you reading. Please respond to this blog if you say nothing more than “hey”
I would love to know your thoughts of heaven, so please respond to this blog. Let’s keep this going so we all can grow and know. God bless and see you at the next blog and we will talk about our misconceptions of heaven.

Monday, June 8, 2009

OKAY, where is everybody?

It seems that either summer or the sun-shine has caused everybody to disappear. Haven't heard from many of you in months. OKAY, let's see, there's Shelley, LuAnn, Beth Greg, Anna, Donna, Lisa, Jenny. Carol, Heather, Lynn, Jim, Todd, Andrew, Mari, Audrey, Shannon, Kristen and many more. Where are you guys. Now is the time to get back to blogging. How in the world am I suppose to know what's going on with you guys if you don't bother to write it out. Let's get with it folks, no more loafing. Hope to hear something ASAP from each of you.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Who is Jesus?

Who is Jesus?

Throughout the entire Bible we are introduced to Jesus and told of a man who would come on the scene of whose sandals none of us would be worthy to latch. We are told in the Old Testament that He would come as the Redeemer of Zion and He will bring salvation to the lost and all who come to Him will be saved. Then in Matthew, John again reminds us that there is one coming who would be one of them, meaning of the Jews, and He would rule and shepherd God’s people. He was to be born of a virgin whose name is Mary and his earthly father would be known as Joseph, a carpenter living in Nazareth, however His heavenly Father is God. We are told that this Jesus is God and that He came to earth, put on flesh and endured all the things that you and I endure, however He did so without sin. He began His ministry in the area of the Galilee, in the town of Capernaum which is right on the shore of this body of water. He was referred to as “the Light of the World” and was always the fulfillment of God’s Holy Word. Isaiah the Prophet said it this way, “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, Light has dawned.” This Jesus took to Himself, twelve men, many of whom were “nobodies” and called them to be His disciples. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. His fame went throughout all Syria and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan. Everywhere He went He spoke to people in ways they had never heard before. He taught as one who had great knowledge and wisdom even from the very early age of 12. He related those who believed His message as to salt and light and He assured them all that He came to fulfill God’s Word, not to abolish It. He taught different than what the scribes and Pharisees taught and He spoke of issues of the heart was where all good and bad began. “Love your enemies”, “Go the second mile,” “marriage is sacred,” ,”Can’t serve both God and money,” “Do not worry,” “One way, One Truth, One Life and He is it.” He taught people how to pray and He made it clear that those who pray must be a part of the family of God and He spoke of forgiveness and reminded people that if they wanted their Heavenly Father to forgive them, they must practice the same. He made it clear that actions speak louder than words and He said you will know if people are His disciple by looking at the fruit of their actions. He continued to heal the sick and He cast out many demon-possessed spirits from people and He continued to do this so that the Word would be fulfilled as again spoken of in Isaiah the Prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.”
Daily as He lived in the flesh, scripture was being fulfilled and His presence was being felt and known throughout the entire known world. Up till now, Jesus was doing the healing etc; but we are told that after all these things that have been spoken of, Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But one day when He saw the multitudes of people, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. He then knew that He had to appoint His disciples to go into all the world, preach the gospel, teach them to observe all that He had taught them, to baptize and see that growth happened for the kingdom of God. He told his disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. “therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Then He called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of diseases.

Wow! So this is Jesus of the Bible? Yes, Jesus of the Bible and the very same who in Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This is one in the same. God the Father, God the Son and now as we know Him, God the Holy Spirit. This is Jesus, our redeemer, our Savior, our Creator and our Sustainer. The one who chose to die on an old rugged Cross, shed His blood so that our sins could be covered and He forgave us our sins, because He is faithful to His Word. His compassion is just as great today and every time you speak the name of Jesus, He gives you power to overcome Satan and Sin and He continues to desire and to send you out, to preach and teach His Gospel to all the world.