Because mankind is earthbound until death, misconceptions about heaven are common. Some people imagine it as an ethereal world of formless spirits who float about, whereas others flatly deny its existence. A few have returned from near-death experiences to describe what they saw. Amid all the confusing and contradictory views, we would do well to remember that our only sure source of accurate information about heaven is God’s Word.
Jesus had firsthand knowledge of heaven because He came from there to earth. Shortly before dying, He told His disciples that He would go to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them and then would come back to take them to their new home. Several weeks later the disciples watched the resurrected Jesus ascend, as foretold, into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).
Ever since that day, believers throughout history have been waiting for the Lord’s promised return. Each one will be given an immortal resurrection body similar to Christ’s. It will be physical, visible, and recognizable to others. We will even be able to eat. (See Luke 24:41-43.) Heaven is a literal place for actual, tangible bodies—a place to live, serve God, and worship and enjoy Him forever.
Knowing all the specifics of our eternal destination is impossible, but we can be sure that Jesus will fulfill His promise to come back for us. Stepping into our custom-designed dwelling places, we will each realize that we’re finally home—and throughout eternity can never be separated from our heavenly Father.
The Bible presents a clear path to eternal life. First, we must recognize that we have sinned against God: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We have all done things that are displeasing to God, which makes us deserving of punishment. Since all our sins are ultimately against an eternal God, only an eternal punishment is sufficient. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
However, Jesus Christ, the sinless (1 Peter 2:22), eternal Son of God became a man (John 1:1,14) and died to pay our penalty. “God demonstrates His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus Christ died on the cross (John 19:31-42), taking the punishment that we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21). Three days later He rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), proving His victory over sin and death. “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
By faith, we must change our mindset regarding Christ— who He is, what He did, and why — for salvation (Acts 3:19). If we place our faith in Him, trusting His death on the cross to pay for our sins, we will be forgiven and receive the promise of eternal life in heaven.
Isaiah 25:9 says, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Today is Sunday, the Lord’s day. Why not take some time off today to rest, relax, rejoice, and be with family or friends. Don’t open your computer. Don’t pick up your lap top. Don’t do any cleaning.
Instead, open your bible and read how awesome God is. Read about His wonderful, never-ending love for you and me. Read about His sacrifice of love through His son Jesus in order that you might have never-ending love and peace.
Your time in heaven will be a wonderful place filled with joy, rest and peace. But, you don’t have to wait until then. You can have that wonderful rest today with the Lord.
What prevents us from being in a right relationship with God? It is sin! And since heaven promises a right relationship with God, what’s missing in heaven? You got it—Sin. Heaven will be sin-free. Both death and sin will be things of the past.
Can you imagine a world without sin? Have you done anything recently because of sin? At the very least, you’ve complained. You’ve worried…you’ve grumbled…hoarded when you should have shared…second-guessed and covered up. But you won’t do that in heaven. Sin has caused a thousand heartaches and broken a million promises. Your addiction(s) can be traced back to sin. Your mistrust can be traced back to sin. Bigotry, robbery, adultery—all because of sin.
But in heaven, all of this will end. So. . .can you imagine a world without sin? If so, you can imagine heaven!
There is a penalty for our misplaced priorities. The Lord’s parable of the wealthy foolish man who passed away with no opportunity to enjoy his goods reveals he died with a bankrupt soul.
Serving the Lord and His kingdom is the key to setting correct goals. When believers make service for God a main concern, they will use a lens of righteousness to order their priorities. The question we ought to be asking is not “What shall I do?” but rather “Lord, what would You have me do?” The answer—which should be prayerfully sought and biblically evaluated—dictates which things we must put first in order to achieve God’s purpose for us.
I don’t know about you but spending eternity in heaven with God almighty is more important to me than enjoying the fleeting pleasures in this life. What will be your priority?
Try this. Imagine a perfect world. Whatever that means to you. Imagine it. Does that mean peace? Then envision absolute tranquility. Does a perfect world imply joy? Then create your highest happiness. Will a perfect world have love? Ponder a place where love has no bounds. Whatever heaven means to you, imagine it. Get it firmly fixed in your mind. Delight in it. Dream about it. Long for it.
And then smile as the Father reminds you from the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” No one has come close. No one. Think of all the songs about heaven. All the artists’ portrayals. All the lessons preached, poems written and chapters drafted. When it comes to describing heaven, we are all happy failures!
The “power of death” is the ability to make death fearful. The “power of death” is the power that holds men in bondage through the fear of death. It is the power to keep men in sin so that death comes as a horrid thing.
But Jesus stripped Satan of this power. He disarmed him. He molded a breastplate of righteousness for us that makes us immune to the devil’s condemnation.
By his death, Jesus wiped away all our sins. And a person without sin puts Satan out of business. His treason is aborted. His cosmic treachery is foiled. “His rage we can endure, for his doom is sure.” The cross has run him through. And he will gasp his last before long.
Therefore, when we face our own death, we can look upon that moment as a victory in Jesus. It is a time for celebration. He is waiting for us with open arms.
It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment. God became a man! Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb. Jesus came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were un-manicured, calloused, and dirty. For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt…weak; weary; and afraid of failure. His feelings got hurt.
To think of Jesus in such a light seems almost irreverent. There’s something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant and predictable. But don’t do it! For heaven’s sake, don’t! Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the muck and mire of your world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out!
Maturity in the Lord is a lifelong process. The heavenly Father will continue to grow His children until He brings them home. Seek the Lord’s wisdom and truth, and ask that He reveal anything holding you back from a beautiful friendship with Him. He wants to walk closely with you all of your days—and for all of eternity.
The rewards of our maturity in the Lord are great. First, our Father removes any spiritual obstacles that impede a close walk with Him. Second, we gain greater intimacy with the Lord and with others. Third, as resentment, fear, and other ungodly attitudes stop draining us, our energy is renewed and serving God becomes a joy instead of a duty. Fourth, regardless of circumstances, we experience spiritual freedom through forgiveness.
All of these benefits lead to deeper fulfillment, peace, and joy. And, maturity in the Lord.
By reading the headline of this post you probably think I am going to discuss hell and ways to get there. That’s not my purpose today. What I do want to discuss are the damaging and long lasting effects of the sun on the human body.
Let me start by praising God for providing us the sun. It gives us life and keeps us from freezing to death. But, too much sun is not a good thing. Think drought and sunburn.
On Thursday I had some minor surgery to remove some lesions on my body that were created as a result of too much exposure to the sun. I lived in the Philippines for 2 years and while there I basically lived in swim trunks and tennis shoes. The rest of my body was exposed to the sun. When I returned to the U.S. I was very dark skinned. Little did I know the future consequences of living without proper sun protection. Future surgeries would be very painful and in some cases leaving unsightly scars.
Every summer thousands of people flock to the beach or lay around a pool in hopes of getting a “tan” that is supposed to be a sign of health. Nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve all seen the advertisements for Copper Tone and other sun screens. They make it seem like if you apply these ointments then you are protected. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.
The only way to avoid damage to your skin now and in the future is to avoid direct exposure to the sun. I know it’s hard, especially when your neighbor invites you to a BBQ at his pool or your friends say let’s go to the beach. You’d feel pretty silly in either case showing up covered head to foot in clothing and a hat. My friends cover yourself and avoid long-lasting harm to your body.
Remember, God created you and wants the best for you. He gave you sound judgment on how to live your life and present it to Him a living sacrifice. That’s hard to do when you look like a piece of toast and you’re in agony because of 3rd degree burns.