Sunday, December 14, 2008
Where are you storing Your treasures?
I'm not in a good place as I post this, so I'd do well to read it as I wrote it a few months ago and rejoice in it- as I hope and pray you all will.
A lot of Christians think about heaven a lot, and I imagine, many non Christians wonder what the big deal is. They may not believe the popular myths about heaven, but I wonder if they’ve ever had someone tell them the Biblical picture of heaven. Do you think about what heaven will be like? Do you wonder what we’ll do or see when and if we go?
If you are one of the millions of people who have only heard the myths of heaven, hopefully, this picture will give you a better and more appealing picture of a real place.
First of all, heaven isn’t~
Angel wings, playing harps on clouds and learning how to fly! It isn’t being quizzed by Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates, waiting to see if you can go in or not!
To know what heaven is really like, we need to go to the source- The Bible! Let’s see what the Bible has to say about Heaven.
Revelations 21 says:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the 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 said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
Let’s stop here for a minute. Notice first, that John (the Author of the Book of Revelation) saw a new heaven and a new earth. Jesus told us that all old things would pass away, and that includes heaven and earth as we know it. I’ve always wanted to travel. There are so many beautiful places on this earth that I would love to see. Places like Israel, Switzerland, Italy, Peru, Antarctica , but I know I’ll never get to these places. Heck, I can’t even scrape up the money for a family trip back to Canada to visit everyone! I’d also like to be able to go to West Virginia to see where my sweet husband was born. I’d love to see all of America and Canada too, but this is just not in it for me to see these places any time soon. I used to kind of let it bug me, but no more.
Some day, there will be a even more spectacular earth! It’s almost like God says, “You thought the Grand Canyon, the Angel Falls, and the Matterhorn were cool? Take a look at this!”
As an artist, I can't wait to see new colors that I can't even imagine right now.
Some day I will get to not only see a new earth, but I will get to see planets like never before either, and I will have all of eternity to allow my Lord to show everything to me!
The Next thing John mentions, is the New Jerusalem, with God saying that now He will live with us. Now, I don’t know about you, but sometimes I would just love to be held and loved as I was when I was little. You know, when you were afraid, or hurt, your mom would come in and rock you, smooth your hair back and whisper comforting words? I miss that, but am way past that anymore. Now I do it for my son. But I miss the feeling. I will be in the presence- the physical presence of God!
Those who had no physical or emotional love from parents will be forever loved, comforted and blessed by their heavenly Father.
I know I am able to pray and talk to Him in this life, and I know that He shows me things and speaks to me though His Holy Spirit, I won’t ever have to feel alone, I won’t have to pray to someone I can’t see or physically feel His loving touch! I will be with Him!!! This thought kind of makes me afraid a little, and I know I will have a lot to answer for first, but afterwards- I can, and you can, have a real relationship with Him face to face! How Awesome is that!
The next few words are the most lovely, most comforting words to a weary body! Jesus will wipe every tear from our faces! There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain!
Oh, can you imagine?! I mean, most people when they read this, immediately think of the big things like no more diseases, no more handicaps. Now, those will no longer be an issue, and it is wonderful to think of believers who have lived their lives either blind, or deaf, wheelchair bound or without the use of limbs- they will be able to see, to hear, to run. All without pain!
Think though what else this means. All the smaller aches and pains will no longer be bothering us. Every winter (yes, even in Florida we feel winter!) I get pains where all my old injuries once were. As a accident prone child, I have many of those haunting me now! Not only that, but there will be no paper cuts, no sunburns, no scraped knees, no more bashing your funny bone. No more stubbed toes, no more tooth aches, ear aches, stomach aches, no migraines, no eye strain, no acne, no ingrown hairs, no infections, no more slivers- you know, those ones that go right up under your finger nails! No more hangnails, no more bruised shin bones. No broken toes, arms, legs! No more pain! No more suffering!
No more death and no more mourning! I love that too. There are so many people I miss, not only by death, but also by distance. There are people I miss terribly who I may or may not see again in this life, and I miss them very much. I miss my grandparents, my aunts and uncles. Those who died before me, knowing Christ as their salvation will be there waiting for me. I will never have to miss anyone or mourn because there will be no death anymore. I am blessed, but also in a way I feel bad, because I have not had to know yet, the pain of losing a parent, spouse, sibling or child. Those who have suffered such losses will not have to suffer those anymore! No more mourning. How comforting. We will never be too hot or too cold, never need anything because Jesus is our everything!
Sometimes I still find myself wishing for a nicer home. One which has air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter. One which the windows will open or close when I need or want them to! One which has 2 bathrooms so no one is inconvenienced. One which does not have so many mouse doors and insects coming in to visit! Sometimes I wish we had a bigger kitchen, with an updated stove and refrigerator, more cabinet space and a little more space. I used to want more- but the more I read God's Word, the more I wait for the house my Lord and Savior is getting ready for me right now. I can be assured there will be no "wildlife" living in it with me, nor will there be any dust, rot or mold. I don't mind "this old house" anymore, because I know as meagre as it is, it is still so much more than many people have. Jesus is getting our rooms ready, and we will never need or want more.
The next part of Revelation 21 says:
He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man's measurement, which the angel was using. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
I know that part was a lot to read, and for some, who may believe all people will go to heaven, they may not like to be reminded, or believe that there is also a real and literal place called Hell.