Who needs to talk about Heaven?

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So, your life is full of activity, chock full of wonderful success and excitement? Great, rejoice in that.
Or, is there disappointment, a sense of futility nagging around the edges of days that pile on top of one another, not terrible, not great, a time when you slog through work, chores, keeping house, doing the daily stuff that must be done?
Then, too, you may be dealing with a hurricane of sorts; like Michael blew through the panhandle of Florida two days ago. All you can see is destruction.

Wherever you are, whatever your experience, you need Heaven!

I have a confession.  Not all that long ago, I used to think that Christians who talked about Heaven were a little strange. I heard older people talk about ‘’going home” and their words seemed kind of silly. “There is so much to live for, life is too full of things to do, to be thinking about Heaven,” I thought.  I just had not lived long enough to know that it is the hope of a home in Heaven that is exactly what makes sense of this earthly life.  If we make life only about what we can experience, own, achieve, and build sooner or later we will find ourselves with a lot more past than future and wondering what it all meant.

However, a grasp of the promise of Heaven and our assurance of eternal life will be like a spiritual North star, guiding us now to a godly life and giving us reason to remain faithful. Paul, who knew amazing success and bitter defeat in equal measure, reminds us that  we  live in “faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you.” (Colossians 1:3-6, NIV)  Eugene Peterson’s Message says it this way, The lines of purpose in your lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to your future in heaven, kept taut by hope.” Isn’t that rich?

The light that shines from Eternity into the Present makes all things we know here more wonderful, meaningful, of purpose.

Please do not think that I am talking about escapist fantasies about a kind of super Disney World.  This is not about retreating from the realities of life.  This is about taking hold of a promise by faith that helps us to reject distractions and to invest ourselves in those things that will gain the Father’s approval, a rich reward in heaven.

Our Christianity is very much about how we live right now precisely because we believe that we will live forever!  Paul is candid about the importance of eternity to the present.  He says that “If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20, NLT)   He told Timothy about being lifted up to Heaven, seeing visions that were beyond description. Those visions sustained his faith through a life of costly service to his Lord, and near the end of his earthly journey, when he was facing his execution caused him to send this final greeting to his protégé – “Now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return.” (2 Timothy 4:8, NLT)

Christian friend, let this promise keep you faithful – equally in the wonderful and the awful. “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.” (Revelation 21:3-4, NIV) Oh, what joy! The Lord I love now only in part, will then love me in a way I can only imagine. The hand of Jesus will dry my tears and I’ll never cry again, ever. No regret, no pain, no disappointment, no longing for what cannot be, no loneliness exists where God, in all His Fullness, will clear up our confusion, heal us forever, and welcome to our eternal reward.

Does all this talk of Heaven strike you as irrelevant? As I wrote a moment ago, I once had little time for Heaven , too. I insisted that  “there is just too much living right here and right now to ‘waste’ time thinking about Eternity. I’ll enjoy it when I get there!” What a foolish boy I was. Heaven is for now. Plant your heart in Heaven. Invest yourself in God’s work.

Our word from the Word comes from the Lord Jesus Who says, “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (Matthew 6:19-21, The Message)

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When We All Get To Heaven

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus
Sing His mercy and His grace
In the mansions bright and blessed
He’ll prepare for us a place

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be
When we all see Jesus
We’ll sing and shout the victory

While we walk the pilgrim pathway
Clouds will overspread the sky
But when travelling days are over
Not a shadow not a sigh

Let us then be true and faithful
Trusting serving every day
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay

Onward to the prize before us
Soon His beauty we’ll behold
Soon the pearly gates will open
We shall tread the streets of gold

Eliza Edmunds Stites Hewitt | Emily Divine Wilson | James Koerts© Words: Public Domain

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Listen to Tim Keller talk about the Christian hope of eternity at this link.

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