Thursday, January 25, 2007

Heaven on Earth?

If you knew with absolute certainty that at some point over the next few years you would either win the world’s largest lottery or be caught in an earthquake measuring 9.5 on the Richter scale… how consumed would your thoughts be planning for these events? I would guess your answer would be ‘quite a lot’.

We all know that at some point in our life we will pass through death’s door ( guaranteed!! ) and we will begin our eternity ! We know there are two possible destinations, heaven or hell. If I ask you how consumed you are with thinking about or planning for this event , I would guess that your answer would range from ‘not much’ to ‘as little as possible ‘ or ‘not at all’.

People spend more time and effort planning for their retirement or even for a summer two week holiday , than they do thinking about their eternity and I am sometimes puzzled by this common mind-set. I am inclined to think it is partly because ‘our death’ is not something we like to think about , but I wonder if the biggest deterrent is simply that we know so little about it. When is the last time you heard a sermon on heaven? I was trying to remember the last time I heard one and I really can’t remember ….it was a very long time ago.

So why don’t we talk about heaven? Because we are too comfortable in this life? Or feel there are still things we need or want to do? I agree with the apostle Paul… “I am twixt and between… to go be with the Lord is awesome ! but I am still needed here.” The really neat thing is …. that even if my time here is prolonged , my eternity will not be shortened by one iota of a second !!

When I was a child my idea of heaven was a place that was rather misty filled with fluffy white clouds. One each cloud sat a person strumming a harp. Because of the mist and because I thought we were a ‘spirit being’ , I didn’t really think we could see each other and even if we could we would not recognize anyone.
That picture has no resemblence to what the bible tells us heaven will be like.

When we are specially enthralled with something we describe it as ‘heaven on earth ‘! I don’t know where that expression came from but do you know that it is actually accurate??? Heaven really will be on earth!!
The bible is actually very clear… In Revelation 21 we read the beautiful words of John’s vision describing the new heaven and the new earth that God will create. The heaven referred to here is not God’s domain where He dwells, but the stratosphere above our earth.
We read in II Peter 3:7 that the heavens and earth we know today will be destroyed by fire in the day of judgment, but we also read in Psalm 104:5 that the foundations of the earth will remain forever. On the foundations of the cleansed old earth, God will create a new earth on which His bride (true believers) will live forever !!

Does that not change how we think about heaven? It will not be an airy-fairy existence in some foreign place we cannot relate to, it will be practical , realistic , truly HEAVEN on EARTH !!

We all recognize how wonderfully perfect God created this world , so suited to our needs and desires! Man has lived on this earth for 6000 years, and it is still able to provide for his physical needs and challenge his curiosity and quest for knowledge. Scientists are finding today that they have just begun to discover how intricately and ingeniously our world has been designed. God did not make it ‘adequate’ He made it beyond our comprehension ! And we are told in God’s Word that the next life will be so incredibly beyond this life that we will never look back . In Isaiah 65:17 God declares , “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind."

Of course the best part of eternity will be that we see God face to face and live in His presence … all things having been restored to perfection. He will be our Light and our delight ! There will be no more doubt, no more sorrow or pain or disappointment… God will be dwelling with us… literally.

In eternity we will be ourselves! as much as we are who we are today. I will be me and you will be you … and we will recognize each other and delight in each other’s company.
We will be busy and productive and all the things in this life will have prepared us for our life there.
If an athlete’s goal is to compete in the Olympics as a discus thrower but his coach trains him as a bobsledder, he will arrive at the Olympics totally unprepared to compete in his event. So also it would be futile for God to ‘train’ us in this life if His plans and purposes for us in the next life are totally unrelated.
I believe that when we get to ‘heaven’ we will be amazed at how ‘easily ‘ we fit in , how totally suited to us it is. Yes, it will be ‘supernatural’ compared to this life, but I don’t think anyone would argue with the fact that the way we live in 2007 is ‘supernatural’ to how people lived in 1907 , a mere one hundred years ago.

You may ask , what about the people who have already left this life… where are they? If they were believers, they are with the Lord in a paradise resort… waiting for the culmination of all things , when death and evil will be forever banished from God’s presence and the new City will come down to the new earth fully prepared as our dwelling place. Did Jesus not promise His disciples that He would prepare mansions for them to live in?

I get excited when I think of what it will be like living in the ‘perfect ‘ world…. We so often hear people say, ‘only in a perfect world’ in a tone that belies the fact that a perfect world is possible !! But it is !!! Everyone of us will be alive and well, one day rejoicing in the delights that await us ,- if we have accepted the free invitation to be a citizen of God’s kingdom, if we are faithful and persevere to the end !!

Have you made your reservations, is your ticket stamped ‘valid’ ? Are you in training to be prepared to enjoy all that is awaiting you ?

(tomorrow’s blog – my granddaughters’ dreams of heaven )


Carolanne said...

This is a great reminder that we need to "think eternally". We need to realise that whatever we do has an eternal consequence and that too, should humble as well as excite us.

Demara said...

Thank-you Julie!!! I can't wait to party with you there on our new know what? I really want to figure out a way that you can preserve all these beautiful writings...I seriously think you should get a real website, hosted at a reliable location so that all these writings are not lost. Blogger is free so it could go down anytime...I also hope that you have saved back-ups of all of them too. If you haven't...I would suggest you get an USB memory stick, plug it into your computer, copy each post and paste it into a word processor then save it to the stick...Because THESE CHAPTERS/POSTS ARE HEAVENLY TREASURES that need to be stored for all to see! You ARE a beautiful you.

Julie said...

Carolanne... I agree , it should humble us ... thank you!

and Demara , thank you for your concern...and kind encouragement.. yes I do have a back up of all my postings.. I have lost things in the past - and there is nothing like experience to teach you to take precautions...
I love you too!