Thursday, April 23, 2015

Heavenly Things


I actually wrote this post a couple of days ago and never published it. I'm not sure why I didn't. I just haven't logged in here for a couple of days and almost forgot all about it. But then... some really strange things started happening to me.

I started having really horrific, out of nowhere. The kind of thoughts that you just have to push out of your mind and wonder where the heck they came from. And then the nightmares. I can't tell you the last time I had a nightmare. But last night I woke up in the middle of the night from the worst dreams, and a terrible ominous feeling hung heavy all around me.

All I could do is pray. I felt like I was under attack - a spiritual attack. Like I had awakened a sleeping giant or something that was hellbent on making my every thought toxic. And then I remembered...this post. The one I hadn't published. And I realized this all started after I wrote it. And so after I prayed and felt so much better, I reminded myself that I HAD to come here and hit "publish" today. Because it's so clear to me that someone doesn't want me publishing it, and well...that means I have to. :)

So here it is, the post from two days ago. For further information on Heaven and the New Earth (a topic that would take me forever to talk about) check out this article by Randy Alcorn. Eric coincidently sent it to me yesterday. I thought he had been reading my unpublished blogposts. But nope. Just riding the same wavelength!


Since there's not a whole lot happening on this homestead at the moment, I decided to tackle a fun and interesting topic on the blog today - Heaven! It has been on my mind this week as our preschool and kindergarten class will be studying it at church this Sunday. And although it seems a little random to bring it up here, I actually think some of you might find it quite useful.

If you have children then it's inevitable at some point they are going to come to you with questions - the "big" questions, as we like to call them. :) It's easy when we're unsure ourselves to just make something up when those questions arrive, but why not go to the source when we can? If you believe in Heaven, that's because the Bible told us so. So....just what does the bible actually say about life after this one? What do we know? What don't we know?

I can't cover it all today, but let's find out!

First of all, Heaven is anything but boring. I don't know about you, but the Heaven portrayed on film and television looks like an absolute snooze-fest to me. It's very...white. And cloudy. And people are kind of lazy, and doesn't really look like much goes on at all, really. It's quite obvious that Hollywood writers and directors don't spend a lot of time cracking open the Bible, haha. I'm not sure Renaissance painters did, either!

But even some Christians get the wrong idea. Some picture Heaven as a giant church service that goes on and on for thousands of years. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good church service, and being in the presence of God in worship - I cannot even imagine how awesome that will be! But I understand why doing the same thing forever sounds a little less than appealing.

The truth is, Heaven is a lot like life on Earth, only infinitely better. In part, because of what doesn't exist there. The Bible promises that there is no pain, no sickness, no death. There is no fatigue. No one is hungry. No one does without. Everyone is trustworthy and a true friend. No bitterness or jealousy. Everyone there has been made perfect. In Heaven we'll have perfect bodies (say what!) that never need doctors or dentists or anything like that. I mean. That alone is amazing!

And people are not just sitting around playing harps or something. The Bible says that there are jobs in Heaven, much like we have here. Some of those jobs include administrators and leaders, builders, landscapers, farmers, fishermen. It's very much implied that there will be weavers, cooks, seamstresses, name it! While we'll all have work, we'll take true joy in that work. It's not the drudgery that we can sometimes feel in our work here. Imagine doing something you absolutely love without consequence. Imagine being a builder and the satisfaction of a completed job without the aches and pains that come with a full days work or the fatigue of laboring. And nothing built will ever decay or crumble in our perfect home. Work that matters and is lasting. Just doing what you love all day long with JOY and accomplishment. Awesome.

But it's not all work and no play, either. There will be so much to explore. So much to learn, because we won't know it all. That would make us God. :) So much to see and do. All of the fun of a giant city - skyscrapers and roadways that are all clean and safe and perfect...made of gold so pure that it's transparent. (New York City - eat your heart out.) And the most beautiful nature and lush gardens...crystal seas and rivers...likely things we've never even seen here before. Jesus himself called it "Paradise." There will be tons of feasts and banquets. Lots of music and dancing. Can you imagine always eating and drinking the BEST food? Think of your dream vacation. This is so much better than that. Haha.

Better than this!

And this!

And this!

Even this!

Imagine the friendships. So many people to meet! And holy cow - the saints of old. Can I pleeeease get a seat next to Abraham Lincoln? Just like, one time. That's all I need. :) Or Paul. Talking to PAUL?? It gives me goosebumps. And he's not even JESUS. I just. I can't even. Somebody stop me. Not to mention some of the family members and friends we ache for now but that we'll be reunited with. Sigh....

What we will NOT be is angels. I'm not sure where that idea came from, but the Bible is very clear that humans and angels are two separate creations (angels came long before) and that we remain separate beings in heaven. It even says that humans "rank" higher than angels! I could do an entire blog post on angels alone, but for the time being, just know that no, we will never be angels. But we will live with them, which is pretty cool. :)

We will have stored treasure and reward in Heaven. Jesus reminds his followers not to love the things of the world, but to serve and honor him and store up our treasures where they will last forever. Because "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

The best part of all is that we will be in the presence of God. Under his protection and care. The one responsible for all of it. That's another thing I just can't wrap my mind around. This finite brain cannot handle it. There are no power outages in Heaven, because God is the source of the light. I can't comprehend that power. As human beings the Bible tells us that we could not even look upon the face of God and live to tell the tale. But in Heaven...we will finally be able to see him.

The thing is, NOT being in the presence of God can only mean one thing. Being with God is Paradise. The absence of God is Hell. And that could be another blog post, too. Truth is, I don't even want to think about that. But. Imagine the worst of what you see on Earth. Consider where the source of that evil comes from. Then imagine spending eternity in the presence of it.

The Bible also gives some pretty clear instructions on how to get to Heaven. While you certainly can't buy or even earn a "ticket" to Paradise, you do need a reservation of sorts. :) And that reservation can only be made for a limited time. That time is now. And no one knows when their time is up. When Thomas asked Jesus, "How do we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me."

Heaven is a perfect place, and only those made perfect can get in. Since none of us are perfect, that poses an enormous problem. That's why Jesus, the son of God, came to Earth, lived a perfect life, and died. Before Jesus, people made sacrifices to atone for their sin. But when Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, people no longer had to do that. He paid the price once and for all.

It's a heart issue. Scripture says that you have to recognize that you are a sinner and that you NEED the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for you. When you recognize that, ask forgiveness - repent. And ask God to be your savior, your leader, your Lord. Don't just assume God knows you're a Christian. He wants to hear it. From you. If you truly do believe. If you're not really sure, well...pray about it. Ask God to show you what the truth is. God promised that he would reveal himself in some way to every single person. (Romans 1:18-20) So no one can ever say they weren't presented with the truth in their lifetime.

I know so many of you reading this today have heard this all before. I know you and I will see and experience a lot of really cool things together in this awesome place! I'm so glad to know Eric will be there. My mother's heart prays daily that my kiddos will be too. And you, of course! ;)

Yes, Heaven is a far cry from Hollywood and is better than we can even imagine. Full of adventure yet safe as can be. Full of beauty and happiness and free from evil.  It's all love, all the time. I'm not afraid of death. It's a promotion.

If you have a preschool or kindergarten aged child I invite them to come and learn more about Heaven with us this Sunday! You just let me know if you're interested, and I'd be glad to give you the information. Hope your day is...heavenly! (Ba-dum ching!)


Stefanie said...

This. Just this. Amen, sister.

Adrien said...

Fist bump, sista friend. You get it. :)

Andrea Ingles said...

Love this. Great post! :)

Adrien said...

Hey, thanks friend! :)


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