Blog

Thoughts on Heaven

Thoughts on Heaven as the year closes and new one begins. Thoughts on Heaven

Heaven, and in particular I have in mind our heritage in the New Heaven and the New Earth, is something Christians ought to meditate on. Not speculate about, but meditate on. While the Bible warns us not to speculate on “the secret things” that “belong to the Lord our God,” yet, “those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever…” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Heaven as a land of hope and glory is part of that revelation. Admittedly, our Lord has not given us exhaustive details about land. We aren’t provided a sort of travel agents brochure of the eternal city. In fact, Paul tells us that “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Still, our fathers in the Faith, those listed in the Book of Hebrews in Chapter 11, were characterized as a people who longed for a better, that is a heavenly country, a city with foundations, who builder and maker is God. By faith they looked for that city—they desired it. By faith they viewed the heavenly country from afar and sought it all their lives long.

They were looking for a better country because they had some idea of what that country was like. The angle by which they—and we—view that future land is by faith informed by God’s revelation.

One passage that recently drew me to meditate on heaven is Malachi 4:2. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall” (ESV).

In the context, Malachi is speaking of the Day of the Lord, the day of final judgement. On that day, “the sun of righteousness will arise with healing in its wings.” Jesus Christ will come with the shout of the archangel and the clear trumpet blast sounding for all to hear.

Those who fear God’s name will experience the sun kissed renewal of the eternally Righteous One. He who comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found. And all our heartaches, all our fears, all our wounds and all our weariness will be gone. The blind will see, the deaf hear, the lame leap, all tears will be wiped from our eyes. No more death. Healing!

On that Day, we will enter into the joy of our Lord. The picture of this joyful freedom and deliverance pulses with vitality.

“You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.” Anyone who has raised cattle has seen this. When you let out a bunch of well-fed young calves that have been cooped up in a stall, it’s really quite comical to watch. They race around, kicking and bucking and pawing. They are the very definition of exuberant vitality. It’s a picture of pure joy and delight in being free and alive!

There is so very much suffering in this world crying out for healing. I think of my father living daily with numerous pains. Of my father-in-law struggling with Parkinson’s Disease. Of a woman whose nervous system is mangled from the effects of a medication meant to heal her. Of a cousin living with torturous pain that defies relief. Of those challenged with autism. Of a person who battles the relentless darkness of depression. Of the souls haunted by the memories and wounds of physical and sexual abuse. Of those grieving the loss of loved ones. Of those oppressed, persecuted, mocked, tortured, imprisoned in service to their savior.

But our Jesus has redeemed us from the curse. He defeated the power of sin and death and hell. By His stripes we are healed. And we shall be changed!

I have often tried to imagine what it will be like one day to be finally free from sin, and all the burdens and frustrations of living in this sinful world, and this sin-laden body. And suddenly to be forever freed from that. What a relief! What a moment of sheer joy that will be to be finally FREE! No more creaky joints and old bones and tired muscles. Disease, pain, arthritis, grief, depression, sin—HEALED! To be given to enjoy complete freedom from any evil thing.

The Day is coming when I won’t have to imagine this. Without a doubt I shall run around like those freed calves! Jesus is coming quickly.

What a day of joy! What a much longed for day of joy that will be! Don’t you find your heart crying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” JS 12/31/2016

Reflections On a Recent Worship Experience

Where am I?

I am sitting in a row of seats with my family members for approximately an hour and twenty minutes. Another family sits next to us. A young girl, perhaps 7, turns on an I Pad and begins playing a game. She plays with it the entire time we are there. Her father periodically checks the twitter feed on his cell phone. In front of us sits a family with a young child of about five years lying full out on the chairs. He’s reading a Dr. Seuss book off and on. His older brother turns and looks at the clock on the wall in the back of the room many times during our event. The parents offered no guidance in any of this.

Is the Christians Mind Always at Peace?

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

Does Paul intend to say by this verse that a Christian—a true believer—is never disturbed? Never anxious? Never struggling with the providential circumstances of life? Is it always like this for the Christian: that I must be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease?

As I was preparing for a bible study on Romans eight recently I came across a discussion on this issue in William Hendriksen’s commentary.

Peace on Earth

One dark night somewhere near Bethlehem all heaven broke loose in the midst of stunned shepherds: “Glory to God in the highest, on earth, peace…” Happy Angel Armies heralded peace from heaven’s throne. Christ the Savior is born.

But where is this peace on earth?! Where? War in Afghanistan, the brutalities of ISIS in Syria, the atrocities of Boko Haram in Nigeria, racial and societal unrest gripping our nation in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, the funerals of two New York Policemen executed as part of that unrest. Not to mention the pain of marital and family strife, or the anguish of internal sins that threaten to overwhelm.

Thoughts of Heaven

Someone once said, “No one approaches the turn of a New Year with indifference.” The most frivolous of people even, despite themselves, cannot help but mark the passage of time with some introspection, some thoughtfulness. So as the Old Year draws to a close I think it is an opportune time to tune our hearts—and minds–to thoughts of Heaven.

Godliness with Contentment

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6

It is said that sometimes big things come in little packages. This brief scripture is loaded with profound spiritual insight and complexity. Every word is necessary in its relationship to the other words in order for it to pack a maximum punch.

A Good Friday Meditation

PLUNGED INTO HELL
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mark 15:34

In the last couple decades a controversy has arisen among Christians over the existence of Hell. A startling number of Christian theologians have gone to great lengths trying to demonstrate that a good God would not prepare a place of eternal punishment for condemned sinners—Hell.

Yet, a recent opinion poll taken among North Americans indicates that more people believe in hell today than back in the 1950s. In 1952 about 58 percent of the public believed in hell. Today the figure is 60 percent.

I don’t put much stock in polls, but I do believe there is a hell. I believe this because Jesus has been there.

Supporting Seminaries

Man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3.

This post is a shameless plug for the support of a seminary.  As we come to the close of the year, many people receive a flurry of appeals from various institutions and causes for monetary support. Many of these causes are truly worthy of our support.  But of all those causes worthy of our gifts, I would  like to suggest that faithful seminaries are among the most worthy of your consideration. I say that in part because of these Spirit-inspired words of Moses.