Tag Archives: Heaven

The Fear That Is Wisdom

Disaster and destruction follows disaster and destruction in the world we live in, hurricane upon hurricane, earthquake upon earthquake, and wildfire upon wildfire. The news also carries stories of the tensions between nations and the dangers of nuclear proliferation or attack. We wonder when the terrorists will strike again. We wonder when the war in Syria will finally end.  Anxiety and fear are rampant.

Jesus teaches His disciples what signs will signal the end times and His return. (See Matthew 24)  He tells of unequaled distress on earth, such distress that all would die, if those days were not shortened. He tells of the sun being darkened and the moon not giving its light. He warns of a day during that historic, monumental distress, a day that no one but His father knows. On that day, He will come on the clouds in the sky with great glory and all those who have believed in Him will be caught up with Him to escape the horrors of earth.  “…That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Does this teaching inspire fear?  It well ought.

We learn in Psalm 111:10 that: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  Let fear send you running to God to learn how to escape His just judgment on mankind. John Newton’s ageless hymn, Amazing Grace, says, “Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace my fears relieved.”

God is Love.  Love is warning us, and Love is reminding us that He has made a way of escape.  All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  All of us are unclean and powerless before the Mighty God of the Universe.  See a man upon a cross.  His name is Jesus, the Son of God, the Lamb of God.  His shed blood can wash away your sin and make you clean.  Believe in Him.

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;  the end of fear is love.  The apostle John tells us in I John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

When Love Incarnate, Jesus Christ, washes us clean, we are relieved of fear.  For those of us who have believed in that love, we listen to the news and watch the times with a growing sense that our Lord’s return is closer than when we first believed.  We are comforted knowing the day is coming when there will be no more sorrow and no more tears.  The One who gave Himself for us will dry away our final tears as He welcomes us home to be with Him forever.

Be afraid; it’s right and appropriate. But don’t stop at fear; go on to Love.  Run to Him. Now. Don’t slow down and don’t stop until you are safe in His arms.

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Good Enough

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The old man both welcomed and feared death.   As he became further debilitated with pneumonia, he knew he had no will to live.  He told our mutual neighbor, his  friend of thirty years,  “I just hope, I’ve been good enough for heaven.”

The prophet Isaiah  declares that all our righteous acts are like filty rags.  ( Isaiah 64:6).   The apostle Paul tells us, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23)   After delivering the bad news, Paul gives us the good news that Jesus, the Son of God, died to justify us.  He concludes in Romans 5: 1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God.”

My husband Howard is staring down death in his fight with lymphoma.   He is confident that he has a ticket to the everlasting party in heaven, not because he is good enough, but because he believes Jesus is good enough and died and rose again to purchase his ticket.  This confidence gives us sweet peace and hope as we face the unknown.   I write this blog because I long for all to know this sweet peace and hope in the midst of their sufferings.

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Navigating The Waters To Heaven

 

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“Sailors have always had a special need for light; the hazards of navigation are formidable….The lighthouse provided early warning of submerged rocks, reefs, and sandbars; sheer cliffs; rip tides; shallows in which ships could run aground; and other costal hazards.” *

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12)   As our light, he gave many warnings to help us navigate the dangers on our journey from this world to the next.

Perhaps of all the dangers and warnings, he gives, I find the most sobering one to be this:  “But if you do not forgive men their sins, the Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matthew 6:15)   To be forgiven is to be forgiving.  A forgiving spirit is  the test of one’s salvation – the fruit and the work that identifies us as belonging to Father God, the evidence that our faith is alive and well.  No wonder the Apostle Paul told us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Lord Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shed your light into my heart and reveal any bays or inlets of harbored bitterness, any refusals to forgive.  Give me a heart to forgive as you have forgiven me – for the safety of my own soul and for your Glory.  Amen

*The Ultimate Book of Lighthouses by Samuel Willard Crompton and Michael J. Rhein

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Heaven, Our True Home

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The veil between the visible and the invisible is thin.   For my husband Howard the veil is even more thin as he fights cancer.  He peers through the veil into heaven.

One morning I awakened early to find my husband pouring over his systematic theology textbooks.  He was studying heaven.  Later he told that the most distinctive aspect of heaven is that it is the place where Jesus will be seen and known face to face.   “Peter Kreft, the catholic professor of philosophy wrote a book  titled: Heaven: the Heart’s Deepest Longing.  It is true, my deepest longing is for heaven,” said my husband as he shared more of his thoughts with me.

More than streets of gold or foundations of precious stones, the wonder of heaven is Jesus himself.  More than being the place where sadness and tears are long forgotten, it is the place Jesus designed to share with us.

” “in C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle, the heroes have been transported from Narnia to Aslan’s land.  Aslan’s land is to Narnia what heaven is to earth.  But what soon strikes the characters is how much like Narnia Aslan’s land is – and yet somehow different. They can see all the old familiar landmarks, mountains, rivers, and towns.  But in Aslan’s land these features of Narnia can only be described as “more like the real thing.”  In fact the traveler’s conclude that Aslan’s land is the real Narnia.  The old Narnia was “only a shadow or copy of the real Narnia, which has always been here and always will be here.”   In his excitement, one of them speaks for them all when he says, ” I have come home at last!  This is my real country!  I belong here.  This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it now. The reason we loved the old  Narnia is because it looked like this.” ”  *

For now Howard’s home is here with me.  Someday he will go to his real home, the one in Heaven that Jesus has made for him.

*  Ben Patterson from his introduction to the book of Hebrews in the Prayer Devotional Bible

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Surprises

Our maid-of-honor, who loves surprises, planning them and receiving them, recently came to visit.   I prepared a surprise for her.   My husband and I took her to a place she had never seen.   Since she loves taking pictures of wildlife and nature, I knew she would be thrilled with our destination.   Since she loves art and antiques, I knew she would enjoy browsing the shops in the picturesque villages along the shoreline.   I made reservations for a suite in a historic barn.  Even though we told her where we were going, she had no idea of what lay ahead.

When we arrived at the barn, we took her to the suite and let her wander around, smiling with pleasure over her oohs and aahs.  We asked her to pick which bedroom she wanted.

She chose the one upstairs, the one close to the sitting room in the top of the silo.

As the weekend unfolded we experienced joy together as we shared the beauty of orchards, woodlands and Lake Michigan.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you,  I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  John 14: 2-3

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”  I Corinthians 2:9

Someday Father God will welcome those who love him, welcome them home to the place He has prepared for them.  He will no doubt smile with great joy as they ooh and ahh over the surprises He has waiting for them in that place of beauty beyond their ability to imagine or comprehend.

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