Posts Tagged heaven

Heaven or Hell?

Matthew 3: 2

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

No, this isn’t the typical “Are you going to heaven or hell” speech we hear so frequently. I really want to pose a question. Do you want to go to heaven or do you simply want to avoid hell? What motivates you, heaven or hell? You see, I think some people just want to avoid hell, and well, that is a good motivation. Hell is not a place any person will enjoy. In fact, we should avoid it at all costs. Selah.

Some of us gave our lives to Christ because we wished to avoid the horror of eternity in hell. Somewhere along the line, though, hell became less of an issue, less of a point of focus, and heaven became the target. Avoiding hell is good but it certainly is not the prize. Heaven is the prize. What is heaven anyway? At some level we think of it as a place, but the real draw is that it is the residence of Jesus and the Father. In other words, wherever they are, is heaven, at least to me. Heaven is spending eternity in the direct company of Jesus, Yahweh and the Holy Spirit (I wish he would tell me his name).

Imagine a scenario where there is hell, a neutral place and heaven. At this point we have removed our names from the register in hell but to be forever in the neutrality without God would not satisfy. Of course, that would be hell, but the point is that the neutral space would no longer satisfy us. Our longing is to be with the Father. Our energy is focused on knowing Him. Getting into heaven is good but the heart’s desire is far beyond just getting in the gate. Don’t we long to sit at the Father’s feet and listen to His stories? Perhaps you just want to put your eyes upon Him. There is nothing so great as being in the presence of the Holy Trinity.

Repent means to change your direction, change your way of thinking. So, we continuously readjust our sights and compasses so that we are pointed straight towards the Father of heaven. We seek His presence here, true, but we are also seeking His presence in eternity.

One last thought about today’s verse, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As we reread it and think about it, thoughts about saving lost souls may surface. Additionally, it may even call into question our approach to evangelism. The first thing I noticed is that there is no mention of hell here. Jesus did not preach about the kingdom of hell. He preached the good news, the Kingdom of Heaven. He called people up to God. He did not come condemning them, or us, as sinners. Our sin was fact, but not the message. The message is heaven. The message is the greatness of a Father who loves us. Just a thought to ponder. Selah.

Riding Fire Horses

2 Kings 2: 11             Tree of Life

As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

We have developed what, to me, is a perverted way of thinking about death. Truth be told, even using the word “death” is an admission that we do not understand or do not believe in the eternal life. I say that because we are living our eternal life now. You will never die but you are going to change addresses. There will be a transition from here to heaven. Okay sure, your body will give up its life but your spirit is eternal. Anyway, what bothers me about our concept of death is that we will die of a disease. Not me brother. That is not God’s will for me so I don’t accept it. Neither should you.

Why don’t we just ride out of here on a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire the way Elijah did? We actually see that happening in scripture, therefore, it is scriptural and you cannot say it isn’t. We didn’t see it happen often, in fact this is the only example exactly like this, but that is not to say it didn’t happen more than once. Whatsmore, Enoch went up to heaven without “dying.” “And Enoch continually walked with God—then he was not there, because God took him (Genesis 5: 24 TLV). So, who is to say this isn’t God’s preferred way of moving us from earth to heaven? Personally I would rather ride in a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire than to get sick to the point of death.

If God is the great healer, why are we all expecting to get sick and die? Does that really make any sense at all? What a lack of faith we demonstrate when it comes to life and death. We have been so molded by an unbelieving generation that we no longer think as Godly people in this area. Today is a new day though. Let’s shake up our thinking.

You should intend and expect to live a long life and be strong and able bodied for the entirety of it. Then, at a ripe old age, 120 or more, just walk out of this body and into heaven. I am not using my faith to believe for you or myself to be sick one single day of our lives. Does it happen sometimes? Yes, sometimes it does but that is the anomaly. Every once in a while the world sneaks up on us, doesn’t it, but we are people of faith, believers in the God of power and righteousness. We need to shift our minds to where our hearts reside and get our mouths in line with the Word. Then we will live a different existence here on earth and go out riding on God’s glory. That is His will for you.

Kindergarten

1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 3

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

Do you get the idea it’s all about love? Well, you would be right. God is all about love and so is the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, if there is one thing we need to learn, it is love. Paul, writing here, says that even if he had everything else down but did not learn love, then he is still a child in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I called today’s devotional “Kindergarten” because I thought it captured what is otherwise a difficult concept. People ask me about who “gets into” heaven. You may know someone who was mean all their lives but acknowledged Jesus in their last days. You may contrast that person with the one you know who has been kind, generous and caring all the days of her life. Will they both get into heaven? This, I believe, is the very essence of judgment day.

If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is the risen Lord, then you are saved and going to heaven (Romans 10: 9). So, what is this about judgement day? We already know the outcome. We are saved and going to heaven. I think about this more like a placement office evaluation. We get to heaven on the basis of Jesus’ blood sacrifice, but what then? God did not create heaven so we could float around on puffy clouds and eat grapes all day. How long would it take for that to get very boring? No, we still have worlds and universes to explore and settle. Jesus came to give us abundant life not a boring retirement. We’ve adventures ahead. First, though, we must be equipped for the work of the Kingdom.

Some people have already learned much about operating in Kingdom principles. They already operate, in the earth, at a graduate school level. Others of us, may still be at a Kindergarten level. Not to worry, our Father has on the job training. He has given us the Holy Spirit who will lead us into all truth and that does not end when we move to heaven. At judgement day, we will be put into the right program for each of us.

Those who have learned to walk in love will move to the head of the class so if you want to go ahead and get in on the advanced class, learn love. Learn what it means to walk in love and to experience God’s love. They go hand in hand.