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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.

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