Jesus Comforts His Disciples
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?3 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. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Heaven on My Mind
By: Belinda elliott, 1.cbn.com
I had already gone to sleep when the phone rang. My dad’s voice was shaky as he let me know that my grandmother had lost her battle with cancer. It was a phone call that I’d been expecting, but one that I was still not prepared for.
During the four-hour drive from my college campus the next morning, I recalled the many happy summers spent at my Granny Wanda’s house. Not your typical grandmother, her energy usually rivaled my own.
The memories played through my mind as if they had taken place only yesterday. I could see my granny splashing and playing in the lake alongside me, hooting hysterically outside the monkey cages at our local zoo, and spinning around and around with me on the Tilt-A-Whirl until it made us both sick. (We had to make the ride’s operator stop it to let us off, but we laughed about it all the way home!)
I knew that she was in Heaven and no longer suffering from the disease that had so quickly ravaged her body, but I wasn’t ready to let her go. I felt that God took her away too soon.
Why is it so difficult for us to say goodbye? I think it is because maybe we don’t view death as God does. We see death as an end, and it saddens us to lose the ones we love. But from our Heavenly Father’s view, death is only the beginning – the beginning of eternal life with Him in paradise where we were created to be. Heaven is a place we should be excited about!
To us, death is tragic and many of us fear it. But perhaps to God, dying is the reward for a life well-lived, rather than something to be dreaded. The earthly death of a Christian merely serves to usher us into what God has created for all believers – an eternal home with Him where we will no longer suffer the injustices, trials, illnesses, and disappointments of this world.
The apostle Paul seemed to understand this. In his letter to the Philippians, he expressed his anxious anticipation of eternal life with Christ. He felt torn between wanting to serve the Lord on earth, and wanting to go to Heaven. He describes life with Christ as the more pleasing option.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” Philippians 1:21-24
Like Paul, if we are still here, it means God still has work for us to do. But our time on earth was never meant to be permanent. We are to work for the Lord while we are here, telling others about Him so that they too can have eternal life. But we are also to remember the glorious inheritance that God has waiting for us.
When we live our lives this way, keeping Heaven and God’s eternal purposes for us in mind, we see death from a new perspective.
That doesn’t mean that we won’t be sad when we lose loved ones. But we can praise God that, even in our grief, we do not mourn as those who have no hope. As Christians, we have been promised that the end of our lives on earth is not really the end. The day is coming when death and sadness will be no more.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
When I See You In Heaven
JANUARY 21, 2015
” … He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” Revelation 21:4-5a (NASB)
Closing my eyes, I remembered being 5 years old again with my daddy holding me on his broad, strong shoulders the day he took me to the zoo. So long ago. Such sweet memories. And, yet, my heart was breaking.
Lord, not yet. Please. I’m not ready to say goodbye. I still have so much to say. I want it to be meaningful. I want Dad to know how much I love him. Not yet, Lord, not yet.
As I curled up closer, like that 5-year-old little girl so long ago, I could hear his shallow breathing. Gently I cradled his hand into mine.
Thank you, Lord, that Dad’s not in pain. When it’s time, please take him peacefully. But, not yet, Lord, not yet.
The clock ticks. The moments pass. The memories linger.
And it is time.
Having to say goodbye to my dad that day was one of the hardest experiences of my life. It had only been 15 short months since my mom passed away, and the idea of losing him, too, was more than I could bear.
No longer could I hear his voice say, “I love you.” No longer could I call him and ask for his advice. No longer could I see his smile or feel his hand holding mine.
This month marks the 2-year anniversary of my dad’s passing. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and my mom. I miss them so much. I long to be with them again.
But even in the midst of “no longer” here on earth, there is a ray of hope that shines within me. A knowing. A promise that I will one day see my parents again.
I find comfort in knowing there is a real place that has been created by God and prepared by Jesus for each of us, if we accept His invitation. An extraordinary place of astounding wonder. Greater than we can fully understand or imagine. A place called heaven.
As I awake to another day on earth of “no longer,” I anchor my heart in the assurance of what Jesus said in John 14:2, “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (NASB).
In those moments when the memories return and the sadness resurfaces, I find comfort and even joy for my parents as I reflect on the promise of today’s key verse. For in heaven, there is no mourning, crying, pain or death. All things are made new.
If you’re like me, and you’re missing someone special today. Someone you long to see again. To hold their hand, to capture their smile or to simply say, “I love you.” And, yet, the realization of “no longer” looms in the reality of each day that you live without them …
Can I encourage you with the truth? If your loved one accepted God’s invitation, then they are not dead but are living in heaven. In that extraordinary place, of astounding wonder, where pain and sorrow can never linger.
They’re experiencing joy and peace like they’ve never known as they celebrate the splendor of their eternal home.
And there is hope, comfort and assurance for you today that if you accept God’s invitation you too will see them again one day.
Citizens of Heaven
By; Scott Hoezee, reframemedia.com
Scripture Reading — Philippians 3:17-21
Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who . . . will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. — Philippians 3:20-21
C.S. Lewis observed that if you aim to be successful only on earth, you may never get to heaven even as the things of earth slip away. But if you aim for the things of heaven, not only will the Lord graciously bring you there; he will also make your life on earth something wonderful. So if you aim only for earth, you get nothing. But if you aim for heaven, you get everything—life to the full.
This is Paul’s point too as he rounds out Philippians 3. We all are citizens of one country or another here on earth. But believers in Christ have a far more important status as citizens of heaven. All of our other identities fall in line under our heavenly citizenship.
Paul pointed this out for the Philippians because then—and now—there are all kinds of influences that distract us from giving God’s kingdom first place in our lives. We receive messages like this every day: live for the moment, go for the gusto, do whatever feels right, look out for number one. All this, Paul claims, makes people enemies of the cross. It all amounts to self-centered living and reflects none of Christ’s selflessness. But if we live as Christ’s people, then one day we will be made like Jesus, arrayed in all the glory of God’s kingdom!