I am sure most people irrespective of their beliefs assume and hope that when all is said and done, at the end of life's journey, to end up in heaven. I'm sure everyone in their right mind would love to go to there, but I wonder if anyone has ever stopped to think about what this place is like.
Of course everyone who is 'born of God' has the assurance that we will be there because all God's people have been given a promise which can never be broken because He who made it can never lie!
Jesus said to His disciples or followers:
Think of this ... the Bible tells us that when God created the heavens and the earth it took Him 6 days to do it!!! It all came into wonderful existence with just the spoken word!
Now take a look at the earth we know today, although with the passing of time it has been spoiled to a certain degree it is still so very beautiful to our eyes.
If it took God six days to create the beauty we can appreciate all around us, and Jesus has been gone for over 2,000 years preparing a place for His people - what kind of a place is heaven really like?
I know that I am going to be there one day, and I'm sure you look forward to going there as well. But here is one thing for certain, God wants you to be there and He's done everything possible ... and impossible in order that you can know that for sure this is your destination.
The Bible tells us that is only God that can provide the way. Without Him to do this for you and me, we would have no hope!
Whatever we try to do to find a place there will be wasted effort because we have a heart condition that has separated us from Him, and that condition is called sin!! We MUST trust in the only remedy God has provided for this condition to be assured that we will have a home in heaven to look forward to.
The condition of sin from which we suffer not only separates us from Him but also diminishes any desire in our hearts to have anything to do with Him in the first place, which makes somewhat of barrier for God to break through. So why would God do something like this for people like you and me? It is simply, and yet profoundly because He loves us!
We cannot any longer assume that heaven is where we are going to be when we die if we do not want anything to do with God in our lives before we leave.
If we want to go to heaven we MUST do what God tells us to do - and that is we MUST believe in Him. We MUST trust Him with every ounce of our being and let God do the rest. In fact ... He already has! The work, all of it is done! That's why the Bible tells us that just before Jesus died on the cross in our place He lifted up His voice and with one triumphant cry He said 'It is finished!' Then He bowed His head and died.
Everyone in heaven today knows that they are there because of what Jesus did on the cross. All of us who know we will be there one day soon know that we have this assurance because of what Jesus did on the cross.
God is not some unreachable being that wants nothing to do with us miserable disappointments like we are. He desires a living and loving relationship with people like you and me. This in effect is the greatest love story ever told, and what He did on the cross was the greatest demonstration of love ever expressed - And He did all this to make us His own.
"God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
But all that is to be found in Christ by far exceeds a 'ticket to heaven' as it were.
The Bible tells us that Jesus our beloved Lord and Saviour who entered into death to take away our sin rose from among the dead three days after He died. Because He is alive, He is - our dearest friend, our protector, our comforter, our rest, our peace, our joy The list is almost endless because all that we could ever long for is found in Him, and in Him alone.
"For he satisfieth the longing soul,
He is sufficient and able to meet us in all our needs, make all grace abound toward us, give assistance to those who are going through trials or temptations, and so much more.
He has promised His people: "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." Hebrews 13: 5. If all that we could ever discover of His wonderful character here is enough to blow our minds - what is it going to be like to be with Him? All that we know is but a minute fraction of all that there is to learn - there's so much more to come for everyone who trusts fully in Him.
Heaven may mean different things to different people. For some it means being reunited with loved ones who have gone before. Oh, how we miss them! For others it means no more suffering, no more heartache, no more sickness, no more burdens to bear!But having read all of the above I'm hoping that you are beginning to understand that although heaven may be an unspeakably wonderful place, with those pearly gates and streets of gold etc., I believe the most important thing about heaven is the One who is the centre of it!
"Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty:
So it seems to me that as wonderful as heaven is going to be, it is He who is the centre of heaven who will be the One who will captivate our hearts.
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be:
Whatever He is like, we shall be like Him! Our eyes are going to see the King in all His beauty ..." Isaiah 33: 17. And upon seeing Him we will be filled with joy the likes of which we could never know here on earth. He will be the One with whom we will be gladly occupied in that day and for eternity.
In that day Jesus, 'the Lamb of God', will fill heaven and thrill our souls. All that our hearts could ever imagine about heaven will pale into insignificance in the light of His glorious presence.
I don't know about you but I can't wait to be there. And I look forward to finding you there as well.
The bride eyes not her garment but her dear Bridegroom's face
Anne R. Cousin
|Here's Something New For You|
"A Few Simple Thoughts About Heaven"
>> Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below! ♥
I wonder, when you read the Bible, what you expect to find there?
Perhaps you have approached it with a certain amount of scepticism. Some say its full of contradictions and you might be looking into it to see if you can find some of your own. I wonder if I might save you the hassle - you won't find any! Very few who have made such claims have never taken the time to read this precious book for themselves.
To someone who is truly searching for whatever they are looking for God is going to reveal Himself in such a way that the reader will not be able to resist such grace and love declared in its sacred pages. If they are stubborn enough to resist, they are foolish to the point of extremity.
Perhaps you are a brand new Christian and you are holding in your hands a treasure store of spiritual wealth, yours for the receiving with prayerful watchfulness. You are not going to be disappointed :)
Perhaps you are a weary hearted Christian who is trying one last ditch attempt to find comfort, hope or something to make sense out of this crazy thing we call life. Search with a sincere heart and you will find the comfort your heart is longing for.
Or perhaps you have been on the Christian journey for a while and have learned a thing or two along the way that has caused you to more deeply appreciate the wonders of the Person of the Son of God, then you know how much of a treasure the Word of God really is.
No matter who you are, or what your circumstances, our attitude towards this wonderful Book determines what we are going to find there and how the things we will find will affect us.
There is one thing for sure, the Bible is full of treasures ... old and new!
Although the writings are ancient, they are right up to the minute and relevant for the very day in which we live. It contains accounts of great adventures and battles fought and won. It contains love stories, the greatest of which was the demonstration of the love of God towards the likes of us in our unworthy condition.
"God commendeth his love toward us,
in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5: 8
It gives clear instruction as to how to come into the benefit of such love, and what look forward to in the future. All that and so much more, all contained in that precious Book which can be acquired by anyone anywhere, even Online :)
Well, everyone has their own idea of what treasures might be. Some would consider being wealthy a treasure, others might consider being successful at business or sport or craft a treasure. Others consider their spouse or their family treasures. And I expect that all these things are treasures in their right perspective.
However, sadly none of us can guarantee to acquire treasures like this, but even if we were possible to have one of these treasures or even all of them, it is certain that we will never be able to keep them. When life's journey is over we must let go and leave without them! How sad and unfortunate this is, expending all it takes to gain a treasure like this to have to let it go in the end.
Instead, the Bible tells us to not waste our time and energy on things that are not going to last forever but rather: "... Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven ..." Matthew 6: 20.
Make eternal investments ...
Instead of investing time in the 'here and now', why not think about the 'there and then'.
Jesus, the Son of God thought you were worth the price He paid to bring to you the assurance of a home in heaven. He must have treasured the thought of you and I being with Him one day because out of love, pure love He went to the cross to bear the punishment for the sin that separates us from God and causes us to not see or want the treasure there is in Him.
The Bible from cover to cover declares in its various forms the wonders of this precious Man who came into the world long ago 'to save sinners' I Timothy 1: 15. Open up the sacred pages and you will begin to see what a treasure He is. If God declares His delight in His beloved Son, then we can easily find all our delight in Him also; for the Bible tells us:
"In [Him] are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
Colossians 2: 3.
And if this is true, and so it is, then we need to look no further. Why not start today to discover treasures old and new you never knew were there before.
Yours to call your very own, now and forever!
Related Link - 'The Bible'
Here's Something New For You
"When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
This video was created by special request from one of my YouTube Subscribers
and it was a pleasure to be able to do this.
If you would like to request a song or hymn to be featured on video
please feel free to get in touch, and I will see what I can do :)
The song in this video is featured on my album "A String of Pearls"
More information about it is found here and where it is available for purchase.
>> Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below! ♥
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be absolutely certain about some of those things in life that would crush us if it all went wrong.
As the blushing bride stands before her adoring husband to be, there's no guarantee that their vows will stand up to the pressures and demands will come upon them as life moves on.
As we cradle that infant in our loving arms, there is no guarantee this miniature human being will grow up to be a valuable member of society.
As the young person branches out and starts a business, there's no guarantee the business will be a success. It all depends on the environment and the devotion of the one venturing out on his own.
And talking of the environment, there's the farmer who prepares the ground, sews the seed, tends to the crop with no guarantee of a harvest. It all depends on the rain to come at the right time, and the sun to show up and warm the soil.
So it goes on and on. We could find examples of uncertainty everywhere we look. However, there are a few things of which we can be certain - that is Taxes, aging, and death! Pretty depressing huh!
But actually there there's a whole host of other unseen things of which we can be certain also. But these involve faith in someone we cannot see, and knowing Him personally changes everything!
The Bible tells that:
"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4: 18.
Just look around and you'll see that it is not too difficult to understand that we don't last forever here, but even the earth upon which we live is slowly decaying? Everything we can see is altering and fading away.
Why is that? It is because the whole earth, our environment in which we live, and every living thing, including ourselves are under a curse. It is a thing called sin, and it came into the world long ago when the first man and woman made a choice to disobey God, and because of this, the curse of sin has affected every living thing and all creation ever since.
Sin is what makes us do the bad things we sometimes do. Sin is the reason why we die. Sin is the reason everything is decaying and will one day come to an end. What a horrible dilemma in which we find ourselves!
Is there any way to change all this? Where can we go for hope?
Yes, a glorious change is possible, but it comes on a very personal basis. And as for the hope we long for, as I said before, it is found in the One who we presently cannot see.
However, there was a time when this wonderful 'hope of all the earth' came to visit this sad place on a rescue mission. His name was Jesus. He was and is no less than the living and true God in a human body.
His mission was accomplished on a cruel Roman cross when humankind thought they would do away with Him. Why would anyone in their right mind want to do away with someone with all the answers to the great need of the human race.
Well, that's it, they were not in their right mind, and so He prayed for those who crucified Him and said over and over again: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23: 24. While they, representing the entire human race were offering their worst to this lovely Man, He was there all the while offering His life, and allowing His own blood to be shed in order to pay for the sin that is keeping us separate from Him.
You may be wondering how could the death of this Man on a cross so long ago affect anything positive for which I can be certain today?
Well, here is the answer - What He accomplished there was a work that was truly finished. It will never again need to be repeated. His sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to pay the debt you and you and I owe to God for our sin. It is sufficient to free us from the guilt, the shame, and the power of the sin that once bound us, and enable to live a life in the most fulfilling way possible. By that, I mean, a life that is walking with God and working with Him and not against Him.
A person who has their faith firmly grounded on the Lord Jesus Christ has infinitely more to be fully persuaded about than anyone else in this sad old world. Look at what Paul, the Apostle said in the Bible:
"I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that he is able
to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1: 12
Being fully persuaded is essential for being able to live an outstanding life which truly blesses others and honours God. Being fully persuaded gives to the Christian a firm and solid standing the world knows nothing about. Being fully persuaded is the definition of what is known as rock solid faith that will not move no matter what our circumstances are. And there are times when the foundations of our life and faith are tried to the limit, but being fully persuaded sees us through!
One of the very saddest things we read in the Bible is an account of a man of social and political standing. He was a King, and as kings go he was 'the man'! He had a curiosity about this new trend that was sweeping the land. Who were these people called Christians and what did they stand for? Well, one day his questions were answered when Paul the Apostle was brought before him. Paul reasoned with Agrippa about the Lord and how the King would benefit from trusting in this perfect Saviour once for all.
However ... the King felt that other things demanded more attention, so the Gospel message went unheeded, in fact it was blatantly refused! Agrippa may have refused the message but he would never be able to forget it!
Don't ever be like this sad individual who after hearing a very clear and appealing message of the Gospel and the offer of the life everyone is truly longing for, but not always ready to admit it, turned down the appeal and said: "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Acts 26: 28.
Almost persuaded is not good enough in the light of eternity. He might as well have been not persuaded at all; for being almost persuaded is as good as lost!
Sadly, we never read in the Bible of this man ever changing his mind and trusting in the Lord Jesus later on. If he did, I'm sure that God would have made sure we would have known about it. I therefore have to conclude that what happened to King Agrippa is a warning to all of us to not mess with God. He only has the very best to offer, but if people do not want what He has to give, He is a perfect gentleman - and will not force His way into people's lives.
Today is another opportunity to trust in Him to save you and clean you up from the inside out. It would be wise to use this opportunity while you have it - tomorrow may be too late!
Here's Something New For You
"I Believe in You"
I made an attempt to get inside the heart of Mary of Bethany
and express the pure love of her devoted heart to the Lord Jesus Lord and lover of her soul.
I hope you like my new song :)
Please feel free to share it so others can also be encouraged to love the Lord Jesus deeply.
The lyrics of this song are based on the article by the same name here at Rest a While.
Please take a look at 'I Believe In You' to be encouraged and blessed.
It's been one of those months when I have been almost continuously reminded of a soon coming event which every Christian is, or rather ought to be longing for with every ounce of their being.
The event in question is the promised and glorious coming again of the Lord Jesus to take His people out of this world to be with Him to the place He has been preparing for a very long time.
It all started earlier in the month when I visited Rest a While's 'Perhaps Today' page to look at a poem featured there. Then one thing led to another and I spent a while enjoying the relevant passages of Scripture foretelling us of this event. I then found an endearing YouTube video reminding me of what it might be like on the glad day when we are called away to that great reunion day when we will meet with loved ones who have gone HOME ahead of us. I shared a few thoughts with a friend via email about this subject.
And then one of our visitors staying in the apartment above our Gospel Hall took up this wonderful subject as part of his ministry. That same friend who I shared thoughts about the coming of the Lord earlier then posted on his Facebook wall some beautiful, and at the same time challenging thoughts about what we have to look forward to and what we ought to be up to while we are waiting.
So ... I believe it is probably my turn to make a small contribution :)
It occurred to me that while we have SO much to look forward to when we finally arrive to our home in heaven, and the joyful anticipation is of course understandable and recommended, it actually isn't all about the joy we will have when we get there!
Of course we all look forward to and trust that we will hear those words:
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant ...
enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"
Matthew 25: 23
But this is my point, did you see it? What does the Lord say here? Let me quote these words again and emphasise the words that stood out to me: "well done, thou good and faithful servant ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
The joy He desires us to partake of is HIS joy! This is the reason why He endured the cross - it was: "for the joy that was set before Him ..." Hebrews 12: 2. But what exactly was that joy set before Him? Was it not the anticipation of having us with to be with Him in His home in 'the Father's house'?
I wonder if our desire to be at home with Him anywhere matches His desire for us to be there!
Now, if the Bible tells us that: "... When he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3: 2. And when Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven and prayed: "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." John 17: 24, could His joy about us being there have everything to do with the change that happens in us when we see Him at last?
Back in the beginning when the work of creation was complete, God looked at what He had done and said it was: "Very good." But all too soon it was marred by sin that the first man Adam introduced into the world, which subsequently brought the whole of creation into decay and the human race into condemnation.
So in the passing of time God sent another Man, this time He was perfect and totally unable to sin because of His purity and perfection ... because of course, God was His Father. This Man was to be forever an absolute delight to Him both here on earth and now in the presence of the Father forever.
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth."
John 1: 14.
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
2 Peter 1: 17
Precious moments spent in the presence of the Lord reading His precious Word is a complete honour and privilege, and the more we do this, the more acquainted we are with Him, and the more like Him we become with every passing day.
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2 Corinthians 3: 18
And if this is a change that is gradually taking place here and now, what will the change be like when we finally arrive HOME?
I am therefore confident and believe it is very reasonable to say that our beloved Lord Jesus is going to be absolutely delighted with having the place He has been preparing for so long filled with the people He paid so dearly for, with Him at last, and fully resembling His wonderful characteristics inside and out.
The Bible tells us of the love God has for people like you and me:
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5: 8
It's not as if we were attractive or appealing in any way to God. He loved us while we were unlovable, appealed to us when we didn't really care, offering to us freedom and redemption we do not deserve! This is indeed what true love really is.
But in spite of our unappealing condition He anticipated having the likes of us
with Him for eternity worth the price He was about to pay.
The joy the Lord anticipated is the very same joy He desired to impart through His Words to those who trusted in Him: "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15: 11.
Well, this is an amazing thing coming from the lips of the One who was called 'The Man of Sorrows." His heart was deeply grieved as He moved around in this corrupted system that had turned His wonderful creation into a decaying and declining mess ...
And yet He spoke of joy - the likes of which we cannot comprehend
but are privileged to partake of in an intimate relationship with Him.
We might not have much of what earth has to offer but with the peace of God that passes understanding, and with His unspeakable joy which is full of glory occupying our inmost being, there isn't much else we could ever have need of.
If we were to be in possession of all we ever longed for without Him, we would have nothing of any value. We would possibly be among the most empty and unfulfilled people to walk this earth.
But bless the Lord that there is something of so much greater value than the superficial joy that accompanies everyday life without the Lord in the centre of it.
Yes, this is the very same joy He desires for His people before we even come into His glorious presence. We who have trusted in the Lord Jesus are:
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing
of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
Titus 2: 13.
Everything about being with our beloved Lord and Saviour fills us with joyful anticipation. I believe thoughts about this wonderful event touch us as individuals in different ways.
Of course we will all appreciate being delivered at last from the presence of sin. For some, the freeing of sickness, pain and heartache is what they long for so much. And for others, maybe for us all the joy of being reunited with loved ones who have arrived in heaven before us is what we anticipate.
But oh, the thought of seeing the One whom we have never seen before and having the privilege of gazing into the eyes of the Lord and Lover of our souls surely supersedes all other joyful thoughts of being in that place we call HOME.
What greater joy could we ever envisage than entering into His Joy. Being in the place where He wants us to be. Our hearts bursting with exuberance. And to see the absolute joy of His dear heart expressed in His lovely face.
I can hardly wait, how about you?
Someone asked me a while ago if I ever thought of changing my repertoire! Apparently I have a good voice for singing love songs and it was suggested that if ever I thought of taking this up I might be more 'successful' as a singer instead of singing all that 'religious stuff' that nobody wants to hear!
Considering where the question and suggestion came from I could have been tempted to tinker around with songs of another genre other than the one I am dedicated to.
I once again found myself asking a few questions to which I got the same answers as I always did before. "Why do I do what I do?" And "What do I hope to get out of it?"
We live in a world where success is measured by something that people can see, and if they can't see any results it's obviously a waste of effort, move on and try something else!
But what if you are obeying the call of God? What does success look like then?
Anyone seeking to walk closely with our beloved Lord knows that it is far better to follow Him totally by faith and walk alone, rather than living for the here and now with everything we could ever crave for, but without the sunshine of His smile daily - and tragically without His approval to look forward to in a soon coming day.
They say, only a fool would choose to refute the tempting offers out there. Only a fool would choose not to operate in an almost guaranteed successful realm, choosing to follow a path very few dare to go.
Or is that true? Is this what a fool does? What does it mean to be a fool in the first place?
Well, the Bible's definition of a fool is very different to the secular's definition. The secular view of a foolish person is not to take up a good offer even if it is staring you in the face! However, the Biblical view of foolishness is living life without any thought of God all day long! Just like the man in Luke ch20 who planned to create larger barns to house his accumalated harvest but did not account for the fact that he might not see tomorrow. He made no plans for his future beyond this life!
"And God said unto him,
Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee:
then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
Luke 12: 20
Everyone who is truly 'born of God' knows what it is like to walk on foreign soil and move about in enemy territory. We live in the scene of Christ's rejection and all who follow this Man are considered to be foolish and out of place and time.
But nothing's changed, nothing at all! Since the earliest times of written history, those who walk with God are considered fools ....
Let's think of Noah for example - he had 120 years to change his mind or his approach - but he didn't. Against the judgement of those around He preached and worked on and on until the time came for him and his family, and two of every species of animal to shelter in the ark he had spent so long building from this strange wet stuff falling from the sky. (It had never rained before!)
Elijah, a lone man on the mountain declaring against all odds against the false prophets that the God in whom he was trusting and serving was indeed the living and true God. He must have looked pretty stupid all on his own while the angry mob geared at him, but he boldly declared that 'the God who answers by fire let Him be God.' They all had an offering of a bullock and the false prophets did their incantations to provoke their false gods to consume their offering, all to no avail. Then came Elijah who called on the living God who did wonders before them all!
The world has seen many so called fools come and go over the millennia since Old Testament days but being a fool for the sake of God is by far better than being considered a fool for no good reason. Here's what how the Bible defines what a fool really is ...
"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."
Psalm 14: 1 & 53: 1.
It is the living and true God who has placed in the heart of every human being a void that only He can fill. Those who bring their empty vessel for Him to fill are able to be thoroughly satisfied.
But the real fool is the one who has already decided within his heart to deny the only One who can answer all their needs and freely give to them a living hope for the future.
'No God,' say they, so that there are no consequences for the sin that rules their life. But they only deceive themselves. Just like those who say 'no sin!' (See 1 John 1: 8.) But no one can escape the consequences of sin: "For the wages of sin is death" Everyone dies, don't they? Well this is the consequence of sin we cannot escape!
But bless God, this is not the end of the story.
God has provided the escape. Let's now read the previously quoted verse from the Bible in full for God's remedy to this rather depressing prognosis -
"For the wages of sin is death;
the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6: 23
A price has been paid for a gift beyond measure to be given freely to undeserving individuals like you and me. Why would God do a thing like that? I guess this is what love does if we are to believe what the Bible says:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3: 16
The ultimate gift freely given to all who are prepared to place their full trust in Him completely.
So here's the answer to the questions I ask myself many times in case you are interested:
Why do I do what I do?
I write, I sing, and I speak about the beloved Lord Jesus simply because I can, and because I can, I must! How can someone with a message of hope like the one every Christian has ever keep quiet about it? The news that God loves you and Jesus died to save you might sound like a foolish thing to be eager to talk about, but this is the very message that has changed the lives and the destinies of countless people down through the ages. This can do the very same thing for you even this very day.
What do I hope to get out of doing what I do?
Well, I already have my reward as it were! Although there are rewards for every believer who has been faithful to what God has given them to do, this is not the reason or the motive behind what I write, sing or speak about.
Back in Genesis God said something to Abraham that resonates with my soul and is the primary reason behind all I do -
"Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."
Genesis 15: 1
He is the One who protected Abraham and motivated him, and He does this for me also. He is my reward, and it is because I have Him, that I have a message, and the passion and ability to communicate this wonderful message. Because He is my reward I am motivated and encouraged to make Him known. You can't stop me you know, I just can't help it :)
Call me silly if you will. Call me a fool if you must but I know whose fool I am.
But the all important question is ... whose fool are you?
Something for you from Amanda's Corner
Another video for you featuring a song from my album "A Whisper in the Wind"