Spiritual Food for Thought: Topic 17
"Visions of Heaven"
Grandma, what is heaven going to be like?
This is a question that any number of adults can say that they have asked either their grandma, or their parent,
or an elder of the family or community.
When the question was posed in the days of my youth, children got answers like:
"...always howdy, and never good-bye."
"...streets are paved with gold."
"...no more crying, no more dying."
"...the place of unspeakable joy!"
"...see my mother, see my father."
"...see my loved ones."
"...see my Savior's face."
"...live in my mansion that Jesus prepared for me."
Hymns, and songs of praise, speak of heaven as well.
One of the most eloquent expressions comes from a verse
of the song called Amazing Grace.
"When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun."
It is good to think about heaven as we walk on our journey. Just as a runner can see their goal of the finish line,
we should think of the finish line as well. Thinking about the end of this life can help us to fine tune our purpose,
as we journey along. Envisioning the end of the journey can prevent us from straying from the path.
When we do stray from the path (which happens from time to time)
the finish line can remind us about why we set out on this journey in the first place.
My mother had several favorite songs. One in particular was titled, "Heaven is My Goal."
When you have a moment, look up this old Gospel Song and you will find an inspiring set of lyrics
about walking on this journey in tough times. One of the messages in the song, is that the lyricist
wants to stay on the path to heaven and not to become a stumbling block for others on the journey.
That is an important biblical principle.
Mom wanted to make it to heaven, but she didn't want to make the path difficult for someone else.
Life is hard.
But, we have got to work together to get things done. We can't tear each other down. We need to build each other up.
The world gives us countless ways to tear down other things and other people,
but the world gives us very few ways to build things up.
Jesus chose the twelve disciples to continue His work. The disciples were given the power and authority
to heal the sick, preach the Word, and "build up" the body of believers,
with the ultimate goal of reaching the place that Jesus has prepared for us.
Many ministers down through the years have used "build-up" phrases like:
"Are you ready?"
"The time is almost here."
"I'm sending up my timber."
"I'm working on a building..."
" We know not the day or the hour."
As I think of the finish line, I often wonder just what I will do to get ready.
Read my Bible, build others up, keep my mind, my thoughts, and my purpose fixed on heaven.
First, I know that we will shed this old body for a body that is new. Second, I know that God will give us the gift
of a heavenly spirit that sees old things in a new way.
We got a glimpse of this when the Bible told us that Jesus showed His new body to the disciples.
We can see, and scholars agree, that the places of His wounds were there but His body was not the same.
There was no pain. Jesus was free of pain and suffering when He appeared to the disciples.
Therefore, we shall be new and different in body and in spirit.
The Bible says that we shall be changed in an instant.
Is it challenging to stay on the path? Yes.
When I think of the world, and the turmoil and negativity that is constantly before us,
I remember my mom, and I try to make sure that I don't stumble into any more worldly traps.
I just need to keep my eyes on the finish line and the goal before me. I can't let the traps of division,
disrespect, racism, and hatred pull me off of the path to the place that Jesus has prepared.
Let me encourage you.
Don't let the world make you stumble.
If the world tries to make you feel unworthy because of the past, remember,
if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, He has forgiven you. Stay on the path.
Don't let any of the nay-sayers, the critics, and the detractors get you down.
Keep your thoughts on heaven.
When people tell you that you are not good enough, keep your thoughts on heaven.
When people try to keep you transfixed on your failures, keep your thoughts on heaven.
When people try to exclude you, confuse you, misuse you, persecute you, or separate you from those who love you,
keep your thoughts on heaven.
No matter how powerful they seem, how many resources are at their command,
how many connections they have, or the finances they control, keep your thoughts on heaven.
Our God is all-powerful!
Our God is almighty!
Our God is omnipotent!
Our God is all, in all.
God has forgiven you.
God has freed you by His grace and by His mercy.
If God is for you, who can stand against you?
I would like to share this final thought with you.
No matter the challenges of the present day...
No matter how people try to make you feel...
...When I think of heaven, I think...
“Heaven is a place where everyone will be glad to see you. Everyone will be glad you are there!”
God will be glad you are there!
Grandma was right.
"...always howdy, and never good-bye."