Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

I Want to Go to Heaven When I Die

August 24, 2017

If you have asked Jesus to forgive your sins and be your Savior, you are now a friend of Jesus. Because of your relationship with Jesus, you can be assured of Heaven. It isn’t what we do that gets us into Heaven, its Who we know! You see, when you asked Jesus to come into your life as your Savior, He came in forever. He took up residence. His Spirit is in you, and He has always been working in your life to make you more and more like Himself. As the apostle Paul says: “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it in the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6) When the time is perfect, Jesus will take you to be with Him in Heaven. Maybe you haven’t read the Gospel of John in awhile. It is good to read it over and over because it is full of Jesus’ own promises to us who love and follow Him.  We are His own.

 

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How to Get to Heaven

February 23, 2016

“But anyone who asks for mercy from the Lord shall have it and shall be saved.”  Acts 2:21

Most people never consider whether they will get to heaven.  They just assume everyone gets there if they’re good enough.  They figure God grades “on the curve”, and because in their own minds they are definitely in the top 50 percentile, they will surely make it in.  Others think God has a gigantic balance scales, and as long as one has more on the “good” side than they do on the “bad” side, they will be ok, (since they are always doing something nice for someone).  Still others think it just doesn’t matter, and they’ll find out about Heaven or whatever the afterlife is like when they get there.  Hardly anyone wonders what God thinks about the matter.

Think a minute.  Is Heaven a perfect place or not?  If its not, then what makes it any better than being here?  If there is still crime, violence, sickness, accidents, sorrow and pain, what difference does it make at all?  But most of us long for a perfect place where all the suffering of Earth no longer exists.  Longing for that perfect place at least suggests the possibility such a place exists.  If God is perfect, then His home surely is perfect too.  Think about your own home.  Would you let people track in all kinds of grass and mud and do nothing about it?  Would you let it be full of flies and roaches?  Would you let garbage pile up till the smell is sickening?  Of course not.  Then what makes us think there could be anything wrong in Heaven?  If there is nothing wrong in Heaven, why would we be there?  Are we perfect?  Are we totally good?  We know in truth, we aren’t.  So, we have to somehow pass through God’s cleanup process.  That’s what “being saved” is all about.  We aren’t thrown out with the dirt and garbage if we are “saved”.  And how does that happen?  We recognize our lack of goodness, indeed our badness.  And we ask for mercy.  That is the “narrow gate” Jesus talked about Heaven having.  We have to come in without armloads of good deeds, or mountains of arguments about how good we are compared with someone else.  We can only squeeze in with empty arms, and the grease called “Mercy,”  Let’s recognize what we are and ask for it.

Dogs and Heaven

February 20, 2010

If you have ever owned a dog, you have probably experienced one of two rather disgusting episodes.  Either your dog tangled with a skunk, or it rolled in something so sickening you gagged as you had to bathe it.  Did you ever think of all the theological implications of this situation in relation to God and his humans?

People often ask “Why doesn’t God just let everyone into heaven?”  We could logically ask why we don’t just let all our reeking dogs into the house.  Humans all have a stench called sin, and we have to be cleaned and deodorized before we can be let into God’s house.

People often say “I’m a pretty good person, not like most people”.  Would we go around smelling skunk-sprayed dogs to try to determine which smelled better than the others?  They all stink too much to be let inside.

Some people say “I would never go to church–there are too many hypocrites there.”  Should one smelly dog refuse to go to the groomers salon because its full of other smelly dogs?

God does provide a way for us to be cleaned.  All it requires is for us to ask his forgiveness and we are completely deodorized, because of the price Jesus paid to have it done.  However, like some dogs, we may come when we are called, or we may run away and keep on running until we become lost forever.

We don’t get into the master’s house because we’ve been good enough, or do great tricks or look adorable–we get in because He loves us, calls us and cleans us up.  Humans have a problem called pride.  We don’t want to ask God’s forgiveness.  We would rather try to earn our way in.  We don’t want to admit we’re all beggars, completely dependent on God from start to finish.  In this case, we would do well to be more like our dogs.  They aren’t ashamed to beg.

Homecoming

February 20, 2010

I watched a scene at the airport where a father greeted his daughter.  They smiled and hugged and laughed.  They couldn’t wait to go home and see everyone.  Is this what it will be like when you come for your loved ones, Jesus?  I know you said you’d come to us when all is ready, to take us where you are.  I always thought your eyes would be kind.  What never occurred to me is that we might run toward each other, laughing and hugging, and racing for home because we can’t wait for me to see everyone.  And yet, why shouldn’t it be this way ?  If we humans, sinful as we are, feel so much joy in seeing our favorite people, surely you do, too.  The father of the prodigal son, after all, is a picture of you.  Lord, that you should be glad to see me, is just more than I can comprehend.  It brings tears to my eyes.

How to Get into Heaven

February 17, 2010

“Unless you become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven.”

Once there were two little boys who lived near the best theme part in their part of the country.  More than anything in the world, they would have loved to spend a day there.  Their parents, however, were far too poor to be able to afford the almost $40 ticket.  Well, the boys decided they would earn their way inside.  One thing they knew how to do was to sell candy.  So they pooled their allowances and bought a supersize bag of mints, and at the beginning of the summer they began selling their mints at 2 cents each.

On the last day before school was to start, they were standing outside the gates of the park, counting their profits, to see if they could buy tickets inside.  What a disappointment!  Their total profit for the whole summer was $2.40, not enough for even one of them to be anywhere close to getting in.  Slowly, they started to walk away, when they came face to face with a kindly old gentleman who offered to let them in.  “How can you let us in, when we don’t have tickets?” they asked.  “I own the place” replied the man.  “Can we give you our $2.40? ” they asked.  “Of course not”, said the man, “Use that for something when you get inside.”

Can you imagine the boys refusing to accept the old gentleman’s offer?  Can you imagine their being so proud, they would insist they couldn’t possibly accept charity, even though paying their own way was never going to happen?  Little children don’t have that kind of foolish pride.

None of us can ever earn our way into heaven.  It cost more than any human will ever hope to be able to pay.  Whatever good things we do are gifts of love and gratitude to Jesus, who has already prepaid our way in.  Why do we still find ourselves wondering if we are good enough to get in, counting our deeds, and afraid we will be embarrassed at how little we have to offer at the gates?

The Candy Cane

February 17, 2010

What if the candy cane isn’t a cane at all, but the letter J, upside down? Legend has it that a J is what it originally was.  J stands for Jesus, “God with us”, whose birthday we celebrate December 25.  God missed us so much that He came to be with us, being born and living as a human, so that He could have a relationship with us and we humans could understand what God is really like.

The red stripes on the J represent the great love of God, who would rather die than lose a single one of us.  It did turn out that way.  He died defeating the evil one who was holding us, intent on eventually destroying us.

The white stripes on the J represent eternal life–our heavenly  home.  Anyone who has ever lost a child, and any child who has become lost from their parent knows the anguish felt until they can be reunited again and the child is safe at home.  God feels that way about us, and leans on the window of heaven day by day, watching and waiting for us.  HE can hardly wait until we are home with Him for good.

Daddy’s Voice

August 10, 2009

When Jesus comes for each of us, the sight of Him will be awesome.  In every instance recorded in scripture where people were visited by heavenly beings, they were so frightened they fell down or fell back.  Yet to His own, He always said, “Do not be afraid.”  If we are His, if we have been living a relationship with Him, we will recognize the voice, and the words will be familiar.  He will speak to us by name and we will know Him.  If we do not know Him, His majesty will so terrify us, we shall run away.  With our backs to Him and our feet carrying us, we shall run to the outer darkness.  What is Hell, but the dark place where God’s presence doesn’t exist.

Dogs and Heaven

January 22, 2009

I had a very naughty little dog once, and I loved her very much.  She was usually on my lap or on my bed, and was my constant companion.  However, one morning she got out and got into something really nasty.  She reeked and I gagged.  It was so bad I couldn’t bring her into the house.  I put her into her carrier and took her to the vet (by the back door!)  They were able to deodorize her, but it cost me quite a bit.  I was willing to pay the price because I loved my dog and I couldn’t wait till she was cleaned up  enough to come into the house with me.

Later as I reflected on what happened, I felt the Lord say “Your sin smells like that to me.  I could never let sin into my heaven.  I have to get rid of the odor first.  It cost me a great deal to do that.  It took the blood of my son to cleanse the odor of sin.  We paid the price because we love you and our other children and want you in our home.”

I had wondered why Jesus had to die.  Nothing else would do.  Nothing else would get rid of the stench of sin.  And God couldn’t let that smell into his perfect heaven anymore than I could let the smell of something dead into my house.  My dog could have run off when she saw me, not wanting a bath.  Then she would have been lost and I would have been heartbroken.  Just as I imagine God is heartbroken when a sinner runs from Him.

Jesus is the Way

January 19, 2009

Recently I attended the retirement of a military friend.  In order to get into the building where the retirement was to be held, I had to ask for an escort.  I couldn’t go into the building on my own because I wasn’t cleared.  It reminded me about Jesus when he said “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one can come to the Father except through me.”  Jesus is our escort into our Heavenly Father’s presence in heaven.  We can’t come in on our own because we aren’t cleared.  We aren’t cleared because of sin.  We have to ask for our escort Jesus, who alone can bring us in to the Father.

I Laughed at the Hound of Heaven

April 4, 2008

I laughed at  the “Hound of Heaven”

God chasing a human soul

Down the corridors of the years

How quaint?  How droll?

 

I lost God when I grew up

The very idea preposterous

All God is good for

Is controlling the masses

 

I am not one of the masses

I saw through it all

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul

 

How liberating, how eye-opening

How exhilarating, how breathless

I make my own rules now

I am capable of fine ethics

 

I make my own life better

Pleasure should never be denied

I never use another person

Without their consent implied

 

I’m far too intelligent

No entangling alliances for friends

Together while two have pleasure

Broken bonds when the pleasure ends

 

I will be all that I can be

I’ll be as rich as I can be too

Fame, if it gives me happiness

Achievement will see me through

 

I’ll be the richest and the best

I’ll drain erotic joys to the dregs

Liquor and drugs if they feel good

But not enough to wreck my larger quest

 

I have a doubt now and then

In the small hours I feel a shudder

But there are so many reasons to disbelieve in a maker

I am brilliant in how many I discover

 

I love to argue with believers

They are so unable to defend

Against my brilliant premises

And I can invent arguments without end.

 

Still I am getting older now

The erotic drives have slowed somewhat

I am amazed at how fast the time has gone

It isn’t fair what the years have wrought

 

I’m angry at my ebbing strength

Its one thing over which I can’t rise

Biology, damn biology

I can’t control my inevitable demise

 

So I will live faster and faster

More passion for the time I have left

More comfort, more pleasure, and then

Nothing to leave me bereft

 

Stupid Christians make me so angry

Claiming I must bow to their god

What has he ever done to help me

Should I sacrifice ME to their fraud?

 

I am all there is

I get the time that is left for ME

Sometimes God invades my dreams

But in daylight I realize I’m free

 

Today is all there is

I am but flesh and breath

I will make my own life

I will decide my own death

 

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul

When it becomes too painful

I will decide when its time to go

 

One day I got the message

A month or two was all that was left

I had a whirlwind four weeks

Then with the bullet I controlled my death

 

Far, far in the darkness I floated

Where in the world was this place?

I wondered what was in the drugs I took

To insure I’d sealed my fate

 

I floated up to a brilliant place

How inviting the music and light

“But have you ever worshipped Jesus?”

I was sure my mind was not right

 

Never! I shouted to no one

I am the captain of my fate

I am the master of my soul

And I kept floating away

 

On and on until the light was but a speck

It was dark and silent like night

It seemed I’d finally stopped drifting

All I could see was the miniscule light

 

I thought I heard the music

But it must have been in my mind

I wanted to again see the people

But all I saw was the tiny light

 

I looked for my arms

I felt for my heel

Nothing was there to see

Nothing was there to feel

 

Then the thirst rose within me

A fire I could feel but not see

I can’t say it was in my body

I could feel no physical me

 

The fire raged within me

It was lonely out here in the dark

I longed for pleasure to sustain me

There wasn’t even a spark

 

I longed for companionship

There was no one for me

I longed for occupation

There was none to be

 

Only silence, darkness and that damn speck of light

I was alone, no one else, only me

No comfort, pleasure or other

I had the one thing I wanted most—ME

 

This cannot go on much longer

The fire within was a blaze

I wanted to go back to the light

And I feared it might be too late

 

I wanted this nightmare to end

I wanted the gun again

I wanted control of my life once more

Control had come to an end.