Thankful for Heaven: Part 3

molly1a

whoilove “On Sundays”
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If you didn’t get to read the “Part 1” post, “Part 2” post, I encourage you to do that.

One of the other many things I didn’t understand about Heaven was where it is! Paul thinks of it in terms of the presence of God. God is perfect, so wherever He currently abides must also be perfect.

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Remember when He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden BEFORE they sinned? That was Heaven! The Garden was perfection and God was with them. The Bible says that when Christ returns and satan is destroyed that God will once again walk with and live with the people! Can you imagine God the Father actually being on Earth with us?

1) WHERE WE WILL BE: THE NEW EARTH

John said in Revelation 21,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…Revelations 21
Remember that God is going to RESTORE our current Earth!

(Randy Alcorn describes those where the dead are now as “Intermediate Earth” because the Bible says that Jesus is still coming back to defeat Satan! After that, He will restore our Earth, and it will be perfection, and God will come and abide with us here. We don’t know a lot about this “Intermediate Heaven” but if that is where God is, then all the people with Him are feeling the best they have ever felt!)

Back to the New Earth…The Earth is under a curse – sin. The Garden was perfection. God is going to restore that which is broken. Remember that scene from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when Narnia is all dead and gray and evil because the White Witch has taken over and destroyed everything? Then Aslan re-enters Narnia after defeating the White Witch, and we see this color and life sweep back over the land that was dead, and now everthing is full of life and beauty again! So it will be with this Earth, when Jesus comes back to take His Kingdom after defeating satan!

What we see now is under a curse – thorns, drastic weather, weeds, starvation and death. That is the dead and gray Narnia. But soon, we will see this Earth as it was designed to be — bolder colors, fresher smells, juicier fruits, grander mountains, clearer lakes.

Whatever we enjoy about Earth now will be 100 times better when Jesus restores our Earth. Genesis tells the story of Paradise Lost. Revelation tells of Paradise re-gained. God made this Earth to be our home. When He restores it, it will be back to its original, perfect condition.

2) SO, WHAT FOR NOW?: SEEING EARTH FROM HEAVEN

Romans 8 held new meaning for me after my mom died. Let me share some…

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[i] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.Romans 8:18-21

We are experiencing present sufferings, and we will until Christ takes us.

Our Job: According to these verses, one of our jobs is to wait, with eager expectation…talk about Heaven, think about Heaven, dream about Heaven with the imagination God gave you, and tell others about Heaven to get them excited and having an eternal perspective.

Well, what do I think about? Here’s something that I hope will excite you: We are not alone in this race. There are many other believers and the saints who have gone before us…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great CLOUD of WITNESSES, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.Hebrews 12:1

The cloud of witnesses that surrounds us is the multitudes of people who are already in the presence of God and are waiting for all of us to be together when satan’s time on Earth is through!

In the midst of my mom’s funeral, we FELT that. There was a sense of eternity when we were there together praising God and thinking about where my mom was! Many people told me they felt as if they had experienced some of what Heaven will be like….and it was such a small scale compared to what it will be!

They are watching! The big game is happening down here as they watch the battle play out between good (Jesus) and evil. The fourth quarter is coming when Jesus wins! The people in Heaven are not oblivious to this. They have their eyes on us!

Here are some places where we have evidence of this:

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  • 1 Sam. 28: King Saul appealed to the Witch of Endor to bring Samuel back from the afterlife, and the medium was terrified when God actually sent him. But Samuel remember what Saul had done BEFORE he died, and he was aware of what had happened SINCE!
  • Luke 9: Moses and Elijah are called back from Heaven to the Transfiguration (just before Jesus was taken up into Heaven) and they spoke with Jesus in front of Peter, James, and John about how Jesus was about to depart while in Jerusalem. (They knew what was happening and about to happen on Earth).
  •  In Revelation 2-3, Jesus is watching closely from Heaven what is happening on the Earth.
  • In multiple places in Scripture, angels see Christ on earth and know what is happening on Earth. Surely God’s people in Heaven would be just as concerned about the spiritual happenings on Earth.
  • “There is rejoicing in the presence of angles over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15). It’s not rejoicing BY the angels but IN THE PRESENCE of…meaning it’s not just the angels who are doing the rejoicing! Imagine you die before your sibling who you are still praying will accept Christ…and then he does and you can watch from Heaven!

Well, how can people watch us when Heaven is without sin? It’s all based on perspective. They are in the presence of God and can now see the bigger plan and picture. They are not frail beings who can no longer see the things happening on the Earth.

Surely, God’s joy is the prevailing mood of Heaven despite the pain on Earth.

Go ahead, give ’em a little wave… :)

S0…

This longing for Heaven and for something better is not a flippant desire in us. If your soul is stirring about what I am saying, there’s a reason:

My friends, it is God “who has set eternity in the hearts of men”, according to Ecclesiastes.

Longing for Heaven and being with God is the way He made us. It pleases Him for us to think about what is to come…and we should because our time on Earth is so short compared to the eternity we will have in perfection with Him.

What I have learned:

Heaven is real. I believe that with my whole being.

My mom is there, enjoying the presence, perspective and love from the Lord. She, and all the others with her, can see me at times.

Heaven is going to more LIKE Earth than not.

I can be excited about what I will do and see in Heaven, and I want to go there and be in the presence of God!

I no longer have to be afraid of dying…or of living.

My hope today is that this week you have gained some excitement about Heaven and can start dreaming about what it might be like. I hope you can now trust that all of life’s pleasures are from God and will be even better in Heaven! And WHEN you experience grief, I pray you find strength in the knowledge and hope of Heaven.

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