Author Archive

Heaven: Tell Me About It – Part Two

How does a person gain admittance to heaven? I’m glad you asked!

Only citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven go there. Such citizenship is established here and now. In writing to the Christian community in Philippi Paul reminded them, “…our citizenship is in heaven…” (Philippians 3: 20).

Philippi was a Roman colony. People living there were by virtue of their residence citizens of Rome. They were expected to conduct themselves like citizens of the Roman Empire. They were expected to be loyal to their Emperor.

We who are Christians are citizens of heaven. Our conduct should be complementary to our citizenship. Our loyalty must be to our King of Kings.

Our colony on planet earth is a heavenly outpost. We are far from our homeland in the midst of an alien environment. As such, one of our responsibilities is to supernaturalize our friends and help them become unnaturalized citizens of the heavenly colony.

Our journey to heaven begins here and now with citizenship. A basic question is: “How do you get to be a citizen?”

“As many as received Him to them He gave the right to become the child of God” (John 1: 12).

To receive Him means to accept who He is, Immanuel, God with us. And to believe His Word as the guiding principles for life. It is a lifetime commitment.

Then to get to heaven you have to exit this physical body through a process called death. The timing of this exodus must be determined by God and not us. When it happens, it is a glorious and victorious moment for the citizens on the way home to heaven.

Even your bodiless spirit is given an angelic escort in that split second interval between leaving the body and arriving in heaven (Psalm 34: 7). Remember, Lazarus was “carried by the angels.”

You are immediately present with Jesus. He told the thief on the cross “today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

In His High Priestly prayer Jesus prayed, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You gave Me…” (John 17: 24).

This is an instantaneous event. There is no intermediate state for anyone. For “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5: 8).

Heaven: Tell Me About It – Part One

You are immortal. Think about this, you will never cease to exist.

After you leave planet earth through the old door called death, you will exist eternally in one of two states. There are only two states. Only two and no after death option often referred to as a “second chance.”

Your choice determines in which you will spend eternity.

The good news regarding the best option is said by Jesus as being “In My Father’s house are many mansions … I go to prepare a place for you … where I am there you may be also ….” (John 14: 2).

The Bible refers to heaven 550 times. The term heaven occurs over 400 times in the four Gospels. Most often it is used by Jesus.

There is a lot of unknown about heaven resulting in many questions to which in this life there are no answers. Can you imagine an Eskimo returning to Alaska from Hawaii trying to tell his tribesmen who have never been out of his village or seen TV what a pineapple is like.

What Jesus said about heaven is enough.

In a current society that believes everything is relative and rationalizes most things, Jesus stands out as a man who dealt with absolutes. Candidly, that is what made Him unpopular with the intelligence.

Unfortunately that is also what makes Christianity so intolerable to many. However, it is also what makes Christianity so popular to many. In a world of unclearly defined principles along comes Jesus with His insightful emphasis. He shares absolutes, facts, that offer stability and that encourages many.

Many Christians, and some churches have fallen prey to materialistic indulgence. Rather than setting our affections on things above (Col. 3:1), many have become attached to things of this world. Instead of laying up treasures in heaven many have devoted themselves to accumulating riches on earth. Such a mindset crowds out thoughts of heaven.

Most folks want to go to heaven — later. The attitude seems to be: “Please God, I want to go to heaven, but not yet; I haven’t been to Hawaii!” Or, “The new hasn’t worn off my car yet.”

If you are to be heaven-bound you must be heaven-born. You must be born again. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” This requires personal faith in Jesus resulting in a lifetime commitment to Him as Savior. If this has never been done it can be done right where you are. To help you develop in your faith identify with a body of believers. Most often a local church.

Lord, I believe in you and I commit to you. Now, on my way to heaven help me grow in grace and knowledge.

The Inexorable Law of Sowing and Reaping – Part Three

Scripture notes, “God is not mocked…” This doesn’t mean people don’t try to mock Him. It means you can’t do it and get away with it. “Mocked” literally means you can’t turn up your nose at God and get away with it. A terrible price is paid for mocking Him.

When you consider the many people and diverse ways people are turning up their noses at God you know great judgment awaits. When a society does so even that entire society can’t get away with it.

A person who thinks he can break God’s law and get away with it is dramatically deceiving himself.

Whatever is sown is reaped. It is impossible to sow “the works of the flesh” and reap “the fruit of the Spirit.”  You can’t sow dissipation and reap good health. You can’t sow discord and reap harmony. You can’t sow conflict and reap peace. You can’t sow rejection of Jesus Christ as Savior and reap eternal life through His loving grace.

There was a song by Ray Boltz entitled, “Thank You” with its setting in Heaven. The singer is expressing thanks to various persons who had done things that influenced him and resulted in him being in heaven.

When our faith is shared with a lost person there is a potential of a heavenly harvest. That truly is harvesting more than sown.

If you share the seed of salvation and someone responds positively, rejoice that someone previously sowed and you harvested. If you share the seed of salvation and the person does not respond then the Lord you have shared the seed and someone later may reap the harvest. You do your part in sharing and watch God do His part.

“He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (II Cor. 9: 6).

You have a lot to give that isn’t money, it is more valuable than cash.

Delayed response often causes persons to give up and quit. Play this on the soundtrack of your mind: “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until he receive the early and the latter rain. You also be patient…” (James 5: 7, 8a).

The Inexorable Law of Sowing and Reaping – Part Two

Jesus used what was vogue in His hour to teach vital spiritual lessons. Birds of the air, lilies of the field, and the response of seed to various types of soil were some used for illustrative purposes.

Weights and measures were used descriptively to illustrate the law of reciprocation. That is, what you do has consequences. That is good if what you sow is good.

Giving includes financial support, but isn’t limited to it alone. The perks of prayer support, friendship, kindness, encouragement, hope, and love are bountifully at your disposal to give. The needs are multiple, they abound and you can address them. “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6: 7).

In the time of harvest it is easy to know what was planted earlier in the year. What is harvested reveals what was sown. With that in mind, why would a person sow a crop he did not want to harvest? In agriculture it is logical to sow what you want to reap. Why not do the same in the spiritual realm?

In rearing children it is practical to cultivate in young lives qualities you would like to see in an adult.

In your own life, if you want to grow old gracefully, be graceful in youth.

Consider the equivalent of weed seed being sown in our society.

We have sown the seed of materialism. As a result greed and covetousness has resulted in a 77% increase in juvenile crime in the last decade.

The average household spends approximately seven hours a day watching TV. What seeds are being sown thereon and what is the result?

They are watching heroes who consume more than ten times as much alcohol as coffee. What is the crop produced? One of every three high school seniors get drunk each week. Those seeds will produce a bumper crop of an estimated seven million alcoholics.

In viewing TV 88% of all sex depicted thereon is out of wedlock. The crop is beginning to sprout in that 1 of every 10 girls gets pregnant each year. One million girls between the ages of 12 and 17 will become pregnant out of wedlock this year.

The average 21 year old has been bombarded with 10,000 hours of violent programming.

The average 16 year old has already seen a quarter of a million violent acts, including 30,000 dramatized murders, and thousands of simulated rapes, assaults, and shootings. If you want to see the seeds sprouting, watch the morning news and see the parade of coroners hauling off the night’s kill.

Be a sower of the love of God and the opportunity of reaping eternal life as a result of sowing the seed of salvation. That is the only antidote.

The Inexorable Law of Sowing and Reaping – Part One

The principles in this post may seem to be demanding. They are instead rewarding.

It is said 80% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck making the principle that follows impossible. Stay tuned for a real blessing.

I just talked with a long time friend who is extremely wealthy. I know him to be a benevolent persons who gives generously to worthy causes and often to individuals in need. I complimented him. His response was, “It has been the joy of my life.”

If you learn to give generously you will know and experience the same joy.

Here is what makes it possible for you to do so even if you are one of the 80% living paycheck to paycheck. Suppose it is impossible for you to give financially. There are other ways and things you can give.

Start by giving yourself lovingly to all those around you. Be a giver of encouragement. There is a market for cheer, joy, love, and encouragement. Give these and other similar attributes to an aching world. For starters at the end of each day ask yourself how many people you gave encouragement today.

You can give hope. Most people have lost all or some of their hope. It costs you nothing to give them hope. The simple timely word of hope may be the stimulus needed by a distressed person.

Scripture employs agricultural principles to illustrate this teaching. You always reap what you sow. You always reap later than you sow. You always reap more than you sow.

Consider that principle. Plant one kernel of corn. If it is average each resulting ear will have 20 rows of kernels and each row 28 kernels. That would be 560 to 1.

Don’t expect the result of what you sow to be instant. There is of course instant gratification, but the bountiful resulting blessings may be delayed.

Sow in fields where the recipient gets little encouragement and therefore shows little gratitude in response. You do what you do for the joy inherent in doing it, not merely to get.

As the situation allows you can give insight regarding the love of God and His offer of eternal life through Jesus. It is simple but significant, life changing.

Hopefully now you can better understand how you can be a giver.