Heaven-The Place to Be
"In my Father's house are many rooms; . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you. And . . . I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
-John 14:2-3, NIV; emphasis added
What we need to believe today is what Jesus taught us-this world is not our home. Our real home is the one He went to prepare for us. All that we see, use, and have here on earth is only temporary. That is the key to a pilgrim view of life.
In John 14:2-3, Jesus assures us that death for His children is only a transfer to permanent housing. Paul declares: "As long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8, NIV).
The great English Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, might reflect our feelings best:
Would you like to know where I am? I am at home in my father's house, in the mansion prepared for me here. I am where I want to be-no longer on the stormy sea, but in God's safe, quiet harbor. My sowing time is done and I am reaping; my joy is the joy of the harvest.
Would you like to know how it is with me? I am made perfect in holiness. Grace is swallowed up in glory. Would you like to know what I am doing? I see God, not as through a glass darkly, but face to face. I am engaged in the sweet enjoyment of my precious redeemer. I am singing hallelujahs to him who sits upon the throne, and I am constantly praising him.
Would you like to know what blessed company I keep? It is better than the best of earth. Here are the holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect. I am with many of my old acquaintances with whom I worked and prayed and have come here before me.
Lastly, would you like to know how long this will continue? It is a dawn that never fades. After millions and millions of ages, it will be as fresh as it is now. Therefore, weep not for me!
Oh, the wonders of our promised haven, the glories of that eternal home! But nothing will compare with the knowledge that heaven is the outflow of Jesus Christ. Let us seek Him, like the words of this song so true: " ‘Tis heaven below, my Redeemer to know, For He is so precious to me." That is heaven.
"My Redeemer to know" is what God created us for; that is what Jesus is preparing for us; and that is what He's coming again for, either in a personal rapture through the valley of the shadow of death or in a corporate rapture when He comes to take His church home-but He will come again to take us to that place!
Make a Choice to Live in Hope: As Christians, we look forward to an event that will pale all others. It will happen the second we pass through death's shadow into heaven's splendor and see our Lord face-to-face: "Think of-Stepping on shore, and finding it Heaven! Of taking hold of a hand, and finding it God's hand. Of breathing a new air, and finding it celestial air. Of feeling invigorated, and finding it immortality. Of passing from storm to tempest to an unbroken calm. Of waking up, and finding it Home."
What a thrilling moment! Thinking about it can make our hearts beat faster! So rejoice in heaven! Rejoice in what your Father has done- and is doing for you even now: "You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God . . . -heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. . . . The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:15-18).
Make a choice to live securely in hope because you have a relationship with God that allows you to cry out to Him, "Abba, Father" (a term of endearment meaning "Daddy" or "Papa")! As His child, heaven means "going home to Daddy"-to enjoy His presence forever! Whatever you go through before your home-going will only make your time in heaven that much more precious because of remembering His Son's sacrifice of love and His faithful companionship during your sojourn on earth. You are a joint heir with Jesus-to be glorified together with Him! What a joyous privilege!
Isn't it hard to live in a tiny two-room apartment when you know that you will soon get a mansion and gardens-and will live forever with the Lord in Paradise?
I encourage you to softly and tenderly sing this song to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who has lavished His infinite love on you!
Majesty, worship His majesty,
Unto Jesus be all glory, honor, and praise.
Majesty, kingdom authority
Flow from His throne unto His own; His anthem raise.
So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus.
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus, the King.
Majesty, worship His majesty;
Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings.
-Jack Hayford (b. 1934)
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