Sunday, October 18, 2015

Is That Heaven?

A 2014 Harris Poll reported that 74% of adults in the US believe in God and 68% believe in Heaven. The confidence appears to be stronger for teens, as 80% report a belief in God and 78% a belief in Heaven.
Where do you stand on these topics?

The reality of Heaven as a dwelling place for life after death is no secret to believers who read and know the Bible. Granted, the idea that there is an actual place where we can live forever without end in the presence of God. Jesus, the angels and a host of fellow believers in an existence without pain, worry, conflict and other earthy concerns seems the stuff of fantasy. Our earthly minds are not equipped to comprehend a timeless eternity in a place of incomprehensible beauty, such as described by John in Revelation 21:
 11 It shone with the glory of God and sparkled like a precious stone—like jasper as clear as crystal. 12 The city wall was broad and high, with twelve gates guarded by twelve angels. And the names of the twelve tribes of Israel were written on the gates. 13 There were three gates on each side—east, north, south, and west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city was pure gold, as clear as glass. 19 The wall of the city was built on foundation stones inlaid with twelve precious stones: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.21 The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.22 I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light.

Accepting Heaven as a true and real hope for believers may take the kind of childlike faith, trust and simplicity Jesus was talking about when he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3) and "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matthew 19:14).

When my Rachael was about two, our beloved great Aunt Myrtle (who lived downstairs from us at the time) died. We explained to her that Aunt Myrtle had gone to Heaven.   

That was good. But what we failed to do was tell her something more about Heaven that she could understand. Before the funeral, Rachael and Martha were with us as we drove by the funeral home holding the earthly remains of our children’s great great aunt. We must have said something like, “That’s where Aunt Myrtle is.”
Rachael, taking our earlier conversation literally, responded with “Is that Heaven?”

Well…no…Sugg Funeral Home in Fuquay-Varina, NC in August of 1982 was not Heaven.

But the lessons learned from our child’s innocent statement are:
1   #1. We need to be very clear and descriptive when we tell children (or anyone) about Heaven.
2   #2. In order to do #1, we have to study what the Bible says about Heaven.
3   #3. In order to do #2, we have to set aside our fears of thinking or dealing with anything about death and let God teach us about the incredible possibilities of an eternity with Him.

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