HEAVEN

ETERNAL LIFE

“…Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!…” (1 Pet 1:3-5 MSG).

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV).

“…it is not said merely this is the way to eternal life, but this is life eternal itself – ‘to know thee.’  Eternal life then, is not mere conscious and unending existence, but it is ‘to know thee.’…that living, personal, and experimental knowledge – that knowledge, which includes oneness in will with God, and partaking of his nature; it is the knowledge, love, and enjoyment of him” Charles Ross (ref#241, p206).

FATHER, how easily I skip over a relationship with You as satan constantly puts in my head the importance of working for You.  Work now and rest in heaven is such a logical thought to me.

But, in fellowship with You I feel its solid, unchangeableness —its eternalness. “Eternal life really means that we are sharers of the life of God and are in communion with Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 28th).

This is just another reminder to put relationship with GOD at the top of my priority list and not evangelism or Christian service or any activity that I can accomplish on my own.  FATHER, alert me when I fall into glorifying myself with Christian things and guide me to Your presence where I see and glorify You.

HEAVEN

REIGNING CHRIST

“…behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed”
(Dan 7:13-14 ESV).

“Jesus Christ will come again…He will appear in infinite greatness and majesty, when he shall come again in glory, with all his holy angels and the earth shall tremble before him, and the hills shall melt (Rev 19:11-17; 20:11)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Jesus Christ will at the same time appear as a Lamb to his saints.  He will receive them as friends and brethren treating those who believe and have awaited his return with infinite mildness and love….The saints shall all  be sweetly invited to come with him to inherit the kingdom, and reign with him in it for all eternity” Jonathan Edwards (ref#263).

“Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences.  Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever.  And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation(Heb 9:27-28 MSG).

“…Jesus Christ—Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings.  Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us, who blood-washed our sins from our lives, Who made us a Kingdom, Priests for his Father, forever—and yes, he’s on his way!  Riding the clouds, he’ll be seen by every eye, those who mocked and killed him will see him, People from all nations and all times will tear their clothes in lament.  Oh, Yes” (Rev 1:4-7 MSG).

“…Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him!…” (1 Thes 5:9-11 MSG).

“Because of that obedience, God lifted him high [JESUS] and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, even so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11 MSG).

HEAVEN

DAY OF THE LORD

“Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near,” (Joel 2:1 ESV).

“And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.  And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved….as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls” (Joel 2:30-32 ESV).

“…the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!  But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet 3:12-13 ESV).

“…the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble.  The day that is coming shall set them ablaze…so that it will leave them neither root nor branch” (Mal 4:1 ESV).

“Behold, he [JESUS] is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.  Even so.  Amen.  ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:7-8 ESV, brackets mine).

“(‘Behold, I am coming like a thief!  Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!’)” (Rev 16:15 ESV).

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  I, Jesus,…testify to you about these things…” (Rev 22:12-13, 16 ESV).

HEAVEN

FACTS OF HEAVEN

“Death not only cannot destroy a Christian, but it cannot hurt him….a child is frightened in the dark where there is no danger, because he is a child, so a good man may be frightened at the terrible looks of death.  But he will find this awful appearance to be only a shadow, that can look terrible but can do nothing terrible” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p116).

“The city of the great King – heaven – is a place of active service.  Redeemed spirits serve Him day and night in His temple.  They never cease to fulfill the good pleasure of their King.  They always rest, as far as ease and freedom from care are concerned, and they never rest, in the sense of laziness or inactivity.” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, July 12th PM).

“When the soul departs from the body it is received by the blessed angels and conducted by them to the third heaven….Luke 16:22: ‘And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom…” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p118).

“Heaven is far above the stars.  So it is said that Christ ascended far above all heavens (Eph 4:10)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p119).  “There shall be no more indwelling corruption, wicked thoughts, or sinful dispositions to torment them….Rev 21:4” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p120).

“…more important than all the physical beauty of the heavenly city, more important than the fellowship we will enjoy eternally with all God’s people from all nations and all periods in history more important than our freedom from pain and sorrow and physical suffering, and more important than reigning over God’s kingdom—more important by far than any of these will be the fact that we will be in the presence of God and enjoying unhindered fellowship with him. ‘Behold, the dwelling of God is with men’” Wayne Grudem (ref#63, p1164).

HEAVEN

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33 ESV).

“…the Kingdom of God!…How shall we make it more than a phrase?  We cannot look at the words without turning to Him Who spoke them.  We Christians, to find our knowledge of the Kingdom of God, must look to Christ our King” James Nisbet (ref#296).

“Everything Jesus revealed about the Kingdom, He was actually revealing about God Himself” Jarrad Gibler (ref#243).

“Jesus Christ made God known.  In every action, every word spoken, He displayed the character of the Father.  For Christ to say that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, was not just to say that God was near, but to say that His heart—the King’s heart—was being offered.  Think about this…it was the very hand of God that extended the Kingdom of God.  That extension was not one of conquest or subjugation, but one of invitation.  God, through Jesus Christ, offered us His heart” Jarrad Gibler (ref#243).

FATHER, when I think of a King, I think of power yet JESUS did not depict You wielding power.

“God is holy and just, as well as almighty—since God is love—the true revelation of him could not be a mere outward sign; it must be a living Person, manifesting in words and deeds the very character of God” Charles Ross (ref#241, p81).

…the purpose of seeking the Kingdom is not to find it, but to find myself in it….The search for God has never been a distance issue, or even an understanding issue.  It has always been a surrender issue….to seek first the Kingdom is not to seek for it, but more appropriately it is to search out what has already been laid open to us.  It is to search out the heart of God….we discover His heart, and we discover who we are in Him” Jarrad Gibler (ref#243).

HEAVEN

THE FIRST RESURRECTION

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years….This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years” (Rev 20:4-6 ESV).

“…we who are alive…will be caught up…in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thes 4:17 ESV).

 “…the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever’” (Dan 7:18 ESV).

“The way we conceive the future sculpts the present, gives contour and tone to nearly every action and thought through the day.  If our sense of future is weak, we live listlessly.  Much emotional and mental illness and most suicides occur among men and women who feel that they ‘have no future.’…The Second Coming of Jesus…is the most important thing to know and believe about the future.  The practical effect of this belief is to charge each moment of the present with hope” Eugene H. Peterson (ref#262, Introduction to 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, p504).

HEAVEN

REJOICING IN THE FUTURE

“…stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36 ESV).

“…I do not read in so many words that the saints are predestinated to Paradise, but I do read that they are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His dear Son.  This is the end of the whole predestination of God: to make His elect like their elder Brother that He may be the first-born among many brethren” Charles Spurgeon (ref#232, p10).

FATHER, I think of Enoch who must have reached such perfect spiritual conformity that You took him to heaven before his bodily death (Gen 5:24; Heb 11:5).  What a smooth transition You have provided.  As You conform me to JESUS I gain eternal life on earth, then, just a small step to move to heaven.  Oh that I may be like kneaded clay in Your hands.

I thank You for Your unseen efforts to mold me into CHRIST’s image.  And, I thank You for the seen.  I rejoice in the future eternal life in heaven and I rejoice in the “now” eternal life.

“…as overpowering as a full unveiling of the majesty of the Lord Jesus would be to us in our present imperfect state, yet it ranks among our most prized and precious blessings that He sometimes so graciously manifests Himself to awaken the exclamation, ‘This is my beloved, and this is my friend!’ (Song 5:16)” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 17th).

HEAVEN

A PLACE OF REST BEFORE HEAVEN

“’Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.’ Song of Solomon 4:6…The Lord has fragrant places of safety and repose for His people until He comes to fetch them to glory.  What a ‘mountain of myrrh’ is Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Feb 2nd).

“…The promise of ‘arrival’ and ‘rest’ is still there for God’s people.  God himself is at rest.  And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God…” (Heb 4:8-11 MSG).

“It is clearly God’s revealed will that His people should be comforted….The Spirit comforts the believer by unfolding to his eye the near prospect of the coming glory.  Heaven is near at hand.  It is only a step out of a poor, sinful, sorrow-stricken world, into the rest that waits for the people of God.  It is only a moment, the twinkling of an eye, and we are absent from the body and present with the Lord.  Then the days of our mourning will end and sin will grieve no more, affliction will wound no more, sorrow will depress no more, and God will hide Himself no more. There will be the absence of all evil, and the presence of all good…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 23rd).

“…that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified….If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting….” (Heb 4:1-3 MSG).

FATHER, I thank You for JESUS the Rock where I can retreat to anytime and find unchangeable grace in my time of need.  What comfort!

HEAVEN

FIRM UNTIL THE END

“The one whom God has exonerated…is not him who has merely ‘believed,’ but is the man who continues‘ believing,’…” AW Pink (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, July, 1932, No. 7, p8).

“…Christ was faithful as a loyal son in the household of the founder, his own Father. And we are members of this household if we maintain our trust and joyful hope steadfast to the end” (Heb 3:6 Phillips).

The letter of Hebrews was written “to encourage earnest perseverance until the end.  This demands hope, which is closely allied with faith…and enduring patience…” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2370, [Heb 6:11-12]).

“The constant exercise of faith…is as essential to…final salvation as it was to…initial salvation….we can only be delivered…by a steady and persistent walking by faith” AW Pink (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, July, 1932, No. 7, p8-9).

“…each of you…extend…intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them”(Heb 6:11 MSG).

“Hebrews warns against allowing the unbelief of a hardened, sinful heart to cause one to fall away…His counter to this danger is both to encourage personal commitment…and to call on the church to walk together in mutual encouragement…” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2365, [Heb 3:12-13]).

“…in order to have a scripturally grounded assurance of God’s taking pleasure in us, we must continue cleaving closely unto Him” J. Calvin (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, July, 1932, No. 7, p9-10).

“It is only they who persevere in believing that obtain the salvation of the soul.  Nothing but a persevering faith can enable a person…to obtain…the Gospel promises” John Brown (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, August, 1932, No. 8, p5).

“…dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life” (Jude 21 MSG).

“…sufferings you have sustained…will all go for nothing if you endure not unto the end” AW Pink (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, June, 1932, No. 6, p11).

ELECTION

CHOSEN

“It pleased God in His eternal purpose, to choose…a company of lost sinners to be saved by and through Christ; therefore, He is said to predestinate them to be conformed to the image of His Son….’That we should be to the praise of his glory’ (Eph 1:12)” Thomas Boston (ref#236, p31-32).

“…you are a chosen race…a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9 ESV).

It is my due and privilege to return to Him a display of His excellencies that He has created within me.  Thomas Boston (ref#236, p33).

FATHER, thank You not only for choosing me but also giving me what I need to declare Your excellencies.

“…I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds’…I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more” (Heb 10:16-17 ESV).

Also, LORD, thank You not only for carrying out Your work but perfecting it and giving me the assurance of my salvation.  “…the feeblest signs of grace in the soul are indisputable evidences of the inward and effectual call of the Spirit….He who has begun the good work will carry it on and perfect it in glory” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 18th).

FATHER, since I do not know who You save, and who You will not, You have commissioned me to “preach the Gospel” to everyone, for how can they believe if they have not heard (Rom 10:14).  Thank You for the privilege to declare Your excellencies.   I will declare the good news and You save who You will.