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HOW TO GET HOME
As a born-again, the purpose of your time here on Earth is to do whatever it takes to make it home to Heaven. The way to get there is The Way that Jesus showed us. Here’s a summary of the four most important points that you need to take to heart AND DO if you want to make it home.
First and foremost, you must put God first and foremost. Jesus said that this was the most important commandment. If your earthly family and friends and their needs and wants are more important to you than God, then you won’t make it home. Remember Jesus saying to the guy who wanted to attend his father’s funeral “Let the dead bury the dead; come follow me”? Remember Jesus clearly defining “family” as those who do the will of God? He said: “Who is my mother? Who is my brother? Those who do the will of my Father in Heaven are my mother, my sister, and my brother.” It might come across as harsh, but Jesus meant it to sound so. He meant to shake people up and remind them what their priority should be.
You are either aligned with the world or you’re aligned with God. You can’t be both.
The world is very good at tempting us to forget about our purpose. It sidetracks us, demonizes us, perverts scripture, and even tries to redefine what it means to be a born-again Christian. God permits all this because it is part of our test: He wants to know if we truly want what we say we want. It’s all well and good to claim that you want to follow Jesus and live a “Christian life” (whatever that means), but when things get tough, do you get tougher or do you just wimp out? Scripture says that most will ‘fall away’ from God. You don’t get a third chance if you fall away this time around. Being born-again is already your second and last chance. God didn’t have to give us a second chance, but he did so out of love for us. We all screwed up the first time and fell for the lies of Satan. We rebelled against God. Don’t do it again. Always put God first, even if it means you must suffer and die for it.
Secondly, you must go out in the world and preach the Good News. You must. That’s not just a suggestion; that’s an order from Jesus, who was handing it on from God. How you choose to do the preaching is between you and God, but my advice is DON’T DO IT FOR MONEY. Freely you have received from God, freely you give. The so-called churches that have appropriated the gospel for their own purposes ALL preach for money. They water down and twist God’s Word so as not to alienate any potential customers, but they do this to their own detriment. Don’t be like them. Jesus never preached or taught for money. Be like Jesus.
Thirdly, you must endure to the end. Being born-again is not a first-class ticket to Heaven. It’s a means to getting that ticket, but it’s not a ticket in itself. The Jews thought that being children of Abraham meant they had a guaranteed ticket to Heaven, and Jesus told them they were wrong. Christians or born-agains who think their state of grace is all it takes to get to Heaven are just as wrong at the Jews who thought their Jewishness was enough. Jesus very, very clear in this regard: THOSE WHO ENDURE TO THE END WILL BE SAVED. Just because you’re in a state of grace now doesn’t mean that you’ll die in a state of grace, and those who do not die in a state of grace will not make it to Heaven.
Jesus is very, very clear about that, too, when he says that we MUST be born-again to get to Heaven. Being born-again means being in a state of grace. Grace can be lost, not by a decision of God but as an outcome of our own choices. If you consciously and persistently choose against God’s will, you will lose your grace. If you do something that might appear to be “good” in your own eyes but God says not to do it and you go ahead and do it anyway – that’s sin. God’s spirit cannot dwell in the same soul as sin. Paul spoke about it, as did Jesus. If you lose grace, there is no way to get it back. Jesus said that losing grace is even worse than not having it in the first place – the house that was swept clean is later inhabited by more and worse demons than it was the first time around. Jesus said it would have been better for that person never to have been born.
Fourth and final – you must shake people up. Jesus did it, and so must we. He said he wasn’t come to bring peace to the world but a sword that will divide families and make enemies of unbelievers. The chief characteristic of those who are unbelievers is that they are asleep. We need to wake them up. It’s better for them to hate us and maybe someday turn and embrace God, than for them to keep sleeping and never turn. If they hate us, there’s hope for them. I used to hate born-agains, and look at me now!
God put his laws into everyone’s hearts. That means every soul here on Earth today has God’s laws engraved on their souls. They all crave what we crave – to do God’s will and to go home to Heaven – but their craving is stifled by their self-inflicted pain of sin. We’re not going to shake them out of their sleepy stupor or shock them out of their self-absorbed pity by tip-toeing around and trying not to offend anyone. Remember Jesus’ conversation with the Samarian woman at the well? He didn’t hide his Jewishness or the fact that he was the Messiah, even though Samarians and Jews were not supposed to socialize in those days. If everyone who knows us doesn’t know that we’re born-again followers of Jesus, we’re doing something terribly wrong. We’re God’s representatives here on Earth, just as Jesus was. Jesus didn’t tip-toe around, not for anyone’s sake, and neither should we.
So go ahead – get spat on, be called a bigot and crazy and narrow-minded, be an outcast from your family and friends, lose your job, get driven from your hometown, and get arrested for preaching God’s Word. If you suffer all this solely for being a born-again follower of Jesus, then congratulations, my friend! You are well and truly on The Way home.
GOD MEANS BUSINESS
God means business.
The “everyone gets a gold star” mentality has no place in God’s kingdom on Earth. Not everyone is going to make it to Heaven. In fact, most people, as a result of their own free-will choices, will end up in Hell.
This is the hard-core reality that should govern everything we do every day.
Jesus spent a lot of time haranguing his disciples for their lack of faith. He nagged them and goaded them solely to remind them that God means business. It’s not enough to be Jewish. It’s not enough to be born-again. It’s not enough just to “believe” or to do “good works”.
You must have faith, and you must also demonstrate that you have faith. You do this by submitting 100% to God in everything you do. Not just a little bit, not just in some things, and not just on Sundays, but in everything, every day, all day.
Faith is trusting only in God and doing God’s will even if it is contrary to the way of the world. Faith is submitting to God for no other reason than it is the right thing to do in God’s eyes. Faith is not only knowing that God knows best, but showing that God knows best. You do this by making God-inspired choices every day, all day. Faith is lived, not just spoken about.
We all have an expiry date on our bodies. Our souls will go on, but our bodies will die. The expiry date of our body is our own personal End Of The World. This could happen at any time, even today. Where we are at that time in our relationship with God (in other words, the extent of our faith) determines where we’ll spend eternity.
God means business. He loves us all the same and he wants us all to come home, but if we aren’t submitting to him 100% in everything we do for whatever time we have left on Earth, we can’t go home. There’s no place in Heaven for rebellion against any aspect of God. It’s God’s way or no way.
Jesus showed us what full submission to God looks like. He lived The Way and taught The Way, and our job, before our expiry date arrives, is to live it and teach it just as Jesus did.
God means business. I cannot stress enough how real and how permanent Heaven and Hell are. Heaven is the best we’ve experienced and can imagine; Hell is the worst we’ve experienced and feared. We can choose our way to Heaven, or we can choose our way to Hell.
This is the hard-core truth: Most of us will end up in Hell.
Jesus said that the path home is narrow, and those who find it are few.
Not everyone gets a gold star.
God means business.
Just a reminder.
All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
I remember feeling sucker-punched the first few times I read that scripture.
All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
Let’s make it personal:
All my righteousnesses are as filthy rags. All YOUR righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
All your self-motivated accomplishments are as filthy rags.
All your self-motivated kindnesses are as filthy rags.
All your self-motivated sacrifices are as filthy rags.
All your works of the world are as filthy rags.
Jesus hammers this truth home when he states that none is good but God. Any good that we do is only because God is working through us. It’s God doing the good, not us. Any attempt we make to do good on our own, without God working through us, is like firing spiritual blanks. What Jesus is saying is that without God working through us, we are incapable of doing anything genuinely good or genuinely of any value, if what we do is self-motivated. Most people would balk at this (like being sucker-punched), but Jesus is absolutely bang-on. None is good but God, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
We born-agains are blessed to have God working through us all the time, if we choose for him to do that. He’s with us now, through his spirit, so there’s no excuse for not having him work through our fumbling fingers and tied tongues. We just have to remember to ask him. God won’t take the reins unless invited to do so, so invite him. Invite his input everywhere and always. Never do anything without his inspiration, and if he cautions against doing or saying something, heed him.
Heed him like a puppy in training. Sit. Heel. Roll over. Love your enemies. Choose to forgive. The more obedient you are to God’s directives, the faster your spiritual tail will be a-wagging. Hands down, the happiest creatures on any city sidewalk anywhere in the world are puppies out for a walk with their masters. Be God’s little puppy; be God’s good little happy puppy that heeds God alone.
All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
None is good but God.
HEAVEN OR HELL
Our goal is to make it to Heaven, and our way to get there is to become as much like Jesus as possible. Jesus was fully human but also fully filled with God’s spirit. Jesus was not God, but God worked powerfully through him. This was possible because Jesus freely and willingly gave his free will over to God in everything he did. Everything. Not just some things – everything. That’s what we need to do to be like Jesus, and that’s what we must do to make it to Heaven.
In contrast, the “man of perdition” that Paul mentioned, who is the same one that Daniel described and that John wrote about in Revelation, will do the opposite of what Jesus did. That’s because instead of being filled with God’s spirit, he’ll be filled with Satan’s. In other words, a human will provide the body for the disembodied “Father of Lies” himself.
I was an atheist for the first 36 years of my life. During that time, various demon spirits moved in and out of me, most of them evil. I didn’t consciously invite them in; they just showed up as a consequence of my misguided thoughts and actions. I drew them to me, but unconsciously. Now, as a born-again follower of Jesus, evil spirits are still around me, but there’s no longer any room for them in me because God’s spirit has taken up residence. No human can have both God’s spirit and evil spirits at the same time. It’s either one or the other.
As Paul pointed out, everyone who doesn’t acknowledge that Jesus is Lord is antichrist (literally, “opposed to Jesus the Christ”), which means that most of the world’s population is antichrist. The man of perdition is also antichrist, but he’s not just your regular run-of-the-mill antichrist. He’s so antichrist that he’s considered The Antichrist. This is a man who has consciously chosen to host Satan’s spirit and to consciously work in opposition to Jesus (and therefore to God), so we’re talking one messed-up dude here. You don’t become The Antichrist by mistake: you become The Antichrist on purpose.
I mention this because the spiritual landscape is swiftly changing. The people of the world are being repositioned and softened up to accept a “global” leader who will be the man of perdition. God warned us about him through Jesus, Paul, Daniel, John and others, so he’s definitely coming. As born-agains, we’ll know him when we see him, and our job at that time will be to warn others about him, and to keep showing people the only way home to God.
Here’s what we should expect of The Antichrist. He’ll be very rich and well-positioned politically and religiously. He’ll perform “miracles” and will know everything about everyone. He’ll also be extremely handsome and charismatic; most of the world will be spell-bound by him and will without hesitation die or kill for him. His hold over people will be supernatural and powerful, and no-one will be able to escape his lure unless they’re born-again. Yet, sadly, even some born-agains will fall for him.
I’ve been under the thrall of demons, so I know how powerful their hold can be. I would still be under their control were it not for God rescuing me, but only after I cried out to him. God has given us all free will and he’ll never ask for it back. He respects our right to choose and won’t force his will on us, even if it means we choose our way to Hell. But the instant we break and cry out for help, God is there.
In contrast to what the world considers to be freedom (i.e., doing whatever you want to, whenever you want to do it), true freedom is putting your free will 100% into God’s hands and asking for his help and guidance in everything you do. As born-agains, we know this is true, because we live that reality every day. We know what it is to live without God’s help, and we know what it is to live with it, and there’s no comparison between the two. I’d rather live just one more day with my will completely in God’s hands than to live forever without his help.
The Antichrist has chosen the latter path, and that’s a horrible place to be. Even the pleasures of near-absolute power will in no way make up for what happens after that cold heart stops beating, and stop beating it will. Scripture tells us that The Antichrist’s days are numbered, and that Hell is his final reward.
Hell is the final reward of all antichrists.
We need to be reminded of that every so often.
Heaven is our goal. Following Jesus as a born-again is the only way to get there. The Antichrist will try to persuade us otherwise, either through temptation or brute force. He knows all of our weaknesses, and he’ll try to exploit them. He’ll try to convince us that God’s Way is not only narrow but narrow-minded. He’ll brand us bigots. He’ll outlaw God’s Word. He’ll torture and kill those who won’t comply with his dictates. He’ll even torture and kill our family and friends. He’ll promote alternative belief systems that have elements of God’s Way but ultimately are antichrist.
Don’t fall for his lies. Don’t be deceived. Don’t be afraid.
Stay your course and endure to the end, no matter what that entails.
Jesus is Lord and God is our Father. We don’t bow down to anyone else.
Remember that when your time comes.
It must have been a shock to Peter when Jesus called him Satan, especially since all Peter was trying to do was help Jesus. “Get thee behind me, Satan!” is a far cry from “Thanks, Peter. I knew I could count on you for back up”, which is likely what Peter expected Jesus to say in response to Peter’s offer to protect him.
I can imagine the awkward silence that followed Jesus’ outburst, and I can almost see Peter’s face, his eyes wide, staring at Jesus in hurt disbelief and confusion.
Peter was easily the most enthusiastic of all the disciples. That he wanted to please Jesus was beyond doubt, but during Jesus’ ministry years, Peter had a hard time figuring out what Jesus really wanted from him. Jesus nagged him about his lack of faith and about his tendency to “think as man thinks, not as God thinks”. But Peter always tried his hardest.
And that was his problem.
Peter approached kingdom life as if it were the world. But following Jesus and doing God’s will is not like living in the world. In the world, you decide how you want to proceed based on a combination of common sense, logic, desire, past experience, knee-jerk reaction, and other people’s expectations. In the kingdom, you have to wait for God’s go-ahead and proceed only if and when you get it. You also have to do what God wants you to do, not what your gut tells you to do, not what everyone else is doing, not what has always worked in the past, and not what religious tradition dictates you do.
Peter wanted to follow Jesus, but what he ended up doing instead was trying to get Jesus to follow him. It didn’t work.
It must also have been a shock for Peter when Jesus stared straight at him following his betrayal in the courtyard. That’s a wordless “I told you so” that I hope never to experience.
But amazingly, immediately after his resurrection, Jesus singles out Peter for a special mission: He wants him to feed his sheep and lambs. No, Jesus hasn’t left Peter his petting zoo to look after; he’s assigned Peter more or less the same position Jesus had during his earthly ministry.
Say what? Peter is to take the reigns from Jesus? How can that be?
Peter must have experienced yet another shock when he realized that Jesus had entrusted him with the leadership of the new church. Maybe the other disciples were shocked, too. Peter always seemed to get it wrong, and he had even denied knowing Jesus – how could Jesus overlook Peter’s numerous mistakes and make Peter the new leader?
God reads hearts. Peter clearly had a heart for Jesus and a heart for discipleship. What he was missing was the sense that he wasn’t up for the job. Peter’s enthusiasm was tinged with a headstrongness that was morphing into pride. The pride had to go, and pride can only go through repentance and a sense of one’s full dependence on God.
When Jesus appeared out of nowhere while the disciples were fishing, Peter didn’t even want to approach Jesus, he felt so unworthy. This is similar to the man who went to the temple to repent of his sins. He wouldn’t even lift up his head, he felt so bad about what he’d done. And what did Jesus say about this man? That he was the one who was forgiven his sins, not the man who proudly stood up and recited his laundry list of good deeds.
God reads hearts. Peter was ready to be everything he needed to be, but only after he let go of everything he wanted to be. As long as Peter thought as man thinks, he was going to go contrary to God’s will. God’s ways are not our ways. You can only think as God thinks when you stop trying to control the narrative and give yourself completely over to God.
One thing you can bet your bottom dollar on when you start seriously following Jesus is that you’ll be broke.
No savings to speak of. Not even enough for an ice-cream on a hot day.
That’s because God’s weaning you off your wants and getting you used to having only enough for your needs. Burning off the excess. Refining the gold. Getting you to focus on what matters. Having money to buy things you don’t really need takes your focus off doing God’s work.
You prayed to have only your daily bread, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t come with a steak and fries.
Or an ice-cream.
Most of us, however, don’t go gently into that economic good night. I speak from experience when I say it’s a shock to the system when God takes the money away, even if you think you’ve prepared yourself for it psychologically.
It’s at times like these that you have to remind yourself, over and over again (in between crying fits), that Jesus had no money, either. People would donate to him, but otherwise he was a freeloader during his ministry years. He never begged, but he graciously accepted what was offered him by way of meals and transportation and housing. Nothing wrong with that, if it’s what God wants for you. Even as a freeloader, Jesus always had enough for his needs and then some.
“Blessed are those who look after the needs of God’s freeloaders.” I’m sure that’s in the Bible somewhere, though perhaps worded slightly differently. Remember what Jesus said about how God rewards those who give even a cup of cold water to one of his children? That would be us, God’s children. His dear little thirsty freeloaders. His dear little thirsty and hungry freeloaders.
God bless us, and God bless those who look after us!
Huge blessings come the way of those who look after God’s children, especially when they’re in their seriously-following-Jesus freeloading years. But that’s always the way – those who help get more than those who are helped. It’s a wonderful law. Unfortunately, it’s been perverted by some “wolves” to insinuate that God will reward people MATERIALLY for helping others, but that’s not God’s way.
The best rewards are always spiritual.
What keeps me going as I stare into my empty wallet (and try not to cry) is thinking about Heaven. I can have all my wants here now, on Earth, if I choose to, or I can wait and get them in Heaven, where they’ll be infinitely better and last forever.
Most people, sadly, have chosen to get their wants now. It’s tempting, that’s for sure, but it’s best to do what Jesus did, and he waited to get his wants in Heaven. So did Paul, and so did all the prophets.
In this, as in everything else, we should choose as Jesus did. As long as we’re doing God’s work, we’ll have enough for our needs while we’re here on Earth. And then, if and when we get to Heaven – PARTY TIME!
As my grandmother used to say: “The good Lord provides.”
And that’s something else you can bet your bottom dollar on.
One topic that makes many born-agains intensely uncomfortable is earthly possessions.
You know – your stuff. Your belongings. The ‘treasures’ you cherish and the things you use daily that you can’t imagine doing without, like your car, your furniture, your pots and pans, your dishes, your phone.
Jesus had no stuff. Whatever he’d accumulated in Nazareth before leaving home to preach, he likely left behind in Nazareth. He had only the clothes on his back when John baptized him. As a preacher, he roamed from village to village, using what he found along the way but taking nothing with him.
Jesus is our model on how we are to live our lives. All born-agains accept this as God’s truth, but when it comes to earthly possessions, some get very touchy.
People can get really attached to their stuff.
The rich young ruler was attached to his stuff, too, and Jesus saw that it was preventing him from doing God’s will. That’s why he told him to get rid of it.
All of it.
Some of you reading this are probably feeling distinctly uncomfortable right about now. Maybe you’re thinking that getting rid of your stuff doesn’t apply to you because you can do God’s will well enough WITH all your stuff in tow, thank you very much.
That’s between you and God, but Jesus is our example, and he had no stuff. Before he left Nazareth, he likely had lots of stuff, but as soon as he started preaching, he let it all go. It would have slowed him down and redirected his energy and attention. Stuff can do that to you. Possessions can possess you even more than you possess them.
Better to live each day as if it were your last, because it could be. We came into this world empty-handed, and we’ll leave empty-handed. When we become born-again, we die to this world. What does that mean, to “die to this world”? When you die, you no longer have any stuff. Other people get what had been yours. If we are to live our born-again lives as if we died to the world, then our stuff has to go, just as the cursing, the fornicating, the lying, the stealing, the coveting, etc., also have to go.
When we become born-again, we leave the world spiritually and enter into a transition zone between Heaven and Earth. Our body is still in the world, but our spirit is not. What the world holds dear, we no longer value. That includes our and everyone else’s stuff.
I know this is hard for some of you to read. You might even point to clever arguments that show you can have your stuff and still do God’s will, have your cake and eat it, too. As long as your possessions don’t possess you, you can keep them, right?
Jesus is our example. He had no stuff.
“Sell what you have, give to the poor, and come follow me.”
As born-agains, the spiritual tools we value the most, use the most, and need the most have no place in Heaven.
The Ten Commandments are obsolete.
The directives God gave us through Jesus don’t apply.
We don’t have to pray.
And there aren’t even any Bibles (King James or otherwise).
Faith, hope and charity have value only in this life.
We don’t need faith in Heaven because, as Paul told us, we’ll see and know God fully as he is.
We won’t need hope, either, because we’ll have everything we want and there won’t be any adversities to overcome.
And we won’t need charity, the self-less love that’s expressed by obedience to God’s will. There won’t be any need for charity in Heaven because we’ll all have the mind of God, so we’ll all be doing God’s will automatically.
As for praying, we won’t need to do that any more because we won’t have to talk to God and Jesus in faith, trusting they hear us; we’ll be able to talk to them face-to-face.
So you see, there’s no ‘faith, hope and charity’ or praying in Heaven because there’s no need for them.
And there’s no free will, either (to which I say: THANK GOD FOR THAT!).
I’m glad God gave me free will, but I’ll be even gladder to kiss that double-edged mother good-bye.
It’s caused me a lot of problems.
Bye-bye, free will!
Bye-bye, faith hope and charity!
Bye-bye, loving your enemies!
Bye-bye to everything but God’s will and God’s goodness, because that’s all we’ll need when we arrive in Heaven. God will provide us with everything else, just like he provides for us on Earth.
And the last thing we’ll say good-bye to is good-bye itself, because there are never any partings in Heaven. Everything and everyone are there to stay.
If you had any idea how much God loves you and how much he does for you every second of every day, you’d never get off the floor, you’d be crying so much, face down, in total gratitude.
But God doesn’t want you on your face crying. He wants you looking up and laughing and running around and playing and listening to him and hugging him and sitting on his lap. He wants you to pay attention to your big brother, Jesus, and to follow his example in everything you do. And he likes it when you think of him every so often, not as an obligation, but just to say “hi”. In fact, he loves it when you drop by in prayer for no other reason than to say “Hi, Dad”. That means everything to him, just like it does to earthly parents. He doesn’t want anything from you. He just wants you to make the right choices for your own benefit, not for his.
He just wants you to come home.
Every born-again believer has three main jobs while they’re here on Earth – the first is to tell people about Heaven, the second is to show them how to get there, and the third is to “endure to the end”.
If you’re reading this, your end hasn’t come yet, so you’d better keep enduring. Otherwise, Heaven is no guarantee for you, any more than it is for anyone.
As for telling people about Heaven and showing them how to get there – the best way to find out about Heaven is to read scripture and ask God questions, and the best way to show people how to get to Heaven is to point to how Jesus lived his life and to make the choices he made.
Jesus is not just our example of how to live a good life – he’s everyone’s example, no exceptions.
One thing we need to clear about is that Earth is a knock-off of Heaven – a very small, very imperfect knock-off. Earth is bound by time and space, whereas Heaven is boundless and eternal. Earth can corrode and rot, but Heaven cannot. There is no death, disease or decay in Heaven. Everything and everyone are perfected, but not in a mindless or automaton kind of way. On the contrary: Imagine the best day you’ve ever lived on Earth, when your mind was clear and sharp, your body was primed and invigorated, and the weather was exhilarating. That’s a foretaste of how you’ll live every day in Heaven. Now combine that with the emotional ecstasy you experienced on being reborn, at that instant when the demons exited and God’s spirit entered in. There are no words on Earth to describe that ecstasy because it is not an earthly sensation; it’s Heaven.
So this is what Heaven is like – perfect senses, perfect body, perfect feelings, perfect weather. Every day, all day.
And the sleeps at night – like nothing you’ve ever experienced on Earth! Absolutely perfect sleeps, without exception.
When you ask people what they think Heaven is like, they usually talk about clouds and harps and angel wings. This is not Heaven; this is satanic propaganda to make Heaven look alien and boring and dissuade you from wanting to go home. Because that’s what Heaven is – home: The true homeland of all souls. We’ve already been there because we were created there. And every iota of our being wants to go back.
In fact, we want to go back so much, we try to recreate Heaven here on Earth. We do it through social systems (where everyone is equal and is watched over by allegedly ‘benign’ leaders who strive for the ‘common good’) or through medical care (where people are injected with chemicals to appear ‘beautiful’ and ‘youthful’ and ‘healthy’) or by living beyond our means. We are goaded to strive for artificially ‘perfected’ bodies, to live in a dream home with a dream kitchen, and to take occasional breaks from our dream jobs to go on dream vacations, sometimes in our dream cars. None of these things are, of course, anywhere near perfect, and none of them ever truly satisfy us, no matter how “dreamy” we or our surroundings become. Other than for the presence of God’s spirit, it’s impossible to recreate the ease and perfection of Heaven here. God made it impossible so that we wouldn’t get too comfortable on Earth and lose sight of our true destination.
There is nothing on Earth that can compare to Heaven, except for the presence of God’s spirit and the beauty of God’s creation.
In Heaven, everyone believes in God and everyone follows Jesus. Everyone is young and beautiful and healthy. There is no pain, either physical or mental, no regrets, no bad memories, and no bad thoughts Everyone is athletic and everyone can “sing like the angels”. There is only love in Heaven; no fear. Nothing rots. There are no conspiracies against God; no grumbling; no doubters. Think of the best day or best moments you’ve ever experienced, and then expand that into infinity. That’s Heaven.
As Jesus reminded us, we each have our own personal space in Heaven. It’s our real forever home. God has shown me mine. It’s everything that I’ve ever wanted in a home, and all my “treasures” are there. It’s small and cosy, and there’s a beautiful garden out back with all my favourite trees and flowers and butterflies and birds. My cats are there, too (they even have their own wing!), along with all my favourite foods. And there’s a huge skating surface to the rear of my property where I can figure skate to my heart’s content, performing tricks and manoeuvres that I could never do while on Earth in my imperfect, non-athletic body.
By the way – you’re all invited to come visit me in Heaven, if you make it and I make it. Just drop by and say: “You invited me on your blog”, and we’ll sit down and have a big slice of whatever you fancy the most, washed down with your favourite beverage. And then we’ll have a good old chat, because we’ll instantly be the best of friends in a way we could never be on Earth.
Only those who love God and choose his way will make it to Heaven. Maybe some people we knew on Earth will be there, but maybe not. Those who don’t make it, we have no recollection of when we’re in Heaven. We don’t mourn them or miss them because, for us, it’s as if they never existed.
They, on the other hand, can never forget us or what they’ve forfeited by their wrong choices while on Earth. That’s one of the most horrendous aspects of Hell – never being able to forget or overcome regrets or escape the consequences of bad choices. Hell is one long tortuous panic attack that never ends. And that’s on a good day in the Pit.
God’s shown me my little piece of Heaven so I’ll know what’s waiting for me if I keep on the right path. This helps me endure what’s going on here now and also provides a powerful incentive to make the right choices, especially when the temptations are strong. Paul was shown Heaven; everyone who’s born again is shown Heaven. All you have to do is ask God and he’ll show you, when you’re ready. Bug him enough, and he’ll show you a little sneak-peek, even if you’re not quite ready. He loves showing you what he’s got “stored up” for you. He just doesn’t want you to get ahead of yourself and assume that Heaven is a given.
Because Heaven is not a given, not for anyone.
Hell still remains an option as long as you’re here.
Our best experiences on Earth are a foretaste of Heaven. Don’t mess it up for yourself.
Follow Jesus all the way home.