A BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER

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HOME

I’m always a little disconcerted when I hear people who call themselves Christians describe Heaven like it’s a Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercial – bored angels floating around on clouds and playing harps all day (and eating Philadelphia Cream Cheese). There is also a common misconception among some Christians that Heaven is a place of disembodied spirits, when in fact only evil spirits are disembodied. Those in Heaven have very real and perfected bodies that last forever.

God has blessed me with visions of Home, and I’m happy to report that you’re under no obligation to eat Philadelphia Cream Cheese there (unless you want to). The best way I can describe Heaven is that it’s Earth perfected, only infinitely larger. Imagine the best day you’ve ever lived on Earth, and then imagine living infinite variations of that day forever. Imagine that best day filtered for any unpleasantness and leaving only the good. Imagine all the happiest moments you’ve ever lived, and then imagine those moments perfected. Imagine being surrounded by all your favorite things – your favorite foods, your favorite flowers, your favorite trees, your favorite animals, your favorite insects, your favorite scenery, your favorite sounds, your favorite smells – your favorite everything, perfected, and forever. That’s Heaven.

There’s no ugliness in Heaven. There’s no jealousy or lying. There’s no backbiting or gossip. There are no regrets or bad memories. There’s nothing unpleasant or uncomfortable. There’s no pain and no death, and the good-byes in Heaven are always followed by “see you soon!”, because there are no final partings there.

All the animals in Heaven are tame, and you can talk and interact with them the same way as you can talk and interact with your best friends here on Earth. The same insects that are on Earth are in Heaven, too, but their capacity to sting or bite or stink has been removed. The bugs have been debugged.

While we’re yet on Earth, we have the ability to create our own piece of Heaven every day by storing up our visual, emotional and physical treasures there. Jesus advised us to do that, which means we can and should do it. We just ask God to put this or that in our piece of Heaven, and he does it. It’s that simple.

I mentioned a few days ago about a stand of birch and pine trees, hundreds of years old, that had been cut down. I was sad to see that happen, and I grieved with the birds who had lost their homes and nests (I saw one crow flying around and around one of the felled trees in obvious distress before the tree was chopped up and hauled away). But God comforted me (as he comforted the birds) by reminding me I could have those trees in Heaven, and that’s where they are now – on my land in Heaven, perfected. I’ll be able to enjoy them again and forever when I get Home. The birds will be there, too, happy and perfected.

This is how we build our own personal Heaven. We ask God to take the things we treasure here and put them there for safekeeping until we get Home.

We don’t, however, have any control over who gets to go to Heaven, including ourselves. The judgement of souls is God’s domain. I have an inkling of some people I know and love who might be in Heaven, sleeping until the Judgement, but I won’t know for sure who made it Home until I get there myself (if in fact I do get there).

The night before he was crucified, Jesus told us that he was going Home to prepare a place for us. I believe he’s done that. He’s allotted an area for me and is letting me fill it up, day by day. That’s one of the reasons I travel – to find new places and things to store up in Heaven. So when I have to say good-bye to places and things on Earth, it doesn’t make me sad for long because I know they’re Home waiting for me and that I’ll be able to enjoy them again someday and forever. That’s one of the biggest motivators for me to stay on the strait and narrow and to love my enemies come hell or high water.

I don’t like to think about what happens if I don’t make it Home, but I still need to know. We all need to know. God tells me that my stored-up treasures wouldn’t disappear in that case, but would be made available to everyone in Heaven to use and enjoy, like a public commons. I’m glad to hear that, but even so, I want to enjoy my treasures myself. I don’t want to be somewhere eternally in pain and eternally regretting all the stupid things I did that got me there. So I choose and act accordingly here on Earth while there’s still time, with an eye to my eternal reward rather than to any earthly ones.

*****

Springtime in eastern Canada brings out the peepers – little “chorus frogs” that live in marshes and wetland areas and in the woodlands that fringe them. Having lived in cities most of my life, the first time I heard peepers was about 15 years ago, when I spent a few years in an apartment complex on a lake (the same lake that’s featured in my blog’s rainbow photo). The topography of the area around the lake and way the apartment buildings were situated next to the water body created an amphitheater effect, so the songs of the peepers reverberated and echoed around and around and around. It’s one of the most beautiful and almost unearthly sounds I’ve ever heard.

When I first heard the peepers singing, I thought they were sleigh bells. I remember thinking at the time that someone must be out on the lake at night ringing sleigh bells for some reason. (This is how the mind of a displaced urbanite tries to make sense of nature lol.) I enjoyed the peepers there for two springs, and then I moved. I’ve heard peepers since, but never to the same fullness of sound. It really was a unique and wondrous experience.

There are peepers outside my window now in Annapolis Royal. Judging by the sound level, there are only a few of them, but they brought to mind the peepers at Governors Lake. I’ve asked God and he’s graciously agreed to store up my Governors Lake peeper experience in Heaven with my other treasures. So if you do make it Home, be sure to drop by my place in the late evening and ask to hear the peepers. They’ll put on a performance just for you!

CHOOSE

What choices will you make today?

You’ll choose what time to get up.

You’ll choose what to wear.

You’ll choose what to eat for breakfast (or to skip breakfast).

In between these choices, there will be others that involve your hygiene, your message monitoring, your information gathering.

If you work outside where you’re living, you’ll choose how to get there and how to interact with anyone you meet during your commute.

When you get to your place of work, you’ll choose how much effort you’ll put into your work today.

And all along the way, you’ll choose which thoughts to entertain, which plans to solidify or to dismiss, which information to gather or to ignore.

Our lives, even sometimes during our sleep, are a series of choices. Jesus tells us that everything we do, say, and think we’ll be held accountable for at the judgement. Most of us, although aware of that line in scripture, put that information to the back of our mind. How can we live always conscious that everything we do, say and even think is being recorded, perhaps to our ultimate condemnation?

How can we live knowing we’re always under a microscope?

If you love God, you love that your every waking and sleeping moment is being monitored and weighed. It keeps you on the strait and narrow. It helps you make the right choices, knowing that in order to get the consequences you want, you’ll have to make the right choices – that is, the choices that are right in God’s eyes. God’s constant monitoring presence, through his Spirit, is a gift. You hold it tight and thank God for it.

If, on the other hand, you don’t love God, the thought of being constantly monitored by him (or those he delegates to do so) is anathema. You loathe that there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide from what you see as his all-seeing eye. You loathe that even your thoughts are known. None of this is a comfort to you; on the contrary, you feel violated. You feel powerless. It makes you angry. You might even deny that it’s happening or even possible.

I love God. I thank him every day, all day, that he and Jesus are right here with me through his Spirit. I want all my words and actions to be weighed by him, I want my thoughts to be known to him, because then he can guide me away from the words and actions and thoughts that will lead me away from my heavenly reward. My whole purpose in doing what I do here on Earth is to solidify my plan to make it home to Heaven. God delegates us, his born-again children, to learn about him and his Way so that we can teach others about his Way, who will then in turn teach others, and so on and so on to the end of time.

Along with being the Messiah, Jesus also had the mission to teach others about God’s Way during his ministry years. We don’t have to be the Messiah (that mission is over and done and fully accomplished), but we do have to teach others about God’s Way.

*****

What choices will you make today, knowing that you’re being watched and recorded? How will that thought affect your thoughts? What will you do to teach others about God’s Way?

I hope you’ll make good (godly) choices and enjoy the good consequences that come from them.

I hope you’ll do what’s right in God’s eyes.

I hope, that when it’s your time, your choices will be weighed in your favour and you’ll get to go Home.

And I hope that if you make it home and I make it home, we’ll meet up in Heaven and share in each other’s rewards.

Mine is full of my grandmother’s brown sugar fudge, as a start. You can have as much brown sugar fudge as you want when you come for a visit, because there’s a never-ending supply, and it always tastes perfect.

What rewards are waiting for you? Did you know that as much as you get to choose your words, thoughts and actions on Earth, you also get to choose your rewards in Heaven, bearing in mind that nothing evil can get into Heaven?

If you haven’t yet started to choose your rewards, I recommend that you do so. Choose your favourite scenery, your favourite food, your favourite trees and flowers and animals – make it personal. Make it entirely you. Make it all the things you love and treasure. Make it things that have had a hard life here but give them a better place in your heavenly home. Jesus tells us to store up our treasures in Heaven, so store them up. Be generous. There’s no limit to what Heaven can hold.

Yesterday, I saw a stand of trees hundreds of years old be cut down. With them, went the homes of generations of birds and other wildlife. Some of the trees even had nests in them. I couldn’t stop the destruction, but I could pray to God for the trees and all the lives they had sheltered to be part of my place in Heaven, and that’s where they are now, waiting for me. My heavenly home has gained a beautiful stand of birch and pine trees, along with innumerable birds and squirrels and foxes and deer and insects. This is how we choose our Heaven.

*****

What choices will you make today?

I pray that you make the right ones.