Reclaiming the Heaven of Heaven

11 04 2006

worship_sfw2.jpgIn thinking about heaven, as revealed in the Scriptures, I am struck by the God-centeredness of this place.

We so often today employ the word heaven in terms of something that brings us pleasure. For instance, ”this cheesecake is a slice of heaven”, or “I was in heaven during the NCAA tournament”, ect… And for some people, and regrettably so, cheesecake and basketball may be all they think about when they think of heaven.

However, for Christians, this cannot be!

For heaven is not about you, me, cheesecake, or good basketball, but rather, it is about the Almighty God receiving the glory due his name, through the uninterrupted and sincere exaltation of his precious and pleasing Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!! This is heaven indeed.

Christ, himself speaking of this reality, prays to his Father that he would soon enjoy the uninterrupted joy that he has always and eternally enjoyed (John 17.5).

The Apostle John, via a gracious Holy Spirit transport, writes for us of the content and mood of heavenly discourse in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 5:11-14 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” 13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” 14 And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

There is no time for generic heaven in the real heaven….because heaven is the heaven of God!

Perhaps so many people would not be claiming that they are in fact going to heaven if they really knew what heaven was about!

Heaven is not about being reunited with our grandparents, our deceased pet fish or anything else that has origins on earth, rather it is about the redeemed saint of God coming face to face with the infinite glory of the Savior, and beholding it!

Heaven is about worship!

Heaven is about praying not in the future tense, “Hallowed be your name” but in the present tense, “Your name is hallowed!”

I cannot fathom the reality of having the impediment of this sin-cursed body removed, only to be fully controlled by divine love, with my own selfishness eradicated forever, while beholding my beautiful Savior through glorified lenses.

Join me as I try to think about heaven more often, even dwelling upon the reality of it, the ceaseless praise that is going on right now to the blessed Savior for his wrath drinking death upon the wood of Calvary.

And in educating our affections, let’s also educate those around us with this glorious reality.

Death’s Resolve & Heaven’s Beauty

24 03 2006

I had a great visit with a friend this morning talking about the brevity of life and the hope of heaven. It is amazing to think about how we live and why we live. So many people live differently when diagnosed with a terminal disease, they get their lives “in order”, and they spend time with “who matters” and do “what matters”. But my question is who is not terminal? We all are not only going to die but we are in fact dying! One may cheat taxes, but they cannot cheat death, it is encroaching upon us with relentless resolve, it will not be thwarted.

With all of the testimonies to this fact surrounding us in the form of cemeteries, mortuaries, pharmacies, and hospitals (by the way does anyone else have trouble finding a parking space at a hospital??), you would think we would get the point: we are a dying people. We must be living with an eternal perspective.

I am so thankful for the Bible. The great book of God! This blessed treasure of promises bridges the chasm of God’s infiniteness by communicating truth to us in a way that we can understand (without compromising!).

And God does speak. His words shine into our hearts like rays into a dark forest. God communicates to us what is important, what he values, what will last long past our fleeting lives. We are busy trying to bottle our breath, but it is fleeting! God says that we are to be impressed with and obsessed with what has eternal significance, namely his glory and his interests.

Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

What a great text. Keep seeking (ongoing action) Set your mind (ongoing action)….God wants our attention. As Christians this only makes sense, for as the text says, Christ “who is our life” he will be revealed and he will be honored.

You and I may not know how many birthdays we have left, but we do know that there is a glory day in our future, and this is not our glory but Christ’s!! There is a day when we as believers in Jesus Christ will lay aside our earthly encumbrances and stand unhindered by our sin, beholding the infinite glory of our Savior! And this will not be a passing glance, or a fleeting breath, but the eternal enjoyment of fellowship and worship of the Lamb who was slain for sinners like you and me.