The Testimony of the Cemetery

29 06 2006

I was driving today in between meetings in a particularly older section of Omaha and saw the sobering testimony to sin. The cemetery was decorated with headstones marking the lives of the individuals who occupied the bodies that are now occupying the dirt below the signs.

The headstones mark the individual testimonies of the pervasiveness of sin. Sin has been destroying and taking lives since the garden…the cemeteries proclaim this.

As I drove I was reminded of the transitory nature of life through the reality of death. We indeed are dying people who need to like the Psalmist in Psalm 90, need to pray that we ‘number our days’ in so doing live with the divine mission on our forehead and in our hearts.

While cemeteries remind me of the faithfulness of God’s promise to punish sin with death (natural, spiritual, & eternal), I am also greatly encouraged and my heart is enflamed with thanksgiving to the Lord Jesus Christ who tasted death on my behalf (Heb. 2.9), knowing that the one who is in Christ will never taste death (John 8.52).

What blessed providence to remind me of grace through the morbid headstones and the legacy of sin. Sin is morbid, but grace is beautiful, for Christ is beauty!

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.