Heaven’s Business

In my journal and on my calendar I have a reminder to keep me focused on the right priorities. I borrowed the words from the simple reason Jesus gave his parents for his behavior: “I must be about my Father’s business.” If I get nothing else done today, what one thing will I do? If my stay on earth is shortened, what do I want to accomplish?

To perform my father’s business. The business of heaven.

It also answers the question so many ask in times of doubt and difficulty: “Why am I here in this place, at this time, in this job, with these people, with this problem . . . ?”

In a previous blog, I recalled that Jesus later told Martha that she was distracted by many things, but, “Only one thing is necessary. Your sister Mary has chosen the more important thing, listening to God’s teaching.” That was the Father’s business at that moment. Martha was busy in the kitchen. Jesus and Mary were busy with the Father’s business.

What is the Father’s business in your arena today?

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What Are We Waiting For?

One of the great things about heaven that so many people miss is that it’s possible to start living some of heaven now. In fact, it’s those who start living heaven now who will eventually progress into heaven in the afterlife. I get the impression that some people figure they can live like hell now, but will somehow be magically transformed to adapt to a heavenly environment. The problem is, they won’t like heaven. The only people who will like heaven are the ones who start living it now.

My book Rehearsing for Heaven starts with this concept in the first chapter, asking “Will an atheist go to heaven?” Honestly, why would he want to go to a place he doesn’t believe in to spend eternity with a God he believes doesn’t exist? Think about it–we have this naive notion that everyone would like to go to heaven.

So while we have to wait for the removal of evil and death from our world to make it heavenly, there’s no waiting for many other blessings of heaven. We just have to start living in them, accepting them. We live like we’re not of this world, but of the next world.

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The One Thing

Do you ever have so many things on your mind and on your to-do list that you can’t concentrate on any of them? That’s when we need a reminder to focus on basic things—actually THE basic thing. We need that philosophical slap in the face like Billy Crystal got in City Slickers when Curly challenged him to ponder life’s “one thing.”
When Jesus visited his friends, Mary sat down to listen and visit. Martha scurried around the kitchen, complaining that Mary did not help here. Jesus told Martha that she was worried about too many things. “Only one thing is important,” he said, “and Mary has chosen it.” What was that one thing? Listening to Jesus? Thinking about eternal life rather than temporary tasks?
If all the temporary things around you faded away today and only the eternal things remained, what would you do? Doesn’t that seem like it deserves the priority of your day, even if all the other things remain?

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Cosmic Change Coming

Modern doomsday prophets who misappropriated the Mayan calendar expiration were right about the coming change, just wrong about the date of 12-21-12. They claimed the Mayans predicted a world order change, a cataclysmic transformation to a new cosmos.

They are right. Cataclysmic cosmic change is coming.

It’s called the second coming of Jesus Christ. It involves destruction of the current world order, that’s for sure. But the focus is on the NEW heaven and NEW earth, as the Bible describes it. It’s not ethereal cloud-floating, nor is it universal oneness where our spirits join as one entity. We will exist as individuals with enhanced spiritual bodies. There’s a restored Eden-like earth with trees and rivers and cities.

• Governments will be overthrown in favor of government by God.
• Crime, evil, destruction, decay, and even sadness will be banished.
• Aging and disease will no longer exist.
• The solar system will change in favor of eternal daylight.

Change is coming and can’t be avoided. It will crush those who resist it and bless those who go with it. So I try to keep this fact in front of me when faced with decisions, asking, “If the world is going to change like this at any day, what should I do right now?”

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Guaranteed Hope

Are you impressed with lifetime guarantees? Do you take them seriously or consider it a sales gimmick?

It’s an impressive offer, but we know that guarantees are limited by a lot of things besides our lifetime. A company makes that guarantee playing the odds of narrow limitations. They especially bank on us forgetting about the guarantee, forgetting where the paperwork is, and forgetting about what’s covered and what isn’t. They know we will likely become apathetic about the guarantee and not want to trouble with figuring out how to redeem it.

Heaven is guaranteed. An eternal guarantee. Not limited by my lifetime or yours or anyone’s. God made us a promise without exclusions and limitations, except one condition: trust him. Because he is God, he can make and keep that guarantee.

Your hope comes with an eternal guarantee.

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A Future for Those who Hope

Ever felt like evil people around you always get the breaks? They do whatever they want, break all the rulles, and still get what they want.  You try to be good and all you get is trouble and misery? Then here’s a song of encouragement for you. In Psalm 37 David reminds us about the temporary “wins” of those who oppose God. And he contrasts it to the eternal wins of the righteous.

Near the end of the song, David declares that “those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land,” while the wicked have no future.   There is a blessed future for those who hope in heaven . . .  and wait . . . and trust.

It’s not easy to refocus our hope on eternal wins, especially while the world throws in our faces the wonders of temporary things. We have a great hope in heaven, but we have to wait for it. We have to endure. The reward comes later, not immediately. And that runs contrary to our right-now-reward culture. Take a moment to recalibrate your hope, focusing on the long-term promises of heaven. Remind yourself that it’s worth the wait.

Heaven is the only true, substantial hope that never fades and won’t fail. Those who hope in other things inherit nothing. Those who hope in the Lord have a future.

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Heaven Just Beyond the Horizon

The ancient Hebrews expressed a limited concept of “forever” using a word meaning “beyond the horizon.”  In other words, I can’t see the end right now, but it’s out there at some point in time. It will come at an unspecified time and the change will last an unspecified time. I don’t know the details, but I know it is there.

Heaven is beyond our line of sight right now, unseen except for the glow on the horizon. The exact time and place are not yet revealed. Sometimes we need a reminder to raise our heads from the muddy mess we live in, gaze toward the horizon, and tell ourselves heaven is out there waiting for us.

When I’m frustrated or depressed, nothing helps me more than to consider the surety of heaven.  It’s coming. No one and nothing can prevent it.  We’re hurdling toward the horizon, where a new day dawns in the paradise created for us. Our hope is sure—heaven will happen. Our hope is joyful—heaven will wipe away every tear, every frustration, and every threat to our peace, security, and love.

Look up to the horizon. Heaven is closer than you think.

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Eyes of hope

Hope is biased. When you have hope, you have a different perspective than those who wish for good luck. You make decisions based on faith rather than fear. You don’t count on winning the lottery or landing a high-paying job because you know money is temporary and has no value in heaven. You have more peace, more confidence.

What you hope in also gives you a different perspective. Those who base their hope on the promise of heaven look at the world as a temporary home. You hear about or you experience a flood or a shooting and you tell yourself it’s not permanent, not irreparable, that heaven is bigger than this disaster, that heaven will restore everything.  Your hope brings you comfort during trauma and grief.  Those things are painful, but you get through them because you hope for a heaven that overcomes all disasters and all evil actions.

Someone may say that your faith or your hope in heaven distorts your view. It does. It makes you view the world through heaven’s eyes, which is unnatural in this world.  People may think you are foolish.  The apostle Paul bragged about being “foolish for God,” because God’s wisdom seems like foolishness to those without faith. Take pride in your hope, despite how others criticize it.

So yes, I’m biased.  I hope in heaven. I look at the world through the eyes of heaven. I can’t imagine trying to find hope in anything else. To me there’s nothing else worthy of my hope.

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Always Preparing

You can avoid preparing for the afterlife, but you can’t avoid the consequences of not preparing for the afterlife.

Actually, everything we do prepares us for the afterlife, one way or another.  We don’t even have to believe in Heaven or Hell or Elysium or Nirvana or Valhalla. We can believe in absolute nothingness. Still, our beliefs and the actions we choose based on those beliefs will prepare us for the reality we will face.

Suppose a person spends his whole life denying the existence of heaven (or ignoring it). On the day of his death, will he suddenly wander into heaven and say, “I never believed in this place, but I’m glad to be here now”? Personally, I don’t think it works that way.  He won’t like heaven and God anymore at that time than he likes them now. And that’s the main reason he won’t enter heaven.

An atheist would be miserable in heaven, having to spend eternity with a God he denied existed. An agnostic won’t enjoy heaven because God can’t be avoided or ignored in heaven. An apathetic person will avoid heaven’s gates because entering will mean that he will have to start caring.

It seems to me that most people are preparing for a heaven that is about me, getting what I want. What a shock when we find that heaven is all about God!

So preparation for heaven becomes preparing to live in the presence of God.

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First Day in Heaven

What will you do your first day in heaven?

Is there someone you want to find? Something you want to see?

Perhaps you have questions you want to ask.

Will you shout and dance and sing?  Celebrate with millions of other believers?

Will you be still and recognize that he is God?

Do you want to take a long nap in the grass? A stroll in a quiet meadow?

Suppose today is your first day in heaven. What will you do different—today?

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