How wonderful is heaven really going to be?

September 14, 2020 by Dr. Jack Graham

Think about the most beautiful places you’ve seen on earth. Maybe you’ve had the opportunity to visit a palm-fringed island in the South Pacific, or ski the Alps of Switzerland, or wander through the stark beauty of the Grand Canyon. 

But even the most beautiful things on earth pale to what we’ll experience when we first see Jesus and the beauty of heaven. He’s been preparing heaven for you and me, for all who believe.

Can you imagine how wonderful, how beautiful it’s going to be?

The apostle John described the beauty of heaven in the Book of Revelation, and chapters 21 and 22 provide a virtual tour of the new heaven and the new earth. You might ask whether these scriptures describing streets of gold, gates of pearl, and a crystal sea are literal or figurative. 

The answer is yes—they are both.

Every image in Revelation illustrates something even more real than we can know or understand. Heaven is beyond our comprehension and imagining, but it should not be beyond our contemplation.

And that is what John shows us in Revelation 21:1: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away, and the sea was no more.”

Of course, some will say, “Well, I like the ocean.” But this description is actually about separation.

John was in exile. He was a prisoner placed among the insane and the criminals on an island separated from the world by the Aegean Sea. He was alone. And when he saw heaven, he saw a place where he’d never be separated again.

In heaven, we will be with other believers and our loved ones in Christ forever and ever. No more sea… no more separation!

Heaven is going to be more wonderful than anything you can imagine on earth. May the expectation of eternity there give you hope and peace in Jesus Christ today!

https://resources.jackgraham.org/resource-library/articles/how-wonderful-is-heaven-really-going-to-be/

The Door to Heaven is Narrow (Luke 13:22-30)

Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr. Book of Luke

This is a message that will tell you how you can go to heaven when you die.

There are two doors after death: destruction or delight, and we choose which door we will pass through while we are alive; either the narrow door to heaven or the wide door to hell. Many of you are already believers and know you are going to heaven, so you may wonder why I’m speaking on this topic. The Bible makes it clear that many people think they are going to heaven, but they are mistaken. So it’s good to occasionally clear our minds of all of our preconceived notions and consider how a person can go to heaven. Heaven can only be entered through a narrow door. Have you found heaven’s narrow door? Let’s read about it in Luke 13:22-30.

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He made His way to Jerusalem. Someone asked Him, “Lord are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But He will answer, “I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of God. Indeed, there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

If we want to enter heaven, there are four important truths we need to understand:

1. There is Only One Door to Heaven and it is Narrow

These words of Jesus are not politically correct in our age of religious pluralism. If Jesus came to America preaching this message today, He would be labeled a radical and would probably be arrested. In fact, that’s exactly why the Jews arrested Him and executed Him 2,000 years ago.

To say there is only one way to heaven is an unpopular stance today. Most people think there are many ways to get to heaven. They think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are “sincere.” Well, those Palestinian suicide bombers are sincere in their beliefs, and they are wrong. You can be sincere – and be sincerely wrong.

A man told me he thought getting to heaven was like flying in an airplane. I could fly American Airlines, he could fly Delta, and somebody else could fly Northwest airlines, but we’d all get to the same destination. “Doesn’t that sound logical?” he asked.

I told him it sounded logical, but when you get on an airliner, you could never be 100% certain it would arrive at the intended destination; it could be diverted by weather, hijacked, have mechanical problems, or even crash. I told him I am booked to fly on Jesus Airlines and it’s the only one in the universe with a 100% on time arrival record! For Jesus (or any of us) to insist there is just one way to heaven seems too narrow-minded in this age of enlightenment. But look at His words again in verse 24: “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Jesus didn’t speak of different doors or different airliners. He didn’t say “enter through one of the narrow doors.” He spoke of the narrow door.

Other Scriptures confirm there is only one way to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Now, let me misquote this verse the way most folks believe. They think Jesus said, “I am one of the ways, part of the truth, and one kind of life. No one comes to the Father unless they are religious, good, kind, and sincere in whatever it is they believe.” But Jesus didn’t say He was one of the ways or even the best way; He said He is the only way.

For five decades, Billy Graham had been filling stadiums around the world preaching Jesus is the only way to heaven. He always had a banner with John 14:6 placed in a prominent place. Many people thought his position was too narrow-minded. Several years ago, after he conducted a crusade in Australia, a woman wrote a letter of complaint to the newspaper. Her words are typical of many who do not appreciate our insistence that Jesus is the only way to heaven. She wrote, “After hearing Billy Graham on the air and viewing him on television, I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul (and everyone else’s) needs saving–whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost. Nor do I feel that I wallow in the mire of sin, although his preaching insists I do. Give me practical religion that teaches gentleness and kindness and acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children about goodness and not about sin. If, in order to save my soul, I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned.”

Sadly, Jesus confirmed that millions of people share her attitude. He pointed out that only a small percentage of the entire population are going to be saved and He was dogmatic about it!

What’s wrong with being dogmatic about some things? If you go in for surgery, you wouldn’t want your surgeon to say to you the night before the surgery, “I don’t want to be dogmatic about the way to do this surgery. I think I’ll try a different approach this time. I may try going in from the other side for a change. After all, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” You’d say, “But I’m not a cat and I don’t want to be skinned! Do the surgery the way you were taught to do it!” How far do you think the surgeon would get if he did it the wrong way?

We can’t bend God’s rules either. The people in this passage were at the door; they were even knocking on the door. But almost getting into the door won’t get us into heaven. When it comes to our eternal salvation there is only one door. What is it?

2. Heaven’s Door is Knowing God by Knowing Jesus

A few years ago, I conducted a survey. One of the questions on the survey was: “In your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven?” As you can imagine, I got a variety of interesting answers. Everybody has an opinion. The most common incorrect answer to the question of how to get into heaven was: “Do good or be good.” Wrong. Access to eternal life in heaven can only be gained when we have a personal relationship with God.

In verse 25, Jesus describes people who will be pounding on heaven’s door after it is shut. They will be hollering, “Let me in! Open the door! I went to church; I even went to Sunday School! I gave my money to the church. I even worked for You! Hey, let me in!” Notice the reply of the Master of the house. He says, “I don’t know you.” It’s all about knowing God. Do you know Jesus Christ? Does He know you? He said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice; I know them and they follow Me.” Do you recognize God’s voice when you hear it? Do you know Jesus and does He know you?

All of us in this room know about President Obama. Maybe you’ve met him or shaken his hand, but do you really know him? Have you visited with him enough that you are known by him? The same can be said about Jesus. Everyone here knows about Jesus, but some of you might have had casual contact with Him. Others of us have met Him and we know Him intimately because we talk with Him regularly (by the way, it’s easier to gain access to Jesus than it is to President Obama, so feel free to get to know Him).

Eternal life is knowing Jesus. Let me call your attention to the verse that best defines what eternal life is: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Eternal life is knowing God. That’s the door to heaven and it is the only way to get into heaven.

I love to read fables because they are like the parables of Jesus. Many of them teach practical lessons that can be applied to spiritual truth. There’s an old Russian fable about a cat and a fox. The fox bragged to the cat about how clever he was. He claimed he had hundreds of ways of escaping from the hunters who chased him. He could hide in a hole, or backtrack in a creek, or lie flat in tall grass. He was proud of his big bag of tricks. The cat replied she only had one way of escape, but that seemed to work.

At that moment, they heard the sounds of the hounds coming toward them. The cat scampered up the tree and hid herself among the leaves. She said to the fox, “This is my plan. What are you going to do?” The fox first thought of one plan, then of another. While he was debating the best plan the hounds came closer. At last, in his confusion, the fox was caught by the hounds and soon killed by the hunters. The cat witnessed the whole scene and provides the moral of the story: “Better to have one safe way than a hundred by which you cannot be sure.”

God is Spirit and no man can see Him without dying. That’s why Jesus came to this planet. God took on human flesh and became one of us, so we can relate to Him. Jesus said, “I am the door; whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). The narrow door into heaven is Jesus Himself. There is no other way to get to heaven than by trusting in Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

Maybe you have heard of the name, “Ivan the Terrible.” He was crowned the first Czar or Caesar of Russia in 1547. He was cruel and ruthless. He gouged out the eyes of the architects who built the beautiful St. Basil’s Cathedral, so they would never be able to build anything more beautiful. He had seven wives and abused them all. He even killed his own son in a fit of anger. There were many reasons why people called him “terrible.”

When he died in 1584 the leaders of the church followed his strange instructions. They shaved his head and dressed him in a Monk’s robe. Ivan the Terrible knew he was such a wicked man that he was hoping God would mistake him for a monk and let him into heaven. But you can’t get into heaven by disguising yourself as someone and hoping God will mistake you for him or her. There is only one door and that door is Jesus.

3. There are Only Two Doors Leading to Eternity – Choose Your Door

Each of us faces these doors. Behind one is eternal life and delight. Behind the other is death and destruction. There is no mystery involved in these doors. The doors are clearly marked and Jesus tells us what is behind each door. Beginning in verse 28, Jesus describes the fate of those who don’t enter through the narrow door. He says there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” That means there will be hopeless sorrow and unending pain. It makes me shiver in revulsion just thinking about it. Jesus said these people will “see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets.” One of the worst parts of hell is the ability to realize others are in heaven and you aren’t. What a terrible place hell will be. In his epic, Inferno, Dante described hell as having different levels and circles of torment. He created minute details you never find in Scripture, but he got it right in one respect. He inscribed over the gate to hell these words: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Then Jesus contrasts that awful scene with the delightful glories of heaven. People from all four points of the compass, from all over the planet will gather for a feast! The Kingdom of God is like a feast, not a funeral. So, how do you get to enjoy the party and miss the pain? Choose the right door. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lets us know there are actually two doors that lead to two totally different destinies. He said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Consider the two doors. The one leading to destruction and hell is wide, and easy to find. Jesus said most of the world is on the pathway that leads to that door. But the door that leads to the delight of eternal life is narrow and only a few find it. God loves us so much He has made a way for us to know Him and to spend eternity with Him. But He also loves us so much that He has honored us by giving us the capacity to choose.

4. Heaven’s Door is Open Now, But Someday it Will be Shut

I can tell you on this very day, God’s door of grace is still wide open. But in verse 25, Jesus says one day the Master of the house will get up and close the door: “Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.” The door could close for you today. You could die today and that would close the door. Or, Jesus could return today and that would close the door of grace as well. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know things are heating up to a new level in Israel. All of that is a clear indication we are in the season of the return of Christ. So, if you haven’t trusted Jesus yet, do it today. Christian, if there is someone you know and love who hasn’t walked through God’s narrow door yet, don’t let another day pass by without lovingly urging them to trust Jesus alone for their salvation.

You can choose to enter heaven’s door today. Jesus said it’s a narrow door. Think about that for a minute. It’s so narrow only one person can walk through it at one time. In other words, you can’t walk through heaven’s door holding someone else’s hand. I thank God my parents raised me in church and sent me to Christian school, but when it came time for me to give my life to Jesus, I walked through that door all by myself. Some of you think because your grandfather was a preacher or your mother was a godly saint that you can walk through the door with them, but you can’t. The narrow door to heaven says, “One person at a time.”

Do you know what else it means because it’s a narrow door? It’s so narrow you can’t bring a bunch of excess baggage with you. In fact, you’ve got to unload all your “stuff” before you walk through it. I read once about a hiker who got trapped in a cave. He found a small opening to escape, but he couldn’t squeeze through with his backpack. So, he removed his backpack, and then his canteen, and then his jacket before he could slip through the opening. When you walk through the narrow door of heaven, you’ve got to leave your backpack of sinful habits and sinful attitudes behind. As the old song says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, Only to your cross I cling.”

Have you discovered heaven’s narrow door? Jesus is inviting you to come to Him today. Is there a need in your life? Does there seem to be an unquenchable thirst in your soul you haven’t been able to satisfy by anything this world offers? On the last page of the Bible, God extends an invitation to all of us. He says, “Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink. Drink freely of the Water of Life!” (Revelation 22:17).

The Bible speaks about another kind of door: it’s the door to your heart. And the way you walk through heaven’s door is by asking Jesus to come into the door of your heart. The most famous painting of the 19th century is by English artist Holman Hunt and is called “The Light of the World.” It’s a dark picture because it is night, symbolizing that the night has come and the day of salvation is almost over. Jesus is wearing a crown of thorns and standing at a door with a lantern in His hand. He is knocking on the door and His message is hard to miss. Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Art critics looked at the painting and pointed out that Holman Hunt made a mistake–there was no latch on the door. His reply silenced the critics. He said the door of our heart only has a doorknob on the inside. We are the only ones who can open our hearts to Jesus.

Right now, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. He’s knocking. Do you hear His voice? Will you open your heart to Him? When you do that, you will have found Heaven’s narrow door.

https://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/the-door-to-heaven-is-narrow-luke-1322-30/

AUDIO What In Hell Do You Want In Hell

By Rev Bill Woods

Luke 16:24The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’

Psalm 9:17 — The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.

I was 17 and had just been hired and was on my first day at the Jones and Scott Asphalt Company in Walla Walla, Washington.     

The Foreman instructed me to haul several loads of “cold patch” asphalt over to a distant area of the “yard” and dump them there.  He was stock piling the “cold patch” for temporary fixes in pot holes the cold wet winter had created.

Nobody warned me there’d been a change and I was no longer hauling cold patch but “hot” asphalt was being loaded onto my truck.  It was to be delivered to the newly built Pancake House for a parking lot.  It was a urgent to deliver it to the job site while it was still over 450 degrees.  It wouldn’t set-up as pavement if it was allowed to cool down.

Not being informed of the change, I assumed I was to continue taking the asphalt to where I’d been dumping it all morning so I dutifully drove to the other side of the “yard” and dumped this new load of asphalt with the other loads.  One of the workers yelled at me I shouldn’t have dumped this load it was for a job.

I decided to ask the Foreman where I was to take it because I didn’t want to mess up.  The Foreman saw me get out of the truck and walk towards him and he went wild.  Wild-eyed, face blood-red, teeth snarling, saliva and tobacco spewing from his mouth, steam coming from his collar he got in my face shrieking “What in Hell do you want?”  

He proceeded to raise certain questions concerning my ancestry and about my mother and demanded I go to the office and pick up my pink slip immediately. (This was a surprise.  I was wearing jeans — I didn’t think I needed a slip!)

One of the other workers interceded for me and pointed out nobody had bothered to tell me what was expected — nobody had warned me the asphalt had changed — and it was my first day!………..

Finally, the foul-mouthed Foreman cooled somewhat, but never became civil in his attitude toward me.  I was allowed to stay on the job…….I tried to be more alert to what was going on……

I’ve remembered that experience all these years.  I’ve often played that scene over in my mind remembering his question, “WHAT IN HELL DO YOU WANT?”

I don’t have to think too long about that question to come up with an answer:  “THERE’S NOTHING IN HELL I WANT!”

People joke about Hell.  They treat the idea of Hell as if it were of no consequence…………

Most preachers won’t preach about Hell in this generation.  They’re worried they might upset someone’s psyche or make them uncomfortable.  They don’t want to scare anyone away from their church and lose that financial support!  Talking about Hell is negative! — Preachers should always be positive and always “Preach Love!”

I consider it love to warn sinners of the dangers of Hell!  It doesn’t sound very loving to me to let someone be lost for Eternity when they could be saved from that horrible consequence.

When I lived in Cheyenne, I was in my back yard when I looked up and saw the neighbor’s kitchen was on fire.

  • I ran around to his front door and about knocked it down in an effort to warn him his house was on fire.
  • I didn’t waste time finding out about his family or what kind of a day he was having.
  • I didn’t compliment him on his beautiful garden hoping he would be pleased!
  • I warned him that his house was on fire and he’d better take action right away!

I can’t justify tickling your ears while I know your lost and on the way to Hell!

If I have a fatal disease and go to the doctor, I don’t want him to tell me I’m the picture of health so he doesn’t upset me.  I want the truth!  Especially if something can be done about it!

I’ve been told my sermons should emphasize what a Good God we serve — after all, would a loving God send you to Hell?

No, but He’ll let you go there if that’s your choice.  You’re free to make that decision because you’re a Free-moral Agent.  That means you can choose where you want to be for Eternity.  “Smoking or Non-smoking!”

Yes, God wants you in Heaven.  He wants you there even more than you want to be there, but He won’t force you repent and get ready to go there.  He’s done everything He can to get you there — HE’LL NOT FORCE YOUR WILL!  It’s your choice, but understand God will not let sin enter His Heaven.

Revelation 20:11-15
11  And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide.
12  I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.

13  The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds.
14  Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death.
15  
And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8 
8  “But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Hell is real!  Hell isn’t a joking matter — YOU DON’T WANT TO GO THERE!

Hell is so real to Jesus that He was willing to suffer, bleed, and die to keep you from spending eternity there…………He willingly suffered the very flames of Hell to provide for your Salvation.

Psalm 16:10 — For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your holy one to rot in the grave.

Usually someone says, “Oh that’s Old Testament stuff.  We live under the New Testament and God’s Grace has changed the rules.”   

OH REALLY!?  Check out some New Testament Scriptures:

Matthew 25:41Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.

Matthew 25:46 — And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.

SOUNDS LIKE WE’D DO WELL TO PAY ATTENTION HERE!

Acts 2:27 — For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
7  And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels,
8  in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus.
9  They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.

Jude 1:7And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

This by no means exhausts the scripture references about Hell in the New Testament.  Hell is real and is not just an Old Testament threat.

Hell isn’t only referred to in God’s inspired Holy Word — it’s noted in the Apostle’s Creed too.

In order for Jesus to make full Atonement for our sins, He had to experience the horrors of Hell.  He had to experience everything a non-repentant sinner faces in order to win our Salvation as our substitute.

The Apostle’s Creed:

1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into Hell:

5. The third day he rose again from the dead:

6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

8. I believe in the Holy Spirit:

9. I believe in the Church universal: the communion of saints:

10. The forgiveness of sins:

11. The resurrection of the body,

12. And the life everlasting. Amen.

We’ve sanitized Christ’s Atonement until many think when He cried from the Cross “It is Finished!”  He’d completed the full sacrifice for our sins.

No!  His physical suffering had ended — His body was dead, but His physical death didn’t finish the anguish of His Spirit.  Again, He had to experience everything a sinner must experience before the Atonement was fully satisfied.

Hell is a lost topic in churches we’ve been lulled into thinking “It’s just a state of mind.”                                                                                                                                                              “It’s how people remember you when you’re gone.”  “It’s not really so bad–all your friends will be there–you’ll be in good company.”   “I’ll spend so much time shaking hands with my friends I won’t even notice the flames.”      Chortle, chortle, snort, laugh!

That’s not what Jesus said, Mark 9:43-49
43  If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands.
45  If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one foot than to be thrown into hell with two feet.
47  And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,
48  ‘where the maggots never die and the fire never goes out.’
49  “For everyone will be tested with fire.

Charles Spurgeon wrote:  “There is a real fire in Hell, as truly as you have a real body–a fire exactly like that which we have on this earth, except this:  It will not consume you though it will torture you.  You have seen asbestos lying amid red hot coals, but not consumed.  So your body will be prepared by God in such a way that it will burn forever without being consumed.  With your nerves laid raw by searing flame, yet never desensitized for all its raging fury, and the acrid smoke of the sulfurous fumes searing your lungs and choking your breath, you will cry out for the mercy of death, but it shall never, never, no never come.”

The reason the body won’t be destroyed in Hell is because it’s the same kind of glorified body given to the Saints in Heaven.  (The same kind of body Christ has after the Resurrection.) What guarantees Heaven will be so glorious will make Hell horrendous because the glorified body will be indestructible.               

Philippians 3:20-21
20  But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.
21  He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.     

1 John 3:2-3 
2  Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.
3  And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.

The Bible teaches there will be two general resurrections.                                                                                                              

The first for the Saints of God bound for Eternity with Christ in Heaven:                                                                                             

Revelation 20:4-5
4  Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5  This is the first resurrection. (The rest of the dead did not come back to life until the thousand years had ended.)

The second resurrection will come 1000 years later and will include those who didn’t serve God and who are bound for Eternity in Hell (not greeting friends):

Revelation 20:14
11  And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide.
12  I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books.
13  The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds.
14  Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death.
15  And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.
                                       

Both Saints and Sinners will receive glorified bodies.

Remember, what will make Heaven so enjoyable for Christ’s saints will make Hell so horrible for sinners…….

It all sounds terrible!  How tragic that anyone might end in Hell!  Hell wasn’t made for humans, but for Satan and his fallen angels.  If you end up there, you’ll go as an intruder.  You’ll go there in spite of all Christ has done to keep you from ending there.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

Remember, You have a choice.                                                                                                                     

There are 2 rivers flowing past you — River of Life — River of Death.  You can choose the River of Death and Hell or you can choose the River of Life and Heaven. . WHY CHOOSE DEATH?

Some say, “I don’t plan to choose death.  When the time’s right, I’ll choose Life.”  – You choose by not choosing!  Like putting off cashing in Lottery ticket.

Charles Swindoll said, “The safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts……….The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather (for the devil).”

It’s been noted that if a bird is taken from a migratory flock (duck or goose) and if it is caged during the migratory season it will nearly kill itself flapping and beating its wings against the bars of the cage in a desperate attempt to get loose.  When the migratory season passes the bird loses the drive to join the migrating flocks.  The cage door may be left open and the bird makes no attempt to get out.  Even throwing the bird into the air does no good — it’s lost all desire to migrate.

That happens to a human soul.  Put off repenting too long and the desire to find God’s forgiveness vanishes.  How terrible!

Resisting the Holy Spirit’s invitation to accept Christ’s plan of Salvation will harden the heart.   The longer a person rejects the tug of the Spirit, the easier it will be to deny God and the harder it will be to sense God working in your life.

There’ll come a day when you won’t feel God’s conviction for sin anymore. That’s what old-time evangelists called, “CROSSING THE DEADLINE.  That’s what Pharaoh did when Moses was working with him in Exodus.  Don’t harden your heart!

In the late 1800’s a ship called the “Central America” was in bad trouble, she’d sprung a leak and was going down.  She hoisted a signal of distress.  Another ship came close to her and its captain asked, through a megaphone, “What’s wrong?” “We’re in bad repair and are going down, but wait till morning when we have light.”                                                                                        

The captain on the rescue ship said, “Let me take your passengers on board now.”  “Wait until morning,” the message came back.  Once more the captain called, “You’d better let me take your passengers on board now.”   Again the reply through the megaphone, “Wait until morning.”

An hour and half later the lights were gone, there was no sound heard–the ship and all on board had gone down in the fathomless abyss.

Listen, if you don’t know Christ don’t say, “Wait until morning.”  Hear God’s voice today (now) and accept His Invitation to escape Hell and come to Heaven.

WHAT IN HELL DO YOU WANT?–There’s nothing there for you!

In Dante’s The Inferno, these words are inscribed over the gates of Hell:  “Only those elements time cannot wear were made before me, and beyond time I stand.  Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Christians ought to join with hymn writer, Edward Mote in proclaiming:

MY HOPE IS BUILT ON NOTHING LESS THAN JESUS BLOOD AND RIGHTEOUSNESS.   I DARE NOT TRUST THE SWEETEST FRAME, BUT WHOLLY LEAN ON JESUS’ NAME.  ON CHRIST, THE SOLID ROCK, I STAND; ALL OTHER GROUND IS SINKING SAND.  ALL OTHER GROUND IS SINKING SAND.

What are you standing on today?                                                                            

WHAT IN HELL DO YOU WANT?  THERE’S NOTHING THERE FOR YOU!


PODCAST WHAT IN HELL DO YOU WANT?

https://www.buzzsprout.com/824359/7566421


Are You Burdened Today With A Load Of Care?

There is not a single (grown up) person alive😄 who does not have any pressure/responsibility/load laid on them. Phew!!🙈

Ok…! What am I trying to tell you here? The thing is, school and college going kids have their daily load of study and homework to do; those working have multiple tasks and goals to be achieved, then again responsibilities at home, relationship problems, fights, emotional burdens(mental health problems), sickness and disease, burden of repaying credits…. Gosh!!the list will go on..

Well🤷🏻‍♀️nothing new..! Just like a grain of rice is heavy for an 🐜 and a load of wood heavy for an 🐘, nothing on earth comes easy for any of us. Basically, everyone has some burden or the other. But look at what Jesus is saying:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30

JESUS WANTS YOU TO GIVE AWAY YOUR BURDENS TO HIM. That’s why He is giving out this open call — loud and clear!!

He knows we are too weak to carry our burdens all by ourselves!! But first there is something we need to do — Decide to give it all away to Him. When we do so, He will give us rest in our souls.

In Heaven, there isn’t any burden whatsoever but only on Earth. That’s why St. Paul exhorts is to be heavenly minded rather than being earthly minded. Normally, most of us prefer to keep our troubles to ourselves; but only a few are ready to share their hearts. But as believers, only when we humble ourselves can we give away troubles and burdens to Christ.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. Psalms‬ ‭68:19‬. The load that God placed on us is never heavy; it is light/weightless. May God help us to place our burdens on Him and take His you’re upon us.

Be blessed💕

Original here


Never Be Ashamed to Seek Heaven

WHY SOME DRAG THEIR FEET TO PARADISE

by Greg Morse Staff writer, desiringGod.org

“Never be ashamed of letting men see you want to go to heaven,” J.C. Ryle once said to those tempted to creep from bush to bush along the narrow path. He did not address those who were facing persecution — whose slight showing of the uniform would get them and their loved ones shot at. He addressed young men who were tempted to sneak quietly from this world into heaven for fear of the scorn shouted from those on the broad path. He addressed the Nicodemuses among us, and in us, who would seek to visit the Lord under cover of night.

This tiptoe Christianity does all to not disturb a sleeping world. It may appear valorous at times, but only on topics that it is fashionable to be valorous about. With causes out of cultural fashion, it dresses in civilian clothes. Very different from our forefathers who “turned the world upside down,” these tiptoe Christians do not desire to make it clear that they are seeking a homeland — no need to cause a fuss. The modern words employed are “tolerant” and “inclusive.” The old word was cowardice. We have need for Ryle’s admonition.

Joy Set Before Him?

While we are all tempted to hide our true aim in life, at different times and in different ways, we now are tempted to hide our desire to go to heaven by denying we even consider heaven at all. We seek to be servants of men without any regard to heavenly compensation, and call it virtue. We read texts like Matthew 6:1 with a dyslexic trouble with the sequence of words, “Practice your righteousness before men, and expect no heavenly rewards from your Father.” Trailing in the wake of Immanuel Kant, we try to make self-denial, stripped of self-interest, an end in itself. Heaven, the supreme place self ought to be interested in, is rarely glanced at.

“Tiptoe Christianity does all to not disturb a sleeping world.”

So, some venture on as ships sailing to nowhere, soldiers fighting for nothing, runners pursuing no trophy, farmers plowing but expecting no crop. The old self-denial of lesser pleasures for supreme ones has been replaced with just the denial of pleasure for its own sake. The sweat, blood, and toil is its own reward. We think ourselves the more virtuous for enduring the company of so-and-so with a smile, without ever considering how “love . . . for all the saints” could be “because of the hope laid up for you in heaven” (Colossians 1:4–5).

A film I saw some years ago serves as a good illustration. The premise showed a man who spent the entire story in search of seven people he could drastically help by donating body parts to them — when he eventually committed suicide on their behalf. The heart went to one. The liver to another. The lungs and bone marrow to still others, and so on. Perhaps partially motivated by guilt from a car crash, one motivation remained clear: self-sacrifice for the good of others without reference to self. He entered death for them — without any joy set before him to defile the benevolence. This man, unlike our Savior who had two eyes beyond the cross to the reward (Hebrews 12:2), serves as a modern ideal.

Far Too Easily Pleased

In his paramount sermon, “The Weight of Glory,” C.S. Lewis addressed the same ideology in his day:

The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.

The righteous seek heaven unashamedly. They do so before their religious neighbors who might consider the idea mercenary. And the holy man seeks eternal life with a passion not to be derailed by cheap thrills of his unreligious neighbor. He does not have the half-hearted, whimsical pursuit of happiness that contents itself with appeasing appetites no higher than a gerbil’s. He is a man, not a pet. He will not be distracted from heaven by the mere scratch of his lust’s belly. His desires have broad shoulders. And his master offers to place a weight of glory upon them — “Well done, good and faithful servant” — and he is fueled by Christ’s promises.

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

“It is the great error of mankind to pretend to be more holy than God.”

What has a child of God to fool around with drink? “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound” (Psalm 4:7). Why ambitiously build mud pies in Babel’s image when we have this promise: “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21)? Why be detoured by Delilah’s wiles when the New Jerusalem awaits?

He Offers Us Heaven

Jesus does not give as the world does. To incentivize our fealty, he does not merely offer greater earthly joy; he offers us his own joy. We do not just need an alien righteousness; we were made for alien joy — a joy that when received will make our joy full (John 15:11). The righteous will not deny their conscious belief in God’s unblushing rewards, nor can they:

Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Like Daniel, Christians conduct their pursuit of heaven with the curtains drawn, accepting the king’s wrath, because we know that a lion’s den is “not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). We will endure the cost of suffering because we are “sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39). Our Lord finds our desires for happiness not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with a passing world, when heaven is offered to us.

Not Ashamed to Seek Him

It is the great error of mankind to pretend to be more holy than God. Living life from sheer duty, gritting one’s teeth on the way to glory, is not Christian. We lose our lives, not as martyrs for the mere benefit of others. We lose our lives to gain them.

We can lambaste “the prosperity gospel” so much that we forget that our gospel very much has to do with prosperity. God’s Book woos us with talk of fullness of joy, eternal life, crowns, thrones, crystal rivers, unfading inheritance, white robes, laughter, mountains, songs, angels, feasting, fellowship, eternal light, the undoing of all wrong, the ensuring of all right, and, of course, of God himself resplendent in all his glory. We do not close our eyes to this in the name of duty. Rather, we listen to the music playing through the cracked door, and take hold of it with holy aggression, letting all know that we wish — more than anything — to be with our King forever.

How to Wait for Heaven

by John MacArthur, June 14, 2019

 

Focusing on our eternal inheritance is key to maintaining a proper perspective on Christ’s sufficiency, especially when you’re in the midst of difficult circumstances. That’s not always easy because we’re prone toward selfishness and desiring instant gratification. Advertising fuels that mentality by telling us we can have all we want—and we can have it right now! Of course “having it all” usually means buying on credit whatever product they’re selling. A steady diet of that philosophy has fattened our society with self-indulgence and impatience. People find it difficult to cope with life if they can’t instantly fulfill every desire. They want to eliminate any discomfort, difficulty, injustice, or deprivation immediately.

Scripture responds with two revolutionary concepts: heavenly-mindedness and delayed gratification. Heavenly-mindedness is taking our eyes off the world’s offerings for fulfillment and focusing instead on God’s sufficient provision for our satisfaction. It’s what Jesus meant when He instructed us to make the Father’s kingdom our first priority (Matthew 6:33). It’s what Paul meant when he told us to set our minds on the things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). And it’s what John meant when he said, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world” (1 John 2:15).

Delayed gratification is simply deferring to God’s will and God’s timing—the essence of patience. All of His promises will be fulfilled, His righteousness and authority will be fully realized, His Son and His saints will be fully vindicated—but in His time, not ours. Many of the difficulties we experience will not be resolved in this life because His purposes transcend our temporal situations. So there’s no point in running impatiently for relief to people offering “solutions” that ignore God’s objectives and timetable.

For example, the Holy Spirit encourages persecuted believers:

Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. (James 5:7–8)

I’m sure the dear saints to whom James was writing longed for God’s comfort and justice against their persecutors. But God wanted them to cultivate patience, strength of heart, and a joyful anticipation of Christ’s return. Those are far greater benefits than immediate relief from the difficulties and injustices they faced. God would vindicate them, but in His own time.

Heavenly-minded patience includes looking forward to our eternal inheritance with gratitude to God despite our temporal circumstances. Peter illustrated that principle in his first epistle, which was written to teach us how to live out our faith amid seemingly unbearable trials and persecutions. The emperor Nero had accused the Christians of burning Rome, and the resulting persecution was spreading even as far as Asia Minor, where the recipients of 1 Peter lived.

To help them focus on their eternal inheritance rather than their present difficulties, Peter gave them—and us—a threefold word of encouragement.

Remember Your Calling

We are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (1 Peter 2:9). As such we are at odds with Satan’s evil world system and will incur its wrath. Therefore we shouldn’t be surprised or intimidated by threats of persecution. That’s our calling:

You have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. (1 Peter 2:21–23)

Remember to Praise God

Bowing in praise is far better than bowing to pressure. In 1 Peter 1:3–5 Peter says:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

The main verb “be” (1 Peter 1:3) is implied rather than stated (“Blessed be the God”). The text could be literally translated, “Bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In short, the sense of it is “bless God,” which is both a doxology and a command.

For Peter to have to command believers to bless God clearly illustrates the depth of our sinfulness. One of the joys of heaven will be our undiminished capacity to praise God perfectly and incessantly for His saving grace. The song of the redeemed will be on our lips throughout eternity. Yet now we struggle with apathy and familiarity. What an indictment! Praising God for our eternal inheritance should be the constant expression of our hearts, no matter what the temporal situation might be.

Remember Your Inheritance

Focusing on our inheritance is an important key to experiencing joy amid trials. The richness of our inheritance should motivate us to bless God continually. We’re aliens in this world (1 Peter 1:1), but we’re citizens of heaven and recipients of immeasurable blessings in Christ. This temporal world offers nothing in comparison to our imperishable eternal inheritance.

(Adapted from Our Sufficiency in Christ)

https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B190614