WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Heaven”

Running Home

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For just a moment, imagine that you can see the colors and beauty of a robe woven from all of your demonstrations of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It would take your breath away! Unique in design, for everyone shows kindness in a different way, your robe would be singularly remarkable and noteworthy.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Every small and unselfish act of kindness is noticed by God and used for His glory. A smile offered to a crying child, a dinner sent to a sick neighbor, even the helping hand offered to a stray dog is recognized. We are told to bind kindness and truth around our necks. A necklace to remind us that, with each new day, we are given opportunities to share the love of Christ.

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.Hebrew 6:10-12 (NKJV)

Additionally, we are called to put on our spiritual armor…. And it is called, “the armor of light.”

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  Romans 13:12 (NIV)

We walk in a world where mere hints of heaven’s beauty abound, and if we take the time to acknowledge it, we are often at a loss for words. Heaven and all of its glory are much more than we can imagine. It will take an eternity to see every beauty and wonder that Father God has created for us.

This knowledge of a better place, in another world, spurs us on. It comforts those who have lost loved ones and encourages those lacking hope and faith. We are but aliens in a foreign land while we live out our lives on earth.

We must run the spiritual race God ordained, and often it is a marathon. We see the finish line but the upward climb leaves us panting for breath. Panting to the point where we no longer have any strength to continue, so the heavenly hosts cheer us on and we continue the upward climb.

Our earthly beloveds run along beside us for as long as they can, but as the race comes to an end they no longer can follow. They assure us that it is well with them and that we must finish our race on our own. Parting is so hard, but we hear the call of angels and the voice of our Father. We say our good-byes and move towards the radiance ahead, dressed in our armor of light and wearing our robes woven from the righteousness we inherited through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Every kindness, selfless act of love, compassionate act, patient response, and gentle word of grace offered in this life will continue to live on in the hearts of those we leave behind. God will cause others to water the seeds that we have sown in His name. Parting with loved ones is just another lesson from God; it chips away at our sinful man, causes us to reflect on heavenly things, and serves to refine us into the image of His son.

Reminding ourselves that death is just part of the journey called life will indeed renew our hunger for our forever home, for in heaven we will no longer be aliens in a foreign land. In heaven, a new journey will begin. A journey where there is no more sin, death, pain, or sorrow. A journey full of adventure, service, wonder, and joy.

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.Proverbs 3:3 (NASB)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) 

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4 (NKJV)

This devotion is dedicated to my wonderful mother…. Barbara Ann Hentschel Zelenka. She passed away on May 18th, 2015

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The Train of Life

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Dear Friends,

Last Monday I got a call that my sweet mother had a brain hemorrhage. There was no hope to heal her of this injury. All we could do was make her as comfortable as possible. I was with her the entire week and in her final moments. She ran a magnificent race and is finally home with her heavenly Father. Her funeral is this Saturday. I am staying with my dad now and will return to my home a few days after her funeral. Please pray for me as I am sick and very tired. I need strength to be a help to my dad. I have been greatly loved by wonderful parents and I will miss my mom greatly.   Cheryl

At birth, we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side.

However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.

As time goes by, other people will board the train, and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats.

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey.

Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.  ~Unknown

_**Mom & Flowers

 

It’s Friday…. BUT EASTER SUNDAY IS COMING!

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” 1 Co. 15:3-4 (NIV)

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Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByT6wfdhJs

 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” 1 Co. 15:20-27 (NIV)

 

Finding Joy In God’s Presence

*Pleasure

Many in society have adopted the philosophy that life should be a trouble free existence filled with ongoing pursuits of lustful pleasure. Is our time on earth meant to be a continuous party filled with inordinate and excessive pleasure? Does said pleasure seeking produce a satisfying and lasting joy?

1 John 2:16 states that the lust of the flesh is not of the Father but is of the world. We are to live as aliens/foreigners while on earth. Our real home is in heaven and our earthly existence is a preparation for what is to come. We must therefore ask, how should we utilize the time and life we have been given.

“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16 (NKJV)

And so… why not live our life fully committed to the pursuit of earthly pleasures and fulfilling the lusts of our flesh?

All selfish pursuits of the flesh are contrary to the love of God. Love means we put the welfare of others first. Within this practice we find our joy, for this is how Christ loves the church. He put our welfare above His own and willingly suffered a painful death on the cross. He left His eternal home to live alongside man in a humble existence serving others. To be great in heaven is to be a servant on earth. Jesus found pleasure in loving and helping others.

While seeking selfish pleasures, we are not thinking of others or how our actions affect them. We do not put their needs before our own. We do not question if our behaviors please God or consider whether our decisions glorify Him. We simply seek out pleasure for enjoyment. We neglect to recognize God created that which we are using for our enjoyment, and are oblivious to how the enemy has perverted it to fit our level of debauchery.

I suggest that we are in a spiritual classroom in this life and should use our time to learn the things of God, exercise our spiritual gifts, and serve others. In heaven we have the promise of a life with no more tears or sorrow. There will be abundant joy in paradise. However, there is no biblical mention that this life is provided for mere searches of pleasure, nor does it suggest we will be free from grief and sorrow. There WILL be trouble in this world and no amount of avoidance though pleasure seeking will prevent adversity from occurring.

However, we were not created to live mundane, joyless, and boring lives full of continual suffering either. This is contrary to the very love of God! It is where we seek our joy and pleasure that should be examined. Is not our joy and pleasure to be found and realized in the very presence of God? Our Lord absolutely wants to bless His children with times of incredible joy and delight. All of creation and its beauty have been provided for our pleasure, while giving testimony of His existence and power. God is undeniable. Who can deny the pleasure of seeing a snow capped mountain or hearing a baby’s first giggle?

You will show me the path of life;In Your presence is fullness of joy;At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

This lie of a life without pleasure or joy is certainly one the enemy hopes we buy into. It furthers his cause in leading God’s flock off the path of righteousness. The Prince of Darkness is privy to every weakness known to mankind and is skilled in weaving webs of deceit and temptation. He is constantly constructing new situations and objects that give us pause. Thankfully, no temptation exists without a trap door for escape. God sees to this and it is faithful to His promise.

An attitude of pleasure seeking at all costs has corrupted the morals and virtue of many in our society. It is a selfish pursuit unable to fill the void and need for love within each one of us. Only by seeking out God and entering into a personal relationship with our Savior will we find fullness of joy. He holds pleasures in His right hand that will last an eternity.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11 (NKJV)

Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful onesand delivers them from the hand of the wicked.Light shineson the righteousand joy on the upright in heart.” Psalm 97:10-11 (NKJV)

“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:8 (NKJV)

“The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance.” C. S. Lewis

*A devotion from my next book FACING ADVERSITY WITH WISDOM PRAISE AND PROMISES…. inspired by the book of Proverbs and Psalms

Define God

*God

This is an awesome description of God by A.W. Tozer

“He is ETERNAL, which means that He antedates time and is wholly independent of it. Time began in Him and will end in Him. To it He pays no tribute and from it He suffers no change.


He is IMMUTABLE, which means that He has never changed and can never change in any smallest measure. To change He would need to go from better to worse or from worse to better. He cannot do either, for being perfect He cannot become more perfect, and if He were to become less perfect He would be less than God.


He is OMNISCIENT, which means that He knows in one free and effortless act all matter, all spirit, all relationships, all events. He has no past and He has no future. 


He IS, and none of the limiting and qualifying terms used of creatures can apply to Him.” ~ A.W. Tozer

“O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mightydeeds?”

 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of theLord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”Exodus 34:5-7 (NKJV)

 

The Great Commission: Patience Required

*Fruit:Patience

This is a devotional from my next book FACING STORMS: A DEVOTIONAL FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

We have a great commission in life. We are called to make disciples of all the nations, including our own country. So, the rude co-worker and obnoxious neighbor is part of our assignment. God loves His entire creation and wants every person to accept Him as his or her Lord and Savior. This is every Christian’s most important calling and mission in life.

“It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.”   ~ Martin Luther

No, this appointment is not an easy one, but neither is loving a people who falls so short of God’s morality. Thankfully, God refuses to give up on us and throw in the towel. He perseveres in demonstrating His love daily and in every moment. He longs for our fellowship and makes Himself available at all times. He creates incredible sunsets for our enjoyment and gives pleasure in so many different ways. His heart and passion belongs to us so, to model Him, our passion should be for the lost…. Be they ever so challenging.

People who rub us the wrong way are the means God uses to sand off our rough edges. They are placed in our life for OUR benefit. For by having them near us, we soon see our shortcomings and identify the weak areas in our character and spiritual walk.

Are you an impatient person? Ask for patience and God will surely send someone your way that challenges your temperance. Only by God’s blessed grace will you see a righteous gift of compassion birthed in your heart. Your self-control and forbearance will astound you. The sincere love and affection you are meant to feel for this person will deepen over time. So profound will it become, if you practice it daily, you will find yourself perplexed at how you ever saw them as a thorn or irritant in your side.

Will you choose kindness over selfish actions of rudeness? Will you overlook an offense and remember the many times God has forgiven you? Through simple acts of love, you can change a stony heart into a softer one, a heart the Creator can easily fashion and mold into something new.

Discernment will be given for the sake of intercession. Do not gawk at their sin or find pleasure in fault-finding. The Spirit will guide you as you pray and witness to them. Once hard to love (only because their wounds had made them fearful and prickly) they will drop their thorns and rest in your company. Reckless words will cause much damage but wise words of encouragement bring much fruit. By establishing trust, they will share another side with you, one only a precious few have witnessed. It will be an honor to behold.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15 (NKJV)

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”Luke 19:10 (NKJV)

“Yet if we would know God and for other’s sake tell what we know we must try to speak of his love. All Christians have tried but none has ever done it very well. I can no more do justice to that awesome and wonder-filled theme than a child can grasp a star. Still by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. So as I stretch my heart toward the high shining love of God someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope.” ~ A.W. Tozer

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ~ C.S. Lewis

 

Bride Of Christ

 

Bride“While praying one day a woman asked, “Who are you, God?”

He answered, “I Am.”

“But, WHO is, I Am?” she asked.

He replied, “I Am LOVE. I Am PEACE. I Am GRACE. I Am JOY. I Am STRENGTH. I Am SAFETY. I Am SHELTER. I Am POWER. I Am THE CREATOR, I Am THE COMFORTER. I Am THE BEGINNING AND THE END. I Am THE WAY, TRUTH, AND THE LIGHT.”

With tears in her eyes she looked toward heaven and said, “Now I understand. But, who am I?”

God tenderly wiped the tears from her eyes and whispered, “YOU ARE MINE.” ~ Unknown 

I have been single all of my life. I never married and did not adopt my son until I was in my forties. I lived alone for many years. Learning to accept my life as a single person, and then as a single parent, was difficult. In fact, it can still be a challenge, but I have accepted God’s will and now recognize the many benefits my station and position in life provide. 

However, most little girls do not grow up dreaming about life as a permanently single person. Instead, they want to marry Prince Charming. They daydream about the wedding dress they will wear and think up ways to make their wedding day extra special, fun, and unique. I was no different. I wanted to wear that pure white dress; after all I had taken a vow of celibacy. In fact, I have remained a virgin for the King, but back then I felt I had “earned” the right to a wear a white dress. For whatever reason, marriage was/is not the Father’s will or plan for me. 

My personal relationship with God has always been more important to me than any human relationship. Yet, in my young adult years, I longed for a husband who would nurture and encourage my spiritual growth. Many a time I would return home after a long workday yearning for a husband’s comfort, love, and protection. I wanted a partner who would share in my problems, joys, and biblical insights. 

We must strive to see the blessing in the midst of our sorrow thus, I tell you now that the single life I live has brought me into a deeper understanding of God’s love for me. By leaning totally on God, I have gained insight into the many dimensions of His character and love. He wants all of us to interact with Him, learning about the many roles He plays in our lives. As for me, I relate to Jesus not only as my Savior and Redeemer, but also as my brother, friend, counselor, AND husband. I am a Bride after all. I am a Bride of Christ! 

If you are a single person, please do not settle for a relationship that is any less than the one God has prepared for you. He wants to give you the very best. Your marriage partner might not come for a very long time, which requires great faith and patience, but you would be wise to wait for this person. I am. 

If I do marry some day, I know it will be hard work (any relationship is after all), but a blessing given by the One who loves me most of all. Remember, He only gives good gifts! Furthermore, if He decides my present is a life of singleness, I will also rejoice and be glad. Why you ask? Because I believe He has my best interests at heart. He trust Him with my future and in the fact that He has equipped me to live a life best suited for His glory. I trust God that much. He made me and therefore, He knows how I tick.

So as you wait for your heart’s desire, don’t stop living your life. Follow the path God has placed you on…. work the job, buy a house, get a pet, adopt a child in need (if so led). Live your life and don’t put things on hold unless you hear God say, “Hold on and wait a bit.” Use your time wisely, by reading your Bible and memorizing scripture.

As a single person, you have fewer commitments and distractions than those who are married. Take time to have conversations with God. Work on seeing Him from different angles and deepen your intimacy with Him. He really is all you need. If you align your will to His, the desires of your heart will be granted. Seek His face in diligence and fervor asking, “What do you want from me and how would you like me to serve You?”

I am a Bride of Christ! I will wear white on my wedding day and feast upon wonderful foods at the wedding supper of the Lamb! I am His beloved, and He, my dear reader, is mine. 

READ THE SCRIPTURES AND QUOTE BELOW THEN PRAY ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST. 

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!
 For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and His bride has made herself ready.Fine linen, bright and clean, 
 was given her to wear.”(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” Revelations 19:7-9 (NIV)

“Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.” 1 Corinthians 7:8 (NIV)

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  Revelations 21:2 (ESV)

http://www.openbible.info

Work In Heaven?

No Problems in Heaven

Are you afraid to die? Is it death itself or the journey to death’s door that causes you to fear? Maybe it is the idea of living for an eternity, or maybe you fear the possible pain that will come with your travel to heaven’s door? Why not dislodge your fears by focusing on this fact. You will not die!

Believers do not die, they transcend. Our earthly passing is simply the means God has ordained to transport us into our final destination. Regarding any pain we may face on our journey home, He will supply for all our needs.

“Are you afraid to die? Remember that for a child of God, death is only a passing through to a wonderful new world.” ~Corrie ten Boom

In the book of Matthew we read, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Indeed, we will be living spirit and flesh with new and improved bodies. These glorious and newly resurrected bodies will be magnificent.

“But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,  ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”  And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.”  Matthew 22:31-33(NKJV)

And what will life be like in heaven? Will we find ourselves bored with endless feasting and continual choir practices? Does all work end the minute we pass through those pearly gates? I really don’t think so dear one.

God created mankind for His own pleasure. He takes great delight in us and rejoices over us with singing! (Zephaniah 3:17) And because God is love, He wants us to enjoy all that He is and all that He has done.

Therefore, heaven is a place of revelation, exploration, and learning. Why would God impart spiritual gifts and talents, while we live out our lives on earth, and take them away once we reach paradise? Doesn’t it make more sense that we continue to improve our skills and talents in heaven and use them to magnify our Savior?

If you are presently a gifted composer and your music pleases God, why wouldn’t you continue to hone your talent in heaven? Surely in heaven you will have a greater understanding of sound and a more excellent ability to create with you new heavenly resources. Why would music stop in paradise? I see no reason why those with musical abilities would cease from creating, learning, producing, and performing, as it would all be for His praise and glory. Think of our human design. God values music, otherwise He would not have designed our bodies as living instruments.

I see our time on earth as one spent in a gigantic classroom. Each person and experience we encounter has been planned and foreseen by God, and is being used to train us for our future heavenly labors. Yes, I said work. But this work will fill us with joy and great satisfaction. To serve God will be our fulfillment and pleasure.

And since God designed us with the need for fellowship, there will be times of worship, feasting, working side-by-side, and playing. Yes, fun games and entertainment… so long as it glorifies God. Can you imagine climbing the mountains in heaven? What would a game of football look like up there? Imagine saints inventing new sports for the glory of God and for everyone’s good pleasure.

Heaven, I do believe, will be a place of endless learning, laughter, joy, fellowship, praise, and labor. However, our labor will give us great enjoyment. I love to garden, so maybe I will work the soil in one of God’s magnificent gardens. Maybe you like to design and build, imagine the new buildings you could create for His glory! If you like to explore, God could ask you to search out new realms of His kingdom and bring back stories and resources. You may then attend a feast and share your stories with friends who are gifted writers. They might even write down your adventures for enjoyment of others and the King of Kings.

Heaven is a destination we should all dream about and never fear. I pray I see you there!

“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 (NKJV)

“And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.  There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:3-5 (NKJV)

“In the dark dreary nights, when the storm is at its most fierce, the lighthouse burns bright so the sailors can find their way home again. In life the same light burns. This light is fueled with love, faith, and hope. And through life’s most fierce storms these three burn their brightest so we also can find our way home again.” ~Unknown

Have You Booked Your Flight To Heaven Yet?

Bird from Heaven?

“When we are on the beach we only see a small part of the ocean. However, we know that there is much more beyond the horizon. We only see a small part of God’s great love, a few jewels of His great riches, but we know that there is much more beyond the horizon. The best is yet to come, when we see Jesus face-to-face.”                                                 ~ Corrie ten Boom

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”                                                     1 Corinthians 2:7-9 (NKJV)

When we plan a trip to an unfamiliar land, we get excited about the new destination. Curious, we research the weather, history, fauna and famous landmarks. But it is not until we are there in person, experiencing the culture and environment that we fully understand or grasp all that the location has to offer. Such will be our experience with heaven.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part.But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”  1 Corinthians 13:9-12 (NKJV)

When I see a beautiful sunset, cloud formation, bird, or force of nature, I am humbled by the beauty and power. I often look up to gaze at the constellations, imagining my Heavenly Father seated on His mercy seat. But, I can only imagine that I hear the heavenly hosts singing out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” I see and know in part but when I am finally home I will see and know so much more. Earth is just a shadow of what awaits us in heaven. Heaven IS our final destination and we SHOULD be excited about our trip to eternity.

After Christ returns and the Kingdom of Heaven begins on earth, as the New Jerusalem, we can look forward to viewing the beauty of this Holy City. The apostle John describes our eternal home in Revelation 21:11-27. (Be sure to read it!) Within these verses John tells us that the holy city shines with the glory of God, and that its brilliance is like that of a very precious jewel. There is no temple in the city because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb is its temple. The city has no need of a sun or moon for the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp.

There is a great high wall with an angel posted at each of the twelve gates. On these gates are written the twelve tribes of Israel. The wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the names of the twelve apostles. In addition, the foundations of the city walls are decorated with every kind of precious stone we can imagine. Just think of the beauty…sapphires, emeralds, rubies, amethyst and other precious gems enclose the dwelling place of the Lord most high!

Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:27 (NIV)

When traveling to a foreign land, it is not uncommon for us to experience the city life and mingle with the citizens. In heaven we will be the citizens who daily experience the beauty of the New Jerusalem first hand. In addition, many of the citizens who now await our arrival, the heavenly hosts who cheer us on in our race, will eagerly welcome us home. We can even look forward to visiting with believers we respected and admired from a time we never lived while on earth. What a joy it will be for me to converse with Oswald Chambers, Amy Carmichael, C.S. Lewis, Rich Mullins, and George Frederic Handel.

Since we can be moved by music composed in a fallen world, can you imagine the beauty of sound that awaits us in paradise? The gifts we now hold will be magnified in heaven. It will be such a joy to use art and music, math and science, athletics and language, to glorify our God in bigger and better ways.

I have no doubt that there are animals in heaven. If you search the scriptures, you will find several that mention animals in the afterlife. At the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ we will find Him riding a white horse (2 Kings 2:11, Revelation 19:11-16) and Isaiah 11:6 speaks of a little child leading a wolf, lamb, leopard, goat, calf, and lion. I believe pets are God-created companions and I know many of us would welcome an opportunity to see our beloved animals once again. And since God is the giver of all good gifts…why wouldn’t we be reunited? Randy Alcorn writes about this possibility in his book, Heaven.

“One of the most revealing Old Testament pictures of God’s redemptive work is the Flood and Noah’s ark. When God saved people from the destruction of the Flood, he also took great care to save the animals, the people’s companions and helpers.”

“If God brings our pets back to life, it wouldn’t surprise me. It would be just like Him. It would be totally in keeping with His generous character… Exorbitant. Excessive. Extravagant in grace after grace. Of all the dazzling discoveries and ecstatic pleasures in heaven will hold for us, the potential of seeing Scrappy would be pure whimsy-utterly, joyfully, surprisingly superfluous….Heaven is going to be a place that will refract and reflect in as many ways as possible the goodness and joy of our great God, who delights in lavishing love on His children.”

God promises to wipe away all tears and sorrow once we have entered our eternal home, the New Jerusalem. There will be no more pain, but there will be a tree of life that bears twelve different kinds of fruit and whose leaves have healing powers. This might mean our new bodies will still need an ointment for minor bumps or bruises, but we can all rest in the knowledge that there is no more death or suffering in heaven.

If you are not excited about your trip to paradise I have not done my job. So let me end this devotion with one more enticement. Fellowship and laughter. Yes, you will live and fellowship not only with old friends and new friends, but with your Creator as well! He will feast with you and welcome your songs of praise. He will laugh at your jokes and even tell a few of His own; after all He gave the human race a sense of humor, which means HE has one too!

Heaven is a destination full of wonders, work, fellowship, joy, laughter, and praise. Why not look into booking your trip now and research the sights you want to see? There will be an endless amount of activities for you to enjoy, not to mention a multitude of saints you will want to meet.

“They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.” Luke 13:29-30

“In My Father’s house are many mansions;  if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for youand if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” John 14:2-4 (NKJV)

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done!I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things,and I will be his God and he shall be My son.”  Revelation 21:4-7 (NKJV)

“And he showed me a pureriver of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:1-2 (NKJV)

“The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!”

Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord,To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they existand were created.” Revelations 4:8-11 (NKJV

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