Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Heaven”

Running Home


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


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

Jesus Wept & God Sees Our Sackcloth

**Willow Looking Up

“Jesus wept” John 11:35 (NKJV)

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NIV)

Randy Alcorn, in his book called “Heaven,” believes that animals will be present in the Kingdom of Heaven.  C. S. Lewis, the famous Christian author of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe series also believed that pets go to heaven. I sure hope so!  I have had many wonderful dogs in my life and would love to see them again. Sadly, I had to put down a sweet dog this week and she is sorely missed.

I see dogs as a lesson in unconditional love. Many folks mistreat and abuse their dogs and yet, their love, loyalty and desire to please always seems to remain. I thank God for the companionship He gave us with pets, but for me my heart has always been drawn to man’s best friend, the dog.

To read the rest of this post please go to http://facingtrials.com  

Do You Ever Want To Fly Away Home To Jesus?



“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”   Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

Jesus wept.” John 11:35

Dear One,

Tears come with sorrow and grief.  Jesus wept over Lazarus and was called a “Man of Sorrows” in Isaiah 53:3. He was acquainted with grief. Jesus understands our suffering and pain, for He lived them all while on earth as the Son of man. He is sympathetic to the ache in our hearts.  He even records our cries and keeps a record of our tears. 

Our tears mean something to Him, otherwise why would He bother with listing and recording them?  He wants us to know that He is cognizant of our sufferings and sorrows.  They do not go unnoticed.  They are never discounted, nor are they ever in vain.

In this life you will have tribulations.  They may take your breath away, but God will faithfully breathe life right back into you.  Sorrow is not meant to crush you beyond repair.  In fact, it is impossible if your eyes are focused on God.  He will lift you up and command His angels to care for you. He is close to the brokenhearted and in your times of need, He will give you His strength.

If you have had to say good-bye to a loved one, the separation and the loneliness that follows may knock you over.  You may feel as though a part of you has disappeared.  The reality is that your loved one has not disappeared.  Rather, they have journeyed to a destination that is temporarily beyond your reach.  In God’s time, you will (Lord Willing) be with them again. 

Heaven is described in Revelation 21:4 as a place where there is no more crying or pain.  What joy there is in knowing that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes!  His grace is sent to us while we sojourner here, but in heaven our joy will be complete.  Tears will only be a distant memory. 

If you are sowing many tears as of late, be encouraged by the words of Psalm 126:5.  This verse reports that those who sow with tears will reap with shouts of joy.  Sorrow and rejoicing, tears of sadness and shouts of joy….. opposites and yet connected.  Our God is full of mysteries.

Maybe today you are heavy burdened and desperately long for your eternal home, God understands.  He tells us that we are not of this world, and that we should live as foreigners longing for our everlasting home.  We are to live our lives looking up, but moving forward. 

Grief can be a roadblock in your forward progress.  The enemy will whisper lies in your ears and attempt to make your circumstances appear hopeless.   With God there is always hope. 

There are countless sorrows in life, and many of them do not involve the death of a loved one.  There are injustices, illnesses, separations, losses, and an endless list of other tragedies.  Whatever the sorrow you are carrying today, you don’t have to carry it alone.  God wants to share your burden, so lay it down.  Let Him ease your suffering with His love and compassion. 

God understands that you may want to “fly away home” on some days.  He wants you home with Him, but only when it is your time.  He will help you to endure your sorrows of today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!”         Psalm 126:5 (ESV)

Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll– are they not in Your record?”      Psalm 56:8 (NIV)

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; 
and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.”    Isaiah 53:3 (ESV)


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