Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 15: Heaven

Yesterday afternoon I wrote a blog post as a way of working through my emotions after the Connecticut school shooting.  The link to that post is: .  I encourage you to go and read my thoughts on how to deal with that tragedy.  It is especially important to pray during this difficult time.  I seldom watch the news anymore, but when I did, watching the news became an intense time of prayer for me, as I would be so disturbed by the things I saw that all I could do was pray about each story and for all the people involved.  I encourage you to do the same as you watch the news coverage over the next few days.  As for today's devotion, I only found one subject appropriate....

Day 15:  Heaven

There have been hundreds of thousands depictions of Heaven, from movies, to cartoons, to people with near death experiences and new age occultists.  Since it is commonly known that Heaven is beyond anything we can imagine, it is hard to tell at times which depictions are accurate and which are simply myth.  In a world where horrific tragedies happen to the innocent time and time again, it can be helpful to think about Heaven and where those people may be after death.

So, instead of trying to give commentary or speculate on what these verses might be implying, I'm just going to list some of the scriptures that give us a glimpse into Heaven and let them speak for themselves.  Some of these scriptures are about the Heaven we experience when we die and some are about the Heaven we experience at the end of the world.  Regardless, they give us a glimpse into the spiritual realm of what is waiting for those who have accepted Christ as their Savior and do as He says.

Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

2 Corinthians 5:8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Philippians 1:21-23 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 22:1-5  Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

Revelation 21:21-26 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.  And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

Revelation 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Revelation 21:1-5  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Revelation 7:9-17   After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice:

      “Salvation belongs to our God,
       who sits on the throne,
       and to the Lamb.”

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

        Praise and glory
        and wisdom and thanks and honor
        and power and strength
        be to our God for ever and ever.

Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

I answered, “Sir, you know.”

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,

        “they are before the throne of God
          and serve him day and night in his temple;
          and he who sits on the throne
          will shelter them with his presence.
          Never again will they hunger;
          never again will they thirst.
          The sun will not beat down on them,’
          nor any scorching heat.
          For the Lamb at the center of the throne
          will be their shepherd."

Activity:  Pick a few of these verses above and meditate on them.  What do they mean to you now, while you are still here on Earth?  Why do we need to know what Heaven will look like?  Do they bring you hope?  How do they measure up with your expectations of Heaven?

Prayer:  Praise God for Heaven!  Praise Him for the eternal home He has created for us.  Praise Him that one day we will be able to see Him face to face.  And praise Him for the Salvation that was extended to you through His Son, Jesus Christ.

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