I’ll See You At Home

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For two weeks now, my husband and I have been visiting family in Oklahoma and Kansas. Before that, I was lucky to fly to TX in November to see my newborn niece, Kylie. So right now, I am on a high – thrilled with the passionate hugs of family, the pleasant smiles of friends, late nights by the fireplace and afternoons reminiscing over a cup of coffee. How I love being HOME!

There is something inexplicable about being home. Have you ever noticed that you, (or your spouse) have a tendency to revert to child-like behaviors when you go home? For me, suddenly I hear myself getting loud and giddy with my sisters or quickly irritated by my dad. My husband can sometimes act like the sullen, quiet teenager he once was when we’ve been with his parents for too long. There’s a hankering for the special meal your mom used to make, and she’s thrilled to serve it for you one more time. Patrick and I enjoy returning to the college bar that holds iconic stature in Stillwater – Eskimo Joe’s.

Is that what Heaven will be like? Enns accurately reminds us that Heaven is our real home.

“One of the rich, colorful words describing heaven is the word patrida…The word is related to pater, meaning ‘father.’ Hence, patrida has a family meaning. This is where one’s family lives. It reflects the family’s culture, language, habits. It is home.”

Is it reasonable then to believe that we will be more “ourselves,” more authentic in heaven? I think so. We will see just how we really were created in the image of our Abba.

Living in VA, far away from my family, I often feel lonely and a little left out. I wasn’t there for the special family dinner celebrating my youngest sister’s engagement. I wasn’t able to fly home fast enough to be with Granddad in his final hours. I didn’t spend Christmas around my mom’s Christmas tree. But someday, when I am really HOME, I will never miss anything.

There’s a good chance that I may never meet you here. I will probably miss all your birthdays, your anniversaries, your tearful moments, your joyous occasions. But someday this long journey will be over. I do hope to meet you at home. Do you know your Father?

P.S. Here’s another review of Enns’ book. I hope you enjoy it!

Day 2, Review of Heaven Revealed

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“The notions about heaven that many people have do not come from Scripture; rather, it is their failure to study Scripture that has led to a lack of knowledge and understanding of the biblical meaning of heaven.” (pg.17)

Monday, I began my review of Paul Enns’ book Heaven Revealed.  As I pressed myself further into the book, all the way to Chapter 1, I began to reassess my own beliefs about heaven. I have also been reading Charles Spurgeon’s classic devotional, Morning and Evening.  Spurgeon harps on the truth that a Christian’s life is not to simply be about a relationship Jesus, or following Jesus, or seeking to know Jesus. My life as a Christian is to be consumed by Jesus, such that my identity dissolves in Him becoming insignificant and eternally important simultaneously because of His infinite value.

Enns’ description of heaven develops a practice field for this concept. He quotes a chapel speaker he once heard, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” NOT SO! Enns cries!

“Unless you are heavenly minded, you will be no earthly good,” he challenges.

Enns provides several Scripture references indicating heaven as our focal point. There are no verses, he points out, that enjoin us to focus on earth. If there is truly continuity between today and forever, I want my last day on earth to be merely a single step into the pages of eternity. I want my worship on earth to be so similar to the heavenly chorus that my voice blends with angels, scarcely missing a beat.

Enns is absolutely right when he tells his readers that studying God’s word will reveal an accurate knowledge of heaven, and an exquisite future for those who believe in Jesus Christ. In order to make heaven our focal point, we need to bury ourselves in Scripture. By enjoying the mercy of Jesus in the pages of the gospels, by heeding the criticism and stern rebukes by Paul in the Epistles, by joining David singing in the Psalms we will begin experience heaven on earth. Heaven is complete communion with God; a daily life with no barrier of time or space between us. That sounds remarkably like the life a growing Christian is learning to live here, now, today.

The video above is a fascinating  lesson by Louie Giglio. His explanation of the heavens (the actual created cosmos) stops my heart momentarily and excites me to see what is just barely beyond my vision today.

 

 

Just A Shadow, Day 1 Review of Heaven Revealed

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“Who has a loved one, a wife, a husband, a child, a parent, or a friend who is in heaven?”

It’s not my question, it was posited by Paul Enns, author of Heaven Revealed.  It’s not a silly question; it’s not a given answer. Everyone knows someone who has died, but do you know with all confidence where they are spending eternity? What about yourself? Does death hold promise or fear?

I didn’t even make it to the first chapter of Heaven Revealed , before I had enough notes to fill a least one blog post. So, I promise I will not ruin this book for you. I will barely serve the first course before this week is over. But your mouth will be watering for the end, so save your pennies and buy your own copy of Heaven Revealed.

You know that feeling that you’re waiting for something? I often feel like I’m sitting on pins and needles, with baited breath, wondering what’s going to happen next. It’s that pending feeling. That feeling of teetering on a balance beam, knowing that sooner or later, I will topple off and land squarely on something more firm, more real than what I know right now. That’s the heaven I’m anticipating.

I know that it is distinctly different and more real, permanent than what I am living right now. But Enns points out something that I had never considered before. Listening to biblical scholars and well-known preachers, we often imagine a timeline. It’s something like:

NOW……………………………RAPTURE…………………….MILLENIUM……………………..HEAVEN…………………………………………FOReverrrrrrrrrr

But what if there’s not some critical distinction between each of these wonderful, promised, prophesied  events?

“…when I investigated some of the passages, I saw words like ‘forever,’ ‘for all time,’ and ‘shall never end.’ Were those words to be restricted to one thousand years? Or does ‘forever’ mean ‘forever’? The key question then becomes, ‘Is there a continuity between the millennium and the eternal state?’ If so, the millennial passages then provide significant insight into what we refer to as heaven.”

Enns continues this welcomed debunking of the theory that heaven is a solid gold palace filled with deadpan angels strumming harps. Hebrews 8:5 tells us that the earthly Jewish temple, priests and ceremonies were a shadow of heavenly things. And we know that heaven is more fantastic than any mind can conceive. So picture the most delightful, joy-producing things on earth.

 

My puppy, my husband

                                                                              My niece, Kylie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunsets, coffee on a crisp morning, the sound of rushing water, the feel of silk, the sweet taste of strawberries

These are shadows! These are the dim reflections of something we cannot imagine. But God doesn’t want heaven to be such a mystery that we shove it to the back of our minds, relegated to the certainty that we’ll figure it out in person someday.

Enns is determined to discover the Son behind this shadow. His book reveals the essence of what makes heaven worth hoping for.

For a few more thoughts on heaven, eternity and such, check out these links:

http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/an-atheist-who-writes-consistently-with-his-worldview-sort-of/

http://extraordinaryvisions.wordpress.com/2007/06/02/heaven-revealed/

P.S. This book review is due to the generous curtesy copy of the book that I received from Moody Publishers.  Moody is an invaluable resource that strengthens my faith through every avenue of their ministry. Thank you, Moody.