Paradise

tropical-paradise

Heaven is definitely a place I want to go.  But why?  Is it only because it’s better than the alternative?  What actually makes it “heaven”?

In 2 Corinthians 12:4, Paul describes it as “Paradise”, a place where he “heard inexpressible things.”  We know there will be spectacular bursts of light, angelic beings, and believing family and friends.

Revelation 4:2-6 tells us we will stand in delightful awe before the Father as He’s enthroned on high, in the midst of flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder.  With crystal clear purity all around.

This all sounds enticing, but I sometimes wonder if there’s something more.  What really makes it “heaven”?

Rather than give you my impressions, I thought it might be better to talk to someone who’s been there.  A guy by the name of Axel Erickson.  Here’s a brief outtake from our conversation:

Me:      “So the things you see there are pretty amazing.”

Axel:    “Yeah, mind blowing to say the least.  Way beyond anything I could have ever imagined.”

Me:      “But doesn’t it get a little old.  Just looking at the spectacular sights.  I mean, staring into the sky on a clear night is incredible, but I lose interest after a few minutes.”

Axel:    “Dude.  Seriously.  There’s way more breathtaking stuff to look at than you’ll ever have time for.  But that’s not the reason it’s so epic.”

Me:      “What do you mean?”

Axel:    “Think about it, man.  It’s all about being with Him.  Continually.  Nothing compares.  Not riding perfect waves on earth.  Not skiing the softest powder. Or anything else.”

Me:      “I’ve heard that, but I can’t totally grasp what you’re talking about.”

Axel:    “I know, but you will when you get there, when you come into His presence without all that earthly junk you carry around now.  When His love rushes through you like a flood every moment.  When His glory drenches your soul, lifting your spirit to the highest of highs.  When He empowers you with a calling so exhilarating that you’ll see mountains move right before your eyes.  And there’s more. Way, way more…”

Me:      “Wow . . .  yeah . . .  I think I get it.  Being with the Lord, and all the incredible things He has for us.  That does sound like paradise.”

***

“… in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”  (Ephesians 2:7)

(Just in case you were wondering, this Axel Erickson only lives on the pages of the novel, A Heaven to Die For)

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Men and Women of Steel

Think of the possibilities . . .

You can walk through walls.

You can collide with a train and not suffer a scratch.

You can race to other parts of the universe in only a moment.

You can swim to the most extreme ocean depths and never get tired.

These sound like the capabilities of some kind of superhero.  But the Bible tells us they are exactly the kinds of things we can look forward to in our resurrected bodies.

“…raised imperishable, …raised in glory, …raised in power.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-43)

Jesus, in His resurrected body, appeared in a locked room without entering through a door (John 20:19-20), and the Bible says, “we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2) (More to come on our impending entry into extra dimensional realms in a future post).

We’ll be able to enjoy delicious cuisine (Revelation 19:9, John 21:12-14). The Lord will provide swank white garments for us to wear (Revelation 19:14).  And we’ll no longer need oxygen to live.

Think of the possibilities . . .

Perhaps most striking of all, as pointed out in 1 Corinthians 15:44, we’ll be given “spiritual bodies.”  This intrigues me.  Will we take on some kind of ghostly quality?

Personally, I don’t think so.  Jesus made it a point to show that His disciples could physically touch Him after He rose from the dead.  Certainly, spiritual bodies will enable us to inhabit the environment of heaven, but they will also need to function on Earth as well (more to come on that also).

I think the message here is that my “flesh”, also known as my “sin nature”, will be gone.  Right now a battle rages inside between my flesh and the Holy Spirit’s influence in my life (Romans 7:14-24, 8:5-10).  It’s a constant struggle, and unfortunately I choose to follow the persuasions of my flesh far too often.

I don’t know about you, but just about every undesirable thing in my life has come as the result of sin, mine or someone else’s.

But in my spiritual body, the flesh will be gone.  The temptation to sin will be eliminated.  I’ll enjoy pure, unfiltered, high-octane fuel from the Spirit of God every moment, performing every action in righteousness, every decision in holiness, every triumph in power, and every venture in glory!

Think of the possibilities . . .

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A Heaven to Die For

 

Does an unexpected tragedy like this grip you? A popular and talented actor suddenly gone at such a young age.

We can go through our busy routines each day without even a thought of something like this happening in our lives. But chances are, in the not too distant future, you’ll find your life cruising along, and death will rudely shove its way in front of you, either for yourself or someone you know. Staring you in the face. Demanding to take you places you’ve never been. Talk about a game changer!

Certainly the physical and emotional trauma that death brings upon us in this world is nothing to make light of. No one enjoys going through that. But what if we had the understanding that passing on was actually something to look forward to? That something far more incredible waited for us on the other side? An existence brimming with wonder, exhilaration and adventure. Times filled with love, vitality and purpose. Where not even a hint of fear, boredom or hopelessness can be conceived.

And what will we actually do there? How will we spend each moment? I’m more than curious to know.

The answers are nothing less than astonishing.

With this blog, I want to provide a forum for us to explore the deep waters of what God has to say about these things, hoping you will participate in the dialogue, and in doing so, that you will reap encouragement for your life today. The invitation stands for you to dive into the riches of His eternity, and for anyone else you think might want to engage . . .

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