A pastor who was giving a message about heaven asked his congregation, "How many of you would like to go to heaven tonight?" Naturally, everyone raised their hands, except one little boy in the balcony. So, the pastor repeated the question. Once again, everyone raised their hands, except the little boy in the balcony. The pastor turned to him and said, "Don't you want to go to heaven?"
The little boy said, "Someday, but I thought you were getting up a load right now." He wasn't ready to go quite yet.
We don't know when death will come for each of us, but we all will die. Death is the great equalizer. It is no respecter of persons. It doesn't matter if you are young or old, if you are a man or a woman, if you are rich or poor. Death knocks at every door.
But death was never part of God's original plan. Back in the Garden of Eden, because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, something called sin entered the world. It affects everything. It causes our lives to come to an end. It brings sadness to all of us when we see that life cannot go on forever. I think we all feel that we should live long lives. Some of us will, but some of us won't. We don't know when life will end.
The Bible teaches that man is more than just a human body. It teaches that we are living souls, created in the image of God. It teaches that we were made to know God. Deep down inside of us, there is a longing for something more than this world has to offer. It's a longing that cannot be satisfied from anything on this planet, not from relationships, accomplishments, or accumulations. It is a longing for something beyond this life.
C. S. Lewis observed: "All the things that ever deeply possessed your soul have been hints of heaven. Tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy because they were there to arouse, to suggest the real thing. That real thing is heaven."
Because Christ died and rose, we can have the hope of heaven. Our bodies will cease to function at one point, but there is life beyond the grave (1 Corinthians 15:54–55).
Christ's resurrection precipitates and guarantees that all of His followers who have died will be resurrected as well. Because Jesus rose, we too will rise. He promised, "I will not leave orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live" (John 14:18–19 NIV).
God gave us a preview of coming attractions on the day that Jesus died. In Matthew 27, we have a description of a very unusual event:At that moment [when Christ was crucified] the curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. (vv. 51–53 NIV)
If you have put your faith in the risen Lord, then you will live again. You no longer need to fear death. Because He came back in a resurrected body, He has given us the assurance that God will give each of us a glorified body one day. It means that we will live for all eternity in the presence of God. That is a wonderful hope. It's the hope of life beyond the grave.
The Bible tells us that, one day, all Christians will stand before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. Don’t let that frighten you, because this particular judgment happens in heaven, which means you made it!
Have you ever seen a baby rattlesnake? They are actually kind of cute. Everything is miniaturized. They get that menacing look on their face, bare their fangs, and shake that rattler, warning you of impending doom.
Did you know that the Lord has an amazing trade-in deal in store for you? That’s right; you are going to trade in your existing body, with its aches and pains, for the newest model.
I think it is really important for us to better understand the person of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes people think of the Holy Spirit as more of an “It” than a “Him.” But according to Scripture, the Holy Spirit is not only God, but He has a will, a personality, and can even be offended!
The As I See It book by Cathe Laurie will be sent to you in appreciation for your gift to Harvest Ministries this month.
As I See It is a collection of bite-size thoughts, anecdotes, and illustrations, each of which points to a biblical truth or characteristic of our Savior. Cathe Laurie shares pearls of poignant insight from her experiences as a Christian, a mother, and wife to Pastor Greg Laurie.
In appreciation for your gift to Harvest Ministries this month, Harvest Ministries will send As I See It to you.