Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Paradise

Heaven is a fascinating topic to read, understand and dream about. The sad part is that most of our religious leaders are blind to this idea. Instead of focusing on the eternal world, they lose their focus and get indulged in the materialistic temporary world - earth. As a result, they fail to resonate the truth about our final resting place and do a poor job of preparing their followers.

To fill that gap, Hollywood took steps in portraying the image of heaven with clouds, saints walking around in robes and angels playing harps, etc. They had to create an earthly image of heaven which people will understand. However, what they showcase is an extremely boring heaven.

First off, let us get this straight - heaven is a real place, both physical and spiritual.

God created us with a body and soul. Upon death, our body will be separated from the soul. The soul then travels to a place which is outside the time dimension, and will be held in waiting. This waiting place is not the ultimate heaven. That time will be similar to how we dream - our body resting at one place and our mind travelling somewhere else.

Recall Jesus telling the thief crucified next to him:
Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."
Let's get this straight - Jesus cannot by lying; He is speaking the truth. The the word 'Jesus used on the cross to describe time after death, 'Paradise' is rare in the Bible. It is a Persian word meaning “enclosure” or “park” or “garden”. Paradise is the sinless and painless Garden of Eden described in Genesis.

Paul in his letter to Corinthians spoke about a man being seized by Christ and swept in ecstasy to the heights of heaven. On that occasion, he used the word 'Paradise'.
2 Corinthians 12:3-4 And I know that this man - whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows - was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 
John, in the book of Revelation described the heaven he saw in awe-inspiring detail. In his account, he quoted Jesus promising:
Revelation 2:7 "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."
Majority of Christians refer to Paradise as Heaven. This is the place we go to, right after we die. The Paradise, though it is fabulous, is not our final destination. We are not meant to live just as souls; we are supposed to be re-joined in our bodies.

After Paradise, there will be a time of resurrection. This time is unknown to all of us - only God knows the exact time. At that time, we will be joined back into our new bodies. He will then direct us to the real Heaven. That real Heaven is called the 'New Earth'.

You will not be going to this new place as a ghost. The person who'll be going to this New Earth (Heaven) is your body and your soul. Body and soul, makes up the single entity - you! This is why we are told (by God) to keep our body pure.

Get used to the term, 'New Earth' - that's our final destination.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Accommodation in Heaven

All of us, we have heard, "Heaven is a state of mind," "Heaven is on earth" and so forth. Whoever said so, had never been to the Heaven, and has not read the Bible. The Bible does not say so. According to the Bible, Heaven is a place for real. 

The One who created us knows what exactly we enjoy doing the most. He then created a playground for us which lasts forever. That is exactly what Our Heavenly Father (who loves us the most) did.

Heaven is an ultimate everlasting playground, created purely for the sake of human enjoyment by the Great Architect who invented enjoyment and knows what it actually means. 

Wonder if you will have your own place to live? This was answered by Jesus while he was here. In fact, he has gone ahead of us to make room for us. 
John 14:2 "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 you." 
In ancient culture, a father's house was where the extended family lived. As the family grew through marriage and childbirth, rooms were often added on to accommodate new family members. 

Some of us love living in private cozy places, while others like to stay with their friends in large wide open spaces. God is creative and the good news is that He designed Heaven both as a public and private place. When we see the place He has made for us, yours will be ideal for you, and my place will be just right for me. We will be perfectly happy in that most cozy and comfy place in the universe. 

To get there, we certainly don't need esoteric theological or philosophical knowledge. All we need is to gain an understanding and live with faith. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Our Plans

In our daily lives, we plan something. Then we notice that things don't always go the way we plan. Instead, we learn that God has a better plan. Ultimately, it is only God's plan which will work - He is the One in control.

If you've been reading proverbs daily, then you probably know that it speaks about making plans. It is ok to make plans, and we should.
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course,
    but the Lord establishes their steps.
A wise person realizes that for our plans to work, we need to submit them to God. How exactly do we do this?

Well, during our meeting with God we should ask Him, "God, how should I plan this activity in order to glorify Your Name and Your Kingdom?"

When I was young and when my plans did not work always, I often used to get so frusturated. As I became old, I learned there is no need for us to get frustrated - things will not always go the way we plan. The solution:
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

A glimpse into heaven

Heaven - this most elusive of concepts has been captured by numerous individuals for thousands of years in the form of brilliant essays, beautiful poems and artistic imagery.

If the idea of unlimited pleasure, unlimited happiness and unlimited joy appeals to you, then you should be bubbling over with excitement, over the concept of Heaven.

When was the first time you heard about the concept of Heaven? Most likely it was at a funeral, and you probably were just 7 years old. The concept you heard at that time has gotten stale and is now 'old news'.

To refresh the idea of Heaven, I want to travel back in time along with you to that age of 7. That is when our minds will view things from the perspective of a child - filled with innocence and awe. It is precisely the time when rainbows, exotic animals, large pearls, jewel studded cities and happiness is being appreciated in a world with no crime. Stay frozen at that age and grasp as much as you can about this concept.

In Heaven, our lives will be filled with joy in the presence of Lord.
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Once we arrive in Heaven, you will be you and I will be me. We will continue to be the same person with the same personality we are today - even as male and female, with a better body and voice. This is evident from the resurrection of Jesus. After his resurrection, he appeared to his disciples and was the same Jesus.
Luke 24:38-39 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Those of us who know God can be assured that He will not terminate our wonderful, loving relationship with our family and friends which He granted for fifty, sixty, seventy or even eighty years, never to be enjoyed again. Come on, have faith in Him.

We will be able to recognize our friends and families. They will recognize us and we will know them too. Some of us will have a host of friends in heaven that we will be busy chatting with them.

Further in heaven, we will be busy worshiping God, composing music, judging and ruling, farming, raising livestock, and continue using our God-given talents we had on earth to honor God.

On the flip side, medical doctors and dentists will most probably need to find new vocations, as all our heavenly bodies will be perfect. Before any of you lose heart over this issue, I assure you - Lord has a fabulous plan for doctors and dentists too!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Think about Heaven

You know that this world is not our home. We are visitors passing through this planet. All of us, we have a destiny, and that is to be with God.
Daniel 7:18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever--yes, for ever and ever." 
Those Biblical superstars were longing for a better world outside this earth. The world we currently live in, is a fallen world since Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from the Garden of Eden. Anytime we are subject to injustice, trouble, grief, etc., we long for a better world. We yearn for a gaping hole that can only by filled by God, who is just, eternal and infinite. That better world is the Heaven.
Psalm 84:1 How lovely is your dwelling place,    Lord Almighty!2 My soul yearns, even faints,    for the courts of the Lord;my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
    Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
    they make it a place of springs;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.
8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
    listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield, O God;
    look with favor on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts    than a thousand elsewhere;I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Heaven is Our God's home. That is where we will be going together. We will be called by a new name in Heaven. That new name - our true identity, will be revealed when a white stone with our new name is given to us in Heaven, as mentioned in Revelation 2:17.

We cannot sit quietly till we arrive in Heaven. There is work to do, to arrive in God's Kingdom. Discuss about that trip with your Guardian Angel. Reach out to our Spiritual Leader and High Priest - Jesus Christ. All of them will point you to the Holy Scripture.