I dreamed about Heaven...
Heaven is eternal joy!
The unavoidable & uncomfortable reality: aging. "Jeff (&
you & everybody), becoming older?" Yeah, exercise, eat right,
keep healthy habits. Still every year, you add ONE.
Going through my twenties, I then seemed to nearly fancy myself as "eternally young" (as a strong, healthy young man who'd always only be strong, healthy and young). I never knew anything else. This notion continued in all of its pristine bliss 'til about the time I hit my 30's (awhile back). Since then, the realities of growing older slowly began to dawn on me.
Though it might seem a bit premature for those of you with a few more gray hairs than I, I - nevertheless - reached the point where I began to pray: "Lord, renew my youth as the eagle's." Psalm 103:1-5 When you get a few more years under your belt, it becomes easier to relate to the verse which says: "I was young and now I am old(er), but I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread." Psalm 37:25
The golden years, for me, one day finally begun. As the years increase, situations may bring a foretaste of some possible discouragements related to aging. Some of these perspectives began to increase for me after I passed 30, 35, then well beyond. Years of tough efforts to complete my second college degree also did not make me feel any younger.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid to die and I believe in heaven. I'm just not so sure being increasingly older (and some of its accompaniments) fits my (somewhat unrealistic) druthers (I guess I want to stay 29 or 35 forever).
I keep up a consistent balance of exercise & in many ways am maintaining (or, in a few areas, regaining) good health and strength by God's grace. In fact, I am healthy & well, even supernaturally so. In earlier years, I successfully recovered from a major area of nutritional ills (yeast overgrowth in my system & its chronic fatigue & skin rash & itching aggravations). I got serious against this cutting yeast intake out of my diet and eating better all the way around as well. Have been well & free ever since. But I'm strict about nutrition & diet.
Despite the pluses and
positives, I've still found myself (though healthy and strong)
grappling with some of life's unavoidable issues related to aging. I
only find ultimate hope in heaven itself, the Lord and eternal life.
Jesus is the ONLY ONE who has any real & lasting answer for aging
In the last several years, again and again I honestly have had many moments of troubling thoughts regarding growing older (although because of Jesus and the reality of eternal life, the ultimate "aging topic," death, is actually a subject of joy and comfort). Death, for those who truly believe and know Jesus, is truly a doorway into a world far better, a heavenly country, a place to call home, a reside of eternal joy. By grace as a gift of God. Ephesians 2:8-9
Somehow as the shine of my earthly youth begins to fade, I am learning a revelation that God has blessing for all of one's years. That there is grace in gray hairs for those who seek and love Jesus (but, unfortunately, there will be torment and despair in older years for those who reject the Lord). Psalm 78:32-33, Psalm 92:12-15, Jeremiah 29:11-14 Old age is blessed for those who believe. Scripture promises that, in Jesus, we will still bear fruit and be blessed, established in God's house, through our older years. God's Spirit tells us there's nothing to fear. "Lo, I am with you always!" Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5-6
One day, the Lord whispered to my heart (in this context) and said: "From the rising of the sun (symbolic of birth and youth) to the going down of the same (metaphoric of one's older years, like an approaching sunset) the name of the Lord is to be praised." - Psalms With the Lord, a thousand years is like a day and - to Him - our lifespan is like the space of hours from sunrise to sunset.
If we really apprehend God's goodness, we can praise Him during all our years and for all of our years. I believe His unchanging goodness and grace is available to fill our hearts and to manifest good things in our lives, to give us something to praise Him for all the years of our lives! Truly"from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same the name of the Lord is to be praised."
Great and unspeakable comfort came to me one day as the Lord brought forth a new song to my heart. I believe its perspective contains a ray of grace to shine on us all...
Growing older each day
Growing older each day - In Jesus, I pray
that each passing day will be blessed
There is nothing to fear when Emmanuel's here
And each passing year will be blessed!
Jesus is Lord when I'm young, when I'm old
Jesus is Lord! every day - every year
And when I am old, I will be so much wiser
In You, Lord, my life will be blessed!
"Emmanuel" is a Hebrew word which means God is with us and is a prophetic name given to Jesus through the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah.
The whole subject of growing older may sound a bit dismal to some,
but if we take whatever despair, fears or discouragements we have and
turn to Jesus and the Bible, we can find truth from God that
will set us free! My grandmother's in heaven. Her ticket there was
gray hair (and a heart which loved Jesus & believed His
salvation). She is enjoying eternal reward.
Again and again in recent years I have sought the Lord about the fragile state of human life. Life truly is "a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14)
As I've prayed and searched the scriptures, Jesus has repeatedly given me encouragement, truth and revelation about the availability of His grace and the promise of His blessing all the years of our lives. He sounds a call to each of us to live our years productively, following in His way, knowing the joy of eternal salvation. And we are called to triumph through tribulation and follow the one true way to inherit life forever with Jesus! John 14:6 When it's all said and done, the (earthside of the) grave will prove merely to be a disguise. For those who believe, heaven is the reality!
Good News in my family!
My grandmother (at 96 1/2 years of age, in earth years) "graduated" to heaven in the summer of 1992. If you have ever been separated through death from close relatives or friends on the earthly plane, then you know how this kind of separation can feel and hurt. The sting of loss, the pain of separation can at times leave overpowering feelings of emptiness and loneliness. Hurting deep inside, some people even become bitter against God for death when it touches someone they love.
But my grandmother's life and heavenly "graduation," however, had a very meaningful impact on me. My already growing realizations of the reality of eternity were confirmed and amplified! Hardly a month goes by since (in the years following her "graduation ceremony") when I do not remember her and the Spirit's revealed truths about the reality of heaven and the blessedness of eternal life which she is now reaping. Fullness of joy!
Heaven = eternal joy!
Over the last few years, the Lord has been teaching and reminding me more and more about the very real place called heaven, His love, forgiveness, and eternal life in Jesus! (Humanism is so short sighted. Atheism, such a lie!) We will live forever in one of two places, with varying rewards. Eternity is forever! Matthew 25, Lk. 16:19-31
Before my grandmother died, I had a dream (when she was 95 or so and still on earth). (The dream came about two years before my grandmother died.) It is still very clear and vivid in my mind. The dream was like a "heavenly video" which pictured in precise detail exactly what it would be (is now) like for my grandmother to go and be with the Lord! In the dream, the Lord showed me a clear glimpse into the blessed reality of eternal joy! The dream was merely a sneak preview! And what a sight! This night vision showed my Grandmother (as she is now) up in heaven full of indescribable joy in the presence of the Father! Hallelujah!
In Jesus' Presence is fullness of joy!
"You have made known to me the path of life! You
will fill me with joy in Your presence, with
eternal pleasures (joy and ecstatic happiness) at Your
right hand!." Psalm 16:11
On earth, my grandmother was always a small, short, somewhat frail woman (and slightly more frail in her later years). Yet the Lord continued to bless her even into her 90's with strength and, overall, fairly good health. All the years I knew her she typically maintained a rather quiet, mannerly personality and was outwardly pretty reserved and definitely not one to show a lot of emotion. (But things change in heaven.) 1 Cor. 15:50-52
All Heaven breaks loose!
My grandmother was seen (in the dream) up in heaven, ecstatically singing, leaping, and dancing for joy with total abandon! As she jumped with boundless and indescribable joy (highsteppin' it like a spry teenager), she sang: "Glory! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!" (The tune she was singing was: I'm so glad Jesus set me free!) The grin on her face was "about as wide as the Red Sea (parted)!" She was beaming, grinning ear to ear! (Just picture the wild abandon of celebration which breaks out when the home team wins the Super Bowl, then multiply the intensity of rejoicing manifold!)
Heaven (in my dream, just as confirmed in the Bible) was shown to be a place of total unreserved rejoicing! Great joy! My grandmother was experiencing complete release from all earthly burden! No more tears. No more pain. Total liberty! Complete and unfathomable joy! What a fellowship! Leaning on the Everlasting Arms! In the Presence of the Lord. [See: Revelation 21 & 22.]
The sight of my grandmother experiencing this unearthly intensity of joy was tremendously comforting and inspiring to me. Soaring on the wings of the wind! To this day, the dream and its message still remain vivid in my mind. Thanks be to God! Truly, my grandmother was beholding Him, seeing Him as He is. Her whole heart was laughing and singing, her whole body rejoicing! What comfort I felt as I saw my grandmother's face shine with the glory of eternity! "Arise, shine, for thy light has come!" Hallelujah!!! Is. 60
And dreams do come true! She is there singing and rejoicing now as we speak.
[Of course, no one can earn or deserve this great reward. Eternal salvation, and a mansion in glory, these are solely for those who believe and receive through grace in Jesus. John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-10 Salvation is a gift.]
Eternity is actually unendingly long, a permanent, unchangeable reside for each person in one of two places. Matthew 25:34, 41, 46; Luke 16:19-31 One place (being with Jesus) is called heaven. It is characterized by indescribable joy and blessing such as we have never known before. Psalm 16:11 The other, equally permanent, reside is full of (deserved and) indescribably horrible torments, an eternal myriad of unending agonies. (This is what it's like to be cut off forever from the Lord, separated from His offered love and grace, suffering the deadly result of our unbelieving choice: the suffering of being without Him, Who we shunned, forever.) Jesus told us of these eternal places in Matthew 25. [He also revealed that hell was originally meant only for the devil and his (fallen) angels.] To the blessed contrary, he who stands firm (loving and holding to Jesus) to the end shall be saved (inherit an eternal reward). Matthew 24:12-13
My grandmother believed nearly all of her life in the good news of the Bible. She had long embraced the Truth of Salvation that is in Jesus (ever since she was a little girl). Yet, like the rest of us, she wasn't perfect. And in her life I'm sure she made various mistakes. Yet, in the end, none of her life's burdens, shortcomings or regrets remained. None of them were even remembered. In heavenly glory, there were no tears or sadness, no sins to haunt her or mistakes to lament, no worries and cares or wounds or pains from earth hanging on to bother. They were all gone!
Instead, because of Jesus, indescribable gladness overflowed. In heavenly places, with all of her being, my grandmother rejoiced as she tasted the sweet fruit of everlasting Salvation! Rom. 6:23 Her life of believing and following Jesus had led her to this place. She was now partaking of the gift Jesus obtained through His cross and matchless resurrection! In the dream, my grandmother danced and sang, giving total abandoned praise to the One Who had bought her with His own Blood! She was (and is, now as you read) the sight of total rejoicing, reaping the boundlessly joy of eternity. Hallelujah!
Liberated from all captivity, her mouth was filled with laughter, her
tongue with songs of joy! Psalm 126 Now heaven is her home. Hallelujah!
And she sings a brand new song: "Glory Hallelujah! I'm so glad Jesus
set me free!" Selah
Just think about heaven
A number of other truths and reminders about heaven and eternity have been blessedly accumulating for me lately. One message a friend recently communicated to me also bears witness to this eternal subject. A close brother in the Lord exhorted me to keep in mind and remember: "This world is not your home." The statement he shared made me think of the verses in Hebrews which speak of being "strangers" to earth, aliens, sojourners merely passing through this world, looking for a better country. Heb. 11:13-16 I wrote this message down and posted it over my kitchen sink to remind myself every day.
Recently, the Lord revealed to me one part of the practical, earthside application or relevance (benefit) of truths about heaven. The Spirit whispered to my heart:
How to cope with earth
Spend some time every day longing for heaven.
(Col. 3:1-4 clearly confirms this notion.)
1 Cor. 10:13 says that a way of escape (from the tests, trials and temptations of earth) is provided in Jesus. And God (by the Spirit) encouraged me to realize that one of His provided ways to escape (get relief in our souls from) the burdens and troubles of earth is to think about heaven.
In many ways, Jesus truly is the Way of escape. Meditation on the joy and comfort of eternity is yet another was God has provided for us to escape in Jesus (just like John 14:6 & the old song say: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace"). "Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ Who is your life, appears, you also will appear with Him in glory!" Col. 3:1-4
So, heaven is all about Jesus! John14:6 tells us that He is the way. And when we get there, He is the main attraction! Behold Him! Rev. 4 - 5, 19
Contemplate heaven even now. Your troubles will fade. (To Behold/Fix our eyes on Jesus is God's provided way to escape from sin, guilt, unworthiness, despair and condemnation. All the burdens of earth. John 1:29) Hallelujah! Find the Way and walk in it! Is. 30:21, Heb. 12:1-3 With faith eyes see Jesus and walk those streets of gold!
Your friend in Jesus Christ,
The final word on heaven
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive (on earth) the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. (Are you this kind of seeker? Are you looking for a heavenly country?) 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Hallelujah! God has prepared for us a city. A heavenly city. Rejoice! The lodgings there are wonderful! And, through Jesus, the bill is already paid. Hallelujah!!! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!" - the Bible (contains full details. See for yourself!)
When the road feels rough, we need the truth and encouragement of
God's Word to renew our strength for the journey. Turn deeply to the pages of God's Word. Listen to the Bible as often as you can. Read & memorize the truths Jesus taught about heaven & eternal life. Realize that Jesus is the ONE way to get there. Always remember that, for the believer, Jesus is the "resurrection & the life." Remember Lazarus. Someday, He'll do the same for you. And ultimately, once Jesus returns on the clouds with power & great glory. From then on...
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