Monthly Archives: February 2014

Will Heaven Have Snow?

I am so ready for spring!  Of course I’ve been saying that since November.  Some people really like winter, and I used to, but I must be getting old because I’m ready for it to end earlier and earlier every year.  I still enjoy all the winter activities, but I think I could live without them if it meant no more cold.

I wonder if there will be winter in heaven.  Have you ever thought about that?  I have found myself thinking about heaven a lot more the last few years.  I read a fascinating book called simply, “Heaven,” by Randy Alcorn, and while I don’t necessarily agree with everything he suggests, much of it is sound.

He begins by challenging us to evaluate what we have thought about heaven in light of what scripture actually says.  Set aside what you have always believed and read with an open mind what the Bible really says about heaven.  On the things that Scripture affirms by all means pick up those old beliefs but I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what is left behind and even more by what you discover.

Let me give you an example.  We usually think that heaven will be somewhere up in the sky and totally new and unfamiliar.  Scripture actually teaches that the New Jerusalem will come down to a renewed earth.  (Check out Revelation 21, especially verse 2 & 3).  This means that there will be a renewed and recognizable Alberta though it certainly will be better and even more beautiful than what we know now.

Or this: I used to think when Revelation 22:3 talked about serving God in heaven it was just one long church service.  But if satisfying and refreshing creative work was part of Eden, does it not make sense that it will be as well on the renewed Earth?

All of this is a moot point though, if you are not going to be there, and here we get to the heart of the matter.  Do you know whether you will be there?  How can you know?  Chapter 21 in Revelation records that God says that all who are victorious will be His children.  The obvious question then is who are the victorious?  In the first chapter of John we are told that everyone that believes who Jesus is and who follow him have been given the right to become children of God.

Will there be snow in heaven? I don’t really know.  But I know I will be.  Will you?

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Re-using A Valentine

I would not be in the best graces with Wendy if I gave her the same card I gave her last Valentine’s day, but I was perusing through my posts from a year ago and came across the following post from last year.  Because I found it a good reminder for myself I decided that, with a tweak or two, it was worth re-posting this year.  May you be encouraged too.

 

Valentine ’s Day is coming up.  I’m not typically one to make a big deal over it, but I’ve come to at least see it as a good reminder not to get lazy or complacent in romancing my wife.  It’s important that I communicate to her how much she is treasured, how beautiful she is to me; how desired she is.  For me saying ”I love you” is easy and natural and is a daily occurrence.  But, without minimizing the value of that, finding other unique ways of communicating the same thing is valuable for both of us.

We like being desired.  In fact it is such a powerful thing that advertisers tap into this longing and make billions trying to convince us that we will be desirable if we buy their product.  Of course this is a lie and only leaves us hollow and empty.  But in a committed marriage relationship it is wonderful and fulfilling to have our spouse make an effort to woo us and pursue and entice us proving that we are desired.

The Song of Solomon is an amazing account of what a healthy, Godly, Biblical marriage relationship is like.  It is beautiful, and passionate, and intimate and full of expressions of desire for each other.  Throughout both husband and wife try to allure and entice the other but also take pleasure in being  pursued and persuaded to love.

For centuries it has been understood that the Song of Solomon is also a picture of God’s relationship with his people.  Paul makes a similar connection in Ephesians speaking of Jesus as the groom and we as his bride.  What I think we easily miss is that as much we value and are pleased that Jesus has pursued and wooed us he too derives pleasure from us reciprocating much as husband is pleased by the ways in which his wife expresses her desire for him.

Many of us are uncomfortable thinking of, let alone speaking of Holy God in this way but that’s because we don’t fully grasp the profound nature of the relationship God literally desires with us.  It is an awe inspiring thing to realize that I can bring pleasure to God; that God, though undeniably self-sufficient, desires to be desired.  Let me suggest that during these next few days when there are so many reminders of “love” around that you allow those to direct your thoughts and desires to the one who is Love.


What’s The Nature of Your Nature?

In 1898 Colonial Britain had determined to put a railway from the east coast of Africa through to Lake Victoria.  The line, still in use, runs along the south end of modern day Kenya crossing the Tsavo River.  While the bridge across this river was being built two lions terrorized the crews killing, according to eyewitnesses, 138 men.  Recent chemical analysis of the lions’ hair and bone has determined that likely only 34 humans were consumed between the two lions in the three month before they were shot and killed, but the exaggeration emphasises the terror running through the camps.

The lions would enter, at night, any one of the camps scattered along a thirty mile stretch of track and snatch workers right out of their tents.  Even the construction of thorn fence “bomas” and night fires were ineffective at inhibiting the man-eaters.  The locals called the lions, “the ghost” and “the darkness.”  After months of fruitless searching Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson, who was responsible for seeing the bridge built, finally shot the lions selling their skulls and hides to the Field Museum in Chicago, where, stuffed, they greet visitors to this day.

Why did these lions kill and consume flesh?  Quite simply because they were lions.  Granted it is rare for lions to become man-eaters, but the primary reason they attacked the workers is because that’s what lions do.  It is their nature to kill and eat flesh.  They cannot do otherwise.

Though the parallel is limited, it does help bring some understanding of why we all need Jesus.  Romans 8 sets out the truth that all of humankind is born with a sin nature.  We sin and cannot do otherwise.  For those who would object that you may occasionally do a bad thing, but you don’t sin all the time look at verse 8.  It says in your natural condition, literally in the flesh, in the nature you were born with it is impossible to please God.

But here’s the good news: Jesus offers us a new nature – his own.  If we will relinquish our own nature (admit our sin nature and that in it we can’t please God) and through faith receive Jesus’ sinless nature, Romans 8 goes on to say we cease to become bound to sin and instead become bound to righteousness.

So here’s the question; are you still trying to please God in your sin nature?  Verse 9 says anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ.  It’s all in the nature.  What’s yours?