Tag Archives: heaven

A Little Bit of Heaven

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My fourteen-month-old grandson will learn that there are times when play must be set aside for duty. In fact, my ordinary adult concerns usually trump his childish inclination to toss a ball again and again and yet once again or sit outside on the curb to practice our meow sounds and pet the neighbor’s cat.

But, playtime is not a waste of my time nor his. No, these welcome respites from the business of everyday responsibilities are (at least part of) the building blocks of our future relationship. I can tell my grandson that I love him and that I am interested in him, but in the mind of a toddler, actions do speak louder than mere words.

Recently, during one of our playtimes together, I was overcome by the most extraordinary sensation. I felt as if time stood still or was suspended somehow. Of course as soon as I realized what was happening, the moment slipped away. Perhaps my attention was so focused on what we were doing that I became unaware, even if just for a few seconds, of the passage of time.

Thinking about it later, it came to me that my grandson isn’t quite aware yet of how tangled up we are in the constraints of time. He isn’t worried about what comes next or how many minutes have ticked by. He has nothing planned and no to-do list. It’s as if he has all the time in the world…

I long for Heaven where I am positive we won’t experience time in the same way we do here on earth. After all, we will have all of eternity!  If we are freed from the necessity of the clock, imagine the joy of spending an infinitude of moments in the company of fellow saints. Think of the timelessness of our happily-ever-after in the glorious presence of Christ our Lord! What an amazing Inheritance we have in the Gospel!

Could it be that playtime with my grandson is a foretaste of what’s to come? A glimpse of eternity where the urgency of our busy schedules is no more? At the very least, these moments are a gracious gift to this grandmother–a little bit of Heaven on earth.

Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.
Isaiah 60:19

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Heaven

Cover of "50 Days of Heaven: Reflections ...

Cover via Amazon

“In the truest sense, Christian pilgrims have the best of both worlds. We have joy whenever this world reminds of the next, and solace whenever it does not.” -C.S. Lewis

I am currently finishing up a devotional by Randy Alcorn entitled 50 Days of Heaven, Reflections That Bring Eternity to Light. The selections are drawn from his larger more theological treatise, Heaven. I read Heaven several years ago, and it is excellent. This much smaller book is written in a more devotional, meditative type format.

Many books and ideas about Heaven rest on mere sentimentality and fantasy. I appreciate that Mr. Alcorn builds his commentary on the solid foundation of biblical truth. Let me tell you, in this case truth is indeed more exciting and amazing than fiction! Alcorn uses Scripture to paint a picture of what Heaven will be like, and he is careful to point out where he fills in the details with his imagination or makes inferences from what the Bible says. Thankfully, this is NOT just another “I died and went to Heaven and came back to tell about it” book.

Reading about Heaven in this format has been enjoyable and informative. The short chapters lend themselves well to reflecting on what lies in store for all of us who have trusted Christ. Heaven certainly won’t be dull or boring. No floating around on clouds and strumming a harp all day there!

Although this devotional is a condensed version of a larger work, there is much to learn in it about what happens to us after we die. Mr. Alcorn makes the distinction between the present Heaven (to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord) and our future abode in Heaven on the New Earth (where we will receive our resurrected bodies and live on a redeemed and transformed New Earth forever).

This devotional has comforted and challenged me. It has prompted me to search the Scriptures to see if what Randy Alcorn says is true. Above all, it has clarified my understanding of what eternity holds, provided a much-needed broadening of  my eternal perspective, and stirred a longing in my soul for my true home, Heaven.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3:20

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Zion!

My husband and I have been away on vacation to Zion National Park in Utah. It’s a beautiful place and one you should visit if you ever have the opportunity. We’ve visited several times, but last week something very unusual happened. It snowed!

We weren’t exactly prepared for the occasion, but we did have warm coats and ponchos. We did not have proper shoes for hiking in the snow. However, we decided that hiking in a snow blanketed Zion was a rarity not to be missed by staying indoors. We hiked a couple of miles and took a ton of pictures. By the time we returned to our cabin, my feet felt like frozen blocks of wood. But it was worth it!

By the following afternoon, most of the snow had melted. We decided to take the same hike and take pictures along the way. Here are a couple of “before” and “after” photos.

BEFORE:

And the next day, AFTER:

Because of the melting snow, there were waterfalls everywhere!

My response to the grandeur of creation is worship for the Creator. My thoughts also turn to the New Earth, the eternal dwelling place for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:13)

If this fallen world can be as grand and majestic as this, think of the utter beauty that awaits us when all is made new. We can only imagine what the New Heaven and New Earth will be like. Consider what John MacArthur has to say about it:

“Some day when the heavens are destroyed by burning, as Peter says in 2 Peter 3:12, and when the elements melt with intense heat, he says we will look for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells…No longer smarting under the curse of sin. No longer being torn by steel to yield up its wealth. No longer infested with thorns and briars. No weeds in your garden…Eternal soil never cut with graves, sod never moistened with blood, never stained with tears. An earth whose forever hills flow with salvation rivers and whose eternal valleys know only the sweet paradise of God.”

Our future dwelling place. A place so sublime, we won’t even remember the old one:

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17)

Yes, the picturesque beauty of places like Zion National Park can impress our hearts and arrest our minds, but how much more awaits us in our future Zion, the eternal Jerusalem, the place whose builder and maker is God! This is the place where every tear is wiped away and pain and death will be no more. Here, our radiant eternal home, where we will have no need for sun or moon because the glory of God Himself is the light and the Lamb is the lamp. It is this Zion that I long for, don’t you?

Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.  (Psalm 48:1-2) 

Before I close, and in the interest of keeping this already long post a bit more brief, I will only suggest that you take some time to read about the New Heaven and the New Earth in the 21st chapter of Revelation.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Get a Grip

…lay hold on eternal life… (I Timothy 6:12)

Get a grip on the certainty of eternal life. Comprehend it. Apprehend it. Stop living as if this is all there is. Our citizenship is in heaven. We are sojourners just passing through. We may know intellectually that heaven is our real home, but do we live with that reality in mind? Our earthly abode is just a temporary stop along the way. Important? Yes. All important? May it never be!

Preaching the Gospel to ourselves can help us see past our myopic point of view. Jesus did not come for the mere here and now. His sinless life, excruciating death, and victory over the grave are a direct result of God’s love for the world culminating in everlasting life for those who would believe. The Gospel offers deliverance from the past and grants hope for the future. The Gospel gives the present tense an eternal spin. Certainly, without our Lord’s death, burial and resurrection, all mankind would be hopelessly and perpetually lost. Because of the Gospel, our lives take on far-reaching and eternal purposes. “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”* The Gospel widens our perspective and saves us from a life of despair and pointless living.

Keep your eye on the prize, brothers and sisters! Be thankful for your earthly blessings, but keep in mind that much, much, more is in store. Don’t hang on too tightly. All the bangles and baubles this world has to offer will soon pass away. Hold out for the real thing, a treasure that cannot be stolen nor ever fade away. When trials come, as surely they must this side of heaven, remember that our afflictions are momentary and light when compared to the glory that shall be revealed to us.

This world is not our home. Get a grip.

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

(See: Rom. 11:36; Mat. 6:19-21; 2 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 8:18; Philippians 3:20-21)
*Westminster Shorter Catechism, emphasis mine


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