Sunday, March 17, 2013

Long Summer Days and Heaven

As I write this I am sitting in front of my kerosene heater keeping warm while the bare branches of the trees are bending in the cold wind outside window. It's only March and the wind can be biting at this time of year. The day lilies, tulips and daffodils in my garden are bravely poking their stalks out of the earth and hold a promise that some day soon they will be strong enough to grow to their full height. Oh, but that day seems so far away on a day like this. 

I long for a long, lazy, heat-shimmering summer day when I can sit under the spruce tree with a glass of ice tea in my hand and read a good book. A day when nothing seems to move and all is quiet except for the heat locusts making their droning sounds. A good, hot summer day with a wash hung out on a clothesline and potato salad and sausages on the grill are on the menu for supper. Days of Kool Aid and Popsicles, of cotton dresses and ponytails, days of water melon and ice cream, of riding bikes and jumping in the waves at the beach. Summer nights of laying in bed on cool cotton sheets and watching the evening ocean breeze moving the curtains on the window. Yes, I am looking forward to such a day and I know that those summer days are coming. I just have to be patient and wait for the time to pass. 

Sometimes I think of the contentment I feel on a summer day and I liken it to what I imagine we might feel like after we've been in Heaven for a while. After the first hundred or thousand years or so, after the initial excitement is calming down a bit (if that's even possible), I imagine we will have a deep sense of contentment. After all, the Bible tells us that there will be so sorrow there, no tears, none of the heartache we sometimes have to bear here on earth (Rev.21:4). We will be with the ones we love and with our dear Saviour. We will be in a land of constant joy and happiness and I believe, deep contentment. 

I can imagine sitting by the crystal river and watching it flow past the trees planted on either side of it. Maybe I'll sit in the shade of one of those trees, like I do my spruce tree now, only there I'll be able to see twelve different types of fruit on each tree. It will be like nothing we have ever seen here on earth but I don't believe we will be completely shocked by what we see because the Word tells us what Heaven looks like and the same Creator who created Heaven has also created the Earth on which we live. So I am sure we will recognize His handiwork. 

The chorus of an old hymn says: "Won't it be wonderful there, having no burdens to bear
joyously singing, with heart bells all ringing, won't it be wonderful there?" Yes, it is going to be wonderful when we reach Heaven. It's something that each child of God has to look forward to. Just as I know that each spring the flowers are going to come up in my garden, I know that someday we will have eternal life with Christ if we have placed our trust in Him. 

My blog has been read by people on just about every continent of the world and I know that not everyone can picture a hot, summer day in Nova Scotia because it is nothing like where you live. But if you are a child of God we have something in common: we can both picture what Heaven must be like and we can both look forward to going there some day. Take the time today to read John's description of Heaven as it was revealed to him so long ago and allow yourself to dream of that day when we will be with Jesus and can sit in the shade of the Tree of Life by the crystal river which flows through that holy place. 

John was carried away to heaven in Revelation chapter 21 and this chapter is perhaps the best description of heaven that we know of.  John describes it in Revelation 21:10-27:

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.
14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.
16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia [or 1,500 miles!] in length, and as wide and high as it is long [1,500 miles wide and tall!].
17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits [that is 200 feet!] thick.
18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Although I am longing for the days of summer, I am even more longing to see Heaven. I want to see all the wonders. I want to walk on that golden street and stand in a gate made from a single pearl. I want to sit by the throne of God and sit at Jesus' feet. Yes, I am looking forward to Heaven and you can too.  But take another look at what verse 27 says: "nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." Is your name written there? Do you know for sure? 

You might be wondering how you can get your name written in that book so that you know for sure you have a place waiting for you in Heaven. I can tell you today that this day you can have your name written there. 

1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and turn away from your old way of life. When we come to Christ and confess our sins He writes our name in His Book of Life. Having your name in that book gives you the promise of living in Heaven with Jesus forever. 

Revelation 3:5 - He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

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