Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Heaven...

"I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven...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. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell..." (2 Cor 12:2, 4)

Imagine...

We are in the midst of a sermon series titled "Heaven; Realizing your Destiny."  I am convinced that if we, Christians, were all momentarily raptured to heaven and then placed back on earth, it would absolutely change the way we live.  Our images and thoughts of heaven are often filled with harps, clouds, non-stop singing and and endless, boring church service.  We rarely give thought to how Scripture describes heaven.  And yet, here was a man, Paul, who was raptured into heaven and then placed back on earth...and it changed him.  Check this out...

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor 4:16-18)

Those are the words of someone who has been to the "third heaven" (third heaven simply refers to the place where Christ and his saints dwell) and returned to earth.  I have to imagine that part of what helped Paul endure all the things he did was this very fact - he had seen a glimpse of heaven, which gave him a perspective to face even the most trying of circumstances here on earth.

So what about you and I?  Do we spend anytime thinking, dreaming about heaven?  About a new, "resurrection" body?  A place that Jesus referred to as "paradise?"  A place with no more crying or pain?  A "perfect" and renewed creation?  Will we see new colors, taste new tastes?  Be able to explore parts of the earth that have remained hidden from man?  And most of all, can you imagine meeting Christ, face to face? 

Spend a few moments this morning dreaming about what is to come...

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