6/24/2020 – Pastor Brian’s Blog

On August 10, 2020 Judy and I will have been married for 47 years. Wow… I used to think that one had to be old to be married for 47 years, but I have found out that is not the case at all! I remember when Judy and I started going together, my walk with God wasn’t as strong as it should have been, so my thoughts were not always what they should have been. My life proved Solomon to be correct when he said, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”

I have to admit that on more than one occasion I thought, “Man I sure hope Christ doesn’t come back before I get to marry Judy!” Pretty stupid, huh?! But before you think too badly of me, haven’t you had those same thoughts? Haven’t you planned a wonderful weekend or vacation and think, ‘I sure hope Jesus doesn’t come back before we get to go on that 7-day cruise.’ Or ‘I sure hope Jesus doesn’t come back before we win that big softball tournament,’ or before I have kids, or before I get that new thing or before I get to fulfill my ultimate dream.

OK, that is enough, I am closing this personal confession booth before you think that I am one of the most unspiritual people you know! Can you imagine though, anyone believing that a softball tournament, a 7-day cruise or more stuff could be better than heaven. What was wrong with me!?!?

Have you noticed that in this day of viruses, rebellion, political unrest, and chaos, very few Christians are talking about heaven. We will wear masks, we will talk politics, we will criticize what is going on in our cities, but who has come to you wanting to talk about heaven? As I was thinking about what I would write today for my blog, my thoughts went to a couple of popular misconceptions about heaven. One, is believing that anything (even a softball tournament or the most wonderful vacation I could ever imagine) could be better than heaven.

The other misconception many have, is that heaven is something that happens in the future, when in fact, heaven should be affecting our lives today. And because we are not allowing heaven to affect our lives today, we watch as Christians live defeated and discouraged lives. And sadly to say, we even watch some walk away from the faith.

To help you understand this, visit John 13 & 14 with me. Jesus is spending his last night with the disciples. Within a few hours Jesus will be taken to a kangaroo court, beaten and then hung on a Roman cross to die. Jesus has given the last 3½ years of his life preparing these men for this very moment. He has prepared these men to take over in his absence.

In John 13 Jesus has washed the disciple’s feet, He has broken bread with them, Judas has left the room to betray Him and Jesus is sitting with 11 ordinary men. Men that, if we were to be honest, we would not have picked for our leadership team to change the world.

Nevertheless, they are there. If you were Jesus, what would your battle cry be for them? ‘Be strong, be vigilant, hang tough, don’t get discouraged.” “When the going gets tough the tough gets going?” Jesus understood what the future was for these men. Jesus knows that they would be rejected, persecuted and that every one of them, except for John, would be martyred for their faith.

Jesus knows that the Holy Spirit will lead them to preach the gospel in countries and cities that will plot against them and reject them. He knows that their families will also suffer for the things that will happen to these 11 men. Jesus knows all of this and what was His battle cry? What were the words, the final thoughts that He would leave with them?

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

John 14:1-3

Amazing! Jesus last words to them directed their gaze to heaven. Jesus knew that a clear view of heaven and their future home would be the very thing that would get them through those very difficult and painful times. Jesus knew that the hope of heaven, their being with Jesus, would motivate them to persevere.

Because Christians today have a distorted view of heaven; some actually believe that there are things better than heaven. Because we view heaven incorrectly, we allow the troubles and disappointments of this world to overwhelm us. We are easily seduced to think that the things I can attain now are much more important than the things that God is preparing for me later. Please know that having the wrong view of heaven, has very practical implications, not only on how I live now, but how I will live for all eternity.

In a day when Christians are focusing on the news, devising ways to hide from a virus, worried about the next presidential election, anxious about attending church and reaping the consequences of those choices; I think it is time, it is time to look up, to direct our gaze to heaven, and be encouraged…

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Remember the words of Solomon…

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

Proverbs 23:7

It is time that Christians begin to think correctly. May this song help us to think on the right things and in turn, be encouraged…