“The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ came to do three things. He came to have my past forgiven, you get a purpose for living and a home in Heaven.” – Rick Warren – Pastor
HEAVEN is defined as the abode of God, the angels, and the good after death. Heaven is also defined as a state of being eternally in the presence of God after death. It’s a place, a state, or an experience of supreme bliss. In the New Testament, the word Heaven is found 276 times. The Bible reveals that there are three heavens. The first heaven is directly above the earth (the sky, the clouds). The second heaven is outer space—the stars, planets, etc. The third heaven is the dwelling place of God. In John 14:1-3, Jesus told the disciples that His Father’s house had many rooms or mansions and that He was going to prepare a place for them to be with Him forever. Jesus promised the thief on the cross who asked Him to be remembered when He came into His Kingdom, “Today, will you be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) The promise of forgiveness of sin and eternal life in Heaven with Jesus, and of being reunited with loved ones who have passed on before us is a hope Christ-followers hold in their hearts with great anticipation. Heaven is a place we should talk, sing, and reflect on much more than we do. It’s our eternal destination.
Today marks my mom’s 4th birthday in Heaven and my uncle’s 1st. They were born on the same day three years apart. Here they are with my grandfather and aunt (who is now 96). My mom has on the striped dress. My uncle, one of the greatest Deacons ever known, passed away last December. He talked about Heaven all the time…like it was around the corner. It was kind of like Billy Graham who once said, “My home is heaven, I’m just traveling through this world.” I imagine them together in great celebration worshipping the Lord they both love. In Philippians 3:20, the Apostle Paul said, “...we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” My mom suffered many ailments: including cancer, diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. Both she and my uncle ended life with dementia—but not so in Heaven! Revelation 21:4 tells us God, “will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Amen and Amen.