Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From Here to Eternity


There is just something about the thought of heaven that stirs up the imagination. You don't have to believe in the claims of Christ to wonder what might actually await us on the other side of the curtain of death. As a child, I would fantasize about it. As an adult, I read the passages that describe heaven and images leap into my mind's eye.

Several years ago, God illuminated aspects of the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6) to me. One phrase got my attention, "your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. " Jesus was actually instructing people who were alive on earth to request from the 'Father' in heaven that His kingdom would come to earth and further, His will would actually be performed here. It would be carried out on earth in a similar way to how its carried out in heaven. Jesus was not and is not asking us to pray that God would pull the pin on earth but that there would be a manifestation of something eternal, something heavenly. What that said to me was God's plans reach down from heaven still. God's will is performed outside of heaven as it is performed within heaven. This did not quench my interest in heaven, rather is deepened it.

In the past 2 years I've read 3 books that speak to some aspects of this. The first book really whet my appetite for all things heavenly. Heaven is so Real is quite the book. The author is taken to heaven in a series of visions... I know, it has all the makings of a cult but I pressed on through. Other than a few escathological conclusions she comes to, I couldn't find anything that clearly contradicted scripture. If anything, it made my picture of heaven more vivid. I came away with a renewed sense of needing to get things done while I'm still here on earth. Seems like a good point to end a book on.

The next book to challenge me was Driven by Eternity. In the part of the book, John Bevere writes an allegory. He unfolds it in such a way that we consider what God will be looking for on that day of judgement; when life on earth as we know it comes to an end and we are left to give an account. He describes the response of different ones who are left stunned by God's judgement of them. Should I be taking my salvation for granted? ah... no! I left this book thinking, "Are the things that I give myself to on earth having any positive bearing on eternity?" This is always a great question to consider?

The final book When Heaven Invades Earth gives us some sense of what it means to take God seriously about inviting His will to be done on earth. The book begins by giving an account of a young couple who were planning their wedding. Both of them loved the Lord and had a desire to see needy people ministered to. On the day of their wedding, they sent out buses to the poor parts of the city to gather people for their marriage banquet. Before hand, they set up a gift registry at Target requesting only coats, hats, gloves and sleeping bags so they could give these out to the poor that would be coming. After the ceremony, the bride and groom went behind the table and began to serve all the guests. Plenty of opportunity was given for people to be ministered to. Not only were people fed that day but God chose to move, even healing some of terminal diseases... God's will was done on earth, just as it is in heaven. In this book Bill Johnson says, "This world is our assignment, but not our home. Our purpose is eternal. The resources needed to complete the assignment are unlimited. The only restrictions are those between our ears." Many of us don't even have an inkling of what "your will be done" might possibly mean. This book provides a great taste.

Its hard to give justice to these books in the space of this small post but they are a thought provoking, inspiring eternity trilogy.

4 comments:

D-Ann said...

At camp this summer we listened to 90 minutes in heaven on cd. It was an amazing story. If you haven't read it I would highly recommend it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ElnQUVkWsQ

TimW said...

I've seen the book but have not read it. It looks very interesting.

Jenny said...

These books sound interesting!!
Loved this post as I(and my children)have been discussing Heaven alot lately.
Can't wait for your next post!

Clover said...

*sighs*... i wish i could read these days. they sound good.