Tag Archives: heaven

The Same or Different?

28 Jun

IMG_3012Am I that different from the demons?

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:5-11.

The Beginning

God created everything and everyone – including Satan. Satan was glorious! His traditional name is Lucifer, meaning “light-bearer”. Satan rebelled against God and fell from heaven (Luke 10:18). His angels (demons) fell with him (Rev 12:9).

We are created beings (Gen 1:27). We fell from grace (Gen 3; Rom 3:23).

Both angels and humans were created by God, and both left His presence and were banished by God. Both wanted to be out from under God’s authority but found after disobedience to not only still be under His authority, but also be under His wrath (Matt 25:41).

The End

In Philippians 2 the words “should bow” are one Greek word: kampto – to bow or bend. The implication is not that they should bow, but that they will. Kampto means: “…the gesture of full inner submission in worship to the one before whom we bow the knee. Thus in Rom. 14:11 bowing the knee is linked with confession within the context of a judgment scene, and in Phil. 2:10 it again accompanies confession with reference to the worship of the exalted Kyrios [Christ] Jesus by the cosmos.”*

The little word and appears twice between beings in three locations: those “in heaven AND on earth AND under the earth.” The Greek word translated as and (kai) is “a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force.”** In other words, the addition of each group adds scope, breadth, and importance. The implication in mentioning every sphere in which beings dwell is that every one, without exception, will bow before Jesus, declaring Him Lord. (See also Rom 14:11 and Rev 5:13.)

Humans and fallen angels then, defined as created beings, will both worship Jesus.

The Same

Are there differences between humans and fallen angels? Certainly. Too many for this short post. However, the similarities are striking, and they are what have captured my mind lately– especially regarding worship. Another similarity of these two groups is that the eventual worship (kampto) of Jesus will not be forced. There are other Greek words Paul could have used in Philippians to describe obligatory homage. The picture here is that Jesus is so great – His name is so far above (Greek huper means far beyond and exceeding, not just the first or most important) every other name, we won’t be able to keep from bowing.

His presence will send us all to our knees.

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READY FOR SUNDAY

The questions for me are simple… and profound: will I choose to worship God, and will I allow His presence to send me to my knees.

If not, am I any different from the demons?

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*Kittel, G., Bromiley, G. W., & Friedrich, G. (Eds.). (1964–). Theological dictionary of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman
**Strong, J. (2001). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

So you want to go to heaven?

2 Nov

IMG_1828

Almost everyone will say he hopes to go to heaven when he dies.

Many people think heaven will be a place of pleasure and peace– and where they can do what they want. In this thread people hope for everything from a Jesus hug to sex with angels to playing baseball. Even some believers feel this way: “i will have plenty of time to do what i want to do when i get to Heaven, but right now, i am His servant, i do as He wants me to do.” ChristianChat

Translation: In heaven God will fulfill your deepest desires.

But think about what we know about heaven:

  • No more tears, crying, or pain – Rev 21:4 (Yes!)
  • No more night; God lights the place up – Rev 22:5 (No schedule or deadlines? Count me in!)
  • Lots of angels and the heavenly host (army) are there – 2 Chron 18:18 (Looking forward to seeing this!)
  • All will bow before Jesus and say that he is Lord – Phil 2:10-11 (Well, OK.)
  • Giving away everything we worked for – casting our crowns at his feet – Rev 4:10-11 (What?!? That’s hardly fair!)
  • Serving God all the time, day and night – Rev 7:15 (Um… no time for me?)
  • Full of saints (Christians) – 1 Cor 1:2; Dan 7:27 (Only annoying people?)
  • God’s will is all that will be done – Matt 6:10 (Seriously?)

Why would anyone who doesn’t follow Jesus want to go to a place like that?

Maybe the expectation that God will fulfill our deepest desires is true. The questions is, what is your heart’s desire?

To please yourself? Then you will probably be happier someplace else.

To please God? Then heaven will be the time of your life – or at least the fulfillment of it! Eternally and perfectly praising and serving God.

Complete bliss!

———-

READY FOR SUNDAY

Every time we gather together to worship God we participate in a shadow of what is to come in heaven! I don’t know if we’re practicing or anticipating (or both), but this world has nothing better to offer those (everyone!) who were created in God’s image and likeness.

While I know what happens in the spiritual and heavenly kingdom is not dependent on what I do or don’t do, there is a responsibility to lead well– to be right with God, worship him only, and as much as possible, get out of the way so God can speak and people can worship him. This can’t happen if the other six days of my week have been self-seeking and pleasure-driven.

There are many things in life that we can’t control. How we get to praise God is one of those. I have a friend whose wife is on her deathbed today. They didn’t choose their circumstances, and yet, they continue to worship God, even in this. When it all comes down to this, we get to choose very few things in this life. Whether we will praise Him, and with what attitude are two such choices. Jesus died for me, bought me back, and owns me for eternity. I will praise him with my whole heart now, tomorrow morning, and in heaven forever.

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The idea that people who don’t follow Jesus aren’t going to like heaven is from Pastor Steven Post’s 10-13-13 sermon entitled “On Earth as it is in Heaven” preached at the Grand Marais Mennonite Church.

The Flowers Fade

11 May

roses

Today I threw away a dozen roses.

Beautiful long-stemmed blossoms over two weeks old, now withered, with crispy-edged petals.

Fresh flowers come with sadness. Their sweet faces mask a longing that their beauty would not fade.

And yet, their fate is precisely what makes them so precious. They exist now. Their deep hues spew happiness– especially because they will not last.

Indigenous to our hearts this longing  yearns for flowers to last forever, for death to die. For hurts to be kissed away and for goodness to always prevail.

The wise C. S. Lewis captured this well in words: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

He, and I, believe the world for which we yearn is heaven.

Wrapped in the anguish of fading rose petals sit droplets of worship – that deep and unquenchable longing for what will last, for the One who will never fade or disappoint, for the One who fashioned our hearts for relationship.

More than we long for Him, incredibly, He longs for us.

Deep  calls to deep from beyond time into our eternity.

Come  to me.”

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Ready for Sunday

If I only knew how much He desires to meet with me I would spend my life in His arms, always worshiping. Draw me nearer, O my God.

 

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