The ‘Trip’ of a Lifetime [v133]

MARCH 2010

THE ‘TRIP’ OF A LIFETIME
Last month I discussed my reservations with the ‘human-caused’ global warming ‘hysteria’, but I must admit I do like warmer weather than cold—like most people—and that, at least in here in Michigan in the ‘dead’ of winter, many people make reservations for a trip to a warmer ‘clime’.

With the advent of the Internet, we can make these reservations ourselves—without the need for a “travel agency.” In other words, when it comes to travel these days, there are an almost infinite number of ways to reach one’s destination—and it’s completely up to you.

Unfortunately, that same mentality has ‘infected’ the thinking of people about another ‘warm place’—hell—and its ‘counterpart’, Heaven.

Many people today believe that a “good god” would not send anyone to hell, and that all of humanity is headed for the same glorious ‘destination’ in the afterlife—heaven—and that there are many ‘roads’ that will take them there.

What ‘roads’ am I talking about? Well, first, there are ”ways’ set forth by the world religions—some say there’s a specific ‘place’; some say you will be reincarnated, and others say you will be ‘absorbed’ into the universe (which is god).

Then there are non-religious views that believe that their ‘good works’ and acts of kindness will get them to heaven. Others believe that faithful attendance at a house of worship will ensure their eternal life. Still others believe that, since we are created in the ‘image’ of God, there is no way He would exclude anyone from eternal life with Him. Finally, a few take a ‘fatalistic’ approach—“whatever will be, will be”—if there is a heaven, they’ll make it, and if there isn’t, they won’t.

This is why I’ve used the modern Internet-based travel industry metaphor to talk about the spiritual ‘travel plans’ many have today—they’re in charge; they make their own plans; book their own ‘flight’; choose their own ‘route’; and arrive at their heavenly ‘destination’ on their own terms.

The thing is, I believe there is very little ‘solid basis’ for their beliefs—it’s just ‘hopeful’ thoughts that everything will ‘pan out’ in the end. It might just be me, but I need much more ‘assurance’ about where I will be going after my ‘sojourn’ here on earth.

So, at least for me (after over 10 years of ‘intense’ study during the 90’s), I came to believe that the Bible is the “truth” that God wants us to live by.

[ Note: An acronym might help here, “M.A.P.S.” Manuscripts: The Bible has stronger manuscript support than any other ancient literature by a huge margin; Archaeology: There has never been any evidence unearthed that has controverted anything the Bible says; Prophecy: Hundreds of predictive prophecy have become true, some many centuries after being predicted—and none have been false; Statistics: Written over a space of 1,600 years, by 40 authors, in 3 languages, on hundreds of subjects, and there is one consistent non-contradictory theme throughout. Here’s a celebrated theologian’s ‘list’, that he wrote back in 1898 (R. A. Torrey):
http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/dasc/TRWIBB.HTM ].

There are some things that the Bible says that are a little hard to understand (especially the Book of Revelation), but most of it is very clear when we read it an a ‘plain and normal sense’—like we would a daily newspaper (Most of it was originally written in Koinonia Greek, the very simple and direct language used by the ‘peasants’ in the first century).

In this very ‘pluralistic’ culture today, the words of Jesus are very ‘politically incorrect’—but, are they true? One of the very ‘clear’ teachings of Jesus, said many times in different ways, is viewed as very narrow, intolerant, rude, and unacceptable to people who are used to setting their own ‘terms’ for their life—and their afterlife. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” [John 14:6].

Whoa…pretty direct, very specific, and really ‘narrow’! But this is the ‘testimony’ of the entire Bible—there is ONLY ONE WAY to get ‘access’ into Heaven—that is, by saying “yes” to God’s free ‘gift’ of eternal life by putting our faith in what Jesus did for all of us on the cross—in which He ‘relieved’ us from the punishment—death—for our sins.

As I mentioned, the Bible teaches this ‘narrowness’ in other ways and in other places, too. Jesus also said that He was “the door,” and “If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” [John 10:9]. The apostle Paul clearly explained that it is through Jesus Christ that we have “access by faith into this grace in which we stand” [Romans 5:2]. He also said that just as sin entered the world through one man, Adam, so “through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” [Romans 5:18-19].

The Bible DOES NOT teach that there are many ‘roads’ to get to Heaven, but that there is only one ‘way’—Jesus.

The question is then, whether you believe what the Bible says about this, or are you willing to submit to your own desire to ‘plan’ your own trip, and go your own way.

When making vacation plans via the Internet—to go to a warmer ‘clime’ to relax and be refreshed—nothing happens until you click the “purchase” button on the web page. Surfing travel sites for hours will not ‘confirm’ your reservation. The travel sites present you information, but it’s up to you to make the reservation. Showing up at the airport without having confirmed your flight, most of the time will mean that you WILL NOT ARRIVE at your desired destination!

The same is true for your desire to get to Heaven—you must CONFIRM YOUR RESERVATION by accepting Jesus as your Savior. He’s the ONLY WAY to get to Heaven! He has “purchased” your ‘ticket’, and wants to GIVE IT to you!

[Excerpts from: David Jeremiah; Randy Alcorn; Billy Graham; Mart De Haan]

[P.S.: If you would like to investigate further about what the Bible has to say about HEAVEN, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q9_d1_1of10.html

RESOURCES:
“Discover Paradise: A Guidebook to Heaven, Your True Home!” [Book]
by Dr. David Jeremiah
http://www.davidjeremiah.org/shop/donate.aspx?premium=dphbk

“Heaven” [Book]
Randy Alcorn
http://books.google.com/books?id=sxoM9JdrEqIC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s – v=onepage&q=&f=false

“Heaven” [Video]
Day of Discovery
Discussion by authors Joni Erickson Tada, Randy Alcorn, and Dr. Erwin Lutzer
http://www.dod.org/Products/DOD1885.aspx

“Our Eternal Home” [Free PDF booklet]
RBC Discovery Series
http://www.rbc.org/bible-study/discovery-series/bookletDetail.aspx?id=48240

Blessings…

Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v133) for MARCH 2010

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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HEAVEN ‘QUIZ’
Here’s a “quiz” that Dr. David Jeremiah put together revealing some the mysteries of heaven (answers at the end of the newsletter):

1. How many levels of heaven are described in the Bible?

2. Where is the exact location of heaven?

3. Does a man’s earthly status as far as possessions or wealth affect his eternal resting place?

4. Is there such a thing as an intermediate hell and heaven?

5. What if our earthly bodies are destroyed? What will our body be like in heaven?

6. Will we be identifiable in heaven? Will our friends and loved ones know us?

7. Is the Judgment Seat of Christ a final exam for heaven?

8. Is the New Jerusalem heaven?

9. Has anyone ever been given a glimpse of heaven?

10. Will there be seas in the New Heaven and New Earth?

11. What will be missing from the earth during the millennium?

12. Is there a specific age of accountability for children in the Bible?

[Dr. David Jeremiah]

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HEAVEN’S COMING ‘ATTRACTIONS’
– It will be HUGE: A ‘cube’ 1,400 miles x 1,400 miles x 1,400 miles high [It would cover about 2/3 of the land area of the US, and would be 1,400 miles high (the shuttle orbits at 200 miles above the earth)]. Don’t gloss over the size of this! (If each ‘level’ of this cube was 1 mile high, each person would have almost a 1/2 mile square area, one mile high!)

[FYI: If each person in the world right now (6.7 Billion) were given a 12′ x 12′ area (a ‘normal’ sized bedroom), everyone could fit in the LOWER PENINSULA of Michigan! (Or, all could stand next to each other in Oakland County, Michigan!!!)]. [Ed. In addition to there not being any “global warming,” there is also no “over population” either!].

– It is BRILLIANT: It’s called the “City of Light” because God will ‘illuminate’ it and there will be no night (Ed. people in Alaska will have a ‘jump’ on us with this).

– It will be BEAUTIFUL: Twelve ‘gates’, four on each side with an angels at each, will be made of a different kind of precious jewel—sapphires, emeralds, and the like.

– It will be AWE INSPIRING: The city and its streets are made of pure gold—that is transparent (Ed. I’ve read that ALL the gold that has ever been mined in the world would fit into a cube 60 feet on a side!).

– It will have a TREE/RIVER OF LIFE: Flowing down the central ‘street’ of the city will be a “river of life, clear as crystal,” and one each side there will be the “tree of life” that bears monthly yields of different fruit (Ed. probably beyond anything we’ve ever tasted here on earth).

– It will have ‘REUNIONS’: We will be able to experience, forever, the family members and friends that also accepted the free ‘gift’ offered by Jesus, and be able to have a ‘relationship’ with many of those we have read about in the Bible!

[Dr. David Jeremiah]

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ANOTHER WORLD

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

[C. S. Lewis]

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HEAVEN OR HELL BY CHOICE
“The Lord isn’t going to send people to heaven or hell, He’s going to take away their inhibitions, and everybody’s going to go where he belongs.”

[Edward F. Prichard]

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HEAVEN AND SERVICE
“It won’t come hard to people who are serving God down here to do it when they go to Heaven. They will change places, but they won’t change employment.”

[D.  L. Moody]

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WORRYING ABOUT HEAVEN
“If there were no Hell, no one would worry about Heaven.”

[Welsh Proverb]

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HEADSTONE INSCRIPTION
In a cemetery in England:

“Remember man, as you walk by,
as you are now, so once was I;
As I am now, so shall you be,
remember this and follow me.”

To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone: 


“To follow you I’ll not consent,
until I know which way you went.”


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THE HOUND OF HEAVEN
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
“All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.”

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement, curtained red,
Trellised with intertwining charities;
(For, though I knew His love Who followèd,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have naught beside.)
But, if one little casement parted wide,
The gust of His approach would clash it to:
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist to pursue.
Across the margent of the world I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways of the stars,
Smiting for shelter on their clangèd bars:
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports o’ the moon.
I said to Dawn: Be sudden—to Eve: Be soon;
With thy young skiey blossoms heap me over
From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me, lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of every wind.
But whether they swept, smoothly fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot ’thwart a heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round the spurn o’ their feet:—
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbéd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following Feet,
And a Voice above their beat—
“Naught shelters thee, who wilt not shelter Me.”

I sought no more that after which I strayed
In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s eyes
Seems something, something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for me!
I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew sudden fair
With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me by the hair.
“Come then, ye other children, Nature’s—share
With me” (said I) “your delicate fellowship;
Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine you with caresses,
Wantoning
With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant tresses,
Banqueting
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured dais,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the dayspring.”
So it was done:
I in their delicate fellowship was one—
Drew the bolt of Nature’s secrecies.
I knew all the swift importings
On the wilful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spuméd of the wild sea-snortings;
All that’s born or dies
Rose and drooped with; made them shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or divine;
With them joyed and was bereaven.
I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day’s dead sanctities.
I laughed in the morning’s eyes.
I triumphed and I saddened with all weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;
Against the red throb of its sunset-heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased my human smart.
In vain my tears were wet on Heaven’s grey cheek.
For ah! we know not what each other says,
These things and I; in sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir, they speak by silences.
Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake my drouth;
Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky, and show me
The breasts o’ her tenderness:
Never did any milk of hers once bless
My thirsting mouth.
Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
With unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
And past those noised Feet
A voice comes yet more fleet—
“Lo! naught contents thee, who content’st not Me.”

Naked I wait Thy love’s uplifted stroke!
My harness piece by piece Thou hast hewn from me,
And smitten me to my knee;
I am defenceless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young powers,
I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me; grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o’ the mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead beneath the heap.
My days have crackled and gone up in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-starts on a stream.
Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the lutanist.
Even the linked fantasies, in whose blossomy twist
I swung the earth a trinket at my wrist,
Are yielding; cords of all too weak account
For earth with heavy griefs so overplussed.
Ah! is Thy love indeed
A weed, albeit an amaranthine weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own to mount?
Ah! must—
Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere Thou can’st limn with it?
My freshness spent its wavering shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate, spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my mind.
Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste the rind?
I dimly guess what Time in mists confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle, then
Round the half-glimpséd turrets slowly wash again.
But not ere him who summoneth
I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal, cypress-crowned;
His name I know, and what his trumpet saith.
Whether man’s heart or life it be which yields
Thee harvest, must Thy harvest-fields
Be dunged with rotten death?

Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
“And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!
Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
Seeing none but I makes much of naught” (He said),
“And human love needs human meriting:
How hast thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest clot?
Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me?
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”
Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?
“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!
Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”

[Francis Thompson – 1893]

Quick Interpretation of “The Hound of Heaven” poem:
http://bible.org/article/hound-heaven

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DEEP THOUGHT:

“Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth you will get neither.”

[C. S. Lewis]

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ANSWERS TO THE HEAVEN ‘QUIZ’:

1. How many levels of heaven are described in the Bible?
A: The Bible speaks of “three Heavens.”

2. Where is the exact location of heaven?
A: We do not know precisely, but we know that it is “up.”

3. Does a man’s earthly status as far as possessions or wealth affect his eternal resting place?
A: Only our status before God determines our eternal resting place.

4. Is there such a thing as an intermediate hell and heaven?
A: When an unbeliever dies, his body goes in the grave and his spirit and soul go to hades. When an believer dies, he goes into the presence of God in a ‘blink of an eye’.

5. What if our earthly bodies are destroyed? What will our body be like in heaven?
A: Our bodies will become spiritual bodies, but will still have a body like Jesus’ resurrected body, but our body will no longer controlled by the flesh, but by the spirit.

6. Will we be identifiable in heaven? Will our friends and loved ones know us?
A: We will be recognizable in heaven, just as Christ was identifiable to his disciples when He returned to earth after His resurrection

7. Is the Judgment Seat of Christ a final exam for heaven?
A: While the Judgment Seat of Christ does evaluate our works, it is not an “entrance exam” for heaven

8. Is the New Jerusalem heaven?
A: The New Jerusalem is a city within heaven—a cube approximately 1,400 miles in length, height, and breadth, which would make it larger than the country of India.

9. Has anyone ever been given a glimpse of heaven?
A: The Bible tells us that John was given a vision of heaven

10. Will there be seas in the New Heaven and New Earth?
A: I the New Earth there will be no seas—just a fresh water “river” flowing from the throne of God in the New Jerusalem.

11. What will be missing from the earth during the millennium?
A: During the millennium there will be no war—it will be a time of previously unknown joy, purity, and peace.

12. Is there a specific age of accountability for children in the Bible?
A: There is no specific age mentioned in the Bible when a child would have an “understanding of the message” of the Gospel.

For an even more expanded explanation, visit this link:
http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/heaven_answers1.aspx

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with!  Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven.” [Matthew 7:21].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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