Tag Archives: heaven

John MacArthur – Your Secure Inheritance

 

“To obtain an inheritance which is . . . reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5).

Your eternal inheritance is doubly secure: it is reserved for you, and you are reserved for it.

When Peter wrote his first epistle, attitudes toward Christians in the Roman Empire were not at all favorable. Because they would not worship the emperor as a god, or enter into other sinful pagan practices, Christians were looked upon with suspicion and disdain. In addition, Nero had blamed them for burning Rome (an act he himself perpetrated), so anger and hatred toward them was at its peak.

Peter wrote to encourage them—and all believers—to live out their faith amid persecution, just as Jesus had done when He suffered unjustly (cf. 1 Pet. 2:21-23). He reminded them that despite the sufferings they might endure in this life, God will reward them with an inheritance that is eternally secure because it is reserved in heaven for them.

“Reserved” in 1 Peter 1:4 indicates an inheritance that already exists, is presently protected, and will continually be protected. The place of its protection is heaven, where “neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matt. 6:20), and where “nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever [enter], but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). There is no safer place!

Not only is your inheritance protected for you, but also you are protected for it! That’s what Peter meant when he said that it is “reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5). The omnipotent, sovereign power of God will continually protect you until His work is fully accomplished in your life. Then He will grant you glorification: the fullness of the salvation for which He redeemed you.

You needn’t fear the loss of your inheritance. Instead, rejoice in the protection of our gracious God.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His protection and for the assurance of your inheritance.

For Further Study

What do these verses teach about the security of your salvation: Romans 8:31-39, Philippians 1:6, and Jude 24?

John MacArthur – Your Secure Inheritance

 

“To obtain an inheritance which is . . . reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5).

Your eternal inheritance is doubly secure: it is reserved for you, and you are reserved for it.

When Peter wrote his first epistle, attitudes toward Christians in the Roman Empire were not at all favorable. Because they would not worship the emperor as a god, or enter into other sinful pagan practices, Christians were looked upon with suspicion and disdain. In addition, Nero had blamed them for burning Rome (an act he himself perpetrated), so anger and hatred toward them was at its peak.

Peter wrote to encourage them—and all believers—to live out their faith amid persecution, just as Jesus had done when He suffered unjustly (cf. 1 Pet. 2:21-23). He reminded them that despite the sufferings they might endure in this life, God will reward them with an inheritance that is eternally secure because it is reserved in heaven for them.

“Reserved” in 1 Peter 1:4 indicates an inheritance that already exists, is presently protected, and will continually be protected. The place of its protection is heaven, where “neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matt. 6:20), and where “nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever [enter], but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). There is no safer place!

Not only is your inheritance protected for you, but also you are protected for it! That’s what Peter meant when he said that it is “reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5). The omnipotent, sovereign power of God will continually protect you until His work is fully accomplished in your life. Then He will grant you glorification: the fullness of the salvation for which He redeemed you.

You needn’t fear the loss of your inheritance. Instead, rejoice in the protection of our gracious God.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His protection and for the assurance of your inheritance.

For Further Study

What do these verses teach about the security of your salvation: Romans 8:31-39, Philippians 1:6, and Jude 24?

Night Light for Couples – The Afterlife

 

“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2

Our hope for the afterlife was once expressed to me (jcd) by my father. We were walking on a country road, talking about life and its meaning, when he made a comment that I will never forget. He said that when he was a young man, the possibility of a future heavenly existence was not a matter of great value to him. He had enjoyed his youth, and the thought of life beyond the grave was like a pearl that was crusted over with scales and grime. The beauty of the pearl was assumed, but not apparent or realized. But as he grew older and began to experience problems associated with aging, including a serious heart attack and assorted aches and pains, the beauty of the pearl of eternal life began to shine. It shone more and more brilliantly until it became the most prized of any of his possessions.

My father died shortly after that conversation. He has at last grasped the “pearl” of eternal life. Thankfully, that same blessed hope is available to all of God’s children, including you and me. And it is a hope that can bring grace and meaning to every word and activity in our marriage.

Just between us…

  • How do you picture heaven?
  • As the years pass, do you find yourself thinking more about eternity,

or less?

  • What is your greatest hope for the future?
  • Do we understand that the only “thing” we can take with us to heaven is other people and the Word of God? Do we live as though we believed that?

Father, we are so thankful that You have prepared a place for us in Your kingdom. Help us to make the most of our time in this life. May we do everything in our power to spread the good news of this eternal hope to those who don’t know You. Amen.

From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson

Alistair Begg – Exalted with Him

 

God exalted him. Acts 5:31

Jesus, our Lord, who once was crucified, dead, and buried, now sits upon the throne of glory. The highest place that heaven affords is His by undisputed right. It is vital and helpful to remember that the exaltation of Christ in heaven is a representative exaltation. He is exalted at the Father’s right hand, and though as Jehovah He had eminent glories, in which finite creatures cannot share, yet as the Mediator, the honors that Jesus wears in heaven are the heritage of all the saints.

It is delightful to think of how close Christ’s union is with His people. We are actually one with Him; we are members of His body; and His exaltation is our exaltation. He will allow us to sit upon His throne, even as He has overcome and is seated with His Father on His throne. He has a crown, and He gives us crowns too. He has a throne, but He is not content with having a throne to Himself; on His right hand there must be His queen, dressed in fine gold. He cannot be glorified without His bride.

Look up, believer, to Jesus now. Let the eye of your faith see Him with many crowns upon His head; and remember that one day you will be like Him, when you will see Him as He is. You shall not be as great as He is, you will not be as divine; but you will, in some measure, share the same honors and enjoy the same happiness and the same dignity that He possesses. Be content to live unknown for a little while and to walk your weary way through the fields of poverty or up the hills of affliction; for soon enough you will reign with Christ, for He has “made [us] a kingdom and priests to our God,” and we shall reign forever and ever.1

What a wonderful thought for the children of God! We have Christ for our glorious representative in heaven’s courts right now, and soon He will come and receive us to Himself, to be with Him there, to see His glory and to share His joy.

  1. Revelation 5:10

Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

C.S. Lewis – Today’s Reading – On heaven

 

But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.

From The Problem of Pain

John MacArthur – Cultivating a Heavenly Perspective

 

“God…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3, emphasis added).

Christians hold a dual citizenship. We are citizens of earth, but, more importantly, we are also citizens of Heaven.

It’s been said that some Christians are so heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good. But usually the opposite is true. Many Christians are so enamored with this present world that they no longer look forward to heaven. They have everything they want right here. The health, wealth, and prosperity doctrine has convinced them that Christians can have it all, and they pursue “the good life” with a vengeance.

Despite the prevalence of such thinking, the old Negro spiritual well says, “This world is not my home. I’m just a passin’ through.”

Paul reminds us of that truth in Philippians 3:20: “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s why we must set our minds on heavenly, not on earthly things (Col. 3:1- 2). Our deepest affections and highest aspirations should center there. Our actions and decisions should reflect heavenly priorities, not earthly indulgences.

Even though we live in a sin-stained world and must constantly fight against its corrupting influences, God hasn’t left us stranded. He extends to us all the rights and privileges of our heavenly citizenship. Let that assurance encourage you today to live to His glory and rely on His heavenly provisions. Take care not to let impure aspirations or trivial pursuits distract you from your heavenly priorities.

Suggestions for Prayer

Tell Jesus how thankful and full of praise you are because of the place He is preparing for you in heaven (John 14:1-3).

Pray for a greater awareness of the fleeting value of this world and the surpassing value of the world to come (1 John 2:17).

For Further Study

Read Revelation 4-5, 21.

What primary activity are the inhabitants of heaven engaged in?

List some of heaven’s blessings.

Max Lucado – Imagine a Perfect World

 

Try this. Imagine a perfect world. Whatever that means to you. Imagine it. Does that mean peace? Then envision absolute tranquility. Does a perfect world imply joy? Then create your highest happiness. Will a perfect world have love? Ponder a place where love has no bounds. Whatever heaven means to you, imagine it. Get it firmly fixed in your mind. Delight in it. Dream about it. Long for it.

And then smile as the Father reminds you from the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” No one… no one has come close. Think of all the songs about heaven; all the artists’ portrayals; all the lessons preached; poems written; and chapters drafted. When it comes to describing heaven, we are all happy failures!

From The Lucado Inspirational Reader

Charles Spurgeon – Heaven

 

“The things which God hath prepared for them that love him. ” 1 Corinthians 2:9

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 26:26-29

One of the places where you may most of all expect to see heaven is at the Lord’s table. There are some of you, my dearly beloved, who absent yourselves from the supper of the Lord on earth; let me tell you in God’s name, that you are not only sinning against God, but robbing yourselves of a most inestimable privilege. If there is one season in which the soul gets into closer communion with Christ than another, it is at the Lord’s table. How often have we sung there:

“Can I Gethsemane forget? Remember thee and all thy pains,

Or there thy conflicts see, And all thy love to me,

Thine agony and bloody sweat, Yes, while a pulse, or breath remains,

And not remember thee? I will remember thee.”

And then you see what an easy transition it is to heaven:

“And when these failing lips grow dumb,

And thought and memory flee;

When thou shalt in thy kingdom come,

Jesus, remember me.”

O my erring brethren, you who live on, unbaptised, and who receive not this sacred supper, I tell you they will not save you—most assuredly they will not, and if you are not saved before you receive them they will be an injury to you; but if you are the Lord’s people, why need you stay away? I tell you, the Lord’s table is so high a place that you can see heaven from it very often. You get so near the cross there, you breathe so near the cross, that your sight becomes clearer, and the air brighter, and you can see more of heaven there than anywhere else. Christian, do not neglect the supper of your Lord; for if you do, he will hide heaven from you, in a measure.

For meditation: When you come to the Lord’s Table, do you look forward to the future in anticipation as well as to the past in gratitude (1 Corinthians 11:26)?

Sermon no. 56

16 December (1855)

Alistair Begg – Near the Throne

Alistair Begg

Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments.  Revelation 4:4

These representatives of the saints in heaven are said to be “around the throne.” In the passage in Solomon’s Song where he sings of the King sitting at his table, some render it “a round table.” From this, some expositors—I think, without straining the text—have said, “There is an equality among the saints.” That idea is conveyed by the equal nearness of the twenty-four elders.

The condition of glorified spirits in heaven is that of nearness to Christ, clear vision of His glory, constant access to His court, and familiar fellowship with His person. There is no difference in this respect between one saint and another, but all the people of God—apostles, martyrs, ministers, or private and obscure Christians—will all be seated near the throne, where they shall have a perfect view of their exalted Lord and be satisfied with His love. They will all be near Christ, all satisfied with His love, all eating and drinking at the same table with Him, all equally loved as His favorites and friends even if not all equally rewarded as His servants.

Believers on earth should imitate the saints in heaven in their nearness to Christ. We should be like the elders in heaven, sitting around the throne. Christ should be the object of our thoughts and the center of our lives. How can we endure to live at such a distance from Him? Lord Jesus, draw us nearer to Yourself. Say to us, “Abide in Me, and I in you”; and let us sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

O lift me higher, nearer Thee,

And as I rise more pure and fit,

O let my soul’s humility

Make me lie lower at Thy feet;

Less trusting self, the more I prove

The blessed comfort of Thy love.

________________________________________

The family reading plan for September 9, 2014 * Ezekiel 12 * Psalm 51

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Devotional material is taken from “Morning and Evening,” written by C.H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.

Greg Laurie – Beyond These Shadowlands     

greglaurie

These priests provide only a hint of what goes on in the true sanctuary of heaven, which Moses caught a glimpse of as he was about to set up the tent-shrine. It was then that God said, “Be careful to do it exactly as you saw it on the Mountain.” —Hebrews 8:5

So often we tend to think of heaven as surreal and earth as real. In other words, our point of reference is earth. This is earth. This is real. And heaven? Well, who knows?

In truth, it’s the opposite! Heaven is what is real, earth is what is temporary. That is why C. S. Lewis described life on earth as “the shadowlands.” Earth is only a pale version of heaven, not the other way around.

God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle like the one in heaven. And in Hebrews 8:5, we read that the priests in New Testament days served in a place of worship that was only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. In fact, as Moses prepared to build the tabernacle, God gave him this warning. He said, “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain” (Hebrews 8:5, NLT).

God wanted to make it clear to Moses that the original was in heaven and the copy was on the earth. To quote C. S. Lewis again, “The hills and valleys of Heaven will be to those you now experience not as a copy is to an original, nor as the substitute is to the genuine article, but as the flower to the root, or the diamond to the coal.”

As earthbound human beings, we tend to start with earth and reason up toward heaven. What we ought to do is start with heaven and reason down toward earth. Heaven is the real deal, the eternal dwelling place. Earth is the copy, the temporary dwelling place.

When you see that sunset or that panoramic view of God’s finest expressed in nature, and the beauty just takes your breath away, remember it is just a glimpse of the real thing that awaits you in heaven.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

 

Greg Laurie – Heaven Is a Literal Place     

greglaurie

Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. —John 14:1–3

Heaven is an actual place.

It isn’t an “idea” or a “state of mind”; it’s a location, like Miami or Chicago or Paris. We often think of heaven in sort of a mystical way, and our minds gravitate toward the Hollywood version, where people in filmy white robes float around on clouds with little halos over their heads, strumming harps.

How boring! That is certainly not the heaven of the Bible. The Bible uses a number of words to describe heaven. One word it uses is paradise. In the Gospels, we’re told that Jesus was crucified between two thieves. When one of those thieves, in the last moments of life, put His faith in Jesus, he said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). And Jesus replied, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (verse 43).

Heaven is also compared to a city. In Hebrews 11:10, we’re told that this city’s architect and builder is God Himself. And then Hebrews 13:14 says, “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (NIV).

Now, we know that cities have buildings, culture, art, music, parks, goods and services, and events. Will heaven have all of these things? We don’t know. But we can certainly conclude that heaven will in no sense be less than what we experience here on earth—with the exception of all things harmful or evil.

Heaven is also described as a country. Hebrews 11:16 says, “They desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.”

Heaven is a paradise, a city, a country . . . and so much more that we can’t begin to wrap our finite minds around it. But one thing I do know: Jesus is expecting me, and He’s prepared a place for me. What more could I ask for?

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Greg Laurie – Homing Instinct   

greglaurie

We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. —Philippians 3:20

An old chorus begins, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.” That is literally true. The Bible says that when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you become a citizen of heaven because that is your real home.

That is why we find ourselves with a deep-down longing for something this earth can never deliver. And that is also why we always will be a bit out of tune with this world and all it celebrates. Have you noticed? Sometimes the world will parade its toys and its so-called pleasures before you, and you’ll find yourself saying, deep down in your spirit, “That just leaves me cold. That is not what I desire. That is not what I want at all.” As followers of Jesus, we’ve tasted much, much better things than these.

  1. S. Lewis described this longing with these words: “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.” He went on to say of heaven, “It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want.”

I liken it to a homing instinct that God has placed inside some of His creatures. We all know that some animals have a mysterious ability to migrate or travel great distances to very specific locations. It’s like a natural GPS system that God has placed inside them.

One of these days we’ll be going home too — home to a place we’ve never been. Heaven is more real to me than it has ever been because of those who are already there. My son Christopher is there, as is my mom, and the father who adopted me. Friends I have known through the years are on the other side now, and so are many familiar faces from our church.

Don’t get me wrong: There is much wonder, beauty, joy, and fulfillment in this life God has given us on earth. But what makes all these things even better is the sure knowledge that the best is yet to come.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Greg Laurie – Life in Two Dimensions

greglaurie
He raised us from the dead along with Christ, and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. —Ephesians 2:6
A Christian is someone who lives in two dimensions. The apostle Paul explained it this way: “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth” (Colossians 3:1-2, NLT).
These verses are saying that believers truly do live in a spiritual dimension — where we walk in the Spirit and know God in the Spirit. Yet as human beings, we also live and move in physical bodies here on earth. Our challenge as Christians, then, is to transfer what we have in the spiritual realm into the day-to-day ebb and flow of events in the earthly realm.
When I travel to another country and pass through its borders, I still maintain my U.S. citizenship. When I went to Israel a few years ago, although I had my passport that indicated I am an American, I had to live in their culture. As a result, there were a few things I needed to adapt to. When I needed currency, for example, I took funds from my bank in the U.S. and converted them into shekels to use in Israel. Of course, I didn’t know what the exchange rate was, so on my first day there, I may have tipped someone fifty dollars to carry my bags to my room. (He was really nice to me the rest of the day.)
As Christians, we have riches, treasures, real assets waiting for us in heaven. When the Bible speaks of the heavenlies, however, we need to recognize that it is not only talking about something waiting for us in heaven after we die. It is also talking about the supernatural realm. So before we can effectively walk as believers, much less engage in spiritual battle, we need to learn about the supernatural resources God has given to us. We also need to understand they are treasures God wants us to start tapping into in the here and now, as well as in the by and by. They are provisions available to any believer who is walking with God.

Greg Laurie – There Is More  

greglaurie

To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. —Philippians 1:21

The apostle Paul wrote those words from a dungeon in Rome, facing imminent execution, and Christians through the centuries have repeated them. But not everyone will love those words. Some will think a person who says, “To live is Christ” is nuts. They’ll think, This is a guy who’s got his head in the clouds. Or maybe, This is a woman who’s so heavenly minded, she’s no earthly good.

But that is not true. Far from it! Those who think of the next world do the most for this one. My concern is for people who are so earthly minded, they’re no heavenly good!

The apostle Paul loved life. And the simple fact is, no one loves life more than the Christian. We can enjoy it because we know it comes to us from the hand of a loving God. That beautiful sunset. . . that’s the signature of my Father who happens to be the Creator of all. That wonderful meal. . . the joy of love and marriage. . . the comfort of family and friends. . . the satisfaction of a hard day’s work. All of these are beautiful gifts from the hand of our Father.

But as blessed as we may be in this life, there is more — more than what we are experiencing on this earth. All the great things we do experience in the here and now are just hints of heaven, hints of something better that will come for the man or the woman who has put faith in Jesus Christ.

  1. S. Lewis made this statement: “All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been but hints of [heaven] — tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear.”6 He went on to say, “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.”

There is another place, another time, another life. And life on earth, be it nine years or ninety years, is a nanosecond compared to eternity. Even so, it is here on this earth where we will decide where we will spend eternity. Trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is the only key that will open the doors of heaven to us after we leave this life.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

John MacArthur – Your Secure Inheritance

John MacArthur

“To obtain an inheritance which is . . . reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5).

When Peter wrote his first epistle, attitudes toward Christians in the Roman Empire were not at all favorable. Because they would not worship the emperor as a god, or enter into other sinful pagan practices, Christians were looked upon with suspicion and disdain. In addition, Nero had blamed them for burning Rome (an act he himself perpetrated), so anger and hatred toward them was at its peak.

Peter wrote to encourage them—and all believers—to live out their faith amid persecution, just as Jesus had done when He suffered unjustly (cf. 1 Pet. 2:21-23). He reminded them that despite the sufferings they might endure in this life, God will reward them with an inheritance that is eternally secure because it is reserved in heaven for them.

“Reserved” in 1 Peter 1:4 indicates an inheritance that already exists, is presently protected, and will continually be protected. The place of its protection is heaven, where “neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matt. 6:20), and where “nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever [enter], but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27). There is no safer place!

Not only is your inheritance protected for you, but also you are protected for it! That’s what Peter meant when he said that it is “reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5). The omnipotent, sovereign power of God will continually protect you until His work is fully accomplished in your life. Then He will grant you glorification: the fullness of the salvation for which He redeemed you.

You needn’t fear the loss of your inheritance. Instead, rejoice in the protection of our gracious God.

Suggestions for Prayer:  Thank God for His protection and for the assurance of your inheritance.

For Further Study: What do these verses teach about the security of your salvation: Romans 8:31-39, Philippians 1:6, and Jude 24?

Our Daily Bread — We’re Safe

Our Daily Bread

1 Peter 1:3-5

[God] has begotten us . . . to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you. —1 Peter 1:3-4

The United States Bullion Depository in Fort Knox, Kentucky, is a fortified building that stores 5,000 tons of gold bullion and other precious items entrusted to the federal government. Fort Knox is protected by a 22-ton door and layers of physical security: alarms, video cameras, minefields, barbed razor wire, electric fences, armed guards, and unmarked Apache helicopters. Based on the level of security, Fort Knox is considered one of the safest places on earth.

As safe as Fort Knox is, there’s another place that’s safer, and it’s filled with something more precious than gold: Heaven holds our gift of eternal life. The apostle Peter encouraged believers in Christ to praise God because we have “a living hope”—a confident expectation that grows and gains strength the more we learn about Jesus (1 Peter 1:3). And our hope is based on the resurrected Christ. His gift of eternal life will never come to ruin as a result of hostile forces. It will never lose its glory or freshness, because God has been keeping and will continue to keep it safe in heaven. No matter what harm may come to us in our life on earth, God is guarding our souls. Our inheritance is safe.

Like a safe within a safe, our salvation is protected by God and we’re secure. —Marvin Williams

For Further Thought

What about your salvation brings you the greatest joy?

How does it make you feel knowing that

your salvation is kept safe with God?

An inheritance in heaven is the safest possible place.

Bible in a year: Ezra 6-8; John 21

Insight

Peter begins his first letter with a complex greeting. After addressing God’s “elect” who are strangers in the world and scattered throughout different areas (v.1), Peter uses the struggles of this life to highlight the glory and security of heaven. He speaks of the permanence of their home and inheritance in heaven—it is “kept” (v.5) and can never spoil or “fade” (v.4). Peter reminds them that they are shielded by God’s own power. He reiterates the confidence Jesus gave His followers in John 10:27-29: Those who belong to God, the elect, are held safe and secure in His hand.

John MacArthur – Cultivating a Heavenly Perspective

John MacArthur

“God…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3, emphasis added).

It’s been said that some Christians are so heavenly minded, they’re no earthly good. But usually the opposite is true. Many Christians are so enamored with this present world that they no longer look forward to heaven. They have everything they want right here. The health, wealth, and prosperity doctrine has convinced them that Christians can have it all, and they pursue “the good life” with a vengeance.

Despite the prevalence of such thinking, the old Negro spiritual well says, “This world is not my home. I’m just a passin’ through.”

Paul reminds us of that truth in Philippians 3:20: “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s why we must set our minds on heavenly, not on earthly things (Col. 3:1- 2). Our deepest affections and highest aspirations should center there. Our actions and decisions should reflect heavenly priorities, not earthly indulgences.

Even though we live in a sin-stained world and must constantly fight against its corrupting influences, God hasn’t left us stranded. He extends to us all the rights and privileges of our heavenly citizenship. Let that assurance encourage you today to live to His glory and rely on His heavenly provisions. Take care not to let impure aspirations or trivial pursuits distract you from your heavenly priorities.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Tell Jesus how thankful and full of praise you are because of the place He is preparing for you in heaven (John 14:1-3).

Pray for a greater awareness of the fleeting value of this world and the surpassing value of the world to come (1 John 2:17).

For Further Study:

Read Revelation 4-5, 21

What primary activity are the inhabitants of heaven engaged in?

List some of heaven’s blessings.

 

 

Charles Spurgeon – Heaven

CharlesSpurgeon

“The things which God hath prepared for them that love him. ” 1 Corinthians 2:9

Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 26:26-29

One of the places where you may most of all expect to see heaven is at the Lord’s table. There are some of you, my dearly beloved, who absent yourselves from the supper of the Lord on earth; let me tell you in God’s name, that you are not only sinning against God, but robbing yourselves of a most inestimable privilege. If there is one season in which the soul gets into closer communion with Christ than another, it is at the Lord’s table. How often have we sung there:

“Can I Gethsemane forget? Remember thee and all thy pains,

Or there thy conflicts see, And all thy love to me,

Thine agony and bloody sweat, Yes, while a pulse, or breath remains,

And not remember thee? I will remember thee.”

And then you see what an easy transition it is to heaven:

“And when these failing lips grow dumb,

And thought and memory flee;

When thou shalt in thy kingdom come,

Jesus, remember me.”

O my erring brethren, you who live on, unbaptised, and who receive not this sacred supper, I tell you they will not save you—most assuredly they will not, and if you are not saved before you receive them they will be an injury to you; but if you are the Lord’s people, why need you stay away? I tell you, the Lord’s table is so high a place that you can see heaven from it very often. You get so near the cross there, you breathe so near the cross, that your sight becomes clearer, and the air brighter, and you can see more of heaven there than anywhere else. Christian, do not neglect the supper of your Lord; for if you do, he will hide heaven from you, in a measure.

For meditation: When you come to the Lord’s Table, do you look forward to the future in anticipation as well as to the past in gratitude (1 Corinthians 11:26)?

Sermon no. 56

16 December (1855)

 

Greg Laurie – Finally in Focus

greglaurie

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. —Hebrews 13:14

Think back on the best moments of your life so far—those times with your loved ones or that gorgeous sunset or that precious thing your child said to you. These are just glimpses of what is to come.

That is why C. S. Lewis described earth as “the shadowlands.” You see, we tend to think of heaven as something surreal, while earth is real. But heaven isn’t a lame version of earth. Earth—the best moments of it, at least—is an incomplete version of heaven. Earth is like a copy of heaven, not the other way around.

Referring to the priests who would offer sacrifices according to the Law, Hebrews 8:5 says, “They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: ‘Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.’ ”

Our problem is that we start with earth and reason up toward heaven when we ought to instead start with heaven and reason down toward earth. This little span of time on earth is what the Bible describes as a “vapor” or “a morning fog” (see James 4:14) or a story that already has been told. Life isn’t just a date of birth to a date of death. Life goes on. God’s plans toward you are good, and the ultimate plan is heaven. When you get there, everything will come into focus for you. When you get to the other side, you will see things clearly.

God knows where you are at this very moment, and God has a future for you. And it is going to be beyond your wildest dreams.

Alistair Begg – He Loves to Hear

Alistair Begg

Behold, he is praying.

Acts 9:11

Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray, the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed but praying soul. When our hearts are broken and we bow in prayer, we are often only able to employ the language of sighs and tears; still our groaning has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music.

That tear has been caught by God and treasured in the receptacle of heaven. “Put my tears in your bottle”1 implies that they are caught as they flow. The petitioner, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High. He may only look up with misty eye; but “prayer is the falling of a tear.”

Tears are the diamonds of heaven; sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court and are numbered with “the sublimest strains that reach the majesty on high.” Do not think that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded.

Jacob’s ladder is lofty, but our prayers shall lean upon the Angel of the covenant and so climb its starry rounds.

Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it.

He does not forget the cry of the humble. True, He does not regard high looks and lofty words; He does not care for the pomp and pageantry of kings; He does not listen to the drums of war; He does not regard the triumph and pride of man.

But wherever there is a heart enlarged with sorrow or a lip quivering with agony or a deep groan or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open.

He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when at last the volume is opened, there will be a precious fragrance springing from it.

Faith asks no signal from the skies,

To show that prayers accepted rise.

Our Priest is in His holy place,

And answers from the throne of grace.

1 Psalm 56:8