We have an incredible description of heaven by John when we read Revelation 21:9- 22:5. The language is symbolic but we can still get an idea of what heaven is like. Heaven is a big place, figuratively fifteen hundred miles in each direction.

We are told heaven is a beautiful place Revelation 21:9-27. When John tries to describe the most beautiful place which consists of nothing of earth, he had to describe it in terms that we understand. He uses precious gems and streets of gold. There is no greater beauty than that which exists in heaven. We see terms like crystal-clear jasper, all kinds of precious stones and street that are made of gold. This is a prepared place for all the saints of God. It is a wonderful place where our God dwells. The songs that we sing say “Oh I Want to be There and Look Upon His Face,” and “No Tears in Heaven.”

Heaven is a bountiful place. Revelation 22:1-2 “Then He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for healing of the nations.” The description here reminds one of the Garden of Eden, but the garden of God is much better than the Garden of Eden. The things that are essential to life are mentioned here, water, food and health. He also describes heaven as a place where there is no want, everything is provided in the highest quality. It is a place of a perfect life and health. Heaven is a blissful place 22:3-5 John also remind us that heaven is a place of personal and permanent association with God. A place of peace and a place of joy and love that will last forever.

 

 

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In John 14:2 these words were recorded by John as spoken by our Lord Jesus. “In My Father’s house are many mansions; If it were not so, I would have told you.” What a guarantee we have. The apostles had some troubling in their hearts, their faith was wavering. Jesus tells the apostles do not be troubled. These words spoken to the apostle were also spoken to us today. We can get so carried away with things that happen to us we fail to remember the words spoken by our Lord. Jesus assures the apostles His departure is not permanent. When Jesus ascends to heaven, He is going to prepare the place for them in heaven. He will come back and get them and get us. Jesus is referring to His second coming. Our Christian hope depends upon Jesus’ return when He will raise people from the dead and take the righteous to heaven. John 5:28-29 “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tomb will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who did committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” With Jesus’ ascension to heaven in view to His apostles all doubt about who Jesus is, has disappeared. He is now in heaven preparing a place for us. That is a great comfort.

Some of the words from Sweet By and By. “There is a land fairer than day and by Faith we see it afar. For the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there, and our spirit shall sorrow no more. For the glorious gift of His love and the blessing that hallow our days.”

So many songs we sing are about Heaven. Above the Bright Blue, Heaven Holds All for Me. How Beautiful Heaven Must Be, No Tears in Heaven, Paradise Valley, and When We All Get to Heaven. We sing these because of the words of Jesus, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3

 

 

 

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            The reality is that life offers many circumstances for which there is no explanation and which can sometimes become overwhelming for us mere mortals.  There are issues with which you cannot help yourself, hurts you do not know how to deal with, mistakes you need to be forgiven for, and obstacles that you are unable to overcome by yourself.  In an instant, life can change and you are confronted with an experience that leaves you perplexed and confused and hurting.  Sometimes you are brought to tears because of heavy burdens or difficult decisions.  Some days you have to ask yourself how I got so completely engulfed in, what seems to be so many difficulties or problems.  You can’t understand how you got to this point in your life where it seems that you can’t handle one more trial.  Sometimes we feel like the whole world is about to come down upon us.  These realities can rob us of our joy and replace it with fear.  Most, if not all, of us who have some years behind us have experienced this condition, perhaps, more than once.

              It is during these times that we must remember that God is still on His throne and He wants us to continue to have faith in His righteousness (Psalm 11).  David sang a song to the Sovereign LORD in which he expressed praise to The LORD as his rock and his strength and deliverer (Psalm 18), Whose way is perfect, Whose word is proven, and by Whom David could stand up against great opposition and perform great feats (vs. 28&29).  God is the author and director of each of our lives – when we place our trust in Him!  He knows the reason for our tears and those dark and dismal “valleys” in our life.  He knows the safest path and where we can find refuge (Psalm 23 & 61).  He can turn our tears from sorrow to joy! (Psalm 126:5)  Remember that He carries most of the weight of our burdens and has given to us far more than we deserve (John 3:16).  The truth is that nothing in this physical life is insurmountable (James 1:12 & 1st Pet. 4:2-19). We must remember that our ultimate victory is not about our own ability to conquer – it is about the victory that can be ours because of what our Savior has done for us! My continual prayer is that God will continue to bless all of us in our efforts to live our lives in His service!  Psalm 18:2; 40:2; 62:2&6; 89:26; and Romans 5:11 and 1st Corin. 15:55-57          

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Some scripture that I want to “share” with all of you:

The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His people...  (Psalm 29:11)

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and the expanse shows His handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)

You have given me the shield of Your salvation, and your right hand upholds me… (Psalm 18:35)

For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illuminates my darkness.  For by You I can run against a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall.  As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.  For who is God, but The LORD?  And who is a rock, except our God, the God who arms me with strength and makes my way blameless? (Psalm 18:28-32)

The law of The LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of The LORD is sure, making wise the simple.  The statutes of The LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of The LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.  (Psalm 19:7-8)

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  (Psalm 119:105)

For The LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly (or, with integrity).  (Psalm 84:11)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…And without faith it is impossible to please Him…  (Hebrews 11:1&6a)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God…and also, we exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings perseverance (endurance), approved character, hope; hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  (Hebrews 13:8)

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting (turning) shadow.  (James 1:17)

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (John 14:27)

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has given to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (virtue). (2nd Peter 1:2&3)

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In my Father’s house are many dwelling places (or, mansions – NKJV); if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:1-3)

But when this perishable (corruptible) put on the imperishable (incorruption), and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O Death, where is your victory?... your sting?” …but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the LORD.  (1 Corin. 15:54-58)

(Rev. 2:10 excerpt): Be (or, prove to be) faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Finally, may we, the Ripon church of Christ, a family of God which is rooted in Christ, pray ALWAYS:

Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, our rock (strength) and our Redeemer!

(a paraphrase and personalization of) Psalm 19:14

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For whatever the reason, these scriptures regarding what is true love come to mind:
 
“Who can find a virtuous (excellent) wife?  For her worth is far above rubies…The heart of her husband safely trusts her…She does him good…all the days of her life…Strength and honor (dignity) are her clothing…She watches over the ways of her household…Her children rise and bless her (call her blessed); Her husband, also, and he praises her…a woman who fears The LORD, she shall be praised…”  Proverbs 31:10ff (NKJV & NASU merged)
 
“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined (cling) to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  Gen. 2:24; Matt.19:5; Mark 10:7&8
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, AS TO THE LORD…Husbands love your wives, JUST  AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER.” Eph. 5:22&25(emp. is mine)
 
While those scriptures speak to the marriage relationship, God’s Word also speaks to us about what true love is whether we are married or not:
 
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should (shall) not perish but have everlasting life.”
John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
 
1st John 4:7-11: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only (begotten) Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be  the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
 
While the world, or our culture, emphasizes love a few times a year, we should remember  the love that we have for our spouses and/or for our brethren – that true, Biblical love
- EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR.  May THE LORD continue to bless us!
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