In Heaven Now or Later?

Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:36-40 NIV

Most Believers know that Hebrews 11 defines what faith is, and records those who were faithful unto death, but how many of us have read beyond “the faith” of others to see where they are and where others may be?

Many preachers, pastors, families of the deceased comfort themselves with thinking that when people die, they immediately go to heaven or the other place. According to this passage of scripture and in other passages, we see that none are in place yet! When we die, according to God’s Word spoken to Solomon–our spirits go back to God, our bodies return to the dust and souls await judgment. However, judgment won’t occur until Jesus has returned and we are standing before The Throne to hear our fate, together with all who have gone ahead of us.

Now as harsh as that may sound–especially for those who want to believe their loved ones are already in heaven–we must all teach truth and accept truth. None of our loved ones are in heaven, yet! Telling people that loved ones have gone on to heaven is about as foolish as people going to a cemetery talking to the dead. “The dead know nothing” so they cannot hear or feel anything.

I do understand that people are ritualistic by nature and feel they must do something, but to what end? The greatest use of our time–whatever time we have left would be better used in promoting the Gospel to those who are yet breathing, for once we stop breathing, there’s no time left.

I have also come to conclusion that funerals are a waste of time as well. Now, I know there are those who believe this is a final opportunity to tell someone good-bye, but those who are dead won’t know who’s there and if we really want to be a comfort to the remaining family, we should be available to them when they need someone to listen to them or just to encourage them to keep living for The Lord.

There is an industry out there that capitalizes on grief and we spend millions of dollars a year holding onto traditions that most can’t afford. What better use could we find for that money? Have a memorial service and give the money to charities who are trying to help people live or to those who are sincerely spreading the Gospel to a dying world.

It’s time–no way past time for many of us to learn to say good-bye to people while they can hear us and to show them how much we love them, while they are alive and can enjoy our sentiments. When they’re dead–it’s too late–and we need to learn how to let it go–for we can do absolutely nothing to bring them back and all we end up doing is making ourselves feel worse.

Read, Expect, Pray!

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19 NLT).

Cancelled Funeral

For the next three days, I have scheduled a commentary on a recent event in which a pastor has been “demonized” because of a decision to cancel a funeral in Florida. The deceased–it was discovered–was a gay man, married to another man–which is opposition to the church’s beliefs and policies and that information was withheld from the pastor when they originally agreed to allow the funeral to be held in the church. Don’t judge a matter so quickly that you forget to get all the information! An opinion–without facts to support or document–is just that, an opinion and we all have one. However, in order to not promote ignorance of the role of the church and its leadership, I encourage everyone who usually reads my blog posts to read them in their entirety, expect to have feelings ignited, but pray before you determine anything about me or what I’ve said.  Meditate on The Word, Seek God, and know Truth from Him–not me.

If you feel as though I’m ranting, you’re probably right–but ranting with the intent to inform and negate all the negativity about pastors who actually attempt to do the right thing according to The Word of God, not political correctness or the influence of those who choose to live ungodly lives.

Just as I am encouraging pastors to stand firm in their belief in The Word and to live according to it, I am standing firm in the belief in The Word and in how God wants me to live. If anyone wants to live contrary to The Word–that’s their business and they will have to deal with the consequences–as will I. However, I will not compromise my beliefs simply to make others “feel” better about themselves. I am not a doormat and I will not act like one when it comes to standing on The Word.

Here’s a newsflash–God is not interested in our “feelings;” He’s interested in whether or not we’re living according to His Word and no one, absolutely no one can convince me to live contrary to God’s Word. Living for Him–is a choice–like everything else we do and I choose Jesus over all the “warm fuzzies” from being politically correct by people who don’t know God.

If there are some who think I’m wrong–they’re entitled to think whatever they wish–I’ll await God’s judgment for being on His side rather than theirs!

Love to love you–but I’ll stand firm on The Word!

Thinking–Beyond Now!

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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 14:2,3 NKJV).

Preparation time is never wasted time, but it is time that few people ever use appropriately because they lack initiative to think beyond the moment.

Look at what Jesus said to His disciples–“I go to prepare a place for you…” How long ago was that? Whether we count the time as two thousand years or two days, we have to see the plan–for us whenever we leave.

Lack of preparation and planning are the main reasons why many people never taste success at anything. We cannot succeed if we do not plan and prepare. Preparing for eventualities means we have to consider all the possible outcomes and plan for them.

Taking a trip requires preparation–determining the cost, the method of conveyance, appropriate clothing, checking weather conditions, having sufficient income to cover emergencies.

With Jesus’ preparations He determined the cost was His life; He’s conveying us to heaven by supernatural means; we’ll be clothed with white robes, the weather will be glorious every day, and there are no emergencies to consider (no more sickness, no more dying, no hunger). Hallelujah! Praising Him for His preparations!

What are we doing? Have we considered our behavior and how it impacts the lives of others beyond this moment?

Retirement–(I’ve recently learned the hard way) takes consideration of all possible events and saving as much income as one possibly save–in order to make sure one can live (and not just exist) when they retire.

Death insurance–(commonly called life insurance)–is needed so there won’t be a burden on those left behind to put us into the ground. There are enormous costs associated with dying and many people don’t prepare for that eventuality. Unless Jesus returns before we die, we will die–and remain asleep until He comes.

Obesity--(a pet peeve)–causes a number of problems for people other than the one who has overeaten. Has any consideration been made for the possibility of someone else having to lift or carry them? Have they considered the possibility of their being harmed if they cannot move fast enough to get out of a burning house or car? Have they considered the negative impact that obesity usually has on their body? No one enjoys food more than I do, but I must also consider what would happen if I fell or needed assistance and no one being available to help me because of my weight. We need to think beyond the moment that food is in front of us and prepare for the future.

Care–for children and elderly–if parents are no longer able to care for children or elderly no longer able to care for themselves–who is going to do it? What preparations have been made for that possibility? Someone needs to prepare–in writing–if necessary plans for this possibility.

No one succeeds at anything without preparation–not athletes, not actors, not musicians, or singers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, parents, students–no one. If we really need a lesson in preparation–we can look to The Word and look around us at the squirrels and other animals that prepare for the winter and other seasons.  We can “watch the ants” and learn from them.

Learn to think beyond the moment and prepare for all those moments beyond the here and now!