Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How far is Heaven?

Where is heaven? What is heaven really like? Have you ever wondered these questions?

Heaven is usually pictured as a beautiful bright sunny place, no rain, no dark clouds. Gorgeous flowers bloom, maybe some thick green grass, rolling meadows, fluttering butterflies, birds chirping, angels flying around. Everyone in heaven has divine health. There are sounds of laughter and smiling faces all around, children and animals playing together. There are no worries, no troubles, no crying, no bills.... ahhh, to live in Paradise!

According to the Jewish notion, there are three different heavens mentioned in the Bible. The birds (fowl and eagles) of the air constitute of heaven as in Genesis 2:19, 7:3, 7:23 and Lam. 4:19.

Another heaven mentioned are the stars, moon and sun in the sky. (Deut 17:3, Jer 8:2, Matt 24:29) The "Heaven of Heavens", or the third heaven (Deut 10:14, 2 Cor 12:2) is the eternal dwelling place of the Lord. Christ called heaven His "Father's house" (John 14:2)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Did you know God created the heavens for us? He made the butterflies, birds, sky, clouds, sun, moon, and eternal paradise all for us because He loves us. He is preparing mansions for us to live in. Our Father wants us to dwell with Him, He wants us to remain with Him forever. We are His children and He wants us near Him. (Matt 19:14)

We were with God before in the Garden of Eden, but then sin entered the picture and we were separated from Him. God cannot dwell with sin because He is pure love. Love has no evil in it. (1 Cor 13) Our own Father had to put us out of Paradise (Genesis 3). It was tough love, but He still loves us so much that He wanted to make a way for us to come back and be with Him eternally.

On the first day, God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was void and without form, kind of like a blob, and it was dark. God moved over the water and said "Let there be light" and there was light. The God said it was good and He divided the light and dark, called it day and night. (Paraphrased from Genesis 1:1-5)

And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." Genesis 1:6

In other words, God made the sky, dividing the vapor (water) above from the water below. The firmament, or expanse, was like and arch appearing above us. It formed a division between the waters above and the waters below.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. Genesis 1:7

A firmament is a space or an expanse. It comes from the Hebrew word raqa' (pronounced raw-kah') which means to pound the earth (as a sign of passion); by analogy to expand (by hammering); to overlay, beat, spread abroad, spread forth or over, spread out, stamp, stretch.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. Genesis 1:8

God called the space between the waters heaven. Jesus is the space between the gap, Jesus is the firmament, the expanse between us and God. Jesus is Heaven. He was hammered to the cross for us, for every single sin that we have committed. He was beat for all we have done wrong. His arms were stretched out willingly for us, all because He loves us and wants to be with us. Jesus is the archway for us to heaven. Like the rainbow, He is the promise that we do not have to die and go to hell but we can live and reside with Him in heaven. When we believe in Him, we have access to everlasting life with God, we can be in paradise eternally.

Remember, God loves us so much that He wants us to reside with Him personally in His home. Jesus has spread His love out for us to reach the Father. God has given a pathway between us and Himself that allows access to Him.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

When we believe in Jesus, He raises us from the darkness to the light, He picks us up to a higher level. He gives us entrance into His love and fullness, into Heaven. When we receive Jesus as our Savior, He comes into our heart to live. He resides there. Because we have Jesus in our hearts, we are now a temple of God. If Jesus live within us, then heaven is in us. We have a piece of heaven right here with us on this earth.

Now we can come fearlessly right into God's presence, assured of his glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in him. Ephesians 3:12 (Living Bible)

Thru Jesus, we can come to God any time we want to. We can enter into His presence and know that He is glad we are with Him. God's wisdom is revealed to us thru Jesus, thru His Word, thru the Bible.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

We are suppose to study His Word, we are to read the Bible so we can get to know God and His ways. (2 Tim 2:15)

The more we study, the more we get to know about God and all He has for us. We discover more about His love, His grace, His mercy and His tenderness, and we learn more about heaven.

As we learn, we realize that we don't have to die to be in heaven. God wants us to have Paradise here too. God loves for us to experience His goodness here on earth. He wants us to walk in His love to it's fullest. Our Heavenly Father desires us to have His blessings now.

The more of heaven we perceive, the more of the Father we receive, the more we are in love with God's intelligence, ways and wisdom, and the more faith we have in the Lord, the further we are in heaven. Seeking God and putting Him and His goodness first brings us further into heaven. We can have as much of heaven as we want, it all depends on our desires. If our first desire is the Lord Jesus Christ, and we seek Him earnestly, if we keep our eyes on Him, He will reveal the secrets of heaven to us. God shows us pieces of His splendor and glory. He shows us little glimpses of what our eternal life will consist of.

I knew a man in Christ 14 years ago. This man was caught up to the third heaven. I don't know whether he was in his physical body or not--God knows. But I know such a person. Again, I don't know if he was in or out of his physical body--God knows. This man was caught up to Paradise. He heard things which cannot be re-told; a man is not allowed to tell such things to other men. 2 Cor 12:2-4

We have heaven on earth, we just have to pursue it further. We need to take what our Father is handing us. He longs for us to receive Jesus, He wants us to have the heaven that He has created for us. He desires for us to have His wisdom and knowledge, His love, mercy and grace, His mind, His thoughts. When we have Jesus, we can have these things, we can have heaven. Our foot is in the door. We just have to keep walking with Him to go further in. Our faith needs to keep going. We need to keep believing every promise God has has for us and know for a fact they are true. He truly wants us to come further into His presence.

No matter how close we become to the Lord, we can always get closer to Him and receive more of His gifts (spiritual and physical). Look at Enoch, he walked so close to God that he just walked on into eternity. (Genesis 5:24)
Just as any good parent wants their child to have the best, our Father wishes us to have the best. How much better can you get than heaven? When we have Jesus, we have the best. It is our privilege to get to know Him better.

When Jesus died for us, He bought and paid for us with His blood, His life. He didn't buy us so we could sit on a shelf in a closet. Jesus bought us so we could be active in His life and love. He longs for us to be by His side, not on the sidelines. Jesus passionately loves us and desires to share all of His heavenly blessings and gifts with us.

All you have to do to start experiencing some of what heaven has for you here on earth is say a little prayer from your heart like this one inviting Jesus into your life:

Dear Lord,
I want a piece of heaven. I desire to be with you now and eternally. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to fill the gap for me and giving me a pathway back to You Lord. I ask You forgive all my sins. Jesus, I invite you into my life, into my heart. Lord I want all You have to offer me. I receive your eternal love and all Your goodness today. Thank You Lord for all Your blessings. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen