Almost 2 weeks ago my Grandpop passed from this world into the next. His earthly body had his last day here and he went home into eternity...the family has had moments of tears and moments of laughter remembering times we had with him...and my heart has been moved deeply thinking of heaven...and how death is truly the only assurance we have here in life. But death has no sting if we are in Christ! Death has been swallowed up in victory! The grave shall not consume us- rather, we will be in radiant wonder of the all-consuming glory of the King of Kings!
Wake up, o sleepers, wake up. Open your eyes and open your hearts. We do not have long. We do not have forever...Are you ready to meet your Maker? Are you ready to see the face of Jesus? Do you know where you are going? As surely as heaven exists, all the more there is a reality and it is called hell. When we die, we do not "rest in peace"- we move from one existence into the next, with new bodies, new experiences, a new and everlasting eternal story...where will yours take place? Will it be in the presence and perfection of our Great God, as we go on from glory to glory and we laugh, feast, play and love in a home suited just for us...or will it be void of all hope, all relationships, all light, all love for the rest of your days, that go on forever and ever.
I'm not kidding here. I'd love to paint pretty pictures of life and make hearts glad, but I cannot do that at the expense of eternal loss and suffering. I want hearts to be glad forever and ever. I want hearts to know the truth that sets them free. I want your life to find meaning in the One who made you! I want you to spend eternity in the presence of all-surpassing joy! I want you to sing with angels and run on the shores of that greater country for which we were designed. We are strangers here for a short while...this is not home. Home is calling. Please, please, do not wait another day to find salvation and freedom you've been longing for.
The brilliant C.S. Lewis put it into a child's fairy story, because we seem to not grasp it in real life...picture this with me, even if you are only slightly familiar with the Chronicles of Narnia. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the children meet Aslan (the Christ) once again, and here is their dialogue:
“Please, Lamb,” said Lucy, “is this the way to Aslan's country?”
“Not for you,” said the Lamb. “For you the door into Aslan's country is from your own world.”
“What!” said Edmund. “Is there a way into Aslan's country from our world too?”
“There is a way into my country from all the worlds,” said the Lamb; but as he spoke his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.
“Oh, Aslan,” said Lucy. “Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?”
“I shall be telling you all the time,” said Aslan. “But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder…"
...“And how can we live, never meeting you?” [sobbed Lucy]
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
Oh my friends, the very reason we were brought here to this beautiful, tragic, complex, frail earth was to know our God for a little while, so we might know Him better when we go home. This here is only a glimpse of what is to come. Here, we know in part...there we shall know fully and be fully known. Here we seek answers and intimacy and art and adventure...there we shall find out the unlocked mysteries, we shall have perfect union at the wedding feast of the Lamb, we shall see the most stunning sunrise and watch the Maker's hand paint glory for all of time, we shall be on the wildest of all rides, experiencing challenge and victory, the very quintessence of life as it was meant to be.
Let God give you life. Let the blood of Jesus on the cross, this Holy season, wash your sins and sanctify your very being so you can be whole and well and fully come alive in Christ. Take off the grave-clothes and be clothed in the glory of salvation. Truth is not and cannot be relevant. Truth is absolute and when it touches you, it pierces you through the Word of God, and absolutely transforms you. Even when we do not understand the truth, we can believe it in faith. The Risen Lord, who overcame the grave, grants us eteral victory so we may never sleep, but be changed in a moment when this life kisses the next... we will dance and breathe and eat and walk in our new bodies, made pure and righteous and holy before the Throne...not because of what we've done, but because of what Jesus Christ, God in flesh, has done for us. His passion is our saving grace.
He has won the battle and has conquered the enemy- there is nothing for us to do but to believe. SO BELIEVE and be of good cheer! Today the angels long to rejoice over one more soul being set on the everlasting road of paradise! You are forgiven and you are made new by the One who makes all things new and forgives as far as the East is from the West! You are now a royal heir of the throne of Christ. You are a son, a daughter, of the King! You have nothing to fear, so sing your song of joy and lift your head. The Holy Spirit's power and love is at work in your life. Celebrate LIFE this day!
Want to read a good book about Heaven? Check out Randy Alcorn's writings...I've been reading lately one he authored called In Light of Eternity and it is simply amazing!
And to wrap this up with a simple song to Jesus, get a sneak preview (thanks to my friends at Oxon Hill) of the song "Deeper Still" which will be on the next album. I had the honor and privilege of singing this at my dear friend's dad's memorial service as well as my Grandpop's service. Holocaust survivor, Corrie ten Boom, who endured torture and literally witnessed hell on earth while her entire family perished at the hand of evil, declared boldly "There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still." Do we believe that? Do we believe that even in the valley of the shadow of death, there is no evil we need to fear? Do we cling to Jesus like that? For those who are in Christ, there is nothing to fear! Amen!
Do not close your eyes tonight before praying to Jesus...don't let one more day pass before you find the Truth. "Tomorrow is not a promise, but a chance"- Rachel Joy Scott. Today is yours. Seize this day with urgency, because we never know when we will pass from this life to the next. There is no guarantee on the number of hours we have left. Let the God of the universe enter into your heart right now and change your life forever.