Sunday, September 4, 2016

Almost Heaven

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. II Peter 3:13

What's your image of heaven? Streets of gold? Mansions? Yes, the Bible does say those things, but are we missing the most natural of all images? 
When God first created the heavens and the earth, there was
  • a beautiful garden
  • no dying
  • no tears
  • no pain
  • no heartache
  • peace and fellowship in a garden with animals and God.
What about the new heavens and the new earth? (Revelation 21, 22:1-5) Besides the city with streets of gold and gates of pearl, there are
  • gates open where people go in and out
  • a river
  • a tree with twelve different fruits
  • no more curse, no thorns.
It sounds similar to the Garden of Eden. The Lord always gives us visuals of Himself and what He is trying to tell us. I think we search for those visuals whether consciously or not. Have you thought about your favorite place on earth?

In the 1870's Brewster Higley wrote "Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam and the skies are not cloudy all day." In 1971 John Denver sang, "Almost heaven, West Virginia." Both had their idea of heaven. 

Every summer and fall we take a trip to Cades Cove, TN in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's a quiet, peaceful cove with millions of visitors each year who come to view the scenery and the wildlife. Our favorite walk is a quarter mile to the John Oliver cabin (top). On the return through the tall grass and flowers, the mountains rise up from the floor of the cove like a quilt wrapping you in the cool of the day. 

The grasses are filled with butterflies and and the sound of crickets as people walk quietly by.

I love Spark's Lane where the road fords the stream and children build dams and skip rocks.

At the back of the cove, bears lazily lie in walnut trees watching tourist, watching them. Deer graze in open fields and along the woods edge. Visitors smile and point, speaking in happy whispers. 

Though there is no night in heaven, here on earth we still need a peaceful night's rest. Fireflies light up the night. Owls and insects sing families to sleep in their tents. And as morning arrives multitudes of birds sing in the dawn.

Have you thought about what heaven is like? Is there someone you are missing? Have you wondered what they might be doing today? 

I hope you have found a vision of heaven. We'd love it if you shared with us in the comment section. 

Hey Kids:
Have you ever wondered what heaven is like? 
Do you have a favorite place that makes you think of heaven? 
It might be your treehouse or just a favorite tree limb where you sit and read. 
Maybe it's a creek you play in or a beach where you run through the waves.
This week might be a good time to draw a picture of your idea of heaven. 
Perhaps you know someone who has recently gone to be with Jesus. 
You might want to add them to the picture to remind you of how happy they are to be in a place so beautiful, free from tears and pain. 


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