Q: “Is there any scripture warrant for the belief, expressed by so many, that we will meet our friends and loved ones in Heaven? There evidently will be no husbands and wives, and therefore no mothers or fathers.”

A: “We can be sure that we will not know less in Heaven than we do here. 1 Cor. 13:12 declares that we shall then see not ‘darkly’, but ‘face to face’. now we know ‘in part’. but then we shall know, even as we are known. We may confidently expect to know every person in Heaven, and they will all be our ‘friends and loved ones’. “

This is a continuation of the series of questions and answers on the subject of Heaven, taken from the book “1001 Bible Questions Answered”  by William L. Pettingill and R.A. Torrey. 

Q: “Shall we see the three persons of the Godhead in Heaven?”

A: “I do not know, for it is not revealed in scripture. Some students say we shall only see the Son, in whom ‘dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily’ (Col. 2:9), but in various places in scripture the Father is seen, and also the Son (Dan. 7:13-14, Rev. 5:6-7 for instance); and I know of nothing in scripture that would preclude the possibility of God manifesting Himself visibly in His three persons. Anyway, we may depend upon it that if any when we get to Heaven, everything will be perfectly satisfactory. (Ps. 65:4)”

Now its your turn. Have you ever thought about this question? I know I haven’t. I have just assumed that all we would see is Jesus, because He is physical and therefore visible. On the other hand, we will be in our glorified bodies, like Jesus’ body. (1 John 3:2). Either way, I’m glad that the blood of Jesus and the grace of God has provided a way for us to be there at all, let alone for eternity. Okay, I’m preaching now, so back to the question – what do you think? (Comment below.)

Continuation of 13 part Bible study on Heaven

Q: “What do scriptures teach about who will go to Heaven?”

A: “The scriptures teach that the only way to Heaven is through a personal acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as savior. He has opened the way to God through the shedding of His blood as our substitutionary sacrifice.” 

Note: Please post thoughts and comments below this post where it says “Leave a Reply”. You will need to be registered and logged in to do so. I welcome your comments.

Pastor John

open bible, picnic table, fall leaves on table

God’s holy Word

This, and all the other questions in this Bible study, were submitted to the co-authors of the book. (Pettinghill was the one who answered this question. From the book “1001 Bible Questions Answered” – Pettinghill and Torrey.) This was a tough one for him!

Q: “How can I answer a question like this? If my mother was saved and I was not, could she be happy in Heaven without me?”

A: “Those who go to Heaven will certainly be happy there. Just how it could be worked out in the case you mention is not revealed, but it is perfectly clear that Heaven is a place of joy and gladness for all who get there. And how good it is to remember that all may go there who desire to do so, if only they go by the blood-sprinkled way.” (emphasis mine)

Your turn! What do you think? Could people be happy in Heaven? How could they not be, regardless of whether their loved ones are saved or not? Hopefully, the mother witnessed to the writer of this question, so that he or she could have a chance to respond to the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and to submit to His invitation to receive the gift of eternal life in Him.

This will be question and answer format, so your response is needed. I will give you the question written in the book “1001 Bible Questions Answered” (Pettingill and Torrey)

Q: “Do you consider Heaven a real place, say like a planet, somewhere?

A: “Yes. Heaven is a place. “The Lord Jesus said he was going to prepare a place for us, and that finally where he is, there we may be also.” He goes on to say that if Heaven weren’t a  real place, then Jesus would be “nowhere”, and clearly that is not possible. 

What do you think? (Login, go to “Leave a Reply” below this post.) All comments welcome! Let’s get this thing going deep and wide!

What to Do When You are Broken

When a bone breaks, it can usually be fixed with a cast, splint, or pins. If the mind breaks, there is medication, therapy, and counseling. These things help when there is something broken in the mind. Emotionally, we can be broken as well. Long term stress or trauma can break our spirits, and we can lose hope. As we reflect on that, we realize that God is our refuge, our strength, our protector. We know that He will bring us through. All of us have been broken, or will be. We don’t want it. We don’t like it. We want God to remove that burden from us.

But what do we do when we are broken, when we are shattered into a million pieces. This can happen to any of us, and it can seem like it will last forever. When it does, we question why. One way to look at it is that God is refining us to get rid of impurities, to get us to the point where He can completely transform us. He is getting us back to dust. A painful process, but part of transformation.

But dust is valuable. We were created from dust, yet God calls us valuable.
“Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7, NIV). In John 9:5-6, Jesus uses dust to restore a man’s sight. “… After saying this, He spit on the ground, made some mud from the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.” Then the man could see. All because God used something common to make something beautiful and to restore that which was broken.

Finally, dust, when mixed with water, becomes clay. And in the potter’s hands, clay can become something beautiful, new, and fresh – and useful again. Our brokeness can bring us down and defeat us (which the enemy of our soul would love), or we can put it all in God’s hands and let Him make it into something valuable, useful, and productive. God sees the beauty and the value within us, and He wants to refine us through our brokenness, in order to bring that beauty out. He knows what we are going through, and He will continually see us through. Brokenness is a common thing, and God can use that for good.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:18 – NIV).

This writing’s content is inspired by the writing of Lisa Terkurest, from her upboming book, “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way”, and from the article, “Shattered Beyond Repair” (link below)

https://proverbs31.org/read/devotions/full-post/2018/10/04/shattered-beyond-repair?fbclid=IwAR31i_DQIx1igjFnTBPEI-WZq8UvH09VocLfOEITuOPx_Nf9zNxmtDDoqBs

Trauma – Part 4 of 4 – Trauma of the Soul

This may be the most important writing I have ever done, not because my writing ability or style, but because of the subject matter. The implications of trauma to the soul are literally eternal, and will affect believers and unbelievers as well. Please read on.

What we are talking about here is your eternal soul, the one that will stand before Jesus one day, either with His arms open wide, joyfully giving rewards to you, or a “sorry, I never knew you.” That last one is for unbelievers, for those that don’t know Jesus, the ones that thought all along that they were good enough to make it to Heaven, or that just wanted to try to “do things their own way”, the souls that chose themselves over Jesus. Dear reader, that’s not going to work. We need Jesus to help us with our body, our mind, our emotions, and our eternal soul. Jesus came to bring wholeness to all of us and to give us eternal life. Have you received it? That’s one trauma that can be avoided. Just ask. Submit your soul, and your cares, to Jesus, because He cares for you.

“A Heaven to gain, and a Hell to shun.” That’s the saying I’ve heard many times. But “gain” Heaven implies it is something we grasp, something that we take hold of, an accomplishment, a goal, a measure of success to achieve. The problem there is that it puts the focus on us, and not Jesus. It’s not about our ability or our success in “achieving” Heaven, but about Jesus’ availability to us in all of our needs – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, eternal. It’s about what we do with the free gift that Jesus offers. Heaven is a gift, not a goal.

In Heaven, there is no trauma. No more night, no more darkness, no more pain, no more tears, no more “drama”, no more restless nights, anxiety, depression. One day all these will be gone for the believer. We would like them gone now, but we do live in a sin-soaked world. “In this world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Because of Jesus’ victory on the cross, we can receive victory over sin, death, and Hell. This victory is a wonderful gift of grace, brought to you by the blood of Jesus.

But in Hell … In Hell, there is no end of trauma, pain, suffering, darkness. It is not a place where can just do whatever you want and party on. You will not have any choices there, no joy, no purpose, no peace, no life, only death, destruction, pain, and loneliness. Totally alone. Isolated. That’s bad enough in this life, but for eternity? No thank you! I choose Jesus. Do you? Have you?

If you are in Christ, your days of trauma will be over, and He is there with us on the journey. If not – well, I guess all I can say is “may God have mercy on your soul.” That mercy is available NOW through Jesus. What are you waiting for. Just ask. Admit your need. Believe in Jesus’ sin-payment. Receive the gift.

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Trauma! (Part 3 of 4 – The Emotions)

As discussed in previous writings, trauma is unexpected, unplanned for, and can’t always be prepared for. Sometimes it is possible to prevent disaster by staying out of dangerous situations. Though we don’t have control over all things – only God has control over everything – we can still choose our attitudes, actions, and words. But there’s one thing we can’t do. – we can’t control the words, actions, or attitudes of other people. Sometimes what others say and do can have traumatic effects on us. That is what this piece is about – trauma of the emotions. Another way to say this is trauma of the spirit.

We are told to build up one another and encourage one another. That includes our emotions. When people are attacked in body, mind, and/or emotions, they need support. They need to be built up. They need encouragement. You can’t tear people down and build them up at the same time Be kind. Emotional trauma tries to stop us in our tracks, and often does – but it does not have to. We definitely need Jesus to help to get us through these traumatic experiences and I pray that we at least have someone to talk to when we are hurting. I am here. Others are too. Don’t keep it bottled inside. Let others build you up and encourage you. Then pass it on to others. 

In First Thessalonians 4:18, we read, “Therefore encourage one another with these words”. The second one is Second Thessalonians 1:4 – ” … “He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us… ”

As a pastor, I always want to include practical ways to apply these instructions to comfort and encourage each other. I would like to suggest three steps each of us can take when the emotions are assaulted by the pressures of life or by the attacks of others.  I will close with these steps and a prayer.

  1. Admit that you have been hurt and that you need emotional support and encouragement. While you don’t want to dwell on the hurt, you also don’t want to deny it. That just presses it down into the soul, and hurts yourself and others.

  2. Ask the Lord to send you to someone to comfort and encourage who has been through, or is going through similar situations. It’s good to know we are not alone.

  3. Release the hurt to Jesus. Pour it on him. He already knows. Just let it out.

“Father God, you tell us to encourage each other and comfort each other. Help us to seek Your comfort and to pass it on to others well. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”