Tag Archives: eternity

Life and Death

Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever.
1Thessalonians 5:10, NLT*

I was raised in the Christian faith. For all the things I was slow to learn, or am still learning, this one thing I believed from childhood: Jesus’ death on the Cross meant I could go to Heaven when I died.

No wondering if I’d be “good enough to make it.” Somehow I grasped early on that it wasn’t about earning a place, but about accepting the invitation.

Because I was sure of my ultimate destination, when circumstances felt painful or overwhelming, I saw Heaven as the ultimate escape. I’m glad God also gave me a strong sense that life was His alone to give and take.

The Apostle Paul said, “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” (Philippians 1:21, NLT*) He wasn’t indulging in a self-absorbed death-wish. He was giving his all to the Lord each day, knowing there was a reward at the end of the race.

The assurance of eternity with Jesus means that whatever we’re living now, there’s something better coming. Pain will be wiped away. So, too, will our present treasures, so let’s not hoard them.

Jesus is the only way to Heaven. We can’t force others to choose Him, but we can pray persistently and we can surrender our lives fully to Him so that they’ll see the difference He makes. We can obey Him when He tells us how to love them.

How do we practice now for eternity? Consciously spending time with God today – each day – will make all the difference. Quiet moments in prayer, reading the Bible (His love letter to us), learning to rest in His presence while we work or play… it’s not easy to retrain our spirits to check in with Him regularly, but it’s a worthwhile goal. And it’s the sort of prayer He’d love to answer.

God our Father, Jesus our Saviour, Holy Spirit our Sustainer, how can we thank You for saving us from eternal separation from Your love? Give us a healthy longing for Heaven, and give us a stronger longing for Your presence with us each moment of our days on earth. Work in us so that others will catch glimpses of You. Work through us to show mercy and compassion and to break chains and barriers.

There are some beautiful songs anticipating Heaven, but instead of choosing something from my “requiem” playlist, I leave us with this challenge from Matt Maher‘s album, Saints and Sinners: “Firelight.” The opening may not seem to match this post, but I hope you’ll listen through the instrumental break and to the end. May we put our remaining days here to good use.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Why Jesus is Relevant

Our Saviour Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.
Titus 3:5a-7, MSG*

When I was a child, our church encouraged us to invite our friends to Sunday School, and to let them know that Jesus loved them.

I never knew what to say to them about Jesus. That lasted into early adulthood. All I had was, “You need to believe in Him so you’ll go to Heaven when you die.”

Eternity is important, but to the invincible hearts of youth, it’s not imminent. I used to pray, “How do I show them that Jesus is relevant now? In their choices and struggles today?”

He’s relevant in my life, and others will see it when I live authentically. Part of it is that I’m secure in my hope of Heaven because of His promises, but mostly it’s a growing assurance of His presence and His care.

The longer I live in faith, the more my experience proves God’s faithfulness. That doesn’t mean I always trust Him right away or never worry or get discouraged, but we have a history. A track record that reinforces my faith as I look back.

Nothing has been too much for Him yet, and I have His promise that He never changes. Or sleeps, for that matter! He won’t run out of energy or mercy or power.

Restored relationship with God – and our lives, given back to us. Life with a fullness we didn’t have before. God with us, to save, sustain and strengthen. We don’t have to be alone anymore.

That’s the Good News. It’s relevant. And it won’t end with death, although the pain will.

Why do we need Jesus? For the here and now… and for eternity.

Eternal Father, strong and compassionate to save, when we didn’t even see our need, You paid everything to rescue us. You promise to never leave or forsake us, and You keep Your word. Open our eyes to how deeply You want to be involved in our lives. Help us live in faith. Help us to share the truth and the relevance of the Gospel with those around us. Open their hearts to receive You.

Let Matt Maher‘s song, “Lord I Need You,” be our prayer today.

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson