Leave No Doubt

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (NKJV)

It seems that as we get older, we attend more funerals and memorial services for loved ones, friends and acquaintances in our town, some departing too soon.  The pastors leading the services always do a beautiful job of sharing memories of the departed and comfort for those left behind. We are especially comforted if we know the person is in heaven with Jesus.

I remember when my college cross country team died in a plane crash, I knew my coach was in heaven because of his life.  Whenever we came home from meets I was always the last one to be dropped off, giving Coach plenty of time to share his faith.  Coach Ron would talk long and serious about things I did not understand, yet I knew they were important.   When he wasn’t planning our next big workout, he served at his church.  Coach Ron had a dream to start a Christian running camp in northern Wisconsin. Because of his faith and example, I know my coach is with Jesus and will be there when I get there, too.

Every once in awhile, though, there is someone who we aren’t sure where she stood in her faith journey. We wonder if he is with Jesus.  We pray she is in heaven.  We ask God to comfort us and assure us he is with Jesus. But we just aren’t sure.

So, I want to encourage you today to LEAVE NO DOUBT when it is your turn to go.  Make sure that while you are living, people know you love Jesus.  Tell them how you study your Bible and meet with Him each day for prayer. Let them see the fruit of your faith in good works. Share how you are looking forward to the day when He comes to take you home.  Then, when it is your turn to leave this world, your friends and family will have NO DOUBT that you are now in heaven having TEA with the King of kings!!!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Confirm your eternal destination today by praying with Jesus.  Invite Jesus into your heart to forgive you and guide your remaining earthly days.  Then tell a friend about this heavenly TEA party so she can join you there, too!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 (NKJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  Romans 8:1 (NKJV)

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NKJV)

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! Job 19:25-27 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Snowball Truths

snow1Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.  Mark 13:31

Two truth snowballs hit me one day.  I was planted on the sofa by the window where I always sit for my TEA time with Jesus.  That day’s Bible reading took me to Mark 13.

Jesus was talking about the trials of the end times.  He told His followers:

 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. Mark 13:18 (NKJV)

As I read this, I glanced out the window at two feet of new March snow.  Oh, I was so tired of winter! We had such a hard season already, and now we had more snow.  To imagine fleeing tribulation in winter would be awful.  Yet persecuted Christians in other countries already endure such tragedy.

Jesus doesn’t often tell us specifically what we ought to pray except here, “Pray that Your flight won’t be in winter.” And so, since Jesus told me to, I prayed that I would not be fleeing in winter.  I prayed my loved ones and I would all be with Him before any tribulation comes. And Jesus promised me in Revelation 3:20 that He will keep me from that hour of trial. This promise is also for you!

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10 (NKJV)

A few hours later, I was at church for our Sunday service.  One of the songs was Amazing Grace with the verse:

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.snow2

That afternoon, since the sun was shining and the temperature had risen, I went for a walk along the cleared highway, noticing the snow was already being eaten by the Chinook winds blowing from the mountains.  The song from church popped into my head, “The earth shall soon dissolve like snow…”

If you haven’t seen a Chinook wind’s work, please see the photos in this devotion.  The first is on a Thursday when we received almost two feet of snow. The second is three days later on Sunday when I noticed the Chinook winds starting to eat the snow.  The last is on Wednesday just six days after the two feet of snow hit us, not a speck to be seen!

The snow dissolved in a matter of hours and days!  That is what will happen to the earth in the last days, according to Scripture…

snow3But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  2 Peter 3:10 (NKJV)

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1 (NKJV)

Can you imagine that?  All of a sudden, Jesus will come like a thief in the night.  The heavens and earth will be burned up with a loud noise, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. It could happen quicker than our snow melted!

Today’s TEA CUPP: I encourage you to read Mark 13 and Revelations over the next few days to get a bigger picture of the end times.  The battles and judgments are not something we want to endure.  Let’s look with joy and hope to Jesus’ promise of taking us to heaven first.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NKJV)

Ten and nine, eight and seven,
Six and five and four,
Call upon the Savior while you may;
Three and two, coming through the clouds in bright array,
The countdown’s getting lower every day.
(a favorite Awana song)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

We still need the Key

keyJesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)

If you’re like me, you have a ring of keys…one key for the house, one for the car, one for the post office box, etc.  We make sure we have our keys wherever we go, and we get very distressed if we can’t find them!

Well, after driving a minivan with oil leaks and miles to indicate driving around the equator 10 times, our family had to look for a different vehicle.  My husband found a used minivan one state away.  So for Labor Day weekend, we packed up the camping supplies and headed that way to take a look.

The car salesman located the vehicle for us and pulled it around so we could test drive it.  The van was already running when we climbed in and buckled our seatbelts.  So weren’t we surprised when we drove down the road and noticed there was no key!  How could it run with no key?!  A funny light was also blinking on the dashboard.

When we returned to the car shop, the salesman confessed he had forgotten to take the key fob out of his pocket.  The light on the dashboard was to warn us not to drive away without the fob.  If we had turned off the car, we wouldn’t have been able to turn it on again.

This keyless entry is a concept brand new to our old vehicle minds.  There have always been keys.  It made me wonder how other events would be viewed in a keyless society.  Will people think they can get into heaven without the key?  If someone else opens heaven’s door, can we just walk in?  If our friend has the fob in his pocket, can we get in with her?

Oh, my Tea Cupp friend, I want to be sure you have the key to heaven.  Jesus is the Key.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).  And to all who receive Jesus, to those who believe in His Name, He gives the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

Today’s TEA CUPP:  If you have the Key to heaven, share it with a friend.  If you need the Key to heaven, pray to Jesus right now.  Welcome to God’s family!

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Philippians 3:20 (NKJV)

Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

My Dear Loved One

easter_cross_light_2012_c1My Dear Loved One,

You are my Daddy, my brother, my cousin, my aunt, my niece, my landlord, my milkman, my son’s coach, my son’s college roommate, my student, my neighbor, my grocery store checker, my friend’s child, my high school chum, my employer, my friend.

You have a reservation in heaven.  I made it for you every week in my prayers. Others have been calling in reservations for you, too.  To confirm you are on the list in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27), please accept Jesus (read on).

It will be such a great time!  The streets are paved with gold in this beautiful city. There is a river flowing from the throne of God and a tree that bears a different fruit every month (Revelation 22:1-2).  And we will never have tears again, for there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). 

How did I hear about this ultimate destination?  In the best travel brochure of all, the Bible.  Jesus told me to not be troubled, to believe in Him and God. He said, “for in My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”  (John 14:1-4)

My dear loved one, I asked Jesus to prepare a place for you, too.  My prayer above all other prayers is for you to know Jesus. Why? Because I want you to be in heaven for eternity, not in hell where there really is fire (Revelation 20:15).  I want you to enjoy Jesus’ love and forgiveness on earth, and have His forever joy and peace in heaven.

I want you to know the One who delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the Land of the living (Psalm 116:8-9). So many times I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me (Job 19:25-27)! Now my citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).

The neat thing is when you come near to God He will come near to you (James 4:8). I want you to know that through Jesus Christ the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you (Acts 13:38).  And when you receive Him and believe in His Name, He gives you the right to be children of God (John 1:12).

God promises that whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21).  My dear loved one, please ACCEPT JESUS and confirm your reservation today. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

And when that day comes when Jesus calls you home, I know you will go out with joy and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12). When you reach heaven, you will enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4) and I will be so thankful to God that you confirmed your reservation. I love you, my dear loved one! And Jesus loves you most of all!

Today’s Tea Cupp:  But I pray to you, Lord,
    in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God,
    answer me with your sure salvation (Psalm 69:13)

And since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. (Hebrews 12:28)

Scripture is taken from

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

 

Your Ticket to Heaven

Cover artBut may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11 (NKJV) 

God gave me this Bible verse the morning after I finished Don Piper’s book 90 Minutes in Heaven.  Somehow I missed reading this book in the decade since it was published, but I’m thankful to finally have been immersed in Pastor Piper’s story.

1 Peter 5:10-11 describes Piper’s experience well…

First, he was called to eternal glory in heaven, following a terrible car accident.

Second, he was sent back to earth to suffer quite a while!

Third, through all his healing and continuing in ministry, God has perfected, established, strengthened and settled Don Piper. To God be the glory forever and ever!

This is a true story you won’t want to miss reading.  It has also recently been made into a movie, but I vote for the book to avoid the gruesome scenes from the accident and medical world.

What impresses this reader most is Pastor Piper’s emphasis on prayer.  The book’s dedication to his prayer warriors says, “You prayed.  I’m here,” the same four words he spoke his first day back at church.  It was the prayers of a passing minister who climbed into his crushed automobile to pray for a dead man that brought him back to earth.  It was the prayers of his family, friends, congregation and complete strangers who pulled him through the worst pain and healing of his life. And it is prayer today that helps him continue in ministry, reaching out to others who are hurting.  Certainly, this is an inspiration for all to keep praying!

Another blessing from 90 Minutes in Heaven are the beautiful descriptions of heaven. These word illustrations cause us to understand why Piper wanted to go back, and burn in us a desire to be there, as well. The first people who greeted him in heaven were his grandfather and a childhood friend who had led him to Jesus.  The people kept coming; Piper describes it as “the greatest family reunion of all.” Then there was the music, the singing of thousands and millions of angels, harmonizing both old and new hymns.  And just as Piper was enjoying this amazing chorus, he was called back to earth, singing “What a Friend we have in Jesus” with the praying pastor in his mangled vehicle.  That’s when they realized he was still alive.

I especially value how each chapter of 90 Minutes from Heaven begins with a Bible verse, making God’s Word the focus. God’s Word is where we find our story and healing and hope for the future.  The Bible is also where we find the truth about heaven and how to get there.  If I could add one chapter to Piper’s book, it would be entitled, “Your ticket to heaven,” describing for readers how to make sure they also will be in heaven.  And so, dear friend,  I offer you a ticket to heaven today:

Today’s TEA CUPP:  If you want a glimpse of heaven and the power of prayer, I highly recommend Don Piper’s book, 90 Minutes in Heaven.  If you desire more than a glimpse and want to spend eternity in heaven (Yes, you do! You don’t want the alternative!),  please read these Bible verses and pray to Jesus today.  Welcome to heaven, my friend!

Jesus is the Ticket:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 14:6 (NKJV)

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  Acts 16:31 (NKJV)

Acknowledge your sin:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 (NKJV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

  For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13 (NKJV)

Keep reading your Bible and seeking Jesus each day:

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)

Celebrate the promise of heaven!:

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3 (NKJV)

rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Luke 20:20 (NKJV)

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me,“Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:3-5 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

The Sweet Forever…My Story to Come

The Big BlueI would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living. Psalm 27:13 (NKJV)

The Sweet Forever is in my dreams today. So many times in the “U” part of My TEA CUPP Prayers, I focus on Understanding my story in the past.  The above verse would take me to a sad time in life, reminding me of when I almost lost heart.  One day when reading this passage I realized, I need to focus on seeing the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  “My Story to Come” is what I must remember.  Oh, hallelujah, what a glorious day that will be!

What will heaven be like?  The Bible tells us…

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  John 14:2 (NKJV)

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  2 Corinthians 5:1 (NKJV)

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:16 (NKJV)

They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelations 7:16-17 (NKJV)

Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.  Luke 10:20 (NKJV)

At church recently we sang this beautiful old hymn about the land beyond the river. I want to remember this each moment…how I will see my Savior Jesus’ face when I cross the river someday.  This is “My Story to Come” that I long for me, for our children, for all my family and friends.

 There’s a land beyond the river
That we call the sweet forever
And we only reach that shore by faith’s decree
One by one we’ll gain the portals
There to dwell with the immortals
When they ring those golden bells for you and me.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEJrc0ojVTU”/

Today’s TEA CUPP: My dear TEA CUPP friend, do you think of that day when you will pass from this life into the next one?  If you believe in Jesus, you will live eternally with Him in heaven.  That is why I spend time each day with Him having TEA, so I can get to know my forever Lord better.  Won’t you do the same?

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

No More Tears

no more tearsAnd God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.  Revelations 21:4  (NKJV)

Joel loves his bath time.  Every night after dinner he points to the bathroom, announcing, “Baaa.”  He really needs a bath after wearing his soup bowl or finger-painting with pasta sauce.

Joel has many favorite toys he plays with in the tub, but lately he has chosen an empty bottle of Johnson’s baby bath.  He takes the lid on and off, dumping and pouring water again and again.

One evening Joel was studying his empty soap bottle, pointing out the pink tear drop to me.  Inside the teardrop is Johnson’s famous promise, “NO MORE TEARS.”  We are very thankful for their no tear shampoo.

This got me thinking about the One who promises “NO MORE TEARS” for eternity.  No tears, sadness or death.  Can you imagine?  No sin.  No people upset.  No wrong words or hurt relationships.  No abuse or pain or addictions.  None of the trials we have in this world.  No financial struggles. No cancer.  No losing babies.  No broken families.  NO MORE TEARS!

Author Max Lucado describes it like this:
“John says that someday God will wipe away your tears.  The same hands that stretched the heavens will touch your cheeks.  The same hands that formed the mountains will caress your face.  The same hands that curled in agony as the Roman spike cut through will someday cup your face and brush away your tears.  Forever.” (From The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado)

When we take a bath in the Living Water, we are baptized into new life with Christ.  We claim NO MORE TEARS for eternity.  What a heavenly promise for all to embrace!  I look forward to that wonderful day!

Thank you, dearest Jesus for Your promise of NO MORE TEARS!

Today’s TEA CUPP:    Draw a tear-drop shape in your prayer journal today and write the promise from Revelations 21:4.  If you are going through a really tough time, perhaps you’d like to post this promise on your bathroom mirror, right near your bottle of shampoo (that’s what I’m going to do today!).

He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken.  Isaiah 25:8  (NKJV)Johnson's Baby Wash

New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

 

A Spacious Place

  I will be glad and rejoice in Your love,
    for You saw my affliction
    and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
    but have set my feet in a spacious place.  Psalm 31:7-8  (NIV)

Are you going through a hard time? An illness?  Family troubles?  Job difficulties?  You need a spacious place, the prescription that will heal your aching heart.  The psalmist shared this cure when he wrote of his affliction and the anguish of his soul.  Then he rejoiced that God put his feet in a spacious place.

Anguish and affliction describe when we left our camping ministry.  It was a rough time, and I was worried where we would live.  I shouldn’t have worried, of course, for God prepared for us this spacious place to rent. Our yard has lush green grass, even here in the brown state of Montana.  Huge old willow and cottonwood trees shade the south side of our house and protect us from winter winds.  A lovely English garden is nestled in front of an old dairy barn, surrounded by hay fields and mountains in the distance.  Yes, Jesus knew just the place I needed to heal my anguish.

Jesus also promises to prepare a place for us in heaven.  His promise of a heavenly home keeps me going even on the toughest days. He is arranging for me a glorious, spacious place.  God has a spacious place for you, too, my TEA CUPP friend. Its is better than anything we can ask or imagine, a balm to heal our hurting hearts. For today, may that spacious place be at the foot of the Cross.

Thank You, dearest Jesus, for a spacious place to heal all our afflictions.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  I pray God’s spacious place for all on my prayer list. 

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  John 14:2 (NKJV)

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Heaven is for Real

I just read the most wonderful page-turner called “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo.  Friends have been telling me for months I need to read this book, and finally I borrowed a copy from my dear neighbor Marie.

This true story describes the journey of an almost four-year old boy who goes to heaven while undergoing a late surgery for appendicitis.  In the months following the surgery the boy, Colton, shares his heavenly experience with his parents.

Things I love about this book:

The description of Jesus in the throne room with God.  When I pray to Jesus, I have a vague picture of Jesus in my mind.  Because Colton went to heaven for three minutes during his appendicitis surgery, I now have an image of the throne room of God.  Colton tells his parents all about the rainbow colors of heaven and how Jesus sits at the right hand of His Dad.  On the left side sits the angel Gabriel.  Colton even meets John the Baptist and God the Holy Spirit who is sort of “blue.”  I now have this picture in my mind as I have my TEA CUPP prayer time with Jesus each morning.

When Pastor Todd (Colton’s dad) is ranting at God in the hospital, asking God “is this how you treat your pastors?!!!”   Todd had just endured a year of testing with three major attacks on his own health.  Now was God going to take his son?  No!  Jesus showed Todd’s son the wonders of heaven and sent Colton back to earth in answer to Todd’s prayer.  Wow!  I love that we can be real with God and share our deepest hurts.  How many times did I ask God, “Is this how you treat your church camp managers?”  when fires and flooding and financial troubles engulfed us.   The Lord loves us so much that He hears and answers our prayers, despite our anger and doubts.

The promise that our unborn babies are waiting for us in heaven.  In one chapter we learn that Colton has two sisters, his older sister Cassie on earth and another sister he met in heaven. This heavenly sister was miscarried at just two months gestation, but Colton’s parents had never told him about her.  They didn’t even know she was a girl!  What hope this gives me with the three babies we have lost. They are all waiting for me in heaven.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  You need to read this tear-jerker if you are…

Wondering what heaven will be like,
Need reassurance that Jesus hears your prayers,
Or have ever lost a baby or child.  You will be blessed.
Heaven is definitely for real!

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:1-4 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

 

Heaven and Airports

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:16 (NKJV)

Heaven and airports.  Arrivals and departures.  Terminal illnesses and terminals.  I wonder if others have pondered this connection while waiting in an airport terminal for loved ones?  If it’s a light day, you can get a seat to watch the action.  Otherwise, you may be standing to observe the tearful or joyful embraces.

Last August we put our daughter on a plane from Montana to Guam for her junior year of college.  As we said good-bye, and watched others say farewell, there were plenty of tears (from others, not our brave daughter, of course).  It seems that airports and funerals are two places it’s okay to show love and grief.  Why do we display more emotions at these times than we do when sending someone off to work or school each morning?

If we knew it was the last good-bye, would we hold our friends and family closer when we depart?  My testimony begins with a plane crash, and I never got to say good-bye to those on board.  It was my college cross country team returning from the national meet.  My two coaches, three team mates, the athletic trainer and pilot all died that icy November day in 1985.  While their plane lay shattered in Des Moines, Iowa, the plane of my life continued to spiral downward as I questioned how God could let this happen.  Two years later I gave my life to Jesus Christ, and I  soared for Him again.

One of the many joys of being a Christian is knowing I will always see other Christians again.  If I don’t see them here on earth, I will have eternity to visit with them in heaven.  We live at a church camp where there are good-byes every week of the summer.  Volunteers serve and become our friends, and then they depart.    I am thankful that we will get to see these folks again in heaven.  Perhaps Jesus will line up some of these great workers to help prepare houses for more people coming to heaven!

Four months after we put our daughter on that plane for Guam, we found ourselves at the airport again on a frigid December day.  As we eagerly waited for our daughter’s return, I watched couples and families reunite.  I thought of heaven and how loved ones will welcome us.  Hugs, tears, slaps on the back, ruffling hair…all these say, “I love you!”  I imagine our relatives there will be delighted when we finally reach heaven.

Our daughter, however, did not arrive on schedule.  She was not on the one o’clock flight from Denver, or the two o’clock, or the three o’clock.  With no cell phone, we didn’t know where she was or when she would land.  A desk attendant said she wouldn’t arrive until the next day. I felt like crying. We waited for the four  o’clock flight anyway, and guess what, at just a little before five o’clock our daughter appeared!   After checking the faces of every blond girl that afternoon, we finally saw the face of our daughter!

I wondered if that could happen in heaven?  Will we be dismayed when our loved ones don’t show up?  God says He’ll wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more sorrow.  So, will I be somber if my brother doesn’t pull in?  I think there will be an empty spot in my heart, because Jesus desires that none should perish.  While I’m still on earth, I’d better make sure my family knows they are invited, that they know Jesus and His salvation.  I may be distressed when my family members depart from this earth, but I’ll be delighted when all my loved ones arrive in heaven, even if it is a day late. 

For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.