Thursday, February 22, 2018

Will We Really Be Reunited When We Get To Heaven?

Yesterday I woke up to the news that Billy Graham had passed and my first thought was that he'd finally see Ruth, his longtime wife, again.

Currently, they are a number of people in my life that are elderly and/or near death and I keep thinking of the great reunion that will happen when they get to heaven. Then recently within our circle of friends, a family lost their second child at the age of three to a chronic heart condition. This is the same condition that took their first child at around the same age. That family is grieving but again, I keep thinking of the sibling reunion in heaven (among other things). And then I often ponder my mother's heavenly existence and if she has reconnected with her son (my brother) and other relatives.

The literal definition of reunited is to come together or cause to come together again after a period of separation. Though the Bible never literally mentions us reuniting it says all who are believers will be there together in Heaven.

Let's try to break this down.

  • First, one has to be a believer, in other words, believe in Jesus Christ. Not all who die go to heaven (John 1:12; Romans 10:13; John 3:16).
  • Second, children appear to be exempt from the above, especially if there are not of age to understand and to make a decision for themselves. This varies from child to child so there's no definitive age. However God has a heart for children (Mark 10:13,14) and I believe that if a baby or a child dies, he goes to heaven. A child did nothing to deserve hell except be born and was incapable of verbalizing and living out his beliefs before their death. In 2 Samuel 12:13-22,  David's son that was born as a result of his affair with Bathsheba died. After he died, though sorrowful, David was at peace for he knew he would see the child again, which actually is a reunion.
  • Third, heaven is indeed a real place, just like hell is, but we're focusing on Heaven (Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:48-49; Matthew 5:34-35). We are also told by Jesus Himself that there are many rooms in God’s house and that He has gone before us to prepare a place for us. We have the assurance of His word that He will one day come back to earth and take us to where He is in heaven (John 14:1-4).

According to the Bible, there is joy in heaven. It is a place of "no mores". There will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more sorrow (Revelation 21:4). There will be no more separation because death will be conquered (Revelation 20:6). The best thing about heaven is the presence of our Lord and Savior (1 John 3:2). We will be face to face with the Lamb of God who loved us and sacrificed Himself so that we can enjoy His presence in heaven for eternity ( John was quite eloquent as he described heaven in Revelation 21, but it's still hard for us as humans to understand. Human language, dealing with Divine facts, can only represent them indirectly, metaphorically, enigmatically, under human images, and as illustrated by visible phenomena (Pulpit Commentary). However, if there's no more separation, that means based on the literal definition that we will all be together, united, reunited even!

Another commentary says it like this: "Our faith fixes on the Divine revelation, and assents thereto, relying on the Divine Redeemer. Hope fastens on future happiness, and waits for that; but in heaven, faith will be swallowed up in actual sight, and hope in enjoyment. There is no room to believe and hope when we see and enjoy. But there, love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! how much surpassing the best below! God is love, 1 John  4:8,16, 21."  (Matthew Henry Commentary)

In heaven, we will have new bodies, but our identity and essence (for lack of a better word) will be known (1 Corinthians 15:35-58). In heaven, all believers will be known by God; He will know us and we will know him. If He knows all of us, will we all know each other? A peer of my daughter's died and he was a devout Christian. She had a dream that she saw him in heaven, didn't recognize him physically but knew him spiritually. The recognition was mutual.

So perhaps that's how it will be when we get to heaven where our faith will finally become a reality and our hope is realized. We will all be worshipping the same God and in our worship, our heavenly existence, we'll begin to know each other anew. A heavenly church service that never ends where we are focused on Him and enjoying our new realityBilly Graham hoped this was the case since he missed his wife terribly. I too hope this is so since there's so much joy in heaven. But this is only for those that believe. I look forward to heaven!

Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. 
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Are you wishing for a heavenly reunion?


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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Heart of Giving Series - Biblical Foundations About Tithes and Offerings

Do you have your offering? This was a question I heard every Sunday morning just before I left for church. My answer was usually yes but I can assure you that I had it only because my parents gave it to me and it was something that Christians did. I fear that many still have this limited understanding around their giving, so today we're going to dig into what the Bible says and hopefully come away with a better understanding around giving.

Before the Mosaic Law was established, there was an understanding that sacrifices or offerings should be given to God.

The first instance in the Bible was Cain and

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Labor of Love

After birthing four children, I know intrinsically what is to labor for love. There's the initial excitement, then the arduous waiting while watching your body go through so many physical changes. Then there's the inevitable delivery where you're slightly afraid but you know that at the end of the process a new life will emerge from you. Throughout the entire process this new life is front and center - whether you are uncomfortable or have an uneventful pregnancy your only concern is for the life inside of you.

Writing a book is also a labor of love. The conception and gestation period were much shorter than in the natural as the thought for this book came about when my eldest daughter was embarking on her marriage journey last year. As her mother, she sought out so much advice from me that her impending nuptials provided an opportunity to share what I have learned over the years. There was the initial excitement, the daily discipline of writing, working with others, and then learning new processes so that this book could come to fruition.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Heart of Giving Series - Joy

Giving to a church has gotten a bad rap in most Christian circles. Too many feel uncomfortable giving to a church so they just don't give. Instead, many hold on to their portion.

Typically on most Sundays at any house of worship, a collection plate is passed around near the end of the service, some short recitation is said, there's a prayer and then the collection plate is passed. Some churches play music and everyone kind of dances as they walk forward to give their tithes/offerings. I've even seen churches make a point of collecting money twice - one for tithes and one for offerings. (I have to say that this was a head-scratcher!) Sometimes there's a musical performance as the offering box is passed. Sometimes the atmosphere is solemn, sometimes festive. Some churches display weekly giving on a board or it's printed in the weekly bulletin. In my experience, if there's a particular need it's usually