Monday, September 24, 2012

Finally Home

Thoughts on the Sabbath School Lesson for 9.29.12

You know that feeling you get when you’ve been away from home and you walk into your house for the first time in however long – that feeling that says, “Aaah, finally home.”? I imagine that’s the feeling we’ll have when we first step into Heaven – only so so much better.

Lots of songs are written about it. The first three that come to my mind are “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe, the hymn, “Face to Face With Christ, My Savior,” and a song by Chris Rice that you probably haven’t heard called “Circle Up” (The title has to do with the chorus that I didn’t use here).

“Hear the hum of angel curiosity
The children of the Lord are gathering
Finally the Day we’ve all been dreaming of
Caught up forever in His love!

Hear the thunder of unfolding wings
Feel the mighty wind their beating brings
Rain your grateful tears and flood the floor
Rise up and worship like a storm!

Now hear His golden voice above it all
He’s saying, "This tear is the last to fall!"
A few simple words, another storm He calms
Invites us all into His arms!”[1]

I’m not sure why these particular lyrics speak so strongly to me, but I love the thought that the angels are almost as excited to welcome us Home as we are to get there. And, of course, I love the mental picture of Jesus inviting us all into His arms.

Have you ever tried to imagine what those first few moments/days/weeks in Heaven might be like? I believe it’s good that we’re going to have a thousand years, because I’m pretty sure that for the first good while, nobody’s going to be doing anything but just looking at Jesus. We’ll be trying to wrap our minds around the idea that we won’t ever be separated from Him again.

But after that, there’s going to be so much to do! We’ll have to pick up the directions to our mansions at some point, but, again, I can’t imagine we’ll be that interested in that right at first.

I know one of the very first things I want to do is meet and talk to my guardian angel. What about you? Have you ever thought about how interesting that will be – to sit down and hear about all the times your angel protected you when you didn’t even know you were in danger?

Next I’d like to find all my family and friends and do a head count and a group hug. But then I’d like to start making my way through visiting with all my Bible heroes. I don’t know, maybe they’ll each have their own meeting area and we can just move from group to group. However it works, I’d love to ask Noah how he managed to keep building the ark even when absolutely nobody else except his family believed him.

Can you imagine talking to David and hearing him tell about his life? What would you like to ask him? Who else would you like to talk to? Do you think Jonah will be there? We don’t know if he ever made peace with God over the whole Nineveh thing. I’d absolutely have to talk to Moses! How did he ever keep his sanity? Mary and Joseph would be a must, wouldn’t they? Along with Jesus’ disciples – John the Baptist, Samson, Elisha and Elijah. Oh, and Daniel! He and his three buddies would really have some amazing stories!

Is there a special person who guided you into the truth? You’ll definitely want to find that person! Maybe they don’t even know what kind of influence they had on your life. Won’t it be fun to tell them?

At some point we’re going to have a banquet and we’ll all sit down around a mile long dining table and be able to see and talk to anyone along the table as we eat the best food we have ever eaten. Do you think we’ll recognize everybody we see or will we be making introductions along the way?

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I want to do is go find the animals and spend some time petting and getting to know the big cats and all the other animals we don’t dare touch here on earth.

What do you think the first Sabbath in Heaven will be like? Can you imagine someone up front teaching/ preaching, or discussion groups? Would we even have a formal meeting place or would we just enjoy being in Heaven – walking around and visiting with everybody else?

At some point, though, Jesus will sit us down and open the books of the judgment with us. That’s going to be our primary job doing the millennium, to review God’s books so that we can understand exactly how God’s justice perfectly fits what each person did or didn’t do. We’ll also be helping the beings from other planets understand that God is truly a just and perfect God so that no one will ever again raise the question of whether or not God is fair.

Then, too, there’s going to be singing! What kind of music do you think we’ll experience? I know we’ll have a song to sing that only the redeemed can sing. There won’t be any “pitchy” singers or disagreements over which kind of praise music is appropriate.

We’ll want to experience what our new and improved bodies will do. Some people, like Joni Earickson Tada will be walking for the first time since she was a youngster.

I remember hearing a story about the hymn writer, Fannie Crosby. Someone asked her if she wanted to be healed of her blindness during her lifetime. Her answer was ‘no’. She said she would rather stay blind because she wanted the face of Jesus to be the very first thing she saw.

I’m sure we’ll all be experiencing our new bodies as though we had been crippled here on earth. We’ll have to spend time traveling the galaxies, visiting other worlds that Jesus made.

There are so many things to do in Heaven, so much more than Satan wants you to think about. He wants you to think Heaven is just sitting on a cloud, playing a harp, for eternity – how boring! Who would want that? Instead we have eternity jam-packed full of friends to visit, things to learn, music to make, animals to play with, new people to meet and, most important, Jesus. We get to spend eternity with Jesus. Wow – just wow!
“The nations of the saved will know no other law than the law of heaven. All will be a happy, united family, clothed with the garments of praise and thanksgiving. Over the scene the morning stars will sing together, and the sons of God will shout for joy, while God and Christ will unite in proclaiming. ‘There shall be no more sin, neither shall there be any more death.’“‘And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me,’ saith the Lord. ‘The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.’ ‘The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.’ ‘In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people.’” (E.G. White, Heaven, p.188)

[1] Chris Rice, Run the Earth... Watch the Sky (2003)

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