Monday, December 31, 2012

An Accidental Life

When my sons were little, we spent a huge amount of time watching shows or videos about animals. And, initially that sounds awesome because then they were learning things instead of watching mindless kids’ shows (they watched those too). Nature shows are so much fun to watch – the photography is beautiful. Except that EVERY SINGLE ONE of them had to throw in its mandatory this-animal-evolved-from-that-animal line. At which point I would feel the need to disagree with the voice-over out loud so that my children would not get the idea that I agreed with those kinds of statements. I did it so often that we could all recite my various responses together.

I have a huge problem with the theory of evolution … well, I have several, but my biggest problem with it goes beyond all of the scientific impossibilities and unlikelihoods of life just popping up out of nowhere. My biggest problem with the theory of evolution is that believing it changes the way a person sees themselves and how they fit into the grand scheme of things. I believe that so many of the things for which we are trying to find solutions are outgrowths of believing that life is merely the result of a biological accident.

In the interest of full disclosure, I went to public schools for most of my academic life and I worked in public schools first as a teacher and then as a school psychologist. My children also went to public schools. I grew up in a time when only the theory of evolution was taught in science classes and formal prayer was not allowed. So, that may all flavor my opinions to some extent.

One of the first side effects of teaching our children that they are nothing but biological accidents is the loss of the knowledge that each individual is inherently valuable. If we can no longer believe that we were knit together in our mothers’ wombs by a loving Creator God, then who are we? And why are we here? To fill the void of our value through our Creator and Redeemer, educators started trying to artificially produce self-esteem in each student. The self-esteem movement has become almost a joke – everybody gets a trophy for participating, teachers shouldn’t use red ink, don’t tell a student they’re wrong – but has not been able to instill in anyone a healthy knowledge that they were created and loved by God. Artificial value then has to come from how we look and what we have.

Unfortunately not everyone is considered beautiful and not everyone has the funds to buy the things that will make them valuable – expensive athletic shoes, clothes, fancy cars or any other thing that is considered a symbol of a person’s importance in society.

In my opinion, one of the reasons that bullying has become such a devastating problem is that children who have been artificially infused with self-worth have no positive way to maintain it and so try to build themselves up by pushing others down. Those who are being pushed down have no resources with which to protect themselves and are emotionally devastated, sometimes to the point of suicide.

A huge casualty of being taught we were accidents was morality. Teenagers who have been told they are nothing more than a step along the evolutionary ladder – just a little higher than monkeys, are no longer bound by the morals of individuals who were created just a little lower than angels.
“What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,” Psalm 8:4-6
That’s a very different way of thinking of humans than most people use, isn’t it? A being just lower than an angel has value, and purpose. A being just higher than a monkey has neither of those things.

One of the most tragic and heartbreaking of the consequences of being taught we are nothing more than glorified monkeys and have no intrinsic value in and of ourselves, is the proliferation and acceptance of abortion.
We no longer think of life like King David did:
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” Psalm 139:13-15
An inconvenient pregnancy is easily and thoughtlessly ended with little thought about what miracle is taking place. From there we can apply the same lack of value for life to so many other aspects of our society – school shootings jump immediately into my mind.

If we are nothing but biological accidents, where does that leave us? What is our purpose for being here? Who cares that we’re here? Our hearts and minds are essentially a vacuum that was supposed to be filled by God, but is now just empty and waiting for whatever comes along. 
“Those who leave the Word of God to account for His created works on scientific principles are drifting without chart or compass upon an unknown ocean. The greatest minds, if not guided by the Word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to trace the relations of science and revelation. Those who doubt the records of the Old and New Testaments will be led to go a step further and doubt the existence of God. Then, having lost their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity.“The Bible is not to be tested by men’s ideas of science. Skeptics, through an imperfect comprehension of either science or revelation, claim to find contradictions between them; but rightly understood they are in perfect harmony. Moses wrote under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and a correct theory … will never claim discoveries that cannot be reconciled with his statements.” E.G. White, From Eternity Past, p.67
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5
How would you rather live your life?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Why? Why not?

I love to think of those first days in Heaven. I try to imagine the wonder of seeing my Bible heroes visiting with people of every age. It will be so exciting to have the opportunity to go back over our earthly experiences with our guardian angels. That’s all going to be amazing and, I believe, will never lose their excitement. But let’s imagine just for a few minutes, that as you’re walking past the Tree of Life and you see Stephen and Saul/Paul walking toward one another. You see the spark of recognition on their faces as they recognize each other…and then you see something else.

Remember that the last time Stephen saw Saul was the day that Saul held the cloaks of the folks who stoned Stephen. He missed the whole Damascus Road conversion bit. What thoughts do you think are going through Stephen’s mind at the moment he recognizes Saul?

Not too much later you’re strolling around, just enjoying the scenery and you come face to face with the grown up version of that kid who stole your lunch money every single day of your third grade year? What if you see that cranky old man who lived at the end of your street who was always calling and complaining to the city the instant your grass got a millimeter too long, or that professor who seemed to take great joy in humiliating any student who was brave or silly enough to admit to being a Christian? What if you look around Heaven and you see people who you think of as completely evil – Kim Jong Il, Idi Amin, or Saddam Hussein?

At the same time, you look around and see some noticeable absences. Where’s that teacher who seemed to know all the answers to your spiritual questions? or that man who greeted every person who walked through the door of the church with a smile and big handshake? Why haven’t you run into that kid who won the Bible Bowl three years running; he knew his Bible forward and backward!?

It’s not hard to imagine, then, that if you have questions like that, other people will too. And from there it’s a very small step to thoughts of God playing favorites or being arbitrary and unfair…and then we’re right back where we started and the whole seven thousand years of the great controversy has been a complete waste of time.

How is God going to make sure that everybody understands why the people who are in Heaven are the people who will enjoy being in Heaven? Well, we find out that those thousand years, the Millennium, are going to be more than just hanging out beside the Sea of Glass. We are going to have at least one job to do – we are going to be reviewing all the God’s records of the lives of everyone who ever lived. No wonder we’re going to be there for a thousand years!
 “During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection the judgment of the wicked takes place. The apostle Paul points to this judgment as an event that follows the second advent. ‘Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.’ 1 Corinthians 4:5.
“Daniel declares that when the Ancient of Days came, ‘judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.’ Daniel 7:22.
“At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says: ‘I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.’ ‘They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.’ Revelation 20:4, 6.
“It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, ‘the saints shall judge the world.’ 1 Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death.
“Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people.” (E.G. White, The Great Controversy, 660, 661)
Isn’t God good? There won’t be any, “Because I said so!” coming from God. Instead He will open all of His books and records to us. Isn’t that crazy?

We will have the opportunity – the responsibility, of going through God’s records and seeing for ourselves that God is the epitome of fairness. We will have the chance to review every second of every person’ life and see their walk toward or away from God.

We will have the opportunity to see the evidence of God’s love for His creatures and His complete freedom of choice – allowing each one of us to choose to walk away from Him.

It’ll be like a Heavenly audit carried out by the redeemed. And at the end of the thousand years, no one will ever be able to doubt the motives of or second guess the fairness and love of Jesus. There will never be another question about what kind of God we have served and with whom we’re fixing to spend eternity. By the end of the Millennium God will finally be able to wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will have the assurance that doubt will never invade our thoughts.

Even better, the other created beings will see once and for all see that Satan’s claims against God are false and without basis of any kind. God’s character will have finally been cleared.
“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 21:4, NKJV)
I think that text includes God too. He will be able to put behind Him the heartbreak of having to allow people who He created to choose someone or something else.
“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” John 3:16-17
I love to think about spending eternity with Jesus, don’t you?

Monday, December 17, 2012


Thoughts on the Sabbath School Lesson for 12.15.12

You might remember when a few years ago, everyone was reading the book In His Steps by Charles Sheldon.  In case you haven’t read the book

“The novel begins on a Friday morning when a man out of work appears at the front door of Henry Maxwell while the latter is preparing for that Sunday’s upcoming sermon. Maxwell listens to the man’s helpless plea briefly before brushing him away and closing the door. The same man appears in church at the end of the Sunday sermon, walks up to “the open space in front of the pulpit,” and faces the people. No one stops him. He quietly but frankly confronts the congregation—‘I’m not complaining; just stating facts.’—about their compassion, or apathetic lack thereof, for the jobless like him in Raymond. Upon finishing his address to the congregation, he collapses, and dies a few days later.
“That next Sunday, Henry Maxwell, deeply moved by the events of the past week, presents a challenge to his congregation: ‘Do not do anything without first asking, “What would Jesus do?”’ This challenge is the theme of the novel and is the driving force of the plot. From this point on, the rest of the novel consists of certain episodes that focus on individual characters as their lives are transformed by the challenge.”[1]
That’s all good, except for me the book takes kind of a weird turn along the way. Maybe I’m the one who is thinking wrongly here, I’m just trying to figure things. So, partway into the book, the newspaper editor starts refusing to print ads for products/services he believes Jesus would not approve. I’m absolutely okay with that, it’s his paper. He has the absolute right to print whatever he feels he should print, and turning down the revenue he would have made from those ads was a difficult, and probably unpopular, stance for the editor to take. So far, so good.
But then, a bunch of folk in the story start trying to get alcohol illegalized, and that’s when my “WWJD” senses start tingling. I’m just not sure that that’s something Jesus would have done. Yes, He spoke against being drunk, but did He ask the government to close all the bars?  Did He start petitioning for laws against wine making and selling? If He did, it’s not recorded anywhere. Hm.
As a Christian, what is my responsibility toward the evils I see in my community? Do I become a hard-driving, outspoken activist pushing for stricter laws for things I believe are wrong?
What Would Jesus Do? It’s an excellent question, but the answer, I believe, is not as straight-forward as we would like.
When I look at the Gospels, I see Jesus making the lives of individuals better and, as far as I can tell, no social activism. He rescued Mary Magdalene from the men who were going to stone here. Jesus is clearly “anti-prostitution,” but He doesn’t start an organization to sweep the town free of prostitution. Nor did He let Mary believe that what she was doing was acceptable behavior.
What is a Christian’s responsibility to their community? “…Christians pay taxes, participate in civic duties, respect traffic laws and property regulations, and cooperate with civil authorities in curbing or controlling crime and violence.”[2]
What if we believe the laws are wrong? Do we picket abortion clinics? Do we sign petitions to make drinking alcoholic beverages illegal? If we feel our government is taking the country in the wrong direction do we start a movement to impeach the president? Do we work for World Peace, even though the Bible tells us that it just is never going to happen?
I don’t have any idea what the right answers would be to those questions. The example that Jesus set for us had very little to do with the government of His day and everything to do with individuals who needed help.
Jesus help folks, not because He knew from that moment on, every person He helped would become a follower, but because they needed help. He didn’t let what the person was going to do next worry Him at all. Many of us, though, as Christians, want to set limits on our charity.  A man holding a sign at an intersection may not receive our money because we worry about how he will spend it. Many of us resist turning in our tithes and offerings because we don’t approve of how our church is spending it.
What would Jesus do?
If we took the challenge that Charles Sheldon gave the characters in In His Steps, to “not do anything without first asking, ‘What would Jesus do?’’, how would our lives change? What would we have to change? How would our relationships with our families change? With our bosses and fellow employees? With the man at the intersection holding a sign? How would our churches change?
People who watched Jesus when He was here knew almost instantly that something was different about Him. What was it that made Him so different? He wasn’t movie star handsome. He wasn’t Donald Trump rich. People who hung out with Him were changed, usually for the better.
What did Jesus do that was so different from the other religious figures of that time? I believe the most important thing He did, was He looked at the individual. He wasn’t concerned with personalities or other people’s opinions. He didn’t worry too much about the rules or societal norms. He saw people who needed His loving and healing touch.
Today we worry too much about what other Christians will think, what our motives are, what kind of person it is we are trying to help – are they going to misuse what we are giving them? We think too much about setting some kind of precedent and letting people take advantage of us. We worry about too many things that, if we would admit it, really don’t matter at all.
What matters is, will people see Jesus through us?
Arthur Simon is the founder of an organization called, Bread for the World. He recalls a saying that he learned from his father, who had grown up on a Wisconsin farm.
Simon’s father said, “Even the cows should know you are a Christian by the way you treat them."
Simon has incorporated that way of thinking into his own ministry, and added, “And if cows, how much more people!"[3]
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 1 John 3:18-20
What would Jesus do?

[1] “In His Steps”, Wikipedia,
[2] Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald® Publishing Association, 2000), p. 701.
[3] Arthur Simon, "Simon Says: Vote! Write! Lobby!," World Vision (April/May 1988), p.6

Paid In Full

Thoughts on the Sabbath School Lesson for 12.22.12

I have had a rough couple of months when it comes to driving – I’ve gotten three tickets! One was because I didn’t “stop” when I was turning right on a red light and the other two were for speeding. All three were my fault. I couldn’t say the red light camera didn’t actually have a picture of my car failing to stop before I turned right. On the other two, I couldn’t say the policeman’s radar wasn’t correct. I was actually going as fast as the policeman said I was. Now on the last one, I could claim ignorance because I hadn’t ever noticed that most of Hillcrest is now marked as a school zone.

Claiming ignorance wasn’t going to help me though. I wasn’t any less guilty because I didn’t notice the School Zone. The alternative to paying is losing my driver license, paying a bigger fine, or, if I continue to refuse to pay for my transgression, I could go to jail.

Do you think that if I went into City Hall and told them I was very, very sorry for speeding, and I won’t ever do it again, that they would tell me not to worry about it and let me go on my way? Well, for the first ticket I got to take Defensive Driving, but that only works the first time. After that, I am responsible for paying some kind of fee for my transgression and, once I’ve paid, the ticket is still on my record.

Getting tickets really stinks, but beyond that we know that the “fine” we owe God for our sins is not just a few dollars! We owe full price – and there’s not defensive driving to get that particular transgression off the record.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Are you prepared to pay the “wages of sin?” I am not! Thankfully, long before Adam and Eve sinned, Jesus had made a plan of what to do to pay the fine for you and me. And not just pay the fine, but completely wipe it off the books as though we had never broken the rules in the first place.

Have you ever wondered how that whole substitutionary thing works? 
“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.” Romans 6:10
But what does that mean exactly? I always pictured it like this: Jesus is standing in what looks like a courtroom. God is sitting in the judge’s seat. Satan is the prosecuting attorney and Jesus is the defense attorney.  The bailiff angel calls your name and Satan stands up and begins to list all of the things you have done that qualify as a sin. (It’s usually a very long list.) Before he gets too far though, Jesus jumps up objects. He tells the court that none of those infractions appear on your record.

Now it’s Satan’s turn to object. He insists that you have committed all those sins and that the wages of sin must be paid. You’re sentenced to death and blood must be shed. God agrees that since you have committed all those sins, you cannot be with Him in Heaven – being in His perfect presence would destroy you.

Just when you think your case is lost, Jesus steps forward again and announces to the court that when you accepted Him as your Defense Attorney, your record has been purged of all of your infractions. He has shed the blood that is required and posted it beside your name.

God smiles and strikes his gavel on His gavel on the desk. Your case is dismissed; you’re free to go.

You are still reeling from the unexpected turn of events. You’re trying to wrap your mind around what just happened when you hear the bailiff call the next name. He also announces that this person has waived his right to the Defense Attorney. The person sitting next to you stands up, and Satan begins reading the list of laws that that person has broken, but you don’t hear any objection from Jesus. You look around and see Jesus sitting at His table with tears running down His cheeks. When Satan finishes his list, the courtroom is silent. Finally, God sadly brings down His gavel and announces that this person has chosen to pay his own fines for his own sins, and the fine for sin is death.

We believe that is what’s been going on the Heavenly Sanctuary since 1844. When it is finished, then Jesus will come and take those who chose Him as their Defense Attorney into Heaven with Him. Those who did not chose Jesus must stay out.

 “Can I propose that Jesus began his public ministry the same way he ended it? He ended his ministry being crucified, covered with the sins of the world. He began his ministry being baptized, identifying volitionally with the sins of the world.
“Would you allow me a couple of minutes of silliness? Let me give you a vision of what could have happened that day. It expresses, as I see it, the implications of what is going on here. We're standing around there, and we understand that big things like this have to be organized. We make a plan. One of us says, ‘When you decide to come and repent, folks, we want you to register. We'll get your name down on a mailing list, and we'll give you a name tag so that the baptizers can be more personal with you. Just step forward, and tell us your first name and your most awful sin.’
“Up to this table steps Bob. ‘Name?’
“‘What's your most awful sin, Bob?’
“‘I stole some money from my boss once.’ The person takes a marker and writes, BOB: EMBEZZLER.
“Next person: ‘Name?’
"’Mary, what's your most awful sin?’
"’I slandered some people. I said things that weren't true. I just didn't like them.’ So the person writes, MARY: SLANDERER.
"’What's your most awful sin?’
“‘I've been coveting my neighbor's Corvette.’ GEORGE: COVETER.
"’Gordon, your most awful sin?’
“And the person writing, with some degree of gloating, slaps the name tag on the chest of each person. Then all these people, with their name tags and their most awful sins, line up by the river, waiting to be baptized in repentance.
“Up to the table comes Jesus. Jesus' most awful sin? Well, there aren't any. So Jesus starts walking down the line. He steps up to Bob and says, ‘Bob, give me your name tag,’ and he puts it on himself. ‘Mary, give me your name tag.’ He puts it on himself. ‘George, give me your name tag.’ It goes on himself. ‘Gordon, give me your name tag.’
“Soon the Son of God is covered with name tags and awful sins. Someone comes up and gently says to Jesus, ‘It's a nice thing you're doing. If you must do this, couldn't you take off a few of the worst ones? If you're going to spawn a messianic movement, you've got to be above reproach. Why don't you take off the tag that says, MURDERER. Take the adulterer tag off, too. Those are too despicable. We're talking about nines and tens here.’
“Jesus says, ‘You don't realize that I am the Son of David. David had to wear those name tags, and I will not write him off, for I have forgiven him.’
“In my vision, I see Jesus going to the water to present himself to John. The Savior is baptized. At the risk of being trite, in my vision, the people who had the markers didn't buy indelible ink. When Jesus comes up, all of the ink has been washed away and is going down the river. And I recall the words, ‘As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.’
“That's what repentance does. And that's what Jesus' ministry is all about. Without him, you and I are stuck.”[1]
[1] Gordon MacDonald, "Repentance," Preaching Today, Tape No. 121.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Loving the Fence

Thoughts on the Sabbath School Lesson for 12.8.12

Have you ever seen those dogs who can go outside with their people and they don’t need a leash or a fence? They just stay right in their yard or beside their person. We had a dog like that once. He was a border collie and his name was Shadow. He knew exactly where our (unfenced) yard stopped and didn’t stray from it unless he was walking beside one of us. It was a beautiful thing. Many years later my family owned a beautiful Boxer named Bach. He didn’t understand the concept of “yard.” He understood running, everywhere.
Well, after trying to teach him the boundaries of our yard, we read about something called an invisible fence. Have you ever heard of it? It consists of a length of wire that is attached to a transformer much like a regular electrified fence, except that the wire is buried. The dog then wears a collar that has a little sensor on it that will give the dog a shock when he gets near the wire. The idea is that the dog will learn to stay away from the wire to avoid the shock and learn the boundaries of the area in which he is allowed to run.
Yeah, well, that didn’t work for Bach. I’m sure there are lots of dogs who have lived their lives successfully within their invisible fence, but not Bach. Oh sure, he didn’t like the shock that he would get when he crossed the wire, but he learned very quickly (so we knew he wasn’t completely stupid) that the shock only lasted a couple of seconds and then he was free on the other side. So, if he saw something outside his “yard,” like the little neighbor girl calling him, he’d take a running start and take the shock. Now coming back home was more of a challenge. Once we’d go get the leash and fetch him home, he seemed to know exactly where the wire boundary was and would whimper and resist going back over the same wire he gladly took the shock from a few minutes before. We still have the wire and transformer if anybody’s interested.
Anyway, so we finally had to actually fence in our backyard. You’d think Bach would have been satisfied – he had a full fenced acre where he could romp and chase things – but no. We had to sneak out the front door and make sure it was always closed tightly behind us because he never stopped trying to run out the front door. Bringing groceries was a challenge.
The weird thing was, he really wasn’t interested in running away so much because if you left him alone and the front door open, pretty soon he’d come back in. If you tried to encourage him to come back in before he was ready, on the other hand, he’d run farther away…he loved to be chased. (Infuriating)
Anyway, later in his life he discovered that he could dig his way under our chain link fence and escape that way. (Who ever thought an 85 lb. dog would be able to dig under a fence?) We spent a lot of time finding and filling in his escape holes.
The funny thing was, he almost always escaped from our yard into another fenced lot. He thought he was free, but he was still fenced in. He just wasn’t in his own yard anymore.
I miss Bach even though he was an infuriating dog, but I learned some important lessons from his Houdini like behavior.
1. There are boundaries everywhere, even if we can’t see them.
2. The boundaries were put there to keep us safe and happy.
3. Things outside of our boundaries will call to us.
4. Getting outside our boundaries sometimes takes quite a bit of work.
5. Being outside our boundaries is often not as much fun as we thought it would be. 
6. Sometimes, when we think we’re free, we’re just fenced in as we were before but by a different set of boundaries.
7. Coming back home sometimes seems more painful than leaving.
8. No matter how many times we escape, Someone will always be looking for us. He may not chase us, but His door will always be open for us to come home.
God gave us a set of boundaries, the Ten Commandments. From everything I’ve heard and read, God, Himself lives within the boundaries set by the Ten Commandments along with all of Heaven. 
“The law of God is the foundation of his Government in Heaven and in earth, …” (E.G. White, Signs of the Times, March 30, 1888, graph 7)
Doesn’t that mean that the same rules God gave us here on earth apply to Heaven as well? What if we don’t like the rules? If we feel trapped by them here, wouldn’t we feel trapped by them there? I say yes, what about you?
Although we know that our entrance into Heaven is not dependent on our ability to keep the Ten Commandments, our enjoyment of Heaven is.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:2-3
“His commandments are not grievous.” Hm, That’s kind of the same as saying, we won’t hate them, right? Well, the writers of the Psalms go even farther than that.
“And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.” Psalm 119:47-48
Can you honestly claim that you delight in God’s commandments? Are you like my dog, Bach, always trying to find a way over, under or through the fences that God has placed around us for our own safety and protection? 
God has shown us the boundaries of Heaven. Jesus died to make sure that anyone who wants to can live within those boundaries with Him. 
The Ten Commandments give us a picture of Heaven – a place where sin does not exist, where Satan can no longer touch us, and where we’ll be able to talk with Jesus face to face.
“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.” John 3:16-17AMP