Heaven

All very nice but something is missing. The songs says that heaven is a place on earth and although in the beginning that was true now it is far from that. As soon as sin entered the world heaven was lost. Sin keeps us out of God’s presence and would do so forever unless something could be done about it. The problem is we can’t do anything ourselves but there is One who did. There is One who paid the price on our behalf and has taken away our sin and if we believe on His name and put our whole faith in Him Heaven will be our destiny. He is Jesus Christ. The Saviour of mankind. So if you are looking for heaven on earth you may find glimpses of it around you but the real place is found in Christ Jesus.

Shirley Anne

Things Above (Colossians 3:1–2)

Do you look forward to heaven? Explain.
Give an example of how a person might set their mind on earthly things. Give an example of how a person might set their mind on heavenly things.
Before a person becomes a Christian, it’s natural for them to have an earthly outlook. We can’t really blame someone for pursuing wealth, fame, popularity, fun and everything else this world has to offer. After all, from their perspective, what else is there? Life is short, so grab everything you can while you can.

When a person makes a decision for Christ, though, the perspective changes. We shift our eyes away from this earth and toward heaven. We see things with an eternal view. We shift our priorities to reflect what’s really important. We recognize the things of this world for what they can be: distractions, wastes of time, empty pleasures.

We turn our attention to heaven. We consider the possibilities. If heaven is where God is, and God is the source of all joy and happiness, what does that say about our eternal life there? What kind of place has Jesus prepared for us (see John 14:3)? What will it be like not to have to worry about pain, sickness, sorrow or death? We may not know a lot about heaven, but we know enough to get our curiosity going.

Prayer

Dear God, thank you for giving us an unimaginable future beyond this life. Help us keep our minds focused on heavenly things, not earthly things. Fill us with an excitement for heaven. Amen.

Taken from Once a Day At the Table

Shirley Anne

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The future……………your future!

 

What is going to happen in the future? (1 Corinthians 15:51–58)
What happens when we die? The New Testament indicates that people experience an “intermediate state,” which refers to a person’s existence between their time of death and the promised resurrection of their new body. Their earthly body goes into the grave; their spirit lives on in one of two places—in God’s presence where they enjoy a time of peace until they receive their resurrected bodies or in a place of torment where they await final judgment. Jesus talked about this vividly in the story about a rich man and Lazarus (not the Lazarus Jesus raised from the dead). Jesus depicted the place of blessedness for the righteous as Abraham’s side and the place of torment for the wicked as Hades. (See Luke 16:19-31.)
The grand promise of God and the ultimate hope for all Christians is the resurrection. Just as Christ was raised from the dead and received an imperishable body, so will all those who believe in Christ. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, details this major truth.(See 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.)
The event that will trigger this promised resurrection is the Second coming of Christ. Often the Bible refers to the return of Christ as the “day of the Lord.” Paul explains that on the great day of Christ’s return God will resurrect those who have died and then all believers will be brought together and will be with the Lord Jesus forever.
After Jesus returns and we are resurrected into our imperishable bodies, there will be a final judgment by God of every nation. John saw and recorded a vision from God about what will happen at this time of judgment. John wrote down the final movement in God’s grand story—the restoration of what was lost in the beginning. What we read in the opening creation story of Genesis we see again in Revelation—a re-creation—but on a grander scale to accommodate all the people over the centuries who have embraced Christ and received eternal life. (See Revelation 20:11-22:21.)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1–2)

I believe (Christians) there is a heaven and a hell and that Jesus will return to judge all people and to establish his eternal kingdom.
What difference does this make in the way I live?
I ask you to prayerfully take a moment to do an inventory of your relationships. How many non-Christians are currently in your circle of influence? And of these non-Christians in your cir­cle, how many are you actively sharing God’s love with?
Taken from NIV Believe

For my non-believing readers: Although you may not believe in God it doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. For many years I resisted the possibility that there was a God and no matter what people told me I just refused to take it seriously. What did I want with a God? How was it possible for God to be omnipotent and omnipresent? Thinking as a human being who was proud and unyielding and could only see things my way kept me from my Creator. All this time He waited patiently until one day……….I reached out to Him and was welcomed with open arms.

Shirley Anne

Hang on a minute

Again we as a nation were subjected to acts of terrorism by religious fanatics as now eight people have died through their actions with many more having been wounded. The attackers, three of them, were shot and killed by the security services. Their motive? To kill as many unbelievers as they could or simply a retaliatory act as a punishment for the nation having been involved in the fight against religion-based terrorism in foreign parts? It doesn’t matter but what does matter is the fact that innocent people are killed or maimed in the process. What bothers me more is that I believe the atrocities are carried out in the name of a false god. Now hang on a minute, isn’t Allah God? He certainly is not, there is only one true God and He is The Creator, the ‘I Am’, who reveals Himself through His creation and through His Son Jesus Christ, for it is through Jesus that all things that have been made (created) have their being. Now hang on a minute all you believers in Allah who maintain that there was something extra that God did after Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind…………Jesus died that all might be saved and when He took His last breath as a human being He said it Himself…’It is finished’. All that could be done had been done. God (the Godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit) had planned it all and there was now nothing more that could be done. Why would God change His mind?

Mohammed (right) and the Angel Gabriel (left) ...
Mohammed (right) and the Angel Gabriel (left) in a building with three domes. Provenance unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why would the angel Gabriel be sent to give a message to Mohammed to tell him that ‘hang on a minute, God was only kidding when He suffered on The Cross (through Jesus Christ) for all mankind and now you are the true messenger’? The fact is He didn’t. Mohammed is called a prophet by his followers yet he didn’t prophesy anything. He gleaned information from existing texts of both the Old and New Testaments and concocted a ‘holy’ book called the Q’ran. A book filled with good sayings but also filled with untruths. Mohammed himself had lead a rather dubious lifestyle before he ‘got’ religion. He was in fact a military man a  soldier who had been ruthless in killing in his quest for followers and now he was preaching a false religion in the name of his false god Allah. Nothing much changes does it? I am sorry for my Muslim brothers and sisters who have been led up the wrong path, especially those who think that by killing others it will get them into their Paradise. It won’t. If it did then Allah is proven a god of hatred and Christ died for nothing.

English: Resurrection of Christ
Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Praise be to God for Jesus Christ who is the only way anyone can get to Paradise (Heaven). For there is no other name under Heaven by which we must be saved.{Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ }. If you haven’t got Jesus therefore you haven’t got anything!

Shirley Anne

Sound familiar?

Justice in Colossians (Colossians 1:15–23)

Justice in African cosmology is associated with truth telling, fairness, equity, doing what is right, giving right judgment, being impartial and being straightforward. Biblical justice has these elements too. Upholding what is true and fair is central to the idea of justice.
At the heart of Paul’s letter to the Colossians is this idea: that simple truth should be the basis of life. And so, justice underlies everything.
We treat people unjustly and unfairly when we deny them the rightful place and honor due to them. The heretics treat Jesus Christ unjustly by denying him his rightful position as the Creator, Saviour and Lord of the universe. By denying Jesus’ ability to save completely, the Christians in Colossae undermine his power and Colossians is relevant for our faith today, for it addresses the challenges we are facing with false teachings in the church. Many cults today claim to be Christian, yet they deny the deity of Jesus Christ. Their false claims have the appearance of wisdom, but they end up cutting people off from the source of life and the possibility of living the rich, full and just life God intends.
He gives us a portrait of Christ as God’s Son, the object of the Christian faith, the Redeemer, the image of God, Lord of creation, head of the church, and the reconciler of the universe. In addition, Christ embodies the fullness of the Godhead, and all authority in the universe is under him and subjected to him. God’s treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. He is the standard by which all religious teachings are measured, and he conquered the mystic powers of evil by his cross. Paul, therefore, affirms the lordship of Jesus Christ over life and over the cosmic powers.
For Paul, Jesus Christ is simply the truth. The Colossians are dabbling in “hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” To live lives of justice, as they were created to do, they must clear away all competing ideas and focus on Jesus. In him, “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness” (2:8–10).
— James Nkansah-Obrempong Ghana, Kenya (Excerpted from the book introduction to Colossians)
Taken from NIV God’s Justice Bible

Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected J...

Many people today do not give Jesus Christ the recognition he deserves. They treat him unjustly as they do with some of those around them yet they do not realise his authority, his Lordship and the fact that it is only through him that any of them can be saved. They sneer, they mock the very person who gave them life and he is treated unjustly. The early Christians in Colossae were beginning to treat Christ the same way they treated each other and Paul had to show them their error. Then as now there was great opposition to the truth that Jesus Christ is part of the Godhead, God come down to earth reaching out to His creation in His love. If only the eyes of the blind would be opened and they could see the truth. I myself saw that truth early in 1989 and turned to my Maker. My life changed and for the better. When you see the truth that is Jesus Christ you will wonder why you waited as long as you did. The Salvation Army‘s founder William Booth is credited with saying he wished his ‘officers’ could spend but ten minutes in Hell when thereafter they would be totally committed to evangelism, reaching out to the unsaved with the message of salvation. That is why it is important to give Christ the honour he deserves, the Just and Righteous One who has the power to save you from Hell.

Shirley Anne

Something to live for

Not only something to live for but more importantly something to die for. Who would not want to be in such a place as Heaven? Those who believe in Heaven know that their ideas of it will be nothing like it really is, no-one knows except those who are there already. We can only imagine what it must be like. So what will Heaven be like?

Shirley Annesunset
What Is Heaven Like? (Revelation 21:1–2)

Right now, heaven is the literal but unseen realm in which God reigns in unimaginable glory. Moses, Daniel, Ezekiel, Paul and John were all offered glimpses of this holy place. And we know that Christians who have died are with the Lord in paradise (see Lk 23:43). They are in heaven, awaiting the second coming of Christ.
When Jesus Christ returns for his bride, the church, a new era of “heaven” will begin—what might be called “life after life after death” (N. T. Wright). Revelation 21:1—22:5 captures the most complete description of this “new heaven” and “new earth” (Rev 21:1). John saw “the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Rev 21:2). When Jesus promised in John 14:2 that he was going to “prepare a place” for his disciples, this Holy City is the place he was referring to.
This eternal home will truly be “heaven on earth,” for God will re-create his world as a great and beautiful city with streets, protecting walls, a life-giving river and the tree of life—all lit by the glory of God in his inexpressible beauty. The triune God himself will live in that city with his people. All sorrow will be gone. God’s children will worship him forever, accompanied by the angels. Believers will worship God with the great songs of heaven (see Rev 7:10; 15:2–4; 19:1–3), by exploring God’s new creation and through the fellowship of the saints. Believers will reign with Christ and be responsible for governing various parts of God’s kingdom. It will be a bliss that never ends!
Taken from NIV Essentials Study Bible

Shirley Anne

What is the point?

The Meaning of Life (Tankard album)
The Meaning of Life (Tankard album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever wonder what the meaning of life is? Are we here by accident, the result of eons of development through evolution or are we here by design? What is life after all? Throughout our lives we are always seeking after something. Stop and think about that for a moment. We seek peace, prosperity, good health, good relationships, happiness, a good time, financial security, physical security, acceptance in society and other individuals and these are only a few. Whenever we reach a goal we are often still not satisfied having achieved it, we want more, we strive for things that in the end are of no real benefit, in fact anything we gain in our lives doesn’t really benefit us at all and we have to give them up with our last breath. So what is the point?

Shirley Anne

Ecclesiastes 12:13–14
Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon points out the futility of life. He walks down several paths as he looks for meaning in life—pleasure, wealth, wisdom, work. Not many of us will ever possess the time or the resources to do the kind of searching that Solomon did, so this book gives us the benefit of his experience and allows us to peek at the end of the story. His conclusion? No matter how hard we try to manufacture meaning in life, time passes and we all die.
But don’t despair! Solomon directs us to the ultimate source for finding meaning in life: knowing and living with God.
Think of unanswered questions as doors that slam in our faces. With gut-wrenching accuracy, Solomon forces us to look at our lives and recognize that these obstacles exist. But instead of trying to supply us with keys to open those doors by ourselves, Solomon points us to God, the Locksmith who promises to help us find a way. Ultimately, true meaning in life can be found only in a relationship with God—a relationship that is the “duty of all mankind” (verse 13).
Taken from NIV The Journey Bible

Shirley Anne

Regrets

Many times in my life I have made decisions that I later regretted, as we have all done no doubt but unless we learn from them we can end up in a miserable state. Bad decisions can be reversed, bad habits eliminated if we make the effort. It is too easy to simply go with the flow or to make the decision not to change things in our lives. We can be so lazy when it comes to self-discipline sometimes.We have to realise the benefits we can reap by making necessary changes. Some though are that stubborn they will never change, even if at the possibility that the change would be in their favour! They don’t like being told they are wrong or that there is a better way. It is all to their detriment however and sadly some will go to their graves not knowing how much better it could have been. I was watching a video on YouTube recently where the subject was about Biblical prophecy concerning the ‘End Times’. So many things written in Scripture focus on prophecy, almost one-third of the Bible itself! Of course not all will be aware of such things because in some instances they have never heard about The Bible and in other instances unbelief and stubborn hearts are a stumbling block. Prophecy is God telling us what is going to happen in the future so if we refuse to listen we are putting ourselves in danger. Many Biblical prophecies concern events which actually came to pass many years ago but many concern events yet to happen. Prophetic signs point the way and show us even now that events happening today seem ‘to indicate we may be heading fast into those ‘End Times’.

The video mentions things like one world government, cashless society, RFID chip technology and other things. We are most certainly heading in the direction of the end times. Many of these things are not on the face of it a problem but the evil behind them is. They are insidious and the people are too stubborn and blind to see it. There will be a price to pay for ignoring the warnings as Scripture again tells us. Those who receive in themselves the ‘Mark of the beast’ will have no opportunity to regret it, their fate will be unchangeable. Scripture tells us that they will be cast into the fire (hell). You don’t want to be in hell regretting a decision you had the ability not to make in the first place. This is a call to make the right decision right now by turning to Jesus Christ before it is too late.

Shirley Anne

Dropping like flies

"It's goodnight from me." "And ...
“It’s goodnight from me.” “And it’s goodnight from him”. On left, with partner Ronnie Barker in their regular news anchor spoof. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was watching the news on television a couple of days ago and heard the report that one of our country’s beloved comedians had just died that morning at home with his family around him. Those outside the UK may not have heard the name Ronnie Corbet but he was well-known here as the other half of the comedy duo ‘The two Ronnies‘. His stage partner Ronnie Barker died some time ago. It was only a matter of weeks ago we learned that Terry Wogan had died. He was well-known as a comedian amongst other things too. As I sat and listened I was reminded of the many famous television personalities, impresarios, celebrities and politicians who have died in latter times and who were at their peak as I grew through adulthood. It is a sobering thought and a reminder that we are all mortal and our day will follow whenever it is time for us. This is something over which we have no control. Many people live to a ripe old age though if you read Scripture you will see that in the beginning people lived far longer than they do now. Adam we are told lived until he was 930, Seth his son live 912, Enosh 905, Methuselah lived 969, the oldest recorded age for a human. Up and until the time of Noah people lived for hundreds of years but thereafter began to experience shorter lifespans. When God created mankind His intentions were that they should not die at all and it was because of man’s sin that death and decay ensued. In today’s world scientists are striving to seek that formula to make us all able to live longer. It will never happen. There is now only one way to live forever and that is through the gift that God has provided for all who will place their trust in His Son. If we believe in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him we will be saved. We can live forever as it was originally planned but now only through Jesus Christ. How sad the world of today has become without the knowledge and trust in Jesus. We do not just die and rot in the ground but we will be judged. Don’t allow yourself to die without the love of and for Jesus in your heart, without the love of God to save you. If you don’t accept Jesus, don’t believe in God a place has been set aside for you but it won’t be nice and it will last forever. If you want to live forever in Heaven it is there for the taking but you will live forever one way or the other so Scripture tells us. Make sure it is in the right place.

I’ve a wonderful love
That’s so deep in my heart
Came into my life
Gave me a new start
Through all of my sorrows
My troubles and pain
Whenever I fell
I was lifted again.
The joy of this love
Gives to each one a share
With no special favours
To black, brown or fair.
Take hold of this love
There for each one of us
The love of my Saviour
My sweet Lord Jesus.

Copyright Shirley Anne 31 March 2003

Shirley Anne

His Story

Timeline of the Universe
Timeline of the Universe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

History or His Story? We have history because we live in this thing called ‘time’. We can look back to the past and ‘see’ what history holds there. The unique thing is that history cannot be changed for as everyone knows time only goes in one direction, forward. We cannot change the past but we can influence what happens in the future. Where did time come from? Did it have a beginning? Will it end one day? These seem at first glance to be ridiculous questions but for those who believe in Creation and in a Creator God it isn’t ridiculous at all. Scientists will say that our universe had a beginning and indeed that is true. It is also true that the Universe is in decay and will end one day. It is suggested that time itself will end with it. It is difficult for us to understand the concept of a ‘timeless’ situation simply because we experience living in time but there will be a time when we will no longer be in ‘time’ and I don’t mean when the Universe comes to an end. When you die you will no longer be ‘living’ in time even though you will still be in existence. That part of you we call your spirit will certainly remain in existence when your body decays though many will not accept this for they will argue that once our flesh dies so will we. As a believer in God I cannot accept that because I have faith to believe there is a place set aside in Heaven for all those who acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and declare it with their tongue. So history is really His Story, He invented ‘Time’ because we as humans in the flesh cannot live anywhere else. Our flesh cannot be saved from decay but our spirit can be saved from eternal punishment and condemnation, only if however we call upon the name of the Lord and place our trust and hope in Him. Without Jesus this is impossible………….think about it.

Hebrews 1

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

 

Shirley Anne

In your lifetime

Recently we have been reading about and listening to news broadcasts on television reporting the events surrounding the death of a policeman in the course of his duty. The cause of his death as we all know here in the UK was that he was run over by a driver behind the wheel of a stolen pick-up truck who had been trying to evade capture after a reported burglary. The unfortunate policeman leaves a young wife and two young children after the meaningless murder. I say murder because that is what it was, a deliberate action on behalf of the driver who apparently drove at police officers who had laid a ‘stinger’ in the path of the stolen vehicle in order to avoid it. At the time of writing this on Wednesday afternoon two days after the event four people are being questioned in connection with the incident. Nothing more about the events which have taken place can be said at this time. Sadly this is only one incident in the many hundreds and thousands of anti-social incidents which are reported each year. Moral standards mean nothing to some people who are prepared to go to any lengths to satisfy their needs without working for them, even killing innocent people in the process. There is no respect given to others, no consideration except to self-satisfy at whatever cost. Something is lacking in their brains when they think nothing is wrong with their behaviour. It is alright to thieve, assault, murder and behave as they do whilst everyone else has to put up with it according to them. They have no fear of the consequences for they never expect to be caught. Fortunately most of them do get caught but sometimes even this is no deterrent. Many are persistent offenders and return to their former ways once they have served out their sentences. For the young policeman killed in the line of duty there is no second chance, his life has ended. I have said this before on a number of occasions that this world is getting worse, not better. Some think otherwise but they walk with blinkered eyes. As a Christian believer I live out my life in the knowledge that I will be judged by my Creator but many will not agree with those beliefs and I say to their own peril. The word of God tells me about these ‘end times’ and the events leading up to them and after them and I can see these things slowly happening all around me. The Bible speaks the truth but people won’t listen, their eyes are closed, their hearts are hardened and they live as if there isn’t a tomorrow in which they will be judged. In my lifetime I have seen or heard about many incidences of evil and it has gotten worse not better. Do not be deceived, even more wicked and difficult times are ahead. Now is the time to repent and call upon God to save you through Jesus Christ because you never know the time you have left.

Shirley Anne