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Heaven: The real thing

Heaven: The real thing
Greg Laurie, June 13, 2009
When you have had someone close to you die, especially a child, everything changes. You see life much differently. And although it has been almost 11 months now since my son Christopher departed for heaven, the sadness lingers.
I have found myself thinking much more deeply about heaven. My interest in knowing and talking about heaven is greater than it ever has been. Heaven is more personal, more real and nearer than ever.
The Bible has a lot to say about what heaven will be like. First of all, heaven is an actual place. Jesus said, “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). The word “mansion” used here could be translated “dwelling place.” As to whether or not this is speaking of a place we will live in or of the new body God will give us, we don’t know for sure. But one thing is certain: Heaven is a real place for real people.
The apostle John described heaven in great detail. When he was banished to the island of Patmos, God came to John and, in effect, allowed him to see things well into the future. How far into the future, we don’t exactly know. But John described what he saw in the New Testament book we call Revelation. And at the end of Revelation, as well as in a few places throughout, John talks about heaven and gets very specific in his descriptions, indicating that heaven is indeed a place.
The Bible also describes heaven as a city: “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God” (Hebrews 11:10 NLT). Another passage says, “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come” (Hebrews 13:14 NKJV).
So heaven is described as a place and as a city. And, it is also described as a country in Hebrews 11:16: “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country” (NKJV). We tend to think of earth as the real thing and heaven as the surreal thing. But in reality, heaven is the real thing. Earth is the imitation.
It was C. S. Lewis who pointed out to us that earth is the copy, a temporary dwelling place. In “Letters to Malcom,” he wrote, “The hills and valleys of heaven will be to those you now experience not as a copy is to an original, nor as a substitute is to the genuine article, but as a flower to the root, or the diamond to the coal.”
Heaven will be better than anything we can imagine, and we would do well to spend some time learning about it and thinking about it.
I have heard people described as being so heavenly minded, they are no earthly good. But I also think there are some people who are so earthly minded, they are no heavenly good. I think if you are heavenly minded, in the best sense of that expression, then you will be of the greatest earthly good. And if you are heavenly minded, it will affect the way you live on earth. If it doesn’t affect the way that you live on earth, then how heavenly minded could you really be? My goal is to be a heavenly minded person, which means that I am thinking about God and wanting what God wants more than anything else.
I believe that if we really commit ourselves to thinking more about and seeking heaven, which is to put God first in every area of our lives–from the thoughts we think to the friends we choose to the way we use our time–then it will transform us.
But it really is our choice. And it is a choice we will make each and every day. What will we choose to think about? What will we choose to focus on? May we all put heaven at the top of our priority list.

Greg Laurie, June 13, 2009

When you have had someone close to you die, especially a child, everything changes. You see life much differently. And although it has been almost 11 months now since my son Christopher departed for heaven, the sadness lingers.

I have found myself thinking much more deeply about heaven. My interest in knowing and talking about heaven is greater than it ever has been. Heaven is more personal, more real and nearer than ever.

The Bible has a lot to say about what heaven will be like. First of all, heaven is an actual place. Jesus said, “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). The word “mansion” used here could be translated “dwelling place.” As to whether or not this is speaking of a place we will live in or of the new body God will give us, we don’t know for sure. But one thing is certain: Heaven is a real place for real people.

The apostle John described heaven in great detail. When he was banished to the island of Patmos, God came to John and, in effect, allowed him to see things well into the future. How far into the future, we don’t exactly know. But John described what he saw in the New Testament book we call Revelation. And at the end of Revelation, as well as in a few places throughout, John talks about heaven and gets very specific in his descriptions, indicating that heaven is indeed a place.

The Bible also describes heaven as a city: “Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God” (Hebrews 11:10 NLT). Another passage says, “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come” (Hebrews 13:14 NKJV).

So heaven is described as a place and as a city. And, it is also described as a country in Hebrews 11:16: “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country” (NKJV). We tend to think of earth as the real thing and heaven as the surreal thing. But in reality, heaven is the real thing. Earth is the imitation.

It was C. S. Lewis who pointed out to us that earth is the copy, a temporary dwelling place. In “Letters to Malcom,” he wrote, “The hills and valleys of heaven will be to those you now experience not as a copy is to an original, nor as a substitute is to the genuine article, but as a flower to the root, or the diamond to the coal.”

Heaven will be better than anything we can imagine, and we would do well to spend some time learning about it and thinking about it.

I have heard people described as being so heavenly minded, they are no earthly good. But I also think there are some people who are so earthly minded, they are no heavenly good. I think if you are heavenly minded, in the best sense of that expression, then you will be of the greatest earthly good. And if you are heavenly minded, it will affect the way you live on earth. If it doesn’t affect the way that you live on earth, then how heavenly minded could you really be? My goal is to be a heavenly minded person, which means that I am thinking about God and wanting what God wants more than anything else.

I believe that if we really commit ourselves to thinking more about and seeking heaven, which is to put God first in every area of our lives–from the thoughts we think to the friends we choose to the way we use our time–then it will transform us.

But it really is our choice. And it is a choice we will make each and every day. What will we choose to think about? What will we choose to focus on? May we all put heaven at the top of our priority list.

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