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Category Archives: Heaven

What the Bible says about heaven & hell

Book Review: What Happens After You Die: A Biblical Guide to Paradise, Hell, and Life After Death, by Randy Frazee

If a friend on their death bed asked, “Is belief in Jesus enough to get me into heaven?” how would you respond? That question was posed to pastor and author Randy Frazee by his mother. While he answered his mother with a confident, “Yes,” the question bothered him enough to do a thorough study of the Scriptures. The results of his study are explained in his latest book, What Happens After You Die: A Biblical Guide to Paradise, Hell, and Life After Death.

Pastor Frazee deals with the five most important questions about life after death.

  • Is Jesus enough to get me into heaven?
  • What happens if I die without Christ?
  • What happens if I die with Christ?
  • What happens if I don’t know Christ when he returns?
  • What happens if I do know Christ when he returns?

In addition, he also answers questions such as:

  • Are there such things as ghosts?
  • Are our loved one in heaven watching over us?
  • Is there such a thing as purgatory or Limbo?
  • Are there different degrees of hell?
  • Can we earn wings?
  • Will rewards be given out?
  • Will there be pets in heaven?
  • Will we keep our memories or regrets from life now?
  • Will there be marriages and family in God’s new kingdom?
  • What will our resurrected bodies be like?
  • What will we eat?
  • What will a day in the life on the new earth be like?
  • Do we have guardian angels?
  • Is it okay to be cremated?
  • What about people making predictions about the return of Christ?
  • What about life-after-death and near-death experiences?

As Frazee explains in the opening chapter, the book was born out of a deeply personal search for truth after his mother’s death. Throughout the book, he attempts to separate what is simply cultural tradition from what is truly biblical. He explains not only the death Jesus came to save us from but also the life he came to save us for.

The book is very helpful and encouraging. It clearly explains what Scripture says about what happens after we die.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2017 in Books, Heaven, Scripture, Theology

 

What do we mean when we say, “Rest in Peace”?

This was originally published in July 2013. Since I have seen “R.I.P.” posted twice in the past week I thought it might be time to repost.

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I’ve noticed recently that several Christian friends on Facebook post “Rest in Peace” when a well-known actor, author, or celebrity dies. It caused me to ask the question, what exactly do we mean when we say, “Rest in Peace”?

In one sense, death is a time of rest, at least for our physical bodies. Scripture uses the metaphor of “going to sleep” to describe death. This picture is mentioned three times in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Dr. Luke uses the same concept in Acts 7 and the apostle Paul uses it again in 1 Corinthians 15 on two occasions. In Mark, chapter 5, the daughter of a religious leader had died and Jairus, her father, begged Jesus for help. Jesus said, “She’s not dead; she is asleep.” In this sense, death is a time of rest.

In another sense, death is a time when we rest from our labors and enjoy our inheritance. Hebrews 4 talks about the “Sabbath rest” for the people of God. It links the idea to God’s work of creating the world in six days and resting on the seventh day as well as Israel’s wandering in the wilderness before entering the Promised Land. Tying them together, to rest means to cease from our labor of trying to earn God’s favor and enjoying the inheritance and blessings he has prepared for us.

This doesn’t mean, however, that eternity will be spent floating on clouds strumming a harp. Scripture pictures heaven as a place where we engage in meaningful activity. We will be engaged in worship (Revelation 22:1-3), praising Christ for providing our salvation. We will also be serving as we reign with Christ in eternity (Revelation 20:6).

However, these pictures of rest are only true of those who trusted Christ for salvation during their lifetime. Those who rejected Christ as savior will find themselves in hell enduring an eternity of suffering (Matthew 13:42, 50).

With this is mind, we need to be careful about whom we say “Rest in Peace” to. We don’t want to come across as closet universalists who believe all people go to heaven regardless of their beliefs or lifestyle. Nor do we want to communicate that we secretly believe God grades on a curve and the more well-known you are, the more likely you will be in heaven. We also don’t want to act as if this life is all there is, and there is no afterlife. In addition, we don’t want to say “Rest in Peace” simply because we don’t know what else to say.

Eternal rest is only available to those who stopped working to earn their salvation. For the Christ follower, they can go to sleep and later wake up in the arms of Jesus. They can rest and fully enjoy the blessings of salvation and heaven.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Facebook, Funerals, Heaven, News stories, Theology

 

No religion in heaven

No religion in heaven

Occasionally, cartoonists get it right.

I’m sure the writer of the comic strip, Non-Sequitur, was trying to poke fun at religion in his comic this week. On the one hand, the strip portrays a cynical view that religion is cause of all the conflicts in the world. On the other hand, the writer inadvertently told the truth about heaven.

Religion will not get one into heaven. Only those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will enter heaven.

In John 14:6, Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In Revelation 22:3-4, the apostle John described heaven as a place where, “The throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They shall see his face and his name will be on their foreheads.”

Heaven is not a place for religion. Heaven is a place of deep relationship with Jesus, our redeemer.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2016 in Fun, Heaven, Scripture, Theology

 

Control your mind

On Sunday, I taught my Sunday School class about the importance of being intentional about what we allow into our minds.

I began by having the group analyze a number of comics. As I have explained on other occasions, comics are a great source of fun entertainment. But they also provide insight into culture. Each writer weaves a worldview into his particular comic. I asked them to discuss what theme was in each comic.

Baby Blues - demand your rights

the world revolves around me

Betty - watch garbage on netflix

8th day - man invented ego

Brewster Rockit - Black hole of narcissism

Brewster Rockit - Lying = Photoshopped Memory

Shoe - life is outside my comfort zone

After talking about the comics, I discussed a recent episode of the TV show, “Once Upon A Time.” The prior episode, “Souls of the Departed,” the twelfth episode in season five, presented the idea that you can work your way to heaven. In the episode, the characters of Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Henry, Robin, and Gold take the S.S. Purgatory to the Underworld to rescue Hook. (I know, you have to suspend some disbelief to watch the show.)

While they are there, they meet several characters who are confined in the Underworld because they have “unfinished business.” Henry Mills, Regina’s father, helps Regina, and thus is able to cross over to a better place, while Cora, Regina’s mother, fails in her task, and receives greater punishment.

The episode communicated an underlying philosophy that you can live your life without any thought of the consequences because you will have a second chance after you die. If you do enough good work in purgatory, you can still work your way to heaven.

I used the comics and the TV show to illustrate what Paul was teaching in Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 10:3-6, that we are to control our minds.

Romans 12:1–2 – 1I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Corinthians 10:3–6 – For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

In Romans 12:2, Paul says that we are resist going with the flow and becoming just like the world. Instead, we are to be transformed by renewing our mind and testing what is the will of God. In 1 Corinthians 10:3-6, Paul says that we are engaged in spiritual warfare, and part of the battle is in the world of ideas. The world erects ideological strongholds such as selfishness and earning your salvation which need to be torn down. But it is not enough to merely tear them down, we also have to bring our thoughts captive to Jesus Christ in order to be obedient.

Whether reading the comics or watching TV, whether going to the movies or listening to talk radio, we need to keep our minds engaged and thoughtfully analyze what is being presented. Will it help us become more like Christ? Does it teach a philosophy contrary to God’s will? What does Scripture say in regards to what is being presented? What would God have me to think on this topic?

To become like Jesus, we are to exercise intentionality in what and how we think.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in Baby Blues, Culture, Fun, Heaven, Scripture

 

Finding hope that lasts

The Case for HopeBook Review: The Case for Hope: Looking ahead with confidence and courage, by Lee Strobel

If you are looking for a gift for a friend who might be seeking God, the consider giving The Case for Hope. While Strobel’s previous books are longer and more scholarly, this one is shorter and more personal. Filled with biblical principles and stories of transformed lives, it aims to help people find hope that lasts.

The chapter titles give a fitting overview and summary of the content of the book.

  • Finding hope in a hopeless world.
  • The source of real hope
  • Hope of a transformed life
  • Hope for today … and tomorrow
  • Hope that transcends doubt
  • The hope of heaven
  • Hope for every person

The back of the book contains a 30-day journey of hope, a series of short devotional thoughts that provide additional insights to point a seeker in the right direction.

The book is beautifully crafted, well-written, and easy to read and understand. It would be a fitting gift or stocking stuffer for someone who is seeking God.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2015 in Books, Heaven, Jesus, Scripture

 
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Heaven is a game changer

Francis Chan quote

 

Well done, Brian

11084007_10206045969729142_5783449892161546938_oWhile it is difficult to understand and accept God’s timing, you have to trust his plan and rest in his sovereignty.

On Saturday, Brian Key was called home to heaven. Brian was a numbers guy who worked in the financial sector. While numbers may have been his vocation, students were his passion. He served as a lay leader in the junior high ministry at Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA, for 20+ years. He impacted countless students, including three that lived in my house and share my name. He and his wife, Susan, always had kids over to their home. Brian went on numerous Summer Trek trips, the junior high ministry trip to Camp Bighorn in Montana where students served in various ways. One of the summer projects was building a trail up to the cross. If a student memorized a certain number of verses, Brian would reward them by taking them to a Seattle Mariners game. He took his boat out to the Columbia River for Summer Safari, the junior high summer waterskiing camp. As parents of three junior highers, Carol and I benefited from his investment into the kids. Since we helped cook for Summer Safari, we saw Brian and Susan’s service up close. Last year, Brian retired from his corporate job and he and Susan became missionaries with TEAM. They recently moved to La Paz, Mexico, to serve that community. Brian was hiking in the area on Saturday when he had a heart attack and God called him home.

Brian’s sudden departure took us all by surprise and reminded us once again that our times are in God’s hands. While we rejoice that Brian is now in heaven reunited with his son, Justin, we grieve with Susan and their other son, Aaron, who are left behind.

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

Matthew 25:21, ESV

 

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Heaven, Photos, Scripture