I count all things as dung …

I used to know a lady called Donna, from the Pentecostal church cult I attended many years ago. She was a lovely lady — warm, caring, generous, and funny. She and her husband were wealthy, but had been unable to have children. Donna ached for them, and pleaded with the Lord for years. I spent a lot of time with her as I was a church leader looking after the women of the church, and I would pray for her and counsel her through her grief. It broke my heart to watch her devastation each month as once again, she was not pregnant. Most of the families in the church had a least 4 children, many had 5 or 6, so her longing for children was so real and painful.

Finally Donna fell pregnant after getting some help from a fertility clinic. She did not have IVF, she took some fertility drugs to stimulate her ovaries. It worked, and nine months later Donna had twins. They were perfect little cherubs— blond hair, blue eyes, and rosy cheeks. She adored them. She was a wonderful mother and within another couple of years she was blessed with another baby. She and her husband were so grateful for their little family.

I had a conversation with Donna one day whilst I was there doing her washing and ironing, and it surprised me. I had always thought Donna to have a soft heart towards the Lord, but rather than rely on the Bible for her nourishment, like everyone else in the church she relied heavily on the words of Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland and many other false teachers and prophets. Rather than spend hours reading her Bible, she would spend hours listening to motivational speeches by Joel Osteen. I warned her one day about the false teachings, and the lack of Scripture and Biblical context and she said to me, “I feel blessed listening to them.” It saddened me a great deal. Of course she felt blessed— she was living her best life now, free of judgement, free of regret, free of suffering, and buffered by loads of money. But in the process of being given her beautiful children, she had become so complacent and relied on weak, watered down messages to get her by. It almost seemed as though she finally had what she wanted, and nothing else mattered. I could be wrong, but that’s how I felt.

One day we were chatting about the Lord returning and I commented that I couldn’t wait to be in heaven with the Lord. I just wanted to be with Him. Donna became upset and agitated and said, “I don’t want the Lord to come back. I want to see my children grown into adults.” I was so shocked and although it’s been many years, I still struggle with that comment. It made me realize the true state of her heart. A person who claims to be Christian and yet does not long to be with the Lord, or have Him return, doesn’t have a true picture of heaven, or a true picture of who the Lord is. I don’t care how wonderful life can seem for a fleeting moment here or there, I want heaven. I want the Lord. The whole purpose of our lives as Christians is the hope and promise that one day we could leave the ugliness, sin and death in this world behind, and go on to be with the Lord for eternity. Nothing compares to that. This world offers nothing that comes even close to how eternity with the Lord will be.

Using scripture, Randy Alcorn, in his book, Heaven, gives a description of how heaven will be. He writes, “The apostle John was privileged to see and report on the heavenly city (Revelation 21:10-27). John witnessed that heaven (the new earth) possesses the “glory of God” (Revelation 21:11), the very presence of God. Because heaven has no night and the Lord Himself is the light, the sun and moon are no longer needed (Revelation 22:5). The city is filled with the brilliance of costly stones and crystal clear jasper. Heaven has twelve gates (Revelation 21:12) and twelve foundations (Revelation 21:14). The paradise of the Garden of Eden is restored: the river of the water of life flows freely and the tree of life is available once again, yielding fruit monthly with leaves that “heal the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2). However eloquent John was in his description of heaven, the reality of heaven is beyond the ability of finite man to describe (1 Corinthians 2:9). Heaven is a place of “no mores.” There will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more sorrow (Revelation 21:4). There will be no more separation, because death will be conquered (Revelation 20:6). The best thing about heaven is the presence of our Lord and Savior (1 John 3:2). We will be face to face with the Lamb of God who loved us and sacrificed Himself so that we can enjoy His presence in heaven for eternity.”

It doesn’t get better than that. No matter how much we love our children, or anything else on this earth, nothing compares to the glory of heaven, and eternity with our Lord and Saviour. Without the promise of heaven, and being in the presence of the Lord, life has no meaning. Paul himself said ‘Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ’ Philippians 3:8.

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