It's the great company at the party in Titanic that brings such happy tears. It's the boys making it safely home in Apollo 13. It's Maximus reunited with his family. So the fellowship finds Gandalf alive—no longer Gandalf the Grey, fallen beyond recovery in the mines of Moria, but Gandalf the White, whom death can never touch again. So Frodo and Sam are rescued from the slopes of Mount Doom, and when they wake, it is to a bright new morn. This is our future.
After he laid down his life for us, Jesus was laid in a tomb. He was buried just like any other dead person. Family and friends mourned. Enemies rejoiced. And most of the world went on with business as usual, clueless to the Epic around them. Then, after three days, also at dawn, his story took a sudden and dramatic turn.
Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?" But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples . . . 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'" (Mark 16:2-7)
Jesus came back. He showed up again. He was restored to them. He walked into the house where they had gathered to comfort one another in their grief and asked if they had anything to eat. It was the most stunning, unbelievable, happiest ending to a story you could possibly imagine. And it is also ours.This post is an excerpt from the book, Epic by John EldredgeBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
I've been excited about heaven recently. It's kinda strange because I have been preoccupied with looking forward to going there.
This is different than what I have had in the past. I have written about a dream that I had about heaven.
I have speculated about my reaction to heaven possibly being similar to how our kittens experience transition from one home to another
. I have also considered how people with disabilities may experience heaven.
But this time, my thoughts about heaven seem different.
This is not about my frustrations of living in a sinful world. This is not about my frustrations of living in a body that is aging. This is not about my desire to finally be free of my sinful tendencies. This isn't a reaction to the bad news that I read about everyday and wanting Jesus to return to end suffering.
This time, for the past couple of weeks, I have been filled with excitement about the prospect of heaven. I don't know what started this emotion but I am enjoying it. Maybe I spend too much time in my head pontificating about what things could be like. Maybe I'm too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.
But, I'm just putting this out there. Heaven is something that gets me really excited.
I don't envision all the imagery found in Revelation.
I don't think about flying around playing harps and acting all righteous.
I see heaven as a place very similar to this world but being at total peace with myself and everyone else. God's Peace will rule heaven.
I imagine running and not getting tired.
I imagine climbing mountains
and not worrying about gravity.
I imagine traveling, visiting, remembering, spending an eternity with those whom I have only read about.
I imagine hearing story after story of God's faithfulness and grandeur.I imagine meeting people that the world threw away and trashed but are highly prized by God.
I imagine getting to REALLY KNOW people and not worrying about time, expense or image.
I imagine time spent with Jesus.
I imagine times of review of people's lives and seeing where God intervened and nobody knew about it. I imagine that I will be surprised at how involved God's Holy Spirit has been with us.
I imagine there will be no concept of time.I imagine...BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
It was kind of a surreal experience.... We had just arrived at our mission in Quito and here I was less than 48 hours later standing at the graveside of a man I didn't know and hadn't even met.
I watched as the gravedigger dug the grave by hand. He would occasionally stop and put his chin on top of the shovel and seem interested in what was going on as he rested. There was hardly anybody there. Just the man's wife, a couple of other people, the pastor, myself and the Ecuadorian gravedigger. Being one of the few English speaking churches in town, the widow called the pastor with whom I served on staff and asked that he do the funeral. I was there as support.
The story of this man's life ended sadly. He was a very successful American businessman who had visited Ecuador frequently and ended up buying some lucrative property in Quito so that he could retire. He had quite a nest egg. His goal in life was to retire with his wife at this property in Quito and live a life of ease and luxury.
What was interesting was that this man and his wife arrived in Quito about the same time my wife and I had arrived. We may have even been on the same airplane. What he hadn't considered, as he grew older, was that his health wasn't as good as it had been in the past. Quito has an elevation of over 9,000 feet (btw - Denver has an elevation of just over 5,000 feet) above sea level. People who visit Quito often come done with Soroche (altitude sickness). The symptoms are very similar to carbon monoxide poisoning. The stress of the Soroche that he was experiencing taxed his body and his heart stopped working.
So, here we have a man who saved his whole life, gathered quite a bit of money and bought some nice property in Quito so that he could retire, and within 48 hours of achieving his goal, he died. From what his wife described, it also appeared that he died without knowing Jesus as his Savior.
Jesus talked about this. He said, "Now what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?"
Jesus, who taught a parable about a man who amassed fortune and trusted in himself, said, "You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?"
Having a goal is not bad in and of itself. However, if your goal excludes God and is just to please yourself, know that you may never reach it. If you do, it won't last forever. Everyone dies.
Then there is reward or payment.Yet, if you have a goal and it includes God and pleasing Him, you WILL reach it.
"Don't store up treasure on earth..."
Make heaven your goal.BE HOLY.BE A MAN
For three years, the disciples watched Jesus live His life, and never once did He crack or bend. He would break the rules of the religion when love or compassion demanded it. He frustrated His critics when He encountered misplaced spirituality. He was not intimidated by authority figures. He was not swayed by public opinion or pressure from authorities. He would not cave.
On the night before He died, Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him when He was deeply distressed. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow and troubled,"
He told His friends.
Jesus knew what was coming. But instead of longing for a way out, He committed His heart to God's purposes. Just seconds before His arrest, Jesus exclaimed to His friends, "Get up! Let's go!"
He accepted and moved forward to embrace God's purposes.
On that dark evening, the most important thing Jesus might have shown us was how to completely let go of our our hearts to God. But He also stiffened His spine. Spine comes from undivided trust in the One who gives us the undivided heart. There is no sadder or more pathetic man than the one with heart but no spine. Be courageous.
This posts is taken from Every Man, God's ManBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Do you really believe that Jesus meant what He said? He died yesterday. Will He live again, tomorrow, just as He promised? Why did he die?
Let these kids tell you what Jesus meant: