What are you anticipating this Christmas Season? Are you anticipating a wonderful gathering of family and friends? Or are you anticipating sadness over the loss of a loved one this past year or someone that’s battling a crippling disease? Are you rejoicing over a new birth in the family or maybe a rebirth of someone who has just trusted Christ? Or are you anticipating a hard Christmas with strained relationships between some of your family and friends? As we go into this blessed Season we go in with a lot of different expectations and emotions.
The Bible is no stranger to anticipation. Mary, when she found out she would give birth to the Savior proclaimed … “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed Luke 1:46-48. When Simeon saw the promised Messiah he exclaimed, "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel." Luke 2:29-32. As believers we anticipate heaven & the blessings God has prepared for us. I am sure you have heard these words from Revelation 21:1-4. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." What a beautiful picture!
Bishop J.C. Ryle says that if we were to move to a foreign country, we would be finding out everything we could about that place, the culture, the exchange rate, and the people. Yet we know so little about heaven. C. S. Lewis remarks, “There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven but I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else.”
In Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven I have listed some things he believes about heaven based on Revelation 6:5-11. 1)People in the present Heaven know what's happening on Earth (v. 10). - The martyrs know enough to realize that those who killed them have not yet been judged. 2) Heaven dwellers have a deep concern for justice and retribution (v. 10). When we go to Heaven, we won't adopt a passive disinterest in what happens on the earth. On the contrary, our concerns will be more passionate and our thirst for justice greater. Neither God nor we will be satisfied until his enemies are judged, our bodies raised, sin and Satan defeated, Earth restored, and Christ exalted over all. 3)God answers their question (vs. 11), indicating communication and process in Heaven. 4)Our sovereign God knows down to the last detail all that is happening and will happen on Earth (v. 11), including every drop of blood shed and every bit of suffering undergone by his children.
I am anticipating the joy of heaven. Until then I am looking forward to being with my family and reflecting on the many blessings God has given me. It is a huge blessing to be a part of this ministry and to see what God has done over the years as we anticipate 2011, YBL’s 30th Anniversary.
I am also blessed by your friendship, by your commitment to this ministry, by your support financially and by your prayers. Many of you have given time, treasures and talents to further God’s kingdom through YBL. I am most grateful.
Pray that we would end the year financially strong. As so many, we depend on a good December to end the year in the black. Your prayerful consideration of an end of the year gift or an increase in monthly support for 2011 would be appreciated. I close with this poem from Hazel Feldman.
Stepping on shore and finding it heaven
Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s Hand
Of breathing a new air and finding it celestial air
Of feeling invigorated and finding it immortality
Of passing from storm to tempest to unknown calm
Of waking up, and finding it homeby Phil Reddick