When Time Touches Eternity

When Time Touches Eternity

The US Marines have a saying – “In order to get to heaven, you have to die!”

That statement is interesting indeed, but I would ask the following questions: Is your life over when you die? What comes after death? Do you think of life in two parts – one part that we are living now, which ends when we die, and then a second part, eternal life (or getting to heaven)?

When I have asked those questions, most answer: the afterlife is an entirely different life than our present life, whether you believe in God or not. In order to get to heaven (eternal life), you have to die (so this life ends).

Is this belief biblical? Or is it more like: when you die physically, you actually continue to live on, just in a different place? Maybe you haven’t given this much thought but it is really important to consider.

We typically think about our existence as two entirely separate lives, but Jesus spoke of  one life that continues into eternity because we believe in Him. He said that our life here (on earth) actually impacts our life there (in heaven).

For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.

In other words, the consequences of our actions while we are here on earth are actually meaningful in eternity, yet most just “live for today” not considering any future return from the investment of our present lives. We often quote “He/she will reap what they sow” and typically are thinking about consequences soon after the action(s) occurs, not in eternity. This, of course, is true in the example of the farmer who sows seed to reap a harvest later in the fall of the year. It is interesting that the next verse following Gal. 6:7 (reaping and sowing) references reaping “eternal life,” connecting our life in the present with our eternal destiny.

Maybe we live our lives with too much of a disconnect from the eternal life that we are promised. I read something interesting from Mark Batterson’s book entitled “If.”

In the Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis demonstrates that God wants humankind to attend chiefly to two things: “to eternity itself, and to that point in time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.
In light of that truth, Screwtape, the veteran demon, advises a novice named Wormwood with these words: “Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in mind we sometimes tempt a human … to live in the Past.”

Two things grabbed my attention:

1. The Present is the point at which time touches eternity

2. The conversation between demons discussing their business of distracting humans “away from the eternal.”

heavenly mindedOur present lives today are meant to be lived in a manner that touches or impacts eternity. In order for that to happen, we must have an eternal perspective which will impact what we value.  If all we do is live for today, we may be living a distracted life, distracted from what should be our true priority.

C.S. Lewis says it this way:

If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world are those who thought most of the next.

This means the idea about being “so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good” is a fallacy.

Do you feel you are only living for today?  Would it be more impactful today if you could gain an eternal perspective?

Billy Graham: Not in Heaven Because He Preached to the Crowds

Billy Graham: Not in Heaven Because He Preached to the Crowds

After watching the funeral of Billy Graham this week, I discovered his final column where Billy states: “By the time you read this, I will be in heaven.” I don’t think there is a doubt in anyone’s mind that Billy Graham is in heaven. Why are we all agreed that he is in heaven? We might answer, with all the good he has done through his preaching to millions, you know he is going to be in heaven. After all he was “America’s Pastor” and the world’s best known evangelist, so he is a obviously in heaven.

F82EB9F9-DBF9-4EBC-9A4A-C6ADF24A9A53What’s interesting is the reason Billy Graham gives for his entrance into heaven. He states, “But I won’t be in heaven because I preached to the crowds or because I have tried to live a good life.” It is only his faith in Jesus Christ that gave him the  confidence of heaven. If Billy Graham will “be in heaven for one reason,” our hope of going to heaven is because of  the very same reason.

Randy Alcorn says this:

Many mistakenly believe that heaven is our reward for doing good things. This is absolutely not the case. Our presence in heaven is in no sense a reward for our works, but a gift freely given by God in response to faith.

Well, what about the millions that Billy Graham preached to and the lives who came to Christ because of his preaching? Doesn’t that account for anything? The answer can be found in Eph. 2:9, which Billy clearly understood: “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (NLT). In other words, what you believe is the key to entering heaven, not what you do.  That is a good thing because if it is based on our efforts then most of us would have a difficult challenge ahead, especially if we compare ourselves to the accomplishments of someone like Graham.

However, we can’t stop reading there because immediately after saying salvation is “not by works,” the next verse clarifies that our works matter a great deal.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.

Even though salvation is not through our works, we are actually created to do good works. A lifetime of good works was actually prepared in advance by God for us to do. A few years ago I did a study using a book by Bruce Wilkinson called “A Life God Rewards” which explained how Jesus taught the promise of reward in heaven.

“He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27)

“You will have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21).

“You will be blessed … for you shall be repaid at the resurrection” (Luke 14:14).

This certainly suggests that God is keeping track of what we do for Him every day. Wilkinson speaks of two keys: The first is belief that unlocks the door to eternal life and determines where we spend eternity. The second is our behaviour which unlocks the door to reward and determines how we will spend eternity.

The reality is we have the same hope of heaven that Billy Graham had because it is simply through faith that we enter heaven, which is really the foundation. At the end of Wilkinson’s book, there are several quotes from well-known theologians and preachers, of which is Billy Graham.

“The believer has his foundation in Jesus Christ. Now we are to build upon this foundation, and the work we have done must stand the ultimate test; the final exams come at the Judgment Seat of Christ when we receive our rewards.” –  Billy Graham

Are we living and working everyday with an eternal perspective? Will our good deeds, acts of kindness (works) pass the ultimate test?

 

The Value of a Birthday

The Value of a Birthday
lorne6
In Baie Verte, NL (Age 6)

When I awoke this morning, I first checked my messenger app, awaiting a message from my son when in fact, there was a message from an acquaintance that I normally do not communicate with at all. It was a prayer request regarding ISIS who has taken over Quaragosh, the largest Christian city in Iraq. Hundreds of men, women and children are being beheaded. I pray for those caught in the middle of this terrible atrocity.

Then I went to my twitter account and looked at the top story of the year from LifeSiteNews and was intrigued by the headline: He performed 1,200 abortions. In new viral video, he wants you to see what abortion really looks like.

“Well it’s time to shave and get on with the day,” I said to myself. As I looked in the mirror,  I could not help but think of the value of life and reflect on my own life, especially with this being the last day of another year, and another birthday for me. As I removed the stubble from my face, I recall my parents telling the story of my bout with meningitis when I was 5 and the doctor’s warning that if I survived, I would have permanent brain damage. My Dad told how he stood in the corner and prayed todickjane God that he could never preach again a message of healing if I did not survive. After being told it was no point to return to see me for 48 hours due to the medication, they returned the next day anyway and were told by the nurses that there seemed to be a miracle. I had come out of my unconscious state and had to be restrained due to my activeness. I knew my parents and could read all about “Dick and Jane” in my Kindergarten reader.  

I grew up believing my life had meaning and purpose, beyond just getting a job and making money. Life for me was more about impacting others. Jesus said, “I must preach the kingdom of God … for I was sent for this purpose.” Not that I could ever compare my accomplishments to Christ, but all of our lives have significant purpose.

Back to Twitter – Ken Boa tweeted: “As we develop an eternal perspective we treasure the passing opportunities of this life and become more alive to the moment, not less.”

As we enter 2017, may we all realize that we were given days on this earth and opportunities in every day. Here is my prayer: “Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us; and (give permanence to) confirm for us the work of our hands” Psalm 90:17.

How Churchill Advised The Queen

How Churchill Advised The Queen

the-crown-netflixWe recently watched the new series”The Crown” on Netflix. It is a drama series that chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II.  It is quite amazing how the cast resembles the people we have watched for decades in different forms of media.

While we may not know if many of the scenes or words spoken are all exactly true, I found some advice Winston Churchill gave the young Queen to be very interesting. As she was leaving on a flight to tour some countries in the Commonwealth, he instructed, “Never let them see the real Elizabeth Windsor. The cameras, the television; never let them see that carrying the crown is often a burden. Let them look at you but let them see only the eternal.”

Churchill was telling her that although people will look at her, she must determine what she lets them see. In essence, the Queen needed to represent the crown more than herself. Her priority was to put the interest of the crown ahead of her own delight. This entails self-denial, sacrifice and service for the higher purpose of the crown. Churchill instructed the Queen to display the eternal, or higher calling.

We are seen everyday by others but what do we let them see?

While we may not live the life of a Royal, we all have choices to make about how we are seen by others. We all have opportunities to “let them see only the eternal.” We try to be at our best when we have an important meeting, but are we intentional about who we represent? For the Queen, she was called to represent something that existed before she was even born.

The fact is eternity is set within the heart of each of us, even commoners, and whether we recognize it or not, we are all representing something greater than ourselves. That also means there is a grander purpose in the conversations we have than we realize.

At times, I have felt my life lacked meaning and purpose. However, I now know that during those times, I failed to recognize the eternal in my day-to-day life. It is too easy for us to become focused only on the routine of the day and overlook the opportunities to have an impact that is eternal. Consider the words you share and the advice you provide to others. In many cases it has a greater impact than you realize.