Saturday, February 20, 2016

Closer Than You Know

Heaven is closer than you know.

For those of us who call God our Father -- our Abba Father (Daddy), our true home is where He is. But where exactly is home and when does home (life with Him) actually start?

Our default thinking often goes to... 

"One day when I die, I will go to heaven and be with God." But what if that isn't exactly true? What if... heaven has actually already begun for us and the dreaded death of this life is actually just a door we walk through? What if all that Biblical talk about Jesus conquering death is really true?

The concept of time is necessary, but necessarily artificial.

Our Heavenly Father -- the Creator of the universe(s) -- exists outside of time and space. And because we are "in Him" (Colossians 3:3), we should view our lives in much the same way.

When our perspective is not bound to a linear concept of time, we can release much of the fear that surrounds our finite life and death on this earth. Why not zoom out and enjoy the view from His perspective? Because He lives, we live. Forever.  And it's already begun.

It's personal, and it's real.

Your personal, eternal destination (home) changed when you invited Jesus into your life. At that pivotal moment, your eternal fate was forever sealed in Him. And it's a really good forever. The hope (confidence) of heaven became your new reality, whether you actually thought of it that way, or not.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

Embrace your new normal.

I have been reading a fascinating book, "Preparing for Heaven: What Dallas Willard Taught Me About Living, Dying and Eternal Life" by Gary Black, Jr. As you may know, Dallas Willard was a brilliant theologian and well-loved professor and author, who recently died. With the help of Gary Black, Jr., he documented his last thoughts in this intriguing book.

He contradicts the notion that all of our spiritual formation is done in this life and that death is like a "cosmic car wash" when we go into eternity perfectly formed and completed. If that were the case, what would we do with all that time in eternity?

What we do now really counts.

Eternity is more of a continuation of where we leave off here on earth. So, the more evolved in Christ we become in this life, the better off we are as we move into the next phase: fewer hard lessons to learn and more joy at the starting point for us. Although heavenly eternity is thought to be amazingly wonderful, it is not without work and further development.

Near death experiences are real.

Not all of them, of course, but some are. Dallas got a glimpse of eternity in his last days. He contends that we should call them "near LIFE" experiences, because the vision is indeed of a life beyond our wildest imaginings. In fact, on his death bed he was heard to say... "I suppose that when I finally do die, it may take me a while to realize it" -- so seamless was the transition for him. I want a death like that.

A radiant death.

Dallas Willard was a courageous Jesus-follower who could live life to the fullest and pray confidently and lovingly over his students that they would enjoy "a life abundant in supernatural results... and a radiant death!"

Heaven is life with God, and it is indeed closer than we know. 

It is now -- and what we do on earth in this little life has eternal value. So, given the fact that you will live forever, who do you want to be? If Dallas is right (and I think he is), our answer matters more than we may have thought.

I have a song for everything:

"Closer Than You Know" and  "Here, Now" by Hillsong UNITED.


  1. Love this Sharon, and the Black book sounds interesting. Dallas Willard arguably one of the most compelling theologians of our time...indeed, our eternity. I've always been troubled by the interpretation of Jesus' words that "he goes to prepare a place for us," that sort of mansion in the sky, that will be waiting for us when we get to heaven. That seems so unlike him, doesn't it? After all, he is the one who said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. And, Father, I want them to be with me, where I am. The reality of his presence with us in the here and now is not to be missed! He is a now and forever God, who loves us little wretched ones as we are and where we are, and he is closer than we realize! Thanks for this...

  2. Thanks, Sharon. This message gives new perspective on being "in Him," and of our eternal life with Him. Much food for thought.


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