Do you dwell on heaven as your future home? Why or why not?
I really don’t dwell on heaven (in the traditional future sense) as if it were that ﬁnal destination (where I have escaped time in my new body) and can ﬁnally enter into eternal life. I believe the whole “dying and going to heaven” mindset needs renewed in the light of God’s kingdom and the new heaven and new earth.
Why would Jesus have taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” if that kingdom was going to come anyway (to us) at death? I wouldn’t think that inevitability would require much intercession.
We are told that the kingdom of God was inaugurated, embodied and exempliﬁed in Jesus Christ. We are told that the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy. We are told that it is a now and forever kingdom and (most amazingly) it is within us! I may be wrong, but I see heaven ﬁtting in as a component of God’s kingdom.
For the sons of the kingdom, this idea transforms these days of ours that were all written into His book before there was yet one of them from days we must endure into days of adventure and discovery.
If and when Christ has entered into our lives, that was when we entered into eternity. I believe our kingdom potential on earth can be diminished and even forfeited by escapist ideas we may entertain (such as death or the rapture). These (often fatalistic) interpretations seem to overlook the fact that God has even now seated us with Himself in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). Has that truth yet impacted this world to the degree God intends? Has the fact that Christ is our life found its ultimate expression in the earth? If God were to rapture us out, it would almost seem that these realities would not have returned to Him the full harvest of life it was intended to (which I do not think is possible.)
I don’t know the particulars, but I see a new heaven and a new earth that are governed by Jesus Christ. I see the sons of the kingdom (who are also the friends of God) as those who have embraced the values and culture of God’s kingdom in this life. To them, I envision Him entrusting domains of responsibility. FYI: I have asked for Yellowstone, Yosemite and Glacier National Parks and any other planets bearing resemblance.
Until then learning to walk by His Spirit as a citizen of His eternal kingdom is full-time employment.
I have had this slightly worrisome thought. What if I have totally screwed up my theology and everything really is reserved for the after-death life and I have to stand before God and give account of myself with egg on my face. I ﬁgure the worst case scenario has me saying something like this to God, “Father, due to the goodness and power You had demonstrated in my own life, and what I read in the New Testament, I just got overstimulated regarding what I imagined your intentions to be. The Father says, “Go ahead.” I resume my account and explain, “Also, based on the model you gave me of your own life, anything seemed possible and I am truly sorry for having that much faith.” I think at that point, He will wipe away the egg and my tears and say, “Enter fully into my joy. Proceed to the park or planet of
Note: Based on 1 Cor 2:9, I do not believe it has yet entered into my mind (or that of any man) what God has prepared for those who love Him. This being the case, my suspicion is that (even in my wildest dreams and most ambitious forecast) I have likely undershot everything that God has up His sleeve.
What does God know about your future? Do you spend time thinking about it?
Again, whatever the future contains for me, is being effected by my thoughts and deeds now. The future will be whatever the future will be.
What is one weakness that you struggle with? What is one of your strengths?
Just one? There are so many to select from. (Perhaps, we shall not put this in print.) Regarding my strengths; In light of their abundance I fear space and time will be deﬁcient for the task.
How do you see yourself knowing that God created and shaped you as you are?
I see myself as the beneﬁciary of God’s designs. His kindnesses to me in this regard have been poured out in absurdly generous ways.
What does God say about how He made you? How well do you think God knows you?
As with all things God has made, He is delighted in His choices. I think God knows me inﬁnitely better than I do (or anyone else does).
When you read verses 23 & 24 of Psalm 139, what thoughts come to mind?
I think that these verses are the only sane and reasonable response to a God (and a Father) who has invested so much into us. I think these verses are the instinctive and essential heart-responses to God for anyone who calls Jesus “Lord”.
A prayer of thanksgiving in your journal.
Father, I will continue to trust that I have been enclosed and hemmed in by Your love. May Your kingdom-nature within us cement our new identities and lead us into our kingdom-destinies; giving new and revolutionary expressions of Your life and Your love now and forevermore. Amen.