Priorities

This was the first devo I had planned for camp last week. Only six little verses, but they took us 45 minutes to talk through. It’s because each one has so many implications. Each one is so much to apply to our lives.

  1. Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Put God in first place and worry about the other things in life afterward. He says He’ll provide the basics for you if you make sure you are faithful to Him.
  2. Colossians 3:2: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Your goals, hopes, dreams, and plans need to be oriented around spiritual things. Make sure your material and education goals fall in line with God’s plan. You want to study for a degree? Great! You’d better choose a school near a faithful congregation of Christians, and you’d better not choose so many classes that you can’t make it to worship. You want to save up for a house? Congrats! You’d better be giving as you’re prospered along the way (1 Cor 16:2). Set spiritual goals for yourself, like preparing a devotional for young people, leading singing, or leading prayer. Determine to be a Bible class teacher soon, or an elder or ladies’ day teacher one day. Plan to work in the kingdom. Don’t allow yourself to become so busy that you don’t have time for the Lord.
  3. Daniel 1:8: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” In order to keep God first, you must purpose in your heart to follow Him. Like the verse from Colossians, you must set your mind on things above. You must decide now, before you’re around the temptation, that you’re going to choose God’s way. It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding.
  4. Luke 9:62: “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Back in the day, plowing fields was done with an animal and a man. You had to keep your eyes focused dead ahead to keep your rows straight. If you turned around to look back, your arms would tweak the handle of the plow and give you a crooked row. Jesus says someone who has put his hands to the handle of Christianity and looks back to his former, sinful life is unfit for the kingdom. When Lot’s wife looked back, she was turned into a pillar of salt (Gen 19:26). Who knows what she was thinking about. Whatever it was, it wasn’t worth it.
  5. Deuteronomy 30:19: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live…” God knows there are many things vying for our time. He has asked us to choose the best things, to choose life. Prioritize with God at the top.
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What will Heaven be like?

I prepared this devotional for my girls at Camp Ida this year. Unfortunately, five of them were asleep before it was over. (I’m trying not to take it personally… lol) Since almost no one heard it, I thought it might be good to share it online where they could all access it anytime.

Tuesday night in cabin devo we were discussing priorities. I was telling the girls that physical goals would mean nothing in eternity because we won’t even have a body to exercise at that point. Several of the girls were quite confused by this, and one even asked, “So we’ll never have to use the bathroom in Heaven?”

Joking or not, I decided then that we desperately needed a lesson about Heaven. Here are five things that won’t be in Heaven:

  1. No earth. 2 Peter 3:10-12 tells us that “the elements shall melt with fervent heat” and the earth will be “burned up.” In Matthew 24:35 Jesus tells us that heaven and earth are going to pass away. We know Heaven where God’s throne is isn’t going anywhere, so Jesus must be talking about heaven in the sense of the earth’s skies.
  2. No time. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). The beginning of what? The beginning of time. Time was created during the six days of creation: “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years’…” (Gen 1:14). God created time, and He can do as He wills with it (in Joshua 10, God stills the sun and moon for about a day’s time). In Heaven, there will be no night (Rev 21:25), and no sun (Rev 7:16), but the Father and Son will provide all the “light” we need (Rev 21:23, 22:15).
  3. No body. Our corruptible, physical bodies of carbon and water cannot ascend to our eternal home. In 1 Corinthians 15:50-58, Paul describes a “change” that is to occur in the day of the Lord, the day of judgment. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (v52). This change is not limited to those who have already died: “For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Ths 4:16, 17). I don’t pretend to know exactly what we’ll “look” like after this change, but I’m pretty sure this body of mine can’t fly. My body and my spirit will have to separated. Also, we won’t be married in Heaven (Mk 12:18-27). Physical ties will be broken.
  4. No pain. Revelation 21:4 teaches that there will be no tears, death, sorrow, crying, or pain. Don’t you want to go there?
  5. No sin. There will be no sin, or sinful people, in Heaven (Rev 21:8). This is partly how #4 will be accomplished, because sin causes sorrow, pain, death, etc.

Okay, so we’ve mentioned several things that won’t be in Heaven when we get there. So what will be there?

  1. The throne of God. Revelation 4:2 describes the throne room of God in Heaven with Him sitting on His throne. One of the blessings of Heaven is getting to be in His presence.
  2. Christ glorified. Revelation 1 records the apostle John’s vision into Heaven with Christ there. He sits at the right hand of God (Heb 12:2), and is no longer humbled by a human form (Phil 2:5-8, Heb 2:9).
  3. Prayers of the saints. Our prayers are like incense, adding a (figurative) sweet smell to the throne room (Rev 5:8).
  4. The Book of Life. Revelation 20:12 reveals that our deeds are recorded in this book. They will be compared to the words of Christ (John 12:48). Those who are not in the book are going to be eternally lost (Rev 20:15).
  5. The Faithful. Revelation 21:7 teaches that he who overcomes sin will be with God and Christ in Heaven forever. That is our life goal. Solomon said that the whole of man is to do the will of the Father (Ecc 12:13), and that is what we must fulfill if we are to live in Heaven with Him. Since we are not perfect, God prepared a plan to cover our imperfections: allow Christ’s blood to wash away our sins in baptism (Acts 22:16, Eph 1:7, Heb 9:14, Rev 1:5), and then live faithfully (Rev 2:10), asking forgiveness in prayer for our sins after that point (1 John 1:7-9).

All these things will be so for eternity: “And so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Ths 4:18). The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (Mat 24:36, 2 Pet 3:10, 1 Ths 5:2), so it follows that each description of the end of the world is proceeded by the admonition to be sober, watchful, and ready to meet Him (Mat 25:1-13, 1 Ths 5:4-8, 2 Pet 3:14).