Friday, November 18, 2011

"Homeward To the Heavenlies"

(Friends: this is only the third time in thirteen years we have sent out two messages in the same day. But this one is ready, and I somehow feel it is meant to go out today. Thanks, Glen.)

We shall depart from this present world in either of several different ways. Perhaps we shall leave as did Caleb, whose strength and vision remained undimmed and unabated throughout his lifetime. Or we may linger as did Jacob, with weakness and blindness challenging our last days. Sudden physical death may take us like Abel, slain by his brother. Or, as with Enoch, we may leave this planet by way of Rapture (certainly the best case scenario!).

Whatever our God-chosen path through "the valley of the shadow of death" may involve, the most important characteristic will be "Thou art with me" (Psalm 23:4). Indeed, the case can be Biblically made that our last earthly moment will also be our most God-saturated moment since David declared the Lord to be "a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). Certainly death is our greatest "trouble." Just as certainly, God is "very present" therein. I suspect that if we could physically see the spiritual realities that take place as believers depart this fallen world unto a perfect and glorious Heaven, many of our tears would go unshed.

Whether our departure is abrupt or lingering, we must believe that our Heavenly Father never draws more near to us than when He escorts us homeward to the heavenlies. If our fellow believers who have already made the journey could speak to us, their message would be joyful and sure: "If you're going to fear anything, brother or sister, don't fear death! Because in that holy moment of passage, you will be enveloped in a Presence that will fill and fulfill your heart like you've never known before, and like you cannot imagine! Yes, you will discover to the complete enrapturing of your spirit that "Thou art with me" means far more than words can ever tell! Indeed, on this side we don't say that "we died" when we left the earth and came home. We say that "we lived!"

There is absolutely nothing for believers to fear about death. Nothing. Nothing! We will be tempted otherwise, of course, but in every moment of such devilish challenge, let us remember the Word of God's promise of "Thou art with me," and its perfect assurance of grace for the last journey...

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
(Hebrews 2:14-15)

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