10 Feb 2000

The Fear of Heaven

Submitted by theshovel
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Look, I know many of the thoughts that are stirred up when your favorite heaven verses and concepts are displaced (displacement is when one thing pushes another out of the way). It’s like, Wait just a minute, are you trying to say that there’s no HEAVEN? or Are you saying that nothing’s going to happen to us after we die? Did you think something like that … hmmm? Do you know what I’ve come to realize? MY fears based on MY perceptions cause ME to hear people say things they DIDN’T say. It happens at work or at home or with my family or with my friends or on the phone or at a church, etc. Now, just because I know that exposing the truth will stir up reactions of fear doesn’t mean that I can prevent those reactions from happening. Nor would I want to. Why not? Because YOU need to discover why YOU are afraid. It is a good thing. You know, it’s not about ME or about what I’VE written … for I got my own stuff to deal with … and MY stuff is not about YOU, either. After all, who am I that I should have such power over anyone to make them afraid? For if I say something and you sense it to be true, but at the same time you are aware that this truth doesn’t seem to fit with some of your long-held perceptions then you experience CONFLICT. And who likes conflict? :( You and I are so much alike it ain’t funny. We are really afraid that we might not be right … and that it might be proven that we are not right. And regarding heaven, we are also afraid that maybe nobody will be there for us after all; or maybe there will be somebody there who is going to penalize us for how we lived our life so that everybody will know what we REALLY did and thought and said. We are afraid there may be hell to pay. Believe me, I know the verses you’re already using as a defense against what I’m saying. :) That’s why we value doctrine so much … it gives us some clear written statements by which we can hold back the fear that keeps pecking away at us at every opportunity. It gives us the ILLUSION of security. By this, I’m not necessarily saying there is something wrong with the teachings we hold to, but that doctrine is not an end in itself. Christ is what the teachings are supposed to be about. But if He is, then why do most doctrinal discussions leave HIM in the background? Now, I’m convinced that the reality of eternal life will not end in death, but will continue; for time has no effect on HE WHO IS ETERNAL LIFE. As to our perceptions of angels in the clouds, while living in heavenly bliss in mansions built for us with the pitiful amount of lumber we send up; or devils with pitchforks in fire and brimstone … I think there is something drastically wrong with that picture. This heaven is a place where we are still vying to live next door to Jesus (the same concept that Jesus rebuked in James’ and John’s request (actually their Mommy’s) to sit on His right and left side in the Kingdom). We have been rescued from this through Christ through His death and resurrection. We don’t get close to Him … we got IN Him. And we remain in Him. We will still remain in Him when our physical bodies no longer are able to drag this eternal life around. Next time: Living in the moment with I AM and then: What we shall be Until next time ….. scoopfully yours, the shovel (aka Jim)

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Posted: February 11, 2000 by Rickster

i really appreciate your letters


Posted: February 11, 2000 by Bruce

Jim,

I am SO...SO...SO...very thankful that you have NO FEAR to speak and teach what has been shown you! My vision of Christ and His Kingdom is MORE like yours everytime I read something new you write.

There is much that I believe that I do not share with everyone because it is considered "heretical" by most Christians. It's like you wrote...they "hear" what you are saying but they "interpret" it all backwards. That's the way it was with Jesus wasn't it? That is why he spoke in parables...so that those who had "ears to hear" by the Spirit...would clearly understand what he was talking about while the others were condemned by the same parable.

Isn't it that way with God? How you perceive Him is how He will be to you. If you see Him as a hard taskmaster...then He will be that way with you. If you see Him as kind and compassionate, merciful, and forgiving...then that is how He is with you.

Isn't it it strange that at the end of the book of the REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST that John wrote...he says...that the "FEARFUL" and unbeliving are part of the group that are thrown into the lake of fire?

Have you got any insight on this yet?


Posted: February 11, 2000 by Nancy

Dear Jim,

Greetings form the frigid north--Maine! I sure hope you are enjoying yourself in ..Florida did you say? Is that where you live? You poor thing! Today when I awoke at 5:00 am the snow was beginning to fall. It's around noon now and we've gotten about 8" from the looks of it. It's still coming down hard. School was cancelled today. We have a lot of happy children right now. Most of the rest of us here are waiting for spring.... patience is a virtue, so they say. I tell my husband that we have to put up with winter in order to live in paradise. :)

I'm writing in response to this week's letter..."The Fear of Heaven"

What you say is true. We're generally afraid when it comes to heaven. That's so sad, because we really don't need to be. If we have believed on Christ to forgive us our sins; if we believe in Him for salvation and all that "salvation" holds for us, (small word, BIG meaning!) then we really have nothing to fear, do we?

I especially hate the thought (which has turned into many a sermon, I'm sure) that my mansion in heaven will be made out of the pitiful pile of lumber that I've been sending heavenward by virtue of my own good works. That kind of thinking has done great damage and caused much hurt to innocent Christians who really want to live in a way that pleases God, but who are fed a certain line about measuring up to a Christian standard. This type of thinking, while perhaps looking good and pious is actually rooted in legalism. We seem to have this need to look good, even if only in our own minds. We all want to come up smelling like roses, when really we've just got to accept the fact that as far as holiness is concerned, we all smell more like what you aspire to shovel.

Seriously, if we are living in fear and worried about whether or not our own works measure "up to snuff", then we are probably relying on ourselves and that's called being self-righteous. As Christians, our righteousness can only come from Christ. Not that we actually are righteous, but that God reckons us as so because of Christ. If I were relying on my own works to provide for myself in heaven, then I'd surely end up living in a cold, dirty hovel. This whole line of thought brings I Corinthians 3:12 to my mind, which speaks on rewards. I suspect we have given this passage a different meaning than was intended by the writer. Could you talk about that for just a bit? I don't have all the answers, I guess. I think it's speaking on teaching the truth about Christ and whether or not what a person has taught others will be used by God to build His church (people, not institution), or whether it will be discarded by God as a useless effort. Although I've been trying to re-arrange my thinking to what the Bible REALLY says, and not the old song and dance about "living the good, Christian life", I don't have evrything figured out yet. So I'd appreciate your thoughts on that passage.

Our salvation just isn't based on our own works. We're low-life sinners. You and me both along with everyone else out there. That's the bad news. But the bad news is what makes the Good News so darn good! We are "In Christ." What I don't deserve, He gives to me freely, and that includes heaven. I don't claim to know much about heaven. But the more I know about God, the more I can say that it really doesn't matter what He has planned for me for the rest of eternity, because I know it will be something good and right. Considering the enjoyment He's provided me in this life, I can safely assume that I'm not going to be miserable in the hereafter!

Our mansions in heaven from John 14:2 have been interpreted in many ways. They could be either literal material dwellings that Christ is building with an actual hammer and saw as we send Him our lumber, piece by piece (but I don't think so), or they could be defined in a more abstract meaning of the term "dwelling place." Whatever the term "mansion" means, I know mine won't be built on my own good works(at least I hope not!), but on the goodness, perfection, and holiness of Christ. You know, I don't think we need to worry about how our own lives are comparing with each other's. We are all in the same boat when we're "in Christ." I certainly won't get what I deserve, but neither will any other Christian. We'll get infinitely more, I'm sure. That's just the way God is.

There are a lot of misconceptions and bad teaching in the church about salvation and what it means to be "in Christ." I pray that sites like yours will be given great influence to counter error with the truth. There are so many who need to hear it.

Nancy - in paradise

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Random Shovelquote: Heavenly accommodations (view all shovelquotes)

Because I was convinced that my heavenly accommodations depended upon how well I served the Lord, I pushed myself to study the Scriptures as Paul had seemingly instructed Timothy. source