Grace For The Journey
When news of Billy Graham’s death began to circulate last Wednesday my first thought was that Dr. Graham was anything but dead. He is more alive now than ever before, and he is living a life that will never end.
That was the message of Billy Graham’s life. It didn’t matter if he was talking to Presidents, Popes, Prime Ministers, or ordinary people he stuck to the very simple Gospel message that we are all sinners and Jesus Christ is our only hope to be rescued from our sins.
He was criticized and sometimes mocked by the social elites and academia’s for such a simple message, but while the critics came and went, Billy Graham never turned to the right or left, but kept his eye and his message on the Cross.
His personal life was one of financial and personal integrity. Constantly under assault by those who tried to catch him in either a financial or moral failure, he lived a circumspect life and went beyond reason to stay pure in his life so that his message was never compromised.
Many have hailed him as the greatest man of our time. Certainly, his influence was bigger than any of the people who temporarily held an office or had money or status to influence public policy. His power was never his, but that of Christ, and his fortune was massive, but not on earth, but stored in the incorruptible vaults of Heaven.
Some have said that there may never be another evangelist him and for that we should be saddened. But for that same reason, we should be grateful to God to have lived during the time of the most influential human being in our lifetime and the most potent force of Christianity since the Apostle Paul.
To his family, we extend our profound condolences, but to God we extend our profound thanks for sending this man to earth and working through him in such an unmatched manner.
Billy Graham’s greatest concern was that people come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord so they may spend eternity with God in Heaven.
People today do not often think of Heaven. They are too busy living for this life to be concerned about the next. Yet, I have been asked more than once where exactly Heaven is located . . .
Is it in our universe?
Is it up, beyond the sky?
Are there boundaries to Heaven?
Is it more of a mystical realm or a physically existing place?
From a biblical perspective I respond by explaining that Heaven does not exist in our universe because, if God’s eternal abode was Heaven, then He and His angels were there before the universe existed. The Bible talks a “third heaven” and “Paradise” when speaking of where heaven is (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).
I can say this for certain . . .
I don’t know the direction of Heaven
But I do know its Delight.
The Bible says in Revelation 21:1-8, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”
I am drawn to think of heaven more and more because, the older I get, the more Heaven become populated with people I knew while they were with me here. My mom and dad are there. Our daughters, Cathy and Ashley are there. So many whom I have pastored are rejoicing in that beautiful realm right now. Billy Graham is another one of God’s servant who has entered the glories of heaven and has received the fullness of his inheritance.
When a child of God dies, a new era begins for them – unspeakable, immeasurable wholeness and happiness has become their everlasting reality:
- Each leaves time and enters into eternity
- Each leaves a world of toil and enters a world of rest
- Each vacates a body of weakness and receives a body of glory
- Each departs from dimness and arrives in light
- Each exchanges a walk of faith for a reward of sight
- Each was taken from those they loved on earth and reunited with those they love in Heaven
- Each of their groans of sadness and pain has been replaced with shouts of ecstasy and delight
- Each of their tears from life’s difficulties are now supplanted by joy and praise
- For them, all of life’s mysteries have given way to all of Eternity’s answers
- They have all seen the face of Jesus
- They have beheld those mysterious creatures called angels and have heard their songs
- Each has beheld the throne of God
- Each has received the fullness of his unfathomable inheritance in Christ
- Their lifelong thirsts have been satisfied forever
- They are today perfected and are for complete and whole eternity.
- They are exactly as they were ever meant to be
- They will be there to welcome us when we arrive
This is just a small glimpse of what heaven will be like! No, I do not know the where Heaven is . . .
Heaven is not desirable because of its direction or location.
The Christian wants Heaven because of its King.
Heaven is all about Jesus and that is why the Christian wants to go there some day. Jesus has made that possible for you and me. Heaven’s King hung on the cross with His arms spread open in a posture of eternal embrace. Come to Jesus today. Run to Him today. Accept Him as Savior and acknowledge Him as Lord. When you do, you will be able to stand on the solid-rock promise that you will be with Him forever, and you will never regret that you said “Yes” to Him.
This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!