Recently a teacher, a rubbish collector, and a lawyer wound up together at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter informed them that in order to get into Heaven, they would each have to answer one question.
St. Peter addressed the teacher and asked, “What was the name of the ship that crashed into the iceberg? They made a movie about it.” The teacher answered quickly, “That would be the Titanic.” St. Peter let him through the gate. St. Peter turned to the garbage man and, figuring Heaven didn’t *really* need all the odours that this guy would bring with him, decided to make the question a little harder: “How many people died on the ship?” Fortunately for him, the garbage man had just seen the movie. “1,228,” he answered. “That’s right! You may enter.” St. Peter turned to the lawyer. “Name them.” (from http://www.ahajokes.com/hea15.html)
Forgive me if you are a lawyer today! But I wanted to start the devotion with a joke to brighten our day!
These next verses of the Apostle centre our thoughts on heaven:
“Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Philippians 3: 17-21)
For every one of us there will come a day when we will close our eyes on this earth.
The trials and temptations will be over. We will no longer focus on things like destinies and desires, gains and losses, our bodies and material things that bring sparkle to our lives. All that matters won’t matter anymore. It will be gone. Are we ready for that?
You are a model
Yesterday I conducted the funeral service of a lady who I really didn’t know very well at all. Her adult children gave the eulogies and by the end I wished I had! They brought her back to life in their descriptions with tears and humour and each one spoke of her faith and how she modelled how to do life for them. In fact they all said how their lives have their mother running right through them.
Obviously the modelling came out of a family experience. This is why we are in church and connected to community. Discipleship cannot be done outside community it is never a solo effort.
Who do you model yourself after? Who’s the hero in prayer? The use of the Bible? Generosity? Witnessing?
You are a citizen
During the funeral I read Psalm 84 which is a travellers Psalm for the pilgrims heading to Jerusalem each year. The highlight was the destination not the journey for that was difficult. It was known as the Valley of Baca or Tears. This valley wilderness was tough, painful and dangerous but the pilgrims are fuelled by knowing they don’t belong there they are heading to the city of worship.
Friends, this earth is a travelling through place. It is a valley of tears at times, full of difficulties with many trials. But we are citizens not of this valley but of the city of heaven.
Paul uses the word citizenship purposefully. Philippi became a Roman colony in 42 BC and by the time of him writing to the Church it was an impressive Roman city. Paul is making a point that being in Christ is far better than being in Rome. “We have a better citizenship. A Roman one is good but heaven is better!”
You are a shadow
As a child I was always told that I would be recognised in heaven because my shirt will be hanging out (apparently I wasn’t very good at tucking it into my high pants!)
Look in the mirror, what do you see? What would you change about what you see? A lift here and a tuck there perhaps?!
Everything about you that needs changing will be changed. This is not plastic surgery but transformational surgery.
In the funeral I read the words, “no more pain no more death …”about what life will be like after death.
Will we be recognisable? I really believe so! Our resurrected bodies will reflect the old earthly bodies that were just a shadow of the real. But all pain gone, all wrinkles gone, all blemishes gone, all shame gone, all sorrow gone.