Tag Archives: Heaven

Didn’t He Do Well! (Did He?)

How well do we think we have lived?  Do we think we have done well?  Do we think we have made a huge mess of things?  Do we think we have plodded along ok, muddling through as best we could?  Are we confident or worried?

How do we think we will be greeted by God when our time comes to meet him face to face?

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 (CEV)

Now the time has come for me to die. My life is like a drink offering being poured out on the altar. I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful. So a crown will be given to me for pleasing the Lord. He judges fairly, and on the day of judgment he will give a crown to me and to everyone else who wants him to appear with power.

16 When I was first put on trial, no one helped me. In fact, everyone deserted me. I hope it won’t be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood beside me. He gave me the strength to tell his full message, so that all Gentiles would hear it. And I was kept safe from hungry lions. 18 The Lord will always keep me from being harmed by evil, and he will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. Praise him forever and ever! Amen.

And here is the answer to Jeremiah’s cry that only God can help.  Now we have the other side of judgement – God standing beside his people.  We stand with his strength, not our own.  We work in his power alone.  Whatever we have done, whatever we deserve, God welcomes us to him.  Even Paul, with all he had done in work for God, all he had suffered, all the lives he had reached – he is fully aware that it is God, and he alone, who will bring Paul into his Kingdom.  It is God who has kept him thus far, and God who will keep him for eternity.

That is the hope on which we rely.  Not the hope of all the good things we have done, our amazing ministry, our faithfulness, our lives lived pleasing to God – because by those criteria all of us will have failed.  If we trust in ourselves we will be sadly disappointed.  If we trust in God, he will never disappoint us.  But God does not fail, so it is fortunate for us, that it is on him that we rely.

Yes, we need to do our bit – but that is never what will save us.  Alone it is not enough – but God is.  The loving, forgiving, merciful God waits to welcome us – each one of us – you and me.

Thank you Lord
that you are my hope,
my truly saving grace.
Whatever I think I have done
is not enough
– but you are.
However badly I think I have done,
you still welcome me.
You alone are my Saviour
and my hope.
I stand in your strength
not mine.
And I praise and worship you

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Safely Home

Stephen Cottrell tells us that in his temptations, Jesus is coming to discern God’s very particular call on his life (p71).  He is going to tread the path of suffering love, and by doing so, lead the world to its true home – a New Creation.

The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband.

I heard a loud voice shout from the throne:

God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.

Then the one sitting on the throne said:

I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted. Everything is finished! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give water from the life-giving fountain to everyone who is thirsty. All who win the victory will be given these blessings. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Jesus has come, not just to live with us here and now, but also to take us home.

Cottrell tells us that on his death-bed, Spencer said

dying and reaching heaven would be a sense of relief of being safe again, of being home, of being where one belongs (p72)

Lord, how I long for the safety of being home with you.

These thoughts are reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s painting The Foxes Have Holes (seen here).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts

The Thing You Need to be Happy

Reading what Stephen Cottrel has to say about constantly seeking joy, always looking for the reward in the future (p52), reminded me of Lynette’s speech in the final ever episode of Desperate Housewives

The realisation you have what you need to be happy, and not needing to look for the next thing. Wise advice.

If you constantly live looking into the future, you never enjoy the present and it’s delights.  Heaven can be found in the most unlikely places – even the wilderness, but we have to be open to seeing it.

In this we can be challenged to see and delight in God in every person, in every moment itself and all that it holds (p53)

31 Don’t worry and ask yourselves, “Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?” 32 Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of these. 33 But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.

34 Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today.

These thoughts are reflecting on Spencer’s painting Consider the Lilies (seen here).

This year for Lent, I am reading Christ in the Wilderness by Bishop Stephen Cottrell, published by SPCK, reflecting on Stanley Spencer’s paintings of that title.

I’m not necessarily going to blog every day on it, just when something leaps out at me – and they will be thoughts rather than full blog posts