Category Archives: What Do You Know?

What Do You Know? Part 4 (The Best Is Yet To Come)

“…I can hear it in the distance and it’s not too far away

It’s the music and the laughter of a wedding and a feast

I can almost feel the Hand of God reaching for my face

To wipe the tears away and say,

It’s time to make everything new…make it all new.”

—-Steven Curtis Chapman, Beauty Will Rise

This life is not all there is.

This present world is a mere shadow of the glories that are to come in Heaven.

Contrary to popular myth, Heaven is hardly a boring place, where we sit atop clouds and strum harps all day long. Our great and beautiful God is many things…but boring? Never!

In Your Presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand, there are pleasures evermore.–Psalm 16:11

In fact, “our desire for pleasure and the experience of joy come directly from God’s hand. He made our taste buds, adrenaline, sex drives, and the nerve endings that convey pleasure to our brains. Likewise, our imaginations and our capacity for joy and exhilaration were made by the very God we accuse of being boring. Are we so arrogant as to imagine that human beings came up with the idea of having fun?”—Randy Alcorn, Heaven  p. 394

Obviously, an in-depth study of Heaven is beyond the scope of this humble blog post. However, I would ask: How much time do you give to the study of the place where you will spend eternity as a Christ follower?

God tells us in His Word that compared to eternity, this life is a vapor, a puff of smoke, a mist (James 4:14). If all we do is concern ourselves with just this temporal world, that isn’t very wise, is it?

When we travel to someplace new, we tend to do all kinds of  research about where we will be going. Why would we not do the same for the  glorious place that will be our eternal home?

So, with the help of two excellent books on the subject: Heaven by Randy Alcorn and Heaven: Your Real Home by Joni Eareckson Tada, I would like to just list a few of the highlights of Heaven:

1) Above all, we will see Jesus—God in human form— face to face in all His glory.

“…And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified  and adorned for her husband. Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne, saying…’See! The abode of God is with men and He will live among them, and they shall be His people and God shall personally be with them and be their God. God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish, sorrow and mourning, nor grief  nor pain anymore for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away. And He who is seated on the Throne said, “See! I am making all things new!”—Revelation 21:2-5

“Being with God is the heart and soul of Heaven. Every other heavenly pleasure will derive from and be secondary to His presence . God’s greatest gift to us is, and always will be, Himself.”—Alcorn, 

We will look into the very eyes of Jesus. And He will be glorious and dazzling in beauty. (Revelation 1:10-16) So dazzling in fact that there will be no need for lamps in Heaven…because the Light that will blaze from Jesus will absolutely fill every single square inch of that place. (Revelation 21:23).

We will live all eternity in His Presence and we will never learn all there is to know about Him! There will never come a day when we say, “Well, that’s it. I’ve finally discovered everything there is to know about Jesus.”

Jesus is infinite. In Him are “endless treasures”  (Ephesians 3:8). We will always be discovering new facets to Him who is the source of everything good and beautiful and joyful.

And because He is infinite, Jesus will be with me at all times and He will be with you at all times. We will not have to wait while He visits another part of Heaven. He is ours…and we are His…for all eternity.

2) Heaven will be a pure place of perfection. There will never again be sickness, death, disease, darkness, confusion, jealousy, chaos, pain, betrayal, poverty, shame, burdens, fear, no more sin and no more curse. We will, for all eternity, breathe the air of joy and peace.

3) You will have a resurrected, physical body, just like Christ does (Philippians 3:20-21).  That body will be beautiful…because everything is beautiful in Heaven.  After His resurrection, Jesus was seen in a real, glorified body. He walked, talked, even cooked some fish for the disciples. The Bible speaks often of the fact that we will eat in Heaven (imagine how incredible the food will be!).  Your body will never get sick or wear out ever again. Your mind will be renewed: whole and peaceful, filled with light and joy.  You will retain your identity (the disciples recognized Jesus after His resurrection).

And best of all, you will be physically reunited with fellow believers who have gone on ahead of you. Death for the believer is never a permanent goodbye…it is a temporary “See you later!”

And I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to finally meet the people whose lives played out across the pages of Scripture and have inspired me so often: King David, Moses, Abraham, Queen Esther, Mary Magdalene, all the disciples, etc. Can you imagine?!

4). You will be busy in Heaven. We will all have work to do, but unlike here on earth, our work will be completely joyous. We will actually help God run the universe! We will reign with Jesus. There will be culture and creativity, science,  athletic events, art, and technology. There will be music, singing, and dancing, and laughing. We will still dream dreams…uncorrupted,  huge, beautiful, God-honoring dreams…and this time they will always come true.

5) Scripture speaks of  Jesus  awarding crowns to us for the lives we have lived on earth. These are probably not actual crowns, but as Joni writes: “Heavenly crowns must represent something He does, something He gives, as when He crowns us with salvation.(Ps. 149:4). “–p. 73

The crowns are:

*The crown of life—for those who persevere under trials (James 1:12)

*The crown of rejoicing—often called the “witnessing crown” —for those who introduce others to Christ (I Thess. 2:19)

*The incorruptible crown—those who are found to be pure and blameless (I Corinthians 9:25)

*The crown of glory….for Christian leaders who have faithfully guided others in the faith (I Peter 5:2-4)

*The crown of righteousness—for those who are actively looking and waiting for His Second Coming (2 Timothy 4:8)

Reading about this is so exciting! How we live our lives on Earth will have an effect on our lives in Heaven. This knowledge spurs me on to live every single day for His glory.

Does reading these marvelous things whet your appetite for Heaven? I would encourage you to dive into the study of Heaven on your own and allow Jesus to open your eyes to the wonder, beauty, and delights of your eternal home.

It. is.going. to. be. GLORIOUS!

For I am Christ the Savior’s own bride,

And redeemed, I shall stand by His side.

He will say, “Shall we dance?”

And our endless romance

Will be worth all the tears I have cried. 

—Joni’s Waltz by Nancy Honeytree



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What Do You Know? Part 3 (No Fear)

Fear stalks all of us.

It is nasty, paralyzing, demoralizing, frightening, crippling, and dream-killing.

It is one of the things I have struggled with for much of my life.

Yet, as I have listened to Pastor Steve’s series, “What Do You Know?” I realized anew how often God directs us in His Word to not be afraid. (I have heard it said that the command “Do not fear” appears in the Bible 365 times..that is one “Do not fear” for every day of the year!).

God never tells us not to feel fear because we all will.

However,  we either let fear have the upper hand or we take our stand on God’s Word and refuse to live our lives controlled by fear.

I am making this choice today. If I let my mind venture into the land of “What if?” fear will overwhelm me.

But Jesus never invites us to journey to that place. In fact, He forbids it. It’s not real. If I choose to go there, I am placing myself in a position for Satan to terrorize me with all manner of scary scenarios. Nothing good ever comes from it.

So, I have made the deliberate choice to stop making the trip to the land of “What if?” and plant myself firmly in the NOW.

Now is the only place where I can encounter Jesus. And He is never the author of fear (that’s Satan’s specialty and he is a loser who has been thoroughly and eternally defeated by Jesus at the Cross. He can presume absolutely no authority over us).

Instead, Jesus always speaks courage to my heart, no matter how scary my circumstances:

“Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm.”–Luke 12:7

“Peace I leave with you, My own peace I now give and bequeath to you…do not let your hearts be troubled , neither let them be afraid.  Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.”–John 14:27

God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven, and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of  power and love and of a calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” –2 Timothy 1:7 

This is what I know. I am commanded not to live my one short life in fear.

In today’s “Daily Bread” devotional, the author said the following: “Only one thing will conquer our fears: tenacious faith in God’s presence, protection, power and promises.” 

His Presence: “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”–Matthew 28:20

His Protection: It is the Lord who goes before you; He will march with you; He will not fail you or let you go or forsake you; let there be no cowardice or flinching, but fear not, neither become broken in spirit—depressed, dismayed,  and unnerved with alarm. —-Deuteronomy 31:8

His power: He gives power to the faint and weary and to him who has no might, He increases strength, causing it to multiply and making it abound. –Isaiah 40:29

His promises: …God Himself has said, “I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (or) relax My hold on you; assuredly not!”—Hebrews 13:5

So, I ask you (and myself) particularly in light of that last verse, what in the world do we ultimately have to fear?

Not one thing.

Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God…will come and save you.” —Isaiah 35:3-4


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What Do You Know?: Part 2 (No Doubt)

As Christians, we have been given a simple choice: we either believe God as He has revealed Himself in His Word…or we don’t.

We either place our confidence in His promises…or we rely on our circumstances to tell us what is true.

We either trust that He is in full control and seated firmly on His throne…or we anxiously look all around us  and allow ourselves to be swallowed by panic and fear.

At the end of the day, we either listen to the Enemy of our souls (Satan)…or we listen to the Lover of our souls (Jesus). We choose who will have the prominent voice.

If we choose doubt, we will never reach our full potential…and we will not please  the God who went to the grave and beyond to rescue us from our hopeless condition.

Jesus is ultimately the Author of our stories…but it is up to us to submit to His pen.

He is an amazing Storyteller (after all, all of history is His Story). He has a part for you in mind that only you can play. He will marvelously fill in the blanks for each of our individual lives, but the Bible does  give a broad character sketch of what a Christ follower should be:




*joyful, even in the face of suffering



*filled with peace

*full of godly wisdom

*defined by supernatural love for everyone

Does that list describe you? If so, you have chosen to believe that those things are true, regardless of whether or not you feel like they are.

In response to His disciple Thomas, who refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead, Jesus appeared to Him and said the following:

“…reach out your finger here and see My hands; and put out your hand and place it on My side. Do not be faithless and incredulous, but stop your unbelief and believe!“–John 20:27 (Amplified)

The original word for ‘faithless’ in the opening verse is apistos and it means: “unbelieving, not to be trusted, without trust in God.”

The original word for believe in this verse is pistos and it means: “faithful, one who trusts God’s promises, one who is convinced that Jesus has been raised from the dead, one who has become convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and Author of salvation.”

Based on this, imagine Jesus saying to you, “(Insert your name), do you realize that when you doubt My Word in any way, you are in essence saying that I cannot be trusted?  I AM Truth. I cannot lie. I am always and eternally faithful to you and I desire your faithfulness to Me in return. You are faithful to Me when you believe what I say.  I am your Savior. I can only do good to you. From this moment forward, stop doubting and believe.” 

There is coming a day when faith will become sight and we will come face-to-face with Jesus.

When that moment comes, I guarantee that we will want to know that we used this brief time on earth to believe Him.

We are all human and we will all feel doubt. The real issue is what we do with our doubt. Do we let our doubt cloud our vision and drag us down into despair? Or…do we take our doubts straight to Jesus and tell Him all about them? Do we then we go to His Word and focus on verses that speak to God’s absolute rule and reign and truth?

Do we choose to hear the voice of Jesus say to us: “Stop doubting and believe!” 

So, start today. Start small. Pick one promise from Scripture that applies to your situation and decided that you are going to believe it, regardless of what you can currently see. Ask Him to give you the strength to do it, especially when the going gets hard. He will honor your desire.

I have found that to be true in my life. I have stopped allowing circumstances to dictate how I feel, how I behave, and what I believe.  I have countered my doubts with the eternal truth of God’s Word and in return, He has given me His peace. It has made all the difference.

Let this be the day that you fully begin to live the story that He is writing for you.


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What Do You Know?: Part I (Perfect Peace)

This summer, our pastor has been doing a series of sermons entitled: “What Do You Know?”

It has really had a powerful impact on me, so I decided to do a little series of my own on the blog by the same title. Each day will focus on one important aspect of something Jesus has been teaching me in recent weeks.

Pastor Steve began the series with the premise that as Christians, we all have a ton of head knowledge…but an important question must be answered: Has that head knowledge permeated our hearts so that it in turn affects our actions, how we live our day-to-day lives?

What do you know and what do you do with what you know?

This Christian life we live really IS meant to work! It is not just a nice theory or pious-sounding platitudes. True Christianity is a dynamic relationship with the living Christ. The same Jesus who walked the dusty roads of first century Israel is the same Jesus who walks with us today through the gift of the Holy Spirit (the very spirit of Jesus).

I like the way J.I. Packer puts it in his classic book, Knowing God:  “…when the New Testament tells us that Jesus Christ is risen, one of the things it means is that the victim of Calvary is now, so to speak, loose and at large, so that any man anywhere can enjoy the same kind of relationship with Him as the disciples had in the days of His flesh. The only difference is that…His presence with the Christian is spiritual, not bodily and so invisible to our physical eyes…knowing Jesus still remains as definite a relation of personal discipleship as it was for the twelve when He was on earth. The Jesus who walks through the gospel story walks with Christians now and knowing Him involves going with Him, now as then.” –pp.33-34

Even a cursory read through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) will show that the lives of the twelve ordinary men who Jesus called to be His disciples had their lives turned utterly upside down. They went from living their day-to-day lives to seeing the dead raised to life, ferocious storms calmed by  Jesus speaking a simple command, all manner of illnesses healed, miraculous provision, etc.

Most importantly, being with Jesus utterly transformed them, in the midst of  incredibly tumultuous, fearful times.

They truly  experienced life as it was meant to be lived: in the Presence of their Creator and Savior, enveloped in a tsunami of joy.

He will do the same for us.

We live in very scary times: economic crises, natural disasters, horrific crime, social unrest..not to mention the trials, heartaches and stresses of our individual lives…the list could go on and on.

What does the Bible say about how to handle times such as these?

Very simply,  Jesus speaks peace to us.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord your God is the eternal Rock. —Isaiah 26:3-4, NLT

A look into the original language of this verse is very helpful.

The word for “keep” means: “to guard from danger, to watch over, to preserve, to observe, to guard with fidelity, to be kept close.”

The word for “perfect peace” means: ‘completeness, safety, tranquility, contentment, friendship with God.”

The word for “fixed” means: “to lean upon, to rest, to sustain, refresh, revive, support.”

Lastly, the word for “trust” means: “to have confidence, to be bold, to be secure, to feel safe.”

In light of these rich definitions, imagine coming to Jesus with all your cares and concerns, just pouring it all out. Then imagine Him taking your hands, looking you right in the eyes, and saying the following:

“(Insert your name here), “I’m glad you came to Me and shared all that is on your heart. I want you to know that I am guarding you from danger. I am watching over you, preserving your precious life. I am and always will be faithful to you. You are safe in My embrace. When you stay focused on Me (and not your circumstances), I will give you contentment and tranquility in the midst. I want you to lean on me and find rest. I will sustain you. I will refresh and revive your spirit. I am the One who upholds you, especially when you feel weakest. My will for you is that you have utmost confidence in Me and My ability to care for you. You can be bold because I walk with you. I am your Friend. Go through this day secure in the knowledge that you are loved with a perfect love. Know this: I am your Rock.  No matter what else is shaking in your life, I am in full control, steady and unmovable. You are  in a safe place.”

My head has known all that for a long time.

Now my heart knows it too.

And it is glorious.

Really, what is the alternative? Jesus desires to give us His unshakable peace…such a gracious and magnificent gift! Yet we would refuse what He freely offers so that we can  hold on to our worry, allowing it to eat us alive?

I am done with that. I am choosing to accept His gift of peace.

I pray that you, too, will truly know His perfect peace today. It is yours for the taking if you are a Christ follower. All you have to do is ask Him for it.

“Peace I leave with you; My own peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated, cowardly, and unsettled).”–John 14:27 (Amplified version)


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