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Matthew 7:7-11, John 3:16

Matthew 19:14

My mom returned our book, “Heaven is for Real” this past week.  If you haven’t heard about it, it’s about a boy, Colton, who claimed to visit Heaven during an appendectomy.  I believe him since his story doesn’t counter the Bible.  Chapter nineteen is entitled, “Jesus Really Loves the Children.”  One example of Jesus’ love for children is in Matthew, where Jesus talked about giving good gifts to children.

I know God loves our kids.  I have a recent example of how much God loves our daughter, Emily.  Emily and I had a Biblical conversation while driving home from an event.  As we pulled in the driveway, I felt satisfied that her questions were answered.  Five days later, I half-listened to a morning devotional, but knew that the writer had talked about losing wedding/engagement rings.  Then, one or two days after that, the kids were practicing tennis in the afternoon when I decided to sit down at a picnic table in a nearby shelter.  Before I sat down, I noticed something shiny and small on the concrete floor.  On closer inspection, I saw it was a child’s toy diamond that had become dislodged from a play ring.  I remembered the devotional about the lost rings and decided to read all of it on my phone.  It reminded me of the Biblical conversation I had with Emily almost a week before.  After the kids were done practicing tennis, as we were walking, I asked Emily if she remembered that conversation.  She did, but she had additional questions that I didn’t know about, but God did.  I listened to her and I again was able to answer her questions.  Evidently, it was important to God that Emily get answers to her extra questions.  Those answers were good gifts from God.  He showed He cared about her questions by lovingly and patiently going to great lengths to get them answered.

Colton was persistent in telling his parents how much Jesus loves kids.  Jesus’ words in the Bible revealed His love for children, and I’ve seen evidence of that love.  If you have kids, please remind them that Jesus loves them!

John 8:12

I found out this past week that our nearby, elderly neighbor passed away.  She was an outgoing Christian and we’ll miss her.  Her address is no longer on our street.  Her house is dark inside.  But we take comfort in knowing that where she lives now, there is no darkness.  What’s her address?  She lives in Heaven in light with the light of this world, Jesus.

Genesis 6:3

Recently, we found out our sweet Aunt Ida went to Heaven.  She was 104, which isn’t far off from God’s limit of 120 years.

Last night, my son, Ethan, was talking about losing loved ones.  He is saved and talks easily about Heaven.  The way he sees it, when Christians go to Heaven, they are on an “eternal vacation.”  I agree with his sunny terminology.

Matthew 3:1-6

My family and I recently got back from a trip to Kentucky.  On our way back home, we stopped in Indiana at a Steak ‘n Shake.  We saw a plane in the distance with a banner.  Since we were on vacation, we had binoculars and I used them to see what the banner said.  I was so curious to know, but all it said was, “$1 soft drinks-M”.  I’ve never seen such an insignificant message in the sky.

Later, I looked up how much it is to get a plane to fly a banner.  On one website, it said that it’s $350 each hour and there’s $100 charge for setting up!

John the Baptist didn’t need a plane banner.  People came to him.  But if someone from the future offered him free plane banner advertising in the sky, I think he’d want it to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  Now that’s a significant message!

 

Luke 21:33

I went shopping recently and heard a song with the words, “…nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.”  In case anyone in addition to the singer thinks that’s true, it’s actually wrong.  Jesus says,

33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

 

Matthew 13:44

Our kids have small geodes in their rooms.  As I picked one of them up, I rolled it between my fingers to watch the sparkling interior.  I briefly viewed the dull exterior.  It’s surprising that it’s the same rock.

When Jesus was on Earth, He told the parable of hidden treasure.  He compared heaven to hidden treasure.

I think geodes are like hidden treasure.  The outer appearance of a geode looks drab, but if you grab a hammer and a chisel and carefully break it open, you will discover hidden, glittering crystals inside.  So, it seems to me that God made a tangible parable when He created geodes long ago.

 

Genesis 37:23-24, Genesis 41:15-41, Daniel 6, Daniel 2:24-49

Our kids, Emily and Ethan, heard about Joseph (of the Old Testament) today.  And, not long ago, I finished reading the book of Daniel.  I noticed the two men had interesting similarities.  First, Joseph was thrown into a pit and Daniel was thrown into a den of lions.  Second, Joseph interpreted Pharoah’s dream and Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  Finally, Joseph was put in charge of Egypt and Daniel was put in charge of Babylon.

Since Daniel and Joseph had so much in common, if they had been in the same time period,  in the same setting, I think they could have been friends.  But maybe they’ve already bonded in Heaven…

Matthew 14:22-27

In Matthew, I recently read about Jesus finishing talking to a crowd, going to a mountain to pray, and coming on the water towards the boat the disciples were in.  In the above verses, I noticed that Jesus came at “the fourth watch.”  The Reformation Study Bible by R. C. Sproul said that “the fourth watch” would be between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m.!  Also, I realized the word, “crowd” was used and had been used several times in previous chapters.  Curious, I did a search in biblegateway.com and found that “crowd” is in Matthew 41 times!

Jesus was often around crowds.  Today, Jesus is in Heaven after dying for mankind’s sin and rising from the dead.  According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations there were 2.2 billion Christians in 2012.  Join the Christian crowd.

 

Revelation 21:1-8

A few days ago, my family went shopping and got tissues and Band-Aids™.  Both of our kids needed Band-Aids™ this week.  Our son needed one on a knee and our daughter needed one on a toe.

For those that make it to Heaven, there won’t be any pain, so there won’t be a need for bandages, pain meds or an emergency room.  God will wipe away any tears, so there will be no need for tissues.  There will be no more death, so there won’t be any more obituaries, funerals or tombstones.

Heaven will be wonderful.  Let’s keep living for Jesus so we can make sure we have a reservation in Heaven.

 

I have been reading a book called, “Why I Believe,” by Dr. D. James Kennedy.  This is such a compelling book, that I thought I’d share with you the highlights from the six chapters I’ve read so far:

1. Why I Believe the Bible – There are many prophecies in the Bible, and thousands of them have come true already.  One of the coolest fulfilled prophecies was one about the big sea city of Tyre.

Ezekiel prophesied that Tyre’s walls would be destroyed, the towers broken, dust scraped from her and become, “like the top of a rock” where nets would be spread in the sea.  In addition, stones, timber and dust would be laid in the water, and Tyre would not be built anymore.

Years after the prophecy, the king of Babylon came with his army to attack Tyre.  It took them thirteen years, but they eventually made some of the walls crumble and battled with swords.  Thousands of the people in Tyre escaped on boats to a Mediterranean island to build a new Tyre.

Time passed, and Alexander the Great came on the scene.  Cities surrended to him, and then he found the new Tyre and demanded for them to also surrender.  Whey they laughed, he planned with his top engineer, “build a causeway across the half mile of the Mediterranean Sea to the island of new Tyre.”  Alexander the Great ordered, “Tear down the walls of Tyre, take the timbers and the stones, the rubble and the logs, and cast them into the sea.”  In order to make the causeway to get to the new Tyre, they had to scrape the old Tyre.  Tyre was destroyed.

What about the nets and the rock?  Well, Dr. D. James Kennedy wrote, “A member of my church recently visited the city of Tyre and returned with pictures of new Tyre.  They showed nets spread out on the flat rock that once had been the proud city of Tyre.”

Ezekiel 26:4-5, 12-14

2. The Stones Cry Out – Critics against Joshua and the battle of Jericho thought it couldn’t be that, “the Israelites marched around the city seven times in one day.”  However, “Garstang’s investigation provided an interesting fact about Jericho-it was smaller than the sites upon which many large metropolitan churches are built.  Having been to Jericho many times, I know that I could walk around it seven times in one morning and play a set of tennis before lunch!”

Also, Sir William Ramsay, initially an atheist who studied archaeology thought he would prove the Book of Acts to be wrong.  He ended up being very impressed by Luke’s accuracy and actually became a Christian.

3. Why I Believe in God – “Pierre Simon de La Place, one of the greatest of our astronomers, said that…The evidence for God as opposed to the evidence against him as the Creator of this universe was as infinity to one.  It could not even be measured.”

“How does God provide to get the nitrogen out of the air into the soil?  He does so by lightning!  One hundred thousand lightning bolts strike this planet daily, creating a hundred million tons of usable nitrogen plant food in the soil every year.”

“How little we realize what God is continuously doing to provide for our life.  We see that we live with a tiny ozone layer protecting us from an unseen deadly bombardment that constantly comes down upon our heads.  Beneath us is a thin rock crust…Beneath that is the molten lava that forms the core of this earth.  So man lives between the burning, blackening rays above and that molten lava below, either of which would burn him to a crisp.  Yet man is totally oblivious that God has so arranged things that he can exist in such a world as this.”

4. Why I Believe in Creation – “A famous British evolutionist, Sir Arthur Keith,…says, ‘Evolution is unproved and unprovable.  We believe it because the only alternative is special creation which is unthinkable.”

“Those who are evolutionists laugh at the idea that you can put evolution and the Bible together.  Thomas Huxley, probably the most famous proponent of evolution who ever lived, stated, ‘It is clear that the doctrine of evolution is directly antagonistic to that of Creation…”

Charles Darwin said, “Geological research…does not yield the infinitely many fine gradations between past and present species required.”

“Professor Enoch, zoologist at the University of Madras, said: ‘The facts of paleontology seem to support creation and the flood rather than evolution.  For instance, all the major groups of invertebrates appear suddenly in the first fossiliferous strata (Cambrian) of the earth with their distinct specializations indicating that they were all created almost at the same time.'”

5. Why I Believe in Heaven – “Dr. Simon Greenleaf,…one of the greatest authorities on legal evidence…turned the vast searchlight of his immense knowledge of evidences upon the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and exposed every thread of that evidence to the most searching criticism.  He came to the conclusion that the evidence was so overwhelming that in any unbiased courtroom…it would be declared to be an historical fact.”

“One woman, …after she had suffered a respiratory arrest, said the doctors who were trying to resuscitate her were pounding on her body trying to get her back while she was over them, looking down, and saying, ‘Leave me alone!’  There was such peace,…joy and love as…never experienced before-an evidence which perhaps God has given in these unbelieving days to convict even the most skeptical.”

6. Why I Believe in Hell – “We are told that the sinner dwells in ‘everlasting burnings’ (Isaiah 33:14), yet ‘shall never see light” (Psalm 49:19).

“Christ, who came…to save us from pain and suffering, was the One who talked more about hell than any other person in Scripture.”

 

Have you read this book before?  If not, come back for Part 2 on Sunday.