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Acts 8:26-40

On this Memorial Day weekend, I’m thinking about Philip.  Per a Heavenly angel’s command, Philip intercepted an Ethiopian in a chariot on the Jerusalem to Gaza road.  Philip helped him understand Scripture and then baptized him.  After they left the water, God teleported Philip to another place called Azotus.  If Philip and the Ethiopian were at Gaza when God made Philip disappear, the NIV Study Bible says that would be roughly 20 miles away.  Teleporting Philip over about 20 miles?  I wonder what Philip was thinking.  Maybe it was a memorable thrill ride that he described to others on Earth.  And it’s possible that he could have told/can tell his teleportation tale to others in Heaven.

 

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Acts 5:12-42

Jesus faced opposition while on Earth, and after He ascended to Heaven, the apostles faced opposition as well.  Because of Jesus, they were able to perform miracles for the people to witness.  The Sadducees knew about this and were very jealous.  They decided to arrest the apostles.  Subsequently, the apostles were put in jail.  However, at nighttime, an angel opened the jail doors and told them to go and teach the people.

The next day, the officers had to tell the Sanhedrin that even though there were guards and a “securely locked” jail door, the apostles weren’t there.  That report confused the chief priests.

God sent the apostles an angel to get them out of jail.  I believe God sent me an angel on 5/21/09.  I was driving without my family on Bever Avenue, a busy street, when someone ran a stop sign and headed for the left front of the car.  I was forced to swerve immediately to the right onto a side street, and unfortunately, there was a little car that suddenly appeared at a stop sign there, right in my path.  I closed my eyes and braced for the impact as my tires screeched, but instead, the front of our car just seemed to float.  When I opened my eyes, I saw the little car I had tried to avoid still at the stop sign, with no damage.  I was pointed in the right direction.  Shaken, I drove very slowly and found a place to park.  I checked out the car.  There wasn’t any damage, and I wasn’t injured!

Believe what you like, but I believe God sent an angel to pick up our car.  Thanks be to God, my rescuer!

Acts 3-4:1-22

There are many accounts of healing by Jesus in the New Testament.  But after Jesus ascended to Heaven, Peter and John later came upon a 40+-year-old man who was crippled.  The crippled man had been brought to the temple gate each day so he could beg.   Peter called on the power of Jesus’ name for the man and he was healed!  The man jumped around, praising God.  He wasn’t the only one praising God.  Shocked onlookers that knew the man, ran to them, praising God too.

Oh, the power of Jesus’ name!  If the man’s mother was around, I’m guessing she would have been one of the loudest praising God.  PRAISE GOD!

 

John 12:12-19

Mark 11:1-11

I hope that someday in Heaven, the scene is recreated of Jesus going into Jerusalem on an unridden colt surrounded by a crowd wielding palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna!”  As you read this account you can feel the excitement.  I wonder if the new colt tossed its head in reaction to the frenzied crowd.

As I went shopping this afternoon for palm branches, I wasn’t feeling the world’s excitement.  I went to three different stores and although there were plenty of pink rabbit planters and neon-colored polka dot plastic eggs for Easter, there were no palm branches.  I came home empty-handed except for a bag of popcorn that looked good.  I was surprised since Palm Sunday is this upcoming Sunday and Easter is the week after that.

As I got in the car, I turned on a Christian radio station and heard the words of Sidewalk Prophets’ song, “Help Me Find It.”   I had to smile.

Genesis 2:9, 3:22-24, Revelation 22:12-16

Last Wednesday, I finished reading the Bible.  It was just the second time I’ve read it.  Since Revelation is the last book of the Bible, it was fresh in my mind when I read the news about Billy Graham passing on to Heaven.  There are wonderful details about Heaven in Revelation, but as I read this time, I found the tree of life to be particularly fascinating.  As I read, this time I was reminded that the tree of life is also mentioned in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

In Genesis 2:9, I read that God created beautiful trees that were “good for food.”  God is perfect, so just know that if He says the food is good, it’s perfectly tasty.  Also, the tree of life was in the middle of the Garden of Eden.  In Genesis 3:22-24, I read that if they (Adam and Eve) would have taken and eaten from the tree of life they would have lived forever.  Because of that, God guarded the tree of life with a flaming sword and cherubim.

In Revelation, Jesus spoke the words,”…right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”  Putting all of the verses together, it sounds to me like those that are saved get to enter the city gates and take and eat from the tree of life leading to eternal life.  I like to picture Billy Graham and loved ones that have gone to Heaven, walking awestruck through the city gates, picking fruit from the lovely tree of life, eating the delicious fruit and then living happily ever after.

Matthew 5:1, 14:23, 17:1, Luke 24:50-53

Do you like high places?  Jesus did.  In Matthew 5:1, He sat on the side of a mountain and preached.  In Matthew 14:23, He went to the side of a mountain to pray.  In Matthew 17:1, He led some disciples up a great mountain which is where the transfiguration took place.  And in Luke 24:50-53, while Jesus had his hands up blessing them, He ascended to Heaven.  The Living Bible says, “and then began rising into the sky, and went on to heaven.”

Mountains were the highest place on Earth Jesus walked on.  But when He ascended to Heaven, He went higher.  Jesus is so high above us in every way!

 

Revelation 21:4

Recently, a special uncle passed away.  As I read his obituary, I realized one word was used frequently, the word, “was.”  It’s such a small word, but with a big meaning.  It immediately communicates past tense.  His life on Earth is over.  Family, including myself, cried because of the loss.

Thankfully, my uncle was a Christian, so it’s not “game over.”  He is in Heaven now, a place with no more crying or death.  When my son, Ethan, heard the news of his Christian uncle dying, he was happy for him.  He said, “It’s like you fall asleep and wake up in an amazing dream that lasts forever.”

Luke 24:13-35

My family loves to go on walks.  So when I read this passage about two people taking a famous walk with Jesus on the Road to Emmaus, it grabbed my attention.  Can you imagine going on a walk and then Jesus joins you?  Wow!  A fascinating twist though, was that the people walking to Emmaus with Jesus didn’t realize it was Him until it was time to eat and He gave them bread.  Then, they were allowed to recognize Him.  Once they recognized Him, He disappeared.

One great thing about Heaven is that Jesus lives there.  And whenever Christians enter Heaven, they can enjoy Jesus eternally.

Luke 22:39-46

Revelation 21:4

When Jesus prayed on the Mount of Olives, He was distressed.  He hoped that He wouldn’t have to become a sacrifice, but He was willing to be obedient to God’s will.  The Bible reads like He was in such anguish, that He sweat blood that fell on the Mount of Olives.

If you do an online search for sweating blood, one link that pulls up is from Wikipedia. “Hematidrosis is a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress…The episodes may be preceded by intense headache and abdominal pain…(and the) effect on the body is… mild to moderate dehydration from…both blood and sweat loss.[9]

The New Testament indicates that Jesus underwent hematidrosis before the Crucifixion, during the Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:44).[5][12] These claims are plausible, given that the modern day dermatological research notes the presence of hematidrosis in people awaiting execution…[5] Leonardo da Vinci described a soldier who sweated blood before battle. [13]”

We don’t know if Jesus had a massive headache with abdominal pain before sweating blood, or if He had any dehydration from the loss of the blood/sweat combination.  We do know that even before Jesus was arrested, cruelly beaten and killed, He was already suffering.

Since Jesus was in Heaven before coming to Earth, He was in a perfect place with no pain.  We’re the reason why Jesus felt immense pain.  We are all sinners and our sin is why Jesus became the sacrifice for sin for all time. Whatever sin you may be holding onto, give it up!  Show Jesus respect for what He did.  Jesus didn’t die for nothing.

John 14:2-3, Isaiah 11:6-7, Revelation 21, 22, 4:3-5

My family has a habit of reading the devotional, Our Daily Bread each day.  Recently, one writer wrote about someone who assumed Heaven is boring.  The writer quickly mentioned that when they went to the Grand Canyon, they were in awe at one part of God’s creation.  The author concluded that Heaven would not be boring.  I would like to add reasons I think Heaven will not be boring:

  1. Jesus will be there!
  2. Wolves, lions and bears can reside there (like a beautiful zoo with no cages).
  3. The sun is not needed because God Himself provides all of the light with no night.
  4. The River of Life is in front of God’s throne.
  5. Lightning and thunder come from God’s throne.
  6. There is a rainbow encircling His throne (no more waiting for the weather conditions to be just right for a rainbow).
  7. The main street is made out of GOLD.  God doesn’t have to mine for gold, since He can just make it.
  8. New Jerusalem’s walls will be decorated with jasper, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, amethyst (my favorite), etc.  Is that enough precious stones for you?
  9. There are lots of mansions in Heaven.
  10. Jesus said He’d “prepare a place for you” which implies individual things might be included, like your favorite wild animals.

Will Heaven be boring?  Maybe one day’s highlights would be strolling down the golden street, hugging a lion, and doing a backstroke in the River of Life while watching lightning shoot out from God’s throne.  That sounds exciting to me!  Why would God make Himself a boring place to live?  That’s an insult to Him.  God is GOD and everything will be perfect.  Trust Him to provide eternal entertainment.

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