WHY THERE IS JOY IN HEAVEN.

For me the greatest single truth to be experienced in the Christian life is to know we are forgiven. Recall the story of the lost things in Luke 15. After each is found Jesus tells the crowds that THERE IS SO MUCH JOY IN HEAVEN WHEN ONE SINNER REPENTS THAN FOR ALL THOSE WHO DON’T THINK THEY NEED TO.

I took some liberty with that verse but in proper context.

I remember when psychiatrist Karl Menninger was alive he commented that most of the people in psychiatric wards could be released, freed, and walk out on their own, so to speak, if they just realized they were forgiven.

When Jesus came into the world his major focus was on telling people that God had come to them to reconcile all people to himself, to put away all enmity, to release them from an imposed spiritual bondage by self or otherwise.

Jesus came to say that our enslavement and alienation from God is over. And the folks who realized it best were those on the fringe of society. And if we are honest that is ‘us’ often times. I think of the Prodigal Son and remember how often that is ME but the Father in the story reminds me that God takes me back, forgives my rebellion and brings me to a table of celebration, and that if I am the proud older son he begs me to come to the table to celebrate the recovery of that which was lost.

There may be a lot of things in this world that do not give us peace. Even as you are reading this, your own soul may be in some degree of turmoil. But rest a moment on this thought. You are forgiven. You and I are the children of God, the beloved of God no matter how far we have run from him.

I think at times that when I am dissatisfied with life I am the prodigal taking the blessings of my Father for granted and I am off in a far and distant land where, like the ancient Israelites, I find it hard to sing the Lord’s song. But then I stop, inside of my own head, and run to the Father’s embrace once more. I am sorry to have forgotten my place in his love but then I gaze upon his only begotten son upon the cross and realize that he is there for me, for us and no matter what else happens in my life, that forgiveness is the most essential truth by which I live in a good relationship with the Father.

And every time I come back to the Father there is a party in heaven, which to my thinking means that heaven is one big continuous celebration of the forgiveness my Savior secured for me.

My sins have been sent away and the favor of God has been bestowed upon me all due to God’s own mercy. Is there anything else more important?

Perhaps if we dwelled more upon what God has done for us we would be less concerned about what we need. As the Scripture says, ‘if God did not spare his own Son will he not give us with him everything we need.’ (Romans 8:32)

And lest you are thinking, ‘what about repentance?’ well, repentance is nothing more or less than changing the way we think so that we are drawn to Christ and not towards ourselves. Someone once explained the Greek term for repentance as if we are walking in one direction and then turn and go the other way. His way.

It’s like the cell door being thrown open. Do we choose freedom or would we rather sit on our cot absorbed in self-pity over our circumstances?

I just got off the phone with Waste Management here in Denver area because they went right by my garbage I had put out on roadside. Driver said it wasn’t out there at 8 in the morning. I found myself getting angry because I put the silly stuff out there before way before 8. So I got myself into a funk and now need to heed my own advice. Once again I am the prodigal who needs to return. Seems like I do a lot of returning.

So here’s what happened. My wife gently told me that it was probably around 8 that I put my garbage out (isn’t that what I am doing here?) and maybe just missed the guy. I called the company and apologized and apologized to my wife for being so grumpy about the whole thing.

That’s what day to day life is like. But I reminded myself that I am forgiven and loved even while I am in a far country feeding pigs. It will all be all right. Thanks for reading. The party might be a bit postponed today.

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “WHY THERE IS JOY IN HEAVEN.

  1. Thank you Brother for your blog – and contrite message. You certainly speak for me and I’m sure multitudes Christian or not when we have a “bad day”. No matter if it be working, driving, Waste Management, or Wasted Lives in Paris.
    You mentions Romans 8:32. And we surely must always remember the Sacred Blood on the Cross spilled for ALL mankind. I certainly need to take a time-out and remember it every day.
    Though I cannot escape the scripture warning in 1 Peter 5:8. “…..be vigilant; your enemy, the devil walks about like a Roaring Lion, seeking those who he may devour”. For many years I assumed this message to be about bloodshed, violence, famine, etc….. But in reading of your message – especially in light of the comment by Karl Menninger- that the enemy is indeed a roaring lion – But his power is nothing which a physical lion has EXCEPT for the Roar! I have read that people who have heard such up close have never experienced anything more terrifying.
    I do believe that we are constantly under his Roar – psychology and spiritually. Anyone who has been exposed to the excruciating volume of a deafening sound of any kind for even short times know that it will drive one “crazy”. But this roar is upon our soul and spirit continually. This is the battle we must fight every day. Some days we win, some we lose. We get up and fight on until the Day of Joy! Unfortunately some succumb and cannot get up to fight “the good fight”. I do think Karl was quite right indeed!
    So far, with Christ’s grace I have been able to continue to get up and fight again each day. Some days easy….some not. I am Blessed and thankful.
    I read a timely Devottional this morning by Spurgeon and hope I can copy it on to this reply.
    You are always in my prayers. Thank you.

    THE APPRENTICE

    Of Minor Importance
    Avoid foolish controversies.
    Titus 3:9

    Our days are few and are far better spent in doing good than in disputing over matters that are, at best, of minor importance. The old scholars did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our churches suffer too often from petty wars over obscure points and unimportant questions.

    After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser, and therefore the discussion promotes neither knowledge nor love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field.

    Questions about issues on which Scripture is silent, on mysteries that belong to God alone, on prophecies of doubtful interpretation, and on mere modes of observing human ceremonials are all foolish, and wise men avoid them.

    Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether; and if we observe the apostle’s precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we will find ourselves occupied with so much profitable business that we will have no time to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.

    There are, however, some questions that are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid but fairly and honestly meet, such as these: Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind? Am I walking not after the flesh but after the Spirit? Am I growing in grace? Does my behavior adorn the doctrine of God my Savior? Am I looking for the coming of the Lord and watching as a servant should who expects his master? What more can I do for Jesus?

    Such inquiries as these demand our urgent attention; and if we have been given at all to frivolous arguments, let us now turn our critical abilities to a much more profitable service. Let us be peacemakers and endeavor to lead others both by our precept and example to “avoid foolish controversies.”

    Spurgeon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.