Ten-year-old Ange Shephard, who grew up in a small Nova Scotia town, became enamored with Southern California, and especially Los Angeles.
In his book Forward, David Jeremiah relates Ange’s story and how she would dial the 323 area code plus 7 random numbers, and when someone answered she’d say, “Hi, is this LA?”
Then she’d hang up, just thrilled to talk to someone from Los Angeles, dreaming one day of living there. Her calls, however, came to an abrupt end when her father saw the phone bill. But her dreams didn’t.
When Ange turned 24, she purchased a one-way ticket to LA. And still lives there today.
I agree with David Jeremiah’s comment, “I long for a place better than Southern California, and for a city greater than Los Angeles.” Don’t you?
For the past 8 weeks, we’ve highlighted words from Forward that encapsulate an important concept from the apostle Paul’s affirmation.”…One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14).
If you missed any of the previous words, click on the link below to read those posts.
Today, we conclude this series with the word “celebrate.”
Paul was reaching forward with one thing in mind–obtaining the heavenly prize.
If we’re Reaching Forward spiritually, then we must see Heaven as our ultimate goal. The land to which we aspire to live in as we sojourn here as strangers and pilgrims. The city in which we long to dwell. The apostle Peter put it this way:
You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him (2 Pet. 3:11-14).
Three times Peter exhorts us to look forward. Look forward to God’s promise. Look forward to Christ’s return. Look forward to a heavenly home.
Here are 9 achievements we’ll celebrate when we cross the finish line.
♦We’ll celebrate being at God’s throne.
The beloved John vividly pictures the saints coming to the throne. Being in God’s presence. And basking in His glory. Read Revelation 4-5. Or listen to Alexander Scourby read it. And imagine being there.
♦We’ll celebrate seeing Jesus.
The Bible tells us we will know Jesus. See Jesus. And be with Jesus. That’s reason enough to celebrate.
♦We’ll celebrate a resurrected body.
Through death, we will shed this mortal body and put on the immortal. We’ll put off corruption. And put on incorruptible. The physical will now be spiritual. That’s difficult to understand. But I know we’ll have a better body.
♦We’ll celebrate a rousing welcome.
Peter writes that we’ll “receive a rich welcome into the heavenly Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:11). Imagine the cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 11 welcoming you when you enter the pearly gates. Abel. Enoch. Noah. Abraham. Joseph. Joshua. David. Daniel. As well as Peter, Paul, and John. Wow!
♦We’ll celebrate a wonderful reunion.
Think of our loved one who’s already gone on. To see my Dad and Mom. My brother, Bill. My granny, Key. And a host of aunts, uncles and cousins. What a family reunion, we will all enjoy.
♦We’ll celebrate the most beautiful place we’ve ever seen.
The most incredible sunrise, the most gorgeous sunset, and the most breathtaking mountain top view, all pale in comparison to heaven’s perpetual, awe-inspiring beauty.
♦We’ll celebrate an atmosphere of righteousness.
Like Lot, our righteous souls are continually vexed by the putridity of sin. The vulgarity. The immorality. The immodesty. And the brazen perverted lifestyles. None of that will be in heaven. No sin will reside in that holy city. Won’t we celebrate such a place?
♦We’ll celebrate a place of relief.
No pain. No sorrow. No sickness. No headaches or heartaches. No crippling arthritis. No cancer. No MS. No wheelchairs. No crutches. No skinned knees. No antibiotics. And no nagging back pain. Surely, we’ll celebrate this land of relief.
♦We’ll celebrate our eternal reward.
When we cross the finish line and burst through Heaven’s gates, then we’ll know that every sacrifice, every commitment, and every ounce of energy and effort was worth it. No earthly accolade, medal, prize, or ribbon will compare with receiving the prize of God’s unfading, incorruptible, and everlasting reward.
Reaching forward–that must be our desire. Our aim. Our goal. Our life’s most important focus.
As my friend, Dee Bowman often reminds us, “If you miss heaven, you’ve just missed all there is.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman