Tag Archives: heaven on earth

Are you in “the pains of childbirth?”

Easter changes everything. The resurrection of Jesus Christ established historical precedent. It also provided immense ramifications for his believers: not only a new and wonderful life after death but an abundant life right now. His gift of the Holy Spirit provides a measure of that same resurrection power in our own lives – power to live victoriously in spite of the troubles we face.

While this is true, it doesn’t always seem that way, does it? We look around and see the world in disarray, hurting and despair wherever we turn. Everything seems in a state of decay, slowing dying. Even our scientists observe that all things are bent toward entropic deterioration and decay. Whether we’re faced with crushing pain or a deep sadness over our lot in life, or whether we’re facing the pain of disease that ravishes our body, it’s sometimes hard to think that things are going to get better. It seems that we, along with the whole world, groan for resurrection. (Romans 8:19)

It looked that way on the Friday Jesus was crucified. All hopes and dreams were dashed. Jubilation was replaced by deep sorrow. Confidence lost out to fear. It was the darkest hour of all time. That was Friday. But Sunday was coming! Sunday would (and did) change everything. Sunday brought the resurrection, new life, restored hope, and renewed faith. When things looked like they could not get any worse, they suddenly became miraculously better – much better!

“The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth, right up to the present time.” (Romans 8:22) Did you catch the comparison? The excruciating pains of childbirth are real but they are temporary.  Temporary pain is exchanged for the joy of new life! We understand that in the hospital labor room. But can you see this truth in the labor room of your present pains, your current sorrow, and your very real disappointments? As dark and terrifying as they seem, they are about to give birth to new light and new life, if Jesus is at work. Temporary suffering, even if it is for a lifetime, is not forever. All things will be made new. Just as the first two chapters of the bible speak to the creation of heaven and earth, the last two chapters speak of the new heaven and earth. And here we are in the middle of that magnificent story of God’s redeeming love. The resurrection power of God takes us from the pains of childbirth to the miracle of new life. We experience that restoration “on earth – as it is in heaven” when we allow God’s Spirit to renew us in the midst of our present trial.

How does thinking about your current struggles change when you consider them like the temporary pains of childbirth, about to give birth to a new, more abundant and victorious life? A life that may be “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. . . Death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-12

LIFE is at work in you. New life in the presence of death and decay, joyful hope in the presence of current sorrows, victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. This is the abundant life Jesus offers to each of us. It’s yours, and mine, for the believing and receiving.

I don’t know about you, but I’m trading my sorrows for the joy of the Lord.

Mansions in heaven


We like to think about heaven but we hate to think about hell. That place of eternal torment and punishment is too much for us to grasp. Who can bear the thought of eternal darkness, and yet burning fire, of complete separation from friends and loved ones, and utter separation from God? I wonder sometimes if we forget from WHAT we were saved?! It should burn in our memory every day!


I remember when the reality of heaven and hell hit me. I remember the weight of my sin and the punishment I deserved. I remember the depth of my inadequacy to escape it in my own power. Even at a relatively young age I recognized that none of my God-given abilities and talents were sufficient to remove my sin problem. But oh, I wanted to escape the punishment. I remember reading that Jesus not only forgives the sins we confess and removes our punishment but has also gone ahead to prepare a place for us in heaven. Because He says there are many mansions in heaven, we think of ‘our place’ being one of them. Imagine not only avoiding just punishment but given a reward instead! I remember telling Him, that it would be quite enough if I had a little shack by the River of Life. But he would have none of that; a mansion it would be.


Have you ever wondered what a heavenly mansion will look like? Since we will have heavenly bodies it seems likely it might not be a brick and mortar building like we imagine. But it will be magnificent. He’s given us temporary earthly bodies to be the home for His Holy Spirit. And even in the frailty of these bodies we can sense some degree of God’s glory within and around us. Imagine having a glorified heavenly body that could serve as a ‘mansion’ for ALL of His glory! If you could take the feeling of any moment of wonder that took your breath away and multiply that a million times, it might be that much goodness. . . enough to fill a mansion – and beyond!


Did you know we can experience a piece of that here and now? As we learn to commune with the Holy Spirit throughout the day, He reveals more of God’s glory to us. And the more we exalt God’s goodness and glory, the more His Spirit fills us. The more we grow thankful hearts the more the goodness of the Lord and His ever sufficient grace pours over us. It runs through our pain and sorrow. It’s not a patronizing conciliation. It’s the truth. God’s goodness remains constant in spite of our troubles and our feelings. That piece of heaven, however small it seems, is available for our discovery each day.


“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13