Heaven inside us

This morning I woke up and like I do every morning, I made myself some delicious coffee. Then I ran into a huge problem. When I went to grab the half and half out of the fridge I couldn’t find it. This is tragic for a person who drinks about as much creamer as I do coffee. All kinds of thoughts started running through my mind: the first one was, “Where did my wife put the half n half?” Sidenote: I’m working on not blaming her every time I can’t find something. I start frantically looking through the fridge thinking, “She just bought more yesterday. Where is it?!” I’m trying to stay calm. I have to figure this out because it’s like 4:15am and I can’t go wake her up. 

Then suddenly a thought came to mind: the half n half I was looking for ran out yesterday and maybe she bought one that wasn’t the exact same brand as the one I was looking for. As soon as that thought came into my mind I found what I was looking for. I had to let go of what I thought I was searching for and open my eyes. Kind of like how Paul says, “If anyone wants to be wise let him become a fool so that he can be wise.” 

I want to share a few scriptures this morning to reveal the goodness of God and the awesomeness of living in His kingdom and in the New covenant. Before I get into it I want to say that many of us are like Old Testament saints who looked off into the distance for hope to come. Many of us are waiting for the kingdom of heaven to fall from the sky in a visible way. Jesus said “The kingdom does not come in ways that can be observed, but the kingdom is within you.” That’s what I want to draw your attention to this morning. Heaven inside of us who believe. 

Psalm 20:1-2 says

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! – Psalm 20:1-2. 

Here, help from God is seen as coming from somewhere. Help is seen coming from His sanctuary, from Zion. David is praying that God would send help from heaven. In essence that is what Zion is. Zion is the dwelling place of God. In the OT Jerusalem was called Zion because God’s presence was there. It was not the physical city that made Jerusalem Zion, but God in her. 

Now look at what Ephesians 3:20 says:

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, – Ephesians 3:20

This is beyond amazing! In the Psalms we see David crying out to God for help from heaven. Now God says He will help us according to the power that is in us. Why would he say that? Because…

I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:2-4

Zion has come down out of heaven and is inside of us who believe. This is why Hebrews 12:22 says “you have come to mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.” 

Some might ask, well it says there will be no more tears, death, or pain. To that I say, in the New covenant we don’t define our lives by these things. And if we truly walk in the New Covenant and dwell in the city death is no more. Jesus said whoever believes in Him will never die. Tears are wiped away and pain is taken away because we now have the Holy Spirit to comfort us. That’s the power at work in us. It’s beyond what we can imagine! If we are not experiencing these things it doesn’t mean they’re not a reality. If we base our belief on what we experience, we bring God down to our level. There’s always more in store for us. 

Paul said in Romans 14:17 that the kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. There’s no mention of tears, death or pain. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever be sad or hurt. It means that in those times God will comfort you with His presence in you and you can have supernatural peace and joy when most people would have despair. That’s what it looks like to live in the New covenant city, the New Jerusalem and what it means to be a child of God. I hope you are blessed by reading this. Grace and peace 2u. 

The Spiritual Kingdom of heaven on earth: The New Jerusalem 

In the last blog I mentioned that there are  clues in the Bible about the New Jerusalem that point to its reality as a present, spritual reality and not an explanation of eternity in heaven. Heavenly things are mentioned, but I believe they’re allegorical for the kingdom of heaven on earth. 

Before jumping into Revelation 21-22 I want to take a quick look at Ezekiel’s vision of the restoration. Something to keep in mind is that Ezekiel’s vision parallels John’s vision (Revelation) in many ways. Ultimately, they were both shown prophetic visions of Jerusalem’s destruction and the New covenant city, the New Jerusalem. In chapter 40 Exekiel is shown “a structure resembling a city” (verse2). Then in verse 5 he explains it as a temple. 

It’s strange that a temple structure would resemble a city. Was he seeing a temple, or was it a city? I think but was both. The city is the new temple. When you look at art you have to take a step back to see the full picture. That’s how you properly interpret biblical visions, which are given to us like artwork. All the following details and measurements mentioned by Exekiel may have meaning, but for the sake of understanding the visions as a whole, I’m not going to focus on that now because the measurements are not the main point. 

The main point is that the city is the new temple, meaning the New Jerusalem is now God’s dwelling place on earth and no longer the physical city with the physical temple. 

In Him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:22 (CSB)

In the last blog I wrote about the millennium (“1000 year” reign) and how it is figurative. There are aspects of the New Jerusalem that help us see that it is also a figurative spiritual reality. 

I probably will not cover everything in this blog, but we’ll go through Revelation 21-22 to look at the aspects of the New Jerusalem to see how we are living this out on a daily basis. That is, those who surrender to Jesus and seek to advance His kingdom daily. 

In Revelation 21:1 John writes that he saw “a new heaven and a new earth.” In order to understand this statement correctly you have to put yourself in the shoes of an ancient Jewish person. To ancient Jews, “heaven and earth” was an idiom for the temple (here’s more info on that http://www.reenactingtheway.com/blog/when-heaven-and-earth-passed-away-everything-changed879420187179853150181). 

If heaven and earth (aka the Jerusalem temple) had passed away, what then would be the new heaven and earth, the new temple? If you study it out you’ll find that in Jewish literature, the temple was the place where heaven and earth came together. Well, now heaven and earth come together in the children of God, the church who are individually called the temple of the Holy Spirit in the NT and the church corporately is also called God’s dwelling place in the spirit as the above verse states. 

John says that he saw the New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God.” To me, that’s a picture of something gradually taking place. It wasn’t past tense, but present tense. I believe there’s a reason it was shown to John in this way. It’s like the leaven Jesus mentioned in Matthew 13 that works itself through a batch of dough until the whole thing is leavened. The leaven is the kingdom of God, the dough is the world being transformed by it. The kingdom of heaven is advancing and has been since the days of John the Baptist (Matthew 11:12). I believe it will continue to advance until the final day when Jesus does come and set His feet on the earth and summon all of the dead to awaken for judgment. Some will be resurrected to eternal life, some to eternal judgment. 

I do not think this is something that will happen imminently (any day) because I know that Jesus will return for a bride who is ready and I believe the world will be as close to heaven as it can possibly be. Jesus’ instruction for us to pray “…on earth as it is in heaven” was not just a fancy prayer. I believe that’s what He really wants, it’s what He had in the beginning and He will have it again. I’m not saying the world will be a perfect place, but the Bible tells us that the “world will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” This may sound crazy, but faith is crazy. If what we’re believing for doesn’t seem totally impossible we need to widen our perspective and realize who our God is. Jesus said, “what’s impossible with man is possible with God.” 

That’s it for now. We’ll pick up this discussion over the weekend or early next week. Grace and peace 2u.

If not the last days, what days are these? Part II: the question of the millennium 

Imagine attending a forty day conference with the resurrected Christ as the guest speaker. That would be amazing, right? The topic of discussion for the whole conference? The kingdom of God (or heaven) So, what is the kingdom of God? Commentary from the ESV study Bible says this: 

The “kingdom of God” means not an earthly political or military kingdom but the present spiritually directed reign of God, gradually transforming individual lives and entire cultures through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

With this explanation in mind I must say that the most damage done to the kingdom of God does not come directly from the devil, but through Christians who have the wrong understanding of the kingdom. Imagine an earthly kingdom that was impenetrable by enemy forces. It had a wall so high and so thick that enemies wouldn’t dare to try and invade. This kingdom has a military ten times more powerful than any other in terms of weaponry and skill in war. A kingdom this powerful could only be stopped by people inside its walls. 

I’m not saying that the kingdom of God can ever be stopped, but what I am saying is that the advancement of the kingdom slows down when believers take on wrong mindsets about it. The Jews in Jesus’ day had the wrong mindset about the kingdom. They envisioned the Messiah as a political king who would come and defeat the Roman army and deliver them from Rome’s oppression. They had David in mind, and since the Messiah was called the “son of David” they thought it meant He would bring the same sort of military advancement that David brought. 

Jesus did not come to defeat Rome. He came to defeat Satan, sin and death

In our day many believers have the idea that right before Jesus comes the world will get so evil that He will have to come and rapture His people, destroy darkness and set up His throne in Jerusalem where He will reign for 1000 literal years. Then the final judgment will come and then the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven ushering in the eternal state of the new heavens and the new earth. 

The mistake Jews in Jesus’ day made is the same mistake I think we are making today. That is, believing that the kingdom will come in a way that is visible to the eye. Jesus directly addressed this issue in Luke 17:20-21:

Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” – Luke 17:20-21

When John says in Revelation that he saw the New Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God” people imagine a physical thing taking place, but that’s not how the kingdom is. We can dive into this by looking at a few different points:

  • The 1000 year reign 

First of all we must understand that the number 1000 is rarely used literally in the Bible unless it involves counting money or other possessions (as in Genesis 20:16). It often symbolizes a large quantity or the whole of something, like in Psalm 50:10 where it says God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Literally speaking, God owns the cattle on all the hills. Another example is in Psalm 84 that says a day with the Lord is better than a thousand elsewhere. A day with Him is really better than eternity elsewhere. 

The next thing we must understand is the nature of the thousand years. It says in Revelation 20 that during the thousand years Satan is bound and imprisoned, and that the saints reign with Christ. It’s also called the “first resurrection.” 

What it doesn’t say is that there will be any type of “golden age” or fairytale-like peace on earth. We must remember that peace is not the absence of evil, but the presence of Jesus. 

Looking at these characteristics of the thousand years we can better understand what is going on. When it says that Satan is bound it mentions that he is bound so that he “might not deceive the nations any longer” (ESV). The ESV is the only version I’ve found that says it this way and I’ve researched it and this is what the original Greek also says. 

What does it mean that he might not deceive the nations? Well, I think it means that Satan is bound up by anyone who believes he’s bound. When you consider the fact of how the gospel has been spreading across the earth for 2000 years this makes sense. In the news we hear about how bad ISIS, but the reality of heaven is that more muslims are coming to Christ today than ever before! Matthew 16:19 explains it perfectly:

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” –NASB

When a person acts in faith and confronts evil forces by binding them, Jesus says that binding is past tense for that person. Think about it from opposite perspective. What if He said, “…whatever you do not bind on earth will not have been bound in heaven…” That puts this idea into perspective. Jesus bound Satan, but it’s our job to keep him bound and to keep the seal on the pit he’s in. 

You mean I have to actually take action??  Yes. This is why prayer and the spread of the gospel is so important and so much more powerful than we know. People, cities and nations are greatly impacted by the prayers and actions of the saints. 

  • The first resurrection 

I mentioned earlier that part of the nature of the thousand years is that it is called the “first resurrection.” Jesus clearly defines the two resurrections in John 5:25, 28-29. He says: 

“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live… Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. John 5:25, 28-29

The first part of this passage is about salvation. That hour is now, when spiritually dead people hear the voice of Jesus through His disciples and they come to life spiritually. This is the “first resurrection” where people come to life spiritually and reign with Christ. The second part is about the final judgment when people will come out of their graves and stand before God to face judgment also explained in Revelation 20. 

Revelation 21-22 explain the New Jerusalem. I believe the New Jerusalem is God’s prophetic explanation of the church and the kingdom of heaven. There are certain elements of the New Jerusalem that give us clues that it is not a description of eternity in heaven, but an allegory of life in the kingdom of heaven on earth. For this blog I think I’ve covered enough and will write another blog totally focused on the New Jerusalem. Grace and peace 2u.

Stay tuned…

If not the last days, what days are these? Part 1

Often, when I tell people that we are not living in the last days the first question they ask is, “Then what days are we living in?” That really is a great question and it shows a desire to know and understand what God is up to. First, we must understand where the term “last days” originates. It comes from the NT. One of the major passages with this term is Hebrews 1:1-2:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 

From this passage we understand that the term “last days” was used to explain the time when Jesus walked the earth. The questions then must be asked, if the last days were 2000 years ago, are we still in the last days? When did the last days begin and when do they end? 

There’s another term that we have to understand and that is the one found in Matthew 24:30 where it says Jesus will be seen “coming with the clouds.” That terminology originates with the prophets. Isaiah said, 

An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. – Isaiah 19:1

God never literally rode into Egypt on a cloud. This was a prophecy of Egypt being defeated, which was revealed in a deeper way through Jeremiah in chapter 46 of his book. God used the Babylonian army to bring down Egypt at that time. When God wanted to bring judgment on a nation for its evil He would raise up an army of another nation to go in and destroy the evil nation. His “coming” was with the armies He raised up. 

In Leviticus 26:31-32 God warns the Jews that if they continue in rebellion He himself would devastate the land and lay their cities waste (check out my blog titled “Why God is misunderstood” for background on how the Jews ended up in the most undesirable type of covenant, which brought their destruction). 

When most people read passages in the Bible declaring the destruction of cities (like Zephaniah 1) they make the mistake of assuming that God is declaring the end of the world. The reason why is God often used words like, “I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth.” In both the Old and New Testaments English translators chose poor wording. The original language read “land” instead of earth, especially when a specific city is mentioned. This changes the perspective on many passages in the entire bible that deal with the destruction of cities. 

One very important thing to consider is that when John wrote Revelation he only used the word “cosmos” (or world) 3 times. However, he used the term “land” (translated as “earth”) over 60 times. However, in the gospel of John there’s a switch and “cosmos” (whole world) is used instead of “land” because Jesus is the Lamb who takes away the sin of the entire world. 

There’s actually not one passage in the Bible that declares the destruction of the entire planet

With this background information we can clearly see that Revelation is not about the end of the entire world, but about the end of the world of the Old Covenant. I say that because when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD the temple and all the elements of old covenant worship were also destroyed. 

The “last days” mentioned in the New Testament were not about the last days of the world, but about the last days of the Old covenant world. During the time the NT was written both the old covenant and the new covenant were being walked out. As long as the temple was still standing the old covenant would continue to make it difficult for early Christians to fully engage in the new covenant. 

The solution for such a problem was for the temple to be destroyed. At the time of Jerusalem’s destruction and the destruction of the temple the Jews in Jerusalem had become so corrupt that the historian Josephus said if God hadn’t destroyed them, the earth would’ve opened up and swallowed them. Part of the wickedness of the people was that they assumed they were righteous because of the temple, which was a wonder of the world at that time. History shows us that the temple had become a major hindrance. 

The NT was completed just before the total destruction of Jerusalem, the temple, and the religious system of Judaism altogether. The records of the priests were destroyed, so there’s no way to know who can rightfully be priests. There’s no way back to that old system. This is the meaning of the term the “last days.” The writer of Hebrews wrote this about the Old Covenant:

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:13

It vanished away when Jesus rode in with the Roman army and destroyed the city and the temple. The way it happened is very similar to the way God came with the Babylonians and destroyed the temple in the Old Testament. 

With the temple and the corrupt religious system that crucified Christ completely out of the way, we now have the New Covenant, the New Jerusalem, the kingdom of heaven on earth. 

The second part of this message will cover the topic of the New Jerusalem and the kingdom of heaven and how it operates and advances. 

Two good sources on this topic are: “Raptureless” by Jonathan Welton and “The Last Days according to Jesus” by RC Sproul. 

Stay tuned…

You want to change America? Start praying. 

In superhero stories and movies there’s usually only one person who can stop the villain. In most cases the villain knows this, so he goes after that one because if he can get him or her out of the picture he’s free to terrorize the world. 

The only people who have power over darkness are those who have faith, but not just any kind of faith. We must have faith in something greater than the darkness. How do we know if there is something greater than darkness? There has to be evidence of this or we get nowhere.  This is what John, the disciple who Jesus loved wrote in the first century:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it. John 1:1-5 (ESV)

John sounds like he had a revelation of the light, who we find out to be Jesus of Nazareth. He’s the Word that was with God in the beginning. The word of God is not something static and powerless like people make it seem sometimes. The Word is living and powerful and full of light that pierces the darkest darkness. 

This bold statement that the darkness does not overcome the light has to  have proof in order to be a valid statement. And it does have proof. In Jesus’ name (all that He stands for and upholds) nations have been changed, cultures have been shifted, demonic powers have been bound and broken, captives have been set free, countless lives have been changed. 

The power of a person who prays in Jesus’ name can change the world, can change America. Praying in His name is not some rote method, but it means praying with a heart that is in line with all that He stands for and upholds. 

The enemy of your soul, the devil is real and the first thing we must recognize is that all the things happening in our land causing all the commotion are spiritual issues. I’m talking about all the racial discrimination, as well as the strife in the political arena and whatever else is stirring today.  These things don’t just happen. There is a real war going on in the invisible spiritual realm and we are called to action. 

The enemy knows that he’s no match for a praying follower of Christ, so he’s gonna do all he can to distract you from the mission. If you’re a believer reading this, I’m reminding you that you have power to change our nation. Don’t get caught up in the strife of the people. You are seated in heaven with Jesus. How would you pray if you were literally in heaven with the Father and with Jesus? You’d probably be making some bold declarations! Jesus said if we have faith, whatever we ask for in prayer will be done for us (Matthew 21:22).

The Bible tells us that the reality of Christ followers is that our spirits are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). This means your prayers can literally push back darkness and cause light to break in. Jesus told us to pray “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” for such a time as this. Grace and peace 2u.

Why God is misunderstood: Answering the “mean God” question 

So many people believe that God is up in heaven keeping track of how many wrong things they’ve done and waiting to punish them for it. Many people, even Christians believe that God changed between the Old Testament and the New Testament. They think He was mean in the OT and nice in the NT. Richard Dawkins, who is one of the most well-known atheists today said this in his book the God Delusion:

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, a homophobic, racist, genocidal, malevolent bully. The God delusion, 31

This is basically how many people feel about God. Where do these ideas come from?

To answer that question, we must understand covenants in the ancient world and the fact that God actually entered into the same covenants with Israel that were common in the world back then. 

When God first took the Jews out of Israel He offered to them a covenant where they would’ve had direct access to God and would’ve experienced His grace and blessing. In OT times, when a king wanted to bless a group of people with no strings attached it was called a “grant covenant.” This is what you see offered in Exodus 19:1-6. All the Israelites had to do was say yes, and remain in the covenant. There were no mention of laws to be kept. 

Something happened between Exodus 19 and 20 that caused things to change. From verse 7 to 19 we see the people preparing to meet with God to establish the covenant. However, in verse 24 we see God tell the people not to come near Him. What changed? 

To understand what happened here you have to look at Deuteronomy 5:23-27. In that passage Moses explains in detail what caused this original covenant to never be established. Moses records in that passage that the people told him they were afraid of God because of the power and might He displayed. They told Moses they wanted him to be a middle man between them and God. 

When they made this statement they were telling God they were rejecting the “grant covenant” he offered and would like to establish a lesser covenant, called a “kinship covenant.” This is a covenant where two people groups come up with a small set of obligations, written on tablets of stone on both sides. Sound familiar? This is what was going on when the 10 commandments were given. 

In a kinship covenant each party was accountable to their God (or god) if they broke the covenant. This put God in an awkward place because not only was He the recipient of a covenant with Israel, but He was also their God who was forced to punish them for breaking covenant. 

Written laws were not part of God’s original plan. In Exodus 19:5, when the grant covenant was offered He tells them that if they simply obey His voice the covenant would continue. But since they rejected that covenant, God established a lesser covenant with them because He was meeting them where they were. The 10 commandments I believe are things in God’s heart, but He wanted their obedience to be from intimacy, not fear of punishment. 

One example of how things changed when the people digressed from the grant covenant to the kinship covenant can be found in Exodus 15:22-26 where the people grumble about water and God does not punish them, but gives them good water to drink. Then in Numbers 11:1-3 grumbling led to a destroying fire. 

These types of punishments are what lead people to make statements like the one above by Richard Dawkins. People have no idea of what was really happening and they assume that God is a crazed maniac. He was only giving the people what they asked for, but it was never His desire. 

If two kings were in a kinship covenant together and one did not keep it, when he died a new covenant would be established with the previous king’s successor. The whole book of Deuteronomy is God going over the history between Himself and the Jews. Chapter 27 shows the curse of this next covenant that lasted for the rest of the Old Testament. 

The book of Deuteronomy lays forth the downgrade from the kinship covenant to the worst type of Covenant, which is a “vassal covenant.” Many people read Deuteronomy as though it is God’s will for people today, but it actually records some of Israel’s worst moments that God never intended. 

What He intended was the type of covenant He had with men like Noah, Abraham and David. The covenant God had with them was based on faith and God’s goodness. This is the type of covenant that we have now in the New Covenant. There will never be another Mosaic covenant. Christ did away with it when He destroyed its temple in 70 AD. Now we have a better covenant with better promises (Hebrews 8:6). 

In those Old Covenants one thing that was common was for the destruction of enemies to be included the covenant. God originally wanted the Jews to take His love to the world. This is why today we don’t destroy our enemies, but we pray for them and show God’s kindness to them no matter what. 

A great resource is Dr. Jonathan Welton’s book “Understanding the whole Bible.” In it he lists many sources of information on this topic and many others. 

4 keys to experiencing heaven on earth: how to eat from the tree of life today

Many people have speculated about the tree of life and have tried to discover it for the world today. God has actually told us how to experience it. There are four key insights laid out for us in the book of Proverbs. The Holy Spirit released through Solomon some ancient secrets that have timeless application. 

1. The first is wisdom. These are some of the things Solomon said about wisdom in Proverbs 3:13-18: blessed is the one who finds wisdom, wisdom is better than silver and gold, better than jewels, nothing desired can compare with her, her ways are pleasant and peace, and she is a tree of life to those who find her

James 1:5 says that if we ask God for wisdom He will give it to us. The power to live a life filled with wisdom brings paradise to every area of life (home, work, relationships, etc). 

2. The second key to the tree of life is called the fruit of the righteous. It’s mentioned in Proverbs 11:30. How does fruit grow? When someone plants a seed. When we share the message of the kingdom with people it makes us come alive! And when that seed begins to sprout it will make them come alive! Also mentioned in this verse is that a person who wins souls is wise. I make it my aim to share Christ with people every day and when I don’t I feel like something is missing. I crave the joy of eating from the tree of life!

3. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” This is a powerful statement about hope. If we place hope in things or people that continue to fail us it makes our hearts sick. I believe this can also make us sick physically as our bodies manifest what is happening inside of us. Jesus is called the “Desire of the nations” in the book of Isaiah. 

If we learn to place our hope in Him and desire Him above all else we will experience paradise as we watch him come through for us time and time again, and as we feel His presence in our lives daily. He may not always do things the way we expect or want, but he always works in a way that brings you the most satisfaction and God the most glory. 

4. The fourth key is found in Proverbs 15:4. “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” The word “gentle” also means “healing.” Words that are kind and seek to bring grace to others are more powerful than you think. We can actually change a person’s day or even set their life on a pleasant path by speaking words of grace and life. At the same time we can destroy people with our words if we choose. 

We live in a society where everybody wants to be heard. Facebook is a great tool for this. Everyone has a voice and what we say goes a long way my friends. In Proverbs 4 we are told to guard our hearts because from it flows the spring of life. If we fill ourselves with the love of God and His hope we bring that same hope to others. If our hearts are continually fixed on foul things, that is what comes out of our mouths and that which was intended to be a spring of life becomes a spring of bitterness and death. Speak life. 

God created humans with a desire for paradise. Paradise is something we have to choose. In the garden there was a choice to be made. I used to wonder why God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. But it hit me one day that there had to be a choice. One aspect of paradise is knowing that we chose love over something false. Marriage is supposed to be paradise, but selfishness can make it seem like hell. 

Every day we have choices to make and if we choose wisely we actually usher heaven right into our daily lives. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” is a reality. Jesus knew what He was saying and we can and will experience it if we go after it as though it’s right in front of us, because it’s only a choice away. Grace and peace 2u.