This very idea that we have individual homes in heaven is really neat... Mansions are the personal expression of this person in house form... Mansions are big and different and have friends like striped cats and furry dogs that you knew as a kid.
It was bound to happen.
March is crazy busy for airline staff. Families are flying away from the cold, after-school activities, and homework to make memories in the sun. College students are putting even more distance between them and their parents with their newfound independence, while giving their brains a break from the workout the profs demand. And then there are all the charter flights for the March madness basketball teams.
Combine a busy flight schedule with a gal that goes full-speed ahead, sometimes ignoring the details, and it was bound to happen.
The plane had just landed from a flight from Minneapolis. My daughter, a flight attendant, joyfully welcomed the travel-weary passengers to their new destination. “Welcome to Florida everyone!”
…Only, she was met with stares, surprise and confusion instead of the smiles she was expecting.
Another stewardess hissed to her under her breath.
“Oh,” she corrected. “I mean, welcome to California!”
She looked back at the other flight attendants sheepishly. “Well that explains the mountains… When I heard we were going to Palm Springs, I just assumed Florida!”
Have you ever had that happen?
You were planning on going here, but you end up there.
“How did I ever end up here?” you wonder.
Maybe you are like me, and you tend to get turned around while hiking new areas or when driving on new roads. I remember once on a family vacation my dad drove several hours in the complete opposite direction of where we needed to be. (Not one of my mom’s more fond experiences if I remember right.)
But my guess is, like me, you’ve had it happen in a broader way in your life too.
I remember filling out a form once that was going to be published for our 15-year high school reunion. It asked, “What were your plans for after graduation?” And “What really happened. What are you doing now?”
For the first question I put, “Successful single businesswoman living in a high rise in a city with a lap dog that adores me.” For the second question I answered, “Married and harried with a baby and a toddler, 120 lb. dog that prefers everyone else to me, and living in a small town with a gun shop, video barn and a gas station.”
Sometimes unplanned destinations can be amazing. Other unplanned destinations are heartbreaking…downright earth-shattering. You can barely function.
Most life destinations fall somewhere in-between. With just enough trouble to build character and sprinkled with beautiful surprises that provide joy tucked along the sides of our curvy pathways and destinations.
But honestly, earthly destinations are not even what’s been on my heart lately. The destinations I’ve been consumed about these days are not the ones of this world.
We all have a destination that we cannot escape. At some point, the destination we are at will have an expiration date of the last day we live. So the question that has been on my heart for you is, “What after?... What is your destination after your life on this earth is no more?”
To be surprised when we roll up the tent on the last day of our life is a totally different matter. I don’t want you to be surprised about this destination.
With this, there need not be any surprise. There need be no guessing, no hoping…no unfulfilled dreams, no wrong destination.
The beauty of the gospel is very simple. The destination accuracy already taken care of.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. —Romans 1:16a
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” —John 5:24
…as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. —Romans 5:21
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. —Romans 10:9
“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” —Acts 2:21
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which you must be saved. —Acts 4:12
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. —1 John 4:10
How amazing is our God and his love for us. The way has been made; the price paid. Our part is to believe and receive.
For those of you familiar with the holy Scriptures, you know there are two destinations for when we leave this earth. When you read the Bible and when you hear personal testimonies (and yes you need to exercise some discernment here), you begin to get a picture of what both destinations are like.
I tend to summarize both this way: Heaven is a place of God and all goodness with all evil removed. Hell is the complete opposite—a place of all evil with God and all goodness removed.
In a vision, John, a disciple of Jesus, gave one of my favorite descriptions of heaven:
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
I talked recently with a friend who had a death experience. She said that it is hard to even find words to describe heaven. “It is just so much more…”
Then we had a friend when I was growing up who told us, “I just plan on playing pool and drinking beer with all my buddies in hell.” My brother gently answered, “Well, I don’t think you will be playing pool.” Having a huge heart for the life and destiny of everyone, my brother again shared the beauty of the gospel. I pray to this day it was effective, for several years later after a car crash, he ended up at his forever destination.
When we end up somewhere other than where we wanted, it is often for two reasons: we weren’t paying attention (daughter), or we were misinformed and believed lies.
So today I implore you to pay attention, get informed*, and make a choice. Science points towards an intelligent creator, and history and personal testimony point towards a Savior Jesus Christ who loves you beyond what you can imagine and wants to walk beside you in this life and spend Eternity with you.
My pastor once told us to envision an unending line as our life, with a dot on the line representing our life on earth. He said that way too many people live for the dot without any thought for the line.
I don’t want that for you friend. I don’t want you to live for the dot. I want the “so much more” for you, in this life and the next.
I don’t want you to end up in California when you thought you were going to Florida.
What destiny will you choose?
Our Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us beyond what we can imagine. Thank you that we don’t have to work or strive or wonder about our eternal destination. Thank you for the peace you give to all who call on your name in belief and trust in your saving shed blood for our eternal destiny. To you be all glory and honor. Amen.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
*Recommended reading and audio: The Holy Bible (a version that is easiest for you to understand); More Than a Carpenter by Josh and Sean McDowell; The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley; Glorious Grace by Joseph Prince; The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel; The Case For A Creator by Lee Strobel; The Reason for God by Timothy Keller; 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese; Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent; Josiah’s Fire by Tahni Cullen and Cheryl Ricker; The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun and Paul Hattaway; God With Us (song) by Isaac Wimberley; and http://northpoint.org/messages/starting-point-series/