'Heaven is Nearer and Dearer'
by Travis Wiginton
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At 82 yrs. of age, my mind turns to Heaven more often than ever before and even moreso since three of our dearest friends have gone to Heaven in the past few weeks.
I have been given years of 'Grace' as the number of yrs. I have outlived my Dad, his 5 brothers and 2 sisters as well as my brother Bryce, our Mom and all but 1 of Mom's siblings
When we say 'Jesus is the Door', we mean more than an 'Abundant Life' here, we also mean, 'Heaven to come'. Abundant life here, is when Jesus reigns in your life.
Heaven means 'Eternal life' where Jesus is!
If Jesus had not risen from the dead, I would have some doubts...
but it is an established fact of history and the Bible, that He DID!
He even underlined it by bringing Lazarus back from the dead.
(John 11:24 following).
Remember the fellowship meals with Lazarus' sisters, Mary and Martha?
Jesus was Lazarus' best Friend in life and became his best Friend in death.
I'm not afraid of death because my best Friend, Jesus went in the grave and was resurrected.
In one of the last visits I had with my precious Mother, I said, "Mom, are you afraid of death?" She replied, "Yes, because I've
never talked with anyone who has come back from there."
I knew what she meant, so I said, "Mom, you've talked to Jesus ever since you came to know Him as your Savior and Lord when you were a teenager."
She really DID know Jesus. not only as "I was" and "I am", but as "I will be"!
If there is no Heaven, I would still rather be a Christian and know Jesus and read and believe the Bible for all that it does for me.
HEAVEN IS A REAL PLACE (John 14:1-6, 9)
Jesus said, "Let not your hearts be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions (rooms). If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a PLACE for you and if I go, I will come again to receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also."
Amen! That will be Heaven enough...to be with Jesus!
"There hath not failed one of God's good promises which He promised to Moses."
(I Kings 8:56)
"Abraham was fully persuaded that what God had promised, He was able also to perform." (Romans 4:21)
"Sirs, be of good cheer, for I believe God that it will turn out just like He said it would." (Acts 27:25)
So, Heaven is a 'prepared place for prepared people'. In II Corin. 5:1
Paul contrasts our state on earth with that in Heaven. The 'former' is a temporary dwelling (a 'tent') which may be struck down (dissolved) at a moment's notice.
The 'latter' is a building of God, a permanent abiding place. It is Eternal in the Heavens. Contrast this to living in a tent in the slums and moving into a beautiful home. Singer Carrie Underwood sings a song entitled...
"This is my temporary home.
HEAVEN IS A PLACE OF RELIEF AND RELEASE:
Rev. 21:4 speaks of the 'No Mores' in Heaven. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away."
I Corin. 15:50-57 speaks of 'a Great Swap-Meet' where we will trade in the 'corruptible body' for the incorruptible, death for life and defeat for victory.
In II Timothy (the last recorded writing by Paul), we have these words in 4:6-8:
"I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course...I have kept the faith. Therefore there is laid up for me, a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day and not to me only, but unto all those who also love his appearing."
The word 'departure' in verse 6 is very interesting.
~It was used to describe soldiers who were taking down their tents and moving on. Paul had fought a good fight as a soldier of the Lord and death meant that it was time to move on.
~ It was used of sailors, loosening a ship from shore to set sail.
The ship was now free to fulfill it's reason for being.
This is great here, but we can hardly envision what this will mean when we are 'loosed' from the earth and fully free in Heaven.
~ Another use of the word 'departure', is a prisoner being set free.
In some ways, the soul is a prisoner to the body, but in Heaven this will no longer be.
~Used to describe at the end of the day, 'un-yoking oxen' or today 'un-harnessing a team'.
I remember how 'free' our horses felt when they were freed from the restraint of the harness and the work of the day. So we too, will be free from the restraints of this earth, in Heaven.
If a baby in the womb could talk, it might say, "It's nice and warm in here. I don't want to leave this place for the unknown". Yet when the baby is unbound and free to become 'more', there is joy!
This is what death and Heaven is........'relief and release'.
A poem I used at funerals...especially at the graveside where death can seem so 'final':
'When God sends forth a spotless soul to learn the ways of earth.
A Mother's love is waiting here....this miracle is called 'birth'.
When God calls home a tired soul and stills a fitful breath...
Love Divine is waiting there...this too, is BIRTH, not DEATH!"
HEAVEN IS A PLACE OF REUNION (I Thess. 4:13-18)
My first funeral was when I was 4 yrs. of age. My favorite Aunt (who was also our neighbor) was killed in a car accident. I remember sitting in our car at the cemetery and watching as my family gathered around this long box. It was all a mystery (and still is somewhat) for 'now we see through a glass darkly' (I Cor. 13:12).
Since then I've stood by many an open grave as a pastor trying to bring comfort to the broken hearted. I'm always pleased to say, "This looks so final today, but it isn't...for God does not do anything half way. He has prepared your room and there will be a great reunion."
The question is, "Will your family's circle be unbroken?"
La Moyne's little brother died when he was only 1 yr. old.
My baby sister only lived a few hours.
My older brother Bryce died a few years ago.
Our parents and our gr'parents have gone 'Home'.
These and many more of our family and friends are waiting for us in Heaven.
Wow! What a great reunion awaits us there with family and friends!
A song that many people have requested that La Moyne sing...
is entitled 'Family Reunion'
"In my mind I can see Christ the Lord of all,
As He prepares the great Banquet Hall.
For all who've been washed by the blood of the Lamb..
There's a Family Reunion, In Glory Land.
I can almost see them standing there,
Robed in garments bright and fair.
See the gates of pearl swing open wide..
Hear them shout 'Hallelujah' as they step inside.
See the crippled toss...toss aside his cane...
Hear him shout for joy as he walks again...
See the tears wiped away by God's own Hand...
At the Family Reunion in Glory Land.
I can see those who through tribulation came,
See the ones who have died for His Holy Name.
Hear them join in a mighty 'Hallelujah' refrain...
At the Family Reunion in Glory Land."
Vs. 14 in this passage tells us, "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so those also who sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him." Truly, Jesus is all you need, but you never know 'He is all you need until you get to the place that He is all that you've got......and when He is all you've got, then you'll know that He is all you need!"
In life and especially in death, you dare not be wrong! In some areas of life, you can make a choice and be wrong and it may not matter much.
But when it comes to your Eternal destiny, you dare NOT be wrong!
What are you holding onto? Better still, Who is holding onto you?
In John 10:28: Jesus said, "I know my sheep and I give unto them Eternal life, neither shall anyone nor anything pluck them out of my hand."
HEAVEN IS A PLACE OF REWARD
The best reward will be to hear Him say,
"Well done thou good and faithful servant." (Matt. 25:21)
At the end of the movie 'Babe', the farmer looks at the little pig as it's looking up at the farmer...and says, "That'll do Babe....that'll do!"
I told La Moyne I hope to hear Jesus say "That'll do Travis, that'll do."
Hope to see you in Heaven!
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Brother Travis, Keep on preaching! I was at Heaven's Gate one day in intensive care, fully awake, no drugs. The light streamed out the gate, "joy unspeakable and full of Glory." All you had to do was walk in. Jesus was waiting to greet you. I lost my fear of death. It's better than any wedding day or graduation day. Death is glorious! And so easy!
Heaven is a wonderful place! I mean,I have not been there, but a lot of people I love are already there! Secondly, as a Chaplain for Hospice, I witnessed numerous crossing-overs and most of them were so peaceful and full of joy. Yes indeed....heaven is assuredly a marvelous place, and we will all be there one day...together! Love You!
Bro. Travis, it is good to be here reading your work again after I have been absent so long. Please give LaMoyne our regards. God bless you, and we will meet in Heaven. By the way, I recently submitted a poem about Heaven's main attraction. It is, and I know you know, JESUS! God bless.
Dearest Bro Travis and Mrs LaMoyne, I do believe this was your best ever! It was so comforting to read about heaven. I loved it from start to finish and even got a little homesick...I will continue to pray for the both of you. Please know that even though we have never met, I feel so much love for both of you. May God bless you as you continue to listen for His voice. Love in Christ, Julia PS - I hope you won't mind me sharing this article with my Church family. I am sure it will bless them also.