Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life,
Prosperity and honor. Proverbs 21:21
I’m writing this on February 21st the day a friend informed me that Billy Graham had died. His words I read so many years ago immediately came to my mind… “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”
We have been doing a study at Fresh Encounters at Riverside on ‘Heaven’ by Dr. David Jeremiah. He has brought me a better understanding of the many biblical passages written about heaven, and although I knew much about it, I feel more certain than ever what God has prepared for those who love and accept Him as Savior.
The month of February dwells on love with Valentines Day front and center. It seems so fitting that Billy Graham would enter Jesus presence during this month, but also the 21st day in Proverbs 21 (Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor) is a scripture that Billy Graham lived to the fullest.
My daughter Karen died three years ago on the 16th of February and Proverbs 16:16 says… “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” The year before she died, she read every book I had on heaven and hungered to know all the Bible had to say about our heavenly home. Now, like Billy Graham, along with my husband Neil, my mom and dad, and many other loved ones who have left this earthy abode, who believed and received Jesus as Messiah, she too knows fully this marvelous place called heaven.
This study at Fresh Encounters is teaching us about the amazing sites, sounds, tastes, work, laughter, and so much more of heaven. Showing us the love Jesus has for everyone . . . “What no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.
David Jeremiah wrote “Your love for someone reveals your heart”. Jesus revealed the immeasurable size and depth of his heart when He died for us at Calvary. This kind of love is so difficult for us to understand since we usually attach conditions to our love.
Billy Graham has reached millions with Christ’s simple message… “Let go of your pride, recognize you are a sinner, repent of those sins, and ask Jesus into your hearts.”
I had the privilege of attending a Billy Graham crusade at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto in the late 1950’s. The message he preached then he continued to preach throughout his life which was – ”Jesus said.. I am the way the truth and the life, No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.
We will go through trouble, pain and sorrow on this side of heaven, but once we arrive- “He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4
In the past year many we knew and loved have died. Those who believed in Jesus are with Him now in heaven. Those who refused to believe and rejected His pleadings. . . well, if there is a heaven the opposite is hell. If we have rejected Him, we will be in hell where the Bible teaches there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It will not be a big party with your friends. Instead you will be alone, in total darkness, away from God’s love, and in agony in the flames.
Those who believed Jesus message bring us hope for seeing them again when we leave this temporary tent for heaven.
Billy Graham has run the course well and is the big winner, he has won the prize, hearing Jesus say, “Well done my good and faithful servant”.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Billy’s message of eternal life remains the same for you too, as he urged millions over the decades to –
“Come . . . just as you are . . . and receive Christ . . . Come . . .”
Excerpt from – BEYOND THE VALLEY – by Dave Branon
Heaven is getting crowded, it seems. Crowded with too many people I know. My sister, my dad, my mother, my niece, my wife’s parents. My daughter. And dozens of others I have known or know about … the more we see our loved ones depart this world, the more we wish we knew the ins and outs of heaven. We can read what the Bible says, and we can read books but we really don’t know what we want to know about God’s abode. For now, then, we have the dual responsibility of making the most of what God has given us in this life… an abundant life, the indwelling Holy Spirit, jobs to do, good works to manifest, and a message to take to the world. That’s a big chore for tent dwellers, but maybe that’s one reason God wants us to be so busy here so we won’t spend too much time trying to figure out the mysteries of heaven. Heaven is an encouragement to us because of who is there and what is being built for us. Tent now. Heaven later. Live in one while eagerly awaiting the other. That’s what tent dwellers do.