Looking Toward Heaven
Probably, all of us are much like the Apostle Peter. In the midst of the storm he ventured out of the boat, to walk on water with Jesus, only to take his eyes off the Lord and begin to sink. Our focus on Heaven probably isn’t a constant, it probably wavers as well.
When you listen to the news, or hear stories about all the violence, evil, and horror that is life on Planet Earth, if you are like me, you long for Heaven. Hearing news about a fellow believer that has fallen into sin, or a marriage breaking up, or getting a glimpse of our own sinfulness can bring the promises of Heaven to mind.
BUT IF NOT . . . trusting God in all His designs
We have the tendency, in the evangelical world, to imagine that when we pray, God is somehow bound to give us what we ask for and, what's more, to shelter us from every painful circumstance that might come our way. One of the reasons for such thinking is the proliferation of preachers who teach that if my faith is great enough, then I will have what I ask for. I go to God with my requests . . . I name what I want . . . I claim what I want . . . and I will receive what I want.
The Bible in general, and this story in particular, would not let us think that way or pray that way. The name it and claim it theology that is so popular today is not an example of Biblical faith, but of the crassest kind of presumption. Faith is not presuming to know what God will do, but rather the rock solid knowledge of what God can do and that everything He does is good and right and holy.
At the Instant of Death, Do Believers in Christ Go Directly to Heaven?
When the dying thief, on the cross, confessed his faith in Jesus as his Savior, Christ promised, "Truly I say to you, today shall you be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). There is no delay, detour or stopping off point. Jesus is the Speedway to the glories of heaven! "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain . . . having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better . . . to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (Philippians 1:21,23, 2 Corinthians 5:8). Faith in Jesus reserves for you a specially prepared place, far beyond the grave, a dazzling mansion in heaven (John 14:1-3). And it is ready for instant occupancy!
After Christ died on the cross to pay for the personal sins of each believer, He rose from the tomb victoriously. When the few days that God has given you on this earth are over, and His plan for your life is completed, you will be, "carried by the angels" to see your Greatly Beloved face to face (Luke 16:22). Your soul goes into His Royal Presence, but your body "sleeps" in the narrow grave until the first resurrection (Revelation 20:1-6). "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
Death is the separation of body from soul. Our mortal body returns to the dust, but our immortal spirit or soul returns to the Sovereign Creator. "It is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Your soul's swift, non-stop entry into heaven at death, is a strong incentive to believe in Christ.
Missionary Update: April 2012
Winnie Shelito - retired
Blessed be the Lord, who daily leadeth us with benefits." Psalm 68:19a
Dear Bethel Friends,
I trust that the above verse is real to you too. The Lord continues to take care of me and my needs, and I thank Him for that and I appreciate all the benefits He sends my way.
Not much really new since I last
wrote. I'm slowing down and it takes longer to do things, but I can still attend church and other church activities and I praise Him for that as I'll soon be 89.
Your faithful support over the years is much appreciated and I thank you so much.
I trust that the Lord will give each of you and the church a blessed 2012.
God bless you,
Love Winnie Shelito
Odds & Ends : Update April 2012
Friendship Sunday - April 29
Make plans now to join us on Sunday, April 29, for a special Bethel Friendship Sunday, and invite your friends to come to church with you! The morning message will be an encouragement to each of us, especially those without a close relationship to our heavenly Father. Following the morning worship service, a covered dish dinner will be served. Begin now to pray that God would point out to you those whom He would have you invite, and that He would work in their hearts so that they would join you for this special morning. To help us make the necessary preparations, please indicate your planned attendance and the dish you will bring using the sheet on the notice board. Last names beginning with A-L sign up to bring a salad/vegetable/side dish, names beginning with M-Z are asked to bring a main dish/meat