Tag Archives: heaven

15 December, Sunday – Love for God As the Basis for Everything

15 Dec 2019 – 3rd Sunday of Advent

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Isaiah 35:1-6,10

Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult,
let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,
let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil,
let it rejoice and sing for joy.
The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it,
the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they shall see the glory of the Lord,
the splendour of our God.
Strengthen all weary hands,
steady all trembling knees
and say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.
‘Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming,
the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy
for those the Lord has ransomed shall return.
They will come to Zion shouting for joy,
everlasting joy on their faces;
joy and gladness will go with them
and sorrow and lament be ended.

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James 5:7-10

Be patient, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. Think of a farmer: how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains! You too have to be patient; do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon. Do not make complaints against one another, brothers, so as not to be brought to judgement yourselves; the Judge is already to be seen waiting at the gates. For your example, brothers, in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

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Matthew 11:2-11

John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’
  As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:
‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way before you.
‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’

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And happy is the man who does not lose faith in me

The book of Revelation in the bible talks about heaven. It details how, in heaven, everyone stands and gives glory and honour to God.

I must confess that I was not impressed.

I did not find it appealing that what I would get out of eternal life was to stand around praising God; I felt that we were mere subjects of a King, and our role was purely to serve. What was in it for me?

This, however, changed for me only recently.

I was speaking with some people in the office and I was remarking how blessed I was to have met and married my wife. I was sharing about how despite being together for over twenty years, I enjoy spending time with her. In fact, I had hoped to be able to deepen my relationship with her.

This realisation was really very important to me. Our role is NOT just to stand and sing praises to God. If we walk closely with God, we cannot but help praising Him. It is not the chore we imagine it to be. Instead, we are invited to build this deeply personal relationship with Him. God knows us intimately and as we grow in love for Him, we desire to praise and honour Him.

When I first read Revelations, I had failed to understand this important element and looked at the songs of praises and honour by themselves. Without this love and relationship, all the praising and honouring will just be an empty show.

We do not even need to wait for heaven. I remember years ago, before I developed any real relationship with our Lord, I used to look at my watch while attending mass. In fact, I used to excuse myself to go to the washroom, in order to make the time go faster!

It is clear, in today’s Gospel, of Jesus’ relationship with St John the Baptist. The latter had been preparing the way for Jesus and John was the “servant”. Despite this disparity is statuses, Jesus talks about John in glowing terms, and calls him the greatest of all children born of women. Far from being a one-sided relationship, we see a mutually loving and respectful relationship.

Similarly, let us use our time here on earth to try and strengthen love for our Lord; to the level He loves us. Instead of it being a chore, I look forward to an eternity of desiring more time with our God!

 (Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Father, we pray that we may always have the desire to know You better and to love You more each day.

Thanksgiving: Thank You Father for being faithful to us, even before we are faithful to You. We are grateful for Your love!

23 June, Thursday – Heaven Is Not A Club Membership

23 June

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2 Kings 24:8-17

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan, from Jerusalem. He did what is displeasing to the Lord, just as his father had done.

At that time the troops of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched on Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon himself came to attack the city while his troops were besieging it. Then Jehoiachin king of Judah surrendered to the king of Babylon, he, his mother, his officers, his nobles and his eunuchs, and the king of Babylon took them prisoner. This was in the eighth year of King Nebuchadnezzar.

The latter carried off all the treasures of the Temple of the Lord and the treasures of the royal palace, and broke up all the golden furnishings that Solomon king of Israel had made for the sanctuary of the Lord, as the Lord had foretold. He carried off all Jerusalem into exile, all the nobles and all the notables, ten thousand of these were exiled, with all the blacksmiths and metalworkers; only the poorest people in the country were left behind. He deported Jehoiachin to Babylon, as also the king’s mother, his eunuchs and the nobility of the country; he made them all leave Jerusalem for exile in Babylon. All the men of distinction, seven thousand of them, the blacksmiths and metalworkers, one thousand of them, all of them men capable of bearing arms, were led into exile in Babylon by the king of Babylon.

The king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in succession to him, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

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Matthew 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. When the day comes many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, cast out demons in your name, work many miracles in your name?” Then I shall tell them to their faces: I have never known you; away from me, you evil men!

‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

Jesus had now finished what he wanted to say, and his teaching made a deep impression on the people because he taught them with authority, and not like their own scribes.

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“It is not those who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ who will enter the kingdom of heaven”

In the gospel yesterday, our Lord talked about bearing good fruits. Today, he teaches that not all who call Him “Lord, Lord” will get to enter heaven.  When I first heard this teaching, I was concerned; I wondered if I would qualify for entry into Heaven when it was finally my time.  At an early stage in my life, I believed that because I believed in Jesus, I was assured of my place in heaven. In the course of studying the bible, I came across James 2:14-16, talking about faith and works.

I have come to realize that our “status” as a Christian is not a club membership and does not guarantee direct admission to heaven. We do have to do good works as part of our faith, but not as payment of an “entrance fee”! Our works is not a “pay-as-you-go” system into heaven. No… our entrance into heaven is given to us by God based purely on grace. No other reason.

As we continue to grow as children of God, let us remember that we have to do good, even when seemingly unwarranted. We simply must because our faith demands it.

(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)

Prayer – Father, help us to remember to do our best in our efforts as Christian men and women. Help us remember that whatever we do, we do it purely for You and not for our own needs.

Thanksgiving – Thank You for Your grace for being always there for us; for showing us what it means to be a good Christian and teaching us that our place in heaven is not meant to be earned.