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Anyone who has ever been genuinely homesick knows how the Christian ought to feel when he thinks about his or her home in heaven. It does not matter that we have never been there. We are like children born to American parents living abroad and raised hearing Dad and Mom talk about going back "home." Home is not necessarily where a person has spent all his life: it is simply where that person's heart is. And for those of us who are God's people, there is no doubt that our hearts should be in heaven.
Heaven ought to mean a great deal more to us than it sometimes does. We live in a land of such material plenty, where life has grown so comfortable and enjoyable, it is increasingly difficult to envision anything better, much less long for it. Heaven comes to hold such little attraction for us that we are willing to trade it away for the most trifling temporal pleasures. But we ought to try to keep a better perspective on things. We ought to look at this world and its life in the light of eternal values. We ought to cherish the prospect of going to a place that truly is much better in every important way. The hope of heaven ought to be our greatest possession. Paul said it succinctly: "Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth" (Col. 3:2).
Peter spoke of our hope as a "living" hope: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pt. 1:3-5). The most valuable possessions we own are those reserved in heaven for us. A day ought not to pass without our thinking of what will be ours when the Lord returns.
If only for the sake of our kids, we need to talk about heaven more than we do. We need to pray about it and sing about it. The prospect of going there should be something they can see is important to us beyond all else. There is little reason to believe that our young will put much stock in heaven if they do not see us truly valuing it. This week, let's see if we cannot make it more real to ourselves, and hence more real to our children.
Monday: Genesis 5:21-24
Key Idea: If we obey God, we can look forward to being with God.
Questions for Family Growth: What do you think it means that Enoch "walked with God"? Did Enoch please God? Consider Hb. 11:5,6. What happened to Enoch? What would have been the best thing about what happened to him?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:10.
Tuesday: Philippians 1:19-26
Key Idea: Going to be with Jesus is better than living in this world.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to "depart and be with Christ" (v.23). Why did Paul say that was "far better" than continuing to live in this world? As long as we live here, what is the work we should continue to do?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:11.
Wednesday: John 14:1-7
Key Idea: Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.
Questions for Family Growth: Why did Jesus say we ought not to be troubled? Whom did Jesus say we would be with in the place He was going to prepare for us? If Jesus is preparing a place for us, what kind of place must it be?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:12.
Thursday: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Key Idea: One day Jesus will return to take us to heaven.
Questions for Family Growth: How did Jesus leave the earth? Look at Ac. 1:9-11. How will He return for us? Should we be afraid of the day Jesus will come or should we look forward to it? What does 1 Thess. 4:17,18 say?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:13.
Friday: Revelation 22:1-5
Key Idea: In heaven we will be with God, our Heavenly Father.
Questions for Family Growth: According to these verses, whose face will we see in heaven? Why will there be no need for any lamp or light of the sun? What should be our most important reason for wanting to go to heaven?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 22:14.