How do I get to Heaven

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
There is a running joke in my house. Every once in a while, I’ll look up and say, usually in response to my wife or daughter saying that I’ve lost it, “It’s no wonder I’m a bit challenged, do you realize that the never told me how to get to Sesame Street?” With out taking up to many column inches on the subject,let me just point out that it is true. Millions of children watched that goofy bird lead all these kids and adults to this place. All the while, that song is asking its question, “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?” It is a question that was never, ever answered.
All kidding aside, I see and meet many people who are desperately trying to get to heaven. they are searching for the way. They need directions and don’t even know it. They call it the path to enlightenment, spiritual wholeness, or intellectual empowerment. There are also those who don’t have a name for their journey; they just figure it is going to end in heaven. They say things like, “When I meet the man upstairs,” or, this is my favorite one, ” If the pearly gate is closed, I’ll go all commando, kick it down, and plead my case.”
The question is, do we know how to get to heaven? There are those who are searching for the way, those who assume they will arrive, as some sort of forgone conclusion, and those who have the map but haven’t locked in the address on their GPS. They are therefore wandering aimlessly about.
Unlike our friends at PBS, who left us searching for Seaseme Street; God has answered the question, how do we  get to heaven? The amazing part is there is nothing we can do to get there. There are no amount of miles to travel, we don’t need to map out the best route (because there is only one) and once we have accepted the GPS upload we are guaranteed to arrive!
Jesus tells us that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the farther except through Him (John 14:6). As I said, you don’t need to map out a way to heaven, there is only one. Someone wanting to ensure their passage into heaven must believe that Jesus lived on this earth, died for the sins of the world and rose again conquering sin, death, and the devil.
It occurred to me during a discussion with a dear friend recently that the there is a difference between knowing and believing and only the latter will result in heaven. during theses last days, I see many “Christians,” who are going through the motions: they attend church because their parents did, they think it’s a good idea (which it is) but there is no proof of the spirit in their lives.  These people may even be good people! That in itself is great! In this broken and often dark place we live, we need as many good people that we can find. The problem is, good people and church going folk don’t go to heaven; saved people do.
not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
When we accepted Jesus as our savior, there was a transaction that took place. We came to the end of ourselves; meaning that we realized that we could not live in this world by ourselves anymore, we understood in a moment that alone we were powerless against the wiles of this world. There is a bible word for that: humility. Once we accept that without Jesus and His mercy and grace we amount to nothing; once we humble ourselves before the Lord of the universe we are saved by the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. From that point forward our lives are changed.
So, how does one get to heaven? We get to heaven not by doing as the “religions” of the world instruct. For the Christian there is nothing to “do” because it has already been done. Jesus has done it all in an effort to ensure that no one should perish. It is incumbent on us to accept the gift of salvation; just as the thief did in the account from Luke.
Luke 23: 40-41:
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[k]remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
In this passage we see the humility required to come into a relationship with Jesus. the thief recognized his sin and with a contrite heart comes  to Jesus as his only hope for salvation. Dear reader, if you have not done that yet, will you pray and settle your eternity today?
Grace & Peace,

Resting in the Arms of God

Psalms 31:20: 20 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence
From the plots of man;
You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion
From the strife of tongues.

There are moments – moments when we are so in awe of the Lord that we are afraid to move, afraid to speak, afraid to do anything but fall on our face in abject humility because, if we do anything less than completely surrender, we might mess it up.I am blessed to have several distinct moments like that in my walk with the Lord. The latest such instance when the presence of God was palatable, occurred a few nights ago while studying scripture with my 15 year old daughter.

As I watched her, she read scripture and took solace in it. She highlighted with perfect green lines, wrote in her bible, and asked questions. Then as we prayed together, something I’ll admit we don’t do as often as we should, there was a peace and understanding – all was well. Followers of Jesus rest in the presence of the almighty. No matter the storm, Jesus is there to care for our needs. It is such a blessing that the God of the universe would care for us enough to grant us His peace.  When I think about the sovereignty, grace, and mercy of God I am brought back to Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We are separated from God by sin. This is an affliction that we can not resolve. God knows that and therefore sent His Son to die a horrific death so that all who believe would live. The peace we have in the Lord is a result of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. it is a sacrifice that we do not deserve and yet the God of the universe made it freely that we might come into a relationship with Him by His Grace through faith.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
What of those who do not believe? What of those that we all know who despite hearing the truth again, and again still walk away unmoved, unchanged. How do they make it through this life? it is interesting. Those who do not call on the name of Jesus still believe in something; even the atheist still believes in nothing. There is a bible term for that: Stiff Necked. 
[ Israel Resists the Holy Spirit ] “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
Stiff necked refers to those people who have been told about Jesus, those people who have had the truth shared with them and refuse to believe. They refuse to accept the truth of the gospel. to put it in today’s terms these people are stubborn and while it is not God’s heart that anyone should perish.
2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
God is longsuffering. This is a wonderful promise for those of us who have loved ones that have not come to know the Lord. We rest in the arms of the almighty and pray without ceasing.
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,
Time is short and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Trust in the Lord, hide His word in your heart. Carry on and share the good news with all people.
Grace & Peace,