Thinking Out Loud

November 13, 2018

Happy Birthday, Mom

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:35 am

Today would have been a celebration my mother’s birthday, and a significant one at that. (Don’t try to do the math, it doesn’t work well in my case.) Instead, she left us just over two years ago.

My wife would have made a chocolate cake and we would visit her, if not on the day, on one at least close to it. There would be a singing of “Happy Birthday” over the telephone.

So can she see the words which form today’s headline? I almost hope not. If she can see that, she can see the mass shootings and the California fires. I don’t wish that on anyone.

Here’s what some say on the topic of whether or not people in eternity can see what’s happening here:

Billy Graham

…Do those in Heaven know what’s happening on earth? The Bible doesn’t answer all our questions about Heaven—but it does indicate that those who have already entered Heaven may be aware of events on earth. The book of Hebrews, for example, pictures life as a great arena, with those who have gone before us cheering us on in our daily spiritual struggles (see Hebrews 12:1). Once when Jesus’ appearance was changed and His heavenly glory shone through, Moses and Elijah spoke with Him about events on the earth (see Luke 9:30-31)…

Greg Laurie*

…There are two trains of thought on this topic. For some it would seem like that once we’re in heaven we will be so preoccupied with worshipping God that the last thing in our mind would be what’s happening on earth – besides, with all the tragedy and sadness in this world, heaven would just not be heaven if we were made aware of it.

Then, the other train of thought is pretty much the opposite of that. People would think that folks up in heaven are sitting and watching our every move almost like it’s their form of entertainment. They would even think that sometimes those in heaven might be intervening in our lives and directing our steps and helping us to know what to do.

You might be surprised to know that I believe both views are actually incorrect.

The question might be well, why would you even care about this? The answer is you will care if you have a loved one in heaven,

…Let me take it a step further. I think people in heaven know a lot more about earth than we may realize.

Randy Alcorn

The answer is yes, at least to some extent.

[He then lists twelve instances in scripture which point to this taking place in particular circumstances involving particular people. Also a different video answer here.]

A Catholic Answer

The living often say they feel the dead present and watching them. Is this illusion or fact?

It is fact. The Bible says we are surrounded by “a great cloud of witnesses”. The context is speaking of the dead. They are alive. For God is “not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him”.

Reason confirms revelation here. Does their love for us cease? Does it not rather increase in purity and power? And do not their vision and understanding also increase?

“The Communion of Saints” means not only (1) love and understanding among the blessed in Heaven and (2) love and understanding among the redeemed on earth but also (3) love and understanding between those two groups, the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant, temporarily separated by death…

John Piper

[Part 2 of a 5-part answer to the question]

If the saints see, they see with new eyes.

I would say that if God grants saints in heaven to see the suffering and misery, as well as the good on the earth, we may be sure that they see it not with their old, imperfect eyes and that they understand it not with their old imperfect minds and that they assess it not with their old imperfect hearts. Rather, we may be sure because the Bible says that they have been perfected in heaven (Hebrews 12:23).

They will see and understand and assess all things in a perfectly spiritual way that takes into account everything they need to know in order to make sense of it and to keep from making any mistakes. And so, they will not in the least doubt the goodness of God in what they see or the wisdom of God in what they see. That may be as important as any surety of whether they can come and see.

So there you some dominant views.

And, for what it’s worth, Happy Birthday, Mom.

 

[*quotations from an article in The Christian Post]

December 14, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brother

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 12:05 pm

Brothers in Christ

Several years ago, a man several decades my senior bought me a birthday card. The card he looked for and then chose was one of those relative birthday cards that said, “Happy Birthday, Brother.” In case it needed saying, the idea was that I was his brother in Christ. He was putting us on equal terms.

In heaven, or whatever you choose to call the next chapter of eternal life, Moses, the Apostle Peter, John Wesley and I will be the same age. Brothers.

In You and Me Forever, Francis Chan tries to put across the idea of seeing your spouse in terms of eternity. To see him or her as a spiritual being whose existence transcends this life; goes beyond this world.

With an expenditure of only a couple of dollars, the birthday card helped me see an eternal truth that I knew to be true, but I had never internalized.

When the Apostle Paul writes, “Brothers and sisters,” at various points in his letters, he’s writing to people he knew, and he’s writing to me and you.

The eternal life we entered into when we decided to follow Christ transcends chronology as we know it.


To order the card shown at Pinterest, click the image.

 

August 4, 2010

Wednesday Link List

There you go.   We’re number one.   Because e-mail is now mostly a mobile thing; social networks and blogs currently dominate online computer time.   Click the image to read the full report.

…I’m not exactly sure about this, but I think I am:  I got an e-mail this week from someone I’ve been e-mailing  for many years, who perhaps didn’t realize that when I send her something and it appears on her screen in blue with a line underneath, that’s a LINK and she’s supposed to click on it.   So just in case anybody here is missing the point, these little bullet points are not an end in themselves.   They are LINKS and it’s expected that you’re clicking on the ones that interest you.

  • The producers of the movies Fireproof and Facing The Giants have a 5-minute documentary on the website for their new movie, Courageous.
  • Can you handle another Bible translation?   Coming soon to a bookstore near you:  The Common English Bible.
  • John Ortberg asks the musical question, “Who speaks for Evangelicals?”  Or to make it more personal, “These days, who speaks for you?”  [Related on this blog, see trend # 10 for 2009]
  • Self-styled “pastor of the nerds,” Tony Kim provides a rundown of his visit to Comic Con.
  • Here’s the video for the book trailer of Peter Hitchens’ book (the brother of atheist Christopher Hitchens) The Rage Against God:  How Atheism Led Me To Faith (Zondervan).
  • The church that markets coffee mugs proclaiming “Islam is of the Devil” has a Quran burning ceremony scheduled for September 11th, though not every Christian group agrees with their tactics.
  • Time for some time-travel with David Fisher:  If you could spend a summer afternoon with any of the saints who are no longer with us, who would make your short list?   Check out his sixteen saints.
  • Another video link, this is a beautiful worship song; check out Keith & Kristyn Getty’s  Creation Sings the Father’s Song.
  • Talbot Davis suggests a different reason for introducing change in our local churches:  Because it creates muscle confusion.
  • Should an Anglican priest have slipped a communion wafer to a dog who went forward?   An interim priest in Toronto did just that, and now the Bishop isn’t very happy.
  • Megan Hyatt Miller — daughter of Thomas Nelson’s Michael Hyatt — comes face to face with her inability to embrace the current social justice movement because she just doesn’t like the poor.
  • Many of you know this story, but for those who don’t here’s an interview Mark Driscoll did with Randy Alcorn explaining why Randy doesn’t keep his book royalties, and why he works for minimum wage.
  • Matt at The Church of No People blog suggests, “…when Christians can’t find the words to share Jesus, a much easier method of evangelism is available.  All you have to do is become a walking billboard.”  Check out Christian socks.
  • This has been up for over a year, but I found it interesting that the people from xtranormal.com (the text-to-movie site) took a script from Lifeline Productions (those little comedy moments you hear on Christian radio) about trying to earn salvation, and turned it into a video.   Watch 1,000 Points.
  • Is she in or she is out?   Vampire author Anne Rice is either out or simply challenging some definitions of  ‘Christian.’  Another author, John Shore, tries to sort it all out.  (No, she writes about vampires, she isn’t one herself…)  As does the Christian Q&A guy, Russell D. Moore who sees this as a definite leave of absence from the faith.
  • Piper gets asked if it’s okay for a guy to listen to Beth Moore, or female speakers in general.   His answer is somewhat conditional.
  • Speaking of women in ministry, Pam Hogeweide has an interesting perspective in Happy Christian Women, which Kathy Escobar then picked up as a natural lead-in to three(1) more(2) posts(3) which deal with “Spiritual Refugees;” people who have been displaced from the church.  Each post includes a 12-minute video.
  • On the topic of links, if you have a blog, consider adding Thinking Out Loud to your blogroll.
  • Hoping to save marine life after the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a 67-year old man has modeled his rescue project on Noah’s Ark.
  • Our cartoon this week is from Rev. Fun.  You see these on various websites and blogs rather frequently, but there’s also a print version that went on sale this summer.   For that person who isn’t internet connected, check out Rev. Fun … Offline from Zondervan.

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