The Wonder of Forever

by:  Lonnie Lane

A gentleman wrote saying he had been praying for a wife for many years but… alas, no one has come to him. He’s now afraid that God isn’t really hearing him. I imagine he’s far from alone when it comes to this issue or any issue of unanswered prayers of a heart’s long-time desire for that matter. Sometimes we long for someone to come into our lives, and sometimes we long for those who have been in our lives in the past. First, here’s what I suggested may be an answer for him.

Maybe you’re praying the wrong prayer request. Why not pray that God will meet all your emotional needs and that He will teach you how you can find your satisfaction in Him. Then perhaps, as you become the best you that you can be by following Him more closely, He will change your situation. I understand wanting to be married, but this life is a short one really. Eternity with Yeshua is forever. Since He calls all believers His bride, as strange as that may seem to a guy, I suggest that means finding our greatest love relationship and emotional satisfaction with Him. I suggest that as you go through your Bible and in prayer, focus on His love for you and your love for Him. Fill your heart with Him – as your life’s intention, like King David did. And then He may give you the desires of your heart when He becomes the desire of your heart above all else. Rely on the Holy Spirit to show you His love for you because “we love (Him) because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

You are surely not alone in your desire to be married. It’s a legitimate desire. And it is not that God doesn’t hear you. It may be that this response to your email is even His calling to you to hear what He wants to say to you. You may not have been hearing His call to you to make Him the desire of your heart. He’s there for you. He’s outside of time and space, so He is always with us wherever we are and whenever if we’re His. He will not turn a deaf ear to you, but He may well be trying to get your attention so He can satisfy your heart and take you higher than you expected. When we think He’s not hearing us, the best thing we can do is start finding out what it is that He is trying to say to us that we’re not listening to. He’s unlikely to say more when we haven’t heard what He’s already been saying to us.

...start finding out what it is that He is trying to say...

I ended my email to this gentleman with: May His peace flood your soul and bring joy to your spirit.  I was happy to receive a reply from him in which said he found the suggestions very helpful. My prayer is some of you will as well. While we’re on the subject, let’s look at this from the other perspective, that of longing for people you know and love but, like the woman who is not in this man’s life, they aren’t in yours. I mentioned above that this life is relatively short, relative to eternity that is. While he or others may be longing for someone to love and belong to, the flip side of this longing can be for those who have been in your life and who you desire or long to be with but for whatever reason, you are unable to be. It could mean parents, siblings, children, or other family members or friends you’ve known your whole life, or those who you’ve only known a short while but who have managed to wrap themselves around your heart. We are separated from loved ones for any variety of reasons, because of death or distance, chance or circumstance, now or later. But here’s the wonder of forever. If they are the Lord’s and so are you, you will be together again in heaven where there is no separation, no chances or circumstances and surely no distance as anyone or anything is only a thought away and you’re there! Okay, admittedly this is about deferring gratification till you’re in heaven but the point is, as believers in Yeshua there is no such thing as hopelessness or entirely unfulfilled longing. All will find it’s fulfillment in Him either on this earth in this life or in life hereafter.  

I have found that right here in this life you can take the love you feel for someone you cannot be with and give it to the Lord and He will take it and make it something wonderful between you and Him. You might find relief through Ya’acov (James’) words to “consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:1-3). When you think that those words were written by Yeshua’s half-brother, who grew up with Yeshua and had to deal with all that happened with Yeshua, including His death, only to find Him alive again, I would imagine Ya’acov had quite a number of trials to endure, wouldn’t you? What is it like to find out your brother is God??!! I also wonder if he didn’t long to be with his brother after He returned to heaven, way more than you or I could, having known him so personally and loved Him as a brother. Certainly you could ponder this scenario for a while, couldn’t you?

You may not stop caring for the person when you turn over your feelings for them to the Lord, but part of what Yeshua took on our behalf on the cross is our grief and sorrows. This means our sadnesses and unfulfilled longings. That can be for the spouse you do not have, or the person you care about who isn’t able to be in your life today. In Yeshua all things can be resolved. Whatever the issue, He is the answer and the resolution. In a situation of loss, He is there to understand and see you through it. “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Yeshua, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession…. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 3:1; 4:15). In the meantime, you (we) are exhorted by the Lord to live a full life in the here and now, “beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep(ing) yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Yeshua Messiah to eternal life” (Jude 1:20, 21).  

I mentioned before that Sid and I have been writing a book of testimonies of people who have been to heaven and returned with their report of life in heaven. We’re thinking of calling the book, “Heaven Is Beyond Your Wildest Expectations” because it is. Life in heaven for anyone begins at a welcome area where your loved ones will greet you. If you get there first, you can go to greet your loved ones as they come through a kind of veil and are immediately transformed into an age that seems to be about your thirties, about the age Yeshua was when He died. Unless of course you died at an earlier age in which case you get to grow up in heaven. If ever there was a reason to share the truth of the gospel with those you love if they don’t know Yeshua yet, this is it, that you may share eternity “in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy” (Jude 1:24) with them.

When my mom was approaching the end of her life in her 90’s, we used to enjoy talking about who would be there to greet her as she came through the welcome area in heaven. If you think it might be a blessing to those with whom you are unfortunately out of arms reach, you just might want to tell your loved ones you look forward to one wonderful day when you will meet them again in heaven at the welcome gate. And then, together again, where there is no pain, no shame, no age or aging, no distance or division, where nothing ends and everything is full of light and glory and nothing will ever separate you again, you can truly live happily ever after.  

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On to another email:  A woman wrote to ask this question: “When I gave my heart to Yeshua, did I get grafted into one of the 12 tribes?”  There is a lot of misconception about this issue. My answer to her went like this:  The very short story is you were grafted into Messiah Yeshua, but not into the twelve tribes. Which tribe would you be grafted into if that were the case? You can’t just pick one. Non-Jewish believers become a part of the spiritual descendents of Abraham but not physical Israel. Jeremiah tells us much about God’s intentions toward Israel. To begin with, the matter of restoration: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Once again they will speak this word (in Hebrew!) in the land of Judah and in its cities when I restore their fortunes” (31:23). The church was not restored “once again…in the land of Judah” because the church never was in Judah in the first place, so neither was Jeremiah spoken by them in Judah originally so that they are “once again” speaking his words. This verse also indicates that Hebrew would be again spoken as the language of the land. This is just one of many, many verses that talk about restoring physical Israel back to her physical land. It is a fascinating study in itself.

Even when Gentiles are grafted into Yeshua and become part of the Kingdom of God, if every believer was to become a part of physical Israel, then no one would be distinctly Israel and the Scriptures that apply to Israel specifically, to the physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would become meaningless. That is what "Replacement Theology" has done. It has applied the covenant and promises of God that He gave specifically to Israel as if they all applied spiritually to the church, that is to say, to all non-Jewish believers. Essentially, that belief “replaces” the blessings God meant for Israel and usually what results in Replacement Theology is that the Jews and Israel get all the curses. It is an entirely corrupt and erroneous theology. It has also led to some Christians thinking the church has replaced Israel and, therefore, Israel is a non-issue with God and as a sad result, some will find themselves opposing God if they join in satan-motivated hatred toward Israel, all the while thinking they are on God’s side.  

There are no second class citizens in the Kingdom of God...

For Gentiles who have come to believe in Yeshua, the Holy One of Israel, by the way, you have become a part of is the Kingdom of God, also called the Kingdom of heaven. The titles are synonymous. To the Jews who heard Yeshua talk about the Kingdom, it had no connotation of heaven to them. Salvation to the Hebrews was a national matter when God saved them from their enemies. Consequently, when Yeshua talked of the Kingdom what He meant was what had to do with Himself and all that He was doing, with His work on the earth. Though we know it means life hereafter, it still means what He’s doing on the earth. The people He preached to didn’t know about Him atoning for sin. It hadn’t happened yet. What He meant then, was what He was doing. He said to Nicodemus, “Unless one is born again you cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). What does that mean to you? What did you think He was talking about, seeing heaven? He was discussing with Nicodemus His miracles, His teaching, the things He was doing at that time. That’s what Nicodemus was asking about, how it is that He could do those things right there in Israel among the people. He was the King, though they didn’t know it, and all that surrounded Him was the Kingdom right there wherever He was and in whatever He was doing and saying. But Nicodemus was confused about how He could do the things He did. Neither would he, or anyone else, really have an understanding of Yeshua as King or of the Kingdom until they could see it by the Spirit, until they were born again.

So whether Jew or Gentile, both must be born again and both then become equally a part of the Kingdom of God which is entirely of the Spirit. Non-Jewish believers, some more or some less, come to have a great love for Israel and the Jewish people, because they come to love what God loves. That is not to say that God loves Israel or the Jews anymore than He loves the non-Jews. That’s the beauty of “one new man” or “one new humanity” of Ephesians 2:14,15. We’re all one in Messiah. We do not lose our identity as Jew or “Greek” (Gentile) anymore than we lose our identity as male or female. “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Messiah. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit for the body is not one member, but many” (1 Cor. 12:12-14). So to this dear lady asking the question, I trust this allows her to feel as much a part of the Kingdom of God without having to consider herself as part of the tribes of Israel. God loves her just the way He created her to be. There are no second class citizens in the Kingdom of God – because it is a picture of the wonder of forever!

If you are a Believer in Yeshua, if you were to die today, you would find that there is nothing written next to your name in the Lamb’s book of life except: “Paid in Full by the Precious Blood of the Lamb.” When you belong to Yeshua, any sins you have committed have been erased and all that’s there on your record are things for which God will reward you.

I know Christians who are so concerned with whether they’re getting it all right or dying to self enough or being loving enough…. or whatever. The focus is primarily on themselves and how hard they are working to make sure they stay saved. Gosh, that sounds exhausting. I lived that way once. Believe me, putting your trust in God and enjoying the rest He gives our souls is far better. When could you ever do enough to make sure you stay saved anyway? How could you ever get there if tomorrow you might fail again? When do you get to the ‘resting’ part of salvation if you’re always trying to avoid failing? Besides, it still isn’t about what we do, but it’s about what He did. Does it mean we do nothing? Of course not! We will be REWARDED for our deeds. Remember Yeshua talked about a reward for giving someone a cup of cold water? He said, “For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Messiah, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward” (Mark 9:41). There really are rewards that God will give us for some of the simplest things. We think “deeds” means big deal things, but He rewards the hidden motives of our hearts, not how big a deal we may have made happen outwardly and visibly. Sometimes we’re so concerned about where we’ve missed it, that we’re missing some wonderful reward opportunities. One woman who went to heaven told of how the Lord let her know how pleased He was with her for baking cookies for someone who was very mean to her. He evidently knew of the incident and rewarded her for “not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead” (1 Peter 3:9). I find that highly motivating to go love someone for Yeshua today, knowing it pleases His heart.

If all is forgiven in heaven, it’s easy to love there, right? But all is forgiven here on earth too for those who have accepted Yeshua’s atonement for themselves. It’s kind of an all or nothing thing. You either believe He died for your sins or you don’t. It’s not like He forgave some sins but not others. He just wants us to believe in His goodness and that He, and not we, has done all that is needed to restore us to perfect acceptance from Him. And since He has fully accepted us, then just like in heaven, we should have no reason to hold things against each other. Forgive, Forgive, Forgive. Bless. Bless. Bless. Therein is freedom! It is answering Yeshua’s prayer that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

 

 

Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2011. 

 

 

Lonnie Lane

For Lonnie's other articles, check out our Exclusive Articles and Resources, especially the section on One New Man.

Lonnie Lane comes from a family of four generations of Jewish believers, being the first one saved in 1975. Lonnie has been in church leadership for many years, and has planted two “one new man” house fellowships, one in Philadelphia suburbs and the other in Jacksonville, Florida, where she now lives near 6 of her 8 grandchildren. Lonnie is the author of “Because They Never Asked” and numerous articles on this website. She has been the Producer of Messianic Vision's radio and TV shows and the International Prayer Co-Coordinator for Messianic Vision's intercessors. Click Here to order Lonnie's book, "Because They Never Asked."

 

Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif.  All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

Speaking of which, aside from our own souls and the souls of those we’ve led to the Lord, what we get to take to heaven with us are relationships. Our relationships continue in heaven. I was thinking about that very fact at a church pot luck dinner last weekend. Everyone was happily chatting with others they wouldn’t have ordinarily sat with, as our pastor had exhorted us to “Sit with someone who doesn’t sit near you in church. Get to know people you don’t usually talk with.” I started at one table with my usual friends but invited someone new to the church to join us. Once she got to talking with some others at the table, I excused myself and went and sat at another table, and then when I got my dessert, I sat at yet another table with people I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with. That was so much fun. I found out more things about folks in our church that I never knew, even some who actually sit near me in our “creatures of habit” locations in church. 

 

I also took a few moments just to watch the goings on and all the happy relating.  I thought, “I’m going to spend all of eternity with these people. We are going to experience heaven together, though likely we’ll get there one at a time. I might get to be the person to show one of them around heaven. These are people with whom I will enjoy all that heaven has to offer. We’re going to share the joy, the all encompassing love and the beauty and majesty of heaven – together. We will know each other as the souls of righteous persons made perfect – forever. How awesome is that? Talk about having things in common. How about that we belong to Yeshua and we’re going to be in His presence – together, forever!  I love it.  It just makes me love everyone so much more. Just sitting there and thinking about it, I felt so much more connected to everyone - Eternally connected.

 

Having gotten a good glimpse of heaven through the stories for our book, I understand now how perfect God’s initial creation must have been. When He said, “It is good,” He meant GOOD. Totally, entirely, completely, perfectly good! Like heaven. Being more aware now of that goodness and perfection I can see how tragic and entirely un-Godlike sin is. But I’m happy to announce to you, not that you haven’t heard it before, that there is no sin in heaven and heaven is available for people everywhere. My brother once asked the Lord what His definition of hope was. God told him what I just wrote: H-O-P-E stands for Heaven is Open for People Everywhere. 

 

However, there is an admission price and it’s a steep one. But, Hallelu-Yah, Yeshua has already paid the total price for our entrance into heaven and into the presence of God.  He paid the price with His Blood and His death that we could never have paid. God will accept no counterfeit payment for entrance into heaven and Yeshua’s sinless perfection was the only true currency that God would accept. He bought our way into heaven with His forfeited life. I’m also happy to tell you, the story doesn’t end there. There was a resurrection and Yeshua is alive!! I know you knew that, but sometimes it’s good to get a little excited about it all over again. Sometimes I just have to say “Thank you, Lord, thank you, Lord,” about thirty times.

 

Yeshua, you recall, told us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Now, I’ve learned a few things about heaven. For one thing, everything centers around Yeshua. He is the object of everyone’s adoration and attention, all the time. Does all-the-time-worship sound boring to you? It won’t be I assure you. You’ll be so in love with God it’ll be your chief joy.  Worship for the Father and for Yeshua is continual out of the spontaneity of love. It permeates all of heaven, chorus upon chorus of adoring worship that all go together to harmonize perfectly. Even the flowers worship, and the trees really do clap their hands, I’ve been told. Okay, leaves. I now take this verse as more than poetic: “For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands(Isaiah 55:12). I expect that it probably happens.  Love for God and love for one another fills the atmosphere of heaven. There is not one negative thought or word ever spoken.

 

A friend of mine recently asked the Lord to tell a friend of hers who died and is in heaven that she misses her. She sensed the Lord saying back to her, “I can’t tell her that.” So my friend said, “Then tell her I love her.” He said, “I can tell her that.” She mentioned it to me and wondered why He couldn’t tell the one in heaven that she missed her. I told her, “It’s because there are no negative thoughts in heaven and it would have made her feel badly to know you were sad because she wasn’t with you anymore and no sadness exists in heaven.” In the same way, in heaven anyone who is there, from aborted babies to people who were murdered, not only do they forgive but they would feel badly if they thought the person on earth who were the cause of their death would feel guilty. They understand fully the forgiveness of God and would want to extend it to anyone who may have harmed them. The babies are hoping their mommies will come to heaven to know them and in some cases still raise them in heaven. In fact, the babies seem to know who their fathers are even if the mothers don’t. And they feel only love for them.

 

How much futile time and energy goes into feeling guilty when 1) Yeshua has paid a terrible price so that we could be forgiven and released from our terrible actions; 2) the “victim” who is in heaven has forgiven them completely already. I know it sounds like the offender got off too easily, but it wasn’t easy for Yeshua to go to the cross and die. He really did take the punishment for our sins, so we needn’t carry them any longer; And 3) If Yeshua died to take away your guilt, it does no service to you, nor does it please Him for you to continue to carry the guilt. Punishing yourself is an exercise in futility. It serves no purpose. If you want to please God, for whatever you feel guilty about, take His forgiveness and thank Him for it. Even thirty times, if you feel so inclined! Be free, dear one. Grace! Grace! I give you permission, as your sister in the Lord and a minister of the Gospel to let go of your guilt. Lay it on the altar before Jesus and leave it there.

 

Recently I told the Lord I was sorry for something. He asked me, “When you are telling Me you’re sorry about something you did, how are you feeling about yourself at that moment?”  I thought about it, but didn’t need to for long. “Well, Lord. I really ‘am not liking myself’ so much at that moment.” He then said, “When you ‘are not liking’ yourself, you’re not loving Me.” Oh! What came to mind is the greatest commandment: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5), to which Yeshua added a new commandment, “and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). If I’m not loving myself, then I’m probably not able to love God or others. My “lover” isn’t working properly when that happens. If I’m to love God and others as I love myself, if I’m not loving myself then I’m not being loving, period. Forgive yourself just as God has forgiven you. Repent for not having received His forgiveness earlier and ask Him to teach you how to live in His freedom. “It was for freedom that Messiah set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). Let God teach you how to rest in His love. When we are walking in love with God, we need not fear being drawn away into sin. 

 

If you are a Believer in Yeshua, if you were to die today, you would find that there is nothing written next to your name in the Lamb’s book of life except: “Paid in Full by the Precious Blood of the Lamb.” When you belong to Yeshua, any sins you have committed have been erased and all that’s there on your record are things for which God will reward you.

 

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