MARKERS AND ERASERS

In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2-3

Recently I went to see the movie HEAVEN IS FOR REAL. If you have not yet seen it, the acting and cinematography are well done. The movie is based on the book of the same name, which tells of the true experience of a child who went to Heaven for a visit. The child was given the opportunity to see Heaven for a brief time and he returned to this world to tell of it. In the movie, the child makes reference to Jesus having markers on his hands and feet. These markers are the evidence of his scars as a result when He was nailed to the Cross as Calvary. Were I to vote, the child in the movie would receive the Oscar for best actor, and the actor playing his father would receive best supporting actor. The movie made an indelible mark on my spirit. Maybe it will do the same for you.

In addition to this movie, another experience made a mark on me. This happened years ago, but I have not forgotten it. Dear friends of mine relayed the story of their young son who had a mishap. He was exploring, as young children do, but this time it was with an eraser in his ear. He managed to get an eraser from a pencil lodged in his ear canal. They were out at a restaurant when his mother discovered what he had done. They had to bring their son to the emergency room to have it removed. All turned out well. But what has stayed with me all these years is the exchange that occurred as the boy was being taken into the room for the procedure. He explained that he was met by his grandmother and grandfather who assured him that everything would be fine. Both his grandparents were deceased. Yet, the realness of their presence made a mark on that little boy, enough to convey to his parents and to me to believe this occurred and remember it years later.

Exchanges with the other side are God’s way of, now and then, giving us signs and wonders to help us along especially when we are in distress. He does not do it directly with each of us, but when one is touched we all can be encouraged. Losses, grief, and pain of any kind, have the power to dislodge faith. For a time, this can occur because distress is challenging. But ample time, the resurgence that comes from God’s Spirit accompanied by the strength received in His Word, reactivate hearts and stir faith anew. No, life will not be as it was. But God, in His wisdom and grace, integrates what has been to create new life and hope for what can be. Grief is an optimum opportunity to witness God’s Word being lived out as promised in Romans, God works all things together for good for those who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Marking and erasing are a way of life for us. Our lives are marked by experiences—joyous, sorrowful, good, bad, and sinful. There are some experiences so grand they ennoble us. Other experiences are sinful and harmful to us. We want to erase them from memory. Jesus can set everything right. When an experience comes into our life that causes pain, it can force us to face truths that are uncomfortable and sometimes require forgiveness—toward ourselves and/or others—as part of healing. Inherent in forgiveness is healing. Forgiveness is a difficult act, but a mighty source of release.

For the sake of forgiveness, Jesus walked arduous steps to the Cross at Calvary, availed Himself to be marked on His hands and feet with the nails of sacrifice. We are marked by sin at birth; only the blood of Jesus erases our sin. Belief in Jesus and His sacrifice cleanses us. On our own, we fall short of being worthy to meet God, but belief in Jesus changes everything. Belief in Jesus makes a person prepared to meet the righteous God and enter Heaven and be acceptable to Him. All that Jesus did makes certain earthly and eternal security for souls. The sacred exchange of His blood washing away our sins makes every believer in Christ a marked one for Him.

In the Bible (KJV), Heaven is mentioned 691 times, and Hell is mentioned 55 times. The difference in number is 636; the difference in destination is glaring. While the lesser number is associated with Hell, only one mention of Hell is enough to sit up and take notice. Jesus directs our attention to this place as a reality; because Jesus gives Hell attention, so should we. The finished sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary will prevent me from going there, only because I said Yes to Christ and His sacrifice for me. The Bible is clear about these two prepared places.

Watching the movie, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, stirred anticipation in my heart to see Heaven one day and see all that the Lord has prepared. Faith in Jesus will enable you and me to know why the Bible speaks of this place nearly 700 times. Until the time comes to be there, the Lord remains faithful to all of His promises. On the strength of those promises the journey of faith continues, infused with the boundless love and the full power of all-knowing God. May that truth be the mark on our hearts that neither grief nor anything else in this life erases. The climatic moment of seeing the Lord face-to-face is still ahead for us. A glorious Heaven awaits those who believe in God through Christ. Jesus as the pathway to Heaven. Heaven is for real. Jesus makes it so.

Lord of Life, You came to set us free. What You did is an act of love that no man can match for You are Emmanuel, God with us. The words seem inadequate for so great an act, but we offer them again, Lord. Thank You for all that You did for us at Calvary. Be glorified in Your loving kindness, and be magnified by the witness of the saints. You alone are the Christ, and the markers on You mean that our marks of sin have been erased. This is all because of You, Jesus. How expectant is the heart of every person who follows You, for the journey leads to You in Heaven. Come, Holy Spirit, to minister and soothe those who grieve. Come, Lord Jesus, to those in need of Your Presence and promises. Come, keep hearts full of You. This is asked in Thee, Lord Christ, Amen.

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