Heaven on Earth

 

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

In 1977 while we were living in Anaheim, California our pastor Bob Curry came to us and prophesied, “if the two of you obey God like Abraham, you will have heaven on earth.” Probably every Christian would like to experience “heaven on earth.”

The condition for us to have heaven on earth was to obey God like Abraham. On at least two occasions in Genesis, God challenged Abraham to obey Him in a very radical way.

Genesis 12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

By faith and trusting God, Abraham in obedience left his home country for the land the Lord would later show him.

Later in Genesis 22 Abraham faced an even greater test from God.

Genesis 22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied. 2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

God challenged Abraham to give back to Him that which he likely loved more than anything else in life—Isaac—his only son born of his wife Sarah who was 90 years old and had been barren all her life.

Without hesitation, Abraham obeyed God. Early the next morning he loaded up his donkey in preparation to take Isaac to Moriah.

That is how Abraham obeyed God—with radical trust in Him. And if the two of us wanted to have heaven on earth, we had to obey God as did Abraham—we had to give back to God what was most precious to us in this life.

For most believers in America, what is most precious to us in this life is God’s various blessings upon us and our loved ones. For lack of a better term let us call it “the American (Christian) Dream.”

At that time in our lives outwardly we had the American Dream within reach: I was working on my Ph.D. thesis at the University of California in a nationally-ranked program. Not only that I had the option of attending the MBA program at a top five department to which I had recently been accepted.

But earlier in 1977 we had been powerfully baptized in the Holy Spirit according to Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8. By the irresistible urging of the Spirit in us we decided to choose the road less traveled by. We gave up the American Dream and all of our earthly possessions. By faith we left America in 1978 and went to Indonesia—the fourth most populous nation on earth with more Muslims than any other country—and proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom of God there to people who had never heard of Jesus Christ. We went without financial support from any church, without proper training in missions, and apart from any mission organization. We went in simple obedience to God and with radical trust in Him. And God was faithful, opening the way for us. For nearly nine years we proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ fruitfully in primitive regions of Indonesia to villagers who had no hope—either in this life or the next. Dancing on the Edge of the Earth

As of this year (2018), we have served the Lord full-time for 40 years and counting. God is keeping His promise to us. The two of us are now enjoying heaven on earth—not to be taken simply in the material sense, but in every other way important to believers. God has blessed us abundantly in our marriage now of 44 years, in our children and grandchildren, in our physical health, in the fruit of our ministry, and most importantly of all in our relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ which satisfies us with abundant peace, contentment, and joy…not to mention the assurance of our reward in heaven to come in addition to the eternal life we already have in Him.

God is faithful to keep His promises if we obey Him.

Quoting the poet Robert Frost…

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

-Excerpt from “The Road Not Taken.”

This Christmas we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. In order to save us, the Son of God became a man and humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.

As the reward for his obedience, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11).

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

 

Married 44 years and counting

 

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