Yes, heaven is for real – but we already knew that

Charles Spurgeon is said to have used an illustration about receiving a visit from an angel. The imaginary angel has a message for the great preacher, but Spurgeon says he doesn’t want to hear it. But the angel insists, and delivers his message: “Mr Spurgeon, your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!” While most of us would rejoice, Spurgeon says he would respond rather differently: “You wicked, wicked angel,” he would reply. “You are tempting me to put my trust in the word of a mere angel, rather than in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for me!”

That story started going around and around my head as I watched the film Heaven Is For Real. It’s the best-selling ‘evangelical’ book of the past decade, with more than seven million copies sold. Not surprisingly, it’s now been made into a major movie, grossing $100 million worldwide at the cinema and reaching number one on the Australian iTunes movie charts this week (the reason I inflicted it on myself and my wife). Continue reading

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31 Days of Prayer: Day Ten – Delighting in the Lord

Psalm 73“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. (Psalm 37:4)”

Yesterday, we looked at how pursuing the pleasures of this world as our driving desire can be fatal to our prayer lives. ‘You do not have, because you do not ask,’ is James’ blunt way of putting it. (Sorry for making you think of James Blunt just then.)

Isaiah puts it equally bluntly: Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isa 59:1-2) The Psalmist raises a similar idea in Psalm 66: “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” Continue reading