“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will give some of the hidden manna. I will give her a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)
I’ve been reading a book written by a man who was dead for eight hours. Of all the books I’ve read about heaven (which is not many), this book is the most detailed and visual. I confess, I haven’t decided if I like his painting in words. Some of it is a little too gaudy for me.
I read this book because a friend with stage 4 cancer asked me about books on heaven, and another friend suggested this one. I haven’t finished it yet, but I will. It does seem that as I read, the details that bother me seem to fade and I’m filled with the fullness of heaven. Mortal words cannot explain “the fullness of heaven” I’m sensing.
But it persuades me to write this encouragement. Please don’t forget:
There is another realm we cannot see. The Bible teaches this. Dead people who come back to life speak and write of it. And Jesus promised it. Sometimes we just need to be reminded. We get stuck in our mucky world down here and forget that there is more to our story.
The scripture above is one of my favorite promises. It is promised to those who overcome or “those who are victorious” (depending on your Bible translation.) The ancient Greek word does mean victorious.
Some of us may read that word victorious and immediately experience defeat. The battle in our mind is fierce. The darkness closes in often. And everything seems to be falling apart. Victory is the last thing we feel.
But I want to remind you (and myself) that there is only one requirement needed to be found victorious. It’s not building a huge ministry or accomplishing bigger than life dreams for God. It’s not even being happy and content in all circumstances at all times (though that’s a great place to be.) [tweetability]Our victory is only found in Jesus–never our strength or accomplishments. But His.[/tweetability] Read this promise:
“This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it then that overcomes the world? Only he who believes (trusts) that Jesus is the son of God.” 1 John 5:3[tweetability]If you trust Jesus, you are an overcomer–a victor.[/tweetability]
I recently talked to a mom whose son has walked away from his faith. Darkness surrounds him. Her heart is broken and the darkness threatens her too. I know many of us have someone in our life who we desperately want to know Jesus. We want them to experience heaven with us.
As I’ve been writing today with my friend’s son heavy on my heart, a scene flashed in my mind of airline stewards demonstrating use of oxygen masks. They always instruct to put on your mask before assisting someone else. Sounds selfish at first, but it is wise. If you don’t put on the mask first, you might run out of oxygen and not succeed in saving someone else. Your chances to save the other person are better if your oxygen is flowing.
If your heart is breaking for the salvation of a loved one–someone you desperately desire to see in heaven, put on your oxygen mask. Trust Jesus. Talk to Him about what that trust looks like for you. Pour into the Word. Claim the victory ahead of time for the one you love so they too will one day receive a white stone with a new name known only to the one who receives it.
…. I’m hoping we can tell each other our new names written on our white stones. I’m terrible at keeping secrets. But just maybe I’ll be able to keep this one because Jesus was the One who gave it to me.
Looking forward to hanging out with you on the other side but until then let’s keep encouraging and inspiring each other.
What is your favorite book about heaven? Who do you hope to see there?