The ABCs of Heaven

Numerous nationally-recognized opinion polls indicate at least ninety percent of Americans believe in heaven.  The majority of the major religions of the world believe in heaven or an afterlife filled with joy and peace.  The term “heaven” is used in the Bible over 700 times.  The only human requirement to enter heaven is death.  The major religions of the world differ significantly in their opinion about the spiritual requirements to enter heaven.

A number of years ago I was visiting with a World War II veteran.  He said, “Doc, you probably think I am really old and that I should be ready to die.  But I’m not ready to die.  I feel good and my mind is clear.  It’s not that I’m afraid to die.  I’m not.  I have a Christian faith.  In fact, I believe that when I die, I’m going to go to heaven, but I just don’t want to catch the first bus.”  I guess most of us feel that way… most of us don’t want to catch the first bus.

In the book, A Gathering of Eagles, VADM Art Cerbrowski, USN, (Ret) offered this advice for life about goals.  “Young men and women are rightly encouraged to establish goals and work toward them with diligence, courage, and tenacity.  But how is one to establish a goal? Many define their goals in terms such as ‘achieve command of a combat unit, become president of a major corporation, achieve some considerable net worth, or attain high rank.’  The trouble with these goals is that on attaining then, one is left with two awkward questions: Is that all there is?  What’s next?  Rather, a goal should be lofty, laudable, and one which can be continually strived for but never fully attained even in a long life of dedication.  And when someone says, ‘Well, that’s fine, but what is your ultimate goal,’ you will be able to respond, ‘Heaven.'”

Desmond Doss received the Medal of Honor in WWII as a combat medic with the 77th Infantry Division on Okinawa.  Doss was a conscientious objector who would not even touch a weapon and refused to carry one.  His company commander tried to have Doss kicked out of the Army.  The Department of the Army allowed Doss to remain in the military even though he refused to carry a weapon.  Doss did not feel that he could take a life but wanted to be allowed to serve, hoping to save lives.  During the war, Doss saved the lives of hundreds of soldiers including the life of the company commander who tried to have him kicked out of the Army.  The commander later said of Doss, “The man I tried to have kicked out of the Army as a coward, is, in fact, the bravest man I have ever met.”

Desmond Doss offered this advice for life in the book, Valor.  “I would like to share my godly mother’s advice:  Live by the Golden Rule, and do unto others and you would have them do unto you.  Study the Bible daily for it is God’s love letter to us letting us know right from wrong; it is our roadmap to heaven.  He has not asked us to give up anything good, only that which is not good enough for life eternal with Him and our loved ones.  Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the wonderful things He has gone to prepare for us who love Him and keep His holy law.  If we miss heaven, we have missed everything.”

I periodically say, “I don;t have a tattoo, but if I was going to get one it would be:  If we miss heaven, we have missed everything.”  I often wear a bracelet on my wrist with that quote by Desmond.  Over the years, I have read many stories of individuals who have had a “near-death experience.”  The majority of these individuals describe heaven as a place of indescribable peace and joy.  A very small percentage of individuals describe something totally different.  They describe their near-death experience in hell and say that it is the most frightening and horrible experience of their lives.

Currently the book, Heaven is for Real, remains on many best-selling book lists.  It is about a young boy named Colton Burpo who had surgery for a ruptured appendix.  he went to heaven, returned, and later explained the experience to his parents, describing who he met and what he saw in heaven.

Heaven is the eternal destination for those who have a Christian faith.  In John 14:6 we read, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.'”  This faith allows all who are willing to acknowledge Christ as Lord and Savior the opportunity of eternal peace and joy in heaven.  Some might ask, “If there really is a heaven, how can I get there?  If Jesus is the way to heaven, how can I know him?”

It’s as easy as ABC.
A.  “ADMIT that you are a sinner.” (Romans 3:23)
B.  Believe. “Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised him from the dead,and you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9); and
C.  Call on.  “Whosoever shall CALL on (CONFESS) the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

If you have not already done so, I hope today you will begin your relationship with Jesus Christ and begin your journey towards heaven.