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By J. Stephen Lang -- Christians are often stereotyped as constantly preaching about the fires of hell, but many preachers have also focused on heaven -- God's rest and joy and complete satisfaction for us after enduring the troubles of this earthly life. It is mentioned again and again in the New Testament, not as an afterthought, but as a key element in Christian belief. C. S. Lewis observed that belief in heaven is "not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do."

Does being "other-worldly" mean we are of no use in this life? Hardly. Lewis also noted that Christians who had a genuine belief in the joys of heaven seemed to be the happiest people here on earth -- and also the most likely to make the earth a more livable place.

"I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!"

Job 19:25

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life; and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23:6

If we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world.

But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again.

1 Corinthians 15:19-20

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. So no one can take them from me."

John 10:28-29

"There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am."

John 14:2-3

We are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere.

Philippians 3:20-21

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God's right hand in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Colossians 3:1-4

The Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly Kingdom. To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:10

This world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.

Hebrews 13:14

We live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled.

1 Peter 1:3

"Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Everyone who is victorious will eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God."

Revelation 2:7

The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J. Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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