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I’m feeling much better! (Mandy take a look)

Here it is.. Tom (my pastor) got back to me about my questions regarding heaven and the rapture…

Hi guys.

I’m back in the saddle after a few days out of the routine, and I got your
note.  I hope you’ve had a good Christmas season.  It’s going to be a
terrific 2005 on the journey with Christ, I just know it.

On to your questions.  I’ll give brief thoughts, but naturally, there’s lots
more that could be said on each topic.  I’m glad you’re asking.  It’s so
good to see God’s people want to dig out truth from His word and learn and
grow in Him.  He’s got an amazing plan, and learning about it only adds to
the wonder and trust.

on 12/27/04 9:59 AM, Veronica Quinn at veronica525@gmail.com wrote:

> When we die, those who believe in Jesus and have a personal
> relationship with him.. Do they go to Heaven.. or do they wait around
> until Jesus comes back to Rapture the church???

Paul wrote that to be “absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
Take a look at 2 Cor. 4:16-5:9 for some descriptions about it.  There’s no
waiting.  At death, the believer is immediately transported home, where they
are welcomed and enjoy paradise.

At the rapture, which is described in 1 Thess. 4 and other places, the “dead
in Christ” rise, but that means the physical bodies of the dead are
resurrected and reunited with their spirits that are returning with Christ.
1 Corinthians 15 goes into detail about the difference between the physical
body as it is now, and the process of “glorification” that will happen at
the resurrection.  So basically, if I died today, my spirit would
immediately be carried to the presence of Christ in heaven, functioning
fully, though not yet in its permanent, bodily resurrection condition.  Then
when Christ returns, I will return with him “in the air”, the bodily
resurrection will happen, I will be clothed in my glorified body, and will
return to heaven with him.  Eventually there’s  a new heaven and a new earth
made as my permanent home (Rev. 21)

> On another note, Jesus coming back and rapturing the church really
> scares me.. I was reading those Left Behind books and I had to stop
> because it was really freaking me out.. I have a hard enough time
> questioning (still) if I’m there.. and I think I am but there is still
> so much doubt in me.. I struggle so much.. and it scares me if Jesus
> comes back because I’m so afraid that even though I believe.. that
> because I struggle so much with it and doubt so much that I am going
> to be left behind..

Take heart, Veronica.  Just about every young Christian goes through times
of fear about that, including me.  Like I mentioned in a message a few weeks
back, I would sometimes get up in the night and look in my parents’ room to
make sure they were still there, that I hadn’t been left behind.  As a
person grows in their understanding of how amazing, full, and complete grace
is, they learn to rest a lot more in its security, and in the hope of
Christ’s coming.  That will happen with you, too.  Our destiny is fully and
completely secure in the hands of Jesus Christ, and is as solid as His
promise that He knows those who are His own and will never let them go.  The
important thing to keep remembering is that “those who are his own” isn’t
dependent on our behaviors or lack of doubt.  If I have been rescued and
forgiven by Jesus, on the basis of my calling by faith on Him to save me
from my sin (not, by the way, on the basis of “my feeling” or on the basis
of my “not doubting at times” or on the basis of my “living up to a new
standard”), He holds my soul in His hand and now lives within me by his
Spirit; and as he says, cannot deny himself.  I’m absolutely secure.

Now I never discourage folks from declaring their faith in Christ, inviting
Him to be their Savior, if they wonder whether they “meant” it fully if they
did so before.  I personally “asked Jesus to be my Savior” probably a dozen
times.  I doubt He gets annoyed by that.  It only needs to happen once from
the heart, though, so “making sure” is more for my sake than for reality’s
sake.  God knows and responds immediately the first time you call on Him
that way!

There’s always a level of fear surrounding the unknown, and the down side of
novels like “Left Behind” is that they fill in lots of details we’re not
given with stories that can make for great intrigue but don’t necessarily
accurately portray the true events to come.  There’s much we don’t know
about the return of Christ.  But what we do know is that for believers, His
return is always referred to in positive terms, not frightening or negative
ones.  It is called the “blessed hope,” one we can look forward to.  Still,
because it’s an event that falls into the category of the “unknown,” there
is regularly an element of mysteriousness and sometimes fear that people
have about it.  Again, you’re not alone in those feelings.  But the longer
you walk with Him, the better you get to know His ways and His personality
and His heart, the more you’ll slowly find yourself resting in the trust
that He will fully take care of you.  And the longer you live, the more your
heart will actually start longing and genuinely asking for Him to “come
quickly.”  I know that’s happening with me, as I see such escalating
reminders of how broken and ugly this world is in its fallen,
separated-from-God condition.

There’s lots more that could be said, and if you want, we could grab a coke
sometime and talk more about it.  But I hope that helps at least give some
background.  Read those passages, they’re good ones.  And thanks for having
a soft heart that wants to be sure it has been placed in the hands of
Christ.  That’s as much an indicator that you belong to Him as anything!

Talk with you soon.

In His hands with you,

Tom

4 thoughts on “I’m feeling much better! (Mandy take a look)”

  1. Wow Veronica, thank you so much for posting that. I knew I had heard a pastor on the radio talking about immediately going with the Lord but I couldn’t remember where he had found his teachings. I am so happy to read this and I must say you have a wonderful pastor. The things he says about being saved remind me so much of things that Lee tells me all of the time.
    I am so happy you posted your original question in your journal and that I was able to learn so much from it. See, the Lord used you to teach me! 🙂

    Like

  2. Thanks Amy.. It is so amazing how this email has lifted up my spirit and given me a renewed hope and faith in the Lord! I’m so thankful to have you as an LJ friend! So thankful that you too are walking with Him!

    Like

  3. I’m so happy that my question, helped you! At first I wasn’t going to write about it in my journal, but I just had this feeling that I really should share what was on my heart! I’m so thankful that you took the time to look into it as well and share with me what you found! I’m also thankful that you learned from it too!! I feel so blessed to have you as a friend and fellow sister in Christ! 🙂

    Like

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