Reply – This past Sunday Night
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This past Sunday Night
— by Chancie Martin Chancie Martin
A few Sunday night’s ago, our Ladies started a Bible Study by Dr. David Jeremiah “Revealing the Mysteries of Heaven.” We had about 60 ladies show up for the Bible study. It was the second Bible study I have done with our church and the third total Bible study I have done. In the beginning the Bible was VERY intimidating to me. Jon and I had started a little over a year ago with our kids reading the Bible from the beginning. We made it to just after Moses building of the tabernacle which helped me with a Bible study I did by Beth Moore “A Woman’s Heart” God’s dwelling place. That was pretty good getting that far with both Jon and I reading and the three older kids reading. I’m sure God was entertained as we tried to pronounce cities, places and names. Our church tries to promote everyone getting in with a small group to study God’s word more in depth. Whether you are in a Sunday school class, woman’s or men’s Bible study or start your own with a few friends, it really does help with understanding the Bible and breaking it into smaller areas. One thing I notice today with our Church sermon is God packs a lot of meaning into the simplest, smallest verse. One example to this is the shortest Bible verse in the Bible. It can be found in John 11:35
   35-Jesus wept
 A side note in my Bible reflects on the verse: It states that Jesus wept too. The Word made flesh knows the pain and the loss that death causes us. He does not minimize our feelings. He knows about our grief and is with us in the midst of it.                                                                                                                                                                                
Another example in this is today’s sermon. Our pastor preached out of Psalm 32:1-5 about sin. He did incorporate other verses that went along with this but his main focus was Psalms 32:1-5.  Four parts of sin: 1-Concepts of sin 2-Consequence of sin 3- Condition of sin 4- Physical torment of sin. He ended it with the Cleansing from sin. Thank the Lord for that! Those 5 verses packs a lot of information!
When we get into smaller groups, it helps each of us to see more and more of the meaning of each verse and story in the Bible. In the Bible study on Sunday night I discovered a new fact on Heaven. There are three levels of Heaven! I did not know that and at first was a little uncomfortable about that fact. I have always thought that when you die you go to Heaven. The one way above the stars, the moon and whatever else is up there. I needed proof of this in the Bible. Dr. Jeremiah tells us where this is in the Bible- 2 Corinthians 12:2. Our Bible Study teachers told us that we should not just believe what is told to us, we need to see for ourselves where it is written in the Bible. So, if you have a Bible, go get it. I use the NIV translation. Before we move on to where you find the 3 Heavens let’s turn to 2 Corinthians 12:2 where Paul talks about his visions of being caught up in the 3rd Heaven. 2 Corinthians 12:2  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know---God knows. What Dr. Jeremiah concludes is if Paul visited the 3rd Heaven, there must be a 1st and 2nd Heaven as well.
Isaiah 55:9-10 & Genesis 1:20  First Heaven is thought to be the Atmosphere surrounding the earth.                                                                                                                                 Isaiah 55:9-10   9-As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.10-As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not  return to it, without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and the bread for the eater.                                                                                      
 Genesis 1:20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the Sky
The second Heaven is what we see as the “outer space.” Dr Jeremiah refers to Genesis 1:14-17 for this explanation: Genesis 1:14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be the lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.
The third Heaven is the dwelling place of our God. No one really knows where Heaven is. When we did our Ladies Bible Study on Revelations, we learned of different things that are in Heaven. In Revelations 22, John describes his Vision from God on just a little of what Heaven was going to look like. If you have not read the book of Revelations yet, I would strongly recommend you do so. If you can get the devotional by Beth Moore on Revelations with her CD’s to help you to understand some of the harder visions, it is well worth the money. In Revelations 21:1 It does back up more than one Heaven. It states Rev. 21:1 Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the 1st Heaven and the 1st earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (I can’t just stop at that verse.) 2 I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. (That is so comforting to me.) There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  
What amazes me so much about God’s words is how much you discover every time you open up the Bible. It’s kind of like I stated above on how each verse can be so powerful and hold so much meaning. God is powerful!
Dr Jeremiah finishes his first week with 7 reasons why Heaven is a precious place. I’m sure most of us  pretty much know why Heaven is so precious and a place we want to be. The first reason can be found in Hebrews 9:24. It states: For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one: he entered Heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Dropping down to the last part of verse 26 But, now he has appeared once for all at the end of ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people, and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. The first two reasons are Jesus is there along with our friends and family. Our inheritance is up their as soon as we received Christ as our Savior. In Matthew 5:12 it states that our reward is in Heaven. By investing in teaching and spreading the Word of God, you are storing your riches in Heaven. Dr. Jeremiah puts it in a neat way. What is the one thing that can be transferred into Heaven that we as Christians can invest in and create riches? The answer is staring us in the face every day: the souls of men, women, boys and girls. And, the last was very thought provoking and comes with a little story my dear husband spent a few hours finding it on the computer for me. He’s so wonderful! Our reservation is in Heaven. Let’s go back to Revelations 21:27. It says that “only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” will be allowed into Heaven. With that being said, I want to leave you with what Dr. Jeremiah left us to think about. Please, feel free to let me know what you think. I like to share my thoughts on what I read about the Bible and the devotional others have wrote. Often more than not, someone else’s thoughts and opinions sparks something in someone  who would  not otherwise seek more.
Ruthanna Metzger, a professional singer, tells a story that illustrates the importance of having our names written in the book. Several years ago, she was asked to sing at the wedding of a very wealthy man. According to the invitation, the reception was to be held on the top two floors of Seattle’s Columbia Tower, the Northwest’s tallest skyscraper. She and her husband, Roy, were excited about attending.
At the reception, waiters in tuxedos offered luscious hors d’oeuvres and exotic beverages. The bride and groom approached a beautiful glass and brass staircase that led to the top floor. Someone ceremoniously cut a satin ribbon draped across the bottom of the stairs. They announced the wedding feast was about to begin. Bride and groom ascended the stairs, followed by their guests.
At the top of the stairs, a maitre d’ with a bound book greet the guests outside the doors.
“May I have your name please?”
“I am Ruthanna Metzger and this is my husband, Roy.”
He searched the M’s. “I’m not finding it. Would you spell it please?”
Ruthanna spelled her name slowly. After searching the book, the maitre d’ looked up and said, “I’m sorry, but your name isn’t here.”
“There must be some mistake,” Ruthanna replied. “I’m the singer. I sang for this wedding!”
The gentleman answered, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did. Without your name in the book you cannot attend the banquet.”
He motioned to a waiter and said, “Show these people to the service elevator, please.”
… The waiter led Ruthanna and Roy to the service elevator, ushered them in, and pushed G for the parking garage.
After locating their car and driving several miles in silence, Roy reached over and put his hand on Ruthanna’s arm. “Sweetheart, what happened?”
“When the invitation arrived, I was busy,” Ruthanna replied. “I never bothered to RSVP. Besides, I was the singer. Surely I could go to the reception without returning the RSVP!”
Ruthanna started to weep–not only because she had missed the most lavish banquet she’d ever been invited to, but also because she suddenly had a small taste of what it will be like someday for people as they stand before Christ and find their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Throughout the ages, countless people have been too busy to respond to Christ’s invitation to his wedding banquet. Many assume that the good they’ve done–perhaps attending church, being baptized, singing in the choir, or helping in a soup-kitchen–will be enough to gain entry to heaven. But people who do not respond to Christ’s invitation to forgive their sins are people whose names aren’t written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. To be denied entrance into heaven’s wedding banquet will not just mean going down the service elevator to the garage. It will mean being cast outside into Hell, forever.
In that day, no explanation or excuse will count. All that will matter is whether our names are written in the Book. If they’re not, we’ll be turned away.