Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

January 03, 2004

Book chatter:
Note please blogging.teen's response to yesterday's post about Anthony DeStefano's book, A Travel Guide to Heaven. This book is published by a big secular publisher (Doubleday) which is apparently trying to score with a message that is faintly "spiritual," even vaguely "Christian," but without offending anyone by actually mentioning the name of Jesus. No, I haven't read the book, but it does seem noteworthy that in the rather extensive promotional material on the book's website there seems to be no mention of the Savior. Still, what intrigued me was its description of heaven as a dynamic place. This is a useful lesson, and something that can be inferred from Scripture. For example, while we will see God face to face and know Him as never before, we will never reach the end of learning more about Him, simply because we will remain finite beings, while God is infinite. This means that every moment we share with God in heaven will be a new revelation of His goodness and glory. This "learning" will go on forever.

I did notice, by the way, that DeStefano mentions on his website [here] that the ticket to heaven has already been purchased for us by God. So maybe he does get around to mentioning the Redeemer after all.


By the way, thank you blogging.teen and for your responses to yesterday's post.


This morning my devotional (Amy Carmichael's Whispers of His Power) led me to Hebrews 6:16-20. Here the author assures us that the promises of God are utterly reliable and immutable, and that we as believers have fled to the hope held out to us in the form of those promises, so that we may be "greatly encouraged." It is very important that we don't "encourage" people with a groundless hope (you know: "Cheer up, things'll get better!") but with a hope grounded in the sure promises of God.

Then, in v. 19, the author writes: "We have this hope as a anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf."

This verse just really bowled me over this morning. I have a couple of sailing-ship bookends that have these words etched in their base: "Jesus, Savior, pilot me." These were given to me by my father, when I was not yet a believer, and the words were nothing more to me then than platitudes. Now I want to quote from the footnote from my "Nelson Study Bible." It's referring to the idea of Jesus as "forerunner." That's the literal translation of the Greek word here, translated in the NIV with the words "who went before us." The footnote says this: "The Greek word for forerunner was used in the second century A.D. of the smaller boats sent into the harbor by larger ships unable to enter due to the buffeting of the weather. These smaller ships carried the anchor through the breakers inside the harbor and dropped it there, securing the larger ship. Forerunner presupposes that others will follow. Thus, Jesus is not only like a runner boat that has taken our anchor into port and secured it there. There is thus no doubt as to whether this vessel is going into port. . . . Believers who have such a hope in the presence of God should come boldly before the throne of grace. (Heb. 4:14-16)"

Yes, Jesus as my pilot, going before me, showing the direction. Jesus as my anchor, steadying me, keeping me from being swept away (or "blown about by every wind of doctrine"). This is just a further illustration of the point blogging.teen made. Jesus has to be at the center of what we say and do. Jesus is the reason we can encourage a brother or sister in distress. Because of what He has done not only to save us (by his death), but to pilot us (by his life of obedience and righteousness). Jesus is the embodiment of all the promises of God, and the reason for our security in knowing that we will reach port safely someday. Amen!


One more thing: I mentioned the devotional I've been using lately: Amy Carmichael's Whispers of His Power. How about you? Do you use a daily devotional? If so, which one? I'd just kind of like to know.


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