Sunday, September 11, 2016

Party time in heaven

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Luke 15:1-10

TO CHEW ON: "'I say to you, likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.... there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.'" Luke 15:7, 10

The occasion of someone's repentance may or may not be a reason for a party on earth. If you are celebrating the return of a long-prayed-for-prodigal, it surely would. But in many cases, an individual's moment of turning from a self-directed to God-directed life is a pretty low-key occasion. In some countries, people keep it a secret because the decision to accept Christ is dangerous to life.

But it is cause for celebration in heaven. The angels, aware of the hugeness of what has just happened, throw a party (or however they express their joy) over each individual who repents.

Imagine, such a simple decision on earth, yet it has the power to spark a heavenly celebration. It's cause for angelic joy, and right up there with what the shepherds witnessed at Jesus' birth (Luke 2:13,14), and what John saw in visions of the exaltation of Christ (Revelation 5:9-10), the gathering home of the saints (Revelation 14:1-3), and the triumph of God as King (Revelation 19:6).

It makes me want to pause and reevaluate my priorities. It causes me to ask myself, do I value the things that heaven values? Am I spending time and effort on what will bring joy there?

PRAYER: Dear God, please make me aware of heaven's value system. I want my life to contribute to heaven's joy. Amen.

MORE: Roses on the stage

"There are fifteen roses in the vase this week," said the officiating pastor at the church we were visiting. I was puzzled when his statement sparked a round of applause. Then he explained. Each rose signified that someone had come to Christ through the witness and outreach of that congregation during the preceding week.

What ways have you heard of to celebrate people coming to faith in Christ?

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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