The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
 
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GOING TO HEAVEN

      Billy K. Smith was a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for many years prior to becoming the seminary’s first provost. He served as pastor of several churches in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas before joining the NOBTS faculty. Last week marked the 24th anniversary of the day the Lord called my father-in-law into “higher service” with Him.     
      I recall an exchange between my nephew Grant and his mom (my sister-in-law) when Grant was about 3 ½ years old…two years after Dr. Smith’s earthly sojourn ended. When Grant inquired about Papa’s whereabouts, Debra responded that “Papa is in heaven.” Grant then asked his mom how a person gets to heaven. Debra carefully explained that a person must first ask Jesus to come into their heart. Grant thought about that answer for a moment before replying, “Well, rocks and trees can’t go to heaven because they don’t have hearts.”
      Great insights abound from the minds and mouths of babes. Jesus said, “Except you become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Childlike faith is so innocent, pure, and simple. Yet, Jesus desires to be a part of everyone’s life regardless of chronological age or stage of life. The apostle Paul declared that anyone who “…believes with thine heart…shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness…” (Romans 10:9-10). Even as Debra responded to her young son that Papa was in heaven because he had earlier invited Jesus into his heart, Paul asserted that the believer’s heart is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22) while he also prayed that “…Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17).     
      Not too many years after Grant asked about Papa’s whereabouts and began to understand that his grandfather was in heaven because of his faith relationship with Jesus, I had the privilege of praying with my nephew when he trusted Jesus as his personal Savior. Jesus said, “You trust God, trust also in me. In my father’s house are many rooms and I am going to prepare a place for you. And, if I go to prepare a place, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may be also” (John 14).

      Jesus can make a difference in your life both now and for all of eternity. Rufus McDaniel expressed the difference that Christ makes in a person’s life with the words to a great hymn… “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart! I have light in my soul for which long I have sought, since Jesus came into my heart!”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for sinners like me. Thank you for the presence of Jesus in my life and the wonderful change that has been wrought since He came into my heart. Thank you for preparing a place for me in heaven where I will dwell with You eternally. Through my actions, attitude, words, and deeds, may I be instrumental in leading others to a saving and eternal relationship with you. Amen.

                                                                                Daniel