From Here To Eternity — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

From Here To Eternity — Morning Devotions

Most of us live for the here and now. But it's critical that we live in the moment with a view of the future and eternity. It's what will truly matter.

By Chris WittsWednesday 24 Aug 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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It was back in 1953 a Hollywood movie was released called From Here to Eternity. Maybe you’ve heard of it. I haven’t seen the film, but I understand it’s about the lives of soldiers and their families during World War Two with the Scofield Barracks. It’s a catchy title, and it actually comes from Roger Kipling’s poem about soldiers of the British Empire who had lost the war and were damned from here to eternity.

Now I find this expression interesting ‘from here to eternity’. Do we often think about our journey here in life from here today on toward eternity?

I’ve got a feeling that many of us are content to concentrate on the here and now. It was Neil Armstrong who famously said “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Back in July 1969 he and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon’s surface and then two years later, fellow astronaut Colonel Jim Irwin also landed on the moon.

It was reported then to be a life changing experience for Jim Irwin. He said he felt the awesome presence of God on the moon, and he was quoted also saying:

“Jesus walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon.” – Colonel Jim Irwin

He had a spiritual encounter that affected his life from then on, and and it put life for him into a proper perspective. Probably our life’s journey won’t include travelling to the moon and back, although I guess anything’s possible now. But we are on a journey nonetheless. From here to eternity, I realised one day my life will cease and I will be ushered into eternity. But what then? And that’s the big question.

What Next?

You can read and watch on social media, some remarkable accounts of near death experiences, and some of these are incredible and very moving.

And these people are profoundly different after their encounter with heaven and aspects of eternity. So do you believe in heaven? Surveys in Australia tend to reflect 35% to 40% of people believe in some kind of afterlife in every culture and every period of time. People have been fascinated with eternity, but there is a lot of confusion about heaven. What’s it like? There is a mixture of views including Biblical philosophy, popular literature, theatre and movies.

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Before his death in December 2021 the great Archbishop Desmond Tutu was interviewed for a Canadian newspaper, and the article was called ‘My Idea of Heaven’.

So the interviewer said, “Well, what will heaven be like?” And Desmond Tutu laughed and got quite excited. “Well,” he said, “I’ll see Mother Teresa again and I’ll meet St Augustine and Francis of Assisi. I’ll see Mary Magdalene for the first time. I will see my little brother who died as a baby. But above all I will see my Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven.”

Eternity is infinite time that never ends. A continued life after death forever.

We find this concept, I think quite difficult to understand. What would we do? Would we get bored? Well, these are natural questions arising out of a sense of curiosity. The Canadian theologian and the late evangelist J. I. Packer puts it better than I can when he wrote this – “Hearts on Earth may say, in the course of a joyful experience, I don’t want this  to ever end, but invariably it does. The hearts of those in heaven say I want this to go on forever, and it will and there is no better news than this.” Can I suggest that you allow that statement to engage your heart and mind? It’s probably the best news you’ll hear today.

It’s one thing to talk about eternity. But what about the here and now? How are we to have a fulfilling Christian life on this Earth? Some people see Christians as dull and boring who can’t think for themselves. But any discussion of how to live a Christian life should focus first and foremost on the teachings of Jesus Christ, which we can read in the Bible. We have to read the Gospels to learn about the teachings of Jesus Christ. So let’s focus on what Jesus said was the greatest commandment. Love the Lord, your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbour as yourself. You notice that theme of love.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, thank you that we have this challenge. Eternity seems such a strange concept. We believe that you created heaven and earth. We have a place in eternity. And I thank you for that in Jesus’ name. Amen.