Kari Lee Fournier
Faith perspective: Enjoying heaven on earth
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By Kari Lee Fournier
September 30, 2015

(Originally published January 29, 2015, in the Green Bay Press-Gazette)

The idea of enjoying heaven on earth seems like quite a reach, given the troubles we see in the media each day – but perhaps this is exactly what is needed in this hour. This hour of confusion and all-pervasive evil, where we question when it all will end, when peace finally will prevail.

Well, first, the not-so-good news. Despite the sanitized version that says all will join hands and sing "Kumbayah" amidst a sunset, in Matthew 24:12, the Holy Bible tells us that as things wind down on earth, "... lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." We see the breakdown in family values and morals all around us, as ideals and hopes lie in shambles. Some say that evil is a concept, a form of extreme negativity – but our insides instinctively know that the Bible's reference to Satan as an evil person definitely better explains this malevolent entity who seeks to destroy and terrorize and kill.

Now that we've identified evil in biblical terms, we can face our foe with biblical tools, which allow for heaven's joy and peace on earth, even amidst the storms. However, those weapons won't bear any resemblance to warfare on the physical plane. They will involve the spiritual realm. As clarified in Ephesians 6:12: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age ..."

The first and foremost of those tools involves staying in the Word of God – the Holy Bible. We are also to spend more time gathering amongst other believers in fellowship. And to remember what Jesus commanded when he ascended from the Mount of Olives, which is related in Matthew 28:19-20: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you ..." Don't be afraid to bring up your faith to those in your sphere of influence. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and remember that even a quick mention of how Jesus has helped you through your latest challenge can plant a seed.

Second, continue to pray whenever, wherever you are. Remember that the Holy Spirit inside of you will interpret whatever you say. Pour out your heart as David did in the Psalms. And if you're worried that a certain topic may be too trivial to bring up, remember that everything is little to God. Everything. But it all interests him, he who is aware of even the number of hairs on your precious head.

Third, remember to continue to build your faith, by taking steps of trust and obeying God in all things. No matter what happens in the world, God is still on his throne. We can enjoy heaven on earth simply by maintaining the fruit of the spirit in our daily affairs, no matter what evildoers insist on doing. This fruit involves: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These would exemplify the opposite of lawlessness, so what better way to combat the evil in the world?

There are those who foolishly go about climbing the ladder of success in life in terms of possessions, or notoriety, or perhaps thinking themselves the smartest person in their circle – but we can look to Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, to see how a life of that nature winds up. Solomon tried everything possible to fill the void inside. Yet, in Ecclesiastes 1:14, he counsels, "I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind." Vanity is best interpreted to mean "emptiness." Yes, that void can only be filled with Jesus.

True success in Our Lord's eyes is treating others with love, love being the most powerful relational tool available to us – it always trumps the bad. And while taking care of each other, we also can refer to one of the most admirable character traits in Paul the Apostle. Even amidst imprisonment, torture, stoning, starvation and shipwreck, Paul in Philippians 4:11 writes, "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." No matter what you are struggling with on this day, know that true joy and peace will come to those who live in love in the presence of God and feed on his word.

© Kari Lee Fournier

 

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Kari Lee Fournier

Kari Lee Fournier is a Christian conservative freelance writer. Recently retired after 38 years with her City Water Utility, Kari likes to say that she's still in the water business – although her work now involves the 'Living Water,' represented by the Holy Spirit, which is freely given by Jesus Christ to those who believe that He is their Savior who died and rose again for their sins. In her writings, she primarily attempts to relay the message of the Holy Bible in a simple way, so that those who read her work can immediately apply the Bible's teachings to their own personal life's journeys and trials. Kari's columns have appeared in the Faith Perspectives section of Gannett Company newspapers throughout northeastern Wisconsin.

Contact Kari at wolfgang4234@hotmail.com.

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