If This Isn't Heaven, I Don't Know What Is

Biblical Reasons Why We Should
And Practical Suggestions on How We Can

Create Heaven on Earth

I believe there is great value in cultivating gratitude.

We should spend more time thanking God for all we have.

Here are some of the answers I received when I asked people to tell me

5 things you like to do 5 things you hope to do in the next 12 months. 5 things that make 2004 better than 1804 The 5 greatest achievements of the human race in the next 200 years. (2004-2204) 5 things you look forward to doing throughout all eternity
  • quilting
  • cooking
  • seeing my kids
  • looking at the view
  • walk with spouse after dinner
  • eating the dinner my spouse cooks
  • reading my favorite magazine
  • listening to music
  • writing without quill and ink
  • traveling
  • eating chocolate
  • watching special effects in movies
  • live sports TV
  • collecting shells at the beach
  • amusement park rides
  • going fishing
  • flying my Cessna
  • organizing my garage
  • bubble baths
  • repairing things for friends
  • golfing
  • eating out
  • get-out-the-vote
  • dancing
  • see the birth of my granddaughter
  • get the house sold
  • teach a baby to talk
  • learn to use computer
  • promotion on job
  • sing on stage
  • take vacation
  • make more $$
  • go to Disneyland
  • open presents at Christmas
  • leisurely train trip up north
  • steak at my favorite steak house
  • find true love
  • enjoy good health
  • pass exam
  • [other destinations, menu choices, etc.]
  • medicine
  • longer life
  • electricity
  • automobiles
  • airplanes
  • increased leisure time
  • takes less time to work for things I need
  • access to information
  • sanitation
  • flush toilets
  • television
  • movies
  • visco-elastic foam mattress
  • personal computer
  • cell phone
  • communicating over distances
  • glad I don't have to wear corsettes
  • end of segregation
  • dishwashers
  • microwaves
  • crossing borders
  • seminars and educational opportunities
  • anesthesia
  • running water
  • hot water
  • women voting
  • air conditioning
  • missed all the wars from 1804-2004
  • Starbuck's lattes
  • access to more natural resources
  • freeways ("even for all their downsides," she added)
  • sterilization, knowledge of viruses, bacteria
  • cultural diversity (that came from one of my more liberal acquaintances. I puked. But as I thought about it, there's much there to be grateful for. "Diversity" in our day means promotion of sexual immorality. It means opposition to Christianity. Nothing to be thankful for there. But "diversity" can also mean that Christianity is not just for "white anglo-saxon protestants." Christianity is for orientals, blacks, eskimos, and all the other people on this planet who don't have electric guitars in church. I'm glad we don't have laws separating races like we did in 1804, or even 1904. I'm glad we have access to other ways of relating to people. But I do believe that Christianity is just for protestants. Calvinists, to be specific. But so far no one has answered my survey with
  • Cornelius Van Til
[many answered that end will come before 2204, or that things will get worse, not better]
  • space travel
  • free energy
  • cure for cancer
  • no pollution
  • "no more liberals"
  • knowledge of Lord covers the earth
  • longer lifespans
  • "beam me up"
  • no more wrinkles
  • videophone
  • housecleaning robots
  • reunion with loved one
  • getting puzzling questions answered (e.g., how Grand Canyon was formed)
  • knowing as we are known
  • fellowship with God
  • perfect fellowship with others
  • no negatives
  • enjoy perfect work
  • no fatigue
  • no physical limitations
  • no IRS record-keeping.
  • no more tears
  • getting youthful appearance back
  • seeing the face of God
  • singing
  • worshipping
  • looking at my mansion
  • going fishing with [deceased pet]
  • no pain
  • no sickness
  • don't have to deal with sinful people
  • serenity [ironically, inserenity said to be caused by items in first two columns]
  • no arguments
  • see new colors
  • no failure
        I now ask three things about the items in this column:

Which of the items in this column are human beings forbidden to attempt to achieve in this life?

Which of the items in this column are metaphysically impossible for human beings to achieve in this life, no matter what Christ has done for us? (Compare to answers in column "D")

Which items in this column are not really promised in the Bible?


The Healing Power of Gratefulness

The psychological and physical effects of gratitude have been studied:

A universal experience and a component of many religious traditions for centuries, gratitude is being recognized not simply as a desirable virtue, but also as an essential element to wholeness and well-being.
| The Christian Science Monitor

Expressing gratitude is transformative, just as transformative as expressing complaint. Imagine an experiment involving two people. One is asked to spend ten minutes each morning and evening expressing gratitude (there is always something to be grateful for), while the other is asked to spend the same amount of time practicing complaining (there is, after all, always something to complain about). One of the subjects is saying things like, "I hate my job. I can't stand this apartment. Why can't I make enough money? My spouse doesn't get along with me. That dog next door never stops barking and I just can't stand this neighborhood." The other is saying things like, "I'm really grateful for the opportunity to work; there are so many people these days who can't even find a job. And I'm sure grateful for my health. What a gorgeous day; I really like this fall breeze." They do this experiment for a year. Guaranteed, at the end of that year the person practicing complaining will have deeply reaffirmed all his negative "stuff" rather than having let it go, while the one practicing gratitude will be a very grateful person. . . Expressing gratitude can, indeed, change our way of seeing ourselves and the world.
—Roshi John Daido Loori

Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted--a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.
—Rabbi Harold Kushner

I believe that a daily effort to be grateful and to believe in the possibility of progress in this life can revolutionize an individual's walk with God, and change the world when a sizeable minority puts these steps into practice.

I believe one of the best ways to develop gratitude is by imagining that this is heaven. Such an exercise will cause you massive "cognitive dissonance" ("how can this be heaven?") which will force you to alleviate it by "counting your blessings."

But most people think this is ridiculous. This can't be heaven, they say, because of X, Y, and Z; imperfections in life, bad people doing bad things, or death at an early age. They can't even begin to imagine that this is what God promised; that this life somehow fulfills God's end of the bargain. Grumble and complain.

Some will say it's not being selfish, but being true to God's Word, which describes heaven in a way that does not at all match the present age.

But there's a destructive form of circular reasoning here, and eliminating that cycle is the purpose of this book.

People say this can't be heaven because of various evils that they observe. If I were to say that particular imperfection could be eradicated with concerted social action, and I invite those people to join me, they refuse, because we are not supposed to "bring in the Kingdom" by our own efforts. We won't experience heaven on earth until Jesus comes back, and trying to do so before He returns is sinful.

People who are more grateful are less likely to be waiting around to be raptured to heaven. Gratitude breeds action, because action increases the things we are grateful for.

Three Truths to Help You Create a Life of Gratitude | Zen Habits

The Art of Nonconformity » You Are Incredibly Rich

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