Heaven’s Door

“Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” And instantly I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne in heaven and Someone sitting on it.”
Revelation‬ ‭4:1-2‬ ‭NLT

In our pilgrimage through the book of Revelation, we now find ourselves in chapter 4. The messages to the seven churches are behind us, and now Jesus wants to show John something else. He wants to give John a glimpse of that is inside this place we call Heaven. A door opens. And a very loud voice, sounding to him like a “trumpet blast“, grabs John’s attention. Why a “trumpet blast”? In those days it would have been a common way of grabbing people’s attention, at least those who were out and about in the market places or the town square. So it would have certainly grabbed John’s attention, particularly as it was from what seemed to be a speaking trumpet. A trumpet wasn’t the only way God spoke to mankind. God’s voice sounded like thunder in John 12:28-29, “Father, bring glory to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.” When the crowd heard the voice, some thought it was thunder, while others declared an angel had spoken to him”. In 1 Kings 19:12, Elijah heard a still small voice, a whisper. In Psalm 18:13, God’s voice was accompanied by natural events, “The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded amid the hail and burning coals”. 

But I was thinking about today – our lifestyles don’t tend to revolve around public places, so how would God grab our attention today? I don’t know, but what I do know is that God will tailor-make a way of grabbing the attention of those who want to listen. As we see in the John 12 verse, some interpreted the voice of God as thunder. Others as the voice of an angel. We hear what we want to hear because we have a tendency to try and rationalise things we don’t expect or understand. If the sacrifice of God’s Son on a Roman cross at Calvary doesn’t grab the world’s attention and get a response, then I don’t think people are listening. Jesus ended each of the messages to the seven churches with the verse, “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches”. 

John received an incredible invitation from Jesus. He opened Heaven’s door for John and invited him to join Him there. What a privilege. But what a responsibility. Don’t forget that John was languishing in a prison cell, in exile on the island of Patmos. We know it was the Lord’s Day and John was lost in worship. Little did he know that day that he would be invited to join Jesus in Heaven. John was instantly transported into a spiritual world. Prison cell and exile forgotten. And he received a glimpse as he peeped through the door of Someone, of God probably, sat on his throne.

What else John saw in Heaven unfolds in the Revelation pages. And it’s quite a story!

Dear Lord. We thank You that there is nothing dull in a relationship with You. Please help us to get so lost in worship to You that we too get lost in a Heavenly place. And I’m sure the things of the world will go dim in comparison. Thank You Lord. Amen.

Praises

“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to Him a psalm of praise.”

Psalms‬ ‭47:1, 6-7‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Imagine a whole nation clapping its hands! And shouting joyful shouts! All to our wonderful God, our Creator. But in our secular society, clapping and shouting is retained for sporting events or concerts, temporal activities that provide a brief time of pleasure, soon to be replaced by the more humdrum activities of everyday life. In our church we are sometimes encouraged to offer up a clap offering to the Lord, or make a vocal contribution in praise. But a whole nation…?

The Psalmist goes on to encourage his readers to sing praises to God. And he provides a reason – God is King over all the earth. Praising God produces a peculiar effect within us, because it lifts us out of ourselves into Heavenly places with Him. I recently heard a quote saying, “Praise is the spark plug of faith”, and that is true because you cannot praise God if He isn’t who He says He is, doing the things He says He does. And in the praising process our faith grows and something changes within our spirits.

Saying that God is King over all the earth is disputed by most people. They ask questions such as, “How could a loving God allow that accident to happen?”, or “Why does God allow such evil people to flourish?” And many more similar questions. But in our sin-soaked world, where mankind seems set on self destruction in so many ways, there is still a King behind the scenes. A loving King who breaks His heart over the rebellion of mankind, a righteous King who has to allow man to make choices, no matter how devastating they can be. A faithful King who continues to supply all we need for human life. And a redeeming King who sent His Son to die for us at a place called Calvary, where He took on the sins of the world, past present and future.

So as His people what else can we do other than praise Him? Other than shout our praises to a wonderful God, the King over all the earth. In the quiet of my early morning prayer walks in Dean Woods I sometime shout out the name of Jesus, listening to the echo from the created world around me. Listening to the trees and plants joining with me in a time of praise. I’m not alone in singing my psalm of praise to my wonderful God.

So will you, my reader, join with me today, clapping your hands, shouting and singing your praises to God? If you have never done so before, give it a try. And feel the lift in your spirit as you connect with our wonderful creator God.

Panting

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalms‬ ‭42:1-2‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

I must confess that I have never seen a deer panting for water. Having said that I must also confess that I have never been physically thirsty to that extent either. But I have been in a place where I have been spiritually thirsty. A place where God seems far away, where circumstances have been overwhelming, where prayers are seemingly unheard and ineffective. A place where I have cried out to God for His grace and mercy. But I can also say that in time God has appeared to me with a solution to my distress. To my spiritual loneliness. To my thirsty soul.

Where are these spiritual deserts? They could be anywhere. In the middle of the night while tossing and turning in sleepless anguish. In a hospital bed fighting sickness or enduring pain. Reflecting on the news or some piece of information just received. During a conversation with workmates. Even in a church service. Whenever possible, during those dry times, I take a walk and ask God to speak to me, humbly trusting that He is there and able to pour out those streams of living water into my thirsty soul. And eventually He always turns up with words and thoughts full of love and reassurance. Just because my feelings tell me that He isn’t open for business that day doesn’t mean that this is a fact. It just means I need to search diligently for that spiritual oasis in the middle of the desert. Because there I will find God. It means that in the process of the searching I must clear out the blockages that are stopping me from seeing Him. Those proudful thoughts and attitudes. Those unconfessed sins. And then I must continue to search for God, believing in faith the verse that says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬). I will find God. He will pour out the spiritual water that I need in my time of thirst. And I will respond in a hymn of praise and thankfulness, refreshed once again.