This month we'll be focusing in on what's really most important, here at FAST. Kind of a refresher and refocus month. In light of that, I decided to repost one of my all-time favorite Monday Memos. It is a great reminder of why we must live our lives as an agent for God...
Agents of HeavenBy Dan Vis
August 03, 2020
Over the last few weeks I have been re-studying the Gospel of John--and I've noticed a theme. The Bible makes it clear, no one can really speak of heavenly things unless they have seen heaven. John mentioned it in his prologue (John 1:18No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.). It is in the conversation Jesus had with Nicodemus (John 3:11-1311 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.). And it is in his message to the crowds that followed Him (John 6:44,46No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. . . . Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.). You'll find it elsewhere as well.
But that doesn't mean we can't discern the things of heaven by faith. While it is true that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him", the next verse says "but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit" (I Corinthians 2:9-109 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.). If we could pull back the veil to the spiritual realm, we would see powerful angels locked in mortal combat, in a great battle between good and evil.
Learning to discern this heavenly realm is essential to us as Christians. The great men and women of faith in Hebrews 11 all died "not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them" (Hebrews 11:13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.). In particular, they lived their lives in pursuit of "a better country, that is, an heavenly". Like Moses, they endured by "seeing him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.).
We too must learn to "walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)). The "light affliction" of this world works for us "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory", but only "while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen" (II Corinthians 4:17-1817 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.).
Truths About HeavenIn my personal contemplation of the grand mysteries of Scripture, three truths about heaven have proved especially inspiring. I try to incorporate a few moments reflecting on these each day into my morning devotions. It's my prayer you will find these just as motivating for you as they are for me:
1) There Are Unfallen Worlds
We exist in a universe of unfallen worlds. Earth was not the first world created. In fact, representatives from these worlds gathered together to watch and celebrate the creation of our planet. Job describes both angels ("morning stars") and representatives from other worlds ("sons of God") shouting for joy when God laid the foundations of this world (Job 38:4-74 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?). Evidently, these beings meet on a somewhat regular basis (Job 1:6Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them., Job 2:1Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.).
These worlds were all created by Jesus, of course (Hebrews 1:2Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;), but earlier in time, and they never fell. The beings on these world are all pure, and holy, worshiping God to this day (Revelation 5:13And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.). Our poor world is the one lost sheep. These unfallen worlds are the remaining 99 who stayed loyal to God (Luke 15:4What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?). While we cannot see them, they are watching earth with intense interest. "We are made a spectacle unto the world [Gr: kosmos], and to angels, and to men" (I Corinthians 4:9For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.).
Recognizing we live in a universe of intelligent, thinking creatures, observing all we say and do in an effort to understand the mysteries of iniquity and of godliness, inspires me to live a life that reveals God's redeeming glory, "unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Ephesians 3:10,21To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, . . . Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.).
2) Sin Will Not Rise Again
The terrible pain and suffering of this world will one day come to an end. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.).
Sin will be completely consumed. Peter tells us that even "the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (II Peter 3:10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.). Nahum puts it this way: "he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time" (Nahum 1:9What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.).
One reason sin will never arise again, will be the testimony of the redeemed. Our experience will be such that no intelligent being would ever want to experiment with sin again. We will be antibodies to the universe that serve to prevent a second infection with the virus of sin.
I can't wait, by the grace of God, to be able one day to travel to these unfallen worlds and tell my story, as an official representative of heaven's central government. Not only are we "ambassadors for Christ" here and now, I believe we will have the privilege to serve as ambassadors there and then. In all places, and through eternal ages.
3) Agents of Heaven Now
Our life in this world is in many ways a preparation for the world to come. Our experience here is but a training ground for a larger and more important work there. It's the undergraduate program preceding our graduate school. Or more accurately, our kindergarten to multiple post doctoral projects. We have an exciting future ahead!
But that does not mean our time here is not important. It is. Every small step, growing in discipline, commitment, and perseverance contributes to a character that fits us for our future work. We are officers in an alliance of unfallen worlds right now. And if faithful, in time, we will be promoted to the position of ambassador to the universe.
Furthermore, our efforts in this training school count! Not only is the battle around us real, but the destinies of friends and family often hang in the balance. Our personal example, combined with personal effort, may just make an eternal difference.
As agents of heaven now, we can check in daily with headquarters through prayer and the study of Scripture. And if Spirit-led, we'll be sure to get daily communication back: instruction and training, assignments and objectives. And we can spend our lives in the thrill of fulfilling those missions. Each day we can go on God's errands, happy to be a member of the winning team.
ConclusionAs you reflect on your life, refuse to be caught up in the day to day details that that bog us down. We were not created for a mundane, pointless existence. No, we were called to a life of adventure. A life of mission and purpose. We are heroes on a daring and difficult journey. A journey in discipleshp. We're chasing after a glorious destiny.
“We were not created for a mundane, pointless existence. No, we were called to a life of adventure.”
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Reflect on these powerful truths now and then. Allow them to seep into your identity, to shape your reality, to transform your life. We are called to be valiant champions (Psalms 60:12Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.). Mighty men and women, that "know their God", who are "strong, and do exploits," teaching many (Daniel 11:32-3332 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. 33 And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.). Through Christ, we can be, and must be, "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.).
May these truths inspire you to climb higher in your walk with God!
CommentsDo the grand mysteries of the Bible motivate and inspire you? What do you do to weave these themes into your daily life? What role does heaven play in your life here and now? Share a comment below.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/16/23 - Coach|
|I love your enthusiasm and your creative imagination Sam. I feel the same way. And can't wait to discover all the wonderful things God has created on all these different worlds. It is going to be amazing!
But first we have the Hero's Journey we have to pass through. So let's be faithful, to the end!
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/22/23 - Coach|
|Amen Merilyn! Years later this article still thrills me. And this memo comes from a sermon many years prior. It never gets old...|
|Posted by Merilyn Aveling-Rowe on 02/21/23|
|They do! Inspire me. Wow. A life of adventure. Promised not just for me, but all who believe!
Agents of Heaven: yes!
Shepherds for lost sheep: yes!
Thanks Dan. Holly yes, it is a thrilling post!
|Posted by Holly Dilts on 02/11/23|
|No wonder this is an all-time favorite Pastor Dan. It truly is a thrilling post! May we all keep our eyes on the big picture and may we also have our eyes opened II Kings 6:17And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. to the spiritual world all around us.|
|Posted by Tev Gray on 02/11/23|
|What an exciting picture you paint Dan ! It paints a picture of how much God loves us. John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sooooo love the world....|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/26/23 - Coach|
|Yes, let's be excited while we wait, and may the wait not be all that long. :) Nice post Carlota!|
|Posted by Zewdi Isaac Enbom on 01/24/23|
|Dan That is true, without the challenge we wouldn't have understood the necessity to be steadfast in our journey.|
|Posted by Zewdi Isaac Enbom on 01/22/23|
|Dan As soon as we totally surrender our heart and mind to be His agent, here on earth, the Holy Spirit starts to mould us to to be fit for Heaven. The ride is not going to be smooth, but we shouldn't despair, it is part of the fierce spiritual warfare. We should just stay focused on our journey, feeding on His Word, day after day without losing heart. Praying: Ephesians 3:16,20That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; . . . Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,.|
|Posted by Linda Johnson on 01/19/23|
|"Through it all we have come to trust in Jesus; we have come to trust in God," as the song goes. As Paul states it in Romans 8:37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. "We are more than conquerors in Him who loves us," and gave His life for us. We are in a great war, but no need to fear, as we keep Him near, for our Captain is the Lord God Almighty.|
|Posted by Barbara E. LaRose on 01/19/23|
|Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that we are in a cosmic war. I just get caught up into the day to day tasks. But sometimes things happen in our lives or the lives of those around us or the news and immediately you are thrown into the reality that this world is full of sin and sinners. We’re all in this, not by choice, like it or not. I’m thankful for the Bible giving us pictures of what is to come and how sun will never rise up again. Nahum 1:9What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time. is a verse I’ve been memorizing and am so thankful for. I pray that Hod will help me to not be caught up in the mundane life a pointless existence. I want to be called to a life of mission one that is filled with adventure. Let me be an agent for Jesus.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/19/23 - Coach|
|That's what I look forward to also Annalise, to one day be promoted to the position of ambassador to the stars! Can't wait...|
|Posted by Annalise Felkel on 01/19/23|
|I want to be faithful now as an Agent and Ambassador of Heaven, so that I can also one day be God's Ambassador to unfallen world's.
I pray that God will help my family to be inspired to check out FAST Missions.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/18/23 - Coach|
|I'm ready for this experiment to come to a close too Doug! Though there are positive experiments going on too.
In II Corinthians 9:13Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; for example, we read how God is running an experiment to demonstrate He can support His work around the world through the generosity of His people. Every time we give, we provide lab data. Powerful thought, really...
|Posted by Doug Schoch on 01/16/23 - Coach|
|Galatians 6:9And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. KJV And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Revelation 22:20He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. KJV He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Hebrews 11:10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. KJV For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Looking for the end of this sin experiment. Waiting for the very soon coming of our Lord.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/11/22 - Coach|
|Glad that was encouraging to you Cyndie. Eternal life, and with it, a great life adventure, does begin here and now. It continues in heaven, but it doesn't start there.|
|Posted by Cyndie Park on 12/11/22|
|Louise great analogy! I appreciate this article and learn new things everyday. It is so very easy to get bogged down with “worries” or “ busyness” of the day to day tasks. I pray that we will spend more time with God and less time in our heads fretting about what, how or why we do what we do. Instead, live our adventure with Jesus at the helm.
Also eternal life starts when we believe, not far into the future. Knowing Jesus is life eternal. John 17:3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.. We have it by knowing Him. Praise God!
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/10/22 - Coach|
|Nice point Louise. Of course, I was thinking antibodies in terms of preventing reinfection. We're right in the middle of a pretty bad outbreak right now, but I guess that takes antibodies too...|
|Posted by Louise P on 12/10/22|
|‘We will be antibodies to the universe that serve to prevent a second infection with the virus of sin.’ I’d like to be an antibody on earth right now!|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/08/22 - Coach|
|This is one of my favorite articles actually. Love that way it just inspires and motivates me. Glad it did the same for you Barbara.
Your last sentence about this being a heavy weight reminded me of II Corinthians 4:17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;, which describes our calling as "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory". How cool is that?
|Posted by Dan Vis on 12/01/22 - Coach|
|Amen! I agree completely Deanne. Thinking about heaven, and that we can live linked with the hosts of heaven here in the world is an amazing thought. Definitely brings great gladness to me!|
|Posted by Deanne Reinke on 11/30/22|
|makes me think of the text: we are not citizens here.Philippians 3:20For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ::
Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
to keep HEAVEN in my thoughts gives me a GREAT HOPE! something wonderful to look forward to. It keeps me SURE that the troubles of this world are worth the REWARD!
|Posted by Dan Vis on 08/05/20 - Coach|
|I love the enthusiasm in your post JoAnn. That's exactly how I feel every time I dwell on these truths. My heart just sings out with excitement! So important to reflect on this as often as we can!|
|Posted by JoAnn Moon on 08/04/20|
|Thank you for reminding me that we are on a grand adventure. I realize I have been looking at challenges as burdensome, but when I remember that I am a mighty soldier of God and in His power I will have victory I feel encouraged and excited to live this adventure with God. Romans 8:32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? God has freely given us all things.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 05/22/20 - Coach|
|Amen Frances! I know I can't wait for heaven! Can't come soon enough. :)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/16/20 - Coach|
|Personally, I think that's probably my favorite part of the whole memo. Maybe my favorite part of the whole Christian life! Thanks for highlighting that Thea!|
|Posted by Jeannie Marcoux on 02/10/20|
|Recently, the elders and their wives (includes me) have been engaged in active spiritual warfare regarding a situation at church. It has required nights of prayer, many hours of writing and engaging together for wisdom and seeking God together for what to do. Time has been spent studying the Word and writing letters, sending out emails to counter lies regarding false teaching, and phone calls to warn our members. The great controversy has been up close and personal, and tiring. Yet the Lord is empowering us with energy and is raising a banner through our efforts against the flood of the enemy. It has brought our members closer together.
I am struck after reading this memo of the work of angels that often we do not see, as they fight in constant spiritual warfare. Their work profits us with an atmosphere of joy and peace. Unfortunately, we often feel complacent in our peace, and not alert to the reality of the snares Satan is setting up for our feet. I am so thankful for the angels who are working tirelessly on our behalf, and for the Word of God that preps us ahead of time for any of Satan’s traps. Prayer opens channels of light and wisdom from the throne of God to guide us in every emergency. And in unity with one another, we gain strength and counsel.
Thank you for Psalms 60:12Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies., it is going into my verse pack today.
“Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.”
|Posted by Dan Vis on 08/30/19 - Coach|
|Agreed Michael. It's an amazing theme to inspire poets and speakers though! :)|
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