Throughout my life I have thought about reverse engineering my life. I understood this concept long before I heard this term. I think it's intrinsic to Christianity. What I mean by reverse engineering my life is to look at the last day of my life and work backwards. It's even in the name of this blog... everything I do is focused around this very thought. There is a specific reason for this focus...it's not for the last day of this life. It's so that my life doesn't simply pass me by. It's so that I live with purpose. That purpose to the very reason I was created to be here in the first place...to bring honour, glory, blessing, and praise to my Creator.
And so I look at this. I ask questions like:
What do I want my last day to look like...no matter when it arrives?
What I need to do starting today to get to that place on the last day?
This kind of thinking provides great clarity in decision making...it clarifies the details.
Do you know that this type of thinking is not our cultural norm anymore? Do you know why? Because we have taken eternity out of our dialogue. So most people have the philosophy of "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die."
This is the first time in most of the earth's history that this is so.
As I have mentioned in a previous post, I read the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn. I was listening to the first lecture he gave, at Cornell University, yesterday. It is an hour long and it is so good that the time flies by lickety-split. Below are some of the quotes he uses in that lecture:
C.S. Lewis said, in his book, The Weight of Glory,
"At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing , we shall get it."
The Valley of Vision: Puritan Prayers, from the 17th and 18th century has a prayer that says
"O Lord, I live as a fish in a vessel of water, only enough to keep me alive, but in heaven I shall swim in the ocean.Here I have a little air in me to keep me breathing, but there I shall have sweet and fresh gales; Here I have a beam of sun to lighten my darkness, a warm ray to keep me from freezing; yonder I shall live in warmth and light for ever.Quicken my hunger and thirst after the realm above."
Cyprian in AD 240 said
"Let us greet the day which assigns each of us to our own home, which snatches us from this place and sets us free from the snares of the world and restores us to the paradise and the kingdom. Anyone who has been in foreign lands longs to return to his own native land...we regard paradise as our native land."
2 Corinthians 5:6, 8 says,
"So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord...Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
Hebrews 11:13-19 NLT says,
"All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."
Randy Alcorn writes in his book Heaven
"Nothing is more often misdiagnosed than our homesickness for heaven. We think that what we want is sex, drugs, alcohol, a new job, a raise, a doctorate, a spouse, a plasma television, a new car, a cabin in the woods, a condo at the beach. But what we really want is the person we were made for, Jesus, and the place we were made for, heaven.Nothing less can satisfy us."
Joni Eareckson Tada writes in her book Heaven: Your Real Home,
"When a Christian realizes his citizenship is in Heaven, he begins acting as a responsible citizen on earth. He invests wisely in relationships because he knows they're eternal. His conversations, goals and motives become pure and honest because he realizes these will have a bearing on everlasting reward. He gives generously of time, money, and talent because he's laying up treasure for eternity. He spreads the good news of Christ because he longs to fill Heaven's ranks with his friends and neighbours. All this serves the pilgrim well not only in heaven, but on earth; for it serves everyone around him."
A.W. Tozer says in his essay The World to Come,
"Let no one apologize for the powerful emphasis Christianity lays upon the doctrine of the world to come. Right there lies its immense superiority to everything else within the whole sphere to human thought and experience. When Christ arose from death and ascended in to heaven He established forever three important facts; namely that this world has been condemned to ultimate dissolution, that the human spirit persists beyond the grave and that there is indeed a world to come. The church is constantly being tempted to accept this world (as it now is) as her home, and sometimes she has listened to the blandishments of those who would woo her away and use her for their own ends. But if she is wise she will consider that she stands in the valley between the mountain peaks of eternity past and eternity to come. The past is gone forever and the present is passing as swift as the shadow of the sun dial of Ahaz. Even if the earth should continue on a million years, not one of us could stay to enjoy it. We do well to think of the long tomorrow."
Charles Spurgeon said
"To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes."
John 14:1-3 says
"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."
In The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis he says,
"Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakeable remains."
David said in Palm 39:4-5,
“O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you.Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!"
James 4:14 says
"yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."
The apostle Paul said as he is waiting to be beheaded by the command of Nero 2 Timothy 4:6-8,
"...the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing."
Aristides (someone assessing Christians not as one who believed the same), AD 125 said
"If any righteous man among the Christians passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God, and they escort his body with songs and thanksgiving as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby."
F.B. Meyer a few days before his death, wrote to a friends,
"I have just heard, to my great surprise, that I have but a few days to live. It may be that before this reaches you, I shall have entered the palace. Don;t trouble to write. We shall meet in the morning."
Bede the Venerable in AD 700, said in his All Saints Day Sermon,
"A great multitude of dear ones is there expecting us; a vast and mighty crowd of parents, brothers and children, secure now for their own safety, anxious yet for our salvation, long that we may come to their right and embrace them, to that joy which will be common to us and to them."
Isaiah 25: 7-8 says,
"And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations.8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken."