Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

something to help you laugh and think about life with Christ

I just knowd it! — February 8, 2023

I just knowd it!

I recently had a guy ask me a perplexing question: “Hey are you from Louisiana?”  “What!”  I asked, “Why you say dat?”

I concede that my accent is hard to figure.  I am an Ohioan who has lived in Texas for 40 years.  When I return to Ohio, and they get all rankled when I refer to them as, “ya’ll” and they wag their heads when I say “I knowd he et my “chicken fried steak.”   And they are relieved when I get in the car and say, “I’m fixin’ to go to the house.”

But when a Texan hears me speak, he says, “Where you from boy?”   When I ask for a bottle of pop – he wants to pop me. 

My accent may defy description – but Louisiana?  Makes me madder than a crawfish without a bayou!

Oh well, ultimately, it’s not where you are from that matters, but where you are going!

Where are we going?   Time moves forward whether we like it or not, and it sweeps us along with it.  So, what is our destination?  

Do we ever get in the car and say, “I don’t know where I’m going!”  OK sometimes I say that but that’s because I am old.  But, generally speaking, we don’t turn the key without having a destination in mind. 

The apostle John provided a helpful map for one particular spot.

He was writing to his spiritual “children” – those people that he had mentored and loved. In his letter, he taught them about Jesus and the faith, and how to love one another, and other themes that help a Christian understand how to live.

As he wound down his letter, he added this amazing gem of truth.  He wrote, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  – 1 John 5:13

Now let’s make sure we get this.  He started with “I have written these things….”  What things?  All the spiritually affirming truths in chapters 1 through 5.

It was directed to “…you who believe in the name of the Son of God….”  He was addressing those who had placed their faith in Jesus as their Savior.   They were not relying on their own efforts or merit.  Their confidence wasn’t based on their church membership or attendance.  They relied solely on what Jesus had accomplished for them at the cross. 

His purpose was revealed in the last phrase, “…that you may know that you have eternal life.”  It isn’t always that you find the words “know” and “eternal life” in the same sentence.  And yet John says that the one who had put their hope in Christ has eternal life, and they can know and be assured of it in this life. 

Some might say, “Well, No one knows what know means.”

I get you.  Someone may say, “I know Fred.”  But in reality, Fred is more of an acquaintance to that person.  They don’t really and truly know him.  There is a word for that kind of knowing in the Greek New Testament.  It is “ginosko.” 

But John uses a very different word in his letter.  It is “oida” which refers to a deep, full, true understanding of a person or an issue.  This is a convinced kind of knowing. 

So, John tells us that the person who has trusted Christ should have a deep down, in the pit of their stomach, sure as shootin’ assurance that heaven is in their future.

Ultimately, it’s not where you are from that matters, but where you are going!  If you have trusted Jesus – you are going to heaven!  I just knowd it.

A PRAYER: Thank you God for helping me truly and deeply know that I will be with you when this life has been exhausted.

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

questions of heaven — September 29, 2021

questions of heaven

My wife loves the find-a-friend app on her phone.  It utilizes GPS to help us pinpoint each other’s location.   This means I can no longer sneak off to the Dairy Queen for a Blizzard without her knowing it. 

This is a little annoying, but there are benefits.

If I have my phone with me when I die, I will still be able to track how often she goes to Wal-Mart AND she will be the first to know the exact location of heaven!


– So, do we actually know where heaven is?

Scripture speaks of it as being up.  Jesus ascended to heaven. (Eph. 4:10) When He returns Paul says, “the Lord himself will come down from heaven…” (1 Thess. 4:16) The Bible actually speaks of three heavens.  The first is the atmosphere, the second is the space habitat of the planets and stars and according to Paul, if you could go beyond that you’d find the heaven of God.  (2 Corinthians 12:2)

Location is but one of many questions we have about heaven.  Another one…

– Are there animals in heaven? 

Yes.  At least one.  When Jesus returns for us, He will be riding on a white horse.  Revelation 19:11 says, “Then I saw heaven opened and there came a white horse!”

– Do the people there know what’s happening down here? 

Possibly!  According to Hebrews 12, those saints who have died, such as Abraham, David and Grandma are watching from heaven as the rest of us run our race.   We can’t speak with them nor they with us – but it appears they are aware and are rooting us on.  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

– Will we recognize one another? 

Probably so.  When Moses and Elijah left heaven to meet with Jesus at His transfiguration, they could be distinguished from each other.  (Luke 8:28-30)

– Can you leave once you get there? 

You wouldn’t want to.  Again, there was that unusual time when the Father sent Moses and Elijah from heaven to rendezvous with Jesus on the earth at His transfiguration.   If that had been me, and I had been away for a while, I would have headed for Pizza King for a pepperoni and mushroom.   

But the record indicates that they wanted to get back to heaven as soon as possible. (Luke 8:33 & 36)  You probably would too.  After all the Scripture says, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”  (2 Corinthians 2:9)

We have a plethora of questions about heaven, but none is more important than this…

– Can I be sure that I am going?

Yes! The Apostle John passed on these words, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” – 1 John 5:13

John wrote to those who believed in the name of the Son of God.  To believe in Jesus is to understand that He is the divine, eternal Son of God who took flesh upon Himself so that He would be capable of suffering an execution on the cross that was due to you and me.  He paid our debt of sin that we might be debt free.  His resurrection is the proof that the debt was satisfied.

To believe is to commit ourselves to Him.   When we’ve done that – we can be positively sure that heaven is ours. It’s a solemn promise from God.

Once we are born, we become eternal entities – never to cease to exist.  We can choose however, where and how we will spend eternity.  Just two options according to John 3:16, God gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” One more question about heaven.

– Why not choose it for yourself?

A PRAYER: Lord, please hear the prayer of those who are ready to commit themselves to You.

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com.  If you’d like to discuss this, please contact me.  And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Scripture references are from the NETBible®

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