John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

His heart is fully vested in His creation. Jesus was there when the stars and the moons were put into place. He knows the inner workings of the universe. He knows all the intimate details of star systems, galaxies, our home turf, the Milky Way, and specifically, how planet Earth was put together, how plant life came to be, how the animals were created and finally, how the first human beings were introduced. He was there. As Builder and Creator, Jesus is attached to everything He has laid hands on, and His fingerprints are all over creation.

Then the Creator became flesh and lived among us; born into this world, the Son of God became Son of Man. Incidentally the Builder of the universe was born into a carpenter’s family. Growing up under Joseph’s tutelage, they must have spent a lot of time in the wood shop. They worked with their hands to build things out of wood. Jesus had always been a builder, but when God became man, He came with the mission to restore what He had previously built.

Creation suffered a mortal blow; death crept into His beautiful and perfect creation. But, death was not supposed to have the last word in the matter. At age 30, Jesus began His public ministry, preaching about the kingdom of God. He began to heal the sick, wake up the dead and spread God’s compassion everywhere He went.

The night before His death Jesus talked to His closest friends, His disciples. He shared with them that He was going back to the Father. His disciples were deeply disturbed and unsettled. How could they live a single day without Jesus?  Jesus told them (John 14:1):

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

Nothing seemed to make sense to His disciples. How could Jesus save them if He were to leave them the very next day?

It was a hard thing to understand. As it turned out, Jesus did not leave them to their own devices. He left them with God’s Spirit. And to this day the Spirit of God has been working all around the globe to guide people’s hearts towards the truth.

Jesus left planet Earth to reunite with the Father. He also left to build places for people in Heaven, in preparation for their home coming. Passionate as He is about building, we can be sure that His love is carved into the very structures He is working on. We will see them – handcrafted homes in Heaven, custom made by Jesus for the people who believe in Him. This is what He says to you and me (John 14:1-2):

“You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

John 14:6: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

Jesus has a heart-to-heart talk with His disciples on the evening before His death. He is mapping out the future for them, encouraging them to stay on course and giving them a little sneak peek of heaven. He says that there is plenty of room up there; He is preparing a place for them, and, when everything is ready, Jesus will personally welcome them. Heaven is a real place, and there is an unmistakable way that leads there. Jesus is confident that His disciples know the way; His disciples on the other hand – not so much. Here is a snippet of the unfolding conversation between Jesus and His disciples (John 14:4-5 The Living Bible):

(Jesus said) “And you know where I am going and how to get there.”

 “No, we don’t,” Thomas said. “We haven’t any idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

This is when Jesus utters His famous statement, which precisely answers the question at hand (John 14:6):

“I am the way and the truth and the life.”

How come that Jesus was so confident while His disciples apparently were not? Despite all our discoveries and advancements, human nature has not changed very much; still today, truth can walk right in front of us while going completely unnoticed.

God is mysterious. The key to unlocking the mystery is finding out who Jesus is. Jesus is more than an inspirational preacher. He represents our road-map to heaven. We study this road-map by getting acquainted with Jesus and looking at His way of life. His way of life is basically love in action – no broken life goes unnoticed.  Jesus loves indiscriminately, with total abandon, and no strings attached.

We live in God’s kingdom in the here and now when we go about our business with Jesus on our side. Living His way brings heaven down. In a sense we have arrived and are already home.

“I’ve been lost in my own place, and I’m gettin’ weary
How far is heaven?
And I know that I need to change my ways of livin’
How far is heaven?”  

 Songwriters: Henry Garza / Joey Garza / Ringo Garza

Romans 8:37: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us”

The book of Joshua tells the story of Israel’s desert tribes conquering their nation’s territory, their future homeland. Taking possession of the Promised Land, Caleb from the tribe of Judah showed remarkable boldness. Joseph’s tribes on the other hand – not so much! In a meeting the two tribes of Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim) came to their leader Joshua complaining. Reportedly, they had the following dialogue (Joshua 17:14-15):

Tribes of Joseph: “Why have you given us only one portion of land as our homeland when the Lord has blessed us with so many people?” [or: “We’re entitled to more acreage, why do you cut us short?”]

Joshua: “If there are so many of you, and if the hill country of Ephraim is not large enough for you, clear out land for yourselves in the forest where the Perizzites and Rephaites live.” [or: “People of Joseph get going! You’ve got a job to do!”]

In the end, it didn’t look like the tribes of Joseph were very happy with Joshua’s reply. But then there was the tribe of Judah with an entirely different take on the situation. Judah’s delegation led by Caleb requested a certain hill country, which happened to be the home-turf of giants. Here is a snippet of the conversation Caleb from the tribe of Judah had with Joshua (Joshua 14:12):

Caleb said: “So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me.  You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak [aka giants] living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.”

Spoken like a true conqueror! There is a noticeable difference between the whining tribes of Joseph and the bold lion-tribe of Judah.

God generously pours out His gifts on His children. He has gifted us with many talents, showered us with His kind mercies giving us a new chance every time we mess up; and while God’s love is absolutely free and not for sale, He wants us to fight for the good things He holds in store for us. As much as God is passionate about us He also likes to see our passion for Him in our daily endeavors. We want to embrace the adventure God puts in our way. Remember Caleb’s spirit. We can do it! If God is for us, who can be against us? Heaven is waiting. What are we waiting for?

“Heaven is waiting just past the horizon just over the mesas across the great divide and faith is blazing this trail that I ride on up this mountain I’m praying I have the strength to climb – Heaven is waiting” (Rich Mullins & Mitch McVicker)