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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Midnight Madness

Camping is different than it used to be. When I was a boy in Southeastern
Kentucky, my cousins and I would grab army blankets, a sack of potatoes, a
pound
of bacon and an iron skillet and head off into the woods. If a spot looked
good, we cleared off the site and unrolled our blankets. Life was simple
and
the camping was fine.

Today I just got off the phone to see about making a reservation for a camp
site
in a nearby national park. When the day arrives for our excursion, I'll run
down my check list of items to throw into the car. My load will be
considerably
more than when I was a child. But the experience begins with making sure
we'll
have a place to set up camp.

A couple of hundred miles from here another "camp" has been erected. Dozens
of
tents have popped up on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Tomorrow
tickets will be handed out so folks can watch "Midnight Madness", the first
official basketball practice for the Wildcats. These campers are making
sure
they have a spot in line to pick up those tickets. Yes, I'm a fan of UK
basketball, but I'm not that avid. And so I'll not have a seat in the arena
for
the madness.

But there is a spot I'm extremely anxious to secure. It has been on my mind
for
as long as I can remember (more than half a century!), and I plan to keep it
in
that mind as long as I'm alive. The spot I'm referring to is a place the
Bible
calls heaven.

Jesus taught us much of what we know about heaven. "In My Father's house
are
many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a
place for you" (John 14:2). That statement alone is enough to instill
strong
desire in my heart. I've seen beautiful places that people have prepared
(the
Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina comes to mind). How much more splendid
must
be the place Christ is preparing! I really want to go there.

Paul gives another reason to set our hopes on heaven: "For we know that if
our
earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house
not
made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1). I cannot deny
that my "tent" (my physical body) is wearing out. But that realization is
made
more tolerable by knowing an eternal home awaits God's people.

Securing a place in heaven takes more than wishful thinking. "But lay up
for
yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and
where
thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your
heart
will be also" (Matthew 6:20,21). Dedication and preparation are two
concepts
seen in those words of our Lord. And it begins by making heaven our
greatest
treasure.

Some who will read this are now living in their dream homes. How did this
become reality? Not by simply dreaming! Instead, it took passing on
trivial
pleasures so money could be laid aside. It required planning with
architects,
builders and interior designers to get every detail just right. There was
much
to be done if that dream home was to become a reality.

So it is with that "spot" we're hoping to enjoy throughout eternity. God
has
given us all the details on how to reserve our place (see 1 Peter 1:3-5).
Our
part of the deal is to study this Book carefully and do what must be done to
make our ultimate dream a reality.

Timothy D. Hall

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