Monthly Archives: January 2016


Teasers in Bible

Years ago a friend received an Emmy for his work on News Teasers. News teasers are those few-second sound bites that tell you what is ahead in the news. Teasers tell only enough of the story to catch  your attention. Recently I heard the news teaser, “Police arrest father for taking away daughter’s cell phone.” Of course during the time between the teaser and the full news story I imagined several scenarios, but the true story was about an ex-wife who wanted to cause problems for her former husband.

The Word of God only gives us “teasers” about what heaven will be like but through the millennia we have filled in the story with our own ideas. Innumerable songs, poems, paintings, books, and sermons have described our ideas of heaven. A few people have claimed to see inside the portals, but their stories still fall within the category of “teasers.” The Apostle John had glimpses into heaven but could not adequately describe it. He had to resort to “it was like” descriptions and compare it to something he had seen on earth.

Some, but not all, of the “teasers” include:

Christ has prepared a dwelling place for us
We will have an eternal body
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain
The capital city – the New Jerusalem
      Is constructed of precious stones
      The gates to the city are made of pearl
      The main street is made of pure gold
      A river of life flows through the city
There will be a great feast – the wedding supper of the Lamb
There will be angels and strange creatures
There will be music and musical instruments
There will be thundering worship and praise

All we have are the “teasers” about heaven – all else is based on our imaginings or hopes. No matter what we think about heaven, our imaginations fall short of what we will find.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

(Isaiah 55:9, John 14:2;  Revelation 4:7-8, 15:2-3, 19:6-9, 21:27)

Martha Hawn VanCise©2016



Monday Resolutions

Making resolutions

We usually think of the new year as a time of resolutions: exercise more, eat healthier, read the Bible daily, take time to pray, spend more time with family. Some people are able to stick to their resolutions and form new habits but most of us break our resolutions within ten days. We’ve failed so many times that we’ve developed “an all or nothing” attitude. As soon as we fail we abandon our resolutions.

Perhaps a better idea is to make New Week resolutions. Yes, I’ve restarted these disciplines on thousands of Mondays but had I not restarted these disciplines on thousands of Mondays I would now be an isolated 500 pound woman, glued to a couch, surrounded by empty chip and cookie bags, and believing God was going to widen the pearly gates to let me squeeze through.

Yes, no matter how good my intentions I yield to the call of Dove chocolate and Ben and Jerry’s All But the (Kitchen Sink) Brownies ice cream, and I have never read every page of a daily devotional book (except Jesus Calling.)

Forget the yearly resolutions. Focus on weekly resolutions. Even a week with 70% success is better than not trying at all.

The Apostle Paul gives us guidance in how to handle resolutions to grow in spiritual life. This same attitude of perseverance can also help us with  resolutions for 2016.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. Philippians 3: 14-16 (The Message). 

Martha Hawn VanCise ©2016
Photo: Canstock