The Believer’s Welcome in Heaven – Genesis 49:33

While watching a reality show with my husband, one of the contestants gave me a glimpse of what our entry into heaven might be like.

As he gripped his walking stick and described his struggles with hunger and weight loss, a woman approached from behind. She was there to congratulate him for being the final contestant in that season of Alone.

He’d been away from his family for weeks, and he looked worn and thin and spent. But that was a stark contrast to the brightness in his appearance moments later as he realized his wife stood by his side.

I won’t tell you which season of Alone I’m describing, in case you haven’t watched it yet, but as he encircled her in his arms and absorbed the reality of her presence, he said,

“You’re here!”

With a smile on her face, she searched his eyes and announced, “You won!” But it was like he didn’t hear her.

When interviewed later, the contestant said he didn’t process the fact he’d won the competition until hours later. It seems winning wasn’t important in those first moments with the woman he loved. Though enduring the separation and starvation to provide for his family, the prize money clearly wasn’t what his soul had hungered for.

And though the wilderness was rich with beauty and adventure, the one he loved and endured the hardships for was miles away. He struggled with his longing for her.

When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.”

Genesis 49:33 ESV

Can you imagine what it will be like when we leave this life as we know it, and really see God? Will we be “gathered” by the ones we love, like the Alone contestant was?

I like imagining that I am, like Jacob, being gathered with my loved ones after finishing my earthly business, tucking my feet under my blanket, and arriving at my true home.

And I tell you [learn from this], make friends for yourselves [for eternity] . . . so . . .they will welcome you into the eternal dwellings.”

Luke 16:9 AMP

I hope I never forget the look on the young man’s face when he turned and saw his wife. It showed a mixture of sorrow that he’d gone so long without her, and relief that he could now fully enjoy being with her. His ordeal was over.

In 2019, when my mother was days away from taking her final breath, she awoke and remarked, “Oh, I’m still here.” She seemed sincerely disappointed.

Can you imagine her relief when she finally did wake up to find herself gathered to people who were probably shouting,

“You’re here!”

I definitely want to see a replay of that scene.

Kathy Sheldon Davis

The Message That Wasn’t From God – Lamentations 3:22-23

My heart was warmed when I read the Verse of the Day in my inbox, a personal message from God. At least, that’s what I thought it was.

“All the saints greet you.”

2 Corinthians 13:13 ESV

How sweet that God arranged that particular scripture to come to my inbox the day after my birthday. I’d been responding to greetings from people far and wide, thanking them for visiting, sending texts or leaving messages on social media. So the verse was true—many saints were greeting me.

Then it hit me, or I guess you could say, wisdom kicked in. Come on, Kathy, anyone on the internet can see it’s your special day. My emotions slumped. The verse may not have been sent directly by God after all.

I wanted to gripe, but the truth is, I am a blessed woman. And there really are non-auto-generated communications that come my way from friendly people most every day.

But even if they didn’t, God’s mercy greets me without fail every. single. morning.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

So yes, there is a good reason for me to feel loved. Because God’s mercy is extended toward me, I’m not consumed by anything in this world, including my sin. Thank you, Jesus!

So, whether or not “all the saints” acknowledge me, I can proceed with my birthday dance of thanksgiving. Great is his faithfulness!

Kathy Sheldon Davis

A Prayer for Safety – Psalm 16

Laurie, my friend for more than four decades and my only bridesmaid who wasn’t a family member, easily tucks into the rhythm of my life when we’re together.

She sat with me in Max Porter’s last week, holding a hot drink in one hand and sweeping the air with the other as we caught up on our families’ news. Laurie is a missionary to Uganda, and our discussion led us to her personal safety when she’s away.

My mistake

At one point I harped on a conclusion I’d made from Scripture, that the apostles never prayed for God to keep them safe.

We remembered that in their letters they asked their readers to pray they would be bold in their speaking about Jesus, but never that they’d stay safe. They gave accounts of harrowing experiences as they traveled and preached, and seemed to expect risks with the job.

My presumption was, if the apostles didn’t ask God for safety, then neither should we.

How could I have been so smug, presuming I knew everything the early followers of Jesus brought before God?

The truth

Their teachings and prayers, like those of Jesus, centered on historical scriptures. Here’s an ancient psalm that asks God for safety.


Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. (italics mine)

Psalm 16:1, 8-9 ESV

Scriptural takeaway

My heart, my whole being, rejoices because he is always with me, he is my refuge, I will not be shaken, and he will not abandon me.

The truth is, safety is important. Without it, my friend and I would live in constant fear. The need for security drives us in our seeking and following of God and his ways, into his place of refuge where there is peace and safety no matter where we are on this planet.

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