I was thinking the other morning, “What would heaven be like?” One of the things that came to mind was that I would have the freedom to walk anywhere I wanted without restriction or fear. I was thinking in terms of landscape. I see a dirt road and wonder what’s down that way and want to see. I see pictures of woods and rivers from a high place and picture myself there walking about. But then I think about, well, whose property that might be, that it’s private and I’m not allowed on it. There is a barrier of some sort between me and there. All that land out there and I’m not allowed to just take a walk in and look if I want to. I get a little resentful. When my brothers and I were younger we lived in Indianapolis in a neighborhood where houses lined both sides of the streets there. And many of the homes had hedges planted along the boundary of the lot, side and front and a chain link fence in the back yard along the property line. And in your own yard you knew everything on the inside of the hedge and fence was yours and no one was allowed to cross those lines without your permission, no one could do anything in or to your yard unless you allowed it. And the same held true for you neighbors and their yards. So my brothers and I grew up with on the one hand, a desire to go anywhere we wanted but on the other hand, knowing that that wasn’t always possible, at least, not without permission. And that permission was dependent on motive, both ours and whoever the outsider might be. We certainly wouldn’t let someone in if we felt they meant to do damage or harm or disturb our peace. On the other hand those who benefit or enrich us in some way we would welcome, like the milk man, or plumber, Grandpa or our good friend from down the street. And they walked from the sidewalk outside, through a gate or an opening in the hedge onto the sidewalk in our yard, up to our front porch. Strangers we gave a chance to make their business known then either invited them to finish it or politely, requested they leave. We seem to have a problem in this country with applying to our national home, the physical nation in which we live, the same control and protection we apply to our personal homes. I don’t understand why this is. We aren’t trying to be hermits. We allow and welcome visitors, we are a refuge protecting those who fear for their lives because of oppression and we allow for those who want to become one of us to do so. But these things are balanced against the welfare and safety of our own family first. That is our first priority. So there are boundaries manifested in the form of barriers of all kinds and that is wise. It’s easy to set barriers into place to control and keep track of who comes and goes but what worries me is that we may think this will solve social ills that exist because of the sinfulness of man’s heart. Evil will penetrate any barrier if on the other side is a market, a demand for it or escape from punishment for it. Barriers may slow the influx but they don’t stop it. So we will continue to push and buy drugs, experience destruction of life and property, traffic in human slavery of all kinds right here in this country, right here in our house even with the walls and laws. “The world’s businessmen weep and mourn over her (Bavel), because no one is buying their merchandise any more - stocks of gold and silver, gems and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, all rare woods,…cinnamon, cardamom, incense…flour , grain, cattle,…chariots…and bodies-and people’s souls.” Revelation 18:11-13 CJB. Look around. Are we not consumed with buying and selling? And what is it we desire? We seek riches in gold and gems, desire fine clothing, spices and cuisine of great price to satisfy the tongue, weapons of war and power, and what else? And the bodies of and the souls of our fellow human beings for warped pleasure. We live in Bavel and it is the whole wide world. And every experiment of man’s from the American, to the Latin American, to the European to the Russian and African, to the middle east, all present and past have come and gone and all have failed or are failing, to provide the greatness or utopia they claimed would be. The walls round about us are built high and strong with the concrete and steel and electronic seeing eyes of our pride and arrogance and our bondage to pleasure of our minds and bodies. “My people, come out of her! So that you will not share in her sins…” Revelation 18:4 CJB. The only way to “come out…” is to have a change of heart. And the only way to have a change of heart is to acknowledge and surrender, to fall in love with the “…child born unto us, the Son given, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, the increase of Whose government and peace, there will be no end to…” (From Isaiah 9:6-7 AKJV). Then we are allowed, ushered into even, Jehovah God’s kingdom safe from the destruction that will be brought against the world orders of men. Then the walls and fences of God completely protect and keep safe. “No time to grieve Lord, I can’t shed a tear… With each day I keep drawing near… In a land where time stands still, no fear of pain, or death’s dark chill… Ever since I heard Your good good news… I’ve got no more time to sing life’s blues There is a bridge I’m crossing over…someday…” * There was a wall that imprisoned but does so no more, even today. Father, please… create in us a heart like Yours, a heart prone to being and doing Your goodness and rejecting evil so that even though evils may exist and confront us, there will be nothing there for them to thrive and prosper in. Give us the words and actions of great warriors against the wrongs of this world, visibly and audibly, in the face of the evil one and those under his influence. Thank You Abba for Your world to come in which we can walk freely, without restriction or fear, experience and be a part of its beauty and Yours. May our desire be to lift You up to honor and glorify. In Yeshua’s name we pray, Amen. May God’s love be in us all. Elder. *Words rearranged from the song “There Is A Bridge” sung by Stephen Hill.