By Fannie B. James

Every one wishes to go to heaven. Why? Because it is generally believed there will be no more sorrow, suffering, or pain, and that there we shall have all that our hearts desire.

Some long for heaven because they want rest. Others look forward to having no more poverty, want, or sickness. Almost everyone believes that there will be no more trials in heaven, that in heaven dear ones will be reunited, hearts will cease to ache and love will fill all, for God will be all presence and power there.

Another reason that has made many seek heaven is the fear that they will be banished forever to a place of misery, if they do not reach heaven. The fear of this place of torment has driven many to try to gain heaven; this seems a very poor motive indeed.

What do you think of a child obeying its mother for fear of punishment? We all understand how much more loving and less selfish is the child who is obedient from love, rather than from fear. How much more loving it is to do good because it is right, than for any thought of reward.

Paul says, "God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind." This shows that God does not wish us to be afraid of anything--He never made anything that we need fear. God intends us to be drawn to Him by love only. The sound mind has no fear.

The idea of heaven as a condition of perfect satisfaction is indeed true. John says of it, "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain." (Revelation 21:4)

We see then what heaven is. People have been right in the idea that heaven is happiness, peace, love, and rest, because God's presence fills it; but the question is, where is this heaven and how shall we reach it?

A place has little to do with happiness or peace. Some people live in palaces with great splendor around them and yet are miserable in their hearts, while others live in humble cottages and are happy. This shows that happiness must be in the heart, within us, or else we cannot be happy anywhere.

Jesus said,"The kingdom of God is within you. The kingom of heaven is at hand". Our happiness or unhappiness--our heaven or our hell--is felt in our own hearts before it is found anywhere else.

Where is heaven? Wherever God is. God in my heart, in my every thought, makes me know heaven; without God in my heart I cannot have heaven or happiness, here or hereafter.

What makes heaven? God's presence. Where is this Presence? Everywhere. There is no place where God is not, so there can be no place where heaven is not.

One of the first things we learn in Truth is that a place cannot make our heaven or its opposite; that heaven is not somewhere we may go and find happiness waiting for us, but that our happiness is known and felt as we open our thoughts to the presence of God.

This we may do at any moment or in any place. Here and now we may begin to know that we live in heaven, for we live in God's presence.

To recognize your heavenly life now, say very carefully, as you do in prayer, these words:

My happiness is within me.

My peace and my joy are from God; I have God in my heart to make me happy.

My health and all my good is in God; the kingdom of God is within me.

I will let the truth of God's presence keep my thought pure; I shall find my perfect heaven here and now.

I love to think of God's presence within and all around me, for this is Truth.

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