Archive | October 2015

Heaven on a pit

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 GW  

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I look forward to each and every summer. I love the luscious fruits produced in abundance: peaches, plums, grapes, and watermelon, but sweet cherries are my absolute favorite. I love the deep red “Bing” cherries, and I buy pound after pound in the peak of their season. I also love the yellow-skinned, rosy blushed, “Queen” Rainier cherries. In spite of them being pricey, I still buy a pound or two each summer. To me they taste like “heaven on a pit”.

Speaking of heaven, I imagine some readers believe there is one and some don’t. Some may believe their loved ones are already there enjoying all that heaven has to offer, while others believe they aren’t there yet. Those of you who believe heaven exists, do you ever wonder what it’s like? I’ve heard tell that we will sit on fluffy clouds and strum harps. To me that would get boring after a while. Considering the Bible says there will be no night there, that’s a lot of daylight strumming a harp (Revelation 21:25). I’d rather learn to play a pipe organ in heaven. It’s always been my dream.

I’m always thinking about food, so I would be really disappointed if we were just wispy spirit forms and didn’t need food. But thankfully the Bible says we will have bodies, we will recognize each other, and we will get to eat! Certainly heaven’s food will be much better than anything we have ever tasted, don’t you think? What about size? Do you suppose the size of Earth’s fruits is puny compared to those in heaven? What if one sweet cherry were as big as a peach! What if apples were as big as cantaloupes! We will have lots of variety, for we are told there will be a different fruit every month. Let’s read the verse that explains it:

“On each side of the river was the tree of life, which bears fruit twelve times a year, once each month; and its leaves are for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:2 GNT). It’s hard to imagine this one tree will produce a different fruit each month of the year. It has to be a behemoth for its roots to be grounded on each side of the river of life.

The largest trees we have for comparison are: “The mighty tree in Santa Maria del Tule, which has a circumference of over 160 feet at its base, and is between 2000 and 3000 years old, making it one of the oldest living things on earth.” (delange.org) Another giant tree is the mighty General Sherman in Sequoia National Park, which “stands 275 feet (84 meters) tall, has a 102-foot (31 meters) circumference, and weighs an incredible 2.7 million pounds (1.2 million kilograms).” (livescience.com)

Besides the tree of life, what else do we know about heaven? There are a surprising number of verses that provide some details about heaven. It’s not a place of mystery or a fairy land. In fact, God holds the master key, the Bible, which unlocks secrets ~ things we might assume we can’t know until we get there. But why wait? Let’s take note of some details, and see for ourselves what is in store. It’s exciting, so let’s get going!

Q     What are some things we have on earth that we won’t have in heaven?

A    No violence (Isaiah 65:17, 18). Animals will live in harmony (Isaiah 11:6).  No more disease (Isaiah 33:24).  No more blindness or deafness (Isaiah 35:5, 6). “Babies will no longer die in infancy, and all people will live out their life span. Those who live to be a hundred will be considered young” (Isaiah 65:20 GNT).

Q     Where will we live?

A    Jesus is building mansions for us in His Father’s house (John 14: 1-3). We will build another home and plant vineyards, enjoying their fruit (Isaiah 65:21). It sounds like we will have both a city home and a country home. From what I read, we will be creating for our own pleasure.   

Q     What will the New Jerusalem be like?

A     Surrounding the city will be high walls, 66 meters or 144 cubits (Revelation 21:17) with 12 gates of solid pearl (Revelation 21:21, 12). There will be streets of pure translucent gold (Revelation 21:18, 21). The city has 12 layered foundations with jewels everywhere (Rev 21:14-19).

Q     How big will the city be?

A    The city’s foundation is 12,000 furlongs or about 375 miles on each side (Revelation 21:16). The city can easily house two billion people. In comparison Tokyo has 35 million and New York has 20 million. “A metropolis of this size in the middle of the United States would stretch from Canada to Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the California border. The New Jerusalem is all the square footage anyone could ask for. If the city consisted of different levels (we don’t know this), and if each story were a generous twelve feet high, the city could have over 600,000 stories. If they were on different levels, billions of people could occupy the New Jerusalem, with many square miles per person.” (epm.org)  

Q   What are the sources of water and light?  

A     There will be lakes and rivers, but no sea (Revelation 21:1). A river will flow from God’s throne (Revelation 21:1-2). There will be no night in heaven. “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light” (Revelation 21:23 NIV).    

Q    What might possibly be the most wondrous change ever?

A     “I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: ‘Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.’ The Enthroned continued, ‘Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate'” (Revelation 21:3-5 MSG). 

When you add up all the facts, does it make you long for heaven? Me, too!

There are those of us who mourn for a beloved child or other loved ones and long to see them again. I picture my son radiant with joy, all sadness is forever gone. As we clasp each other in a bear hug, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Heaven has come at last. The darkness of earth is forever gone. Nothing remains to mar our perfect happiness from here on. Eternal bliss . . . served with a cherry on top!

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Splashes of Blessings

~ Take the plunge into God’s sea of blessings ~

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I’ve been putting it off and putting it off. Finally I gave in. It was time to pull on my swimsuit (ugh), and head to the local YMCA for some warm water aerobics. Some of you may think this does not qualify as “real” exercise, but when the body has been allowed to “go to seed” one has to start somewhere, right? Besides I was in the good company of “Silver Foxy” ladies and felt right at home.

Most of the exercisers have been coming to the YMCA for years, and knew which exercise was coming next. Instead of listening to the instructor, they were chitchatting away in little groups. Me? I had to strain to hear instructions, for I was born with two right hands and two left feet which have minds of their own and insist on going in all directions. But I am there to corral them, and they will learn.

The little lady, in a bright purple swimsuit, standing near me in the pool, said that she comes twice a week to get limbered up. If she doesn’t come, her body stiffens up, keeping her in bondage to old age (my words, not hers). Doing exercises in warm water gives her freedom to keep moving. I admire her spunk and motivation. I should take lessons from her.

Then there’s a lady who lives in a wheelchair because of her disability. The chair is her constant companion which propels her from room to room, but she never has the opportunity to get her circulation moving from head to toe. The only time she feels her body is more friend than a foe, is when she’s in the pool. Buoyed by the water, she swims lap after lap. Her hands splash in the water and move her along. For those minutes, she is free. The onlookers cheer her on ~ what a nice bonus!

So where do I fit in? Their hair may be whiter than mine. I may be more out of shape than most of them, so I need to join them and stick it out as long as they have to improve my health. Is there any other benefit? Surprisingly, yes. On my way to the YMCA, I drive by the cemetery where my son is buried. I have to keep a firm hand on the wheel, or I will automatically turn in. All the emotions of loss and coping come rushing over me. And the negative thoughts begin to churn in my head: Why do you need exercise? Why not just skip it? Nobody will know or miss you, so why bother?

But I keep going. I park my car, walk in, and step down into the pool. Ahhh. Wet, warm comfort envelops me. Yes, I move my body parts against the water’s resistance in an attempt to stave off the “flab” of gravity under the scowling face of Father Time. But something else happens. I receive an unexpected blessing ~ my spirits get bathed, too. I did not anticipate this to happen. No one there will ever suspect that I am a lifetime griever. The flab they can see; nowhere can it hide. But no one can see the invisible scars on my heart.

Now I look forward to being soothed and embraced by splashes of warm water, which will eventually bring better health to my body. It will also bring a brief respite from emotional pain in my mind and heart. Perhaps there are readers who will consider trying this, too. Blessings can be found in the most unexpected places.

I watched a lady on crutches after surgery (many surgeries, so said some ladies) find her freedom. She dove in the water head first, getting wet from head to toe, and coming up to gulp sweet air. A smile broke across her face. For a few minutes she was free. No need for crutches and no fear of putting weight on the injured knee.

That’s me, Lord. I don’t dive, but I want to plunge into your sea of blessings, and come up drenched and grateful to be alive. May Your sweet blessings cling to my spirit, allowing just a bit more healing today than yesterday. Descend on me Your gentle rain, soft like the dew on blades of grass. And Lord, please bless every reader who grieves. I know very few names, but You know them all. Splash over them, drenching them in Your comfort and peace. Thank You, amen.

“Let my teachings come down like raindrops. Let my words drip like dew, like gentle rain on grass, like showers on green plants.”  Deuteronomy 32:2 GW

 

This entry was posted on October 9, 2015. 4 Comments