Moses, maybe?

June 7, 2015

So, what would you like to do?

If you were given the choice of anything you’d like to do in heaven, other than the highly-desirable “spend time with Jesus,” that is? (Everyone would choose that, I suspect, and there’s every opportunity to do just that. Worship, learn from, love on, gaze at, adore the one whose life and death enables us to be there.)

I don’t post as many articles these days as I once did, not because I quit being interested, but because there was just so much that was – maybe mind-boggling, maybe boring, maybe unbelievable – to readers.

But this is a question I’d like to ask you: What would YOU like to do?

Eternity is a long, long time, but it’s useful time. Fritter away some of it, floating around on a cloud? Sure, if that’s what you want to do. Why not?

While you’re at it, rest, meditate, worship, relax, sight-see, explore, all on a cloud. Or chat with someone, catch up on happenings elsewhere, visit people, places and things – lots to do, lots of time to do them. Really.

Then there’s learning, teaching, reading, writing, working in a laboratory (science, space, medical, many different kinds), inventing, experimenting, trying out new things, new kinds of activities and work.

Team work, individual work, and play – enjoyable fellowship and activities with friends new and old, relatives you knew and some you only knew of, before.

One thing I’d like to do is sit down and talk with Moses. Discover his unique personality, his likes and dislikes, his interests. Maybe not the kinds of information other folks would want to know…

I’d ask him, What was life like as a boy? A young man? A fugitive? How did he wind up working for that foreign priest? Marrying the priest’s daughter?

Did he always know about Jehovah God? What was the worship like, working for that Midianite priest? How did he feel about going back to Egypt?

His wife, I’d like to interview her too – what was it like, growing up as one of seven girls in her household? Marrying a foreigner? How did she feel about Moses returning to Egypt? I can think of dozens of questions for her.

Moses, I’d ask, how is life here in heaven, compared to what life was like for you back on earth? Adapting to the different cultures across generations here, how is that? Not just across generations, across thousands of years, but across continents? What is that like?

You see, Moses doesn’t just exist in heaven, he’s very busy interacting with people from every age, teaching, mentoring, explaining, describing. Being interrupted by nosy newcomers.

I think that’s what I would like to do. Meet some people. Listening and learning from them, asking questions and trying to get an understanding of the answers – leading to even more questions. I bet that would take quite a while. But then, eternity is certainly long enough.

Maybe I would pick Moses to start with, but later on maybe Abraham? Or Sara? Adam? Or Luke?

After that, I think I’d like to explore all the learning labs in heaven. Those are so fascinating to me. Libraries, museums, archives, concert halls, universities, workshops, holographic laboratories, anything and everything you’d ever want to know, with the Lord right there to help you, whisper in your ear – “Psst, come look at this!”

Of course I’d also investigate what jobs there might be to do. Do one for a time, then another. Invent a musical instrument. “Discover” a new material, or a new medicine. Science. Explore outer space. Nuclear physics. Art. Transmit data across space, across dimensions.

But first – go talk to Moses.


Daddy’s House

March 6, 2015

MimiDaOnFrontPorchThinking about heaven again the other night, I asked the Lord to show me something about himself in heaven. Throne room, habitation, something. Where in heaven do you stay most of the time, I wondered? And in what form?

I was remembering my own and other people’s accounts of majestic throne rooms, powerful angels and worship music.

Office, the Lord said. That’s more like my official office, not official residence.

He then showed me an ordinary looking house with the front door standing open, and invited me to go inside. There was an ordinary living room, with sofas and chairs and end tables. Welcome to my house, he said, and I realized that he looked sort of ordinary too. Sort of…

Father? I asked him, wanting to be sure it was really him. This doesn’t look like any palace, or castle, or throne room for a sovereign king, I said. It looks too — ordinary.

He just nodded, smiled and said, Um hm. Not what you visualized, is it?

No, it sure isn’t, I replied. I continued to glance around as he invited me to sit down across from him.

He didn’t say anything else for a moment, just leaned back and let me get comfortable, feel the warmth of the place, the welcoming, comforting, cosiness of it.

If you were visiting your grandparents, how would you approach it? he asked me. Would you knock on the front door, ring a doorbell and wait for someone to come to the door?

I thought about that.

No, I said, I’d just open the door and walk on in, maybe call out Anybody home? If I didn’t see Mimi I’d walk on through to the kitchen looking for her. She’d probably ask if I wanted something to eat, tell me there was a cake or pie, biscuits or something in the cupboard and to go rummage for myself.

He nodded in agreement. Would you hesitate to do all that? If it was your grandparents’ house?

No, I’d feel I was welcome to treat the place like it was my own home, and that’s what I would do.

Yes. And that’s how you should treat my house here, too, the Lord said. You’re welcome any time, the door is open, just come on in and make yourself at home.

He continued, if your granddaddy was sitting in his rocking chair, how would you approach him?

I didn’t even have to think about it. I’d go sit on his lap, give him a hug and kiss his cheek or something. He’d hug me back, maybe dig in his pocket for a quarter or a dime and hand it to me with a twinkle in his eye.

Well, that’s just how you should approach me, the Lord said. This is my house and it’s your house, come in and get comfortable, feel just as welcome here as you felt there.

Wow, this sure is a different way to look at heaven, I thought. A wonderfully different way. I could almost feel his strong arm circling my shoulder, his hand patting my arm like granddaddy used to do, as I drifted off to sleep.


What lies beneath

March 11, 2014

(Reprinted from 2009)

This is not more about that house.

I went to the new GI Joe movie yesterday and discovered something a little interesting, a little exciting, a little scary, a little revolutionary… and a lot thoughtful.

I won’t tell you the story line in case you want to see the movie yourself. But the incredibly beautiful “not-too-distant future” locales, sets, scenes, and especially the super high-tech technology were – there’s no other way to say it – familiar.

One of the early images I received of heaven (after the house, the city, the worship!) was in response to a question I had asked about the landscape. The beautiful residential areas, of which there were multitudes in a multitude of cultures and eras, all seemed to be one or two-story at most. The city had skyscrapers, but even before I began to really examine the city and its functions, I think I asked the question about below-ground.

Is there anything underneath the houses, grounds, and city?

Oh, yes. Is there ever. There is a tremendous depth of technologically advanced construction through and through. Arts. Research. Galleries. Laboratories. Offices. Every imaginable type and scope and purpose and reason and goal and function and appearance, and some I would never have imagined.

It would take hours to try to describe what I saw, the people I saw and the activities they were involved in. Again and again, I was reminded – everything that exists on earth was conceived, designed, constructed and used in heaven first. And heaven is a physical material place, not imaginary. A different dimension but just as real.

The answer to that simple question was anything but simple.

Like a tourist I was escorted through miles and miles and miles of hallways, level after level after level. This has happened several times now, sometimes just to show me, to demonstrate or explain what is happening in a particular area.

Like the holographic history laboratory, a combination arts and science development project where students can participate in accurate-to-the-last-detail holographic reenactments of historical events. It’s up and running but still being developed and improved, with people participating as both scientists, artists, guinea pigs and students.

Would you like to be present at the wedding where Jesus turned the water into wine? Or perhaps present for Lincoln’s Gettysburg address? Or at his elbow when he wrote it?

Requests were taken from people for specific historical holographic scenarios and if deemed appropriate or practical or not redundant, then they were eventually created. All the historical records are available to go by – there are massive archives and libraries and museums, every medium and format. Recreating the holographic accounts creates another level of history for study, both by historians and students.

Observers of these scenarios can actually enter and walk around in the locale, see the people and places up close and “personal,” although of course they don’t interact with these actors and can’t actually take part in the event themselves. Still, it’s a very compelling way to learn.

Then there’s the research laboratories into the nuclear physic properties of sound and color. Color has sound and different textures of colors have different sounds. Yellow paint on a flat metal surface has different sound qualities when stroked than yellow dye on a sweatshirt or the grown-in red of a tomato skin. And the force and type of touch or stroke creates different sounds, of course – but why is that important, or useful to study? I didn’t ask and may not have been able to understand the answer, if I had asked.

Sound also has texture. Sound produced on a single violin string or a layer of tissue paper will have different texture, different dimensions. Texture is the wrong word but I don’t know what would be the right word, although I can see the difference in my mind’s eye.

It doesn’t mean pitch or tone or wave-length, it’s something else entirely, but I have no idea how to describe it really. These are concepts I can’t quite grasp. But large underground laboratory facilities are full of people studying, experimenting, developing practical applications of their research. (There are many such facilites above ground, also, some of which need the air, sky and space for their work.)

I asked about the people who live and work underground – don’t they miss the air and sky? Do they rotate, working sometimes underneath and sometimes above ground?

Some people never really experienced the air and sky above ground. They died too young. For them, it really doesn’t matter where they live and work. What matters to them is serving Father God, doing whatever assignment he needs them to do, learning, exploring, developing, growing, being part of his plan.

On one visit “downstairs,” I wondered just how far down we could go, and how exactly were people traveling up and down, side to side? We got there in an instant, without any sense of traveling, so I was curious. Holy Spirit seemed amused at some of my questions, but he’s very patient.

I have no idea of the distance down. A long way, is all the answer I got to that. But people travel by stepping into a tube, whether in a city building or underground. No elevator. They could get to wherever they want to go by spiritual means, simply thinking. But that seems to be the exception, not the rule. It’s a question of courtesy more than ability, considering they still have to know exactly where their destination is and exit the tube nearest that. It’s rude to simply appear somewhere without notice, unless you have no need to give notice, for instance if there’s no-one there to greet or interrupt.

One place that truly interested me was a music lab. Many instruments from many ages were stored in one section, sort of like a museum or library. Others were in constant use, being played and changed and modified. One particular instrument that I saw was similar to a piano, but the strings were all external, contained in a tall, broad frame in front of the keyboard. There were many more octaves and strings than on any grand piano I’ve ever seen, and the sound had a richness I’ve never heard. I don’t know how striking the keys made the strings sound, whether it was wireless technology or something else.

Another keyboard instrument was a crystal pipe organ. All the pipes were of crystal, not metal or wood. The keyboard was not much different from any earthly pipe organ I’ve played before, but I didn’t play it. I just listened to it being played by someone else. Gorgeous, and quite different from anything I’ve heard before.

There were others that I have no name for, horns of metals and woods, stringed instruments, bells, some brand new, some very old. And lots of people everywhere. Some were composers, discussing ideas for compositions with the musicians who would be performing them. I felt so completely out of my depth!

The odd thing as I look back – no one seemed surprised at my presence, and all of them seemed very welcoming. I believe any one of them would have stopped what he or she was doing and answered all my questions, had I not had such a competent guide along with me (the Holy Spirit or Jesus, one of them was always escorting me).

My questions about the underground portion of heaven haven’t all been asked and answered yet, but many have.

In the GI Joe movie, there was a huge super high-tech military complex under the ice cap at the north pole. Under the ocean. As I watched the movie, I compared it to what the Lord had showed me on the bottom of the ocean in heaven. Yes, oceans in heaven. While the undersea movie set was beautiful and the movie-makers had done a wonderful job designing it, in the story it was being used for a deadly purpose.

The undersea complex I saw in heaven is just as high-tech and more. But its purposes are very different. Maybe I’ll try to describe that another day.

It was a fascinating experience, watching that movie and seeing just how familiar all those locations looked. I had to wonder about the writers and the builders. How much of heaven have they themselves seen? Maybe without even knowing what they were looking at…



February 8, 2014

This is a post from 2010… as I re-read it today, I realized it needed a little background. For several years after Tim died, I had detailed discussions with the Lord in my prayer time about heaven. What it’s like. Where it is. What goes on there. I wrote the following after one such prayer session.

CombatTrainingUrbanJoshua was a warrior. He spent many years with Moses, serving first as his aide de camp and eventually named as his successor.

Although serving in several roles, Joshua was primarily a soldier.  And more than a soldier, a warrior.

During their days in the desert in what today is Jordan, Joshua was training men for the battle ahead. He had to hand-pick the best, teach them how to fight and how to use their weapons. He was well aware that as soon as Israel crossed the Jordan River, they would be in enemy territory.

“About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.” (Joshua 4:13 NIV) Joshua’s first major target was to be Jericho, a fiercely guarded walled city.

“Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” (Josh. 5:13-14 NIV) The Lord’s commander; captain of the Lord’s hosts, it says in the King James version.

He was there to give Joshua first an intelligence briefing, then his battle orders. (Those instructions may sound a little strange to us, marching around walls, but that’s what they were: battle orders.)

Who was he? An angel? Michael or one of his subordinates? Perhaps Jesus himself? We’re not told. But we are told that war, warriors and warfare were part of his mission on earth.

I was thinking about all this one evening and the fact that the scriptures describe another battle looming in Israel and probably other places in the middle east, in the not too distant future. Who will be trained well enough to fight and win in that war, I wondered? Most of the believers I know certainly aren’t.

The Lord began to answer that question by showing me an activity going on in heaven. Combat training. Arm to arm combat. Physical, mental, emotional – and spiritual – training. Weapons. Armor.

I thought at first I was dead wrong about what I saw. That simply could not be heaven, it had to be some sort of hallucination, a mistake. But it wasn’t. The Holy Spirit took me to several scriptures about the battles ahead, and explained in some detail what I was seeing.

Many believers will still be here on earth when that war needs to be fought. Untrained, ill-equipped believers who don’t know one end of a rifle from the other. They won’t know how to defend themselves, much less fight an enemy soldier. Like the children of Israel facing the Jordan River, most of them aren’t warriors.

But they aren’t called to be.

Out of a million or more, only forty thousand were called to be. They were chosen, trained, equipped and ready. And in the coming warfare, God’s warriors will be ready. They will be returning to earth with Jesus, fully trained and equipped. (See Revelation 17:14, 19:19)

Right now they are going through that training period.  I watched some of the training. I saw some of the weapons, both material and spiritual. I have never seen anything on earth exactly like them – not in any of those action and adventure and spy movies I’ve watched for years.

The Holy Spirit explained how some of them worked and how some are already working here on earth. Not technically weapons, some are designed to gather information, such as three-dimensional cameras that can see around solid objects. Invisibility cloaks for people and machines. I actually saw a news video about that one several months ago, being tested here on earth.

Not everyone in heaven is assigned to be trained as a fighter. Some are assigned to be designers of weapons, inventors or engineers or scientists. Or writers, composers, artists or musicians. But warriors will certainly be needed, and so some are chosen and taught how to be.

I am understanding more and more what heaven is like, and what it’s for. Worship. Work. And training for warfare.


Heaven and Space, shared interest

April 12, 2012

The more I think about heaven, the more I think about space. Stars, solar systems, galaxies, nebulas, pulsars, quasars, black holes, all I find really fascinating.

So I’ve been reading up, trying to wade through some basic physics that I never learned in school and get to the “juicy” parts. Like, how do you make a star? How big is the universe?! What’s on the other side of a black hole?

With all that in mind, I have re-purposed my first blog (Talk With Bette) in order to use it for space-related articles: http://bettecox.wordpress.com. Talk With Bette has its own home now, http://talkwithbette.wordpress.com.

But speaking of heaven, I was thinking out loud in prayer the other night and commented on how important, how big, how complex the universe is. And the Lord commented right back to me, “Man is my most important creation.” Wow.

He reminded me that before I brought Smokey (the cat) to her new home, I prepared her habitat: food, water, toys, litter box. Before God brought Adam to his “home,” he prepared his habitat: Earth. Solar System. Galaxy. Universe.

A while back the Lord told me that to exist and survive in heaven, humans have to be adapted to its environment. That’s the why of conversion. He explained that Heaven is like the control tower for the universe. Boggles the mind…


Technology from heaven “dropped” onto earth

March 18, 2012

As I read an article online this week from Science Daily, I immediately thought about a particular house the Lord showed me in heaven. The wall colors changed before my eyes; a rheostat on the wall could change them to any color of the rainbow.

I didn’t mention it in the August 2009 blog post I wrote about that house (http://wp.me/pB5LS-e), but the same was true of the texture of the wall covering and the fabric on the furniture. From smooth to bumpy, slick to velvety in an instant. However you preferred your surface materials, you could have it.

The Lord reminded me that every invention, every discovery, happens in heaven first. When He’s ready to reveal it to mankind He “drops” the information somewhere, to someone. I think this article demonstrates one of those little “droplets…”

Process Makes Polymers Truly Plastic, Changing Textures On Demand
March 15, 2012

Just as a chameleon changes its color to blend in with its environment, Duke University engineers have demonstrated for the first time that they can alter the texture of plastics on demand, for example, switching back and forth between a rough surface and a smooth one.

By applying specific voltages, the team has also shown that it can achieve this control over large and curved surface areas.

“By changing the voltage applied to the polymer, we can alter the surface from bumpy to smooth and back again,” said Xuanhe Zhao, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering. “There are many instances, for example, when you’d want to be able to change at will a surface from one that is rough to slippery and back again.”

Scientists have long been able to create different patterns or textures on plastics through a process known as electrostatic lithography, in which patterns are “etched” onto a surface from an electrode located above the polymer. However, once the patterns have been created by this method, they are set permanently.

“We invented a method which is capable of dynamically generating a rich variety of patterns with various shapes and sizes on large areas of soft plastics or polymers,” Zhao said. The results were published online in the journal Advanced Materials.

“This new approach can dynamically switch polymer surfaces among various patterns ranging from dots, segments, lines to circles,” said Qiming Wang, a student in Zhao’s laboratory and the first author of the paper. “The switching is also very fast, within milliseconds, and the pattern sizes can be tuned from millimeter to sub-micrometer.”

The findings follow Zhao’s earlier studies, which for the first time captured on videotape how polymers react to changing voltages. Those experiments showed that as the voltage increases, polymers tend to start creasing, finally leading to large craters. This explained in physical terms, for example, why polymers used to insulate electric wires tend to fail over time. The new lithography strategy takes useful insights from this failure mechanism.

On a more fanciful note, Zhao described the possibility of creating rubber gloves whose fingerprints could be changed on demand.

“The changeable patterns we have created in the laboratory include circles and straight and curved lines, which are basic elements of fingerprints,” Zhao said. “These elements can be dynamically patterned and changed on a glove surface that covers fingertips.

“A spy’s glove may be cool, but probably not for everyone,” Zhao said. “However, the same technology can produce gloves with on-demand textures and smoothness tuned for various applications, such as climbing and gripping. Furthermore, surfaces capable of dynamically changing patterns are also useful for many technologies, such as microfluidics and camouflage.”

Other potential usages of the new method include creating surfaces that are self-cleaning and water-repellant, or even as platforms for controlled-release drug-eluting devices.



How’s the weather up there?

November 6, 2011

Or over there – wherever heaven is physically. I asked this question, and got a fascinating answer.

It’s however you want it to be, you just have to go where it is. Snow for skiing? Go to the snowy region. Water skiing? Choose that area instead. Heaven is a big, big place – there’s plenty of room for weather locales.

Weather in heaven doesn’t depend on planet angle, rotation and orbit around the sun. There are no seasons such as here on earth. Instead there are areas designed for cold, for warmth, for every “seasonal” variation human beings could desire. From snorkeling to mountain climbing, trekking across sand dunes to deep sea exploration, there is a region for that.

Why? I wondered. Why even have such locations for winter-like cold or summer heat, spring or fall-like “seasons” (for want of a better word)?

Why have mountains or oceans? Wilderness or rain forests? For all those exist there… Images passed through my mind of lakes and beaches, fishing streams and sand dunes, pine forests and lagoons. Too many pictures to count!

By then I was very curious indeed. Why design and create all this variety?

For our enjoyment. Rest. Recreation. Fellowship. Discovery. Education. Not to mention training. Exercise. Discipline. Teamwork.

We may learn of other reasons once we’re there, but love is the primary one. God loves us and it is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom, in its many facets, physical and spiritual.

It was an extraordinary answer to my ordinary question.