Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

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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.

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Weapons

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.

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Cloud room

March 29, 2010

I asked God a question one night. Are there any other “people” – not human beings, not angels or demons, but some other intelligent species – in heaven? *

I didn’t really expect an answer.

Having read a great deal of science fiction growing up, and now reading about space scientists and astronomers discovering myriads of new galaxies they never suspected before, it seemed illogical to me and to many other people to suppose no other intelligent creatures existed anywhere.

And if they did, in whatever universe or dimension they call home, do they have religions, some version of right and wrong, conscience, awareness of sin or knowledge of God?

“Is that one question or many?” he responded. “Is that a serious question?”

Well, if we can actually discuss this, yes, it is a serious question, I said. If they exist, are some of them in heaven?

“Yes. Next question?”

In a phone conversation recently, my son commented that my descriptions of heaven are all from a physics-physical human viewpoint. Yes, up to now I have limited my descriptions here to the easily describable.

But I do understand why apostles John and Paul and prophet Ezekiel had such trouble describing what they saw and heard. Why some of those things were “unlawful” for them to share with others.

How do you describe a cloud room?

One of my follow-up questions had to do with whether it was possible to interact with non-human species in heaven who do not look, speak, understand, exist, operate, move, breathe — in other words, who do not function in any way, shape or form like human beings.

Angels good and bad are spirit beings who can appear in physical form. They can exist in our dimension, our galaxy, our universe. Sometimes they look like ordinary people. Sometimes they look like scary supernatural creatures, but interaction with them isn’t a problem for human beings.

But suppose an entity moved an inch a year when crossing a room? Or was composed of atoms so far apart that their arm was a thousand miles long and invisible to the human eye? Or their lifespan was a fraction of a second, in human time?

Suppose they had a crystalline structure and looked like a hunk of rock or grain of sand? Or had a plant-like form such as algae, or existed only in liquid or fire?

Suppose when they spoke, even if the language could be translated, the sound resembled the mere memory of an echo?

God didn’t say or show me what any of them looked like or operated like so I have no real idea. But he did tell me that the differences made ordinary interaction impossible, therefore he had created what I call a cloud room.

Now, it’s not an actual cloud or even a room; it’s an inter-dimensional area that somehow obliterates the differences between species and makes communication feasible. Cloud room is the closest I could come to describing that place.

It removes horror, and repugnance, and even morbid curiosity. It suspends the barriers of time and size and space in order that learning can occur. The only reason for its existence is discovery and education, innovation and invention.

He gave me a glimpse of this location, and all I can say is – it was like extremely nearsighted me looking at something or someone at a distance without my glasses. Nothing focuses. Everything’s blurry.

Not everything I have seen and heard of heaven can be described in purely physical, human terms. This is one example, and one reason why I don’t include some other things here. But I thought it was fascinating.

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* FYI – I’m not going to argue theological questions this question and answer is bound to raise with some.

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Touching base

February 13, 2010

creekside1983What is Tim doing? I asked the Lord one recent bedtime. It was just a random question before going to sleep; I don’t ask that every night any more, like I did a year ago. I got an instant answer and then a little explanation to go with it.

“Meeting with relatives.”

Oh, I thought. Ora Lee, Theron, T.C., Ninie, others of their family came to mind. When I began to visualize the way they looked the last time I saw them, I was quickly corrected.

“No, that’s not how they are here.”

Suddenly I received a new mental image of them, each one as an adult in the prime of their life, strong, vibrant and healthy. T.C. no longer looked like a 19 year old. Ora Lee didn’t look 87 and Tim didn’t look 60. They all looked around 30 years old or so.

That started a whole new conversation with the Lord, as he began describing these family meetings.

Their relationships on earth had certain characteristics: Tim was Ora Lee’s son, T.C.’s uncle, and Ninie’s nephew. Their life experiences were very different, person to person.

Their eras, education, friendships, cultures and societal standings were very different. Their relating to one another, their interests and conversations with each other singly or in family groups were on the basis of all of that.

But they’re not like that now. They relate to one another now as mature adults with a common status: all residing in heaven because of their commitment to Christ.

There are still differences, of course, and thus the meetings. Some have been there a long time, some a short time. Some have traveled and met many other residents, friends, relatives, characters from the pages of the Bible and secular history.

Some live in one community, some in another. Some are studying one thing, working at one thing. Others have different assignments, different habitats, even different ways of worship.

Some of these family members lived 100 years ago or longer – Tim had never met them here on earth. Neither had Ora Lee or Ninie, for that matter. Others in the meeting were great-great grandparents, cousins or aunts and uncles they never knew existed before reaching heaven.

The lives these relatives had enjoyed in heaven were longer than those they’d lived on earth. What memories they had to share, what adventures, discoveries, revelations and insights!

And so, from time to time they meet. They touch base and get to know one another, not as young versus old, ancestor versus descendant, but as equals: adult residents of heaven who share a common bloodline physically, and because of Christ, spiritually.

As I drifted off to sleep, I saw them milling around in someone’s living room, chatting in small groups, smiling and laughing, sharing interesting stories of their life, some listening intently, nodding their heads in agreement or understanding, gesturing with large arm movements, displaying the wide variety of human expressions you would see in any earthly family reunion. Wonderful.

“Family reunion” has acquired an entirely new definition and dimension for me.

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Yes

January 17, 2010

This afternoon I asked myself, do I need to keep writing this blog?

Yes, I do still learn more and more about heaven as the days and weeks go by. Yes, the Lord still humors my curiosity and answers my specific questions. Occasionally he just tells me something without my first asking a question.

Yes, the more I learn, the more… confident? sure? settled? … I am in my own mind about the future. Not sure of events, their order or their time-table, just sure of the eventual outcome.

Yes, my amazement and thirst for more information has increased over these months. That probably won’t change.

Yes, my humility has also increased. Who am I to receive this kind of information? Well, the Lord just says I’m his daughter and that’s reason enough. I asked for it, didn’t I? He didn’t mind my asking and he didn’t mind my knowing, he says.

So, the answer is yes. Yes, I should keep writing, yes, I should keep asking and listening, yes, I should stay interested, curious, excited, watchful, prayerful, about heaven. Its descriptions, activities, inhabitants, purpose, position, location, physicality, everything. And so I will.

I don’t think I’ve written much about the societal and cultural communities that I’ve seen. Some people who lived and died in one century, say 200 BC, congregate together in a community, like a village. Their architecture, furnishings, clothing, music, etc. resemble what they experienced in 200 BC to a degree. Likewise with people from 500 BC, or 1200 AD. (And others don’t, preferring to experiment with something totally different from what they knew on earth.)

Some people from one part of the world may congregate with some others from that part of the world. North Americans with North Americans, Pacific Islanders with Pacific Islanders, for example.

It’s not a matter of segregation, it’s a matter of taste. Familiarity. Comfort. Interests. However, people move around all the time. They move from one dwelling and cultural habitat to another, sometimes many miles away. They may even trade houses with someone else.

That doesn’t mean these homes aren’t fully “modern,” technologically speaking. They are, but sometimes it’s more or less invisible.

The people of heaven are continually meeting newcomers, keeping up-to-date with the world and current events, technology and scientific advances in every area, as well as learning what they need to know about the future. God doesn’t want people here to be ignorant and he doesn’t want people there to be ignorant either.

(Some sort of training or educational classes are going on all the time. There are multitudes of schools, colleges, universities, workshops, libraries, museums, galleries, and laboratories.)

Thinking about the different housing styles just in my own lifetime and location, one evening I was “taken on a little tour” of various residential areas in heaven.

I saw one compound where the house had no exterior walls at all, just a roof. The grounds were spacious but sparsely planted, not landscaped like a southern house might be. There were a number of rooms under the roof, each with a specific focus and each one opening into another. It was airy and light, happy and cheerful.

How do you keep sand and dust out? Since there was no actual lawn, there was what looked like ordinary dirt surrounding the house. And while there is no destructive weather there are breezes.

Here is where some of the more modern conveniences are put to work. There is a transparent air barrier around the perimeter of the house. I think I’ve mentioned it before, sometimes used instead of glass in windows. You can walk right through it but sand or grit can’t blow into the rooms unless you track it in on your feet.

Another structure I saw was several stories tall with very distinctive rooms, elaborate furnishings and draperies. It looked somewhat like an English manor house with a real yard, bushes and flowers. It looked comfortable and inviting.

Then there was the building underground where many people lived. From the outside it seemed only one story tall but it went down many, many levels. The housing units were different sizes, shapes and configurations.

Residents came and went by way of vertical shafts, like elevator shafts without the elevator cars. You stepped into “thin air” and went up or down, whichever way you needed, similar to what I had seen earlier in a downtown building.

Wide hallways, well lighted and well decorated, went every direction. Large lobbies with seating areas broke up the hallways.

Who lives here, I wondered? People who don’t feel a need to have open spaces, gardens or verandas, was the answer. Some were babies or young children when they arrived and have no memories of their earth homes. They have no sentimental attachments to above-ground locales, so once they are ready to live on their own, they chose to live here. (Where they lived in heaven before that point is another fascinating story.)

These residents do travel above ground, visit relatives and friends, go to work, worship or shop (that’s an odd term, considering you don’t actually purchase anything), but when it’s time to be at home, this is where they are.

There are so many varieties of homes, ranging from small cottages to sprawling compounds and everything in between!

One thing I know. There is always something interesting to see, interesting to learn, interesting to ask and explore and investigate about heaven.

Like all the museums and art galleries… libraries and universities… concert halls… worship centers… laboratories studying the properties and uses of light and sound for travel and transport…

Think about this: If you could travel around the world, ask and explore and investigate all the interesting things that exist right now here on earth, how long would that take? Hmmm.

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Immortal – why I like the Twilight saga

December 21, 2009

During the 1000 year period when Jesus is governing the planet, will heaven still exist? Will it be occupied by anyone or anything? If everyone in heaven up to that point returns to earth with Jesus, that is. That point hasn’t been cleared up for me yet, because some people in heaven might still be young children and bringing them back to a war zone doesn’t seem logical to me.

While thinking about that several other questions came up.

Who will be alive on earth when Jesus returns? Unchanged, mortal human beings. Men, women and children. Believers and non-believers.

What will happen to them when they die? And die they will, surely. The new heaven and new earth don’t merge into one until after that 1000 years, the way I read Revelation. The laws of physics that operate here on earth now, will no doubt operate here on earth during that time span. So, people will be born into physical bodies which eventually die. Since the present heaven was created for body-less believers, I think it will be necessary for a while yet.

When the believers in heaven return to earth with Jesus, what will they be like? Well, the mortals will have put on immortality; their bodies will be changed as Jesus’ earthly body was changed. Their new immortal physical abilities will be like his abilities.

When I read the Twilight books for the first time, what I liked the most wasn’t the good-guy vampires versus the bad-guy vampires story line, or the romance story line. It was the vampires’ physical transformation from mortal to immortal, with the resulting new abilities permitting them to survive in a hostile environment.

I’ve read many vampire stories this year and watched several television series, since getting interested in Twilight. I noted major and minor differences in the authors’ concepts, vampire abilities and weaknesses, even transformation methods. I’ve read opinion pieces on why most Christians don’t like the stories. And what people have believed or not believed throughout history — do these creatures exist? Are they totally myth, imaginary, or not?

One thing I know from personal experience, the supernatural isn’t fiction. This planet we inhabit has more than human inhabitants, and I don’t mean plants and animals that are visible to the eye. I’ve met a few of them and they are not pleasant. They are hostile. They don’t like the fact that we’re here and that Jesus plans to set up his headquarters here, permanently. And one really important fact about them: they are immortal, already.

I like Twilight because the stories give me a glimpse of what being an immortal good guy in a hostile environment might be like in the future. Training goes on in heaven today, training of immortal human beings to fight and defeat non-human immortals one future day here on earth. As I read about special gifts of individual vampires and about the unique ability that Bella had to train in using, I saw a similarity.

Of course these books have been somewhat sanitized. Vicious, inhuman, horrible combat and torture is not described graphically, yet it does go on in the world and will in the future. I don’t need to have it described in bloody detail to know about it and I’m glad the author didn’t include those details. There’s enough about the conflict, mortal versus immortal, immortal versus immortal, to earn my interest and my appreciation.

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Throne room

September 18, 2009

It wasn’t the throne room. I thought it was at first, because of the raised platform with several large throne-like chairs in the center. The platform stretched across the rear of the building, resembling a theater in its structure.

As the focal point of my vision was changed, however, I realized that the huge auditorium was more like a cathedral; a sanctuary. Broad and deep, a multitude of rows filled the room, arranged stadium style in an arc facing the platform.

On the platform were seated the recipients of the worship about to begin. Father. Jesus. Holy Spirit.

Worshipers soon took their seats in the sanctuary: musicians of many instruments, enough to fill a multitude of orchestras; singers and dancers. Men and women and children, every race and culture were represented.

So many different instruments! Some I had never seen before. Trying to take it all in, I was an observer on this occasion, a worshiper but not a member of that congregation.

As the service began and I listened, I soon realized I wasn’t hearing only one song.

Many different songs were being sung at the same time. Some people were reading poems of adoration, not songs set to any melody. Some were simply standing, silent with arms raised. Some were swaying, some were clapping, some were swirling in intricate dance steps. Some were shouting words of love, honor and praise. I recognized several languages, certainly not all.

The result was joyous and glorious. The amazing sound filled my soul and spirit with Life as I participated with saints from hundreds, even thousands of years ago down to the present. I didn’t want it to end.

In every church service I’ve attended, the musicians are on the platform facing out with the congregation facing them. Watching them. Following their lead. But the center of attention is on those human beings, praise team singers or worship leaders, not on the Lord.

Here in one of heaven’s sanctuaries, the worshipers were facing the Lord, offering to him their hymns and songs, adoration and praise.

It seems to me that the praise team and song leader should face the same way the rest of the worshipers do, turn their faces towards the Lord and lead by example in worship that is focused only on him.

Over the last couple of years the Lord has let me see other worship services in heaven. This was the first one, in this magnificent cathedral-like setting with countless worshipers. Others have been in small, intimate gatherings, or in more rustic settings, some indoors and some outdoors. Maybe I’ll describe one of those another time.

The one common denominator I have found is this: Worship doesn’t strengthen God. It doesn’t gratify him – he doesn’t need gratification. It doesn’t reward him. What can you give him? He created everything.

Worship is for the benefit of the worshiper. It brings strength, joy, energy, fulfillment. Life. Zoe life. God’s life. We need it.