A Mother Speaks From Heaven

My dearest child, I want to try to reach out to you from my new home, and I hope somehow you will be able to understand.  I know that this time each year on your Earthly calendar you pause to remember me and all the other motherly figures in your life.  I see how you recall fond memories of times we spent together like viewing old movies over and over again.  I too still remember all those beautiful moments.  The memories we made together are indeed eternal and still very real. You will understand this someday.  However, I also see that this day is bittersweet for you and that you have a sense of sadness that I am no longer with you to continue making memories.  I wish you could know that nothing could be farther from the truth! You may not see me, but I am still there in more ways than you could ever imagine.  You were taught from an early age that God gives his angels the charge of watching over his children.  Well my child, I was assigned to watch over you! It’s one of the percs of my new situation! I see your every move.

How I wish I could tell you that I didn’t become a mother on the day you were born; I was a mom the minute I knew I had conceived you!  I started loving you months before I ever saw your beautiful face for the first time.  I cradled you the first time I felt you moving inside me. I sang lullabies to you every night before I went to sleep.  I began to pray over your life, that God would bless you and keep you from all pain long before I ever experienced the pain of introducing you to the world and your new family. There is a bond that forms between a mother and her child that only moms fully appreciate, and I can assure you that the bond is never severed, even after death!  In fact it is only now that I truly understand the unconditional love between a parent and a child since I am with my true Father and can see things more clearly from my new vantage point. You are even now more precious to me than ever before.  I never thought that possible, but I can assure you it’s true!

You have become the embodiment of every good thing I tried to teach you all those years.  I know there are times when you wonder if I would be proud of the person you’ve become.  I wish you knew the pride I still feel as I watch over you.  I see a bit of me in you with every act of loving kindness you show others.  I observe how you courageously respond to earthly challenges; I feel the emotions you have when you worry about others.  I see the full intent of a heart much bigger than I ever imagined while on Earth, one full of goodness and love that is an uncommon virtue in your world.  And each and every time I see you doing things out of the love you learned from me, I thank my Father that he blessed me of all people with the privilege of being your mother.  Nothing I ever achieved or accomplished in my old home means more to me now than being selected to be your mom. How I wish I could accurately relay that to you now.

I know there are supposedly no egos up here, but moms still get together and share stories of their children and stake claims to bragging rights.  You child, have given me so many stories since I left that it never seems like a fair fight with the other moms!  God in his mercy has actually given us all the privilege of being the guardian angels of our earthly children. It is perhaps our greatest reward!  So while we await the appointed time when we will be reunited, I want to assure you of my presence.  There are little ways I can still interact with you-I just hope you know it’s me.  When you are walking and you feel that soft breeze on your face or see that tiny butterfly land near you and sense a calming spirit, that’s me!  When you experience the pride of watching your children grow, you got that from me! And when you face the challenges that life will throw at you but sense a peace about it, that’s God channeling through me to you! I will be in the laughter you can’t explain, the songs that bring you to tears, the worship that flows freely from you heart and even in the love you feel for that special someone God gave you.  I’m there in all of it, still loving, still caring, still so full of pride I can’t speak.  You will never be alone and you and I will never be separated by time or distance because I am no longer bound by those things!  So on this special day when you remember me, I hope you know that I am celebrating you my dear child. My greatest badge of honor was, and still is, that of being your mom!  I am still learning all the ways I can touch you, but I have plenty of time and a great teacher!  You are forever in my heart and I will forever be in yours.  I will ask God to reveal that to you every day until we are together again.

Love, Mom.

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Eye Has Not Seen…

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It is called by many names, the city where I reside.  It is most commonly known as Sin City. Not sure why we get that exclusive title with the implication that other cities are sin-free.  Maybe it’s that whole ‘what happens here stays here’ campaign. Some call it Lost Wages after a weekend of losing money in casinos where the House usually wins. Some know us as the City of Lights because of millions of colored lights always on display down the Strip.  Some have referred to us as the city that never sleeps, although we share that title with at least one other city.  However you refer to us, you can’t deny we are one unique metropolis known around the world as the number one party destination.

I moved here from Indiana and have been here almost twenty-two years now.  Personally I can take it or leave it.  To come for a weekend visit one can get lost in the twenty-four hour culture of lights, gaming and entertainment.  There is literally something here for everyone-yes, everyone.  If it exists, it can be purchased here.  It’s a town built as an adult playground with each property trying to outdo another to capture the tourist attention and revenue. Nothing is too big, too extravagant or too expensive here if it leads to gaming revenue.  Just consider some of these lesser known facts about Las Vegas.

*Fifteen of the world’s twenty-five largest hotels by room count are located here on the strip, and     represent 62,000 rooms.

     *There are a total of well over 150,000 rooms here between the Strip and downtown Las Vegas.  On most major holidays, we are sold out!  

     *We have an average of over 40 million visitors come to Las Vegas annually.

     *It is estimated that there are over 15,000 miles of neon tubing just on the strip.

     *The beam from the Luxor is one of two man made features that can be seen from space, with over 1 million candle power light.

*The Venetian-Palazzo has over 8000 rooms alone. Yes we build it big.

Las Vegas is in the middle of nowhere, the high and dark desert.  I do have to admit that driving in to Las Vegas at night from out of town is breathtaking. We are surrounded by mountains so the two major roads leading in from the north or from the south are secluded from seeing the city until you reach the apex of the terrain.  On either of the routes at night you feel like you are driving through an eternal tunnel of darkness until you reach that point where the road clears the hills and suddenly, laid out before you is this spectacular blanket of sparkling lights that looks like Oz.  As far as the eyes can see there are lights and a glow that against the desert black night is hard to put into words.  After all these years of living here I’m still impressed when I see the lights of the city at night.  It is like strings of colored diamonds laid out on a black velvet spread.

I’m certainly not trying to impress you with our fair city-I’m laying out a backdrop for something far greater than even this for the believer. I have seen some beautiful places and visited some of God’s best works of creation.  As awestruck as I have been in these places there is coming a day when these places will be no more. Jesus, creator of our universe and all that is in it, told hid disciples “I’m going away to prepare a place for you”. We aren’t told where this new place or heaven is.  We are only given a glimpse of how spectacular our new home will be.  1 Corinthians reads this:

“It is Written that the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him.”

When I saw Las Vegas for the first time I could not imagine a place more spectacular.  But this city can’t compare with God’s city, our new home.  The Bible gives us some clues as to what we can expect.

Revelation 21:18-19; “The material of the wall was jasper; and the entire city was like pure gold, like clear glass.  The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone.”

Verse 21; “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, with each gate being made of one single pearl, and the streets of the city were pure gold, like clear glass.”

Revelation 22;1; “The angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb.”

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I have quite the imagination but I can’t fathom pure gold being used for building materials and paving! Nor can I fathom the size of the oyster that produced a pearl large enough to create a city gate!  The things we count as precious and valuable here in our earthly quest for riches and success and portfolio security will be common and ordinary in our new home, putting even Las Vegas to shame.  But even more spectacular than this is the promise of what life will be like.

Revelation 21;3-4; “And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying ‘Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes; and their will be no more death, now any sorrow, nor crying; neither will there be any more pain, the all the former things (that we are accustomed to here on earth) will be no more.”

Now, I’m impressed! I truly believe that God never grants us complete satisfaction or contentment here on earth so that we will be constantly looking forward and yearning for that which our eyes have not seen and our ears have not heard of, but our spirits have confirmed for those who love God and live lives committed to Christ the Lamb!

There was a popular movie out years back titled Heaven Can Wait.  What a farce! I can’t wait for Heaven!

The Unfathomable Reality of Eternity

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Eternity. Unfathomable, inconceivable, inexplicable, uncontainable, incomprehensible, indescribable, infinitely unreasonable.  It’s a term that gets thrown about often without much thought-“I waited for what seemed like an eternity”; “they rode off into eternity”; “he passed on into eternity”.  It’s a theological term to those of the faith that brings great hope for us and great sorrow for those we hold dear who don’t share our faith.  It’s a mystical term because it represents something our limited experience can’t quite grasp even when serious attempts are made to do so.

It’s word origin simply means without beginning or end.  It is defined as a state in which time has no application, no meaning and no purpose; no tomorrows, no yesterdays, no next year.  It is that state into which the soul passes upon mortal death whose eternal condition is based on how the minuscule measure of time called life was lived.  Understanding eternity is not unlike trying to understand the scope of the unending universe.  It’s difficult because we use measurements for everything from recipes to weight to speed to time, and can’t wrap our minds around something being immeasurable or without limit.  Still I have attempted to put into terms we can understand how undefined eternity is.

If you were to combine the sands from every known desert and beach on the earth so that one of those grains of sand represented your life span, the remaining grains of sand would not be indicative of the measurable beginning of eternity. Similarly, if you could combine all the salt water oceans that cover the surface of the earth and somehow extract one molecule of salt from all the waters represented, the remaining molecules would not accurately represent the beginning of an eternal state. And if you could take every loud mouthed belligerent nagging wife or ex and give them all to one man for his entire lifetime, it still wouldn’t represent eternity, though some might argue it would be close!

Forever means forever. As Christians in the faith the thought that we will be with our Creator forever is comforting-it drives us and helps us keep the trials of this life in perspective in as much as we can see the big picture, though at times our vision may be temporarily blurred. There are a host of Biblical references to the notion of eternity that can bring us great pleasure as we anticipate the return of our Lord;

Psalm 23:6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever

Lamentations 5:19 You, LORD, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.

John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

1 Thessalonians 4:17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever

1 John 2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

The flip side of eternity brings with it much sorrow and grieves the hearts of those who long for their loved ones to accept the reality of the person of Jesus Christ as Lord eternal.  The story told for us in the Bible of the rich man and Lazarus gives implication that we may indeed be aware of those we shared life with but are not sharing eternity with.  It is very clear through scripture that there will be no sorrow or regret in Heaven but the suggestion that we will have an awareness of souls lost for eternity remains a possibility.

There exists particularly among the younger generations a sense of invulnerability.  And yet in this day with all the things happening around the world we know that no one is guaranteed tomorrow.  The workers who entered into the World Trade Center had no idea they would not be exiting that fateful day. The High School kids on the recent ship tragedy had no idea they were spending their last few precious moments on earth.  The young professional broad sided by a speeding car, the bartender caught in the crossfire of a gun fight, the athlete who collapses due to a previously unknown heart condition and on and on. No one knows for sure what the day brings and when our measurable mortal time ends and our unfathomable eternity begins.

James 4:13 gives us this warning:

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

A mist, a vapor, a puff of smoke that vanishes and is blown away by the wind-our mortal life and its temporal nature.  And yet the choices we make here in our measured span of time, our vapor, the way we live our lives and most importantly the way we handled the truth and reality of one Jesus Christ, our acceptance through faith or our denial through humanism, will ultimately determine the quality of our bliss or the horrors of our torment for all eternity.  This concept is even lost on the church at times.  We must get back to teaching the fundamental truth of eternity in as much as we can wrap our spiritual minds around it, for our sake and the eternal sake of those we love lest all be lost forever by our unwillingness to acknowledge what our minds can barely conceive.