Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Dad's First Day in Heaven

I have been thinking a lot about Dad’s first day in heaven since he died yesterday and departed from this earth. I have been wondering all day what it was like to be absent from the body and present with the Lord?
At this point, I have not experienced grief or sorrow or mourning but great peace, hope, love, comfort and gratitude for a life well spent and invested for our Lord Jesus Christ and other people. My Dad lived with no regrets and he lived “full on” for Christ. He died at 78 years of age right in the middle of Psalm 90.9-10 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
My mind has gone into great wonder, imagination and many questions. Things like:
1.   What happened right after his last breath?
2.   Did angels come and usher him right into the presence of God and Jesus?
3.   Did he hear “Well done good and faithful servant” immediately?
4.   What did he see? What did he hear? The Scriptures say in 1 Cor.2.9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
5.   What did he feel?
6.   When I prayed to God and asked Jesus to tell my Dad thank you for a good life lived and that I love him, did he tell him?
7.   Did he see people that he led to Christ?
8.   Did he see people that he was surprised to see?
9.   Did he meet Paul? What about all the other “biggie saints” like Adam, Eve, (was Eve even there? Juuuuuust kidding) Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Mary and Joseph, John the Baptist, the 12 apostles, early church fathers, John Calvin, Martin Luther and thousands upon thousands other believers? Did he see his Mom?
10. Did he see an amazing host of angels?
11. Were the streets really of gold?
12. Was there a mansion?
13. Did he see the true heavenly tabernacle spoken of in Hebrews 9 and 10?
14. Did he see the heavenly hosts getting ready for the return of Jesus?
15. Did he see the armies of God?
16. Did he see the new and true Jerusalem being prepared?
In Dad’s final weeks when he was suffering just about every night with chest and heart pains, he would often quote…Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
17. What was the glory like revealed in him?
So many other Scriptures about heaven come to mind.
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: …
Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
2 Cor. 5:1-2 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [2] For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
Ephes. 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Ephes. 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
Philip. 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Philip. 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Col. 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Col. 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col. 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
1 Thes. 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thes. 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Hebrews 7:26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
Hebrews 9:23-24 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. [24] For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
Hebrews 10:34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
1 Peter 1:4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
2 Peter 3:12-13 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? [13] Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Rev. 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev. 4:1-2 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. [2] And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
Rev. 8:1 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
Rev. 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Rev. 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Rev. 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Rev. 21:1-3 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. [2] And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] 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.
Rev. 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
It is amazing to think about heaven. I don’t think we can even come close to imagining what it will be like. But, it is our hope, it is our citizenship, it is the place we are going and I want to be so ready.
Lord, thanks for your revelation about heaven. Thanks for the hope of eternal life. Thanks for my Dad who sought to live every day of his life for our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe he did the best he could. I look forward to being reunited in heaven and experiencing what he did on January 10, 2005 forever. I look forward with great anticipation.

Monday, January 10, 2005

My Dad is "Finally Home"

I wrote this after my Dad “graduated” to heaven on 01.10.05.

It is with a variety of emotions that I share with you that my Dad went home to be with the Lord this morning, January 10, 2005 at 12:05AM. He was 78. As in the words of Paul to Timothy, when he wrote, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” Dad too fought a good fight, kept the faith and finished his race really well and really strong. I am forever grateful for that.
I had the opportunity to have some wonderful, final “earthly conversations” with him over the last few weeks and days. This was so good for us as we were able to share our love and affection and close these chapters together well.
I have the pleasure of officiating his “graduation service” on Thursday, January 13 at 11:00 at Woodlawn Funeral Home. It will be a small personal family service to rejoice and remember all that God did through this one, well spent life.
2 Cor. 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: [7] (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) [8] We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
1 Thes. 4:13-14 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. [14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.