Category Archives: Heaven

The coffee was GOOD!

good coffee

Not one but two of my kids now work at Starbucks, which is either my favorite or second favorite thing (with burritos) (excluding God and marriage, of course). When Rebekah makes me a coffee, she puts in extra shots of expresso. And that makes me say: PRAISE the LORD!

I personally don’t ascribe to the sad theological opinion that there’s no food or drink in Heaven. If you don’t want to eat or drink there, I’m sure God will make provision for you to do some eternal fasting. But the Biblical reasons are deductions, not outright statements, and the problem with deductions is that we can arrive at our conclusions by defective argumentation. Since I think Heaven is wonderful and food is wonderful, I see the two things merging in ways we cannot imagine.

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Lose yourself for the gospel

lose yourself for gospel

When it comes time to teaching my high school students what “paradox” means, I turn to the gospels because Jesus relished using them. How can you lose yourself and thus find yourself? It doesn’t make immediate sense, and the carnal mind will never comprehend.

God doesn’t work by contract. He doesn’t tell us what all the perks are. He expects us to live by faith. Your boss, on the other hand, is probably not going to give you a dime more than what’s in the contract. When you serve God, He simply asks you to lose yourself for the gospel.

Then He blesses you more than you can imagine. Of course, if you scoff at this and don’t try it out, you will never see the spiritual law activated when you give to God.

Heaven is real

castle in clouds

One day I´ll be there. Will you?

My dad is in a transitional care facility. He had fallen and broken his hip. He was transferred from the hospital to here. He was in a lot of pain last night. He’s 88.

I’m face to face with our body’s breakdown and mortality. We all expect a long life, but no one has a guarantee. Are you ready to go to the Heaven God made for you because He wants to enjoy friendship with you for all of eternity?

Be careful about the road ahead

crashThose who fail to plan, plan to fail.

So says a generation of financial planners. As Americans, we are proud that we can forge our own destiny.

But are we planning for eternity.

Startled tastebuds

terroni restaurant

It’s a hipster restaurant, so the bread comes in brown paper bags. Rebekah and Hosea show the best way to eat the bread.

My tastebuds were startled.

I always avoided Italian restaurants. Why pay for pasta and tomato sauce when you can do that at home? But Dianna’s company party dashed my mantra. It was at Terroni in Downtown Los Angeles.

pizza terroni

I’d never tasted anything like it, and we followed up with a family outing to the one in the Melrose District. (We usually don’t go to pricey restaurants — or much to even restaurants because of our family budget, but this was time to celebrate.)

Rebekah described the tiramisu as a spoonful of Heaven, and, yes, delightful spoonfuls is what I am expecting in Heaven. (You should too. Make your reservation in Heaven today by accepting Jesus into your heart.)

terroni pastaThe pizza is super-thin crust thick on ingredients. The pasta surprises with tantalizing taste. Yummy salads and beef. The ingredients are from Calabria, Italy, where the founder is originally from (his restaurant chain is based in Toronto). I had never heard of Calabria.

Anytime I learn something new or try something new, I experience delight. I think this is a key to my writing and my outlook in life. There will be endless delights in Heaven.

Look up

sky poolThe latest rage is no longer glass bridges and glass platforms extended out from skyscrapers or canyon edges over the hair-raising expanse. The latest rage is sky pools. But only the wealthiest can enjoy them.

I think it’s as much to show off as the thrill of swimming in the air: not just feeling like Superman but flaunting Super Riches.

It’s pretty cool to look up and admire the architectural beauty in the sky.

Look up to the architectural beauty of Heaven. If earthly opulence is out of your reach, heavenly riches are within it. The pricelessness of Heaven is incalculable price free to you and me because Christ paid with his life.

I didn’t want it to end (and it won’t)

Delicate Arch | Arches National Park

Observing Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

It was the vacation of a lifetime. We visited Yellowstone, Arches and Zion National Parks. My kids, formerly missionary children, never before had the chance to see much of the United States. It was a great family time.

rafting

On the Yellowstone River outside of of the Park in Gardiner.

We camped and saw some of God’s wonders: rivers, waterfalls, rock formations, bisons. For two weeks, Dianna got away from engineering. We drove around some of the Western States.

Angel's Landing | Zion National Park

This is the last ascent, along the vertebrae, to Angel’s Land in Zion National Park.

Honestly, I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to go to more and more and more national parks, which showcase God’s creation (You can say a glacier formed the canyon, but I say God used a glacier to carve it. You can praise Mother Nature, but I will praise Father God).

I didn’t want it to end. Heaven won’t end.

Aunt Bernice passed on

Aunt Bernice

My daughter, Rebekah (left), with Aunt Bernice and her son, Gary

When my brother and I were little and we heard Mom and Dad were going to Europe, we were ecstatic because Aunt Bernice was coming out from East Rochester to take care of us.

She was Swedish and as sweet as a Swedish candy fish. She made Swedish meatballs and taught us how to say smooooooorgausbooooord, which I’m fairly certain I’m better at eating than pronouncing even today.

Last night, this Christian lady jumped up into Heaven, and a little piece of my heart goes with her. (Unfortunately, the majority of my heart is still here in the midst of struggles.)

I’m glad we made the effort to see her summer before last. I hadn’t been “Back” East in about 50 kabillion years. Dianna and the kids had never met that side of the family.

Many years before, my mom drove to California like so many, on an impulse, seeking a dream. She starting teaching waltz with some dance shop and eventually found my dad, who didn’t dance. Dad was a consummate engineer, so dancing was not his thing. They went to a nifty little Methodist church, where I grew up bored and rebellious. When I found out at age 12 outside of the Methodist church that Jesus wanted to enter my heart, I was understandably miffed that no one had taken the time to explain this to me before inside the church. (What did they preach there anyway? I have vague recollections that sermons were about being good people. I distinctly remember one sermon application was to NOT cut your fingernails in church and dust them off onto the floor. I don’t know why this one stuck with me all these years.)

Mom got radically saved and started serving as a volunteer chaplain in the Sylmar juvenile hall facility, which I believe is still the biggest in the nation. I became a Christian and went off to college. After, I shipped out to the mission field. After almost 16 years, we were forced back when we got swept up in the growing hurricane of drug-traffic-whipped crime in Guatemala.

The preaching switch has been turned off for four years now, and I’m wondering why. Maybe part of the reason was to see Aunt Bernice. Because God has taken the blindfold off our eyes, Christians know that death is but a door to our final destination.

Heavenly cheesecake

heavenlycheesecakeIt’s ironic that the Book about Heaven says scarcely anything about it. One meager chapter is about Heaven. From there, a smattering of verses. That is all. More than anything, the Book about Heaven is more about Earth than anything else. How to live on Earth in order to get to Heaven.

But what is Heaven like? The Bible says precious little. Your guess is as good as mine. Or maybe mine is better than yours. My guess is Cheesecake Factory cheesecake comes close to the delicacies we’ll enjoy there.

HeavenlywaveThere are those who try to make Heaven on Earth. Well, I don’t think we should treat this planet like a disposable rag. But there is a Heaven beyond the Heaven you experience here.

I’ve heard repeatedly theologians affirm there are no dogs in Heaven. After scouring the Bible for years, I can deny this categorically. Theologians might be the people who least understand Heaven of all of us. If you love dogs, I’m sure they’ll be there.

HeavenlycarThe funny thing about my Ford Escort (year? sometime after the invention of the printing press) is that I take it to a mechanic here in Santa Monica where only Porsches, Ferraris and BMWs go. Among all these exotic toys, my humble Flintstone vehicle.

No matter. In Heaven, I’ll have a cool car or two. Why not?

So what’s your version of Heaven? Because all except sin, Heaven will be all and much more than our wildest imaginations.

Heaven is real

Heaven is real

from Blue Pueblo

Dianna’s co-worker was dumbfounded — why was Dianna not crying? Her dad had just died.

Dianna explained that 1) his passing came as no surprise, and 2) we have no doubt as to the reality of Heaven.

beauty

from Blue Pueblo

If you don’t believe in Heaven, you will try to extract every ounce of pleasure from Earth. Don’t get me wrong: I believe there’s a great taste of Heaven here. But that is just a foretaste. Those who try to experience Heaven on Earth are accepting tinsel for gold. If you don’t believe in Heaven, then you wail hopelessly upon the death of friends and family — or stiffen yourself stoically.

joy

from Dumb a Day

The evolutionists deride Heaven. The atheists scoff. The humanists ridicule. Still the human heart yearns to believe in eternity. We are not animals. Undeniably born in the human heart is the knowledge of eternity. What we yearn for, God confirms in His Word:

  • My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I a.m — John 14:2-3 NIV.
  • We do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first — 1 Thes. 4:13, 16 NIV.
  • And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God — Revelations 21:3 NIV.

In regards to Heaven, let me say one important thing: We eat sumptuous food in Heaven. Why should Dianna cry? Dad is in Heaven.

Reduced to a photocopy?

reduced to a photocopyStanley Yep’s greatest exploits were reduced to a photocopy that hung on the wall in his room in the rest home. Not even he knew what it meant any longer.

My father-in-law had been a big shot in LA’s Chinatown. A community watchdog and advocate, he built a sub-station for police use. He haggled with politicians for stop signs at dangerous crosswalks. He fought for neighborhood-sprucing funds to resist Chinatown’s downward spiral towards ghettodom.

IMG_3095For his indefatigable self-sacrifice in pro of mankind, he was named “Man of the Year” by the City of Los Angeles in 1982. As he lay dying, the newspaper clipping trumpeting his feats was pinned to the wall like a specimen. The only thing that mattered to him now was family and sleep.

Fortunately, Stan was a Christian. His departure Sunday from Earth meant his arrival in Heaven. When you think about the common denominator of death, what do earthly accomplishments, pleasure or riches signify? At best, they are a news article.

We packed Stan’s plaques, crystal glass awards gathering dust, from the shelf, into a box. There they rest. His body is being cremated and the ashes will lie in the Veteran’s Administration cemetery. A titanium identification will be placed in the urn, the only lasting memory on this planet.

But as his memory fades, He will live on in Heaven. His achievements for the gospel will be remembered.

Graduation to Heaven!

Up to the end, Stan Yep retained his sense of humor. But life lost its taste for him.

Up to the end, Stan Yep retained his sense of humor. But life lost its taste for him.

My dad (father-in-law) died yesterday. You ought to congratulate me. He’s in Heaven.

Do people cry for a touchdown? For a grand slam? For the World Cup winning goal? Do they cry at graduations? Well, maybe they cry tears of joy.

Yet graduation to Heaven exceeds each of these earthly joys. Finally, my much-loved dad shed his decrepit body and put on his glorified form. Heaven’s for Real  suggests that people get the best, youthful version of themselves in Heaven. Is Dad bowling already?

In his last days, Dad remembered his iconic salute.

In his last days, Dad remembered his military salute. It warmed my heart.

Call me weird. But I just can’t cry. Sure, I’m going to miss him, but I have no misgivings about eternity. It seems to me that people cry only because of their doubts. I mean, if the evolutionists have it right that we are just bio mass with self consciousness until we cease to exist and get eaten by worms, then yeah, wail and howl unendingly.

The family get togethers have been celebratory, and that seems the right way to me. No drowning sorrows with alcohol. That wasn't Dad's life. He lived for God.

The family get-togethers have been celebratory, and that seems the right way to me. No drowning sorrows with alcohol. That wasn’t Dad’s life. He lived for God.

But sorry, with due respect to all my atheistic friends — and they’re all my friends, but I can’t think for myself and subscribe to the notion that all of creation came from nothing, anymore than when I see a beautiful hotel building, I can’t believe it just formed by itself. (How does an atheist observe a funeral?)

Before my mom died, she told me she didn’t want weeping. She wanted us to dance and celebrate. She

Dad, in his final days.

Dad, in his final days.

would be with Jesus. Before she graduated, she had Alzheimer’s. Why would she — why would we, or anyone — want her to stay here and deteriorate? That would be like forcing her to suffer misery in an Indian slum hovel instead of living in a five-star hotel. And believe me, the five-star hotel comparison comes up short.

So I am happy today! Please don’t try to guilt me for not feeling the way you think I ought. Sincerely, I ask, if you are a true believer, why don’t you feel the way I do?