Maralyn's Updates

Monday, December 08, 2008

Turn On The Light

Are you ready? Because it’s confession time!

I’m really excited about heaven!

I’ve been keeping this quiet because some of my close friends have indicated that they are uncomfortable with my talking about heaven. It seems that they think it will make me give up on life…and stop praying for healing. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Talking about heaven makes me want to live life even more fully. I believe that looking at my life in light of heaven has helped me know what’s important here on earth.

During the first few months after my ALS diagnosis I had 4-5 people tell me, “Oh, you need to read Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven.” I had finally decided that I needed to go buy it when our friends Ralph and Harriet sent me their copy. They had just finished reading it and had been blessed so much that they wanted to pass it on to us. The same week J.R. and Sue gave us Randy Alcorn’s devotional readings about Heaven, a spin-off of the main book. Then I was faced with a dilemma—which to read first. Finally, I decided to start with the long one, the theological treatise. Reading it took months, but I read a little bit each evening and it filled my dreams with sweet imaginations about Heaven, the New Heaven, and the New Earth.

The part that surprised me most was the part about the New Earth. I had never really thought much about that before. Evidently after Christ comes back, and the judgment takes place, and Satan is banished to Hell, and it’s "the end of the age," then it’s time to enjoy the New Earth. Alcorn says it's inherent that we love earth and don’t want to leave it. God created us to love earth and he’s going to fulfill that longing by giving us a new redeemed earth. The New Earth will be the way God had intended it to be in the first place…with no death…no disappointment…no broken relationships…no treachery…no disease…no deception…no jealousy...and no pain! It’s hard for us to imagine an earth like that, because our world is laced with brokenness. Alcorn believes that on the New Earth we’ll have jobs, and we’ll travel…he even believes that the cultures will still be intact. I hope he’s right because there are lots of places I wanted to visit and didn’t get to…Asia...Africa…South America…Australia...and others.

And what do we know about heaven? It’s certainly not the boring place some people imagine it to be. Think of your happiest moment here on earth…now magnify it! That’s a piece of the “rush” we’ll have there. Some things that we do know about heaven are…

We will be with God. (Rev. 21:3) I don’t think we can even imagine how great it’s going to be in his arms.

There will be no more sadness! (Rev. 21:4) Think how many times a day we’re sad about something…or disappointed. There will be no more tears. It’s hard to fathom, isn't it?

It’s beyond our imagination. (I Cor. 2:9) The Bible says our senses can’t even imagine how good it’s going to be. Wow!

It’s our real home! (Phil.3:20) We’re just travelers here, but we are “citizens” of heaven. Can you imagine how comfortable it will be to finally be home…for the first time. Like walking into your own home after a long vacation.

We won’t have these broken bodies anymore! (Phil. 3:21) No more sickness, no dread of the next lab report, or MRI, or treatment…

Wow! That means that my body will be able to walk without assistance (even run, skip, and maybe even do some cheerleading jumps again--smile). I’ll be able to speak again (oh, I can speak now, but nobody can understand me—smile). I’ll be able to sing (maybe even better than I could on earth—smile). And I’ll be able to eat pizza again (I’m pretty sure that will be my first meal in heaven--smile).

Okay, I’m a patient person, and I’m ready to take things in God’s good timing, so if I’m healed and need to wait 30 years to go to heaven...that’s perfectly fine with me. I will be delighted!

But if it's God's plan that I go to heaven sooner…why not? Whenever it’s my time, I’m ready…and curious…and excited!

You know? Many of us walk through this life on earth as if this is all there is. So we work overtime to have nicer houses, or more clothes, or more stylish furniture—forgetting that all of that stuff will be left here. None of it goes with us.

But when we turn on the light of eternity, we can see what part of earth is illuminated….only those things that will last forever. No stuff! Just relationships! Our relationship with God, first of all, then the relationships with others as we have influenced them to love God and choose to spend eternity with him.

But here’s my question: Why do we have to be near death to talk and think about heaven? Shouldn’t we be talking about it every day? Wouldn’t it help keep things here on earth in perspective? Wouldn’t it help us make wiser choices about how we’re spending our energies? I think so.

I think our worlds would flip upside down if we just stopped and honestly asked ourselves this question: “How much of my time do I spend each day on eternal things?”

If you’re reading this and you’re not sure if you’re on your way to heaven, what better time than now to make that decision? That’s the most important choice of your life…to receive Christ as your personal Savior and allow him to totally reshape your priorities.

I’ve decided! I’m not going to hide my excitement any longer. Heaven is the best thing any of us have going! I think we need to let the anticipation for it grow…and grab our hearts!

I finished the book Heaven several months ago, then read some other things in the mean time, but this week Jim and I launched into the devotional book: Fifty Days of Heaven: Reflections That Bring Eternity to Light. And all of those feelings I had earlier are coming back! I can barely contain the excitement!

I want to invite you—no urge you—to buy the book and read it with us. Just click on this link to order it at Amazon:

Why not make it a Christmas gift to yourself? You might also want to order it as a gift for some of your friends. It might be the best gift you’ve ever given or received.

It’s my prayer that these readings will help us all Turn On The Light.


P.S. I think God gives little glimpses of heaven while still on earth. For grandmas these are often the times when family is all together. I had one of those moments Thanksgiving weekend as all of our kids and grandkids were under one roof. We had an early Christmas celebration and it was sweet. Don’t you love this photo where each kid is holding his/her initial? The kids' ages are: Reuben (5), Levi (4), Elliana (3), Micah (18 months), Jolene (13 months). (Yes, Micah was having a hard moment…smile.)

I feel blessed to have kids who understand the importance of living their lives in light of eternity. And...I was really amazed at how we could discuss my end-of-life issues so openly and gently. Important decisions were made in the loving context of family. I think this is how God meant it to be…and we all got a little glimpse of heaven.


Blogger Olga-Maria said...

Maralyn, it was wonderful to read your new updates. I really needed that stuff. Thanks. Blessings <3 Olga-Maria

12:45 PM  
Blogger Dean Merrill said...

Well said, Maralyn. If heaven is real (and it is), why all the hush-hush? Personally speaking, I consider it something to be welcomed. --Dean

1:24 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Maralyn, Thank you for your insights. The image of turning on the light of eternity to illuminate the lasting things of earth is what I will be pondering today or likely many days. May you have a blessed Christmas season. Nancy
P.S. Love the family pictures!

1:33 PM  
Blogger thehsmomof3 said...

Maralyn, I loved your blog about heaven. We've talked about this before, and you know I echo your sentiments wholeheartedly. Earlier this fall, I read Randy Alcorn's book at your suggestion, and Charlie started reading it as well. However, we had to return it to the library before he could finish. :( Then put the audio book on .mp3 on sale last week for only $9.95, so Charlie bought it to listen as he goes to and from work. He's excited to be able to finish it as he drives. Multi-tasking at its best. Ha!

1:52 PM  
Blogger KC said...

Maralyn, thank you for "gently" correcting my perspective today. As a mom with young children, I seem to get caught up in the moment and feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Your entry, today, brought me back to our eternal reality. I get excited thinking about the new earth because there are so many things I love about this life, but the brokenness of this world can bring such heartache. It will be so nice to one day experience the many wonderful things we cannot even imagine! May you be blessed today sweet friend. Love, KC

3:42 PM  
Blogger Teddybear said...

Maralyn thank you for sharing a piece of Heaven with me. Blessings to you and your family. Love Deb

2:21 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Aunt Maralyn-Your life is light in the darkness. . . I love who you are and thank God in my every thought of you. This blog painted a beautiful picture.:-)

9:16 PM  
Blogger IRENE said...

Hello Maralyn,
I happened to your blog, following links from Jeanne Winters' blog. I would like to tell you that your post blessed me today in many ways. I so much agree with what you said so beautifully. Since I have accepted Christ as my Lord and savior, I have been having similar thoughts of Heaven as the only place where I want to be when this life ends, and I pray that we will be there as a family. What a joy to be together with our loved ones in the eternal presence of Jesus!
Wishing you the very best. Sending love and prayers.

4:20 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Hi Maralyn,

Will the new earth also have wo-men? If not, it might stay that way with no one accepting any forbidden fruits! :) Okay, just kidding!

On a serious note, I admire your post. I just cannot even fathom what God and him in heaven would be like in all its glory. We tiny little Homo sapiens are so full of our little "wonders", we so easily marvel at what we think is heaven, our imaginations are so limited.

But I can just throw caution to the wind and just try to imagine what it would be like, especially when we think about the lamb of God in all his glory!

Stay blessed.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Brandi said...

What a beautiful post! I am going to check out the book and read it.

2:37 PM  
Blogger vitali said...

Maralyn, thank you so much for your blog about heaven. You continue to be an inspiration to others in the same way you were at Continental Bible Collge (now CTS). You are a true "a piece of heaven" and a mirror of what God wants us to be like now and in eternity. I love and miss you and Jim. Love, Ester Damiao (from Portugal).

3:01 AM  

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