Friday, March 29, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (47)

(a novel continued)

They crossed a meadow and cut through a wooded area. At the end of the wood, they stood at the crest of a grassy hill and looked down on a great open plain, much larger than the meadow. The plain was divided into sections, not at all square. From her bird’s eye view Minnie counted at least a hundred sections just in the foreground. A stream meandered through the entire plain. Heavenly waterfalls abounded. Each grassy section included natural seating encircled with rocks and several fruit-bearing trees planted by the stream. There were people everywhere.
“I’ll introduce you to your class,” Samuel said. He took Minnie’s hand and the next thing she knew they walked into a section with a waterfall to their right and a teacher to the left. 
“This is Minnie,” Samuel said, “She’s here for God 101.”
The teacher shook her hand, “I’m Sarah, and this is our class.” Sarah motioned to the class of students. “You made it just in time for introductions.”
Each student stood in turn. Sam, a lumberjack died when a tree fell on him. George died of old age and had never realized an intimate relationship with God was possible. Grace had also died of old age and had read her Bible everyday while on earth. Melinda died in an automobile accident and went to heaven with her infant who was now in the Babies class. Henry had a heart attack at the age of fifty. He was a handyman, always ready to help those in need. Elizabeth died of heart disease. She had left behind a family of 12 children. Paulette had been bitter for the last several years of her life and died of breast cancer. Greta died of old age and had never had a family she could call her own. Georgette was a happy bubbly person shot by a stray bullet in the woods during hunting season. Minnie introduced herself as Minnie who wanted to know more about God.
Sarah welcomed everyone and simply said, “You can find more about me in Genesis.” She laughed when the class gasped with realization.
“We are so privileged,” Georgette said.
Minnie knew she would like this class. Even to sit next to a heavenly waterfall made coming here worthwhile. Sarah proved to be very knowledgeable and had a wonderful sense of fun. She had studied God for thousands of years and claimed to still know only a small portion of all there was to know. She called God various names and she interchanged the names constantly: Mighty God, Immanuel, Jehovah, Provider, Love, Creator, Healer, Master, Friend.... 
There were countless aspects of the Majestic One to explore and many more attributes to recognize.
“To know the Great I Am, you must spend time with Him.” Sarah emphasized. You must constantly recognize His presence.
Minnie wanted to do that. She remembered sitting on His lap. 
When the class was over, Sarah asked Minnie to stay. “Minnie, I’m going to see the Father of Lights now and He has asked me to bring you along.”
“But why?”
“He hasn’t told me.”

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (46)

(a novel continued)

Back at the cottage that evening Minnie walked out to the water and stared at the stars under the lake. She prayed for John and her children. “Lord let them know that I'm just fine,” she prayed. 
The peace that came with her recent baptism brimmed up inside and she knew they knew.

Friday when the shofar sounded from the meadow, Minnie was still floating in peace. She had spent the previous three days praising and worshipping and interceding for the saints back on earth. She prayed they would each experience an intimate relationship with the Lord. She prayed that they would take every opportunity to reach those who hadn’t heard the good news of salvation.
Minnie and Lydia met on the way to the meadow. 
In the meadow most of the newbies had already assembled although as yet a few were trickling in from the wooded area.
“How many of you were successful?” the angel in charge inquired. Everyone put up their hands. The meadow instantly became the setting for a giant party. Angels flew in with tables laden with milk and honey and all manner of tasty morsels. A giant rainbow circled round about and Jesus entered. Singing and dancing ensued. They feasted and partied long into the night.
With that and the Going-to-Meet God celebration the following two days, Minnie thought she might grow tired of  celebrating and worshipping. She wasn’t the least bit tired and hungered for more.

When Minnie and Samuel met for class on Monday, Samuel immediately noticed a difference in Minnie. “I believe you are ready for regular classes with the others. This means we’ll have to set up a curriculum. What would you like to know about?”
Minnie was prepared for the question. “So many things, Samuel, but mostly, I want to know more about God—who He is.”
“That, dear one, is an eternal study, very worthwhile. You have chosen wisely. There are so many aspects of God, one could spent every moment in all eternity learning about God and there would still be more to discover.”
Samuel decided to register Minnie in God-study 101—classes to begin immediately. They walked in the direction Minnie’s parents had taken in what seemed an age ago. Minnie wondered what the school would look like. Surely it couldn’t be one of those big institutional buildings she thought of as school. That would be so not heavenly. “Samuel, what is the school like?”
“You’ll see.” 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (45)

(a novel continued)

A little farther up the road they came to a castle the size of a cabin and made of sand, hard packed glistening sand. The entrance was such that only one person could fit through the doorway at a time. There were no angels here. There were no people here...just a cute little castle made of sand. Minnie and Lydia toured the rooms, all four of them and then squeezed back out the front door.  
“Why is that here?” Minnie asked.
 “Jesus said not to build your house on sand, but he never said anything about building a sand castle,” Lydia said.
Something else to ask Hershal, Minnie decided.
“How much further do you want to go?” Lydia asked.
“Let’s just see what’s around the next corner,” Minnie said.
Around the next corner they found another stream, a swift stream. They could hear water rippling, falling, thundering somewhere up river. “It must be a waterfall,” Minnie said. She loved waterfalls. Judging by the melodious sounds she judged a waterfall in heaven would be beyond her imagination. They followed the winding stream toward the bubbling orchestra. Around the last bend, they saw a ribbon of water which looked more like sparkling light glistening as it dropped from the sky. Rainbow light danced around the streaming ribbon. They stood in awe for several minutes.
“That was the highlight of the day,” Lydia said.
“Getting baptized was,” Minnie said.
Lydia smiled.
Minnie pulled her whistle out. “Shall we?”
Lydia nodded.
As soon as Minnie and Lydia blew their Fox whistles, Hershal and Ramone appeared, as if they had been with the girls before the whistles had actually blown.
“So, now you’ve visited Castle Row,” Hershal said. “What did you think?”
“Was an interesting day,” Minnie said. “Hershal, those men in the big castle with all the arches, who are they?”
“They, my dear, are very serious men. In every generation there are leaders among men who love the Lord, claim Him as their Saviour, love their fellow men, and put themselves in charge. The Lord lets them play king of the castle until they tire of it. Usually they end up calling on Jesus to rescue them, just in time for the next crop coming through.”

“What about the sand castle?”
“That is a visual aid. There are some among men who claim Jesus as their Saviour and yet believe that the good life they have led has earned them a way into heaven. So Jesus brings them to the castle made of sand and lets them choose. They can live in heaven as provided for by the sacrifice on the cross or they can choose to live in the castle made of sand. The sand represents all their good works. Every grain of sand represents some bit of self-righteousness.
Most understand the concept in quick order.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (44)

(a novel continued)

“I lived among Muslims back in Kenya,” Lydia said. “They told me many things. I spoke to some about Jesus. I never knew if what I said had an effect...until I came to heaven, and Jesus brought me to this very castle.
"Well?" Minnie asked.
Well what?
Did it have an effect?
Lydia glowed with the remembering. “Oh, yes. We celebrated in this castle with Jesus and the angels. We ate and danced and sang and told stories. They put me at the head table with Jesus and the three friends I spoke to on earth. The ballroom was filled with the people my friends had reached; and those told of the thousands more among their families and friends still back on earth. 
 And, while on earth, my friends had never once hinted to me that they had become Christians.

Minnie and Lydia walked on.
A third castle appeared on the horizon. This castle with no moat was bigger than the other two castles combined. Each wall was made up of four sections with open archways in every section, sixteen sections in all. Minnie and Lydia knew this because they walked all around the castle. Then, they picked an archway and went in. 
A large angel with six wings stood just inside the archway with his wings spread. His wingtips touched the wingtips of the angels at the archways on either side. The angels didn’t stop Lydia and Minnie from passing through. The women crossed a very large courtyard.
 Across the courtyard they came to a stone wall. A stairway lead up the side of this wall. Minnie followed Lydia up the stair. At the top they walked through a smaller archway in the same design as the outside archways. Here there were sixteen archways all in a row. Through the archways they found a group of men in suits sitting around a large table and deep in discussion. The men didn’t look up or acknowledge the women in any way. 
 “Heavenly doctrine is a necessity. We must set the parameters or heresy will creep in,” one man said.
“This is heaven. Surely everything is as it should be.” another replied.
“That’s not the point,” said a third. “The doctrines of the church have always protected against corruption. Heaven must be kept pure. Look what happened among the angels the first time.”
“We never want sin to enter the gates,’ the first man added.
Who were these men? Minnie had no idea. Why were they doing this in heaven? Why didn’t they ask Jesus about these things? They seemed to be talking in circles. How long had they been here?
Lydia looked at Minnie and then at the door. They left as quietly as they had entered. Had the men even seen them?
Once outside and past the angels, they continued on down the road. 
Jesus didn't show me this place, Lydia said.
Minnie decided to ask Hershal about it. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (43)

(a novel continued)

“What happened?” Minnie’s question escaped before she had time to wonder whether it was rude. 
“There was a flood. Our entire village was washed out to sea. We all drowned. And now we are here.”
“Doesn’t that make you frightened of water?”
“Oh, no, we love the water; it brought us here,” the girl said. “But, several people from our village aren’t here. They are in that other place. We told them about Jesus many times, but they laughed. Now it is too late.”
Minnie didn’t know what to say. She thought of her neighbours back on earth. Where would they go if they died? She hadn’t mentioned Jesus to them, not even once. She had asked them how they were and talked to them about the weather and the children, but never had she invited a neighbour to accept Jesus as personal Saviour.

After playing in the water so long Minnie was sure her skin should be wrinkling, Lydia and Minnie stepped back onto the river bank. Their clothes dried almost immediately and their skin didn’t look the least bit like raisins. “I love my skin,” said Minnie.
“Me too, it's just so perfect here. Back on earth I had white spots,” Lydia said.
They walked on for some distance, each busy with their own thoughts, when they came to a large castle. There was a moat around the castle, the drawbridge lowered.
“Let’s go in,” Lydia said.
“How do we know this isn’t someone’s home?”
“We don’t. But, this is heaven. Jesus has given us the freedom of the entire place.”
“You mean someone, anyone, could walk right into my cottage?”
“Don’t concern yourself about that,” Lydia said. “Our angels attend to those things. We’ll meet an angel in this place, before we meet anyone else.”
As Lydia had predicted, an angel, a large angel with four wings, stopped them just inside the wall, “Welcome to the home of Robert Burnham and his followers. Have you ever heard the teachings of Robert Burnham?”
The girls shook their heads.
“Robert Burnham had the gift of healing, but he got into some very false teachings. This place is full of those who need healing from the teaching. Unless you too have been exposed to the false fire, you probably don’t want to explore.”
Minnie and Lydia thanked the four-winged angel and returned back out across the drawbridge.
They walked on. Soon they came to another castle. Here the drawbridge was up. A flag hung from one of the turrets. The flag was red with a cross in the middle and a sickle in the corner.
“This castle is for the secret believers among the Muslims,” Lydia suggested. These people accepted Jesus into their heart but were too frightened to share Him with anyone.”
Once again, Minnie thought about the neighbours in her town in Canada.
“How do you know this?” Minnie asked.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (42)

(a novel continued)

Minnie edged her toe into the water. The cool clear water felt surprisingly warm to her skin. She walked in up to her knees. The water was still warm and inviting. She walked in up to her waist. Her shift billowed around her. "Oh, what the heck, I may as well fall in." 
She did. 
Then she wondered about thinking the word, ‘heck.’ Was the word ‘heck’ to be avoided in heaven? Could one say, ‘hell’ in heaven? She hadn’t heard any dos and don’ts. People just lived, loving God and each other.
“Over here,” Lydia said, “We can stand on this big rock.”
“Won't it be slippery?”
“We'll find out.”
Minnie dog paddled toward Lydia.
“You could use a swimming lesson,” Lydia said. She showed Minnie how to use her arms and legs to advantage.
“I could get used to this,” Minnie said. I didn’t know swimming was so simple.”
“I’ve never seen anyone learn so quickly,” Lydia said. 
They swam to the rock and climbed on. It wasn't slippery. “Now, we are here on this rock to baptise you, Minnie, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and King and the ruler of your life both now and forever more?”
“I have and I do, both now and for evermore.”
“Then I baptise you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Lydia lowered Minnie back until she was entirely submerged. Several seconds later, Minnie popped up newly baptised.
“Now you know.” Lydia said.
Minnie did know. She felt a peace that surpassed anything she had ever felt on earth and equalled the peace she felt when she sat on the Father’s lap. She was entirely and completely a child of God. She knew at that moment in the river as she rose up out of the water that she would never again try to do anything without God. Her Daddy was the biggest; she could trust him for everything. “Oh, what a glorious day when Jesus washed my sins away. Thank you Lydia.”
“I told you,” Lydia said. She splashed Minnie with water. Minnie splashed back. Soon they were into a full-fledged water fight laughing and screaming as each tried to outdo the other. They were so absorbed in play that they didn’t notice the crowd forming on the bank of the river.
“What’s the water like?” someone called out.
The girls looked up. There must have been at least 40 people watching them. “Great, come on in,” Lydia yelled.
Several accepted the invitation and invited the others in after them. Soon everyone was swimming and splashing about. “How long have you been here in heaven?” Minnie asked a young girl.
“We’ve been here for five years now.”
“All of you?”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (41)

(a novel continued)

“I’ll tell Ramone. Just wait by the lake.”
Minnie looked down under the partly filled lake. She looked for John. He wasn’t at the house. He wasn't at his work. This would be Tuesday morning. Where could he be? This time of year he always had plenty to do on Tuesday. This was the day he should be receiving deliveries and loading his truck for market. 
Minnie half-expected her stomach to knot. Instead she felt a quiet assurance, a delight actually. “Dear Lord thank you for taking care of John, for guiding and protecting him.” 

Lydia arrived.
The two women set off down the path to the east. There was no need to talk; they felt like they had been friends forever. They walked several kilometres before Lydia asked, “What is your favourite thing about heaven.
“Talking to Jesus,” Minnie said.
 “I like the worship,” Lydia said.
They came to a small river. The water sparkled cool and clear. “Let’s swim” Lydia suggested.
“In our clothes?”
“Why not? They’ll dry.”
Lydia jumped into the water. She swam around, diving and floating. “Come in, it’s wonderful.”
“I’m not much of a swimmer,” Minnie said. “I never, ever put my head under.”
“What about when you were baptised?”
“I was sprinkle baptised as a baby.” 
“Well, we’ll have to fix that.” 
“Does it have to be fixed?” 
“Minnie, who decided to sprinkle baptise you?”
“My parents of course.”
Did you have a say in it?”
“I was an infant.”
“So how can a baby 'repent and be baptised'  as Jesus put it, if that baby isn’t even aware that she is getting baptised? Answer me that. You’ll have to be baptised right here and right now. We might as well get it done.”
“What difference does it make?”
“Do you accept Jesus as your king, the Lord of your life?”
“I do.”
“Jump in and be baptised. You will know the difference. Trust me.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (40)

(a novel continued)

Minnie took her glass of lemonade to her room and sat in the armchair by the window. The dog Hetta was playing with a golden stick outside.
 “Jesus, I love you” she said. She noticed a man approach Hetta and take the stick from him. The man threw the stick a short distance and the dog ran to fetch it. 
“Jesus.” Minnie said as she ran out to meet him. “Jesus did I ever tell you thank you?...for dying on the cross, I mean?”
“You have, once or twice,” Jesus said.
“Well, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. What you did was so immense. How could you make yourself do such a thing.”
“Wasn’t easy.” Jesus said. “I sweated blood over it.”
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I would like to do something for you Jesus.”
“That’s just it. I don’t know what. I can tell you I love you a thousand times, but there must be something I can do?”
Hetta was running circles around them with the stick between his teeth.
“There is.” Jesus took the stick from the dog.  He threw it further this time. “You could intercede for all those dear people who haven’t accepted my gift yet. I died on that tree for the whole world. There are thousands, upon thousands who haven’t accepted me as their Saviour and millions who haven’t heard of me.”
“Jesus, I can do that.”
“As you pray listen to my voice. Let me guide you.”
“I can do that,” Minnie gave Jesus a big hug.
That night when she went to bed she thought about her time in heaven. This was so different than life on earth. Worry and darkness and dirt were things of the past. Joy, joy, joy. Minnie fell asleep smiling.
The next morning she prayed at the lake for a long time. She prayed exactly as the Lord directed. Afterwards she decided to walk east. She hadn’t been that way yet. 
When she said good-bye to Hershal, he advised her to take the whistle. “When you blow it, I will come for you.”
“Thank you Hershal.
“Hershal, if I want Lydia to come with me...”

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (39)

(a novel continued)

Lydia unwrapped her stick of gum and popped it into her mouth.
"What are you doing?" Minnie asked. "What if there is a direction about this gum?"
"There hasn't been a direction not to chew the gum."

The women looked around. “This is a place you might find in the land of Israel,” Lydia said.
Minnie agreed. She reached into her pouch. "What do you think this bottle is about?" She held the tiny bottle up and swished the contents around. "Looks like oil. Lamp in the parable of the ten virgins." 

"Surely we don't need lamp oil in this place," Lydia said. "There isn't a bit of darkness."
"Anointing oil?"
"Anoint your feet and I will lead you to the Tree of Life," they both heard in their spirits.
"Of course, we should have known," Lydia said.
They poured out the little bottles of oil on each other's bare feet. Minnie admired her clean feet. No matter what she did, her feet were never dirty.
“Follow the path, across the stream and over the knoll,” they heard the Lord say.
Minnie and Lydia got up to look for a path. “There it is,” Lydia pointed to her right. They followed the path among the olive trees until it crossed a stream. “There’s the knoll,” said Minnie. On the other side of the knoll they saw a valley and on the other side of the valley a few hills. “Go to the centre hill,” they heard. 
“I wonder where the others are?” Minnie said. “I mean there were a few thousand of us in the meadow and we haven’t met a soul since we first entered the woods.”
They crossed the floor of the valley and climbed the centre hill. At the top of the hill, they found three crosses. “The cross, of course,” Lydia and Minnie came to the realization simultaneously. “The tree of life. This is the Tree of Life. Jesus died here to give us life. We’ve found it.” They sat at the foot of the cross.
“Now what Lord?”
“Tie your handkerchiefs to the cross and blow your whistles.”
As soon as they blew their whistles, Hershal and Lydia’s angel, Ramone, appeared. “You did that in record time.” Hershal said. The angels lowered their backs, the women hugged each other good-bye. 
Hershal and Minnie flew back to the cottage where Hershal prepared a tall glass of cool lemonade. “So what will you want to do the rest of the week?” Hershal  asked.
“Do you have suggestions?” 
“Talk to the Lord about it,” Hershal said.
“I will.”  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (38)

(a novel continued)

Other participants in the heavenly game streamed past and soon Minnie and Lydia were alone. They made themselves comfortable in grass chairs and opened their pouches. Inside they each found a Fox whistle, a foil wrapped stick of gum, a small bottle of liquid, three marbles and a yellow handkerchief, as well as a  picture of Jesus with three directives on it.
Find the Tree of Life.
Use the items inside this pouch as directed.
When you hear the shofar, report to the meadow.
“Use the items as directed?” Minnie questioned. She looked inside her emptied pouch. There aren’t any directions.”
“Maybe, there is another way to get them. We’ll ask Jesus.” Lydia immediately prayed out, “Jesus what do we do first?”
They sat quietly listening. After a moment, Minnie said, I heard, 'Take a marble and throw it as far as you can into the woods.'” 
“That could be dangerous.” Lydia said.
Minnie took a marble from her pouch and threw it. It sailed between the trees into a pile of leaves about forty metres into the woods.
They both heard, “Walk in that direction.”  They walked into the woods toward the pile of leaves. When they got there, they asked, “Lord, now what?”
“Throw the next marble.”
This continued until all six marbles were used. By now they were deep inside the wooded area. “We’ve lost all our marbles.” Lydia laughed.
Minnie prayed. “Lord, show us the Tree of Life.”
“Keep walking, you’ll recognize it when you see it.”
They walked on looking at each tree as they walked. There were maple trees, oak trees, beech trees, poplar trees, birch trees, trees Lydia recognized from Kenya and many trees neither of them had ever seen before. After some time they reached an orchard. Here there were orange trees, banana trees, peach trees, apple trees, all manner of fruit trees. “It’s not here either," Lydia said.
They kept walking.
At the other side of the orchard, there was a garden filled with olive trees. Under one of the olive trees they found a wooden bench. Lydia and Minnie sat on the bench. “We should have brought along a snack,” Minnie said. “Are you hungry?”
“What is hungry? In heaven I’ve been able to go for days without food. All we need is the week-end manna.”
“Really! I’ve been here less than a week and have only had the manna once. It’s true I haven’t felt hunger. I do enjoy eating though.”
“Yes, the food is very tasty.”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (37)

(a novel continued)

As well as praying at the lake, all that week Minnie took part in the heavenly game. Each of heaven's newbies received a personal invitation, a purple tunic with a twine belt and a small pouchThe kick-off for the game was held in Samuel's meadow. 
Hamilton, an angel, called everyone to attention. “I am here to proclaim the rules of the heavenly game. This game is about your education. By the end of the week you will have determined your place in school. Rule number one: there are no playing rules. Object of the game: find the Tree of Life. Playing field: the woods at the far side of the meadow.” 
Everyone turned to look at the large forest behind them. 
“The game ends in five days. Any questions?”
“What do we do when we find the Tree of Life?” someone shoutedalthough there wasn’t a need to shoutsound travelled easily in this meadow. Minnie wondered if  her very thoughts were audible.
“There are instructions inside your pouch.” Hamilton answered.
A woman, not far from Minnie, asked, “May we leave the playing field during the game?” 
“Of course. You may go wherever you wish, whenever you wish. Simply know that the game will be completed when you hear the shofar. Then we meet here.”
There were no more questions. Hamilton encouraged the participants to go in peace and with joy of the Lord in their hearts.
Minnie set off with the thousands of others from every nation of the world. There were men and woman of all colours and many ages. She fell in with a black woman. They shared their stories. Lydia had lived in Kenya until she died at the age of 80. Now she looked ageless, except for eight barely perceptible lines around her eyes. 
“That’s the age graph, Lydia told Minnie. You have four lines and the beginnings of another so you must have died in your forties. I asked my angel about the lines.”
Lydia and Minnie stopped at the edge of the great woods. “We should make a plan rather than wandering aimlessly,” Minnie said.
Lydia agreed. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (36)

(a novel continued)

For the rest of the day the people and angels visited with each other, exchanging thoughts and life stories.  Every so often someone would burst out with praises to the Lord and everyone would spontaneously begin singing and dancing again. The feasting on heavenly bread and wine continued into the evening. 
Then the angels flew up into the heaven above the throne and the people laid down in the meadow to sleep, although there was absolutely no darkness. Everything shone brighter than the brightest day on earth. 
Minnie simply closed her eyes and fell into a very deep sleep. She dreamt of men and angels and of her Lord and Saviour.
When she woke, it was Sunday. The praising and dancing and eating and drinking continued throughout that day as well. It seemed such a short time later that Hershal tapped her on the shoulder. “Time to go.” He lowered his back and once more she climbed aboard. They flew up into the heaven up over the throne, singing praises to God Almighty.
At the cottage somewhat later, Minnie sighed. “Can we do that again?”
“Of course,” Hershal said. “It’s why we are here.”
Minnie reverently hung her star-white gown in the closet. She put on her silk pajamas and slept.
All the next week Minnie went out to her lake first thing in the morning. She watched as the stars disappeared from under the bowl and prayed as the voice of the Lord—that voice she heard in her thoughts directed. She prayed for her husband, for her children and for her town. She prayed for salvation and she prayed for righteousness. She prayed, “Our Father, here in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as here in heaven. Lead the people on earth not into temptation, but deliver them from evil. For God, yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever.”
As she prayed the rain came down, and the lake filled up. Each day a little fuller, until on the fifth day the lake began to tip. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (35)

(a novel continued)

Angels with eyes all over their wings worshipped God on the sea of glass. The angels had six wings each. One of these angels reminded Minnie of a lion, another of an ox, one looked like an eagle and the one Minnie liked best looked like Hershal.
These angels were singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to come.” The people gathering in their shining gowns took up the song and soon everyone was singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” All of heaven reverberated with the sound. 
The elders stepped down from their thrones, removed their crowns and knelt. They called out, “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
All the people and angels knelt as one, singing, “Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that sits before the throne.” Then Minnie noticed Jesus. He looked like a lamb. Lightning flashed from the throne and peals of thunder rang out.
The four mighty angels with the eyes all over their wings danced and flew as they sang, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty...” The flew around the throne and high into the heaven above the throne and over the people surrounding the throne. Minnie looked about. As far as she could see, people and angels formed a sea of white crystal. Minnie was part of the sea. The sea waved and danced and sang shimmering across the meadow for miles and miles.
Minnie had never in her life on earth been part of such a wonderful moment. She looked at God on his throne. He looked right into her soul. It seemed as if He had eyes for her alone. She heard, “Minnie, I love you.” Her heart swelled with joy and pleasure. She sang out, “You are worthy, our Lord and our God.”
The singing and dancing went on for hours. Then the four angels with the six wings took out four large baskets. Thousands upon thousands of angels rose up from the sea of crystal and flew over to the four angels with the baskets. They took bread from the baskets and flew back over the crystal sea dropping bits of bread. The people gathered up the bread. “It is heavenly manna,” said the woman who stood next to Minnie.
Minnie ate. The bread smelled freshly baked and tasted sweet.
Then a fountain poured out from before the throne. A river of heavenly water ran down among the people. Minnie watched as others scooped up the water in their hands and drank. She tried this. The water tasted like wine, the best wine she had ever tasted, pure and clear and delicious.
Minnie felt like she could fly. She checked to see if she had sprouted wings. Of course she hadn’t and felt embarrassed that she had thought such a thought. She looked at God. “Father, forgive me for not being content with how you made me.” He winked at her. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (34)

(a novel continued)

“Breakfast,” Hershal called.
Minnie went in. “Hershal you didn’t tell me I should be praying at the lake each day,” she said.
He smiled. “Mine is not to tell you what to do.
“When do we go to the heavenly throne, can you tell me that?”
“Oh yes, Hershal said. I am here to minister to you, to answer your questions, but not to direct you, unless of course the Lord directs. Right after breakfast is the perfect time to head over to God’s throne. All the angels and people will be going.”
“Will there be room for everyone?”
“There’s always room.  God on his throne rises up over the heavenly city and sits high and lifted up where all can see and worship.”
The sweet aroma of a heavenly pecan-covered cinnamon bun on her breakfast plate failed to capture Minnie's attention. She would be seeing God again soon. She knew He probably won’t be picking her up and setting her in his lap this time, but just seeing Him, would be more than enough.
“It isn't necessary to eat,” Hershal said when Minnie looked at the breakfast. 
Minnie considered that for less than a moment. Then I won't. Thank you Hershal,” she said as she hurried to  her room. When she opened the closet door her linen going-to-God gown shone like a star. She thanked her Father for her new eyes. Her earthly eyes would surely have been blinded. She slipped the gown over her head and arranged the pearl belt. 
Hershal was waiting for her outside by the lake. He looked twice his usual size—four times when he spread his wings—which he did. “Hop on,” Hershal said simply as he lowered his back so Minnie could climb aboard.
Soon they were flying high over the meadow.
They landed gently in the heavenly green grass just outside Jerusalem. An ocean of angels and peoples from every tribe and nation continued to gather all that morning. 
God in all Glory sat on his throne on a sea of glass above the city. Twenty-four men were seated on thrones surrounding the throne. Minnie recognized Peter among them. He had a gold crown on his head as did the others on the thrones. A rainbow resembling an emerald surrounded the main throne separating God’s throne from the others. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (33)

(a novel continued)

“Samuel, how should I prepare?”
“Well to be truthful, you should have prepared on earth. Most Christians live on earth as if that is all of life. They store up treasures down there instead of following the explicit advice of Jesus, ‘Store up your treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust will destroy them.’ This is a shame. On the Great Judgment Day, they won’t have much to take into the new earth.”
Minnie thought back to her life on earth; she did have a few treasures stored up down there, although, there wasn't anything nearly as wonderful as here. 
“Samuel, what can I do now?”
“Learn as much as you can. Worship the Lord from morning till night in all that you do. And, spend time each day interceding for all of humankind back on earth. Many are lost and our God wants everyone to enjoy Him. Use the lake God has given you.”
“The empty lake in front of my cottage?”
“That lake should be constantly filling up.”
“Oh Samuel, I’m so sorry I didn’t know.”
After class Minnie walked back to the cottage. She stood at the edge of the empty lake and watched the stars twinkling beneath. “Dear God,” she said, “Please forgive me for walking by this lake without once interceding for the people down there. Dear God, be real to them. Put a love for you in their hearts. Let them love you most of all and love each other in word and deed. Dear God teach me what to pray. And, Lord, give the people down there a lake-filling desire to pray.” 
A gentle rain began. Minnie danced with delight. “Lord, I praise your name.”  Several big drops splashed into the tiny pool at the bottom of the lake. Minnie promised the Lord, she would be back at lakeside first thing in the morning.
The next morning, even before Hershal had breakfast on the table, Minnie was dressedthis time in a green shift with a leafy beltand out at the lake, peering down. She saw her town. A few people were up mowing their lawns and washing their cars. Others were still lying in bed. Her husband John was one of those. Not too many were going to their work. It must be Saturday.
Yes, of course, today was the seventh day, all of heaven would be gathering to worship God. She wondered about Sunday. Hershal will know what happens on Sunday. Minnie wanted to run right back into the cottage to ask him, but she forced herself to look at her town. It seemed so dismal there. “Dear Jesus, tell me what to pray.” In her mind she heard the thought, ‘Pray for John.’
“Lord Jesus shine your love on John. Help him to be motivated to use this day for your honour and for your glory. Lift his heart. Let him want to praise you. Fill him with love for those around him. Assure Him that I am here with you.”
John stirred in his bed. A rainbow bent across the lake as a steady rain drizzled down. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (32)

(a novel continued)

After supper the five walked to the meadow where the others left Minnie with her tutor. Samuel greeted her with a hug and news that there would be a break in their sessions. “School will be suspended during the heavenly game. Heavenly in the meadow, beginning Monday.”
“What about tomorrow?”
Tomorrow is the seventh day. Tomorrow all of heaven gathers in one place to worship Our Great God, Yahweh, the “I Am” who is your Father here in Heaven.
“At the throne?”
“The very place. You will want to wear your white robe.”
Minnie’s heart filled with excitement. She felt as if her chest would burst. She danced a circle around Samuel.

“For, today’s lesson we’ll talk about grass.”
“Yes, grass.”
“This grass?” Minnie sat down beside Samuel on the soft green grass which immediately formed a chair around her.
“Have you wondered why the grass is so different that the grass on earth.”
“I suppose because this is heavenly grass. There is no sin here.”
“Exactly.” Samuel went on to tell her about the Garden of Eden before the fall and painted a picture in her mind of the new heaven and the new earth where everything would be even more perfect than here.
“It’s hard to imagine a place more perfect than here?”
“This is still the old heaven. This place has seen a lot of grief. We still see much grief through the windows. Once Jesus returns to the earth as the triumphant Messiah, then this old heaven and the old earth will pass away and the new will come. That truly will be a glorious day, when the saints on earth hear the great trumpet call and they rise up to meet us—who are dead to them—and Jesus in the clouds.
So, while you are here you should use your time wisely in preparation for that great day.”

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (31)

(a novel continued)

Minnie popped into a game of twenty questions. “Are you related to Peter?”
“Are you married?”
“There is no marriage in heaven.”
“Did you meet Jesus when He came to earth?”
 “Did you know each other on earth?”
 “Did you live in Jerusalem?”
“Were you at the cross?”
“Yes, but you wouldn't know that.”
“Are you related to Jesus?”
“Here in heaven, but not on earth.”
“On earth were you friends with Jesus?”
“Friends with each other?”
“No. Although we loved each other.”
Suddenly Minnie knew, “Are you Mary, Martha and Lazarus?”

“Hershal served tuna sandwiches and a spinach salad.
“Mmm, long time since I’ve had fish. It’s quite good,” Peter said. He related how he had had enough fish to last two lifetimes while he was a fisherman, and never thought to have fish while in heaven. “This definitely beats all the fish I’ve ever caught or tasted on earth. Although, that fish Jesus fed us at the seashore after He rose from the dead was pretty good.”
“Peter, you are my favourite disciple.” Minnie ventured.
“I’m partial to John,” Mary said.
“I believe Matthew was always the most thoughtful,” Martha said.
“No one comes close to Jesus.” Lazarus laughed. I owe Him big time.
“What was it like going back to earth, after you had been in this most wonderful place?” Minnie asked.
“If I didn’t love my sisters so much, I would say it was a real let down.”
“Very punny.” Peter said.

The four visited all afternoon. Mary and Martha were both interested in the life of a 20th century woman on earth. But, much of the time Minnie just listened to the others reminisce about Bible times. She felt entirely privileged to be among them, treated as a complete equal.

Hershal prepared the most delicious salmon supper. Peter swore he would be eating a lot more heavenly fish in the future. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (30)

(a novel continued)

Minnie woke in the morning to brightness and whispering music. The cottage was filled with it. The music sounded like a million-dollar sonic stereo system, or so she imagined. It penetrated her pores and filled her with joy everlasting. The heavenly light in the room seemed a thousand times brighter than any brightness on earth and yet her eyes were able to take it in. The colours around her enhanced a thousand percent. Yesterday seemed black and white in comparison. When she opened her closet, her linen going-to-God gown shone like a a star. She smiled as she remembered Samuel’s “You’ll see.”
Minnie dressed in a soft yellow shift with a daisy belt.
Hershal served croissants for breakfast.
 Life here was simply heavenly.
“How did you know I would like croissants this morning, Hershal?”
“I’ve been around you much longer than you realize.” Hershal said.
He told her how he had first come into her life when she first came to life. “I was there when the sperm touched the egg, so to speak.”
He told her how he watched over her while she slept, how he protected her when she was in danger, how he responded to God’s direction when she prayed and how his hands were tied when she had the accident. “I couldn’t help you then.”
“Why not?”
“God directed me not to.”
“But why?”
“Always full of questions aren’t you? Only God knows the answer to that one.”
“I’ll ask Him about it,” Minnie said.
“What are you plans for the day, Miss Minnie?” Hershal asked.
“I don’t have any, but I would very much like to meet Peter.”
“That can be arranged. We’ll invite Peter for lunch.”
Sure enough at lunch Peter walked up the path to the cottage. He had three others with him, two women and a man. 
Who are they?” Minnie asked Hershal as they watched the four coming up the path between the flowers.
“You’ll know soon enough.”
Minnie greeted the visitors at the door. “Welcome, Peter,” she said to the red-headed one. “And, who are your friends?”
“You know us,” they chorused. 
“You do if you’ve read your Bible,” Peter said.

Minnie Goes to Heaven (29)

(a novel continued)

“So, you’ve met God,” Samuel said.
“Did He tell you?”
“I recognize the clothes.”
“Oh, of course.” Minnie looked down at her shimmering linen gown. “I love these clothes...why would anyone ever take them off?”
“You’ll see.” He winked at her. Samuel was wearing a soft burlap tunic. “Now, let’s get on with the lesson.”
They spent the next hour talking about spiritual perception and intimacy with Jesus. Minnie learned that Jesus truly was with her every moment and had been there all those times on earth when she felt alone. She could have been talking with him.
“I wish I had known,” Minnie said.
“What did you think Jesus meant when He said, ‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age?’”
“I thought he was with me, but in a removed sort of way. He was there, but he couldn't just say things. I had the Bible with me. I had the creation around me. I could see Him in creation. I could hear Him in His Word. I always thought that was it.”
“The good thing is He loves you just as much regardless. His heart is and always has been overflowing with love for you. On the other hand, you could have been much more in love with him.”
“I felt that when I first met him here. If I had it to do over again....”
“As your mother would say, 'No use crying over spilled milk'.
 “Samuel, how do you know what my mother says?
“She was my student. 
“And you remember everything about every student?
You will find that our brains in heaven are somewhat more efficient than on earth.

When Minnie got back to the cottage later that evening, she reverently hung her linen gown in the closet and dressed herself in a soft silk pajamas. As soon as her head touched the pillow, she was asleep. She dreamed a vivid dream. 
The dream seemed real. She was back on earth. Her body was like it had been before the accident. Yet she looked and felt different. She felt more alive than she ever had. She glowed with life. John couldn’t take his eyes away from her. He watched her with pure love as she moved, as she talked.
In the dream Minnie was standing in her kitchen at the sink, doing her dishes. In her mind she could hear Jesus say He loved her. She felt His love in her heart. She told John how much she loved Jesus and that Jesus was in the room just as real as she was, as real as John.
John said simply, “I know, I see him. He is my only comfort in life and death.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

Minnie Goes to Heaven (28)

(a novel continued)

Minnie had forgotten all about class. “Oh, dear, I’m still in my going-to-see-God clothes.” The linen shift felt so light and comfortable, she wanted to wear it forever.
“Don’t concern yourself about that.” Hershal said. “The gown is yours to wear when and where you wish.”
Minnie danced out to greet her parents. They hugged and kissed and set out holding hands, Minnie in the middle. “Dad, remember back on earth when you said not to try to figure out the book of Revelations? What do you think about that now?”
“About what I said, or about the book of Revelations?”
He stopped and looked Minnie in the eyes. His own eyes welled with tears. “Minnie back on earth I tried to be the best father I could be. I said and did many foolish things, thinking they were wise. Minnie, please forgive me.”
“Since we’ve been here the eyes of our heart have been and are continually being enlightened.” Mom added.
“Of course I forgive you, Dad. I know you could only go by what you knew at the time. But what do you know now? I am so curious.”
“I think, I—we—should have been prayerfully studying the Bible. There are people who come here from all over the world who know much more about the things of the Lord than I do even yet. These people had an intimate relationship with Jesus while on earth. They talked to Him. They asked Him questions. He answered them.”
“We can’t cry over spilt milk,” Mom said.
“You still say that here, Mom?”
They laughed.
Before they could get into the book of Revelations, they were at the meadow where Samuel greeted Minnie, and her parents headed to their classes.