Heaven is for Real

By Velma Amundson

We recently watched the movie “Heaven is for Real”. I really enjoyed it. I have to say, I’m no expert on whether or not this little boy “went to heaven and back”. We know that God took Enoch and Elijah directly to heaven, and we know from Revelation that John was given a vision. I’m willing to leave it at that.

What struck me, though, was the title: “Heaven is for Real”. My first thought was “Duh”. I mean, after all, isn’t that what we hope for, what we look forward to? One of my husband’s favorite Bible passages comes from John 14:1-2, “Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so would I have told you I go to prepare a place for you? (ESV). I think of all the songs we sing, “Beyond the Sunset”, “Mansion on a Hilltop”. The first verse of one of my favorite songs, and I have many, says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasure is laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door and I can’t feel a home in this world anymore.” There are so many songs which tell us of the hope that we have that God has provided a place for us to be with him for all eternity. What a glorious promise and hope to cling to.

I hope that this spate of summer movies featuring religious themes has given you hope and inspiration. I hope that if someone asks you about it you can say, “Yes, of course Heaven is for real, God promised so it must be”. I hope most of all that as we live our lives we remember that hope and cling to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who made it possible for us to hope.


Going Home?

by Velma Amundson

“DAY O, Day ay ay oh, Daylight come and me wan’ go home”. Ok, I know, strange way to start this blog. But then again, why not? This song is about banana workers who have finished their shift, done their work and want to go home. My mother has been with us for a month. We’ve had a great time together. But, as it gets closer to the time for her to go home, I can see her missing her home, her friends and my brother and sisters more and more. She wants to go home.

There is an old gospel hymn that says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.” I think of that song often. It reminds me that I have a heavenly home waiting for me. Somewhere that I’m promised every tear will be wiped away and I will get to be in the presence of my Lord and Savior forever. It keeps me going when the way gets rough and I feel like nothing is working. It also keeps me going when everything is going my way. It reminds me that the things of this earth are temporary and not all that important. What is important is the treasure I “lay up in heaven”. When I allow God to use me as His witness, showing His love and compassion to those around me, I lay up treasure in Heaven. And someday, when my work here is done, I will get to go there. Not because of the work, but because of God’s grace and mercy.

No More Goodbyes

by Sarah Nelson

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  And you know the way to where I am going.”  John 14:1-4

Saying good-bye to people who I love and cherish has been an oft repeated happening in my life.  This afternoon, my two youngest children spent many minutes on the telephone, catching up with their friends and neighbors they left in Michigan.  I loved hearing the laughter, the questions and answers, and even an ukulele solo my son played for his buddies.  After the hellos and good-byes, and everything else in-between were done, my daughter told me she had a tummy ache.   I gently asked her if she thought it was because she was both happy to have talked with her friend, and sad at the reminder that she is far from her that was the cause of her hurt.  She thought about that for a few seconds and responded with a question, “How can I be happy and sad at the same time? Because I am.”

This past year I am sure that you, like me, have said farewell to family and friends.  Some of those good-byes have been with the hope that we will see that loved one here on earth.  Some of those good-byes have been in the words “I will see you in Heaven!”   For those who have been suffering, their leaving this earth has been a time of mingled joy at knowing they are in the presence of Jesus –  healed and well forever, and sadness for those of us left behind who will miss their words, music, and presence in our lives.

As we are nearing the celebration of Jesus come to earth as a little babe, we rejoice in knowing that because of His coming to earth, we have been given the gift of heaven by believing in Him.  He has gone before us to prepare a place for us.  A place where all of us who have known and received His forgiveness will be reunited forever with Him.  I am looking forward to seeing many loved ones again when Heaven becomes my residence.  There are great-grandparents, aunts, uncles,  friends, and six of my little ones that I will rejoice to see again.  My greatest joy however will be to forever be in the presence of the One who went and prepared my eternal home for me.  I hope to see you there, and together we will celebrate no more good-byes, only “WELCOME HOME!”