Imagine Heaven!

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Imagine Heaven!

by StanToronto on Tue Jul 26, 2016 02:37 PM

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Over the past year since my wife died, I have spent a LOT of time engaged in forums, attending the GriefShare program, and read a LOT of good books. While what I am going to say is religious in nature, something that first struck me when I first started following this cancer forum a couple years ago; and it was along the same line as the familar World War adage: "There are no atheists in foxholes"!; "There are no atheists on cancer forums!", so I felt this would be of interest to many on this forum, and particularly in the Bereavement section.    

over the past year, the best and most encouraging of the books I had read on NDEs (Near Death Experiences) was "Imagine Heaven" was recently written by John Burke. It is in amongst the TOP TEN religious books on the New York Times Best Seller list. It's a compilation of 120 of the most credible and reassuring NDE accounts I have ever encountered.

Anyway, I looked up the author John Burke on the internet, and discovered that he is a pastor of a LARGE church in Texas; and has followed up his book with about six hours of online sermons/interviews, free to watch, covering most of the important stuff contained in his book, including many live interviews with credible people who have experienced an NDE. This series is SO good, that I have now watched it three times! I find such a sense of peace and reassurance each time I watch and listen to this series. I will probably continue to watch it until I have it all memorized. :-) If I am feeling really down, this is where I go to lift my spirit.

Anyway, these are the URL addresses for this series, (and they only work if you turn off your internet browser "Tracking Protection"):

https://vimeo.com/channels/gatewaychurch/140585737

https://vimeo.com/channels/gatewaychurch/141336262

https://vimeo.com/channels/gatewaychurch/142922744

https://vimeo.com/channels/gatewaychurch/142068732

https://vimeo.com/channels/gatewaychurch/143542740

https://vimeo.com/channels/gatewaychurch/144330752

RE: Imagine Heaven!

by Marie55 on Wed Jul 27, 2016 04:33 PM

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Thanks for the links and will check it out. I am trying to "unstuck" and move forward. Each morning I try to watch a Joel Osteen sermon and soak in some positive words to go through the day. If I see a need that has to be filled, I say "yes." Today, filling in for a lady who runs a nonprofit and is sick. She asked I run the program today, so will do the best I can. Yesterday, received news a cousin passed away. Death never seems to take a holiday. Peaceful day to all.

RE: Imagine Heaven!

by StanToronto on Wed Jul 27, 2016 07:54 PM

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Marie,

Death never seem to take holiday, and this week I have been busy scanning 90 years of photos of the great grandmother of my grandchildren on the in-law side of family for the memorial service. And at age 74 there is hardly anyone I know who isn't suffering from terminal cancer or some other gross disease. :-(

The challenge I have encountered since Ethel's death, is trying to envision where she now lives; and listening to these encouraging NDE encounters, have been SO helpful in their consistent accounts that Heaven is a place SO wonderful and beautiful in EVERY way, that there are no worlds adequate to describe it!

I find the accounts of those who have visited Heaven, and come back to tell us about their experience, so very uplifting, and good stuff to watch when I am having a bad day. And you are probably familiar with the way it goes; although I still don't have any good days after 13 months, I have fewer bad days.

Today, I am celebrating Ethel's 73rd birthdayn with her, and picturing how she is celebrating her birthday with friends and family in Heaven. :-)

RE: Imagine Heaven!

by Dlynn1210 on Wed Jul 27, 2016 08:34 PM

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Hi Stan -

Your words of encouragement will mean a lot to so many who read them in the future.  We have exchanged posts in the past and I know how difficult it is to get through losing a spouse but I would never want to endure anything without God in my corner.  Take care of yourself - and thank you for taking time to think of others who are also going through this.

Diana

RE: Imagine Heaven!

by StanToronto on Wed Jul 27, 2016 09:19 PM

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Diana,

While I have endured loss of a spouse with God in my corner, followed by unbelievable pain of the kind I have never before experienced. If God is in my corner, why do I hurt so much?  What useful purpose does HE serve?

While all of this is so bad, I wondered how much worse all of this must be for those who do NOT have God in their corner!!  I at least have hope. They don't. :-(

RE: Imagine Heaven!

by eternalife on Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:30 PM

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We ourselves are invited to change when we read the Gospels, it is like a fountain of living water, ever changing us, drawing us to that deeper friendship to Christ like Martha...

God has bound us to an everlasing covenant...

Best to all... our journey is everlasing. 

RE: Imagine Heaven!

by sandy26 on Sun Aug 07, 2016 03:16 PM

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Stan, I too, believe in God but when I hear people say to me...God has a plan for you. Well, so far I am not very happy with his plan. I've lost my dad, best friend, husband and now my mom has dementia and needs help and I am an only child. So, what's the plan? and I am only 60. Guess the plan is I am a caregiver forever or I really messed up in life somewhere along the way and I am being punished...because that's how I feel right now.

I am coming up on 8 months since Mike has been gone. I took my trip to Alaska and I felt a little better when I got back. But this week it's like BAM again. I cry every day and I want my old life back with my husband. BUT he is gone forever. My only hope is some day I will be with him again.

It's hard to move on when you had such a special soul mate in your life forever. Someone who loved you unconditionally.

I pray evey day this life get better or easier. Until then, I guess we just have to try and move forward - one day at a time.

I HATE CANCER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe I am going through the pissed off part of grieving.

Sandy

RE: Imagine Heaven!

by StanToronto on Sun Aug 07, 2016 06:06 PM

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Sandy,

"Why do bad things happen to good people?" or "Where is God when it hurts?" I don't have a clue! A number of books have been written, attempting to answer that, but I have never found one that has come close to providing a satisfactory answer.

>> "or I really messed up in life somewhere along the way and I am being punished..."

I have certainly wondered about that a lot, as have most of us. But it is not just me that is hurting because of Ethel's death; there are my kids, grandkids and friends who are also hurting. What have my grandkids done that is so evil as to deserve such punishment? And then I look around at others; some of the finest people who have ever lived, and they are also hurting.

From the Bible: "God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust," God doesn't play favorites. In the end, we all end up the same way . . . dead! It's just that the path may be more difficult for some than others.

Someone recently asked on one of the Forums, "Are you afraid to die?" As I awoke the next morning with temporary abdominal pain, I got to thinking, it's not death I am afraid of, it is the painful process I might have to endure getting there. :-)

Thirty years ago, during a difficult time, I read Philip Yancy's book "Where is God When it Hurts". In all fairness, I wasn't much further ahead after reading the book. He is a popular public speaker, and a lot of his lectures/sermons are available on Youtube. Out of curiosity, I listened to a few of them in an effort to discover what he had learned in the 30 years since he wrote his first book. Basically, nothing! He is no further ahead today than he was 30 years ago. The mystery remains unsolved.

One of Ethel's noted Bible passages as she was dying, was viewing life from God's perspecticve: 

"whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." James 4:14.

It just seems long to us, where each and every agonizing day seems endless; and we look at the clock noticing how slow day is going, wondering how many hours we still have to endure before this day is finally over. :-(

Regards
Stan

RE: Imagine Heaven!

by sandy26 on Sun Aug 07, 2016 08:55 PM

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Stan,

SO TRUE!! some day will be with them again and I can't wait.

I also agree the whole family is greiving and it's so sad to see.

Like my son always says - "We were cheated in Life"  So true.

My grandson is really missing his grandpa and that really hurts. He is only 4 and 1/2 and when I got back from Alaska he asked me if I had fun and I said it was beautiful up there and he thought I went to heaven to visit Grandpa - because I said " I went up there" I told him - If Grandma could go to heaven to visti Grandpa then I would surely take him with me. :) At least he knows Grandpa is in heaven watching over him. Death is so unfair - I know it's part of life - BUT - it's the hard part.

Take Care my freind,

Sandy

RE: Imagine Heaven!

by StanToronto on Mon Aug 08, 2016 03:23 PM

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Sandy,

My eldest granddaughter just turned 11, and as such, having spent more time with her, Grandma has been a more significant part of her life.

Instead of a birthday card, I make up an 'envelope' from standard letter sheet, with a picture of Grandma, and captioned:

"Happy Birthday
 from Grandma
I love you!!"

She was experiencing a bit of a problem getting the 'envelope' opened, so someone tried to help her. She pushed them away, and said "No!! I want to keep the picture!!"

It's just my way of keeping Grandma's memory fresh, and it seems to be working. I was thinking that maybe I should make up a Grandma photo album for each of them.

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