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Nana's hope of heaven

I believe the main reason why Nana was such a strong influence in the lives of her family was her love of the Lord Jesus, and her strong belief that one day she was going to be with Him in heaven.

Right from when we were young children, she would tell us stories about loved ones who had near death experiences of heaven.

Now, over the past 18 months, since she had a stroke, about 3 times she thought she was dying and she was very excited about going Home. On each occasion, we prayed to release her to the Lord, but she stayed on.

I want to share with you a dream she had 3 or 4 years ago. She had this vivid dream of going into heaven and seeing a young man there. She knew who the young man was. It was her grandson, Bevan Bratty, who died 19 years ago. That dream was a great comfort to Nana, because Bevan was no longer an 8 year old boy, but a young man in his 20's, yet she recognised him.

And so this strong belief in heaven was a very powerful, comforting force in her life.

Now, she always loved it at funerals whenever a minister spoke about heaven and so today I want to bring you a message about heaven.

You know, in some ways, I wish the Bible said more about heaven. I'm the type of person who would like to know exactly what it is like. However, because Jesus came, we know enough about it to satisfy the deepest longing of our hearts.

I want to 1st briefly speak about what is not going to be in heaven. There are many things, but I want to speak about two things that are not going to be there:

The first is this:

1) There will be no sin in heaven.

Do you know - all the wars and trouble in our world are caused through such things as pride and self-seeking. The present economic disaster the world is in has been caused by greed. Both President Bush and President Obama have said that it was greed that caused it.

Families at present are in disarray in New Zealand. And it's all caused by sin and self-seeking & greed. I could speak for a long time about the harm that sin is doing in our world. Well, there is going to be no more sin in heaven.

The second thing that is not going to be in heaven is this:

2) There is going to be no more sickness, suffering & death.

In Revelation 21, it says this: "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'" Now Nana had her share of suffering over the years, but all that is finished with now.

I could talk for hours about all the things that won't be in heaven. But now I would like to talk about what is going to be in heaven.

There are many things I could talk about, but I would like to mention just three.

The 1st is this:

1) Love.

There will be perfect love in heaven. Down here, our most loving relationships are always tinged with disappointment. I deeply love Kathy, but I often get disappointed in myself by the way I speak to her. You see - sin is our problem. We just can't always be as loving as we should be -but in heaven all that will change. There will be perfect love.

The 2nd thing that's going to be in heaven is this:

2) a place specially prepared for us.

In John Chapter 14, Jesus said this to His disciples: "Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father's house there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you."

Isn't it wonderful to think that Jesus has a place specially prepared for those who love him.

The 3rd thing that is going to be in heaven is this:

3) Jesus

Our Lord Jesus will be there to welcome us. Because Nana was blind, Priscilla would sometimes say to her, "What is the first thing that you are going to see in heaven," and she would always say, "Jesus."

It was wonderful the way Nana died. It has been a great comfort to us. You see, over the past few months, she has had gangrene in her toes. Then a couple of weeks ago, it started spreading into her foot. And the only way we could keep her from suffering was to keep filling her up with Morphine.

And we felt that she probably only had a week or two to live. Well, last Sunday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours talking with Peter & Wendy in Nana's room and we were reminiscing a bit about past events. And at one point, I said the anniversary of Bevan's death must be coming up, his having passed away 19 years ago. Wendy looked at her watch and said that it was tomorrow, 5th April. And I said, "The 5th of April is today." Wendy's watch had the wrong date.

Well, I had a strange feeling. Is the Lord going to take her today? A number of the grandsons came into the room and we had a lovely prayer time for her. Wendy especially prayed a prayer releasing Nana to the Lord. Looking back, I realize she was slipping then, because we prayed the Lord's Prayer with her and she couldn't pray it this time. This all happened around 5pm.

At 7pm, Coral and Wendy & Peter and Jillian & Rodger and some of the grandchildren were having tea in the kitchen, when Gwen, a caregiver came in to say that she thought she was going. We hurriedly went into her room. I thought she was already dead, but she was still breathing very slightly and she had a pulse. It was difficult to say the exact time she died, because she just slipped peacefully away.

Although we cried a bit, we knew the Lord had taken her in His perfect timing - on the exact date that Bevan had died 19 years earlier.

And so, we as a family are filled with joy, knowing that Nana has now gone to be with her Lord and is reunited with her loved ones.

- funeral message by Colin Pyle

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