Martin Luther on Laughter

“If the earth is fit for laughter, then surely heaven is filled with it. Heaven is the birthplace of laughter.

Martin Luther

For more posts about laughter see:

Laughter in Heaven by Barbara Jean Meter–Book Review

More Easter Laughter

Some Lutheran Humor

The Saints Everlasting Rest by Richard Baxter –Book Review

This review was actually written by my husband, who is a retired pastor. He has a strong interest in Puritanism and Richard Baxter is an important figure in that theological movement.

Among those who appreciate the writings of the old Puritan divines, Richard Baxter is considered unusual. He held views on some topics that were not those of other Reformed theologians and engaged in long standing disputes with other nonconformists in 17th century England, especially with John Owen. On the other hand, some of his writings have continued to this day to have a strong hold on the imaginations of many orthodox Reformation theologians. His book, The Reformed Pastor, is certainly one of the best books on pastoral theology written in English and should probably sit on every pastor’s shelf.

The Saints Everlasting Rest, is a devotional book written by Baxter as he contemplated his own death during a severe illness (although he lived many years afterward). Baxter argues that Christians spend far too little time pondering the glory which awaits the believer and that if we would do so our lives in this world would overflow with patience, joy, and a lively Christian lifestyle. As a pastor, Baxter was not content to simply encourage people to think about the glory that awaits a follower of Christ, but he gives instructions on how that can be done by the believer.

Dr. Tim Cooper, who edited the book, is a professor of Church History at Otego University in New Zealand and a well-known student of Puritanism, and especially of Richard Baxter. Because the 17th century style of writing was excessively verbose, he has shaped a new abridgement of this work. Also, in order to make the work more accessible to the modern reader, Cooper has modernized some of the archaic usages without losing or lessening the flavor and message of one of the most prolific Puritan writers.

If you would like to purchase this book, follow the link below:

For more about the Puritans see these posts:

Who were (are?) the Puritans?

Heaven is a World of Love by Jonathan Edwards — Book Review

Beyond Stateliest Marble by Douglas Wilson — Book Review

The Lutheran Ladies received a free e-book in return for a fair and honest review. Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CPR 255.

A Glimpse of Heaven

Because the 4th and 5th chapters of the book of Revelation have been coming up in different ways in my study life, I decided to do a lectio divina reading of this text. In chapter 4, here’s what stood out for me:

“After this, I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven!” Revelation 4:1a

How amazing and wonderful that God would allow John (and us) a glimpse of the world to come! The description of heaven is, well, unworldly. Like nothing ever seen before. John uses words that describe valuable gems, robes of pure white, golden crowns and crystal. Imagine the most ornate and beautiful throne room and multiply that image by a million. The eyes are dazzled.

The animals around the throne are also only “like” the ones we know on earth– a lion (majesty), an ox,(strength) a man (intelligence) and an eagle (sovereignty). They are covered with eyes–maybe denoting that in heaven things will be seen completely and clearly. There are hints of the natural world, too– thunder, lightening, a rainbow. The kinds of things that produce awe in us, even here and now.

Everything is about the worship of God. This reminds me of the Santus, a hymn that used during many Christian liturgies:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts,
heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Glory be to thee, O Lord most high.
Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

When you worship on Sunday, remember the communion of saints — those in heaven are worshipping right along with us! Keep that beautiful glimpse of heaven with you for the rest of the week!

For more about heaven see:

Heaven is a World of Love by Jonathan Edwards — Book Review

90 Minutes in Heaven — Movie Review

Living in Heaven


No Scars In Heaven

I’m writing this after attending a funeral. It was a good one. What makes a funeral good? Well, the deceased and her family members were all Christian. They are grieving, but not as “those who have no hope.” She was at peace, and so are they. This song by Casting Crowns was used as part of the service. I hadn’t heard it before, but it’s a powerful reminder of God’s love and provision. Listen and bask in that love.

For more music see these posts:

Born Again by Casting Crowns

Funeral Songs

Just A Closer Walk With Thee

I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard — Book Review

This book for children was inspired by the hit song of the same name by MercyMe. The author, Bart Millard, is one of the founding members of this contemporary Christian band. In it a little boy imagines what it will be like to see Jesus face to face and live with Him forever. Will there be yummy food? Will there be sports and swing sets? Does God like ice cream? Are there pets? These questions cannot be answered right now, only imagined.

Some things, of course, are certain. In heaven each day will be happy because we’ll be with the God who knows and loves us. Best of all, we don’t have to wait to spend time with God because His Spirit is in us right now!

The illustrations by Sumiti Collina are bright and attractive Children will be engaged and encouraged to share their own imaginings about heaven and what it will be like.


For a review of the movie and the song see this post:

I Can Only Imagine

For more Christian books for children see:

What’s So Wonderful About Webster? by Stephen and Alex Kendrick–Book Review

When I Hold You by Ashley Huffstutler–Book Review

Little Sweet Pea, God Loves You — Book Review

Walking Toward Heaven

My husband and I recently watched a television series about the life of singer Aretha Franklin. She began her career singing gospel songs in her father’s church. Later in life her gospel album entitled Amazing Grace (this was a live album recorded over two days in January 1972, at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in South Los Angeles.) included the song, Climbing Higher Mountains. It reminded me that our walk with Jesus has a destination which is our true home — heaven.

For more gospel music see these posts:

Oh Happy Day

Just a Little Talk With Jesus

This Little Light of Mine

Journeying to Eternity

“While we poor wayfarers still toil, with hot and bleeding feet, along the highway and the dust of life; our companions have mounted the divergent path, to explore the more sacred streams, and visit the diviner vales, and wander amid the everlasting Alps of God’s upper province of creation. (Thus) we keep up the courage of our hearts, refresh ourselves with the memories of love, and travel forward in the ways of duty, with less weary step, feeling ever for the hand of God, and listening for the voices of (those) whose happy welcome waits us. Death, in short, under the Christian aspect, is but God’s method of colonization–the transition from this mother-country of our race to the fairer and newer world of our emigration.

James Martineau

For more about eternal life see:

Prepared for Eternity

The Life Everlasting, Part 3

The Hope of Heaven

90 Minutes in Heaven — Movie Review

This movie is based on the true story of Pastor Don Piper. While driving home from a conference in the rain, he is involved in a terrible car accident. Responders to the scene find no pulse and wait for the coroner to arrive and pronounce him dead. After 90 minutes, a pastor arrives and asks if he can pray for the dead man. As he prays and sings a hymn, he is startled to hear Don singing softly along with him! Most of the movie is spent detailing Pastor Piper’s long and difficult recovery. Confined for months to bed with a fixator attached to his leg, he battles with depression, and learns to accept help from others. He also struggles with whether to reveal an amazing experience. While he was dead, he visited heaven! Finally he describes this event to his best friend, who encourages him to share ut with others.

If you’re looking for a lot of details about heaven, you won’t find them in this film. Pastor Piper does describe a happy reunion with many who had preceded him in death, beautiful music and a peaceful sense of God’s presence. He no longer had any concern or anxiety about the life he left behind. He did not want to return.

Convinced that he was sent back to reassure and comfort others, he has spent years traveling to churches and telling his story. There is a short clip of the real Don Piper at the end.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. His story is very believable, but the movie drags at times.

P.S. There is also a book written by Pastor Piper with the same title, if you would rather read about his experience. The movie follows the book quite closely.

For more about heaven see these posts:

The Hope of Heaven

Heaven is a World of Love by Jonathan Edwards — Book Review

Martin Luther on Heavenly Blessings

Interesting Word #3

The word paradise is used only a few times in the Bible. The most well known verse is in the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus tells one of the thieves on the cross:

“Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

The apostle Paul also uses this word to describe a vision he experienced:

“And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.” 2 Corinthians 12:3-4

Finally, it is mentioned in Revelation:

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’ Revelation 2:7

But what exactly does paradise mean? Is it synonymous with heaven? Well, not quite.

Paradise was originally a Persion word meaning “an area enclosed by a wall” or a “garden.” In the Old Testament, it’s used to refer to the Garden of Eden in Genesis. In intertestamental (noncanonnical) literature such as the pseudepigrapha and apocrypha the word takes on a more specifically religious meaning. Human history will culminate in a divine paradise on earth. Since there was (and still is) no immediate access to the garden of Eden, or the New Jerusalem, paradise (also sometimes known as Abraham’s Bosom) was considered the realm of the righteous dead who are awaiting the resurrection of the body. It’s this intermediate state which is probably referred to in the verses above.

For more posts about the garden of Eden see:

Back to the Garden

It Started in the Garden

What’s a Libretto?

Laughter in Heaven by Barbara Jean Meter–Book Review

A friend at church gave me this book for donation to our Little Free Library(for more information about this see The Lutheran Ladies Changing Their Environment) or to our Youth Ministry.  Aimed at elementary age children, it is the story of Josh, whose grandfather dies.  Josh struggles with questions like

  • Why do you have to go and look at dead people?
  • What is it like to be dead?
  • Does it hurt to die?
  • Is my grandfather in heaven?
  • What is heaven like?
  • I prayed — why didn’t God heal my grandfather?
  • Will I die if I go to sleep?

Josh meets a friend of his grandfather’s (Gabe — we are led to believe he may be an angel) and is given answers that are clear, biblical and comforting.  He is also able to confide his confusion about his own sadness, and the failure of others to understand his feelings.  It encourages children to forgive, and to speak with their parents and other adults about the issues that are troubling them.

Laughter in Heaven by Barbara Jean Van Meter (2010-09-10)

There were a few things I didn’t agree with in this book — I don’t think pets go to heaven, or angels walk on the clouds — but for the most part, I found it to be realistic and helpful.  It’s easy enough for a youngster to read on his or her own, but would also be a good vehicle to use in opening a discussion about death.


For more Christian books for children see these posts:

Gracie’s Garden by Lara Casey — Book Review

The Great Farmapalooza by Jill Roman Lord — Book Review

What’s So Wonderful About Webster? by Stephen and Alex Kendrick–Book Review