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Friday, December 17, 2010

"At Home with the Lord" Memorial Message for Linda Lundeen

“At Home with the Lord”
2 Corinthians 4:16-5:8
A Memorial Message for Linda Jane Lundeen
December 17, 2010


This Bible was given to me by my favorite-mother-in-law in May of 1998.  She wrote in the front, “Matthew Charles, may the Lord guide your steps as you graduate from [seminary].  We shall continue to pray and support you in any way we can.”

And she did.  In every way she possibly could she supported me.

From this Bible she gave me, I’m going to read from the New Testament.  The book of 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 16 through chapter 5 verse 8.

It’s written by the Apostle Paul who was experiencing extreme difficulty.  So extreme that he called it a kind of living death.

But this is what he wrote in the midst of that extreme difficulty.

2 Corinthians 4:16-5:8. 

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

“At Home with the Lord.”

This passage of Scripture is about heaven.

Heaven is what sustained the Apostle Paul when he was going through his living death.  His deathful living.

Heaven is what gave him hope and power for living through the midst of extreme suffering.

And Heaven is what I want to talk about this morning.

Because that’s where Linda is.
That’s where Mum is.
Where Nana is.

Heaven.

I want to point out three things about heaven from this passage of God’s Word.

Three incredibly comforting and powerful truths about Heaven for anyone who belongs to the Lord Jesus.

#1. HEAVEN IS WORTH THE TROUBLES OF EARTH.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. [We don’t give up.]  Though outwardly we are wasting away [and that’s what happened to Linda, she had to waste away for several months], yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day [And that happened to her, too.  Linda for many months handled her cancer better than anyone else in the family.  She was being renewed day by day. v.17].  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” [That’s 2 Corinthians 4:16-18].

The Bible says that we fix our eyes not on this world and what we can see now but on that world and what we cannot see right now.  What is unseen.

Why? Because this is all temporary.  But that is eternal.

Heaven is the eternal enjoyment of God’s glory.  And heaven is worth all of the troubles of earth.

Paul says, “Our light and momentary troubles [Mum’s troubles didn’t seem light and momentary the last 9 months, but in comparison with eternity, they] are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Heaven is eternal.  And it is the constant enjoyment of God’s glory.

And it far outweighs all of the trials and tribulations and troubles of this life.

“Far outweighs!”

Because of my job, I go to a lot of funerals.  And people often say something like, “She’s in a better place now.”

But they don’t really believe it.  They just say it.  I have a friend who has lived through some nasty cancer.  And once, when I saw him, he said that his treatments were going well, and that he’s on “the right side of the flowers.”  And I know what’s he’s saying.  But it’s not true.  If he truly belongs to Jesus, right now, he’s on the wrong side of the flowers!

Linda is on the right side of the flowers.

The side that “far outweighs” it all.

On Friday night, when I had to tell my kids that Nana had died, through the tears, my Peter said, “She’s having more fun now than she ever did!”

That’s right!

Heaven is worth it.  Heaven is worth the troubles of earth.

And Linda had a lot of troubles on earth.  She had a great life, but it was not without major suffering – heartaches, accidents, health troubles, miscarriages, and so on.

But Mum fixed her eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  Because she knew that heaven was worth it.

She lived out her favorite Scripture verse (Isaiah 40:31).  She “hoped” in the LORD, and He renewed her strength.  She soared on wings like eagles. She ran and didn’t grow weary.  She walked and didn’t faint.

Of course, she did grow weary.  She did faint physically.

But she soared spiritually. 

Mum fixed her eyes on what was unseen and served children around the world with gifts of big love in little shoeboxes.

She soared!


She knew that heaven was worth the trouble of earth.  It “far outweighs” it all.

#2. HEAVEN IS NEW LIFE IN A NEW BODY FOREVER.

The apostle Paul goes on to say this in 2 Corinthians 5: “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed [He’s talking about our bodies], we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling [our new bodies], because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked [a bare soul].

For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

Linda and John did a lot of camping over the last 40 years.  They met at Christian camp out on the island.

And they did a lot of camping through the years.  The Lundeen family pretty much camped all over North America.  They took Heather to Moody to meet her eventual husband basically by camping across the continent!  I’m very thankful for their camping trips!

And there are some good stories about camping with Mum.  You should ask the family for some.

John says that Linda was always prepared for everything.  Everything was packed.  Picnics, supplies, everything.  She was never caught unprepared.

Except maybe for that huge storm when Heather was a baby.  John was literally holding up the tent poles in the little pop-up camper while the tornado or whatever it was raged outside.  And then Linda waded through some water looking for where the bridge was and directing John to drive the car with the trailer behind it.

And tiny little Heather slept through the whole thing!

John told me yesterday that once they were camping up at Johnston’s Canyon and the people at the next campsite were having a party that went on and on and on and got louder and louder and louder.

And at some point late in the night, she’d had enough...Linda put on her housecoat and went next door.

And she was gone a few minutes.  John says, “I don’t know what she said, but it was totally quiet for the rest of the night.”

Linda loved to camp.

But she also knew that one of the best parts of camping is ... coming home!

Isn’t it?  It’s okay to live in a tent for a while.  But eventually you want to get home to your own bed, right?  A real roof over your head.

Here in 2 Corinthians, Paul is calling this body, our earthly bodies, a tent. We’re camping right now. Everybody in this room is camping right now.  And camping is, by definition, temporary.

But there is an eternal dwelling–a heavenly dwelling–a new body that is on order, on the way.

And one day, in the New Heavens and New Earth that is coming, those who belong to Jesus will have those new bodies.

Paul said it this way in Philippians chapter 3, “[O]ur citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (vv.20-21).

Isn’t that awesome?

Heaven is new life in a new body forever.

A new body not hurt by car accidents.
A new body without artificial knees.
A new body not devastated by abdominal cancer.

The Bible says, “The mortal will be swallowed up by LIFE.”

New bodies that never fail and never die.  FOREVER.



But Heaven is even better than that.

#3. HEAVEN IS BEING AT HOME WITH THE LORD.

This is what really makes Heaven, Heaven!

Paul goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 5, verses 6 through 8.

“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  We live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”


Listen to verse 8 of that again.

“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body [that’s where Linda is right now] and at home with the Lord. [That’s where Linda is right now!]”

This what makes Heaven, Heaven.

Heaven is not primarily about seeing our loved ones who have already died.

Though we will.  I believe that Linda is with her son Nathaniel and my daughter Charis and her in-laws and with many many others whom she loved in this life.

Heaven is not primarily about escaping the punishment of Hell.

Though we will if we belong to Jesus.

Heaven is not even primarily about enjoying our new bodies.

Though we will, and the Bible makes a big deal out of it.

Heaven is primarily about being with the Lord Jesus forever.

“At home with the Lord.”

Jesus is what makes Heaven Heaven.

And Linda understood that.  This Fall, when Mum found out that her treatments were coming to an end, she got even more joyful than she had ever been.

You know why?  I said it was like this. She knew where she was going.  And she’d just gotten her tickets!

To go home.

Linda is at home with the Lord.

Linda is away from her body, but she is at home with the Lord.

My little 3 year old niece, Piper Quinn Lundeen was in the room when Nana died.  And David and Yvonne told her that Nana had gone to heaven.

And she whispered back, “But I can still see her...”

Linda is away from her body, but she [the real Linda] is at home with the Lord.

She is home.

The question is.  Are you going to heaven?

Are you ready?

Linda had her bags packed.  It couldn’t come fast enough the last month and half.

Because she was ready.

But are you?

Memorial services honor the dead but they are for the living.

Are you ready to go? 

Do you know where you are going?

Are you going to heaven?

You see, you have to be a citizen of heaven already to go there.

Many people don’t understand that.  They think that they are just headed there by default.  But heaven is not our default destination.

You have to become a citizen of heaven already to go there when you die.

There are no visitors.  There aren’t even any “landed immigrants.”

You know what this is?

This is Linda’s file on becoming a citizen of Canada.

Linda lived here all of these decades as a “landed immigrant” and eventually a “permanent resident.”

But she was, at heart, a California Girl.  Apparently, you can take the girl out of California, but you can’t take California out of the Girl.

Mum came close several times to becoming an official Canadian citizen, but she never did.

And as much as she loved Canada, she dearly loved her United States.  Her family celebrated both Thanksgivings and the 4th of July.

I was fond of saying that my mother-in-law was an alien–in only one way.  She was an alien citizen. [And she’d just wrinkle up her nose in her funny little way and giggle at my mother-in-law jokes.]

Linda was a citizen of one nation living in another.

And she never quite made the switch.

And that doesn’t matter.  Not one bit.

But she had made her application for citizenship in heaven.

And that made ALL of the difference.

Linda had trusted in Jesus Christ and what He did for her on the Cross.

Jesus died as a sacrifice for sin, paying the penalty for sin on the Cross.

And Linda repented of her sins and turned to Jesus for salvation.

And became a citizen of heaven.

That’s how we know where she is right now.

And that’s what she wanted for all of you.

Just last week, she could say only a few short things at a time.  Heather tells me that she would say 4 or 5 words and then be silent for hours.

Just last week, she told Heather again, “Make sure Matt tells people how to get to heaven.”

Linda is at home with the Lord.

And she wanted you to join her.

I invite you in your heart of hearts to turn from your sins and to put your trust in the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Trust in what He did for you on the Cross. And ask Him to make you a citizen of heaven.

Because:
    Heaven is worth the troubles of earth.
    Heaven is new life in a new body forever.
    Heaven is being home with the Lord.

Don’t wait.  Don’t wait forever thinking, “I’ll do that later.”

I’ll make my application later.

You may not have a later.

Do it now.

Turn from your sins and trust in Jesus.



And become a citizen of heaven.

10 comments:

What a beautiful message for a beautiful woman of God. Thank you for sharing it on your blog...it was wonderful to be able to read it as I was unable to be at the funeral.

So many people commented on your words... a wonderful tribute and a gift for your family.

Sarah & Lyle Guard

What an amazing message for an amazing woman. It brought me to tears; not only because my heart aches for Sharon and your whole family - I know it is so difficult to lose a loved one - but it also brought me to tears because Linda clung to and thrived in the hope and certainty that she would be with Jesus for eternity. I will never forget the few times I met her and how sweet she was to me each time. I will continue to pray for you all! It is comforting to know Linda is in Heaven with her Savior!

Thank you, Sarah, for your kind words. I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you yesterday. Blessings,

-Matt

Amen and thank you, Andrea, for your encouragement.

Blessings,

-Matt

I simply do not have the words...Thank-you.

-Deeb

Deeb,

It was a privilege to be loved by her and to love her by sharing these words.

My Mum just let us know Linda passed away. Please give Heather our condolences.
Emma and family

Thank you, Emma, I'll tell her.

-Matt