A Tribute To Caleb

October 22, 2014
by Lori Ciccanti

Philippians 3:20-21 – But our 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. (NIV)

John 14:2 – In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (NKJV)

Recently, my husband and I received news from a friend that her twenty-year-old grandson, Caleb Ryan Ballentine, had passed away. Caleb was born with a disease known as Duchene's Muscular Dystrophy, yet he lived much longer than the doctors expected. It was clear that the Lord had a special purpose for this young man's life. His strong faith and courage were an inspiration to all who knew him.

Caleb was blessed with the gifts of art and music: he loved to draw and to play the harmonica. He also had a knack for learning new languages as he communicated with Internet friends from around the world. But what Caleb loved the most was studying God's Word. One of his favourite books of the Bible was Revelation. His grandmother told me that he sometimes quizzed family and friends on the topic of heaven. When I heard this, I challenged myself to see how much I really understood about this wonderful place that we often hear mentioned when a loved one dies.

Most information about heaven comes from the book of Revelation. It is described as a real place with streets of gold, gates ornamented with pearls, individual mansions, the throne room of God, and so much more. However, no one can adequately explain heaven in human terms. In my study, I was intrigued by the following verses written by the apostle Paul:

1 Corinthians 2:9 – But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (KJV)

2 Corinthians 12:3-4 – And I know that this man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows — was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. (NIV)

Caleb's service was called a "home-going celebration", and rightly so, for heaven is his true home. He did not want his family to be sad but to keep telling others about Jesus. He wanted everyone to have the same hope of heaven that he had. This passage points the way:

John 14:5-6 – Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (NKJV)

The word "heaven" occurs approximately 276 times in the New Testament alone. Will you take up the challenge: How many references can you find that describe this beautiful dwelling place reserved for those who have put their trust in Jesus?

Prayer: We thank You, O Lord, that in the midst of earthly struggles, we have the hope of entering a better life with You when this one is over. Give us the strength to keep our eyes heavenward, guiding us always by Your Word of truth. In the name of Him who is the resurrection and the life, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the reminder Lori.


    Thank you, Lori.
    That is very beautiful.


    Good word today Lori with a good challenge to go with it.
    Thanks!


    I enjoyed your words very much.
    (B.C.)


    Thank you so much Lori, I needed to hear and think about Heaven today.
    Thank you and God bless you.


    Thank you Lori.
    Thoughts for the family and friends, especially you, of Caleb.
    Perhaps one more scripture would be “Well done, Faithful Servant”.


    Lori, Our Father continues to amaze at the timely arrival of these devotionals. Last week my brother passed into the presence of our Savior. What joy must have been his as he saw those golden streets and pearly gates for the first time. Even more, imagine his delight as he embraced our mother who has been watching for him these many years. Blessings.


    Lori, Thank you for sharing Caleb’s desire to learn more about heaven.
    Through the years I have enjoyed singing the old-fashioned hymns like, “When we All Get to Heaven.” It was comforting to know that one day, as a child of God, I would be going there. “What a day of rejoicing that will be.”
    God bless.


    Dear Lori,
    Thank you for the wonderful personal devotion you have written.
    Those who go through much for Christ’s sake have so much to share with us who are also walking along the path to glory.
    Praise God.
    Blessings to you and your family.


    Dear Lori,
    Thank you for the devotional which encourages our faith in our God’s wonderful provision for our everlasting future with himself.
    The book “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo broadened my assurance of heaven because what the child in the story experienced that paralleled the scriptures.
    I have also enjoyed the Anika book mentioned in the Todd Burpo book — the picture book/story of the girl who was so gifted in art, faith, and poetry from an early age, and who painted a picture of Jesus that the boy in “Heaven is for Real” identified to be the nearest likeness to Jesus, as he knew Jesus to be from his experiences of Jesus when he knew him in heaven.
    May God continue to use the talents he has given you.


    Hi,
    Thanks for your thought for today. I am the only believer in a family of unbelievers. However, after much prayer, my dad (who was also a very strong free mason) accepted the Lord as his personal Saviour and Lord. He went to be with the Lord over a year later, peacefully. It was a terrible shock for me as. He worked to the very end and lived the life he wanted to live. Yet the fact that he went to sleep one night and never got up, has completely thrown me off course. I had so many things to do with him, yet God called him home, leaving that part of my life ‘an unfinished symphony’ as in the case of Schubert, the classical music composer. I grieve, yet do not grieve as others do. The only consoling fact is that I know for sure that he is resting in peace in the presence of the Lord and that I will surely see him someday, soon.
    I know that “heaven is his true home.” It is so hard to accept the sudden demise of a loved one – especially when it comes without any warning whatsoever, but I know that God’s timing is perfect and that he took my dad before something drastic happened. I agree wholeheartedly with your prayer.
    Best regards and God bless.


    Lori,
    Nice to hear from both you and Lou. Your devotionals are great pick me ups in a world where you hear nothing but down new.
    Thanks.


    Good Morning Lori. Thanks for your devotion and God does work in mysterious ways. I read your devotion first thing Wednesday morning. Wednesday evening I was presenting to our Hospice Class of volunteers with the mother of a young man who had muscular dystrophy and died in his late teens. I share this presentation with his Mom. We actually presented at the National Palliative Care conference a few years ago. Anyhow I forwarded the devotion to my friend for her to read. But interesting how in the 365 days of the year, YOUR devotion would come on the exact day that we were sharing his story. A boy with the same diagnosis. Thank you for your words and may God continue to bless you as you share His love with others.
    (Ontario)


    Lori, Thank you for another beautiful devotional, one that reminds us of our future home in heaven. Going home is what all believers in Jesus Christ can look forward to, the comfort and excitement that young Caleb is now experiencing is yet before us. He has seen the face of our Lord, and has heard His voice, welcoming him home, and his arrival home was precious to the Lord. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” Psalms 116:15 I thank God the Father for the assurance, that through God the Son, I can be looking forward to one day going home, not with fear, but with excitement.


    Dear Lori,
    I really enjoyed your devotional about Heaven. Thanks so much for being such a faithful writer. What a gift God has given you! I may never meet you on this earth but oh the rejoicing up there some day when we will get to know everyone.
    I am a volunteer chaplain at our local correctional facility in Ontario, Canada and sometimes I print out the devotionals and given them to the men I visit. I would like to share yours.
    May God continue to bless you as you serve Him in this way.


    What a touching reminder of that certainty we have in our loving Lord.

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