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Posts Tagged ‘Heaven’

Waiting, Watching, and Ready

June 6th, 2018

Christ Will Come as He Promised.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”  Matthew 24:42

My thoughts and comments today are about,

“Waiting, Watching, and Ready.”

Imagine issuing a grand invitation to many friends but when your invited guests arrived, they found you awkwardly unprepared. As your guests would feel less welcome, you would feel embarrassed. For some, Christ’s return for believers will be like that. Whether  prepared or not, He will return. And of that day, Jesus warned, “At the coming of the Son of Man, don’t let Him find you sleeping when He arrives without warning. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch for My return. Read Mark 13:34-37. When Christ returns you will not go up then, unless you wake up now.

God’s Word promises that Christ will give, “a crown of righteousness . . to those who have loved His appearing” 2 Timothy 4:8. On that day, the issue will not be about any differences about theological projections of when Christ will return for Christians. When He does, Then the Angel will declare for all the world to hear, “There shall be time no longer.” Revelation 10:6. Whatever your understanding of the things surrounding Jesus’ return in the calendar of Biblical events, this is certain. Christ will come as He promised. Of this the Bible faithfully testifies.

The real issue is whether you and I will be ready, or surprised and unprepared. The essential answer to that is that at this moment of eternal consequence we are found trusting Christ alone for our salvation and eagerly anticipating His return. “So, Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time, without sin unto salvation” Hebrews 9:28.

Are you looking for Him with joyful anticipation? “When Christ Who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:4. Do not be careless or doubting. Because Christ has not yet come does not mean that He will not come. It only means that the day is that much closer. Any day and any time, our Savior and Lord will return for those who are ready when He appears. This is wise advice, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:42 NIV.

On that day, “God 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.” Revelation 21:42 NIV. What a day that will be. And that day will be as Heaven has promised for those who are prepared, as well as for those who were forewarned but not ready.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the Archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to be waiting, watching, and ready.

Christian Communications 2018

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Saved and You Know It

February 6th, 2018

God made salvation simple and certain; confess and believe.

 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

My thoughts and comments today are about, “saved and you know it.”

As a child I learned a simple truth from a few words in a children’s song, “If you’re saved and you know it, then your life will surely show it. If you’re saved and you know it, say Amen.” Matters of eternal salvation must not be left to speculation.

On this matter, you cannot afford to be wrong. The Bible is clear, “He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the son does not have life. These things have I written unto you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:12-13 NIV.

There are many people, good people, who have wrongly assumed that being good is all that is required to go to Heaven. They have trusted in their good works, such as: being moral, honest, good neighbors, charitable, or religious, but according to the Bible those are just not good enough. I recall someone observing that, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage can make you a car.” The Bible is clear. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV.

How good is good enough? How many good works make you good enough for Heaven? Would God be fair and just if He left anything as important as your eternal soul to personal assumption or speculation? If I asked you, “What are you trusting right now to allow you into Heaven?” How would you answer? People offer diverse but wrong answers to such a simple question. But it is not what you think that matters, or sincerely believe, or prefer the answer would be, nor anyone else’s opinion that will make Heaven certain as your eternal home.

There is one standard alone for every person in every generation and nation, and that single standard is God’s Word. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NIV. Who else could you trust to make this eternally consequential matter clear and specific for you? Exclusive? Unfair?

Some people may think so, but a single standard is inclusive, both equally fair and just to one and all. If it will not be adjusted to include someone who fails to meet that righteous standard, then neither could it be adjusted to exclude someone who does. Anyone who accepts God’s Son as their Savior can and will be included – whatever their nationality, language, origin of birth, personal history, or circumstance of life.

The Apostle Paul’s words were unequivocal, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” Romans 10:13 NKJV. No wonder it is called the Good News. No one – absolutely no one – can or will be refused. Here is the simple answer from God’s Word. “For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’” Romans 10:9-11 NLT. It is important that you know how to make Heaven your eternal home. God made salvation simple and certain. Confess and believe.

In the Greek language in which the New Testament was written, the word for confess – homologeo – literally means, “to say the same thing as.” The Bible is clear, certain, and unalterable, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV. When from your heart, you say the same things about your sins that God says, about Jesus dying on the cross as redemption for your sins, and inviting Jesus to be your Savior, you receive complete forgiveness and confidence to embrace His promise of eternal salvation. God’s promise is specific and sure.

Here is how you are saved. Ask Jesus to forgive every disobedience and sin, place your faith and trust in Him as your Savior, and listen for the Holy Spirit’s confirming whisper in your heart that you are His and He is yours. Then believe and rejoice that God has done exactly what He promised He would do. You experience no greater joy than knowing your sins are forgiven forever. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12 NKJV. God will forget your sins. He will never forget you.

The Gospel is simple, clear, certain, true, and powerful to save. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-18 NIV.

Reading that phrase, “to save the world though Him,” are you amazed by the expansive scale and global scope of God’s heart and eternal agenda for the whole world? His love, grace, and passion was and remains as broad as to transform every nation, as far reaching as to redeem every generation, and yet as specific and personal as to redeem each single individual – “to save the world though Him.”

I love the sentiment of the aging apostle John when he wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 2 NIV. That is my sentiment, my joy, and my prayer for you.

Today, I pray for you to be certain about your salvation, never leaving eternity to chance.

Christian Communications 2018-307

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Direction, Distractions, and Diversions

September 8th, 2017

Distractions create diversions to a course not envisioned.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2 KJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Direction, Distractions, and Diversions.”

Life needs direction – a worthy goal to reach and a path to reach that goal. For that direction, you need God. ”Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT. And life can be full of distractions. Even God cannot direct your path if you allow yourself to become distracted.

A firm and clear direction minimizes distractions. David’s direction was unequivocal, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life.” Psalm 27:4 NKJV. That is a Holy direction that can last a lifetime, and reaches into eternity. Most of the time distractions are usually of little or no lasting consequence, just a small matter of extra time. But what if the original intention was one of personal urgency and importance? Distractions, even those that are small and brief, lead to diversions that can set your life on an unintended path. Distractions create diversions toward a course not envisioned.

The sincerest decision and most vital direction can be supplanted by even a minor distraction. Because there is so much that you should do, and so much that you could do, there will always be moments that misdirect you along another path, away from the task at hand. Diversions are inevitable. Be prepared for them. Something more attracting and enticing will beckon your attention. All too easily, the best of  intentions can be displaced.

Later in life, individuals find themselves in a far different place than they planned. Where did they take a wrong turn? What decision changed their destination? Or maybe it was a curiosity that became a fascination indulging experimentation, which slowly became a habit and eventually an addiction from which you could not break free. Paul was wise when he wrote, “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me – but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV. Permissible does not mean advisable.

There is no diversion that is more important than your decision to pursue God earnestly. Writing to the Christians in Philippi, the Apostle Paul wrote, “One thing I do,” then consolidated three necessities of that singular passion. “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Read Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV. Similarly, the Bible offers multiple, practical characteristics for your single-minded pursuit of God.

Be earnest about eternity. “Earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from Heaven.” 2 Corinthians 5:2 NKJVHeaven is real and eternity is sure.

Be earnest about the Christian faith. Exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to all saints.” Jude 3 NKJV.  Hold fast to the faith that in difficult times will hold you fast.

Be earnest about prayer. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.James 5:17 NKJV. Effective fervent prayer has the power to change anything.

Be earnest about spiritual giftedness. “Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way, [the way of love].” 1 Corinthians 12:31 NKJV.

Be earnest about living for Jesus. “According to my earnest expectation that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now Christ may be magnified in my body.” Philippians 1:20 NKJV.

The world, with its deceitful pleasures, is full of distractions. If you then are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2 KJV. Love Jesus with earnest devotion. Live in such a way that others will see Jesus’ life and love in you. May this worthy goal be yours and mine. “We conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and Godly sincerity.” 2 Corinthians 1:12 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to be earnest about all aspects of spiritual life.

Christian Communications 2017

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Eternal Life

May 10th, 2017

Our call is to live in the present while our heart rests in the eternal

 “This is eternal life: to know  Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” John 17:3 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about, Eternal Life.”

In this life, almost everything is temporary. Even your lifetime is short term. Hopefully, we strain to embrace the concept of forever. When you are young, time seems forever but with every year that your span of life narrows you will realize that nothing here is forever. Life is only for a comparatively brief season when measured by the eternity that follows.

Yet this brief season of life is not unimportant; just the opposite is true. This season is of extreme importance because it will determine where and how you spend eternity, and eternity really is forever. I see two mistakes that people make. Some live only for the moment, giving little attention to eternal matters. That is an oversight costly to one’s soul. Jesus was clear, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” Mark 8:36 NKJV. Others major on eternity, to the neglect of the invaluable time given them now. That neglect results in missing rich opportunities and relationships that would make eternity nearer and dearer. That is regrettable. Our call is to live in the present while our heart rests in the eternal.

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Read Philippians 1:20-26 NIV. Far better, forever! Serve Christ faithfully and effectively in this world, but keep your heart set on Heaven and the limitless life yet to be experienced. See Philippians 3:20-21 NIV.

  1. Heaven is a forever place for you. If Heaven were not real, Jesus was deliberately misleading. But He spoke clearly about Heaven and His Father. To His disciples and us, Jesus promised, “In My Father’s House are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you.”John 14:2 NKJV. Heaven’s reality rests upon the truth of God’s Word and the strength of Jesus’ own assertions. If Heaven were not real,there is no God, no Savior, and there would be no salvation. If Heaven were not real, every person would be lost in their sin, die, and exist no more. These all too brief years are too little for the divine life that is in you, if there were no Heaven.
  2. Heaven is a prepared place for you. “I go to prepare a place for you that where I am there you would be also.”John 14:2 NKJV. This is no haphazard one size fits all. Heaven is a place prepared with forethought, appropriate for you.  Heaven is a place of bliss and blessing, perfectly suitable for every man and woman there.
  3. Heaven has a reserved place for you. And if I go, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:3 NKJV. “A hope laid up for you in heaven . . an inheritance reserved in Heaven for you.” See Colossians 1:5 NKJV/1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV.
  4. Heaven can be a sure place for you. “Whoever confesses Me before men,him I will also confess before My Father in Heaven.” Matthew 10:32 NKJV. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” John 17:3 NIV. May your heart be drawn to a brighter and more glorious day when we shall see Jesus face to face and know Him even as we are known by Him, and that day by day you will, “love His appearing,” more and more. Read 2 Timothy 4:8 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to know that Heaven is real and sure, and live accordingly.

Christian Communications 2017

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A Fresh Start

January 27th, 2017

Today can be an exit from your history and entrance to your destiny

 “His compassions are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a fresh start.”

Life can feel unmanageable, your past cluttered with unfinished business and the path ahead filled with responsibilities. But life is not lived in yesterday or tomorrow; life can only be lived today. Your life is more than the facts of your history or your unrealized destiny. Positively or negatively, both of those are greatly affected by anything, or maybe everything, you do today. You can reinforce your history or rewrite its predictions. You can sell your future cheaply or invest yourself in achieving its potential.

This day is a fresh opportunity to write a new chapter in the ongoing story of your life. Sure, you have made mistakes. There are things you would have done better if you had been wiser. The remedy for regrets is simple. Enjoy a fresh start. Do better; learn from your mistakes rather than repeating them.

King David’s story is a record of repentance and redemption. In repentance, he embraced a greater future. Learn from his example and rejoice with him: “The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:23-24 NIV.

Recognize God as Lord of this day and rejoicing becomes the appropriate response. In grace, your history becomes His story. Today can bring a fresh start. Stop rehearsing your mistakes, regretting your failures, or reliving your record. Your God has a record of redeeming tragic histories. And your God is equally adept at crafting unimagined destinies. Both of those the Holy Spirit accomplishes in the context of today.

The Apostle Paul had history that God covered in grace and mercy. “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy.” Read 1 Tim 1:12-17 NKJV. On that road to Damascus, Paul met God face to face and his history was redeemed and his destiny assured. Read Acts 9:1-6 NKJV. People do not turn their life around without divine intervention. Only ignorance or arrogance – or both – would make a person attempt such a life change without God.

Paul found there was only one answer for spiritual transformation and subsequent conformation to Christ-likeness. “I am still not all that I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to Heaven.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT.

Notice that Paul mentioned, “one thing,” and then proceeded to talk about, “forgetting, looking forward, and straining to reach.” The one thing Paul believed crucial was expressed in three equally essential actions: laying aside everything inhibiting about yesterday, living with anticipation today, and giving Godly effort to fulfill God’s calling every day that follows. Today can be an exit from your history and entrance to your destiny.

Today, I pray for you to trust both your history and destiny into Jesus’ capable hands.

Christian Communications 2017

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