“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:17 NIV
Heaven for a Christian is your final reward. For a life lived for the Lord. We don’t have to fear death. We are going home to a wonderful family. A father who loves us more than we could ever imagine. Relatives and good friends you have lost in the past will be there waiting. Maybe you lost a child or had a miscarriage, they will be waiting there to meet you. People whose lives were changed because of you. I once heard of a doctor talking to his patient about death. The patient had reached the end of his life and wondered what was waiting for him on the other side of that final door. The doctor went to the door and opened it. A big shaggy dog came barreling in the door almost knocking the doctor over. “My dog was waiting outside.” He did not know what was going on inside but he new his master, whom he loved, was inside and he couldn’t wait to be reunited with him. Do you know what’s awaiting you when you pass through that door? There is still forever when you cease to exist in this life. You see it’s not knowing what’s on the other side, but knowing who is on the other side. I can’t wait to see my master. Can you? Who’s your master? If you don’t know Jesus, and he gladly longs to get to know you. He is the most awesome one you will ever get to know. You don’t need to worry. He loved you before you were ever born. He knows just how many hairs are on your head. He knows all about you and loves you. He is standing before you with his arms open wide. He says, “Come home.” He doesn’t expect anything from you but love. If you do not know him it’s easy to meet him. Then you will know who is waiting for you. He anxiously waits for you to want him to be your Lord and Savior. All he asks is that you believe in him and his son Jesus. Believe that he died just for you. And that he was raised to life again. The best gift you can ever receive is Jesus Christ. Receive that gift by asking Jesus Christ to come into your life. Asking him to forgive all of your sins. And to live a life devoted to loving him. If you believe that with all your heart. Now you are a child of this King. Get to know him now by just talking to him like you would to a good friend. He loves you so much and wants to get to know you today. Get a Bible and start to read about this awesome God who loves all of his children the same.
Are you ready to meet this God?
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Everyone is very special to God. We were all made in his image. That is why we can all live our lives to the fullest. He knew us before we were ever born. He sees the big picture. He is looking through a wide lens. Everything that can make us the best we can be is all mapped out. We have a very important purpose. God knows before anything happens just what will work best. It would work perfectly if we did everything right. Problem is that we are not perfect. We are all given free will to do what we want. Life is a learning process that lasts till our very last breath. The people we are around as we grow. The time we were born. Where we were born and grew up. Our choices that we make. All these things make us who we are. For every action God has a consequence for us. Good behaviors bring blessings. Bad behaviors bring more challenges and trials. God is not surprised by any of our choices. Good or bad he sees them coming and adjusts our life with love and care. Making our lives work out for our best. He is not just concerned about us, but everyone. Our choices do impact everyone around us. Take a family for example. I have one sister and two brothers. I was the first born to my parents. They were good Christians and my grandfather was a Baptist minister. All these things made me who I was and our relationships made a difference to all our lives. Slowly I was becoming who he made me to be. Trials come to teach us. Just as we go through school from kindergarten thru high school. These trials are meant to help us grow. They come with tests we need to pass to get us to the next level. Some move quickly and some take more time. Don’t think you are ever too far gone or your troubles are too much. God will always let us have a do-over. We just need to come to him and say I’m sorry. I really have screwed up. Help! He molds us and makes us just right. We can trust that God knows just what he’s doing. He’s been doing it for years and years. He can keep our life on track just like he keeps billions of lives going at once. We continue to be special because of each life we touch. It’s so easy to say “if this just happened,” or, “if I hadn’t done that.” We might see our lives as bad or good. God sees the whole picture though. He’s doing everything to make our life really count.
Are you a good example of Christ?
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8 NIV
When we go through trials and difficult situations we need to run to the Lord. We need his strength and wisdom. Jesus was living a life that was hard, and he went through so much. He can understand our struggles. He can relate. He, more than anyone, had faith and trust in his father. This last week I have had challenges. With them God has shown me so much. Trials are tests are hard and God may not remove them but he will help us through them. I have an electric wheelchair and have had for 12+ years. My chair is comfortable and allows me independence. My chair will tilt back so I can relax. A while back it just shut off and wouldn’t turn back on. I was put in a manual chair but it was very uncomfortable. I could only handle it so long. I can not move it myself so I was very dependent on others. I had also been praying fervently for a few people at deaths door. People who were young and had so much to live for. I found myself crying out to the Lord. We have been promised that if we have faith we can move mountains. When you really want those mountains to move you will cry out. Jesus had great faith. He commanded the storm to calm, the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the dead to rise. When he spoke things happened. As his death drew near I know he did not fear death. The chance to be back home with his father had to be a welcome thought. But like all of us, the suffering coming was scary and unwanted. He cried out to God to take this pain away. Not once, not twice, but three times. When God uses something three times it is significant. Jesus was doing something we do naturally. Help, enough. I can’t do this. God does not expect us to do more than we can but he knows more than we do. I was praying for a young man in an automobile accident that had killed his grandma instantly and by all intents he should have died instantly also. But he held on and everyone was praying for a miracle. After a couple weeks God took him home. Why didn’t God answer our prayers? Why didn’t God answer the fervent prayers of Jesus. Why did Jesus even pray them if that wasn’t God’s will? We have to trust that God sees the big picture. Everything and everyone involved has needs and everything works together for the good of everyone. That one little trial may have a big cause. Just think what would have happened if Jesus had not died for our sins. We were lost and needed a savior. It had to be somebody perfect like God’s son. He is the only one who could do it. Might God have found a different way? Maybe, but the impact of that sacrifice has saved so many lives. It was not easy but it was Gods will to save the world. Jesus did it gladly and looked forward to seeing each one of us in heaven with him. God helped him endure the suffering and he will be our strength too. Trials do help us grow also. The more we go through the stronger we become. Physical, mental, and spiritual strength.
Can you trust that God does know what is best?
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 NIV
When things are difficult and seem to consume us we can only fix our eyes on him. Jesus is working in each of us and is perfecting us even if we can not see it. Just as a little baby grows bigger and learns so much you often don’t see the changes until one day you all of a sudden say wow! What happened? I remember her sitting there playing with play doh on the floor and now she’s grown. His plans for us are good. But through the hard times we grow. More than you know. Because everyone are not all knowing like God we can not see the growth from day to day, but it is there. One day we will be able to see the change. That it really was doing in us to make us better. When Jesus came to this earth he had to live a life just like ours. He had to stay focused on his father. He was here for a very important mission. He was all knowing though. He knew he would be loved by some but he also knew that he would be rejected and scorned by many. It was not important though to convince everyone that he was who he said he was. Getting his point across was not his agenda. Many would not understand. His life would be difficult. He knew that not everyone would accept him. But he did it with such love and concern for all. It brought him joy to look toward the future. All of us who would accept him as our savior would come to live with him forever in a perfect world. He kept his eyes on his father and eternity. Just like us that would give him enough strength to persevere through it all. It brought him so much joy to see what would be done when this life was over. It really is such a short time of striving compared to eternity. With him in that perfect place. We also have rewards (our crowns) waiting for us. He wants us to look forward to that day with anticipation. The day of our graduation with honor. We can’t take anything from this life with us, but all we do for the cross of Christ will be deposited in our heavenly bank account. I look forward to blessings in this life, but even more are those blessings waiting for me in heaven.
What do you look forward to?
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, an evil man brings evil out of the evil things stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Ephesians 3:20 NIV
When I was young my mother told me if I didn’t have anything good to say I shouldn’t say anything at all. This was very wise. In the Bible it says that the fool loves to talk, but the wise has few words. I know that as I began a relationship in earnest with my God I desired to do what he wanted all the time. I always wanted to help and at times I spoke without thinking. Was it really any of my business? I felt the spirit in side prompting me to hold my words. I liked stating my opinions and what I thought should be done. I didn’t really seek out the Lords opinions and ways though. I may have wanted things more my way. Or done the way I would do it. I felt myself quieted quite often. At the same time I was seeking to know the Lord more. Reading the Bible and different studies of others on the Bible . I read Christian books, devotionals, watched on-line sermons, Christian movies and documentaries. The more time I spent with the Lord throughout the day, the more confident I felt. I believe what goes in comes out. If I spent all day playing games and watching tv, or spent time hanging around angry, complaining, selfish and self-serving people , then that’s how I would become. That is not how I wanted to be. I spent time evaluating each thing I spent time doing. The first thing I did is give away my TV. Too much value-less time spent there. I have PureFlix now so I can spend time watching television and movies. Everything I have ever watched on it I enjoy. It’s kind of like eating. Just because it tastes good does not mean it’s good for you. I’ve found that eating less sugars and starches helps me feel better and less bloated. Watching too much tv just makes me anxious and nervous. Depending on what I watch. I prefer things that bring peace and inspiration. I like feeling positive. Music can really change the way you feel. I know that listening to others talking around me can make me anxious and frustrated, but by turning on praise music or instrumentals I can relax. If my heart is anxious and frustrated I will not be at my best. So as I choose to do things to occupy my time, I choose things that edify me and others. Then I am certain to respond positively towards others.
What are you spending time putting into your heart?
“But because of his great love for us, God, which is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”. Ephesians 2: 4-6
Oh they love us! Jesus paid it all, just for us. He went into the pit of hell for every sin ever committed, his suffering we will never really realize. But he did it gladly for each and every one of his children. We may not acknowledge it but he hopes we will. When he raised his son back to life and seated him on the throne next to him to rule and reign forever we were included. You see the horrible debt was paid. Grace was extended to everyone who will accept it. It is not something we do but what he did for us. God looks at those who have accepted that grace with new eyes. He sees us as white as snow. We are heirs to his kingdom just like his son. We need to wrap ourselves around that thought. I can only imagine this throne room. As I say the Lord’s Prayer, as I like to say it each morning. I picture what it must be like. Oh, it would make an awesome scene from a movie. I can see the intense glow radiating in that room, all that glory must be overwhelming. I know when Jesus was transfigured here on earth it blew the disciples away. But also imagine everyone worshipping before them saints and angels all bowing down in humble adoration. This is my God. He wants me to come into his presence. Do you feel what an awesome privilege that is. We’re talking King of kings the one supreme God. Maker of everything. Oh I so want all he has for me. I love being in his presence. I can sit in my room with worship music drowning out all the nursing home noise and it’s just me and God. I listen to each song visualizing each word and I can’t help but cry tears of joy. This world we live in is not our home. We are destined for a much greater life. Oh we have 70-90 years here if we are lucky but what awaits us is just hard to imagine. This morning the pastor of our church tried to help us see how this short little visit to earth is. He described a fish being tugged out of the water. Flopping around on dry land and choking for air. It is not meant to be here, nor are we. We can do the best we can but sin comes and we keep flopping around. I kept hearing the song “This world is not my home”, my treasures are laid out somewhere beyond the blue. Someone else said it’s like taking a camping trip because we are roughing it. No mansions like heaven, and life gets messy at times. We go through different tests that cause us to grow. Now even though it’s camping I want s’mores, fishing, beautiful mountain grandeur and cool pine breezes. In other words I want a full and abundant life. Well I believe God does want that for me too. But I also believe you have to go after it. Go after his presence. It takes work but I’m in. The more time I give to him. The better it gets. I find my priorities really changing. It’s available and we are meant to have it.
Don’t you want it too.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV
What is light? The absence of darkness. God is the absence of darkness. There is no darkness in Him. In fact when the garden was new it was full of light because God walked in the garden with Adam. His presence and his glory filled that place. But since sin and death came into Adam and Eve they were banished from the garden and his light. We are all sinners and are full of darkness and the world we live in is a very dark place. Those of us who know the one who is the light have that spark of light in us. But we need to be connected to the source often to shine. Praying, reading the Bible, praising, devotionals, Christian movies, and Christian books are all good ways to be connected. Even fellowshipping with other Christians is a good source of power because their spirit connects with our spirit and edifies each of us. The more you are connected the brighter you shine. Have you ever met someone whose Spirit just draws you and something about them just glows? I have. Think about when Jesus walked on this earth. He drew people to him. They wanted to be around him. They wanted what he had to rub off on them. Jesus was with some of his disciples and “there he was transfigured before them, his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” He was full of his heavenly glory. This is what we should strive for. We will never get there till we are in heaven but we need to shine in the darkness.￼ That is the way others will get to know our God. We need to be like him. Full of love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance and Faith. These are some of Gods qualities that we need more of. He is perfect light and we need to get as close to that and that takes purpose. It won’t just happen. You really need to be deliberate. Another reason to want that light shining in your life is that it brings so much peace, strength, and joy. I know people who at one time had the joy of the Lord in their lives and they were on fire for the Lord. They had purpose and they were making a difference. They were drawing people to the love of the Lord, but the cares of this life and the daily grind wore on them. They stopped fellowshipping with other Christians who supported and lifted them up. That is important to your strength and joy. We lift each other without even knowing it. That love of God is flowing from our spirits and we can relate to each other and our challenges. These friends got very discouraged and lost that feeling of love and acceptance that being around God brings. Everyone needs that kind of love to help and encourage them. When they are around someone who is shining brightly for God it will rub off on them even if they are not seeking it.
Can you be that shining light in someone’s life?