“I know your deeds, they are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were ever one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot or cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15 NIV
We are saved by grace not by deeds and we can not get to heaven by being good. But, that does not mean that we should not do good deeds. The way you can tell you are a Christian is if there is bountiful fruit in your life. Fruit is: Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, Goodness, Kindness and Faithfulness. If those branches do not have fruit on them then God will prune them back, which can be hard. So you will produce more fruit. Am I concerned with others needs? Am I willingly thinking of others first? I don’t need to worry about my needs because God already has that covered. We don’t actually need everything we want. So demanding my way is not really important. Some people don’t like what they have so everything seems important. But I see all of the things my father gives me and dwell on that. This has made me a very happy and grateful person. It also makes me want others needs met so they can be happy too. This is why I do good deeds. Also, I want to do all God has for me. I like to think he is happy with me. I also like to think there are blessings waiting for me in heaven. I don’t think there is anything wrong in thinking that way. God is the one who offered rewards for those who advance his kingdom. I am just looking forward to that day. Many people seem to think that once you have asked God into your heart you are all set, able to live however they want from there on out. But I want more. I want all he has for me, I don’t want to miss nothing. I am also willing to go after it. Remember this is a race – and I want a prize. The race only goes to the swift. One day I long to hear, “well done good and faithful servant.”
How well is your race going.?
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name and in your name cast out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly’I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers.” Matthew 7:22-23 NIV
“For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” Matthew 7:13 NIV
This world is a terrible place right now. It is easy to see we are in the end times. I hurt that so many people are lost and hurting. But we have been warned. It is not easy to get into heaven. It takes strength and commitment. People think you must be weak to choose Christianity. But I’ll tell you it is much easier to follow the crowd do just what feels good. It may be easier, but not better by far. If you are a Christian people will look down on you and treat you differently. Doing the right thing is not popular. Being a true Christian makes you unique and different. Standing out in a crowd. To be a true Christian you need to follow God’s commands. This is how we show him we love him. He is first in our lives before everything else. Now he has shown us how much he loves us and continues to show us each and every day. He does want the very best for us that is why his commands are there. I can see a lot of violence and hatred in the world. I get that those things won’t end up in heaven, but in the first verse it says Many who say they are Christians and who do great things in the ministry will not be going to heaven. So good deeds don’t necessarily cut it. It’s a heart thing and only God knows our hearts. People can act like a Christian and not be one. It’s not what you do but why you do it that matters. To be a Christian is to be as much like Christ as we can. He was an excellent example for us to follow. No we are not perfect, we make mistakes. But we are forgiven if we really desire to do right and make a difference. Because we are free to be a Christian in America we’ve taken it for granted. We are free to do just what we want. Making many of us selfish. It’s easy to think of numero uno first. But this is not Gods way. He has told us to put others first. Hard to follow maybe, but it’s important. Love always thinks of others first. In other countries where it isn’t free to worship God, there are so many more real Christians. They risk their lives every day that they desire to serve God, but there is a greater passion in what they do because it’s very very important to them. Here, well I’ll get around to it someday. But someday is not promised. You are betting your life in eternity each breath you take. If there is no heaven then we lose nothing, but if there is a hell you lose everything if you have not planned ahead. It’s easy to do the wrong thing, the things everyone else is doing. But remember the road to destruction is wide. It’s difficult to stay on that tiny path and many won’t complete the journey. But it is worth it.
Which road are you on?
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 NIV
Do you realize how powerful every word that comes out of your mouth is? Every minute of the day we have the ability to bring life and good or death and destruction to our lives and to the lives around us. It is a very small muscle but like the rudder of a ship it may be strong but it controls a lot. After my stroke I could not speak and I never realized how important it was until I could not convey certain needs. Since I could not do much for myself and the people around me did not know me well, most people did not know what I needed. I started using a spelling board but I pointed too quickly for most people to keep up and it was very frustrating. I still have a hard time getting my words out but I am a lot clearer for most people. If it is someone new it takes some time to learn my special lingo. I try to use few and simple words as possible. I spend a lot more time listening and watching those around me. We can learn so much by listening, it also gives us time to think what we are going to say. If it is negative or does not help someone it’s probably better not said. I do however see the importance of not stuffing emotions, but always use tact when venting frustrations. This has helped me see the power other’s words really have. Negative and selfish words are destructive and can hurt. I don’t waste words complaining, arguing and whining. I used to be sarcastic and joking but there is no reason to anymore. People can be very negative and it just ruins their day. Speak words of life and positive words whenever you can. If you are feeling negative think of ten things you are grateful for. Focusing our thoughts on all we have good and not the negative around us helps. There is good all around us and I would rather talk about that. Always say nice things to others whenever you can. Like: I love your dress or hair, or just smile genuinely.
Do you think before you speak?
“The reason why my father loves me is because I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and take it up again. This command I received from my father.” John 10:17&18 NIV
From the beginning they were there together. They knew all and had a plan to save all people and bring them back to themselves to live for eternity. What impresses me so much about this verse was that God put his son in control. Of course Jesus knew his father’s will but he also had final authority to make that decision himself. At any point he could have called for a hundred angels to come save him. So that they could not harm him. But he willingly laid down his life. He looked ahead to eternity and said, “they are worth it.” He kept that and the joy of his father in mind during everything. As he was being beaten and as he hung on the cross in great anguish we were on his mind. Family is so very important. I know as a parent my children came first, there wasn’t anything i wouldn’t do for them or their father. Well he looked at us that very same way and he knew that a perfect lamb had to be sacrificed for our sins for God to be able to be with us, his family forever. He was the only one who could do it. Not only did he go to his death willingly but he put up no objections or arguments. He forgave each and everyone who would do anything to bring about his death. As he hung there dying he saw the remorse and pain in the eyes of the criminal that hung next to him. He had done things worthy of death but he could also see his heart . He knew that he was sorry. He forgave him on the spot and promised him paradise. Even when he could have been thinking of himself he wasn’t. He was thinking of others. He knew they were all a part of God’s great plan. It was a perfect plan and each person’s actions were important to that plan. He saw the big picture. What it would mean to eternity. We see the small view. How could he do this? Why would his father want this? So much pain, hurting and suffering. But it was enough, it was brief compared to forever. I am so glad he made a way for me. A gift so precious that I will never take it for granted. I have so much respect and love for my savior. I get to know him more every day and I love him more and more.
Aren’t you glad for this gift, too?
“I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals. Human beings that are but grass,”. Isaiah 51:12 NIV
We who serve an awesome God need to remember how big that God is. How much he greatly loves you and me. Our God is in control of everything. There is evil in this world that has control over us but it can only be used against us how God seems to allow for our good. He is sovereign and still has the last word. He made everything and has power over everything he has made. Mere mortals were one of the things he made. Although they have free will to do evil, God has more power because he controls how it’s affects his children. You can never say something was so bad that it should not have happened. My stroke was awful but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Because of how it saved my soul. I was on a destructive path and it woke me up. I know of many things that seem bad on the surface that God has turned around for great good. If you have complete trust in the one who holds your future in the palm of his hands then everything will be all right. He is a very good and merciful God and over sixty years he has proven faithful. I have seen him do so many, so called, miracles just making our destinies work out. He has each of our lives planned out in advance and nothing takes him by surprise. He can see evil coming and his angels are just waiting to step in to help. We are his prized possession. And our outcome is of great importance. It is never left to chance. I had someone who I knew was having surgery today and they were worried about all that could go wrong. But they were a child of God and his will, will be done. It will turn out for good no matter what happens. This is so comforting. Not everyone can say that. If you are against God and doing life on your own than you have something to worry about. Especially if you die during surgery. If you are a child of God and something does go wrong and you die, then you will be in heaven with Jesus and that’s our greatest reward. And the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to us. I don’t want to die any earlier than God has panned. But I think a lot about heaven and how it will be. I can only imagine.
Can your fears do more than God can?