Archive for the ‘heaven’ Category

The greatest hope I have for the future is the blessing of seeing the faces in heaven of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and telling them how much I appreciate the Father’s gracious choice to allow me into their presence.

The second greatest hope is being delivered from the grave into the throneroom in order experience my first-order blessing.

It is SO good to know that my earthly body — in whatever condition it is post-mortem — will be transformed in some as-yet unrevealed way and it will rise up to join heaven’s choir.

I’m not talking about what Paul promised in I Thessalonians 4:16. Instead, I’m talking about the prophet Isaiah’s words more than 700 years earlier in chapter 26 of his book:

But those who die in the Lord will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy! For your life-giving light will fall like dew on your people in the place of the dead!” (verse 19)

I’m looking forward to that day when I’m flying high…. even though I have no idea of when it will happen.

The fact that it WILL is good enough for me to keep my life airworthy in a spiritual sense.

I pray that you’ll do the same.

As always, I love you

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There were no elevators in Jesus’ day, but if there had been, He would have still described Himself as the “stairway to heaven.”

You see, a life bound for heaven is not one that gets saved and then sits around expecting everybody else to be faithful and to do what we are called to be doing.

We are to work diligently for the Kingdom as a result of our salvation, demonstrating that we appreciate the deliverance we’ve received into a purpose-full life on earth and an indescribable joy in heaven.

What prompted this devotion topic?

When a newly recruited disciple told Jesus that He was the King of Israel, Jesus turned it up a bunch of notches.

“Then He said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” (John 1:51).

I really like the metaphor of the stairway.

I can’t stand on the bottom step and say “Up, please!” and then wait who knows how many years for God to lift me to heaven when I die.

Instead, I am to do all that I can to move closer to God, step after effort-prompted step.

No, I didn’t create the stairway.

I simply chose to follow it.

I realize that I can’t get carried away with the metaphor here.

My point is simply this — our journey to heaven involves our sincere, faith-compelled efforts to continually draw closer to God one step at a time on the stairway that will never collapse, never digress, never misdirect and that ALWAYS leads to eternal peace and joy.

Remember that John 14:6 said that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and that no man gets to heaven except through Him.

James tells us that faith without works — i.e., without taking steps up the stairway — is dead, or more accurately, impotent.

Such a fruitless faith is useless for the Kingdom and for ourselves.

Let’s resist the trap of thinking we can get on the bottom step — or even that we can simply stop somewhere along the stairway — and that we’ll be OK eternally.

We’ve got to keep moving in order to demonstrate that our faith is still real and that our relationship with God is still one of surrendered service to Him, not one of “checking the box” for ourselves.

Pray. Serve. Study. Serve. Give. Serve. Repent. Serve.

And then repeat.

Such steps draw us closer to God, traveling up the stairway to heaven.

As always, I love you

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World history is filled with thousands of ideas for how to gain a blissful afterlife.

You and I are aware of a relative handful from among those ideas.

Perhaps you even subscribed to one or more of them at some point.

One thing in common among all but one of the salvation blueprints is that they all are lies.

Well-intentioned, perhaps, but still permeated with flaws and the inability to deliver the soul into God’s eternal, blessed presence.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that the only way to heaven is to accept Him as Savior.

There are no exceptions for those who have crossed into the age of accountability by means of knowing God’s will and choosing to disobey.

Why was Jesus so exclusivistic?

It’s because human regret cannot cleanse the soul as Jesus’ blood can and the human emotional heart cannot regenerate the soul as the Holy Spirit can and the human mind cannot sanctify and transform itself as the Holy Spirit can.

Jesus put it this way when talking to the prominent, good-hearted yet confused Pharisee named Nicodemus:

Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.” (John 3:6)

We are to be as nice to people as we can possibly be.

But that won’t give us spiritual life.

We are to learn as much about the Bible as we can possibly learn.

But that won’t save our souls.

And we are resist temptations with the determination of a mama bird building a nest for the eggs growing within her.

But even the best mama birds sometimes fail and we’ll eventually fall to temptation.

Listen, let’s resist the lie of Satan that we don’t need a vibrant, growing presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Satan wants us to believe that can gain salvation and grow in faith and resist temptation and produce fruit and end up in heaven without the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Don’t believe that serpent. He’s just wanting us to battle him on our own.

Let’s ruin his day. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to fill our thoughts so that our faith and fruitfulness is revived and thrives every day.

As always, I love you

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We all have had times in life where we tempted to believe our lives were insignificant in the eyes of others and perhaps even our own.

We were made to feel that we weren’t attractive enough to find a good mate.

We were made to feel that we weren’t smart enough or cool enough or rich enough or “___________” enough.

The fact is that we can always find people who are more attractive or smarter or more cool or richer or ________-er.

If we dwell on what we aren’t or what we don’t have, we just might see ourselves as Psalm 62:9 sees us.

“Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air.”

Notice that bigshots are also “lighter than a breath of air.”

Hmmmm….. very interesting.

The psalmist’s message here is not intended to demean, but instead to compare human status with that of God.

The purpose of verse 9 above is clear — we need a relationship with and the help of the Creator who holds all of its immeasurable mass in the palm of His hand, deserving and desiring that we acknowledge how omnipotent and amazing He is.

No matter how the world pushes you down, remember that Jesus died so that you might be lifted up from moments of despair as you lift your prayers to the Creator of all that is.

You see, God didn’t send His Son to die for trash but instead for the treasure that is you.

By the way, in the next life, we’ll be walking on clouds.

As always, I love you

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He did it again.

The Holy Spirit showed me a vital, motivating passage from the Bible that I hadn’t adequately embraced.

I now will.

It’s awesome actually.

Pointed. Practical. Powerful.

It’s application value is SO large.

You’re smart. You’ll see how to apply it to your life of faith.

He (Moses) kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the One who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27)

Moses faced many obstacles in his journey from Pharoah’s palace to the panorama view of the Promised Land he would not enter. Yet, through them all, he kept going.

He didn’t give up on his faith in God, the Deliverer of Israel.

Why? Because he knew that the invisible God who had revealed Himself on Mt. Sinai was with him, that’s why.

And Moses knew that the future Messiah promised to come through the line of Abraham was being carried in the loins of someone within the flock of Hebrews wandering with him in the wilderness.

Moses knew he wouldn’t see the Messiah in his earthly life, but he also knew that his faithfulness would mean a glorious meeting with the Messiah in the next life.

This is why he kept going when people rejected his faith and when tough circumstances tested his faith.

Let’s do our best to do what Moses did. Let’s keep on going because we’re keeping our eyes on the One who came as God in the flesh so that we can experience the reality of our invisible Father until the eternal day comes when faith becomes sight.

As always, I love you

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I won a lot of ribbons and trophies during my years of competitive running from ages 10-18.

I would have none of those good memories now, however, if I hadn’t crossed the finish line of each race, whether it was a 100-yard dash or a 13.1-mile half-marathon.

Failure to cross the finish line meant no reward.

And so it is with faith.

We can’t expect to live in heaven if we’re not serving the Lord when we die.

Sadly, it’s possible to live 99 percent of our lives for the Lord and then throw it all away because of a choice to reject God’s authority and Christ’s place in our hearts.

Salvation is all about relationship, not resume.

The Apostle Paul said as much in a couple of passages that should be taken together:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

Notice that the first passage said salvation comes to those who ARE in Christ, not were. That means I need to be in a present-tense relationship with Christ that allows the Holy Spirit to live within me, setting me free from the law of sin and death.

If I don’t want Christ telling me what to do, however, and if I don’t want the Holy Spirit’s voice convicting me of sin, I might reject their authority over my life.

That’s when I stop running the race of faith and, absent of repentance and rededication, I forfeit the opportunity of crossing faith’s finish line.

Some teach that a Christian can’t quit the race even if he or she wants to.

That thinking requires the loss of free will, however, something contrary to the teaching of scripture.

Paul certainly believes in personal choice and personal accountability. If Paul didn’t have to choose the path of persistent faith — if his soul were saved regardless of his behavior choice to “keep running” — then the second passage above makes no sense.

Dear friend, please long for Christ’s appearing. And while you do so, keep running the race that sometimes seems SO long.

There’s something much better than a ribbon or trophy waiting for you when you cross the finish line.

As always, I love you

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When it comes to the people who most influence your values, theology and direction in life, how much have you thought about who or what influences them?

It doesn’t take a genius to understand the wisdom of following somebody who is heading in the right direction, somebody holding the map to glory in their hands, in their heart and in their head.

That’s what I try to do when it comes to the people I allow to influence me. I pray that you do the same.

Here’s a verse from today’s One-Year Bible that shows the importance of this principle:

“Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn” (Isaiah 8:20)

Wow. This makes it so much clearer for us when it comes to those we allow to influence us.

There are consequences in this life and in eternity for not heeding the holy warnings of God given to guide us to lives that are more pleasing to Him and more blessed for us.

Let’s agree to give our attention and allegiance to those who speak according to the Bible since they have seen the Light and are carefully, commitedly walking toward their own day of dawning when Christ calls them home.

As we follow in their footsteps, we’ll have the confidence that we’ll walk the same streets of gold someday when we begin our eternal day of dawning.

As always, I love you

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