What is your concept of heaven?

God has great rewards for those who remain faithul

What is your concept of heaven?

“How happy are those who fear the Lord — all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How happy you will be! How rich your life!”

Psalm 128:1-2 NLT

Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 NLT

He died for us so that we can live with him forever, whether we are dead or alive at the time of his return.

1 Thessalonians 5:10 NLT

Made for another world

Most of us find it very difficult to want “Heaven” at all — except in so far as “Heaven” means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained: Our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we might not recognize it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.


“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

C.S. Lewis

From the The Quotable Lewis edited by Jerry Root and Wayne Martindale (Tyndale) pp 286-87

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Integrity

God has great rewards for those who remain faithul

Do you ever feel it doesn’t pay to live a godly life?

GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS

“Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive a reward that lasts forever.”
Psalm 37:18 NLT

God will honor your integrity

Maybe last month it was a relational disaster or an occupational trial. This week it might be a financial setback. Next week could bring a health crisis. After a while the unrelenting stream of tough times takes its toll.

“What’s the use?” we cry. “I try to do right and for what? Life keeps beating me up! I can’t get ahead! I’m not sure it pays to try to live a godly life. I struggle as much or more than my neighbors who couldn’t care less about God!”

Troubles certainly have a way of wearing us down. And if we’re not careful, they can erode even our bedrock convictions. The promise in Psalm 37 is a good reminder of why we must be vigilant about not taking moral or ethical shortcuts.

Those who maintain their integrity, those who continue to do right even when everything and everyone else is wrong will one day receive the ultimate reward.

Praying God’s Promise:
Life doesn’t seem fair at times, Lord, and integrity often doesn’t seem to matter. But it does matter. You see everything. Nothing escapes your gaze. You promise to care for the pure and to reward the faithful. Give me the spiritual tenacity to hang in there. Remind me that the day is coming when you will exalt those who steadfastly trust in you.

From the Praying God’s Promises in Tough Times by Len Wood (Tyndale) pp 204-5
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

NO MORE SORROW

God will wipe away sorrow forever

JESUS SOON COMING

 

Faith does not isolate us from sadness

Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. His anger lasts for a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:4-5

I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27 
Truly, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy when you see me again. It will be like a woman experiencing the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives place to joy because she has brought a new person into the world. You have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
John 16:20-22 

Bond of understanding

There is an immediate bond of understanding between people who have suffered similar hardships or losses. Parents who have lost children, widows and widowers, and families of terminal-disease patients, all find comfort and encouragement in the presence of those who have known similar pain.

Paul urges believers to see opportunities for giving comfort as both a way to share the comfort of God and to use their own experiences of sorrow for good. We rarely know why suffering or trials enter our lives, but we can know that God wants to do through our sorrow.

Who do you know right now who needs a word of encouragement or comfort that your experience has prepared you to give?

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House


 

PRAISE YOU JESUS!


THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN AND TOOK AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD! (ISAIAH 9:6/JOHN 3:16)

THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST

Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Luke 2:7 – And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Matthew 1:18-25 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.   (Read More…)

Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

John 1:14 – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:3 – All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Colossians 1:15-17 – Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:   (Read More…)

Matthew 2:1-12 – Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,   (Read More…)

Matthew 2:1 – Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Revelation 1:8 – I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

John 17:3 – And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Hebrews 1:3 – Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Colossians 1:15 – Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

John 1:18 – No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].


By:  Malinda Kathleen Reese


Return unto the Lord thy God

John 1:36 | View whole chapter | See verse in context And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Revelation 22:3 | View whole chapter | See verse in context And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

1 Peter 1:19 | View whole chapter | See verse in context But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

John 1:29 | View whole chapter | See verse in context The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.


1 Corinthians 15:23 23But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.


IS THE CHURCH READY FOR THE WEDDING?

Matthew 22:1-14  (KJV)

22 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

King James Version     Public Domain


[ Psalm 150 ] Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. …

Huppah = “canopy”

Matthew 25:10 | View whole chapter | See verse in context And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Revelation 19:7 | View whole chapter | See verse in context Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

2 Corinthians 5:20 | View whole chapter | See verse in context Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ‘s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

Colossians 3:1 | View whole chapter | See verse in context If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

1 Corinthians 15:23 | View whole chapter | See verse in context But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ‘s at his coming.



A PILGRIM’S JOURNEY

No temptation is too great

How can you avoid the guilt experiences by John Bunyan?

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep me from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me.

Psalm 19:12-13 

Now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from stumbling, and who will bring you into his glorious presence innocent of sin and with great joy.

Jude 1:24 

A Pilgrim making progress

John Bunyan, who wrote the class The Pilgrim’s Progress, (CLICK LINK TO WATCH MOVIE: PILGRIM’S PROGRESS JOURNEY)had been a godless youth with a “great desire to take fill of sin, still studying what sin was yet to be committed, that might taste the sweetness of it.” However, while still in his twenties, Bunyan was convicted by the Holy Spirit of his sinfulness and his need for a Redeemer.

After this Bunyan’s conscience became so tender that he feared he was committing sins that would not be forgiven. Bunyan spent time studying Scripture, at times finding comfort and at other times being weighed down by guilt.

Looking back on those turbulent days in his life, Bunyan recognized he had made some big mistakes. Although he had prayed for cleansing, he had not prayed to be kept from future sin. In addition, he was not standing firmly on the rock of his salvation, even though he had asked Christ to be his Redeemer (see Psalm 19:12-14).

Perhaps you have trusted Christ to save you, but you still experience spiritual defeat. This is not unusual, but you do need to address the problem. Each new day ask God to help you follow him more closely. But do not be afraid, for, as Bunyan later wrote, our “righteousness is Jesus Christ himself, the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

adapted from The One Year® Book of Psalms by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen,, Tyndale House Publishers (1999), entry for February 6

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Hypocrisy

Lies will be exposed

 

Exposing hypocrisy

“But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves.”

Romans 1:18  

The Lord hates those who don’t keep their word, but he delights in those who do.

Proverbs 12:22 

One day, we’ll all “face the music”

“The expression “face the music” originated in Japan. One man in the imperial orchestra couldn’t play a note, but as a person of great influence and wealth, he demanded to be given a seat; he wanted the emperor to see him “perform.” The conductor agreed to let the man sit in the second row. He was handed a flute, and when a concert began, he’d raise his instrument, pucker his lips, and move his fingers. He went through all the motions of playing but never made a sound. His deception continued for two years.

Then a new conductor took over. He told the orchestra that he would audition each player personally. One by one the musicians performed in his presence. At last came this flutist’s turn. Frantic with worry, he pretended to be sick — but his lies caught up with him. The doctor who examined him declared him perfectly fine. Finally the pretender had to admit he was fake. He couldn’t face the music.

Ready or not, all of us will one day face the music. We will all appear before the Lord, without masks and without deception. Better that we show our true faces to the world now than have someone ask on that day, “Who was that unmasked man?”

from Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie (Tyndale) pp 149-50

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

No Double Standards

 

God is always fair and just

How often do you want to “get even?”

The Lord despises double standards of every kind.

Proverbs 20:10 

Never pay back evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the Lord.

Romans 12:17-19 

Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.

Proverbs 20:22 

God’s measure

How often do we see the evil around us and pray for God’s justice? We wonder, Why does God allow this evil to go on! This kind of thinking leads to two of the most common double standards: (1) judging others more harshly than we judge ourselves, and (2) believing God should judge others but remain lenient with us.

The Lord despises double standards because they elevate one person at the expense of others. These man-made standards also lack the mercy of God.

In our cry for fairness, we should not forget the frightening consequences of justice. As sinners, God could justly destroy each of us today for missing the mark of perfection. When we remember that God’s patience and mercy block his judgment towards us, we will more likely show others patience and mercy.

WISE WAYS Before you rush to judge another person, ask yourself whether you would be able to endure the same standard.

Today, Lord, give me strength to replace judgment with mercy.

Adapted from The One Year® Book of Proverbs by Neil S. Wilson, Tyndale House Publishers (2002), entry for March 20

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House