Tag Archives: Jesus

Eternally Important (Job 14:10-12)

I know there are people who believe in reincarnation. There are whole religions based on the hope they’ll do better at life next time so eventually they’ll reach that blissful nothingness, or euphoria they are working toward. I have a friend who firmly believes she lived during the time of Henry VIII. She didn’t. Do you know how I now she didn’t? Let’s look at what God has said in His Word about death.

Starting with Job. Job says, in chapter 14:10-12,

But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. As water disappears from the sea, or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, so man lies low and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, men will not awake or be roused from their sleep. (emphasis mine)

Job knew that when a person dies, he is dead. We know there will be a day when life on planet Earth is no more, when the heavens will be no more and Christ returns to take His children home. I don’t see anything to indicate a second or third life on earth in what Job says here. But he’s not the only one with a word on the subject.

The Apostle Paul said this:

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8, emphasis mine).

Paul has no doubt. Death ushers the soul into the presence of God.

The writer of Hebrews tells us:

Just as a man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment… (9:27, emphasis mine).

We get one go ’round in this life. Just one.

And maybe the most important fact concerning this topic is what Jesus Himself said to the thief while both men faced death on the cross:

Today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43, emphasis mine).

Now, some might argue that the thief had lived his best life after several tries, and therefore had earned his Nirvana. Umm… he was a thief. Is that the best he could do? I wonder what he was like in a previous life.

Why is this topic important? It’s eternally important. The fact is, you can’t earn heaven, no matter how many times you think you have to try. You can never be good enough, give enough, or bring yourself to a place of perfection.

You are a sinner. And the God of Creation tells us your sin has earned you one thing only:

Death.

But the God of Creation also tells you there is a way to escape that death, the eternal separation from Him. You have got to go through the blood of Jesus. That’s it. That is the only way.

And you have these few measly years on this planet to choose Jesus. Don’t wait. Don’t assume you’ll do better next time.

There is no next time. Only now. You may have  just today before life on this earth is over for you. Are you ready to face the God of Creation? I pray so.

December 11-14; And The Winner Is…

Revelation 11-14

When I read the book of Revelation as a picture of life, I see that life is messy. It’s chaotic. There are disasters and sorrow and struggles. Let’s face it. Satan is powerful and will continue to fight God, using us as pawns, until the final day when He who was, and is… has come!

I read about the battles, and Satan’s tactics to take as many of us as he can with him into hell. But then in chapter 14 I see the Lamb! I can almost hear the song of the redeemed, and I know we win! One day the earth will be ripe for harvest. That sickle will swing and life as we know it will end. Oh, how I long for that day!

But if you don’t know the Lamb, if you haven’t accepted the forgiveness of your sin through the blood of Jesus, you should be terrified at the thought of that day. Because you will not win. You will drink the wine of God’s fury.

As 2019 winds down, as we look forward to a new year, and a new decade, I pray you will be on the winning side, worshiping the Lamb who was slain for love of you. May God bless you, draw you to Him, and give you strength in the days ahead. Life’s not easy. We are at war. But be assured…

The winner is you, if you are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!

December 24; Faith in Action

Hebrews 10:19-12:29

Do you know what I noticed about the people listed in Chapter 11, the “Hall of Faith?” Each one put their faith in God, but none of them sat on that faith. It wasn’t enough to simply believe. They all did something as a result of their faith.

They warned, went, obeyed, blessed, spoke, refused, left, passed through the Red Sea…. All of these people were commended for their faith yet none of them actually saw the One in whom they’d placed their faith. None of them knew the Messiah Jesus whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow. But that didn’t stop them from having faith in Him anyway.

Everybody has faith of some kind. I have loved ones who have faith their belief there is no God won’t usher them into hell. Some people have faith in false gods, in religion, in goodness and kindness, in the stars, or in themselves. We all have faith that what we believe is true.

The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (12:2)

So who has authored your faith? I pray you will place your faith in the author of creation, in life itself, in love, and in eternity. I pray you’ll place your faith in the One who went to the cross for the joy of forgiving your sins.

Then, with the saints listed in Chapter 11, let’s do something with that faith. Let’s warn, and go, and obey, and bless… because the truth of the matter is, people need to know there is only One who is worthy of our faith.

December 23; Our High Priest’s Birthday

Hebrews 7:1-10:18

Melchizedek is a curious fellow. He appears in Scripture for a few verses, then promptly disappears. We don’t know where he came from, or where he went after talking to Abraham. He was a priest, but not from the tribe of Levi. Curious.

Yet the writer of Hebrews compares Jesus to this mysterious Old Testament priest. He tells us in 7:16 that Melchizedek represents the “one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry, but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.”

Jesus was descended from Judah, not Levi. And with Him came a new and better covenant than the one God had previously made with Israel. (vs 22)

No more animal sacrifices. No more need of any priest to enter the Presence of God on our behalf. Jesus offered Himself as the ultimate, perfect sacrifice for us all, then He sat down at the right hand of God in heaven where He serves as our High Priest in that sanctuary set up by the Lord, not by man.

I hope you’ll read these chapters in Hebrews today. As we get ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus, let’s do so with the knowledge of what His birth meant. Let’s thank Him that the baby didn’t stay in the manger, but grew up to be our sacrifice. Jesus was born to die.

But He is not dead. Right now, today, this very minute He is sitting next to the Father and interceding for you and me. He is praying for us. Does that make you want to fall at His feet in humble praise and thanksgiving? Does that make you want to love Him like He deserves to be loved, obeyed like He demands, and serve Him in any way you can? It does me.

I want to say “Happy Birthday Jesus, my Savior, my King, my amazing High Priest. I love you!”

 

December 15; Attitude Check

Philemon; Philippians 1-2

I remember that, as an adolescent girl, I could be a bit moody. No really, I could. I could get upset over what now seems insignificant, but at the time seemed the end of the world. And I remember on more than one occasion, during one of my displays of emotion, I’d hear the stern voice of my Dad say, “Change your attitude.”

It was not a suggestion.

I hear God say the same thing to me today. I hope you’ll read Philippians 2:5-11, and do an attitude check on yourself. Paul tells us our attitudes should be the same as Jesus’.

I’ve always loved these verses which speak of what Jesus did to pay for my sins, the lengths He went to die on a cross. And these verses thrill me every time I read about the Name of the One I love.

The truth is, I have no reason to have a bad attitude. I have no reason for self-pity, jealousy, bitterness. When I get a good look at what Jesus gave up to ransom me, and I realize He never complained or regretted what He’d lost, I am ashamed to remember the times when I made a big deal of things unimportant in the light of eternity.

I don’t believe God is talking about sadness, or grief, or disappointment as being sinful. Those were emotions Jesus Himself felt. But God is speaking to me about my overall attitude when bad – or good – things happen.

Paul says IF I have any encouragement from being united with Christ, IF any comfort from His love, IF I have fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and IF I have received tenderness and compassion, (I emphasized the “ifs” because of course I have received all of that and more. It’s not an “if.” It’s a definite) then change your attitude!

Time for an attitude check. May my attitude, and yours, be the same as that of Jesus.

December 4; Double Paying A Debt

Romans 2-4

God, through Paul, tells us all  have sinned. No one reaches God’s glory, His holiness. We can’t come close.

God’s holiness is the plumb line, and all of us have deviated from that line of perfection. If you believe you haven’t, you are delusional. That deviation is called sin. And we will find out in chapter 6 of Romans that the penalty for sin is death.

It is therefore impossible to make up for sin by doing good things. Doing good things is not death. And sin demands death.

Now, think through this with me. If all have sinned, then you and I are sinners. If the consequence for sin is death, the only way you or I can pay for our sin debt is by dying, which would mean going to hell.

Paul tells us Jesus paid what it is impossible for us to pay in this lifetime. You cannot die to pay for your own sin, then live again. But Jesus can – and did!

You can’t die, spend some time in hell to satisfy your sin debt, then wake up one day and continue life on Earth debt-free. But Jesus did exactly that for you!

The only thing you or I have to do in this lifetime is to take what Jesus died to give us. He paid the price for our sin, yours and mine. He’s standing there holding a “Paid in Full” receipt. Yet some will ignore what is right in front of them, and pay their debt themselves. They would rather face judgment on their own, instead of wearing the righteousness of Jesus.

That’s like double paying a debt. I’m six months from paying off my car loan. That would be like me writing that last check, then going to the bank and saying, “I’d like to pay for my car again.” That would be crazy.

But I think refusing what Jesus died to give you is crazy, too. You can live a debt-free life right now, forgiven of sin, with an unimaginably fabulous eternity ahead. Or you can plant your feet and take on the challenge of paying your own debt.

Just understand, you’ll have to die to do it.

November 29; Speak It

I Corinthians 14:1-15:34

Years ago I was an organist in a church with a new pastor. He came in like gang busters and began to makes changes almost before the moving van had gone. One of the first things he did was call a meeting of the music committee.

He told us he wanted a more contemporary feel to our worship service. Less hymns, more praise songs. Our music director asked the pastor if he was to pick out the songs, or did the pastor want to do that. The pastor said that would be up to the music director, he didn’t really care what we sang so long as it wasn’t all hymns.

I shared that in the past we tried to pick out music that went along with the sermon, to prepare our hearts for what was going to be shared from the pulpit. I’ll never forget the pastor’s response. He looked at me, laughed a condescending chuckle and said, “I suppose you are one who thinks the preaching is the most important thing. Well, it’s not.”

I think Paul might take issue with that philosophy. If you read this part of his letter to the Corinthians you’ll see how much emphasis is placed on the words, the Gospel, the telling. The apostle used the example of musical instruments having distinct notes and a clear call.

There are many different aspects to a worship service. Paul was addressing the use of the gift of tongues but he called that gift mindless and unfruitful unless there is an interpretation. Telling the message so people can understand is the most important thing. Paul said he could speak all day in tongues, but he’d rather speak five intelligible words of instruction.

I found out that day of our music committee meeting that indeed, I am one who thinks the preaching is the most important part of a worship service. It’s the part of instruction, of encouragement, of digging deeper into God’s Word led by someone called to do that.

And once again I am reminded how important it is for all of us to speak the Gospel. We can live our lives in such a way that people notice our devotion to God, but unless we tell them about Jesus, they can’t be saved. We can go to a worship service and be carried along by the Spirit during the praise songs, but the instruction is the meat.

Let’s continue to grow, to define our faith from Scripture so that we can share it in an understandable way. We’ve got the Good News! Let’s speak it.