Tag Archives: salvation

Heaven

John’s Revelation

Think about it: God will wipe away our tears. No more night. No more heartache and sin. No more cares and worries, sickness or death. And we we look upon the One who loves us with a love we cannot fathom right now.

I don’t know if there will be a thousand calendar years before we enjoy our eternal home. It doesn’t really matter if John’s revelation has a material interpretation or whether it is meant to be interpreted spiritually. This book, to me, is about hope.

It’s about redemption. It’s about Jesus and the fact that one day I will be in His Presence! I’ll look into those eyes, study that face, see those nail prints in His hands and know at last I am home.

I have no doubt about that. I know it is a fact because I have died, and God raised me to new life in Him. How? I admitted my sins and repented of them from a humble heart in need of a Savior. I’ve accepted the redeeming work of Jesus, His death and resurrection, and I know I can stand before the Holy God without fear because Jesus paid my death penalty and placed His holiness on me. It wasn’t my doing. It’s all Jesus.

Tomorrow marks a New Year, a new beginning for many. I pray that you will welcome in 2023 with Jesus, your Savior, at your side and in your heart. I pray that you will grow a relationship with Him by reading His Word every day, praying every day, resisting Satan every day.

Who knows if the ball will drop on 2024? It may, or may not. Reading God’s Word reminds me when Jesus returns (and He will) it will be too late to change your mind, too late to repent of sin and accept the Savior. Too late.

There is a heaven for God’s followers. And there is a hell for anyone who hasn’t accepted God’s saving grace.

Choose Jesus. And have a blessed 2023 as His precious child.

For Love

1 John 4:9-10

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life though him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

I think these are some of the most beautiful verses about Christmas in the Bible. Would you do something? Re-read these verses and insert your name in place of the “us,” and “we,” and “our.” Hear God speak these words to YOU this Christmas day.

The baby whose birth we celebrate today was born for love of you. Yes, YOU!

Merry Christmas!

For The Sake of Christ

Hebrews 11:24-28

The other day in Good News Club, one of the children asked if Old Testament people went to heaven since they lived before Jesus went to the cross. I said, “Yes. They had to believe in Jesus just like we do, only they called Him the Messiah. they didn’t know His name. But if they put their in faith in God to keep His promise, they went to heaven.”

Then today I read Hebrews 11 and, maybe I’ve seen it before, but Scripture actually says Moses not only believed in Christ, he gave up the treasures of being the son of Pharaoh’s daughter to suffer for the sake of Christ. And that was thousands of years before Jesus was born!

Jesus! The baby whose birth the whole world is celebrating this weekend.

Jesus! The real flesh and blood Son of God who went to the cross to redeem us all.

Jesus! Our Savior who lives in heaven preparing a place for all of us who believe.

Jesus didn’t become the Savior. He was always the Savior. And there is no other name anywhere that will bring us to the Father. People have been putting their faith in Jesus since the beginning of time.

Have you?

You Are Chosen

Romans 8-11

Paul specifically says God shows mercy to some people, and chooses to harden the hearts of others so that they refuse to listen. (8:18). He gave Pharaoh as an example. Then he goes on to say, “that’s the way it is. Don’t question God. He will show mercy and compassion to anyone he chooses.”

There are those who base their theology on these and similar verses. They call it election or pre-destination. And as I read these verses this morning, I prayed: Are they right to believe you decide to deny salvation to some based on a criteria we can’t understand? Is that what Paul is saying?

Then I read chapters 10-11 and heard Paul say salvation is for everyone. I was reminded of the “whosoever” of John 3:16, the “not willing that any should perish” of 2 Peter 3:9. How do I reconcile two seemingly opposite views? Because I believe both views are true by the fact they are God-breathed Scripture.

Which makes me think they aren’t all that opposite after all. Here’s what I believe Scripture teaches from Genesis to Revelation: God loves people. Jesus died to save people. God, from day one has been revealing Himself to people, to draw all of us to Himself.

But God created us with the gift of choice. Anyone who chooses God, God chooses to accept. Anyone who chooses to reject God, God chooses to reject. From before creation, God knew who of us would choose Him and who would reject Him. From before creation He chose to save all who choose Him, and condemn all who reject Him.

That’s what He predestined: the means of salvation.

You might not like it. You might think it’s too cut and dry, black and white. Hear Paul say: who do you think you are to question your Creator?

I think many of us have been caught up in trying to figure out predestination, and we may have overlooked the important message Paul wanted us to hear. I think Paul (speaking for God) wanted us to consider the seriousness of rejecting God.

Do you accept that Jesus died to pay your sin debt? Do you choose to believe that He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life? Have you been born again? Then you are chosen by God to receive His grace!

But if you don’t accept Him on His terms, if you don’t believe, you are chosen by God to receive His punishment without mercy. And hear His warning:

If you reject Him, He hardens your heart. The consequence of denying Him is an ever progressive hardening toward Him, so that eventually you won’t even hear Him any more. Not that He won’t be revealing Himself. But it will be harder and harder for you to see Him.

Rejecting God is serious. And I think that is the important lesson Paul was trying to convey here. You are chosen by God to be His child. Jesus died for you so that your sins can be forgiven. That is His choice for you.

The question is: what is your choice?

What It Cost

Matthew 26; Mark 14

Do those of you who have lost loved ones to cancer or some other slow progressing and painful disease like to recall those moments when the pain was its worst? Do you enjoy remembering those nights when the pain was so intense that no amount of morphine seemed to help, when the slightest touch or movement caused a whimper? Do you like remembering those sleepless nights when there was just no comfortable position to lie? And do you remember that feeling of helplessness, the realization your loved one had to go it alone and there was nothing you could do to change that?

You knew they didn’t deserve what was happening. And watching them suffer hurt you, too.

That’s kind of how I feel reading about what happened to my dear Jesus on the night He was arrested. It hurts me to read about his beatings, knowing it was much worse than the words convey.

He didn’t deserve all that. Yet He stood there and took it, for love of me. I will never know this side of heaven what really happened that night, what it cost Jesus to go to the cross.

And, sadly, sometimes I don’t give it a thought. That careless word I said, that unkind thought, the lie, or the laziness, all cost Jesus a night of horror and pain, beginning with the sham of a trial, and the relentless beatings he endured, to the agonizing hours hanging on the cross. I can’t feel good about that.

But I am so grateful. I am overwhelmed by His love. It’s hard to remember what He went through. But I’m glad God inspired the account to be included in His Word. I don’t want to forget. I want my life to honor what He did that night on the way to the cross where He died for love of me.

Jesus’ Prayer For Us

John 17:20-24

Jesus prayed for us. Not in general terms, He prayed specifically for the following:

  1. That we will be one in the Lord
  2. That our oneness would speak to the world that they might believe in Jesus
  3. That our unity would perfectly show God’s love to the world
  4. That we will be with Him where He is
  5. That we would reveal the glory of God.

You know what He didn’t pray for? Hefty bank accounts, healthy bodies, happiness, easy living, speaking in tongues, miracles, popularity…

He prayed that you and I will be united with Him to continue His ministry of saving lost souls, introducing sinners to their Savior.

Earlier He had told the disciples that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one – NO ONE – can go to the Father except through Jesus. Then Jesus prayed that you and will pass that Truth on.

One of the last things Jesus did in His human body was to pray for you and me. Are you as blown away by that as I am? Let’s be the answer to His prayer by uniting with Him and each other, the Church, and demonstrating to the world what being united with Christ looks like. And let’s not grow tired of speaking the Truth in love, so that lost souls can be found, sinners can be saved.

To the glory of God!

The Second Greatest Commandment (it might not mean what you think)

Matthew 22-23; Mark 12

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied: Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.

However, the modern church has seemed to skip over that and rushed to what Jesus called the second greatest commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Our churches are so full of love, they’ve neglected to understand God’s love. We’ve come to believe love is the same as acceptance, tolerance, respect. But is that godly love?

I challenge you to read Matthew 23:13-36 and point out one loving thing Jesus said to the teachers. Is it that he repeatedly called them hypocrites? Or that they are sending people to hell? That they are blind guides, or that they are ignoring the most important aspects of the Law? He called them white-washed tombs. Is that your definition of love?

Well, that’s God’s definition of love. As harsh as Jesus’ words to the pharisees, it’s all about love. Love enough to point out sin – not tolerate it. Love enough to point out their misguided religious beliefs – not accept them. Love enough to call them what they were without worrying about disrespecting them.

Jesus got in their faces. Why? Because He loved them.

If the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds, then we must also adopt God’s definition of love. His love sent Him to the cross. I’m worried my love might hurt someone’s feelings. That’s not God’s kind of love.

If I love God sincerely with all my heart, soul, and mind, I can’t help but shout out a warning to people who are rushing to hell, people for whom Jesus died to save.

YOU ARE A SINNER. YOUR BELIEFS ARE WRONG. YOU NEED JESUS. BELIEVING YOU HAVE YOUR OWN TRUTH IS BELIEVING A LIE. YOU CAN’T CHOOSE YOUR GENDER. YOU AREN’T GOOD AND CAPABLE AND WORTHY. YOU ARE A WORM FOR WHOM JESUS DIED TO SAVE. AND UNLESS YOU COME TO GOD ON HIS TERMS, YOU WILL GO TO HELL.

Does that offend you? Hurt your feeling? Make you angry? I love you enough to tell you I don’t care. I care more that you hear the warning and turn to God. I care more that you offer yourself to God and receive what He longs to give you.

If I simply love my neighbor with a love I manufacture, I could easily tolerate, accept, and respect your sin and wrong ideology. But because I love God with all that I am, I can’t do that. Because of that love I am begging you to know Him according to Scripture and through the blood of His Son. There is simply no other way.

I’m praying for you today.

Happy Re-Birth-Day

Esther

Reading about Purim in the book of Esther has me thinking. Thousands of years since God saved the Jews through Esther’s obedience, Jewish people celebrate the anniversary of that day every spring. It’s one of the biggest religious holidays in the Jewish religion. Costumes, singing, gifts, lots of food. It’s a party! Kind of like a birthday party.

And that’s what has me thinking.

Most of us celebrate birthdays every year with some kind of party. As we should. The day you were born into this world is reason to celebrate!

But most of us don’t give a second thought to our spiritual birthday, the day when we were born again into the spiritual kingdom of God, becoming His child through the blood of His Son Jesus. If Purim celebrates the day the Jews were saved, how much more should I celebrate the day I was saved, too?

Honestly, the date of that life-beginning event in my life is blurred in my memory. I was really young when Jesus saved me. And I’m really old today. But I have never celebrated my spiritual birthday.

I know of a couple of families who celebrate their children’s spiritual birthdays every year with the same fanfare as their physical birthdays. Cake and ice cream, or dinner out, or some kind of special event to celebrate the day their children were saved. I love that idea. If you’re a parent of a child who has been born-again, I hope you’ll consider doing this as well.

If you’re like me, and don’t remember the date of your salvation, why not celebrate today, September 15? Throw a party. Bake a cake. Wear a party hat. Celebrate the day you were truly born, whenever that was!

However, let me say that I know we have reason to celebrate our re-birth-day every day! God’s mercies are new every day! It doesn’t take a party hat to remind me how loved I am, or what it means to be born into the family of God.

I know we don’t need a party. But reading about how the Jews celebrated their salvation in such a festive atmosphere, and knowing they eventually died anyway, makes me want to celebrate by rebirth with the same fervor, knowing I will take that rebirth into eternity.

So, whenever it is you were saved…

Happy Re-Birth-Day!

The Writing Is On The Wall

Ezekiel 5

We’ve probably all heard the phrase, “the writing’s on the wall” to indicate the inevitability of something happening, usually referring to something bad happening. That certainly was the case for Belshazzar who watched the hand of God write a proclamation on the wall of the dining room about the king’s impending death. That very night, the king was killed.

The writing was on the wall.

Does that speak to us today? Has God written a proclamation concerning the death of civilization? Are we looking at the end?

Yes. And no.

God has absolutely proclaimed the edict that this life as we know it will end. It’s been rushing to that end since Adam’s sin. The inevitable end of this world is getting closer every day. But nowhere in Scripture does it say that event will happen in 2022.

Oh, it could be today. Or it could be 1,000 years from now.

The sad thing is, some Christians see the writing on the wall and think, “Things are awful out there, but there’s nothing I can do about it.” So they sit back and wait for the end to happen.

That seems to be the case for Belshazzar. Instead of reading the writing on the wall and allowing it to convict him, to drive him to his knees in repentance, he threw a party for Daniel. That night his reign was brought to an end, just like God had written on the wall.

Friend, we can look for signs, complain about the state of the world while we sit comfortably in our homes, living life as usual, resting in the assurance of our salvation. But is that what God demands of us?

The signs we see all around us ought to drive us to our knees, light a fire in us to reach as many people as we can to introduce them to their only hope, Jesus the Savior.

Jesus is coming again. He’s promised us that in His Word. When He does, many, many people will go to hell for eternity. Many, many people you and I know will face eternity without Him.

Do you know what else is written on the wall, so to speak?

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Let’s take that message to our world that needs Him. Because, dear one, the writing is on the wall.

What Good Is It?

Jeremiah 22

What good is it to live in a nice house, go to church in a beautiful building, enjoy a healthy body, and not know God? The blessings are fleeting. The blessings don’t make you a good person. The blessings aren’t even a sign you are right with God.

In fact, God says many have eyes only for greed and dishonesty, they murder the innocent, oppress the poor, and reign ruthlessly. And that doesn’t make Him happy.

I warned you when you were prosperous, but you replied, “Don’t bother me!” You have been this way since childhood – you simply will not obey me! It may be nice to live in a beautiful palace paneled with wood from the cedars of Lebanon, but soon you will groan with pangs of anguish – like that of a woman in labor. (22:21,23)

I sure hope you are enjoying a healthy, prosperous, comfortable day today. I hope you have clothes to wear, food to eat, a job to go to. I hope you have a family you love and who loves you. And I hope you’ll go to church on Sunday..

But don’t neglect the most important thing. Don’t neglect obedience. Confess your sin. Be holy, separate. Stand for the Truth at all cost. Because things are going to change. You won’t live on this planet forever. And God is not going to care what your house looked like. Only what your heart looks like. He won’t care where you worshiped. He’ll care that you worshiped Him in spirit and truth according to Scripture.

Jesus asked this question:

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36)

How would you answer Him?

What good is it to live in a nice house, go to church in a beautiful building, and enjoy a healthy body?

Nothing, unless Jesus lives in you!