Tag Archives: eternity

Revelation; No More Tears

I don’t often sit down and read straight through the book of Revelation,  but I did today. I wanted to read John’s vision as he describes it without looking for hidden meaning in it. I discovered that the book of Revelation is a pretty accurate description of life.

And life for followers of Jesus comes with particular hardships. Sometimes it seems as though we are fighting against monsters and demons, and it is easy to get discouraged. But God assures us through John’s vision that He’s got this.

There is no demonic monster that is too powerful for Him, no false doctrine, no phony preachers, no anti-Christ theology that can change the Truth that is God. There is nothing that happens in this life that He didn’t see happen before Creation. And He wants us to know He is coming again to take His children home.

That’s the glory of John’s vision. That home-going! A place beyond human words where God is in all His glory. A place where He Himself will dry the tears of His children, no more sorrow, sickness, discouragement, anger, hurt feelings, or drama. Our past troubles will be forgotten forever, and we as His Bride will look into the eyes of our Bridegroom and know for the first time what true love is all about.

The book of Revelation is a book of hope. We win. And the victory celebration will be beyond imagination.

_________________

I trust you had a blessed Christmas as we celebrated the birth of Jesus, the One who made our home-going possible. And I pray that 2019 will find you growing  in grace and knowledge of our Savior, and that you will have many opportunities to share our Lord with people in your life who need him, that you will be blessed and a blessing.

I’m going to take a break from blogging for the next few days. Starting January 1st I am going to start to read through the Chronological Bible in 2019. I haven’t decided if I’ll post my thoughts every day, or not. I want to honor God with this thing, so I’ll be praying for God’s leading.

Thanks for going on this journey with me. I’m praying for you.

Titus, Philemon; The Alternative

A friend of mine recently said, “I figure every day I’m still alive is a good day, when you consider the alternative.” I said, “I look forward to the alternative.”

Paul, in the two short letters I read today reminds us that, as Christians, we have important work to be doing, regardless of our ages. There are people who need the Lord, and it’s up to us to be sure they hear about the Savior. We are to be encouraging one another, teaching about and growing in our relationship with Jesus, “while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2:13)

It’s not that I have a death wish. I love life here on planet Earth. I am blessed beyond what I deserve. But I also would love to be home. G. Campbell Morgan put it like this, “I am not looking for death, I’m looking for Him.”

And so am I.

Let’s get busy today living. Let’s be Jesus’ voice, hands, and feet to people who need him. Let’s talk about Jesus with people we come in contact with today. What a privilege to live for Jesus today.

And together, let’s keep one eye on the sky. We might actually get to meet Him today. My heart might stop beating. I might close my eyes, and open them in heaven today. Or this might be the day Jesus comes again in the clouds and take us all home. Either way, the alternative to this life, with all its cares and worries, even the measure of joy and blessing we experience here will be behind us. Then the fun begins for us who have accepted God’s grace through the blood of His Son, Jesus.

Or we might live another fifty years, Jesus might not come back for another 2,000 years. We don’t know. The only thing we know for sure is that this life is not forever. There is an eternity. And Jesus will come again.

Do you know Him? Are you ready to meet Him? If you aren’t, find someone who does and talk to them. If you are, be that person who will lead a sinner to the salvation Jesus bought for them.

Christian, get busy. And be assured, the alternative to this life is wonderful beyond imagination.

 

1&2 Thessalonians; Here Comes The Judge

As I read Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, some of the old hymns were running through my mind. “One Day He’s coming, O glorious day!” “With power and great glory, He is Coming Again.”  “When The Role Is Called Up Yonder I’ll Be There.”

There is a lot of speculation about the events surrounding the day Jesus returns to earth. There always has been. Paul reminds us that the only thing that really matters is the fact that Jesus will come back, in the blink of an eye. And no one will have a heads-up on His timing.

If you read these letters, you’ll hear Paul encourage us who know the Savior to be busy doing His work, reaching out to the lost, telling people about Jesus. Because when Jesus comes back, He will judge the world.

And He will show no mercy to those who don’t know Him.

Only those who are wearing His righteousness, purchased for us with His own precious blood, will be declared, “Not guilty,” because Jesus took our guilty verdict on Himself. We will be able to look into the eyes of this Holy, fearsome, Judge, and see only forgiveness and love.

But anyone looking into those same eyes, standing before Him trying to wear their own righteousness, will have reason to be terrified. Those who stand before the final Judge on their own will hear the guilty verdict they deserve.

Personally, I look forward to gazing into those piercing eyes. Because, when He judges me, He’ll be seeing someone who is washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. I pray you can say the same.

 

Jeremiah 46-52; When It’s Close To Home

God had given Jeremiah a word, and Jeremiah was faithful to relay the message as it was given. It started out with a prophecy against Egypt, then against the Philistines. God continued to give prophecies against Moab, then Ammon, Edom, Damascus, and the Arabians. These nations, these people had rejected God, had fought against God’s people, and God let them know the consequences they would pay for going up against Him.

But then God gave a prophecy against Babylon, and I have to think this message wasn’t as easy to deliver for Jeremiah. The Babylonians were enemies of Israel, just like Egypt and the rest of them. But Matthew Henry reminded me that the king of Babylon had been kind to Jeremiah. There was a personal connection between the prophet and the king.

This is what Henry says about Jeremiah 50:1ff:

“Here is a word spoken against Babylon. The king of Babylon had been very kind to Jeremiah, and yet he must foretell the ruin of that kingdom; for God’s prophets must not be governed by favor or affection. Whoever are our friends, if, notwithstanding, they are God’s enemies, we dare not speak peace to them.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible; Zondervan Publishing,1961; page 1018)

I don’t know about you, but as much as I appreciate Matthew Henry’s insight into God’s Word, sometimes reading him is like reading a foreign language. I guess, if you were born in 1662 like he was, his vocabulary wouldn’t sound so strange. But for those of us living in the 21st Century, here’s what I get out of Henry’s old world vocabulary:

It’s not always easy to talk to the people closest to us about sin, about their need of the Savior. It’s not always easy to tell someone they are wrong, especially if that person is a really nice, good, upstanding person. And it’s hard to speak the Truth when we know we might offend someone we have a personal relationship with.

But Henry reminds us that all unbelievers, everyone who rejects God or ignores Him, anyone who thinks they are ok on their own, are enemies of God. The Bible is clear; you are either for God or against Him. There is no category of “nice guy” that cancels out our guilt of sin, and our need of Jesus.

Did you get what Henry said? God’s prophets, those of us entrusted with the Truth must not let our affection for someone prevent us from sharing the Truth. And if our loved one, or our sweet friend, or our kind neighbor, has not confessed sin and accepted Jesus as their Savior, WE MUST NOT TELL THEM EVERYTHING WILL BE OK.

We must not say of someone who rejects Jesus and dies, that they are in a better place. They are in a horrible place. More horrible than we can imagine. We must not say of an unsaved person who suffers a painful death that, well at least they are not in pain any more. Because the reality is they are in more pain than they ever experienced in this life. If we say otherwise, what message are we giving to those of our friends and family who have yet to accept God’s grace?

We must not tell someone who is rejecting Jesus, ignoring Him, living in sin, that their choices aren’t carrying severe, eternal consequences. We must not speak peace to a non-believer because, no matter how nice they are in this life, they are without hope without Jesus. They have no promise of peace, so we must not pretend that they do.

It’s not easy sharing the Gospel when that lost person is close to home. But aren’t those the people we love the most, the people we care for above all people?

Do you believe lost people go to hell? Look into the eyes of that lost loved one and see their eternity. Can you be as faithful as Jeremiah to deliver the Truth in spite of your personal feelings for that person?

Can I?

 

Proverbs 10-12; Only A Moment

So I’m reading these proverbs this morning and listening to what God has to say about those of us who wear Jesus’ righteousness. We are blessed, and a blessing to others. We have joy and peace. God is our refuge. We reap a harvest, and receive eternal life. God delights in blessing us!

Then I got to 12:19 and heard myself say, “That’s not true.”

Did I really just say that? Here’s the verse:

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

Has anyone ever lied about you? Did the lie only last for a moment before the truth came out? Or did you live with people believing the lie for years?

Then God impressed in my heart to look beyond the immediate. Didn’t Jesus say HE is the Way, the Truth, and the Life? It’s not always about you, Connie.

This verse, like so many others, points to Jesus. The Truth that is Him will endure forever. That’s a fact I can build my life on.

Oh, it may seem like the lies are out of control, that evil is winning over good, that wrong is right and right is wrong in our society. But Matthew Henry reminded me that the Truth of Scripture, Jesus Himself, will last forever. And in the light of eternity, the lies will last only a moment.

 

Job 20-21; Zophar, Part 2

Let’s get one thing straight. People die. Godly people die. Ungodly people die. There are godly people who live to a ripe old age, and there are godly people who die young. The same can be said for ungodly people.

Furthermore, no matter what Zophar would have you believe, there are wicked, evil people who are living long lives of luxurious, seemingly carefree lives, while there are godly people without homes or food. The opposite is true as well.

It’s tempting to equate God’s blessings with the things we can see. I will say God blessed me with a career for 37 years which has allowed me to live comfortably in my aging years. God has blessed me with good health, a loving family, a precious church fellowship. The sun is shining today. The sky is blue. And I have eyes that can see it all.

I could go on. But you get the picture. Some of the blessings I enjoy today come as a result of choices I made along the way. I don’t apologize for that or feel guilty because someone else made different choices. But I clearly know nothing I have, no blessing that I’ve been given is deserved. God doesn’t owe me a good life.

In fact, if I did get what I deserve, I would be one miserable lady.

I guess as I read the conversations between Job and his friends, I am reminded that it is useless to try to explain why things happen in this life. I mean, I can say the reason someone gets lung cancer is because he smoked for forty years. But then how do I explain the one who gets lung cancer and never smoked?

Here’s what struck me as I read Zophar’s second speech and Job’s reply: If I really thought only ungodly people receive devastating doctor’s reports, why am I not stopping everyone from undergoing chemo, and instead get them to accept Jesus? Why don’t I pray with all the homeless people I see so God will give them houses?

I should be talking to cancer patients and homeless people (and neighbors, co-workers, family members) about Jesus. Not for anything they can see. But because their eternity depends on it.

Zohar was right about one thing. “the mirth of the wicked is brief, the joy of the godless lasts for a moment.” In light of eternity, the “blessings” people enjoy on this earth are merely a blink of an eye.

Do you believe that? Regardless of bank accounts, health reports, popularity, or influence, we all will stand before a Holy God one day and give an account for the choices we made while we were enjoying, or struggling with, life on planet Earth. If you know Jesus as your Savior, that’s all God will need to know. Account paid. Good job, dear one. Let the party begin.

But if your choices haven’t included asking God to forgive you, and accepting what Jesus did for you when He died on the cross, you’re on your own. Good luck trying to defend yourself before a Holy God. Do you honestly think you’ll match up? Really?

Let’s not get bogged down by things we can see. Let’s not waste time trying to understand God’s ways. His ways are not like ours. But let’s look at the true, and eternal blessing that comes from knowing Him personally. And let’s makes sure others know how they can be blessed in the same way.

 

Samuel 10-12; The Loss Of A Child

I was talking to my pastor a while back and shared my confusion concerning the age of accountability. Scripture doesn’t really give a specific number, nor does it tell us exactly what happens to babies when they die.

But if Jesus is the only way to the Father, if His Name is the only means of salvation, what about aborted babies, or infants and toddlers who die before understanding the need of Him? My pastor pointed me to 2 Samuel.

David’s newborn son was sick. And while the baby struggled to live, David fasted, prayed, and wept believing God could heal him. But after the baby died, David seemed to have peace. He got up, went to church, then ate a meal. Strange behavior for someone whose child just died.

David’s sorrow had been for his sick baby boy, a father’s desire to watch that baby grow up, healthy. His struggle was for the suffering infant, and his own grief. But once the baby died, David had the assurance the boy was in the presence of God:

I will go to him, but he will not return to me. (12:23)

It seems David believed in heaven, and was confident that his son was safely there right that minute. And David believed one day, he would go to the place his son was. David would see his son again. Knowing this, David was able to go to his wife, and comfort her.

I don’t know if you have ever miscarried a baby, or buried your infant or toddler. I can’t imagine the pain that brings. But I can encourage you to rest assured that child is in the Presence of Someone who loves them even more than you do.

And, dear one, if you know Jesus as your Savior, you will see your child again. Not in this life, as hard as that is to accept. But in eternity, standing together before God’s throne, loving and being loved by the One who does all things well.

Father, I want to pray for any who read this post who are carrying the weight of grief over a lost child. Is there a greater loss? I pray that each one will know the assurance that their little loved one is alive, and well, and home with You. God, ease the burden of empty arms. I pray for faith to trust You, even in the loss of a child.