Posts Tagged 'eternal life'

Blessings and Cursings

JESUS SPEAKING

    “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.  Blessed are you who weep now for you shall laugh.  Blessed are you when men hate you […] for the Son of Man’s sake […] for indeed your reward is great in heaven […] But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.  Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger.  Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.  Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6: 20-26.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    The pronouncement of blessings and cursings was an intimate part of the Jewish culture.  Many Israelites would bring their children to the Rabbi’s to receive a formal blessing.  A blessing is a prophetic profession of some future good in an individual’s life.  A cursing however, foretells of some impending calamity.  The blessings that Jesus pronounced upon the crowds were entirely dependent upon their reaction to His message.  Those who chased after the passing pleasures of this life would ultimately enter into unending sorrow.  Those who chose to deny their own desires in order to serve God, would eventually inherit eternal rewards.  Without question, every genuine believer must embrace sacrifice.  Some common sacrifices may include wealth, a potential career, power, property, prestige, or any number of other selfish indulgences.  Because the path to peace with God includes enduring some manner of present pain, most will reject the gospel and continue in sin.

    To more easily understand this scripture, we need only look at the modern day credit card crisis.  Right now, Americans possess more debt than many previous generations could’ve ever possibly imagined. This current epidemic is often the direct result of extreme self-indulgence.  When a person goes out shopping and they can’t afford an item, they might use a credit card to avoid denying themselves the joys of some passing pleasure.  But paying for things with money we don’t have doesn’t make the pain disappear; it simply postpones it.  Eventually the credit card company is going to come looking for their money; causing those who have fed their fleshly appetites to endure the suffering they so desperately attempted to avoid.

   Many people have spent an entire lifetime avoiding pain; indulging in pleasurable endeavors instead. However, their suffering hasn’t been eliminated; its only been deferred.  They will eventually be required to ‘pay the check.’  Chasing after wealth, material possessions, careers, and even a good reputation can lead to an eternity of pain.  So then, self-denial is the way to inherit eternal blessings.  Volunteering, using our excess wealth to bless the needy, spending time listening to others, evangelizing, as well as visiting widows and orphans, are just a few of the ways we can practice self-denial in this life.  Where are we currently denying ourselves?  What do we have in excess?  Is it time, money, or even knowledge? What can we give away?  By denying ourselves, we will become servants of the living God; and in the coming kingdom, we will receive the blessings of eternal life.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to willingly endure the pain of sacrifice in the present time; that we might refuse our own desires in favor of fulfilling Your purposes.  May we deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow You.  Reveal to us where we can be more selfless; where we can be more giving; and where we can be more loving.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!

The Resurrection

JESUS SPEAKING

     “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him” (Luke 20: 34 – 38.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     The resurrection from the dead is a central tenant of the Christian faith.  Jesus Himself rose from the dead, revealing that everyone who has faith in Him will never die.  Instead, although the body may temporarily perish, the believer’s spirit continues onward in God’s eternal kingdom.  When the Almighty establishes a new heaven and a new Earth, every faithful soul will receive an eternal body.  A body that doesn’t grow old; every disease will be obliterated, and death and suffering will cease to exist.  Pregnancy will no longer be necessary either; marriage will become a thing of the past.  Everyone will live in perfect fellowship with one another, and with the God who created them.

     To prove that there is life after death, Jesus quotes an Old Testament scripture.  In Exodus 3: 6, God says to Moses, “I am […] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (present tense.)  He doesn’t say I was the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (past tense.)  Although Abraham Isaac and Jacob had physically perished, they were, and are still now, spiritually alive; living peacefully in God’s eternal kingdom.

     There comes a time when every human being must make the journey from this life to the next.  For those who believe, death is not the end; it is merely the beginning.  Faith in Jesus Christ is the vessel that carries us into the presence of the almighty and everlasting Father.  May your faith remain strong as you are transformed into the image of your savior; and may God comfort you as you eagerly look forward to your eternal future with great hope and joy.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we faithfully await the resurrection from the dead.  We know that you have prepared a special place for us in Your eternal Kingdom, and we look ahead to that day with great pleasure and overwhelming gladness.  Sanctify us and fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might do Your works and accomplish Your will right here in this place.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!

The Empty Tomb

JESUS SPEAKING

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?”  She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and said to him, “Rabboni!  (which is to say, Teacher).  Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.’” (John 20: 15-18.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Mary arrived at the tomb to find the stone missing, along with the body of Jesus.  She was immediately grieved and began to weep.  She had journeyed toward the gravesite expecting to find the lifeless body of her beloved Lord; but instead, she encountered the living God.  Upon seeing Jesus, she embraced him tightly; as if to never let him go.  He urged her to lighten her grasp (his return was not permanent; he would soon ascend into heaven.)  His true place was not on Earth with them, but with his Father (and their Father.)  Mary was instructed to deliver this news to the despondent disciples who were hiding out for fear of being killed themselves.  Having seen the resurrected Lord, she became the very first messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Throughout history, many, like Mary, have gone to the tomb expecting to find the body of Jesus; and like Mary, they too have found an empty vault.  Every generation has had its share of doubters; people who believed they could do what no one has ever been able to do […] disprove the resurrection of Christ.  In the early 1900’s an English professor and journalist named Frank Ross set out to investigate and refute the claims that Jesus rose from the dead (as a journalist, he was skilled in examining the credibility of sources.)  As the evidence mounted, Frank was faced with the awesome truth; the accounts matched; the archaeology was sound, and all of the witnesses were credible; Jesus Christ had in fact risen from the dead.  So, rather than writing a book that disproved the resurrection, he entitled his book, “Who moved the stone.”  In the book, Frank Ross, the new convert and faithful believer, sought to bring what he had found to the rest of the world.

The work that began with Mary on that third day has continued through every generation and continues even today.  Anyone who goes looking for Jesus Christ in a dusty tomb is looking in the wrong place.  He is very much alive, sitting at the right hand of God.  Both Frank Ross and Mary Magdalene, set out to find Jesus; and they both found what they were looking for. Have you gone looking for the messiah yet?  Have you made your way to the tomb and looked inside?  You too, will discover that Jesus Christ is not dead, but alive.  Upon finding him, it is then your duty to let others know that there is a God, and that they can discover him too.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we believe that Your Son has risen from the dead; and that He is seated with you in Your Kingdom.  We desire to carry this message to others; give us the strength to bring the gospel to the whole world.  May we be bold in declaring that we have encountered the risen Lord.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you!


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