Posts Tagged 'eternal life'

Hope

JESUS SPEAKING

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I also go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know; and the way you know.” (John 14: 1-4)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus says, “let not your heart be troubled;” a clear reference to the anxiety, fear, and depression that can afflict the lives of those who have lost hope. The definition of hope is, the feeling of joy and optimism experienced in the present, as it relates to the anticipation of some future good. By simply contemplating the wonders of God’s coming kingdom, those who believe can feel joy even in the darkest moments. In this scripture, Jesus reiterates His promises; those who choose to follow Him will one day inherit a place in heaven; a permanent residence where they can walk in eternal fellowship with Him. Contemplating this faithful promise can eradicate the distress of any present suffering. Therefore, hope is at the very foundation of the gospel message; without it we are lost; but with it we can endure and overcome any challenges we might encounter.

As the story goes, a large school system once had a program to assist children who were sick in the hospitals with their school work. One day a teacher was asked to visit a particular child. She spoke with the child’s regular teacher who told her, “We’re studying nouns and adverbs in his class now. I’d be grateful if you could help him understand them so he doesn’t fall too far behind.” That afternoon, the hospital teacher went to see the boy. No one had told her that the child had been badly burned and was in great pain. Upon witnessing the boy’s injuries she was upset and began to stammer. “I’ve been sent by your school to help you with nouns and adverbs.” Having completed her session, she left; feeling as though she had accomplished very little. However, the next day a nurse asked her, “What did you do to that boy?” Believing she had committed some offense, the teacher began to apologize. “No, no,” replied the nurse. “You don’t know what I mean. We’ve been worried about that little boy, but ever since yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back, responding to treatment. It’s as though he’s decided to live.” Two weeks later the boy explained that, until the teacher had arrived, he had completely given up hope. Everything changed when he came to a simple realization which he expressed this way: “They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a dying boy, would they?”

The child in this illustration had been struggling because he had lost hope in the future. If we have lost our joy in the present, it is because we have taken our eyes off of the eternal life we have been promised in the future. We are therefore instructed by Jesus to look forward to our everlasting fellowship with Him in God’s kingdom. If we believe God, we can endure any trial or tribulation in this place. The Kingdom of Heaven is coming; and when that day arrives, we will fully know our Father. Never lose hope; never doubt in the promises of the Lord; and you to will experience “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.”

“Lord Heavenly Father, we trust You with our lives and believe in Your promises. Increase our faith, that no matter what circumstances we might encounter, we can experience the joy that accompanies our hope of eternal fellowship with You. May we continue to spread the gospel message to others; that they too might walk as Christians, from this day forward. May they receive salvation and be edified by Your unwavering promises. 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!

Seeing Loved Ones Again

JESUS SPEAKING

     “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give to you whatever you ask.”  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”  Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me shall live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  She said to him, “Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”  […]  Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb.  It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.  Jesus said, “Take away the stone.”  Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”  Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying.  […] Now when He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”  And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11: 21 – 27, & 38 – 44)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Jesus asked Martha if she believed; prompting her to affirm that her faith was genuine.  The Lord walked with her to the tomb and ordered the stone to be rolled away.  He then commanded Lazarus to rise and come forth.  Lazarus was instantly restored to life.  As he staggered out of the tomb, Martha’s mourning heart was healed; she had been reunited with her dead brother.  Death has been causing extreme heartache and sorrow for thousands of years; it separates loved ones and is cold and remorseless.  Yet Jesus Christ has the power and authority to reunite those who have been separated.  There is no death for those who believe.

     Some years ago a South African man suffered a very serious asthma attack.  His family examined him and he was unresponsive; he no longer appeared to be breathing and had no pulse.  They arranged for the morgue to come and pick him up.  Upon arriving, the driver also examined the body; he as well declared the man to be dead.  After collecting the body, they returned to the morgue and placed the man in a freezer for 21 hours.  At some point the employees became frightened when they heard someone calling out from within the refrigerated compartment.  They were so terrified that they called the police to come and investigate.  Upon opening up the freezer, the police discovered the dead man was very much alive.  As the family members were mourning their loss and planning the funeral, they received a phone call informing them that their loved one was still alive; in an instant, their sadness had turned to joy.

     In much the same way, when a believer dies they appear lifeless; their bodies turn cold and begin to decay; yet they are alive with God in His Kingdom.  “To be absent from the body (is) to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5: 8.)  Have you felt the sting of death?  Have you experienced the sadness of a loss?  Is there someone you yearn to see again?  Take heart, for those who are gone are not truly lost.  If you are a believer and they also shared your faith, you will eventually be reunited with them.  Your Christian loved ones are waiting for you; and your reunion with them will be a joyful occasion.  Trust in God and you will see those whom you have lost.

  “Lord Father, we ask that You increase our faith; strengthen us, that we may trust in You.  We know that death has no power over us.  We are eternal and we will live forever with You in Your Kingdom.  May we follow Your son and trust in Your promises.  We know that some of our loved ones are with You; and we are eager to see them again in Your kingdom.  By the power of Your Holy Spirit, may we endure until that day.  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!

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!


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