Most people think that when they die, they are going to heaven. If you asked why, the majority would say they have been good people or their positive deeds outweigh any negative things they’ve done. Yet the sad reality is, most people will not find themselves in heaven—and that includes some who claim to be Christians.
It may not be a popular topic of conversation, but our Savior knew that hell was essential to understand. He uses illustrations of contrasting gates, trees, and houses to point out that there are only two possible destinies after death: heaven and hell. Jesus is warning us about a most sobering reality—that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” actually belongs to Him (Matt. 7:21-23).
What, then, distinguishes a true follower? John 14:15 tells us those who love the Savior will keep His commandments. This obedience begins with believing Jesus is the Son of God (John 3:36). In other words, the first step is to humble ourselves before God, admitting that we’re sinful and deserving of condemnation. Next, we must call out to Him, requesting the forgiveness for which His Son’s blood was shed on our behalf. From then on, we’re to live only for God.
If you hear the gospel but stop short of obedience, ask yourself, Do I fully understand the goodness of God’s love? That should inspire you to obey the Father. Looking good on the outside isn’t enough to enter the kingdom of heaven. Remember, to those who truly receive Him, He will give “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Won’t you make sure you’re among those destined for heaven?
Almost. It’s a sad word in any man’s dictionary. It runs with nearly, next time, and just about! It’s a word that smacks with missed opportunities. It’s an honorable mention, being on the bench, and burnt cookies!
One of the most famous “almosts” is in the Bible. His name was Pilate. He almost performed what would have been history’s greatest act of mercy. He almost pardoned the Prince of Peace. He almost released the Son of God. He had the power. He had the choice. The option to free God’s Son was his. And he did…almost!
Jesus never has room for almost. With Him nearly becomes certainly. Sometimes becomes always. And next time becomes this time! Almost may count in horseshoes, but with the Master, it’s just as if it never happened.
Last night on 60 Minutes, they aired a program about some churches in Lalibela, Ethiopia that had been chiseled out of stone. To be precise each church was carved out of one big stone. To see the results was impressive.
The carving of these churches date back almost 1,000 years according to a local historian. Their presence has had a significant impact on the people of Ethiopia, since they believe the churches were carved by angels.
The moderator for 60 Minutes, Scott Pelley, interviewed one of the professionals dedicated to preserving these churches. Scott asked him why these churches were so important. The individual answered that the people of Ethiopia travel for days and sometimes months on foot to come to that location to worship. The historian said that the people believe God inhabits the churches and they want to be where God is.
Can you imagine traveling for days, weeks, or even months on foot to worship at a church? Not just any church but one believed to be carved out by angels and inhabited by God. For me personally, I am amazed at their devotion to God and worshiping His son Jesus. I only hope I can be as devoted as the Ethiopians in this story.
How far and how long would you travel on foot to worship Jesus? It’s definitely something to consider and pray about.
The following is my favorite bible verse. Why? Because when I read it, it gives me hope, makes me feel good, and gives me a sense of peace knowing God is watching over me. I pray this verse will become one of your favorite verses as well.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good, to bring you prosperity, and not for disaster, to give you a future you hope for. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes, and your land. I will release you and will gather you out of the nations where I sent you away into exile and will bring you home again to your own land.” “You will seek me and find me when you worship me with all your heart. You will worship me with all your heart, and I will be with you.” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.—2 Peter 1:4
The Bible is a gold mine of promises for believers. During any season, but especially in hard times, God’s promises provide an anchor for our soul. They give us hope and enable us to be courageous and bold when facing challenges.
Many individuals do not rely on God’s assurances. There are two reasons for this. First, some people are unaware of His promises. Second, others simply do not believe them to be true. A lot of believers can quote Scripture, but when they face a daunting trial—like a job loss or frightening diagnosis—their confidence wavers and doubt prevails.
Jesus gives believers assurance of protection, hope, eternal security, counsel, and guidance in the Scriptures. Do you trust Him?
Study, memorize, meditate on, and claim these biblical truths. Then, when trials arise, you’ll have an anchor to keep you steady.
Where do you turn when you are weary from the everyday tasks of living? Now that we are in the holiday season we can become tired and stressed. We all look forward to time with our family but even that causes one to be weary. So, where do you turn for relief?
In Matthew 11:12 Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” This is definitely good advice and should be embraced by all.
The next time you feel yourself overwhelmed with holiday activities and family visits take some time to be with the Lord. His word is true and will not let you down. You can count on it.
Hello faithful readers. I injured my back a few days ago and I am more or less disabled. I am on the road to recovery but it is a very slow process. I would appreciate any prayers you might have for me during your worship or prayer time. Thank you. Blessings to all.
I will post again when and if I have enough energy. Thanks.