There is a penalty for our misplaced priorities. The Lord’s parable of the wealthy foolish man who passed away with no opportunity to enjoy his goods reveals he died with a bankrupt soul.
Serving the Lord and His kingdom is the key to setting correct goals. When believers make service for God a main concern, they will use a lens of righteousness to order their priorities. The question we ought to be asking is not “What shall I do?” but rather “Lord, what would You have me do?” The answer—which should be prayerfully sought and biblically evaluated—dictates which things we must put first in order to achieve God’s purpose for us.
I don’t know about you but spending eternity in heaven with God almighty is more important to me than enjoying the fleeting pleasures in this life. What will be your priority?
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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.
Try this. Imagine a perfect world. Whatever that means to you. Imagine it. Does that mean peace? Then envision absolute tranquility. Does a perfect world imply joy? Then create your highest happiness. Will a perfect world have love? Ponder a place where love has no bounds. Whatever heaven means to you, imagine it. Get it firmly fixed in your mind. Delight in it. Dream about it. Long for it.
And then smile as the Father reminds you from the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9, “No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” No one has come close. No one. Think of all the songs about heaven. All the artists’ portrayals. All the lessons preached, poems written and chapters drafted. When it comes to describing heaven, we are all happy failures!
The “power of death” is the ability to make death fearful. The “power of death” is the power that holds men in bondage through the fear of death. It is the power to keep men in sin so that death comes as a horrid thing.
But Jesus stripped Satan of this power. He disarmed him. He molded a breastplate of righteousness for us that makes us immune to the devil’s condemnation.
By his death, Jesus wiped away all our sins. And a person without sin puts Satan out of business. His treason is aborted. His cosmic treachery is foiled. “His rage we can endure, for his doom is sure.” The cross has run him through. And he will gasp his last before long.
Therefore, when we face our own death, we can look upon that moment as a victory in Jesus. It is a time for celebration. He is waiting for us with open arms.
It all happened in a moment, a most remarkable moment. God became a man! Heaven opened herself and placed her most precious one in a human womb. Jesus came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. The hands that first held him were un-manicured, calloused, and dirty. For thirty-three years he would feel everything you and I have ever felt…weak; weary; and afraid of failure. His feelings got hurt.
To think of Jesus in such a light seems almost irreverent. There’s something about keeping him divine that keeps him distant and predictable. But don’t do it! For heaven’s sake, don’t! Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the muck and mire of your world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out!
Maturity in the Lord is a lifelong process. The heavenly Father will continue to grow His children until He brings them home. Seek the Lord’s wisdom and truth, and ask that He reveal anything holding you back from a beautiful friendship with Him. He wants to walk closely with you all of your days—and for all of eternity.
The rewards of our maturity in the Lord are great. First, our Father removes any spiritual obstacles that impede a close walk with Him. Second, we gain greater intimacy with the Lord and with others. Third, as resentment, fear, and other ungodly attitudes stop draining us, our energy is renewed and serving God becomes a joy instead of a duty. Fourth, regardless of circumstances, we experience spiritual freedom through forgiveness.
All of these benefits lead to deeper fulfillment, peace, and joy. And, maturity in the Lord.
By reading the headline of this post you probably think I am going to discuss hell and ways to get there. That’s not my purpose today. What I do want to discuss are the damaging and long lasting effects of the sun on the human body.
Let me start by praising God for providing us the sun. It gives us life and keeps us from freezing to death. But, too much sun is not a good thing. Think drought and sunburn.
On Thursday I had some minor surgery to remove some lesions on my body that were created as a result of too much exposure to the sun. I lived in the Philippines for 2 years and while there I basically lived in swim trunks and tennis shoes. The rest of my body was exposed to the sun. When I returned to the U.S. I was very dark skinned. Little did I know the future consequences of living without proper sun protection. Future surgeries would be very painful and in some cases leaving unsightly scars.
Every summer thousands of people flock to the beach or lay around a pool in hopes of getting a “tan” that is supposed to be a sign of health. Nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve all seen the advertisements for Copper Tone and other sun screens. They make it seem like if you apply these ointments then you are protected. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.
The only way to avoid damage to your skin now and in the future is to avoid direct exposure to the sun. I know it’s hard, especially when your neighbor invites you to a BBQ at his pool or your friends say let’s go to the beach. You’d feel pretty silly in either case showing up covered head to foot in clothing and a hat. My friends cover yourself and avoid long-lasting harm to your body.
Remember, God created you and wants the best for you. He gave you sound judgment on how to live your life and present it to Him a living sacrifice. That’s hard to do when you look like a piece of toast and you’re in agony because of 3rd degree burns.
Did you know that you are an heir to unimaginable wealth that will never fade away? If you’re a believer, then God has an inheritance reserved for you in heaven. In fact, He says you have already obtained it. (See Eph. 1:11.) Your right to this treasure is not based on anything that you’ve done, but on the one to whom you belong. If you are a child of God, then the inheritance is yours and will be “revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:4-5).
No one can take our inheritance from us, because God has guaranteed it by sealing us with His Holy Spirit of promise. The transaction is complete and merely awaits the ultimate consummation when everything will be brought under the headship of Christ. This seal shows His ownership and authority over us, and one day our full redemption will come.
Naturally, we all want to know what we’re going to inherit. Much of that is beyond our earthly comprehension, but Scripture gives us a few hints. It will involve the transformation of both our body and soul. The goal for which God predestined us will be completed as we stand before Him, conformed to the likeness of His Son (Rom. 8:29; 1 John 3:2). And these weak, perishable bodies will be changed into strong, glorious ones that are free from sin and death (Phil. 3:20-21).
Why has God done all of this for us? Amazingly, He says it’s so that throughout eternity He can show us “the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). In love and gratitude for such amazing goodness, let’s devote each day of our life to living for Him.