Friday, July 19, 2019

Impediments to Spiritual Growth--Pain

There is an old adage, probably derived from sports, it is, "No pain, no gain."  I heard that many times growing up, as I was active in sports and faced the pain of training as I pushed myself to new levels of strength, fitness, toughness, speed, and endurance.  Why does someone push himself/herself like that, out of comfort into pain and exhaustion..time and time again?  It is because they have a goal in mind, a prize to be won, a victory to be achieved.  The goal, or prize, or victory is considered valuable enough, important enough, precious enough, to be worth the price of the pain paid for its achievement. All for what?  A temporal prize that will fade away with time, soon to be forgotten, if not by the individual, then by those who come after;  a faded ribbon, a rusted trophy, a yellowed and crumbling newspaper clipping, or an obsolete CD or DVD; a prize that will be burned up along with the rest of this world when God destroys this universe to make way for the new heavens and new earth.

But many gifted athletes are not willing to push themselves to that point of pain and exhaustion, they are not willing to become uncomfortable, and are willing to take what they can get without the sacrifice.  These are the ones who had such great potential, but never lived up to it.  Their goal was not worth the pain involved for its achievement.

Spiritual growth, spiritual maturity is much the same.  It does take sacrifice, and is at times painful and exhausting.  In Christianity, the ultimate goal is to become like Christ, in fact God promises in Philippians 1:6 that He Himself will complete that work He began in us until the day of Christ Jesus, but we have our part to play which is why we are to work out our salvation while God is at work in us.  So effort and striving are still required of us for us to continue down the path of Christ-likeness, and Paul uses the metaphors of the athlete and the hard working farmer in II Timothy 2 to give us an example of the discipline and effort required to advance and grow in our Christian maturity. 

Unfortunately, just as many athletes are not willing to push through the pain and endure the exhaustion, so many Christians are not willing to undergo pain and endure weariness to become more like Christ.  Mark Dever has made the statement that we, in our culture, are addicted to comfort.  It is this addiction to comfort and its corresponding aversion to pain that are one of the impediments to our growth in Christian maturity.  It cripples our discipline and hampers our efforts.

Christian growth, spiritual growth, growth in Christ-likeness, the continual conformation into His image is often painful; not necessarily physically painful, but mentally, spiritually,and emotionally painful.  Confronting our own sins, shortcomings, foibles, and weaknesses is uncomfortable for us; and only if we view the goal of being more like our Blessed Savior as worthwhile, as desirable above all else, as precious to us, will we engage the pain and endure the weariness that is required for confronting these things about ourselves and achieving victory over them.

Let's face it, none of us likes pain, none of us wants to be weary, but the reality is that pain is necessary and is useful in perfecting us.  It is when we seek to avoid the pain of self-examination and self-confrontation, and refuse to be wearied by enduring that battle that our Christian growth is stunted or stopped.  In seeking to make our lives more comfortable, we make our lives less glorious.  Yes, it is true for those of us in Christ, that if there is no pain there is no gain; but we must remember that He Himself is our gain, He is our very great reward. In words of Paul "To live is Christ, to die is gain."

Is our Lord's eternal pleasure more important to us than our temporal comfort?  Is our desire to hear Him say, "Well done, My good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your Master."  greater than our desire for personal comfort?  Let's pray that it is, and ask Him to make it so.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Impediments to Spiritual Growth--Impatience

Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea,to go around
the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey.
The people spoke against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up
 out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?  For there is no food and no water,
and we loathe this miserable food."
Numbers 21:4-5

Have you ever noticed that in almost every situation that the Lord allows or brings about patience is required?  Somehow God never seems to work on our timetable, and His timetable always seems much longer than we think is necessary.  But, you know, He knows ultimately and eternally what is necessary.  So if patience...much patience... is required, then for some reason, usually unknown to us at the time, patience is necessary.  Personally, I think patience is required so often because it may be the hardest virtue to develop; and out of patience and through patience many other virtues are developed. 

Patience is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and we receive the fruit of the Spirit the minute we are born again and the Holy Spirit comes and takes up residence in our heart (Romans 8:9).  But although the fruit is given, it must be developed and cultivated, which is part of our working out our salvation (Philippians 2:13).  So, in His divine providence, situations arise that require patience, sometimes mega patience. 

In the example of the Israelites in Numbers 21 they became impatient, not with the journey, but because of the journey.  It was hard and long.  They were meeting with opposition, they were subsisting only on manna, and every day was the same thing with no end, no relief, and no promised land in sight.  So they lost it and became impatient, not with the journey, but with the Lord because of the journey.  The word impatient in Numbers 21:4 literally means short.  They were short with the Lord.  Have you ever been short with someone?  Did you act in an unbecoming way toward them?  Were your words, harsh, mean, or demeaning?  Did you lose your temper with them?  Were you exasperated with them?  Get the picture?  The Israelites were stomping their collective feet and telling the Lord, in no uncertain terms, that they had had enough.

How often we are tempted to do be short with the Lord because of our journey, especially if it is hard and long with no end in our sight.  Many times there are trials to be endured and seen through to their completed end, or sometimes the main trial is being patient.  When we become impatient because of the journey it severs and ends the lesson(s) we were learning, and the qualities of Christ that the Lord was building in us are left incomplete.  In other words, our growth was cut short or stunted.  What will the Lord, as the wise master builder, do?  He will begin all over again, usually using the consequences of our impatience to not only discipline us for our impatience, but also to train us anew.   

What are some keys for us to not become impatient with the Lord and short-circuit our growth?

  1. Understand I Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape so that you will be able to endure it. (Italics mine)  In the Greek, the word for temptation and trial are the same and are translated according to the context.  It does present us with a great play on words, because in every trial there is an accompanying temptation, and in each temptation a trial is involved.  What is this verse saying to us?  It is telling us that in our trial and its accompanying temptation that we should not seek our way of escape, but be patient and seek the way of escape the Lord provides.  But unless we are patient we won't see the Lord's way of escape, and those early exits stop what God was accomplishing in us through the trial.

  2. Trust Isaiah 40:28-31 Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not get weary.  What a great picture of the grace of God; its strength for us and its sustaining power.  What is the key to obtaining this grace, this power that carries us on eagles wings?  It is a patient trust...waiting for the Lord...not being impatient because of the journey, but trusting the Lord in the journey.  This is the power that undergirds us so that we may endure the trial and temptation.  Our patient trusting in Him which leads us to our humbling ourselves before God, is the key to appropriating His grace and all that it brings.

  3. Realize I Kings 19:11-13 So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord."  And behold, the Lord was passing by!  And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind.  And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.  When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave.  And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here Elijah?"  God works through ordinary means.  We all want that great miracle where the sea parts, and the sun stops in its steps; but most usually the Lord works through the order He has already established.  In other words, God works at the speed of life and at the pace of people.  God is patiently working, invisibly working, and we must be patient with His work.  After all, it is for our eternal good and His eternal glory.
Finally, I know a man who went through a ten year trial.  He will tell you that he was tempted to become impatient because of the journey, but that he trusted the Lord and the Lord was true to His word and was true to him.  There were times during this trial that the grace of God was so real and so present he could almost cut it with a knife, and God used this trial to grow him spiritually and bring him to where he is now.  Where would he be now if he had become impatient because of the journey, stopped trusting in the Lord, and had taken an early exit of his own making? 

How about you, my friends?  Are you being tempted to become impatient because of the journey?  Don't be!  Call out to the Lord for His strength, the strength necessary to wait for Him and His way of escape.  Trust Him to provide all that you need to wait for Him.  For in doing so your growth will not be impaired, but enhanced; and Christ will shine more brightly in you.

Living God, consuming fire,
burn the sin from my life.
Make Your will my desire.
Take my life in Your hands.
Purify me with Your love, 
  till I shine far brighter than purest gold
 in Your light.
Amen and Amen!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Impediments to Spiritual Growth---Fear

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity,
but of power and love and discipline.
II Timothy 1:7

Those of you who learned this from the King James would substitute the word fear for timidity, and, of course, both words are correct. The Greek word used here is deilia, and it is the only time it is used in the New Testament. The normal word for fear that is used in the NT is phobeo, from which we get our word phobia; and it usually conveys being frightened. The word deilia conveys more the result, the condition of the psyche because of the fear; and, as such, is most literally translated cowardice.  If you read the book of II Timothy you understand that Paul is telling Timothy not to be a coward in light of the persecution, suffering, and hardship he is facing. Fear was causing Timothy to retreat from the ministry to which God had called him, and Paul is encouraging Timothy to rekindle the gift God had given him and to stand firm in preaching the word amidst all obstacles.

Fear is one of the great weapons of the enemy, and all of us have our fears; and if I were to list them all, this would be the longest post in history. Fear is a great controller and most of us let our fears, whether rational or irrational, control us; which is just what the enemy wants. And it can be the biggest impediment to our spiritual growth and progress in Christlikeness.  You notice that I said, "Let our fears control us." because fear only has the power over us that we allow it to have. What then is the antidote to fear? How do we combat it? How do we control it, versus letting it control us? 

We need to understand how to handle fear, our fear(s), because we all have them. The question then is not do we have fear, but how do we handle fear when it comes up and puts its grip on us. Courage is not the absence of fear, but doing what needs to be done, doing what is right, in spite of the fear. For the Christian, it is having the spiritual courage to honor the Lord in spite of the consequences. So how do we appropriate spiritual courage?

Paul gives us both general and specific remedies for fear in this letter to Timothy. The general remedy is found in II Timothy 2:1 as he tells Timothy, "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."  And in II Timothy 1:7 we see what God, by His grace, has specifically supplied to all of us to combat fear/spiritual cowardice, and that is power, love, and discipline. In fact, what the verse tells us is that spiritual timidity is not from the Lord, He has not given it to us; but instead has given us the opposite. Power, love, and discipline are the weapons He has given us to combat the fear that leads to spiritual cowardice, and God by His grace has supplied them to us. So let's see how they aid us in our battle against fear.

Power Overcomes Fear
In essence, power overpowers fear, and God has given us a spirit of power, or spiritual power. It is not our power, but His power in us, working in us and through us. Listen to these verses from Ephesians:
1:18-20 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know...what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.
3:16, 20 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man...Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us..

First, let's pay attention to whose power is at work. It is God's power, His mighty power, that even death cannot defeat. Hebrews 2:14 tells us that Christ has rendered powerless the one who had (noticed the past tense) the power of death, the devil himself. God demonstrated His power over death and the devil by raising Christ from the dead; and it is Christ who is now standing in the heavens with the keys of death and Hades in his hand 

Next, let's see where this undefeated and undefeatable power resides. Within you, in your inner man, through the indwelling person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.  I John 4:4 tells us this, "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the same power that resides in you, and God's power in Christ, in all of its unmatched greatness and magnificence, is directed toward you like a laser beam. This is true empowerment from the One who has all power, and He has given it to us and placed it in us.

How do we activate this indwelling power?  We do so by humbling ourselves in obedience to Him.  James 4:7 tells us, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."  In Isaiah 66:2 God tells us this, "But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word."  We have the perfect example of humility and its corresponding obedience in Christ. Philippians 2:8 tells us this, "Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." When we are confronted by fear, we are to look obediently to Him, and be obedient to Him; and in our obedience His power will be activated in us, and in our obedience we will overcome the fear. Our focus on Him and being obedient to Him takes our focus off our fear. 

Love Casts Out Fear
Where there is love there is no room for fear. Sounds almost too simple doesn't it? We must understand that fear is a great motivator, and most of us, really all of us, are motivated by fear to some degree. In other words, many times, the reason we do what we do is because of fear. However, as great a motivator as fear is, there is a greater motivator, really the greatest motivator, and that is love. So, for the Christian, our motivation, what spurs us on, what delights us, and what controls us is love, our love for God and love for others.

I John 4:18 tells us, "There is no fear in love; but perfect (mature) love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment (retribution/consequences we don't want), and the one who fears is not perfected (mature) in love."  Also, in II Corinthians 5:14-15 we learn, "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." If you are living for yourself, concentrating on yourself, worrying about yourself, then fear will always control you. When you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; love your neighbor as your self and love the brethren as Christ loved them; then you aren't preoccupied with yourself and it is the love of Christ that is controlling you, and fear has been moved out of the driver's seat and to the back of the bus. When it is our love for God that is motivating us we will be like Paul, who suffered the loss of all things and considered them but rubbish because he had gained Christ.

Discipline Controls Fear
The Greek word for discipline is sophronismos, and means a sound mind, sound judgment, literally a mind under control. It is a rational mind in contrast to the irrationality of fear. It is a mind controlled by the truth, thoughts that are guided by the truth, thinking that is permeated with the truth. Proverbs 3:25 tells us, "Do not be afraid of sudden fear." This speaks to the terror that irrationality, those irrational fears, bring upon us. We are not to be gripped and controlled by such fear. In John 8:32 we see that when we know the truth, the truth will make us free. In other words the knowledge of the truth releases us from bondage. Knowing the truth breaks the grip that fear has on our life and controls our thoughts instead of fear. It does not let fear in the driver's seat of our mind. 

Philippians 4:8 tells us what our minds are to dwell upon, and these attributes serve as filters to keep fear in its proper place, under control. First, we are to think only on what is true. If it is not true, totally true, we are to reject it. Fear always dwells around the borders of the truth, and will always skew the truth or be based on partial truth. The greatest truth we can let our mind dwell upon is the truth about God, and we find the truth about God in the Word of truth that He has given us. This truth is the foundational stone upon which we are to rest our thoughts. Secondly, even if it is true, if it's not honorable we are not to dwell on it. Thirdly, it must be right, the right thing to think about, something that causes and promotes right thoughts...right about God, right about others, right about ourselves, and right about the situation (It is amazing how fear promotes thoughts that are not right or true about God, others and ourselves, dishonoring all; and causes us to blow the situation out of proportion). Next, it must be pure, promoting holiness in our thinking, not rottenness. This is to be followed by thinking about what is lovely and is of good repute. Thoughts based on fear are never lovely.  And, interestingly, the word for good repute means words of good omen. Fear never brings about words of good omen, but always the opposite...doom, gloom, and tragedy. Finally, we are to have our minds dwell on those things which are excellent and praiseworthy. When we allow ourselves to think upon and dwell upon what is less than the best, thoughts that are worthy only of the gutter, we are supplying fear with rich fertile soil from which to grow. Fear always assumes the worst and dwells upon all that is bad.

So when fear assails you remember it is not from the Lord, but from the enemy, through our flesh.  God has given through His Spirit and by His grace, all that we need to combat fear so that it is not the victor; and thanks be to God that He always leads us in triumph in Christ. (II Corthians 2:14, I Corthians 15:57) Our victory was achieved by Christ on the cross. Christ tells us in John 16:33 that in this world we will have tribulation (which is the truth), but to take courage (literally, to be of good cheer) because He has overcome (subdued, prevailed, conquered, achieved the victory). So let us live in light of that victory, ever mindful of the power, love, and sound mind that are ours in Christ as the result of Him abiding in us and us abiding in Him.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

The Real Aliens

If I were to ask you today, “Where do you live?”  Some might respond with their street address, some might respond with the city and state, some might even respond with the country. And while all of these answers, would be true and would be obvious, they still would not be complete.  We also live in a place the Bible calls the world. This term, world, does include the physical world, but it also includes the motives, behavior, values, and attitudes of men. This term includes all that makes up the course of this world, the way things are done, the reason things are done, the ways of thinking and living of the people who inhabit this world; for it is the way that man is that determines the course of this entire earth, for it is man that governs the earth.

But there is another dimension to this world, an unseen dimension that is just as real as the physical dimension, and it is the spiritual dimension; and it is this dimension that governs man. Even though man inhabits the physical dimension of this world, man is governed by the spiritual dimension of his life, and there is a ruler of that spiritual dimension, who is not a man. His name is Satan, and he is known as the devil, or the evil one. It is he that governs man, and therefore governs the world.

In several places the Bible speaks to the governing of man by the devil.
I Timothy 2:26…men are held captive by Satan to do his will……
In Acts 26 we are told that men are under the dominion of Satan
I John 5:19…the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
Three times in John... 12:31, 14:30, 16:11… he is called the ruler of this world.
In John 8:44 Jesus tells the Pharisees that they are of their father (meaning spiritual father) the devil. 
In Ephesians 2:2 we learn that people walk (the way they live their life) according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience
Ephesians 6:12 tells us that there are rulers and powers, world forces of darkness, that there are spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 
II Corinthians 4:4 tells us that the god of this world (Satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelieving…

So why is the world the way it is?  Because it is governed by someone who is opposed to God in every way.

However, Jesus makes a very poignant declaration to His disciples in John 15:19..."You are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world."  Jesus was telling His disciples that since He had called them out, they no longer belonged to this world.  Then in Christ's high priestly prayer to His Father in John 17 we learn the following:
*We were given to Christ out of the world.
*Although Christ is no longer in the world, yet we remain in the world.
*Even though we are in the world, yet we are not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world.
*Christ did not ask the Father to take us out of the world, but to keep us from the evil of the world.

So, if we are still living in this world, but no longer belong to this world and are not of this world, what does this make us? According to the Scripture, we are now citizens of another spiritual realm, another kingdom. This is what John the Baptist preached and also what our Lord preached as He began His earthly ministry as we see in Matthew 4:17 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Christ tells us in John 18:36 that His kingdom is not of this world. Paul talks about our citizenship in this kingdom in Philippians 3:20 "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; and in Ephesians 2:19 he tells us who all are citizens of heaven, "For you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household."

A question that might be asked is, "How did we/do we become citizens of Christ's kingdom, the kingdom of heaven?" Let's see what the Bible shows us. Colossians 1:13 tells us, "For He (God) rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son." In John 3:5 Christ tells Nicodemus this, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. I John 5:1 tells us, "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." So we see there must be a spiritual birth to be a citizen of God's kingdom, and that as a result of the spiritual birth God, transfers us into His kingdom.

So, if we are citizens of another kingdom, a kingdom that is not of this world, but is a heavenly kingdom, what then is our relationship to this world in which we still live but are no longer a part of? According to the Bible we are aliens, strangers, and exiles. Listen to Peter in his opening statement in his first epistle, "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens , scattered throughout Pontus, Galtia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia....." Here we see that although they live in a physical location, yet they reside there as aliens. This is not because they were of a different nationality physically, but a different nationality spirituality. Again, Peter talks about our alienship in II Peter 2:11 "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul..." Why would he give the admonishment to them as aliens and strangers? Because in I John 2:16 we see that fleshly lusts are part of the things of this world, are things that those that belong to this world participate in, and we are no longer of this world; and therefore should no longer be a participant in fleshly lusts. In the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 we see the following statement in verse 13 "All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth." (See also Psalm 119:19)  

As such, being aliens in this world:

* We speak a foreign language.
I Corinthians 2:6-16

*We dress differently
Galatians 3:27, Romans 13:14

*We behave differently.
I Peter 4:2, Ephesians 4:17-19

*We have a different odor
II Corinthians 2:14-16b, Philippians 2:17, 4:18, Romans 12:1, Ephesians 5:1-2

*We are misunderstood, we are an enigma to this world.
I Peter 4:4, Jude 1:10

This alien motif (R C Sproul loved the word motif) runs all the way through the Bible, starting with Abraham, then the Jewish nation, then Christ, and then the church, Christ's body. That is why it is so out of place, so alien, if you will,  for the church to try so hard to be like the world so as to attract the world. We are to be strangers to this world, we are to be in the world but not of the world, we are to stay away from the evil of this world (I Corinthians 6:17), we are to look differently, behave differently, smell differently, dress differently, and speak differently. We are to expect to be misunderstood, maligned, or made fun of (even by our own families) because we don't fit it in with it. We should know that this world and all it contains is only temporary and is already in the process of passing away (I John 2:15-17). Therefore, we are to store up treasures in heaven, which will be our eternal abode, instead of here on earth which is our temporary abode (Matthew 6:19-21). Our desires are to be heavenly desires not earthly desires (Philippians 3:12-14). We are to have eternal priorities not temporal priorities (Colossians 3:1-4).   

So, fellow aliens, when we are enticed by all this world seemingly has to offer, let us remember that we have a better possession and a lasting one, and remind ourselves that we are strangers in this world who are just passing through on the way to our true home. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

To Know Jesus

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father but through Me.
If you had known Me, you would have known
My Father also; from now on you know Him
and have seen Him."
John 14:6-7

To know Jesus is to know the way to God, for He is the way, the very way to God.
To know Jesus is to know the truth of God, for He is the truth, the very truth of God.
To know Jesus is to know the life of God, for He is the life, the very life of God.
To know Jesus is to know God, for He is God, the very person of God.

"This is eternal life, that they may know You,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ 
whom You have sent."
John 17:3

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Great Promise

Do not let your heart be troubled; 
believe in God, believe also in Me.
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 to prepare a place for you, I will
come again and receive you to Myself,
that where I am, there you may be also.
John 14:1-3

These words are what make the Christian life worth living, in fact, without these words the Christian life would not be worth living at all.  For Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15:19, "If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied." 

The truth, stated plainly by Jesus here, is that heaven is a real place, it is the place where God dwells, and there are many other dwelling places there. Jesus will personally prepare a dwelling place for each one of us in the heaven of His Father; and although we cannot get there on our own He is coming back for us to take us there, and we will be with Him there for as long as He is there.  

If not for this truth, why on earth would we give up the things of this world?  For without this truth this world is all there is; but with this truth something more glorious, more abounding in riches, more peaceful, more magnificent, more splendid, and more fulfilling awaits us; and that is dwelling with both the Father and the Son for all eternity.

Rejoice, O Christian, for your heavenly Father, the Father of lights, the creator of the ends of the earth, has a place specially prepared for you to spend eternity with Him.  Rejoice, O Christian, that your name is written in the Lamb's book of life, His reservation list, never to be erased.  Rejoice, O Christian, that your heavenly Father has loved you so, so as to provide the way to Him through His Son; and to guarantee that reservation by dipping His pen in the well of the blood of His Son to write it down.  Rejoice, O Christian, for earth recedes and heaven draws ever nearer. Rejoice, O Christian, for what awaits you on the other side of this life.  Rejoice, O Christian, for the certainty of the life to come, given through the promise from Jesus, Himself.

Yes, Indeed, It Is A Great Promise, Because Heaven Is A Great Destination.

Monday, January 07, 2019

God's Testing

The refining pot is for silver
and the furnace is for gold, 
but the Lord tests hearts.
Proverbs 17:3
God tests to prove.
God tests to prepare.
God tests to purify.
God tests to purge.
God tests to prune.
God fully and thoroughly tests.