This WILL Happen To Christians

crs crwnAll Christians want to be more like Jesus, grow in their faith, and be blessed by God. Most ask God to bless them and make them more like Jesus.  But I’m not sure Christians understand what they are asking for.  Think with me…

BECAUSE Jesus told people the truth they didn’t believe Him.  Thus consider truth from Scripture: Without being holy, no person will see God (Holiness is required in order to be saved and the ONLY path to holiness is suffering. This is true. There’s no way around it.  Now…

According to Scripture, there is ONE way Christians grow in holiness… suffering. It will happen. God causes it because it is His will as the ONLY way Christians become more like Jesus. “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake…” (Philippians 1:29).  Consider Romans 8:16-17…

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.

There is no crown without first a cross. And Christians don’t have a choice about it!  Romans 8:29 clearly sets forth that God does not leave being conformed to Christ to chance… He proactively predestines it. For proof… consider how Paul described this concept in 2 Cor 12:7-9.

So, if you are a Christian… do not be surprise or confused by the difficulties in your life… YOU asked God to bless you!  It is God at work to: 1) Conform you to Christ, 2) Make you holy, 3) Increase your eternal rewards!

Hope: “He (Jesus) will NEVER leave nor forsake you!” (Heb 13:5).

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart…” (Pr 3:5).

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not allow you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Cor 10:13-14). ”

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy” (Jude 1:24).  Also go back and read Romans 8:16-17 above or click here.




Frustration In Heaven And Earth

As a thought starter, consider what is written in Revelation 6:9-11…

I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

Think!  Ruminate solemnly over what is written!  In case you need a bump or two…

This took place in heaven!

People in heaven verbalized a great level of frustration… “HOW LONG…?!”

These people in heaven are those who had been killed (Neither of us have paid that price… yet) for their testimony about Jesus.  Kind of puts whatever we go through into perspective doesn’t it?

These people in heaven were given an “interim reward” (A white robe) and told to wait.

God has determined there is a number of people who enter heaven through losing their life for Christ (“Until the number… should be complete”).

Have you ever asked God “How long?”  “How long am I going to have to suffer through this (Whatever “this” is for you)?”  If so, know that you aren’t the only one… the first OR last person to ask that question.  God’s answer is… wait.  Thus what we find in 1 Peter 5:6…

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you… 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Take heart… whatever state you are in!  If your frustration is a week… month… year or decade old, keep a heavenly perspective.  Paul called all the sufferings HE went through (CLICK HERE) as “light” and “momentary.”  Light (For Paul) meant death and momentary meant a lifetime.  Keep a heavenly perspective!

Biggest Loser In Heaven

Some of you know I’ve lost some weight since July 20, 2010.  Three weeks ago I had lunch with a friend who hadn’t seen me in over a year.  It was cool watching him do double takes!  He kept saying, “Dude!  I can’t believe that’s you!”  (I have a spiritual point to make… just stay with me).  To Lose Weight do this:  1) Decrease caloric intake, 2) Increase Activity!  Simple… straight-forward… cheap (Walking & jogging).  That is from my “Health & Ministry” class in Seminary 25 years ago.

Bodily transformations are most easily seen on The Biggest Loser.  Check these out…

  The most recent biggest loser lost (I think) 220 pounds!  That got me thinking about heaven.  While I do believe we will know each other, I think there will be some shocking surprises when we finally see each other IN HEAVEN.  Let me explain…

On earth we are horribly ravaged by sin and it’s effects.  We have visible imperfections we’re all too aware of.  A slightly lazy eye… an unsightly mole… hair loss… one ear higher than the other… a disproportioned body… body mass… an eye that periodically twitches… fingers that tremble… wrinkles and scars (Those are all me).  Then there are imperfections that are not so easily seen at first glance… an odd sounding voice, character flaws, propensity toward melancholy, personality imperfections, pride, and things we do that get on people’s nerves (Me again).

But one day… OH what a great and marvelous day… ONE DAY we will all “Be changed!”  In more ways than just from flesh to spirit.  We will be like Jesus in all His glorious perfection!  The transformation will be absolutely complete in every conceivable way… and then some!  We will be our PERFECT selves, unmarred by sin, without so much as a single blemish or spot.  As will everyone else in heaven.

In heaven I imagine it will be 10,000 x 10,000 x 10,000 times what people say who knew us as a small child, then don’t see us until we’re in our 20s… “Oh my!  It IS you!  Wow have you changed a LOT!  Last time I saw you was when you were 5!  You are so handsome (Pretty).  If you hadn’t told me who you are I wouldn’t have recognized you!”

That day is coming… in heaven… for all who know Christ.  That day will be when all things will be made new (Perfect)!  On that day we will finally fulfill ALL that God intends us to be… FOREVER.

This Is In The Bible?!

Maybe I’m the only one that thinks these things, but this one is really hard to get my arms around.  Read below, then I have a few thoughts for contemplation.

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, 4 by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the Divine nature…

Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…

Revelation 3:21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also conquered and sat down with My Father on His throne.

I… we… Christians become “Partakers of the Divine nature?!”  Does being “conformed to the image of Christ” somehow indicate or enhance the idea from 2 Peter 1:4 about becoming “partakers of the Divine nature?”  Are either or both of these thoughts applicable to being given the right to sit with Jesus on His throne?!  Christians sitting with Jesus on His throne is equated with Jesus sitting down with God the Father on His throne… I can’t fathom that!

I just can’t wrap my arms around the miracle of becoming a partaker of the Divine nature!  But it is written in  1 John 3:2, “We know that when He appears we shall be like Him…”  Theologians and commentators can explain that in all the different ways they’d like (Or I want to know about)… but at the end of the day the Word says what it says… “we shall BE LIKE HIM,” and we are “PARTAKERS of the DIVINE nature.”  The more I contemplate the reality of these passages, the more I rejoice for what Jesus did for ALL WHO WILL BELIEVE.

Meditate on those passages (Not my thoughts on them… but the Scriptures themselves), then consider 1 Corinthians 2:9…

It is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him…”

Today Chenoa Is With Jesus

No deed is too small to be used by God for His glory!  Such is the case of Linda Blaxton, Teri Womack, and Chenoah Evans…

I had the joy of being interim pastor of Moulton Baptist Church not long back.  During that time Linda called and told me she invited a friend of hers to church and wanted to make sure I met her.  She told me Chenoa was a very sick person physically and needed encouragement.  Teri took her under her wings also as God laid it upon her heart.

It was not long after Chenoa began visiting that God brought her to salvation through Jesus Christ.  From that time she was as regular and faithful as she could be.  I had the joy of being able to talk with her on a number of occasions to pray for her family and their relationship with Jesus.  Chenoa’s health problems got the best of her this past Tuesday night.  She succumbed to her illnesses and now she’s with Jesus.

Chenoa is in heaven because a friend invited her to church.  An act considered small and possibly inconsequential to some, but in the Kingdom it was huge because that was one of the small events that culminated in God being glorified by saving Chenoah!  Her last day on earth was already in God’s Book and He orchastrated events so that it would be a glorious day rather than one of sorrow without hope.

Lessons.  1) No act is too small to be used by God for His glory.  2) God puts Christians in people’s lives to evangelize them in many ways.  3) Never underestimate how God is using you in the Kingdom.  4) We all are small parts of the process of bringing God glory through the salvation of sinners.  And…

When a thought goes through your mind to invite someone to church or share the Gospel or pray with them… no matter how small or unconsequential you may think it is… act on it.  That is the Holy Spirit prompting you to participate in Kingdom endeavors… like Terri and Linda did!  I’m sure this day Chenoah is celebrating that Linda “just asked her to come to church one day” and Terri encouraged her daily.

Heaven’s Reality

THE best way to be of any earthly good is to be absolutely heavenly minded!  When Christians have heaven (their ultimate eternal destiny) as the driving force in their life THEN it can be lived in all things for God’s glory.  The reality of our eternal home in heaven WILL inform, guide, and direct the life we live now!  Meditate upon these Scriptures…

Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

2 Corinthians 4:17 This slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

John 14:1 Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Hebrews 11:16 As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

2 Corinthians 5:1 We know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18  having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly place…

Colossians 1:11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  3:4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

1 Thessalonians 2:12 We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:16 As it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

Hebrews 13:14 Here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.

1 Peter 1:3 According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you

2 Peter 3:11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12  waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells…

Why God Will Change Our Bodies

In preparing for Sunday’s message I reflected upon what heaven will be like… for us… in our resurrected heavenly bodies.  We will be perfect in every way.  All our senses will be fine tuned to where they are supposed to be, but are not because of sin.  And I think I may know part of the reason why.

We’ll have perfect eyesight to see Jesus clearly.  We’ll have perfect hearing to hear precisely everything Jesus says.  We’ll have a sharp mind to comprehend fully the worth of Christ.  Our sense of smell will be perfect, to savor the incense around God’s throne.  Our sense of taste will be unimaginably acute… so we can delight in every mouthful at the Lamb’s Wedding Feast.

Our voices will be strong… to sing praises to God.  Our relationships will be healed… to worship God in perfect harmony with all the saints.  We’ll never get tired or have to sleep… to spend every moment of eternity enjoying God IN HIS PRESENCE!

Indeed… the thing that makes heaven heaven is being in God’s presence.  The reason God changes us in a moment… the twinkling of an eye… is so we can enjoy Him fully… FOREVER.  I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to that!