Posts Tagged ‘Heaven

20
Sep
18

When You Are Persecuted

Following Jesus will eventually bring persecution into your life. Jesus is threatening to people who want to live according to their own standards. People want to serve themselves and Jesus says, “Deny yourself.” People want to gratify their sinful natures and Jesus says we have to take up our cross. People want to follow their hearts and Jesus says, “Follow Me.” When you live for Jesus, you threaten their lifestyle and therefore they threaten your life. Jesus said:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,​ ​because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)

Persecution is nothing new and it will continue until Christ returns. Do not forget that there is a great reward for the faithful. Don’t give up! Persecution is temporary. Heaven is for eternity. We’ll be there soon and we’ll know that perseverance through persecution was worth it.
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12
Sep
18

Giving/Receiving Mercy

I remember growing up in church and learning the definitions of grace and mercy. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. God’s grace means that we get the gift of forgiveness. Mercy means that we don’t receive the punishment we deserve for our sins. Grace means that we get eternal life. Mercy means that we don’t get eternal death in Hell. Jesus wants us to extend mercy to others. He said:

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy. – Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

People are going to hurt you. They’re going to lie to you and cheat on you and gossip about you. They’ll do it more than once. How will you respond? Will you try to get revenge or will you show mercy? Jesus’ words remind us that His way is best. When we show mercy to others, we open ourselves up to receive the mercy of God. Author Dave Willis said something along the lines of “We should not treat people the way they deserve. Rather, we should treat them the way we want God to treat us.” If you want God to show you mercy, be merciful to others.
03
Sep
18

The Shepherd Welcomes

The latest message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana. This message is based on Psalm 23:6.

13
Aug
18

Standing Firm

In Philippians 3, Paul reminded his readers that they were destined for Heaven. No matter what came their way as far as threats of persecution or death, they could have joy because they were citizens of Heaven. He then told them what to do in the face of threats. He wrote:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! – Philippians 4:1 (NIV)

When we go through trials, tests and troubles, we need to remember that in the end, Jesus wins and we will overcome this world. It is not in our strength or power, but through the power of the Son of God. We have to remind ourselves and one another often that this world is not our home. The troubles and trials we face are only temporary. So stand firm in the face of difficulties. Stand firm in the face of persecution. Stand firm in the face of fear. Don’t give up! Don’t give in to fear! Stand firm!
10
Aug
18

Where We Belong

Good Friday morning to you! Toward the end of Philippians 3, Paul says that many live as enemies of the cross. He said that their minds are on earthly things. He contrasts them with followers of Jesus. He wrote:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. – Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV)

We who follow Jesus don’t belong here. We’re citizens of another place. Our ultimate loyalty and allegiance are to no politician or flag or country. When Jesus returns, we will be made like Him and we will live forever with Him. We long to be in the presence of Jesus. We long for our Heavenly home. Don’t get too comfortable here on earth. Don’t settle for life here, but rather, keep your eyes on the goal and prize of Heaven.
03
Aug
18

Pressing On Toward Heaven

We all go through various troubles, trials and tests in this life. Followers of Jesus are not exempt. It would be nice if God would bestow a kind of “most favored nation” status on us, but He doesn’t promise a pain-free life for anyone. He promises something else – Heaven. Paul wrote:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

There’s kind of a past, present and future thing going on in these verses. Paul chose to forget the past while pressing on in the present toward an amazing future in Heaven. We would all do well to follow His example. Forget about the past while pressing on in the present toward an amazing future. This is how we can get through the troubles, trials and tests of life. Keep your eyes on Heaven where Jesus waits for you.

09
Jul
18

Heaven Versus Earth

The apostle Paul told the Philippians that when it came to dealing with one another, they should have the same mind or attitude as Jesus Christ. Paul then goes on to describe this attitude. He wrote:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.​ –  Philippians 2:6-7 (NIV)​

Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, gave up His exalted position in Heaven for the humble position of a servant on Earth. Jesus gave up His heavenly throne for a lowly manger in Bethlehem. Jesus, who was worshiped by angels and all of the heavenly host, traded all of that in for the adoration of curious shepherds. Why would He do that? He did it because He loved the world. He could have stayed in Heaven instead of coming to Earth. We would have been lost in our sins forever. The love of Jesus brought Him to earth because He’d rather live and die here than live forever without you.



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