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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Heavenly Minded, Earthly Good

I’m sure you have heard the expression, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.” But that is a rarity. I believe the opposite is true for most Christians. Are you earthly minded and not thinking about the things of Heaven?

Allow me to share some great truths about Heaven.

1. God Has Set Eternity In Our Hearts

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart.”

The word world means “timelessness or eternity.” God has placed within our heart a hunger for Heaven? When we fill up our lives with other things, it will suppress that need and leave us empty. E.g., The latest TV shows, movies, video games, playing sports or watching sports and hobbies can consume you.

2. The Bible Tells Us What Heaven Is Like

Some folks say that heaven is so magnificent that we cannot conceive of it.

1 Cor. 2:9-10 says, “But as it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.”

Heaven is mentioned over 500 times in the Bible. The best description of Heaven is Rev. 21-22. If you are going to spend eternity in heaven, it would be good to know more about that place.

3. Heaven Is Seldom Talked About Among God’s People

Today heaven is irreverently portrayed by many novelists and filmmakers. E.g., I went to heaven and came back and when I was there, I saw Dunkin Donuts and Starbuck. Write a book about Heaven, and it will probably be on the New York Times bestseller list. A lot of people think they are going there but will be in for a big surprise. It’s strange, but how many sermons have you heard talking about Heaven or Hell? The church does not have Heaven on its mind. Are you living for Heaven or for earth?

4. Heaven’s Location Is Up North

Acts 1:10-11 says, “And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

Ask a child where Heaven is, and he will point up. But up is not specific enough. For example, you could point up from every part of the earth, but it would be in different directions from every side of the globe.

Most Bible scholars believe that Heaven is located in the northern heavens.

Isaiah 14:12-13 says, “How thou art fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How thou art cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.”

No matter where you’re at on the earth, north will always be up. Heaven is probably somewhere in the northern heavens beyond the reach of astronomers and powerful telescopes. Scientists tell us that it seems to be place vacant of stars and galaxies and it is in the northern heavens.

5. Everything That Is Precious To A Christian Is In Heaven

Redeemer-Face to face you will see your Savior.

Relationships-The older you get, the more friends you have in Heaven.

Resources-You have an inheritance in heaven.

Residence-I’m not just talking about where you are going to live, I’m talking about your citizenship.

Reward-Matt. 5:12. There are five crowns that you can win. God is into rewards and motivation. He wants us to be faithful.

Riches-Matt. 6:20. The way you send your treasure to Heaven is by investing in the things that are going there.

Reservation-Rev. 21:27. There is a book called the Lamb’s book of life. Do you have a reservation in Heaven? Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life?

6. Jesus Is Preparing A Place For You

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3

Heaven is not an imagery place, a figment of your imagination, a feeling, a thought form, a vision of a utopia or the invention of men. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.

7. Heaven Is Your Home

P.P Bliss was a famous hymn writer of the 19th century. At the age of 38, he died on a train wreck. Found on P.P Bliss’s trunk at the site of the train wreck was found a hymn:

Many mansions grace that Land
Beyond life’s endless shifting sand;
Between the crystal life-giving streams,
And the street of gold that ever gleams.
Waits there our mansion fair and bright,
In a beautiful Land where there comes no night.
Come morning, we’ll move and there abide,
In a mansion that He will provide.
We will leave this sin cursed weary land,
And go on Home to Heaven’s fair strand.

Are you longing for your home? Then be heavenly minded so that you will be earthly good.

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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

How Well Do You Know Christ?

“That I May Know Him” -Philippians 3:10

One of my favorite places to eat ice cream is Cold Stone Creamery. There you can order three sizes: like it (small), love it (medium), and gotta have it (large). Using this as a spiritual example, if you were to use this as a scale to evaluate your spiritual hunger to know Jesus Christ, where would you grade yourself? If the Apostle Peter took this test, he would have said he loved Jesus.

Look at John 21:15-17 which says, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, feed my sheep.”

Notice some lessons:

Peter was backslidden and he didn’t know it. Could this be you?

Actions speaker louder than words. This is why the Lord Jesus told Peter to feed his sheep. Are you busy for the Master?

Jesus rebuked Peter three times to get his attention. Verse 17 says that Peter was grieved. Does God have to chastise you or allow bad circumstances in order to get your attention?

Peter failed the test. He didn’t love Jesus, he only liked him.

Now let me ask you, how well do you know Christ? Are you pursuing him like you gotta have him? To help you out, I have three thoughts I want to share with you from Phil. 3:10.

1. This Should Be Your Spiritual Goal Throughout Your Life

The Apostle Paul’s life goal can be summed up in Phil. 3:10, “That I may know him.” I can’t think of a better goal for a Christian than this. Any other goals are little and should be conformed to help you achieve this one primary goal: “That I may know him.” The Christian life is not after a what, but a who. Jesus Christ is your goal. Anything short of this goal is inexcusable. Will you make Phil. 3:10 your life goal?

I can’t think of a better Christian than Paul, yet he admits that he hadn’t reached his goal yet. Phil. 3:12 says, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” The truth is no Christian will ever know Christ perfectly until he or she gets to heaven.

I’m sure there have been times that you have set goals for yourself. It may have been losing weight, being more organized, helping others, learning something new, getting out of debt, spending more time, or quitting a bad habit. If it was a New Year’s resolution, chances are you may have broken it by this time of the year.

Now ask yourself, “Why did it happen?” Let me offer some reasons:

All or nothing thinking: Thinking in terms of “success” or “failure” can be good as long as you are making progress. The joy of feeling like a success soon fades with the first minor setback, and you plunge into feeling like a total failure.

Dwelling on setbacks: Meditating on past failures sets you up for future failures. The only way to stop this is by following Paul’s advice in Phil. 3:13. He says, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

No plan: If you don’t have a plan of how you are going to achieve your goal, you will soon forget and give up. Write down your ideas or ways of keeping you focused, motivated and confident.

No accountability: Find an accountability partner who you can meet with from time to time and will monitor your progress. Best of all, keep yourself accountable to God. Rom. 14:12 says, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

Not knowing why you want it: The motivating power of any goal comes from truly understanding why you want it. Just wanting to achieve a goal for it’s own sake may be a fine goal, but it won’t be enough to motivate you when you have to make sacrifices or suffer a setback. In Phil. 3:14, Paul says why he wants to achieve his goal. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

2. How Well You Know Christ Determines Your Spiritual Temperature

How well you know Christ is an accurate gauge to know your walk with the Lord. How well do you know him? How would he think, what would he think about ____, how would he react, what would he say, what would he do in a given situation? Knowing Jesus is more than head knowledge, it is a heart knowledge of your Lord and Savior.

If you are satisfied with where you are at spiritually, God calls it sin. 2 Peter 3:18 says, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” How badly do you want to know him? I’m convinced that most Christians have put themselves on cruise control to coast through life.

Preachers and Sunday school teachers, are you guilty at times of reading the Bible looking for a sermon rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you? How many times has a message come alive during your devotional time? A good message will be communicated well when you first allow the message to speak to you.

In your prayer life, do you rush into the throne room of God to get your needs answered and leave God absent? Hey, do you know that he wants time with you? He wants you to meditate on him, to praise him, to talk to him like a friend?

3. Suggestions About Knowing Christ In A More Intimate Way

Set up a plan: This involves deciding when you will have devotions (Bible and prayer). If you don’t have a plan, other people and things will take up your time.

Categorize your priorities: I suggest you make a list of everything you do on a regular basis. Then categorize everything on your list from most important to least important. You will be surprised at how much time is wasted on matters that aren’t very important.

Go after people: Building relationships is key to developing Christlikeness in others.

Set aside all pride: God will reveal himself to those who have a humble and contrite spirit. Will you acknowledge your dependence upon the Lord? Will you sacrifice sleep in order to get a hold of God? Will you fast so that you can get the answer to your prayer? The choice is up to you. Can you say like Paul, “That I may know him.”

Will you make “knowing Jesus” the greatest passion of your life?

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Uncategorized