VIDEO Tough-Minded About Heaven with Increasing Confidence

Being assured of Christ’s return and our eternity in heaven is life-changing. But has it changed the way we think? Dr. David Jeremiah examines the relationship between our thoughts about heaven and how we should live here on earth.

But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works. Psalm 73:28

We are appreciative when we find a service or repair person who instills confidence. It’s not the fancy truck or high-tech gear that they have; it’s that they are there when we need them. They may not advertise on the radio or TV, and they may not have a web page or social media presence, but they stay busy because one satisfied customer tells a friend, who tells a friend, and so on.

Similarly, the longer we walk with God, the more our confidence in Him grows. We stop being attracted by the bangles and baubles of this world and find ourselves turning to Him in quietness and strength. He is there when we need Him and never fails to meet our needs. This reality began to dawn on the disciples when some of those following Him were offended by His teaching. He asked the disciples, “Do you also want to go away?” And Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:66-68).

The more we embrace God’s perspective and spend time with Him, the more our confidence in Him grows.

The ultimate ground of faith and knowledge is confidence in God. Charles Hodge

 


Just Give It All You’ve Got

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Scaling. It’s a term used in the world of fitness that allows room for anyone to participate. If the specific exercise is a push-up, for example, then maybe you can do ten in a row, but I can only do four. The instructor’s encouragement to me would be to scale back the push-ups according to my fitness level at the time. We’re not all at the same level, but we can all move in the same direction. In other words, she would say, “Do your four push-ups with all the strength you have. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Scale the movement for now, keep doing what you can do, and you may be amazed in time you’re doing seven, and even one day, ten.”

When it comes to giving, the apostle Paul was clear: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). But his encouragement to the believers in Corinth, and to us, is a variation of scaling. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart” (v. 7). We each find ourselves at different giving levels, and sometimes those levels change over time. Comparison is not beneficial, but attitude is. Based on where you are, give generously (v. 6). Our God has promised that the disciplined practice of such cheerful giving brings enrichment in every way with a blessed life that results in “thanksgiving to God” (v. 11).

By:  John Blase

Reflect & Pray

How would you describe your giving: Cheerful? Reluctant? Under compulsion? Not comparing yourself to anyone else, what might cheerful giving look like?

Generous God, I want to be a cheerful giver, to give it my best effort. I know that discipline in this area is crucial. Give me the wisdom not to compare, the strength to sow generously, and the faith to leave the results in Your hands.

Salvation Gifts

1 Peter 1:3-5

Gifts are an expression of love, yet sometimes we take them for granted. This is certainly true when it comes to salvation. Perhaps the reason is that we’ve forgotten how amazing this gift is and what it cost the Father and Son to give it.

As Christians, we know that salvation results in forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with a holy God, and adoption as His beloved children. But maybe we aren’t as familiar with its other benefits:

We become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). We undergo a radical internal change. Our old self has been crucified with Christ, and we have a brand-new self, which is created in righteousness and holiness.

We are joined to the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5). Not only do we have union with the triune God, but we are also united with every other believer.

We receive an inheritance in heaven (1 Peter 1:4). Salvation transforms us from those destined for hell to those who are fellow heirs with Christ in His kingdom.

Salvation is an unfathomable treasure for which we will spend eternity praising, thanking, and worshipping God.

His Does Spirit Answer to the Blood

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11)

The fourth verse of “Arise, My Soul, Arise” speaks of God the Father answering the request of God the Son and granting salvation to a repentant sinner, adopting him into His family.

The Father hears Him pray, His dear Anointed One;
He cannot turn away the presence of His Son.
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

As Christ the Messiah hung on Calvary’s tree, God the Father turned away, unable in His holiness to look upon Christ as He bore “the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28). “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1) He cried in His agony. But once God’s righteous justice was satisfied, the Father turned back and answered Christ’s prayer, even from the horns of the altar, as it were (Psalm 22:21). “I and my Father are one,” Christ had said (John 10:30), and once sin’s penalty was paid, there would be no more separation.

And when a sinner comes to God, claiming the blood of Christ as a full payment for his sins, and Christ Himself prays for the sinner’s full forgiveness and acceptance, the Father cannot turn away, for “he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

In our text, the same Spirit that raised up Christ grants the spiritually dead sinner new life and declares him to be born of God. “Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again [literally, ‘born from above’]” (John 3:7). “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). JDM

Everyone Seek His Face

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD; and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

—Isaiah 55:7

 

It will require a determined heart and more than a little courage to wrench ourselves loose from the grip of our times and return to biblical ways. But it can be done. Every now and then in the past Christians have had to do it. History has recorded several large-scale returns led by such men as St. Francis, Martin Luther and George Fox. Unfortunately, there seems to be no Luther or Fox on the horizon at present. Whether or not another such return may be expected before the coming of Christ is a question upon which Christians are not fully agreed, but that is not of too great importance to us now.

What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world-scale I do not claim to know. But what He will do for the plain man or woman who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others. Let any man turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days.   POG066

Lord, today I commit myself to “turn to God in earnest,” to “begin to exercise [myself] unto godliness,” and to “seek to develop [my] powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility.” Amen.

 

Warm Hearts and Cool Heads

We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.

—Hebrews 8:1

 

The warmest hearts and the coolest heads anywhere at any time should always belong to the Christians. There are sound reasons for this. The Christian is seated “above.” His fortunes do not depend upon earthly circumstances, but upon Christ who has conquered everything….

For the warmth of his heart the Christian has the love of God which is “shed abroad” by the Holy Ghost, while from his vantage point in the “heavenly places” he is able to look down calmly upon the excited happenings of men. In his flesh he may be a part of the human scene, but in his spirit he is far above it all and is never at any time too much moved by what he sees….

Since he is a part of God’s eternal purpose, he knows he must win at last, and he can afford to be calm even when the battle seems to be temporarily going against him. The world has no such “blissful center” upon which to rest and is therefore constantly shifting about, greatly elated today, terribly cast down tomorrow and wildly excited the next day. TET041-042

We know that in the natural world the mightiest forces are those we do not see….So in the spiritual world faith is the power to attach ourselves to God. PC018

 

God in the Present Tense

Matthew 1:23

Many names and titles are ascribed to our Lord in the Scriptures. They describe not only what He has done, but what He is. Not only the spiritual benefits of the past, but what He can do in us and for us in the present.

Among the names and titles of God’s Son is one of particular significance to His followers—Emmanuel—given centuries before His birth in the prophecy of Isaiah (7:14): “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.”

The fulfillment of that promise is found in Matthew 1:23: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel, which means, ‘God with us.’ ”

“God with us”—now! The Present tense!

He is as close as the whisper of His name. Not in some far-off celestial computer center operating the machinery, but cradled in human hearts and minds.

He was Immanuel—God with us—in the cradle, eliciting the usual human expressions of adoration, love and admiration which come from any group looking upon a newborn baby. No doubt, He kicked and waved His little arms as if to invite doting visitors to take His pudgy little hand in theirs, and to speak in the high-pitched voice which uninhibited baby admirers are prone to use. There in a crude cradle in a Bethlehem stable He was God with us.

He was Immanuel—God with us—on the cross. There were those who recognized Him, even there, as “the Word made flesh” (John 1:14) who had “pitched his tent” among them for 33 years. Incarnational living comes through acceptance of the message of the cross, and the sacrifice of Jesus, our Savior.

He is Immanuel—God with us—as the Comforter. Our Lord’s promise is still relevant: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16, 18).

Jesus further reinforces the truth of his abiding presence in Matthew 28:20:

“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Robert A. Watson, The War Cry