VIDEO When All Is Said and Done

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:8

When Lee Strobel was researching his book on heaven, he interviewed Luis Palau, the Argentinian evangelist who preached to more than a billion people. “He knew he was dying,” said Strobel. “He had stage four lung cancer…. I flew out to Portland because I wanted to interview someone who was about to go to heaven…. He told me he’s not afraid of dying. He said, ‘I really believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.’”[1]

For the Christian, dying means immediate entrance into the physical presence of the Lord in His great city of New Jerusalem. We leave behind (temporarily, until the resurrection) our bodies of sickness and pain. Yet in the flick of an eye, we’re there with Jesus among all His golden and gleaming cityscapes. 

The Lord will give us extra grace for the moment He takes us home. For that reason, we are confident—even well pleased—to be with Him.

I can tell you from personal experience that, at the end of your life, when all is said and done, you’ll never regret being courageous for Christ. Luis Palau to Lee Strobel


47 2 Corinthians 5 – Pastor Chuck Smith – C2000 Series

Food from Heaven

The Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you.” Exodus 16:4

In August 2020, residents of Olten, Switzerland, were startled to find that it was snowing chocolate! A malfunction in the ventilation system of the local chocolate factory had caused chocolate particles to be diffused into the air. As a result, a dusting of edible chocolate flakes covered cars and streets and made the whole town smell like a candy store.

When I think of delicious food “magically” falling from the heavens, I can’t help but think of God’s provision for the people of Israel in Exodus. Following their dramatic escape from Egypt, the people faced significant challenges in the desert, especially a scarcity of food and water. And God, moved by the plight of the people, promised to “rain down bread from heaven” (Exodus 16:4). The next morning, a layer of thin flakes appeared on the desert ground. This daily provision, known as manna, continued for the next forty years.

When Jesus came to earth, people began to believe He was sent from God when He miraculously provided bread for a large crowd (John 6:5–14). But Jesus taught that He Himself was the “bread of life” (v. 35), sent to bring not just temporary nourishment but eternal life (v. 51).

For those of us hungry for spiritual nourishment, Jesus extends the offer of unending life with God. May we believe and trust that He came to satisfy those deepest longings.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

When did you come to realize your need for Jesus? How have you experienced being spiritually satisfied?

Jesus, thank You for choosing to come to earth to offer Your life so that I could enjoy a relationship with God for all eternity.

Learn more about growing spiritually.

The Only Way to Heaven

In Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have a path to eternal life in heaven

Matthew 7:13-14

One of the most difficult truths of Christianity is that there’s but one way to heaven: Jesus Christ. People would rather believe that all paths lead to God—and that no religion can exclude someone. But in John 14:6, Jesus claimed to be “the way” and explicitly said, “No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  

That raises an important question: How do we come to God through Jesus? It’s not by means of religious rituals, good works, or self-effort—because even “our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” before God (Isaiah 64:6). Scripture provides the answer: We are saved by God’s grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). And that means we must …

• Hear the message of the gospel. It includes both the bad news of our sinful condition and the good news that God offers forgiveness through faith in His Son (Ephesians 1:7).

• Acknowledge our need of a Savior. This involves repentance and faith. We turn from our sins and believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our wrongdoing and then rose from the dead. Trusting in the Savior allows us to stop living for ourselves and to start living for Him instead (Romans 6:10-11). 

Truly, the way to salvation is narrow, but it’s the only path that leads away from condemnation and into the eternal glory of heaven.

Right Thinking

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true… honest… just… pure… lovely… of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Our lives are surrounded with ungodliness and demands that often bleed away our thoughts until we are worn and weakened. Reflect for a few moments on this inventory of empowering thinking.

  • Truth—Literally “that which is not hidden”; Jesus Himself (John 14:6); the Word of God (John 17:17; Psalm 119:11).
  • Honesty—Not just accuracy, but “sober” and “venerable”; sometimes “magnificent” or “great”; used of church officers (1 Timothy 2:2; 3:8).
  • Justice—Righteous, just, right, suitable; “The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom….The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable” (Proverbs 10:31-32).
  • Purity—Morally and sexually chaste; closely connected with “holiness”; the emphasis is on physical and mental purity (1 John 3:2).
  • Loveliness—Beauty, friendship, delight, and wonder are all suggested by the “good love” of this word (Luke 12:27).
  • Good News—This takes discipline, because there is far more bad news than good in this world; we are admonished to take “inventory” (dwell on, recall) the “good reports” (Proverbs 25:25).

These excellent and praiseworthy matters should dominate our thinking in a conscious “inventory” of the attributes on this final list. If we do so, God promises His peace in our lives. HMM III

Halfway to the Peak

Choose you this day whom ye will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. —Joshua 24:15

The word mediocre comes from two Latin words and literally means “halfway to the peak.” This makes it an apt description of the progress of many Christians. They are halfway up to the peak….They are morally above the hardened sinner but they are spiritually beneath the shining saint….

Do we really think that this halfway Christian life is the best that Christ offers—the best that we can know? In the face of what Christ offers us, how can we settle for so little? Think of all that He offers us by His blood and by His Spirit, by His sacrificial death on the cross, by His resurrection from the dead, by His ascension to the right hand of the Father, by His sending forth of the Holy Ghost! ITB043-044

O Jesus, come and dwell in me,

Walk in my steps each day,

Live in my life, love in my love,

And speak in all I say;

Think in my thoughts, let all my acts

Thy very actions be,

So shall it be no longer I,

But Christ that lives in me. CTBC, Vol. 2/052

Living Water

Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again … the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.—John 4:14

John 7:38 says, “The one who believes in Me … will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” The Amplified Bible translates this passage: “He who believes in Me … From his innermost being shall flow continuously springs and rivers of living water. But He was speaking here of the Spirit, whom those who believe in Him were afterward to receive.”

Are our lives truly like this? Do fresh springs flow out of us day after day? If not, why not? The answer is simple—there can be no outflow unless there is an intake. This is the rhythm of the Holy Spirit—intake and outflow. If there is more intake than outflow, then the intake stops; if there is more outflow than intake, then the outflow stops. The doors open inward to receive, only to open outward to give.

When we come to talk about life in the Spirit, we are not to think in terms of a reservoir which has only limited resources. Life is a channel, attached to infinite resources. The more we draw on these resources, the more we have. There is no danger of exhausting one’s resources. We do not have to hold back—for the more we give, the more we have.

Living on the overflow is what many of us lack today. A sign could be put up over our individual and collective lives saying, “Life Limited.” According to Jesus’ promise, however, when the Spirit comes, life is unlimited: “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” Not rivulets, not trickles, not brooks, not streams—but rivers. Rivers!

Prayer

O God, help me to link my channel to Your infinite resources. Flow through me until I become a flowing river—no, an overflowing river. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 10:34-38; 1Co 3:16; 6:19; 2Tm 1:14

How did Peter link Christ’s work with that of the Spirit?

What has God made us to be?

Making Necessary Adjustments

If my head were water,

my eyes a fountain of tears,

I would weep day and night

over the slain of my dear people.—Jeremiah 9:1

Jeremiah was invited by God to be a weeping prophet. His call came during turbulent, agonizing times as his society suffered from pervasive moral and spiritual decay. The nation of Judah had turned so far from God that it was soon to face His fierce judgment. This was not a time for merrymaking but for weeping. God looked for someone He could mold into the kind of prophet needed for such a bleak time. He found Jeremiah. The cost to Jeremiah was intense; he sacrificed much of the freedom of his youth in order to be God’s messenger. He forfeited family and reputation. He endured misunderstanding, ridicule, and persecution. He was imprisoned and mocked by those to whom he had come to warn of God’s impending judgment.

Satan will try to convince you that obedience carries much too high a price, but he will never tell you the cost of not obeying God. If you are to be used in God’s service you must expect to make adjustments in your life. Can you measure the distance between the throne room of heaven and a cattle shed in Bethlehem? How far is it from the Lordship of the universe to the cross? Don’t be deceived into thinking there is no cost involved in obedience.

What adjustments is God asking you to make? Will you face the hardships and opposition that will come when you align your life with God’s will? Jeremiah had the deep satisfaction of knowing he was a faithful and beloved servant of God. Your reward will be the same when you choose to fully obey Christ, regardless of the cost.