to glorify God... one thought at a time

to glorify God... one thought at a time

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I couldn't have said it any better myself!

Recently, there has been many disasters including weather, earthquakes,  and tornadoes.  If you are human, you must be wondering about bigger things.   What is going on?  Is there really a God?  Some of you may just feel unsettled.  I know in my walk, it makes me hold on to the word of God even more, because this, my friends, is the only truth.

I have attached a devotion of a dear friend of mine called "Spiritual Reflections".  She is speaking on the tough issue of what happens in the end.  I pray you read and find hope just as I have found reading it.  As the title reads, I couldn't have said it better myself.  Enjoy!

SPIRITUAL Reflections



Posted: 11 Jun 2013 04:05 PM PDT
Week of: June 10, 2013                                            
Sharing by: Pam Crawford

Today is a gift, but it is also a mystery. We have no idea how this day will end, but oh how blessed is the one who knows the One who ends it. With that said I will simply ask that you reflect on the following revelation.

Revelation 20:11-15: 
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens  fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (NIV) 

BREVITY OF LIFE
What is this Book of Life? As I understand it, it represents the names of those who have put their trust in Christ to save them? The vision given to John indicates that there are no gray areas as it relates to the destination of choice. One will either choose to be united with Christ forever in Heaven; or separated from God to reside with Satan and his followers in Hades (hell).

What is the Lake of Fire ? This is the place where Satan will never be a threat to man-kind again. Because Satan’s power is not eternal the Word of God tells us that he will eventually meet his doom, but it also tells us he will not be alone. In verse 10 of Chapter 20 we read “Then the Devil, who betrayed them, was thrown into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur, joining the beasts and the false prophets. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Lately, we have had many opportunities to ponder the brevity of life. With the horrific nature of school shootings in this country; the destruction of entire neighborhoods as the result of storms, and more and more acts of terrorism; one can’t help but to reflect on the precious nature of life and how quickly it can all end. Each morning we rise and make our own plans for the day with no guarantee that we will return home. You only need to reflect on the recent news reports in this country to know that I am not exaggerating the fragile nature of mankind. In an instant the direction of life can be changed by unexpected tragedy and then it’s too late.

Although it is certainly important that we send our loved ones out the door each day knowing that we love them; it is more important that they know with whom they will reside should they be called from this world without the luxury of a warning. This is so important and I encourage you to adopt the mentality that silence is not golden when it comes to eternal decisions.

Many people will and have claimed Heaven without any relationship with Christ whatsoever. Maybe this is why Jesus spoke these words to His disciples found in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!’

It appears from Matthew’s words that Jesus was introducing the concept of having a personal relationship with Him (knowing who He is) above religious intellect (knowing about Him). This might be hard for some of you to hear; but it sounds to me that Jesus will not be taking to the Father those who have rejected Him on this earth. Contrary to what some have believed, the Bible teaches that we don’t get our names written in the “Book of Life” void of Jesus Christ.

Opening the Word you will discover for yourself that it is only through what Jesus did at Calvary that we are offered the gift of grace (undeserved favor) and salvation (the gift of eternal life). It is also important to understand that it is not about how “good” we are or the “good things” we have done, because in the end it will all fade away. If our life does not include acceptance of Jesus Christ in our hearts, the Word makes it crystal clear it will have been in vain. Jesus tells us with great clarity that He is the way to the Father and nobody gets there by by-passing Him (John 14:6).

At this point I believe we might begin to see the value of Paul’s words to “pray continually or without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) as it relates to those in our lives who are rejecting Christ in their lives. People can say they believe in God, and in some cases they may even sit in church on Sunday mornings; but without the evidence of Christ in their everyday lives there may very well be an element of deception (James 1:19-27). Intercession is a wonderful avenue for God to draw them to Himself and through prayer we can be a part of His everlasting work.

I desire for everyone to know that placing ones faith in Jesus and having your name written in the “Book of Life” is the beginning of wonderful blessings. Make no mistake however that it will require repentance and relationship. Through this you will not only get to know God personally; but joy from that relationship will encourage you to love and obey God like never before. It will empower you to do good things for others solely because you want to honor and bring Him the joy. And, it will give you the courage to speak up (1 Peter 3:15-16) in ways you never imagined being inside you. It is a blessing to help others see that you don’t earn your way into Heaven. It is a “free gift” from the Savior and it is available to anyone who chooses Him. Time is short and I will pray for these words to be absorbed into someone’s heart today. If God lays someone on your heart, feel free to share this writing forward. Do not fear rejection of man as there is too much at stake.

So, how does one begin to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ if you have not yet taken the steps? First, you stop making excuses that the Word is too hard to understand and you open it. There you will find the power for life. Then set aside the busyness of life and make God a priority. Ask Him to help you understand what He desires for your life. Invite the Savior to come into your heart and rest in the assurance that His Spirit will help you discern and obey whatever you discover. As a believer you get to stand on the promise of John 16:13, But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

By accepting Christ and applying God’s truths to our life; we get to know our Heavenly Father intimately. Imagine this blessing for a moment ~ your name, yes I said your name jumps off the page when the “Book of Life” is opened! I don’t know about you, but I can hardly imagine that moment. Praise you Father for never giving up on your creation.

Well, what will it be; eternal life or eternal death? Remember, tomorrow is not promised to anyone so choose wisely today. Be the voice of Jesus to this lost world. Share the promise found in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Be blessed

In Christ by grace,
Pam