My wife and I do devotions together most days. I am a great fan of devotions that give God’s Word and then apply it to our daily blessings, as well as our daily struggles. We use 5 different devotional books. When we get to the end of the book, we start over again, re-reading them.We find that they seem fresh and hit us in different ways…because we are in a different place than when we read them the first time. Here is one I wrote a year ago. (You can read lots of them at royred.org)
The children of a well-to-do family decided to give their father a book containing their family’s history for a birthday present.
They commissioned a professional biographer to write the book, carefully cautioning him about the family’s “black sheep” – their Uncle George had been executed in the electric chair for murder, and they felt it would be best if the biographer left Uncle George out of the book.
“No need to do that,” said the biographer. “I can report the situation in such a way that there will be no embarrassment to your father or to you. I’ll merely write that Uncle George occupied a chair of applied electronics ………at an important government institution………. He was attached to his position by the strongest ties………, and his death came as a real shock.”
The Bible teaches us that when you die, there is nothing else you can do to get ready to meet God. It won’t matter what people write about you or say about you to make you look good.…. It’s all about faith in Jesus.
So…In case you don’t know…or haven’t thought about it lately:
- God hand made you…wanting to spend eternity with you.
- But there is a problem…you are a sinner! We all are! Romans 3:23… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
- And yet, God still loves you! Romans 5:8… But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
- Our sin separates us from God (not His Love). Romans 6:23… For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- You are saved…and told to share the Gospel with others. 1 Peter 3:15… But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect
- Do you believe this? I mean really believe this. The truth is that you were on your way (and deserve) to spend eternity in hell…. but Jesus saved you so that you now will spend eternity in heaven!!!
- Do you believe that there is a heaven or hell in your future?
- Now…we hear phrases about heaven and hell in our daily conversations. Things like “these cookies taste heavenly…that guy irritates the hell out me…this campground is heaven on earth…it will be a cold day in hell before I vote for him”
- Those phrases can make us minimize an important fact.
- Here is my point… HEAVEN AND HELL ARE REAL…and therefore it follows that real people like you, and I are going there!!! How’s that for a heavy statement!!!
Matthew 25 talks about it (verse 34) …”Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. (verse 41) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (verse 46) “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
- So why is it so awkward to talk about it to friends and family? Did you know Satan hopes you don’t talk about it?
- It is said that a long time ago there was a conference in hell, and ol’ Lucifer was plotting and scheming how he might catch the human race and keep them from God and heaven.
- One fiendish lieutenant came to the master of evil and said, “If you will send me to earth… I will tell the people that there is no heaven to be gained.”
- Lucifer said to him, “No, no! They’ll never believe it because there is a little bit of heaven in every heart.”
- Another fiend came forward, darker and fowler than the first, and he said to Lucifer, “If you would send me to earth, I would convince the people that they can sin with immunity. That God would continue to love and forgive. That He would never, ever, ever judge anyone – even if they didn’t repent. I will convince them of that.”
- The father of darkness said, “No! These humans must not be underestimated. They have a conscience ……and deep within the heart of every human is this sense of righteousness. They know that evil will be punished……. They know that good will triumph over evil.”
- A third lieutenant, from the very darkest pit, emerged into the shadow of Lucifer and said, “Master, if you would send me, I would tell them this:
- There is no hurry!…….YOU CAN TELL OTHERS TOMORROW”
- And Lucifer said, “Yes, go tell them that!”
- Many people think “let someone else tell them!”. Many people consider themselves too sophisticated to believe in the devil and hell. That’s dangerous because they are real. I doubt that the Hollywood version of a guy in a red suit with horns and a pitchfork is what we will find…but the bible speaks of the devil from Genesis 3 through Revelation!
- And hell is the end result of not trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior…and living a life that shows that disrespect for His Word. Revelation 21:8… But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars ….(and have not trusted in Jesus’ for forgiveness of these sinful actions)– their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
- The worst part of hell is eternally separated from God and good.
- Heaven on the other hand is…Revelation 21:3-4… And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
- And the best part of this is that it is prepared for and purchased for you…John 3:16…”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- This is where other religions differ from Christianity.
- Hindus believe that they need to reach salvation through their own efforts. (Following 1 of 4 paths…love, work, knowledge, psychology)
- Muslims need to earn favor with God through laws and works. (5 pillars)
- Buddhist reach peace through right thinking and living following the 8-fold path to Nirvana.
- The bible is very clear that salvation is a free gift from God to you through faith…Ephesians 2:8-9… For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith– and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.
- So…if we are saved by faith…where does faith come from? Romans 10:17…Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
- So…stop and think about…who shared Jesus with you? How did they do it? Why did they do it? Who is God wanting you to share Him with?
- I get a disturbing image in my head from time to time.
- It can’t happen since there is no sorrow in heaven but…
- What would it be like to get to heaven…start looking for “old so and so”? You cannot find them, so you ask. You are told “they are not here…no one took the time to tell them about Jesus!”
So…since heaven and hell are real…let’s get real!
- Who do you know that you are not sure of their relationship with Jesus? Who is God nudging you to reach out to?
Fill in the blanks:
- Who in your immediate family_________________
- Who in your extended family__________________
- Which of your friends________________________
- Who at work or school________________________
- Who at businesses you frequent_________________
What is the first step…be ready…Share your Hope…Let the Holy Spirit do the rest!
1 Peter 3:15-17… Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad.
Humor for the day:
Two old guys, Fred and Sam went to the movies. A few minutes after it started, Fred heard Sam rustling around and he seemed to be searching on the floor under his seat. “What are you doing?” asked Fred. Sam, a little grumpy by this time, replied “I had a caramel in my mouth, and it dropped out. I can’t find it.” Fred told him to forget it because it would be too dirty by now. “But I’ve got to”, said Sam, “my teeth are in it!”