And now the prize awaits me-the crown of righteousness…for all who look forward to His appearing (2 Tim 4:8).
The place that Jesus is preparing for believers (John 4:2) includes many rewards. Although we are not told what they are, I can’t begin to imagine if the most spectacular things on earth pale next to what is to come.
I am more than glad that salvation is a free gift; that we do not need to earn it. Not one of us could live a sinless life—not the most pious saint, and certainly not me, but we can achieve rewards. The bible calls them “crowns” which I have seen interpreted as rewards, awards and prizes. Anyway, if it’s a reward from God, it’s got to be more than amazing.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:19, Paul explained the crown of rejoicing with these questions—Who is our crown of rejoicing? Is it not you? Can you think of a better reason for rejoicing, a better reward, than by seeing people who are in Heaven with us because we had some part in their being there?!
Studying God’s word, and discovering even parts of His plans for us, gives us just tiny glimpses of His great and incredible love.
“But what about you? Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29)
Sometimes I hesitate using the word Christian because the term has been so diluted. There are many who describe themselves as Christians who believe that Jesus lived, but do not embrace His death, burial, and resurrection as a personal gift to them from a loving God.
Volumes upon volumes have been written about who Jesus was, but what is eternally important is who Jesus is…to you (see Romans 10:8).
This is the most important question in the universe. The answer can affect our eternal destiny and our eternal destination.
People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God (Luke 13:39).
Dr. David Jeremiah has been doing a series about life after physical death. He began by reading this epitaph of Solomon Peas who was actually from Girard, PA:
Peas not here
Only the pod
Peas shelled out
Went home to God
Dr. Jeremiah’s messages direct us to a number of scriptures answering many of our questions about Heaven, but one point that he made I found very applicable. He said that God placed a hunger in our hearts for our heavenly eternity. When we forget, or begin to doubt, that God has prepared a glorious place for us that contains everything (and everybody, I pray) that we love and hold dear, then we try to create a situation for ourselves much like heaven on earth. We can spend every dime on a perfect environment, beautiful surroundings, free of pain, toys, activities, etc., but all we end up with is a cheap imitation that can never come close to what God has in store for those who put their faith in the inheritance that is ours through His Son.
If you declare (admit) with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
Through the decades, up to and including the present, many religions have misinterpreted or overcomplicated God’s plan of salvation. I remember as a child thinking that my only hope for Heaven was if I died walking out of church right after confession. It was only for those few minutes that I had a clean soul (or so I thought). What a burden for a child—or anyone! It’s a sad state to be living without the assurance of a joyful eternity.
God’s plan, His free gift of salvation, is outlined several times in scripture. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins; we don’t need to. All we have to do is have faith that through His death, burial, and resurrection, eternal death was defeated.
That’s it! Not good works, penance, or any kind of punishment. Just faith plus———nothing!
We can be assured that the very second we exhale our last breath on earth, we inhale a joyous eternity.
[Just as the rain causes the grain to grow] it is the same with My word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it (Is 55:11).
I have heard this verse paraphrased as, “The word of God never goes out void, “ but the complete verse is so power-packed.
Our grandson recently told his little friend who doesn’t believe in God about Jesus (I would have loved to have overheard that conversation). And even though he’s only seven, that seed was planted. Maybe someday, when we are long gone, in desperation, this young man may call out to the Lord. And God will meet him there. His word always produces fruit. And it will prosper everywhere it’s sent.
That innocent little conversation may save his life—or save his eternal life.
The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23b)
I was fortunate to have been raised in a church that recognized Jesus Christ. I used to feel that those years were spiritually wasted because I never learned about the saving grace, nor how to have a personal relationship with Him. But although I didn’t “know” Him at that time, I was learning “about” Him.
Now I am much more privileged to have a personal, exclusive, just-the-two-of-us relationship. We communicate each and every time I choose. And whenever I choose not to listen to His voice, He waits patiently, guiding (or nudging) me to the best paths.
Those years certainly were not wasted. After all, isn’t that how all good relationships begin—getting to know “about” the other person and learning about ourselves through them as well.
And, by far, the best part about our relationship is that it is the never-ever-ending story.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men. Yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecl. 3:11)
What’s on your bucket list? It doesn’t really matter if it’s tiny or huge; selfish or humanitarian. The minute it’s checked off another will appear. That’s okay. Goals and dreams are not a bad thing.
But God has put eternity in our hearts. Nothing or nobody this side of heaven can ever fulfill or satisfy that longing. In our limited understanding, we can’t even begin to grasp it—we can’t imagine what God has in mind. That’s not our job anyway; trust and faith and hope are.
Don’t you just love the words in this verse? They make me feel such a connection to the Father—He has placed eternity in our heart.