Monday, November 14, 2016

Why My Eyes Are Focused On The Future

Hey Friend,

With all the things going on in our world, including the election, now more than ever I have my sights set on the future - my eternal future.  I'm not going so far as to be, as my mother would say, "So heavenly minded that I'm no earthly good."

As I get older, and I've witnessed the atrocities happening in our world, I feel less and less like I belong here.  I see the Word of God being shoved farther and farther into a corner and the lump in my throat grows.  

If you feel at home, content, comfortable in this world....I challenge you to ask yourself if something is wrong with this picture??  We are not meant to feel at home here because, frankly, as believers, this is not our home. We are citizens of Heaven.

We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us.  Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.  (1 Chronicles 29:15)

Not that we aren't supposed to make a difference in this world, but we are not to treat this life like this is all there is.

Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and exiles (temporary residents), to abstain from the desires of the flesh, which war against your soul.  (1 Peter 2:11)

Let's face it - while we are on this earth we are continually at war with our earthly flesh and the temptations that beckon to it.  

So why do Christians rarely talk about the Rewards that await us in Heaven??

Contrary to popular thought, we will not be sitting around on clouds strumming our harps...there will be jobs to be done, commands to be carried out, and joy and fun to be had. Eternity is forever and I would certainly get bored with doing nothing for infinite days on end. God has great plans for us and He has a method in mind for handing out rewards and assigning jobs and tasks.  

No, we can't earn our salvation.  We know that "By grace we are saved by faith."  By believing that Christ died for my sins, His righteousness is imputed to me.  

But, once we are saved, this is not the green light to simply switch on cruise control.  

No, nothing will ever separate us from God or our salvation, but we are commanded to "work out our salvation".  

We want to buy into the popular concept that our righteousness is like filthy rags before God, which in a manner of speaking it is - if you are talking about righteous acts in order to earn our salvation. 

But once saved the rewards we will receive in Heaven can and should be a motive for our obedience.

But wait, shouldn't we just be obedient out of love for what Christ did for us?

Yes, but Paul states it quite plainly...

"But each will receive his own reward according to his own labor."  (1 Corinthians 3:8)

Believe it or not even Moses was motivated by rewards...

"He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward." (Hebrews 11:26)

We have been convinced that our obedience after being saved really doesn't matter.  We like "Once saved always saved" and so we rest on our laurels.  One day, however, we will need to stand before the throne of God and account for all our deeds (good and bad) and we will need to give an account of how we have labored to advance the Kingdom.  

God will look upon our acts of obedience.  Yes, we'll fall woefully short of His perfect standards, but the question will be did you try?  or did you simply do nothing?

Will our obedience and labor be despised in this bet!!  Will we be hated and even persecuted....the Bible pretty much guarantees it.

But the rewards....the REWARDS!!! The Bible also promises they will be great indeed.  

The obedience of the believer really does matter...and Yes, God is watching.  The more we practice obedience, the more He unleashes His Holy Spirit to work through us, and I believe He will work in us that which is pleasing in His sight.

Be encouraged if you feel like this world is not your isn't.  Be encouraged if you labor heavily in ministry and toil for the glory of God and the cause of Christ.  

Let Paul's word's resound in your ears:

"Your labor is not in vain."  (1 Corinthians 15:58)

And God will say:

"Well done, good and faithful servant!!"  (Matthew 25:21)

I can't wait to put on the crown of victory and glory knowing that I ran the race before me.  I did my best to be obedient to his Word.  I worked out my salvation and sought to bring glory to Jesus Christ.  

No, it won't be perfect (it can't be), but it will be pleasing in my Father's sight and that's good enough for me.

Do you feel "at home" in the world or do you feel like a foreigner passing through?  If you are saved, how are you "working out your salvation"?  What do you think Heaven is going to look like and how do you envision your role in eternity?

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you and thank you that you knew there was no way for me to earn my salvation (all my attempts are filthy rags) and so you sent your Son to die for me.  Thank you for guaranteeing me a place in the great, great House of God in Heaven for eternity.  Thank you for cleansing me through the blood of your precious Son, Jesus.  Lord, help me not to switch on cruise control. Keep my eyes focused on the future glory to come.  Help me be obedient to your Word and to love you and work out my salvation through obedience to you.  Like Moses, keep my eyes focused on the rewards to come...let that be the prize for which I run the race before me.  Grant me perseverance and hope as I walk through my days on this earth. I claim your promises you have given me in your Word.  Be with me now, O Lord.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed...

ps.  Thursday, Nov. 24th is Thanksgiving.  Friday the 25th is Black Friday.  Monday the 28th is Cyber Monday and TUESDAY NOVEMBER 29th is GIVING TUESDAY!!!

Instead of putting the focus on commercially driven buying and receiving, will you help us put the emphasis on GIVING??

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