Devotionals

Colossians 1:5

Because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven,
of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. Colossians 1:5


Heaven is real! It is not only real, but it is an essential truth which is critical for the believer in Jesus to keep front and center while on this earth. In other words, Heaven is real, and really, really important even while here on this side of it. The Psalmist (Ps.73:25) makes it very clear that desire is never truly satisfied while here on earth. We are truly home at last when in Heaven. Certainly Solomon discovered that, not in theory but in the autobiographical reality which the book of Ecclesiastes demonstrates to its reader. He concluded the whole matter was to “Fear God and keep His commandments. For this is man’s all.”

Oh the blessing and delight of the certainty of Romans 6:23—“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Of course we cannot help but think of that cherished verse so many of us have wisely etched upon our memory from John 3:16—“For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

A few favorite quotes outside of Scripture regarding eternity and Heaven—

From William Barclay—“The only way to get our values right is to see, not the beginning, but the end of the way, to see things, not in the light of time, but in the light of eternity.”

John Baillie—“I thank thee, O Lord, that thou hast so set eternity within my heart that no earthly thing can ever satisfy me wholly.”

Dwight (D.L.) Moody—“One day you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of Northfield, Ill.
is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now.

From our own Jaci Smith, stated while in Kenya to a group of men around a card-table, distracted from hearing the truth of the gift of the gospel—
“Do you guys want to finish that poker game, or have eternal life?”

Jaci summed it up well… is there a poker game distracting you from the really, really important gift of eternal life? Consider the words above and the words of Jesus— “This is eternal life, to know You, the only true God, and Him whom you have sent—Jesus Christ” (John 17:3 Phillips).

Maranatha

Philippians 4:17-18

Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.
…a sweet smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. Philippians 4:17-18


It is not uncommon to be reticent in the discussion of matters of financial giving towards the church for believers. Certainly a contributing reason for this is the abuse in these matters by many so called “ministries” who continually beat the drum to contribute and give. Paul does not avoid this sensitive subject. Not one bit, in fact he hits it full force and head-on.

Interestingly he is not concerned one iota about his own welfare. Rather, his concern is for the long-term… longer than long-term, the eternal fruit of building an account of record in Heaven as one being a giver. Heaven is soon…real soon. When the person who gives the Lord’s tithe and offerings above and beyond gets to Heaven he is not going to wish he spent a bit more money on a better barbeque or an upgraded patio set. Eternal reality dictates that the wise use of resources here are those which have an influence into the things of eternity. It is an absolute delight and privilege to invest in fruit for the eternal kingdom. It will be as Paul says “fruit that abounds in your account.”

There is an old adage which is so true: “You can’t take it with you… but you can send it ahead.” There will be some incredibly wealthy people in Heaven. A portion of reason for their wealth will be the fact they were wise investors while here on earth. They chose not to rob God of the tithe and they did not keep every penny for their own pleasure.

I am delighted that today we will hear testimony of the gospel and church plant ministry that went on in Kenya two weeks ago. Those were resources well used. I have no doubt that such use of resource would be a type of “sweet smelling aroma…well pleasing to God” which Paul writes on in verse 18. There is no greater delight to God than the salvation of a man or woman, boy or girl. He delights in His church. He died for it. Though we meet in a rented building, I am pleased we were able to be used by God in His provision for a place for believers to meet, rain or shine. And to give so that the gospel could be shared truly in a white-fielded harvest. Thank-you for being a giving church! Keep it up, well done! Paul would perhaps say “that’s a sweet aroma!”

With Micah and Marla in Brazil, sharing the gospel and building the church… I am so delighted we are linked with them. We are wise to be a part of the ministry of our Lord Jesus through them. Our brother Heath and the local Love Inc. ministry… Heath is determined to share the good news with those who are struggling in our culture. Lord willing, we will be able to share in the continued fields of Kenya. And may we be faithful here to build the body of Christ growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus! He is the giver of all good things! Live with Heaven in mind, place your treasure there…it’s gonna be soon!

Maranatha

Colossians 1:5

…the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. Colossians 1:5


What a delight to see and hear the glowing report of God’s goodness and favor upon the Kenya team’s return. Their purpose was to simply share the gospel and introduce or reacquaint people with the truth of the gospel. Literally meaning “good-news” the gospel is the wonderful fact of Jesus’ victory over Satan, sin and death. That those who believe will live forever. In simple reality— Christ died for our sins, and rose from the dead!

We are certainly blessed by the gospel, but also privileged to handle it in certain ways.

This is a privilege for us whether at a hut in Kenya, or our neighborhood in Yamhill county—

1) Like Jesus in Matt.4:23, going about sharing the gospel.

2) Like Paul, we too are to defend the gospel, Phil.1:17. Peter tells us to “always be ready to give
a defense… for the hope that is in us.” I Pet.3:15

3) As church family the gospel is to be something we work together to advance. Phil.1:27

4) With thankfulness and joy, the gospel is to be a center-point of our fellowship. Phil.1:3-5

5) Be ready to suffer simply for sharing the gospel. II Tim.1:8

6) Wisely and humbly live life in a manner which does not create obstacle, confusion or hinder the
gospel. I Cor.9:12

7) The gospel is powerful as the way of salvation from God… don’t be ashamed of it! Rom.1:16

8) The power of the gospel does not come from intellect, or clever persuasion. The real power lies
in its presentation “in the Holy Spirit.” I Thess.1:5

Two concluding thoughts, first from E. Stanley Jones—Religions are man’s search for God;
the gospel is God’s search for man. There are many religions, but one gospel.

From Susanna Wesley—There are two things to do about the Gospel—believe it and behave it.

Maranatha!