Live Loved

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.

[Psalm 19:1]

Loved by God the Creator

Venture away from the city lights on a clear night, and look up at the sky. That fuzzy band of white light is our galaxy, the Milky Way. One hundred billion stars. Our galaxy is one of billions of others! Who can conceive of such a universe, let alone infinite numbers of universes?

No one can. But let’s try anyway. Suppose you attempt to drive to the sun. A car dealer offers you a sweet deal on a space vehicle (no doubt solar powered) that averages 150 miles per hour. You hop in, open the moonroof, and blast off. You drive nonstop, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. Any guess as to the length of your trip? Try seventy years! Suppose, after stretching your legs and catching a bit of sun, you fuel up and rocket off to Alpha Centauri, the next closest star system. Best pack a lunch and clear your calendar. You’ll need 15 million years to make the trip.

Don’t like to drive, you say? Board a jet, and zip through our solar system at a blistering six hundred miles per hour. In 16.5 days you’ll reach the moon, in seventeen years you’ll pass the sun, and in 690 years you can enjoy dinner on Pluto. After seven centuries you haven’t even left our solar system, much less our galaxy.

Our universe is God’s preeminent missionary. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1 niv). A house implies a builder; a painting suggests a painter. Don’t stars suggest a star maker? Doesn’t creation imply a creator? “The heavens declare His righteousness” (Psalm 97:6). Look above you…

If God can make a billion galaxies, can’t he make good out of our bad and sense out of our faltering lives? Of course he can. He is God.

[3:16: The Numbers of Hope]

Heavenly Father,

Your creative powers are mind-boggling. The universe you have created is beyond comprehension. You created everything by your mighty power, and you sustain everything by that same power. How comforting to know that you can create galaxies and yet you care about every detail in my life. What a privilege to trust in your loving power no matter what comes my way,

Amen.

You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain.

[Hebrews 1:10-11]

Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

[Psalm 40:5]

~ Max Lucado ~

Jesus Today

Trust Me Moment By Moment

TRUST ME MOMENT BY MOMENT. THIS IS ALL I require of you, and it is sufficient to keep you standing firm in the midst of fierce spiritual battles. Just getting through each day is a victory as long as you stay in communication with Me. Search for Me in your moments. Keeping your focus on My Presence is the best protection against self-pity and depression.

I am calling you to trust Me in deep darkness. Take one step at a time, clinging to My hand for help and guidance. I am always near you, and I know exactly how much you are struggling.

Though the battle is fierce and you are weak, your resources are unlimited. My Spirit is ever ready to help you; you have only to ask. Remember that this Holy Helper is infinitely powerful and infinitely loving. I also am eager to help you. Call upon My Name with confident trust, for My unfailing Love surrounds you.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

[Psalm 62:8]

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

[John 14:16–17]

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.

[Psalm 32:10]

~ Sarah Young ~

What Will We Do in Heaven?

He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.

[2 Thessalonians 1:10]

This week, we are looking at the top 10 questions people have about heaven and what the Bible says. The ninth question is this: “What are we going to do in heaven?” Some people say that in eternity we will do nothing except worship God forever. While worship will be a primary activity in heaven, it will not be our only activity. The Bible says in heaven we will not only worship but we will also work. Worship and work are not mutually exclusive. A perfect illustration of that is in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, before the Fall, had perfect fellowship with God. But did they just sing hymns and pray all day long? No. Genesis 2:15 says God gave them a job: to cultivate the garden and to keep it. They worked and worshipped at the same time. And the same thing will be true for us in heaven. We will do more than sing hymns and pray all day. God has responsibilities for us. In Matthew 25, Jesus told the parable of the talents, which teaches us that based on our faithfulness in this life, we will receive responsibilities in the next life. Some will rule over planets, some will rule over stars, and some will rule over galaxies. Paul said one day we will judge angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). God will give us responsibilities to carry out in eternity, and we will find fulfillment in doing that.

Question number ten: “Are Christians in heaven right now aware of what is happening on earth?” The Bible answers that question with an affirming yes–at least to some extent, people in heaven know what is happening on earth. Where do I find that in the Bible? In Luke 16, Lazarus was with the Lord, but he was aware of the rich man’s suffering. In Revelation 6:10, Christians who have died during the Tribulation because of their faith are in heaven, looking down at what is happening on earth during the Tribulation. They cry out, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” In other words, during the Tribulation, people in heaven will see the calamity on the earth and ask, “Lord, how long will You allow this happen before You bring judgment?” The Bible is clear, at least to some extent, that people in heaven are aware of what is happening on earth.

That brings up a related question: “Do Christians in heaven experience grief when they see loved ones being consigned to hell?” In 2 Thessalonians 1, we find an interesting description of what happens when the Lord returns. When the Lord was here the first time, He wept over the lost. But 2 Thessalonians 1 says when the Lord comes the second time, he will not grieve as he renders judgment to unbelievers. And when we witness Christ punishing evildoers, we won’t argue with Him or say He is being unjust; instead, we will marvel at what He has done. When we see life from God’s perspective, every bit of remorse will be wiped away. Knowing what awaits us makes this life more bearable. Living in anticipation of heaven is the strongest motivation I know for living a God-centered life beginning today.

~ Dr. Robert Jeffress ~

Live Loved

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

[2 Timothy 3:12]

Strength and Courage

“Now when [the accusers] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

Peter and John had been with Jesus. The resurrected Jesus. In the Upper Room when he walked through the wall. Standing next to Thomas when the disciple touched the wounds. On the beach when Jesus cooked the fish. Sitting at Jesus’ feet for forty days as he explained the ways of the kingdom.

They had lingered long and delightfully in the presence of the resurrected King. Awakening with him, walking with him. And because they had, silence was no longer an option. “We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (v. 20).

Could you use some high-octane boldness? If you want to outlive your life, you could. As long as you are stationary, no one will complain. Dogs don’t bark at parked cars. But as soon as you accelerate—once you step out of drunkenness into sobriety, dishonesty into integrity, or lethargy into compassion—expect the yapping to begin. Expect to be criticized. Expect to be mocked. Expect to be persecuted.

So how can we prepare ourselves? Simple. Imitate the disciples. Linger long and often in the presence of Christ. Meditate on his grace. Ponder his love. Memorize his words. Gaze into his face. Talk to him. Courage comes as we live with Jesus.

Peter said it this way. “Don’t give the opposition a second thought. 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” (1 Peter 3:14–15 msg).

As we meditate on Christ’s life, we find strength for our own.

[Outlive Your Life]

Father,

Help us to be bold for you like Peter and John. May our lives count for your kingdom. Outfit us with courage to overcome tests and trials. We will meditate on your grace and ponder your love. You, Lord, are the center of our lives,

Amen.

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear!”
 

Isaiah 35:4

~ Max Lucado ~

Jesus Calling

MAKE ME THE FOCAL POINT of your search for security. In your private thoughts, you are still trying to order your world so that it is predictable and feels safe. Not only is this an impossible goal, but it is also counterproductive to spiritual growth. When your private world feels unsteady and you grip My hand for support, you are living in conscious dependence on Me.

Instead of yearning for a problem-free life, rejoice that trouble can highlight your awareness of My Presence. In the darkness of adversity, you are able to see more clearly the radiance of My Face. Accept the value of problems in this life, considering them purejoy. Remember that you have an eternity of trouble-free living awaiting you in heaven.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

[ISAIAH 41:10]

Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

[PSALM 139:10]

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.

[JAMES 1:2]

~ Sarah Young ~

You Are Priceless

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

[Psalm 139:14]

A few years ago, I was having dinner with some people in their home. I noticed some paintings on the wall. To me, they weren’t very impressive. In fact, some of them looked like they had been painted by a child. They were abstract and modern, and it appeared like paint had been just thrown here and there. But later that evening, the owner mentioned how he had paid over a million dollars for just one of those paintings. I looked at it again and thought, “Wow! That is beautiful, isn’t it?”

I found out it was an original that was painted by the famous artist Pablo Picasso. What dawned on me that night was not so much what the painting looked like, but rather who the artist was. A painting gets its value from its creator.

In the same way, your value doesn’t come from what you look like, what you do or who you know. You are a masterpiece! Your value comes from the fact that Almighty God created you. You are priceless!

A Prayer for Today

“Father, thank You for creating me and instilling value in me. I receive Your love for me. I receive Your strength and power to be all that You’ve called me to be in Jesus’ name. Amen.”