What is Unseen is Eternal

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Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal. 

—2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

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Christ Jesus Our Compass

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All my theology is reduced to this narrow compass—
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. 
—Archibald Alexander

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My Hope: A New Message from Billy Graham

In the new short film, “Heaven,” Billy Graham talks about life and eternity. This is an excellent video by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Please share this important message with as many people as possible.

Beloved, the reason for my hope in spite of all the health issues and other problems in my life is because of my faith and tust in my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, who took the punishment for my sins. This is THE most important decision anyone will ever make in their lives!

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.
The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
—John 11:25-26

If you have ANY questions after viewing this video, please go here to read more about how you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and live with Him forever in heaven.

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What Must I Do To Be Saved?

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We often ask ourselves why we’re doing what we do:

  • What is our purpose in life?
  • What’s the point of working so many hours each day?
  • Why strive so hard to advance ourselves?
  • What good will any of this be when we die?
  • Are we living each day thinking that we’re going nowhere?
  • Do we go on with no hope in this life, wondering if there’s anything else after we die?

People have described this empty place in our hearts as a “God-shaped vacuum” that can’t be filled with work or through buying more clothes and other things. It is something that can’t even be filled with our personal relationships. What we really need can only be found in a relationship with God.

Our Sin Problem

We read in the Bible that we are sinful people—not just because of the bad things we do but because of who we are. We aren’t sinners just because we sin. We sin because we’re sinners, and that’s what separates us from God.

The Good News!

What if there was a way to bridge the gap that separates us from God? Wouldn’t you be interested in the assurance of being able to have everlasting life with God?

Well, there is a way—the only way—and that is through faith and belief in Jesus Christ as the one who died for our sins.

That’s what He did, you know. He died on that cross at Calvary so that you and I could live with Him forever. That’s the Good News!

It’s difficult to believe how much God loves us! After all, we’re nothing but sinners. In First John 4:9-10, we see the evidence of His great love for us:

God showed how much he loved us
by sending his one and only Son into the world
so that we might have eternal life through him.
This is real love—not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son
as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

You might be asking yourself how that is possible. Well, here are a few verses from the Bible that give us the answer:

God loved the world so much
that he gave his one and only Son
so that whoever believes in him
may not be lost, but have eternal life.
God did not send his Son into the world
to judge the world guilty,
but to save the world through him.
—John 3:16-17

 

Those who believe in the Son have eternal life,
but those who do not obey the Son
will never have life.
God’s anger stays upon them.
—John 3:36

 

Those who see the Son
and believe in him have eternal life,
and I will raise them on the last day.
This is what my Father wants.
—John 6:40

 

. . . I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me
will have life even if they die.
And everyone who lives and believes
in me will never die.
—John 11:25-26

Why would Jesus die for our sins? Because He loves us and desires our company forever! Imagine that! We also read in the Bible that “The reason Christ died and rose from the dead to live again was so he would be Lord over both the dead and the living.” —Romans 14:9

A Living Hope

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There is hope for all of us through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. We can do nothing in our own strength to guarantee us everlasting life. It is only through the sacrifice which Jesus Christ made on our behalf that we have the privilege of living with Him forever:

I mean that you have been saved
by grace through believing.
You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God.
It was not the result of your own efforts,
so you cannot brag about it.
—Ephesians 2:8-9

The amazing thing about this gift of eternal life is that it is a gift! Jesus Christ, God’s Son, paid the price for our sins, once for all time:

But God shows his great love for us in this way:
Christ died for us while we were still sinners.
—Romans 5:8

How We Can Receive the Gift of Everlasting Life

We have done nothing to deserve the gift of everlasting life, yet it is freely given to us and very easy to obtain. All we need to do is:

  • admit that we are sinners, repent of our sins, and then ask God to forgive us;
  • believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He die for our sins and then was resurrected from the dead: “The reason Christ died and rose from the dead to live again was so he would be Lord over both the dead and the living.” —Romans 14:9;
  • ask Jesus Christ to come into our hearts as our Savior and help us as the Lord of our lives.

You can do this right now in the quiet of your room. It’s between you and the Lord Jesus Christ. Here’s an example of how you can pray to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior:

Heavenly Father, I’m so sorry for my sins. Right now, I’m turning from my sins and asking You to forgive me. Thank you for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who died for my sins on the cross. Jesus, I ask You to come into my heart and my life, and be my Savior, Lord, and Friend. Thank You for forgiving me and giving me the gift of everlasting life. Amen.

That’s it! That’s all you have to do. Now there will be Someone you can turn to with all of your problems, cares and concerns—and that is Jesus Christ. Just knowing that He is in your corner is the greatest comfort of all.

. . . but now we are also very happy in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we are now God’s friends again.
—Romans 5:11

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Beloved, welcome to the family of God!  If you have any questions about any of this, please write to me at faithlhj777 at gmail dot com.

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Note: All emphasis in these Bible passages is added by me.

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Dark/Light … Hate/Love

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Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
—Martin Luther King Jr.

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Prayer When Struggling With Depression

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Today my energy and spirit is dragging, making it difficult to think clearly enough to write. I keep a list of ideas to write about but I can’t seem to summon up the energy to look those up. Instead, I want to share with you one of my devotionals that was published in an anthology titled Anytime Prayers for Everyday People

This particular devotional was in the section titled Prayers of Supplication. 

When I’m struggling with depression . . .

Come quickly, LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me, or I will die.
Let me hear of your unfailing love to me in the morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk, for I have come to you in prayer.
—Psalm 143:7-8 NLT

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My soul melts from heaviness;
strengthen me according to Your word.
—Psalm 119:28 NKJV

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God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking,
comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us.
—2 Corinthians 7:6 AMP

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When doubts filled my mind,
your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.
 
—Psalm 94:19 NLT

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. . . I will pray.

Father God,

There is so much in my life today that makes me want to give up. I have no energy to do even the basic things such as getting dressed or taking a shower. Nothing seems right. I despise my job. Food no longer appeals to me. My family and friends want to help me, but the thought of being with anyone is so exhausting.

I just want to be left alone. Why must I feel this way? How could I wake up one day with such despair in my heart? It’s not that I haven’t struggled to shake off this gloomy cloud. I truly have, but nothing has helped. And then I remember how You died on that cross for me and how alone and abandoned You must have felt.

Thank You for showering me with Your life-giving comfort and the reassurance of knowing that You truly understand my suffering. Lord, I turn to You now in hope and faith because even if everyone else in my life gives up on me, I know You’ll hold tight to me with a love that won’t let go.

Thank You for always being my Anchor.

Amen.

When you come to the bottom, you find God. —Nevill Talbot

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[From Anytime Prayers for Everyday People. Copyright © 2006 Bordon-Winters LLC]

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Jesus is the Rock

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For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore,
for Your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.
—Psalm 31:3

I’m glad I keep notes on things that greatly impact me because I recently found one about this song. The first time I ever heard or sang “Rock of Ages (Jesus is the Rock)” was when we lived in California years ago. The first time we sang this at church, I was greatly moved. The lyrics are simple yet very powerful:

There is no rock
There is no god like our God
No other name worthy of all our praise
The Rock of Salvation that cannot be moved
He’s moving Himself to be faithful and true
There is no rock
There is no God like ours.

It wasn’t the first time (nor the last) that we have worshiped the Lord with this song. Each time I sing it, the words never fail to make my eyes leak. Imagine being someone who is “faithful and true” and who “cannot be moved”! Of course my eyes leak! Although it is hard to keep singing through the tears, I continued to sing in my heart and mind.

I suspect there are many of us who are very susceptible to our emotions. Some days, in the midst of the storms in our lives, we feel confident that God is holding our hand to guide us through it. On other days, we may despair that He’s even there. Maybe He’s forgotten about us because, after all, He has so many of us to look after.

Beloved, God is always with us, no matter what! His love for us is so vast and constant, completely unchanging—unlike our own inconsistent emotions. We have the confidence of knowing this to be true because He tells us over and over again in His Word how much He loves and cares for us. It’s the one thing in this ever-changing world we can always count on!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I can’t number how many times I’ve almost given up on You and instead tried to do things in my own strength. But You have this way of reminding me of Your immense love for me, and sometimes a little nudge is from You is all I need to get me back on the right track. Thank you for being my Rock, the One Who will always be there for me, no matter what.

If for any reason you cannot view this video, please go here for the lyrics.

P.S. Some of you native Californians or those who have lived at or visited California’s central coast will recognize that the top photo is of Morro Rock. Rick and I spent many special times camping in Morro Bay and along that section of the coast. 

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Creator…Redeemer…the One

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He is preeminent in creation because He is the Creator.

He is preeminent in redemption for He is the Redeemer.

He is preeminent in the church because He is
the One who gave Himself for the church.

—J. Vernon McGee

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The Ultimate Relationship [David Jeremiah repost]

Here is another excellent devotional in keeping with Part 2 of my Habakkuk series.
This one is by David Jeremiah.

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The Ultimate Relationship

Woe to him who says to wood, “Awake!”
To silent stone, “Arise! It shall teach!”
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
yet in it there is no breath at all.
Habakkuk 2:19

To the modern, Western mind, trained in logic and rational thinking, nothing seems as illogical or irrational as some of the practices of people in the ancient Near East: Create an image out of wood or stone, then treat the image as if it was a living, breathing being — a god with whom the worshipper can relate. 

Educated people don’t do that today because we know that inanimate objects can’t be animated just because we want them to be. We know that a true relationship requires two sentient beings, at the very least. Even our family pet has more life than a stone idol. Relating to a pet or person is better than trying to relate to wood or stone, but it still leaves us wanting more. It is only when we enter into the relationship for which God created us — a personal, intimate relationship with Himself — that our hunger for knowing and being known can be satisfied.

If you are seeking the ultimate relationship in life, don’t seek it in things that cannot respond and relate in the way you are meant to. Seek it in the One who said He is the life (John 14:6). 

Man, made in the image of God, has a purpose
– to be in relationship to God, who is there.
Francis Schaeffer

Read-Thru-the-Bible
2 Samuel 4-7

Please visit DavidJeremiah.org. for many great resources.

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In the Fiery Furnace

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Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king,
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to
defend ourselves before you in this matter.

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace,
the God we serve is able to save us from it,
and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.
But even if he does not, 
we want you to know, O king,
that we will not serve your gods
or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
—Daniel 3:16-18, NIV

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to worship a gold statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s likeness. They firmly believed God would rescue them from a “blazing furnace.” But their faith didn’t stop there. They refused to worship any other gods or images even if God did not rescue them.

In his fury, Nebuchadnezzar ordered them thrown into a fiery furnace seven times hotter than usual. The intense heat killed several soldiers who were standing near the oven. However, inside of the oven, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were not harmed at all. In fact, four men were seen walking around in that oven, the fourth described “like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25, NKJV).

Do you feel the heat of your own fiery furnace today? Those of us who experience unrelenting pain oftentimes wonder why we are going through this. Will it ever end? Why isn’t God taking away our pain?

There is so much going on in our world today that seeks to divert our attention from God. It is much easier to complain and blame God for everything that is wrong in our lives than to pray for His help in coping with our pain. I admit that I struggle at times with this very thing, as well as the why of the path God is allowing in this season of my life. But when I do that, it turns my focus from God to myself, which keeps me from being able to embrace the joyful hope that is found only in Jesus Christ.

Beloved, God is always with us and fully understands what we’re going through better than any human being ever could. All He asks is that we trust Him to walk with us through our own personal fiery furnaces. He knows our fears and frustrations. He understands our pain. And He will always be there with us and for us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, sometimes we hurt so much that we don’t have the words to pray what is in our hearts. But You know what we’re going through and what we need from You without our having to say a word. Help us to always reach for Your hand in our fiery furnaces. Amen.

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