Monday, September 6, 2021
If the world is in fact falling apart (it is), and if the world is going to continue to fall apart (it will), what are we supposed to do? Just be miserable?
Monday, September 6, 2021
If you are a Christian, meaning you put your faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, you have an option. That's this, to remember your ultimate citizenship. See, as a Christian, your ultimate citizenship is not as an American, I'm extremely proud to be an American. There's no other country I would rather live in and I'm extremely proud of my American citizenship. If you're from another country watching this, then you should be very proud of your nation. That is, unless it's a totally corrupt nation and you're watching this underground. But I am even more proud of the fact that as a Christian, I am a citizen of heaven. My citizenship is in heaven. That's how you cope with all that's happening in our world. If our citizenship was just in the world, the world will collapse, and it will all end. But our citizenship is in somewhere eternal. It's in heaven.
Our citizenship is in heaven because a savior will come from there. Lord Jesus Christ, verse 21, "who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly body, so that will be like Him in His glorious body." I'll cover that verse 21, in just a moment, but all I want to say is this: Paul says, if you focus on the world you're going to be depressed, you're going to be morally bankrupt. But if you're a Christian, you need to focus on heaven. One day, we'll be in heaven. One day, all the wrongs will be made right. One day, there'll be no more tears, no more pain. One day, all our sin will be taken away in the presence of the Sin-Taker-Awayer, Jesus Christ. That's why he's called our Savior. He saves us from sin.
I don't know what's got you down about this world doesn't take much five minutes of the news, we'll do it. But I'm telling you right now, your citizenship in heaven ought to remind you that Earth is not your home. You're just passing through, as the old Negro spiritual sang. So, I hope you'll be focused on citizenship in heaven, and I hope you'll know Jesus Christ because that will give you the confidence that you'll be there. Father, thanks for citizenship in heaven. We do pray "on earth as it is in heaven," but we know that's not going to be fully answered until you come back. So help us to remember when times are tough and our life is really really hard, we find joy in our citizenship in heaven one day. It's promised and you'll never take it away. Thank you, in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
When life gets hard you have to press on. Sometimes you have to put one foot ahead of the next, can't worry about one mile down the road, three blocks down the road, all you can worry about is your next step.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Sometimes life gets hard, and sometimes you just have to remind yourself to press on. When life gets hard you have to press on. Sometimes you have to put one foot ahead of the next, can't worry about one mile down the road, three blocks down the road, all you can worry about is your next step. You ask, "What's God going to do? This is so hard. How am I ever going to get out of this?" And sometimes you just have to say, "You know what, I'm just going to take the next step." I get that from a very powerful passage that the Apostle Paul shares in Philippians 3:12-14. Paul says, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Let me break that down. The "all this" that Paul has not yet obtained is knowing Jesus Christ perfectly. He also says he has not yet been made perfect, which is pretty obvious for all of us, and if it's true of the Apostle Paul, it'll always be true of us, too. He continues, "but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." In other words, he says, "Things get up, things get down, things get high, things get low, but I'm pressing on to take hold of the prize that Christ took a hold of me for." What he's saying is when you became a Christian Christ took a hold of you. He took a hold of you so that you will want to take a hold of the prize, which is knowing Jesus Christ perfectly. That is only going to happen in heaven, but we want to get as close as possible to that here during our days on earth.
Paul goes on to say, "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize, for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." See that? That's the goal. God took a hold of you so you'll take hold of the prize of getting to heaven and acting like it. How do you do it? He says you have to forget what is behind. You have to stop thinking about the negative things of your past. Learn from it, grow from it, forget it. Then, you have to have a vision for the future. Press on toward the goal. Then, you have to do it by taking one step at a time. See how he covers the past, (forget about it), the future (have a vision for heaven), and the present (perservere, press on)? Sometimes, when the past is so painful you have to focus on the future, which is so glorious, to help you in the present, which is taking one step at a time. Have you had a bad day, had a bad month, had a bad year, had a bad 18 months with COVID and everything else going on in our world? Sometimes, you have to focus on the vision of heaven. And you just have to put one step ahead of the other. Sometimes, when I don't like what has happened in the past days, I have to think about what's going to happen in future days. That will help me in present days to press on.
What is it in your past that's holding you back that you need to forget? What is it in your future that you forgot is in your future, if you're a Christian? Like going to heaven, like having no more problems, like being in the presence of Jesus Christ nonstop, forever in his house, his glorious mansion, heaven. Press on with those thoughts. Forget about this, focus on that. And right now, today, take the next step. What do I mean by that, take the next step? Do what you're supposed to do, step by step. Do what God wants. Read the Bible, serve other people, come to church, get involved in a ministry, get in a small group, be a witness to your friends, invite people to church, do the kinds of things to help you press on. Press on today. You can do it through Christ who gives you the strength.
Let's pray. Father, I don't know who I'm speaking to and I don't know where they're at. But I know all of us need this exhortation, some maybe more than others, to press on. Help us to press on, God. Help us forget what's behind. Let us remember our glorious future, if we have a relationship with you by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, and to persevere because of that. Help anybody who's discouraged to be encouraged to press on in you. Give them that courage. I know you will if they seek it with a whole heart, and a honest, true, seeking, open heart. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Welcome back to Life Lifters! We've been talking about some of the chaos and difficulties in our world and I just want to give us a little perspective today. So, I live in the town of...
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Philippians 3:20; John 14:1-6
Welcome back to Life Lifters! We've been talking about some of the chaos and difficulties in our world and I just want to give us a little perspective today. So, I live in the town of Greece, so I am a citizen of the town of Greece. Greece is in the county of Monroe, so you could say that I am a citizen of Monroe County. We could take that further and say Monroe County is one of many counties in New York State and, therefore, I am a citizen of New York State. Even further, New York is one of 50 states in the United States so, therefore, I am a citizen of the United States. But if I stopped there by saying I'm a citizen of the United States, I would really be selling myself short because there is an even grander vision than that; I could say that I am a citizen of Heaven. If you are a follower of Jesus, you can say the same thing! So, the encouragement I want to give you today is that we are not merely of this world, but we are in this world. The bigger picture is that our ultimate citizenship is in Heaven. The things that we do here on Earth should be the things that prepare us to be in our final home, which is in Heaven.
The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 3:20, "our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies, so that they will be like his glorious body." You see, we are citizens of Heaven because we are Christians. As followers of Jesus, we've been adopted into the family of God, therefore, we are heirs and our citizenship is not merely here in Greece, or Monroe County, or New York or the United States; our citizenship is in Heaven.
Jesus encouraged us with His words in John 14: "Do not let your heart be troubled." Let's stop there. All the stuff that's going on in our world, "do not let your heart be troubled." This is not our final place. Yes, we must live here. Yes, we're here today. Let's make the most and the best of today, but Jesus is telling us "do not let your heart be troubled", and here's why. He goes on to say, "trust in God, trust also in me. In my father's house are many rooms. If it were not so I would have told you, I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me. That you also may be where I am." Think about that. Jesus left Earth, He died on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead 3 days later, was on earth for a little while, and then he went back to the Father in Heaven to prepare a place for you!
I take great comfort in that. Jesus has been with the Father for about 2000 years. Can you imagine what kind of place He is preparing for you? The Bible gives us a glimpse into Heaven, but it is going to be so much more than words can describe. So when we think about what's going on in our world, I want you to remember you are not just merely a citizen here of this world. You are a citizen of Heaven.
There comes a time when God is going to come for you and bring you to Heaven where there's no more tears, no more crying, no more pain or sorrows or death. But it's a place that has been described as paradise, a place where we will be with the Lord forever, for eternity. I hope you find great comfort in that today. See you tomorrow.