Wooden carving of Jesus on the cross

Is Jesus Beautiful to You?

“We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God ( Hebrews 12:2 GWT).”

I am constantly overwhelmed by the beauty of the Lord, especially during times of personal trials. During those difficult times, I begin to focus and meditate on Jesus’ death on the cross. You might say, “how can a naked, bleeding, dying man on a cross be seen as beautiful?” And I’d tell you, “the cross of Jesus is beautiful because I know that it should have been the cross of Jesse (me).”

As horrific and awful as Jesus’ crucifixion was, it is exceedingly more beautiful once you understand what He was accomplishing for us. Jesus was paying our debt, suffering our punishment, and satisfying the wrath of God for our sins. It often renders me speechless because it is so beautiful and undeserved. Nothing will ever surpass this in beauty.

Is Jesus beautiful to you? Do you find His shed blood repulsive or life giving? Do you run from His wounds or are they your hiding place? Jesus endured the cross for you, friend. Fix your eyes upon Him and behold His beauty today. Turn from your sins and turn to Jesus in faith.

What Will Heaven Be Like?

What Will Heaven Be Like? Part 1

I am sure that many of us have asked this question at some point. We all want to know what it will be like when we go to be with Jesus. I know that there are a lot of stories and movies out there about people’s near death experiences. Heaven is For Real is one that comes to mind. I find it interesting that so many Christians will go to see a movie about heaven instead of reading with God has already revealed about heaven to us in His Word. This week I will be sharing a few things that every Christian should remember when thinking about heaven. Here is part one:

There is no sin or death in heaven.

We know that the wages of sin is death, according to Romans 6:23. Death is the result of mankind’s sin. God created us as eternal creatures, made in His image. If Adam and Eve had not disobeyed God, they would have lived forever with God. Death entered the world in order the prevent them from living eternally in disobedience and rebellion towards God. God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden so that they would no longer have access to the tree of life.

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever— therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:22-24 (emphasis mine)

Notice that the Lord stopped Himself in mid-sentence. It is as if He couldn’t bear the thought of not being with His people for all of eternity. But, if nothing is done about our sin, we will still be separated from Him. This is why Jesus died for us. Eternal life can only be found in the One who suffered the eternal punishment for our sins, in six hours on the cross. If Jesus had not died and rose again, we would have no hope of heaven; we would still be in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).

But, because Jesus Christ is alive, we can live forever with Him if we repent of our sins and believe upon His name in faith. But make no mistake, if we do not trust in Jesus, we will not go to heaven when we die. We will go to a place of eternal torment called Hell. And it won’t be undeserved. Even one sin against the eternal, holy Judge of the universe demands an eternal, holy judgement. John 3:36 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Heaven is holy because it is where our Holy God dwells. The reason that there is no sin in heaven is because there are no sinners in heaven, only saints (Revelation 21:27). Will your name be found in the Lamb’s book of life? Will I see you in heaven one day? If you aren’t sure, please send me a message. I would love to explain to you how you can be sure.


If you liked this post, come back tomorrow for Part 2: There is No Sorrow or Pain in Heaven.

 

The Blessing of Taking Up Your Cross

The Blessing of Taking Up Your Cross

Earlier today, I had a great conversation with my Thai tutor about Christians who only seek God’s blessings. These Christians love to cling to the promises of Scripture, yet shy away from keeping the more difficult commands like taking up your cross daily and following Jesus. My friend was specifically referring to a trend he has seen in the Thai church, but I have seen the same thing happening in churches all over the world.

If our life is hard, we say that it must be because of the devil. “Surely, God wouldn’t let me, His child, go through these financial troubles. This has to be spiritual warfare. I actually read a book about this very thing. Huh, what’s that? Yeah, yeah, yeah—I know God allows certain trials in order to test our faith, but this is different. I can just tell, you know? Also, my really godly friend told me that my blessing and breakthrough are on the way.

I apologize for the sarcasm, but does this sound familiar? I think many of us have thought this way before. We associate easy things with God and difficulties with Satan. Success, wealth, and prosperity in life is what we use to gauge our standing with God. If these things are coming in then we must be doing really good. Otherwise, we must not have enough faith, or something.

A few years back, there was a song on the radio that I think helped Christians change the way they think about suffering in this life. It is a song called, “Blessings” by Laura Story. You are probably familiar with it. In the song she talks about all the difficult things we pray for God to take away from us to no avail. In the last line of the chorus she poses this question: “What if trials in this life are you mercies in disguise?”

What a remarkable question. Could it be that the things that cause us the most pain are actually bringing about the most healing? Is it possible that the things that are hard to endure are actually the only things worth enduring? To be clear, I am not talking about the difficulties and pain that comes about from our personal sin. We know God disciplines those whom He loves. I am talking about the times when your world is falling apart all around you and you don’t understand why.

Let me encourage you not to run from the pain. Bring it to the feet of Jesus. Don’t try to solve your problems on your own. Bring them to the Lord in prayer. Finally, brothers and sisters, it is time we stop viewing our crosses as a curse. They are not the same as Jesus’. Jesus took the curse of our sin upon Himself when He died on His cross. Sin is the true root of humanity’s problems. The daily call to die to ourselves and pick up our crosses is actually the greatest blessing in the world because by following Jesus we inherit eternal life. God could take away more things in our earthly lives than He did with Job. If we have Jesus, then we are truly blessed for all eternity.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33