Charles Stanley – Who Will Be in Heaven?

 

Matthew 7:13-27

Most people think that when they die, they are going to heaven. If you asked why, the majority would say they have been good people or their positive deeds outweigh any negative things they’ve done. Yet the sad reality is, most people will not find themselves in heaven—and that includes some who claim to be Christians.

It may not be a popular topic of conversation, but our Savior knew that hell was essential to understand. In today’s reading, He uses illustrations of contrasting gates, trees, and houses to point out that there are only two possible destinies after death: heaven and hell. Jesus is warning us about a most sobering reality—that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” actually belongs to Him (Matt. 7:21-23).

What, then, distinguishes a true follower? John 14:15 tells us those who love the Savior will keep His commandments. This obedience begins with believing Jesus is the Son of God (John 3:36). In other words, the first step is to humble ourselves before God, admitting that we’re sinful and deserving of condemnation. Next, we must call out to Him, requesting the forgiveness for which His Son’s blood was shed on our behalf. From then on, we’re to live only for God.

If you hear the gospel but stop short of obedience, ask yourself, Do I fully understand the goodness of God’s love? That should inspire you to obey the Father. Looking good on the outside isn’t enough to enter the kingdom of heaven. Remember, to those who truly receive Him, He will give “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Won’t you make sure you’re among those destined for heaven?

Bible in One Year: 2 Corinthians 5-8

 

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Our Daily Bread — The Lost Envelope

 

Bible in a Year:

  • Ezekiel 45–46
  • 1 John 2

Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Matthew 6:20

Today’s Scripture & Insight:Matthew 6:19–21

We were on the way home from a visit with family in another state when I found it. I was pumping gas when I noticed a dirty, bulky envelope on the ground. I grabbed it, dirt and all, and looked inside. To my surprise, it contained one hundred dollars.

One hundred dollars that someone had lost and who at that very moment was possibly frantically searching to find. I gave our phone number to the attendants at the gas station in case anyone came back looking for it. But no one ever called.

Someone had that money and lost it. Earthly treasure is often like that. It can be lost, stolen, or even squandered. It can be lost in bad investments or even in a monetary market over which we have no control. But the heavenly treasure we have in Jesus—a restored relationship with God and the promise of eternal life—isn’t like that. We can’t lose it at a gas station or anywhere else.

That’s why Christ told us to store up “treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). We do that when we become “rich in good deeds” (1 Timothy 6:18) or “rich in faith” (James 2:5)—lovingly helping others and sharing Jesus with them. As God leads and empowers us, may we store up eternal treasure even as we anticipate our eternal future with Him.

By: Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

What can you do this week that has eternal implications? How can you better use your earthly treasures as investments for heaven’s good?

Dear God, thank You for everything You’ve given us on this earth—our money, our homes, and more. Help us to hold them loosely while seeking to store up more eternal treasures.

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – Simplicity and Decisions

 

But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.— James 5:12

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful Devotional – by Joyce Meyer

Decision-making can be simple if we refuse to be double-minded. After making a decision, stand firm, let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.” Indecision and double-mindedness not only bring confusion and complication, but, as James noted, they also cause condemnation (see James 5:12).

If we believe in our hearts that we should do something and then allow our heads to talk us out of it, it is an open door for condemnation. We often labor over decisions when actually we just need to decide. Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance, and then make decisions without worrying about them.

Thankfully, you don’t have to live in fear of being wrong. If your heart is right and you make a decision that is not in accordance with God’s will and end up going astray, He will forgive you, find you, and get you back on course.

Prayer Starter: Father, help me to avoid complicating the process of decision-making. I thank You that You see my heart and You will correct my course if I take a wrong step. I thank You that I can simply follow what I believe You are leading me to do and trust You to protect me in the process. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Recipe for Growth

 

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2, KJV).

Sam was very impatient with himself. Though he was a new Christian, he could not understand why he was not as spiritual as some of the other students who had walked with the Lord for several years.

I explained to him the Christian life, like physical life, involves a process of growth. A person begins as a baby and goes through various stages of childhood, adolescence and young adulthood to reach Christian maturity. Very few, if any, Christians, I explained to him, become spiritually mature overnight.

Lane Adams, a beloved colleague, gifted teacher, preacher and author, said, “I shrink inside when I think of the times I have mounted the pulpit, recited the conversion experience of the apostle Paul, and then indicated that he went out and turned the world upside down for Jesus Christ immediately.”

He continued, “This simply was not the case. There is a difference of opinion among scholars concerning New Testament dating, but it seems rather plain that many years went by before the Holy Spirit laid the dramatic burden on Paul as a missionary of the cross.”

If you strongly desire to serve the Lord in some particular way, such as teaching, ask the Holy Spirit in faith to empower you to become an effective teacher. Now, it may be that the Holy Spirit will see fit to make you a great teacher overnight, but this is most unlikely. So if it does not happen, do not be discouraged. Have faith!

Continue to ask and believe that the Holy Spirit will make you an effective teacher of the Word of God and be willing to work hardand long to develop your natural ability. The Bible reminds us that “faith without works is useless.”

If we are unique members of the Body of Christ, and we are, if we possess special tasks to accomplish, and we do, then the Holy Spirit will empower us to carry out those tasks. God does indeed have a plan for each of our lives. And He gives us the direction and power of His Holy Spirit to accomplish that plan as we continue to trust and obey Him.

Bible Reading: 2 Peter 3:14-18

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Recognizing that I am in the process of maturing spiritually, I shall seek to accelerate my spiritual growth by hiding the Word of God in my heart, spending time in prayer, walking in the Spirit and sharing my faith in Christ with others as a way of life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – The Word “Almost”

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

Almost.  It’s a sad word in any man’s dictionary.  It runs with nearly, next time, and  just about!  It’s a word that smacks with missed opportunities.  It’s honorable mention, on the bench, and burnt cookies!

One of the most famous almosts is in the Bible.  His name was Pilate.  He almost performed what would have been history’s greatest act of mercy.  He almost pardoned the Prince of Peace.  He almost released the Son of God. He had the power.  He had the choice.  The option to free God’s Son was his.  And he did it… almost!

Jesus never had room for almost. With Him nearly has to become certainly. Sometimes has to be always.  And next time has to become this time!  Almost may count in horseshoes, but with the Master, it’s just as good as a never.

Read more No Wonder They Call Him Savior: Experiencing the Truth of the Cross

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

 

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Denison Forum – Greg Abbott responds to ‘God put you in a wheelchair’ tweet: Paying the price to change someone’s life today

 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott was paralyzed from the waist down in 1984 when an oak tree fell on him as he was jogging in Houston. He has since made overcoming adversity one of the themes of his public life.

For instance, he recently tweeted a video of a young man in a wheelchair climbing an indoor wall with the caption, “Never quit. Never give up. Overcome any challenge.” A person replied, “So great to see but if I ever end up in a wheelchair I’m just ending it.” The governor responded: “That’s what I thought before I ended up in a wheelchair. I’ve done more AFTER the accident that left me paralyzed than before that accident. With God all things are possible.”

Someone then tweeted back to the governor: “God put you in a wheelchair Greg.” Gov. Abbott replied, “God didn’t cause the accident that left me paralyzed, but He did help me persevere over that enormous challenge.”

He added: “I’m a testament that the glory of God is revealed by a young man’s back being broken in half and still rising up to be Governor of Texas. With God all is possible.”

How Luka Doncic changed a boy’s life

Greg Abbott is not the only public figure making news for the right reasons.

Prior to scoring twenty-seven points and leading his team to victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic met with twenty-two-month-old Kris Zudich and his family. The reason: Doncic helped raise more than $2.2 million so the boy could get medical treatment at UCLA for a rare muscle condition.

Three-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, are working with Dallas-based Topgolf and the International Justice Mission (IJM) to raise awareness on modern-day slavery, especially in the area of sex-trafficking. The Kershaws recently traveled to the Dominican Republic with IJM. They operate Kershaw’s Challenge, which benefits schools in West Dallas and Los Angeles, children in Zambia and, most recently, the Dominican.

And San Francisco 49ers star cornerback Richard Sherman recently donated more than $7,000 to help eradicate a middle school’s lunch debt. Earlier this year, his foundation donated $20,000 to Tacoma Public Schools for the same purpose.

Responders to terrorist are “truly the best of us”

Their stories remind us that making a real difference in the world comes at a cost.

Continue reading Denison Forum – Greg Abbott responds to ‘God put you in a wheelchair’ tweet: Paying the price to change someone’s life today