There Remains a Sabbath Rest

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
(Hebrews 4:6-11)

A Sabbath rest is coming, an eternal rest. Just like God rested from His works, we will rest from ours. Some will fail to enter it, as the text says, and the encouragement is for us to “strive to enter that rest.” We are saved by grace, no doubt, but the Lord calls us to work until He calls us home to rest.

There is a day coming, when we will touch the face of God and rest in the light of His glory for eternity. Are you and I thinking about that rest? Our we taking the time to think of eternity, heaven and living in the presence of God forever? I know I need that more, how about you? Re-centering our minds on heaven helps us to see things today with a more hopeful and joyful perspective.

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
(Revelation 14:12-13)


How Can I Keep from Singing?

The point I am considering today and invite you to consider is that of contentment and joyful living and how that makes a huge difference in the lives of those we come in contact with each day.

One of the Shepherds at South Macomb Church of Christ once said to me… “God didn’t promise a smooth flight…He promised a safe landing.” The comment was made in reference to fact this world is tough, our lives will be tough, difficult circumstances will present themselves…BUT…if we cling to our God and Father through our Elder Brother and Savior Jesus Christ…we will one day make it home to be with God forever. That home has no tears, no fears, no sin, no death, no confusion and the list goes on. It is a perfect rest in the place God always intended for us to be…in His presence, in His family, forever.

Though we are not home yet…God is all around us! His glory and power are screaming at us…but we don’t always see it because of all the noise and confusion and suffering in the world. But He is there and if we look, and we consider Him and His promises…how can we not be filled with joy and peace? And if we are filled with this how can we not love and live in such a way that is different and makes those around us take notice? And how powerful is that opportunity when someone asks “How can you be so at peace or so joyful or so loving and so hopeful in a time or place like this?”? That is when the power and love of God that fills us pours out and makes a difference in the world.

Fill yourself up with Him to the point it overflows and others will notice and opportunity will arise for the Gospel. We sow the seed…the increase belongs to God. Go about your day singing and you will be different and you will have opportunity for Christ and in that God will be glorified.

I love you all and appreciate the work you do for the sake of Christ in your homes, in the Church, in the workplace and throughout your everyday experiences. May a song of Jesus fill your heart today and the spill over into the lives of others.

What Happens When the Christian Dies

Here is a short bulletin article a sister shared with me about what happens to the Christian when he or she dies. There are many passages here that bring comfort and hope to the Christian to face death.

Do We Struggle With Facing Death?
By Mike Riley

By dropping by our local cemetery and reading the dates etched on the tombstones, we know that our demise will shortly come to pass (Hebrews 9:27 ; James 4:14 ; cf. Job 7:6-7; Psalm 78:39) — death is not an event that one should take lightly (2 Kings 20:1-6; Ecclesiastes 2:12-23; Luke 12:13-21).

But what do the inspired Scriptures tell about this impending event in our life? The Scriptures tell us that if we’re faithful to the Lord in the doing of His will (even in the face of death – Revelation 2:10), the following events will occur when we pass from this life:

  • The angels will carry us into Abraham’s bosom, a place of blessed peace and tranquility (Luke 16:22).
  • The Lord will be with us when we walk through that valley (Psalm 23:4).
  • We will be with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23; 2 Timothy 4:6).
  • We will be blessed with rest from our labors (Revelation 14:13).
  • We will receive a victory crown (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:8 ).
  • We will receive our everlasting inheritance (1 Peter 1:4; 1 Timothy 6:19).
  • We will then live forever with the Lord (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), with God (Revelation 21:3), and with the redeemed of all the ages (Revelation 5:9; 21:24).

Knowing all of the above, we need not struggle with facing death, but like the apostle Paul, be looking forward to spending a never ending existence with our Lord and with those who have passed on before us (2 Timothy 4:5-8; Genesis 25:8; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Philippians 1:20-23).

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
(2 Timothy 4:6-8)

Behold I Make All Things New

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:5).

I’m looking outside the window this morning and seeing much more green today than before. It is just amazing how that happens. The Lord just turned on the green switch last night. Birds are singing and building nests in the trees. Spring flowers are coming up.

The promises that come with spring are so encouraging; God is making all things new again. Leaves will come back on the trees, fruits and vegetables will grow. New creatures will be born. The blossoms on the trees will spread their fragrant aromas. Spring brings such a hopeful atmosphere with it.

Take these opportunities to direct your children’s attention to God’s marvelous creation, and the amazing work He accomplishes every spring!

Consider also that during the springtime is when Jesus raised from the dead. The God who raised Jesus from the dead is the God who said, “Behold I make all things new.” Just as spring flowers, baby birds and green grass are a testimony to God’s handiwork, even more so is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The very fact of Jesus’ resurrection serves as a promise that one day, God will truly make all things new. There will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more pain because the “former things” will have passed away (Revelation 21:4). So as we see the Spring bring new life, we can comfort our hearts in faith that the God who made the robin and its beautiful blue egg will one day make all things new in heaven.

A Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5).

A Living Hope. This is such an encouragement to me, and I pray that this passage will be an encouragement to you today as well. Peter began his letter with praise to God. Why? Because of His abundant mercy and what happened because of God’s abundant mercy.

We are born again, and by being re-created by God we have been blessed with a living hope. Our hope lives because Jesus lives. The hopes based solely in this life are dead hopes, uncertain hopes, hopes that fade away and disappoint. God’s “living hope” is connected to the eternal inheritance we receive through Jesus Christ.

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).

This inheritance from God through Jesus Christ is:

  • Incorruptible.
  • Undefiled.
  • Does not fade away.
  • Reserved in heaven for you. There are two observations about this statement I’d like to make. One is that it is reserved. We are not going to miss out on this inheritance if we are in Christ. Through the blood of Christ and the grace of God, it is reserved for us. The second is that it is reserved “in heaven.” It would have to be, because everything on this earth becomes corrupted and defiled and things fade away. Not so with God’s inheritance in heaven.

This hope also lives, Peter adds, because God is keeping us through this life by His power when we believe and trust in His salvation. If this hope was based upon my power to keep it, it would be a dead hope in a hurry. But this is God’s power, God’s mercy, God’s working, God’s salvation, God’s inheritance, and God’s hope.

Finally, keep this in mind today at work or at school or wherever you walk today. If you are in Christ, you have a living hope. May we behave, talk and think like those who have that living hope.

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

Here is the chorus from the old hymn, “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be.”

How beautiful heaven must be, sweet home of the happy and free. Fair haven of rest for the weary, how beautiful heaven must be.

So, why is heaven so beautiful? Why is it a place upon which we should set our minds?

It is beautiful because God is there.

The Lamb, Jesus Christ, is there. In His presence there is joy, light, holiness, love, rest and peace. By contrast, hell is a realm where God is absent, so nothing good whatsoever is there. I believe this is the most beautiful thing about heaven – Jesus is there, and we will see His face. We will forever be with the Lord (1 Thes. 4:18; Rev. 21:3; 22:4).

Our eternal inheritance.

Peter describes our inheritance in heaven as one that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that does not fade away. He adds that it is reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:7).

When we are in heaven, we are with all of God’s people.

Dwell on that for  moment. All of God’s people who have ever followed Him on this earth. Think of all those great men and women of faith you read about in Scripture…they are there. The precious ones in our lives who have walked with Jesus and are now asleep in Jesus…they are there. And the countless others you don’t even know who have given their lives as a living sacrifice to Jesus…they are there. That is beautiful.

In heaven we have transformed bodies.

We have a body made without hands. This mortal robe is a tent; it is temporary. However we groan, as Paul wrote, for our mortality to be swallowed up in immortality (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).

“It is done…”

At the end of the Bible in the book of Revelation, Jesus says, “It is done…Behold, I make all things new.” That is beautiful. There is no more sickness, no more crying, and no more pain, because the “former things have all passed away” (Revelation 21:1,4-7).

Serving God eternally…

The beauty of heaven continues with the fact that we will serve God day and night in His temple. An eternity to serve God, to worship and praise Him without all the limitations of sin and mortal flesh. The angelic beings who are now in heaven do not cease praising God (Revelation 4:8).

Oh yeah, and angels will be there, too.

Just something to think about today.

Where Christ Is

Let’s meditate for a moment today on where Christ is. Please read Colossians 3:1-4.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

Jesus fills heaven and earth, and He is with us always, but His home and His throne is in heaven above. He is sitting. I find comfort in that. In heaven there is no turbulence, chaos or unrest. You find absolute certainty as to Who is in charge. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God. He has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). Remember that today, men.

We were raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. That means Christ is with us now. That means we must change what we seek, men. We no longer seek the sinful things of this world. We fix our gaze upon Jesus in glory, and that will transform our attitudes, behavior and decisions.

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

As a dear sister said this week in a Bible study, “That doesn’t mean 24-7 I am sitting on a rock meditating.” Yes, we have to pay the bills, mow the lawn, change diapers and go to work. We are not just sitting in a holding pattern, enduring life’s misery because we know one day we will be in heaven. No, friends, God wants us to set our minds on things above when we are at work. Does God want us involved in our communities? Yes! Our whole character truly demonstrates to the world that this world is not our home. We are involved in the world, but our minds fixate on heaven. Our real home is where Christ is.

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

You died? Yes, when we were buried with Christ in baptism (Colossians 2:11-13), we made the commitment to Christ to die to this world and our old man of sin. When that happened, God wrapped Christ around you and tucked you safely and hid you securely in the shelter of His wings. Hidden with Christ in God…just an awesome thought.

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Do not make anyone or anything other than Christ your “life.” Christ is your life.

When He appears…think about that! He is already present, among us and within us (Colossians 3:11), but He will appear to all one day. When that happens, we will one day be living with Him in glory!

Let’s all focus on being where Christ is.