Hi! I am praying for you right now!
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Mark 10:29-30 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age and in the age to come, eternal life.”
1 Corinthians 3:12-15 reminded me that God notices all the work we do for him and also reminded me that those who know Christ will be rewarded in heaven for what they do on earth.
When I embrace these truths, difficulties take on an eternal meaning and I am bolstered with confidence that nothing in this world can really shake me because nothing that I give up for Christ will ever be lost. Every sacrifice will be ultimately redeemed.
Joy! In Christ, we win and the story ends very, very well.
Perhaps this knowledge is why Corrie ten Boom, the beloved author, evangelist, and concentration camp victim who traveled for over thirty years telling the world about Jesus, said that material things would never be important to her again after her time in Ravensbruck. Corrie had stood at death’s door, and when she did, heaven’s priorities became illuminated.
There is an internal freedom that comes when we realize that what we do here matters for forever, and because it matters for forever, absolutely no earthly happening will ever be able to destroy us. Nothing will ultimately ruin us. No disappointment will keep us down—and nothing that we give up for Jesus will be lost. Not when we give up a job, a home we love, or loved ones as we move across the country and say goodbye. In the end, we win.
What have you given up for Christ? You can be confident that He notices. And, when you work for Him, you are storing up for yourself treasure in heaven that can never be destroyed.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20).
Prayer: Lord, how wonderful you are that you reward those who know you, love you, and do your will. Please help me to live in light of eternity. Amen.
Jesus heals our broken hearts
The physical heart muscle, fed by arteries, pumps and regulates the blood flow that carries oxygen and nutrients throughout our bodies. If we exercise that muscle through cardiovascular workouts and feed it healthy nutrients, it grows stronger. But let it languish and feed it toxins, and we all know what happens: the muscle grows weak and the arteries get clogged.
The same is true of our spiritual hearts. The heart is the seat of our passions; it drives and compels us to be who we are and act as we do. It is the essence of our character. So what happens if our spiritual heart is fed toxins and we let it languish? It too grows weak, gets clogged, and sends those poisonous toxins pumping through our lives. When shame has been pumping through a heart, over time the heart itself grows toxic. When we are wounded, we leak toxic waste, and that waste poisons us and the people around us — even when we are completely unaware of it.
The reality is:
- Hurt people hurt people.
- Broken people break people.
- Shattered people shatter people.
- Damaged people damage people.
- Wounded people wound people.
- Bound people bind people.
Many of us have been hurt, suffered offense, and then lived with it unforgiven in our lives. But over time God will replace our clogged hearts with His heart of flesh because healthy hearts create healthy and fruitful lives (Ezekiel 36:26). And free people can truly free people.
- Hurt people hurt people, but helped people help people.
- Broken people break people, but rebuilt people build people.
- Shattered people shatter people, but whole people restore people.
- Damaged people damage people, but loved people love people.
- Wounded people wound people, but healed people bind up wounds
- Bound people bind people, but freed people lead others to freedom.
Now, more than ever, Christians must shift from accidental belief to evidential trust. It’s time to know why you believe what you believe. Christians must embrace a forensic faith. In case you haven’t been paying attention, Christians living in America and Europe are facing a growingly skeptical culture. Polls and surveys continue to confirm the decline of Christianity (refer, for example, to the ongoing research of the Pew Research Center, including their 2015 study entitled, America’s Changing Religious Landscape). When believers explain why they think Christianity is true, unbelievers are understandably wary of the reasons they’ve been given so far.
As Christians, we’d better embrace a more thoughtful version of Christianity, one that understands the value of evidence, the importance of philosophy, and the virtue of good reasoning. The brilliant thinker and writer C. S. Lewis was prophetic when he called for a more intellectual church in 1939. On the eve of World War II, Lewis drew a parallel between the challenges facing Christianity in his own day and the challenges facing his country as war approached:
If all the world were Christian it might not matter if all the world were uneducated. But, as it is, a cultural life will exist outside the Church whether it exists inside or not. To be ignorant and simple now—not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason because bad philosophy needs to be answered. The cool intellect must work not only against the cool intellect on the other side but against the muddy heathen mysticisms which deny intellect altogether. (C.S. Lewis, “Learning in War-Time,” The Weight of Glory page 58)
Over seventy years ago, Lewis recognized two challenges facing the church: (1) Christians are largely unprepared to make the case for what they believe; and (2) many in the church still deny the need to be prepared in the first place. We are a largely anti-intellectual group, even though the history of Christianity is replete with some of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. In spite of our rich intellectual history, we have arrived at a point where there is a need to make a case for making a case.