"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Heaven Is For Lovers

And Only For Lovers

Now, don’t get your shorts all in a bind. How would you like to arrive on Heaven’s track number nine, climb down to the station cloud, and find folks bickering and name-calling ‘cause their bags didn’t arrive as advertized?
Then you walk over to the baggage cart and look at the troublemaker who’s painting the air blue, and he stabs you with his red eyes and loudly challenges, “You got a problem?”
You step back quickly and dig into your ticket, check the destination, and it says clear as the eternal light, “HEAVEN.” You mumble, “Must be some mistake. This couldn’t be heaven.”
The conductor, whom you suddenly realize is standing at your elbow, says, “Well? What did you expect? Perfection?”
In a flash, the truth nearly decks you: “I’m facing an eternity filled with people just like me!”

From the Creator’s Mouth

If you claim to be a Christian, you already believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father; that’s a given. If you’re not a Christian, all bets are off, and you’re gambling on your own “wisdom” over God’s word. Good luck.
To Christ’s followers, God’s word says a lot about love, both about what His brand of love is, and how essential it is to practice it His way if we really want to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Considering the alternative, that seems like the best idea ever.

First, what is God’s love, and is it essential?

1 Corinthians 13(NLT) If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
That’s the kind of love everybody wants, but few are willing to give. Problem is … well, God says it best through Jesus words, recorded by His Apostle John.

John 13:34(NLT) So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

How much does Jesus love us? That’s not just us, but you, and me, one-on-one, personally.

John 15:13-14(NLT) There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.

Think about that for a minute.

Time’s up. Every Sunday school kid knows Jesus died for our sins. Roman’s Road and all that stuff. Done deal, right?
Well, sorta. But if we stop to consider what Jesus, God’s eternal Word who thought the universe into existence, gave up to spend thirty-three years as a man among corrupt men on this corrupted planet, “Done deal” takes on a bit more significance. That alone took more love than we puny earthlings can even imagine.
But, what about the dying part? When I read in the Bible what Jesus endured just to get to his death, and I take an objective look at my selfish motives, self-righteous works and self-centered attitudes, all I can do is hang my head and weep.
So, what’s next? Weeping is a great start when we get a glimpse of God’s depth of love, but if we fail to take corrective action, we’re looking at an eternity of weeping. “Corrective action” is just a fancy way of saying, repent! We must turn away from our selfish attitudes and sorry excuse for love, and toward the kind of selfless love Jesus demonstrated once for all through his passion, death, and resurrection that guarantees each obedient Christ-follower the eternal life he created us for.

Think You’re Good Enough Now?

Take a good look at Christ’s character. He’s good enough, so what about you? If, perchance, you’re not that good, repentance is still in order, and praise the loving, eternal God for his merciful grace in Christ Jesus.

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