Preparing for Heaven (Revelation 4:8)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In 1991 a Gallup poll showed that 78 percent of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. However, many of them hardly ever pray, read the Bible, or attend church. They admit that they live to please themselves instead of God. I wonder why these people would want to go to heaven.

In an article titled, “Are We Ready for Heaven?” Maurice R. Irwin points out that only 34 percent of the American people who call themselves Christians attend church at least once a week. He says, “We sing, ‘When all my labors and trials are o’er, and I am safe on that beautiful shore, just to be near the dear Lord I adore will through the ages be glory for me.’ However, unless our attitudes toward the Lord and our appreciation of Him change greatly, heaven may be more of a shock than a glory.

The Bible says that life in heaven will be very different from life on earth. I doubt that people will be spending eternity playing golf, watching baseball, or enjoying some other sport. Heaven is described as a place where angels and redeemed people live in the presence of God in all His glory. They are occupied primarily with worshiping and praising Him.

Lord, prepare us for heaven by helping us to love You more while we still live here on earth. – Herbert Vander Lugt

The life we choose to live each day

Prepares us for what’s yet in store;

It makes more sure great loss or gain

When transient pleasures are no more. – D. J. De Haan

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.

  • July 31, 1992, Our Daily Bread
Advertisements

Bribery (Exodus 23:8)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

While traveling in a foreign country, my husband noticed that the paved roads had deep indentations. When he asked about them, our driver explained that they were caused by the tires of trucks carrying illegal, overweight loads. When stopped by police, the drivers paid bribes to avoid being fined. The truckers and police officers came out ahead financially, but other drivers and taxpayers were left with an unfair financial burden and the inconvenience of poor roads.

Not all bribery is overt; some is more subtle. And not all bribes are financial. Flattery is a type of bribe that uses words as currency. It we give people preferential treatment for saying something nice about, it’s similar to taking a bribe. To God, any kind of partiality is an injustice. He even made justice a condition of remaining in the Promised Land. The Israelites were not to pervert justice or show partiality (Deuteronomy 16:19-20).

Bribery deprives others of justice, which is an offense against the character of God, who is “Gods of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe (10:17).

Thankfully, the Lord treats all of us alike, and He wants us to treat each other the same way. – Julie Ackerman Link.

It matters not what race or gender,

Rich or poor or great or small,

The God who made us is not partial;

He sent Christ to die for all. – D. De Haan

Bribery displays partiality; love displays justice.

  • July 27, Vol. 19, Our Daily Bread

The Pleasure is Mine (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I always look forward to summer. The warm sunshine, baseball, beaches, and barbecues are pleasures that bring joy after a long, cold winter. But pleasure-seeking isn’t just seasonal. Don’t we all enjoy good food, engaging conversation, and a crackling fire?

The desire for pleasure isn’t wrong. God has built us for it. Paul reminds us that God “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Other passages welcome us to the healthy pleasure of food, friends, and the intimacy of a marriage relationship. But thinking that we can find lasting pleasure in people and things is ultimately an empty pursuit.

Ultimate pleasure is not found in the short-lived thrills our world offers, but rather in the long-term joy from a deepening intimacy with our Lord. King Solomon learned this the hard way, “I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,” he admitted (Ecclesiastes 2:10). But after his pleasure-seeking spree, he concluded: “All was vanity and grasping for the wind” (v. 11). It’s no wonder he warned, “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man” (Proverbs 21:17).

What we are really looking for is satisfied only in a fulfilling and growing relationship with Jesus. Pursue Him and taste His delights! – Joe Stowell

The world is filled with so much good
That brings us joy and pleasure,
But true fulfillment only comes
When Christ we love and treasure. – Sper

Are we living for our own pleasure, or living to please our heavenly Father?
– July 25, Vol. 19, Our Daily Bread

Recall Notice (Acts 3:19)

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Auto manufacturers recalled a staggering 20 million cars in the US for various defects in 2010. The thought of such a large number of defective cars on the road is startling enough. But what is more disturbing is the apathy of some owners. In one instance, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety warned owners, “It’s a free repair. Get it done. It may say your life.” Yet, despite the risk to their own lives, 30 percent never responded.

Likewise, many ignore God’s “recall notice” to the entire human race. Unlike a defect found in automobiles, the moral defect of the human race is not the Maker’s fault. He made everything “very good (Genesis 1:3), but people’s sin ruined it. God’s offer to us is “repent … that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19).

God offers not just a free repair of the human heart but a replacement of it (Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Though the offer costs us nothing (Ephesians 2:8-9), it cost God the life of His only Son Jesus Christ. “[Jesus] bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Don’t ignore the Lord’s call. The free and permanent remedy offered by God for your spiritual defect will save your life! – C. P. Hia

The heart of man is stained by sin,

From Adam’s fall this has been true;

Yet God in Christ can make a change –

Through faith in Him we are made new. – Fitzhugh

For a new start, ask God for a new heart.

  • July 31, 2017, Our Daily Bread

Our Reflection (Matthew 7:1)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For some reason, it is easier to jump to negative conclusion about people than it is to assume the best about them. When we do this, we ascribe to them bad intentions and evil purposes that may not be true. We also reveal something about ourselves, for the faults we see in others are usually a reflection of our own.

Bishop Potter “was sailing for Europe on one of the great Atlantic Ocean liners. When he went on board, he found that another passenger was to share the cabin with him. After going to see the accommodations, he came up to the purser’s desk and inquired if he could leave his gold watch and other valuables in the ship’s safe. He explained that ordinarily he never availed himself of that privilege, but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who was to occupy the other berth. Judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be a very trustworthy person. The purser accepted the responsibility for the valuables and remarked, ‘It’s all right, Bishop, I’ll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has been up here and left his for the same reason. (H. A. Ironside, Illustrations of Bible Truth).

We need to make sure we have all the facts before we speak and guard ourselves against making snap judgments about people. The standards we use to judge others will be used to judge us. – Dave C. Egner

It is much easier to be critical that to be correct. – Disraeli
– August 4, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

 

Taking the Blame (1 Kings 21:27)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

John and Joe stole some money, but they reacted differently when confronted with the evidence. John broke down immediately, confessed his guilt, and offered to repay the money. But Joe refused to take any responsibility and blamed his companion. Later, with his parents supporting him. Joe claimed he was forced into this conduct because some of the young people in his church had never accepted him.

After more than thirty-five years of giving spiritual counsel, I can testify that people who try to cover their sins will not prosper, and that those who confess and forsake them find mercy (Proverbs 28:13). Many people never realize that they become their own worst enemies by blaming others instead of facing up their own faults.

In 1 Kings 21, we read that King Ahab wanted a vineyard belonging to Naboth, but the owner refused to sell it. So Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, had Naboth executed. Although Ahab merely allowed her to use his name in signing orders, he didn’t blame his wife when confronted with his evil deed. Instead, he acknowledged his crime, expressed grief over it, accepted responsibility, repented, and received a merciful reprieve.

Whenever we do wrong, we are wise to face up to it, take responsibility for our actions, and ask God to forgive us. We will be better people when we learn to say, “I’m to blame.” – Herbert Vander Lugt

Only those willing to take blame can ever be trusted with responsibility.

  • August 3, Vol. 1, Our Daily Bread

Expiration Date (Psalm 139:16)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chuck Montague was undergoing an extended series of treatments at a cancer center far from house. Then his treatments were abruptly interrupted by another medical condition. But God answered prayer and removed this problem. Later, when home, he told of his gratitude for the prayers of God’s people and the truths from His Word that had ministered to him and his wife, Janet.

At times Chuck had wondered whether or not he would survive. That thought drove him to the Scriptures, and he carefully read Psalm 139. His attention was drawn to verse 16, which says, “In Your book they were all written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.Before we were created, all of our days were “fashioned” by the Lord. “It lifted my spirit to know that my life is in God’s hands,” Chuck said. “Every jug of milk or can of tuna has an expiration date. Well, so have I …. God’s timing is best.”

As we suffer illness or grow older, we naturally think more about death. If we’re believers in Christ, we can confident that death is an open door to eternal life with Jesus. With the psalmist David, we are comforted by the truth that the God who loves us knows our “expiration date.” – Dave Egner

From Him, who loves me now so well,

What power my soul can sever?

Shall life or death, or earth or hell?

No – I am His forever. – Stebbins

God’s timing is perfect – even in death.

  • July 20, Vol. 15, Our Daily Bread