• The Issue of Lordship

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    What is it about knocking down a stack of blocks that little children find almost irresistible? If it were simply the crash itself, would they be so indignant when a playmate prematurely kicks the foundation out from under it? Adults don't have to be around children and blocks for very long before they establish some version of this basic rule: The one who builds something is the one who has the right to knock it down or to say when it will be toppled. Like it or not, most children will acknowledge that such a rule is just. Even children understand the right of a creator to rule over his creation.

    Then why do we have such a hard time admitting that God, the creator of the universe, has the right to rule over His creation—including us? The Apostle Paul declared to the men of ancient Athens, "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else." (Acts 17:24-25)

    He gives us life. And breath. And everything else, whether we believe it or not, Jesus Christ is Lord over all the earth. "For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him...so that in everything He might have the supremacy." (Col. 1:16, 18) Someday, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Phil. 2:10-11)

    For those of us who have received Jesus as Savior and Lord, He is not only Lord over us by right of creation, but also by right of redemption. He paid for us with His own blood. After urging the Corinthian believers to live a chaste life, Paul reminded them that God has the right to make the rules for us to live by. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body." (I Cor. 6:19-20)

    "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" Jesus asked His disciples. (Luke 6:46) Calling Him 'Lord,' acknowledges His right to make the rules; but without humble obedience, such words as ‘Lord’ are empty.

    "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, "^ did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)

    Those words disturbed me years ago as I lay in a hospital bed for three months, and they still disturb me today. Prophesying, driving out demons, and doing miracles are impressive "ministries"—and they were done in Jesus' name. But Jesus is not looking for flash or flesh; He is looking for humble obedience.

    "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock... But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish mean who built his house on sand." (Matt. 7:24, 26, emphasis added) You know the rest of the story. The storms beat against both houses. One stood firm; one collapsed. So how important is humble obedience? It is essential.

    Children understand the right of the creator to rule over his creation. The right of an owner to exercise authority over his possessions is also clear. But humbling ourselves and submitting to Christ's Lordship on a daily basis by humbly obeying whatever He commands, is sometimes a big pill for most of us to swallow. And iIf we fail to learn and grow in our understanding about the Cross and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we will not see that all His commands, instructions, and statutes from His Holy Word are all about Love.

    The scripture not only reveals God's Redemptive Plan, but it shows us the Grace and Mercy of the Fathers-heart. His commands are not intended to make our lives miserable. They are for our protection and for our good. But if we do not look at His commands from the lens of the Gospel and the Cross of Jesus Christ then we will not see clearly the love and goodness of His commands. Therefore, it is imperative that we daily center our lives in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and daily stay connected to truth about the mighty Cross.

    A friend vividly remembers the day his mother used an ironing board to block him out of the kitchen while she cooked. Having warned him never to touch the top of the stove, she added a barrier between him and trouble. Determined to see what was going on in the kitchen, my friend threw himself at the ironing board so hard that it came crashing down and took a nearby lamp along with it. While the broken lamp distracted his mother, he ran into the kitchen, reached up over his head and touched the bright red burner.

    "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? …how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:9-11) Like a mother protecting her child, like a father giving good gifts, our heavenly Father always has our welfare at heart. We may not understand “how” God is protecting us, but our humble obedience to His commands based on the realization of what God and Jesus have done for us on the Cross…changes everything. Obeying without understanding the Cross is to miss the key that unlocks the door to knowing “why” we obey. And not understanding the Gospel is to miss out on the privilege of intimacy with Christ which comes as a result from humble, joy-filled obedience to His commands.

    “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

    “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galations 2:20

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes.” Romans 1:16

    “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians.1:18

  • Lord, You Lead, I'll Follow

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    Growing up in Lewiston, Idaho, Dad and Mom taught me about God and I watched how God influenced their lives every day. Dad closed his grocery store on Sundays because, as he put it, that was the Lord's Day. He refused to sell alcohol, saying that was not a good thing for us to do. Dad always talked about being honest, respecting people and working hard. At age 6, I began working in the store after school. I loved being with Dad; he was my hero.

    When I was 12, I heard a visiting evangelist talk about how Christ calls us and each of us needed to make a personal response and commitment to Christ. So I got up out of my seat, walked down the aisle, knelt at the altar, and repented, asking God to forgive my sins and come into my life. He did.

    Shortly after that, Dad and Mom bought 190 acres of land, 100 miles east of Lewiston cradled in the "Y" where the Lochsa and Selway Rivers join to form the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. When we moved there, only a house and barn stood on the 5-acre flat along the Lochsa River just before it met the Selway. The setting was absolutely gorgeous, and within a couple of years, the place was booming.

    Working side by side, our family transformed that beautiful, but undeveloped, property into a full-fledged resort. We built 10 log cabins along the river, an 8-unit redwood motel, five A-frames, and a lodge with a restaurant on top and a grocery store below. We put in a 20' x 40' heated swimming pool, a self-service laundry, and 25 trailer spots with hook-ups. We had gas pumps, propane fuel, and three wreckers to pull cars and trucks out of the Lochsa River.

    We had our own hunting guide who brought with him 30 horses and his own crew. In the back of our grocery store we had an 8' x 15' walk-in cooler for storing elk, deer, and bear. We even had a complete meat processing plant and could ship the cut and wrapped meat anywhere in the USA.

    It was the 1960's, and while my generation was intoxicated with flower power and drugs, I was busy working, fishing, hunting, riding my Honda 50 up Cool Water Mountain, and absolutely loving life. By the time I was 16, I had my future mapped out. I intended to stay right there working with my dad, eventually taking over the business for him. I would find a wife, get married young like Dad did, have kids early like Dad did, and keep on working — just like Dad did. He was still my hero. I didn't have a clue that God had a different plan in mind for me until, one day, everything suddenly screeched to a halt.

    The coach's eyes popped as he looked at his stopwatch. "Wow! Let's try that again," he said. He had just clocked me at 10 seconds flat for the 100-yard dash. I was just running for fun, but the coach seemed impressed. So I ran it again... and again... in 10 seconds flat. "Wow!" he repeated. "You've got to compete."

    I begged Dad to let me ride my Honda 50 twenty-three miles to the school. He finally agreed. It was Saturday, May 7, 1966. 1 was 16.

    I dressed, put on my borrowed running shoes, and warmed up. Excited, ready to fly, I took my place on the line. Feet set, hands down, "hiney" to the sky, I waited for the thunder of the gun. Bang!

    Six or seven steps out, I was in the lead when, suddenly, I heard a second thunderous bang accompanied by what felt like the blow of a sledgehammer to my mid left thigh. Momentum carried me forward and my next stride drove my broken femur up into my hip. Down I went, somersaulting to a sitting position. It's been 37 years since I sat on that track staring at my legs wondering why my left leg looked so short, but I can see it as clearly as if it happened only moments ago. [The fracture was apparently the result of an extreme hyperextension from my hamstring muscle and knee all the way down to the ankle, like a stiff solid board. My body was still rising to a full running position. So my upper body at a 45 degree angle to my leg and my left foot firmly planted, the full weight of my upper body was flying forward to the goal. The shear pressure of the upper body moving forward, at the proper angle to the leg where the knee would not bend…something had to give and my femur bone snapped in two.]

    We had no ambulance, so I rode 25 miles to the nearest hospital in the back of a Nash rambler station wagon with my head and shoulders resting on the tailgate. The doctor gave me two options: (1) go to Spokane, Washington, for surgery to put in a pin which would probably have to be removed a year or two later; or (2) stay where I was, with my leg in traction. Either way he estimated it would be six weeks before I could go home. I chose traction.

    I left home that morning expecting to run the 100-yard dash in ten seconds flat. By evening I was flat on my back in a hospital bed, with a horseshoe affair attached to my left foot by cloth straps ace wrapped tightly around my calf. A 50 pound weight hung over a pulley at the end of the bed. I couldn't even get up to go to the bathroom.

    Three weeks later, I had made no progress. My screams filled those hospital hallways as excruciating muscle spasms repeatedly displaced the broken ends of my femur, sucking that 50-pound weight hanging over the end of the bed right up toward the pulley.

    By that time, I had also developed an ever-increasing pain down my calf. I guessed that the traction set-up was taking its toll, so I asked the nurse to check it out. She said it was fine. Finally, I threatened to remove it myself. That got some action.

    Two nurses and the doctor arrived acting perturbed that I would bother them. The doctor lifted the weight; one nurse held my leg up; and the other one unwrapped the ace bandage. The sudden stench made us gasp for air. I plugged my nose. My skin had actually pulled away from the muscle. By the time they finished with me that day, I had a new stainless steel pin poking through my heel supporting the 50 pound weight that again hung over the end of my bed.

    Weeks 4 and 5 dragged by with the agonizing muscle spasms unabated, the bone alignment continually disrupted, and no healing taking place.

    Flat on my back in bed, I had plenty of time to be still and listen to God. That's when Matthew 7:21 began haunting me. Jesus said, "Not everyone who says 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." I didn't know what that meant. God's Spirit had been gently nudging me to follow Christ, but I didn't understand that either. I had already accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord, but I was about to learn what it means to follow him as Lord on a daily basis. During the fourth and fifth weeks of my hospitalization, I sensed the Holy Spirit inviting me, no, calling me to follow Christ and go into the ministry. I said no way. That would mean leaving my dad and my family, going to some far away place to school, and who knows where after that. I couldn't do it.

    In my sixth week in traction, still no healing had taken place. Now my soul was as wracked with pain and torment as my body was. I couldn't sleep. At two o'clock one morning, the dim light in the hallway began to glow like the sun. The light became so bright I had to shield my eyes and turn away. It filled my room. The Spirit of God spoke to my heart saying, "Follow me. I will make you a builder of men and families."

    I wrestled. I refused. I argued. I pleaded. No. Please no. I can't. I will fail. I will not be good at this. I don't want to leave my Dad. There is too much at stake. I bargained. I can make money and give it to missionaries. I'll support ministries, but please don't ask me to go into a ministry. Finally, I yielded. Cotton-mouthed, I said, "OK, Lord, I'll follow You." I didn't know where. I didn't know how. But at that moment, His peace filled my heart. I slept for the first time in several days.

    Three days later, the muscle spasms were gone and my leg began for the first time to heal. I spent six more weeks in the hospital. Waiting. Praying. Learning about a new dimension in my relationship with Christ.

    When I got home, I knew I had to follow through on the commitment I had made to Christ. My resolve was set, but I also knew that this would change my dad's plans as much as it had my own. I didn't know how to tell him.

    Late one evening, when Dad went out to close down the laundry, I hobbled along with him on my crutches. Fearful of his reaction, I waited until his back was turned. "Dad," I began, "there's something I need to talk to you about. . ."

    As my story unfolded, Dad stopped what he was doing, turned around, and looked directly at me, listening intently. When I finished, he asked one question, "Are you sure?"  "Yes."  "Then I will support you 100%," he said. Shortly thereafter, Dad put the resort up for sale and began looking for a smaller place that he could run without me. My dad understood the Lordship of Christ.

    Your experience will be different than mine, but God wants all those who have repented and received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord to acknowledge Him as “Lord over their daily lives” as well. Looking back, I see now that although I did not get to take over my dad's resort as I had planned, God has blessed me beyond what I could ever have imagined and deserved. The very thing I resisted the most—leaving my family and going to some "far away place" to go to school—brought me two of the greatest blessings of my life. First, it prepared me for a lifetime of ministry to families. And, second, college was where I met the friend who introduced me to my dear wife, Candy. To top it off, for the past 24 years, we have lived in a log house cradled in the foothills of the mountains surrounding Leavenworth, Washington. That house also served until recently, as the home base for Life-Trac Family ministries. Our boys grew up in a setting much like the one I left behind. Through the years, my parents and my brother and sister and their families have also moved to this same beautiful area. With Candy's parents only half an hour away, we have all enjoyed growing through the seasons of life together. God has added blessing upon blessing to my life. Why did I fight Him so hard? I have not deserved this privilege of knowing and walking with God but His grace and the Cross has made it all possible. To Him be the glory.

    "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” ICor.2:2

    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast.” Eph.2:8

    “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt.7:21

  • Why I Read World Magazine

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        Over 25 years ago, I remember cancelling our subscription to Newsweek because I had had it up to here with their so-obvious political slant and agenda. My mind was made up; I would never again be on their subscription list. At the same time, we also subscribed to Eternity, a Christian periodical published by Evangelical Ministries that was very thought provoking. But Eternity had fallen on hard times and was going under, so new-comer World magazine - the 3-year old evangelical challenge to Time and Newsweek – was asked by Eternity to pick up their remaining subscribers and to fulfill the balance of our subscription. We had never heard of World before then, but thought, hey – it’s free – if we don’t like it, we won’t renew. That was in 1989, and we have been loyal subscribers ever since.

    In case you are not familiar with World, it is a news magazine published twice monthly, headquartered in North Carolina. What distinguishes World is its steadfast effort to report and understand national and world events from a biblical standpoint of man’s sin and God’s grace. It is a must-read for the thoughtful, intelligent Christian who wishes to influence the culture around them. The editorial team understands that Christianity has something to say about every area of life: law, science, arts, politics, business, marriage, medicine, technology and community. They have never been charged with dishonest reporting or non-existent sources.

    When our boys were young, we subscribed to the age-appropriate World news magazine for them all the way through high school. When they married, we made sure they received World subscriptions. And last week, I just ordered the Pre-K – 1st grade edition for my  granddaughter Ella Mae, starting another generation of World readership.

    And yes, World has a web site for those that prefer getting their news that way, plus a ton of interactive things for kids of all ages (check out the Biography section – great studies for kids). But me? Nothing replaces holding it in my hand - and I want my granddaughter to look forward to receiving something in the mail. I don’t know how much longer any of us will actually receive subscriptions this way, but while we can, count me in.

    P.S. Go to www.worldmag.com and check them out. An annual subscription is $49.95, but if you sign up at www.worldmag.com/lifetrac they will give you, our friends, a 20% discount!

    Same deal with the kids’ newspapers: check it out at www.gwnews.com. If you like what you see, go to www.gwnews.com/20gwn for 20% savings!


  • Is Your Marriage Helping to Reduce the Divorce Rate?

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        As you are painfully aware, the Enemy has managed during the last 50 years to break down the foundations of the family by creating an almost-total dependence upon man and his ways rather than God’s Word and God’s principles. The average Christian family is wobbly-kneed. Like a boxer who’s been clobbered time and time again, the family appears to be hesitating and staggering.

    Question: How many Christians do you know who have been through a divorce? How many kids out of Christian homes have gone in other directions . . . . away from God? Now ask yourself: how often was this family in church? Did they attend Sunday School? Did they attend activities the church offered? The answer is usually "yes", so obviously, just being connected to a church is not making a difference and reducing divorce.

    Here’s another question: how many marriages do you know in the church that are thriving? You know - where the husband and wife each understand their biblical roles, as assigned by God, and are living them out joyfully for God’s glory?

    Are we simply taking in the Word, Sunday after Sunday, but unwilling to apply it to the relationships closest to us? Are we so over-weight with knowledge and church activity that we are not contending to apply the truth of the Gospel at home in our family? If so, the result will be a marriage that has no authority, much less any fulfillment and joy for the husband and wife. Our marriage will not attract non-Christians to the Gospel. Even more to the point, the children who are observing the marriage close-up - - (and make no doubt about it; they ARE observing everyday how mom and dad speak to and treat each other, if they are humble and ask forgiveness, if Dad’s Bible collects dust from week to week, or if he never prays with mom or them) - - these children can become contemptuous towards their parents, towards the church, and even towards God Himself.

    From the beginning of creation, God had marriage on His mind. That’s because marriage was to one day reflect the intimacy of God’s relationship with his Bride, the church. One of the reasons marriage exists is to illustrate what happens when 2 people respond to the Gospel, and they then let the Gospel influence their conduct and conversation everyday.

    We need to be deeply concerned and convicted that our marriage accurately reflects the truth about God and Christ. For when that happens, the divorce rate will be reduced within the church.

  • Families Find Strength in the Gospel

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        Where are we headed? It is easy to observe that the increasing immorality of our day is not isolated to the secular community. No, the church is struggling with confusion and shifting views on divorce, abortion, sexuality, relationships, marriage, family and sin . . . just to name a few. Right now, I’m afraid the church is largely seen by our culture as hypocritical and relegated to the margin. The message of the Gospel and the transforming power of Jesus Christ appear hollow when the culture measures themselves against church goers whose marriages and families seem little different than their own! We must stop defaming the name of our God by life-choices that are contrary to the Holy Scriptures. We need to confront our casual Christianity.

    First, we need to RE-FOCUS on the Gospel by being godly. Growing in Christ-likeness is not optional. Listen to the exhortation of the Apostle Paul, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8) Our daily living must display a “heart” change in the context of family first, then friends and other relationships. “…walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love . .” (Ephesians 4:1-2) If we are not displaying Christ in our relationships, then the proper question would be: “Am I truly saved?”

    Second, we need to RE-EXAMINE AND MEASURE the quality of our daily thought life and deeds against the truths of the Gospel: i.e., the principles of God and the Character of Christ. The passion of every believer should be to live according to the fundamental truths found in the Bible which provide instruction on how we should live, speak, think and act. “ . . . to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24) A helpful question could be: Is my thought life and daily conduct more Christ-like than 6 months ago?

    Third, we need to be intentional at RE-CONNECTING to God’s provision for community. If your family is committed to Christ, you should view it as a place for you to practice being like Christ, pursuing discussion about the gospel and how it relates to daily living. If your family is not committed to Christ, it should still be for you a place to practice being like Christ, while you pray for the salvation of those who are not yet believers.

    And you should be practicing being involved in the body of Christ—a community of believers studying the Word, spurring one another along in the faith, being under the well-preached Gospel of Jesus and together reaching out to love the lost in Jesus’ name. A good question to help us would be: where am I in community with a body of fruit-producing believers?

    The message of the Gospel and the transforming power of Jesus Christ is not hollow. It will bear fruit unto Christ. If you aren’t bearing fruit that is pleasing to God, you need to stop and take a fresh look at your life. Over time, you should be looking more and more like Jesus and less like yourself. The reality of the Gospel changes everything . . . beginning with you.

  • All is Calm...(or is it?)

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        One Christmas season many years ago, I was so overwhelmed by all the things needing to get done, that I just decided I didn’t have the energy or time or even desire to do my usual decorating. So I made the decision to bag it, and wondered to myself how long it would be before anyone would notice. A few days went by, and finally at dinner, one of the boys asked, "Mom, when are you going to put up the Christmas decorations?", to which I replied "I’m not," and kept on eating my salad. Stunned Silence.

    Greg, good man that he is, somehow sensed that this was a time to tread very carefully . . . . (could it have been the set of my jaw?) I decided this was a great time to educate my family that all the things they get used to Mom doing in December are all EXTRA things thrown in on TOP OF normal life. And what are those EXTRA things? Well, to name a few: shopping, wrapping, cleaning the house, baking, decorating the house, planning menus, grocery-shopping, attending rehearsals, progams and parties, cleaning the house again, getting ready for out-of-town relatives, etc., And did I mention putting up the tree and sending Christmas cards?

    For instance, to decorate our house for the season, inside and out, takes me two full days. I don’t know if that sounds absurd to someone else, but the fact remains, I know it takes me two 10-12 hour days. Long story, but that dinner conversation ended with everyone saying they were very willing - - yea, eager! - - to help.

    We got our calendars out that night and figured out what days would work for decorating, and when the date came, had a good time together hauling boxes up & down from the attic. In fact, both boys took ownership of certain aspects, and for many years, that was "their" area to decorate.

    This was only one of many changes that we have made through the years – all in a determined attempt to keep our sanity and to lower the stress of the season. Here’s a few agreements Greg and I have made:

    1) We talk ahead of time about schedule and put activities on the calendar: tree-decorating night, walking-the-streets-in-Leavenworth night, shopping etc. When the boys were young, we marked several nights in December as everyone stay-at-home nights, with favorite Christmas music playing and all of us working on home-made presents or playing a game.

    2) We come to an agreement about how many outside invitations we will accept. We don’t just say "Yes!" or "Sure!" to everything. It is OK to say no to some (if not many) things.

    3) We agree that our individual schedules cannot stay normal, and then expect to just add the December schedule ON TOP of it. We make adjustments, and help each other. For instance, typical meal preparation takes a chunk of time, but if we need that time for other things, than the "fast-food" choice makes more sense (which also means we have to factor that decision into the December food budget).

    Greg has taught for years that one of the best ways to reduce conflict and stress is for a husband and wife to make Agreements in different areas of marriage. This becomes so obvious at Christmas! So my hope for you is that as you prepare to enter this blessed season of our Savior’s birth, you will intentionally reduce conflict and stress by discussing plans with each other and coming to agreement.

  • HEAVEN, By Randy Alcorn

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        My family and good friends know this about me: for the last 2-3 years, there is ONE book – out of the scores that I have read in that time – that I want everyone else to read! That book is Heaven. I cannot emphasize enough how this book has totally changed my everyday thinking and perspective.

    Most of us have failed to explore the Bible’s magnificent teachings on this subject. Consequently, we do not have our theology of Heaven firmly rooted in our minds and hearts. We have let the world’s view - harps and clouds (ugh) - distort God’s revealed truth to us. We have fallen for the myth that Heaven will be boring (although we wouldn’t want to admit that the thought has crossed our minds . . “Is Heaven just, like, uhh, one long sing-along church service?) And then we sigh and feel guilty because we aren’t more “spiritual”.

    Well, this book definitively answers that question, “Will Heaven ever be boring?” along with scores of other questions. Have you ever wondered any of the following: What’s the difference between the “present” Heaven and the eternal Heaven? Will the New Earth be like Eden? Will there be animals? What about our pets? Will we create art and music and culture?
    What will travel be like – will we explore space; will we travel in time? What is life in the present Heaven like for our loved ones that have died? Do people in the intermediate Heaven see what is happening on earth? What will our daily lives be like?

    My favorite two chapters are entitled: “Will our dreams be fulfilled and missed opportunities regained?” and “Reorienting Ourselves to Heaven as Our Home”.

    Oh, friends, this book is EXCITING!! As a pastor and professor, Mr. Alcorn makes his case very carefully and biblically. Yes, the biblical doctrine of Heaven is about the future, but make no mistake: the understanding of this doctrine has tremendous benefits for us here and now. 

  • Why do Christian Marriages Divorce?

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        Have you ever pondered that hard question? Wouldn’t you think that Christians would distinctly stand out with a low divorce rate?

    As I consider this question my thoughts run something like this: Maybe couples are operating with an incorrect definition of what a Christian marriage is or how a Christian lives. I wonder if they are wrestling with biblical truth. Perhaps they just don’t think it is that big of a deal to daily examine their attitudes, thoughts and actions in light of God’s principles and the attitudes of Christ – -especially as it relates to their marriage.

    The first assumption of a “Christian marriage” would be . . . . . both spouses are Christians! Both have been saved from their sins by God’s grace through placing their faith in the work of Christ on the cross.

    Listen to the words of Jesus found in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

    Jesus is talking about two kinds of people: false disciples (vs. 21) and false prophets (vs. 22). I want to focus today on the first group…false disciples. Here Jesus is describing people who are living their life with an incorrect – or better stated – “unbiblical” definition for true Christianity. People who think they are Christians, but in truth – - are not.

    Jesus then illustrates with this well-known parable, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27 (emphasis added)

    Jesus is clear: there is only one foundation upon which to build a marriage or a life; any foundation other than Christ will not hold up. The evidence of a true believer is whether they obey the words of Jesus.

    For a Christian marriage to survive and thrive, it must be built on the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are not acting upon the words of Jesus, you may not be a believer! If you are not daily applying the words of Jesus to your marriage and family, you may not be a Christian. If this is true for you, you should consider salvation today. Repent of your sin (rebellion against God) and place your faith in the grace-filled work of Christ on the cross. His work on the cross accomplishes the forgiveness of your sins and the justifying of your life before a Holy God. You are forgiven! Rejoice in God’s grace and mercy.

    One final thought, no one considers divorce on their Wedding Day…but, put a few years of marriage and life on hearts that are not daily practicing the principles of God and the attitudes of Christ and you have all the makings for your marriage becoming one of those ugly statistics. You and I must be building our lives on the ONLY sure foundation….Jesus Christ.

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