Happy Easter

Is heaven for real?
Easter Sunday

Question 1: is Heaven for real?

1 The bible speaks of heaven as a real place.

The atmosphere, the outer spaces and being in the presence if God.

It’s a mysterious place, things about we cannot understand and that cannot be expressed.

2 Jesus claimed that Heaven is real.

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1 NIV)

our father…. “In heaven”

3 Jesus ascended into Heaven after he arose from the grave.

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11 NIV)

Question 2. What is Heaven like?

1 heaven is the place where god dwells
Ps 123:1 
Duet 26:15
Job 22:12
Heb 9:24

I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven. (Psalm 123:1 NIV)

Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as you promised on oath to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Deuteronomy 26:15 NIV)

“Is not God in the heights of heaven? And see how lofty are the highest stars! (Job 22:12 NIV)

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (Hebrews 9:24 NIV)

“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! (1 Kings 8:27 NIV)

2 heaven is the place where the spirits of believers go when they die

Lk 23,
Acts 7:59
2 cor 5:8
Phil 1:24

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59 NIV)

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV)

but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (Philippians 1:24 NIV)

3 heaven is the place where children of god will spend eternity with god and each other
John 14
Rev 21-22

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-27 NIV)

Question 3: How does a person get to heaven?

1 god created us good for a relationship with him
Genesis 1-2

2 we have sinned and broken off that relationship with God

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 NIV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NIV)

3 god made a way for us to be forgiven the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 NIV)

4 we must believe as trust in the work of Jesus Christ and turn from sin

But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:8-11 NIV)

Counting down. In 112 days I marry my best friend, the man I believe God put into my life to love me despite me… For someone for me to love despite him. We don’t make sense, we butt heads, we are opposite in so many ways. But we love each other, and we love God. We have talked every single day since August 21, 2011… There is not a single person that either of us can say that about. We’ve made it through hell and back…. We made it this far despite the fact that neither of us thought it would. We both lied, we both cheated, and neither of us took us seriously until we almost weren’t anymore…. Then we figured out through all the bull that we really do love each other…. We push each other, we hold each other accountable, our opposite aspects are good for each other…. We don’t make sense but we do. And after everything, we have both put in more effort to get on the right track than we ever thought we were capable. We cut off people who were dangerous no matter how important that friendship had been at one point or another, we prioritized and persevered and continue to grow. Through every stubborn moment, every unpleasant conversation, every laugh, every cry, every hug, every encouraging word, every sweet thought, every dream shared and every compromise made. We love whole heartedly. And in just over three months we will make it official and promise to continue to learn to love each other better every day till death parts us!

Counting down. In 112 days I marry my best friend, the man I believe God put into my life to love me despite me… For someone for me to love despite him. We don’t make sense, we butt heads, we are opposite in so many ways. But we love each other, and we love God. We have talked every single day since August 21, 2011… There is not a single person that either of us can say that about. We’ve made it through hell and back…. We made it this far despite the fact that neither of us thought it would. We both lied, we both cheated, and neither of us took us seriously until we almost weren’t anymore…. Then we figured out through all the bull that we really do love each other…. We push each other, we hold each other accountable, our opposite aspects are good for each other…. We don’t make sense but we do. And after everything, we have both put in more effort to get on the right track than we ever thought we were capable. We cut off people who were dangerous no matter how important that friendship had been at one point or another, we prioritized and persevered and continue to grow. Through every stubborn moment, every unpleasant conversation, every laugh, every cry, every hug, every encouraging word, every sweet thought, every dream shared and every compromise made. We love whole heartedly. And in just over three months we will make it official and promise to continue to learn to love each other better every day till death parts us!

Love
  • Dante: Are you trying to tell me
  • you don't believe in love, Beckalah?
  • Becky: In romantic love, no.
  • Like, I love my parents.
  • I love my car. I love you.
  • But romantic love, hearts and flowers,
  • "There's only one person out there for me"?
  • Come on, you know how many people there are out there?
  • Odds are there's always going
  • to be someone who's a better match for you
  • than the person you end up marrying.

No matter how easy the wrong choice seems to be, knowingly and continually choosing the easy way out will complicate life in the end. Make the hard choices, put the work in and eventually you’ll see why it’s worth it. - Hillary (just something I realized this morning)

True Love

If you have known me for any length of time, you may know that I have been strongly opposed to the idea of a “one true love” to think there is only one person out of billions that is the only person I could ever love and be happy with has always been one of the most absurd ideas. I eventually even started saying that I didn’t believe in true love at all… even after I found someone whom I love very much. 

But I have been thinking so much more about love recently, with Valentine’s Day approaching, with single friends, with friends who have recently faced break ups, or those out there that simply have broken hearts (especially those I know of personally and have been in prayer for continually). And today in church God revealed to me that I was wrong… in a BIG way… True Love DOES exist… but NONE of us will find it in another person on this Earth. There is only ONE example of true love. A love so deep none of us can imagine. An amazing love from our creator, the one who knew us inside and out before we were born. The one who loved us so much he could not bear to be apart from us despite our sins, that he provided a way for us to rejoin him in heaven, and sacrificed his own perfect son. 

John 3:16 Tells us that “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son,that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

The Bible also says NOTHING Can make God love us less, and nothing can separate us (as Christians) from the love of God.

Romans 8:37-39

New International Version (NIV)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We have love from a savoir who knows us inside and out, the good the bad the ugly, and loves us more than we can imagine. 

Romans 5:8 ESV

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us..

We have the love of a savoir who wants nothing but the best for us.

John 10:10 ESV

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

A savoir who calls us his children and friends

1 John 3:1

New International Version (NIV)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

John 15:12-17

 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

we are called friends and not only friends but we are chosen!!! 

Genesis tells us that we are created in his image!! What greater love can there be. 

Not only that. The Bible makes it clear, he cares for us deeply:

He wants us to turn to him!! He does’t want us to worry, He wants us to know how much he loves us and that He will provide for ALL of our needs!!!

1 Peter 5:7

New International Version (NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-34 ESV

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

and he does not want us to be afraid:

Hebrews 13:6 ESV

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

He knows us inside an out, 

Psalm 139:13-16

English Standard Version (ESV)

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

THIS is the only example of “one true love!!” 

And with this example we are to model ourselves… not JUST for the person we desire to spend our days with, but for EVERYONE. God wants us to all love each other as Christ loved us. 

Yes, most of us have chosen or will someday end up choosing one special someone to spend our days with… but that love cannot compare to the one true love we have in our savoir. No man or woman alive today is, on their own, capable of feeling or extending the kind of love Christ showed us and continues to show us every day. But through Him, we are!!! 

We love… because he first loved us… and we are called to love not only one another as neighbors, but to also love our enemies. 

It is easy to love someone who loves you back… but that is not all we are called to do 

Matthew 5:43-48

English Standard Version (ESV)

Love Your Enemies

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Forgive one another:

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Uplift each other:

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Today I was in prayer asking God why people had to hurt… and how they can find comfort… and He gave me this revelation. GOD IS LOVE…. and he is our only ONE TRUE LOVE and ONLY in Him, will we find the peace and love that our hearts desire. 

I am praying this reaches someone in need. so please… if you think any or all of this can benefit anyone… don’t hesitate to pass it on.

Happy Early Valentine’s Day

Reflections

Why didn’t you walk away?
How can you forgive him? 
Do you trust him?
Those changes won’t happen overnight…
I don’t know how you do it… 
You are one of the strongest people I know…
You deserve better than him…

These are just a handful of the questions and sentiments that have been thrown my way over the past month or so… And the response to these words are just not simple. 

First let me start by saying… I am not one of those girls… you know… the kind that wrap themselves up in a man to the point where they are torn to shreds and left devastated when a relationship or the possibility of a relationship ends. I can be on my own, though I have not been for some time, and hardly ever stay that way for long. But my world would not come crashing down if things just didn’t work out. All that said… I do love him, more than any other man I’ve ever loved. 

I am NOT strong… I am hurting, and healing. I didn’t stay because I wanted to, I just felt led not to give up yet. It would have been easier to cut ties, move on and start over… what they say about trust is true… It’s one of the hardest things to rebuild once its lost. But I have believed and continue to believe that God brought him into my life for a reason. I see who I have become because of the encouragement, and support, and accountability, that my relationship with him has provided. I would not be as strong a Christian, with as strong of a walk if it were not for him… And I am not about to let that go.

How can I forgive him? Because as Christians, we are called to… and because I know I myself am far from perfect… I have made my share of mistakes and even had similar falls. 

Do I trust him? The simple answer… No, not fully, but I act and treat the situation like I do… and I DO trust God!! and I trust that through Him, our trust can be rebuilt like bone… stronger than before it was broken. I trust god to convict his children, and I trust God to steer him and myself back on the right path, so that in the long run all of this will look just like a quick bump off track. 

Some things have already mended, some things will take more time. I am fully aware that certain struggles, or battles may be something that he and I both face long term… However I do believe if God so chose he CAN remove those struggles from our lives completely and instantly, and I’m praying boldly that he does just that… that he create a change in us so strong that looking back is the least appealing idea, that one day remembering what has happened really gives us the feeling that we are talking about two completely different people.

I reflect on the changes that took place in my heart and in my life starting one day in August just over two years ago, knowing children of God can fall FAR from the path, but that God brings His children back and I can testify that God CAN make those changes in an instant… they really CAN last. Things haven’t been perfect since, I have fallen at times as well… but I have never completely turned around… and I have faith and I do believe and trust… that even though it may not be in an instant… that God will create the change that needs to occur… and I will be blessed for not having turned my back. And as far as deserving better… It’s not about that… cause in reality none of us deserve any of the blessings that God gives us… It’s about love… and I love him… and he loves me… and I believe with God, we can fully realize our potential, in ourselves and as a couple. 

Forgiveness

Praying for someone who has done something to hurt you can be one of the hardest things to do. Our instinct as humans is to react to pain in a defensive way, to want to hurt back. But, Christians are called to react outside of our sinful natures. We are called to forgive, and we are called to love. And there isn’t any time-frame or stipulations made with that charge. We are to forgive a person, no matter the number of times they have hurt us, and there is nowhere that says we are to wait for an apology… we are to forgive and love, no matter the conditions of the situation, no matter how heinous the act, regardless of the other persons state or repentance. 

Does that mean we continually expose ourselves to hurtful situations, or let ourselves be mistreated? No, sometimes it is right to step back from a situation. But, it does mean that we are to love that person regardless, and forgive them for their actions… not for the other persons sake, but for our own. Forgiveness benefits the forgiver… true forgiveness, releases you from any grudges you may carry, which can weigh heavy on your heart, and do no one more damage than to yourself. 

Truly forgiving someone, helps you heal from the hurt, even without apology. 

Should people apologize? Yes, but sometimes the situation, for one reason or another, doesn’t permit it. Regardless, we are still called to forgive. 

I think it’s also important to remember, that forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily take away the pain of the hurtful act, but it is a step in the healing process. Time and seeking God continuously with keep your steps toward true healing, who better to provide that than the ultimate physician we have in Christ our Savior? 

#secondchances #grace #faith #devotional #believinggod #bethmoore #amen #encouragement

#secondchances #grace #faith #devotional #believinggod #bethmoore #amen #encouragement

#bethmoore #devotional #believinggod #encouragement #life #stuck #keepmovingforward

#bethmoore #devotional #believinggod #encouragement #life #stuck #keepmovingforward

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