Driven by Eternity DAY 9
When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand-new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 TLB)
Don’t you just love this statement? “Many Christians have no idea of just how saved they really are. This deception can lead to unfruitful living that puts eternity in jeopardy for those who think they are safe.” A lot of Christians live their lives as if the victory has not been won. That’s a lie. And if that lie is allowed to live, we will continue to live frustrated Christian lives because we will continue to believe that we have received a ticket to heaven but not the triumph of heaven.
As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, the risen Savior, we live and fight from victory, not for victory. Jesus won the victory. Our problem is that live listening to a dying and defeated flesh as though it was alive and well. We’re used to hearing that voice. What we need to learn is how to hear and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Fruitful living comes from living in and by the voice of the Holy Spirit, not from listening to and living by the voice of our dead and dying flesh. And the author is right, “listening and living under the influence of the old self is dangerous” to the new life we have received from Jesus, the Victor of sin and death. It’s a new life, listen to the new voice of this new life.
Driven by Eternity DAY 8
GOD’S OUTRAGEOUS GOODNESS
“You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden, except the tree that gives knowledge of what is good and what is bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree; if you do, you will die the same day.”
(Genesis 2:16–17 TEV)
John Bevere begins today with “God does not open heaven for those who simply call themselves Christians; He opens it only for those who have become Christians in truth by following Jesus and His teachings.”
So, we have some definition to the description of a Christian. A person is NOT a Christian just because they say they are; a person is a Christian because they have chosen to believe and follow Jesus.
Before we discuss the details of Christianity, let’s ask ourselves this one question: Is this the work of a hard and unloving God? If God is love then why are the requirements so difficult? Well, it’s NOT the requirements that are so difficult but the decision that is difficult. The decision is difficult because those who choose to be Christians must choose to give up their way of living for God’s way of living.
Going back to the garden, Adam chose this life that we now know as a life of sin. Adam wanted to be the god of Adam. Adam wanted his own wisdom and didn’t want to have to trust God’s word. The results of that decision are now difficult to live with but that’s what we know. So, now we must decide on God’s way of living over our own way of living.
Romans 2:4 says that the kindness of God leads us to repentance and Romans 5:6-8 demonstrates that kindness. God has given man this outrageous opportunity to live forever with Him even after man rejected God’s offer earlier. And not only did has God given man this opportunity but He bought and paid for that opportunity for mankind who had rejected Him earlier. However, we don’t become Christians just because God wants us to but because we have chosen what God wants over what our fallen, sinful nature wants. We have decided to leave our way and follow the Jesus way. As a result, we have been saved from the way of death.
Driven by Eternity DAY 6
THE SECOND DEATH
“But cowards who turn back from following me [Jesus], and those who are unfaithful to me, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those conversing with demons, and idol worshipers and all liars—their doom is in the Lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the Second Death.” (Revelation 21:8 TLB)
What is hell? It’s the second death. It’s the death of spiritual breath. There is no hope of life after the second death. But it’s who this second death for that is very concerning.
Jesus told a parable one time about a forgiven “servant” who refused to forgive. That unforgiving forgiven servant who was delivered to jail for his actions. (Matthew 18:21-35) And Jesus told another parable about a wicked and slothful “servant” who was cast into outer darkness because of his attitude and actions. (Matthew 25:14-30)
Revelation 21:8 says that the Lake of Fire is reserved for those who turn back because of fear, those who live in an unfaithful relationship with Jesus and for those who fail to ever believe in Jesus and thus behave wickedly. That’s a fairly large scope of people.
Revelation 21:7 says that the one who conquers will have this (new heaven, new earth, and new city) heritage, and I will be his God and he will be My son. This Christian life is more than a belief, it’s a way of behaving. Those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior behave like He is their Lord and Savior. Belief determines behavior. Belief determines behavior that determines what’s beyond this life. We can enjoy a second life or encounter a second death.
Driven by Eternity DAY 4
Is Hell Real?
“Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it. But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it.” (Matthew 7:13–14 TEV)
John Bevere writes today, “Many pastors and teachers in the church today avoid the subject of hell, afraid it will make people uncomfortable. However, Jesus had no problem talking about hell and did so often. Our verse for today is just one example of His many words on the subject. And, according to Jesus, hell is a very real place.”
Looking at the story Jesus told in Luke 16:19-31 about the Rich Man and Lazarus we can learn a few things about hell. Hell is conscious physical, emotional, mental, and eternal place of loneliness and regret. However, hell isn’t God’s decision but our decision. Hell is what we get before and after we die because of the decisions we’ve made in the every day without regard for eternity. The rich man had made the decision to live today without any regard for tomorrow. You know what’s kind of interesting about this story? The rich man calls Abraham his father.
This life is not meant to be lived in fear but in love. God has created this life from love and with love, but we have a decision. We can live in God’s love or outside of God’s love. This life without God’s love is hell and hell is something that we can and will experience in our body, our mind, and our spirit before and after death. Hell is an existence without God’s love, light, liberty, and license to live. It’s a part of the every day and the eternity for those who forget the elementary teachings.
Isn’t great that God has made a way, it’s a narrow door because there is only one way, but it’s a way to live in God’s love today and tomorrow? Do you believe there is such a place as hell?
Driven by Eternity DAY 4
Therefore let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of … eternal
judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you
should have been fully aware long, long ago.] (Hebrews 6:1–2 AMP)
It’s hard to make eternal decisions until we’ve made the elementary decisions. John Bevere writes today, “If we do not have eternal judgments firmly established in our understanding, then we will not be capable of building a proper life in Christ. It could be compared to trying to advance your high school or university education without being able to read, write, add, or subtract.”
How we believe this all ends will determine where this all begins. For sure, what you believe about the end is determined by where this all began. And it began with God and because it began with God we will end up standing before God at the end of this time. We all want to think and talk about our destiny but it’s our view of eternity that shapes our everyday decisions.
In many ways, we are Adam and Eve. God gave Adam & Eve each a body and abode. It would seem as if they forgot their elementary decision when they made the erroneous decision for their everyday decisions.
They, like ourselves, gave up on their eternity when they forgot the elementary in living out their everyday.
If we’re going to see God, face to face, in the end, shouldn’t we begin with that in mind today?
Driven by Eternity DAY 3
CONFIDENCE AT THE JUDGMENT
“He who … does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:48–49)
The statement for today: “It’s shocking how many people are basing their lives on what is not eternal.” It’s amazing how many people believe in eternity but build their lives on what’s temporary. And we live like that and allow that with the idea we’ll all end up in eternity with God and that’s all that matters. But there is judgment coming.
Every one of us will stand before God and give an account of how we chose to build our lives. Did we build our lives by God’s standards, God’s Word, or did we build our lives by the word of this world? In fact, that judgment is already happening. We have the freedom to chose how we want to build this life, but we can’t have eternity if we build with the temporary. What does that mean for us?
Have you ever read what Paul wrote in Romans 1 about how God gave people over to their lusts, passions, and thinking? What happens? Well, sometimes a man just rejects the truth and thought of God, but many have decided to believe in the eternal but build with the temporary. That doesn’t work. God’s word shows us the way and God’s word is the standard for eternal life. By the way, Jesus was the Word become flesh. When we believe in eternity and build with the eternal word of God, we will have confidence on the day of judgment.
How are you believing in eternity and building with the eternal?
Driven by Eternity DAY 2
SUCCESS THAT LASTS
Teach us to make the most of our time … and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful! (Psalm 90:12, 17 NLT)
John Bevere writes, “Most people want to succeed in life. This desire is almost certainly placed in each of us by God because He also wants us to succeed.” The problem we have with success is not success but what we think success is. God’s definition of success is bigger and better than man’s definition of success.
It’s easy to become intimidated by the idea of success because we measure success like most other people on this earth. In fact, for many of us, success is determined by measuring up to those around us. God doesn’t measure success by earthly standards but by eternal standards. There’s that word eternity again.
This world measures success in terms of beauty, bucks and buildings or property. Not so much with God. The Psalmist in Psalm 118 writes, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Psalm 118:26-27. Success is an eternal relationship with an eternal God for an eternal life. And that life begins the moment we call Him Lord.
Success is first and foremost a life blessed by God to bless God. That life spills over into this life and onto the lives of all those we share life within this lifetime. This desire to succeed is placed within our hearts by God, just like an eternity is built into our hearts. So, the issue becomes one of changing and guarding the heart so that we can live for eternity successfully.
Blessed to bless. What a great way to live life. However, it’s not to difficult to see how thoughts and feelings of fear, anger, lust, greed, jealousy, and unforgiveness begin to undermine God’s definition of success in our heart and head.
Can you see how we are created and called to live in success?
Driven by Eternity DAY 1
LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART
“No one can begin to understand eternity.” (Job 36:26 TLB)
He has put eternity in their hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
I hope you’re ready to start thinking and talking about eternity. God has placed eternity in our hearts and that is where we begin to understand this huge subject. John Bevere writes, “Concepts like eternity and the size of our universe are too big for us to understand with our minds. Our logic cannot grasp them. Our words cannot accurately define them. But the fact is, it’s there. Eternity is there in our hearts and we know that we have been created to live long, bigger and better than what we know right now.
While visiting the island of La Gonave, Haiti and seeing the poverty of that little island, I could sense the call of God to believe Him for the impossible. The problems and poverty on that little island were mammoth. How could I or even we think that we could be part of a change that was bigger than this curse? But God stirred and stirs in my heart that He is bigger than anything we see or think. And there’s a cause. There’s more to this life than this life. God has put eternity in our hearts motivating us to bring eternity into this life. It burns within us.
Eternity is too big for our head, so we must contemplate it with our heart. To contemplate eternity in our heart we must begin to listen to our heart as well as protect our heart from all those things that work against that eternal call. How do we do that? John Bevere encourages us to read, not just with our head to possess mental intelligence but with our heart to possess eternal truths. We read with our heart when we value God’s word, work and will for our lives. When we listen with our heart we look at life from His perspective with His purpose and from His power.
Do you sense eternity in your heart, that you were called for something bigger, better and brighter than this world has to offer? Where are you going, who are you listening to, that stirs your heart for the future?
The 12 Days of Christmas Day 12
Twelve Drummers Drumming
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic* church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming. Those eleven Pipers Pipping gave us twelve things to believe about God. These drummers keep us marching to the beat of the gospel. And if we hear a different drummer with a different beat, then we’ll recognize the difference before it’s too late.
This was written before there were real denominations and difference in churches so when the creed mentions the name “Catholic” it’s referring to the one true church of all places.
The Bible says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”
1 Peter 2:9-10
The Apostles Creed was meant to protect us, not to part us. These beliefs define us at our core. There are all sorts of things that define our circumference, but these things lay at the very center of our lives. This is the God that we celebrate on this 12th day of Christmas or on Old Christmas.
The 12 Days of Christmas Day 1
Eleven Pipers Piping
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven pipers piping. Now that really sounds strange to us but back in the day, we’re told that a piper would roam through the villages and people would follow his music. Today musicians gather people in huge coliseums and play their music for the masses.
In teaching and defending the faith there is a need to tell the world about the 12 disciples whom Jesus chose and who followed him. But we’re talking about 11 pipers. Well, one disciple dropped out after betraying Jesus and we were left with eleven.
What’s so important about that is that these fishers of men followed Jesus to their death. All but one died for their witness of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This witness is a profound statement about the life and light of Jesus. There are people who will do a lot of things for a lie they are usually self-centered and self-promoting. However, people will rarely die for a lie. In this case, ten died for their faith and John, died in his faith after much persecution. They never changed their tune. They knew what they had seen and heard. These disciples will show us how to walk after Jesus, going in His authority from heaven and on earth to make disciples of all nations.
Jesus once said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
They were who we are to be. Followers of Jesus who have found the “truth” and who live “free” from the defeated ruler of a dark world. And we, too, are to go, playing the songs of heaven, making disciples of all nations in the power and authority of Jesus Christ.
Are you ready for this life?