Will We Work In Heaven?

This is a question that popped into my head today. Will we have a job, a duty, a responsibility, a contribution to make for eternity? I believe we will.

For those of you who just felt angry or anxious, let me address some immediate objections. Someone may say that work is the result of the curse of sin in the garden. However, the curse was not the origin of work. Adam had responsibilities for tending the garden before the curse of sin. The curse simply required hard work in order to produce what was necessary to sustain life.

Also, I don’t mean “work” in the way that you think of it. That is, unless you are one of those who can truly say that you are fulfilling your life’s joy and purpose and being paid to do it. When I say “work” I mean your contribution, your purpose, your art, and even your worship.

I believe that we will all have a contribution to make for eternity; something that will connect us in worship to God and service to the redeemed. But I don’t believe that we have to wait until time is no more to begin making our contribution. I believe that we have the responsibility to make a difference in our world through our work.

When we are saved, God doesn’t tell us to quit our jobs and rely on handouts so that we can pray and read the Bible until He comes. Quite the opposite, God’s Word is clear that there is a responsibility to provide. Laziness and idle hands are often condemned. His Word also teaches that we should treat our job, regardless of what it is, as a service to Him. Now let’s be honest, we don’t show up at work everyday as if we were working for Him.

Why not?

I believe we can make an incredible difference in our world today through our jobs. Whether you are a doctor, a mechanic, a janitor, or a full-time parent, your can make a contribution that helps meet your family’s basic needs and brings glory to God at the same time.

If you are doing what you love to do, good for you. Keep doing that and do it as an act of worship. If you are like the majority of people who haven’t found your life’s work or a way to make money doing what you were made to do, keep searching. And in the meantime, show up at work like God is your boss. Do work that makes a difference. Seek to be a blessing to your employer, your co-workers, and the customers that your company serves.

When you work like this, it ceases to be a job and it becomes your life’s art. And if you are a child of God, this world desperately needs your art. So please, get to work. Do something good. And get used to it. We will be doing this forever!

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Stealing Glances

The longer I look at Him, the more I see the the truth about myself.

Spiritually speaking, Christ is the mirror which we look into to see ourselves as we really are. In order for us to see the truth our gaze must rest steadily upon Him. Note His perfect righteousness and the beauty of His holiness. Let your gaze rest steadily upon the mirror of His glory.

How quickly we forget our appearance when we take our eyes off of the mirror. Often, we think ourselves something that we are not; for better or for worse. This is the result of the stealing glances we make at our image in the mirror.

James 1:23-34 “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

If we are ever going to be made like Him, we must allow our gaze to rest on the mirror of His glory. Stop stealing glances at Christ. Keep your eyes on Him. Be changed.

2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Invite Him In

Another long day of hard work is in the books. You did something that you can feel good about today, but as you begin to relax you feel as though something is missing. You are struck with the realization that among the hustle and bustle of life’s routine circumstances, you have been cut off from the presence of God, your mind rarely aware of His constant beckoning. You miss Him.

How does this happen? You have a wonderful time of prayer in the morning before beginning your day. You worship, repent, and cast your cares on the Lord. But somewhere between morning prayer and evening time the presence of God is forgotten for the present circumstances.

Sound familiar?

It is something I find myself resisting everyday. I don’t want to come to the end of a day, whether it was a good day or a bad day, and realize that I have been so busy that I was completely disconnected from Him. How do I avoid that?

I want to invite Him in to every situation, every interaction. I want to turn every problem into a prayer and every opportunity into a prayer. Regardless of how big or small the problem or the opportunity may seem to me, I want Jesus to be a part of it.

Be aware of His presence today. Invite Him in.

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Markings

What mark will your life leave?

Every life makes a mark on the lives of others. Some lives mark many other lives, some lives mark few. What is even more important than the number of lives marked by yours is the type of mark you leave. Some people mark others with their own personal mark, leaving an impression that lasts a lifetime and seldom much more. Some people mark others with the mark of Christ, hiding behind the cross as the love of Jesus shines through them. They are often forgotten in death and even overlooked in life, but the mark that they leave last for an eternity.

What mark will you make on others? Your mark or His?

He must increase, but I must decrease.

photo credit: Twistiti via photo pin cc

Becoming A Slave

During my first trip to Ghana, West Africa in the summer of 2007, I had the opportunity to visit Elmina Castle. It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea, so is the oldest European building in existence below the Sahara. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic slave trade. Slaves were held captive in the castle before exiting through the castle’s infamous “Door of No Return” to be transported and resold in newly colonized Brazil and other Portuguese colonies.

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During the tour of the castle, our tour guide mentioned in passing the three ways a person became a slave:

  1. Crimes committed
  2. Debt that could not be paid
  3. Born into it

We fit all three conditions of slavery to sin.

  1. We have committed crimes. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
  2. We all have a debt that we cannot pay. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
  3. We were all born into sin. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5).

We are all slaves to sin and unrighteousness. But this was not God’s plan for us. He desires for us to enjoy the pleasure of freedom. He will set us free by taking us captive in His mercy.

We have committed crimes. But He cleared our record.

“Blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us… and took it our of the way, nailing it to His cross” (Col. 2:14).

We all have a debt that we cannot pay. But He paid it for us.

“Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

We were all born into sin. But we can be born again.

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).

Once I was “free” in shackles of sin:
Free to be tempted, bound to give in;
Free to be captive to any desire;
Free to eternally burn in hell fire.
But Jesus bought me, now I’m a “slave,”
Bound by commands, free to obey;
Captive by beauty, free to adore,
Sentenced to sit at His feet evermore!
-Unknown 

The Freedom Illusion

There is a great illusion in the world today which is the cause of confusion in believers and non-believers alike. This dark magic from the devil has caused many Christians to believe that once they have “accepted Christ as their savior” they are free to live as they please, resting in the security of their salvation. The same sorcery is used as an excuse by sinners to claim that Christianity has people bound, keeping them from doing what they want to do. This lie is The Freedom Illusion. And this is exactly what Paul was dealing with in this sixth chapter to the Romans. The truth is that every person in this world is a captive. They are either servants of Jesus Christ, or they are slaves to sin.

“Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are….whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Romans 6:16).

In order to understand the truth about freedom we first must understand this truth of captivity. We must see clearly that we are either a captive of Christ (captive by His will, captive by His laws, captive by His love) or a captive of sin (captive by the lusts of our flesh, captive by the ways of this world). Every man has a master!

Once we understand this, we can understand the Truth about Freedom. Every man is both free and captive at the same time.

“Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:18).

“For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness” (Romans 6:20).

You are either free from sin and captive by Christ or you are free from Christ and captive by sin. The only difference is what your end will be: death or eternal life?

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

When God Writes Your Story

I’ve heard it said, and perhaps you have too, that we shouldn’t plan our lives because we will under plan them. Rather, in order to realize your full potential and fulfill your purpose, allow God to plan your life. This simply stated, not easily practiced principle, has proven true over and again in my life. There have been times that I have shot for the moon hoping to hit a star, not realizing that God wanted to give me the sun. I only had to wait for Him to write the story.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:(Ecclesiastes 3:11).

It’s not always easy to give up the pen and allow Him to write. I think I know what’s best for me. I need to know the plan. I don’t have time to wait. And I have found that when He is writing, I often don’t see much more than the next step of faith. When He is writing, there are often unexpected plot twists and turns in the road that leave me overwhelmed and saying, “I didn’t see that coming.” When He is writing, I’m not in control, I’m under His control. And I have to constantly fight the urge to take the pen from His hand and write in characters and scenes where I think they should be.

So I fight every fleshly urge to know the future, to be in control, to speed up the story, and I allow Him to write.

Because when He is writing and unfolding His masterpiece I find true peace. When He is writing I realize that I have every thing that I need. When He is writing I face and overcome all of my fears. When He is writing, everything in me that I am ashamed of rises to the surface and He takes it out. When He is writing, I become the man He wants me to be.

I am just learning to allow Him to write the story. And over the last few months He has written exciting adventures that I could have never planned and He has penned in beautiful people who have changed my world forever. He has filled my story with a love that exceeds every expectation that I ever had for human love and companionship. In doing so, He has answered prayer requests that I have prayed for years and given me my greatest earthly blessing.

And I can truly say, it was worth waiting for the story to unfold. I wouldn’t change a thing. And I am full of anticipation for the chapters ahead.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart (Psalm 37:4).