IF HEAVEN IS THE GOAL…

Dear Heavenly Dad:

Thank you for giving us a reason, a purpose, a destination to live for. Apart from you there is nothing of value worth pursuing in this life. We long and wait for our time with you in our new body and eternal habitat.

 

Help me to continually capture the vision and peace of your heavenly domain. Let it reside in me today. We live in the midst of eternity today. Help us to live each day in your kingdom as Jesus lived while serving you on earth.

 

We await our time when we may see you as you are; without physical limitations. Keep us in your arms. Keep us on track. Keep us focused. Thank you, Jesus.

 word 14

“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that whereIam, there you may be also.” John 14:3

 

 

     What is your definition of heaven? Is it a place from where God rules the universe? Is it where the angels reside with God? Is it the place  where our souls go after our physical  death? Is it another dimension? Is it located near the north star?

 

     Jesus spoke about the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God. Are they different places or the same? He described heaven as having many rooms as a mansion. In the Book of Revelation, heaven is described merging together and residing on the new earth. One recent song describes heaven on earth is Jesus Christ. Some feel that heaven is only having a relationship with God. Others feel that heaven is a figment of one’s superstitious mind. There are many other concepts of heaven. What is yours?

    The best description of heaven that we have, of course, is found in the Word. I don’t know anyone personally who has gone to heaven and returned to describe it to me with the exception of Jesus and the inspired writers of the Word. Yet, as a Christ-follower, it is the end result of my life. It is the focus of my energy and the belief of my trust in Jesus that makes me pursue it with my whole being. As a Christ-follower, I have come to learn that faith not only moves mountains but also crystallizes hope in God; a hope in a generous God still creating His masterpiece. Not a physical masterpiece, but a spiritual masterpiece; a spiritual, eternal home for all His children to rule and minister with Him the work that He has planned from the foundation of creation.

     Heaven is God’s home from where He conducts His business of running the universe. Whatever description I have come up with is limited based on my physical senses and understanding. I know based on the Word that one must be born with a spiritual body to reside there. That of course means a body that is built to last for all eternity. I know that we will see Jesus as He currently is in all power and majesty as described in The Book of Revelation.

As a disciple of His, my goal is to be with Him.  It  doesn’t matter where or when. My only concern is that it will be. Some of my brothers make a strong issue of when. They argue that immediately after death one’s soul goes directly to heaven. Others feel that at death one’s soul sleeps until the resurrection. Both arguments can be substantiated through scripture. Which is the correct answer though will only be resolve after our physical life is over. Until then, does it really matter? Again, my only desire is to be with Him now and for all eternity. The little details will take care of themselves through time. Heaven is the goal.

Dr. Mike

SPRINKLING SEEDS OF GOD’S KINGDOM WHEREVER YOU GO

SEEDS 3

 

            Johnny Appleseed, whose real name was John Chapman, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to the people of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways. He was also a church missionary preaching primarily to Native Americans and small town folks.He lived from 1774 till 1845 and is buried in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

            In his time, apples were an European import and foreign to the American tundra. Johnny Appleseed changed all that. His method, unlike his legend of randomly dropping seeds wherever he went, was to build nurseries in every town he visited. He would leave the nursery in the care of a neighbor and partner with him on the proceeds. Yet wherever he went, he also preached the Word. His audience included the Native American whom he admired and the local towns people. He not only sprinkled apple seeds wherever he went, he also sprinkled seeds of God’s Kingdom wherever he traveled.

            Isn’t that how living legends are made?

            I strongly believe that this life is an adventurous journey of transformation in Christ. That God is creating a new person within us. That life’s challenges and opportunities only help shape us into the image of Jesus Christ. And that this is not just for our sake, but more so for the sake of others as we partner with Christ in the redemptive adoption of all creation. Also, that wherever we go, we are given the opportunity to likewise spread Kingdom seeds. Yet isn’t it difficult to spread seeds if there is no abiding fruit to gather seeds from?

            I remember a time when we were reading scriptures and suddenly realized how the Bible described a godly person. The saint (who the Bible describes as anyone walking with God) is full with the Spirit of God. That Spirit empowers the person to experience deep, overflowing love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The question arose, where is that in my life? Why am not I experiencing this life in all its abundance? Is it possible that I am not being true with God, myself, and others?

            After waking up from the spiritual shock, we spent much time praying, seeking, and knocking on doors. The result was God flooding me with His empowering grace. A grace not limited by only God’s unmerited forgiveness for my sins, but a grace that showers God’s unmerited favor on everything lacking in my life. At the end of the day, we came to realize it all comes from HIM. We may pursue excellence, but what we lack He supplies. We may pursue faithfulness, but what we lack He supplies. What fruit abides in me is only because He produces it. I only prepare the field and abide. The seeds we scatter come from the fruit He produces.

            What becomes even more amazing is that the seeds we radically scatter today, keeps being replenished within us and multiplied in the lives of the recipients who likewise begin the journey of enjoying the life they have in Christ.

            Like Johnny Appleseed, we are made to scatter the seeds of God’s Kingdom wherever we go.  Yet we can’t scatter what we don’t first have. If you are not where you want to be with your walk with Christ, take time now to pray and ask Him for your journey to become more richer and grace laden in everything you do. That is when life in Christ becomes even more enjoyable with a peaceful rest and no negative hangovers.

 

Dr. Mike

WHERE DOES YOUR RECOGNIZATION COME FROM?

A DISCIPLE’S PRAYER
PRAY 9

Dear Wonderful Dad:
You are my success, joy, and recognition in everything I do. You surround me with your Grace and Presence each and every day. You give me more than I deserve. You make my cup overflow with your abundant riches. Everything I own is a loan from you. You created everything for us to share in and we likewise share it with others. Without you there is nothing worth owning, possessing, or having. You add value to everything because you created value. I can never express my gratitude and thankfulness for your involvement in my life. Everything is because of you.

If I have not express my thanks to you today, let me say thank you again and again. If I have already expressed my thanks to you today, express it again. There is not enough time in a day to thank you for your Grace, your Gifts, but more importantly just knowing you. We humbly thank you and express our gratitude.

word 14

 

“so we, who are many, are one body in Christ,
and individually members one of another.”
Romans 12:5

Why do you serve? Do you want to let the world know how good of a person you are? Does ii make you feel important? Or is it just a part of your nature? Do you truly believe it is more blessed to give than receive?
 

I just finished reading an old Discipleship Journal magazine which had an article entitled “Secret Service.” The article outlined how a few Christ-followers are serving others incognito. They practice the scripture of not letting your right-hand know what your other hand is doing in serving others. When they help others they do it either through a third party or in secret. At the end of the day, all glory goes to God and the act. They just receive the personal satisfaction of helping others without the fanfare. I love it.
 

Was Jesus’ primary attitude to draw attention to Him or to help others for their sake with as little fanfare as possible? Did Jesus die for us because He wanted to achieve personal glory or because He Loves us? When He walked the earth, who did He give the glory to?
 

As His disciple, I have learned that the glory and honor belongs to Jesus, my Heavenly Dad, and the Holy Spirit. All the glory and praise is God’s. I have come to realize that everything I accomplish, whether in service or for personal gain, I achieve only because of God’s grace. For starters, He gives me life itself. He gives me the air to breathe, makes my heart tick, and mind to operate effectively (unless I damage it). He gives me His Spirit of compassion and love. He allows me to work and earn an income. He allowed me to be born in America, the land of physical wealth and personal freedom. He blesses me so I can bless others. He provides me the opportunities to serve. He teaches me the joy and privilege of serving. No wonder all the praises and glory go to Him. Everything begins and ends with Him.
 

I don’t need the recognition anymore. My recognition comes from Him. I am His disciple and He takes exceptionally good care of me. All recognition goes to Him. What about you? Where are you in your relationship with Jesus?

 

Dr. Mike

 

WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE SAY ABOUT “THE WORD OF GOD?” Part 1

(When there is a subject on my mind, I enjoy gathering as many scriptures together for an overview of God’s perspective – this is what we did here)

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word 4

Col 1:25-28
I (Paul) have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
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I Pet 1:23-25
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,”All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.”
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Eph 1:13-14
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.
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I Thess 2:13
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.
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Heb 4:12-13
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
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Acts 20:32
“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
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I John 2:5
But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him.
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Roman 10:17
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
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All scriptures are from the New International Version of the Bible unless noted.


Heb 1:3
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
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John 5:24
“I (Jesus) tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
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I Tim 4:4-5
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgivingbecause it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
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2 Pet 3:5-7
But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
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John 1:1-2, 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginningThe Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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Isa 66:2
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the LORD.This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word.
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Heb 6:4-6
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
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Jam1:22-25
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it saysAnyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.
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Heb 5:12-14
In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
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 How does THE WORD Impact your life?