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Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

 

When Christ saved your soul, He saved you from Hell, but He also saved you to live out Heaven on Earth.  

Do you remember the old Hell, fire, and brimstone preachers?  I suppose there are still some hanging around out there.  Every now and then, I hear a radio preacher that still fits that mold.  There is so much damnation and everything is about saving your soul as if that is the goal of God for your life.  But I don’t think that is God’s goal for your life.  Yes, the Bible clearly says that God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell, but God’s plan for you is so much more than a spiritual “Get Out of Hell” card.  Salvation is just the beginning.  

Anyone who might think that once they are saved, it is just time to sit and wait for the rapture might as well take the Scripture, burn it, stomp on the ashes, then blow them away in the wind.  This type of thinking is a misunderstanding of what salvation is.  Salvation is not as much about saving us from something as it is saving us to something.  God’s plan is not to save you from Hell, but to save you into the Body of Christ that you might do what Christ did.

Here is what Jesus said when He came to Earth:

 

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

Matthew 4:17

 

Christ came to bring Heaven down to Earth.  He called Himself the Bread that had come down from Heaven.  And Heaven is a Kingdom.  It is a society, a way of life.  How are things in the Kingdom of Heaven?  Everyone loves perfectly in the Kingdom of Heaven.  There are no arguments because everyone wants what is best for the other.  There is no hatred because everyone considers others better than themselves.  There is no greed but everyone shares all they have for the good of everyone.  There are no tears because sadness has been conquered by joy.  Depression conquered by love.  Anger conquered by forgiveness.  We have been saved to this lifestyle.

Don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  We are not saved by this lifestyle but to this lifestyle.  When God saves us from our sin, it is only through the life, death, blood, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He positions us in Christ.  Claiming salvation without living out Heaven on Earth is a contradiction.  To be saved from Hell is to be saved to Kingdom living right here and now.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, but have been content with your own salvation, you are not living in Christ and you will never experience the fullness of God’s goodness in your life.  Like the wealthy baby who never gets to enjoy his own wealth, a Christian content with salvation never enjoys all that God has for their life.  The most blessed life is not found in salvation.  It is found in Kingdom living.  Salvation simply makes Kingdom living possible.

Leave me a comment.  Have you become complacent with salvation or are you living out Heaven on Earth?

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 

 

PS: Be sure to subscribe and I will send you “10 Principles for Living in God’s Abundant Plan for Your Life.”

Lessons from Haiti

Lessons from Haiti

It was a hundred and eight in the shade or so it seemed.  If it wasn’t, it was close. The Haitian sun was beating down on us.  In the poorest part of the world that my eyes have ever seen, I stood there with two huge, muscular Haitians who did this for a living.  Without mixing machines for concrete, they manually mixed the concrete to get it ready to poor. My high school youth group was on a mission trip and we were laying down a foundation for a new pig farm.  I was chosen to work with the concrete mixers. From sun up to sundown, we used shovels to mix the sand, water, and concrete mix. We would take turns walking to a well and carrying large buckets of water on our shoulder back to the hole where we were mixing everything.  I found out they would work all day long and make enough to buy a loaf of bread.  

I thought back to my easy life in Hereford, Texas.  I had never thought of myself as spoiled or indulgent, but my perspective changed over these several days mixing concrete.  

This experience was life-changing, to say the least, and there was much more to the trip, but one thing that it did was to humble me.  I saw how these men worked for their family. I began to look at my own parents differently noticing everything they did for me. I had been somewhat entitled like many American teenagers, but I was determined to not be so anymore.

My parents, youth pastor, teachers, and coaches were elevated in my estimation because I saw more clearly how much they were doing for others.  This was especially true of my own parents. When we humble ourselves, we make a greater difference in people’s lives. This is the lesson we have from Christ.  He humbled Himself to a servant willing to die on a thief’s death so that whosoever believes in Him might have everlasting life. How much more of a difference could we make on this Earth if we lived in humility.  And that brings us to our Verse of the Day:

 

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves

 

When we do live in vain conceit trying to always puff ourselves up in the eyes of others, it has the opposite effect.  Our motives are easily identified and they are selfish. But when we live as Christ did, in humility, serving mankind, people are moved by our kindness.  Of course, we can have false humility as well where we mimic the traits of humility but for selfish reasons. But when we truly humble ourselves treating everyone above ourselves, their hearts melt for us.  And the Lord will exalt us to higher places so that we might have greater influence. He knows then, because of our humble lifestyle, that He can trust us not to become conceited with greater influence with others.  The Bible says that God exalted Christ to the highest place, not because He was the Son of God, but because He humbled Himself (Philippians 2:8-9).

The best part of making the effort to humble ourselves is that it relieves the pressure to be something to people.  We undo the stress of always needing to impress people. We no longer worry if people like us or think highly of us because that is not the goal of a humble spirit.  A humble spirit lives on the bread of service, always putting others above themselves. A humble spirit will transform every relationship from your marriage to co-workers.  

Lastly, I will say that we must humble ourselves (James 4:10).  Sure the Lord will put before us very difficult situations attempting to get us to accept that we are not as powerful, as wonderful, as perfect as we think we are.  But even then, it is a decision we must make. It is an attitude that we must willfully accept and discipline ourselves to remain.  

 

James 4:10

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 

How hard is it to put others above ourselves?  What has helped you to do this? Where have you struggled?

 

Leave me a comment and let’s grow together.

A New Way to Worship

A New Way to Worship

I love to worship as we do in church.  I love the old hymns of the church and I love the new choruses that exalt the name of Jesus Christ.  I raise my hands. I lose myself in the moment. The Spirit pours Himself into me and I am overwhelmed by the presence of God within my own spirit.  There is nothing like worship, but there is another way of worship. Let’s look at our Verse of the Day:

 

Romans 12:1

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship

(NIV)


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When we sing songs, the Bible refers to this as offering a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15).  When we go to church and sing songs together, we are sacrificing our time, our agenda, our breath.  But when we serve the Lord, we are giving Him our time, our agenda, and our breath. We are exalting Him.  The Bible says that with whatever we do, whether eating or drinking, we need to do it to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).  There is nothing spectacular about eating or drinking. Ok, maybe if you are one of those super-eaters that can eat 60 hot dogs in 60 seconds, then maybe that is spectacular.  Anyone else ever wonder how those people can be so skinny? Anyway, that is for another time 🙂 The point is that we are to spend all of our activity, every single day in a way that brings glory to our God.

Sure, there are things we can do for the Lord that are clearly for the Lord…volunteering at Church Under the Bridge…helping in Children’s Church…cooking for the homebound.  But what about the way you dress? Yeah, that’s right..the Walmart-wearing-no-sense-of-style-preacher just asked you about the way you dress. Shouldn’t we dress to the glory of God by at least trying to match our socks?  What about the way we drive? Ok…I know I just crossed a line there, but maybe we should drive in a way that brings glory to God. That is especially true if we have a Jesus fish on our car 🙂

This is a mindset.  It is dedicating our daily activity, ordinary or spectacular, to the glory of God.  It is waking up and saying to the Lord, “In all things today, I want to be a representative of Your goodness.”  This keeps our minds focused on Him. Our connection to the Spirit will be more prominent in our lives and He will bless us, overwhelm us.  It will change the whole makeup of our day as we try to walk in each moment to be an example of what it means to be a child of God. Even as I am writing this, I am correcting my grammar and misspellings because to not do so will limit my influence in the world.

I know that in the church, we say it is all about the heart, and this is true.  The Lord cares about our heart first and foremost so it may seem that the way we eat or drink is not something the Lord would concern Himself with.  But we also have to remember that even though God looks at the heart, man looks at the outer appearance (1 Samuel 16:7). Our spiritual condition is not determined by our outer appearance or the simple things we do every day.  But to be a good influence, we need to understand the world is judging us in how we behave, how we talk, and how we look every day. Let’s worship Him in this new way!

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

 

 


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