Two-Sided Salvation – part 6

Often, those who reside on the side of life prior to salvation are plagued with faithlessness. Why? Many of us are raised in this world with a ‘scientific’ viewpoint; i.e. ‘I’ll believe it when I see it.’ Yet a plethora of the population believes in the ‘Big Bang,’ while not ever contemplating that it takes some kind of ‘faith’ to believe that the universe and how we got here was resulted from a series of random events.

Many take for granted that every time they flip the light switch, illumination will result – even though electricity, for the most part, cannot be seen.

Lack of faith can produce several deleterious results. For example, what if you don’t have faith in a hereafter? If you haven’t noticed, this life flashes by in heartbeat. Moreover, it is chock-full of trials and tribulations, with no true path for navigating them or rising above them. To make matters worse, the world’s concepts of happiness yield fleeting results at best. Contentedness is a rare commodity.

What if you don’t have faith in love? It’s hard to possess sometimes, given the inherent shortcomings of our humanity. We can’t trust most people to put other’s welfare above their own. And again, the world provides so many destructive paths that lead to failure in love.

If you don’t have faith in yourself, life will be doubly hard. Life keeps coming at you whether or not you are prepared to weather it. If you don’t know how, you’ll view yourself as weak, flawed and unacceptable. Hardly fertile ground for growing relationships. Instead, you can find yourself in isolation, depression and subsequently suffering from all the self-destructive activities one dives into to suppress them.

If you don’t have faith in God, who then are you going to turn to deliver you out of this mess?

That’s where salvation comes in. God has been waiting for you since before your first day of life on this earth, yearning for your return to His original purpose for you:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved (Jesus). Eph. 1:3 – 6. NKJV

God had every intention of delivering you from the world and its ways and its consequences. He built it into your path. And the gate to the path is Christ:

In Him we have redemption [that is, our deliverance and salvation] through His blood, [which paid the penalty of our sin and resulted in] the forgiveness and complete pardon of our sin, in accordance with the richness of His grace which He lavished on us. in all wisdom and understanding [with practical insight], He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Christ, with regard to the fulfillment of the times [that is, the end of history, the climax of the ages] – to bring all things together in Christ, [both] things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny – we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him as our Lord and Savior] would exist to the praise of His glory. Eph. 1:7 – 12. AMP

So, God wants to draw you to Himself but He cannot do so unless you are holy (sinless). Can we of ourselves come into His presence in that state?

…for there is no one who does not sin… 1 Kings 8:46 NKJV

But we are all like an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are like filthy rags… Is. 64:6 NKJV

Thus, not only are we sinful, our best efforts to atone for them are for naught. But praise be to God, you can see that He has made us ’acceptable’ in His grace through the blood of Christ that pays the price for our transgressions and gathers us into His love for eternity. That is the gospel message, that is salvation.

Notice though the last line of the scripture, we who were the first to hope in Christ; (emphasis mine). ‘Hope’ equates with ‘faith.’ If you have no faith in Christ, who He is, what He’s done and His gospel, you will have no salvation. The consequence is that at the end of time, you will be placed into the category of what Jesus says are ‘goats’ that He gathers in HIs left hand:

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’…Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’ “… Mt. 23:31 – 34 & 41. NKJV

Doesn’t sound like a great outcome for those goats.

Bottom line: it takes faith to receive salvation. So, what is faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 NASB

Faith is the hope in things that are not tangible to our five senses. And faith is required to have a relationship with God:

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and act He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. Heb. 11:6 AMP

We can’t even approach God without some measure of faith. When we possess that faith, the love of God confers upon us our salvation – totally by His doing, not by any efforts of our own:

For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). Rm. 3:28 AMP

The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct or the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel). Mk. 1:15 AMP

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Jn. 5:24 NASB

It’s all about the faith, because if you don’t have it, you cannot be delivered from that stain of worldly dross:

“…if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 NKJV

We need the faith, but how do we get it? That’s the best part!

…God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rm. 12:3 NASB

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… Gal. 5:22 ESV

…let us with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb. 12:1, 2. ESV

So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ. Rm. 10:17 AMP

Thus, God gives us a free gift of faith that He created through His Son, which is delivered by the Holy Spirit and nurtured and strengthened when we immerse ourselves in the hearing of the gospel.

God never leaves us hanging. Once, Jesus came upon a boy that was suffering from demon-induced epileptic seizures. The boy’s father asked Christ to cure the him if He was able. Jesus replied:

“All things are possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23 ESV

The father immediately responds, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mk. 9:24 ESV

And Jesus healed the boy.

So, not only do you receive divine faith when you ask for it, Jesus makes sure you have enough.

Have faith.

Goodnight and God bless.

Jesus Contact 6

Author Finisher, Founder and Perfecter of your faith

No faith, no God. Oh, God is still there, but He doesn’t connect with the unfaithful. Faith is the bedrock of Christianity:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb. 11:1 NASB

When Jesus began preaching, He lamented over the lack of faith in the Jews regarding His message:

Unless you see signs and miracles happen, you [people] will never believe (trust, have faith) at all. Jn 4:8 AMP

Jesus was approached by a nobleman who urged Him to come to his home and heal his dying son. That’s what prompted His aforementioned utterance. Yet, He pours His compassion forth and says:

“Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. Jn. 4:50 NKJV

The son was healed before the man got home! Why? It’s because the nobleman had placed his faith in Jesus’ words.

Shortly thereafter, Jesus returned to Nazareth and began to preach in a synagogue. He starts by laying out His entire purpose for coming to this world by quoting Is. 61, 62:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Lk. 4:18, 19. NKJV

The ‘acceptable year of the Lord’ is alluding to the ‘year of the Jubilee,’ which was a specified year when all debtors and slaves were set free in Israel. Jesus is saying that He came to set them free from spiritual darkness and the consequences it brings.

All eyes are on Jesus when He delivers the clincher:

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Lk. 4:21 NKJV

How did the people of Nazareth respond? They scoffed at Him because they were blinded by their familiarity with Him due to the fact that He grew up in that town. They had no faith. Guess what? Neither did they receive any miracles.

Even Satan and his demons have faith in Jesus. When Jesus was preaching in another synagogue in Capernaum, the devil entered into a man who stood up and said:

Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!” Mk. 1:23, 24. NKJV

The people in that town had faith and brought all of their sick and demon-possessed to Jesus for miracle cures, and He healed them all!

While still in Galilee, Jesus was approached by a leper who entreated Him:

“If you are willing, You can make me clean.” Mk. 1:40 NKJV

He brought his faith. He got his miracle. Indeed, many times that Jesus performed miracles, He stated that His ability to do so was facilitated by the recipient’s faith. (Lk. 7:50, 18:42; Mt. 9:22; Mk. 2:5.)

Let’s look at one more. Jesus went into the apostle Peter’s house to preach. Because the house was crammed to capacity, friends of a paralyzed man took the roof off the house and lowered their paralyzed friend to Jesus:

And when He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Lk. 5:16 NKJV

There were scribes and Pharisees in the audience who went apoplectic with rage over Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive sins. Jesus read their minds and rebuked them, saying that in order to prove He had that power, He was going to heal the paralytic as well – which He did.

Christ has the power to overcome sin. Notice that He cleansed the man of his sins before He healed him. Consider too that it was the faith of the man’s friends that provided the atmosphere for Jesus’ healing power to manifest.

Faith is at the center of everything:

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Mt. 21:22 ESV

“All things are possible to him who believes.” Mk. 9:23 NASB

Faith bonds all of God’s children as one. (Eph. 4;4 – 6.) Having faith is the only way to please God. (Heb. 11:6) We are justified and sanctified by it. (Rm. 3:28) It brings us divine strength (Ps. 125:1) and protection. (Ps. 31:23, 56:4, 71:5, 6.) Faith even wards off the devil himself. (1 Pt. 5:8, 9; Eph. 6:16.) Our happiness is based upon faith, our revelation, (Jm. 1:5, 6.) healing, (Jm. 5:15) as well as all the rest of God’s blessings.(Pr. 28:20; Lk. 1:45.)

So, where do we get this faith?

…God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Rm. 12:3 NASB

But the fruit of the Spirit is…faithfulness. Gal. 5:22 ESV

It comes from God Himself! He’s helping you do the believing. In fact, we can’t even understand the gospel message until that faith is activated. (2 Cor. 4:3, 4.) We must have the gift of God’s grace to be able to know Christ and have Him reside within us.

We continue to strengthen that faith by continually immersing ourselves in the hearing of our newfound understanding:

So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips of Christ] (the Messiah Himself). Rm. 10;17 AMP

By faith you touch God, not by works. By faith you accept that Jesus has done everything – making us totally acceptable to God. In that faith, we act on the word of God, to live by it at all times. And what lies at the crux of that work? Your faith:

“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” Jn. 6:29 NKJV

Your salvation in a nutshell…

So what’s left?

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith… Heb. 12:1, 2. ESV

Looking to Jesus, making that contact…
Goodnight and God bless.

What Does God Say About Your Life? – Part 3

What we are doing in this short series is creating a condensed recap of everything God has shown us over the last 11 months about how He wants us to live. I am especially doing this for those who have not been with us for the entirety of that time.

We have concentrated on how God created us, why we should have Him in our lives and the (godly) characteristics He wants us to express – all in preparation for a spiritual life that is centered around our relationship with God and His Son…

The biggest obstacle that presents itself to throw you off your spiritual path is the devil. (Well, that’s not exactly true. It is really yourself when you listen to the devil but that’s a lengthy investigation that we will begin undertaking in the very near future.)

God is very clear about Satan’s intentions: to steal (your salvation), to kill (keep you dead) and to destroy (your life). (Jn. 10:10)

He began his mission with Adam and Eve – convincing them that God had lied to them and that the world had better things in store for them, by making them feel that there was something ‘missing’ in them. (Gn. 3:1 – 5.)

Lucifer showed his face again when he convinced Cain to murder his brother Abel. (1 Jn. 3:11, 12.) As time progressed, he continually threw adversity at God’s children. (1 Chr. 3:11; Rv. 12:17.)

We next see the dragon as he attempts to connive Jesus into sinning against His Father at the time Christ began His ministry. The devil used the same tactics as he uses against all of us – trying to get us to fulfill the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. (Mt. 4:1, 4, 7 & 10.)

Thankfully for our sakes, Jesus came away victorious in that encounter but Satan continued to try to thwart Jesus’ mission – right up to when He was resurrected and ascended to God. (Rv. 12:4, 5.)

Jesus taught at length about the nature of the devil – showing us that he is a perpetual liar, a murderer, how he steals the word of God out of the hearts of new believers and convinces people to sin and follow him, leading to the same condemnation of destruction. (Jn. 8:44, Mt. 13:36 – 43; Lk. 8:11 – 15.)

Our adversary then convinced Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus, which led to His crucifixion. (Jn. 13:2)

He didn’t figure on the resurrection. Angry, the devil led a rebellion against heaven, which he lost and was subsequently thrust down to earth. (Rv. 12:7 – 9 & 12.) After that banishment, he has continually tried to harvest God’s children for himself and unfortunately, does have a measure of success. (Rv. 13:4)

At the end of time, Jesus vanquishes the devil forever. (Rev. 20:10 & 13 – 15.)

Until then, how are we supposed to deal with him? First we honor and live by God’s ways, in faith, so that Satan has no grounds to hurl accusations at us. (1 Tim. 5:14, 15; James 4:7, 8; 1 Pt. 5:8 – 10; 1 Jn. 5:18, 19.)

Second, and equally important, we faithfully cling to our salvation and to the Agent of it (Christ). (Acts 26:17, 18; Eph. 2:1 – 5 & 6:10 – 19; Col. 1:13, 14; 1 Jn. 4:3, 4.)

Since we know that in order to defeat the devil and stay tight with God we need to live by His ways, let’s take a little time to examine how we can apply some of them:

God created ‘family’ for us to live and thrive within and to propagate. Every family member (parents, spouses, children) plays a special part in God’s design and we need to honor His choices by honoring them as well. (Ex. 20:12; Ps. 127:3 – 5 & 128:3, 4; Pr. 12:4, 18:22 & 31:10; Mk. 10:7 – 9; 1 Cor. 11:11, 12; Eph. 6:1, 2 & 4.)

As with any gift from God, we need to practice good stewardship, e.g. faithfulness to our spouse, educating our children in God’s ways and yielding to our spouse’s desires (Ex. 20:14; Ps. 78:5 – 7; Pr. 5:15 & 17-19 & 22:6; Mal. 2:15, 16; 1 Cor. 7:2 – 5 & 10, 11; Eph. 5:22-25, 28 & 33; Heb. 14:4.)

We can take the same loving ways that we practice in our family and insert them in our friendships as well. We need companionship. (Gn. 2:18; Pr. 27;17; Ecc. 4:9 – 12.) And we need to love in order to position ourselves to attract friendships. (Pr. 18:24) It’s also through our love that we keep them. (Pr. 17:17; Jn. 13:34, 35) In fact, we must have love for all others to sustain a love relationship with God. (1 Jn. 4:21) Why? It’s because if we are actively loving, we are not practicing judgment. (Zec. 7:9; Rm. 14:13; James 4:11, 12.)

Furthermore, (just like with your family members) if a friend has committed some offense against you, you must forgive them to keep the love flowing. (Job 6:14; Mt. 5:23; Lk. 17:3, 4.)

Finally, how better to show love than to place your friend’s needs above your own… (Rm. 12:10, 11; Phil. 2:1 – 4.)

Okay, we’ve been looking a lot at how we live a life that cleaves us to God. Let’s look at what separates us from Him:

God knew exactly how He wanted us to be when He created us. There were no accidents. Yet many people lose their way in this life because they feel that they’ve done something so wrong that they could never be forgiven, or they have made themselves to feel ‘less than’ other people on one or more levels. Then they futilely waste that life trying to separate from their real self by creating a false persona they hope others around them will accept.

Guess what? God accepts you the way you are. When you try to be something other than what He made you to be, you are separating yourself from Him.

Likewise, when we don’t feel good about ourselves, we try to separate ourselves from other people, e.g. through nationalities, religions, gender, financial status or social standing. This does nothing but foster ill will and malicious deeds; and that is totally opposite of what God wants us to do. (Rm. 2:11; Gal. 3:28)

When you do these things, you are playing right into the devil’s hands. (1 Jn. 2:11 & 4:20, 21.)

Another way you separate yourself from God is when you try to shut your mind down and indulge in your flesh to run from the predicament that you think your life is. You choose addictions or distractions to live in, as opposed to living in reality. ( Pr. 20:1, 23:20, 21; Is. 28:7; Hos. 4:10, 11; 1 Cor. 10:21; Gal. 5:19 – 21; 1 Pt. 5:8.)

Instead, the only addiction we want to have (the one that draws us to God) is Jesus… (Rm. 13:13, 14; Eph. 5:18.)

Returning to how to live a godly life, every word of God that we follow to stay on our spiritual path must be girded up by our faith – faith in our unseen God, and for us present-day folk, our unseen Jesus. (Jn. 20;29; Rm. 8:24; 1 Cor. 2:5; Heb. 11:1 & 6.)

But when we say ‘unseen,’ we only mean intangible in the physical sense. (2 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 11:3.)

God and His Son require our faith before they can move on our behalf. (Mt. 9:22, 17:20 & 21:22; Mk. 2:5, 5:36, 9:32 & 1:22 – 24; Lk. 7:50 & 18:14.)

We get our hands on faith because God gives it to us by the Holy Spirit, who sends it from Christ. Many times that comes through the mouths of Bible preachers and teachers. In fact, we even need faith to understand what they are saying while they are helping us shore it up. (Rm. 10:17 & 12:3; 2 Cor. 4:3, 4; Heb. 12:1, 2.)

Our faith alone ushers us into God’s presence, whereupon we are justified, sanctified and made Holy so that we can remain there. (Rm. 3:28). When we exercise our faith, we are filled with God’s strength, covered by His safekeeping, protected from the devil, blanketed in joy, imbued with Divine revelation and are able to receive all of His promises. (Ps. 31:23, 56:4, 125:1 & 146:5; Pr. 28;20; Lk. 1:45; Eph. 6:16; James 5:15.)

How can we depend upon our faith? It’s because God is Himself faithful – never lying or changing. (Ps. 118:89, 90; Heb. 6:18.) That includes all of His salvation promises through Jesus. (Jn. 1:12, 5:24, 6:29; Acts 13:38, 39; Heb. 10:19 – 23; 1 Pt. 1:20, 21 & 1 Jn. 5:4, 5.)

Finally, when we get that faith and depend upon it, it is time to share it and share it with love! (Acts 26:18 & 1 Cor. 13:2.)
Goodnight and God bless.

Jesus Is Our Hope: The Book of Hebrews – part 3

In the first two parts of this three-part series, the Holy Spirit-inspired author of the book of Hebrews has gone into great detail about who Jesus is, why we should place our hope in Him, what had to happen before Jesus could fulfill His purpose, and about the awe-inspiring power that He wields for us as both King and High Priest – in order to reveal just how much we are sealed in the salvation of Christ for our eternal reward.

The author then goes on to tell us why all of these revelations should build up our faith: Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our heart sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Heb. 10:19 – 23. NKJV

Thus, we have a plethora of joyful reasons to place our faith in Christ. Moreover, God warns us in earnest of what awaits those who refuse to exercise that faith:

For if we sin willingly after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Heb. 10:26 NKJV

Jesus has already shed His blood for everyone who will ever live on this earth – whether or not they accept Him as their Savior. If, once you’ve heard the gospel, decide to reject it, there won’t be any room for you in God’s eternal love plan.

[It should be noted that it is those that rebel against God and behave as they see fit (‘sin willingly’) regardless of His statutes, who will be condemned. Followers of Christ are still human, and will sin due to the nature of the flesh, (unwilling slips) but only they have the option of confession > repentance > restoration.]

So, the Holy Spirit-inspired author is pleading with us, for the sake of our salvation, to cling doggedly to our faith: …do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what is promised. Heb. 10:35, 36. ESV

Furthermore, the author goes on to tell you exactly what faith is – so that you know when you have it:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, for the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made of things that are visible. Heb. 11:1 – 3. ESV

Nothing existed before God spoke it into existence. There were no primordial building blocks. God transformed His own thoughts into things material.

Now, God tells us the most important reason to have faith: …without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Heb. 11:6 NKJV

If you don’t believe in God, there is nothing everlastingly good coming your way.

The author then cites some of the Old Testament characters of faith as examples. (Remember, the author is pleading God’s case to Jewish converts who are waffling in their faith in Christ.)

He begins by telling of the faith of Abel, which led him to worship God His way, as opposed to the rebellious Cain, who did not. He also holds up the faith of Abraham – both his faith that led him to follow God’s instructions and leave his family, and his unswerving faith in God’s promise of eternal life: …for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Heb. 11:10 NASB

The author then paints a picture of the common trait of all of the biblical paragons of faith:

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. Heb. 11:13 NKJV

They all had faith in their eternal destination. They knew that their earthly time was only the beginning of their journey. They looked forward to their ‘graduation’ with joy because they had faith in the fact that God Himself is faithful to His word:

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Heb. 11:16 NKJV

The author also includes the faith of Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, and others – again, holding them up for their acts of faith:

…through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions…Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Heb. 11:33 & 35. NKJV

And all of these, though they won divine approval by [means of] their faith, did not receive the fulfillment of what was promised, because God had something better and greater for us, so that they [these heroes and heroines of faith] should not come to perfection apart from us [before we could join them]. Heb. 11:39, 40. AMP

They stood up against all persecution – empowered by God, waiting for the day their spirits would join with Him. But the big party won’t start until the resurrection of every faith-filled follower’s glorified bodies.

We see then the tenacity of the faithful of old, and they didn’t have Jesus in person to inspire them. We do! So how can we be empowered by their examples?

…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God. Heb. 12:1, 2. NKJV

Jesus foresaw His joy in connecting with you for all of eternity and decided that it was worth paying the price of His crucifixion; and, the price that you pay for faithful endurance (setting aside earthly ways for those that are heavenly) will be more than worth it as well:

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? Heb. 12:7 ESV

…He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Heb. 12:10, 11. NASB

So, you have a choice. When you make the choice for Jesus, you are immediately placed at the doorstep of heaven:

…you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood sprinkling that speaks of better things than that of Abel. Heb. 12:22 – 24. NKJV

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe. Heb. 12:28 NASB

You too can be a firstborn that is registered in heaven – not by accepting the blood of Abel that cried out to God for vengeance, but by the miraculous work of the blood of Jesus that completely transforms you, preparing you for your date with eternal Love…

Now at this point, like the apostle Paul, (and who knows, the author just might be Paul) the author leaves us with some godly behaviors to engage in, in order to remain in readiness for our heavenly call: Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have unwittingly entertained angels.

Remember the prisoners as if chained with them… Heb. 13:1 – 3. NKJV

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have. Heb. 13:4, 5. ESV

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried away with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. Heb. 13:8, 9. NKJV

For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Heb. 13:14, 15. NASB

Amen. I think that the case for Jesus has been thoroughly made…

Good night and God bless.