Two Paths to Eternity – part 3

While we continue upon the blessed path, as eternity approaches, the fruits of our godly walk will open our eyes to the everlasting promise:

The one who lives righteously and speaks rightly, who refuses profit from extortion, whose hand never takes a bribe, who stops his hears from listening to murderous plots and shuts his eyes against evil schemes – he will dwell on the heights; his refuge will be the rocky fortresses, his food provided, his water assured. Your eyes will see the King in his beauty; you will see a vast land. Is.33:15 – 17. CSB

Yet even upon the cusp of our approach to the City of God, we must be wary; because the devil will never give up until we enter the heavenly gates – assaulting our free wills until that moment, hoping for a change of heart. The enemy wants us on his accursed path. He will threaten, make promises, and shower us with lies, saying that Christ will never return. Satan will hold our sins up in front of us to make us feel unworthy for salvation.

It is at these very moments that we must cling to the mercy and forgiveness of our Savior, and to the promise of His deliverance. The devil is no match for our God:

…the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Rm. 16:20 NKJV

Do not rejoice over me [amid my tragedies], O my enemy! Though I fall, I will rise; thought I sit in the darkness [of distress], the LORD is a light for me. Mic. 7:8 AMP

So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. Jas. 4:7 AMP

Still, the devil may return and threaten you with hell itself – claiming that it is your destiny (not!). Why not? Because God is covering your journey:

He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me… Ps. 23:3, 4. NASB

We must shake off our worldly attachments and keep our eyes on the prize:

But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life]. But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him – a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ… Phil. 3:7, 8. AMP

“…For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight.” Lk. 16:15 CSB

When we walk our godly walk, we must stop at every opportunity to put our biblical knowledge to work; otherwise, it avails us not at the gates of heaven:

Knowledge [alone] makes [people self-righteously] arrogant, but love [that seeks the best for others] builds up and encourages others to grow [in wisdom]. 1 Cor. 8:1 AMP

Christian love is a doing:

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Jn. 14:15 NASB

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. Jas. 2:26 NASB

When you make those stops along the way, to serve God by serving others, your path to eternal grace is covered by the love of Jesus. Remember too, that there are many ways to serve, the chief one being to share the gospel, so that when we reach the end of our journey, we will have done our part in filling the kingdom of heaven with new brothers and sisters in Christ:

“Already the reaper is receiving his wages and he is gathering fruit for eternal life; so that he who plants and he who reaps may rejoice together.” Jn. 4:36 AMP

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Gal. 6:9 ESV

Run [your race] in such a way that you may seize the prize and make it yours…we [do it to receive] an imperishable [crown that cannot wither]…so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others , I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service]. 1 Cor. 9:24, 25 & 27. AMP

Above all and through all, if we keep the faith, we cannot be kept from reaching the end of our journey:

Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Eph. 6:16 AMP

The LORD is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life – whom should I dread? Ps. 27:1 CSB

We are walking on the blessed path to eternity, forsaking the path to the eternal curse:

…our way is not that of those who shrink back to destruction, but [we are] of those who believe [relying on God through faith in Jesus Christ, the Messiah], and by this confident faith preserve the soul. Heb. 10:39 AMP

Finally, the grace of God, the love of Christ, the exhortation of the Holy Spirit and the angels, will merge with your faithfulness, godly behavior and perseverance; and you will stand victorious at the gates of the City of God. And God eagerly awaits every child:

…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. Is. 62:5 NKJV

Praise God, you have arrived!

…the city was pure gold, transparent like clear crystal. Rv. 21:18 AMP

…you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels [in festive gathering], and to the general assembly and the assembly of the firstborn who are registered [as citizens] in heaven, and to God, who is the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous (the redeemed in heaven) who have been made perfect (bringing them to their final glory), and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant [uniting God and man}… Heb. 12:22 – 24. AMP

‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ Rv. 19;9 NASB

Goodnight and God bless. 

Advertisements

Two Paths to Eternity – part 2

We are accosted by the devil when we begin our path to the City of God, who both offers the baubles of worldly temptations and uses the very same trick that he was so successful with in deceiving Eve – concocting ‘fake news,’ (i.e. distorting scripture), often delivered through his followers:

They [who teach twisted doctrine] are of the world and belong to it; therefore they speak from the [viewpoint of the] world [with its immoral freedom and baseless theories – demanding compliance with their opinions and ridiculing the values of the upright], and the [gullible one of the] world listens closely and pays attention to them. 1 Jn. 4:5 AMP

Their intent is to get you to give up on your righteous quest, to devalue your salvation, and then to draw you down in sin. 

Yet, we can rebuke the devil by clinging to God during trials and tribulations, as in the example of Moses:

…he preferred to endure the hardship of the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of the Christ [that is, the rebuke he would suffer for his faithful obedience to God] to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt, for he looked ahead to the reward [promised by God]. Heb. 11:25, 26. AMP

After all, we have been divinely fortified to do just that: 

…you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind]. 1 Jn. 4:4 AMP 

So again, we cling to our Father’s guarantees:

“All that My Father gives Me will come to Me; and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out [I will never, never reject anyone who follows Me].” Jn. 6:37 AMP

Along the same vein, we can continually be thankful that we are delivered in Christ, whose grace supersedes the shortcomings of our best efforts to be ‘good’: 

…we have been released from the Law and its penalty, having died [through Christ] to that by which we were held captive, so that we serve [God] in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter [of the Law]. Rm. 7:6 AMP

“My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough – always available – regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9 AMP

Our path to eternity looks great; but remember that we are also talking about two paths. What curses one to the other path, that broad highway to oblivion, is that same one’s rejection of Jesus Christ:

Anyone who disregarded the law of Moses died without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, who has regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? Heb. 10:28, 29. CSB

Remember too, that should that rejection be maintained up to the time of their death, or when Jesus comes back, (whichever comes first), there is no longer a choice regarding their destiny:

“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Mt. 3:12 NASB 

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace, and all the arrogant (proud, self-righteous, haughty), and every evildoer shall be stubble; and the day that is coming shall set them on fire,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.” Mal. 4:1 AMP

Praise God that Christ’s final judgment is not a destiny that we (God’s children) share:

“…a time is coming when all those who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and they will come out – those who did good things [will come out] to a resurrection of [new] life, but those who did evil things [will come out] to a resurrection of judgment [that is, to be sentenced].” Jn. 5:28, 29. AMP

…but we will all be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed], in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at [the sound] of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [who believed in Christ] will be raised imperishable, and we will be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed]. 1 Cor. 15:51, 52. AMP

For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (raptured) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord! 1 Thess. 4:16, 17. AMP

Hallelujah! And why? Because we took the right path! We did our best not to harden our hearts against others, to follow God’s word, to resist temptation, not to grieve the Holy Spirit, not to be cavalier with God’s will, to believe in God rather than people, resist laziness, to turn away from the enticements from the devil, and to keep our focus forward – embracing Christ and denying self-centeredness:

“If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me]. For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake and the gospel’s will save it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God].” Mk. 8:34-36. AMP

Yes, we know the right direction, and we make progress along the way; but until we make our final destination, even the ‘best’ Christian is still human, and humans make mistakes:

Now if I habitually do what I do not want to do, [that means] I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good (morally excellent). So now [if that is the case, then] it is no longer I who do it [the disobedient thing which I despise], but the sin [nature] which lives in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness – my sinful capacity]. For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not. For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. Rm. 16 – 19. AMP

Nevertheless, our Father’s grace through HIs Son is immeasurable!

“…all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and all the abusive and blasphemous things they say; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit and His power [by attributing the miracles done by Me to Satan] never has forgiveness…” Mk. 3:28, 29. AMP

Jesus was addressing the Pharisees when they said that He was casting out demons through the power of the devil (Mt. 9:34), which is refuting the truth of the Holy Spirit, who empowered Christ. And, given that the Holy Spirit’s primary function is to reveal Christ to us, those who reject the Holy Spirit rejects Jesus. And Jesus is the only way. (Jn. 14:6)

As a child of God, our heavenly door is always open…

Goodnight and God bless. 

Two Paths to Eternity

‘This book will make a traveler of thee, if by its counsel thou wilt ruled be;

It will direct thee to the Holy Land, if thou wilt its directions understand:

Yes, it will make the slothful active be; the blind also delightful things to see.’ John Bunyan

Everyone, should they ponder the great mysteries of this life, will be confronted with the great question such as, ‘How did I get here?’ Why am I here?’ What is life all about?’ and ‘What happens when I die?’ 

And if one begins to get a smattering of the Bible, they start to understand that humankind has reached a wretched state, with respect to their relationship with their Creator:

For we have become like one who is [ceremonially] unclean [like a leper], and all our deeds of righteousness are like filthy rags; we all wither and decay like a leaf, and our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing], like the wind, takes us away [carrying us far from God’s favor, toward destruction]. Is. 64:6 AMP

For my iniquities have flooded over my head; they are a burden too heavy for me to bear. Ps. 38:4 CSB

We begin to understand that there is an eternal penalty for opposing / rejecting God, and our self-preservation kicks in:

“…what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30 NKJV

In reality, it is our innate hunger for communion with God that is kicking in – klaxons blaring: ‘Danger, danger!’ Yet, if you look to satiate that hunger, God will lead you to him, by steering you towards His Son. This ‘steering’ is facilitated by the Holy Spirit, by way of increased understanding of God’s word through reading and by making available to you, a spiritual mentor – be it a preacher, teacher, or another brother or sister in Christ that is further along the road of waking in our Lord’s footsteps:

…a man of Ethiopia…had come to Jerusalem to worship…and sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet…So Philip ran to him…and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” Acts 8:27, 28, 30 & 31. NKJV

Once God brings that guide(s) into your life, then you can begin to learn about the calamity that befalls all who deny Him and about the wondrous grace that Jehovah offers for those who embrace Him instead, (i.e. the two paths to eternity):

“Then his soul draws near to the pit [of destruction, and his life to those who bring death (the destroyers). If there is an angel as a mediator for him…to explain to a man what is right for him [that is, how to be in right standing with God], then the angel is gracious to him, and says, ‘Spare him from going down to the pit [of destruction]; I have found a ransom [a consideration, or reason for redemption, an atonement]!’ Job 33:22 – 24. AMP

And just as it is appointed for people to die once – and after this, judgment – so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Heb. 9:27, 28. CSB

Yet, in the beginning of a new God-seeker’s journey, as is common with many people, he or she still harbors a fear of dying – convinced that is their lot in life due to their previous misdeeds. Thus, the need for their spiritual guide to illuminate for them the two paths:

“You can enter God’s kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Mt. 7:13, 14. NLT

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. Ps. 119:105 CSB

When the right path becomes apparent to us, and we set foot upon it, the devil goes in overdrive to defeat your intentions – even using your family and friends against you, as well as the government, schools and media. Why? Because your actions convict their sinful and damning-God behavior:

For I have heard the whispering and defaming words of many… “Denounce him! Let us denounce him!” All my familiar and trusted friends, [those who are] watching for my fall, say, “Perhaps he will be persuaded and deceived; then we will overcome him, and take our revenge on him.” Jer. 20:10 AMP

But we pray to God for strength to keep placing one foot in front of the other and a deaf ear to our so-called friends, knowing our heavenly prize awaits: 

“No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.” 

Lk. 9:62 AMP

So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable. 2 Cor. 4:18 AMP

Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue my goal as the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:13, 14. CSB

In spite of this worldly opposition, (from those on the path of a damnable eternity), if you earnestly continue to seek God, the picture of what is waiting for you on your heavenly path begins to crystalize:

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Jn. 10:28, 29. CSB

However, don’t forget that we are weak. It is only by God’s grace that we are called. As we make that walk, the world will blindside us with temptation, and we fall from our path into the devil’s trap. Yet, God always stands ready to liberate us and reset us on our journey:

He brought me up out of a horrible pit [of tumult and of destruction], out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my footsteps and establishing my path. Ps. 40:2 AMP

God will not give on you, if you don’t give up on Him. God cannot lie, and thus keeps all of His promises. And one of those promises states that along with your best efforts to live a godly life, He will make sure your destination is the right one – unlike the rebellious: 

Encourage the exhausted, and make staggering knees firm. Say to those with an anxious and panic-stricken heart, “Be strong, fear not! Indeed, your God will come with a vengeance [for the ungodly]; the retribution of God will come, but He will save you.” Is. 35:3 – 4. AMP

God is good. To be continued…

Goodnight and God bless.