Monday, February 6, 2017

Beautiful, Part Fourteen

If I become a Christian, will my life be easy then?

As much as we would all like for this to happen, no. It will be better, but not necessarily easier. However, our definition of “good” and our priorities should change so that no matter what happens, we’ll have peace, contentment and joy in knowing we are loved by God and will spend eternity with Him. We can be sure that the devil will try to attack our new life. He doesn’t like losing. The way that we rely on God through trials and temptations is an opportunity to prove your faith in Him and love for Him as genuine. When others see the change in our ways and attitudes, then we might get a chance to share God’s love and message of salvation with them. There’s nothing more important in this life than knowing where we will spend eternity and, once we know, honoring God in all we do.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. Psalm 147:10-11 The crucible is for refining silver and the furnace is for gold, likewise the LORD tests hearts. Proverbs 27:3 (Also see 1 Peter 1:6-9 above.)

What is the deadline?

It’s not too late to repent until we’re dead or Jesus returns (but only God knows the date of either of those events). But make no mistake—He is returning for those who are His. Be ready! Anticipate and long for His return, walk as He walked, be about His business of boldly proclaiming the Gospel, patiently endure suffering for His sake, put Him first and be proud of His finished work of pure love for us on the cross, not ashamed of Him (or He will be ashamed of us). The faithful (and God knows the heart and actions of all) will be spared the wrath of God to come on the entire world. (This doesn’t mean we will never have any problems, but when we do, God will work out everything for good. Romans 8:28)

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8 “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:42 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! Luke 12:38

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:3-6 

But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord turn from evil." 2 Timothy 2:19 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation." For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3

This is Part Fourteen of a series.  You may download the entire devotional in a "pretty" format here or in a basic, small file size format with highlighting here.  PLEASE NOTE: There have been some minor changes made to these documents as I posted each section (and they are reflected in the blog posts).  If you downloaded the small file prior to today, please re-download it now and again at the end of this series.  The "pretty" file has not yet been updated, but will be.  I'll make a note of it when it is finished with the updates.  Thanks!