During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” – Acts 16:9
How long will eternity last?
Seriously, stop and think about that question.
When you think about it, it’s mind-boggling. The hymn “Amazing Grace” reads, “When we’ve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, then when we’d first begun.” And that’s true! Eternity will go on and on and on and on and … well, you get the picture.
Of course, for us who are believers in Jesus, that’s an awesome thing! We’ll be enjoying God’s love and praising him, and it will be incredibly meaningful and joyful!
But for those who go to hell? It will be horrible, horrible, horrible! Separated forever from God and his love, suffering without end!
So can we understand the plea from the Macedonian man? What did the people in that area need? More than anything else they needed to know about Jesus and his forgiving love! More than anything else they needed to know that God loved them! More than anything else they needed to know that heaven was open for them because Jesus had died and risen!
And wonderfully God has brought that knowledge to you! God has “helped” you in bringing you to know that Jesus is your Savior! God has “helped” you in knowing that you’re on your way to heaven! Could anything be more important, more valuable than that?!
And now you get the honor of “helping” others, by leading them to Jesus. Whom can you “help” today?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for “helping” me, leading me to trust that you have saved me. Fill me with appreciation! And lead me to be one who can “help” others to know you. Amen.
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:33-35
It seems only like yesterday when I would tell my daughter to: “Clean up the kitchen after you eat. Feed the dog and let him out. Make sure you get your homework finished and get to bed by 9:00.” Similar instructions are given to responsible children in countless households by parents who are about to leave them home alone for an evening.
Jesus gave his disciples some instructions when he knew that he would be leaving them soon. His instructions were very simple: “Love one another.” By dealing with one another in love, not only would the followers of Jesus be obeying his command, they would also be making it clear to others exactly who they are: disciples of Jesus.
What is this love that we are to have for one another? Jesus tells us that it is to be the same kind of love that he has for us. His love caused him to go to the cross and give up his life for us so that we don’t have to be punished for our sins. His love focused on our greatest need and was willing to do whatever it took to meet it even if that meant he would have to suffer tremendous pain and even die.
Because of his love for us and what that love caused him to do, we know that our sins have been forgiven, and our relationship with God restored. Such wonderful news motivates us to want to live for Jesus, and he tells us how to do so: “Love one another.”
By lifting our eyes off of ourselves to see others and their needs, and then working to meet those needs even if it means personal sacrifice on our part, we obey our Savior’s command to love one another. When we do, other people will notice that there is something different about us. They will recognize that we are disciples of Jesus.
Prayer: Jesus, my Savior, thank you for loving me enough to make the ultimate sacrifice for my sins. Help me to show that same sacrificial love to others that it may be evident to them that I follow and obey you. Amen.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. … And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” …Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; … Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. … And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” – Revelation 7:7-17 (selected verses)
People say Christianity is elitist. They don’t want to live by anyone else’s rules but their own. Is it any wonder that one of the most requested songs at funerals is Frank Sinatra’s, “My Way”?
Is that your song? Or does your song echo that of the saints in heaven? – “Salvation belongs to our God, … and to the Lamb.” Followers of Christ don’t boast in themselves. They boast in their Savior God. Jesus is the only thing that really matters in this life. Only he has provided deliverance from sin, all fears, and a hopeless future.
And who benefits? A select few? No! “A great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.”
It’s not easy to sing the song of the saints. It’s easy to lose heart in this wicked world. The saints in heaven know it. They are those “who have come out of the great tribulation.” But what do those saints have to say to us? “Hang in there!”
How? Don’t rely on yourself. Trust in him who is truly wise and powerful. God gives you the strength to handle whatever you’re suffering.
Just remember that your suffering doesn’t begin to compare to what’s waiting for you in heaven. “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
From tribulation to triumph. Hang in there. Heaven is worth it!
Prayer: Give me strength, Lord, when life gets hard. Keep me focused on the glory you have waiting for me in heaven together with all your saints. Amen.