Devotional for Tuesday March 19th

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “Jesus, however, invited them: “Let the little children come to me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: “Children have a special place in the heart of God.”

 

Do you want to go to heaven? If so you will have to have child-like faith. That’s what Jesus teaches. Children have an amazing capacity to simply believe and trust, and that’s what is required of us as well. Children have a special place in the heart of God for many reasons, and their willingness to simply believe and trust is chief among them.

 

This morning I am leaving on a one week trip to the El Arca Children’s Home in the Amazon Jungle of Peru. I won’t have a mission team with me this time, it will just be me. I’m going down there to spend a week with my missionary friends Bud Lenz and Trevor Wright –and of course with the wonderful children in the home. I love being at El Arca. To me it’s a little slice of heaven. The children are amazing, my missionary friends are a joy to be with, and I really appreciate the peace and quiet that comes with being in a remote location out in the Jungle.

 

This will be the last daily devotional message until I get home. The next devotional you will receive will be on Wednesday morning March 27th. At that time we will conclude our study of “Understanding Salvation” with four final messages.

 

Until then I would like to ask you to do four things. First, spend the week reviewing some of the most helpful messages so far in this series. Think about your own salvation and thank God for it. Second, make it a point to share the Good News with others. If you have placed your faith in Christ then your salvation is secure and you have a wonderful eternity waiting for you. Now help that to become true for others as well.

 

Third, please pray for me, for the Lenz missionary family, for Trevor, and for the children of El Arca. In the last couple of years the Lenz family has experienced some special challenges in their ministry at El Arca and they need your prayers. Pray especially for Bud, Laura, Joseph, Rebecca, and Charity. My objective on this trip is to simply be there for them as a friend. I’m bringing some supplies for them too, but mostly it’s just about fellowship.

 

Pray for Trevor. As of August he will have completed two extended stints of service at El Arca totaling more than a year. In August he will come home to get married and to start a new season of life here in the USA. During the upcoming week Trevor and I will spend some time discussing his future. Pray that God will provide insight and clarity.

 

Finally, please visit the El Arca website at www.elarcafam.org to find out more about this great ministry. Pray for the staff and for the children, and consider if the Lord might have you become a financial partner in their work, either with a one-time gift or perhaps on a monthly basis.

 

See you in one week!

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

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Devotional for Monday March 18th

Good Morning Everyone,

Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”

Our Bible verse for today: “While he was still speaking with the crowds, his mother and brothers were standing outside wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, ‘Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.’ He replied to the on who was speaking to him, ‘Who is my mother and who are my brothers?’ Stretching his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:46-50 (CSB)

Our thought for today: “You will spend eternity with your brothers and sisters in Christ.”

In the passage we just read from Matthew 12:46-50 Jesus was not being unkind or disrespectful towards His mother, brothers, and sisters. They were his biological family and He loved them. His comments in that passage were designed to teach a larger spiritual truth. Biological relationships are important, but spiritual relationships are more important. Your biological ties to parents, siblings, and relatives will end at the death of these mortal bodies. But your spiritual bonds to your brothers and sisters in Christ will last for all eternity.

That being the case, the spiritual bond with your brothers and sisters in Christ is more important than your biological bonds with your flesh and blood family, because it is your spiritual family that you will spend eternity with. Hopefully you biological family is also part of your spiritual family and they will therefore be with you in eternity. If that is not the case then I encourage you to make their salvation a high priority in your life. Pray for them, witness to them, and serve them in the name of Jesus. You want them to be there to enjoy eternity with you.

Yesterday, as we considered what life will be like on the new earth in our resurrection bodies, I introduced the question about who will be there with us in eternity. It will be all those who have ever placed their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. I realize this seems like a no-brainer but in reality we don’t give enough serious thought to this important truth. As we consider the amazing eternity Jesus has prepared for those who are His, we need to realize there are many who will never get to experience it.

In this series I haven’t talked much about hell but make no mistake, hell is as real as heaven. And just as the Bible reveals a lot about the new heaven and the new earth, it also tells us a lot about hell. I could do another entire series on hell.  If someone is not with you in eternal paradise, it’s because they are in eternal hell – and the eternal hell is every bit as bad as the eternal heaven is good.

There’s still more for us to learn about eternity in paradise but before we do, please spend some time thinking and praying about those you know who are currently not headed there. Make an extra effort today to reach out to someone with the Good News that God will forgive their sins through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

God Bless,
Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Saturday and Sunday March 16-17

Good Morning Everyone,

Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”

Our Bible verse for today: “But based upon his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13 (CSB)

Our thought for today: “In order to understand what life in eternity will be like, we need to picture the new earth as a real earth.”

As we continue to consider what life in eternity is going to be like for us in our resurrection bodies, it really is important to understand that the new earth is going to be very much like the current earth, only perfect.

Author Randy Alcorn did a good job of explaining this in his excellent book “Heaven”: “By calling the New Earth “earth”, God emphatically tells us it will be earthly, and thus familiar. Otherwise, why call it Earth? … The word “new” is an adjective describing a noun. The noun is the main thing. A new car is first and foremost a car. A new body is mainly a body. A New Earth is mainly an Earth … The Earth spoken of in Scripture is the Earth we know – with dirt, water, rocks, trees, flowers, animals, people, and a variety of wonders. An Earth without these would not be Earth.”

It has often been written about by Christian poets, authors, and song writers, that this earth is just a shadow of the one to come, that in this world we get glimpses of the next. Biblically this is true. This world gives us a foretaste of what’s to come. Think about the things that bring you the most pleasure and joy in this world – the beauty of a sunset, the magnificence of the Grand Canyon, colorful flowers, laughing babies, the taste of ice cream – now magnify those joys and pleasures about a qazillion times and you begin to get a feel for how great eternity on the new earth in a resurrection body is going to be.

I once read a statement written by “The Old Country Preacher”, Dr. J. Vernon McGee. He was commenting on what he believes eternity will be like for us in our resurrection bodies. Dr. McGee was fascinated by outer space – the planets, stars, and galaxies. He always wanted to be an astronaut who could explore deep space. So his fantasy for eternity is to spend the first 10,000 years just enjoying being in the presence of Jesus, and the second 10,000 years going from planet to planet, star to star, galaxy to galaxy, just exploring the wonders of God’s amazing universe.

I don’t know if Dr. McGee will get to do that or not, but I think he is probably not far off in his imaginings about the possibilities that will be available to us in that day.

Tomorrow we will consider who we will do all these amazing things with.

God Bless,
Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Friday March 15th

Good Morning Everyone,

Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”

Our Bible verse for today: “Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time …” 1 Corinthians 15:6 (CSB)

Our thought for today: “Jesus walked the old earth in His resurrection body; we will walk the new earth in our resurrection bodies.”

The primary reason Jesus remained on earth for forty days after His resurrection was to provide physical proof of His resurrection. His followers in those days had the almost impossible task of spreading the new Christian faith and planting churches in communities all across the land, and they were to do it in the face of tremendous skepticism and opposition. So they needed to have their faith bolstered by having personal physical encounters with the resurrected Jesus.

But that’s not the only reason He stayed on earth for that time. As was true of Jesus’ entire earthly life, one of His purposes on earth was to teach us lessons through His personal example. That’s true of His forty extra days on earth too.

In his wonderful and very helpful book “Heaven”, author Randy Alcorn proposes that, “Jesus walked the earth in his resurrection body for forty days, showing us how we would live as resurrected beings. In effect, he also demonstrated “where” we would live as resurrected human beings – on Earth.”

The resurrected Jesus walked the earth. His feet actually touched the dirt road and the dust got between His toes. He walked on a beach and felt the sand beneath His feet. The resurrected Jesus talked to people, and they talked to Him. He started a campfire, he cooked a meal for His friends, and at one point we even see Him eating. His was a resurrected body that was both physical and spiritual, and in it He experienced physical earthly things. That’s a picture of what eternity will be like for us in our resurrection bodies.

But this is different from what people normally assume will be true about our existence in eternity. We assume that eternity means a non-earth, that it is some kind of mystical spiritual ghost-like existence. But that’s not the picture the Bible gives us. Instead, the Bible describes a new earth, not a non-earth, and it is a new earth that is like the current earth in many ways and which will be familiar to us. In John 14:1-3 Jesus seems to be telling us that we will feel right at home there.

Spending eternity in our resurrection bodies on a new and redeemed earth is going to be fascinating and exciting. There will be much exploring and learning and activities to keep us occupied. What kinds of exploring, learning, and activities – and with whom? That’s a good question and we will talk more about that in the days to come.

God Bless,
Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Thursday March 14th

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: “The dead in Christ shall rise first.”

 

The consummation of your salvation occurs on the day of the second coming of Christ. That is when believers receive their resurrection body that they will spend eternity in. At this point salvation is complete for all believers from all of Christian history.

 

However, there is a sequence to the final phase of the consummation. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 that the dead in Christ arise first and receive their resurrection bodies. Then after that, those who are still alive at the time of the rapture rise and are given their resurrection bodies. Why the delay? Why do those who are still alive have to wait a few moments as others receive their resurrection bodies first?

 

The Bible doesn’t actually answer that question for us but I think it’s probably a matter of fairness. Those who are still alive at the time of the second coming of Christ never had to go through the agony of physical death. They didn’t have to endure a long slow deterioration of the physical body that ended in death. They did not have to suffer the ravages of cancer or some other terminal disease. They weren’t murdered. They also didn’t have to spend hundreds or even thousands of years in the intermediate state in the current heaven waiting for the final consummation of their salvation.

 

The dead in Christ did have to experience those things. Whereas those who are still alive at the second coming of Christ got to skip all that life-ending stuff, the dead in Christ had to go through it. So now, in the moment of fulfillment, those who suffered, died, and waited, receive their resurrection bodies first.

 

I’m thinking it’s probably not really that big of a deal. I doubt that any Christians who are still alive and watching all of this happening are going to be thinking that it’s somehow unfair for them to have to wait a moment. And I’m pretty sure that none of those who did die and who are now rising first will be looking back and sticking their tongues out at those who have to wait. I think we’ll all be cool about it.

 

So now the consummation of the salvation process is done. You have the full spiritual stature you will have for eternity, and you are finally in that very cool resurrection body.

 

So now what? What will eternity be like? Well, once again it’s surprising to discover how much detail the Bible actually gives us about this. We will begin to take a look at life in eternity tomorrow.

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Wednesday March 13th

Good Morning Everyone,

 

Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”

 

Our Bible verse for today: “Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body must be clothed with immortality. When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, death, is your victory? Where death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 (CSB)

 

Our thought for today: The consummation of your salvation will be complete.”

 

We now know that salvation is a process that unfolds in three distinct phases. It begins with the moment of decision when you open your heart and place your faith in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. It continues with the “working out” of your salvation, as the Apostle Paul wrote about in Philippians 2:12-13. This is the lifelong transformation called “sanctification”. The third phase is the consummation of our salvation. It occurs in two stages, the first is when this mortal body dies and we arrive in heaven with the spiritual stature that will be ours for eternity. The consummation is finalized on the day of the second coming of Christ, when all believers receive their resurrection body. That’s what we read about in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55.

 

In this passage Paul reveals some intriguing details about what that day will be like. For those who are still alive on earth at that time, he tells us that those folks will not experience the physical death of their mortal bodies. Instead, they will simply rise to meet Christ in the air and they will instantaneously go from being in their mortal bodies into their resurrection bodies. This event is known as the rapture.

 

We also learn from this passage that those who have died and whose mortal bodies turned to dust, they will now be raised and reunited with their spirit, but in a resurrection body. Somehow, miraculously, the Lord gathers and reclaims all the scattered elements of what had been your mortal body. He re-forms and raises the body, unites it with your spirit which has been with Him in heaven all this time, and instantly transforms it all into a perfected resurrected body that will live for eternity.

 

When Paul writes that the corrupt mortal body must be clothed with incorruptibility and immortality, he’s simply emphasizing the point that the old mortal body just won’t do for life in an eternal paradise. We need that resurrection body in order to fully enjoy what the Lord has in store for us. This is the consummation of our salvation. Our full spiritual stature joined with a perfected resurrected body to enjoy eternity in a perfect paradise.

 

There is one more important passage of Scripture we need to look at in order to fully understand this moment when the consummation of our salvation is completed. It has to do with the sequencing of events and we will look at it tomorrow.

 

God Bless,

Pastor Jim

Copyright © 2019 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Oak Hill Baptist Church

3036 Genesis Road

Crossville, Tn 38571

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Devotional for Tuesday March 12th

Good Morning Everyone,

Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”

Our Bible verse for today: “The Lord Jesus Christ, who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV)

Our thought for today: “God will give us a new resurrection body.”

There is no real debate among serious Bible scholars that we will spend eternity in a glorious resurrection body. It’s true that there’s much we don’t know about that body, but the Bible is clear that we will have one, and it does give us some clues about it.

In Philippians 3:20-21 Paul tells us that Jesus will transform out lowly bodies into something that is like His glorious body. So what was the glorious resurrection body of Jesus like? If we look at the concluding chapters of each of the four gospels we find that in His resurrection body Jesus was recognizable as the person He had been in life. We also see that he was physical, “Touch me and see; because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have …” Jesus also ate food, he conversed with people, and he lit a fire and cooked breakfast for them. But we also find that His body had spiritual qualities not associated with our current physical body. For instance He could appear and disappear in an instant; he could pass through walls and doors; and finally His entire resurrection body – physical and spiritual, arose and ascended into heaven.

Paul says that our resurrection bodies will be something like that. Exactly like that? I don’t know, but something like that. In the days to come we will continue to mine the Bible for clues about what our resurrection bodies will be like and the kinds of things we will likely do in eternity, but the point for us to get today is that there is a direct continuity between our mortal body and our resurrection body. Although the mortal body will die and return to dust, as we will learn tomorrow, at the second coming of Christ the mortal body will be raised, perfected, and reunited with our spirit. You will still be you, but you will be a perfect you.

There will be many surprises in store for you with respect to your resurrection body – there will be characteristics of it that you never would have imagined and it will be capable of things you never would have guessed. But you will still be you – redeemed and perfected, enjoying eternity in a redeemed and perfected world.

The great Bible scholar Dr. R.A. Torrey wrote, “We will not be disembodied spirits in the world to come, but redeemed spirits, in redeemed bodies, in a redeemed universe.”

It’s going to be great! More about this tomorrow.

God Bless,
Pastor Jim

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