One of the true delights in life is God’s family. No matter what kind of earthly family we come from that might be filled with fights, disagreements, hard feelings, love, tenderness, nurturing…. all believers belong to God’s family, He is our heavenly Father and we can call Him, “Abba Father’. This is a term that was used to express a very close relationship with our father, like Daddy. Romans 8:15-17 explains our adoption into God’s family. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”
I find this passage incredibly encouraging. I am adopted through faith in Jesus to belong to His family making me a join heir with Christ in heavenly things. I will have eternal life with Jesus, reign in heaven, have a home there, belong to God and I can call Him Father and Jesus brother. Jesus reaffirmed this truth in Matthew 12:50 when He was questioned about his brothers and sisters, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” I will also have support in the here and now through His indwelling Holy Spirit that testifies to my spirit that I belong to God and empowers me to live for Jesus each day. Being in God’s family also means I will suffer for His name as I stand up for Him and tell others about Him. It is all part of being ‘in the family’ of God.
Usually at Thanksgiving we think of family and give thanks for having those in our lives that care about us. Likewise, we should take time to be thankful for the family of God. Think of those brothers and sisters in Christ that are risking their lives to tell others about Jesus, those that are suffering great hardships around the world, those who we work with every day that are in need of a helping hand, an encouraging word or prayer. Philippians 4:6 is a promise from God that reminds us to pray with thanks. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Pray for your brothers and sisters today with calmness knowing they are loved by God and are join heirs with Christ. It is our privilege as members of God’s family.
I am thankful for each of you as you seek to know God more completely, and I pray that my words will be an encouragement to you!
One of the images presented in scripture is of God as our eternal King. This seems like an earthly title but when we consider His kingdom and what it is like, we realize that His reign is way beyond any earthly kingdom. Jesus tell us in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” God’s kingdom is not territory driven but character driven. Romans 14:17 adds more, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” His kingdom is a place of joy, peace and dwelling with God. 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not based on talk but on power.” His kingdom is based on His power and might. Scripture tells us Jesus is and will be our king. Hebrews 1:8 “But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.”
David knew God was and is king forever. Psalm 145:1 “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.” Jeremiah proclaimed God the living eternal King in Jeremiah 10:10 “But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.” Daniel knew who God was as stated in Daniel 2:37 “You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory,”
Today question is: Who is God to you? Is He your King and if so do you desire to be a member of His Kingdom? Meditate on Psalm 145:1, Jeremiah 10:10 and Daniel 2:37 and analyze your own thoughts about who God is and your relationship to Him. If you find Him to be your King, then think about your life and ask yourself if you are acting like a member of His kingdom. Are you driven by earthly desires or by wanting to be more and more like Jesus so your character counts? Jesus desires to abide in us and be the driving force and power within our lives. We have to relinquish ourselves to Him and desire to be citizens of His kingdom. Through salvation in Jesus, we are citizens of heaven, praise the Lord! Take heart in Philippians 3:20, “ But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have an eternal home. Jesus’ work on the cross reconciled us, as sinners, and brought us into relationship with Holy God. Jesus knew that future believers would then dwell with Him in heaven. He reassured the disciples of this joyful fact even though they did not understand it at the time. It was only later they would grasp more fully the greatness of the price He paid to redeem all mankind. John 14:1-2 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?“ Jesus wanted his disciples, and us too, to understand that He was leaving them, but He was going ahead to prepare a place, a home for them. He assured them there would be room enough for all. This scripture is often used at funerals to comfort the grieving. The idea that we have a prepared place to go, a home in heaven is of great comfort and gives us great hope.
There are other scriptures that would imply that this eternal home is not only a place, but a new body form. In our heavenly home, we will have a heavenly body that is eternal, immortal and imperishable. 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 in the Amplified version makes it very clear. “For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling,” and 1 Corinthians 15:42 “So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The [human] body that is sown is perishable and mortal, it is raised imperishable and immortal.”
Be encouraged today as the suffering of this life will end and we will someday be with Jesus in a new body in a new home. Praise God!
Suggestion: Find someone to share your eternal hope and destination with and tell them how that gives you hope for today. You live with assurance as you know you have a home in heaven and Jesus is waiting for you there.
Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have freedom in Christ. What kind of freedom does Christ give? First and foremost, we have freedom from the bondage and penalty of sin. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, and because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1-2 We do not have to worry about paying the penalty for our sins as Christ paid with His life to redeem us. We simply need a repentant, thankful, believing heart committed to Jesus.
Another freedom we have in Christ is we will not suffer eternal death but live eternally with Him. “the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.” Romans 8:21 and John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Heaven will be a place where there will be no more tears, no more death, and we will not suffer the decay caused by sin and death.”
The last freedom I want to mention is found in 2 Corinthians 3:17. “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” The indwelling Holy Spirit brings within us freedom that is from the Lord. He unleashes our full potential and puts us on a course to do great things for Him. I love the benediction the author of Hebrews gives in Hebrews 13:21 when he reminds us that God is equipping us to do good works for His glory and our good. “may he equip you with all you need
for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
In Christ we are free from sin’s penalty, free to live eternally with Him and free to do His work. May you feel His freedom today!
Suggestion: Choose something to do today for the Lord. As you do this task, thank God for the freedom to choose to do this in His power and for the ability to perform this task. He has equipped you so that you can exercise your freedom to choose to work for Him bringing Him glory and yourself contentment.
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a place in heaven. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my eternal home in heaven because I’m usually so preoccupied with life in the here and now that it seems distant. However, the older I get the more I have pondered what this home will be like and who will be there with me. I realize now the urgency for telling others about Jesus and His saving power, so that they will not be left behind.
Today’s scripture comes from John 14. It is a familiar passage about the home Jesus is preparing for us and gives us great hope. I like the extra meaning the Amplified version gives John 14:1-4 ““Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe[confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you.3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.4 And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way.” We are not to be afraid because through faith in Jesus we know that He is preparing our eternal home and that He will come get us when the time is right.
Another passage in Ephesians reassures us that through faith in Jesus and because of God’s great love for us, we will be seated with Christ. It is truly by God’s grace, His unmerited favor, that He made such a place for us, as we did nothing to earn the riches we will receive. Ephesians 2:4-7 “ But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
In our eternal home will have a place of honor that is prepared for us by Christ himself, and we will be with Him for eternity. My finite mind can only try to imagine such provision, but I know I only need to believe in Jesus and His saving work on the cross for it to be mine.
Suggestion: Give some thought to heaven today and make a list of at least 5 things you know about it. Need some help- read Revelation 21 or go back and reread today’s passages. They are filled with promises about our heavenly home. Hint- one of my favorites is Revelation 21:4
Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am a citizen of heaven. Our passport to heaven is stamped citizen the minute we accept Jesus as our Savior. In Philippians 3:19-20 Paul describes our position in contrast to those who do not believe. “They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” Also in Ephesians 2:19 Paul encourages the Gentile believers that they now belong to the family of God-all believers. “So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.”
Why is citizenship in heaven so important? Just like in our age, with citizenship comes privileges of belonging to a nation. We belong to Jesus (Romans 1:5-6), have a future home there prepared by Jesus (John 14:1-3), we will dwell with Him (John 14:23), our reward waits for us there (Matthew 5:12), our treasures are there (Matthew 6:19), our home with Him is eternally strong and secure (2 Corinthians 5:1), our inheritance is kept there secure and unfaded by time (1 Peter 1:4) and we have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). All these privileges are ours because we know Christ and are citizens of heaven. Through our faith in Jesus, we live in this world but our real home and allegiance is in heaven to our heavenly Father. Jesus warned us that we would struggle with the world and sin but that He has overcome the world. Victory is ours through Christ. 1 John 5:4-5 “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”
Privileged to be a citizen of heaven,