Posts Tagged ‘Eternity’

THE SEVEN TIME STAGES OF MY LIFESPAN

Posted: July 6, 2019 in Uncategorized
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THE SEVEN TIME STAGES OF MY LIFESPAN – Some stray thoughts about time and Eternity

Time Abandoned © Image by Ross Cochrane

ETERNITY

Eternity – I am a thought in the eternal mind of God. It is as if time has stopped or at least this is the only way I can describe it because, here, time has never begun. It does not exist. It is not so much that I can move around quickly, but instantly, without reference to time taken, not even nano-seconds or light-year speed.

I have entrance into everywhere, in relationship with God. It is not so much that I can think clearly, but that thought pervades, and I have entrance into a great knowing of everything, at once.

Choices are made but they are eternal and not bounded by sinfulness.

It’s not that I love, but I have all love. Not so much that I am righteous, but I have access into the righteousness of Christ Himself and I am saturated with Him.

In Him I am not bounded by muscle-strength, but can accomplish all things, unbounded might.

Here, Truth is obvious to everyone. Here, unchanging perfection delights me entirely. Yet this is somehow only a beginning.

TIME STARTS IN THE WOMB

The Womb – Time has begun for me, and although it is infinitesimally slow, I feel the speed of everything, great days of tremendous energy, I have infiltrated another world where I belong, a spark of God’s destiny surges into the universe, into the smallness. All eternity still resides, planted within, and yet life has steps and I begin to fill boundaries rather than explore unbounded reaches.

I become atomic, anatomical, time-bound and space-bound. Great capacity of thought within limits. Shocking. Senses-bound, spinning, growing, weak, floating, my world is ignited, not instant anymore, time is not stopped, but beginning, slow slabs of time infused with startled thoughts which still have incredible insight and super speed, but somehow edge-slowed, like a slight breeze against a super-fast spinning planet.

Long days, absorbing everything, sensing everything, developing in everything.

TIME IS SLOW IN CHILDHOOD

Childhood – thrust into a new universe. Everything clearer, brighter, full, new. Long days of learning to live in a finite space.

Time is still slow, fortunately. Sleep-filled with regenerating, connecting pathways. Wake-filled with helplessness.

Eternity continues to turn the controls of time an infinitesimal step faster and it takes longer for me to adjust, yet days are still as decades, filling my life with sensations and thoughts, helping me adjust to this new experience.

TIME IS FASTER IN TEENAGE YEARS

Teenage Years – Then just as I have begun to find balance with time and learning my world, time speeds up again until I can no longer grasp all that needs to be understood within the days I have been given. I am floundering.

Days are still slow but some things are now lost and the doors to the eternal space within have become harder to access.

I have lost my memory of early childhood but I remember that at one point later on in my childhood, I heard the door of eternity slam somewhere deep within and now someone is knocking. I don’t have time to go and see who it is because I must rush to experience everything.

So much happening. Tastes of love and heartache. Time lost. Time wasted. Time found for some things and some people and not for others. All sorts of impromptu choices in a world where my mind is moving slower than the time I have to think.

At one point, I am alone and hear a voice from eternity as I read God’s Word and I am given a key to open once more the door. I find Christ standing there and we are connected in relationship. I want to be with Him in eternity but instead He walks through the door to be with me.

Life and love makes sense and I move towards my destiny.

TIME IS FAST IN ADULTHOOD

Adulthood – Time speeds up and I slow down, realizing that I can never accomplish more than a day gives. Yet now, I get glimpses of eternity through the open door within and time is redeemed. A wonderful wife, children of my own, parents ushered into eternity. Ministry. Making a difference. Valued years.

TIME SPEEDS IN OLD AGE

Old Age – I am very slow and time very fast. My grandchildren grow taller, move faster, fill their lives with things I can barely keep up with. Rich experiences. Days are like moments. Eternity calls but Christ is here and I will stay wherever He is.

At one point, when time has become so fast, measured in nano-seconds, and I am so slow that I have almost stopped, I can no longer keep up. I fall, but He takes hold of my hand and I am ushered towards the door of eternity.

The transition through the door is jolting, almost violent, as time suddenly slows down again like the brakes of a huge plane rushing to a standstill on the runway. A huge Adrenalin-rush of life. My mind is infused with renewed energy and light. This door is where time slows to a stop and life speeds up until all is simply an instant.

TIME/ETERNITY

Eternity – Time has stopped for me. It does not exist here. It is not that I can move around quickly, but instantly. Without reference to time taken, not even nano seconds or light year speed, I have entrance into everywhere, in relationship with God.

It is not so much that I can think clearly, but that thought pervades, and I have entrance into a great knowing of everything, at once.

Choices are made but they are eternal and not bounded by sinfulness. It’s not that I love, but I have all love. Not that I am righteous, but I have access into the righteousness of Christ Himself and I am saturated with Him.

In Him I am not bounded by muscle-strength, but can accomplish all things, unbounded might.

Here, Truth is obvious to everyone. Here, unchanging perfection delights me entirely. Here I recall that life makes sense completely in Christ. I have co-operated with Him in order to make a difference in time and eternity.

This is life to the full.

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Cogs. Just learning about correlating movement and constraints.

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P.S. This last stage of my lifespan I am yet to experience, but looking forward to it.

Pastor Ross

 

Sydney Harbour Sept 2016 IMG_6009 (48).png

Eternity © by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net

Matthew 19:17 – TWO PREREQUISITES FOR HAVING ETERNAL LIFE THIS CHRISTMAS (Part 2)

With a worried look on her face as she sat upright in her hospital bed, June said, “How can I know for certain that I will go to heaven. Have I done enough?” How could I know that June would die the next day? June would have loved the answers that Jesus gave to the rich young ruler who came to Him with the same question about good works and eternal life but her response to Christ was so different.

“Why ask Me about what is good?” Jesus replies. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17 NLT).

Surely Jesus is good and therefore should be able to answer his question. Why does Jesus say “Why ask Me about what is good?” Why does Jesus say, “Keep the commandments” and not “Follow Me” or “Believe in Me” first?

Jesus could have quoted the words that would eventually be written in Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”

Jesus could have quoted words which Paul would write in Titus 3:5 (NLT)“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.”

Where is His evangelical zeal? He didn’t go through the 4 spiritual laws or Evangelism Explosion points to cover the gospel and elicit a response of faith. Why did he bring up keeping the law, of all things? Jesus, what are you doing? Where is Your theology?

Then again, perhaps the 4 spiritual laws and our traditional methods are not the only way to share the gospel. What was Jesus trying to get this young man to realize? For that matter…

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW IF I AM TO RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE?

As I shared with June I told her that not one of us is good enough to get to heaven by ourselves. Like Jesus, I said in effect that…

  1. NO-ONE IS GOOD BUT GOD. Romans 3:23 (NLT) says “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” This young man was quite satisfied that he was a good man. He was arrogant enough to think that a perfect God would accept a flawed human standard of goodness. This is a common misconception.

 

Instead of saying “You are a sinner”, Jesus makes it clear to him that no-one is good but God. It amounts to the same thing.

 

If God alone is good then God alone holds the answers to receiving eternal life. It can’t be earned by us, only received by us and in a way that will not compromise the perfect character of God.

 

  1. WE RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE. WE DON’T EARN IT. Jesus says to him, “…if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments”.

I told June that Eternal Life is a gift, not something we earn, work for or deserve. But what about the rich young ruler?

Jesus gives this young man an impossible task. If it were possible to keep the commandments perfectly as Jesus did, then he could receive the gift of heaven. But no-one can. He has already said “No-one is good but God.” Paul would eventually write, For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.(Romans 3:20 NLT).

Was Jesus helping this young man see that there was nothing he could do to receive eternal life by himself? Was He helping him to place his trust alone in a perfect God rather than his good works? Is this what He was saying to June as I spoke to her that day?

What happens next? (see part 3 for more of the story).

Pastor Ross

Matthew 19:16 – WHAT MUST I DO TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE THIS CHRISTMAS? – Part 1

Eternity

Eternity, Image created by Ross Cochrane with Paint.net

“Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16 NLT).

She sat up in her hospital bed, clearly agitated, waiting for me. She looked so alert and clearly wanted to talk. I was not to know that she would die the next day and how important it was for her to have her questions answered.

Almost before I had greeted June (not her real name) she blurted out “How can I know for certain that I will go to heaven? Have I done enough?” June had been attending my Devotional Talks at the Aged Care Centre and I am reminded of her all these years later as I read this interview with Jesus.

WHO IS HE?

Who was this someone who comes to Jesus? Matthew tells us that he is a young man (Matthew 19: 20). Luke tells us he is a ruler (Luke 18:18) and Mark says he comes running and kneeling (Mark 10:17). All three gospels tell us that he is rich. He is obviously a leader but with a lot of respect for Jesus as a teacher. Rich, young and powerful. Is he a ruler of the synagogue?

WHAT DOES HE WANT?

The rich young ruler thinks that there is one particularly good thing above every other good deed that he can do to earn eternal life. The fact that he comes to Jesus shows he is concerned about this and respects Jesus enough to get an answer to his dilemma.

His question, unlike the Pharisees (Matthew 19:3), seems to be genuine. He is not trying to trap Jesus.

Perhaps in listening to Jesus, he has become concerned that he would not go to heaven? Like June, he asks what he must do, not realizing the real truth about how we receive eternal life depends on God, not on us. But more about this later.

WHY DOES HE COME TO JESUS? 

He is obviously a good man willing to do good works to earn eternal life, but perhaps he heard Jesus speak about the children. Jesus said, “For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matthew 19:14 NLT). How could those who were like children be closer to eternal life than this rich young ruler of the synagogue, with all his good works, and status in society?

Surely eternal life doesn’t just come to people at birth. He knows that not everyone automatically has eternal life. Children are not capable of doing good works.

Notice that what the rich man calls “eternal life” is the same thing that Jesus’ calls the “kingdom” (Matthew 19:23) and the disciples call being “saved” (Matthew 19:25).

The more he listens to Jesus, the more he is shaken in his understanding of eternal life, so he comes to Jesus to set things straight.

WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM HIM?

So what can I learn from this young man as he comes to Jesus and from June as she sat in the hospital bed that day some years ago? What can they teach me that will make a difference in my life?

1.Seek the Eternal not the temporal. They are on the right track. This young man and June believe that there is more to life than what they are experiencing. (Matthew 19:16)

2.Come to Christ with respect and openness. After you come to the Lord Jesus Christ, ask Him how you can have eternal life, but be open enough receive what He says.

3.Recognise Christ for who He is. Jesus is the only One who is able to give you the answer to any questions about eternal life. Jesus says, “… No one can come to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NLT). Even if you come with presumptions that are wrong, these will be sorted out by the answers you receive from Christ.

Acts 17:27 (NLT) says that “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him—though He is not far from any one of us.” 

June, like the rich young ruler, asked her questions and we talked about the answers only Jesus could provide.

Psalm 145:18 (NLT) says “The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth.”

Isaiah 55:6 (NLT)says, “Seek the Lord while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near.”

Isaiah 1:18 (NLT) says, “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”

The invitation of Matthew 19:16 and from the Bible as a whole is to come to Christ for the answers you need about eternal life during this Christmas season.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? (See next post)

Pastor Ross

Genesis 25:7-10 – HEREAFTER

Hereafter

Last night I watched a video called “HEREAFTER” with Matt Damon. It is a movie about people grappling with what happens to them after they die. Matt Damon plays the part of a reluctant Psychic who connects with people who have died by touching the hands of relatives. He relates what those who have died are saying. By the way, doing this is strictly prohibited in the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:10-14).

The thing that really strikes me about Genesis 25 is a clear reference to the HEREAFTER. Genesis 25:7 says “Abraham lived for 175 years, and he died at a ripe old age…” That’s an understatement! 175 is almost OVERRIPE but I think the idea here is that it was a fruitful life because it goes on to say that he “lived a long and satisfying life. He breathed his last and WAS GATHERED TO HIS ANCESTORS.” 

Think about that statement for a moment. Genesis 25:8 (NASB) – “GATHERED TO HIS ANCESTORS.” Henry Morris in his book “the Genesis Record”, points out that this is an interesting phrase since NONE of his ancestors were buried in the cave of Machpelah where he was buried, so it can’t refer to the actual BURIAL PLACE.

It has to be a reference to LIFE AFTER DEATH! Do “HIS PEOPLE” refer to those who died, from Adam down to him, believing in God? Are “his people” believers, the believing line through the line of Seth? I think so. God is creating a scarlet thread of redemption down through the pages of the Old Testament that will eventually end up with the birth of Christ. He is creating a spiritual line that extends down even further.

What makes this statement even more compelling as a reference to the HEREAFTER is that nineteen hundred years later, the place where believers are said to go to when they die is actually described as “ABRAHAM’S BOSOM” (Luke 16:22). We will be with Abraham, the father of those who believe (Romans 4:9-13).

Even the most Godly people die. 100% of us die. Romans 6:23 (NLT) says that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Every person since Adam and Eve has forfeited their lives because of sin except, of course, Jesus, who never sinned. He did not forfeit His life but gave Himself up freely for us (John 10:17-18), paying the penalty for our sin (Romans 5:8).

John 3:16 (NLT) says “For God loved the world so much that He gave His One and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” 

The invitation God offers us concerning the HEREAFTER is to accept the gift of eternal life through faith in Christ. John 3:36 (NLT) says that “anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life.” There is a HEREAFTER. Not everyone who thinks they are going to heaven will be there, however (John 3:36), but those who place their trust in Christ and come under His authority will experience the gift of eternal life with God.

Abraham lived a long life and then received eternal life because he believed in the promises of God. Romans 4:9-25 (NLT) says “… that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith. … So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. … For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” …

The spiritual line of Abraham didn’t stop at Christ. It was intended to continue down through to me and you. It leads us to Christ and back to Christ. God bless you as you make choices today concerning Christ which echo in eternity.

Pastor Ross

Matthew 13:36-43 – WILL I SEE MY MUM IN HEAVEN? – Part 12

Will I see my mum in heaven?

I watched the news in the last few weeks as a nation reels in the horror of the aftermath of an earthquake. The devastation of a category 6 earthquake brings everything to it’s knees, buildings awkwardly buckle and crumble as if submitting to a warlord. Darkness falls like a smothering blanket over the city as the electricity grid fails. Debris falls, the dusty malformed tears of a city, the victim of a stroke. She looks contorted and twisted as she struggles in vain, convulsing with each aftershock, trying to stay alive but unable to move, her eyes wide and blinded in the dirt.

A woman is plucked from the wreckage of a collapsed building but nothing can save the twisted misshapen, struggling city from the crushing reality of over 160 deaths. Hell walks the darkened streets of Christchurch, New Zealand and faces are haunted with fear, shock and grief. Their eyes look for someone to tell them that this is not happening, but somehow they know that life will never be the same.

There was no warning. Sudden, unexpected. No-one can tell when death knocks menacingly at the door. She dies, not in the streets of Christchurch but a sea away, in Australia. There is no front page news of this devastating event. Only a lonely ad somewhere in the funeral notices of the local paper. My mum dies of a massive stroke (cerebral haemorrhage) in the early hours of the morning as Christchurch is still reeling from the aftershocks. As I hear this news I cannot believe that this has happened until my sisters and I go to view her body, and I see that she is not there. Just an empty shell. She has departed into eternity. We conduct her funeral a week later.

And all of us are left with unvoiced questions about eternity, questions we don’t really want to think about but which linger in the shadows of the mind. WHAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY DIE?

Jesus speaks of HEAVEN as a place where “…the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom” and HELL as “…the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:42-43 NLT).

IS MY MUM IN HEAVEN? If I am honest, I can’t answer that question. I have to leave it in the hands of God. I trust Him to make the decisions of eternity. Did my mum come into a personal relationship with Christ as her Lord and Saviour? I know that I shared with her about how Jesus died for our sins on a number of occasions. Did she ever decide inwardly to trust in Christ? I know that she would pray at night, but was she saved out of the wreckage, plucked from the roof before her life collapsed, before all that was left was shock reverberating in the emptiness of our hearts?

The world didn’t know it but it was experiencing an earthquake of unbelievable magnitude when Christ died. He was reaching out to save us from our precarious condition. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins there was an appropriate blackout that covered the earth which in the physical environment described what was happening spiritually as He was judged for my sin (Mark 15:33).

The only light that not only dispels the darkness but also causes no shadows is one that comes from within, an inner light. God is described as light and some would unkindly say of Christians that the lights are on but nobody’s home, but that’s cruel and patently untrue. No matter how odd Christians are, foolish to many, CHRIST DWELLS WITHIN. 1 John 1:5-7 (NLT) says “…God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” John 8:12 (NLT) Jesus says “I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” The invitation is right there.

When the Bible describes those who go to heaven, it says “we will be like Him (Christ), for we will see Him as He really is” (1 John 3:2 NLT). The only way Jesus can describe to me what heaven is like is to say “…the righteous will shine like the sun in their Father’s Kingdom.” (Matthew 13:43 NLT). Although I can’t quite imagine shining like a celestial lightbulb, the contrast and choice is clear – DARKNESS, shell shocked and stubbornly unbelieving among the rubble of a collapsing world, or LIGHT; reaching out to a loving hand, and to salvation from the ruins of the devastating effects of my sin.

I choose LIGHT. Will I see my mum in heaven? Will I see you there?

Pastor Ross

Matthew 13:36-43 – HELL, GOD’S WASTE MANAGEMENT CENTRE – Part 11

Hell

I watch as hell is washed inland with the momentum of an earthquake behind it, a wave of burning cars, buildings and debri. And in its wake the devastation of thousands lost. Earthquake, tsunami, nuclear explosion.

In the Valley of Hinnom, outside Jerusalem, refuse was burned continually day and night. It was called Gehenna, the city dump. Jesus uses it as a picture of HELL. I know that Hell is regarded as a foolish ploy of religious people to instill fear, or a metaphor of retribution, but the Bible is very clear about it being a LITERAL AND DEFINITE place, originally prepared for the devil and his angels and not us (Matthew 25:41).

We are concerned for the lives lost in Japan. What is even worse is the thought of people being separated from God for ETERNITY. As reluctant as I am to speak about hell, Jesus isn’t. Perhaps today, rather than pointing to Gehenna, Jesus would point to the smoldering, twisted rubbish dump, like a lake of fire and smoke that once was Northern Japan, and say that it is a portrait of hell. It’s an incredible waste. But Imagine God thinking that my life is a waste such as this, not only on earth but also for eternity. No wonder hell is described as “THE SECOND DEATH”.

Imagine in Japan a helicopter offering to lift someone from the path of the Tsnami. Imagine them saying “I don’t need your help”. Lots of people do that with Jesus. They say “Well, I’ve lived a pretty good life. I don’t need Jesus. I don’t need to be saved!” The arrogance that deceives me into thinking that somehow I DESERVE heaven rather than accept that Christ died for my sins to keep me from hell may be a prevalent concept today, but it is totally ego centric and highlights how spiritually blind I am. I am choosing to live on a waste dump. Or as we choose to call it a Waste Management Recycling Centre.

As I speak on this day 14th March 2011, Hell walks through the battered remains of New Zealand, Japan and threatens people at Gunpoint in Libya, but Matthew 10:28 (NLT) says “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

The Bible says God is life. Those who choose to separate themselves from God separate themselves from that life for eternity, an unimaginable existence.

When Jesus gives an explanation of the parable of the WHEAT AND WEEDS being separated at the harvest, He uses strong terms. He says in Matthew 13:41-42 (NLT) “The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will remove from His Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” A comedian said if you don’t have teeth then teeth will be provided, but somehow it doesn’t seem so funny when you think that teeth gnashing describes the terrifying torment and anguish of such retribution.

Jesus is looking at some very religious people as He speaks and says “There will come a time when it will be sorted out”. The day of judgment is coming! He is simply stating it as a fact, and He is not trying to be some street preacher wearing a placard saying “Turn or burn!” Far from it. He is saying “NO-ONE ELSE has come to save you.”

John 3:17-21 (NLT) says “God sent His Son into the world NOT TO JUDGE the world, BUT TO SAVE the world through Him. There is NO JUDGMENT against anyone who BELIEVES IN HIM. But anyone who does NOT believe in Him has ALREADY been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light…”

These are words of life, not death. God loves you. He IS love. The invitation is clear. God offers us life in Christ. Jesus is the only way, truth and life. Choose life.

Pastor Ross

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Part 4 – Genesis 18:16-30 – JUST PASSING BY AND SAW YOUR LIGHT ON …

Saw Your Light On...

He slipped away into eternity peacefully the other day as we stood by his bed. The family and I held hands and prayed as an old man who loved the Lord and loved his family was in that moment absent from the body and present with the Lord. Peace and tears filled the room and I noticed one young woman held a baby in her hands. The next generation to be blessed in this Godly family.

How empty it seemed as I stand by the bed of other families who do not know the Lord. Emptiness fills the room and there was no eternal legacy or light shining for another generation to walk in. The contrast is stark and I feel the uneasy tension of those who have rejected God and do not want to talk to a Pastor.

So it is even more sobering as I read about these men in Genesis 18 were on their way to Sodom to visit those who had rejected God! Sodom would be destroyed.

So why did they stop off at Abraham’s place first? Just passing by, saw your light on and thought we would drop in? Lord, let me have that kind of light, but what was the point of eating a meal with Abraham and then going on? Why didn’t they just head towards Sodom straight away?

The only thing I can think of is that God passes my way when I respond positively towards Him and His Word. And as He gets closer, He TESTS MY RESPONSE to Him. He is always concerned with RELATIONSHIP.

When three strangers came to visit him, I don’t think Abraham knew that one of them was the Lord Himself. Abraham greets them with true Eastern hospitality. His response to strangers was to address their leader with respect. Abraham calls Him “LORD”, he bows to the ground in the posture the same as WORSHIP, He SERVES Him humbly and personally. And when he prepares a meal for Him there is a SACRIFICE involved.

Reminds me a little of Matthew 25:34-40 which speaks of when we die and stand before Jesus. It says we will say “…‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed You? Or thirsty and give You something to drink? Or a stranger and show You hospitality? Or naked and give You clothing? When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ ‘And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!'”

Hospitality and respect certainly wasn’t the kind of greeting these strangers received in Sodom! BIG CONTRAST between Abraham’s greeting and how Sodom responded to the presence of the Lord’s messengers. OUR RESPONSE TO THE LORD DETERMINES OUR DESTINY.

But I see another important principle here. When my response to God is one of WORSHIP, SERVICE, AND SACRIFICE, then and only then am I ready to begin to learn what HIS WILL for my life is. I will look for the opportunities He gives me to be a BLESSING TO OTHERS, to THINK GENERATIONALLY. I will accept God’s GRACE AND HIS JUSTICE, HIS PROMISES AND PRONOUNCEMENTS and they will begin to make sense to me in the enormous scheme of things. I will even understand what it means when God says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22-23 NLT) and I will begin to see the BIG PICTURE OF FORGIVENESS BASED ON THE SACRIFICE OF THE CROSS.

This same principle of understanding God’s will is summed up in Romans 12:1-3. It says…

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. THEN you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

As Abraham worships, serves and is willing to sacrifice the best to God, God says “SHOULD I HIDE MY PLAN FROM ABRAHAM?” the Lord asked. “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be BLESSED THROUGH HIM. I have singled him out so that he will DIRECT HIS SONS AND THEIR FAMILIES to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.” (Genesis 18:17-19 NLT)

God bless you Church as you respond positively to God’s Word and the message of the Cross. As you worship, serve and sacrifice the best to God, may you know His good and perfect will for your life today.

Pastor Ross