Month: August 2021

pic of path in the jungle

A Jungle

Our Jungle

My wife and I live in a small, 1950s subdivision. Nearly every house in our subdivision, including ours, has been added on to. In 1950, people could raise four kids in a two-bedroom, one bath house. Now it takes at least three bedrooms and two bathrooms for two people. This is definitely a 1st-world problem.

So, our next-door neighbor, to the north of us, is an original owner. She and her husband bought their home when the subdivision was still being built. She’s a fount of information and a lover of gardens. We learned from her that the original owner of our home loved gardens, too – this was no surprise.

Sadly, two subsequent owners of our home did little, then nothing with the grasses and flowers that were so meticulously planned and planted in our yard. So, when we bought our home, we – meaning my wife – had a mammoth challenge to beat our land back into submission!

Beaten into Submission

With astonishing effort, my wife has succeeded. However, the result sometimes feels like we live in a garden that has patches of green grass instead of a yard that has a few gardens. No worries. My wife and I have discussed this so I’m not speaking behind her back 😉.

Something I learned from living here is that gardens are only enjoyable when they are tended to. In the twinkling of an eye, a garden will transform itself into a jungle, if left unchecked. Gardens require care and commitment. So, too, do our souls.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

Radical Christianity

The “if we do not give up” part of this verse is the care and commitment we must tend to. We must care about being a follower of Jesus. Does that seem strange? I hope not.

Being a Christian is a 24x7x365 life. We mustn’t be casual Christians. That’s how a garden becomes a jungle. Instead, we must be radical Christians. Did you know that the 1st definition of the word “radical” is relating to or proceeding from a root: of or growing from the root of a plant? (Merriam-Webster) That definition kind of goes with the gardens thing, right?! A more ordinary understanding of the word “radical” is:

(Especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.

It is this definition I mean when I say that we must be radical Christians. Christ Jesus must affect the fundamental nature of us for us to be born-again. But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He has given us the Holy Spirit and He continually works in and through us to defeat our worldly nature, to transform us by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), to move us from the cares of this world to caring about heaven, where our treasure resides.

Our hearts, our hopes, our happiness must be firmly grounded in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Anything less, and we become a jungle.

Photo by Jacob Plumb on Unsplash


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401K – Corban

What’s Corban

To the Pharisees Jesus said,

You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God) — then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.

Mark 7:8-13

A Financial Sleight-of Hand

This exchange that Jesus has with the Pharisees is fascinating! Here’s what isn’t obvious: Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees which were the primary offenders of this within Jewish society. Think of it. It was the Pharisees that received the things given to God. They were the ones that received most of the wealth that came in from the sacrifices.

So, being the wise guys that they were, they claimed Corban. This meant that the wealth that poured in became theirs, for they received the sacrifices. And they had no obligation to use their wealth to care for their parents because by declaring Corban, they got to keep all the stuff.

“Now, this the scribes and Pharisees did for their own covetous ends. For most of them were priests, who received offerings made to God as his ministers, and then converted them to their own uses.”

The Pulpit Commentary

This may seem like an interesting backstory, but not relevant to our modern world. Well… Here’s the rub. God never removed our obligation to provide for our parents when they become elderly or infirmed. This tends to put a dent in middle-aged children’s’ retirement plans; old mom and dad’s needs are not a line item.

It’s easy for us to justify not helping Mom and Dad. We have the traditions of modern men. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps and so forth relieve us of any fiscal responsibilities.

It’s M&D’s own fault if they can barely stay afloat. We call “401K-Corban.” Anything we would normally have provided to M&D we will now pay a tithe on to our local church. Our church will praise God for their windfall, so all is good.

However, we must deal with this difficult statement from Jesus, in verse eight: You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” If calling 401K-Corban helps us sleep at night, then there’s no chance that Christians will change.

Photo by Jeremy Zero on Unsplash


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pic of a covered wagon

My Oregon Trail

I find great comfort in a verse that the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write. Here it is:

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 

Romans 14:8-9

A long road

When I was a young guy, I was a Christian, but I had an exceedingly long road to travel to get into a proper relationship with Jesus. There were many things, so many aspirations, that I wanted to keep. I tried to carry them into my walk with Christ Jesus, but the heavier my stuff became, the further we walked.

On my journey with Jesus, I discovered that my progress was so slow because I was carrying two burdens. I had my burden, and I had the burden Jesus gave me. His burden was light but not mine! As I traveled along the Gospel Road, I slowly began throwing away bits and pieces of my stuff. 

My Oregon Trail

Anyone who watched my journey probably saw me as an Easterner in a covered wagon struggling down the Oregon Trail. Every so often, they would see something flying out of the back of the wagon. What seemed so important at the start of the trip became an obstacle that was slowing me down.

The further I traveled along my Oregon Trail, away from my old life, the more my stuff lost its value to me. I was carrying things that Jesus had already made provisions for me. I didn’t need two water canteens; mine became stale, but His was abundant and continually refreshing. The longer I walked with Jesus, the more I came to see my stuff as useless. It was stuff I didn’t need to carry.

Now, it has taken me many decades to pitch the junk I carried into my relationship with Jesus. And I still have more to get rid of. One thing that surprised me as a young Christian was that when I did get some worldly aspect out of my life, I found more stuff that needed to get pitched. I couldn’t see the worms under my plank of wood until I pulled it up. 

Jesus is the same

So, I find great comfort in Romans 14:8-9. Why? I find great comfort because even though heaven will be radically different from my life in this world, Jesus will be the same. The Savior I know now is the Savior I will know then. Death will release me from my remaining baggage. I understand the apostle Paul when he wrote: “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”– Philippians 1:21

Photo by Larry Costales on Unsplash


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pic of an approaching storm

Storm On the Horizon

God made You and I and all of humanity in His image. One facet of God’s image in us is our trinity; we are body, soul, and spirit, which is an image of God, for He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

My prayer today, for every Christian, is this: I pray that the Holy Spirit would embolden my spirit to influence my soul to defeat my flesh. We can pray this because:

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Romans 8:26-27

As Christians, we are set apart

How different is the life of a Christian from that of the unsaved (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yet, many times, we forget who we are. We fail to give our worries and fears to Jesus, even though He is in us.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

 Revelation 3:20

When I was reading my Bible this morning, I came across the event in Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus calmed the storm. I was once again reminded how easily we become focused on a problem and wait until it seems all is lost before we turn to Jesus, even when He’s so close at hand.

But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

Mark 4:38

Peace

As Jesus so often does, He “rebuked the wind and said to the sea,Peace! Be still!’ Perhaps you see a storm brewing on your horizon, or maybe the storm has already encompassed you. Throw your worries upon Jesus. He’s strong, and He commands even the wind and waves. Ask Him to speak to your storm.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:6-7

So, if we have received Jesus and are alive in Him, let’s not wait until we are in the midst of a storm before we cry out for help from Jesus. Instead, while the storm is still on our horizon, let’s pray in the anointing of the Holy Spirit “because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash


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man doing woodwork

The Luthier

We are God’s workmanship

For those of us that have received Jesus, and in Him, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), I’ve got good news!

I read the following verse for the umpteenth time. I love God’s message to us in this brief verse. However, as the Holy Spirit so often does when we read God’s Word, a little question popped into my mind. “Gary, did you catch that?” Catch what, Lord? I know this verse forwards and backward (despite my lack of ability to remember the book, chapter, and verse😉 ) Hmmm. Perhaps I should reread the verse.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

So here’s a metaphor to communicate what I found in this verse.

A pile of good is not a guitar

When a luthier (a maker of stringed instruments such as violins or guitars) gathers wood to begin making a guitar, he has already decided what he will craft and all the characteristics it will have to fulfill the luthier’s purpose for it. He knows what he’s doing. He knows that when it’s finished, it will not just look like the guitar he envisioned; its form and function will be what he expected.

The Luthier knows the tone it will possess. The guitar won’t strive to have that tone; the beauty will be in and of his guitar. All the qualities of his guitar are no surprises but are the outcome of the luthier’s skill. The guitar’s resonance, range, and responsiveness are all imparted as the luthier crafts his one-of-a-kind guitar.

The guitar has no characteristics that enable it to do anything other than what the luthier intended. The guitar simply is. How foolish it would be for a guitar to wish it were a violin (1 Corinthians 12:15-26). And how ridiculous it would be for a marvelously hand-crafted guitar to remain in a display case; never played.

God is the luthier of people

God is the Luthier of people. Before God spoke anything into existence, He selected a purpose for each of His children. Then God crafted His intent into us. And He made us like spiritual epoxy glue. We can’t be what God hand-crafted until we come in contact with Jesus. Only when Jesus enters us are we complete and become who God made us to be.

We don’t need anything except to be used

As Christians, it is foolish to ask God to make us into something; He already did that before He made heaven and earth. It’s silly for us to ask God to enable us to use His gifts in us. His gifts are crafted into us. Let me state that differently. God’s gifts are in us through the spiritual keys, frets, bridge, arch-top woodwork, and so forth God used to make us. I don’t need to ask God to give me “frets.”

We need to pray for us to get our foolish selves out of the way (Matthew 10:38). We need to ask God to help us throw off the sin that so easily entangles us (Hebrews 12:1). And we need to ask God to give us the boldness to be used by Him as the instruments He created (2 Corinthians 3:12).

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 Galatians 2:20

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Believing in Jesus Brings us into God’s Supernatural

To give you a sense of how things have changed since Mom and I were teenagers, here’s a part of the lyrics to a hit song by Anne Murray. All the Top 10 radio stations played it, and other artists such as Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez, and Elvis Presley put out their song versions. You can hear the song here on YouTube (https://youtu.be/SY-2XHqKGuw) or just read the chorus and one of the verses.

Put Your Hand In The Hand (1970)

Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water;
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea.
Take a look at yourself and you can look at others differently,
By putting your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.

Every Time I look into the holy book I wanna tremble
When I read about the part where the carpenter cleared the temple
For the buyers and the sellers were no different fellers than what I profess to be,
And it causes me shame to know I’m not the gal that I should be.

Things sure have changed since then. One of the most significant shifts in Western culture is the shift away from focusing on personal character (e.g., a handshake was as valid as a contract) and daily seeking Jesus, so let’s go back, way back. Let’s go back before Elvis, before the dominance of Western culture, all the way back to one of the earliest Christian handbooks, circa 60 AD, – the Didache (it is not to be considered equal to Scripture). Here’s what it says in passages 8.2 and 8.3:

8.2 – And do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in the gospel: Our Father in heaven, holy be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us enough bread day-by-day. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

8:3 Pray this three times each day.

God’s Supernatural

When these Christians prayed, they stood with outstretched arms, palms turned upward, and their heads lifted towards heaven. I think these Didache-era Christians knew their physical posture was prophetic. As a Christian, I know that there’s more going on in this world than what I see. Christianity is supernatural for Christians are born of the spirit. In Jesus, we are beyond the natural.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

John 3:5-7

So, when I pray, as the early Christians prayed, I am confident that I’m reaching out to other Christians worldwide. I know this because “The Lord’s Prayer” says “us.” I can’t speak the words of Jesus and be alone. As I pray, I am holding your hands and hands of Christians in Peru, Russia, and Ghana; all around the world, together we speak the words Jesus said, honoring God the Father, in the presence of Jesus (Matthew 18:20), spiritually bonded by the Holy Spirit. It is a prayer from, with, and to the Triune God (i.e., Father, Son, Holy Spirit). It is miraculous, and it is real.

Spiritually connecting with Christians around the world is meaningful. I’m alive with His very words, in me, through me, and with others, as we commune with the Father. We quickly see this value within communal singing, prayers, and liturgy. I’ve discovered that while I’m praying, God often speaks the name of a person to me for which I need to pray. It’s His will, so I have confidence that He will answer. It is a ministry in the Body of Christ.

Sometimes we pray in solitude, perhaps in a closet (Matthew 6:5-6). However, other times are available to us when we can join the 2.3 billion Christians on earth and pray together.

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash


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Small plastic figures dressed as Star Wars characters walking across Abbey Road

It Matters

It matters where praise and “trusting words” comes from.

A lesson from Star Wars

[From Star Wars, Lando Calrissian struck a deal with Lord Vader to lure the Millennium Falcon to Cloud City.] When the Millennium Falcon eventually arrived at Cloud City, its crew was warmly welcomed by Lando Calrissian… Unbeknownst to him, however, the Falcon’s hyperdrive was secretly deactivated by a team of Imperial technicians in the event of their escape. … On their last day, Calrissian invited them to dinner, but it turned out to be a trap set by Darth Vader. Solo, upon seeing Vader, tried to shoot the Sith Lord, only for Vader to block the shots with one gauntleted hand…Stormtroopers surrounded the rebels, ensuring that they could not escape.

Escape from Cloud City

Danger in Insincerity

As believers in love with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, we long for others to be led to Jesus by the Holy Spirit. Often in our zeal, we are thrilled when anyone acknowledges or praises Him. After all, Jesus said, Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me. Matthew 12:30

When insincere public officials cloak themselves with Jesus and the Church, we need to be on our toes. The danger we face is in the agenda behind their messages.

Danger in Golden Words

Christians have an open and well-known agenda – to lead people to Jesus. But not all share this same goal. Often, when we hear of non-believers invoking the name of Jesus, they do so to lure believers away from God’s will. Just as Lando Calrissian, in good faith but deceived by Darth Vader, pulled the crew of the Millennium Falcon into a trap, we believers can be led from God’s path for us if we listen to golden words spoken from corrupt hearts.

15 Then the Pharisees met together to plot how to trap Jesus into saying something for which he could be arrested. 16 They sent some of their disciples, along with the supporters of Herod, to meet with him. “Teacher,” they said, “we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites.

Matthew 22:15

It matters where praise comes from. This high praise was from the Pharisees, but they held deceit in their hearts, and eventually crucified Jesus. So, when we hear leaders and politicians praising Jesus, let’s remember those Pharisees. So, In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; Ephesians 6:16

Let’s offer to God true praise, without deceit, Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15

Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash


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Path on a mountain trail

The Edge of Danger

When I was a young guy, perhaps eleven or twelve, a missionary visited my church. He was the first missionary I’d ever seen. Oh, I had heard stories of missionaries living in distant lands, but those were just stories to me until I met the real deal. That Sunday night, he came to our youth meeting and preached. He made a profound impact on me. I still remember a story he told in his sermon. He may have titled his story, “The Edge of Danger.” I’ll attempt to convey this to you now.

A Man and His Mule

In a tiny village in South America, a young man lived who decided to become a transporter. He made this choice because few jobs existed in his hometown. The job was dangerous because a mountain separated the tiny village from a city where the villagers could sell their produce. Only one trail connected the small village to the city. However, the mountain trail was quite steep, very narrow, and had many switchbacks.

The young man purchased a mule and prepared to make his first trek across the mountain. Before he set out on his delivery, he sought advice from an ancient, withered man who had been a transporter his whole life. The young man asked him if there was anything he should know.

The gnarled old man said, “Yes. When I became a transporter, there were two of us. I was always fearful of falling from the high precipices, so my mule and I constantly traveled as close to the mountain wall as possible. We moved slowly and cautiously, always aware of the danger that lurked on the edges of the trail.”

The Edge of Danger

The young man inquired, “What about the other guy? I’ve never heard of him.” The old man replied, “The other guy always boasted about how brave he was. He would spin tales for the young women of our village. He would say, ‘I am the fastest transporter. I’m not afraid of the mountain trail. Many times, my mule and I have faced death, often slipping to the very edge of the trail. The trail doesn’t scare me. I just load up my mule, and we fly!'”

“So?” asked the young man. The old man replied, “The other guy died before you were born. One day he set off on his journey. It had been raining and the path was slippery. He drove his mule too close to the edge and they slipped; both fell to their deaths.”

Then the missionary said, “To live for Jesus, you need to keep as close to the Rock and as far away from the edge of sin as you can. If you live as close to sin as you can, someday you’ll fall off the path Jesus has called you to walk. If you fall, you’ll wreck your life.”

Second Chances

I heard that story fifty-five years ago, and it remains at the forefront of my mind. Sadly, during my life, more than once, I have fallen over the edge. Thankfully, when I repented, Jesus pulled me out of the mire into which I’d fallen. God is the God of second chances, but life is much better when we don’t need another chance.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:15-21


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help wanted sign

Work Isn’t a Four-Letter Word!

Well, yes, work has four letters, but it should not be thrown in with THE four-letter words. I read a meme yesterday that said, “The best job to have right now is making ‘Help Wanted’ signs!” I have never seen so many job openings in my life.

Homemade Scripture

Years ago, I heard a sermon titled, “Homemade Scripture.” It was a fascinating message, but I only remember bits and pieces. One example that he used was “God helps those who help themselves.” This phrase is not found in the Bible. It originated with Algernon Sydney in 1698 in an article titled Discourses Concerning Government (pdf). Nevertheless, God expects people to work. The apostle Paul’s statement in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that people who don’t work shouldn’t eat clearly shows us God’s expectation that they should not receive free food from the Church. Likewise, we find Paul writing to Timothy:

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:8

God Helps the Helpless

Of course, God helps the helpless. We find in Romans 5:6 NASB-1977, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” And in James 1:27 BSB, “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” And, again, in Hebrews 13:16, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

God helps the helpless, but He disdains those who can provide for themselves and their families but don’t. In Proverbs 13:4 NLT we find, Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.And in Proverbs 6:10-11, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

Work Isn’t a Four-Letter Word

Let’s all work as “unto the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23)

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.

Vince Lombardi

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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fire insurance - house fire

More Than Fire Insurance

The house fire

When my wife and I first started dating, we shared family stories. We found these stories fascinating. Early on, my wife-to-be told me about a fire that burned their home to the ground. We even drove by the empty lot where their house had stood.

My wife and her sisters were young kids at the time of their fire, my wife being 7 or 8. It was a terrifying experience and one that left the family homeless. However, they had a tight-knit extended family, so they had shelter while my father-in-law searched for a place to raise his brood of kids. He found one, and more than half a century later, my in-laws still live there.

The kitchen fire

Shockingly, that was not their only fire. A few years after my wife and I married, and while some of her sisters still lived at home, they had a kitchen fire that gutted the kitchen. Fire insurance paid for the rebuilding of their home – exterior and interior.

Sadly, shortly after the fire, my wife’s grandmother passed away, leaving my mother-in-law an inheritance that paid for new cabinets, countertops, and other pleasant things for her kitchen. Thankfully, my in-laws haven’t experienced a fire for nearly forty years!

Fire changes beautiful things into carbon

Fires do happen, and when they do, it’s shocking how they can completely change beautiful things into carbon, useful for nothing.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that the things we build and the things we treasure will eventually be burned, buried, or broken. My sister and I have had the unpleasant task of dispensing our mom’s stuff after she died and my dad’s things after he passed. Once a person passes, it’s astonishing how much “unwanted” things remains after family and friends get what they want.

What I’ve learned

Here’s the wisdom I’ve gained from family stories and family funerals: Jesus is more than fire insurance.

In imperceptible ways and ginormous events, God takes care of His children. I’ve learned that we are not born God’s children. We are born as rebels against God, and we have His wrath upon us. I’ve learned over the years that very few people understand that God is furious with them.

Have you ever loved someone, but that person did something that made you so angry that you couldn’t stand to be in the same room with them? Well, multiple that by a gazillion, and that’s how God feels.

Why? Because God desires to lavish His love upon humanity, but every single person chooses worldliness over God – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of GodRomans 3:23 And, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” – John 3:36

Jesus is more than fire insurance

Notice the switch up in this passage. To believe implies obedience. And notice that God’s wrath is already upon people; upon us unless we believe and are reborn. Great, you may think, but what does this have to do with today’s topic? Well, Jesus is more than fire insurance.

When we believe and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are born anew, born as citizens in God’s kingdom, and that’s just the beginning. God has work for us to do in this life and work in our lives to come. In heaven, we don’t float on clouds and play harps throughout eternity. Consider this passage of scripture:

11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15

We have work to do

First, notice that Jesus is the only salvation available to humanity. Next, see that once we are “born anew,” we have work to do. God planned your work and my work before He began creating the heavens and the earth (Ephesians 2:10). We can only do our chores by using faith in God.

If we are lazy or sloppy, we build God’s kingdom with things that won’t last. When tested by fire, they burn up, leaving you or me with nothing to show Jesus. We literally will come before God empty-handed and suffer a great loss! However, if you and I do the work that God planned for each of us and do it diligently, faithfully, and for the Lord, then we build God’s kingdom with gold, silver, and jewels – things that survive fire! We will receive a reward from God for our obedience!

We can show God that our work has eternal value

So, you see, Jesus is more than fire insurance. Living for Jesus saves us from hell, but God also allows us to show Him that our work has eternal value.

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