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What Grade Did You Get?

At the end of a course, when I went to college, the professor would type a one-page list showing each person’s name (no political correctness) and the final grade they received. He or she would then take a thumbtack and post the final grades on a corkboard outside the professor’s office.

When the students found out that the grades had been posted, they rushed to learn their grades and the other students’ grades – we wanted to see how we’d done compared to all the other students.

What Will Be My Eternal Grade?

Occasionally, I think about what it will be like when I die. I agree with the apostle Paul: “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better 1.” Then, in heaven, when Jesus Christ judges each of us for what we did in our lives2, I think it will be kind of like those final grades from college.

As children of God, our judgment is not about heaven or hell – our Savior has redeemed us – but it is about gain and loss. God separates the lost from the saved. But even when we are saved, we can score well or poorly on Christ’s test of what we did with the life He gave us.

“12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on 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 3:12-15 NLT

Good News

Like in college, I am both eager and apprehensive about my “grade.” How did I do? Where do I rank with my fellow believers? What is it that I should have done now? Our “grades” hold eternal gain or loss, but we have no fear of God’s condemnation 3, for Christ, our King, has rescued us from eternal punishment.

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[1]: Philippians 1:21 NLT – For to me, living means living for – Bible Gateway
[2]: Romans 14:12 NLT – Yes, each of us will give a personal – Bible Gateway
[3]: Romans 8:1 NLT – Life in the Spirit – So now there is no – Bible Gateway

neon sign "Eternity Now"

Eternity Comes Before Now

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

1 Peter 3:15

I heard a commentary recently that reminded me how confusing Christians are to unsaved people. We may look the same, work at the same places, eat the same food, drive the same cars, and go to the same grocery stores, but inside of us, we have abundant life; we are in Christ Jesus. We prioritize differently; eternity comes before now. So, it’s easy to forget that our words and actions often make no sense to the unsaved.

We forgive

We don’t seek opportunities to get some money by suing someone. We don’t revel in drunken wantonness on Friday nights. We don’t participate in family gossip. We practice random actions of kindness. We give our time and money to help people that will never be able to reciprocate our actions. We forgive; this is perhaps the single our most confusing action to the unsaved. And we pray, but not in the way that the unsaved would pray.

How can any unsaved person believe in prayer? They see Christians around the world suffering from persecution. Christians are murdered, stolen from, and pressed into forced labor. Where’s God, the lost say? But they have unregenerate eyes. They are unable to see God’s hand. For Christians, prayer isn’t intended to make us bulletproof. Our prayers are for the lost to be reconciled back to God through Jesus Christ and for the Bride of Christ to be obedient to the commands of Jesus. Yes, we pray for favor and protection, but we know that these prayers must always yield to the will of God. We don’t lose our faith when God says, “No.”

God’s agenda

Jesus flat out told us that we would be like sheep to the slaughter (Romans 8:36), and we see more of that now than ever in the history of Christianity. Our lives are transient; here today, gone tomorrow. We all have an expiration date. So Almighty God is focused on each person’s eternity. He loves us, so He blesses us, but His agenda is about moving history forward to the Day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:10) and not to lose any that are His (John 6:39).

So, the next time someone asks you to pray for them, let them know that you’ll first pray for their eternity and then pray for their need.

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

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Of Infinite Importance

 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.” – Matthew 28:5-6

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is modestly important.”


When you find a plumber, roofer, or electrician who actually does what they say they’ll do, you tell other people about them. You bring it up during lunch, before business meetings, even when you get your hair cut. It’s so unusual, and you’re so thrilled that you can’t help but talk about it. 

The Apostles knew Jesus firsthand. Some saw Jesus on the cross. After Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, they laid down their lives in service to Jesus, some in distant lands. Why? The Apostles knew that Jesus did what He said He would do (Luke 24:7). He arose from the dead. The apostles knew this news was of infinite importance and was worth their very lives to share this Good News with others. 

As we celebrate Christ’s victory over death, hell, and the grave (Revelation 1:17-18), let’s share this good news with all who will listen! Jesus did what He said. That’s good news worth talk’n about.

Phillip Benshmuel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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God of Every Blessing

I don’t take us into the Old Testament as often as I should. So, today, let’s consider this proverb from God.

Blessings are on the head of the righteous, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Proverbs 10:6

God of every blessing

As I participated in a Lectio 365 devotional, the speaker prayed, “God of every blessing…” This small phrase is so apparent that we rarely speak it. We seldom encourage one another with this Truth, but as we see in Proverbs 10:6 that we do serve the God of every blessing. People can do good things for other people, but a blessing only comes from God. I don’t know about you, but I find great comfort and strength in this phrase.

If we are Christians, then Jesus is alive in us (Ephesians 3:17). And it is Jesus that has made the path of righteousness (Philippians 1:11). The path we are on. And this path of righteousness and salvation are the same. Now Jesus said, “But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:14). Jesus spoke as the One who blazed this trail.

Jesus built the path of salvation

Jesus came to Earth as God incarnate (John 1:14). As he grew, He experienced being a baby (Luke 2:7), having a career of a craftsman (Matthew 13:55) and then His ministry of reconciliation (John 2:1-11). Then Jesus brought salvation into existence through His death, burial, and resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Jesus paved the way.

Throughout Christ’s life, in each moment of His life, He was building the path of salvation. It wasn’t there before. Before, people could only have their sins covered over with the blood of animals. Jews repeated this throughout their lives. But Christ’s sacrifice was perfect, and thus He did it once for all eternity (Hebrews 10:1-18).

Creation of the small gate and narrow path

The narrow path of salvation didn’t exist until Jesus returned to heaven and presented His blood as the perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 9:24-28). Then the small gate and narrow path were complete and ready for all who believe. For those of us that have been obedient to the call of God, we are “in Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:17). And it is the righteousness of Jesus that God sees when He looks at us (2 Corinthians 5:21).

We find in Scripture God’s promise “… that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Going back to our text for today, “Blessings are on the head of the righteous…” Blessings are from God alone. We are the receivers of His blessings. Blessings are for the righteous, for those of us in Christ Jesus. Praise God. He is the God of every blessing. Amen!!

Photo by Keith Hardy on Unsplash

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Come and Dine

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

John 21:12-14

Video by Руслан Хмелевский from Pexels

Scars Contain a Story

I have a large scar on my arm. Many years ago, my wife and I were in what should have been a life-ending vehicular accident. At a high rate of speed, and then a sudden impact, I was thrown through the windshield which tore a gash in my arm and left me on my back, unconscious, in an open field. I give thanks to God for my scar because I could have easily lost my arm, then I would not have had a place for my scar.  

Scars usually come with a story; it is a package deal. If I had to guess, I’d guess that you have a scar or two, and you have a story for each of them. Am I right?

It is human nature for us to craft a story for our scars. Also, as humans, we want to hear those stories. How did you come by your scars? Did anyone die? Do your scars bother you? Have you learned to thank God for your scars?

Sometimes, we will establish a rapport with a scarred person just to learn their story. Often, their scars testify to an accident or a tragedy where God’s mercy sheltered their life.  

See My Scars

“…See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 

Luke 24:39-40

Jesus must have experienced boundless joy when He showed His scars to His apostles. Jesus, the Son of God, came from heaven to earth (John 6:38) to have a body to bear the scars of sacrifice. Without the body of Jesus, there would not have been a place for those scars.

As you know, blood bursts forth from wounds. However, the wounds of a dead person do not heal; their bodies never grow scars. Our Savior’s body was fully human (Hebrews 2:17) so, His body did bear the scars of His sacrifice, for His body did not see corruption (decay) (Acts 13:37) and He rose from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:4). 

Christ’s blood paid the price for redemption, His scars attest to His resurrection. As the Son of Man, the Second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), Jesus is the first of many that will be resurrected (Colossians 1:18). 

Thankful for Scars

It may seem odd to be thankful for scars, but I am so very thankful for the scars Jesus bears on His body. Do those scars make me happy? No. For if we that were created in the image of God had not turned against Him then He would not carry those scars. Those scars testify against us, but they also testify to the body God prepared (Hebrews 10:5) for our redemption, regeneration, reconciliation, and resurrection.  

I am thankful and full of immense joy for the scars of Jesus. The scars on the body of Jesus are more beautiful than all Creation for those scars are the receipt for Salvation which Jesus purchased.  

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

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Go Ahead

As a young man who had recently rededicated his life to Jesus, I attended a meeting that featured David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz, with music by Dallas Holm. I will never forget Reverend Wilkerson’s challenge. I can’t quote it verbatim, but basically, he said, “If you are a Christian, then live like Christ.”

Christ Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary and conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18). “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45)

Now, if all goes well, we know that the very first cell (i.e., the zygote) that is grown in a woman when she becomes pregnant contains two sets of 23 chromosomes, one set from the father and one set from the mother. Inside that first cell is the DNA uniquely for that person, and that DNA will be replicated exactly in each of the trillions of cells in the baby’s body.

When Jesus shed His blood for us, it was absolutely unique blood, blood that never had been and never would be again. Christ’s blood was Emmanuel, “God with us.” At the most intimate level possible within a person, God was with mankind.

In the blood is life (Leviticus 17:11). Each cell of Christ’s blood was the Son of Man and the Son of God; not half man and half God, but fully man and fully God. How God made Jesus’s DNA, I don’t know, but I do know who Jesus is.

Christ’s blood poured out from the crown of thorns on His head, from the whip marks on His back, from the nails in His hands and feet, and from the spear in His side. He had surrendered His Spirit, died, and was buried. God’s gift to us seemed to have been wasted.

But, Jesus told us ahead of time, in John 12:24, “..unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” And that is what God has done and is doing. Presently, there are about 2.9 billion people that identify themselves as Christians in this world.

Then, on the third day, Jesus arose! God made forgiveness available to us through the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, and we received the hope of resurrection into the kingdom of God when Jesus rose from the dead.

Dallas Holm had not yet written “I’ll Rise Again” when I heard him sing at that revival all those years ago. But, I can’t close without bringing it to our remembrance:

Verse 1
Go ahead, drive the nails in My hands;
Laugh at me, where you stand.
Go ahead, and say it isn’t Me;
The day will come, when you will see.

‘Cause I’ll rise, again,
Ain’t no power on earth can keep Me down!
Yes, I’ll rise, again,
Death can’t keep Me in the ground.

Image by Lisa Johnson from Pixabay

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