Lately I’ve been learning about healthier eating. I wouldn’t say that I am dieting because I’m really against diets. I’m not into depriving myself of things I love. I started this year realizing that the way I was eating was causing health issues and something needed to change. So I started the “anti- diet” instead of taking away foods that I enjoyed eating I began adding fresh fruits and vegetables to each meal. It was a small step in the right direction. At first I still ate a lot of things that weren’t good for me, but I was adding healthy things to my meals as well. A couple months of the “anti-diet” and I started noticing that my eating habits had started to change naturally. My sweet and salty cravings were being taking care of by the good things that I was eating. I was filling up on fruits and vegetables and there just wasn’t room for the junk anymore.
In our spiritual walks we can sometimes fill up on junk, and just like when we fill our bodies with junk it causes health issues. We become tired, grumpy, achy and lazy. We need to fill up our spirits with the things that can satisfy and build it up.
2 Peter 1:5-8 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As you make an effort to add to your faith and have a healthy spiritual walk you will begin to notice that the cravings for the unhealthy things will start to subside and you will hunger and thirst for more and more of The Lord. Don’t settle for “ineffective and unproductive” fill up on the fruits of the spirit and spend time in His Word so that you can be strong and healthy in your walk with Him.
I recently went through a deep sadness in my life, a sense of hopelessness as I watched the lives of the prodigals in my life. In my heart I cried out to the Father with this sense of hopelessness just wanting to know when they would return home. I was especially saddened because in my attempts to witness to my family, my words came out harsh and unloving which started a cycle of guilt feelings, the “ I should haves.”
Through this trial I sought comfort from a friend whose own child once was a prodigal; this comfort was a simple prayer by text message. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says Blessed be the God and Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Through her prayers I was comforted; He also provided comfort through a teaching that reminded me to draw near to Him and to pray for the prodigals in my life. These words encouraged me to stop striving but to pray without ceasing. One day I will be with my family worshipping the Father together, this is the hope and promise He provides.
So my encouragement to you sisters is to seek out others to pray for you to give you encouragement and comfort. Remember to pray without ceasing for the prodigals in your life.
As we’ve settled into our new home over the last few weeks, there have still been a few boxes to unload; things that were not urgently needed, but still needing a ‘place’ to go. I recently came across a small box of articles I’ve collected over the years of articles, obituaries, and photos, along with cards from the services of family and friends. This is my heaven folder. I keep them, not as a sad reminder of people I have loved and lost, but in anticipation of our happy reunion in heaven.
‘We who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17 Paul wrote of this wonderful expectation to the Christians of Thessalonica, so they would not grieve like people with no hope. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout…. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thess. 4:16-18.
What will it be like on that day when we hear that trumpet sound? Quicker than you or I can even blink an eye, believers will feel their feet lift off the ground, being swept into the air to look up into the face of Jesus! If it’s even possible to drag our eyes from His beautiful face, we will see that Jesus will be surrounded by our loved ones who also trusted Him by faith and have been raised from the dead. Jesus is coming! ‘In a twinkling of an eye… at an hour when you do not expect Him… He who will come will not delay’ (1 Cor. 15:52; Luke 12:40; Heb. 10:37).
Hope is a wish or a desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment. We can carry many hopes for our future, our family, our career, and our health. We can’t make the mistake though of placing our hope in people or things that will sooner or later fail us. A great job that fulfills our hope of financial prosperity or someone you hope will be a true and faithful friend are good examples that circumstances change and people will disappoint us. It’s sad, but that’s life.
But God will never fail us. He is the only One we can trust to sustain our hope, because His power transcends circumstances and our good intentions. When we place our hope in Him, we will not be disappointed. ‘He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.’ Psalm 31:24. Much about the future remains a mystery, but we can confidently look forward to being in the presence of Christ with all the saints who have gone before us. Now that’s a promise that gives us hope!
Lately there has been an influx of movies like “Noah”, “Son of God”, “God is Not Dead” and “Heaven is for Real”. 2 more movies, “ Exodus” and “ Mary, The Mother of Christ” are both coming out in December, and with that Hollywood has declared 2014 as the Year of the Bible. I think It’s a good thing, if these movies are factual and biblical based .Ironically while praying what to write about, I had a dream, where I heard a voice say, “Tell ______, Hell is for Real!” I thought it odd, but the voice was so clear that I did go tell the person. I believe although it’s a subject that is rarely spoken of and one that makes us uncomfortable its my topic for this devotion.
Ted Turner said, “ I’m looking forward to dying and going to Hell because I know that’s where I’m going.” People wouldn’t be so flippant about Hell if they understood the reality of it. Though we don’t like to think about it, we must face the fact that after death there exists two eternal realities. Heaven or Hell and everyone will spend eternity in 1of the 2.
Luke 16:19 -31 Jesus is teaching here concerning Hades, which is for the most part translated in the New Testament, Hell. It speaks of a rich man and Lazarus, a beggar, who both die.
V-23 Being in torment in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham and Lazarus afar off This word torment is ongoing pain . This is not just speaking of intensity, but duration. The rich man was longing for a momentary rest from the pain. In Hell one can recognize others. Also a person will have their 5 senses. He could see Lazarus afar off. He spoke and cried out for water to cool his unquenchable thirst .V- 24 The rich man was “tormented in this flame”. He could feel the heat and was in agony. Abraham answers and says, “ remember son…” In Hell there’s the horror of the undying memory of a misspent life , emotional sadness ,and eternal regret. In v- 27 he remembers and is conscious of his family, and is heavily burdened for them. He begs permission to warn them, “lest they also come to this place of torment” and V-28 “but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent”. He wanted to warn his family Hell was for real! Hell has no rest or hope. In v-26 he recognizes he’s without God’s presence or blessings. There is eternal separation from God and enduring sorrow. Matt 25:41 There is only utter despair. No smiles, singing or laughter, only weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt 24:51b
The God of Love sent His son to die on the cross so men wouldn’t have to go to Hell. Jesus came to seek and to save those which are lost. Man by his own choice goes to hell and is never sent there by God. There are people in Hell regretting not receiving Jesus and not sharing with their friends /family. One of the greatest truths is that it’s a choice. We do not have to go there. In Christ there is hope. John 3:16-17 Jesus came out of Love so we would not parish but have everlasting life. Theres still time to make that choice ,and to tell others , Hell is for Real.