Subject: Heaven

Heaven: a Customized Place

Do you ever imagine what heaven will be like? If you are a Christian believer, there will be a special place waiting just for you.

Joe Thompson was a master at his trade. Time and again people would marvel at his talents. Joe's job was to customize passenger vans. He would take a van with only four wheels and an engine, and craft a beautiful vehicle for its proud owner.

Joe had a real gift of being able to see the potential, while staring at the present. Where others saw only a shell, Joe saw a gleaming, finished customized van. But even greater than that: he could build what he envisioned.

That is exactly what Jesus has done for us: "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2-3).

The word "prepare" literally means to customize. Jesus has taken a shell and is building a place according to your heart's desire. It will be perfect. Just for you.

Need a customized job? Joe can help you with your van, but only Jesus can help you with your eternal home.

Practical Illustrations-Galatians-Colossians, by Leadership Ministries Worldwide

Subject: Salvation

An Immigrant Question

As with any country, there is a legal, right, and perfected way to enter into God's better Kingdom. In using the figure of the sheepfold, Jesus describes those who try to get in another way, "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber" (John 10:1). There are untold multitudes who are seeking an illegal entry into God's better country.

For entry into God's country, heaven, it is an amazing and wonderful thing that God has also chosen birth as the means of entry into His kingdom. And this choice is yours to make. Every person born into this world by natural means, has the option and choice, to become a child of God by spiritual birth into His Kingdom.

For entry into God's Kingdom, consider His very simple ABCs. There are no long forms to fill out, no entry fees, no inoculations, no standing in long lines. Simply: A. Acknowledge that you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," B. Believe that Christ took your sin upon Himself. Isaiah 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all," and C. Call upon Jesus and receive Him as your personal Savior. John 1:11-12 says, "He came unto his own and his own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."

Bill Compton

Subject: Eternal Destination

Travel Check List

On Sept. 14, 1927, at the age of 49, Isadora Duncan decided to go for an auto excursion near Nice, France. She had won world acclaim for her interpretive and innovative barefooted dancing. That morning, Duncan gently waved to the onlookers and frivolously said, "Goodbye, my friends. I go to glory."

As her talented foot pressed the accelerator, the tail of her long shawl became entangled in the wheel of her luxurious Bugatti. The other end of the shawl was wrapped around her neck, which was quickly broken. One wonders: "Did she really go to Glory?"

Coincidentally, on the same date in 1982, 52-year-old actress Grace Kelly was killed in a freak automobile accident. Princess Grace was en route from her palace in Monaco to-you guessed it-Nice, France. Was her destination as palatial as her home?

Isadora and Grace both had travel plans to Nice, but what about beyond that? Your Creator, knowing the uncertainty of life, left us this caution: "Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them" (Eccl. 9:12).

J. Kenneth Bassett
Timeless Signatures, ©2003

Subject: Giving to God

Sowing Rotten Seed

Suppose that, at one of our church potlucks, the cooks prepared a scrumptious feast but instead of serving it to us they set the best aside for themselves and served us what was left? Suppose the pastor's wife took the new sack of potatoes home for her family, then mashed the old spuds under the sink, the ones with the mold, for the guests?

In far too many ways the church is treating God in much the same way. How often do we set aside the best for ourselves and give God what's left over?

And if some say, "I always write my tithe check first," let's ask them, "What about your service to the Lord? Do you serve Him first before you serve others or yourself?" Let's ask them, "What about your talents? Does He get the best of your ability and your intellect?

The church must remember the main point of the "widow's mite": Recall that the Lord's focus wasn't the amount which was given, it was the heart attitude before, during, and after the act.

J. A. Gillmartin, The SHEEP'S CRIB - Illustrations,

Subject: Authority

The Power of Authority

Adrian Rogers illustrates the power of authority with this analogy:

A 275-pound defensive tackle exhibits brute force that can be intimidating to most people on or off a playing field. But you know what? A little man in a striped shirt half his size can blow a whistle and order him off the field. The striped shirt signals his authority, and the football player must recognize it and obey it, or he isn't allowed in the game.

Jesus has given you a striped shirt and a whistle. You have Kingdom authority over the power of that terrible creature who bedevils the Earth. It is time that you and I whistle him off the field!

From The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority: Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld, by Adrian Rogers
Courtesy of Steve D. Eutsler

Subject: Conscience

Arguing with the Umpire

Years ago, there was a major league baseball manager by the name of Leo "the Lip" Durocher. He picked up the nickname from newspaper writers who took notice of his brash and bullying conversations with the umpires. On more than one occasion, the umpire would grow weary of this onslaught and put Leo the Lip in his place-off the field and in the shower. His involvement in the game that day was finished.

What kind of respect do you give to the "umpire" in your heart? Do you tend to argue the call, going nose-to-nose with the umpire? How often does God send you to the showers? Notice the first phrase of Col. 3:15: "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts...." Do you let His peace work in your heart?

Practical Illustrations-Galatians-Colossians, Leadership Ministries Worldwide

Subject: Giving

You Expected a Reward?

This ancient tale a seer relates:

A man stood at the Pearly Gates;

"Friend, come with me," St. Peter said,

And showed him broken crusts of bread,

Some small, cheap coins upon a plate,

And old clothes, worn and out of date.

"These were the gifts on earth you made

To God's poor, and the tithes you paid."

And then he asked, "Now, what reward

Were you expecting from the Lord?"

Author unknown, via Sparks

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