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What’s Your Ticket to Heaven?

ticket toheaven
All the love in the world cannot and will not get you into heaven. The world would like us to believe that church membership, love for humanity, devotion to humanitarian causes and good deeds will add points to gaining a ticket to heaven and eternal life.

WRONG! Sorry to burst your bubble, but only a personal relationship with Jesus will get you through the pearly gates. Oh how we like to envision that everyone who is ‘good’ and passes into the hereafter is heaven bound; but based on bible scriptures and the words of Jesus, it just isn’t true.

The enemy of this world, Satan, is a master of deceit and has convinced many that our ticket to heaven is by our good works. Our only way to eternal life comes only through our acceptance of God’s grace. Good deeds and efforts are meaningless to God if we haven’t put our faith in Jesus.

What is God’s grace?

God sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross and shed his blood in payment for our sin. It is that sacrifice alone and a soul stamped with the blood of Jesus that gains us entry into the gates of heaven.

“But we know that no one is made right with God by meeting the demands of the law. It is only through the faithfulness of Jesus the Anointed that salvation is even possible. This is why we put faith in Jesus the Anointed: so we will be put right with God. It’s His faithfulness—not works prescribed by the law—that puts us in right standing with God because no one will be acquitted and declared “right” for doing what the law demands.”  Galatians 2:16 (VOICE)

Say what? Let me clarify.

The above scripture and many others confirm this truth. Our good works are meaningless to God if we believe them to be a redemptive way to earn our way into heaven. Not happening!

It’s God’s grace and faithfulness, not our works that acquits us of our sin and gives us right standing before God. Grace is found in the death, burial and resurrection of His son, Jesus. Our acceptance of this grace is called salvation.

Faithfulness is an extension of God’s grace to continually work within our life to accomplish his purpose and goodwill. Only by doing HIS works for HIS purpose under HIS grace is anything we do counted righteous.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
Proverbs 19:21

I encourage everyone to do good works while living on earth. But if you are counting on your works to earn you a seat at the banquet table in heaven, think again.

The only way to get a ticket stamped for heaven is to accept Jesus as your savior and acknowledge that His blood sacrifice at the cross is your only redemption from sin.

Remember the thief next to Jesus on the cross?

In death he asked Jesus “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42) This thief had likely done nothing good in his lifetime, yet he was given admission into God’s kingdom by grace alone.

“Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43

It’s hard for us to accept that there is nothing we can do now or ever to earn the grace of God. It goes against everything this world tells us. Yet, that’s the beauty of grace, it’s a gift.  We can’t buy, earn or barter with grace. Our only option is to accept it.

What will be stamped on your ticket at death?

Will it read Redeemed by God’s Grace or Redeemed by my own self-worth and good works? It’s probably a question you should ask yourself sooner than later. No one knows the time of their death but, today, as you read this post you have been given an opportunity to buy your ticket to heaven in advance, before it expires.

people are destined to die once and then face (God’s) judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

God’s judgment is based on your acceptance of His grace, on the salvation He offers through His son, Jesus. It’s simple, direct and without fanfare.

This simple prayer, if prayed in earnest, sums it all up:

Heavenly Father,

Make yourself real to me. Your Word says if I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead, I will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

I believe Jesus died on the cross for the sin that separates me from having direct communication with you. His blood paid for the redemption of my soul. I want my death ticket to be insured, non-refundable and stamped REDEEMED by the blood of the Lamb.

From this day forward, let my actions, words and deeds be counted as righteous in your sight.

Amen

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THE SWORD

cross
This morning one scripture commanded my thoughts as my spirit engaged in quiet time with God.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12 NIV

I had memorized and recited this verse since childhood but it wasn’t until today that it stirred me with divine enlightenment. As a Christian, I am aware that the power of God’s written Word imparts change. My daddy was a pastor and in difficult times I would turn to him for guidance. No matter the situation I faced, his counsel was always the same– Get into the Living Word.

What the heck does that mean?

I am nearing 60-years of age and though the daughter of a minister, it wasn’t until today, I understood with divine clarity that I am empowered to become more like Jesus when I hide God’s Word in my heart. Old habits and lifestyles are replaced with new ones that please God and lead to peace and joy.

It is the double-edged sword of God’s Word that pierces through all the refuse we hide in our heart. The sword reveals who we are spiritually and when we get into the Living Word (read, study, and meditate) something supernatural happens. Our carnal passions and appetites are no longer concealed and become subject to judgment.

There is life in God’s Word.

Because it is living, it produces effects. It isn’t compared to just any sword, but to a (sharper than any) double-edged sword that is able to cut through the thick joint of a bone to the inner, soft, living part of the bone (the marrow).

God’s Word reveals the invisible dimension of our life; the natural man (soul) and the spiritual man. Are the “thoughts and intentions of our heart” spiritual thoughts and intentions or only natural thoughts and intentions.

Allow God’s Word to pierce you.

When we get into the Living Word and allow it to pierce our soul, we become acutely aware of our spiritual condition. Will there be marrow and life in our bone, or only a spiritless soul?

Today’s prayer:

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
Psalms 19:14

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THE WORRY SEEDS

worryseedsTommy wanted to do something special for his mom on Mother’s Day. He knew she loved flowers and the local hardware store in his small town had a rack that turned; it was filled with all kinds of seed packets. If he saved his allowance for the next few weeks, he could buy his mom three packages. Every day after school, Tommy would stop into the hardware store and turn the seed rack in every direction. There were so many choices; it was going to be difficult to make a decision.

The Saturday before Mother’s Day, Tommy walked into the hardware store with three quarters tucked safely in his pants pocket. The bell above the door signaled his arrival and the owner, Mr. Joseph, looked up from behind the counter.

“Hi, Tommy”, he said. Are you here to look at the flower packets?”
“Oh no, Mr. Joseph, I’m here to buy some”, he replied, as he placed the quarters on the glass counter.
“Splendid! I’ll be in the back taking care of stock, just let me know when you are ready.”

Overwhelmed by the number of different flower varieties, Tommy turned the squeaky display rack round and round. There was no way to make a choice and in frustration he called to Mr. Joseph for help.

“I can’t decide what my mom will like best.”
“That’s not a problem, son. Pick ten of your favorite flower packets and bring them back to my check-out counter.”
“Then what; how is that going to help?”
“You’ll see,” said Mr. Joseph, “you’ll see.”

When Tommy returned, Mr. Joseph handed him a tin can filled with pieces of white paper folded into squares.

“Place one of the folded papers on the top of each flower packet.”

When Tommy finished, he looked up at Mr. Joseph.

“Now what?” he asked.
“Unfold each paper you placed on the seed packets and remove any with the letters: Y, W, O, E, S, R and D. Place them in the garbage can over there by the water cooler.”

Once Tommy gathered the packets he soon realized the counter was empty. Mr. Joseph’s plan hadn’t helped at all. Confused and frustrated, he spouted out,

“You said me you would help me decide what flower seeds my mom would like best, but you failed; the counter is now empty.”
“Indeed it is,” Mr. Joseph replied with a chuckle. “But those packets you threw away were ‘worry seeds’ and ‘worry seeds’ never grow anything; you need seeds of faith if you want to grow a beautiful flower garden.
“Mr. Joseph,” Tommy asked, “how will I know if I am planting seeds of faith or seeds of worry?”

Mr. Joseph stepped from behind the counter and walked over to the display rack. He spun the rack around slowly and in a gentle voice replied,

“Tommy, you must have turned that rack at least 30 times. As I listened to each squeaky turn, I knew that every seed packet you selected was gilded with indecisiveness. You lacked faith in your choices; and when that happens, you end up with worry seeds. How about we pick out some faith seeds?”

Together they turned the seed rack and picked out the most colorful flowers pictured on the package, and also those that would bloom year after year.
Tommy laid his three seed packets on the counter.

“That will be 75 cents,” Mr. Joseph said with a grin. “Just remember to water them every day so they can grow into colorful flowers with long-lasting blooms.”

Are you planting worry seeds or faith seeds? It’s your choice.