A Life God Rewards: Why Everything You do Today Matters Forever

( 4 )

Overview

In this book, you're going to discover that God's son Jesus revealed a direct link between what you do today and what you will experience after you die. Astoundingly, the majority of spiritual seekers around the world -- including millions who follow Jesus -- seem to have missed what He said. Could you be one? If so, your picture of the future is missing about a billion stars. Author Bruce Wilkinson shows you what Jesus said about God's plan to reward you in eternity for what you do for Him today. What you'll ...
See more details below
Hardcover
$13.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (336) from $1.99   
  • New (28) from $1.99   
  • Used (308) from $1.99   
A Life God Rewards: Why Everything You Do Today Matters Forever

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

In this book, you're going to discover that God's son Jesus revealed a direct link between what you do today and what you will experience after you die. Astoundingly, the majority of spiritual seekers around the world -- including millions who follow Jesus -- seem to have missed what He said. Could you be one? If so, your picture of the future is missing about a billion stars. Author Bruce Wilkinson shows you what Jesus said about God's plan to reward you in eternity for what you do for Him today. What you'll discover will unlock the mystery of God's power, plan and will for your life. And you'll begin to live with the unshakable certainty that what you do today matters ... forever!

Are You Looking at Eternity through a Keyhole?

In the little book you’re holding, you’re going to discover that Jesus revealed a direct link between what you do today and what you will experience after you die. Astoundingly, the majority of spiritual seekers around the world—including millions who follow Jesus—seem to have missed what He said.

Could you be one? If so, your picture of the future is missing about a billion stars.

In this stirring follow-up to his bestsellers The Prayer of Jabez and Secrets of the Vine, Bruce Wilkinson shows you what Jesus said about God’s plan to reward you in eternity for what you do for Him today.

What you’ll discover will unlock the power and potential of your life, starting now. And you’ll begin to live with the unshakable certainty that what you do today matters…forever!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Christians who are curious about the hereafter and what they can expect from it will be educated and comforted by this entry in Dr. Bruce Wilkinson's Breakthroughs series. Wilkerson, the man behind the bestsellers The Prayer of Jabez and Secrets of the Vine, here shows how the Bible presents a surprisingly vivid picture of what comes after death, and explains how Christians can make the most of the experience by being closer to God now.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576739761
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/17/2002
  • Series: Breakthrough Series , #3
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 320,595
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 7.53 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Wilkinson is the founder of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries and Walk Thru the Bible International. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Prayer of Jabez and Secrets of the Vine as well as 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs and numerous other books. Bruce and his wife, Darlene, live in Atlanta, Georgia, and have three children.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

  
Chapter 1
Keyhole to the Stars
 
"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven."
JESUS, IN LUKE 6:23
 
 
 
What if today really was the first day of the rest of your life? Today you make your trade—everything you have accomplished and become for whatever God offers in exchange. There you are, poised on the brink, lifetime in hand, ready to step into eternity.
 
What a moment! And what an amazing exchange! Your blink in the sun for God's endless day. Your spoonful of water for His Amazon River.
 
You take your step. You put down your little handful of time and pick up your forever life.…
 
But what if I told you that the small choices you make today—like how you interact with your boss, or whom you invite to dinner—could change what happens next?
 
Would you be surprised?
 
In the little book you're holding, you're going to discover that Jesus revealed that our actions now will affect our future forever. Astoundingly, millions who follow Jesus seem to have missed what He said.
 
Could you be one?
 
I was. I grew up in a family that attended church regularly, and I was taught the Bible from the time I was young. Later I spent nine years pursuing theological training. But the clear teachings of Jesus on this subject remained lost to me, like overlooked treasures in my own house. When I finally discovered them, many things started to make sense for the first time.
 
Let's admit it: Any change in how we think about our future, even if it could radically improve our prospects, takes courage. We struggle to let go of comfortable assumptions, even when they're preventing us from seeing the whole truth. We're like toddlers peering through a keyhole at the night sky, trying to hold on to our tiny patch of stars.
 
But the keyhole is so small and the view is so great. Jesus wants to open the door and show us more.
 
Much more.
 
PREPARE TO BE ASTONISHED
No one made more shocking statements about the afterlife than Jesus of Nazareth. His teachings often left His audiences amazed, dumbfounded, even outraged. Take His first public appearance at the age of twelve: "All who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers" (Luke 2:47).
 
When Jesus formally began His ministry, His audience was again "astonished" (Matthew 7:28). In His teaching known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
 
"Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man's sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!"
LUKE 6:22-23
 
You might know these verses well. I have to confess that I read them dozens, if not scores, of times before I really read them. Jesus' statement seems incredible, doesn't it? I used to think He was saying something like, "If you are persecuted on My behalf, you'll be so happy that you'll jump for sheer delight."
 
But if you read on, it's clear that that's not what Jesus meant. He continued:
 
"For indeed your reward is great in heaven."
V. 23
 
In those eight words, Jesus reveals why you and I can rejoice, even in the worst circumstances. Why? Because there is a direct connection between something you do for Him on earth and something "great" He will do for you in heaven.
 
Notice that Jesus describes it as a reward for doing, which would distinguish it, for example, from a gift you receive for believing. Also, the reward is specifically and personally yours if you behave in one way, but is not yours if you behave in another (for example, if you ran away under the pressure of persecution).
 
You see, Jesus isn't asking you and me to enjoy misery on His behalf. Instead He's saying that the consequences in heaven for certain actions on earth will be so wonderful that simply knowing they're coming—and knowing that they will be great—can transform how we live now. Yes, and even create spontaneous outbursts of joy!
 
This promise of reward in heaven isn't an isolated example of Jesus' teachings on the subject:
 
• "He will reward each according to his works"
(Matthew 16:27).
 
• "You will have treasure in heaven" (Matthew
19:21).
 
• "You will be blessed…for you shall be repaid at the resurrection" (Luke 14:14).
 
As you're about to discover, the implications of these passages are enormous. For one thing, they suggest that God is keeping track of what you do for Him every day.
For another, that you have more to gain by serving Him than you ever imagined.
 
TRACKING DOWN THE PROMISE
Let me tell you how I came to write this book. In 1985 when I first stumbled upon Jesus' teachings on reward in heaven, I was startled. What He was saying seemed to contradict much of what I had always been taught and believed.
 
So I began an intensive search for the truth, starting with every Bible verse on the subject of eternal rewards. I studied theological and scholarly works. I spent hours thinking about what Jesus seemed to be saying with such urgency. And I became convinced that spiritual seekers around the world, including millions of Jesus' followers, had mislaid a truth of great importance and promise—and it was time to get it back.
 
Five years of in-depth study and twelve thick binders later, my findings lined the shelves of my study.
 
One day I got a call from Dr. Earl Radmacher, president of Western Seminary in Oregon, inviting me to present my material in a weeklong graduate course at the seminary. I agreed, but only after he promised to assemble a panel of leading scholars, including some who had also been studying rewards, to sit in and evaluate every word.
 
On an April morning several months later, I walked across the seminary campus, lugging my teaching materials. I arrived at the lecture room, which was filled with some of the brightest individuals I had ever met: department chairpersons of the Greek and Hebrew languages, church historians, Bible teachers, seminarians, and pastors from a range of denominations.
 
I taught every morning for four hours. Each afternoon, a special group of scholars met at
Dr. Radmacher's home and debated every point.
 
One day a church historian from Romania assured us that what we were studying was not new theology; it had been part of Christian beliefs and teaching from the first century on. To make his point he asked us, "What do the greats of church history such as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and Spurgeon all have in common?"
 
When everyone hesitated, he told us his answer: "They all earnestly believed in and hoped for eternal rewards."
 
Toward the end of the week, I noticed a shift. The roomful of scholars was spending less time debating and more time responding personally to the material. One afternoon an older participant pulled me aside. "I thought God brought me here to learn more about eternal rewards," he said, "but I was wrong. He brought me here to change my heart—I'm leaving a changed professor!"
 
On the last day, I asked the group, "Are you convinced that what I've been teaching about rewards is consistent with what Jesus taught?"
 
"We're convinced," they replied. And I have never looked back.
 
THE TWO KEYS
In the pages ahead, you'll encounter for yourself the findings we explored that week at Western Seminary. Whether you're familiar with Jesus' teachings about eternal rewards or you're coming upon them for the first time, encourage you to read with great expectation. Important spiritual breakthroughs await you.
 
Starting with statements Jesus made, we'll carefully construct the biggest, truest view possible of your entire life. We'll be using a lot of familiar words—words like heaven, treasure, works, and faith. I urge you to be patient as we look beneath these familiar labels for hidden insights.
 
The teachings of Jesus show us that there are two keys that determine everything about your eternity.
 
The first key is your belief. This key unlocks the door to eternal life and determines where you will spend eternity.
 
The second key is your behavior. It unlocks the door to reward and determines how you will spend eternity.
 
This second key is the focus of A Life God Rewards. Although the role of behavior (we'll also use words like actions or works) isn't more important to your future than belief, it has been more overlooked in recent times. And the promise of rediscovering the truths it unlocks is enormous, especially for followers of Jesus.
 
In fact, by the time you're done reading, you'll approach daily life in a dramatically different way. Simple decisions, such as how you spend your time and money, will become opportunities of great promise. And you will begin to live with an unshakable certainty that everything you do today matters forever.
 
RUMORS OF BLUE WHALES
In the first book in this series, The Prayer of Jabez, we learned that God wants us to ask for His blessing and for greater influence, or "territory," in this world. The next book, Secrets of the Vine, showed that Jesus wants our territory to produce a great harvest of good works for Him.
 
In A Life God Rewards, I want to show you how the harvest you produce will directly impact your experience in eternity—and how that truth can change your life today for the better.
 
I'll admit that on a subject like eternity, we must proceed thoughtfully and humbly. We're like tadpoles swapping stories of blue whales. We're like one twin in the womb trying to convince his brother that it's only a matter of time before they're both breathing air and riding tricycles.
 
Fortunately for all of us, God sent His Son from heaven to help us see the whole truth. If you and I are willing to be surprised, unsettled, even shocked by His words, our prospects for living a life He rewards will change for the better, starting now.
 
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 4

Preface 5

1. Keyhole to the Stars 7

2. The Unbreakable Link 18

3. What the Bible Says about Rewards 30

4. That Day 44

5. The Question of Your Life 60

6. The God Who Gives Back 76

7. The First Key 90

8. Seeing through to Forever 106

Christian Leaders on Eternal Rewards 118

Notes 124

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Keyhole to the Stars

"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven."

Jesus, in Luke 6:23

What if today really was the first day of the rest of your life? Today you make your trade—everything you have accomplished and become for whatever God offers in exchange. There you are, poised on the brink, lifetime in hand, ready to step into eternity.

What a moment! And what an amazing exchange! Your blink in the sun for God's endless day. Your spoonful of water for His Amazon River.

You take your step. You put down your little handful of time and pick up your forever life.. . .

But what if I told you that the small choices you make todayólike how you interact with your boss, or whom you invite to dinnerócould change what happens next?

Would you be surprised?

In the little book you're holding, you're going to discover that Jesus revealed that our actions now will affect our future forever. Astoundingly, millions who follow Jesus seem to have missed what He said.

Could you be one?

I was. I grew up in a family that attended church regularly, and I was taught the Bible from the time I was young. Later I spent nine years pursuing theological training. But the clear teachings of Jesus on this subject remained lost to me, like overlooked treasures in my own house. When I finally discovered them, many things started to make sense for the first time.

Let's admit it: Any change in how we think about our future, even if it could radically improve our prospects, takes courage. We struggle to let go of comfortable assumptions, even when they're preventing us from seeing the whole truth. We're like toddlers peering through a keyhole at the night sky, trying to hold on to our tiny patch of stars.

But the keyhole is so small and the view is so great. Jesus wants to open the door and show us more.

Much more.

Prepare to Be Astonished

No one made more shocking statements about the afterlife than Jesus of Nazareth. His teachings often left His audiences amazed, dumbfounded, even outraged. Take His first public appearance at the age of twelve: "All who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers" (Luke 2:47).

When Jesus formally began His ministry, His audience was again "astonished" (Matthew 7:28). In His teaching known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

"Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man's sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!"
Luke 6:22:23

You might know these verses well. I have to confess that I read them dozens, if not scores, of times before I really read them. Jesus' statement seems incredible, doesn't it? I used to think He was saying something like, "If you are persecuted on My behalf, you'll be so happy that you'll jump for sheer delight."

But if you read on, it's clear that that's not what Jesus meant. He continued:

"For indeed your reward is great in heaven."
v. 23

In those eight words, Jesus reveals why you and I can rejoice, even in the worst circumstances. Why? Because there is a direct connection between something you do for Him on earth and something "great" He will do for you in heaven.

Notice that Jesus describes it as a reward for doing, which would distinguish it, for example, from a gift you receive for believing. Also, the reward is specifically and personally yours if you behave in one way, but is not yours if you behave in another (for example, if you ran away under the pressure of persecution).

You see, Jesus isn't asking you and me to enjoy misery on His behalf. Instead He's saying that the consequences in heaven for certain actions on earth will be so wonderful that simply knowing they're comingóand knowing that they will be greatócan transform how we live now. Yes, and even create spontaneous outbursts of joy!

This promise of reward in heaven isn't an isolated example of Jesus' teachings on the subject:

• "He will reward each according to his works" (Matthew 16:27).

• "You will have treasure in heaven" (Matthew 19:21).

• "You will be blessed. . .for you shall be repaid at the resurrection" (Luke 14:14).

As you're about to discover, the implications of these passages are enormous. For one thing, they suggest that God is keeping track of what you do for Him every day. For another, that you have more to gain by serving Him than you ever imagined.

Tracking Down the Promise

Let me tell you how I came to write this book. In 1985 when I first stumbled upon Jesus' teachings on reward in heaven, I was startled. What He was saying seemed to contradict much of what I had always been taught and believed.

So I began an intensive search for the truth, starting with every Bible verse on the subject of eternal rewards. I studied theological and scholarly works. I spent hours thinking about what Jesus seemed to be saying with such urgency. And I became convinced that spiritual seekers around the world, including millions of Jesus' followers, had mislaid a truth of great importance and promiseóand it was time to get it back.

Five years of in-depth study and twelve thick binders later, my findings lined the shelves of my study.

One day I got a call from Dr. Earl Radmacher, president of Western Seminary in Oregon, inviting me to present my material in a weeklong graduate course at the seminary. I agreed, but only after he promised to assemble a panel of leading scholars, including some who had also been studying rewards, to sit in and evaluate every word.

On an April morning several months later, I walked across the seminary campus, lugging my teaching materials. I arrived at the lecture room, which was filled with some of the brightest individuals I had ever met: department chairpersons of the Greek and Hebrew languages, church historians, Bible teachers, seminarians, and pastors from a range of denominations.

I taught every morning for four hours. Each afternoon, a special group of scholars met at Dr. Radmacher's home and debated every point.

One day a church historian from Romania assured us that what we were studying was not new theology; it had been part of Christian beliefs and teaching from the first century on. To make his point he asked us, "What do the greats of church history such as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and Spurgeon all have in common?"

When everyone hesitated, he told us his answer: "They all earnestly believed in and hoped for eternal rewards."

Toward the end of the week, I noticed a shift. The roomful of scholars was spending less time debating and more time responding personally to the material. One afternoon an older participant pulled me aside. "I thought God brought me here to learn more about eternal rewards," he said, "but I was wrong. He brought me here to change my heart—I'm leaving a changed professor!"

On the last day, I asked the group, "Are you convinced that what I've been teaching about rewards is consistent with what Jesus taught?"

"We're convinced," they replied. And I have never looked back.

The Two Keys

In the pages ahead, you'll encounter for yourself the findings we explored that week at Western Seminary. Whether you're familiar with Jesus' teachings about eternal rewards or you're coming upon them for the first time, I encourage you to read with great expectation. Important spiritual breakthroughs await you.

Starting with statements Jesus made, we'll carefully construct the biggest, truest view possible of your entire life. We'll be using a lot of familiar words—words like heaven, treasure, works, and faith. I urge you to be patient as we look beneath these familiar labels for hidden insights.

The teachings of Jesus show us that there are two keys that determine everything about your eternity.

The first key is your belief. This key unlocks the door to eternal life and determines where you will spend eternity.

The second key is your behavior. It unlocks the door to reward and determines how you will spend eternity.

This second key is the focus of A Life God Rewards. Although the role of behavior (we'll also use words like actions or works) isn't more important to your future than belief, it has been more overlooked in recent times. And the promise of rediscovering the truths it unlocks is enormous, especially for followers of Jesus.

In fact, by the time you're done reading, you'll approach daily life in a dramatically different way. Simple decisions, such as how you spend your time and money, will become opportunities of great promise. And you will begin to live with an unshakable certainty that everything you do today matters forever.

Rumors of Blue Whales

In the first book in this series, The Prayer of Jabez, we learned that God wants us to ask for His blessing and for greater influence, or "territory," in this world. The next book, Secrets of the Vine, showed that Jesus wants our territory to produce a great harvest of good works for Him.

In A Life God Rewards, I want to show you how the harvest you produce will directly impact your experience in eternity—and how that truth can change your life today for the better.

I'll admit that on a subject like eternity, we must proceed thoughtfully and humbly. We're like tadpoles swapping stories of blue whales. We're like one twin in the womb trying to convince his brother that it's only a matter of time before they're both breathing air and riding tricycles.

Fortunately for all of us, God sent His Son from heaven to help us see the whole truth. If you and I are willing to be surprised, unsettled, even shocked by His words, our prospects for living a life He rewards will change for the better, starting now.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2003

    The Ultimate in Deferred Gratification

    This little book can be read in one sitting, but can affect one's life for eternity. Wilkinson shows that Scripture clearly teaches that we will be rewarded for our good deeds (though salvation is only by grace). It is encouraging to learn that it is OK to be motivated by heavenly rewards to serve the Lord here on earth (i.e., it's evidence of faith, not selfishness). Every Christian (and those open to Christianity) should read this book which is Wilkinson's best.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2002

    Accountability

    Wilkinson not only demonstrates that we are held accountable by God for our actions today, but that our action will affect us ¿ and others ¿ for all eternity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2003

    This book is as insightful as it is thought-provoking

    The thesis of this book, though simple to understand, bears a certain eternal dynamic: What you do today will have eternal consequences. Wilkson explains that even the smallest, most mundane thoughts and actions matter on an eternal scale. This book is as insightful as it is thought-provoking.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2002

    FASCINATING

    An interesting take on life after death and various scriptures including the words of Jesus. I found this book very well written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)