A Life God Rewards - Devotional [NOOK Book]

Overview

Those who have read A Life God Rewards have discovered there's an infinitely richer approach to life -- an awareness that the smallest actions of every day have an eternal impact. Bruce Wilkinson has written this personal devotional for those who are eager to reach for God's amazing and generous best for their lives -- starting today! With thirty-one days of inspiring readings, true stories, thought-provoking ...
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A Life God Rewards - Devotional

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Overview

Those who have read A Life God Rewards have discovered there's an infinitely richer approach to life -- an awareness that the smallest actions of every day have an eternal impact. Bruce Wilkinson has written this personal devotional for those who are eager to reach for God's amazing and generous best for their lives -- starting today! With thirty-one days of inspiring readings, true stories, thought-provoking questions, practical suggestions, classic quotes, and Scriptures, every day becomes a meaningful investment in eternity.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307564719
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/14/2010
  • Series: Breakthrough Series
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,207,035
  • File size: 3 MB

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.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

A Life God Rewards

Devotional
By Bruce Wilkinson with David Kopp

Multnomah Publishers

Copyright © 2002 Exponential, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1590520092


Big Picture Day 1

A Welcome Jolt

"When you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

Luke 14:13-14

The woman on talk radio was remembering the night of the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Southern California. Her name was Michelle. When the pictures on the walls of her apartment started falling, and the furniture skidded across the room, and her dishes crashed to the floor, she ran out into the street.

But the earthquake had knocked out the electricity for miles around. Michelle stood unsteadily in a darkened world, wondering what to do.

"By chance I happened to look up," she said. "For the first time in my forty years, I was blessed by the sight of the Milky Way visible above my city. In the midst of so much destruction, it was a glorious sight."

What I want to show you in this book is a big truth that's always been there. But it may have been hidden from you, perhaps for most of your life.

In fact, you may be making critical decisions today as if an immense other reality is not really there at all.

How long can you and I live with a great spiritual truth right in front of uswithout ever seeing it? A few wrong assumptions can block our view for years.

Until one day we feel a jolt.

That's what it felt like the first time I really heard what Jesus said about the connection between what I do today and what will happen to me in heaven. He said it for the first time during His first recorded public teaching, which we call the Sermon on the Mount:

"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! For indeed your reward is great in heaven."

Luke 6:22-23

In other words, suffer for Jesus on earth and He will reward you in heaven. And His reward for you in heaven will be so amazingly wonderful that if you saw your future like He sees your future ... you would literally leap for joy.

All through the Gospels, Jesus repeatedly connected today with eternity. Take a conversation during a by-invitation-only dinner in His honor at the home of a religious leader. Here's what Jesus told His startled host:

"When you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

Luke 14:13-14

Think about your day yesterday. Did you build your priorities around the truth of repayment at the resurrection? Or were you, like so many well-intentioned believers I know, operating on the assumption that work for God now equals compensation from God now?

If so, you are seeing only the glare of the temporary where Jesus hopes you'll see the galaxies of eternity. A more accurate equation would be: More work for God on earth equals more reward from God in heaven.

Remember when your next-door neighbor was sick and you took dinner over? Hard to believe, but you have a reward coming for that act of service.

Remember when you took a stand at work when everybody else was practicing corruption and you were the only one who didn't? It's time to celebrate, because your stand for Jesus in the face of persecution will bring you great reward.

Today is a day of new beginnings. You are on the brink of a new understanding of the depth of God's love, the expanse of His generosity, and the wonder of His eternal plan ... for you.

Ask Jesus to show you that today. Sure, when you first discover what He revealed about eternal rewards, your world may begin to shake. Comfortable assumptions and long-held beliefs start to rattle in the cupboards. But just let the dishes drop. Run out into the street and look up.

Your God is a rewarder.

My Rewards Journal: How does what Jesus revealed about the connection between today and eternity match up (or not match up) with what I assumed or have been taught up to now? How does the truth change my thinking about God? About heaven? About what I want to do today?

***

What we need is a big picture of a great God who is utterly committed to joyfully demonstrating his greatness in doing us good. That is, we need to see the majesty of God and know the splendor of God overflowing toward us with exuberant omnipotence. It is not enough to believe that God is big and strong and fearsome-which he is. We must experience this magnificence as the explosion of God's uncontainable zeal to satisfy his creatures by showing them himself.

John Piper

Big Picture Day 2

Two Keys That Unlock Forever

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Remember the first time you learned the truth about the see-saw on the playground? One day your friend jumped off his side without warning-and your side slammed to the ground with a painful whack! You'd just received your first lesson on the importance of balance.

What I want to talk to you about today is the critical balance of faith and works. Perhaps you were taught that all the weight should stay on the side of faith. Maybe you grew up suspicious of people who emphasized good works. And by default you decided not only that God doesn't care much about our works on earth, but also that He won't hold us accountable for them in heaven.

Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is off balance. True, Jesus teaches that we are not saved by our works. And what an amazing and precious truth that is! In the text for today, Paul wrote about our faith: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (vv. 8-9).

But notice what Paul said next about our work. Though we aren't saved by our works, you and I have been created, saved, and set apart specifically "for good works":

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

V. 10

Paul wanted to make it abundantly clear that both works and faith have their places, and both carry great weight when it comes to God's plan for our lives.

In fact, together faith and works unlock our eternal future. In A Life God Rewards, I describe these two truths as keys. The first key is your belief, or your faith. The second key is your behavior, or your works.

What you believe about Jesus determines where you will spend eternity-in heaven or in hell. It decides your eternal destination. Jesus said, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life" (John 3:36).

How you behave on earth determines how God will reward you in heaven. Your works decide your eternal compensation (or reward). Jesus said, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (Revelation 22:12).

Compare what these truths mean today for you and everyone you know:

I hope the whole message of the gospel is coming alive for you in a fresh way today. May the light of its truth rid your mind and heart of these two dangerous misconceptions:

1. The misconception that your works can lead to salvation. Never again confuse God's reward for your work with His gift of salvation. Whenever the Bible talks about belief, it cannot have anything to do with rewards. And the reverse is also true: Whenever the Bible talks about works, it cannot have anything to do with salvation.

2. The misconception that your works don't matter. Never again say, "It's only what I believe that matters. My works don't matter to God." Your works for God matter greatly to Him-and to you!

As you let Jesus' teachings on salvation and reward change how you think, you'll experience dramatic and positive changes in how you view the opportunities God gives you each day. You'll become convinced that there's a lot more to your life now than just what you believe, and a lot more to your future in heaven than just getting in.

My Rewards Journal: When it comes to what I believe about God's plan for my life, how have my beliefs been out of balance? How will getting them back in balance change my life?

***

For a man cannot profit God.... But though we are unprofitable to him, our serving him is not unprofitable to us.

John Wesley

Big Picture Day 3

Forever in Focus

"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works."

Matthew 16:27

What will happen when we die? Let's face it, most of us tend to think of our lives in three stages:

• Stage One: You live on earth. A lot of things happen.

• Stage Two: You die. One thing happens.

• Stage Three: You exist in eternity. Not much ever happens.

But Jesus came to tell us something very different. He revealed that, actually, almost all of our life happens after our physical death. One day Jesus told His disciples about several important events that will happen in everyone's future. We see it in today's text:

"For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works."

Matthew 16:27

Do you see what Jesus is saying in this verse? At some time in the future, Jesus will return. He will reward-or not reward-everyone. And His rewards will be based on each one's works. That's a lot of activity happening after the event of our physical death. And as you're about to see, that's just the beginning.

In fact, since Jesus hasn't yet come again, we know that His disciples are still waiting in heaven for the event that Jesus described in this verse to take place.

In the coming days in this devotional, you'll see how God wants your life today to flourish and count for eternity in ways you never thought possible. But nobody can live enthusiastically for eternity if they don't have a clear idea of how real, important, and eventful our life there will be.

So today let's bring our lives forever into focus with a review of the (real) timeline of our lives. Jesus reveals at least six main events that will take place for every person.

The Six Main Events of Your Forever Life

1. Life. You are created in the image of God for a life of purpose. Between birth and death, you live on earth as a body, soul, and spirit (John 3:6; 4:23-24; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

2. Death. You die physically, but not spiritually. When you die, your body returns to dust. But you are more than organic matter, and Jesus talked often about the eternal existence of every person (Luke 23:43).

3. Destination. You reach your destination after death, which is determined by what you believed on earth about Jesus. Jesus identified only two possible locations in the afterlife: heaven or hell (John 3:16-18; 14:2; Matthew 23:33).

4. Resurrection. You receive a resurrected body. Our new bodies will be immortal-they can never again experience death (John 5:28-29; see also 1 Corinthians 15; Philippians 3:21).

5. Repayment. You receive your reward or your retribution for eternity based on what you did on earth. Believers and nonbelievers will be judged by Jesus Christ at events called the bema and the great white throne. This judgment will determine the degree of reward in heaven or retribution in hell (John 5:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15; Matthew 11:21-22; 23:14).

6. Eternity. You will live forever in the presence or absence of God, reaping the consequences of your beliefs and actions on earth (Matthew 25:46).

Put these six main events in a line; then ask which one event determines everything that follows? Clearly, the single event of your life determines everything about eternity.

In A Life God Rewards, I suggested that you picture the timeline like this:

The dot represents your life on earth. The line represents eternity and all the events that Jesus revealed will take place there. This illustration shows the relationship of cause and consequence that exists between actions in the dot (your life) and consequences in the line (your eternity).

In other words, everything that happens on the dot-your life of approximately seventy years-determines everything about your eternity!

Have you ever thought about your life on earth that way before? It's startling, isn't it? That's because the truth that we will live forever gets lost in the blinding reality of the here and now. And we have a personal enemy in Satan who likes it that way!

Today I invite you to let the truth of this picture become deeply imprinted on your mind and heart. One day you will give an account to the One who loves you most of what you did in your "dot." And what happens next will change your life-and keep on changing it forever.

My Rewards Journal: How would I live today if it were my last chance to live for the line, not the dot? In light of the big picture of eternity, what changes do I want to make this week in my priorities?

* * *

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:7-9

(Continues...)



Excerpted from A Life God Rewards by Bruce Wilkinson with David Kopp Copyright © 2002 by Exponential, Inc.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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