Devotional

Jesus Prepares a Place for His Followers

Do not let your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:1,2 NASB

Several of my friends have died in the past fifteen months. A sudden heart attack, cancer, Covid-19, and other illnesses have struck friends in their fifties as well as later in life. While some deaths were expected, others shocked me when I heard the news.


I grieve, of course. Jesus, the God of comfort, wept when He went to the home of Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died. Death always causes such pain and grief for the family and friends. No longer will I see some of my friends at church, or pick up the phone to talk with them, or see a social media posting from time to time from those far away. Death seems so… permanent.


Yet for many of my friends who have died, there is a sure hope, too. For those who were Christ’s followers, this is a temporary separation. I know I will see them someday. They knew Jesus Christ, and they are home with Him!


Jesus doesn’t want us to despair. He assured His followers that He was returning to His Father’s house to prepare a place for them. That place is with Him! Jesus said, “If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:1-3) The grave is not our final resting place. We don’t stay there!


In 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 the Apostle Paul said, “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (NIV)

When Jesus told Martha that her dead brother Lazarus would rise again, she said to Jesus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” (John 11:23-26 NASB)


Did Jesus mean that all who believe in Him do not die physically? No. We all knew Christians who have died. Jesus meant our souls would not suffer death. The believer’s soul goes to be with our Heavenly Father. Those believers will return again with Jesus when Jesus descends from heaven with a shout! The dead [bodies] will rise first and then those people who remain will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

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How can we confidently know that we will be with Jesus? He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV) He didn’t say He was a way or a truth. He is the only way to God.

I’m convicted that I need to love my friends and family enough to tell them that Jesus is the way to God.
Do your loved ones know the way to our Heavenly Father? Do they know that Jesus paid the price of their eternal death from sin by going to the cross and dying in their place?


Jesus is preparing a place for each of us that believe in Jesus. Are you confident that you will be with Jesus?

Dear Lord Jesus, please comfort me and the loved ones of my friends who have died. Thank you for preparing a place with You, where I will someday see You and where I will see my friends again. Thank you for providing the way for me to live forever with You, free from the punishment of my sins. Help me to share the hope found in knowing You. Amen.

Devotional

What is LOVE?

Love… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13: 7, 8a NKJV)

What do you think of when you think of the word L-O-V-E? Is it hearts, flowers, and chocolate? Valentine’s Day hype? Or is it something deeper? Is love romance and sex? Is love the deep care for another? What about love for our family and friends?

If love, as we know it, is so enduring and never fails, why do so many relationships fall apart?

Could it be that we need to follow a better definition of love?

Let’s take a look at the Bible’s description of love using a variety of Bible versions of I Corinthians 13.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.  (NLT) The New King James Version replaces “Love is patient” with Love suffers long. Certainly some of our patience with others can require some longsuffering. It’s easy to lash out or become irritated rather than to show kindness and patience. I’ve found that I have to swallow pride to go to my husband of 36 years and tell him I was wrong in a spat. An ‘I told you so’ does additional  harm if I’m boasting I was right. Oh, that I would love like God does! I’m so glad my Heavenly Father is patient and kind with me.

5 [Love] is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; (RSV)  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (NIV) Ouch. This part of the definition of love is one I need to practice more. How many times have I been irritated when the dishes have been left on the table, or angry when I thought my ‘rights’ were being ignored or I thought something would have been better if it was done my way. Didn’t I just tell my husband of someone’s wrong against me? That does not honor the person, and it certainly does not honor my Lord God.

6 [Love] does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. (NKJV) It does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.(RSV) A prayer partner once told me that while she wanted me to pray for her prodigal child, the specifics were best left to the Lord and not told. She didn’t want the actions of her daughter to become the focal point, or a matter of gossip disguised as a prayer request. What was important was the young woman’s return to Christ.

7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (NLT)   It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)

8 Love never fails.(NKJV)   Love never ends. (RSV) Did you note the words “never” and “always” in these verses? True love is consistent. The Lord’s love for us is the best example. He never gives up on loving us, no matter what we do or don’t do. His love endures whatever the circumstances.  There is always hope in Jesus Christ and His forgiveness. Jesus persevered even to the cross to show God’s love for us.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (NLT)

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

How can we show true, biblical love to others around us? Is our love the love with which God loves us? Let’s focus on showing true love to our spouse or romantic love interest, to our parents, siblings, children, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to flow through us with LOVE.

Dear Heavenly Father, Please teach me to love others as You love me. Help me to look past another’s foibles and to see them as You do. Amen.

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Key to Bible Versions:

NKJV- New King James Version; NLT –  New Living Translation; NIV –  New International Version; RSV – Revised Standard Version

Love Block photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com