Will we recognize our loved ones in heaven?

Someone asked me if her mother would recognize her in heaven, since she was ten when her mother passed away. My immediate response was to ask whether her mother trusted Jesus as her Savior, and she replied, “Yes…”

So I replied, “There is no question that if your mother trusted Christ as her savior, if she trusted that God the Father sent the Son of God to earth to be born, and live a sinless life and suffer and die to pay for our sins and was raised again on the third day, then she is with God the Father in heaven.”

She responded, “If it’s there she is for sure. Will she know me?

This is my response to her question:

Will your mother know you? People definitely know others in heaven.

In 1 Samuel 28:8-17, Certainly King Saul recognized the prophet Samuel when the witch raised him from the dead.

2 Samuel 12:19-23 tells us that King David expected that when he died, he would go to heaven to be with his recently dead infant child.

Luke 9:28-33 and Matthew 17:3-4 tells us of when Jesus was transfigured with Moses and Elijah and they knew each other, and were recognized by Peter.

In the parable of when the Rich man and the poor man died, Abraham, Lazarus, and the rich man all recognized each other (Luke 16:19-31).

Jesus was recognized, by many people, in His glorified body after His resurrection (John 20:16, 20; 21:12; 1 Corinthians 15:4-7). We too will be recognized in ours.

So yes, we will recognize those we know/love – even if its been years since we saw them.

Also, we will not be in pain in heaven – even emotional pain. We know this because we are told in Revelation 21:3-4 that God will wipe away every tear, there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain.

We are told that Jesus will give eternal life (and a place in heaven) to those who desire it. But those who do not believe, who do not have a changed heart, will not be in heaven with God (Revelation 21:5-8).

[In fact, we are told that while eternal life is for those who believe, those who do not believe still have the wrath of God upon them (John 3:16-18). But this belief is more than mere intellectual assent, it must include a changed heart to the point where you obey God (john 3:36; James 2:14-20).]

The Apostle Paul taught that we need to repent, turn to God, and have evidence of repentance (Acts 26:20).

So the question you need to ask yourself is – will YOU be in heaven? Will you repent and turn to God through trust in Christ? Will you call Jesus Lord?

If you have done this, or will do this, then yes, you will see your loved one in heaven and you both will recognize each other.

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If you suffer, God comforts

I know a lot of people dealing with depression or grief. We need to remember that scripture is full of people dealing with difficult times.

Remember that Jesus’s soul was deeply grieved to the point of death and he asked for his disciples/friends to keep watch with Him (Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34).

Jesus did not like the idea of having to suffer as He knew He would and ask His Father if there was any way to let the cup pass from Him, even though He was willing to suffer as He knew He would (Matthew 26:39).

Sometimes we are even torn between going to be with Jesus and remaining here (Philippians 1:21-25), but like the Apostle Paul, our job is to remain in the flesh.

Sometimes a thorn in our flesh is to keep us humble, like with Paul (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

But we know God’s grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and as I am sure you know, that is what the enemy wants us to forget.

God offers comfort so we can comfort others, which we see in 2 Corinthians 1:2-5

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

Hang in there – you aren’t alone.

Feeling bad when speaking about God

I have heard folks that like to talk with me about God, until they start to feel bad, then they dont want to talk to me any more.

Feeling bad because of who God is or what God wants from us and for us, or what God will do, is not a bad thing. It is one tool God uses to move us closer to being who He wants us to be. It is one tool God uses to give us faith. It is one tool God uses to change us. It is one tool God uses save us.

Look folks, I am not perfect. I was and am a sinner. The difference between before I became a Christian and afterwards is that I now have faith in Christ and so I have the righteousness of Christ. Before I was simply a sinner. Now I am a sinner saved by grace through faith. Before I became a Christian, I had the wrath of God upon me. Now, I have the grace of God upon me and am forgiven – not because of anything I have or will do, but because of what Christ has done.

Look at the worst of sinners you can imagine and there but for the grace of God go I.

Before I had faith in Christ, I could not please God. Now I work out my salvation and try to think and act like Christ would have me and when I fail, because I do and will fail, I feel conviction and contrition. And I change, and I confess and I ask forgiveness. God is faithful to His own nature. Should I walk away from God and stay away, that will prove I did not have saving faith to begin with – regardless of what I thought and did. It is God who saved me, who saves me, who will save me, who gave me faith, and who sealed me and who empowers me and who guides me and who protects me and and keeps me – not me. Yet I have my responsibility to live as God would have me live.

There but for the grace of God go I; I am not facing the condemnation of God, nor am I facing the wrath of God. Because of the grace of God, because of His love for His creation, I was chosen and given faith and saved – not because I am who I am, or I did what I have done, or I will do what I will do, and certainly not because God knew I would choose Christ (for then my salvation would depend upon me and my actions), but because God would give me faith to be able to choose Him and ensured I would and did choose to trust in Christ and follow and obey Christ.

So be glad and grateful and rejoice when you feel bad when you think or speak about God – and change and turn to God in repentance and faith and be saved.

Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God

Have you listened to “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” by the preeminent theologian Jonathan Edwards? Wow. What a message.

God KNEW before Adam and Eve sinned that they would do so.

There are some who believe that God was caught unaware when Adam and Eve sinned. But this flies in the face of what scripture teaches.

Ephesians 1:3-4

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love

Revelation 13:8

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

1 Peter 1:20

20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you

So no, God was not caught unaware when Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus was not Plan B. It was always in God’s plan to provide a solution to the problem of man’s sin. That solution is, and has always been, the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. It is only by grace through faith in the saving work of Christ that we may truly live – live an eternal life.

If we are truly saved, we can not lose our salvation. Are we truly saved?

The problem with those who think they can lose salvation, is the belief that it is a one time event.

Salvation is  a process where in we were saved, are saved, and will be saved.

We can see we have been saved in Ephesians 2:5

even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


We can see we are being saved in  Acts 2:47

praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.


We can see we shall be saved in  Romans 5:10

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.


But the end result of salvation only comes if we remain firm in the faith. If we walk away from faith, then we were never saved. In those cases, we will have had a faith which sprang up quickly but died quickly too – it was an emotional event but not a saving one (Mat 13:3-23, Mk 4:3-20; Lk 8:4-16).

Mk 4:3-8

“Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

We see the explanation of the parable of the sower in Mk 4:14-20

14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

The word of the kingdom is the seed. Verse 15 tells us that verse 4 is speaking of the one who does not understand – the seed sown beside the road – this is someone who has not believed and so is not saved.

Verse 16-17 is speaking of verses 5 and 6, where word springs up immediately, but dies quickly away – this is someone who believed for a period of time (This is belief without faith, a temporary thing), but then did not believe to the end and so is not saved.

Verse 18-19 speaks of verse 7, where someone hears the word but worry and deceitfulness  of wealth causes the word to be unfruitful and they are not saved.

Verse 20 speaks of verse 8, where someone understands the word and bears fruit.

It is only those who are fruitful until the end who are and will be saved. The others might have THOUGHT they were saved, but were not. They may have claimed to be Christ’s, and they may even done miracles in the name of Christ, but Christ was adamant that they had to have been righteous and done the will of God.

Matthew 7:15-23

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

We see this more clearly in Matthew 25:31-46 – where the King will separate the sheep (who gave food and drink and clothing to those in need and visited those in prison) from the goats (who did none of those things).

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

If we do not remain firm, then we were never saved to begin with. If we continue in the faith firmly established, then God has reconciled us to present us holy and blameless – but if we dont remain steadfast in the faith, then we never truly had it in the first place. Paul said many times we are saved if we remain firm in the faith.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.


Colossians 1:21-23

21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.


In fact, if we leave the community of faith, then we were never truly of it to begin with.
1 John 2:19

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

So the question is not really can we lose our salvation, but rather are we saved to begin with?

We must have faith to be saved. Luke 7:50

50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

This faith is belief (something that even demons have, see James 2:14-25) coupled with that something inexplicable that results in obedience. It is not our obedience that saves us, for then it would depend upon us. It is the faith that results in obedience that saves us, as seen in Ephesians 2:8-9.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

If we do not have the habit of obedience, we will have a habit of disobedience. We know from 1 John 3:9 that those who continue to sin (live a life, a habit if you will, of sin) are not born of God.

1 John 3:9

No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Our faith must have corresponding works, and both the faith and the works must persevere until the end:

Acts 26:20

20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

I Corinthians 15:2

by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

Colossians 1:22-23

22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

Hebrews 3:12-14

12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

 

Some believe that we stand firm by our own power, but Paul says GOD causes us to stand firm, that GOD anointed us, seals us, owns us, given us His Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

But if we have this faith, we are saved and will not loose that salvation – for you have been sealed by God, and will not be snatched from the hands of Jesus, not even by you yourself

John 10:27-29

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

 

Not only can no one snatch us out of Jesus’ hands, but He will not drive you away.  More than that, Christ will lose none of those the Father has given Him, but everyone who believes in the Son will have eternal life and He will raise them up at the last day.

John 6:37-40

37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

 

If we ARE saved, then we are sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption.

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”
When we truly believe, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and will be lifted up.
So no. If we are truly saved, then we can not and will not lose our salvation. But if we are not saved, or if we walk away from the faith, then we were never saved to begin with.

 

You can not follow a false god and the One True God at the same time

 

There are people who would like to believe that one can follow Christ AND some other god(s) – Like Buddist-Christian, or Wiccan-Christian, or whatever-Christian.
But that is not true – a confusion by some or just an out right lie by others. We must turn away from false gods and follow the One True God through faith in Christ expressed in obedience.
Obviously there are false gods – demons who masquerade as gods:
Deuteronomy 32:16-17
“They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17 “They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread.
And then there are false gods which ar enothing more than a creation of mankind, like statues and such, made by man. There is only one true God.
Jeremiah 10:8-11
8 But they are altogether stupid and foolish In their discipline of delusion—their idol is wood! 9 Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, And gold from Uphaz, The work of a craftsman and of the hands of a goldsmith; Violet and purple are their clothing; They are all the work of skilled men. 10 But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation. 11 Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
Anyone who denies the Son of God denies the Father.
1 John 2:22-23
 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
We must not turn to idols, or mediums or spiritists.
Leviticus 19:4
Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19:31
‘Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.
Instead, we must have faith in God.
Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
We must repent and turn to God.
Luke 1:16
And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.
When we do, our sins will be forgiven.
Acts 5:31
He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
We must humble ourselves to God and He will exalt us.
James 4:10
Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Indeed, what we do will prosper (though perhaps not as we might believe), if we turn to God with all our heart and soul and obey God.
Deuteronomy 30:9-10
9 Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; 10 if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.
This means we must turn away from sin and to God, and show our repenting and turning to God through faith in Christ by how we live.
Acts 3:26
For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”
Acts 26:20
but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance
We show our love for God by serving God.
1 Thessalonians 1:9
For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God
So to repeat – we can not follow God and anything else – not a demon posing as a god, and not an idol made of human hands. We must turn from sin and to God through faith in Christ, and we must show this in our lives by how we live.
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