God Is Keeping an Inheritance for You

When we think of receiving an inheritance, we think of someone dying and leaving things to us. When God promises an inheritance to us, it’s a different ball game. Yes, Jesus died for our sins and through that death an inheritance can be passed to us. But, that’s where the comparison stops. Jesus’ resurrection changed everything else about our eternal inheritance.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you”

1 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV)

The process of passing down an inheritance was very important in biblical times. Fathers owned the family’s assets and passed them down as an inheritance to his surviving family as specifically directed by the God’s Law when he died. Land was most precious as it was the means for making a living, for grazing animals or raising crops. Similarly, and even more importantly, God, our heavenly father, has an inheritance to pass on to us. Let’s look at our passage from 1 Peter where we will encounter all of the very basic conditions for an inheritance to be passed. Along the way let’s be sure to understand who’s responsible for each part, and what God’s inheritance looks like. The first condition, of course, is a death; in order for an inheritance to be left, someone has to die…

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

God came down to the earth in the human form of Jesus for a singular, glorious purpose—to live a sinless life and pay the death penalty for the sins of humankind. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, His death initiated the eternal process by which His inheritance could be passed to us, but that’s as far as God goes. We have to do the rest.  Which brings us to the next fundamental condition—surviving family.

New Birth into a Living Hope

In order for an inheritance to be passed down, there must be living family members to pass it to. This sounds ridiculously obvious, but there’s more than meets the average worldly eye going on here. You see, being born of a human mother, qualifies us for neither being alive nor being a member of God’s family. We are not born into God’s family, we are re-born into it. When, and only when, we accept God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord do we become eternally alive. Before we accept the gift of God’s grace, we are dead, living in the state of sin that separates us from God and keeps us from eternal life. Until we address the matter of our sinful nature, we are not eligible to receive the inheritance God has for us, because we have not fulfilled the very basic qualification—being alive.

Upon fulfilling the requirement of being alive, God’s grace does its further work by making us family. By His grace, we are adopted into the family of God, making us co-heirs with Jesus for His inheritance (Romans 8:15-17).

So, what is the inheritance that eternal life qualifies us for?

Well, eternal life.

Eternal life achieves both establishing us as living children of God, eligible to receive His inheritance and being the inheritance itself. It is the means and the reward all rolled up into one—a God-given, two-for-one deal!  Jesus’ resurrection from the dead assures us that the inheritance to be handed down would be significantly different from the inheritance handed down from earthly fathers to earthly surviving children. Let’s explore this some more.

Eternal life is kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:4)

Unlike earthly inheritances, it is certain. If a father on earth squanders all of his assets, the family may not receive any inheritance. As long as the father is alive, the inheritance is uncertain. Your God-given inheritance is certain. He’s already died and proven that eternal life is available through Him. Nothing can take that inheritance from you. It is kept in heaven for you! It’s a done deal.

Eternal life takes place in the Kingdom (Matthew 25:34)

God prepared the Kingdom of heaven for you before the foundation of the world. It’s always been there, it will always be there, and one day, His Kingdom will be returned to earth (Revelation 21:1-2). Those who are of His family, that have received His inheritance, will be administrators of His Kingdom. It will be a great responsibility filled with great purpose and joy! Can you imagine the joy of administering a Kingdom in which no death, mourning, crying, or pain exists (Revelation 21:4)?!

We can add to the riches of eternal life while here on earth (Matthew 6:19-21)

Jesus taught that when we focus our heart on things of eternal value, we lay ‘treasure in heaven.’ Our heart is a conduit, a channel or pathway through which the eternally valuable things we do here on earth are deposited into our ‘inheritance account’ in heaven.

God’s already done His part to guarantee that the inheritance will be there for us. We’ve got to do our part and then add to our inheritance each and every day. That’s the truth.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given you a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, securing an inheritance for you that can never perish, spoil or fade. Where your heart is, there the treasure of this inheritance will be, kept in heaven for you.

That’s the YouTruth – God is Keeping an Inheritance for You.

Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” is something you would expect people of faith to say. But why are the lives of faithful people so hard to distinguish from the un-faithful? Usually it’s because the “choose this day” part is missing.

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15 (NIV)

After the great military campaign that brought the Israelites to the promised land, Joshua called a meeting of all the people. He reminded them of the amazing things that God had done, both recently and throughout history to bring them to the land He had promised them. He implored them, in the glow of the promise fulfilled, to serve the Lord only and to set aside once and for all, all idols past and present.  The people rallied around Joshua’s cry and collectively promised to always serve the Lord and to never worship idols again. So what followed was  an extended period of singular devotion to God and prosperity for the people, right?

Well, no. The people fell away. When we’re not careful, we fall away too. Choosing this day whom you will serve is not a quick and easy decision but a series of important choices made in concert with the truth. Let’s start building a strong tower of ‘choosing this day’ that will better stand the test of time.

Choose this day the true definition of ‘idol’

We most often associate idols with the carved statues that people of old worshipped.  We might conclude that keeping our homes free of Buddha statues, lucky rabbit’s feet, pentagrams, and other non-Christian symbols, that we have sufficiently removed the idols. But idols are more than just figurines. An idol at its core is anything that has a higher priority in our life than our relationship with God. Anything.  Idols don’t exist on our mantle, they exist in our hearts. If they are swept off our mantle, but not driven from our hearts, they’ve not been removed at all. Money, prestige, power, gambling. Alcohol, drugs, lust, gossip—these are common idols. There are many others. Their allure is strong. And when we pursue them contrary to God’s will for us, they’re idols.  Choosing a too-narrow definition of idol, leaves us susceptible to having slews of idols without even knowing it.

Choose this day to beware of the culture that underlies all idols.

Idols cannot exist on their own. No one would devise a false god or place a statue of it on their mantle if there was no cultural pressure to do so. Idols grow from collective human desire. God chose to place His people in the Promised Land so that they could build a culture that reflected His nature, not the nature of the world around them.  It was to be a distinctly different culture that rejected false gods and served only the one true God. We are called to do the same. But if we do not consciously and intentionally push away from the cultural pressures that would draw us to the world’s idols, we will be quickly absorbed into the culture of the world.  So does that mean we must be reclusive and separate ourselves from everyone else? No! Jesus taught very specifically that we needed to be in the world in order to be witnesses for His Kingdom (John 17:18). Jesus modeled this by coming into direct contact with the culture of the world and teaching about its depravity (Matthew 9:9-13). So, instead of running away from the idolatrous culture of the world we must. . .

Choose this day the appropriate social activity for our situations

For Christians, there are two types of social activity, fellowship and witness. When we are in contact with other people we are doing one or the other. When we are around other Christians who also love God and are constantly seeking a stronger relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ, then fellowship is a blessed time of togetherness and relationship that God intends for us to enjoy. Many misinterpret Jesus’ willingness to ‘sit with the sinners’ as fellowship. Operating under this misconception causes us to fall into the trap of engaging the culture of the world in an attitude of fellowship which causes the world’s culture to seep into us, oftentimes without us even knowing it is happening. No, Jesus engaged those of the world around Him in the mode of witness. His single intention was to teach them about the downfall that awaited those of the world and the eternal blessing of God’s grace that was imparted to those not of the world, those of His Kingdom. Because He loved them and did not want them to meet the fate that awaited them, He witnessed!

So when we find ourselves among those who are of the culture of the world, we should likewise deliver loving witness. Or leave. Witnessing to the world draws a firm line around us, protects us from the world’s influence, and causes the culture of God’s Kingdom to seep into the world’s culture and change it! We must always be the ‘seeper’ because if we’re not, we will be the ‘seepee.’ Now granted, there are some situations where simply leaving is the best witness. There are far fewer of these situations than we might think, but nonetheless every situation is not conducive to delivering testimony. So we should leave. Remember, remaining in such a situation without actively witnessing, is fellowshipping.  Each day will bring a whole new set of situations to deal with, so we must…

Keep choosing this day

We need to do as Joshua directed and ‘choose this day.’ Once one day passes and a new day comes, the day on which you chose is now ‘that day.’ The new day is now ‘this day.’ It is important that we consciously and intentionally renew our vow to serve the Lord each and every day. Otherwise, our guard will slowly come down, our enthusiasm for witness will fade and we will allow the idols and the culture that supports them to seep back into us.

That’s the truth.

Choose this day whom you will serve. Choose this day to sweep all of the world’s idols out of your heart. Choose this day to beware of the culture of the world, and to protect your heart from it. Choose this day to enjoy fellowship with those of His Kingdom and to witness to those of the world. Choose to renew your commitment each and every day that for ‘you and your house, you will serve the Lord.’

That’s the YouTruth. Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve.

The Lord is Your Shepherd

Do you like being in charge? Me too. Are there times in your life when you feel like you’re not in charge anymore? I have times like those too. God has something to say to us about being in charge. During those times when we feel like we’re not in charge anymore, we’re right. He’s in charge. During those times when we feel like we are in charge, we’re wrong. He’s in charge then too

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Psalm 23:1 (NASB)

The 23rd Psalm is probably the most familiar and most quoted of all 150 psalms in the Bible. It was written by David, King of Israel. Now if there was anyone in his time that understood what it meant to be in charge, King David was the one. But we find the opposite sentiment in his Biblical writings. We find a man that, while having a position of great power, openly confessed he was not in charge at all. Psalm 23 is a powerful expression of this truth. Let’s walk through it and discover what King David knew – God is in charge, completely in charge, and that’s a good thing.

The Lord is my shepherd

If we are sheep with a shepherd, we are not in charge of anything. The shepherd controls everything—where we eat, where we drink, where we rest, when we rest, if we rest, and so on. Now, sheep can survive without a shepherd, though probably not for long, since they are not equipped to protect themselves from any predator. It is best for sheep to have a shepherd. But having a shepherd by itself is not necessarily a good thing. If the shepherd is not very good at shepherding that may not work out so well for his sheep. We are fortunate, unlike sheep, in that we get to choose if we’ll have a shepherd and who that shepherd will be. David tells us in this psalm that he has a shepherd and that shepherd is the Lord. And a good choice it is! The Lord is not only a good shepherd but He is The Good Shepherd—He does everything for His sheep even giving His life for them (John 10:14-15).

I shall not want

A good shepherd provides for all the needs of his flock. The Good Shepherd provides everything we need; we will never be without anything we need, ever. Oh, but we love to use the word ‘want’ here don’t we? It says so right there in verse one! We may complain to God, “My cup of ‘wants’ is practically empty, what’s the deal?”

Listen closely. Hear that dripping sound? Or is it more like a rushing sound? Turn around and look! Those are our cups of needs overflowing like water over a spillway! Hear all that peace, comfort, goodness and mercy spilling out? With the Good Shepherd as our shepherd, we will always have more than we will ever need. We will have such an abundance of it, we will be able to (and will be called to) pour it into the cups of others.

He makes me, leads me, guides me

A good shepherd doesn’t pose choices for his flock to consider. The Good Shepherd doesn’t offer up suggestions or options either. The Good Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures, leads us to calm streams, and guides us to the righteous path. He knows we will not find them on our own. He knows the world will scatter us from each other and drive us away from the things we need. When we stray, He will use the tools at hand, His rod and His staff, to bring us back into the fold. If we stray so far as to become lost and completely separated from the rest, He will search us out and find us, and even carry us on His shoulders back to the fold (Luke 15:3-7)! So He keeps the flock together and on the path that will keep our cups overflowing.

The valley of the shadow of death

A good shepherd knows that his sheep will not live forever. The Good Shepherd knows that we will all face death; we will all walk through the valley. Though we won’t want for that day to ever come, the shepherd knows it must. And when it does, The Good Shepherd will be there with us. When we walk through the valley because of the loss of a loved one, He will be there. He may even use His rod and staff a little to keep us walking because He knows we must continue through the valley to get to the green pastures and still waters on the other side. When we walk because our own time has come, He will be there. He may even use His rod and His staff a little to keep us walking because He knows we must continue through the valley to get to the eternal green pastures, the eternal calm streams, and  eternal banquet table that He has set especially for us.

He is the Good Shepherd.

He is the Great Shepherd.

He is the Greatest Shepherd of all. That’s the truth.

The Lord is your shepherd, 

You shall not want.

He makes you lie down in green pastures;

He leads you beside still waters.

He restores your soul;

He guides you in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

You will fear no evil, for He is with you;

His rod and His staff, they comfort you .

He prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies;

He has anointed your head with oil;

Your cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life,

And you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


That’s the YouTruth. The Lord is Your Shepherd

Yours Is Not a Timid Spirit

Satan loves it when we are too timid to witness to others. It makes his job so much easier when we choose not to share the Good News with someone who does not yet know Jesus as their Savior and Lord. Satan knows that God did not give believers a Spirit of timidity and fear. And it makes him shudder. What empowers Satan is when the believers themselves forget that.

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.”

2 Timothy 1: 7-8a

God did not give believers a spirit that is timid or fearful. Satan knows that. When believers remember that they have been given a spirit of power, love, and discipline, Satan shudders because he knows what he’s up against – Fire!

Fan the Flame

In our passage, Paul encouraged Timothy to ‘fan into flame’ the gift of God. Paul did this because he knew Satan fights with fire. So we must fight Satan’s fire with a fire of our own. God’s gift was delivered in a mighty way on the day of Pentacost.  With the sound of a violent wind and the appearance of tongues of fire, the gift of the Holy Spirit arrived. This fire turned Jesus’ disciples from discouraged, shaken men into powerful witnesses who poured into the streets preaching the Good News in many languages. Thousands were saved (see Acts 2:1-41)! It is this same fire that we too as believers have received. This fire contains the power, love, and discipline that strikes fear into Satan. But only if we use it!

When firefighters are battling wildfires, they often have to set ‘backfires’ to stop its progress and ultimately extinguish it. So it is when we are fighting the fires of disbelief, apathy, and untruth set by Satan. Our backfires are our testimony to the truth, empowered by the fire of the Holy Spirit. And Jesus commanded us to light them, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19a)

The Spirit of Power

The very power that created the universe, that raised Jesus from the dead, that empowered His disciples to witness to crowds in languages they didn’t even know, is the same power that dwells in each believer in the person of the Holy Spirit. (see Ephesians 1:19-22, Acts 2:1-41) Enough said!

The Spirit of Love

Witnessing to non-believers is an act of utmost love. Though we may hear many arguments to the contrary, such as “who are you to tell me what I believe is wrong?” or “who are you to force your beliefs on me?” Christian believers who take their call to witness to others seriously, may often be called out as intolerant, bigoted, narrow-minded—not descriptions associated with a loving nature. Let’s clear this up by using this analogy: If we were to see someone running toward the edge of a cliff, what should we do? We should do anything we can to stop them. That would be a loving thing to do, wouldn’t it? Of course! Simply standing by while they run off the edge and plunge to their death would be a hateful thing to do. Would it matter that this person did not believe that a cliff edge was there? No! Should we allow them to continue along in their belief or should we tell them the truth before it is too late? A Christless eternity separated from God is a horrible, terrible fate. Jesus Himself described it as ‘outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (see Matthew 24:51).’ It is like running of an eternal cliff edge. We are called to use the Spirit of Love to warn non-believers that the cliff is there and that Jesus is The Way to keep from tumbling over its edge. To do anything less would be hateful, indeed!

The Spirit of Discipline

Witnessing is not often easy. Christian witnesses face skepticism, confrontation, and hate. Some witnesses in extreme situations are ostracized, face violence, or even death. Jesus told us it would be so (see John 15:18-19). It is much easier to avoid such unpleasantness. Thus, we can see that the easy way out is the way of timidity. Discipline is the ingredient that allows us to do what is loving and right when easier, more expedient options are available. Even better is that the spirit of discipline God gives us  allows us to draw upon His very power to do what is loving.

“A” vs. “The”

God did not give us a spirit that is timid. So let’s not act like He did! God not only gave us ‘a’ spirit of power, love, and discipline to witness with, He gave us ‘The’ Spirit of Power, Love, and Discipline. And let’s use it to fulfill all that we are called to do in our time on this earth: “Love God, and love our neighbor.” Our testimony to the truth we have come to know is our loving gift to a dark and hurting world, filled with dark and hurting people. That’s the truth.

I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God. For you have not been given a timid spirit. You have been given the Holy Spirit! You have been given the Spirit of Power. You have been given the Spirit of Love. You have been given the Spirit of Self-Discipline. You are called to use this gift of God to testify about your Lord.

That’s the YouTruth. Yours is Not a Timid Spirit.

For God So Loves You

The world is a mighty big place, and it is easy to get lost in it. You might feel anonymous among the masses and unnoticed amidst the noise. But God cuts through it all, reaching out to each one of us individually. You see, to God, the world is not a huge mass of humanity, but a glorious collection of unique and treasured individuals—and that includes you!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 (NIV)

John 3:16 is probably the most familiar passage in the entire Bible. Familiarity can cause us to take something for granted. But since this passage expresses the fundamental truth about God’s plan for salvation, we certainly don’t want to take it for granted! So let’s explore the concepts of love and life and how they relate to God’s Son. Let’s renew the power of this oft-quoted passage.

The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). He is the wellspring from which love flows. Love never ends (1 Corinthians 13: 7,8). Like God, it is eternal. So God’s love of the world isn’t reduced to a kind act performed a long time ago. No, He continually pours Himself out for us.

The Bible also tells us to accept God’s love and to love Him in return (1 John 4:19). In other words, since God loves you, love Him back! It works much like an electric circuit. When the circuit is broken, electricity will not flow. It’s the same with love. When we love God in return, the circuit is complete, and there is an endless flow of love between God and us (John 14:21). The Bible says we return God’s love in two ways—directly, by loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and indirectly, by loving others (Matthew 22:36-40). When we return God’s love, we become the embodiment and expression of His very nature. It sounds like an amazing place to be, doesn’t it? It is!

It’s called life. God invites us to have it!

But, alas, our circuit is broken. Sin causes the break in our circuit. And sin and death go hand in hand (Romans 6:23a). That’s the bad news. But there’s good news! God has made a way to complete the circuit! If we believe in God’s Son, Jesus, we can complete the circuit (Romans 6:23b). Believing in Jesus is more than just acknowledging that He exists. Believing in Him looks like this:

  • We admit that we sin.
  • We ask God to forgive our sins.
  • We turn away from our sins and seek to stop sinning.
  • We completely trust that Jesus came to earth to restore love and life to us—to repair the break in the circuit.
  • We completely trust and openly proclaim Jesus as the Lord of our life.
  • Repeat steps 1-5 over and over again, every day!

That’s the truth. And that’s good news!  But there’s more! Inside every truth is the YouTruth. God personally invites you to repair the break in the circuit and become part of His true love, His true life, in Jesus.

For God pours out His endless loving nature upon you by giving His one and only Son for you, that if you believe in Him, you shall no longer be dead, but you shall be truly alive, an active part of the embodiment and expression of God’s loving nature now and for all eternity.

That’s the YouTruth—for God so loves you.