LifeLink Devotions

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

As I prepare to travel to the Philippines in two weeks, I am evaluating carefully what has to go in each piece of luggage so that it makes the weight limitations. In addition to that, I am carefully planning what to take in my carry-on luggage and personal item I get to have inside the plane.

I plan to pack one carry-on with emergency clothing. Then there will be the personal care items I need on the plane and at the Hotel in Manila the first night. I will be very diligent about that so I am wearing the appropriate clothing when I step off the plane in the heat of Davao City.

Why? Because I’m going to see dear friends that I haven’t seen for over 8 years, and I want to meet them at my best. Now I know they won’t care what I look like when I get off the plane, because they love me. I know that there will be no subtle glances at my belly or baldness followed by facial expressions of disgust. I know that if I was wearing my ragged jeans and the same sweaty t-shirt I had on when I started the journey, and had not showered or shaved at the hotel, that they would still hug me. Because we love each other.

But I don’t want to put them in that position. I want nothing about me to distract from the total joy of our reunion.

My friends, we are God’s children, if we have been born into the family of God by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. He was given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when we received by faith the forgiveness of sins He paid for on the cross. Some day – maybe very soon – we will be reunited with Him in person. We will step off this earth into His glorious presence for all eternity. He will extend His arms and welcome us into heaven. He will hug you no matter what you are like because He saved you.

Yet the Scriptures tell us that we are to be prepared for that reunion.

2 Peter 3:14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

There is a possibility of shame on our part when we meet Christ. There may be the experience of grief and remorse when we are pulled into His loving arms. It hinges on how we have lived our lives prior to getting there. Peter’s challenge to us today is to use the coming reunion as motivation for pure and holy living. The Apostle John says it this way in First John 2:28 – “And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame.” (NLT)

This is a very real thing. There will be those of us who will shrink back from the Lord as we approach Him because suddenly, in His perfect presence, everything about us becomes perfectly transparent. All lying ceases. All cover-ups are exposed. All wrong motives are revealed. There will be, for the first time in our existence, absolute honesty about who we are. That’s scary to all of us, isn’t it?

Remember, Jesus will still hug you. He will revive you if you pass out from fear and shame. He will restore you. There will be the experience of His unconditional forgiveness as He reviews your life. But we will be reviewed in the light of His holiness. There will be no opportunity for us to excuse anything we have done, said, or thought. All will be revealed. Then Jesus will wipe away every tear from our eyes and welcome us into the perfection of His presence forever. Hallelujah!

Now is the time of preparation for that reunion. Today is the day to begin setting aside all falsehood about who you are. This is the moment to manage your motivations. Right now, at this very second, it is time to become spotless, blameless, and at peace with Him. Every lie, every cover-up, every self-serving motivation puts us at odds with our Savior. The guarantee of our reunion with Jesus is our motivation to be like Him. The Apostle John says “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.  And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3 NLT)

Pastor John

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