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Saturday, February 25, 2017 other day's devotionals

Today's Devotional Reading
Up Close and Personal

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For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15).
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father (Galatians 4:6).

There is a myth that Christ came and died on the cross so that we could go to heaven. Why do I say a myth? If I were to tell you that the reason that I breathe is so I can see my chest go in and out you might think I am a little odd. We all know that we breathe so that our bodies can take in the oxygen it needs for us to live. The fact that my chest goes in and out is a one of the results of my breathing. Now be certain I am not making light of Heaven, for I believe it to be the place of God's throne--a very wonderful and holy place. What I am saying is that when we reduce the work of Christ down to whether or not we gain the better of two ends (heaven or hell), then we rob the gospel of much of its glory.
Christ came to reconcile us to God (2 Cor.5:18), Heaven is a part of it but not the end of it. God did not save us so that we could dwell in heaven and see Him, but that we might dwell with Him and see Heaven. We seem to have somehow distorted this fact with fiery sermons of hell with no greater intention than to scare someone into Heaven. What a shame that we resort to such tactics. Is it because we don't think that a right relationship with God is something desirable to the people of this earth? We think the only way we will get them to come to God is by scaring them away from something else--essentially chasing them into His arms.
Perhaps with some people that seems to be the only way to get them to budge, otherwise it seems they would never make a decision. I must concede to this thinking due to the fact that Jesus spoke a great deal about hell. But for us to leave it there would be quite irresponsible. People need to know that Jesus did not come just to rescue from hell, but more importantly to mend our relationship with God.
Perhaps as a result of the black and white, turn or burn philosophy, there are still a lot of Christians who live under fear of God's wrath rather than living in the joy of a close relationship to Him. Christ's purpose was to bring us out from under the fear of judgment so that we may dwell with God daily in a relationship that is up close and personal.
God did not save you so He could look down on you ready to jump when you make a wrong move. He is not sitting "up there" just waiting for you to blow it. He is a loving Father who wants to see you do well in your life. He is also a loving Father who corrects His children when they do wrong--not out of some kind of vindictive anger, but out of the love of a concerned daddy.
It is the love and purpose of Christ to reconcile us unto God.  That we might have a life on this earth that is filled with fellowship with the Father--walking closely to Him daily.  With that, heaven is not seen so much as a reward or a next life, but the continuing of something wonderful in our relationship with God--carried into forever.

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