1510) Now or Later?

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By Rick Warren, at his Daily Hope blog, May 28, 2017 (www.pastorrick.com/devotional)

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     We rarely evaluate our values or question our perceptions until we have a crisis.  Once we’re in deep pain, we begin to examine what we’re basing our lives upon.  Whether it’s materialism, feeling good, or looking good, we instinctively realize there has to be more.

     That’s why it’s so critical that we ask ourselves — before we’re mired in pain — what is going to last?

     Our culture encourages us to do just the opposite.  Our society values the here and now.  Tomorrow doesn’t matter.  Next year doesn’t matter.  A thousand years from today doesn’t matter.  Eternity and Heaven don’t matter.  Live for today.

     But the Bible says something different in 1 John 2:17: “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

     Consider what happens when we’re tempted.  Temptation is not just a battle between good and bad, or, what’s best and what’s not best.

     Temptation is always a battle between now or later.  Will I do what God says and enjoy the benefits later, or will I do what I want and enjoy the benefits now?

     The Bible teaches us to “fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen.  What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

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II Corinthians 4:16-18  —  Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I John 2:17  —  The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

I John 5:11b-13  —  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

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IN THE HOUR OF TRIAL

Hymn by James Montgomery, English poet, hymnwriter, journalist (1771-1854)

In the hour of trial,
Jesus, plead for me
Lest by base denial
I depart from thee.
When thou see’st me waver,
With a look recall
Nor for fear or favor
Suffer me to fall.

With forbidden pleasures
Should this vain world charm
Or its tempting treasures
Spread to work me harm,
Bring to my remembrance
Sad Gethsemane
Or, in darker semblance,
Cross-crowned Calvary.

Should thy mercy send me
Sorrow, toil, and woe,
Or should pain attend me
On my path below,
Grant that I may never
Fail thy hand to see;
Grant that I may ever
Cast my care on thee.

When my last hour cometh,
Fraught with strife and pain,
When my dust returneth
To the dust again,
On thy truth relying,
Through that mortal strife,
Jesus, take me, dying,
To eternal life.

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