When I was a little boy I was not allowed to do certain things on Sunday.  I could not play with my wagon or bicycle.  I could not go to the beach or for a swim in the ocean.  I could not go to the movies.

     My brother, who is eleven years older than me, would go sailing on Sunday afternoons.  I told him I did not think our Grandmom, a saintly old Methodist, would approve.  He said, “Grandmom and Grandpop go for a ride in their car on Sunday afternoons, I go for a sail.  What is the difference?”

     Is that what it takes to get to heaven?  Don’t ride your bike or play with your wagon on Sunday.  Don’t go to the beach or to the movies on Sunday.

     In a previous issue of Signet Ring (Aug-Oct 2012) I mentioned some of the requirements that Jesus gave in order for us to enter the kingdom of Heaven including, “believe” (Acts 16:30), “follow” (Matthew 4:19), “perfection” (Matthew 5:46), and “overcoming” (Rev. 2:7).

     As I read my Bible I become aware that I frequently fall short of these requirements.  Am I doomed?   The words of Ephesians 2:8-10 comfort me tremendously.  May they encourage you as well:

     “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

     Most of us know that “grace” refers to God’s love for us which we don’t deserve.  I surely have not yet reached perfection!  But I have found out recently that grace not only refers to God’s love for us but also to his enabling power.  By His grace I can even write these brief articles on Heaven.

     Jesus said to Paul, and to you and me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).  This promise from Jesus enabled me to continue in the ministry after open-heart surgery and a stroke in 1979.  These left me with short-term memory loss, difficulty in controlling my emotions, and an equilibrium problem.  I heard Jesus say to me, “Get your eyes off your weaknesses and get them on me and My strengths. I entered the pulpit with a new sense of freedom and joy.

     I eagerly await being in Heaven in the near future.  I just turned 81.  I will be there because of God’s grace.  He loves me!  He has provided me, and you, a Savior in Jesus Christ.  I love Him.  I want to do His will. I want to make Him happy.  Holy Spirit, help me.  Thank you.  Praise you!

By: Pastor Richard Bridge

Excerpt from Signet Ring Magazine Suffering Issue.


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