Saturday, June 7, 2014

Heaven and Gary Plueger, V

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

Ribbons! That’s what I usually got as an award for contests that I entered. Someone else walked away with the Grand Prize—the trophy. Me, I got used to the ribbons and started to particularly like the blue ones - not because they represented where I finished in the contest, but they reminded me of Dodger blue.

And then there is the joy you get when someone recognizes your achievements. I have two favorites. When I graduated from Morse High School, I was awarded The Greater San Diego Industry and Education Council Award for Academic Excellence. [Say that fast 5 times!] What an honor that was. Then on graduation day at West Coast Bible College, I was awarded The R. Leonard Carroll Award for Academic Excellence. It was a proud moment for me as well.

Things like that are examples of earthly rewards. Did you also know that there are eternal, heavenly rewards as well? I’ve been thinking about that since my dear friend Gary Plueger passed away this week. I’ve heard it said several times, “He has gone on to his ‘eternal reward.’”

The Bible describes some of the eternal rewards we receive in terms of a “crown.” There is debate among scholars as to whether or not they are literal crowns or merely symbolic. That debate is irrelevant for the purpose of this eDevotion. One day, Jesus told His disciples that they were not to do their righteous deeds to be seen and applauded by men. Rather, just do your righteous deed in secret because, even if they are not seen by people, they will indeed be seen by God. Then He said this, "Your Father who sees in secret will Himself one day reward you openly" [Matthew 6:4].

Here are a couple of the crowns that will be awarded to faithful Christ followers:

The “Crown of Life.” "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" [James 1:12].

The “Crown of Righteousness.” "Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" [2 Timothy 4:8]. 

What we can only speculate about down here, Gary now recognizes in its fullness in heaven. There are eternal rewards awaiting the Christ follower. Knowing Gary has received his rewards, as well as a host my loved ones who are there with him, really makes me homesick for heaven!

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