Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Monday, March 28, 2016
My business travels have taken me to some remote locations around the globe. Accommodations are often limited, so asking the locals to identify the best hotel in town becomes a priority, because even the best hotel is not always good. The Apostle Paul, a seasoned world traveler, may have taken a different approach, asking, “What’s your jail like?”
Paul was no stranger to jails and prisons after his encounter with Jesus (Acts 9:3-6, 2 Corinthians 12:2-4). He tells the Corinthians, “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, , three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move (2 Corinthians 11:23-26).
In addition to his documented jail experiences, authorities arrested Paul frequently and he often faced the threat of imprisonment. Being an itinerant evangelist, he did not own property in the towns he visited. In many cities, he knew before his arrival of the possibility of being jailed. Ironically, given the frequent conspiracies to kill him for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Paul may have considered prison the best hotel in town by virtue of the safety it offered (Acts 21:27-36, 23:12-16).
A good hotel or a “good jail” in Paul’s mind was most likely the one in which he succeeded in convincing people to accept Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior. For example, while in Philippi, Macedonia, Paul and Silas were thrown in prison (Acts 16:23). In the inner cell and with their feet fastened in stocks, God sent a violent earthquake. The temblor shook all the prisoners’ chains loose. This presented Paul the opportunity to convert the jailor and his entire family to eternal life in Christ (Acts 16:26-34).
By virtue of his experience in the third Heaven, Paul took a different view of accommodations. He had seen Heaven, and perhaps his Heavenly mansion that Jesus promises us all (John 14:2). In Greek, the word mansion means a Heavenly home. It doesn’t mean a mansion as in, say, a Hollywood mansion, it means a permanent and transcendent dwelling with God. Whereas Paul sometimes used his Roman citizenship on Earth to further the spread of the Gospel, he realized he was actually a citizen of Heaven (Philippians 3:20). ON Earth, he was content in all circumstances, no matter what the accommodations. (Philippians 4:11).
Paul had a guaranteed reservation at the best hotel anywhere, confirmed by Jesus Himself, the One who is Faithful and True (Revelation 3:14, 19:11). He spent his last years on Earth doing Christ’s work until it was time for him to check in permanently. Whereas a popular song tells of a weird hotel where you can check in, but can never leave; Paul knew once he checked into Heaven he would never have to leave the paradise God has waiting for all believers in Jesus Christ.
What a comforting thought! Many people have stayed at a vacation hotel they did not want to leave. Heaven is the ultimate residence and we never, ever have to leave once we check in. Moreover, whereas sometimes we do not know the way to our Earthly hotel destinations, we know the exact route to our Heavenly mansion – the Way is through Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No Man comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
It is normal to want the best hotel for your eternity, especially when the room is paid for. Jesus told us the best is waiting for us in Heaven. If it were not true, He would have told us (John 14:2). Whatever your living accommodations are on Earth, they will improve infinitely once you enter Heaven. The Father has built the best hotel, Jesus paid the mortgage while on the Cross, and the Holy Spirit sealed the deed for eternity. Your stay in eternity is guaranteed to be out of this world!
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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