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He Holds Me Forever - A Great Big Hug that Lasts Forever, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
May 14, 2024 6:00 am

He Holds Me Forever - A Great Big Hug that Lasts Forever, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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May 14, 2024 6:00 am

Some people hug better than other people. Sometimes it feels like you’re hugging a 2 x 4, and other times it’s so soft and cushy it almost feels like you can’t breathe. Great aunts hug that way! Did you know God loves to give hugs? He does! How does He do that? Theresa Ingram answers that question in this program.

Main Points

God is preparing a home for me. - John 14:1-3

What is my home like? - Revelation 21-22:5

How can I live with the awareness each day that I am "Heaven bound"?

  • Faith is being sure and certain about unseen hopes and realities.
  • Faith views things through spiritual eyes and perceives things invisible to the natural eye; believing when you can’t see the answer.
  • Faith is not based on feelings; faith trusts God in spite of how you feel.
  • Faith is not an evidence of outward circumstances. The outward circumstances may look impossible, but faith trusts in God in spite of how things look.
  • Faith is not something that acts automatically; it’s not something that acts magically-not like a thermostat that automatically turns on and off.
  • Faith is an activity; it has to be exercised. It does not come into operation by itself; you have to put it into operation. You put it into operation as you walk in obedience to God no matter what the circumstances look like.
Broadcast Resource Additional Resource Mentions About Theresa Ingram

Theresa Ingram has a passion to see women transformed as they learn to see themselves as Christ sees them. Theresa has taught and mentored women in the local church for over 25 years. She is a graduate of Fairmont State University, the mother of four grown children & 12 grandchildren, and resides in San Jose, California, with her husband Chip.

About Chip Ingram

Chip Ingram’s passion is helping Christians really live like Christians. As a pastor, author, and teacher for more than three decades, Chip has helped believers around the world move from spiritual spectators to healthy, authentic disciples of Jesus by living out God’s truth in their lives and relationships in transformational ways.

About Living on the Edge

Living on the Edge exists to help Christians live like Christians. Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into a global discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.

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You know, some people hug better than others, don't they? I mean, sometimes you feel like you're hugging a 2x4, and other times it's so soft and cushy you almost feel like you can't breathe. I had a grandma who hugged like that. Did you know that God loves to give hugs? He does.

How does He do that? Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram.

Living on the Edge is an international teaching and discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. While we're nearing the end of our series, He Holds Me Forever, taught by our guest teacher Teresa Ingram. We pray her words have encouraged you, deepened your relationship with God, and revealed just how much your Heavenly Father loves you. And as a quick reminder, if you missed any of Teresa's messages along the way, catch up through the Chip Ingram app, or by downloading the free MP3s that you'll find at LivingOnTheEdge.org.

Well, there's a lot to get to today, so here now is Teresa. What we're talking about today is a great big hug that lasts forever. We're going to talk about how God tells us that His love reaches all the way into eternity, as He's preparing a special home for us, and that He wants us to be with Him forever.

Some of us need to know that we're loved. We need to have someone put their arms around us, and God wants to put His arms around us. He tells us, and He wants to hug us forever.

Heaven is a great big hug that lasts forever. But Chip and I look forward to the times that we have all of our kids come home. And one of those special times is when we're all seated at the table. I love those times, when we're at the dinner table and everybody kind of has their spot, and I cook a meal that everyone likes, and we begin to really enjoy that relationship and fellowship with one another. And we tell funny stories, we laugh a lot around our table, and we talk about deep things. We share what God's teaching us in our lives.

And I don't think that there's any time that makes Chip and I more happy than when we have all of our kids around our table. And our Heavenly Father right now is preparing a home for each of us, and He's looking forward to the day when He will have all of His kids around His table. And we're going to be with Him. And so in John 14, 1 through 3, we find that God is preparing a home for us. He's preparing a place for us right now. And it says, and if you have your notes open there, don't be troubled. You trust in God, now trust in Me. There are many rooms in My Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you.

If this were not so, I would tell you plainly, when everything is ready, I will come and get you so that you will always be with Me where I am. Now, Jesus was talking to His disciples here, and it was going to be real soon when He would go to the cross, and He was preparing them for the day that He would be crucified. But they never really understood at that time what was going to happen. And Jesus was telling them, He was preparing them that He wouldn't be with them in a short time, that He was going to go away. And He told them that there would be one of them that would betray Him.

And then He said to Peter that there will be a day when you will deny Me three times. And so I'm sure they feel like all Jesus is giving them is bad news. It just sounds like bad news. And life just doesn't look very good for them right now. But then Jesus turns the corner, and He gives them a peek into the future. And He wants them to see that life in this world may be hard, and there's disappointments, but soon there will come a time when they will rejoice with Him and be with Him forever. And so He exhorts them, and He comforts them, and He gives them a promise. And He says, Don't be troubled.

He says, Don't be cast down. Don't be discouraged. Don't be confused. Don't be anxious about your life. So don't be afraid. Don't worry about the future. I have a good plan for you, and everything is under control. How many of us need to hear that? Don't be troubled. Everything is under control. And He said, You trust God.

Now trust Me. He says, Stand firm in your faith. Stand firm in your belief that God will see you through all these difficulties. He said, In this world, you will have tribulation.

It's a part of living in this world. But He says, Be of good cheer. Take heart, because I have overcome the world.

He says, Trust Me to take care of you. And then He goes on to say, There are many rooms in My Father's house. God the Father has a home. He has a distinct dwelling place, a church. Now we know that God is omnipresent.

He is everywhere. But Jesus is also telling us here that God the Father dwells in a real place, and that place is called heaven. And in that place, there are plenty of rooms. There's plenty of space for every child, and there's a special place made just for you. He says, And I'm going to prepare a place for you.

If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you so that you will always be with Me where I am. Now, in the Bible times, families built their houses, their homes around a courtyard. And it would be like a little community of just one family. And the Father, of course, as the head of the family, would be the one who would choose the wives for his sons. And so the Father would choose the wife, and then the son would go, and he had to pay a dowry or he had to pay a price to the bride's family for her.

And after he would do that, then that engagement period would begin. Well, the bride stayed in her home with her family after that, and she would prepare herself and get everything ready that she needed to for the time that her groom would come and get her. And then all this time, the groom is back at his father's house.

And do you know what he was doing? He was building his bride a house in his father's courtyard. He was building her a home with her in mind, thinking about what would she like?

How could I make this so that it would please her and be beautiful to her? And then when it was ready, and when the Father would say it was time, the son would go and get his bride and take her to her new home. And God calls us his chosen bride. We are his, and he's right now preparing a place for us in his father's house, a place just for us.

And when God the Father says it's time, then Jesus will come and get us, and he'll take us to our home, and we'll always be with him forever. And so God says, don't be troubled. Don't be troubled about what's happening in your life today, in our world today, which seems to be in so much turmoil.

He says, don't be troubled. You know, is there anything today, think about is it troubling you today, anything? Does life seem really hard in the future, maybe look uncertain? Some of you have never had a home. Some of you have never had a place that you could really call your home, in a place where you have a family, where you felt truly loved and wanted, where you felt accepted. And some of you have fears about the future. How are you going to pay your bills, and how will your children turn out when they grow up?

And will I stay healthy, or will I ever get well for some of us? And we have questions. We have doubts and fears and trials and sufferings and hardships and all these things are part of living in this world. But God is good. And I feel maybe a little bit like the disciples felt when Jesus was telling them all this bad news. You know, life doesn't feel very good right now. And I don't know what the future holds. But Jesus tells us, don't be troubled.

He says, trust in me. I've got your life in my hands, and I have a good plan for your future. You can count on it.

You can count on it. You see, there's more to this world than what you can see right now. And the reality is, this isn't your home. This isn't your true home.

You're just here for a short time. And He says, I have a home for you that's so wonderful, and it's beyond anything you could ever have in this world. A home that's so beautiful, so secure, a home that is so happy, and that the sufferings of this world and what you go through in this life will dim in comparison to what I have stored up for you in the future.

Well, this is a wonderful promise that Jesus gives us. But as I was thinking about this, I thought it would be nice to know just a little bit what my home looks like, my heavenly home. And so I thought I would read this passage, and I'm going to read and just hear from God what does our home look like, that future home that we have to look forward to.

And I think it's hard for us to get excited about our heavenly home, about our real home, when we have no idea what it looks like. We don't know what am I going to do there. What will I be like? What will it be like when I'm there? And it seems so unreal sometimes, and I think it's hard to imagine. What would life be like without problems?

I don't know. Will I get bored? You know, is heaven really singing all day, playing harps and sitting on clouds? Well, if that is our perception of heaven, no wonder we're not excited about going there. I'd like to read a little story that I read I thought was really cute. It's from a children's book.

It says, If you are thinking you might get bored or tired after being in heaven for a while, don't worry. Try to imagine something with me. Imagine you are a little bird who lives in a tiny cage made of rusty metal, and inside your cage you have a food dish and a little mirror and a tiny perch to swing on. Then one day some kind person takes your cage to a big beautiful forest. The forest is splashed with sunlight. Proud towering trees cover the hills and valleys as far as you can see.

There are gushing waterfalls and bushes drooping with purple berries and fruit trees and carpets of wildflowers and a wide blue sky to fly in. And besides all these things, there are millions of other little birds hopping from one green limb to another and eating their fill and raising their little families and singing their hearts out all through the day. Now, little bird, can you imagine wanting to stay in your cage?

Can you imagine saying, Oh, please don't let me go. I will miss my cage. I will miss my little food dish with the seeds in it.

I will miss my plastic mirror, my tiny little perch. And I might get bored in that big forest. That would be silly, wouldn't it? And it's just as silly to think we might run out of things to do in heaven. Well, in Revelations 21 and 22, we get a picture of what it looks like. And not completely, but enough for us to know somewhat what heaven is like and give us a hope and know that we will have a home where we'll be cared for and loved and complete in every way, a home that we can be excited about going to. The Apostle John was taken into heaven and given a vision of what heaven looked like. And I guess it would kind of be like him having a video camera and taking a picture for us and trying to describe to us just a little bit of what our home looks like.

Now, not completely, but just a picture. And he tries to describe it in the best way that he can. He tries to describe actually an indescribable place. But we get an idea of what it looks like to be in heaven. And so let's start here with Revelation 21. Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared and the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband. Now, we know that the earth that we live on today is decaying.

It's broken. It's the natural beauty that God created when He created the world, has been polluted by the sinfulness of man and the presence of evil and what God made to be so beautiful and good. Satan and sinful man is destroying. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and we'll continue our guest teacher Teresa Ingram series, He Holds Me Forever, in just a minute. But quickly, are you looking for a practical way to deepen your prayer time with God? Then stick around after the message as Chip talks about an easy tool we've developed to help you be more intentional in your daily time with Jesus.

You won't want to miss it. With that, here again is Teresa. But God says He's going to make a new heaven and a new earth, and there's going to be a new city, the new Jerusalem. It's the capital city, and it's where God's throne will be. And He says it's a most beautiful city, and it's carefully adorned, and it's prepared by God like a bride preparing for her husband. Now, being a pastor's wife, over the years, I've gotten to see the behind the scenes of many, many weddings. And I've watched so many brides get ready for their grooms. And I want you to know that I have never seen an ugly bride.

I've just never seen one. And they go to such great lengths to adorn themselves from head to toe because they want to please their new husband, and they're so excited. And God says that He is not sparing any expense in this new city because He wants it to be so beautiful for you, His bride, to come and be there and live with Him, a place that will be so pleasing to us. And this is a holy city.

It's a place where God will dwell among His people. And it says also here that the sea is gone. We live on the coast, and it's hard to imagine that there would be no sea, that there would not be an ocean.

And I'm not sure that that's exactly what this means. There's water there. I know that. But it says there will be no sea, and it's hard for us to imagine not having that because we enjoy it so much. But as you think about the way this earth is made, and two-thirds of the earth's surface is covered with water.

And do you know what that water does? It divides people. It divides nations and people from each other. And in heaven, there's not going to be any separation. There won't be separations between nations and people. There will be no language barrier. There will be no cultural barrier. There will be no disagreements.

There's no misunderstandings. There's nothing to cause a separation between God's people. Going on here, it says, and I heard a loud shout from the throne saying, look, the home of God is now among His people. He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. There will be no separation between us and God because He will be dwelling with us in this place. He will make His home with us. We don't have to pray anymore to a Father who's unseen because we'll be in His presence.

We'll see Him face to face. God will again walk among His children as He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But we will be in this new paradise that He's making and we'll have intimate fellowship with Him. It says, He will remove all their sorrows and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain for the old world and its evils are gone forever. He will wipe away every tear. There will be no more sadness, no more sadness.

I've experienced a lot of sadness lately, and one of the things that I'm truly looking forward to in heaven is that we'll never have to say goodbye again, never again, to those people who we know will be with us there, those who know the Lord. So think about what is it that makes you sad? There's a lot of things that make us sad, but there'll be no sickness there. There's no cancer. There's no heart attacks.

There's no MS. There's no Parkinson's disease. There's no car accidents. There's no wheelchairs.

There's no hospitals because they're not needed. There's no pain caused by difficult relationships. There's no broken hearts. There's no loneliness.

There's no abuse. There's no addictions to overcome and all the tragic things that we experience in this life will be gone. It says, for the old world, its evils will be gone forever. It goes on to say, and the one sitting on the throne said, look, I am making all things new. And then he said to me, write this down for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.

And he said, it is finished. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To all who are thirsty, I will give the springs of the water of life without charge. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings and I will be their God and they will be my children. But cowards who turn away from me and unbelievers and the corrupt and murderers and the immoral and those who practice witchcraft and idol worshipers and all liars, their doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

This is the second death. And what he's saying here is, this is the truth and I'm giving you the facts that all those who come to me for this living water will have life. He says, I am the source of life. And we have that life by placing our trust in Christ as our savior. And then he says, I'll give them all the blessings of heaven and I'll dwell with them forever and have an intimate relationship with them.

But he says, those who practice a lifestyle of the unbelieving world, those who practice that kind of lifestyle, those who don't believe, those who turn away from me, who don't trust in me as their savior, he said, I will not allow entrance into my new city but they will be cast into the burning lake. And so it's a good reminder for us because we have this love inside of us. We have so much to share that we need to be letting that ooh thou all over the place because we don't want anyone not to be there with us. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and you've been listening to the first part of our guest teacher, Teresa Ingram's message, A Great Big Hug That Lasts from her series, He Holds Me Forever.

She and Chip will join us shortly to share some additional thoughts on what we've heard. In these handful of messages, Teresa is highlighting a fundamental attribute of God, His love. She'll explain why people view God as cold and distant and shed light on the deep rooted issues that cause people to struggle with their identity. Join us as we better grasp our Creator's deep love and care for us. So if you're wrestling with your self-worth or purpose in life, this series will renew your mind with gospel truth.

You're not going to want to miss a word. Well, our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram, is with me in studio now. And Chip, all throughout the Bible, there are examples of God's people setting aside time to reflect on His goodness. Unpack why that's such a vital part of the Christian walk and tell our listeners about a tool that we have that will help them put this behavior into practice.

Great question, Dave. And I think the thing that comes immediately to mind is Joshua chapter 4, maybe the best example where they literally take these huge stones and they call them stones of remembrance so that when kids come along later, they say, Hey, Mom, Dad, what are these here for? And they remember God's faithfulness and His great acts in their life.

And I find for me that I just don't do a good job of reflecting. And so a journal is how I kind of remember God's faithfulness. And it's not something necessarily you have to do each and every day, but I find, you know, every couple days or so, writing down, recording God's faithfulness. And we've put together a journal that I really love, is that each day there's either a scripture quote or maybe a portion of a hymn or maybe a quote from someone in church history that sort of realigns my mind and my heart. And so I would just encourage you, if you need to remember God's faithfulness, you need to kind of get the clutter out of your mind and begin to have a sense of where God is working in your life and to track that. We have these journals that have been super helpful to me, and I think they would be a great help to you.

Dave, could you tell people how they could get a hold of this? Well, to learn more about our prayer journals, visit LivingOnTheEdge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. These beautiful, compact notebooks have plenty of space for your prayers and personal journaling, along with scripture verses, hymn lyrics, and quotes to encourage you. If you want a more intentional, enriching time with God, this tool will help. Again, for more details about our prayer journals, visit LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003. App listeners tap special offers.

Here now are Chip and Teresa to share some application for us to think about. I love the image in the picture that Teresa gave us as she read that passage in Revelation. No more tears, no more sorrow. This offer, anyone who's thirsty, any deep need of satisfaction, meaning, and purpose. Jesus is offering eternal life to whosoever would turn from your sin. And repent.

It just means to have a change of mind about you being God and you being in control and life being about you. And just honestly come before Him and say, I need you. And if you have never trusted Christ as your Savior, today is your day.

The Bible's very clear. Today is the day of salvation. Respond while you hear His voice.

It's not an accident that we're here together. And what He would want you to do, He's been speaking and whispering in different ways over time. And today's the day right now at this moment. Would you pray with me? Would you say, Lord Jesus, I need you.

I failed miserably. I know I've sinned. And today I believe that you died in my place to pay for my sin. And right now I receive that gift, that gift of grace. I raise the empty hands of faith and ask you to forgive me, to cleanse me, to come into my life and make me your son and make me your daughter.

Would you do that right now if you've never received the Lord Jesus? Teresa, could you take maybe just a minute and pray for those that don't know the Lord and for those that just prayed to receive Christ with us? Heavenly Father, I thank you that we can come before your throne with confidence any time of the day or night because of Christ who died for us and that we stand before you as believers, we stand before you righteous in your eyes. And Lord, we live in such a troubled world and we are so broken as your children. We have been broken people and we struggle.

And this world, living in this world is hard. But I thank you that this world is not our home and that we have a home with you forever and ever. We will be loved deeply forever and ever. And will you help us as your children to be bold and to speak out to those who don't know you. Help us to live righteously before others and to show the love of Christ. Help us to be faithful to your word. And Father, for those who don't know you, we ask that your spirit would just, I just ask that there would just be a wind of your spirit blowing across this nation right now and that believers would step up and really stand up for you and reach into people's lives.

Father, as people did for me many years ago, that I couldn't get away from it. I didn't know you, but you sent those people and they spoke out and they were bold and they taught me. Help us to do that with other people. And Father, we thank you that you have good for us, that your plans for all humanity is for our good. And your desire is that none would be lost. So we ask these things in Jesus' name and we thank you for your faithfulness to hear and answer our prayers.

Amen. If you prayed to receive Christ with us, let me encourage you to contact the greatest Christian you know. Find a church this weekend that teaches the Bible and then go online at livingonthedge.org. And there's a place that's pretty easy to find for new believers and absolutely free. We just have some resources to help you. God bless you.

Keep pressing ahead. And I am reminded that heaven is a reality and it is our future. Amen. Well, thanks Chip and Teresa. Before we go, let me quickly tell you about that free resource Chip just mentioned for new believers. This tool will help you clearly understand what it means to trust in Jesus and what to do next. Request this free resource by calling 888-333-6003 or by visiting livingonthedge.org, then clicking the New Believers button. That's livingonthedge.org or call 888-333-6003. Let us help you get started in your faith journey. And as Chip always says, welcome to the family. We'll listen to next time as our guest teacher, Teresa Ingram, wraps up her series, He Holds Me Forever. Until then, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-14 04:09:28 / 2024-05-14 04:20:13 / 11

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