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A Life God Rewards: Why Everything You Do Today Matters Forever Hardcover – August 29, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books; English Language edition (August 29, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576739767
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576739761
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
  
Chapter 1
Keyhole to the Stars
 
"Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!
For indeed your reward is great in heaven."
JESUS, IN LUKE 6:23
 
 
 
What if today really was the first day of the rest of your life? Today you make your trade—everything you have accomplished and become for whatever God offers in exchange. There you are, poised on the brink, lifetime in hand, ready to step into eternity.
 
What a moment! And what an amazing exchange! Your blink in the sun for God's endless day. Your spoonful of water for His Amazon River.
 
You take your step. You put down your little handful of time and pick up your forever life.…
 
But what if I told you that the small choices you make today—like how you interact with your boss, or whom you invite to dinner—could change what happens next?
 
Would you be surprised?
 
In the little book you're holding, you're going to discover that Jesus revealed that our actions now will affect our future forever. Astoundingly, millions who follow Jesus seem to have missed what He said.
 
Could you be one?
 
I was. I grew up in a family that attended church regularly, and I was taught the Bible from the time I was young. Later I spent nine years pursuing theological training. But the clear teachings of Jesus on this subject remained lost to me, like overlooked treasures in my own house. When I finally discovered them, many things started to make sense for the first time.
 
Let's admit it: Any change in how we think about our future, even if it could radically improve our prospects, takes courage. We struggle to let go of comfortable assumptions, even when they're preventing us from seeing the whole truth. We're like toddlers peering
through a keyhole at the night sky, trying to hold on to our tiny patch of stars.
 
But the keyhole is so small and the view is so great. Jesus wants to open the door and show us more.
 
Much more.
 
PREPARE TO BE ASTONISHED
No one made more shocking statements about the afterlife than Jesus of Nazareth. His teachings often left His audiences amazed, dumbfounded, even outraged. Take His first public appearance at the age of twelve: "All who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers" (Luke 2:47).
 
When Jesus formally began His ministry, His audience was again "astonished" (Matthew 7:28). In His teaching known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
 
"Blessed are you when men hate you,
And when they exclude you,
And revile you, and cast out your name as evil,
For the Son of Man's sake.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy!"
LUKE 6:22-23
 
You might know these verses well. I have to confess that I read them dozens, if not scores, of times before I really read them. Jesus' statement seems incredible, doesn't it? I used to think He was saying something like, "If you are persecuted on My behalf, you'll be so happy that you'll jump for sheer delight."
 
But if you read on, it's clear that that's not what Jesus meant. He continued:
 
"For indeed your reward is great in heaven."
V. 23
 
In those eight words, Jesus reveals why you and I can rejoice, even in the worst circumstances. Why? Because there is a direct connection between something you do for Him on earth and something "great" He will do for you in heaven.
 
Notice that Jesus describes it as a reward for doing, which would distinguish it, for example, from a gift you receive for believing. Also, the reward is specifically and personally yours if you behave in one way, but is not yours if you behave in another (for example, if you ran away under the pressure of persecution).
 
You see, Jesus isn't asking you and me to enjoy misery on His behalf. Instead He's saying that the consequences in heaven for certain actions on earth will be so wonderful that simply knowing they're coming—and knowing that they will be great—can transform how we live now. Yes, and even create spontaneous outbursts of joy!
 
This promise of reward in heaven isn't an isolated example of Jesus' teachings on the subject:
 
• "He will reward each according to his works"
(Matthew 16:27).
 
• "You will have treasure in heaven" (Matthew
19:21).
 
• "You will be blessed…for you shall be repaid at the resurrection" (Luke 14:14).
 
As you're about to discover, the implications of these passages are enormous. For one thing, they suggest that God is keeping track of what you do for Him every day.
For another, that you have more to gain by serving Him than you ever imagined.
 
TRACKING DOWN THE PROMISE
Let me tell you how I came to write this book. In 1985 when I first stumbled upon Jesus' teachings on reward in heaven, I was startled. What He was saying seemed to contradict much of what I had always been taught and believed.
 
So I began an intensive search for the truth, starting with every Bible verse on the subject of eternal rewards. I studied theological and scholarly works. I spent hours thinking about what Jesus seemed to be saying with such urgency. And I became convinced that spiritual seekers around the world, including millions of Jesus' followers, had mislaid a truth of great importance and promise—and it was time to get it back.
 
Five years of in-depth study and twelve thick binders later, my findings lined the shelves of my study.
 
One day I got a call from Dr. Earl Radmacher, president of Western Seminary in Oregon, inviting me to present my material in a weeklong graduate course at the seminary. I agreed, but only after he promised to assemble a panel of leading scholars, including some who had also been studying rewards, to sit in and evaluate every word.
 
On an April morning several months later, I walked across the seminary campus, lugging my teaching materials. I arrived at the lecture room, which was filled with some of the brightest individuals I had ever met: department chairpersons of the Greek and Hebrew languages, church historians, Bible teachers, seminarians, and pastors from a range of denominations.
 
I taught every morning for four hours. Each afternoon, a special group of scholars met at
Dr. Radmacher's home and debated every point.
 
One day a church historian from Romania assured us that what we were studying was not new theology; it had been part of Christian beliefs and teaching from the first century on. To make his point he asked us, "What do the greats of church history such as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, and Spurgeon all have in common?"
 
When everyone hesitated, he told us his answer: "They all earnestly believed in and hoped for eternal rewards."
 
Toward the end of the week, I noticed a shift. The roomful of scholars was spending less time debating and more time responding personally to the material. One afternoon an older participant pulled me aside. "I thought God brought me here to learn more about eternal rewards," he said, "but I was wrong. He brought me here to change my heart—I'm leaving a changed professor!"
 
On the last day, I asked the group, "Are you convinced that what I've been teaching about rewards is consistent with what Jesus taught?"
 
"We're convinced," they replied. And I have never looked back.
 
THE TWO KEYS
In the pages ahead, you'll encounter for yourself the findings we explored that week at Western Seminary. Whether you're familiar with Jesus' teachings about eternal rewards or you're coming upon them for the first time, encourage you to read with great expectation. Important spiritual breakthroughs await you.
 
Starting with statements Jesus made, we'll carefully construct the biggest, truest view possible of your entire life. We'll be using a lot of familiar words—words like heaven, treasure, works, and faith. I urge you to be patient as we look beneath these familiar labels for hidden insights.
 
The teachings of Jesus show us that there are two keys that determine everything about your eternity.
 
The first key is your belief. This key unlocks the door to eternal life and determines where you will spend eternity.
 
The second key is your behavior. It unlocks the door to reward and determines how you will spend eternity.
 
This second key is the focus of A Life God Rewards. Although the role of behavior (we'll also use words like actions or works) isn't more important to your future than belief, it has been more overlooked in recent times. And the promise of rediscovering the truths it unlocks is enormous, especially for followers of Jesus.
 
In fact, by the time you're done reading, you'll approach daily life in a dramatically different way. Simple decisions, such as how you spend your time and money, will become opportunities of great promise. And you will begin to live with an unshakable certainty that everything you do today matters forever.
 
RUMORS OF BLUE WHALES
In the first book in this series, The Prayer of Jabez, we learned that God wants us to ask for His blessing and for greater influence, or "territory," in this world. The next book, Secrets of the Vine, showed that Jesus wants our territory to produce a great harvest of good works for Him.
 
In A Life God Rewards, I want to show you how the harvest you produce will directly impact your experience in eternity—and how that truth can change your life today for the better.
 
I'll admit that on a subject like eternity, we must proceed thoughtfully and h...
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Bruce Wilkinson is the founder of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries and Walk Thru the Bible International. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Prayer of Jabez and Secrets of the Vine as well as 30 Days to Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs and numerous other books. Bruce and his wife, Darlene, live in Atlanta, Georgia, and have three children.

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Customer Reviews

God will reward them greatly.
Mark
He makes so much sense in all of his books but yet he makes the books very easy to read and understand.
Sher
Is that good or bad, I'm not sure.
Carolyln L Gaupo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Victoria on September 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Bruce hits it hard with this book about the little things we do or don't do every day...at the office, at home, on the road. Does God really see the small things we do? If we believe he only cares about our final decisions concerning eternity (you know, "Smoking or Non?"), we're wrong! A Life God Rewards explains some of the easily missed verses in the Bible about how we'll be rewarded in Heaven for each thing we do on earth. And how the opposite is true as well. Is Heaven going to be the same for me as for Mother Teresa? Not on your life! (I better start looking for elderly ladies who need help crossing the street...) Excellent book, meaty teaching, and if you think there's a God watching over us, as I do, this will affect your daily life!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Donald S. Meador on May 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was very pleased to see Wilkinson address the topic of rewards from God. One of my Sunday School teachers asked me for a book on this very topic just before this book was published. At that time, I could find nothing on God's rewards for Christian service. Now, Wilkinson has given us his take on the topic.
To be honest, I wasn't grabbed by this book in the opening pages like I had been with the previous two in this series. However, from about page 30 on I really wanted to keep going.
The book is not, as some have suggested in other reviews, a claim that salvation is by works. Wilkinson makes very clear in this book that faith determines your eternal destination, works determines what you do once you get there. So many people think we'll just throw our crowns at Jesus' feet and then all be equal in heaven. Wilkinson shows this is not even close to what the Bible teaches.
He deals well with the passages that speak of rewards in heaven for our works on earth. I had never heard anyone discuss the possibility of suffering loss in heaven based on one's works. He explains the idea well and defends it ably, though the reader is not told what suffering loss in heaven is like.
The very best part of the book comes between pages 60-70. Every Christian should read those ten pages if they read nothing else this year. The whole point is that we are judged based on how we did compared to how we could have done. The section is excellent!
While this little book does not cover everything I wish it covered (nor does it say everything I wish it said), I am very thankful that Wilkinson has brought this topic back to the forefront. I hope several more authors will follow his lead on expounding this topic for us. I encourage you to read this book.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. Murray on May 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I think this book addresses the subject very well. Wilkinson covers it as thoroughly as possible while staying within the boundaries of the Bible. It is very direct to the point, which is my favorite part, since all I'd heard about rewards had been wishy-washy like good intentions, good works, good faith etc. This book totally changed my thinking about what it is that God actually rewards. This book has made it so crystal clear to me the distinction between works and faith that I realized I'd never used the first key - accepting Christ as my Savior and Lord. This book changed me from years of "pretending" to be a Christian to becoming an actual follower of Jesus. Everyone has a choice to either accept Christ or continue relying on themselves. Do you know how many people in our life are still confused about this subject of works vs. faith, just like I was?! Thanks to this book, I was able to use Wilkinson's explanation to help some friends understand.

If you didn't like this book, it's probably because you expected it to fulfill YOU, but I think it can be a great tool to reach to the minds of our not-yet-Christian friends for God's glory.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James John Hollandsworth, M.D. VINE VOICE on January 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A Life God Rewards explains a simple concept---God really is planning to reward His children for their good works. Although many Christians, including me, feel somewhat apprehensive about thinking that there are consequences in heaven for what we do or not do here, this should be good news---it should fill us with anticipation, vision, & perseverance: "Live with an unshakable certainty that everything I do today matters forever." In the end he faces the reader with 2 questions: What treasure has God given me? What is God asking me to do with my treasure?---and challenges you to search for the answer.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Larry Hehn on December 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I remember when I first learned that good works would not get me into heaven -- that the only way to heaven was accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Immediately a question popped into my head. If accepting Jesus is the only way into heaven, and I have that taken care of, why not just coast for the rest of my life? After all, if good works won't get me into heaven, then how important could they really be? This book has the answer -- very!
Backing everything up with scripture and quotes from the likes of Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin, C.S. Lewis, Charles Swindoll, Charles Stanley and Billy Graham, Wilkinson explains that our behavior doesn't determine where we will spend eternity, but it definitely determines how we will spend eternity. He assembles a solid case to show that our eternal reward is determined by how well we manage our lives.
Would you approach life differently if you knew that everything you did ultimately mattered? Would you live a richer life as a result? Would you be a blessing to more people? If you are looking to live a life worthy of reward, pick up this book and get excited about the possibilities. Life will take on a whole new meaning.
Larry Hehn, author of Get the Prize: Nine Keys for a Life of Victory
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