Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Amazing Facts Video About Revelation and Heaven

If you are curious as to how the Bible states the world will end and how we will spend eternity in Heaven, this is an amazing video to watch.  I hope that many take the chance to see this video and think about it.  Heaven with the Lord is going to be a glorious place.  I can not wait to be there, yet there is so much work here to still be done.  Let's keep preparing and telling others about Jesus and what He has in store for us.  Let's keep praying that he is with us in our hearts and minds.  Remember, friends, it is, in the end, our own actions that we are held accountable for.  While we are to try to bring others to Christ, we have to remember that we, as Christians, need to be watching how we say things and how we think before we try to change others.  Look to how Christ lived His life and how he treated others before speaking.

He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. (Proverbs 13:3)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Dangers of Straying From Our Lord

I have written before how I believe that we are living close to the end of the world. We can see it, not only in the signs of the world around us, but in the signs of those around us. I believe that one important part of life is preparing ourselves to be citizens of Heaven. We are to overcome temptation and sin in order to be like Jesus. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21). Then, we are to be more like Christ and focus on overcoming and following Him in life.
We are told that we all come short of God's glory. Can any of us truly be like Christ? Surely, no man can equal the greatness of our savior. I will not even pretend that I could become as great as the one who died for my sins. While we may never be able to match Christ, we can emulate Him in every way.

I used to not spend much time with my Bible. I thought that other books were more interesting. However, once I became fully convinced that the Bible is accurate and realized that pretty much every fictional work has been derived from the Bible, I grew much more interested in studying it. The Bible, in short, is an amazing Book. It is truly a gift that many people cast aside or say that they like. But, do you read the Bible? Do you really read it and get to know it?

I have had some problems lately in my own family with people straying from God and going after other religious beliefs. I can not help but feel immense sadness when I think about this. Sadly, this is a result of straying from the Bible, from straying from The Lord. If you leave the Bible behind, you are going to eventually walk away from our Creator. Daily communion and prayer, a lifelong walk with God, is what makes you more like Jesus. We can not hope to become like someone we do not spend time with or do not know well.

When I was young, I grew up as a Christian. We went to church every week, talked about God, worshipped, and lived in a Christian household. Many of the beliefs I learned back then I have found to be unbiblical in nature, but my family tried, and The Lord was with us (I believe that He is with those who seek after Him). We had a close family and life was good. It was a good childhood. Then, one day, we just kind of stopped going to church. We lost sight of our Lord and went through life. Things started to fall apart. Eventually my parents got divorced. Without the Lord in our lives there was chaos. Those years were difficult for us all. The family broke up and I found myself wanting to run away. After I graduated from high school I disappeared one night and took a bus to the west coast, about 1000 miles from where I lived at the time. I decided I would live there as an adult instead. That did not last and I found myself back home. I eventually was married and began to study the Bible deeper. I realized that life had real meaning. However, it would take me over a decade longer to truly walk away from being a part of the world.

I honestly believe if we would have continued to spend time with The Lord, my family would have been better off. One can not hope to live a truly happy life without God in it. We try to replace Him with material possessions, false religions and idols, and entertainment. Those things do not measure up to the promise of a savior who loves us and eternal life. What good are the things of this world? In the end, they only bring us sadness. In the end, we only desire more. Our greed is unstoppable. We become unthankful, thinking about what we lack. Without The Lord in our lives we grasp at anything and everything that we think will bring us happiness. I have long ago learned that anything that is not of God does not bring true happiness.

Many people are turning away from our Creator and instead worshiping the world or false gods and idols. Many people have no clue what danger exists when one steps away from God's side. The world is a terrifying place without our Creator. Many of us can think back to situations in which something horrible almost happened, but some unseen force saved us. Maybe it was a near death experience or some calamity that almost took everything we had. Perhaps it was something that would have left our lives in ruin. I believe that unseen force is none other than our Lord. His hand is there to guide those who love him. That does not mean that bad things never happen to those who follow and love Him. I believe that He also helps us grow through allowing bad things to happen. But, I also believe that He does not let more happen to us than we can handle.

I truly wish that my family did not stop going to church.  I know that things would have ended up differently.  By leaving faith behind, we start to look for other ways in which we can "improve" our lives.  We believe that our life is lacking.  Our lives are lacking when we stop walking with Christ.  Nothing else can take His place.  If you want to truly live a happy life, there is nothing that can replace Jesus.  The rewards for following Him and immense - both in this life and in the next.  No other man can claim to take away the sins of the world.  No other man can give the promise of eternal life.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18 NIV)
And a few verses later Jesus continues, saying “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life…” (John 3:36 NIV)
Many people choose not to believe in Jesus as their personal Savior from sin and an eternity in hell. But there is no other way to heaven except through faith in Him. Jesus said,"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)
Jesus died for the sins of every person who ever lived—yours included! That’s how much He loves you. If you believe in Him as your Savior, full forgiveness and salvation in heaven is yours. You don’t receive those gifts by anything you do or don’t do. It’s a free gift, given by grace (undeserved love).  The Bible says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)
I pray that those who read this blog will grow closer to our Creator.  I pray that those who read these words will understand that there is no substitute for the love of Jesus.  There is no other life that brings happiness.  Most of Jesus' disciples were willing to die for him.  And they died in gladness for Him.  They followed Him throughout their lives.  Paul found it to be an honor to die a martyrs death, hung on the cross, upside down.  When you follow Jesus, you will find that calamity in this life does not matter.  You will find a peace that nothing else in the world can give you.  You will see that the things in life that used to be important to you, or used to bother you, will slowly but surely disappear.

Have you noticed that life is better following Jesus?  Have you seen the results of straying away from our Lord?  Do you think that the things of this world are truly better than Heaven?  Please share your thoughts.  May you be blessed by what you have read today.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Are We Living Near The End?

An interesting video appeared today on Amazing Facts, and I wanted to share it with everyone:
Hello, friends! Amazing Facts has just released a brief but very important analysis of a remarkable new video message from Pope Francis to a gathering of Christians in which he uses language that echoes striking biblical imagery. Could it be a fulfillment of prophecy? Click the link below to learn more ... 

From Amazing Facts:
Pastor Doug shares, “The Bible predicts a false religious movement will arise in the last days to force the world to follow after unbiblical teachings, all cloaked in the forms of ‘united Christianity.’ It will present itself as the one true church, a religious power that was ‘mortally wounded,’ but whose ‘deadly wound was healed.’ The whole world will marvel and follow this beast power at the expense of Bible truth. Christians need to know their Bibles and draw as near to Jesus so they can to avoid this deception.”

Are we close to the end?  If you follow the Bible, it seems closer than ever.  Look at what the Bible has to say about evil in the last days:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good... (2 Timothy 3:1-3)
Does the above Bible verse seem true in these days?  I think so.  I have noticed that people are becoming more hateful and self centered now than ever.  Both online and offline.  In fact, I wrote about it today in my journal:
ignoring parents, fighting, being hateful, unthankful, bitter and remorseful when “life does not go our way.”  I have seen more of this in the last few years than I have ever witnessed before in my life.  To be honest, the changes have been profound.  Has social media been a cause?  I think so.  The internet?  I think so.  Culture.  Most definitely.  We see movies showing people living great lives and expect our lives to be full of the same riches.  We expect too much.  We get mad when we do not get our expectations. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. ( 1 Timothy 6:5-8) 
We are to be watching.  Jesus told us to watch at signs for his return.  Heaven is very close.  If you are not devoting your life to Jesus, now is a good time to start.  Many think that they are missing out on the things of the world by giving their life to Jesus... And they are right!  You are missing out on the things of the world - pride, sin, gossip, arrogance, chasing after the wind, an empty life, boastfulness... Why would you want those things - things that are not of God - in your life?  

Want to read more about End of the World Signs as mentioned in the Bible?  See: http://www.signs-of-end-times.com/the-last-days-end-of-world-signs.html

I like the above website because it lacks the conspiracy that is present in many websites that talk about the end.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Creating a Heaven Here on Earth

The Earth is full of beauty that is marred by sin and destruction
In response to my last post (Heaven on Earth is a Fantasy), someone said the following:
I would to some extent disagree with this article. The Bible says, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," Philippians 3:20 So even though we are not walking the golden streets, etc. I believe that we can live in the atmosphere of Heaven and in the presence of Jesus everyday.
The author of this comment has some good points. I agree that we should live in an atmosphere of Heaven every day here on Earth.  Yet, at the same time, we need to guard ourselves from trying to make Earth our home.  A couple of Bible verses come to mind that state this.  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4). And, If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

The Danger of Making Heaven on Earth

Many people long to have the things of this world, so much so that they put off the more important spiritual matters.  Many people still work hard for riches and glamor and the things of this earth that impress others.  They buy lavish homes and large pieces of land, and expensive cars and long for the material pleasures and large bank accounts.  The reasoning is that one should have as great a life as one can have here on earth, and part of that greatness is having a lot of money and wealth.  Worldly wealth has a way of replacing spiritual wealth, and while not everyone who is wealthy is not blinded to God, the truth is that it is a very hard road to walk down.  Most of us are susceptible to greed and want.  Many of us crave more than our neighbor, but are we truly more deserving of wealth while others are suffering and starving?  If we have wealth, how do we use it?  Do we tithe and give offering?  Or do we hoard it, hoping that we can hedge against a disaster with our wealth that we could hedge against with trust in God?
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
The Earth is Not Heaven, No Matter How Hard We Try To Make It So

This is not Heaven.
The Earth is full of war, pestilence, disease, competition, pride, murder, sin, death, deformities, vice, divorce, fear, prison, torment, rebellion, slavery, strife, want, hunger, confusion, insanity, desire, rage, hate, lustfulness, disasters, pollution, and toil.  This is not Heaven.  Heaven will lack every one of the above terms.  It is a paradise, far better than even the greatest day of your life here on earth.  No matter how much you have in your life, you will still see your loved ones die.  You will watch your friends pass away as you grow older.  You will witness your body break down as years pass.  You will see your children stray away from the life you hoped they would live.  You will lose money to thieves and those who want what you have (I, myself, lost $1500 yesterday in a similar way).  You will be involved in arguments with others or watch family members fight each other.  You will see pride and arrogance tear at the lives of others, and it may eat at you as well.  You will fight sickness, disease, and possible chronic conditions during life.  You will, at times, feel depression.  You may fight addiction, whether it be to the internet or to drugs or food.  No matter how hard you try, you can not escape the fact that earth is not Heaven.

We Can Make Our Lives as Close to Heaven as Possible

With that said, the Bible is full of information on how we can live as good a life as possible.  There are many rules for Health and getting along with others that the Bible instructs us on.  Many of these claims are backed by conventional science.  For example, the Bible speaks against alcohol, which has caused countless deaths and discord in people's lives.  The Bible also talks about avoiding certain foods and blood.

Also see: Did the "Clean and Unclean Meat" rules end with Jesus?

The Bible says that the body is the temple of God.  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:10).  One way in which we can make our lives better is by watching what we put in our bodies.  God created us, and we are His property.  God gives the commandment "Thou shalt not murder." This applies to slowly killing ourselves through what we consume.

The Bible talks about loving our neighbor in great detail.  "The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:31).  The life of Jesus shows how important it is for us to love both God and our neighbor.  God comes first, and God states that we are to love man.  This means swallowing pride (which is not of God), putting away envy, hate, anger.  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44).  How can we expect God to forgive us for our sins if we can not forgive our brother for his sins against us?  We may harbor strong feelings for certain people, but it is imperative that we put those feelings away.  We will find ourselves living better lives and be pleasing God.  This is another way in which we can make earth a better place as we await Heaven.

Ways in which we can bring some of Heaven to our lives includes keeping your body in good shape, staying clean, living in clean, sanitary surroundings, spending time in nature, praying and communion with God, reading and study of God's word, avoiding things which are not of Heaven.  This includes certain websites, television shows and music.  Perhaps one of the most important quotes from the Bible about making life as enjoyable as possible is the following:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8).
We want to avoid anything that makes us feel thoughts that are not of God.  Why fill your mind with thoughts of murder, hate, sin, death, sadness, depression and the like?  Why not fill our minds instead with that which is pure and good?

Heaven is not here on this Earth.  Heaven is where the Lord lives.  One day we will join him in Heaven through the grace of Jesus Christ.  I hope to see you there!  There are things that we can do to make our lives as close to Heaven as is allowed on earth, but no matter what we do, we can not make our lives Heaven.  We must remember that and look forward to the day when our Lord and Savior brings us home to where we truly belong.