Posts tagged ‘eternal life’

August 31, 2012

Expert Predictions

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/matins/35583663/

College football season started in my house last night. I am a huge SC Gamecock fan and have been all of my life. Last night they barely won a game that should have been a blow out according to the experts. I really hate it when the experts say stuff like that and I buy into it. In football, anything can happen and usually does especially when you are talking about college ball.
I listen to a lot of experts predict things and I can’t tell you how often they are wrong. For instance, the weather forecaster on TV. They are considered experts in weather and yet they probably only get it right half. I was watching the forecasts for hurricane Isaac and a week before it came close to Florida, they were saying that it would hit Tampa. It made landfall in New Orleans. Just this morning I heard the forecast for my area was to be mostly cloudy and I am sitting in bright sunshine without a cloud in the sky.
Experts in the financial world are not much better. Every time we get a jobs report it is worse than the experts predicted. Stocks go up and down every day despite what they say and those same experts who blame speculators for oil prices going sky-high, never mention the speculators when it drops to record lows. Three years ago many of the experts said that we would be well recovered from the recession we are not still in, and yet unemployment went up in over 30 states just last month.
Experts predicted that in the year  2000 AD on New Years day all computers would freak out and it didn’t happen. Experts said that cars were not going to catch on and flying would never happen. They said that everyone would be flying around instead of driving by now and that a new ice age was coming, but now its global warming. They said salt would kill you, now it won’t, saccharine would kill you, but not really now, red meat was good but now its bad, and that if you would just take this pill or that one you would never get fat.
So far the experts have messed up a lot of predictions. There is one source of predictions that I have found to be really accurate; the Bible. The Old Testament is full of predictions that Jesus would come to earth and die, and He did. In fact almost 1000 years before it happened, great details of the crucifixion were written in Psalm 22. The Bible predicted that the temple in Jerusalem would be totally destroyed and it happened. It predicted that several super powers would fall and gave a time frame to when it would happen, and it did. Very few historians disagree with the historical accuracy of the Bible. It is used as a historical document far more than most would ever guess. What is disputed is the claim to be the word of God and that the God of the Bible is who it claims Him to be. But with all of the weird and far out predictions the Bible has already gotten right, it does make you wonder if it could be right about God too.
In the New Testament there are some really far out claims that when made could never be imagined and today are not far away from being a reality. It says that there will be a time when money will be useless and that no one will be able to buy or sell without a certain mark. When that was written 2000 years ago it was absurd to think about that possibility and even as little as 20 years ago it seemed far-fetched. Yet here we are today with fewer and fewer people using cash and the need to carry cash is almost obsolete. It tells us that Jesus will return to earth one day and when that happens, everyone will see it. Today that is as close to a possibility as ever before with the video phone capability that everyone has.
With so many experts being so wrong so often and the Bible being right so often, why do people doubt the simple things that the Bible claims? Like all humans are sinners. No one has to be taught to lie, it comes natural. It says that all sinners will be judged by God and that we either stand on our own merits or we can stand on the merits of Christ. His death on the cross, also not disputed by historians, is an acceptable sacrifice for our sins and all we have to do is ask for forgiveness. What is disputed is that Christ rose from the grave. It says that God loves us enough to allow His Son to die for us and that if we will live for Him, He will give us eternal life.
Eternal life is something many experts agree that humans have or will have. What form it takes and how we achieve it is what is in question. Some say that we earn it, the Bible says it is a gift. Some say it is a never-ending cycle of coming back as other creatures. Some say that everyone goes to heaven and the Bible says that only those who trust in Christ go. Some say that eternal life will be achieved through modern medicine and this causes those who are rich to spend millions to preserve their corpses in hopes that they can be revived when that time comes. The Bible says that we all die and after that there is judgement. Judged on our own works or on what Christ did for us.
So given the accuracy of the expertise of man and the expertise of God, I will choose to go with God. After all, if last nights game was any indication of the expert’s ability to get it right, I don’t want to risk my soul to that.

August 14, 2012

Winning Gold

by pastortimfowler

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lel4nd/5444924248/

The first lady had some guilt to lay on Olympic gold medalist, Gabby Douglas for eating at McD’s after winning gold in England. Gabby is the picture of health and while Ms. Obama is no cow, she certainly doesn’t look like she has avoided Big Macs all her life either. But I am not gonna talk about that. I want to talk about the gold.
This year’s Olympic gold medal is composed of 92.5 percent silver, just 1.34 percent gold, and the remainder 6.16 percent is made up of copper and is worth about $650.00. I was disappointed when I learned this. I thought it was pure gold. Sure, if it were it would be worth a lot more and there would be a greater risk of theft, but wow, only 1.34% gold? Currently gold is going for about $1600.00 per ounce, so weighing about 400 grams or, 14 ounces, that would be a lot of money, about $22,000.00 or so if it were solid gold.
I would think that an Olympic medal of any sort would be worth more than anyone could pay me if I had won it. It would be like winning the Superbowl and getting one of those rings. I don’t know if you have ever seen one, but wow, they are a lot of bling! But did you know that many people who have one these things have sold them? I know because I watch Pawn Stars and they have stuff like that come in all the time.
I like money. I would like to have more of it and will gladly take any extra that you may not want. You can contact me via my church website, http://www.thebodylive.com if you would like to send me money. But I have grown to know that money, as nice to have as it is, does not make you truly happy. Family, friends, and faith work best for that. Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior is a great source of happiness and more specifically, joy. Jesus said that we should not spend all of our time on earth storing up treasure here, but that we should store up things in heaven that really make a difference for eternity.
Jesus was and is not anti money. He did say that people who love money had a problem. They tend to rely more on their riches than on Jesus. Jesus knew that money was not important in heaven but was very useful on earth when we keep things in the proper perspective. But once we leave this world, money and gold and rings and stuff like that stay here and are absolutely worthless to those who die.
There is a joke I heard long ago about gold and its value in heaven. A rich man died and asked if he could take a bag of his gold to heaven. When he got permission to take it and was walking around the streets of heaven, he noticed that all the angels were laughing at him. When he asked his friend who had been there a while, why the angels were laughing at him, his friend told him that they thought it was funny that he was carrying a bag of pavement around like it was something valuable.
What is valuable in heaven? YOU are! Your soul and the souls of every human being are so valuable to God that He allowed Jesus to die for us on a cross so that we may live with Him in heaven. When we forget that things of this world are only temporary and focus on riches here, it is then possible that we miss out on what God has in store for us. Our eternal life is that important to God. He loves us. He made a way for all who believe and ask for forgiveness to receive eternal life and a place in heaven.
I don’t know if the streets in heaven are really made of gold. I think it is far more valuable than we can imagine and it will not be our focus when we get there. I know that here on earth how we treat others with what we have is far more valuable than the stuff we have. If we put stuff above the lives of others, we miss out on true happiness and become self-centered and ultimately self-condemned. Love is something to give away, not to waste on one’s self. Marriages don’t work unless you love your spouse at least as much as you love yourself. Giving love to your child is far more important than teaching a child to love himself. God loves us so much that He gave so that we may have eternal life. God’s love is given to us so that we can give it away to others.
As for Gabby Douglas, she knows that value of a gold medal. She also knows that there is something far more valuable, and that is knowing Jesus and God’s love. And something in me says that after training for the Olympics for as long as she did, that the Big Mac she ate after it was over was pretty valuable too. Winning gold can only sustain you for little while, after that, you need something more.

March 7, 2012

Billionaires

by pastortimfowler

I read today that there are now 1226 in the world. It pains me to report that I am not on that list. I remember when Mr and Mrs. Howell were considered extravagantly rich. I guess being stranded on a deserted island with only 5 other people makes a millionaire seem really rich. I miss Gilligan’s Island. This same report said that the richest of these billionaires can lose as much as 11 billion in one day. I wish they would lose a billion my way.
I would be lying if I said that I would not want to be rich. Being rich offers a lot of benefits. It lets you eat the food you want to eat. It lets you vacation in better hotels and locations. It allows you to pay your mortgage and power bill while filling your gas tank all on the same day. Being rich can even allow you to get season tickets to see your favorite team and not have to park a mile down the road where it only costs $20. If I were rich I would park in the $50 parking just because I could.
But I am not jealous of those super rich. I have been blessed with more than I ever deserve. First, I have a beautiful family. My wife and I have been happily married for over 30 years. Money had little to do with it. We have three grown children who all have children of their own. We have a home that we can afford and automobiles that will get us to the jobs that we have. We have a church family that loves us and loves other people. We have friends who like us because of who we are and could care less how much money we have; thankfully. We are in relatively good health and don’t have too many enemies. Most of all, we know Jesus Christ personally as our Lord and Savior.
Being rich is not the way to happiness. God wants to give us happiness and have it not depend on how much money we can make. Jesus says that He wants us to have the joy that He has and to look to Him for our blessings. We are told that the things we have on this earth like money and houses and cars will all fade away. But things like family and friends are eternal when they are built on faith in Him.
No, I did not get my name on the list of those 1226 billionaires in the world, but I do have my name written in the Lamb’s book of life. Yep, I am rich beyond measure!

February 27, 2012

I Think I Believe

by pastortimfowler

You see the weirdest stuff on Facebook. People who air their dirty laundry, complain about people they never met, and are experts on everything. One of my least favorite things to see on Facebook is conversations about Christianity. It is amazing that the experts on Christianity are usually the ones who don’t believe in God. Those who do believe are so weak in their knowledge of the Bible that they sound quite foolish at times and even go as far as admitting that they don’t really believe what they are hoping to be their eternal destiny. I do consider myself an expert on the Bible and believe that it teaches assurance and simplicity for salvation that we can be absolutely sure of.
I know that last statement will get some feathers ruffled, but I do consider myself an expert on the Bible. I have my Masters in theology and am half way to my Doctorate. I have read the Bible completely more times than I can count and make a living teaching what it says. I take this very seriously, because I believe that there is a God just as much as I believe that 1+1=2. No, I can’t prove that God exists, but no one can prove that He doesn’t. I have the ability to understand that order never comes from chaos and that where there is a creation of any type there must be a creator. I know personally that God changed my life and that the Bible has been true every time that I have tested it. Yes there are things that I can’t explain and don’t fully understand, but that is true with about anything in life.
The question was asked of me about how someone who professes to be a Christian can say that they believe the Bible enough for salvation but at the same time believe that God has made other ways that are not in the Bible to receive this salvation. That is a tough one. I personally believe that many people are not truly trusting God for the understanding of salvation but trusting in human understanding. Proverbs 3:5 Trust the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Humans do not want to believe that they are not the smartest creature in the universe. As a Christian, the thing that we often miss is that God wants us to begin to trust Him and His word and change are hearts and mind. Romans 12:2 Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect. This is hard when we are challenged by those who don’t believe and make it their point to argue what they believe of a non existing God. (I think it is sad to be threatened so much by something that you don’t even believe in.) But for those who say they believe they are Christians, God is the ultimate expert in who He is and what He wants you to know and believe. If He is who He says He is, and you believe that, then we should always try to seek the Godly way in our beliefs.
From the beginning, as the Bible states it, man has doubted God and wanted what we want. It has always led to failure. Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a person, but eventually it ends in death. Religious people have tried to turn what God wants into their gain, whether it was the Pharisees of Jesus’ day or corrupt preachers of today. Those will answer to God for their false teachings. But why do professing believes get thrown off by people who profess not to believe? It is one thing to say, I believe this way but respect your opinion, but never is it okay to go against what God clearly teaches. For instance, Jesus is the only way of salvation. The Bible is very clear about that. Why would a Christian argue against that? It borders on heresy and at best ignorance.
Your eternal life is a dangerous thing to play a game of people pleasing with. If you believe in the God of the Bible, don’t doubt what the Bible says. Faith is believing, not wishful thinking. It is by grace through faith that we are saved. God condemns those who don’t believe. But he made what He wants you to believe simple and direct and easy to obtain.
Proverbs 28:26 Whoever trusts his own heart is a fool. Whoever walks in wisdom will survive. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
I think I believe is a people pleaser’s way of saying I don’t know. Salvation is to know.

October 11, 2011

Is It Fair?

by pastortimfowler

Sometimes it is impossible to understand God. If you are simply a human, it would be easy to think that God is cruel. This is especially true when things happen in our lives that really suck, and we think it should happen differently. A friend was telling me last night about a tragedy that happened where a young husband and dad died unexpectedly and that he couldn’t help but feel like it was not fair. It stinks, hurts, sucks, and a whole lot of other things, but I am not sure that fair is the right way to look at it. Don’t misunderstand, it is a legitimate question and the feelings are normal, but what is fair?
Here are the first two definitions in the dictionary for fair:
1. free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
2. legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules: a fair fight.
If we use these definitions, then God is fair. God said to Adam and Eve, the day you disobey me, you die. He clearly stated in the law of Moses that some sins were punishable by physical death, and, we are all told that what we deserve for sin is death. We are told that it is inevitable that humans die and after that we are judged. So in death, God is fair. Does that mean we understand it? No. Does it mean we agree? No. Does it mean that God is cruel? No. He is fair, free from bias, dishonesty or injustice. He is a fair judge. What He does is proper under the rules. In every definition of fairness God stands the test of fairness.
We want fair to be, pleasing. We want fair to mean nobody wins and nobody loses and nobody gets hurt. That is not fair. Jesus told us that in this world we will have troubles. He did not tell us to follow Him and He will never allow pain to come our way. He did say that He would never leave us alone in our pain and that He would make everything that we go through on this world worth it if we trust Him.
Where would we be if there were no pain in the world? What would it be like if we never had to hurt again? Would it be fair? Maybe, but I don’t think it would be that great either. We learn more from pain than we ever do from pleasure. When we place our hand on a hot surface, even after we have been told that it is hot, it is the pain that finally teaches us to listen. But if pleasure was such a good teacher we would have fewer people addicted to drugs and alcohol. Think about all the things that you learned from pain and then see if the pain was a good teacher now that you can look back on it. Most people would never want to suffer the pain again, but would definitely value the lesson learned.
Not much can be done to take away the hurt and feelings that come with someone close to you losing their life. Even Jesus wept when His good friend Lazarus died. But the fairness of God offers hope to those who mourn those losses. It is a hope that is hard to understand because it goes against what we want to feel at such times. It is a hope that does not come from ourselves, but from God and His promise of fairness. He promises that ANYONE who trusts Him and asks for the forgiveness of their sin will receive full pardon and not be given what we deserve, but instead be given eternal life. We can pass from this life of pain and suffering to a life free of all pain and suffering.
You see this life is but a vapor, but there is an eternity and you will be there in one way or another. Eternal death, is the eternal separation from God in what we hear of as Hell. Eternal life is when we pass from this life to forever with God in a place where death and pain and what we call unfairness will never happen again. God is so fair that He offers this to ANYONE who will ask. No matter what you have done, no matter how bad you think you may be, God’s love is fair to all and His forgiveness is complete to all. Don’t be fooled, His judgement is just as fair to all who refuse is forgiveness, no matter how good you have been or how good you think you are. God is holy, we are not, and without His forgiveness we stay unholy. It is that simple, because God is that fair.

April 15, 2011

Sick Mind

by pastortimfowler

Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. We have all heard that. I am living it. I asked for blog ideas and, wow, the topics are great. Tough, but great. Today the topic has to do with a recent incident in which a mom took her own life and the lives of her children. A horrible thing to even think about.  What could have made this poor woman end it all like this?
Many people believe that suicide is an unforgivable sin resulting in hell for that person. I am talking about thinking that God will not forgive it. Two reasons why some think this. One, it is so selfish and we can’t find closure for our own feelings, and second, if the last act before death is a sin, then that person was not able to ask for forgiveness and therefore dies with unforgiven sin resulting in hell.
I personally do not believe that the Bible teaches that suicide is unforgivable. Let me deal with this from scripture, then I want to give a more personal and even medical reason for my thinking.
When Jesus died on the cross, he did not die for a specific sin of a lust, a lie, or a murder. He died to pay the death penalty for all of humanity’s sin. Jesus was our sacrifice and His death was accepted by God in place of our own if we ask. The moment we ask for forgiveness, we are made children of God, being born again. We are no longer under the penalty of the law as law breakers, but under the grace of a loving Father who has taking the responsibility to raise His spiritual children. If you have ever raised children, even really good ones, they still disobey us parents. We do not disown them, but lovingly correct them. And if one of them were to ever commit suicide, we would not stop loving them and immediately disown them either. We would mourn out of love, not disown out of anger. Romans 8:38,39 tells us that NOTHING including death, can separate us from God’s love:
38 I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us. We can’t be separated by death or life, by angels or rulers, by anything in the present or anything in the future, by forces 39 or powers in the world above or in the world below, or by anything else in creation.
The Bible clearly says that God’s children are given eternal life, not life based on our ability to ask for forgiveness every time we sin. God wants us to recognize it when we sin and ask for forgiveness as we grow, but there are times when we don’t or can’t recognize that what we do is wrong. This brings me to a personal and even medical reason to why suicide does not condemn one to hell.
Many children are born with birth defects. Some with physical and others with mental, and they are welcomed and loved as they should be, despite their birth defects. Children with mental illness often can’t recognize right and wrong and therefore we do not punish them as such.
Sometimes things happen in life that cause our brains to stop functioning properly; injury, illness, drug abuse, or even mental abuse. This can cause a seemingly normal person to snap and do something wrong, even kill someone or their self. We have to make choice on how to deal with these people.
The brain is an organ like lungs, hearts, and kidneys. They operate on the basis of chemicals and blood and oxygen flow and when things are imbalanced due to injury or illness, they don’t function properly. Brains can get sick or injured too. And when they do, we see things that we think are in the control of someone, but they may not be capable of control at all.
I do not believe that anyone who has a “normal” brain will purposefully kill another or self. Normal people do not do this. Someone who is sick enough to kill others needs to be put somewhere to protect innocent lives. Those people are still someones children and even a murderer’s parents love their child. But someone who wants to take their own life often does it because signs were missed, and they have slipped past the normal ability of the brain to cope. Sadly we can’t protect them anymore.
But if they were children of God, He will welcome them under the cover of Christ’s death on the cross and not under the condemnation of their sin. God at that time promises that He has healed the sick mind.

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