Posts tagged ‘eternal’

August 31, 2012

Expert Predictions

by pastortimfowler

20082005

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.

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August 14, 2012

Winning Gold

by pastortimfowler

Love isn't Love Until You Give it Away

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!

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.

July 27, 2011

What Jesus Looks Like

by pastortimfowler

I had the honor of doing a funeral today for my friends, the West family. It was for a member of the family who just happened to have been homeless most of his adult life for one reason or another, and why is irrelevant. Often I am challenged to think about different things as I prepare for a funeral and too often I am struck right between the eyes with things that I need to make right or rethink.
My biggest fear of doing funerals for people who I don’t know is that I am not sure of their eternal destination. Let me rephrase that; I have no personal knowledge of their profession of faith, because the bottom line is, we can only present evidence to the world of our salvation, we can never prove it.
I like to think that people can look at me, my life, and how I live it, and determine that based on the evidence that shows, they can tell I know Jesus. After all you can tell a tree by the fruit it bears. But anyone can look at a tree full of peaches and say that is a peach tree, it takes a deeper look if there is no fruit. So what I am saying is that in the dead of winter, a peach tree is still a peach tree even though there is no fruit or even any leaves.
I have tried to convince people of this fact for as long as I have been a pastor. Too often, Christians try to judge what a Christian should look like based on the perfect conditions of being a Christian and over look the fact that none of us continually live under perfect conditions.
So as I was searching for scripture to use for the funeral I came across one of those eye-opening things that happens to me from time to time. The kind of thing where God says, HEY! Your are missing ME in all this. So I started reading and I saw Jesus in a homeless man…here is what I’ talking about.
Luke 9:57-58
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to Jesus, “I’ll follow you wherever you go.”
58 Jesus told him, “Foxes have holes, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to sleep.”
Matthew 25:42-45
42 I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink.
43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me.’
44 “They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’
45 “He will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant {they seemed}, you failed to do for me.’
Jesus said in Lk. 9:57,58 that He was homeless too. Earth is not our home it is our journey to eternity. Then in Mat. 25:42-45, He says that He was the hungry, thirsty, sick, and in prison. He did not say that as a joke, He said it to make a point. Remember the peach tree? Not only will it not bear fruit in the winter, but it will not bear fruit when it is hungry, thirsty, sick, or not planted in a good place. These are the trees that need the most attention. These are the ones that God says He would die for and that need the help the most.
I like to have my pretty Jesus. You know, the one that is a good-looking, with hair flowing in the breeze, smiling ’cause He’s happy, and all is right with the world. But the Jesus that took my sin to the cross was a prisoner, condemned to die for sins He did not commit. He was stripped of His clothes, hungry and thirsty. He had no home. Few recognized this Jesus, but that is the one we all meet first in the path to salvation. Only after we are saved can we see the resurrected and glorified Jesus.
Few would think that a Christian is that homeless guy, strung out on drugs, begging for a dollar to buy a drink or a smoke. Few would think that a Christian would not have a good job and nice clothes to wear to church, like I have. But aren’t we all forgetting that we are not supposed to look like Christians, we are supposed to look like Jesus.
And I believe that sometimes Jesus saves the homeless and downtrodden and allows them to stay that way for those of us who look good to have a real look at the cost of sin. Jesus looked even worse when He took all of our sin the day He died on the cross. And He died for sinners, not saints.
I think I might have had a chance today to get a better picture of what Jesus looks like.

May 17, 2011

Jesus a liar?

by pastortimfowler

One of the oldest arguments in the Christian world is whether or not one can lose their salvation. I think that is the best argument in the universe for Satan to have Christ’s people arguing about. After all, we call Satan a liar, so in this argument, someone is calling Christ a liar. No, I don’t mean that you are saying, ‘Jesus is a liar’, but someone is believing and following a lie if God’s people disagree on this important doctrine. These are the words of Jesus out of John’s Gospel:
John 10:28-30
28 and I give them eternal life. They will never be lost, and no one will tear them away from me.
29 My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than everyone else, and no one can tear them away from my Father.
30 The Father and I are one.”
In John 3:16 we are told that whoever believes in Jesus will have everlasting life.
In these verses there are words that make Jesus a liar if we can lose our salvation. Here are Webster’s definitions for these important words’
Eternal- 1. without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing ( opposed to temporal ): eternal life. 2. perpetual; ceaseless; endless
Never- 1. not ever; at no time 2. not at all; absolutely not
Everlasting- 1. Lasting forever; eternal


Now I am not sure if Jesus was confused when He said these things, but they seem to be leaning toward not being able to lose your salvation. It is hard to imagine that Jesus really meant you could lose it and I will unsave you if you do something bad enough. After all, there is nothing we can do prior to salvation that is bad enough for Him to say, “No, I don’t think I will save you. You have been too bad.” But somehow, now that we are saved, there will be something that is bad enough for Jesus to lose someone from His own hands; you know, the ones that were nailed to the cross for us.
What kind of cruel God would allow His Son to die for the sins of the world but that death not be good enough to keep you saved once you are saved? That would mean that our sins we commit after salvation are worse than the sin that Jesus died for before our salvation. That would mean that we can’t work to earn salvation but we have to work to keep it. And that would make not only Jesus a liar, but the Apostle Paul a liar too when he wrote this:
Ephesians 2:4-9
4 But God is rich in mercy because of his great love for us.
5 We were dead because of our failures, but he made us alive together with Christ. It is God’s kindness that saved you.
6 God has brought us back to life together with Christ Jesus and has given us a position in heaven with him.
7 He did this through Christ Jesus out of his generosity to us in order to show his extremely rich kindness in the world to come.
8 God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God.
9 It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it.
My strongest argument of eternal salvation comes from Jesus words in John 3:3, when He said that no one can enter into heaven unless they are born again. And then this verse, Galatians 4:6, Because you are God’s children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into us to call out, “Abba! Father!” .
If we are truly children of God, then we can NEVER not be children of God. We can be rebellious children and we can even be children who say that we don’t even know who our Father is, but that can’t change the fact of who our Father is. He is the one who saves us from our sin. Even the stupid sin of a rebellious child who decides that he/she does not like the rules of the Father and chooses to run away and change their identity. Because of the blood, especially the blood of Jesus, we can’t change who our Father is. We can deny Him, but that does not stop Him from being who He is; Our Heavenly Father.
Deep in our heart, we know if we were truly born again. That is the real question. If it was real, we can’t lose it. JESUS said so. Salvation is HIS and WE are HIS. But if we are playing a game of “get me out of the mess I’m in” and not truly seeking forgiveness, then you are not a child of God and Jesus is not the liar, you are.
So, are you a child of God? Do you have eternal life? If so, you can never lose it, it is not yours to keep. You are His to keep and He is perfect, the perfect keeper of His people, His children.
Jesus is not a liar.