What If It Were Today?

What if today were the day that Jesus calls his believers home? How would this change how you lived out this day?

I, for one, know that I would feel “unready” to say the least. There are so many things in life that I had always intended to do for God, that I have never gotten around to doing. 

There are so many people that I’ve never talked about the gospel with—people of other faiths that I care about and would want to be included in the family of believers before it’s too late. 

You might then ask why I don’t simply get it together and talk to these people now, while there’s still time. 

That’s a very good question. Perhaps it’s fear that’s stopping me—the anxiety of possible rejection on their part. 

What about you? What would you do differently today to prepare for Jesus’ return? Whatever it is, make plans to go ahead and do it while you still can.

The truth is, no one knows when Jesus will come back, and we all have a list of things we could work on before that time comes.

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 

Matthew 24:36

Not even Jesus knows when He is coming back!

Much of your to-do list probably revolves around relationships—righting neglected relationships or forming new ones in the furthering of the gospel and creating goodwill within our community.

So, maybe we should just act like Jesus is coming back today. We would certainly accomplish more for the gospel than we currently are. 

Living our lives like it could be anytime would revolutionize our faith and turn many people around us onto the gospel.

Today is a great day to start living like that.

What If You Were Heir to a Kingdom?

We’ve all probably tried to imagine it at one time or another—it’s part of being a child and playing make believe.

The fantasy is…what if you inherited your own kingdom? What would you do?

As a child, it’s fun to imagine such scenarios. And it’s easy to dream of all the things you would do if you did inherit a kingdom.

Perhaps your dream as a child was to sit on a throne and issue decrees to the citizens of your kingdom. Maybe you’d love to have others wait on you all day long, taking care of your every need.

The list could go on and on of the fun things you could do if you had your own kingdom to rule over.

Unfortunately, few of us will ever come into a kingdom—at least here on earth.

The good news is that if we’re believers in Christ, we’re guaranteed a kingdom someday. 

Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Luke 12:32

Think about these words for a minute and let them sink in.

Your heavenly father is actually going to give you a kingdom! It’s like all your childhood dreams have come true.

But what does this mean exactly? Without a doubt, there is controversy over the meaning and timing of the word “kingdom” in this verse in Luke and similar verses.

However, one meaning it could have is Jesus’ millennial kingdom on earth that He establishes after His second coming.

Many believers overlook this 1000-year reign of Christ on earth; however, it is an important part of eschatology (the study of the end times or last things).

Besides our being a part of the eternal kingdom of God in Heaven, I believe that Jesus may be referring to his millennial kingdom.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:2a:

Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?

Believers in Christ are the saints Paul refers to in this verse.

What world is he talking about? It could very well be the world during Christ’s 1000-year reign. 

If so, then we’ll reign alongside Him:

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

Rev. 20:6

Could it be that we’ll sit beside Jesus and co-reign with Him? I believe that’s what the Bible tells us.

We’ll get to have a kingdom, after all!

Ed Hindson’s wonderful book, Future Glory, details the millennial kingdom and all the other wonderful things God has in store for believers. I highly recommend it.

However, to receive this kingdom, you have to accept Jesus as your Savior while you’re still on earth. 

If you haven’t done that yet, it’s the most important decision of your life. It will determine where you spend all of eternity—not just the 1000 years of Christ’s reign on earth.

The choice is yours. However, once you’ve passed on from this life, it’s too late. Make the decision today to begin your new life.

And look forward to reigning with Christ during the millennium.

Where Did God Come From?

At some point, most people have probably wondered where God came from.

You may not be familiar with the term aseity, particularly when it comes to God. According to gotquestions.org,

The aseity of God is His attribute of independent self-existence.

Basically, it means that God was not created. He is and always has been in existence. There was never a time when He did not exist. 

Aseity is a difficult concept for us human beings to wrap our heads around. We think in terms of beginnings and endings. For us, everything that we see we understand has been created, either by God or by man. 

Whether we’re looking at the sun—which we can attribute to God’s creation—or we gaze at the car sitting in our driveway—which was made in a factory somewhere—these are things that were once not in existence.

For us to think about God and His “independent self-existence” we have to accept what to our minds is an illogical concept. 

However, God is the sovereign Creator of the universe, so it shouldn’t be hard for us to ascribe aseity to Him. 

In Exodus 3:14a, we read,

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”

This means God is and always has been. He is not just the beginning and the end. He is, and He created the beginning and ending of all things, including us. 

He didn’t need anyone or anything to create Him.

Someone may ask, Well, then did God create Himself? To ask that question implies that God had a beginning, a time when He didn’t exist. My opinion is that God did not create Himself. 

As R.C. Sproul writes in Enjoying God,

To create itself, something, even God, would have to be before it is. It would have to exist and not exist at the same time.

That logic makes sense to me. God could not have created Himself because He could not have existed and not existed at the same time.

Furthermore, God’s aseity means that He does not rely on anything else for His existence. He did not depend on anything for His creation, and He does not need any outside help to maintain His existence.

In fact, it is us humans, and every other living thing on the planet, that depends on Him for our existence. Without His willingness to keep us alive, we would not exist. 

We would not and could have ever come into existence without His causing it. He is the Supreme Cause and Creator of everything else in the universe.

God and only God decides the lifespan of everything.

When we’re talking about the aseity of God, it doesn’t include just God the Father. Jesus and the Father are both God, so the same principles hold true for Jesus as well.

Referring to Jesus, John 1:3 says,

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus our Savior has all the same godly characteristics as God the Father.

He existed before anything else and was integral to the creation of our universe. Without Him we can do nothing.

We can’t mention Jesus without talking about His saving grace.

In fact, He is our only path to salvation. In John 14:6, Jesus says,

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Furthermore, He says in John 10:30,

“I and the Father are one.”

We have to accept the Lordship and divine attributes of Jesus to obtain our salvation. Believing that He is God and that He created everything else opens the door to eternal life.

It is the only way that we can enter into everlasting fellowship with God.

So, only by accepting the aseity of God, including that of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, can we accept the deity of God.

He is not in the same category of creation as we are. He is the Creator, and we are the created.

God doesn’t have to have a beginning and an end, as He is the Author of everything else. 

Understanding and grasping this truth will help us better revere, worship, and serve God in our everyday lives.

One Day Closer to Jesus

If there’s one thing that believers in Jesus should have, it’s hope. Romans 15:13 tells us, 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

If we have Jesus, we also have the Holy Spirit. That means we should have plenty of hope in our lives. 

That doesn’t mean that every day is going to be all roses. After all, Jesus tells his disciples in John 16:33, 

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

These words should give every believer hope.

If you’re having a rough day, just remember that nothing is greater than Jesus and the hope we have in Him.

In fact, each day we live, is one day we’re closer to seeing Jesus face-to-face. 

Either through the rapture or by our own passing, if we’ve accepted Christ into our lives, today we’re that much closer to living with Him forever. 

I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel a whole lot better about everything that’s going on in my life and in the world right now. It’s a crazy time to be alive.

Just think, there are a finite number of days until we meet Jesus—it could be one day or 10,000 days, but there are only so many of them.

However, after we’re joined with Jesus, we have all eternity to look forward to, fellowshiping and worshipping Him. There will be NO END to those days.

The question is, have you accepted Jesus into your life? If you haven’t, then there’s no better time to do it than now. 

Tomorrow may be too late.

Why Should We Follow Jesus?

The question has been asked, What is the point in being a follower of Jesus?

It is a valid question and deserves a good answer. 

After all, who is this Jesus who came along 2000 years ago? Recorded history tells us that He showed up thousands of years after people had already been worshipping God.

This is a hard question, to be sure. For the answer, we must turn to the Bible, which is the inspired word of God. 

The Bible is not a single book, but actually 66 books written over a period of approximately 1500 years by around 40 different authors.

Let’s take a look at John 14:6-7 for the answer to our question. 

As it happens, Jesus was answering a question from one of His disciples about following Him.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

These are bold words, but if we’re serious about seeking God and serving him, we must take them to heart. 

If there truly is just one way to God—and Jesus is it— then we must become one of His followers.

To do otherwise is to risk our eternal destiny. If we’re wrong, then we’ve lost nothing. But if we’re right, then we stand to gain much. I’ve written about this before in another post.

Just a few verses before the ones above, Jesus says,

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

John 14:3

Jesus wants us with Him. He already has a place picked out in Heaven for every one of His believers.

And just so he’s clear and there’s no confusion—with some 4300 different religions in the world by one estimate—He tells us exactly how to get to God, and it’s through Him.

So, what do we need to do to become a follower of Jesus?

First of all, we must understand our need for Him. 

Romans 3:23 tells us,

For all [emphasis mine] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 explains the penalty for our sins as well as our reward for following Jesus: 

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:9 tells us how to accept Jesus into our lives and be forgiven of our sins:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

The final step is crucial. Find a good, Bible-believing church and tell the pastor that you have accepted Jesus into your life. Ask to be baptized and begin attending the church.

In Acts 2:38, Peter the apostle says,

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

While baptism itself does not save you, it does represent our death and rebirth in Jesus. Likewise, church attendance is not mandatory for salvation, but Christians go to church to worship God and associate with other believers.

So, to answer our original question about following Jesus…

Jesus is our pathway to God. He is the only way to be forgiven of our sins, become reconciled with the Father, and experience eternal life with Him.

For me, that’s reason enough. What about you?

Choose the One True Pathway to God

You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Gal. 5:4

Many of us who call ourselves Christians are simply not living like it. That’s the only way to put it. We’re doing our best to live a so-called Christian life by saying the right things, doing the right things, going to church, and even serving others. 

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with any of these things. We’re called to live a life as holy as possible once we have invited Christ into our lives.

However, these things don’t make us Christians. We are completely unable to save ourselves through our actions. 

It is only through the blood of Jesus that we can claim salvation and freedom. When He died on the cross and then rose from the dead three days later, he laid the groundwork for our salvation. 

We must remember this when we’re going about our daily activities. We’re going to sin—that much is for sure. 

But we must also be certain that no amount of good deeds can ever help us get to Heaven. We’re not going to be closer to God the better we behave. 

In fact, if we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, we’re as close to the Father as we can get. We’re brothers and sisters of Jesus and children of God.

Just because I donate money to a Christian organization or volunteer my time at a non-profit doesn’t mean that I’m earning brownie points with God.

Everything was already settled when I asked Jesus into my life. I can live confidently in that fact for the rest of my life. 

So, the next time I’m feeling good about something I’ve done—and maybe a little prideful about it—I need to stop and thank God for my salvation in Christ. 

I know it is only through His grace that I am saved and it isn’t as a result of any actions I’ve taken.

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.

Gal. 6:15

All the glory goes to Him and I am thankful that He loves me enough that He sent His son to die for my salvation.

This salvation is for you as well. If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior and received forgiveness for your sins, there’s no better time to do it than now.

Invite Him into your heart and become justified in the Father’s eyes through Christ. It will be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Thinking About Eternity

He has put eternity into man’s heart.

Ecc. 3:11b

Most of us at one time or another have wondered what it would be like to live forever. As the above passage tells us, God has planted the idea of eternity into our hearts. 

Yet, eternity is something that we as humans can hardly even begin to comprehend.

 Even if we live a long, full life, we can at best hope to be on this earth for a scant 100 years. That is nowhere near eternity.

In fact, our minds have no way of understanding what it is like to live forever. 

eternity

God gives us enough interest in eternity so that we can hope for it, although it is something we’ll never begin to understand until we reach Heaven and spend forever with the Lord. 

Eternal life is promised to those of us who have trusted our souls to the Lord Jesus. Without Him, we will face eternal separation from our creator. 

You see, we’ll exist forever one way or another, either being forever alive and in the presence of God, or enduring eternal destruction and separation in Hell without any hope of reconciliation with God.

The choice is ours how we want to spend eternity. 

Once we die, our decision has been made—there are no “do-overs.” We don’t get to go back and rethink our decision because at that point it’s too late; our fate is sealed. 

Think about it—we have the choice whether we get to live with God and worship Him for all eternity. 

We can live in Paradise with the God of the Universe or suffer in separation and agony without Him forever. 

There’s really no decision when you think about it. 

Even if you’re not totally convinced that Heaven and Hell are real places and that there is a loving God who wants us to live with Him forever, logically you have nothing to lose by choosing to make Jesus your savior. 

If Christians are wrong and you are right, you’ll simply cease to exist when life leaves your body.

However, if you’re wrong and Christians are right, you have all eternity to lose. And that’s a whole lot for a very, very long time. 

If you’ve never made the decision to let Jesus into your life, there’s no better time to do it than right now. 

Pray to Jesus, asking Him to forgive your sins where you’ve fallen short (because we all have) and letting him become Lord of your life. 

Proclaim that Jesus is the Son of God, then connect with a Bible-believing church where you can get baptized and begin the journey of learning more about what it means to be a follower of Christ.

Heaven

Then, the answer of where you’ll spend eternity will be settled. You can rest easy knowing that you’ll live forever with God. 

We don’t know many specifics about what eternity in Heaven will be like, but we can be certain that the experience will be far better than anything we can imagine. 

So, don’t just wonder about eternity. Make plans to secure your place with God by accepting Jesus as your savior today.

The American Dream – Is It God’s Will?

Freedom…that’s what’s at the heart of the American dream. As Americans, we’re granted the opportunity to pursue our desires. We have the liberty to live where we want to live, to work where we choose, to drive the kind of car we want, and to buy the latest fashions and walk around in style. Compared to many countries around the world, Americans have it pretty easy.

In fact, society actually compels us to pursue our freedoms. It’s practically un-American if we don’t demand our freedom and our rights to do as we please and live how we want (so long as we’re within the law, of course). 

However, is the American dream really God’s will? Does He support the great push for the individual freedoms that we’re guaranteed under our constitution? These are difficult questions to answer for sure. 

The essence of the American dream is rooted more in the rights of the individual than it is for the good of the whole. We are taught from a young age that it is our right in this country to be able to live as we so choose. It’s all about liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

However, you find a different kind of freedom mentioned in the Bible. We’re told that by becoming Christians, we’re then free from sin. Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” 

Sin is what enslaves us, and by accepting Christ into our lives, we break free from the shackles of sin and death. 

This is a far different idea of freedom than what the average American spends their days dreaming about. While there is nothing inherently wrong with aspiring to live one’s life as you want, God tells us that true freedom is only found in Jesus, and that His freedom will make us alive again.

In thinking about the Biblical idea of freedom, we have to take into consideration the idea of strengthening the church (the body of Christ) through our actions.

Rather than living solely to better ourselves and to amass as many belongings as possible during our lifetime, the Bible instructs us to love others, help others, and build up the body of Christ. 

A few verses later in the same chapter of Galatians we are told, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

So, the freedom that we’ve gained through Christ is to be used to help our fellow man—not just for enriching our own lives. 

How often do we stop to think about our lives in these terms? Do we really take into account the welfare of our neighbors and value it as highly as we value our own freedom to live as we want?

I have a hard enough time grasping the whole concept of freedom in Christ, let alone figuring out how to use it to build up my next-door neighbor. Yet, that is exactly what we’re called to do as believers in Christ.

The goal is to lift up those around us, so that we’re all better off than we would have been otherwise. When we spend all our resources on ourselves, we end up contrary to the will of God, and quite often lonely and empty in the process. 

I’m talking largely to myself here, because I have been guilty of far too much self-focus for much of my life. If all I do is see how many toys I can buy, I’m not really accomplishing anything with the resources that God has entrusted to me.

Those around me, as well as myself, would be better off if I instead used my time, energy, and other resources to spread the word about the freedom found in Christ. 

That is true, Jesus-style freedom.

Thoughts On a Chaotic World

It seems like the whole world has gone crazy. 

All you have to do is turn on the news and you see people acting out in outlandish ways that would have been unheard of a few years ago. Gone is the semblance of any respect for law enforcement officers. They are berated, yelled at, and insulted without any thought that these people in uniform are human beings just like the agitators, with families of their own. 

They are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. A generation ago, I don’t think we would have dreamed of treating police officers that way. The police were looked up to as symbols of authority. 

Maybe we didn’t like the idea of police patrolling the highways, setting up speed traps, and writing tickets, but we respected them nonetheless as those placed into positions of authority to help maintain and enforce the laws, the tenets of our democratic society. 

All that seems to be gone these days, however. It’s sad to think that today’s children are seeing such a gross display of rebellion. There is certainly nothing wrong with protesting and having your point of view heard, but what we’re seeing from today’s professional (and paid) protesters is nothing short of anarchy. 

If one of these paid mercenaries were a victim of a violent crime—an assault or worse yet, a rape—these same police officers would be some of first responders on the scene to give aid and find the perpetrator. But none of that is taken into consideration, as ACAB (All Cops Are B******S) and should be treated as such.

It’s hard to watch really. I can’t help but think all that we’re seeing today is bringing us one step closer to the end times and the return of Jesus. To be truthful, I hope the rapture comes soon, before things get too much worse. 

Of course, only the Father knows when that time is, and He had all this planned out before time began. Reading the Bible, we learn that things are supposed to get chaotic before that time comes, so it’s not surprising that it seems that the world is falling apart at the seams. 

I just wonder how much worse it will get before we see His return. Already, we’re seeing stories and images on the news that I’ve only ever seen in other countries. Explosions, fires, riots, violence, whole city blocks taken over by protesters—chaos here in the U.S. that makes it appear that no one is in control of anything. 

How much more can the country take before there is total anarchy? It makes me wonder if there is a grand plan behind all this madness. Is there someone or a group of someones who is pulling the strings and managing the chaos? 

Or is it just a result of generations brought up to resent those in control, coupled with the isolation and boredom brought about by a global pandemic? It surely has been the perfect storm these past few months, bringing our nation to the tipping point of hatred, agitation, and violence.

Will things die down after the Presidential election, no matter who wins? Of course, no one knows the answer to that question—or do they? Will the grand orchestration of chaos come to an end if a new President is elected? Is that what this is all about? 

Perhaps the plan is to make the country appear to be in such a terrible state under the current administration that the only solution is to vote the President out and bring in a new face. 

If that is the truth, then only a select few know that. The general public is certainly not privy to that kind of knowledge, although many of us can certainly wonder about it and question out loud if that is the plan.

Whatever the truth and whatever the outcome of the election, it will be interesting to see how the country responds afterward. We’ll have to see if the protests and violence die down if Biden is elected, or if they perhaps heighten if Trump is re-elected. 

Only time will tell. In the meantime, all most of us can do is simply sit by and watch the madness like spectators in the stands of some huge game.

Make the Most Important Decision of Your Life

… so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:10-11

There’s not much in life that you can count on with certainty, except for death and taxes as they say. 

However, as surely as we’ll die and as surely as we’ll be taxed by the government, there is something else that we can be certain of—and it’s that every single one of us will acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.

You don’t have to agree with that statement; however, you’ll still be wrong. Even if you don’t believe in what the Bible says, it doesn’t make it any less true. 

As I pointed out in a recent post about salvation, if the Christian is wrong and you’re right about what happens after we die, then you’ve lost nothing. 

However if the Christian is correct about the afterlife and you’re wrong, you’ve lost a whole lot. So, just using plain old logic and nothing else, it’s better to err on the side with the least possible loss.

Therefore, with the thought in mind that every human being who has ever lived will someday confess that Jesus is Lord and came in the flesh as God’s Son—what do you choose to believe today?

The real question is this: Will you choose to accept Christ as Lord now while you can of your own free will?

Or will you do it when Jesus comes back to earth—though not by choice but by submission and fearful respect paid to the almighty God?

The choice is yours as to when you acknowledge that Jesus came as God in the flesh, was crucified for your sins, and was resurrected by the Father.

I hope that you’ll make that choice now, willingly. 

Because, if not, when you do recognize Christ as Lord, it will be too late for you. The time will have expired and your eternal destiny will already have been sealed—a destiny forever cut off from God and His everlasting love.

Today—right now—it’s not too late. Accept Jesus into your heart as Lord. Acknowledge your sin and brokenness, and ask Him for forgiveness.

Repent and make a change in your life to live in service to Jesus—loving God and doing good to others.

Don’t wait to make a decision as important as eternity. 

You don’t have to be perfect to become a Christian. That’s what Jesus is for. He wants you right now, just as you are. He’ll work on you later on, forming you into the person He wants you to become. 

Pray and ask him into your life, acknowledging him as your Savior and the only true path to God the Father. Works won’t get you into Heaven; only faith in Jesus will. 

And today, you still have that choice. Tomorrow may be too late.