Make Plans to Attend…

When a big event occurs, the promoter usually sends out marketing literature that reminds us to “Make Plans to Attend . . ..” Obviously, this is for their benefit and yours. Planning your calendar in advance is a good way to make sure you don’t miss critical activities or events.

What’s this simple observation have to do with my blog? Simply put, I think the Bible is God’s way of telling us to “Make Plans to Attend Heaven.” If you fail to plan accordingly today, there will be no second chance when He comes to get us tomorrow (and that’s a VERY CRITICAL EVENT!).

Make Plans to Attend Heaven today – ask for His forgiveness and receive Jesus in your heart today (click here:  http://whativaluemost.com/Discover.aspx) . If you already have Jesus in your life, then take time to talk to Him, I think He misses us when we don’t talk to him.  “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17).

If you want more detailed reading about planning in your life, continue reading below, otherwise stop here, and Thanks for reading!

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How does this activity of planning compare with what the Bible teaches? The Bible is VERY clear in James 4:13-17 when it mentions that planning your life is really a waste (my interpretation), because “you do not know what tomorrow will bring” (James 4:14). In Proverbs, we find “the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Pro. 16:9).

Furthermore, the Bible is also very clear that the LORD plans your ways: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:11a).

So, if an atheist was to employ this Scripture, he may convince a man to stop planning his life, and be more spontaneous. Sounds legitimate and Biblical to me!

So am I here to tell you to forget planning and be spontaneous in 2016? No, absolutely not. Yet, I’m still going to preach by the Word. Proverbs 15:22 states “without counsel plans fail, but with many advisors they succeed.” Psalm 20:4 states “May God give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with worldly views that conflict with Biblical teachings. Sometimes these views utilize pieces and parts of Scripture to convince people that they are “right.” Don’t let yourself be fooled into worldly thinking. Instead . . . observe the world, research the Bible, pray for understanding, and as the 1990’s would say WWJD?

It’s bitterly cold out there!

After a week of cold temperatures in Greenville, some people have decided that they are just not cut out for cold weather. On the other hand, some have decided that it’s “not that bad.” I was in the latter category until just hours ago.

With the wind chills in the single digits, I was cold, but not necessarily overwhelmed by the colder than normal temperatures. That all changed yesterday evening as I went outside in the -20 degree wind chill. In addition to the biting cold, the high winds which blew sleet and frozen snow into my face did a great job of convincing me that I’m done with cold winters. I’d rather move even further south to avoid the biting cold of northern winter air.

However, none of this has anything to do with us being Christian. Except one thing: the exact opposite. You see there will be a day in the future (actually an eternity of days) when those that fail to accept the Lord will have to endure similarly unpleasant times. Truth is – they won’t have to endure biting cold temperatures, but instead, they will endure fiercely boiling temperatures in the lake of fire as described in the book of Revelation.

Now first of all, I don’t know why anyone would want to live (and choose to live) in such a northern climate where they have to endure biting cold winters. However, they can choose to bundle up, stay out of the cold, stay indoors, and a variety of other methods to stay warm.

Yet, those in the future will have no option afforded to them to avoid the lake of fire. That choice must come now, while they are on earth. The choice to choose Jesus (and Heaven) versus choosing satan (and Hell) is really not a hard choice to make. The problem is, most people don’t make an “active” choice. They think by putting off the choice until sometime later in life, that they have avoided making a choice. “I’ll think about it” – they say. Unfortunately, that’s a major problem. Because you see, it’s not a matter of choosing Jesus or satan. It’s a matter of accepting Jesus or failing to accept Him. By not accepting the Lord, one has rejected Him (which is choosing satan by default).

Don’t let someone you know fail to make the right choice now, while they still have time!

History – does it repeat?

Someone once said “History repeats itself.” Since then, many people have modified the quote into a variety of forms; George Bernard Shaw stated “If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.”

We all know intuitively that while knowing history may be beneficial, it does not repeat itself. Some of you would probably still disagree; therefore, I’ve put together some proof for you:

1)      Man and earth were only created one time*

2)      Noah only saved the animals once (only one flood – a promise from God in Genesis 9:11)

3)      Jesus was only born once, crucified once, resurrected once; He is only returning one time to gather Christians worldwide

Ok, maybe still some skeptics . . .

4)      There was only one American Revolution

5)      Technology doesn’t regress to historical levels

6)      You can’t go back in time and repeat a day of your life

Despite how hard we claim that knowing history is beneficial so that we don’t repeat it, we just can’t repeat it, no matter what we do. It’s not going to happen. Therefore, we don’t need to study history! (Can you tell I’m not a history buff?)

That said, we MUST study history! Why? Not so we don’t repeat it, but so that we can learn from it.

For example:

1)      Jesus died for us

2)      He told us He is coming back for us

3)      Our lives before Christ were corrupt and we must change for the better

If we didn’t know what happened in the past, we couldn’t predict the future. While history will not repeat, it does forecast what may and will happen in the future. Jesus came (historically) to tell us about a day in the future that God will create a new Heaven and new earth* (ok, so some things repeat themselves – sort of).

This new Heaven and earth is a place where God “will dwell with [men] and they shall be His people… God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be nor more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3-5 NKJV).

Unfortunately, some people will never learn from history and they will continue their wicked ways. They shall “have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev 21:8). Do you know anyone that needs to learn from history and the knowledge of the future?

* Genesis 1 describes the first creation of Heaven, earth, and man.

1 Corinthians 15:40-49 describes the future resurrected body (man).

Revelation 21:1-2 describes the new Heaven and new earth replacing the first.

Locked out!

Ever get this message: “Your account has been locked out!”

Most employers now install some amount of security on their company computers; this software then requires you to log on. And with most companies, your password changes about every 30 days, causing you to either keep endless amounts of password lists (which are normally forbidden), or causing the unfortunate and infrequent message of being locked out of your account after you’ve forgotten your password. Of course, a similar message can be received from any website that requires your password once you’ve incorrectly logged on a number of times.

Even though this is a common and accepted practice among security departments worldwide, there is one very secure site that has no “lock-out” feature. Once you get invited to the site, there is no password. The only requirement is that you accept the invitation to gain access, and pass security.

Considering all the sites worldwide that have been created by genius IT professionals, this site still reigns supreme in terms of security and access. There is no way to “hack in” to it, despite your technical ability. And once in, you’ll never get locked out again.

In fact, there is no 1-800-number to call for help. There is simply a prayer of a salvation that grants access to Heaven, the most secure and ultimate site that you will ever want to enter.

The process is a simple one. And although some people will simply say going to Heaven is easy, it’s not the way everyone thinks. For example, do you think that believing in God will get you into Heaven? The problem with this thought is that the Bible does not say this is how to get to Heaven. In fact, the devil, satan, believes in God, but I’m confident that he won’t be in Heaven EVER again!

So what does the Bible say about being locked out, or invited into Heaven?

It can be found in Romans or John, or a variety of other books.

First, admitting that we need God is the first step (most denominations refer to this as confessing or admitting our sins (1 John 1:9, Romans 3:23, 6:23) The second part involves the belief – believing that Jesus is the Son of God and died to pay for our sins (John 3:16, Romans 5:6-8, John 8:24). The last and final part involves in declaring that we will follow Him (confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives)(Romans 10:8-10).

These three steps are summarized in Baptist Belief as the “ABCs”:

1)      Admit you are a sinner

2)      Believe in Jesus as the Son of God and that He died for us

3)      Confess Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life

While this opens the door to Heaven, I believe a 4th step is imperative. And if we follow Baptist Doctrine, it therefore must start with a D to be the “ABCD’s” of being a Christian. The fourth step is to “DO” what God commands. Sure, you have secured your life in Heaven if you have done step s 1 through 3. But if you truly have done step 3, confessing him as “Lord” of your life, then step 4 is just a follow up and reminder that you will DO what God says to do.

Don’t be locked out of Heaven! Admit your need for God, accept Jesus into your life, and get free access for the rest of your life to what Jesus has prepared for you in Heaven. Once you become a child of God, there is no account for you to be locked out of. Why? It’s on account of Jesus that you made it in to begin with. You don’t hold an account, Jesus holds it for you, and He has paid it in full!

Camping: how do you like your tent?

What do you think about living in a tent?

As a camper, I love the great outdoors. I love nature, the sights and sounds, and especially the fresh air. But I really hate it when it rains and leaks inside the tent. I moan and groan, and am really an unhappy wet camper. I dread having to soak up drips, dry off supplies, pack-up wet items, and then take them back out and set them back up at home to dry out. It’s really a nuisance to me.

But to think that in the days of Moses, a tent was considered a pretty luxurious item to have in the desert. In fact, throughout Exodus 35-40, we can read about the beautiful portable tabernacle (tent) that was constructed for the Lord to fill (Exodus 40:34-38).

So, is a tent really that bad? (Consider first that the Lord’s Tabernacle tent was constructed of wood, animal skins, and outfitted with beautiful apparel, bronze, silver, and gold. Now that sounds pretty nice!)

In 2 Corinthians 5, we find that Paul refers to our bodies as “tents.” He also mentions that living in our tents (bodies) causes us to “groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Cor 5:2). Do you moan about your body?

My guess is that you do. BUT, do you moan because you would rather have a better body? Are you wanting that “perfect” body advertised by the world? Or is it because you want your resurrected body given by Christ?tent

It’s not abnormal to be ashamed of or to want to improve your “looks.” In fact, it is a good thing to have a desire to want to improve your health, not only for your and your family’s sake, but because your tent/body is God’s dwelling place (1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19, 2 Cor 6:16, Ezekial 36:27, 2 Tim 1:14, Romans 8:9-11) . [I always told the youth – if the Bible repeats something over and over, it must be extremely important.]

How important is it to you to be reminded that God dwells inside your living tent? Is there anything we should do differently knowing that? Is it raining on your tent where God resides, and do you need to repair some leaks?

 

note: pic borrowed from http://devotionalonjesus.blogspot.com/2010/04/4910-2-corinthians-51-5-more-than-tent.html?

God’s house is Beautiful, so yours will be also!

Today, I felt led to speak about the glory of Heaven. In Exodus 25, we read how God described the design for the Ark of the Covenant, God’s Sanctuary, the Golden Lampstands, and more. As we read about the pure gold and special construction methods that God explained was necessary, I realized that these directions are to ensure that the “home” for God’s glory is perfect. “Exactly as I show you…, so you shall make it” (Exodus 25:9).

I believe that just as Jesus is preparing for us a place in Heaven, that He also is making sure that the home He is preparing for us is just as perfect (John 14:2-3, Revelation 21:18-23). God has called us righteous because what Jesus did for us on the cross (2 Cor 5:21); therefore, our heavenly bodies should also be provided a glorious place to spend eternity.

Will you get to experience Heaven?  (John 3:3) You have the opportunity if you accept Jesus in your life.

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”Romans 10:13

Hmmm, it’s pretty neat how these little revelations are revealed to us. I first started reading the Bible in 1994, and now 20 years later, I still discover little nuggets of truth and understanding that many times I don’t even remember reading in the past. I love how God has made the Bible a Living Word from Him (Hebrews 4:12), revealed to us, only when we are ready to understand.

800 sf apartment for rent

Even if an apartment is for sale with 800sf, more than likely most of us aren’t going to jump at the “opportunity.” I’ve lived in a small apartment for almost 8 months, and they get smaller over time – trust me!

little_placeThankfully, we don’t have to worry about where we will live in our next life. Jesus told us in John 14:2-3 (KJV) that “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Many people interpret this to mean that in Heaven we will have large houses/mansions where we will abide forever. However, I don’t believe this.

Yet, I do believe that Jesus is preparing a place for us.

So, how do I reconcile these two thoughts?

First, I don’t think Jesus is interested in having a big beautiful mansion for us, where we go in, and just sit down at night, watch TV, veg out, or whatever we do currently. Even if we came out during the day to worship Him, I don’t think this is His plan. (And it’s definitely not His plan to have us come out only on Sundays to worship).

Having a single house for each person just doesn’t make sense, and doesn’t match with what the rest of the Bible has to say about Heaven. The Bible also mentions that “families” will not exist as they do on earth (Matthew 22:30 “For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect, they will be like angels in Heaven.”) Note that I didn’t say you won’t see your “family;” remember, Christians are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ.

Secondly, Jesus mentions that He is going to prepare a place, will return, and then we will be received “unto” Him. This implies that the place is more of a physical presence with Jesus (see also John 14:3 “That where I am, there ye may be also.”) Thus, mansions may refer to more of an abstract medium in Heaven that we just don’t understand in our limited human capacity.

The Bible does describe a Holy City descending out of Heaven (Rev 21:10), having the glory of God, with precious stones like Jasper and clear as crystal (Rev 21:11), foundations of jasper, sapphire, emerald, topaz, and more (Rev 21:19-20), pearly gates and streets of transparent gold (Rev 21:21).

Heaven is a real place, and someday Christians everywhere will be called up by Jesus. It won’t be an 800sf apartment, and it won’t be a mansion like we may have been taught as children, but Heaven will be a beautiful place that we can all adore; praising God eternally for what He has done, is doing, and will continue to do in our lives.

Belief in miracles

Some people have had the opportunity to see a miracle first hand in their life. Others have merely heard about them and don’t really know how far to believe them.
For me, it’s pretty simple to believe in them.  I’ve seen a few first hand in my life:

1) I was saved from drowning by an angel when I was 18

2) God gave us Wesley after the doctor’s had given up on our “family.”

3) The feeding of “5,000” at Big Sandy Baptist Church when little pasta fed the whole church during a spaghetti youth dinner.

This past week, the nation heard the story of 78 year old Walter Williams come to life, after being pronounced dead hours earlier. With no pulse, he was declared officially dead by the coroner on-site at his home Wednesday evening. Hours later, the funeral home found him kicking to get out of the body bag he was placed in. Now, “Snowball” Williams, so nicknamed after being born in a snowstorm years ago, is stable in the local hospital, and family is celebrating what the coroner now calls a miracle.

Some might say this is proof that the saying “you don’t have a snowball’s chance in …” doesn’t hold water.

Snowball beat all odds when it comes to defying death. But rest assured, we all have the opportunity to beat death. After Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we now have the opportunity for eternal life.

We may not be resurrected here on earth, but I’m fine with that. I would rather be resurrected in Heaven where I will be in the presence of the Lord Almighty.

20 . . . our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20-21 NIV)

 

A vacation like no other!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to tour the world. I went to India, then China and Brazil, to France, and on to Canada, then Mexico, and returned home to the USA.  Well, actually, I didn’t visit any of those places for real. But I did get exposed to each of their cultures for a brief time during the Upstate’s International Kick-off for 2014.

Despite the fact that I never left Greenville, SC – for a short time I had the experience of being “there” as I toured each exhibit. The excitement of this type of trip, or even that of vacationing abroad, unfortunately, is only short lived. While we can have great memories of our time in another place, we know that when the experience is over we have to come back to “reality.”

Some people get – or “take” – the opportunity to make a good experience last longer by moving to another location indefinitely.  Ever been on a vacation so extravagant that you just wanted to stay there and never come home?

I think that’s what it will be like when we finally get to Heaven. While our trip there is not temporary, I can just imagine the environment and how welcoming and full of God’s shining light that it will be. It will be more than we could ever dream it to be, and the great thing is that we will have forever to explore it.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4 NIV)

Just imagine, a place without any more pain, a place without sin. A place built for us to focus 100% of our effort on our future with God.

Is THIS the END?

With all the talk about extreme weather, earthquakes, and diseases in the world, many are wondering: ‘Is this the end?’ …and the news about war torn countries and diverging politics contributes more to this uncertainty.

The Bible does truthfully predict the end of the world. In Matthew 24, Jesus speaks of wars, earthquakes, and plagues. In 2 Timothy 3, we find Paul preaching on many moral subjects that have already lapsed in our society such as love, pride, and respect. Other verses throughout the Bible will reflect actions that have already happened, or are soon to occur. But….

While we may feel the end is near, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

Honestly, if we truly think about it, it does not matter when the end comes. When it does, it will be too late anyway. We don’t know when it will be here, and we can’t predict it (and shouldn’t try).

Instead, we should be living for the moment – knowing that every minute counts.

Don’t worry about the future. In fact, if the end is near, we should if nothing else, celebrate! – for our reward will be upon us shortly.

In the meantime, let’s make sure that we continue to obey God.

Read His Bible: the instruction book, there WILL be a test!