Friday, February 25, 2011

Will I Live Forever?

“These perishable bodies of ours are not able to live forever. But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed.” -1 Corinthians 15:50–51

Most people are looking for the fountain of youth. They want the wrinkles, age spots, and the years to disappear. Everyone’s attempt is to slow down the aging process and somehow retain our youth. While everyone has the thought of living forever, no one can slow down death. James 4:14 compares the shortness of this earthly life to a vapor - here for a moment then gone as quickly as it came. Everyone wants eternal life void of problems, pain, and persecution. Eternal life, especially when considered good, is very appealing. But will we live forever? The answer is “yes” and “no.”

Will our bodies live forever? No. All of our bodies will one day cease to breath, move, and exist. But the real us, the spirit and soul, will last forever. The Bible says that mortality will one day put on immortality and that death will be swallowed up in victory because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross (1 Corinthians 15:54-57). Everyone has a soul. The soul is the seat of the emotions, will, desire, and personality. Vainly and uselessly the quest for immortality these days is wrapped around the body, not the soul. It is hard to sometimes accept the fact that our life in this body will one day be over. If you haven’t yet, you’ll wake up one day and realize that more life is behind you than in front of you. A better question than, “Will I live forever?” is “Where will I live forever?”

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15: 50-51 that our perishable bodies will not live forever. But there is good news that is better than any cream, shot, surgery, or procedure to mask aging. This eternal beauty secret, Paul said, was one God had already revealed to us. We will not all die but will be transformed! Yes, our bodies die (Ecclesiastes 3:2) and we will get new glorified bodies after death (Philippians 3:20-21), but our soul and spirit live eternally (Romans 6:23; John 11:25). It was Benjamin Franklin that said, “In this world two things are certain, death and taxes” (it seems like death by taxes these days). The good news about death for the believer is that it brings instant eternal heaven. 2 Corinthians 5:8 says the instant Christians are absent from this body we are present with the Lord. For the unbeliever, death brings eternal hell (Matthew 25:41).

Christ’s resurrection broke the power of death for those who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15:57, Isaiah 25:8). Death is no longer master over them (Romans 6:9). Paul quotes Hosea 13:14 when he questions death’s sting and power over the Christian. If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ and have asked Him to forgive you of your sin, the Bible teaches that when you die, you will go instantly into the presence of God in heaven - instant immortality and eternity (Romans 8:9-11). God’s promise to you is life eternally and life during life (John 10:10). Those in Christ should not be afraid of death because it is first step in eternity and immortality for those who have entered through the Door of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” (John 10:9).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Preparation is the Key

Preparation is the key to any success. I heard a great quote about success. It says, “preparation precedes performance.” This is so true! Before you hit the stage of performance in anything, you have to make sure you have done all the necessary preparation or you’ll fall flat on your face. Whether it is your marriage, family, job, or anything else, we must remember the words of Paul in Galatians 6:7 and 9, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Did you hear that? You will reap a harvest – you will have success if your efforts are in line with God’s scripture and character. It did not say, “don’t become weary in doing evil.” When you do that, you will surely fail – every time! You will reap what you sow - good or bad. If you have sown little - you will reap little. If you have sown greatly, you will reap greatly. Those who prepare and do the good things the Lord’s way will succeed. Don’t give up in your preparation for you will reap a harvest!

How do you prepare for success? It starts behind closed doors. Another one of my favorite sayings is that “champions are made in the off season.” Remember the off season of whatever sport you played? You didn’t just take it easy. Hopefully you paid the price so that when the season came around you were ready for victory. While others took it easy and relaxed, you had “future victory” in mind. Time spent with the Lord is the key to preparing for anything. You can remember your anniversary and romance your mate as much as you want, but if you forget to spend time with the Lord to allow Him to shape you and mold you in the image and character of Christ, you’ll come up short. You can go to all the ballgames and recitals you want but if you stop praying for your kids, you’ll come up short. You can be on time and give 110% for work every day but if you neglect to honor the Lord in your job and use it for Him, you’ll come up short. God always prepares us before He works through us. He prepares us as we spend time with Him - there is no other way.

Remember how David defeated Goliath? What a victory! But behind the victory was David’s experience as he killed the lion and the bear. In fact, 1 Samuel 17:36 says he killed many lions and bears. Lots of practice and preparation. Did he know one day he’d face Goliath? Probably not. Was he glad he prepared? You bet! He faced and killed the giant by preparing before the battle even began. What about you? How are you preparing today for tomorrow’s battles? How is God preparing you for greatness? Remember another great quote - “The sweat of preparation will keep you from the blood of battle.” It worked for David. How about you? Spend time with the Lord and let Him prepare the way He chooses for you.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How To Have A Miserable Life

"So Lot rushed out to tell his daughters' fianc├ęs, "Quick, get out of the city! The Lord is about to destroy it." But the young men thought he was only joking." - Genesis 19:14

Living for God and the world at the same time is impossible. It is the fastest way I know to have a miserable life. It's kind of like a soldier who doesn't know what side to fight for. Instead of choosing sides, he puts on pieces of both army's uniform, marches out to battle and gets shot at from both sides! When you attempt to live a life for God and the world simultaneously you end up compromising. Lot compromised. He lived in a terribly wicked city called Sodom. Eventually, he even became a leader in this city. God was going to judge the people of Sodom for its sin. Lot wised up and went to tell his son-in-laws to leave the city because judgment was coming, but they didn't know whether to believe him or not. Lot lived a compromised life and those closest to him just thought he was joking around about the Lord since his lifestyle had always reflected that. Lot had no witness to them and because of it they died in Sodom's judgment. Lot was saved only at the request of Abraham's prayer (Genesis 19:29). Lot straddled the fence of righteousness and wickedness far too long and paid for it with a great price - the loss of most of his family. Straddling the fence hurts! You can stop straddling the fence and get over those things that so easily trip you up with the Lord's help.

What about you? Are you living a life of compromise? Can others tell what you live for? Can they say, "This guy is definitely the real thing. His actions live up to his belief." Maybe you are getting weaker spiritually. Have you become comfortable with certain sins that used to make you instantly turn to the Lord for forgiveness? Are you more tolerant of evil than ever before? Are you less interested in spiritual matters today than before? Like Lot, do your words have no effect on those who do not know the Lord because of your compromised life? James 1:23-24 says," Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."

When you compromise, you can't pull others up. You'll only pull them down. I pray you return again to your first love and bury the sin and compromise surrounding your life. Your life will be miserable until you sell out completely to Christ and allow Him to be Lord of your life. Then your life will be filled with joy as you wholeheartedly follow Jesus.