Sunday, July 27, 2014

The World Beyond This World

Two caterpillars were crawling across a hot sidewalk when a butterfly flew over them. One caterpillar said to the other, "I wouldn't get up there in that thing for a million dollars!" It's hard for a caterpillar to envision its future as a butterfly. It’s also hard for us in this life to envision what life will be like in the next world.

There is a life beyond this life and a world beyond this world, which will last for all eternity. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). After you spend a few brief moments in this world, you’ll then spend the rest of your eternal existence in the afterlife. Yet, everything in this life will determine what happens in the next life. Click on the links to read more about heaven.

1. To go to heaven when you die, you must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord during this life (John 1:12, Rom 10:13). Salvation is a free gift and is offered to all, but it must be received by faith. Those who reject Jesus will spend eternity separated from Him and His kingdom.

2. Heaven will be far better than this world and filled with joy and excitement (Phil. 1:23, Psalm 16:11, Rev. 21:4). “Those who believe in Him will not be disappointed” (1 Peter 2:6).

3. Those who are saved will have assignments in heaven, which will be privileges like eternal hobbies. “And there shall be no more curse…and His servants shall serve Him” (Rev. 22:3). The fact that we will be serving Him forever means He will have assignments for us. Heaven would be "hell" if we had nothing to do forever! After you are saved, your faithfulness with your earthly responsibilities will determine the eternal rewards you will receive and the assignments you will be doing in the next life (Matt. 25:21, 23, 1 Cor. 3:13-15).

Never forget that we are just passing through this place. You only get one shot at living on planet earth, so make it count. “Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2).

BIBLE STUDY: Do you understand why we must be judged? Click on this link: “If God forgives our sins, then why do we have to face the judgment?”

Watch this AMAZING VIDEO of a Ian McCormack who died and went to heaven. Ian is a former atheist and is now a pastor in England.

Want to know more about how you can prepare for the next life? Much more information is in my book Making Today Count for Eternity. (Available in paperback and e-book)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
Thank you to all who support this discipleship ministry. 
Contributions to Making Life Count Ministries are tax-deductible.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Ark of the Covenant

You’re probably seen the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. Have you ever wondered why God told Moses to make the Ark of the Covenant? Hebrews 9:4 tells us “the Ark of the Covenant (was) covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tablets of the covenant.” Each thing represented something about God.

The tablets of the Ten Commandments that Moses received on Mount Sinai = God’s Law
The jar of manna from the wilderness = God’s provision
Aaron’s rod that miraculously budded = God’s miracles. Aaron was the first high priest who would represent Israel before God.
The cover (or lid) of the Ark was called the mercy seat = God’s mercy.
The mercy seat had two golden cheribum (angels) with outstretched wings = God’s presence. The Ark was the connection between God in heaven and man on earth.

One day out of the year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and would sprinkle blood on the top of the Ark of the Covenant—the mercy seat. The mercy seat was over the tablets of the Ten Commandments, which were inside the Ark. When people sinned the Law was broken, which required God’s judgment. But when the blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat, this act demonstrated that the blood activated God’s mercy, and that mercy triumphed over judgment (James 2:13). Without the blood there would be no mercy.

The Ark in the Old Testament was an object lesson to teach us about Christ’s redemption in the New Covenant. We have all broken God’s Law and need forgiveness. Immediately after Jesus died on the cross, He took His blood into the Holy of Holies in heaven and placed it on the Mercy Seat to obtain eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:11-12). Now salvation is available to everyone who will receive Jesus Christ as their Lord. For more on the Ark, read the sermon “Don’t Touch That Ark!” and Where is the Ark of the Covenant today?

NEW STUDY: Where is the Ark of the Covenant today? The Ark disappeared from the tabernacle in 587 B.C.  In 1981, three rabbis claimed they found it under the Temple Mount. This study includes a video of their discovery! MUST WATCH

SERMON: “Don’t Touch that Ark!” Why did God kill Uzzah for touching the Ark? This message shows how need to learn from his mistake.
Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
Thank you to all who support this discipleship ministry. 
Contributions to Making Life Count Ministries are tax-deductible.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Have You Been Brainwashed?

Webster's dictionary defines brainwashed as "to indoctrinate so intensely and thoroughly as to effect a radical transformation of beliefs and mental attitudes." When we hear the word "brainwashed," we normally think of a commune of people who can't think for themselves because they’re in a cult.  They blindly follow the orders of their domineering leader whose chief aim is to be exalted and control others.

But what about the not-so-obvious forms of brainwashing? Is it possible the news media and other TV programs are trying to brainwash their viewers by slandering those who don't line up with their agenda?  When a girl in high school is pressured to compromise her beliefs to be popular, isn't that also a form of brainwashing? Can it even happen in legalistic churches? Here are some common denominators in brainwashing:
1) Following a leader primarily out of fear of upsetting him 
2) Feeling pressured to think or act a certain way
3) Being belittled if you don't to conform
4) The loss of spiritual joy and freedom
5) Feeling guilty, even when you haven’t done anything wrong
6) Not growing closer to the Lord in spite of being highly involved in the organization
God has called us to freedom, not bondage (Gal. 5:13). Jesus told His disciples, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). If you’re not free, you are not experiencing the truth.

But I'd like to present a different idea about being brainwashed. Our minds are unclean and we need to have them washed!  Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse our guilty consciences and set us free. "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14).

Although Jesus shed His blood 2,000 years ago, He can cleanse your mind with His blood today "through the eternal Spirit" who transcends time. Do you need your brains washed? Get honest with God, admit your sins to Him, and the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

When did Satan enter Judas? Did the devil enter him once or twice?
What does “poor in spirit”mean?  It’s not about your finances!

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
Thank you to all who support this discipleship ministry. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Blessing Those Who Sneeze?

Not long ago I was in a meeting when someone sneezed. Three people said, “God bless you!”
Have you ever wondered why people say “God bless you” after someone sneezes? It’s even weirder when someone speaks the German word “Gesundheit.” We’ve learned to bless people who sneeze because we were taught growing up that it’s the polite thing to do.

So where did this idea come from? The custom of blessing people who sneezed goes back to the Dark Ages when people believed that sneezing was expelling a demon from one’s body. Speaking God’s blessing supposedly prevented the evil spirit from re-entering the person. Pope Gregory the Great popularized the “sneeze blessing” to ward off the bubonic plague, where sneezing was a symptom of the disease. Of course, blessing the sneezer is a superstition and the practice is not found in the Bible.

It just goes to show that we often do things out of tradition and never think, “WHY am I doing this?” Even in church we can follow the traditions of men instead of God’s Word. If you try to break the man-made tradition to follow a new way where God is leading, some people will protest, “We’ve never done it that way before!”

The Pharisees revered their traditions over God’s Word. Jesus rebuked them, “And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matt. 15:3). Jesus never said to bless those who sneeze, but He did say, Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you(Luke 6:28). That’s the command we need to obey, not the other.

The Sure Cure for Worry proves that GOD IS IN CONTROL and you can trust Him to take care of the things that worry you.

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174
Thank you to all who support this discipleship ministry.