Then What?

The older you get the faster life seems to go. Even if you live to be a hundred, that’s a blink in comparison to eternity. Years ago I listened to a preacher tell a story about a conversation he had with a high school student. He started by asking the young man what he was going to do after high school. He answered, “I’m going to college.”

“What are you going to do after college?” “Well”, he answered, “I guess I’ll find a job and go to work.”

“Then what will you do?” he asked. “I’ll probably get married and have a family.”

“Then what?” “I’ll probably have kids, take vacations and do family things.”

“Once you have raised your family, then what will you do?” “I guess I’ll retire. I’ll play golf, fish, hopefully have grandkids, and travel”.

“Then what?” the pastor asked.

Thinking for a couple seconds, he said “I guess I’ll die”.

“Then what?”…

Often we have long range goals. Usually we don’t have eternal goals starting out early in life. Long range goals may last 50, 60, or70 years. Eternal goals last forever. Jesus said “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for your selves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-20).

Getting into heaven is simply by trusting in Jesus as Savior. He died and rose again so that we could have life (spiritual). But how we live matters for now and for eternity. Where are you storing up your treasures? Life is short. Death is sure. Sin’s the cause. Christ’s the cure!

Check out new companion Assurance of Heaven Study Guide at https://assuranceofheaven.com/free-study-guide/. It can be downloaded for free for individual or group study.

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Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to journey with me as we explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security to all who believe the gospel.

Four Things the O.T. Law Cannot Do

Have you ever seen a sign that said, “Wet Paint Don’t Touch”? What’s the first thing that comes across your mind? If you are honest, I would say that most people think about touching it. How about “Don’t Walk on the Grass!” Makes you want to walk on the grass. We call it human nature. We’re curious. But we’re also rebellious.

The Bible says that law arouses the sinful passions (Rom. 7:5). Any law will do that; even one as simple as, “Don’t Touch Wet Paint.” The difference is this little sign has no penalty other than the potential of a little bit of paint on the end of your finger.

The Old Testament Law was more than Ten Commandments

God gave the law to Israel (Lev. 27:34). It was an indivisible unit. In other words it was more than the Ten Commandments. It had ceremonial rules. It had civil rules. And it had moral rules. Some say there is a total of 613 commands. They were enforceable because there were penalties for breaking them.

Four things the Law cannot do

1. It cannot save you from the penalty of sin, eternal condemnation. The law given to Moses was never a way of salvation (Rom 3:20). One would have to obey the whole law perfectly. “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).

2. It cannot justify anyone; “…for by the works of the law, no flesh shall be justified” (Gal. 2:16). Nobody can ever claim to have earned a righteous position by following the law.

3. It cannot make anyone perfect. “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect…” (Heb. 7:19).

4. It cannot give life to the spiritual dead nor can it produce life in the believer; “for the letter (Law) kills, but the Spirit gives life” (II Cor. 3:6). The law only brings death. It’s referred to as the ministry of death (II Cor. 3:7).

The Problem

The problem is not with the law, because it is holy, just, and good (Rom. 7:12). The problem is us. We can’t keep the law perfectly. We are sinners by nature and by practice. The law shows us our problem and leads us to the only solution – the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:20; Gal. 3:24).  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21).

To read more about what God did for you click here.

Are You Eating a Lot of Fast Food?

As we all know we live in a fast paced society.  Everything must be done fast which probably is the reason so many of us lack patience.  It seems that we are in a big hurry to get nowhere. And one of the fastest segments of our society is food.  Fast food wasn’t fast enough so they put in drive-thru lanes.  Now you don’t have to waste time getting out and going into the restaurant.  You can wait in an automobile line instead!  The point of all this is to say that our eating habits and customs have changed drastically in the last fifty years.

In Biblical times, preparing meals required time and effort.  To eat with someone was to be at peace with him.  It was fellowship. Isaac prepared a feast for Abimelech and his companions, establishing a good relationship between the two men who were previously at odds. (Gen 26:26-31) 

Jesus asks for a drink

In the New Testament Jesus met a Samaritan woman at the well and asked her for a drink.  This was quite unusual and she recognized this when she responded, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?  For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.” (John 4:9)  A simple drink of water would have suggested a friendly relationship existed between them. 

Jesus prepares a meal

But it was most significant that Jesus after His resurrection prepared a meal for His disciples.  He took bread and gave it to them and likewise the fish. (John 21:13)  And according to Luke, He ate in their presence. (Luke 24:43)  In our culture we miss the significance of this. When the religious leaders took Jesus into custody, “then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” (Matt 26:57)  This was not long after Peter and all of the disciples said to Jesus, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you.” (Matt 26:35)  So the meal certainly was an indication to them that they had been fully restored to fellowship with Him.  Can you imagine how they would have felt?

What about you?  Is there something you think that you have done that has disqualified your relationship with Him?  The disciples fled in fear and Peter denied Him three different times.  And yet they were restored to fellowship with Jesus.

Do you have the peace of God?

Once you are saved, you can never lose your relationship with the Lord. There’s nothing a believer can do to lose the peace you have with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). But sinful living can affect the peace of God in my life. Ongoing disobedience will cause me to lack joy and the peace of God (I John 1:4, 6). When I am going down the wrong road, God has not moved away from me. I have moved away from Him.

Fellowship with Jesus

All one needs to do is to change your mind (repent) about the direction you are heading. Confess it to the Lord and seek His power and help to correct it. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:6, 7).

God doesn’t remove the consequences of our sin. But He’s always willing to restore the fellowship in the relationship so that you can experience the peace of God. “If anyone hears His voice and opens the door, I (Jesus) will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). Now that’s fellowship, peace, and joy!

You can read more about this in Assurance of Heaven, chapter 9, Fellowship with God. Click here for more information about the book. Click here for a free study guide.

Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for all who have believed the gospel!

Memorial Day 2010

Early on Memorial Day 2010 I got one of those calls that we don’t want to get.  I was at work. My wife’s voice on the other end said, “I think your dad died.”  Well as the process of events unraveled over the next couple days you begin to hear the many stories of how he touched lives. Some were in a very good way and some not so good; like the time when he shot my grandfather in the posterior with a BB gun.  But you look back on his almost eighty-six years and see many blessings.

He was born on Flag day and died on Memorial Day. He came through WW II having fought at the battles of Normandy and Okinawa as a gunner on the Nevada, a naval battleship.  He made it through unharmed.  Would he say that the day the war was over was the best day of his life?  Or maybe he would say the day he married my mother, his wife of sixty-two years was the best day of his life.  What about the birth of his two sons? 

Though those are great days in all of our lives, I do not believe that any of those days come close to qualifying for the best day of his life.  I’m sure that my dad would tell you that Monday morning, Memorial Day of 2010, was the best day of his life.  Because he had received Christ as his Savior as a young man, Sunday night he went to sleep and on early Monday morning he awoke seeing the face of God – “I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness”  (Psalm 17:15).

All of us have physical life.  To state the obvious we get it at conception.  But we do not receive spiritual life until we come to the Lord Jesus and receive Him by faith.  That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 It is a spiritual birth. In Him (Jesus) was life and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4 He came – to give life – spiritual life;  “I have come that they may have life, …” John 10:10   

Our sin has separated us from the Lord. But Jesus gave His life, shedding His blood on the cross, and then three days later rose from the dead and offers forgiveness and eternal life to whosoever will come to Him by faith (John 3:16).

My father went into the very presence of God, not because the good things he did outweighed the bad things. No amount of good could ever remove the bad things. He is there because he recognized his sin problem. He had received God’s offer of salvation by faith.  There is no doubt in my mind that he would tell you, Memorial Day 2010, was the best day of his life. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” II Corinthians 9:15

For more about how to begin a relationship with God click here.

Thanks for stopping by. I invite you to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace and His promise of heaven to all who believe.

The Majesty of God’s Creation

This is my second blog in a series about God’s amazing creation. Thanks to a sister in the Lord for the ocean pictures and the amazing butterfly photo.

God’s creation is intended to impress us with His magnificence and eternal power (Rom. 1:20). Why do we get a sense of awe from seeing a mountain vista or a brilliant sunrise? It all points to His glory. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).

The butterfly is a picture of transformation. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind“. (Romans 12:2) The Greek word for ‘transform’ is ‘metamorphoo’. It’s similar to the English, metamorphosis. The caterpillar changes into a beautiful butterfly. We change into something beautiful when we surrender by faith to the Spirit of God through the word of God, day by day, moment by moment.

Are you worried?

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:25, 26)

You]visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it;
The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain,
For so You have prepared it.
You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows;
You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth. (Ps. 65:9, 10)

Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (I Chr. 16:33, 34)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:19)

God’s creation evidences His love for humanity. Read more about His love for you here.

Thank you for stopping by. It’s my hope that God’s word will encourage you during this difficult time that we all are facing.

How are You Spending your Time?

I remember walking with a friend at a local park on a beautiful spring day.  A man on a motorcycle rode by us on the entrance road. He promptly made a U-turn and exited the park. He was obviously taking a joy ride on a such a nice day.  Continuing our walk, we heard a fire whistle about fifteen to twenty minutes later in the distance. A couple days later I learned that the man on the bike was involved in an accident and fatally injured only a few minutes after we had seen him.

All of us have had experiences such as this.  It brings us into focus with our mortality. The world teaches us; “here today and gone tomorrow.”  But God instructs us; “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,  redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15, 16). Our time and how we spend it matters to God.

Life is Short

The Scriptures are very clear that this life is brief.  David asked of the Lord, “…make me to know my end, and what is the extent of my days, let me know how transient I am.  Behold, Thou hast made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing in Thy sight.” (Ps 39:4,5)  And again in Psalm 144 David describes our days “like a mere breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”(v. 4)

What are you living for?

Yet in our brevity the Lord desires us to do something of spiritual value for now and for eternity.  Jesus did not save us from our sin so that we might live life for ourselves.  He saved us so that we should serve Him in the newness of life. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Col 3:17)   You do it for the Lord by serving others in love (Gal 5:13,14). Not one of us knows the number of our days, and we could be in His presence sooner than we think. Your life and what you do with it matters to God!

Download the free Assurance of Heaven Study Guide. Although the study guide is designed to be used with the book and the Bible, the guide and the Bible will help anyone grow to a better understanding of salvation.

Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for anyone who believes the gospel.

Hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness

A friend recently sent me a Christian song that I never heard before. It was good. An old hymn was next on the list, Great is Thy Faithfulness. That particular day I needed to hear the words of that song. The author wrote it from the words of Jeremiah in the book of Lamentations; “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”(Lam. 3:22, 23)

The Jewish nation had been taken captive by the Babylonians. They no longer had control over their land nor their lives. Yet these words were spoken among such a devastating time when there seemed like there was no hope for them. But there was. In fact, Jeremiah acknowledges in the next verse; The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!(Lam. 3:24)

There is also hope for us. IT’S IN THE LORD AND HIS FAITHFULNESS. God is faithful even in the difficult moments and circumstances of life. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Heb. 13:5) Here are the words of the hymn written by Thomas O. Chisholm in 1923:

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; 
there is no shadow of turning with thee; 
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; 
as Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.


Refrain: 
Great is thy faithfulness! 
Great is thy faithfulness! 
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
all I have needed thy hand hath provided–
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!


2 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness 
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. [Refrain]


3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, 
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide, 
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! [refrain]

Be encouraged: Watch video of Great is Thy Faithfulness/Medley of This is Amazing Grace

YOUR MERCY O Lord, is in the heavens;
YOUR FAITHFULNESS reaches to the clouds.
 YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS is like the great mountains;
YOUR JUDGMENTS are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast. Psalm 36:5, 6

You are invited to follow with me as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace!

Danger on the High Seas

After my brother and I moved out of the house, my dad bought a boat.  My brother used it for water skiing and I used it for fishing.

On one of the fishing trips my two boys, their two friends, and a friend of mine were fishing a fairly large lake. The kids were young; seven to ten years old. My mother and wife were with us as observers. We were catching fish. At dusk as it got colder and began to drizzle, we decided it was time to go. There was only one other boat on the lake within sight. I hit the ignition and the boat wouldn’t start. The battery had died.

That’s the closest I ever came to being shipwrecked. When that boat wouldn’t start, my adrenaline started to flow. Frustrated, my mind began to spin. How are we going to get out of this? We weren’t about to perish, but for the captain of the boat (me) it became stressful. Kids were cold. The women were getting wet! Thankfully, by the grace of God, the only other boat that we could see helped us get back to the dock.

Danger on the high seas

What we experienced was nothing like what the apostle Paul experienced on his way to Rome. We had a dead battery. He was on a ship that was about to be torn apart by a hurricane. The crew undergirded it with cables (Acts 27:17). That action became known as frapping. They wrapped the ship with cables to help hold the timbers together so it wouldn’t be broken apart by the wind and the waves. It was a scary time for even seasoned sailors.

Do you have cables for the storm?

The Greek word for ‘cable’ is the same word used in Hebrews (4:16) for ‘help’. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help (cable) in time of need” (Heb. 4:15, 16). God’s grace and mercy will help us like those cables on a sinking ship.

Storms always come

When they began to sail the sea was calm. But not long afterward a tempestuous wind began to blow. Trouble came. And it lasted for quite some time – weeks! It’s the same way with us. God doesn’t remove the storms of life. He allows them for the purpose of growing us spiritually.

Getting through the Storm

We usually try to figure a way out of the storm immediately. We generally don’t like storms. We want smooth sailing. But God has not promised us smooth sailing. He promises us that He will be with us through the storm (John 16:33).

Who do you seek in the Storm?

When your ship is falling apart, when troubles are coming your way, do you go boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need?  King David did. He said, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Ps. 34:4).

He will do the same for you and me, if we’re willing to trust Him; if we are willing to come to Him to find mercy and grace to help in the time of need. If we do, His cables will hold our ship together through the storm.

“In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul” (Ps. 138:3).

How to know you have a relationship with God click here.

The Greatest Cold Case of All

I believe it was C.S. Lewis that suggested the following three possiblilities about Jesus: “He either was Lord, a liar, or a lunatic”.  Jesus claimed to be the Lord God. He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”. (John 14:9).  He claimed to be “I AM’, a reference to God in Exodus (3:14). The Jews picked up stones to stone him for that reason; “because You being a Man, make yourself God (John 10:33).

Could Jesus have been simply a good man? A good man does not lie about who he is. If He was only a good man as some suggest, He could not claim to be God if he wasn’t. He would be a liar.

Some suggest that maybe He thought He was God, but wasn’t. In that case, He was a lunatic. But that is a most unjustied conclusion. No person in his ‘right’ mind would even suggest that about Jesus.

Well if he wasn’t simply a ‘good’ man, and he wasn’t a lunatic, then there is only one other conclusion. He is who He says He is. He is Lord. That’s the first reason I believe Jesus rose from the dead. He is Lord and can be trusted. He said He would rise and He did (Matt. 16:21). He has power over death.

Secondly, the world is full of complexities. Did it all happen by chance or was it designed by an intelligience beyond our comprehension? For example, could the images of the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore have formed over millions of years by chance? Obviously not. It required intelligence to create. If the making of their image required intelligience, wouldn’t the real four presidents require an intelligent Designer? So if you can believe the first verse of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, then bringing someone back to life is no problem for Him.

Thirdly, Jesus taught His disciples truth. He certainly taught them to be men of integrity and honesty. Why then would they continue to teach that He rose, if they knew it wasn’t true? And why would many of them die for this truth, if they knew that it was false?

Fourthly, there are many prophetic passages, hundreds of years prior to the birth of Jesus, identifying Him as the Messiah. Included in these prophetic scriptures are references to His resurrection (Is. 53:10; Ps. 16:10; Dan. 12:2; Job 19:25, 26). If prophecies accurately identified the Christ, then why couldn’t those concerning his resurrection be trusted also?

Fifthly, the tomb was empty. Even the religious leaders knew the tomb was empty, because they promoted the lie that the disciples stole it (Matt. 28:13). All they needed was a body and this whole movement called the church would have never got off the ground. Find the body and the case is closed.

The angel at the tomb told the women, “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.” (Matt. 28:6) In the end there is no cold case because there is no dead body to find! He’s alive and coming again. Are you ready?

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Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for anyone who has believed the gospel.

No Resurrection; No Hope

“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day(Matthew 16:21). The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His bodily resurrection is the event that separates the Christian faith from all other faiths. Most people can accept the fact that Jesus was a real person and that He died a horrific death on a Roman cross.  However, not everyone willing accepts the truth of His resurrection.

But without the bodily resurrection of Christ, there would be no Christianity.  The apostle Paul made this very clear in his letter to the Corinthian church. He wrote to them to refute false teaching that there is no resurrection from the dead. He told them:

1. If Christ has not been raised, you are still dead in your sins. (15:17)

2. Those who have died in Christ have perished. (15:18) They are lost and forever separated from God. 

3. The apostles are false witnesses of God because they taught a lie. (15:15)  And all who have taught that Jesus rose from the grave are false witnesses as well.

4. Everyone who has hoped in Christ is to be pitied because they have believed in vain and have no hope for the future. (15:14,19)

However, there is hope. “Christ is risen from the dead” (15:20). Jesus was seen by Mary Magdeline and Mary. He was seen also by Peter, by the twelve, by 500 brethern at one time, by James, and last of all by the apostle Paul. (15:4-8)

In addition, while defending himself, Paul confronted Festus in front of King Agrippa with the truth of Christ’s sufferings and His resurrection. “For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.” (Acts 26:23, 26)

The prophets foretold the resurrection of Christ. (Ps 16:10; Is 53:10; Dan. 7:13, 14)  It was necessary to fulfill the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45, 46)  It was proof that God accepted the sacrifice of His Son. (Rom 4:25)  He told His disciples, “Because I live you will live also” (John 14:19).

Those who seen Him were willing to die for this truth. Because He rose, every believer has this hope of bodily resurrection. “The body is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power”.  ” …The first Adam became a living being. The last Adam (Jesus) became a life- giving spirit” (I Cor 15:42-45) .

He is risen indeed!

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Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for anyone who has believed the gospel.