The secret of personal success In this life and the next
How do we define success? Money? Fame? House? Car? Looks? Friends? Travel? Family?
Surely true success is to be at peace with God and all humanity, to have stability, hope, and love in this life and the certainty of an eternal future in the perfect presence of God.
The most important question we have to ask in life is whether there is a God or not. We have no option but to answer. To avoid or ignore it is simply to say it doesn't matter to us, but the implications are enormous. The decision we make on this question determines our eternal destiny. The answer is of supreme importance. Either there is a God who created this universe for a specific purpose, a God who knows each one of us by name and loves us despite ourselves, a God who invites us to become His child and a citizen of His Kingdom, or there is not. God does not exist if we believe in Him and cease to exist if we do not. We cannot separate the spiritual and material dimensions of our lives as it is the spiritual dimension that determines how we act in the material dimension.
To consider the question seriously there are 5 things we need to consider and understand.
1. GOD IS TIMELESS. God always was, always is, and always will be. No one created Him, he created all things, including time.
2. GOD IS HUGE – WITHOUT LIMITS
Huge enough to create the universe we live in!
Many scientists believe the 'big bang' theory, that out of nothing matter came, and somehow the first cells (hugely complex things) formed, amalgamated, mutated, and became the complex life forms we have now. How could the first mammals form with the heart, the lungs, the blood stream, the brain, the eyes, the reproductive system, and every part we need in our complete and highly complex bodies by random mutation? It is a totally irrational belief system.
The Bible simply explains it“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1 v 1
“ For when He spoke the world began, It appeared at his command.” Psalm 33 v 9
Genesis 1 also tells us God made all living things in their own species.
“God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them, male and female He created them.” Genesis 1 v 27
Being made in the (spiritual) image of God sets us apart from all other parts of creation. From God we receive the spiritual dimension to love, create, and live with Him. Only humans have this capacity.
There is no conflict between the big bang theory of scientists and the bible – the difference is that the bible tells us how and why it happened.
GOD IS HUGE enough that he knows each of his more than 2 billion people alive today by name, loves us with an everlasting love despite our failures, cares about us deeply, listens to us and understands us no matter what our language or culture, and looks forward to those who choose to become his children sharing his perfect eternal home forever.
3. THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS CHRIST No other religion claims for its founder what christianity does:
“Now in these final days God has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God's own glory and expresses the very character of God.” Hebrews 1 v 2 - 3
“In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word (Jesus) gave life to everything that was created and His life brought light to everyone. John 1 v 1-4
“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my father who lives in me does his work through me.” John 14 v 9-10
Jesus came from heaven to earth as a baby to live as a man so that he could identify with us. He spent around 3 years teaching his disciples His way, died to take the death penalty for sin that is ours, was raised to life, and went back to heaven to prepare our eternal home. He did many miracles of healing, feeding the crowds, calming the storm, and raising the dead to prove that he came from God, and had the power of God.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life, No one can come to the Father except through me”. John 14 v 6
The apostle Peter who was with Jesus during his life, again after his resurrection, and with him as he ascended to heaven from the Mt of Olives wrote:
“God raised Jesus from the dead and we are all witnesses of this. Now He is exalted to the highest place of honour in heaven.” Acts 2 v 32 - 33
“He (Jesus) gave up his divine privileges , he took the humble position of a slave, and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminals death on a cross. Therefore God exalted him to the highest honor and gave him the name above all other names that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord , to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2 7-11
No other religion claims such a founder – either He was a liar or insane – or else He was and is and forever will be the Son of God, saviour of all those who put their trust in Him
4. THE UNIQUENESS OF THE BIBLE
The Bible is totally unique in world literature. 66 books in one, written over about 1500 years by 40 authors yet one complete coherent story from the creation of the universe to the end of the universe as we know it. How could a work of literature like this happen only once in human history? To ignore it is to cut ourselves off from absolute truth as well as history, poetry, drama, and very very wise advice for successful living.
The Bible is the world's best selling and most translated book. Over 34 million copies were sold around the world in 2014. It has been translated in full into over 500 languages and in part to over 2,000.
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives.” , ”1 Timothy 3 v 16”
5. THIS LIFE IS NOT ABOUT THIS LIFE It is just the preparation ground for the next life!
Every true christian believes with absolute certainty.
1. Jesus Christ will return and the invitation to His Kingdom will be withdrawn.
2. We do not know when!
The apostle Peter wrote over 1900 years ago.
“ In the last days scoffers will come mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say: “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors everything has remained the same since the world was first created”. 2 Peter 3 v 3-4
“The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed , but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. 2 Peter 3 v 9-10
The disciples of Jesus asked when he was going to come back. He made it very plain that he was not going to tell them but gave signs to look for.
“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. Nation will go to war against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. Matthew 24 v 6-7.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:
“In the last days there will be very difficult times. People will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving, they will slander others and have no self control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 2 Timothy 3 v 1-4
Daniel wrote 2,400 years ago referring to the time of the end:
“Many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.” Daniel 12 v 4
The bible gives graphic details about the traumatic events to happen on earth at the time of the end when God's patience finally runs out and he acts in Judgment. Much we see happening in the world today in the Middle East, Europe, Russia, and Asia begins to fulfill these prophecies. We must take this seriously.
The message of God to us through the bible is summed up in a number of simple statements with very profound meaning
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1 v 1
“God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living person” Genesis 2 v 7
“When Adam sinned, sin entered into the world. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone” Romans 5 v 12
“Everyone has sinned. We all fall short of Gods standard.“ Romans 3 v 23
“The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life” Romans 6 v 23
“If we claim we have no sin we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to God, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness”. 1 John 1 v 8-9
“God loved the world so much that he gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world but to save the world through Him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. Anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God's one and only Son”. John 3 v 16-18
“I am going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready I will come and get you so that you will be always with me. John 14 v 3
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and old earth had disappeared. I heard a shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God's home is now among His people! He will live with them and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, or sorrow, or crying, or pain. All these things are gone forever”. Revelation 21-22
If Jesus Christ comes back today are you ready to meet Him?
The God who created the universe invites you to become His child and a citizen of His eternal Kingdom
Why refuse the invitation?
I have been a christian now for 61 years and am totally convinced that there is one God and that he has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ. By the grace of God I am His child and a citizen of His Kingdom,despite my imperfections and failures, guaranteed to share his eternal home forever.
I was not always so sure. I was brought up in a strong christian home and taught the bible from birth. At the age of 12 I put my trust in Jesus Christ and thanked him for dying for me so that I could receive eternal life and became his child. However in my late teens I started to question whether there was a God. Do I just believe this because my parents taught me, or is He real? I like to think deeply and the thought of there not being a God and my being able to be a 'free' agent became increasingly attractive.
I had the opportunity to work on various ships as a Purser for 6 years away from the support and comfort of home and church. It was a time I enjoyed very much, but it also gave me the opportunity to examine the question “Is there a God” in great detail. It was the first time I visited the (then) Soviet Union to look at a society that officially banned God. I also looked at Asian and other religions, and visited Israel to study the roots of Judaism and Christianity.
By the end of those 6 years I had come to the absolute conviction that there is a God, and only one, and that He has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ. I have not had a single doubt since.
The key factor for me was recognising the absolute irrationality of evolution, the blind faith that people must have to believe that this amazing, intricate, complex, wonderful world we live in could happen by random chance when there is absolutely no evidence of all the billions of random mutations that would need to have happened to support evolution.
Having come to that absolute conclusion I enjoy daily the wonder of belonging to God, developing an ever closer relationship, and being totally at peace with Him, It has also given an understanding of God's design for our lives and society, and how he has given us the answers for this life, and the next.
I look forward to enjoying His presence forever in His perfect kingdom and long that you would be there to.
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New Zealand 1141
Biblical references (bold) from the New Living Translation.
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