What I am finding now is this question is not easy. I believe the true answer will come from God, if we find ourselves in heaven someday then we are truly a Christian. I believe we can know now if we are true Christian, that is by really knowing that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Does that mean that we will never make mistake or sin ? When our Lord forgives someone , He tells " sin no more " lest a worst thing happen to you. I believe He meant not to do it on our own but with His help. Some thought that since we are forgiven that we can sin all we want to. I believe this is not right also.
What teachings are out there ? One says unless you worship on the true Sabbath (Saturday) you can not be saved. One present leader says unless you come to him or through him you will not enter heaven. Another one says if you belong to any church then you are "polluted". There are other criteria out there, so it is important for us to know who we really are.
I believe it is necessary for us to ask ourselves in our private moments if we truly believe. One of the worst scenario is for us to deceive ourselves.
2 Corinthians 13:5-8 says Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith;prove your own selves, how that Jesus is in you, except you be reprobates (hardened sinner, scoundrel )? Apostle Paul continued " But I trust that you shall know that we are not reprobates. Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that you should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. For we can do nothing against the truth , but for the truth.
In 2 Corinthians 13:11 Paul continued Finally , brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Fantasy or reality ? I am referring to a Christian teaching on the " rapture".What is the rapture ? It is a belief that in the last days, Jesus will take Christians(real) from this world. Suddenly without warning people will disappear in the twinkling of an eye, these mortal bodies will be turned to immortality. In close proximity with the rapture is a period called great tribulation. The great tribulation is period where God will punish an unbelieving or God rejecting world, this is different from the Bema judgment and the great white throne judgment.
For those new to the word " rapture" , this is just introduction. If you are a true Christian, this is not a cause for worry because the Lord will take of you or us.
Anyway whether the rapture is fantasy or reality is not the major question. The major question is whether we do love the Lord Jesus Christ. That Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Do you ?
First we ask , what is hope ? according to the dictionary hope is a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief of fulfillment. I believe most of our hopes were fulfilled but as we grow old our life changes or our needs change and so are our hopes.
The year 2012 is almost over, are our hopes still alive ? that desire for a new car or better job or to pay off debt, better health, new friends, better life, victory over our problems,etc. ?
Or could it be that our hopes remain unfulfilled for a long time ? that we are about to give up ?
In the Bible, people hoped for a deliverer. A person named Simeon waited to see the Messiah. Paul wrote about the blessed hope, the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Book of Revelation which is the last book in the Bible, says on its last two verses.He who testifies to these things says,"Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.
So going back to the question, where do you look for hope ? only you can answer that, but mine is on the heavens where God is on His throne. And my hope is on Jesus Christ who said He is coming soon.
Everybody wants rewards. Reward is one of the major motivation of anyone. Whether the reward is a praise, trophy, affirmation, monetary compensation, title, achievement, it has the capacity to make one make use of whatever it takes to get it.
Another key element is when we want our rewards. Most of us want ours now. In the spiritual realm or in Christianity, I believe it is better to wait to receive our gifts in the afterlife because wanting it now could cause us to err. Take for example a person who happen to be placed in power of authority and with that access to great amount of wealth. That person might be tempted to lie or cheat to be instantly rich, and with that jeopardize his or her afterlife.
I could paraphrase a story I heard or read about a missionary family who returned to US after years of sacrifice. The family happened to be on board a ship where a US president was returning from his travel. Upon arrival the president was met by cheering crowds but nobody was there to greet the missionary. The missionary remembering their hard labor felt jealous andthought that they were short changed by God. While at this point, the missionary was impressed by a thought or a small voice that says " son you're not at home yet."
With this let us be encouraged to persevere when we think we have not receive our reward now for God is our Reward , our exceedingly great reward.
The world to me looks busier and busier each time. Whether it is looking for entertainment, watching news , looking for money, jobs, houses etc. The world seems to be focused on many things. Seems the primary focus is money, making money,and things money can buy. With money we could do a lot of good things too.
I am not denying my own need for money but money should be secondary only.
Our first focus should be God.
In business and politics candidates and entrepreneurs promise a better way of life through better management of money. In sports, better players are rewarded with higher salary. Trace a man's life from the beginning, we go to school to learn the skills for work then go to work or start business and then prepare for retirement. These things are money based.
The other certainty is we do not live forever in earth.We will all die someday and then what. Some believe after death there is no more out there. Some believe we will meet God or their God.
The other possibility aside from death is the coming of Jesus Christ. It will be nice if Jesus says He will come in such and such day but He says His coming will be like a thief in the night.
As for me I am preparing and continue to prepare for His coming and I hope you are preparing too.