Can We Think of Eternal Life as a Tangible Asset?

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What should you be investing in?

When I was in high school, I was in a one-act play that reached the state finals. Our last competition started at 9:00 p.m. on Friday evening. As a Sabbath-keeper, I wasn’t able to participate. “Can’t you miss church once?” one girl from our cast asked me, casually adding, “God would understand.”

The answer to her question would come to me years later: God understands very well the things we vainly strive for in this life. In reality, we are the ones who don’t understand and who lose sight of God’s promise of eternal life. Fully understanding what that promise means should make it the supreme goal of our life.

Do we really comprehend what eternal life is? After all, we’ve never experienced it ourselves, so it can seem ethereal and out of reach. On the other hand, this physical life seems very real—or, tangible—to us. Therefore, it can seem much more tangible than the promise of eternal life.

First, the biblical facts: We know that eternal life is the gift that God gives us through grace (Romans 6:23), and we seek that gift through faith and action (James 2:24; Romans 2:6–7). Eternal life does indeed mean to live forever, because death is destroyed after God’s plan is fulfilled (1 Corinthians 15:54; Revelation 21:4).

The Bible reveals that, in order to receive this promise, there is something we must do now: keep the commandments (Matthew 19:16–19). Are those just the “big” commandments? James 2:10 states that “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all”! And Isaiah was inspired to write, “Woe to those who begin by pulling at transgression with a thread, but end by dragging sin along as if with a cart rope” (Isaiah 5:18, Complete Jewish Bible). Some sins may seem minor, but “small” sins can lead us down the wrong path!

How can the connection between commandment keeping and eternal life be more tangible to us? Imagine someone promised you $10 million if you didn’t tell a lie for one year. Your first thought every morning would probably be, “I’m not going to lie today!” Why? Because $10 million is tangible. You know of people who actually have that much money. The reality of the reward would inspire you. But it would not be easy to always tell the truth, and you would likely experience trials as a result. The question then becomes, is doing what’s right worth the reward? The same question applies to the pursuit of eternal life.

But how do we know eternal life is reality? Because someone already has obtained it—our Savior, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20–23)! And He tells us that regardless of what we leave behind for His sake, we will receive a hundredfold reward, “and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mark 10:29–30). Also, Paul wrote that the gift of eternal life is worth any hardship suffered in this physical life (Romans 8:18). Becoming part of God’s family as full spiritual children will literally fix everything suffered during this physical life—even death!

Is there something we can do to make eternal life more tangible in our present lives? In 2 Corinthians 4:18, Paul says we should look for the things that are not seen because they are eternal. How can you believe in things that are unseen? Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is the key to making the invisible things of God real in our lives. Over time, our hope becomes grounded less in our fallible faith and more in the faith of Christ Himself in us (Galatians 2:20).

As the Apostle tells us, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). With this promise, we can know that devoting our entire lives to the goal of eternal life is worth it.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2018/september-october/can-we-think-of-eternal-life-as-a-tangible-asset

If I Were a Rich Man…

What is your best investment?

What if money were no object? Who hasn’t had this question put to them by a friend or acquaintance? What would be your answer? Would you decide to travel, buy a house or pay off your mortgage? Would you “party hearty,” or would you bank a sizable sum?

Folks in our Western culture often admire others who are financially successful. However, just because someone has made money doesn’t necessarily mean they have it made.

Many who find themselves suddenly rich—in the situation where choices are not limited by lack of money—are only better off for a short while. The benefits that come with unexpected wealth do not often last.

A few years ago, writer Sheri Masters made an interesting observation:

Statistics about the impact of sudden wealth are grim: The rate of lottery winners filing for bankruptcy within five years of winning is double that of the general population, according to a study by economists at the University of Kentucky, University of Pittsburgh and Vanderbilt University; Sports Illustrated has reported that 78 percent of former NFL players are bankrupt or experience financial difficulties within two years of retirement; interviews by the Williams Group of more than 2,000 families who had gone through estate planning and wealth transfer revealed that 70 percent of those families lost control of their assets—and their family harmony—in the first generation after the transfer (Wells Fargo: Conversations, November 11, 2012).

One online resource, Investopedia, defined Sudden Wealth Syndrome as “a syndrome afflicting individuals who suddenly come into large sums of money”—such as those who win the lottery, for example. The definition continues, “Becoming suddenly wealthy can cause an individual stress. Its symptoms include: feeling isolated from former friends, guilt over their good fortune, and an extreme fear of losing all their money.”

Some individuals even experience forms of identity crisis, as they make decisions or feel influenced by forces and experiences far different than they ever expected (or were prepared) to encounter in their life before being “in the money.”

Money can be a blessing or a curse depending on how it is used. The misuse of money can certainly end up causing grief and tragedy—consequences that stick around long after the money is gone.

Jesus Christ gave counsel about one’s attitude in regard to wealth. He said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). What else should your life consist of?

It has been said that a person usually does not have time and money at the same occasion. But if you have a measure of wealth, then you also have a measure of time. What, then, is your best investment?

In the popular musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” the lead character, Reb Tevye, sings the song, “If I Were a Rich Man.” Here are some of the lyrics: “If I were rich, I’d have the time that I lack to sit in the synagogue and pray. And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall. And I’d discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day. That would be the sweetest thing of all.” For Reb Tevye, pursuing the principles found in the Holy Scripture would be the sweetest thing of all. You, too, could benefit from that same kind of sweetness.

Your sweetest investment, regardless of riches, is ultimately found in the pages of your Bible, seeking the wealth that does not diminish with age. As Mr. Richard Ames, in our Tomorrow’s World telecast “Vital Keys for Bible Study” has stated, “The Bible can transform your life, if you know how to study it. Bible study can be exciting and fresh and relevant, if you apply the Bible’s own guidance to your study.” You might consider looking up that telecast on the Tomorrow’s World YouTube channel.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2018/september-october/if-i-were-a-rich-man

Drought and Fires!

High temperatures, strong winds and months of dry weather are creating severe conditions in various parts of the world. Over 400 fires are burning in western Canada, and more than 100 fires are burning in the United States (Vancouver Sun, August 8, 2018; Reuters, August 11, 2018). Much of the state of California has been ablaze for weeks, with 18 fires currently burning. Nearly a million homes are at high or very high risk of destruction from fire (LocalSYR.com, August 13, 2018)! The Mendocino fire, the largest in California’s history, has already burned over 450 square miles (MSN, August 8, 2018). Homeowners insurance rates are expected to rise drastically as a result of the fires.

On the other side of the globe, the state of New South Wales in southeast Australia is engulfed in drought. The government is now allowing farmers to shoot kangaroos who vie with cattle over limited pasture land (Deutsche Welle, August 8, 2018). Australia’s prime minister recently made the sobering observation, “Now we are the land of drought.” Australian farmers and ranchers expect major crop failures and even cattle deaths. Wild fires are also ravaging Greece and other European nations, bringing devastation and death (The Guardian, August 12, 2018). 

While some blame “global warming,” others see these weather extremes as part of predictable weather cycles. However, Bible prophecies provide additional insights. Jesus Christ warned that as we approach the end of the age, we should expect to see “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” and said these dramatic events are just “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7–8). Long ago, God warned that Israelite-descended nations at the end of the age (such as Australia, Canada and the U.S.) would experience serious drought and related consequences due to their sins and rejection of Him (Deuteronomy 28:17, 23, 38). The Bible does far more than tell us these sobering circumstances are a foretaste of what is to come—it also explains why these disasters are coming. The current drought-related events we are watching are sobering, but the Bible helps us understand both “why” and “what is next.” To learn more about this timely topic, read or listen to Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return, or go online to read or listen to Who Controls the Weather?

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/news-and-prophecy/drought-and-fires

Drought and Fires!

High temperatures, strong winds and months of dry weather are creating severe conditions in various parts of the world. Over 400 fires are burning in western Canada, and more than 100 fires are burning in the United States (Vancouver Sun, August 8, 2018; Reuters, August 11, 2018). Much of the state of California has been ablaze for weeks, with 18 fires currently burning. Nearly a million homes are at high or very high risk of destruction from fire (LocalSYR.com, August 13, 2018)! The Mendocino fire, the largest in California’s history, has already burned over 450 square miles (MSN, August 8, 2018). Homeowners insurance rates are expected to rise drastically as a result of the fires.

On the other side of the globe, the state of New South Wales in southeast Australia is engulfed in drought. The government is now allowing farmers to shoot kangaroos who vie with cattle over limited pasture land (Deutsche Welle, August 8, 2018). Australia’s prime minister recently made the sobering observation, “Now we are the land of drought.” Australian farmers and ranchers expect major crop failures and even cattle deaths. Wild fires are also ravaging Greece and other European nations, bringing devastation and death (The Guardian, August 12, 2018). 

While some blame “global warming,” others see these weather extremes as part of predictable weather cycles. However, Bible prophecies provide additional insights. Jesus Christ warned that as we approach the end of the age, we should expect to see “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” and said these dramatic events are just “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7–8). Long ago, God warned that Israelite-descended nations at the end of the age (such as Australia, Canada and the U.S.) would experience serious drought and related consequences due to their sins and rejection of Him (Deuteronomy 28:17, 23, 38). The Bible does far more than tell us these sobering circumstances are a foretaste of what is to come—it also explains why these disasters are coming. The current drought-related events we are watching are sobering, but the Bible helps us understand both “why” and “what is next.” To learn more about this timely topic, read or listen to Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return, or go online to read or listen to Who Controls the Weather?

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/news-and-prophecy/drought-and-fires

Drought and Fires!

High temperatures, strong winds and months of dry weather are creating severe conditions in various parts of the world. Over 400 fires are burning in western Canada, and more than 100 fires are burning in the United States (Vancouver Sun, August 8, 2018; Reuters, August 11, 2018). Much of the state of California has been ablaze for weeks, with 18 fires currently burning. Nearly a million homes are at high or very high risk of destruction from fire (LocalSYR.com, August 13, 2018)! The Mendocino fire, the largest in California’s history, has already burned over 450 square miles (MSN, August 8, 2018). Homeowners insurance rates are expected to rise drastically as a result of the fires.

On the other side of the globe, the state of New South Wales in southeast Australia is engulfed in drought. The government is now allowing farmers to shoot kangaroos who vie with cattle over limited pasture land (Deutsche Welle, August 8, 2018). Australia’s prime minister recently made the sobering observation, “Now we are the land of drought.” Australian farmers and ranchers expect major crop failures and even cattle deaths. Wild fires are also ravaging Greece and other European nations, bringing devastation and death (The Guardian, August 12, 2018). 

While some blame “global warming,” others see these weather extremes as part of predictable weather cycles. However, Bible prophecies provide additional insights. Jesus Christ warned that as we approach the end of the age, we should expect to see “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places” and said these dramatic events are just “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7–8). Long ago, God warned that Israelite-descended nations at the end of the age (such as Australia, Canada and the U.S.) would experience serious drought and related consequences due to their sins and rejection of Him (Deuteronomy 28:17, 23, 38). The Bible does far more than tell us these sobering circumstances are a foretaste of what is to come—it also explains why these disasters are coming. The current drought-related events we are watching are sobering, but the Bible helps us understand both “why” and “what is next.” To learn more about this timely topic, read or listen to Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return, or go online to read or listen to Who Controls the Weather?

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/news-and-prophecy/drought-and-fires

Buying or Selling

The United States’ economy has rebounded and is firing on all cylinders. The country is at full employment and labor shortages loom in many industries. Retail sales are strong and interest rates remain quite low. Inflation, always a concern, is modest and does not seem threatening at this juncture. The Federal tax cuts introduced in 2018 are beginning to be felt with increased wages, business expansion, and healthy returns for stockholders.

These facts and figures dominate the daily news as people pursue their various livelihoods or enterprises.

This emphasis on the economy is not new. In fact, Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933), the 30th president of the United States, stated in a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington, D.C. in 1925 that “the business of America is business.” The system of free enterprise in the United States of America is an engine for such activity in normal times. More recently, a well-known slogan during the campaigns of President Bill Clinton was “It’s the economy stupid!”—meaning that is what voters care most about as they try to improve their financial position and standing.

If the business of America is business, what is the “business” of the Christian church? Often, the religious channels on cable and satellite television feature ministers hawking a gospel of prosperity, using short spiritual messages punctuated with multiple pleas for financial support. Sometimes an item is offered for sale, while at other times there is a tug at one’s heartstrings to support some cause, mission, or pet project. Frequently, it seems that these television personalities have opulent and extravagant personal lifestyles with all the trappings of wealth one would expect of Hollywood millionaires, all courtesy of their religious following.

But what will the true Church that Jesus built be doing? The Bible gives clear instructions. Even as a child at age twelve, Jesus told His parents, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). Later, after His resurrection, as He was wrapping up His earthly ministry, Jesus gave the disciples a wonderful, awe-inspiring commission when He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20). In another conversation, again after His resurrection, Jesus had breakfast with seven of His disciples on the seashore after they had fished all night. He used this learning moment to instruct Peter, commanding him: “Feed My lambs” and “Tend My sheep”—which was clearly a reference to those who would become a part of the Church. You can read the inspiring account in John 21:15–17.

One additional aspect of the Gospel message that was to be preached to all the world involves a time of great trouble or tribulation that will come upon the whole world. The prophet Daniel wrote this about it: “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time” (Daniel 12:1). Knowing such times of great trouble were coming, Jesus prophesied, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness [or warning] to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

So, there you have it. The business of the Church that Jesus Christ built is to spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God to be set up on this earth, to spiritually feed and care for the members of the Church, and to give a warning message about the difficult times to come upon the earth before He returns in power and glory.

How is this message of the Kingdom of God to be disseminated? Jesus made it plain: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). The Apostle Paul echoed this sentiment when he said “What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge” (1 Corinthians 9:18).

Proverbs 23:23 tells us also, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”

In the Tomorrow’s World television programs, there is never an appeal for money. The magazine, booklets, Bible Study Course, DVDs, and the entire multitude of informative items we produce are made available without charge at all. Of course, it takes money to provide these quality study materials and educational programs. The money to do this Work comes from the members of the Living Church of God and from co-workers and donors who voluntarily choose to support the Work of God in these end times.

It is our sincere hope that the materials and compelling message of the coming Kingdom of God will be beneficial to our many subscribers and readers. You can access all our materials online or in print here at Tomorrow’s World.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/buying-or-selling