Tag Archives: hell

December 30 – Doomed

Revelation 12-18

The Book of Revelation is a book of hope for Christians. In His revelation to John, God tells us to hold on to Him. Life will be hard. But if we remain on God’s side – we win.

But reading these chapters also makes me sad for those who reject Him. Oh, they might appear to have some victories here and there during this lifetime. But they are doomed.

It makes me sad that, as I read the imagery of the seven bowls of wrath, people continue to reject God, even when His power and authority are demonstrated in undeniable ways. Read chapter 16 and see them scorched with fierce heat, and blaspheming God. Or gnawing their tongues because of pain, and refusing to repent. Or blaspheming God even when hundred pound hailstones are falling on their heads.

Over and over God reveals Himself: nature declares His glory, Jesus reveals God in the flesh, changed lives, strength in weakness, joy in sorrow.

God nudges, and woos lost people. He also disciplines and pours out His wrath to get their attention. I see a God who is not willing that anyone die without Him, and who will go to any lengths to win each and every one while they still draw breath.

But, hear me. Those who take that last breath without accepting what God offers through His Son are doomed. There are no do-overs, no second chances in eternity. What you choose in this lifetime makes all the difference.

Christian, as you read the book of Revelation with me, let’s rejoice in the truth that God is the ultimate authority. That Satan’s defeat is inevitable. And that God is preparing a place for us to spend eternity with Him in more glory and splendor than we can imagine.

But if you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, I pray that you will begin the new year on the winning side. God is going to be true to His Word. One day, at the name of Jesus EVERY knee will bow.. That means you, dear one. EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is who He says He is. Like it or not, you will recognize that you are doomed without Him. Please don’t let that happen.

Holy God, thank You for giving this revelation to John. We can see that the war between You and Satan is played out here on planet Earth. And we can see that You are the victor! God, I am so glad I am counted as Yours, that You are fighting my battles right this minute, and that one day I am going to heaven to be with You. Father, I pray for those who don’t yet call You Lord. May they humble themselves, repent of sin, and accept your gift of Grace through Your Son, Jesus. I pray that no one reading this blog will meet you in eternity doomed.

November 17 – We Must… I Did

Acts 4-6

Last night my pastor shared some thoughts from Paul’s letter to Titus. He pointed out that the grace of God starts at salvation, but doesn’t end there. God’s grace instructs us to live godly lives and to look for Christ’s return. God’s grace reveals Jesus who redeems and purifies His children, who then become “zealous for good deeds.”

Then Paul says in Titus 2:15:

These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

The pastor challenged us to be zealous in talking about Jesus. If we really believe what Peter said in Acts 4:12, that there is no other salvation than in the name of Jesus, that our family and friends will go to hell without Him, then how can we remain silent?

The high priest warned Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus or bad things would happen to them. Peter answered:

We must obey God rather than man. (5:29)

Then Peter proceeded to talk to the high priest about Jesus. That’s zeal!

There are some people in our world today who continue to name the name of Jesus with a black hood over their heads, and machetes at their necks. We don’t face that threat yet in this country. But I wonder if we’re allowing ourselves to be bullied into silence, anyway.

God is asking me, and maybe asking you, who it is we are obeying. I don’t face a threat on my life if I talk about Jesus. But do I let public opinion handcuff me, am I afraid of stepping on toes, do I allow Satan’s voice to stop me from talking about Jesus because he’s convinced me my friend isn’t interested, or that I won’t know what to say?

Who cares? If I really believe that Jesus is the only salvation, and that anyone who doesn’t know Him as Savior will spend ETERNITY IN HELL…

then I must be zealously sharing Him every chance I get. I must make opportunities to talk about Jesus. I must ask the hard questions of my unsaved loved ones.

I must obey God and forget what man thinks about me.  Because in the end, I won’t be accountable to the United States government on that day. I will be accountable to God, however.

And when I look Jesus in the eye, I want… because of God’s grace… to be able to say that Paul’s “We must…” became my “I did.”

 

 

 

October 26 – I Never Knew You

Luke 12-13

Will God really send good people to hell? Certainly there won’t be preachers and Sunday School teachers there, right? Won’t people who volunteer at the homeless shelters, those who never lie or cheat, people who are kind and thoughtful, get a free pass?

I can promise you, according to Scripture, that God will not send one holy person to hell. There will not be one sinless person in that fire. Zero.

But Jesus said that some of the people who were following Him, who heard His teachings, will knock on the door of heaven only to hear God say, “You can’t come in. I never knew you.”

The World Series started last night. My brother-in-law and nephew were there, amid thousands of people wearing their Indians’ shirts and hats, and waving their red towels to cheer on the home team. Thousands of people stood at the same exciting moments, chanted the same words, praised the same players, complained about the same umps, and most of them had 100% of their attention on that field.

But I only know two of the thousands of people who were at that game. Many people dressed like my loved ones. Many acted like them, even said the same things my loved ones said. But if all of those baseball fans knocked on my door, I’d only let two of them in.

Now some of the opposition were easily detected. They were the ones in the light blue shirts. They were not Indian fans. Their clothes were different and they cheered at different times in the game. They neither looked nor acted like my loved ones. So if they came to my door, I could weed them out easily.

But it’s the rest of them, the ones who looked and acted like my loved ones that aren’t so easily detected. But not knowing them, I wouldn’t let them in, either, even if they looked the part.

Looking like a Christian, learning to talk like a Christian, doing Christian things, doesn’t mean God knows you. Jesus tells us the only way the Father can know any of us is if we go through Him. His blood. His forgiveness. His Way.

And only those whom God knows will be welcomed into eternity with Him.

Does He know You?

September 6 – It’s Not A Suggestion

Ezekiel 32-34

The last thing Jesus said before ascending into heaven was, “get out there and tell people about Me.” (Matthew 28). The Great Commission, as it is known, is a call to action for all believers.

Ezekiel tells us how important it is to warn people about the consequences for not listening to God. He calls us watchmen, we who see the sword coming to destroy, and who blow the trumpet and warn the people.

Ezekiel says if the people don’t heed the warning, their destruction is on them. But look at 33:6. If the watchman (that’s you and me) knows there is danger ahead and doesn’t warn the people…

that man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. (33:8)

Ezekiel repeats that fact in verse 9. God is that serious about holding us responsible for telling our family, neighbors, friends about the Truth. We have the Good News, that Jesus paid the price for sin and offers forgiveness as a gift.

But the flip side of the Good News is really bad news! That is eternal hell, separated from God, in agony and regret.

The Bible is clear, if we  don’t warn people about the consequences for rejecting God’s grace, the forgiveness of sin, they will die in their sin…

and it will be our fault.

 

August 3 – The Flip Side

Isaiah 64-66

The books of prophesy contain so much hope for God’s people. Christian, there is joy ahead. There is peace. Our longings met, and our hunger and thirst satisfied. We won’t be haunted by memories of past mistakes. We’ll enjoy a new heaven and a new earth forever in God’s Presence. The reality is beyond our imagination.

But the flip side of that coin is so much worse than we can imagine. God, through Isaiah, is talking about the redeemed who “will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed Me. For their worm will not die, and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrent to all mankind.” (66:24)

That’s hell. A fire of regret and agony caused by memories of missed opportunities. A thirst that can never be satisfied, knowing for eternity that you are the lowest of the low, abhorrent, disgusting, defeated, wrong. And the worst part of that is that you will truly be separated from God with no hope of ever seeing the light again.

Ever.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, rest assured you have a glorious future ahead of you. If you haven’t accepted Jesus, the flip side of that truth should scare you out of your mind.

July 14 – Grieved

Amos 6-9

As I read these chapters today I am reminded that there is danger in getting comfortable, in feeling secure, in reclining on beds of ivory, sprawling on couches, eating and drinking, without caring that people are dying and going to hell.

May we never have the attitude that “At least I’m ok. My salvation is eternally secure. Let the rest of the world get what they deserve.” God calls it “the arrogance of Jacob” (6:8) which is the same as saying, the arrogance of God’s people. That’s me. That’s you if you know Him.

God is grieved over sin, over people dying without the Savior, over disobedience and hate.

Grieved.

Am I too comfortable to care?

Feb 16 – Unclean! Unclean!

Leviticus 11-13

I wonder what it was like for a person who had to live outside the camp because he was unclean. God was very specific in his instructions concerning leprosy. The priest had to inspect the infected person, and if any spot no matter how small was identified as leprosy, that person had to live by himself, away from family and friends.

Unclean! Unclean!

Could the leper hear the laughter of the people inside the camp? Could he smell the aroma of dinner cooking over a campfire? Was there dancing and singing inside while he was forced to remain alone and  separated from all the activity? I bet those seven days seemed like an eternity. It would for me.

In a way, I think hell will be like that. Alone, separated, outside the gates of heaven, an eternity to realize their own uncleanness. Will they hear the praises and singing of those who were made clean by the blood of Jesus? And will those happy sounds magnify the shame of  being forced to sit in their disease of sin?

The Old Testament leper could console himself with the hope that after the seven days of exile, a priest could pronounce him clean again, and he could return to the camp. There will be no such hope for those in hell.

Jesus, our High Priest, will have the final say. He will declare clean those of us who have accepted His grace, the forgiveness He bought with His death on Calvary. And He will pronounce “Unclean” everyone who has rejected Him, even those who tried to enter heaven by some other means than the blood of the Savior.

There are two eternities. One is inside the camp where God is. The other is an eternity outside, in darkness and solitude, an eternity of living in uncleanness and regretting every decision that sent them there.

I’m praying for you.

Job’s Hell On Earth

I am reading the book of Job this week as part of my year long plan. I’ve read Job several times, so as I read his words of anguish, I know his turmoil is temporary. Job’s hell on earth will not last forever.

Job is tormented by his thoughts, his memories, his questions, the “what-ifs”. He can find no comfort; not physically and not in his soul. His groans come from deep inside of him.

If you’ve been with me on this blogging journey for very long, you know that in 2012 we lost my 22 year old nephew in an auto accident. I have experienced death repeated times as we’ve buried grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents. But I had never experienced the level of grief that paralyzed me when I got the horrible news of Geoffrey’s death.

I remember sitting in silence in my parent’s family room. My sisters, their families, my dad. Tears flowed freely, but there were no words that could express what we were going through. There were, however, occasional groans.

I can still hear the sound of Geoff’s parents as that mournful sound escaped from their hearts. Our sister, Kathy, Geoff’s aunt, would groan in such a way you never thought could come from a human. I remember hearing a sorrowful groan, then realizing the sound had come from me. I finally understood the definition of “lament”.

That kind of grief cannot be described. It’s too painful, too personal. The sound of that kind of pain comes involuntarily. It’s like the whistle of a teapot. It just comes on its own as a result of the boiling turmoil deep inside. It’s the sound of true anguish.

Dear One, that’s a portrait of hell. Hell is not a giant bonfire. It is the absence of God, the absence of light, of love, of comfort, of peace, of joy. It’s living inside that teapot where thoughts and memories, the “what-ifs” torment. Forever. Where the only sound heard is that of painful, personal groaning.

Job’s anguish was temporary. Even though I still grieve the loss of my dear nephew, the intensity isn’t the same today as it was on June 24, 2012. But here is what God would say to us today: without  accepting the grace God offers to us sinners through the blood of his Son Jesus, eternity will be living with that grief, that agony, that helplessness FOREVER. No relief, no lessening of the pain, no hope that things will ever get better. And if I think my grief was hard to bear, if Job’s grief was devastating, the grief of those in hell, separated from God will be so much more intense.

I can’t imagine living an eternity of June 24, 2012. And hell will be so much more painful than even that day was.

Hell is nothing to joke about, nothing to take lightly. It’s personal, and painful, and devastating, and ugly, and separated from everything good with no chance of reprieve. The good news is, you can avoid that end.

Jesus died so you and I don’t have to ever experience hell. But you need to meet him on his terms. You need to confess your sins and accept his forgiveness. I promise you, he will be faithful to forgive you, to cleanse you, to live inside of you, and one day, to welcome you into his heavenly home where you will joyfully live…

Forever.

Dear God, Hell is scary. And not the sci-fi kind of scary. It’s real. It’s personal. It’s devastating. Thank you for Jesus, for his willingness to die so that I don’t have to spend one second in that awful place. Life on earth is hard enough, is sad enough. I’d much rather spend eternity in Your presence. I pray for each one who reads these words today. I pray that hearts will be drawn to you, that sins will be confessed, that Your grace will be accepted by anyone who doesn’t already know You. May each of us come to You on Your terms, then look forward to seeing You the day you call us home.

The Choice

I was reading in Psalm 90 this morning and heard the author remind me that our life spans maybe 80 years if we are strong. In light of eternity, our days on earth are but a blink. Yet these hours on earth determine our eternity. What we do with our lives is the difference between life and death.

Paul says in Romans 5 that there are only two results of a life: condemnation or justification. Jesus died for all mankind. We can be justified before God simply by accepting it. It’s an intentional act of will.

I go to God, admit I am a sinner, humble myself and recognize my need of a Savior. Then I ask God to forgive me, and to BE my Savior. That act, that confession, opens the door of heaven to me.

We are justified by faith. And there is no one anywhere who cannot be saved if they accept Jesus’ gift of grace, the forgiveness of sins bought by Jesus’ blood shed at Calvary.

But be warned. There is only condemnation for those who refuse what Jesus offers. And condemnation brings with it eternal separation from God, a hell more painful than we can imagine.

There is no Plan B. God made it plain and simple: justification or condemnation. Jesus or no Jesus. Yes or No.

I choose Jesus. I pray you do, too.

A Deadly Price-Tag

God expresses his anger toward a disobedient people in the book of Nahum. He says things like: I am your enemy; and, I will not allow the guilty to go unpunished. He reminds them their riches, which are many, and gained dishonestly, will not save them from God’s wrath, from the consequences of their sin.

Nahum reminds us God is very serious about sin. He never excuses sin, or rationalizes it, or overlooks it. Every sin comes with a deadly consequence, whether it’s an angry two-year-old who pushes her brother off a chair, or a man addicted to porn who kidnaps, tortures, and rapes young women, like the man captured in Cleveland last year. 

God says often in his Word that he will not let the guilty go unpunished. Then he turns around and says ALL have sinned. We are all guilty. We all face the consequences for every sin we’ve committed.

I am a Christian. But that doesn’t mean my sins, although forgiven, don’t come with a deadly price tag. My sins require death just like the sins of Ariel Castro (that monster from Cleveland). Every one of my sins come with a death sentence.

But when I accepted Jesus as my Savior, he took my sins and placed them on his own shoulders. He paid the painful consequences for me, he did not sweep them under a rug.

Hear me when I say, those who have not experienced Jesus’ grace will pay for their own sins. Every one of their own sins. The wages of sin is death, either Jesus’ death on the cross, or yours… for eternity.

God, may we all view sin from your perspective. Dive us to our knees, Lord, when we are faced with our own sin, our guilt and shame. Thank you for Jesus, for the cross, for your grace that is offered to anyone who comes to you with repentant hearts. I pray that everyone who reads this blog today will humble themselves and accept what you offer, and that is to pay for our sins yourself. The thought of anyone paying the ultimate price for their own sins frightens me. I pray that it will frighten all of us.