Tag Archives: hell

Blushing: A Lost Art?

When King Josiah heard the Law of Moses read (2 Kings 22), he ripped his clothes in grief. He recognized God’s Sovereignty and his own guilt, and understood God’s righteous anger. Josiah repented. But it didn’t deter God from punishing a disobedient nation. What Josiah’s repentance did was to protect him from God’s wrath.

Repentance does the same today. When faced with our own sin, when driven to our knees in despair over our own guilt, and after accepting Jesus as Savior, we, too, are protected from God’s wrath. Oh, not from hardships during our lifetime on earth, but the greater expression of God’s wrath – eternal hell, separation from God forever. We who have humbled ourselves will only know his love and presence – forever!

But in our society it’s getting harder and harder to convince people of their need of Jesus. Sin is considered normal, fun, an alternate lifestyle, or a right. 

Confess what?

Jeremiah, in chapter 5 of his book, talks about how low the people had become. Verse 15 says, “Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all – they don’t even know how to blush!” 

Isn’t that true today, too? Acts of sin are so blatant we can become desensitized. When was the last time you blushed at the sight of sin on TV, in a song, in your own life? Why is that? What does that say about your heart’s condition before a holy God? What does it say about mine?

God, I confess that I have become hardened to the presence of sin. I have seen so much, accepted so much, I have forgotten how to blush. Remind me, Lord. Help me to see sin the way you see it. May I be grieved, may I repent, may I turn from sin, and honor you with my life every minute of every day.

Living Hell

Sometimes it’s hard to look at the success of ungodly people and not be a little jealous. You struggle to pay your bills but your neighbor who cheats on his wife gets a promotion and buys the boat you’ve been dreaming about. You see public figures in million dollar homes who openly defy God’s laws and speak against Christians. You find yourself wondering how that can be fair when many of God’s people are hurting.

Years ago I was sitting in the living room of a man who was sharing his long list of woes with our EE team. He was fighting a couple of serious diseases, had been abandoned by his family, lost his job and insurance, and said that he figured he was living as close to hell as he’d ever be. Our EE leader reached over, touched his arm, and gently replied that without Christ his life, as awful as it is, would be the closest thing to heaven he would ever experience.

This life is not all there is. Eternity follows. And we are reminded in Proverbs 24:19-20 that evil people have no future. People who reject the Lord have no hope. Their eternity will consist of unimaginable anguish, regret, loneliness, sorrow. They will realize what their choice to exclude God from their lives truly means – for ever.

So don’t fall for Satan’s trick to get your eyes off the prize. If you are jealous of the success of ungodly people you are looking in the wrong direction.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in his wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

September 5

Ezekiel 2:21-70; Nehemiah 7:26-73

Today’s portion of scripture includes a list of people who traveled to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. And we read that list two times. It was very important that all the families were represented.

Did you notice that the list also includes over 600 people who came to Jerusalem but couldn’t prove they were descendants of Israel? These people no doubt came with good hearts and intentions. But because they couldn’t produce the right paper-work, they were kept separate. Even if they claimed to be priests, they still weren’t permitted to eat the sacred food until they had gone through the proper channels.

It reminds me that there will be people with good hearts and intentions who will go to hell. They will stand before God on that day only to hear him say -“I never knew you”. I can’t think of anything more frightening.

You might think that’s unfair. But Jesus made it clear when he said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life and NO ONE goes to the Father except through me. It doesn’t say you can’t get to the Father unless you are a good person.

It would be unfair of God to make that rule and not provide a way. So Jesus died that WHOEVER believes in him will have eternal life. 

The wages of sin is death. If you sin, you pay with your life. The Bible says we all have sinned, have fallen short of God’s standards. No one is exempt. And we all deserve hell.

Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead has paid the debt in full. But it’s not a blanket provision. There are conditions to receiving it. It’s not church attendance, it’s not clean living, it’s not kindness or helpfulness.

It’s saying “yes”. It’s recognizing our sinful state and asking God to forgive us, to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It’s accepting Jesus as the only way to the Father. It’s saying “yes” to his offer of grace.

Don’t think you are good enough without that personal encounter with Christ. You aren’t and you never will be.

Dear God in Heaven, may we grasp the urgency in your message today. May we realize the truth and run to you for your forgiveness. May we accept your provision of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then may we live lives that honor you and draw others to you, too. Thank you for grace, for the cross, for your dear Son, and the presence of your Holy Spirit in us when we accept you for our own.

August 29

Ezekiel 32:1-33:20, 40:1-27

Our responsibility as Christians is to warn unbelievers about the danger ahead. God calls us “watchmen”. 

A watchman stands guard, alert and prepared. When he sees the enemy approaching he shouts his warning, blows his trumpet. Danger! Danger!

What the townspeople do with that warning is up to them. But the watchman will not be held accountable as long as he is faithful to warn, even if they don’t listen.

There is danger ahead for those who don’t now Jesus as their Savior. Hell is real. We might, on occasion, think someone deserves to go to hell. Maybe they have wronged us. Or committed a horrible crime. Or live blatant ungodly lives. There are evil people in this world.

But you know what God thinks about those people? 33:11 says “…As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from  your evil ways!…”

Whether it’s a government official who favors legislation against Bible standards, a cult leader, an abusive parent or a neighborhood drug pusher – God want them all to come to him through Jesus. Christ died for every one of them. And, in reality, no one deserves hell more than me. I am a sinner myself, saved by grace.

I am thanking God for grace. And I want to be a faithful watchman who does her job and warns unsaved people about the danger ahead. It’s serious business. If I don’t warn them the Bible says I will be held accountable for their blood. 

Dear God, who is it that needs to hear a warning today? Let me be sensitive to your leading and may I be faithful. Help us Christians to not be ashamed of the Gospel because it really does have the power to save. May we allow you to speak through us and may lost souls recognize the danger ahead and accept your grace. May your watchmen do our jobs today.