Monday, June 27, 2011

Put Your Cards on the Table!

This post is certainly not going to win me any friends...and with that I am perfectly fine.  I encourage you to read on anyway, who knows, you may even get upset with me.  I can totally handle that, too.  Because it won't be me you are really upset with, and Jesus is big enough to handle you being upset with me and Him...

The time has come for us to stop playing games and show our hands...
the question of the millennium...
Do you think you are going to Heaven when you die?

This question gets answered over and over with resounding 'yes'...but how do you know?   I mean, how do you really know?  How do you come up with your 'yes'?  Here's a few things I typically hear:

1. I am a good person.  Hmm, really?  Okay, so what is your standard of good?  Whom are you good in comparison to?  The only good person I am aware of is Jesus...He was perfect...would you go so far to say that about yourself?  Where's the line between a good person and a bad person?  Is there some sort of imaginary you did this line and if you cross it you are crossed off the Heaven list?  Yeah, I don't think so...

2. I have done more good than bad in my life.  Okay, just one quick question on that front...who's keeping score?  Do you have the scorecard?  I would hate to see my scorecard!  So, let's move on...

3. God is a God of love...He wouldn't send anyone to a place like Hell.  Oh, friend, if you believe in Heaven, you have to believe in Hell.  The sad thing is, the two above answers are seemingly close to the third...if you don't know where the line is draw for good/bad, then realistically, you cannot fathom either place.  But they are both so real.  If you do not think there is a Hell to shun, then why don't you go do whatever you desire in your heart to do?  Because you know better.  There are consequences...not just in this life, but after as well.

My answer to this question is simple...I know without a shadow of doubt that I am going to Heaven, not because I deserve it, but because Jesus paid for it and I have accepted His gift.  He died on a cross because of the bad things I have done, the bad thoughts I have had...but then He didn't just die.  He rose again, He conquered death, and He lives within me now. 

I am so far from perfect, as a matter of fact, I just had to go upstairs in an attempt to apologize to my daughter, because I had cut her off when she was trying to talk to me.  The Holy Spirit got onto me, and I had to go to her...she was asleep, so I will have to finish that apology in the morning.  My daily life is about living for the One who died for me.

Do you ever think about a loved one who has died...where did they go?  Do you know for sure?  Do you try to justify where they went?  I have a Scripture to share with you...

"Jesus said, "There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury.  At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.  As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man's table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.  "Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.  "The rich man shouted, 'Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.'  "But Abraham said to him, 'Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish.  And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.'  "Then the rich man said, 'Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father's home.  For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don't end up in this place of torment.'  "But Abraham said, 'Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.'  "The rich man replied, 'No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.'  "But Abraham said, 'If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't listen even if someone rises from the dead.'" Luke 16:19-31
Was your loved one like Lazarus, who knew the Lord, or like the rich man who did not?  Is your loved one begging God to send someone to warn you so you will not be in that place of torment?  If so, here I am, warning you.  Are you like the rich man or Lazarus?  Which side will you be on when your time comes?  It is my praying you will head the warning...the flood is coming, please get in the boat.

Acknowledge that you aren't perfect, you make mistakes, and you cannot get to Jesus on your own efforts...none of us can.  Realize that Christ paid your fine for sin.  Forgiveness is Available to you.

Believe that Jesus paid the price for your sin.  He died so you don't have to...He conquered death and Hell so we do not have to know what it feels like to never have a drop of water on our scorching tongue.

Confess your sin to have to Turn from what you know is wrong.  It doesn't happen overnight, but the Holy Spirit begins working immediately in your heart...not condemning you or telling what you are doing wrong, but loving you despite what you do wrong, encouraging you in doing the right thing.

Live for Him, Learn about Him by reading His word, and find a church so you can serve Him.  He will work out all the other details.  You will find your life will have so much more meaning, and although you will initially have many more questions, as you learn more about Him, He will show you so much that it is amazing!
Have a blessed day! (night)

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