Photo cred: Indian in the Machine
All of my life I’ve never wavered in thinking that after we “die physically” we still continue to exist. In being raised Catholic, I was taught about heaven and hell, but always believed that if I were a “good person”, heaven awaits!! My bag’s been packed for years, not that I’ll need much in heaven; after all it IS heaven, but just to be on the safe side, my bag includes my Keurig machine, my favorite “Dog Lover” coffee mug, a never-ending supply of Peet’s Major Dickason K-Cups, Hershey’s Chocolate and Caramel creamer, as well as my iPad and wireless keyboard…after all, I’ll HAVE to blog about heaven when I get there! As I trudged along in my humble worldly life, I truly thought that I was “good to go”…landing in heaven for all eternity because I believed in it and I certainly didn’t want to go to hell. I mean, isn’t being a kind, humble, caring, selfless person enough? Nope.
John 14:6 ~ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
I always thought the aforementioned verse meant that as long as I “believed” in Jesus, I was all set…Red-carpet-roll-out upon MY arrival into heaven! Whoop whoop! Ummmm… “no”…that’s not what it means. :::Insert ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look here:::
Luke 16:19-30 tells the story of the “Rich Man and Lazarus”. The rich man was just that in his worldly life…rich… he had every worldly possession his heart desired, but refused to repent and turn his life over to God. The poor man, Lazarus, covered in sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
EVERYONE needs to know that there is a heaven to gain, but there is also a hell to shun! Poet Willam Arthur Tell wrote a thought-provoking poem about this; well worth the read.
At service yesterday, our Lead Pastor reminded us that “Good people don’t go to heaven…FORGIVEN people DO!” Asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins and to be our Lord and Savior means we ARE forgiven. This is a life-changing commitment; the difference between spending eternity in heaven vs. hell.
I know that for many years I thought I was all set and that heaven awaits me when my time on this earth ends. I was pretty confident in that belief; I didn’t know anything to the contrary. I never opened a bible when I attended Mass; it was something that the Priest opened up and read the gospel from. I thought, “I’ll never understand or be able to comprehend it. Does the Word really pertain to ‘me’?” Oh, “yes”, it does! I’m in His Word EVERY day. The Bible is a living document, directing me where I need to be EVERY time I open it. He knows… it’s by his mercy, grace and favor that I humbly live. Jesus IS the truth, the way and the life and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve grabbed ahold of his hand and I’m NEVER letting go!
I’m not special, not in the least. But I am FORGIVEN and I am SAVED. That’s all fine and good, but what about those that aren’t? Don’t they deserve to know that their eternity hangs in the balance? “Leave no man behind”. Seek and find; bring those you love (and even those you don’t) to Jesus.
The good news is, is that HEAVEN is FOREVER, but we must not forget that so is HELL. There’s no bargaining your way out of hell. There’s no begging for forgiveness then… it’ll be too late. There is NO WAY out of HELL…EVER.
There are people in my life whom I desperately want to turn to Jesus. Deep-rooted in the back of my mind (until now) has been the haunting thought that, “They’ll never do it. They’ll never repent and be forgiven and saved.” Shame on me. My Pastor said yesterday, “Don’t answer somebody’s “No” for them.” AMEN! Who am I to assume they can’t or they won’t? It may seem like an impossible task for ME, but nothing is impossible for God and with His love, faithfulness and guidance, I will continue to ask them, I will continue to pray for them, and I will continue to let them see Jesus in me.
Romans 10:9-10 ~ “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
~Let Love Lead The Way~ TP