I don’t know that there is a more divisive topic out there than the topic of Heaven and Eternal Life vs. Hell and Eternal Damnation. Typically it begins with the question- “What do you mean I might not go to Heaven, I’m a good person!!!!” I know that this has caused more than one conversation to go sideways around here.
Before we begin, let me make this perfectly clear – I am NOT a theologian. What I am writing here is a culmination of information gained while studying and researching some of the finest Christian minds and writers.
I was wasting time this morning scrolling through my Facebook page and came across an article about the television show – “Lucifer”. I began scrolling through the comments about the possible return of the show for another season, and I was taken aback and saddened by some of the responses. I did some screen grabs of the comments, and made sure to erase anything that would identify the owner of the comments.
“Then one of the Twelve, the one called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?” And they set out for him thirty pieces of silver.” Matthew 26:14-15
What amount of money would it take for you to sell out Jesus Christ? For Judas, it was 30 pieces of silver. What’s your price?
We live in a society where we are so interconnected… we have the ability, in the blink of an eye, to post, snap, tweet, share, pin, link, blog, ping and tag any and every fleeting thought, or random idea or belief to family, friends, colleagues and strangers around the world. But what if our family, friends, colleagues and strangers don’t agree with our thoughts and beliefs? What then? At what point do you stop posting, snapping, tweeting, sharing, pinning, linking, blogging, pinging and tagging?Continue reading →
“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” Matthew 12:34
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”
“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart,
and these defile them.” Matthew 15:18
What do those verses have to do with Orange Juice? Let’s take a step back. If you were to take a whole, unpeeled orange and squeeze it with all your strength, what would the result be? Right… the result would be orange juice; it wouldn’t be tomato juice or apple juice. Because an orange, or any fruit for that matter, can only give up what it has on the inside. Oranges make orange juice.
And so it with us humans; we do everything we can to keep our wrapper (the orange peel) tight around us, unblemished and intact, holding in all that there is about us; all that we are made of. Yet, let an unexpected life event come at us, applying a bit of pressure and it’s highly possible we might glimpse just a small tear in our wrapper. But for the most part, our insides are still intact; we’re still holding strong on the outside.
Apply a bit more pressure and you’ll likely see more of us spill out; a bit of juice and perhaps a tiny bit of pulp. But that stops as soon as the pressure stops and while our wrapper is wounded; it’s just a “flesh wound”.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3
I was cleaning my bookshelves a while back and came across a book that I hadn’t given much thought to in many years; it is the Prayer Book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Let me tell you how this little 80-page book blessed my life.
It was just after Thanksgiving time in 1995 while I was working as a pastoral assistant to a Catholic Pastor in Massachusetts. He was a great priest and a great friend. However, he was also great at volunteering me for projects! (I will admit that I really didn’t mind at all)
We traveled to Boston one afternoon to visit with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy; what an amazing ministry they have. While taking a tour of their lovely chapel, we noticed that their prayer books were a torn and tattered mess that consisted of a folder of mismatched cards and papers. Continue reading →
“You have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2:9 TLB
In Nathaniel Hawthorns’ classic, The Scarlet Letter, we read about a woman named Hester Prynne and of her sin of adultery that is exposed at the birth of her illegitimate child, Pearl. Her particular sin was self-evident by the child she carried in her arms, and it was made more evident by the scarlet letter “A” that she was forced to wear on her chest, a public display of her sin.
As the story continues we are introduced to Mr. Dimmsdale. Mr. Dimmsdale, the “sin-partner” to Hester Prynne, carried his own scarlet letter; one he branded onto his own chest. The deep torment of his sin eventually takes over his life causing such turmoil on his physical health that he is ultimately destroyed by his guilt.
From the back cover – ‘To know what the future holds, know what the past is hiding.”
”This book will open your eyes to groundbreaking mysteries that will impact not only how you understand the past, but also how you can be ready for the future.”
The Oracle, by Jonathan Cahn unveils and opens up the Jubilean Mysteries to reveal times and events that have and do lie behind everything from the rise and fall of nations and empires (America), to current events of our day, the future and onward to end-times prophecies.
In this age of free and easy access to answers to our most inane questions and our deepest philosophical quandary’s, the internet, for all its faults and failings is on the forefront providing the answers. For thousands of years, lay people relied on the learned few to share their knowledge and provide us with the answers to our deepest questions. Then one day a few decades ago, the information that we relied on others to provide became readily available to all of us. Sacred texts were now available, holy texts, literary classics, rare – if ever seen manuscripts and scrolls were now ready to be accessed by anyone anywhere that wanted to see them.
It seemed as though all the answers to every question in the universe could now be found. Every question we could ever think to ask could now be answered. Today I can search and find the answer to anything I want to know. Whether I trust the “answer-er” or not, is a topic for another time.
There are several major internet search engines; Google and Bing are the two largest and most accessed. In 2018, there were 5.6 billion searches per day on Google alone. That’s a bunch of people asking a bunch of questions! So it begs the question, what are they looking for. When it comes to faith, what are the big questions that are in need of an answer? I took a look at the results from my own little blog search results to see some of what folks were asking; the results are clear. This is just a brief list of the taken from this year’s statistics.
“Life changes overnight for Coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team and state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant shuts down and hundreds of families leave their town, John questions how he and his family will face an uncertain future. After reluctantly agreeing to coach cross-country, John and his wife, Amy, meet an aspiring athlete who’s pushing her limits on a journey toward discovery. Inspired by the words and prayers of a newfound friend, John becomes the least likely coach helping the least likely runner attempt the impossible in the biggest race of the year.”
Overcomer by Chris Fabry
“What do you allow to define you?”
With the upcoming release of Overcomer – the movie – slated for later this month, I decided to read the book. Rarely does any book capture my attention like this one did. Even more rare does any book evoke an emotional response from me, as this one did.
It is difficult to write this review without spoilers, so I will only give my thoughts and impressions of the story and leave the reader to embrace the goodness and pursue their own journey of overcoming.
The Book is divided into 4 parts (The Coach, The Question, The Answer, and The Voice) that will take the reader through a year long journey of 4 distinct characters – John the Coach, Hannah Scott, Barbara Scott and T-Bone (aka Thomas Hill). Through these rich and relatable characters, we are reminded that sometimes God’s plan for our life doesn’t always follow what we want for our life.
We are privileged to journey through this particular year as these characters come to terms with disappointment at the loss of what was, disillusionment of what is coming, apprehension and trepidation of our expectations of ourselves and our lives and the burdens we all carry, both real or self-imposed.
Let’s say that you live in a fine house with your charming family. Let’s say that your house is adjacent to some train tracks. For many years, you and your charming family have been living life – working, playing, loving each other, enjoying the fruits of your hard work and the love of your family, friends and neighbors. You have had some ups and downs, but for the most part life has been pretty good.
Now let’s say that I hear there is trouble headed your way. A runaway train careening down the tracks at a hundred plus miles per hour is definitely going to derail and crash right through your happy home and life. It is going to obliterate you, your family and your home. Everything you know and love will come to an end. You may survive… or not. Your spouse may survive… or not. Your children may survive… or not. If you do, you will be left devastated and alone.
My question to you is – should I warn you that death and total destruction are headed your way? Your answer is of course… YES! Why would I keep that information to myself? Why would I not warn someone that I love and treasure that certain death is upon them? Of course I would. I would move heaven and earth if it would help in order to get you to hear me that total eradication is on your life.
Yet many would tell me, “I’ve lived here like this for years and years and nothing like that has ever happened. I don’t believe what you are saying. We are perfectly safe in our little home.” But it is going to happen, and you don’t or can’t or won’t see it.
In an instant, the warnings were real. Your final breath is upon you. Everything you have known, done, owned or worked for… nothing… none of it can save you from the train that is going to end your life.
Did you hear the warnings? Did you heed the warnings? Did you choose to ignore the warnings? Death and eternity are forever.
If I told you that your life, all life, as we know it today is going to end would you believe me? Yes, I know that we are all going to die someday, that is not what I am here to tell you about. I am here speaking about the “End of the Age”.