Archive for January, 2009
Have you ever wondered how he can stand it? Isn’t there some point when He says “Enough is enough”? Don’t you think He must retch when we curse Him, use His name to curse others, justify killing men, women, children, because He is “on our side”?
When does He draw the line and say “The horrid things you do to yourselves and the planet you live on is more than I can stomach. Go to Ghennal!” Ghenna is used only twelve times in the New Testament, 11 by Jesus Himself as He talks about the place separated from God. The place that Revelation calls “the second death..” The place where there is eternal damnation and suffering.
The question remains, after consistent disappointment and disregard for His love, when does the Creator tell his creation to Go To Hell?
Since before the world was formed, God hasn’t given up on his children. He offers them, you by name, a way to live with Him forever.
God Almighty offers you that hope:
Unearned, undeserved, unexplainable
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God allowed His son to pay the debt of our sins that we were/are incapable of satisfying. And Jesus gives us the receipt that simply says redeemed.
And yet do you think God’s told you to go to hell? One of the nagging questions that we as his creations have is: How, after all that I’ve done, can He forgive me? So what do you think?
December 31, 2008 was a long day. It was one second longer than every other day of the year. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service determined that the earth’s rotation is gradually slowing, while the atomic clocks used to mark official time around the world have maintained a constant time. The discrepancy between the “official” time and time based on the earth’s rotation had grown large enough that regulators agreed to add one second to what is considered official time. So if you felt more tired than usual on New Year’s Day, maybe it wasn’t because you stayed up to bring in the New Year; maybe that extra second was more than your body could handle.
In one of the poems that we have in the Bible, the writer talks about the shortness of life, then says, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). I don’t think he’s talking about atomic clocks. I think he’s reminding us that we need to recognize that life here is finite; we build up seconds, minutes, hours, days, etc., and come to feel that our time will never come to an end. Yet we need to recognize that we are not immortal, that one day our lives will be over. According to this psalm, which is attributed to Moses, we won’t be able to have a heart of wisdom until we recognize our own mortality.
Earlier in the same poem, Moses writes: “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4). And he also writes: “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). That’s what he means about learning to number our days. Our lives are typically 70 or 80 years, yet to God a thousand years is the same as one day. Time means nothing to an eternal God.
That eternal God offers to share eternity with us. We can settle for 70 years, more or less. Or we can let God give us a life that has no end, a life in which the days needn’t be numbered because they are infinite. Man can add a second to one day; God can add an eternity to every day. If you’d like to share in this eternity, but don’t know how, I’d like to talk to you about it.
Grace and peace,
It is still a hot topic of discussion almost everywhere I go. How much will we pay for gas in the future? The price we pay to drive our vehicles has been at the center of much of the financial news of the past year. You remember the shock you felt the first time you paid $2 a gallon, then $3, and occasionally even $4 a gallon. It was unreal. You sometimes had to use your credit card twice at the pump because the automatic price cut-off kicked in before you had filled up. I heard university students over the holidays talking excitedly about the cheap gas they were finding at only $1.50 per gallon.
If they only knew. I guess I must be really old but I remember the shock of paying $1 per gallon for the first time. I remember being able to buy gas a few times at 19 cents per gallon. I could go for several days on a quarter’s worth of gas. Who would have dreamed the price of gas would go so high, then so low, then so high? How do you budget travel expense? What will the price of gas be this year? And why does no one seem to know?
I am sure that I do not know the future. Smarter people than me are having a hard time figuring out gas prices, housing markets, international politics, environmental issues, and a whole lot more. So how does one live in uncertain times? How does one find joy, peace, hope, and security when the future is so unclear?
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Actually I stole this last sentence from a man named Paul who lived almost 2000 years ago. But I have learned the secret also. The secret is to find something you can be certain about. Something that you can count on no matter how bad – or how good – things turn out in the future.
It’s Jesus. That may seem too simplistic, too “churchy” to say that, but it is true. I do not put my trust in the economy, or in the forecasts of economic trends, or in the price of gas next year, or even in the next decade. I will trust Jesus. He has a track record I can count in… in history, but also in my life. He has, and he will, see me through whatever comes in this life. More importantly, he is my guarantee that this life is not all there is. I will live forever.
And that is the future I am certain of.
If you Google “Hand of God” the initial results are probably not what you might have expected. In 1986, Diego Maradona, arguably the greatest soccer player ever in the world, scored one of soccer history’s most controversial goals. Diego was playing for his home country, Argentina, and his goal came against international rivals, England, during the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
Diego leapt toward the ball that an England defender failed to clear and discretely punched the ball into the back of the net with his hand (the use of hands is taboo in soccer). A difficult angle for the referees prevented them from dismissing the goal, so instead it was awarded. Argentina went on to become champions in the world’s most prestigious soccer tournament. The goal was soon nicknamed the Hand of God after Diego admitted in an interview that he had scored “a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”.
Accrediting the goal to God was a lighthearted attempt to deflect the outraged objectors’ cries for a more just ruling. Diego’s subtle admission of his unconventional score reminds me that God’s hand is at work in each of our lives.
Jesus told the religious leaders of his day, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17, NIV).
“What is He working so hard at?” He’s bringing the whole world to Him through Jesus. He aches for us all to accept Jesus as lord of our lives and to follow Jesus’ way of living. Nonstop, God is implementing his plan to reconcile us to him through Jesus. It is through Jesus that we are made righteous before God. His perfect life gives us that are imperfect precious hope.
Have you recognized that God is working to bring you to Him?