Tag: hell

Good or Evil? Who Decides?

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Is it possible for someone to be a good person but not believe in Jesus? What if they couldn’t care less whether there’s a God in Heaven? Maybe they don’t even believe in a Heaven or a Hell.

Can that person be a good person, or are they evil through and through? What does it take to be classified as good? How bad must someone be to rate being called evil?

Is the dividing line between good and evil simply a matter of faith? Something like faith equals good and no faith equals evil?

We probably all know someone, or have heard of someone, who epitomizes evil. However, I don’t think it’s possible to find someone we all can agree is evil. Or good, for that matter.

For the sake of discussion, I’ll use Adolf Hitler as our example of evil. How can he be judged as evil? Because of his evil actions during World War Two. His attempt to exterminate the Jewish people was evil. In my book, anyway.

However, there are people in the world who would argue with me; and tell me Hitler was good!

Why would they say such a thing? Because Hitler also did some good! He was a great community organizer, rallying the German Nation in patriotic unity. He was also good for the German economy, for awhile, at least.

So, I can’t use his actions to determine if he was good or evil.

There must be a better way to decide.

Most people agree that Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi were good people. Mother Teresa is known for her ministry of compassion, while Mahatma Gandhi is known for his nonviolent leadership in India’s independence. Both were an inspiration to their countrymen, and the whole world.

But again, there are some who would disagree. Looking on the internet, I found a number of articles questioning both Mother Teresa’s and Gandhi’s integrity and character. It’s been said that the world’s second favorite mother wasn’t always ethical with her handling of the finances; millions and millions of dollars. Gandhi was a known racist, despising the black man his entire life.

I find it hard to believe like you. But I cannot say someone is good because they do good things.

What if we just made a rule, something like: whatever the majority believes is correct. If the majority believes someone or something is good, then it’s good. If evil, well, sorry but that’s the way it is.

So where do we go to find our majority? How many should be polled to create a correct assessment? Could the majority’s belief differ, if the polling data was gathered from different people groups, with different levels of income, and various age groups?

Is it safe to let society determine what is good or what is evil?

No. It is not.

Every human being is capable of doing good, or doing evil. Every one, without exception. So mankind really isn’t the one to determine good or evil.

Like it or not, there’s only one qualified to make the call. Believe it or not, there’s one who’s already made the call.

God.

You who don’t agree; do you know someone better qualified? Or are you saying there’s no such thing as good or evil? No God and no devil?

But back to my original question: is it possible for someone to be a good person but not believe in Jesus?

The answer is…

No.

A person may do tons of good things. They may find a cure for cancer, or broker peace in the Middle East. They could save the whales, the trees, and California’s budget problems; all good things.

But in order to BE good, a person’s innermost being must be good.

The standard, the benchmark for “good”, the only one who is good says:

“As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one. No one understands [no one intelligently discerns or comprehends]; no one seeks out God. All have turned aside; together they have gone wrong and have become unprofitable and worthless; no one does right, not even one! Their throat is a yawning grave; they use their tongues to deceive (to mislead and to deal treacherously). The venom of asps is beneath their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction [as it dashes them to pieces] and misery mark their ways. And they have no experience of the way of peace [they know nothing about peace, for a peaceful way they do not even recognize]. There is no [reverential] fear of God before their eyes”. (Romans 3:10-18 AMP)

None good, no not one. Sin, or a trespass against God, a neighbor, or even one’s self, disqualifies anyone from being good. It’s not the way he made us, but it’s how we turned out after the evil one deceived Eve. When Adam willingly, knowingly, took the fruit from Eve’s hand and took a bite.

God didn’t create us bad, and it’s not how he wants us to end up.

“For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:22 – 3:26 ESV)

God has done something about man’s bad condition.

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned – for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:12-17 ESV)

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22-23 ESV)

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV)

By faith in Jesus’ substitutionary work on the cross, along with his subsequent burial and resurrection, God begins a change in the believer’s heart. The old leaves, the new comes.

The good one (Jesus) gave his life for the bad one (me), so the bad one (me) might become righteous in God’s sight.

He makes us good. His Spirit gives us the power to resist evil, and do good.

It all boils down to this: doing good things is great. It’s commendable and great for the world. Good deeds should be applauded and encouraged. But doing good doesn’t change a bad heart. It has to be made new. Born again. Recreated in the image of good.

God’s standard of “good“.

Thank you for reading this post. Please comment, I’d love to hear what you think. For more posts and a weekly newsletter delivered to your email address, please go to http://eepurl.com/PaJK5 and sign up. Thanks.

Locked Out Of Heaven?

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Well, it wasn’t much of a Super Bowl game, was it? Unless, of course, you were a Seattle Seahawks fan. But even then, at the end of the night it was just another game.

Just another game.

I didn’t watch the halftime show. Instead, my wife and I watched an old Gomer Pyle, USMC show from the late 60’s. So I missed the Bruno Mars and Red Hot Chili Peppers show.

I heard about the “Locked Out Of Heaven” song. I was kind of curious so I googled the lyrics just to satisfy my curiosity. Oh my! The devil sure didn’t treat it like it was just another halftime!

Here’s just a portion of the words.

“Locked Out Of Heaven”
Bruno Mars

Never had much faith in love or miracles
Never wanna put my heart on the line
But swimming in your water* is something spiritual
I’m born again every time you spend the night

‘Cause your sex takes me to paradise
Yeah, your sex takes me to paradise
And it shows, yeah, yeah, yeah

‘Cause you make me feel like I’ve been locked out of heaven
For too long, for too long
Yeah, you make me feel like I’ve been locked out of heaven
For too long, for too long

BRUNO MARS lyrics are property and copyright of their owners.
Copyright © 2000-2014 AZLyrics.com

With approximately 111 million viewers, those who planned the halftime “propaganda” for the devil had quite an audience. The prince of the power of the “air” (TV airtime gives the devil’s title an interesting meaning) certainly brought his A game to the viewers. Much more than Denver did, that’s for sure. But look at the blatant mockery of God’s love and mercy. Using certain phrases, such as faith in love and miracles, the heart, born again, and paradise to describe a sexual encounter is vulgar at best; at worst it mocks God, and deifies animalistic sexual behavior.

“Locked out of Heaven” isn’t really something to be happy about. If sex REALLY made Bruno Mars feel like he’d been “locked out of Heaven”, it wouldn’t be a love song, that’s for certain.

The words would describe something a lot different than sexual feelings or an orgasmic experience. Sorry to be so blunt.

If one is truly locked out of Heaven, they’ll discover Hell to be unlike any sexual thrill ever conceived by man! Even S&M encounters cannot compare with the Domain of the Damned! Hell is a place that throws no parties for its tenants, no orgies for its playful pretties, and there are no special moments for pleasure of ANY kind.

Do these words make Hell sound like a fun place? Words such as “wailing and gnashing of teeth“, “eternal torment“, “utter darkness“, “consuming worms“, “eternally separated from the Presence of the Lord“, and “the lake of fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels“.

I tell you what; if having sex is anything like “locked out of Heaven”, there sure wouldn’t be 7 billion people on planet earth!

Here’s the true gospel. Because of Adam’s sin, his disobedience and rebellion toward God, Heaven WAS locked. We WERE locked out of Heaven.

But Jesus came as our offering for sin.

“He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

“Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6 NLT)

“He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.” (Titus 2:14 NLT)

“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.” (John 3:36 NLT)

Heaven is WIDE OPEN to whoever receive Jesus as the Lord of their life! The blood of Jesus UNLOCKED Heaven for anyone and everyone who will repent and believe the gospel.

That’s the message of the cross of Christ. Much more than a halftime show for a game that’s just a game. It’s a message with eternal ramifications.

You can believe whatever you’d like. You can call me a nut, a prude, old fashioned, or just plain stupid. Whatever. But this I can say with certainty.

I’m not locked out of Heaven. Are you?

A Tip From Bob The Trainer

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Back in 1995 I began my career with the United States Postal Service. Yep, I was a government employee! I worked for the postal service 17 years, as a Letter Carrier, Customer Service Supervisor, and a Station Manager. It was a great job, for the most part. I am thankful for the experience I gained, the people I met and worked with, and for the friendships that developed through the years.

As a “mailman”, I had to take driver’s classroom training, safety training, and actual hands-on training with their right-hand drive vehicles, the LLV (Long Life Vehicle).

I can still hear old Bob the Trainer telling us the route we were supposed to drive for vehicle orientation. Bob the Trainer would explain in a manner totally unlike any other trainer I’d ever had. Bob had been training new drivers for years, had worked for the USPS for at least 75 years (just guessing), and had quite a personality.

I learned real quick like NOT to bring up politics or religion to Bob the Trainer. He would tend to get a little heated in discussing such things, and then would forget all about the training. Oh well, most people have at least one fault or another.

The BIGGEST, most important thing Bob taught me was to “look both ways, more than once. Look to the left, right, and at least once more to the left. Bob your head back and forth several times”; if he said it once I know he said it at least a hundred times!

That tip from Bob the Trainer has kept me from an accident more times than I can count.

“Look both ways, more than once; left, right, and back to the left. Bob your head, back and forth…”

I remembered old Bob the Trainer today, thinking about the thing a lot of folks don’t like to think about. Eternity. Yep, thinking about eternity made me think of Bob the Trainer.

He came to my mind, not because of anything “religious” he might have said. No, that’s not the reason.

I thought of him because of that great tip he taught me. You know, the “look both ways, more than once; left, right, and back to the left. Bob your head, back and forth…” tip he was famous for.

Eternity. Look both ways. So true.

See, there’re only two directions one can go as they cross the intersection that separates this life from the next. There IS a next life; no one has a choice about that.

“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27 ESV)

But we must choose between Heaven or Hell, Life or Death, Forgiveness or Eternal Damnation.

Look around, to the left, then to the right. Decide what there is to lose, and what there is to gain. But look carefully, because your choice will matter. And should you decide NOT to choose; well, the default destination is not the choice I’d make.

God sent His Son to give us a choice, a choice worth making. He who decides on the Lordship of Jesus will not see death (spiritual) or walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

So, take a tip from old Bob the Trainer. “Look both ways, more than once; left, right, and back to the left. Bob your head, back and forth…”

And before you pull into the “intersection”, make certain you’ve chosen LIFE!

Tents

20131028-010354.jpg“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2 NLT)

Paul compared our bodies to a tent. I find that very interesting.

A tent is used as temporary housing. While some folks use their tent quite often, it is still just a temporary shelter.

So is our body. Temporary shelter for our eternal being; our spirit and soul. With the help of our earthly tent, we can live on this temporary planet (a new one has been ordered!). But only for a while.

Tents come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. Regardless, though, the purpose of each tent is the same as the next.

A tent may be real handsome, or very pretty. And yes, there may be a tent one might even refer to as “sexy”.

But it’s still a tent!

Some occupants use their tent to manipulate or exploit others. They feel powerful as they flaunt their tent in ways that tempt and seduce others. Rarely, though, do those people open the flaps of their tent; they’re kept closed so others can’t see the real person inside. (But God sees and knows)

There are some who allow their tents to dictate what they will do, say, go, eat; their tent rules them, instead of the other way around. The tent was never designed to be the master, but the servant.

Think about how much attention we give to our tent! We spend billions of dollars a year feeding, grooming, clothing, exercising, and pampering our tent. Some people don’t even realize there’s anything or anyone living in the tent!

And consider how many magazines and websites there are solely devoted to pictures and videos of “adult” tents; and how many men and women have become addicted to viewing pictures of tents.

Tents don’t last forever.

Tents were never created to be worshiped. It’s true that we should take care of our tent, so it can last as long as possible. But we best not forget about the tent’s occupant…

…because some day the tent’s color will fade, it will lose its shape and its appeal. It will become old and wore out, eventually coming apart at the seams.

And all too quickly that beautiful, sexy tent will not be able to give shelter to its occupant any longer. The tent will be buried, but the occupant will move on.

For eternity.

So how are you using your tent?

“The Times They Are A-Changin”

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The Times They Are A-Changin’
Lyrics by Bob Dylan

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin

Words and music by Bob Dylan

The times they are a-changing. That’s a word The Lord keeps speaking to my heart. Changing times. Dividing times. Light getting brighter and darkness becoming darker. Gray areas turning lighter or darker, but not staying the same. The middle ground is diminishing. In or out. Up or down. Right or wrong. Heaven or Hell.

The times they are a-changing. Changing, becoming, turning to the final chapter of the Redemption Story. The Story of love and fellowship between God and man. The Story of how fellowship was broken, but love never was. The Story of love giving itself to redeem and restore the broken fellowship. God’s eternal purposes finally completed.

The times aren’t changing just because God wants to do something new. After all, it’s not new to Him. No, He’s just bringing things to a close, so He can then open all of Heaven and Eternity for His Redeemed and Restored Family.

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