I was sitting at my laptop happily writing a futuristic, dystopian short story and my son told me to stop because it was depressing and no one wants to read that. I told him that actually that’s a very popular genre, but after he said that I stopped writing. Then today I was going to write about how having expectations of others can ruin relationships but I stopped after a few paragraphs. My original thought was to write about how nobody is perfect and that most of people are too hard on themselves and assume that everyone else is much more together than they are. Then yesterday’s shooting in Odessa, Texas, still not fully explained, really put me into a gloomy writing mood. I’m not really gloomy. I had a good week and the hummingbirds have returned. But the world is a mess and I find that hard to ignore.
When I went to Walmart today I wondered if I might get shot and then thought how crazy is it that America has become a place where you could truly be killed by a random angry person at any time. That thought took me to wishing more people would realize the urgency of knowing Jesus before it’s too late. I guess you could say my brain has been set to SERIOUS mode lately and that is what I keep wanting to write about. But I know that people don’t really want to read stuff like that. We all like to be distracted by creative stories, interesting anecdotes, funny memes, pretty landscapes, positive motivational thoughts, and beautiful people doing fun things. Oh, and food pictures.
But the truth is that we COULD be killed by a random shooter or a heart attack or car wreck or falling asteroid and it is urgent that we face this fact. Whether we live to be 100 or die today, our souls will live on after our hearts no longer beat. Our souls do not die. The Bible is not super clear on what exactly happens at death, but eventually all souls will end up in one of two places, with God , or banished from God. Since God is the source of all that is good, and a lack of God will be a place of nothing good, being banished from God’s presence should be a very terrifying prospect.
At this point in time , although Satan is wreaking havoc in this world by deceiving, tempting, and lying to unbelievers and accusing believers, we do not experience the full force of his demonic evil thanks to God’s presence and control. But there will come a time that Satan and his demons and all unbelievers will be banished to a place apart from God forever. On rare occasions when I wake up in the middle of the night after having a nightmare and the visions of the dream are still so vivid that it seems like it actually happened, and the room is dark and my heart is pounding, I think that might be a tiny glimpse of what separation from God could be like. Absolutely nothing good, no light, no comfort, no love, no truth, only darkness, torment, pain, loneliness, and terror. Except that God is still with me even when I have a bad dream.
As scary as some horror movies, or even real life situations can be, we still have the hope that as long as we are alive, things can get better. But it won’t be like that for those in eternal judgment, also known as hell. No hope! How terrible a thought that is! Satan is doing a great job of keeping people too busy or entertained or prideful or ‘educated’ or ‘rich’ to think about God and eternity, much less hell. Some preachers do not even mention hell or judgment, too offensive! Don’t want to run off the customers, I mean members. But the whole point and focus of Christian beliefs, the GOSPEL, is that Jesus had to die for our sins because the penalty for sin is death and judgment. But, mercifully, Jesus paid that penalty with his death, then, because he is God in the flesh, he came back from death, having defeated it, and is now alive in Heaven. His death was for US, OUR sins. But those who reject this GIFT will be judged on the basis of their sins. And God’s standard is perfection, not ‘pretty good’.
Some people may object to using this threat of hell, but if sin has no penalty, we do not need a savior and Jesus died for nothing! If you do not understand that there is a real consequence to sin, and that EVERYONE sins, you will not understand the great mercy and love God has for us in that he was willing to die for us to pay for our sins. You will not understand the great need for forgiveness of your sins. But if you have been told the gospel, understand it, and still reject God, you are in the most danger.
I know this is not a popular topic and I won’t get a lot of ‘likes’ or views, but that’s okay. I have to warn people. You never know when you head to Walmart or the movies or your job if it will be your last time to do that. Or when you lie down to sleep , if you will wake up. Or when you drive down the road, will you make it to your destination alive. I can think of several people close to me that died suddenly. It happens often! Please spend some time thinking about this. Ask God to speak to you from his Word. You can read the Bible online. Do some searches about questions you have about salvation, heaven, hell, sin. But beware, there are many false teachers and false websites! Compare it all to the Word of God.
And also ask yourself what makes sense. Does it really make sense that the world just created itself? There is no conflict between science and the Bible. You can have both. Does it make sense that Jesus’ disciples would go through all they did AFTER he died, to spread the Gospel, if they had not seen and experienced the things they taught about? All of them were persecuted and eventually died because of their faith. No one disputes that Jesus actually lived, only whether he rose again. And there were many witnesses to his miracles, crucifixion and resurrection. People want to argue over theology and call ‘religion’ bad because they reject the idea of a God that judges their sins. But God made the world and the people in it. It’s HIS world. He can judge us because he made us for his purposes, in His own image, meaning we are similar to God, but we are not God. We are to worship God, our creator, not ourselves.
15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16 ESV
Those who try to turn you away from believing in a God that judges sin are serving Satan, even if they say they don’t believe in evil or Satan. The world has come up with many alternative beliefs since the beginning of time, but all of them have one thing in common, they put man in God’s place. They put doing good deeds in the place of accepting forgiveness and serving God. The most popular religion I see promoted in social media is the religion of positive thinking and human achievements. This is the religion of the Progressive Humanists. Humanism is popular because it is accompanied by good things such as being healthy, active, enjoying nature, and doing good deeds. But good deeds are not enough. We need forgiveness because the most important thing God asks of us is to believe in Jesus and if we don’t do that, all our good deeds are worth nothing and only serve to build up our pride. Even those who worship other gods of their own making are rejecting the actual God of the universe. Turn to the true God. Seek him, trust Him, believe in what he did for you through Jesus. Prepare to meet Him one day, possibly sooner than you expect.