Signs from Beyond the Grave?

February 27, 2019 at 11:21 am | Posted in Q&A | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Question: Some people (even Christians), when they have lost a loved one, believe they are getting “signs” from that person. Am I closed-minded to think that this can’t be true? I just don’t see God letting someone come back to earth to make an object move by itself across the room, or perform some other “trick.” Our final destination is either Heaven or hell. There is no in-between, right? I guess some people feel so much grief, that maybe the idea of a “sign” from their loved one brings comfort. Is there Scripture on this?

Answer: When this happens, I don’t think the person grieving his lost loved one is really thinking correctly about what he is feeling or thinks he’s seeing. The Bible says that, for a Christian, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:6-8), so you are correct in saying there is no “in-between.” When someone dies, his or her soul and consciousness go directly to Heaven or hell (Hebrews 9:27).

It’s hard, because when a person is seriously grieving, we have a tendency to be glad when they find any sort of comfort. “If it makes them feel better or helps them get through it, where’s the harm?” we tend to think. The problem is, like you said, nothing in the Bible says this is okay. In fact, it’s really the opposite: Job 7:9-10; Ecclesiastes 9:5-6; Psalm 146:4. And we are even warned not to get involved with attempting to communicate with people who have died: Isaiah 8:19-20; Leviticus 19:31; I John 4:1,4.

Finally, it may sound harsh, but I do not really think that, once we get to Heaven, and especially once we see Jesus face to face, we will even have a desire to come back to this world to visit our loved ones or to try to make them feel better. They are supposed to be finding their comfort in Christ through His Spirit (Philippians 4:19), anyway, not from mysteriously mobile objects or spooky feelings or rainbows or old notes stowed away in dresser drawers. In the passages in the Bible which describe Heaven, the focus is always on the Lord and the worship of Him, not on what we left behind.

We should really pray for pastoral staff members who are counseling and helping people grieving over the death of a loved one. It is very easy to say the wrong thing, and there is always a temptation just to let them take comfort in whatever seems to work, but these “signs” and “messages” and “visions” can easily become an unhealthy fixation. In the Bible, the spirits of the dead were referred to as “familiar” spirits, which means people wrongly associated them with “family” members who had died. Of course, Satan can take advantage of this and prey on people’s emotions (II Corinthians 11:14-15), so it’s better to deal in truth even when we’re trying to deal with someone who is very distraught.

A Greater Ladder

February 25, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Posted in Biblical Greats, John | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.

John 1:50-51

Jesus referred to the incident which we often call “Jacob’s ladder” from Genesis 28:12. Jesus is the only one Who can connect Heaven and Earth – in Whom sinful man can come into peaceful relationship with holy God. Jesus did not identify Himself as the fulfillment of what the Angels typified, but as the fulfillment of what the ladder itself typified. This motif – that Jesus would be the longed-for Mediator (daysman, interpreter) between God and man – appears in other Old Testament passages as well.

For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.

Job 9:32-33

Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

Job 33:22-24

The identification of Jesus with the fulfillment of Jacob’s ladder is also a statement of exclusivity. Aside from Christ, there are no other “ladders” or “stairways” to Heaven, no other ordained salvific connections between God and men. Faith in Jesus is the means to accessing this ladder, but no one really has faith in a ladder until he steps on with his full weight and starts the climb up.

The Heart of the Problem Is the Problem of the Heart

February 20, 2019 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Jeremiah was commanded not to participate in one of the most important things in the life of a Jewish man: getting married and having a family.

Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.

Jeremiah 16:2

He was also forbidden from participating in two of the key social events of his day: weddings and funerals.

For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.

Jermeiah 16:5

Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.

Jeremiah 16:8

In Jewish society in those days, these prohibitions would have caused people to say, “Something ain’t right about that fella.” Mourning with others was a great source of comfort, and weddings were generally considered the chief occasions of celebration and joy, but the land of Judah was about to become one giant graveyard. There would be no time for burials, mourning, or comfort, and a wedding would not be a reason to celebrate if families were about to be killed and torn apart.

The remainder Jeremiah Chapter 16 deals with the people’s almost unbelievable questioning about what sin they could possibly have committed to cause the Lord to do this to them, and Jeremiah’s patiently explaining it to them once again, which continues in Chapter 17, broken down into large categories which emphasize the root of the problems that had led them into more specific sins and had brought God’s judgment on themselves.

The first was idolatry.

The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.

Jeremiah 17:1-2

Jeremiah attacked their hearts, which had become pagan altars, just like the ones in the groves. They might deny it, but their children knew where Dad and Mom really gave their loyalty and worship.

The second was unbelief.

Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

Jeremiah 17:5

Political alliances with other countries on a national level, and faith in their own strength instead of God on a personal level, were symptoms of the fact that they simply did not believe in their hearts that God was who He said He was (and had proven to be) or that He could or would do what He said He would do.

Jeremiah 17:9 is a key verse to the whole chapter – and to the whole Bible.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jeremiah 17:9

This is a more accurate statement about the human race than you will find in any anthropology textbook. It is unflattering and brutally honest. It is a valid proof text on the state of mankind apart from God. This is a verse that would be good for all of us to memorize or at least with which to be very familiar.

It speaks of “the” heart – a total (yet accurate) generalization meaning that this describes the heart of every single person. The “heart” is the essence of a person’s nature – including his desires, his intellect, and his will. It is “deceitful,” meaning that it has the ability and the strong tendency to fool others and to fool its possessor. It is deceitful above “ALL” things, including Satan himself. It is also “desperately wicked.” Wicked alone would be more than bad enough, but it is not only wicked. It is in a state of great urgency and desperation to devise and commit evil deeds, to concoct and carry out evil plans, to jump eagerly to evil reactions and responses. The description of “desperately wicked” also expresses the idea of terminal, incurable wickedness – that which is sick beyond cure, broken beyond repair. “Who can know it?” is a rhetorical question meaning that no one but God can truly fathom it. We often believe that we know our own hearts, but not even we ourselves are able to comprehend the depths of the wickedness of our own hearts. We can never contemplate some horrible atrocity and honestly say, “I would never…” We truly have no concept of how low we would sink to accomplish the desires of our hearts if God’s restraining grace were removed from this world and from each of us individually.

So, Jeremiah the prophetic heart attacker – as God’s spokesman – attacked the hearts of the people for their idolatry, their unbelief, and (third) their greed.

As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.

Jeremiah 7:11

A bird that hatches another bird’s eggs finds herself without any chicks. In the same way, God’s people – thinking they were the true owners of God’s wealth – would wake up to find it gone. Don’t think you can trust in your checking account, your 401(k) plan, your cash money, or even a treasure chest full of gold buried in the woods. These things are assigned value only by God, ultimately, and He could make them worthless in a heartbeat.

Are People Still Possessed by Demons?

February 18, 2019 at 10:37 am | Posted in Q&A | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Question: While studying Mark 5:1-17, I realized that how this “wild man” was described sounded a lot like someone who today would be called mentally ill. People say there are no demon possessions anymore, but our hospitals are full of people cutting themselves and crying out in despair (Verse 5). Could mental illness be less of a “chemical imbalance” and more of a demonic presence?

Answer: That’s a great question. I do not think the Bible says anything to indicate that demon possession can’t still occur today, although it is true that it may be misdiagnosed as another problem, because, like you said, “people SAY there are no demon possessions any more.”

There are a couple of issues here, though. First, a person who has trusted Christ unto salvation is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, so that person can not be truly “possessed,” although he or she may be what we call “oppressed,” meaning that sometimes God allows demons to have access to the lives of Christians to cause problems for them as part of God’s secret plan for our good. You can see this happening in Job Chapters 1 and 2, for example. But Luke 5 clearly shows that people without saving faith in Christ can certainly be possessed, controlled, and driven mad by demons. Thankfully, they can also be delivered and set free by Jesus!

Second, some mental illnesses are caused by physical things, such as chemicals in the brain. The doctors examine the levels of certain elements in their blood, and, when certain chemicals in their blood are low or high, they act crazy (crazier than the average person, anyway). They are given medicine, and after a while it gets into their systems, and they start acting normal (or at least some reasonable semblance of “normal”) again. There are Bible verses that encourage us to treat certain illnesses with medication, since God created the chemicals that the medicines are made out of, and since He gave doctors or scientists the wisdom to figure this out. So there’s nothing wrong with doing that, when it is in fact a physical, rather than a spiritual, problem.

Of course, if there are no conclusive medical results, it’s hard to tell demonic activity apart from a chemical imbalance, or conditions caused by past mental trauma, which is why we always need to pray for healing and trust God before we go to the doctors, and even while they’re trying to treat it. He is the one who ultimately gets credit for the healing, regardless of the means used to accomplish it.

Furthermore, one thing that often gets overlooked is that physical illness – in both the body AND the brainCAN be caused by unconfessed or unrepented-of sin in our life, even though that’s not always the cause. Some verses that show this are: Psalm 38:3-8; Pslam 6:2-3; Psalm 51:8; Psalm 32:3.

Personal anecdotes are not authoritative like Scripture, so you don’t have to read this part unless you want to, but I will share one very strange experience I had. At the church where our family served at the time, a young man (mid-20s) came forward at the end of a worship service. His father-in-law, who was one of those big muscular motorcycle-gang-looking men, had dragged him to church against his will. I took him back in a little prayer room we had and talked to him about being saved. He said that he went to church when was a kid, but when he was about 12 he went to some kind of heavy metal rock concert, where they were singing about the Devil and hell and had those pentagram things on the stage. He said that, afterwards, he got out of church and started drinking and doing drugs and other stuff. He looked truly miserable to be in church that morning, and his in-laws and his wife were outside the room praying for him. This dude’s face was just strange. His brows were furrowed down, his teeth were kind of bared, he had a wild look in his eyes, even his hair looked all disheveled and strange. It was so weird, because I don’t think he was trying to make a monster-face, but he just sort of looked like that. However, the longer I talked to him about Jesus and showed him from the Bible how his sins could be forgiven, the more intently he listened, and he started to look more scared and sweaty than mean. Finally, I asked him if he wanted to trust Christ, and we prayed. When we finished praying, he looked up, and it was so bizarre! His whole face looked different! He almost didn’t look like the same person. He was smiling and crying at the same time, his hair was laying down, his facial features were uncreased. To be honest, it kind of freaked me out, and I was thinking, “Is there an invisible demon flying around loose now!?” I probably wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it. When we came out of that room, his family saw the same thing. They kept saying how different he looked, and he kept saying how free he felt. He started coming to church regularly after that, and got involved in some kind of motorcycle-riders-for-Jesus outreach program with his father-in-law. About 4-5 years later I saw him at the local convenience store by our house early Sunday morning on his way to church, and he was still serving Jesus! So, I don’t know if he was really demon-possessed or not – but it sure seemed like something happened to him in that room.

How to Talk to God

February 15, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Posted in Luke | 6 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Luke 11:1

Knowing that Jesus was God incarnate, and (incorrectly) thinking of prayer only as asking God for help with something we can’t do on our own, we might think it remarkable to find Jesus praying in the Gospels, but it really drives home the importance of prayer. Jesus’s prayer life must have been really phenomenal. If Jesus “had” to pray, how much more should we think that we absolutely MUST pray? “Teach us to pray,” said one of Jesus’s disciples. They didn’t ask Him to teach them how to preach, or how to do miracles, or even how to serve and minister. They asked Him how to PRAY.

Luke Chapter 11 contains a version of what is often called “The Lord’s Prayer,” but it is not a prayer that Jesus Himself prayed, and it was never intended as a magical formula to be repeated word for word. When I was in elementary public school we prayed “The Lord’s Prayer” and said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. From what I understand, times have really changed regarding prayer in schools, but it is designed to be a model, not a mantra. Perhaps I should add that it IS okay to repeat it word for word at times, but it is better to incorporate its principles into your PERSONAL prayers.

Praying is simply defined as talking to God, although we could probably come up with a more theologically impressive definition that incorporates words like “intercession” and “supplication” and “petition.” You normally develop a friendship with someone while talking to them. When we pray, does God talk back? It depends on what we mean by talking back, but I DO believe prayer involves both speaking and listening, and, most importantly, that Bible study and prayer go hand in hand, since the Bible is the one sure way to know what God has to say to us.

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

Luke 11:2

God is “our Father” in the sense that He created us, but, even more so for true Christians, in the special sense of the “new birth.”

Why do you think Jesus made a point of adding “which art in Heaven?” For one, it reminds us of God’s sovereignty. For another, it reminds us of our eternal home. It reminds us to have an eternal perspective. It reminds us of our citizenship. If we are praying out loud in the presence of others, it reinforces the idea for the listeners that we are praying to THE ONE TRUE GOD. It reminds us of His position OVER us – His power and our submission.

“Hallowed be thy name.” For God’s name to be “hallowed” means for it to be venerated, to be esteemed, to be considered and treated as holy, with reverence and respect. “Hallowed” is connected with the idea of holiness, so God’s name is set apart as different. It is to be treated with both love and awe. It is not to be trifled with – as the 3rd Commandment teaches us. God’s name is to be hallowed by us personally when we pray, and we should pray that it would be hallowed in this world. Blasphemy (taking God’s name in vain) was punishable by death in the Old Testament. Today it is almost the sine qua non for popular entertainment.

“Thy kingdom come.” Many times we are guilty of praying in direct contradiction of this model. We pray, “Lord, let my will here on earth be done in Heaven,” instead of asking God to cause His Heavenly will to be done here on earth – and especially in our own lives. We use prayer the way a pump is used on a sinking ship. It ought to be used as the plans for the ship, to help determine whether or not to set sail, whether to raise the sails with the hope that the wind will blow, the guiding of the rudder, the dropping and the raising of the anchor, and the preparation for the possibility that we may have to go down with the ship.

Here’s another simple definition of prayer: coming into God’s presence in order to submit to His will. In answering His disciple’s question, Jesus did not intend to give a word-for-word memory device, nor did He prescribe a posture of kneeling, standing, lifting of hands, or bowing the head. They wanted to know, “How do we think when we pray? What should we talk to God ABOUT? For what should we ask Him?”

Some of the best prayers in the Bible were answered in wonderful ways. Hannah prayed for a child and she got Samuel. Joshua prayed and Achan’s sin was uncovered. Jacob prayed and Esau didn’t get his revenge. But these prayers were made in submission to God’s will, and that needs to be our attitude in prayer also.

Reintroducing John 3:16

February 13, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Posted in John, Salvation | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

For many years the Bible verse that has been generally considered the most popular, or at least most well-known, verse in the Bible is John 3:16. The danger for some of us when studying a very familiar verse is that we become inoculated through over-exposure and make the mistake of thinking we know everything we need to know about it already. Let me encourage you not to make that mistake with John 3:16. Sit down (with your spouse if you are married) and go through it word by word, slowly, considering the import of each word, and looking at the verses before and after it to better illuminate the context.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

I didn’t really need to print it here, did I? Most faithful Christians probably have it memorized. But let’s examine it closely. The first word, “for,” refers back to:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:14-15

Lest Verse 15 lead anyone to think that God the Father needed to be changed in His dispositional impassibility by God the Son from not loving us to loving us, the Holy Spirit had John make it clear that the Father’s love was the motivating cause of the plan of salvation.

“For God SO…” If you’ve been attending a Baptist or evangelical church for very long, you’ve probably seen the pantomime of a preacher stretching his arms wide to demonstrate a child’s expression of what it means to love someone SOOOOO much, but John 3:16 does not leave the question of “how much is so much?” open-ended. The word “that” is used to introduce the concept of: “THIS is how much the Father loved us.”

He loved us so much that He “GAVE.” This word, too, is worth closer inspection. God “gave” His Son in at least two respects: (1) In the Incarnation, the Father sent the Son from His Heavenly home to live in a world of sin, the effects of sin, and sinful rebels, and to experience, in His humanity, all the difficulties, pain, rejection, scorn, betrayal, sorrow, and human shortcomings and temptations known to mankind (but in response to which, He, unlike us, never sinned); (2) During His arrest and the events leading up to His death, the Father “gave” the Son into the hands of sinful men to be tortured and crucified, and to experience death as the substitutionary sacrifice for us.

This Son who came to live and die for His people was the Father’s “only begotten Son,” the Monogenes, His special and unique Son. He was the eternal Son of God, not “begotten” in the sense of having been born as touching His divinity, nor in the sense of His having been created (for He was not), but in an echo of the Old Testament type that we see in the episode of Abraham and Isaac.

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

Genesis 22:1-13 (emphasis added)

Isaac was not, strictly speaking, Abraham’s “only” son, yet He was the son of promise – the special and unique son promised to Abraham by God. Yet he was designated as a sacrifice to be offered to God, not because Isaac’s loss was something to be lightly borne by Abraham, but rather because he was so precious to Abraham. In John 3:16 we see the ultimate fulfillment of what had been played out and interrupted in Genesis 22, and we learn that God loved us wicked rebellious sinners SO much that He gave His absolute best, His most cherished, His most valuable, His eternally perfect Son for us.

Would you give up your life to save the life of a loved one? Perhaps you would. But would you give up the life of one of your beloved children to save the life of another loved one? I doubt it. What about to save a stranger? Even less likely. Now, what about sacrificing the life of your only, beloved child to save the life of your worst enemy? Unthinkable. The love of the Father for us is too great for us to fathom. It is in a whole different realm of love from anything we can comprehend.

“God so loved THE WORLD… that WHOSOEVER…”

Does this mean that Jesus’s death on the Cross – the gift of the Father – secures the salvation of every single person? A consistent universalist would answer “yes.” He would say that Hitler and Osama Bin Laden, along with everyone else who has ever lived, will one day be in Heaven holding your hands and singing “Kumbaya.” However, this is incorrect, because the “whosoever” in John 3:16 is inextricably linked to the next word: “believeth,” and likewise to “in Him,” meaning Jesus, the Savior. The “world” that is so loved by God includes both Jews and gentiles, which would have been a radically different concept for the vast majority of those who heard Jesus’s teaching for the first time. The “world” in John 3:16 also means that all people are in fact “loved” by God in a general way, but not that God loves the world’s fallen, sin-controlled “system” that the words “the world” often describe in the Epistles. Not everyone in “the world” experiences the same benefits of God’s love that those who believe on Jesus Christ unto eternal salvation experience. The bronze serpent referenced in John 3:14 was lovingly lifted up by Moses for all to see, but only those to whom God granted faith looked and lived.

As you read this you might be wondering, “Am I a John 3:16 ‘whosoever’ or not? How can I tell?” You can settle this by looking to Jesus in faith right now, believing His Gospel. LOOK and SEE. If you will not look, see, and believe, you cannot be a John 3:16 “whosoever.” And there is only one other default position. If you will not be a John 3:16 “whosoever,” you must be a Revelation 20:15 “whosoever.”

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:15

“Perish” is what it’s called in John 3:16, but do not imagine it as some peaceful extinguishment. It is not a blinking-out into oblivion. It is eternal death and destruction, never-ending, conscious, excruciating pain, darkness, and torment, as opposed to present tense eternal “have everlasting life.” Everlasting life is the opposite of perishing: light instead of darkness, joy instead of pain, peace instead of torment. I beg you to trust Jesus this very moment.

Walking the Wrong Way

February 11, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , ,

And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people since they return not from their ways.

Jeremiah 15:7

The Lord was angered that HIS PEOPLE were going their OWN WAY. If He truly owns us, then “our” ways should really be HIS ways. In other words, His ways must be our ways, and the consequences of usurping these ways and making them about us instead of about Him are: painful separation, loss of children, and destruction.

Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the Lord, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;

Jeremiah 16:11

There is an elliptical objection which the Lord tells Jeremiah to anticipate between Verse 11 and:

And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:

Jeremiah 16:12

The people, after Verse 11, would have asked, “Why are we being punished for what our ancestors and parents did?” So Verse 12 counters that they are responsible for their own behavior – which is worse! Also, there is a repetition of the idea of “walking” after their own ways. Those who walk after vanity become vain, but the reason they did this was because their HEARTS were evil.

Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.

Jeremiah 16:13

Will Heaven be Boring?

February 6, 2019 at 10:20 am | Posted in Q&A | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Question: My eight year old son knows that people die, and that if they are saved they go to Heaven, but he’s all mixed up on the eternal part of it. He said,” I just don’t understand how I’m gonna do it, live forever in heaven, like what am I going to do for that long?” What should I tell him?

Answer: That can be hard to explain, because I don’t think even the term “that long” will make sense in eternity. For one thing, there won’t be any “time” there, so all the joy and pleasure we experience won’t be tinged with the nagging thought, “yeah, but this is going to come to an end eventually,” that we experience with everything good here on earth. If he doesn’t like bedtime, you can tell him Heaven will be like never having a bedtime, but never getting sleepy either, or tired, or bored.

God is “infinite,” meaning that He goes on forever, so we will never stop learning new and exciting things about Him in Heaven, and He will have wonderful things for us to do which won’t be burdensome the way work is here on earth.

We will have perfect fellowship there with other believers, so everyone will seem interesting and no one will be unlikable or annoying.

Our glorified bodies will be able to do things our earthly bodies can’t – like move through space instantaneously, and possibly even fully access all our senses in combinations that are beyond our ability now. Tell him that in Heaven, we might be able to “see” music, and “taste” colors, and “hear” odors.

Most of all, tell him that seeing Jesus face to face will be the most joyful thing possible, and we’re not just going to do that once, and then leave. We’re going to be with Him forever.

Loving to Serve and Serving to Love

February 4, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Posted in Luke | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

Luke 10:38-40

Both Martha and Mary were doing something good, but one was doing something better and one got bitter. The attitude of Mary of Bethany when it came to worship was focused on Jesus’s feet.

Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

John 11:32

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

John 12:3

On all three occasions there was a smell associated with her worship: food, death, and perfume. This reminds us that our worship is described as a sweet-smelling savor to God. Are you more like Martha or more like Mary? Are you more of a worshiper or a worker? Working is very important. Christians ought to be the hardest-working people around, but that does not always equate to the “busiest” people around. Do you have a personal, private prayer time? Do you have a personal, private devotion time? Don’t get these backward: you don’t serve Christ so you can be a good worshiper; you worship so you can be a good server.

In Christianity our activity does not determine our identity. Our identity determines our activity. Why does it work that way? Because worship produces love, and love is the right motive for service. As a parent it is part of your job to play with your children, but hopefully you don’t just play with them because it’s part of your job. Hopefully you enjoy it, too. What are your children’s favorite snacks? Do you give them snacks merely because it’s your job to feed them? Or do you enjoy providing them with the snacks that will make them happy? When your children are sick do you take care of them because it’s your job, or do you actually enjoy caring for the children you love and trying to ease their suffering? When you serve someone you love, it can be difficult, but it is also a treat. When you worship God more, you will love Him more.


Entries and comments feeds.