Archive | May 2012

NO WATER IN HELL

Fire hydrant near my home.

Water is needed to put out fires. When firemen respond to a fire they hook their hoses up to hydrants to get the needed water to extinquish the flames. When grilling, my father would sit nearby with a squirt gun full of water. If the fire flared up in the grill he could calm it down with a few squirts. When we die there are two places we could end up – heaven or hell. Hell is a place of constant fire and agony. Jesus told a parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-26. Lazarus was a poor man sitting at the gate of the rich man’s house. The rich man saw him and did nothing. Both men died. The rich man went to hell. “In hell where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire’.” (verses 23-24). There is no relief in Hell. No water to extinquish the flame. Is that the eternity awaiting you? You can change that prospect. The one and only way to heaven is through belief in Jesus Christ. If you truly accept Him as your Savior heaven awaits. Which eternity is waiting for you?

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PEOPLE – GRASS

The grass in my yard.

The aroma of fresh mowed grass fills the air during spring and summer. Grass grows and we cut it. If it’s not watered it turns brown. The life span of grass is limited. It is cut, dug up, and, at times, burned. The life span of human beings is limited as well. In scripture we are compared to grass. “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” (I Peter 1:24-25). Our mortal bodies don’t last forever. What we do or say does not last forever. The only thing we can rely on to never change or go away is the word of God. I am glad there is that constant in my life. As things change with me and around me it’s comforting to know God is always present. His feelings for me and what He can do remains the same. We can’t depend on this life of ours. Just like the grass, it withers away. But we can depend on God and His Promise through Jesus Christ.

IN THE CLOUDS

As the sun was setting in Allendale, MI.

I like watching sunsets. Everyone of them is different, bringing glorious changes to the sky in cloud formation and color. When I saw the beginning of this sunset I was reminded of Mark 13:26, “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” When Jesus returns He will come in the clouds. The way the light is shining in the picture gave me a glimpse of what His return might look like. Just the way the bright setting sun came through the clouds made me think of the light of God’s glory coming back to earth on that great day. Jesus will be returning some day. We don’t know when. I pray this picture today will make you check your life. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Will you be ready when He appears in the clouds?

THE LIGHT

The same view as yesterday’s picture, but this one was taken in the sunshine.

What a different when the sun is shining and we can see everything around us. “Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 11:7) Again looking in the Thesaurus other words for light are: brilliance, glitter, radiance, shine. As the word “darkness” is found several places in the Bible, the word “light” also appears throughout Scripture. In Psalm 56 David is talking to God, “For You have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” (verse 13). It is so easy to stumble in the dark, but with light we can see where we are going. God sent light into this dark world through Jesus Christ. In II Corinthians 4:6 Paul tells us, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” In the last days when Christ returns light will be everywhere. “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb (Jesus) is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23) We now have a choice to make – to walk in the darkness or to embrace the light. I’ve chosen The Light. How about you? “For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8).

DARKNESS

This picture was taken out my front door in the middle of the night. You can’t see a thing. Nothing but black. Other words for darkness are blackout, gloom, obscurity, concealment, isolation, unawareness. (Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus). The word “darkness” appears in the Bible several times in the Old and New Testaments.  Proverbs 4:19 says, “But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.  Jude 1:13 talks about the doom of godless men. “They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of what the end times will be like. “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness, Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pain and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” (Revelation 16:10-11). Several references are made in the Old Testament of people being thrown into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Darkness does not sound like a place I want to spend eternity. Do you? Come back tomorrow to see what the alternative is.

FOOT IN MOUTH DISEASE

Sign at 2nd Reformed Church, Grand Haven, MI.

I hate to think how many times I’ve opened my mouth and either have felt regret for what I said or felt really stupid after I said it. Think back to a time that’s happened to you. We often speak before we think. And sometimes that can get us into trouble. In the book of James a few things are written about the tongue and the trouble it can cause. “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” (James 2:26).  “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:7-8). Powerful words. We definitely have our work cut out for us. All of us need to make a conscious effort to think before we speak. Are you willing to try?

THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER – PART 4 – THE GOOD SOIL

“Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:8). As you can see in the picture the lilies now have room to grow. The weeds are gone. Their roots are deep. And soon flowers will appear. Here is Jesus’ explanation of the good soil, “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (verse 23)  What does it mean “he produces a crop”? The person who hears the word and understands it will keep learning more. He’ll study the Bible, have fellowship with other Christians, attend church, grow in his faith. Then he will go out and spread the word to others through his words and actions. Therefore, he will plant new seed in other people’s hearts which, hopefully, will also find good soil to grow. Re-read the four parts of The Parable of the Sower. Which soil are you? Are there changes you need to make in your life in order to truly receive the word and understand it? If you have already accepted the word are you out there planting new seeds?