Just lately I’ve been thinking of hell- it’s terrifying: the idea of never knowing peace or relief from pain. I can see why annihilationism is so tempting: the idea that it does not go on for ever, the idea that death is just an end for those souls who reject God and his salvation through Jesus Christ. I really wanted to become an annihilationist when I thought about hell. I don’t mean thought intellectually about it, but just thought about what it would be like, what it would feel like. Body and soul are destroyed (Matthew 10:28), but as Mark 9:42-50 makes clear this is not a clean-cut absolute end as “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’” Furthermore, if any part of you causes you to sin, Jesus says “It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell” (and gives other examples). In other words, no amount of discomfort in this life is worth the pain of hell, even a lifetime of difficulty and pain does not compare. On the plus side, “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17), which coming from a man who had suffered as Paul had, shows that Heaven will plentifully compensate us for any pain encountered on earth, even a death for trusting in Jesus (my wife has been going through Revelation). And thank God that it is He who judges and directs the affairs of both Heaven and Hell! We can know safety and Peace in His saving plan (John 3:16-18)! Continue reading
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” says James 1:27 (see link for context), and there is a lot in there about not just hearing but obeying the word. But this is easier said than done! Recently I have been reading (on occasion) the old book A Taste of New Wine by Keith Miller. This book is filled with a lot of wisdom from God, lived out and shared. It is brimful of encouragement too- the author does not depict himself as perfect but points us more and more towards the perfect God.
One of the interesting points the book makes (among numerous others) is the value of spending time with God. Just “feeling we ought to” does not inspire us to read the scriptures and really spend time talking with the Lord (oh… and listening). Continue reading
“But this is the new covenant I will make
with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
And they will not need to teach their neighbours,
nor will they need to teach their relatives,
saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’
For everyone, from the least to the greatest,
will know me already.
And I will forgive their wickedness,
and I will never again remember their sins.”
So in our New Covenant we know the Lord. Continue reading
Recently my wife found this excellent website: http://www.akiane.com. It has pictures drawn and painted by a child prodigy, Akiane. I would heartily recommend having a look: see her “Prince of Peace” for example…
…If you made it back from that link (and I don’t blame you if you didn’t), many of her pictures put me in mind of Heaven. Many of them have themes like hopefulness or goodness of some kind, along with being actually beautiful, (as contrasted with the infamous “unmade bed” of modern art). I think one of the things Christians have to do is really get excited about Heaven. Indeed, historically, those with their “heads in the clouds” often had more of an impact on earth, where they kept their “feet on the ground” and spent their lives glorifying God.
Here are just some of the ideas that give us an inkling of what Heaven is… Continue reading
Reading this (Isaiah 50:10-51:1) struck a sudden chord…
“Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God.
But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment.
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;” Continue reading