Is Hell a Laughing Matter

One of the emails I receive on a regular basis is from One Million Moms, a group that notifies mothers and families when there is immorality, profanity, vulgarity, and violence promoted in the media.  They pass along links so people can contact companies to let them know their concerns.

Today, I received a notification that TGI Friday’s has a new ad campaign in which use profanity in their advertisement to promote appetizers customers can get during their happy hour.

I wasn’t able to send an email communication to Friday’s via their website.  So instead, I left a message on TGI Friday’s Facebook page.  I let Friday’s know that I didn’t appreciate their use of profanity in their commercial.  I asked them to please pull the ad and said that if didn’t we would no longer be customers.

A short time later, a man left a rude response and called me a hypocrite.  He had gone to my blog and found instances in which I had used the word hell.  My first inclination was to leave a comment back with a disparaging remark.  Am I a sinner and a hypocrite…yes I am.  But I’m not a hypocrite about this.

Obviously, the person who left the comment calling me a hypocrite didn’t’ seem to be exercising discernment.  He didn’t acknowledge the difference between a company using profanity to promote their company and someone writing about hell to warn people about the realities of hell.

Am I just being uptight?  Should I just loosen up and not worry when companies use profanity and make a joke out or the word hell?

Well I could do that.  I’m sure there’s been times when I’ve buried my head in the sand and ignored something that wasn’t right.

But on this one…on a company casually using the word hell to promote happy hour…I’m glad I spoke up because I know about the realities of hell.

Hell is a real place.  It’s a place of eternal punishment, suffering and torment for those who refuse to acknowledge and repent of the sins.  Hell is for those who reject Christ Jesus.  Or for those who think they can get into heaven based on their good deeds.  They know they are not perfect…but they are better than the next guy.  Hell will have people who didn’t believe in God.  Those who didn’t realize that they will have to give an account for their lives.

So what does the Bible say about hell?

  • But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8
  • They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. 2 Thessalonians 1:9
  • Hell is a place where the fire never goes out. Mark 9:43
  • They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:42
  • ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ Mark 9:8

Hell is a real place.  A place unimaginable suffering that does not end.  I have loved ones who were sinners just like me.  But they died rejecting Christ or didn’t believe in God and recognize they will give an account for their lives.

When you know the realities of hell…it’s not a joke.  It’s not something to take casually.  It’s not a laughing matter.

I’m a sinner…there is nothing good in me that deserves to go heaven.  I don’t deserve forgiveness.  I can’t be good enough to earn my way to heaven.  But through grace of God alone, I have been forgiven of my sin because of Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross.

That promise of forgiveness is available for all who put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus the Lord.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. – John 3:16-18

If you would like to know what the Bible says about hell and about how you can be forgiven of your sin…click on this link and read these Scriptures:

What the Bible says about hell.

 

Ray Comfort – Hell’s Best Kept Secret

 

Solace in the Face of Evil and Questions for Followers of Islam

Yesterday, when I heard the news of the latest atrocity committed by ISIS, aka the Islamic State, I felt a mix of emotions: horror, anger, rage, grief and profound sadness.  How can a rational human being understand the utter depravity of the human heart that would lead them to burn a living human being to death?  A person created in God’s image.

I will not watch these awful, obscene videos that Islamic monsters have put out.  I don’t want the images seared in my mind.  Yet, how can I not ponder and imagine what the Jordanian pilot suffered?

As I tried to sleep the one solace that I found in the face of evil is the promise and assurance from God’s word that He will punish evildoers.  The Jordanian pilot suffered unimaginably in the last moments of his life.  But I am comforted by the thought that the unrepentant evildoers will be punished by God who is sovereign, just and righteous.  Vengeance is God’s and He will repay.  He will do so in His perfect timing.

The unrepentant sinner’s suffering will begin the moment they die.  They will be punished, not for a few years, not for a lifetime, but for eternity.  Forever…it will never stop.  Ever!  He will be in a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  In a place where the fire is not quenched.  In a fiery furnace he will be burned, but not consumed.  It’s a place of everlasting shame and contempt.  A place of torment, gloom and utter darkness.

I thank You God for the day of justice which will one day come…when the wicked and unrepentant sinners will be punished.

What’s equally hard for me to comprehend is that God’s desire is that sinners repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved (even the people who have committed unimaginable atrocities).  Jesus bore their sin on the cross, He paid the penalty in full for the horrific crimes they have committed and the “little sins” that only the God knows about.  And the Father stands ready to embrace and forgive the genuine repentant sinner who comes to Him through Christ.

God’s forgiven all my sin.  While I may not have lobbed off someone’s head, I have sinned greatly against the Father.  There’s not a day that’s gone by when I haven’t sinned in thought, word or deed.  I’ve hated people and in my heart committed murder.  But in Christ Jesus, God the Father has forgiven me and He will do the same for all who repent, confess with their mouth and believe with their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and they will be saved.

I’m left with a question that I’ve really not heard answered.  What is it going to take for decent Muslims to stand up and speak out against these awful atrocities that these monsters are doing in the name of Islam?  Why aren’t you crying out loudly against them?  Condemning their actions?  Are you afraid, afraid they are going to do the same to you?

Why aren’t you storming the talk shows and condemning ISIS and radical Islamic followers?  Why aren’t you writing to newspaper editorial pages and decrying what these people have done in the name of your religion?  Where is your voice speaking out against these atrocities that have now become an everyday event in the news?  Why aren’t you telling your friends, neighbors and co-workers that these people don’t represent your religion?  I don’t hear too many Muslim voices condemning radical Islam.  Why is that?  Why in the world don’t you loudly and publically condemn such actions?  Why don’t you rise up against them?

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

I hear a lot of silence!

Don’t let evil triumph.  Speak up and speak loudly, unapologetically and bravely condemn the evil done in the name of Islam.  The time is now.

Five Minute Friday – Together Again

Recent days and months have had their share of sorrow in the death of precious friends.  I’ll tell you, there is a world of difference when a Christian dies and when an unbeliever dies. 
As a Christian I have confident hope and assurance that I will one day see my believing family and friends again.  It brings joy to think that I will once again see their face, hear their laugh and feel their warm embrace.  We will be together in heaven, a place where there is no more sin, sickness, sorrow or death.  We will be with our Savior and see Him face to face.  A place where worship and praise will never end.  Halleluiah, I long for that day.
But when someone dies who has not received Jesus Christ as their Savior, when they haven’t repented of their sin, when they haven’t cried out to the Lord for forgiveness…it’s not good!  It’s a place of eternal punishment, retribution, unrelenting suffering that will never, ever end. 
It almost feels more tortuous when I don’t know if my loved one is in heaven or hell. 
There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think of my precious friend.  I may hear some whose laugh sounds just like her laugh, or see someone who looks like her and I wonder…where is she today?  Will we ever be together again? 
Lord forgive me please for not being more bold in sharing the Gospel message, for worrying more about offending her rather than being concerned about the place she will spend eternity.  
This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy of The Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.

Five Minute Friday – Gift of God

For by grace you have been saved through faith, that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. – Ephesians 2:8-9
I’d like to shout it from the roof top, “Salvation is a gift of God”, and have it echo through time.
Daily I pray for those whom the Lord has laid on my heart…that He would move in their heart and mind, bring them to an end of themselves.  That they would recognize that there is a day coming in which they will have to give an account to the God who created them.  That they would recognize that they are a sinner, unable to save themselves before a holy and righteous God.   That they would cry out, confess with their mouth and believe with their heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and they will be saved.  I pray for divine appointments, bold witnesses, hearts to be tendered, eyes to be opened and ears to be inclined to the Lord.
And yet, I need to confess, that while I pray for them, there have been very few that I have had a point blank discussion with about their need for salvation found in Christ alone.  There are times I will look at someone who I know doesn’t believe in God and think if he or she died today, they would be in hell for eternity. 
You want to know the place that I find it the hardest to share my faith?  The workplace.  People know I’m a Christian and I freely talk about my faith with fellow believers and others.  When people are going through difficult times, trials and tribulations, I’ll let them know I’m praying for them. 
But their greatest need, this side of the grave and for eternity is for them to hear the gospel message.  And I remain silent.  I have news about the greatest gift ever and I keep it to myself. 
Lord…I’m afraid at times I fear man more than You.  Lord how can I remain silent when a person’s eternity hangs in the balance?  It’s You that does the convicting and saving, all You are asking me to do is be a witness.

This post is being linked to 5-Minute Friday courtesy of The Gypsy Mama, where you simply write for 5 minutes without worrying if it’s right or not.  Head on over and take the challenge today.

Little Do They Know

My family laid my body to rest today
Little do they know
My soul will never find rest

I spent months fighting this wretched disease
On my death bed
Suffering day and night

They couldn’t take it any longer
Eventually they prayed
That I would suffer no more

They whispered in my ear
It’s okay, you can let go now
You are going to a better place

Little did they know
Where I would spend eternity
Now my soul will never find rest

I was never too religious
Thought that Jesus’ claim as being the only way to salvation
Absurd and narrow minded

Surely all roads lead to heaven, don’t they?
I was a good person, not perfect, but good in comparison to others
Don’t all my good works count for something?

Well, I was wrong, dead wrong
Not that it makes any difference
But I’m a believer now

If only I could send someone to warn them
Repent!  Receive Christ for the forgiveness of your sins
Lest you suffer the same fate as me

Susan Bunts Wachtel
July 18, 2011

I had started this poem on July 16, 2010, but finished it a year later.

How many times have you heard people say when a loved one has died, “Well at least they are not suffering anymore.”  While those words are meant to bring comfort, as Christians we know the truth that when an unbeliever dies their suffering has just begun and will last for eternity. 

May we be unapologetic and bold in sharing the Gospel message so that our family, friends, co-workers and even strangers may have the assurance that their sins have been forgiven and that they will be in heaven for eternity, not suffering in hell.

Go and Sin No More

Why is it that it’s so easy to tell people that God loves them and that they should turn to Him so that they can go to heaven, but it’s so very hard to tell them that they are a sinner?  It’s hard to tell people…family, friends and neighbors that they need to repent of their sin and believe in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for their sin and be saved?
 
Jesus loved the sinner, but He wasn’t soft on sin.  He didn’t try to make people feel better in their sin.  He didn’t say that it was all okay because God loved them.  Instead He had the perfect blend of repentance from sin and the message of salvation provided by God and motivated by His perfect love for them.  (John 3:14-18)
 
Think of the woman caught in adultery…after her accusers left one by one…Jesus asked her, “Where are your accusers?  Has no one condemned you?”  (John 8:4-11)  She responded, “There are none.”  The only One who could rightfully condemn her because of her sin, said, “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.”  The reason Jesus could do that is because He knew that He would bear her sin on Calvary’s cross.  That His blood would be shed to pay the penalty for her sin.  That her sin would be removed as far as the east is from the west.  He came to pay the penalty for her sin and mine.
 
One reasons that I have a hard time telling people that they are a sinner in need of a Savior is because of my own sin.  Not only am I not perfect…there are times when I willfully choose to sin.  I may have a wrong sinful attitude and don’t want to repent.  Or I may have a good faith walk with the Lord these days…but never far from my memory is a past sin…a big fall.  I’m afraid to bring up someone else’s sin because they may call me a hypocrite. 

When I’m focused on my sin, instead of my Savior and the forgiveness that He wrought on the cross, I’m walking in unbelief.  Doubt and unbelief is a sin too.  It’s the sin that kept the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years. 
 
While sin is wrong and horrible it may be something that the Lord can use in my testimony with others.  I can be tender and delicate in helping them remove the spec from their eye because I had to remove a log from my own eye.
 
God is so good at redeeming things…and even using my past to help me gently but directly deal with someone else who is sinning.  To let them know that there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ and they can have peace with God and know with assurance that they have been forgiven and will go to heaven.
 
What a sobering reminder that I need to be a clean vessel.  I must be quick to repent from sin…ready to die to my own self will, directed by my sinful selfish nature. 
 
If I can’t tell people the bad news that of sin and the eternal consequences of hell, how will they understand and appreciate their need for a Savior and the good news of forgiveness and salvation found in Jesus Christ.