Devotional

Jonah’s Judgment

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Jonah 4

Today there seems to be an imperious spirit among the developed nations. Everyone has an opinion and without hesitation it is expressed in public. Talk shows on TV abound with the wisdom of every person bold enough to tell the most intimate details of their lives, in order to prove some point. How much error is promoted as evidence of truth! It is my opinion against yours.

The prophet Jonah was ahead of his time. He was willing to go to war with God over whose opinion ranked first. The word of the Lord came to Jonah, but Jonah ran away (Jonah 1:1-3). Surely he had read “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). David knew it was impossible to escape from God’s all-seeing eyes.

What motivated his flight? Jonah was convinced God was making a mistake. He knew in his heart of hearts that God was ready to pour out His love and forgiveness on an evil nation, enemy of Israel – the Ninevites (4:2). He was called to administer God’s mercy to Nineveh. Without considering the consequences, Jonah fled.

Jonah was justified in condemning the Ninevites. They were an ungodly nation internationally known for atrocities in war, and in peace. There was absolutely nothing about this nation that was worthy of being saved, yet here was GOD, Yahweh, willing to bring them to repentance, and He wanted to use Jonah. Nothing doing!

In Jonah’s judgment this was a mistake that would ruin the Israelites. After all the Ninevites were heathens to begin with, and Gentiles – the very people God had told Israel to keep away from for fear they would be spiritually contaminated by their evil practices. Israel would disgrace the very God they served by association with these people! Perhaps Jonah feared his own interpretation of the Word of the Lord that had come to him. He wasn’t going to get involved.

Just suppose these people, hardened and ungodly, decided to turn from their wicked ways. Difficult as that was to imagine, there were questions – how they would worship together, for one? No, Jonah couldn’t trust God for that sort of a miracle.


Then there was the issue of grace…..God’s grace had been withheld from various heathen nations surrounding the promised land. Why of all of these more deserving people groups would God choose to honour the Ninevites with His grace and mercy?

Reflection:

Does this strike home a chord within our own hearts as we think judgmentally of people groups we feel are unworthy of God’s favour? In light of Jonah’s default, let us examine our own hearts to see if in the twenty-first century we might be guilty of similar attitudes, judgment. Might we be at war with God over the fact that He is not willing that any should perish?

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Confession

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Psalm 51

What is the purpose of confession? Here’s the truth: God knows everything. He doesn’t need to be told what we have done, because He is aware. King David recognized this. “Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely!” (Psalm 139:4). The Psalm begins with a call to worship this Lord who knows every detail of our lives, perceiving our thoughts, familiar with all our ways!

Way back in time, God made clear a need for confession. Written in the Torah we read “If they confess their sins….their treachery against Me and their hostility toward Me…I will remember My covenant” (Leviticus 26:40, 42) Why is this necessary? Again we turn to David for an explanation. “Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:4). We may harm other people, but in doing so we are breaking God’s standard for holy living. Thus confession needs to be made to Him, while perhaps restitution needs to be made to those we have hurt.

Our confession is a recognition of the standard of God. In violating His perfect will, we need to remember the seriousness of our offense against a Holy God! Confession, if nothing else, is an act of humility. If that is genuine, we will be restored because God is faithful to His covenant. He has promised us eternal life, which begins at the moment we believe, and receive Jesus as Lord (John 1:12). Too many want Him as Saviour, but deny His Lordship by living their own way. Do we really want “Thy will be done”?

There is grave danger in using a “profession of faith” to get into heaven. That is not what the Christian life is all about. It is rejoicing in our salvation with such strength of purpose that life takes on a whole new meaning. We are indeed “…a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come” when we are “in” Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

People in New Testament times, once they confessed their sins, were baptised. That is another act of faith, a demonstration to God and the world that we are serious about becoming children of God. Now we truly are one with the Father [united], depending on Him to guide and protect us (John 17:11). When we take control of our own lives, laying plans without consulting God’s wishes, we need to confess our waywardness.

Confession opens the door for cleansing. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Of course there are those who deny they have any sin. This is a dangerous practice because it denies what God knows to be true. We often sin in our thoughts, or with feelings of anger, or fear, or hatred, resentment and the list goes on. Then there are those times when we do not do what the Holy Spirit is prodding us to do, called the sin of omission. If the truth about our personal sin is not something we are prepared to confess, then John says “His [God’s} Word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:10). That is such a dangerous place to be!

Reflection:

What is it that prevents us from confessing to God? Do we deny we continue to sin, fearing if we do God will punish us? Have we presumed on God’s grace, believing He will overlook our sin because we are covered by the blood of Jesus? Do we look at sin casually – “it’s just a little white lie” mentality? The danger is if we are not obeying God’s Word. Satan takes hold of our weakness by inserting misunderstanding of what it means to relate to a Holy God! Our Father is also our judge…and a fair one, at that. However, we must not presume upon His mercy.

“It is written: As surely as I live, says the Lord, ’Every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will confess to God’. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:11-12).

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

The Day of the Lord

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Joel 3

There is a lot of history as well as prophecy in this small Old Testament book. Beginning with a severe drought following invasions of locusts, as we have already glimpsed, Joel sees this as punishment from God for the sins of His people. He uses the picture of these locusts to illustrate a future invasion in the Day of the Lord.

Centuries later, John is given a vision expanding on what we learn from Joel about that Day. In Revelation 16 John describes the war of Armageddon, which consists of several battles. First there will be the campaign of the Antichrist into Egypt (Daniel 11:40-45). Zechariah explains the Lord’s second coming. ”A Day of the Lord is coming…Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations [who have been attacking Jerusalem], as He fights in the day of battle. On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives and the mount of Olives will be split in two” (14:1-4).

Joel is given a preview. When God sets out to restore Judah and Jerusalem, the nations will gather together in the valley of Jehoshaphat, which may refer to the Kidron Valley on the East of Jerusalem. Kidron is known by Jews, Christians, and Muslims as the Valley of Judgment. Jehoshaphat means “The Lord Judges”. Another name for this is the “Valley of Decision”(3:14). Here indeed is where the nations will be judged for their treatment of God’s people (3:2).

Leaving them in no doubt, God lists their offenses. They scattered God’s people among the nations and divided the land – “My land” declared the Lord (Joel 3:2b). They sold the Jews and introduced their children to prostitution (3:3). The Phoenicians and Philistines who were notorious slave traders swept all before them, people and even the sacred temple treasures. God then calls these primary offences to account, requiring all-out war (3:9).

However, faithful to His people, God has not left them without hope. He actually spells out how His Divine intervention will take place, in the midst of battle. “I will drive the northern army from you, pushing it into a parched and barren land….and its stench will go up” (Joel 2:20). God Himself will meet the nations in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (3:12). After many generations, and centuries of time when pagans sat in judgment about God, finally He will judge them. Multitude upon multitude will gather on the Day of the Lord, to face the One whom they have rejected.

Reflection:

Jesus gave His listeners a preview of that day, signs we are looking for, as I write. He warns that God’s children should not be deceived by false prophets; when we hear of wars and civil unrest we are not to be frightened. He could have been describing the global chaos of our day. “Nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and [pandemics] pestilences” as well as cosmic disturbances (Luke 21:10-11). Family disruptions will end in estrangement or worse. “You will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death” (Luke 21:16).

However, God once again gives us hope. Looking past the judgments which will surely come, His blessings will follow. He describes the Millennial reign of Christ. Remember, Joel doesn’t have the advantage we do today of knowing who the Lord [Yahweh] Jesus Christ is. Yet God gave Joel the vision of abundance which will bless the people who celebrate the consummation of the Kingdom of God. Judah and Jerusalem will celebrate as never before!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Our Jealous God

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Joel 2:18

“Then the Lord will be jealous” (2:18). What does it mean to be jealous?  Jealousy carries the particular sense of “zealous vigilance” and tends to be applied more exclusively to feelings of protectiveness regarding one’s own advantages or attachments. It is not to be confused with envy, which covets what someone else has (Merriam-Webster).

Israel had been chosen by God to be His particular people. Throughout scripture we see the trend of God’s desire, to build a Holy nation from which would come the seed of Abraham, promised to bless all nations. God’s love for Israel was longsuffering throughout generations of rebelliousness and rejection, Oddly enough, they envied the lifestyle of other godless peoples, failing to appreciate all they had in their God! His covenant was eternal but discipline, and even punishment, was sometimes required for “children” who were so wayward. Yet His zealous vigilance continued. Joel records some remarkable statements made by God in Chapter 2.

“I will restore the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:25 KJV). This reminds us of how Joel began, citing the desolation left behind repeated swarms of locusts! This promises that God’s judgment will pass. Israel’s jealous God takes pity on His people (2:18). This mighty Creator of all things views the helplessness, the weakness of His people, with compassion. Never again will they be such an object of scorn (2:19). In fact God will take on their cause, scattering the northern army into the desert (2:20).

Read Ezekiel 39 for details of this event, at which time “The Sovereign Lord declares…. The nations will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (Ezekiel 39:7). “I will display My glory among the nations”(39:21). This will not be a happy time for the nations, but “the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God” (39:22, 28). Whatever the circumstances, in the end God remains faithful! God continues “I will no longer hide My face from them, for I will pour out My Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord” (39:29).

Joel calls the people to rejoice and be glad (Joel 2:21, 23). The promise will remove their fear, filling them with hope. Men and women will receive God’s blessing as He pours out His Spirit on them all (2:28, 29). The wonders of their all-powerful God will be seen in the cosmos as well as on earth, but “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (2:32). When Joel wrote this he couldn’t have fully understood the import of his prophecy, but God gives us hindsight as we remember in Jerusalem, hundreds of years later, that promised deliverance came from Calvary (2:32). Zechariah prophesied the day would come when Israel would look on the One they had pierced and grieve bitterly for Him (12:10).

Reflection:

Who would want to live without the watch-care of our jealous God? Some prophecies have been fulfilled. Yet we still wait. As we have seen – “The day of the Lord is great; it is dreadful” (2:11). Yet we are reminded that God “is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (2:13), creating an atmosphere of joy and gladness in a spirit of righteousness (2:23). What a day that will be when old men dream dreams and young men will see visions as God pours out His Spirit on His servants, both men and women! (2:28-29). Hallelujah!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

Four Locusts

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Joel 1 & 2

The picture is not a pretty one. “A nation has come up against My land…strong and without number…it has laid waste to My vine and ruined My fig tree” (Joel 1:6-7). This is the word of the Lord God Almighty. Why did He not stop this attack? Why would He allow something that grieved Him at His very heart? Worship had ceased – actually all those things necessary for sacrifice had been “cut off”. Priests mourned, and joy had withered away from the hearts of the people (1:9 & 12).

There is an explanation. This is destruction brought about by God Himself. Isn’t it interesting to note that the great heart of our God grieves, as does any parent’s heart when discipline has to be applied? This didn’t happen without warning. The chewing locust had come. Little by little their faith had been whittled away. Now “Rend your heart and not your garments” (2:13) cries the heart of God. Do not bring destruction upon yourselves.

What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. Apparently Judah was having trouble reading the results of Israel’s apostasy. You may remember that the nation of Israel was split in two when Solomon died (1 Kings 12). Israel’s leadership had been corrupt for years, so judgment fell on them first. Was it possible that evil was infiltrating from this brother nation into Judah? Now years of disobedience and rebellious leadership threatened the peace of their land, actually God’s land (1:6). They would be held accountable for what they did with that land.

What the swarming locust left the crawling locust attacked. What was left at this point? For one thing the people needed to turn to God with fasting, weeping and mourning over their sins. At this early stage in the history of prophecy, what exactly were those sins? Twice God called the people to consecrate a fast. Had they not been fasting? Had they only been going through the motions? Was consecration required as a testimony to the meaning fasting held? God calls the priests to lament and wail (1:13); all the elders are to come together (1:14), to cry out for mercy from the Lord. Might we assume there was spiritual disease among the leaders? First their hearts must be in tune with God before they were ready for “The Day of the Lord (which is near)” (1:15).

With the consuming locusts waiting for what the crawling locusts had left, God warns of an invading army. That army will destroy everything, with strength such as has never been seen before (2:2). Thick darkness and gloom; flaming fire will leave the land desolate and the people trembling, writhing in fear. Even the earth will quake and the cosmos will grow dark. Chapter 2 describes the terrors of the Day of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be cut off from the house of God (1:16).

Reflection:

Considering the fears rampant in our world today, can we relate to this picture of global distress? Do we grieve?

What do we read about the character of our God in these two chapters that might bring us hope?

Are we brave enough to blow the trumpet in our world today – to sound a warning? (2:1)

by Marilyn Daniel (MarilynDaniels.net)

Devotional

The Judge Stands at the Door

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James 5

The news is full of judgment, whether it is political, criminal or even inspirational. Sports figures and artist are weighed by public opinion and everyone, we are told, is entitled to their own opinion. Strangely enough few people take God’s opinion to heart. However, as our scripture indicates He is the ultimate Judge and even now is waiting, withholding the inevitable judgment on mankind (James 5:9).

James paints a grim picture of the last days! Folks will be hoarding their wealth (James 5:3, 5). Having worked in developing countries where I have seen people picking through garbage to find food, along with storks and rats, I marvel at the waste of food and the self-indulgence as we sit down to tables groaning with plenty, day after day. James observes there is also an attitude which sometimes we see in the twenty-first century. How can we get the best bang for our buck? (James 5:4) Does cheating a workman of the wages he deserves, count as fair? The rich have taken advantage of the poor (James 5:6).

All is not lost. James challenges us to remember the Lord; He is full of compassion and mercy (James 5:11). He calls each of us to be as steadfast as Job was, in our moral integrity. In a day when everyone does what is right in their own eyes, will we find righteous living according to the standards God has clearly laid down in His Word?

Jesus gave us cause for reflection. When Jesus returns will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8). How can we call ourselves people of faith if we do not obey the Word of God? Faith is believing, “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Becoming a Christian is not saying a prayer asking for God’s forgiveness, if our lives do not follow the pattern laid down by Jesus. His life was one of obedience to the Father’s will “I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but to do the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).

Our words must be matched by our deeds when the day of judgment comes. Look at this Judge once more. How much do we have to fear? Is it fear that drives us to do what is right? God has lavished His love on us by sacrificing His only begotten Son (1 John 3:1). That is a love He longs to have reciprocated. “There is no fear in love”, John writes (1 John 4:18). Fear has to do with punishment, and scripture assures us that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

So what does it mean to be “In Christ”? Sometimes we sign our letters with that phrase. What do we mean? Do our lives stand the test? Are we selfless, Christ-centered, generous and kind? Do we endure with patience, believing God allows suffering for a moment but “Joy comes in the morning”? (Psalm 30:5). Are we willing to endure persecution for the sake of our Lord and His gospel message? Do we return good for evil done to us? Can we forgive ourselves knowing the Spirit of God will help us to overcome our weaknesses and failures?

Reflection:

The Judge of all the earth can see deep into our hearts, yours and mine. What does He see?

by Marilyn Daniels (marilyndaniels.net)

Uncategorized

The Judge

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Matthew 7:1-5

Recently I was brought to my knees when I realized how judgmental I had been about a quiet Christian. Wondering why they weren’t making more of a difference was really an attempt to put them in the place of God. Let me explain. Only God can change lives; we are simply His instruments. As long as we are doing His will in the place He has put us, the results are totally up to Him.

Jesus told His disciples that He has been given the authority, by His heavenly Father, to judge (John 5:22). Since that is His responsibility, is it any wonder that Jesus warned His followers not to judge others? He knows each one of us has our weak points, areas where we need to grow, areas against which we may even have to battle in order to mature in our faith. Remember He told the crowd “He who is without sin cast the first stone”? (John 8:7KJV). He knows the dark side of every human being.

First Jesus demands we remove the plank out of our own eye (7:5). Why? That very plank prevents us from seeing properly. Have you ever had an eyelash in your eye? The result is a lot of natural tears which blur your vision. Imagine a plank! Now we see through a glass darkly, Paul told the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV). If that is the extent of our vision, how can we accurately assess the direction we ourselves should be going, let alone where someone else is headed? When the plank is removed from my eye, I can see where my judgement is faulty.

Another question arises. How do we feel when the shoe is on the other foot and we are unfairly judged by other folks? Has that ever happened to you? Its almost a fact of life, isn’t it? So where is that going to stop? It must stop first with me! We claim as Christians to follow Christ. Our judge is fair, positive, encouraging. He does not tear us down, but builds us up into a holy body. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news?” (Romans 10:15)

Part of the problem is that we often look at circumstances rather than at the people involved. We may want the circumstances to change because we are afraid. Therefore in examining my own heart can I, will I, acknowledge my own fears? Do those fears honour God? When we take our eyes off of the situation and remember Jesus told us His followers would be known by their love for one another, our emphasis shifts.

This is hugely important because in this scripture passage Jesus said if we want to be judged fairly, we must do unto others what we would have them do to us; we must expect to be judged in the same way as we judge others (Matthew 7:2). He pretty much said the same thing in the Lord’s Prayer….we are to pray: ”Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

God then brought me to the conclusion that it takes more strength to be less verbal, but just to live the life God intends us to live, than to be looking for external “results” from our verbal witness. Besides, in any relationship one cannot judge what is quietly being said and done behind the scenes, which one day may bear fruit. Our attitude is so often governed by our feelings and those often rely on our ignorance. When will we let God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven? Why does our worldly wisdom seem so much better than God’s?

Recognizing truth requires a response. If I have sinned against a brother or sister by my judgmental attitude, how can that be changed? First I have to try to look at the facts. Maturity comes when our hearts and minds are in tune with God. Thoughts and feelings must be in sync. What do I know to be true? How will I respond to that truth? Will I praise God for the good I know exists? Will I pray for my brother or sister to be mightily used of God?

Reflection:

Without realizing it, our goals often become utopian. For example, we want to live at peace. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). The peace, His peace which He gives to us through the Holy Spirit, is that calm which exists within our spirits, yours and mine, even in our darkest hour. It is not dependant upon circumstances. While we strive to right the wrongs of people in our world , our focus is in the wrong place. Certainly we are to help those who are hungry, needy, or abused as long as we are motivated by compassion for their distress. Let us take stock of Jesus’ words of comfort: “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Do we believe?

Devotional · Uncategorized

The Triumph of Mercy

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James 2:8-13

Our Ladies are studying the book of James. We’ve probably read it many times, but there is still much to learn! A little phrase suddenly jumped out at me “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (2:13). First of all we need to understand what judgment looks like.

In our world today people are tweeting about their personal observations, so often from the bias of criticism, it seems. Is this the test of one’s intelligence, I wonder, to be able to discern the faults of others? How often are we acting out what Jesus warned about – looking at the speck of sawdust in our brother’s or sister’s eye, while ignoring the plank that limits the vision in our own (Matthew 7:4). Jesus recommended that we take time to remove the plank before we assume a helping relationship with our brother/sister (Matthew 7:5).

Sometimes we ignore the potential dangers God warned the Israelites about …the damage of giving false testimony about our neighbour (Deuteronomy 5:20), because we are so quick to pass sentence on another fellow human being. James reminds us that often anger is the basis of our condemnation, so we should pause to listen, before expressing our opinions (James 1:19). Have we forgotten the besetting sins of our own nature that make us so displeasing to God?… and yet He repeatedly forgives us. Can we, will we, pause to remember His mercy?

Here’s the thing – Jesus told the crowd assembled on the mount, that we will be judged with the same measure of mercy we deliver towards those who offend us (Matthew 7:2). James amplifies this thought:
“judgment
without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful” (James 2:13). That follows the theme of the Lord’s prayer that so many of us know by heart, and repeat often: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive others who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12 KJV).

Do we really want God to forgive us in the same way as we have forgiven others? Even William Shakespeare got it right when he wrote the Merchant of Venice, reminding Shylock that mercy must be freely given – “The quality of mercy is not strained [forced]”. It must be genuine, real. God knows whether or not we are going through the motions, or if we mean what we say.

Often it is hard to forgive – it is a Divine gift in the moment. With God it is possible for mercy to triumph over judgment. Our judgment may or may not be perfectly correct. That is not the issue. The ability to lean on God to help us deliver His mercy to others is demonstrated by our desire, and His power, to forgive. This is the Divine triumphing in the lives of human beings!

Reflection:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We say we are followers of Jesus. He was so merciful to those who were accused! May we learn from His example. His love drew people to Himself! May our lives exemplify our appreciation for all men and women because they are made in the image of God. Search my heart and see if there is any wicked way in me , before I pronounce judgment on anyone else. Help me to remember Jesus’ words “He/she who is without sin cast the first stone”. May I live by His perfect example, which demonstrated Your love for everyone. May Your mercy out-weight the judgments I might make. Keep me from slandering others. Empower me, my Father, to triumph over evil. In Jesus’ name I pray.

By Marilyn Daniels.

http://www.marilyndaniels.net

Devotional · Uncategorized

The Reality of Hell

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Matthew 10:28

In days gone by preachers passionately warned sinners about the dangers of hell fire. Christians believed they needed to take their neighbours to church where they would hear the truth about heaven and hell. Today evangelism has become more of a personal thing – the testimony of a believer in word and deed, bearing witness to the reality of Jesus and His love. Seldom do we hear hell mentioned now, from the pulpit.

Hell (Sheol in Hebrew) was the place of the dead, described by many Old Testament scriptures. Figuratively it was a word used by the Jews to describe a place of extreme degradation and suffering. Three Greek words in the New Testament describe the after-life: Hades – Greek for Sheol – place of the dead: 2 Corinthians 15:55, Gehenna – a place of dreadful and destructive judgments, of retributive suffering, and Tartarus: a place of destruction, desolation and torment.

Modern thought argues against the reality of hell as an actual place of eternal torment on the grounds that a God of love wouldn’t, couldn’t consign anyone to such an eternal state. However, there are many scriptures which record the words of our Saviour, Himself, warning against specific judgment and wrath to come, a certain reward for rebellion and disobedience.

Although no formal declaration occurs, the Old Testament clearly identifies Sheol as the specific place where the wicked will be punished. “The wicked shall be turned into Sheol, and all the nations that forget God.” (Psalm 9:17) “The wicked in a moment go down into Sheol.” (Job 21:13)

The Lord Jesus clarifies the terms for us by describing the torments of hell. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell! (Matthew 10:28) “…will be thrown outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12) Paul tells us “God is just…..He will punish those who ….do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of His power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Both Matthew and Mark quote Jesus’ words “If your hand or foot cause you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter [eternal] life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.” Similarly “…it is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” (Matthew 18:8-9, Mark 9:43ff)

Contemporary theologians would deny the justice of God, which needs to be satisfied. Rather they reduce the truth to a matter of living the best way we know how in order to please a one-sided deity who only loves. Not only is this a travesty of justice, but it is a tragic interpretation. Where does it place the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ? God indeed would look weak and uncaring if we worshiped One who would send His ‘only begotten Son’ (John 3:16) to the cross when there was another way of solving the problem of sin.

The Holy Scriptures, which teach the fullness of the character of God and the resolve with which He offered salvation to a lost world, must be upheld as truth. Half-truth is no truth at all, untrustworthy. It is not God’s fault that man chooses day by day, era by era to mis-read His Word. The Word warns mankind of punishment by hell-fire. Certainly that punishment is unnecessary when we grasp the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection which made a straight path for His followers, into heaven, everlasting life, eternal joy and peace.

Praise be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord! (1 Corinthians 15:57)

Reflection:

Why do we turn away from the notion of hell? Is it a reality? Is heaven? How do you make that distinction?

Notice that when life becomes unbearably difficult, folks sometimes refer to it as hell. What does this imply?

by Marilyn Daniels. http://www.marilyndaniels.net