Tag Archives: heaven

Where is Hope

Where is hope if I do not believe in God? 

What good is it to live this life with all its hurts and struggles and frustrations if there is nothing beyond? People may remember me, but how long? Does that really even matter?

I’m not getting out of here alive, and neither are you. 

If there is nothing beyond this physical realm, then I should simply do whatever makes me feel good at the time that I may enjoy at least moments of happiness before I perish. 

If there is no hope, then there is no true reason to behave according to anyone’s preset standards. Morality is lost if this is all there is, for no one will remember me anyway, and there are no lasting consequences for my behavior beyond this short span we call life. 

Where there is no hope, there is no peace, and fear reigns. 

Where is hope if I believe in God?

To believe in God is to believe in someone and something grander than this physical world. If I believe in God then there are promises from that God which bring hope in this life and the life to come. 

To believe in God is to believe in the afterlife – heaven – an eternity of rest and joy in the presence of the Creator. It is to believe that this measly life is only a trifle compared to the glory that awaits us. 

This gives us hope in every circumstance. If life is crumbling all around and storms rage inside us there is hope because of the temporary nature of these experiences. If loved ones who know Jesus are near death there is hope that more grandeur awaits them. If I near death, my hope can provide peace instead of fear. 

This hope isn’t just for heaven. This hope is in the best of others around us. It is in the workings of God in this life. It is in the idea that I can be better tomorrow than I was yesterday. 

If there is hope, then there is a standard by which we live to achieve that hope. There is a moral code introduced by the One who Created us and gives us hope. 

When I have hope, I find that I want to do what the standard requires because the outcome of my hope is everlasting rather than temporary. 

Without God there is no hope. Hope comes through relationship with the Creator. 

Where is hope? Do you have it?

Advertisements

Christmas Fatigue

I’m tired.  Aren’t you? 

Week after week there is so much to do between work and schooling activities and extra-curricular children’s functions and shopping for needed goods and visiting people. Even the fun times when we plan something extra for the family is usually involving some activity outside the home. 

Then Christmas comes along, and the schedule goes from fast to super-sonic. Now there are Christmas parties and recitals and Christmas gift shopping and trips to the post office and lines…oh, the lines! 

I feel like I’m aging more quickly every day. 

When I consider my exhaustion, there are two things I consider, and I recommend you do too:

1. What is the primary motivation behind my busy-ness?

Am I consumed with self? Am I trying to meet the status quo? Am I trying to live up to others’ expectations? Am I busy serving or receiving? Where is God in this busy life? Is He a motivator or simply a spectator?

If I am busy for reasons that don’t really have anything to do with my relationship with a God, then that reflects on my priorities. If I am busy to the extent that I am distracted from my relationship with a God, then that is a tragedy. If I am busy because there is much to do for the Lord and for others in His name, then that is good, but only in moderation. 

There is also a biblical precedent for rest. 

When we get tired, it is biblical for us to take time off for rest. This is the reason most people get at least one day per week off. It isn’t just physically important, but spiritually as well. 

If I pour out a pitcher, there will come a time when it is empty, and I can no longer pour anything out. Without times of rest and refreshing, we get burned out, exhausted, and become useless. We need to be refilled.

This is one of the many reasons meeting with your church family on Sundays and Wednesdays is important. 

2.  I’m looking more and more forward to the rest that is eternal, spoken of in the scriptures. 

In Hebrews, we are encouraged to seek after that rest – living our lives in such a way as to achieve that rest – as long as it is still available for us to achieve. The rest referred to is heaven.  The presence of God is the most peaceful place to reside. This is the promised culmination of a live lived in devotion to God. 

I don’t achieve this rest if I have taken all the rest I need here on earth. Why would I need rest in the presence of God if I have never done anything for Him here that would exhaust me? Why should I get to rest in Him if I’ve never needed Him before? 

I pray that this holiday season you may find time to rest, and during that time you may find refreshing that is from the Lord whether through His Word, through prayer, or through the encouragement of your forever family. 


Time is of the Essence

20130903-113353.jpg

Do you ever feel like you have enough time in the day? Are you a busy person? Are you a procrastinator? Does time seem to be moving faster and faster the older you get?

The other day my kids were watching a movie on Netflix. It was a kids show about some children who are spies (conveniently called “Spy Kids”). The dilemma in this show was that the bad guy was stealing time. He was making the clocks all around the world speed up.

The problem was that he was doing it for a good reason. He had lost his father and was trying to teach all people around the world to value the time they have with others. I think the bad guy had a good point.

We take for granted what becomes commonplace in our lives. Through the years we become accustomed to the idea that there will be tomorrow. We make decision based on plans for the future.

The other day I heard a sad story of a person who took the future for granted. This person had been studied with about Jesus and what He did to save us. This person believed the message and wanted to be baptized to give his life to The Lord, but in the end he decided to put it off until a later date.

Fast forward several years, and the person has still not dedicated his life to Christ. He out it off until a better time but that better time seemed to never come. When the decision was in the forefront of his mind he let other factors influence his decision to do what was right. Now he’s dead.

Death is finality. There is no more opportunity for the things you wished to do to come true. The decisions you neglected stay neglected. You are given one shot at living this life.

Hebrews says, “It is destined for man to die one and then to face judgment.” Reincarnation isn’t an option. There will be no time after death to undo the mistakes of your past. All of those mistakes need to be dealt with right now.

That’s why every time we read of someone being convicted of their need for Christ in the New Testament there was immediate response in baptism.

Time is of the essence. Time is fleeting. Now is the time to do what is right. Don’t put off till tomorrow what should be done today. All of these clichés are appropriate for you if you know you need to come to Christ but have been putting it off.

Have you been baptized? Have you been forgiven? Do you have the Spirit living in you? If not, then don’t wait until a better time to get that fixed. The time is now. God is calling.


Celebrating the Wrong Birthday

20130531-092835.jpg

The other day was my son’s birthday. It was a wonderful day to remember the years and how he has grown so much. I’m very proud of him.

I remember when he was born. I remember so many of his “firsts” as he learned and experienced new things. He has made me proud, so why wouldn’t I celebrate his birth?

Or culture makes a really big deal out of birthdays. It is easy for parents to get caught in a trap of having to outdo last year’s party so as not to disappoint. Birthday parties become more and more expensive each year, and that’s not even regarding the presents.

It seems like every day I have a whole list of friends who are celebrating their birthday. The funny thing is, however, these celebrations are a relatively new concept for “normal” folk.

Birthday celebrations have their origin in paganism as people believed evil spirits would visit a person on the day of their birth each year, so they would surround themselves with people who were jolly in order to keep the spirits at bay. The ones who celebrated birthdays for the sake of celebration were usually noblemen or kings with the money to celebrate with much pomp.

Birthday celebrations are much fun, and I enjoy them each time they come around, but is this the biggest event we should celebrate in our lives each year?

Maybe we are celebrating the wrong event.

In Luke 15:10, Jesus says these words, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

When you come to Jesus the angels throw a party in heaven!

Maybe we should take a cue from the angels. When a person is baptized, maybe we should throw a party. Then, maybe we should be celebrating that new birth each year.

Do you remember the day you came to Christ? My physical birthday is coming up in June, but my spiritual birthday – the day my sins were washed away and I received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) – is September 8. That’s the day the angels threw a party for me.

When is your spiritual birthday? If you haven’t had it yet, the angels are waiting to throw a party for you.


I Love Jesus Because… What about you?

20120828-114224.jpg

Do you love Jesus? Why do you love Him?

I love Jesus because He is Magnificent!

This week Hurricane Isaac is making landfall in South Louisiana. The force of the winds are nothing compared to His power and might. He makes mountains crumble and forms canyons at His will. He paints the sky with such an array of colors that it takes one’s breath away. He created the intricacies of nature such that we humans are daily discovering new things about His creation. He is Magnificent!

I love Jesus because He is Reliable!

Since I gave my life to Christ, there has never been a time when Jesus has not been near. I may feel like He is distant or that He may fail, but He never does, and it is usually me who has moved away. It is never Him who moves. Many times in my life there has been uncertainty, and time after time He provides exactly what I need. Does this mean times aren’t hard? No! Anyone who tells you that if you come to Jesus you will have an easier life is selling you snake oil. Jesus never promised you that. What He promises is that when the storms hit, He will be right there with you helping you along. If you want His help He is a prayer of faith away. He is Reliable!

I love Jesus because He is Gentle!

As I read the account of the trial and crucifixion recorded in Isaiah hundreds of years before it happened, I see how gentle Jesus was. He took all the accusations and abuse without saying a word. He could have called legions of angels to defend Him, but He chose not to because of his compassion and love for us. He has never shunned me, His child, because of my sin. He doesn’t kick me out at the first sign of insubordination. He gently reminds me through His word and the counsel of others of my need to come back in line with His example of humility and gentleness. He is Gentle!

I love Jesus because He is Liberating!

Many people think that being a Christian will lead to having more and more rules that you have to follow. This is not the case. In Christ there are only two rules: Love God (which is easy because He loved us first), and love everyone else as much as you love yourself (which is much harder because we are very selfish beings). I don’t have to have all my religious rules in place to follow those two rules. In fact, most of the religious rules that churches require their members to follow are merely traditions. Those traditions may help you follow those two rules, or they may not. Regardless, Jesus has not called you to tradition but to love. He wants you to do whatever you want to do. However, when you become His follower, hopefully you want to live in the example that Jesus set for you. He is not going to stand over you and force you to do good or condemn you the moment you do wrong. Jesus is no micro-manager. There is freedom in Christ. I am no longer a slave to sin. I am no longer a slave to unforgiveness or guilt or hatred. I am no longer a slave to anyone but Christ who calls me brother. He is liberating!

I love Jesus because He is Forgiving!

Jesus came to rescue the world from itself. He came to take away all the wrong you have ever done or ever will do. On the cross all the sins you have ever or will ever commit were placed on Him and nailed to the cross. They are there. We are the ones who want to continue to cling to those sins and continue to commit them. Jesus wants us to let them go so that He can truly forgive us. For we aren’t truly able to live in the forgiveness of Christ until we are able to forgive ourselves. He isn’t standing over us reminding us of all the wrong we have done. Jesus doesn’t shame us into submission. He loves us, and He shows us His love through His willingness to continually overlook our faults. Jesus is Forgiving!

I love Jesus. I hope you do too. Why do you love Jesus? I’d love to hear your story. You can comment on this article at http://www.mrdobbs.org or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net.

If you haven’t allowed Jesus to be all these things in your life, I’d love to begin walking with you as you seek that kind of health in you. I’d love to show you Jesus. Blessings to you, and may His love shine in us as we walk in His footsteps


What if there’s no hell

“Imagine there’s no heaven…it’s easy if you try…no hell below us…above us only sky.”
This Beatles song runs through my mind tonight as I write these words. Please forgive me if I got the lyrics a little off.

So what about it? What if there’s no hell?

As I learn more about God, I have less and less trouble believing in heaven. The God who is love seems to fit this picture of wanting to throw a party for eternity with His children. But I can’t shake the idea that maybe our idea of hell is not completely accurate. As someone once said, what kind of loving god would throw a party upstairs while people are being tortured in the basement?!

What if the pictures in scripture that we have of hell are just that, pictures? Images created to give us a literal image of the suffering that happens in the spiritual realm. We don’t have a problem with scripture using metaphorical language to describe heaven (pearly gates, streets of gold, etc…).

What if the pictures of hell are meant to describe that place where your soul is – the part of you created in the image of God – while you decide to live outside of God’s love?

Did u get that? Hell, then, would be a reaction…a state of being…that becomes a reality within us the moment we commit our first sin and thereby choose to live on our own…without God’s love.

This then relieves God of the responsibility of having to throw His children into utter torment. The children are throwing themselves headlong into that state of being by their daily choice to live apart from God. This reality, then, becomes even more evident when our mortality ends, and our souls are to continue the existence we have chosen for them while on earth.

I teach and firmly believe that eternal life that is promised in the bible begins the moment we surrender to God’s love. Why can’t hell begin for us the moment we choose to live outside His love?

These are just musings…I’m still trying to figure out my place in this. I would love to hear your thoughts to help me understand mine. Thanks in advance!

[tweetmeme]


%d bloggers like this: