Tag Archive | Heaven

Jesus Vs. The Seattle City Council, Psalm 144:3

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I would be very surprised if Buddy puffed up his chest, strutted about and suddenly declared, “I am TOO WONDERFUL, too good to be subservient to you anymore, Dawn. I don’t have to do anything you want me to do. I’m going my own way. See you later, doofus!”

In fact, we’d all be surprised if any dog acted that way. It would be entirely abnormal for a dog to be contrary and willfully disobedient. We love them so much because they continue to love us unconditionally no matter how badly we act toward them, toward others, or how awful we look at any particular time.

Normally, I try to avoid politics in my blog, but an incident was reported on the local Seattle newscast a few nights ago that upset me terribly.

An middle-aged man, slightly scruffy, was standing in front of a microphone before the Seattle City Council. He asked the members to look at him while he was speaking. They totally ignored him and continued to stare at their electronic devices. He gave up trying to get their attention and walked off in total discouragement. He felt unimportant before his elected officials.

I don’t know what this man was talking about, because the newscaster didn’t specify nor did the film show it. He could have been speaking about something I totally disagree with or don’t care about. However, apparently, he was a citizen of Seattle and had a right to bring his concerns before them. It angered me that this man was treated with such callous disrespect, as if he was just a bug crawling across the floor, totally beneath their notice. I haven’t seen such pride and scorn shown to someone by public officials that I recall. I’d bet if the man was a rich developer, the members of the Seattle City Council would have shown him rapt attention.

Did you ever consider how amazingly humble God is?

“O Lord, what is man, that you take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that you think of him? Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.”–Psalm 144:3

Our great God “counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.”–Psalm 147:4

“The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”–Psalm 24:1

“With God all things are possible.”–Matthew 19:26b

“But who is able to build a house for Him, for the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain Him?”–King Solomon, 2 Chronicles 2:6

“The Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts.”–King David, 1 Chronicles 28:9

God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, yet He encourages His children to make requests of Him:

“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock and it will be opened up to you….How much more will your Father who is in heaven GIVE what is good to those who ask Him!”–Jesus, Matthew 7:7-8,11

“…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”–Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 5:7

And to those who don’t know Him, He invites them to enter into a love relationship with Him to find inner peace:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”–Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30

No one is beneath the notice of the greatest King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He loves you.

“…the very hairs on your head are all numbered.”–Jesus, Matthew 10:30

God Almighty acknowledges you and knows you intimately.

***

Jesus knows every sin you’ve ever committed, yet still loves you very much. You cannot hide anything from Him, so why keep trying to? You think you’ve done something that has surprised Him or He’s never seen before during five thousand years of civilization? He knows what you say and do before you say and do it: Psalm 139, and even knows when you stand and sit down. He’s totally omniscient. Yet totally loving.

Yes, life is tough. It sucks some days. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”–Apostle John, 2 John 1:19 But God pierces the darkness with His love and gives us rest from the worries of this life. He doesn’t promise an easy path, but He walks alongside us and helps us to endure or rescues us.

Every day we have a choice: embrace the darkness or choose to walk through the darkness behind the Great Shepherd Who is lighting the way with His lantern of truth and love.

If you want to accept Him, please pray:

Lord I’ve sinned but You already know that. I want to experience Your great love for me in this hurtful world. Can you please forgive my sin and wash me clean in Your sight? Please give me the gift of the Holy Spirit so that I can begin to walk with You through this tough life and enter into Heaven one day to live with You for eternity.

God bless you from Dawn and Buddy.

***

Sorry to be rather awol with my blog posts this year. I had a very tough Winter and especially the last few weeks. Five of my friends and relatives died, my dad almost died, Buddy was squealing in pain for two weeks and a close family member is undergoing tests for potential cancer. I also had a bad cold but still had to work. I’ll try to be more consistent this year.

My Great Shepherd is holding my hand.

And guarding over me and Buddy.

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God’s Compassion, Ezekiel 18:32

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Anyone who knows me knows that I adore my little Silky terrier, Buddy. He has a unique and spunky personality and I’d miss him terribly if anything ever happened to him. I don’t love him because he’s perfect, but because he’s my pal.

Do you ever consider that God would miss you terribly if you didn’t go to Heaven after you died?

There is a mistaken idea that the New Testament God is kind and compassionate, but that the Old Testament God is cruel and uncaring. But that’s not true.

“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.”–Ezekiel 18:32 (Old Testament)

Because God is perfectly holy and cannot tolerate evil, He won’t permit us to enter Heaven because we’ll mess it up, just as we’ve messed up earth. Just listen to the news every day: Do you want that in Heaven?

However, He found a way to fellowship with unholy people by sending Jesus to die for our sins.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”–John 3:16-17 (New Testament)

God the Father has no desire to see us perish eternally. He wants us to be with Him. If we are willing to humble ourselves–forsake our pride and admit that we have fallen short of His holy standards–He covers our sin with the blood of Jesus and no longer sees it.

“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”–Psalm 103:12 (Old Testament)

God the Father loves you. And so does Jesus. He suffered a terrible death to pay for your sins. And the Holy Spirit loves you too and will live within you and help “guide (you) in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.”–Psalm 23:3b

All you have to do is believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, admit you’re a sinner and cannot meet God’s righteous standards, and ask Him to forgive you and enter into your heart.

And He’ll do it immediately because He loves you and wants you to be with him–for eternity.

God Is Love, 1 John 4:16

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One reason I love this photo is because I love Buddy. He is great company, particularly when I’m alone in the house at night. And because I love him, I don’t think about the bad boy things he has done: I see him as perfect and totally lovable.

The Apostle John, who laid his head against Christ’s breast when Jesus walked the earth, declared that “God is love,”–1 John 4:16

When most people think of Heaven, they think of angels on clouds and green meadows full of flowers and meeting their loved ones again, looking young and healthy. They usually don’t think of it as a place where God dwells.

Since God is love and dwells in Heaven, guess what Hell could be defined as? Not as a place of fire and brimstone, but a place where God does not dwell, a place totally absent of love.

Please think about that. Hell is a place with no mercy, no kindness, no laughter, no joy, no peace, no faithfulness, no goodness, no patience, no freedom…(Galatians 5:22) I’m sure you can think of many others.

I think most people, if mentally healthy, would prefer to go to Heaven and not Hell, but they have a misunderstanding about how to get there. This will shock most people: IT’S NOT BY BEING GOOD! or , like pictured in an Egyptian papyrus painting, I have, “IT’S NOT BY HAVING YOUR GOOD DEEDS OUTWEIGHING YOUR BAD.”

To address the latter firstly: If you think it’s by having your good deeds outweighing the bad, how do you define your good and your bad deeds? God is perfect. His definition of “bad” is far broader than ours is. The longer I’m a Christian, the more I realize how bad I really am, because I become more familiar with what God’s standards really are. When someone asked Jesus what he must do to “inherit eternal life”, Jesus responded, “No one is good except God alone.”–Luke 18:18

This seems to me a really iffy program to place my hope on to obtain eternal life in Heaven. How do you really know when your good deeds outweigh your bad? How many points does gossip get versus donating a toy to Toys for Tots? That method would keep me awake at night.

Most people don’t understand the gospel (which means “good news”). It’s not good news to tell me that I need to work really hard to be good and hope that maybe I did well enough to pass muster on Judgment Day. God cannot tolerate evil, i.e. sin. He demands perfection. In the Sermon On The Mount, Jesus declared, “You must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”–Matthew 5:48  I blew that one a long time ago.

That’s why Jesus had to die. Only He was good enough, being God in the flesh, to live a perfect life and take our punishment for God’s wrath against sin. We don’t do anything to earn Heaven except humble ourselves and admit we’re sinners and need Jesus’ blood to cover our sin for us. And because He rose from the dead, proving Himself to be God and His sacrifice acceptable, ask Him to empower us by giving us the Holy Spirit to live His life through us.

Then God sees us as perfect and totally lovable, just like I love my Buddy.

“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”–Psalm 103:12

And that’s good news, not working for my eternal life but accepting that Jesus already did it for me.

Sadly, admitting they’re not perfect is just too difficult for most people.

PS. If someone says this is wrong, it’s not by faith in Christ but good works, then ask them, “Why did Jesus have to die?”

***

If you agree with me, “Hey, I’d like to go to Heaven and live with this loving God for eternity, and I know I’m not perfect, I’ve missed the mark,” please pray:

Dear Father, I’m sorry I’ve screwed up and fallen far short of your standards. I know I’m far from perfect but I believe you love me and want me to spend eternity with you. I believe that Jesus was God in the flesh and died for my sins. That He lived the perfect life I couldn’t live. Please forgive me and grant me Your Holy Spirit to lead and guide me. Amen.

 

Fairy Tale Ending, 1 Corinthians 2:9

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When I first adopted Buddy, he was terrified of me and my family. But after several years of love and treats, walks and healthy food, he finally relaxed and enjoys our company. He was rescued from a situation where he was kicked and chased and now enjoys a loving home.

You might feel like life gives you, not love and affection, but numerous kicks and suffering. You might have chronic pain or financial problems that seem insurmountable, or family members and coworkers who torment you, or great past affliction that’s difficult to forgive or forget.

But please think of your life as a fabulous story. Every good story has conflict or it’d be tremendously boring: times of great suffering and trials that must be overcome, monsters to be slain. But the hero endures, and because he/she never gives up, triumphs.

However, if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, your unique life story has a fairy tale ending. One day you will be present with the Lord in Heaven which is so wonderful that we cannot imagine it, says Apostle Paul,

“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”–1 Corinthians 2:9

Just think of your favorite book with the happy ending you enjoy so much and Heaven is far better.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”–Revelation 21:4

You enter into a relationship with Jesus by believing that He died for your sins, suffered the punishment you deserved, and maintain your relationship with Him by faith (Galatians 3). You cannot do anything to deserve your eternal salvation, nor can you do anything to maintain your salvation:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”–Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus had the courage to voluntarily face the tremendous suffering of Crucifixion because He kept his eyes on the “joy set before Him endured the cross”–Hebrews 12:2

“Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize…”–Apostle Paul, Philippians 3:13

So when life seems hard and you want to give up, please remember to keep your focus on the joy ahead. You are the lead character in your own life story. And your story has a fairy tale ending if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Rejoice! This is good news!

Good People Go To Hell, Matthew 5:3

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Did that title get your attention?

Buddy sits by the front door to see what’s going on in the neighborhood but he’s looking in the wrong direction. However, since he has seemingly supersonic hearing, he can still hear what’s going on outside.

Many people hear God’s call or message of salvation, but they look the other way and don’t accept it.

During His famous Sermon On The Mount speech, Jesus began with this verse:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”–Matthew 5:3

Speaker and teacher Kay Arthur explains that being “poor in spirit” is to admit one’s spiritual poverty, one’s utter spiritual bankruptcy and inability before a holy God to have any righteous standing. To admit one’s utter sinfulness.

“For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;”–Isaiah 64:6

Most people think that Judgment Day is like what is depicted in Egyptian paintings: There is a scale on which one side rests all of one’s bad deeds and the good deeds on the other. If the good deeds outweigh the bad, you get to go to Heaven. If the bad outweighs the good, you go to Hell.

But God is so pure and holy that we can never stand before Him on Judgment Day in our own righteousness. “Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”–Jesus, Matthew 5:48   God’s standard to get into HIS HOUSE is perfection.

“No one is good except God alone.”–Jesus, Mark 10:18

The people Jesus was harshest with, as reported in the New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), were the Pharisees, the religious leaders who thought they were good and didn’t need to listen to Jesus’ message or rebukes.  Jesus upset their spiritual apple cart by declaring that those persons that the Pharisees considered to be the most sinful members in their society would get into Heaven before they would.

“Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.”–Matthew 21:31

Because the Pharisees believed they were good, they didn’t see a need to repent and accept the righteousness of Christ as their own.

Sadly, I know a lot of good people who refuse to believe they need to repent of their sins and accept Jesus’ death on the Cross as payment for their sin. They think they can stand before a perfect God and prove themselves holy by their own deeds.

Pride is the opposite of “poor in spirit.” I pray that pride is not keeping you from accepting that Jesus died for your sins.

***

I stand on the shoulders of giants. I’d like to give credit to my spiritual mentors:

Martin Luther,  Kay Arthur, Dr. Charles Stanley,  Pastor Chuck Smith, Pastor Chuck Swindoll, Pastor Bob George, Pastor Max Lucado, Pastor Ben David of Hope Fellowship and Dr. Michael Youseff

 

No Neutral Ground: Colossians 1:13-14

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Thanks for reading my blog. You could be doing other things with your time so I really appreciate it. I’m trying to post every Friday night but sometimes life interferes. (All Biblical quotes are from the NASB.)

Buddy wasn’t too cooperative tonight when I pulled out the camera phone but I finally managed to get a photo of him in a doorway. For some reason he’s scared of the phone even though it’s never harmed him.

Why was the doorway so important?

For some reason, people believe there is neutral territory in life. You don’t have to choose to believe in Jesus and follow Him but you don’t have to be a Satanist either: There’s a third neutral zone to dwell in.

But it’s not true.

As it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God.”–Romans 3:10-11

Since the original couple told God to “Shove it!”, believing that they could figure out right and wrong for themselves, the Holy Spirit left the human race and we are all born without the Spirit of God. We are all born into Satan’s kingdom.

“…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God.”–2 Corinthians 4:4

Jesus is the one who reaches down to us and offers His hand of rescue. We can choose to grasp that hand offered by Jesus Christ, “Immanuel God With Us” (Matthew 1:23 NASB),…

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”–Colossians 1:13-14

Yes, it seems unfair. No one gets any choices at their birth. No one asks to be born into the enemy’s kingdom.

Just as Buddy couldn’t remain in the doorway but had to choose to go through or back up, so we must choose to walk with Jesus through the doorway into His kingdom.

Because one day that door is going to close.

Which is why I am writing this blog. I love you and want you to walk over to His side. Is it all wine and roses? No. (Sometimes I feel like I’m all whine and no roses.) But it’s a decision I’ve never regretted.

And you won’t either.