LOVE IS . . .

LOVE is defined in the act of SELFLESSNESS.

God SO LOVED the world, He GAVE . . .

We must also SO LOVE GOD, that we GIVE our . . .

FEARS.

TALENTS.

BLESSINGS.

WORRIES.

FINANCES.

RELATIONSHIPS.

DREAMS. . .                           . . . and everything else

to Him  who also gave to us.

(know HIM. know LOVE. Surrender.)

[John 3:16 , Matthew 22:37-38,  1 John 4:8,  Matthew 10:39,  John 15:13]

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ACCEPTANCE AND EPIPHANY (and some music)

“Many people did believe in Him, including some of the Jewish leaders, but they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the pharisees would expel them from the synagogue. For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.”   – John 12:42-43

How often I find this true in my life. as I gain a greater relationship with God, I see it less and less, but we are instinctually creatures who long for acceptance and approval, and the giant epiphany that suddenly strikes us – the discovery of God’s character – hasn’t hit most of the world. So many people today, and yesterday, and tomorrow have painted a false portrait of God as a man pointing fingers, condemning us because we aren’t good enough, when in reality, God has already paid for our failures, and He has left them out of sight. All He now asks is that we recognize Him and His appreciation for us despite our seemingly small worth. God wants to see nothing but us living in praise of Him, living lives seeking validation from Him, because in the end e is the only one who can affect our destiny, and He longs for us to accept the destiny He desires for us.

This is a song by one of my favorite bands, The Collection, from North Carolina. I think it sums this up pretty well. Listen to the lyrics, and take the message to heart:

“All that I can see is that You can’t see the dirt in me.”

Have we realized this? Or are we still trying to find acceptance other places because we haven’t yet accepted the fact that God has already accepted us, regardless of the dirt in our lives. After all, God loves us more than He hates sin. Pretty crazy to think about isn’t it?

Also, the kind folks of The Collection are giving their EP away here. Go get it, share them with everyone, and maybe leave a tip.

(THE OTHER SIDE OF) ETERNAL LIFE: A THEORY

*This is a theory I have on the simplified Christian view of Hell – not the biblical view, but rather how we as humans have muddied that view. In my own life, I believe I fall victim to this view in order to justify my actions, so I’m simply writing this to throw it out there and see what other people think. If you feel the need, please criticize me.

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”  – John 17:3

All throughout scripture, Eternal Life is mentioned. As John 17:3 states, this Eternal Life is found only through knowing god, and recognizing Jesus Christ as your savior. This is a pretty standard, commonplace teaching in Christianity. We grow up being taught that the gift of God is eternal life, and constantly thank God for this gift.

But what about the other side of the statement? What about those that never accept the Gospel? Why do we never hear of their fate in the same manner?

The truth is, we do. Matthew 25:46 describes hell as “eternal punishment,” and heaven as “eternal life.” So I suppose my question is why do we tend to overlook this view of Hell? I have a theory, and it involves a new perspective. We often see hell as death, which in our human minds triggers an end, or the end. We picture Hell as a sort of ‘end of chances,’ and basically end up discussing it as “not heaven” rather than what it really is. In doing so, we completely discredit hell for what the Bible tells us it really is.  We, as Christians, can easily end up picturing the afterlife as either never-ending joy with Christ, or a black room. Basically, we try to look away from the eternal reality of hell in order to brush aside the urgency of sharing the gospel. I believe we live in a denial of the reality of hell because of our great desire to live in an ideal world where God rescues all from hell, whether they recognize Him for doing so or not.

The truth, however, isn’t ideal. And it is urgent.

The truth is, everyone gets eternal life, but others see a different side of it. While some will experience eternal joy and peace with Christ, others will experience, as Matthew 25:46 says, “eternal punishment.” This eternal punishment is more than a black room, or an end to it all. It is never-ending, and it is punishment. There’s no mediocre, in-between area for the non-believers we really like, no matter how much we all wish there was one. It is eternal either way, and it’s the job of Christians to show the people we love which way to choose. Until we see hell as the other side of eternal life, and live with that in mind, I’m not sure we really have the ability to empathize and truly anguish as Paul did over the fate of the unsaved.

Do you realize we’re all headed to an eternity with two options? And do you realize that you have the ability to help people decide which option to choose? There is no middle ground. There is no mediocre punishment. There is no ideal world where those that reject God receive heaven. Live as a warning to this fact out of love for all of those who are just as unrighteous as you and I. No one deserves heaven, and everyone deserves hell, but everyone deserves to hear their options as well. Not everyone will accept them, and not everyone will believe them. But everyone does have the right to know what their options are.

Do you see both sides of eternity? Or do you only see eternal heaven, while blocking the reality that is eternal hell? Realize there are only two options in eternity – and you have the power to tell what those are and how to choose the better.