Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Eternal life is life that continues without end. The idea of eternal life is nothing new. It has always been God’s plan that we, His chosen, will live with Him forever (see 1 John 1:2). He chose us through His foreknowledge that we will respond to the gospel, and believe in His Son, Jesus (see 1 Peter 1:2). The Psalmist, believing in eternal life stated, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6 NIV). Towards the end of Jesus’ ministry, He comforted the disciples concerning all that was about to happen to Him, including His return to heaven. He promised He would prepare a place for them in heaven, and then He would come back and take them to be with Him (see John 14:2-3).

Like the rich young man mentioned in Matthew 19:16-30, there are people who think there are good deeds they could do to earn eternal life. However, the Bible does not teach good deeds as the way to obtain eternal life. The Bible teaches faith in Jesus who paid the penalty of our sins. Salvation is by grace alone! The gospel of John says, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3 NIV). Also, Paul emphasizes in Ephesians, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). Had salvation been through good works such as donating large sums of money to charity, where would the poor be? Instead, the playing field is level, and anyone who is willing may come, on the basis of faith, because good works do not buy salvation.

So now that we’ve addressed eternal life and how to obtain it, let us look at what happens when one does not obtain it. Anything that goes on forever is eternal, but in that eternal state, one could be with or without God. Eternal life is life that continues forever with God in heaven. The opposite of that situation is life that goes on forever, but in hell. The Bible’s description of hell is scary, to say the least. It is an eternal lake of fire, originally prepared for the devil and his angels (see Matthew 25:41). It is also known as the second death (see Revelation 20:14). Eternal fire is fire that never stops burning and never goes out (see Mark 9:43). Can you imagine falling into a campfire forever? This is not a scare tactic to get anyone to do what they prefer not to do; it is the truth. The book of Revelation says, “If any anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15 NIV). Hell can be avoided, and it should be avoided at all costs!

Jesus told a story about a rich man and a sore-covered beggar who lay at his gate. The beggar’s name was Lazarus; he was so needy that he was willing to eat crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. When these two men eventually died, Lazarus went to heaven, and the rich man went to hell. In his torment in hell, he petitioned Abraham to allow Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and come to hell long enough to cool the rich man’s tongue. The reason he gave was, “Because I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 16:24 NIV). How sad and scary! It doesn’t have to be that way. This scenario can be avoided by placing one’s faith in Jesus. In the conclusion of the story, Abraham declined the rich man’s request on two grounds: first, the rich man received good things in life, and Lazarus received nothing, and second, there is a great chasm between heaven and hell that makes it impossible to cross from one to the other. Wherever you choose to spend eternity, that’s where you stay; there’ll be no switching around.

There are people who say God is kind and cannot send anyone to hell, but they forget that He has other defining attributes like holy, just and faithful. We can be sure He will make good on His promise of hell by looking at history. He destroyed the ancient world with a flood, sparing only Noah and his family (see 2 Peter 2:5). Again, He burned Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes for their ungodliness, sparing only Lot and his family (see 2 Peter 2:6).

After this life comes eternity, which will be in one of two places: either in God’s presence or in hell. The choice is yours. Which one appeals to you? Please choose wisely.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016



God planned Christmas, the birth of Jesus, before the foundation of the world, before creation. What was His reason, you might ask? He knew how the devil would interfere with His creation and intentions for man, thus causing a separation between Him and man.

He could have prevented the interruption but didn't, because He wanted man to love, trust, and obey Him willingly: by choice. He therefore put a plan into place that would defeat the devil, give fallen man a second chance, and thereby restore His broken relationship with man.

The first Christmas was only the beginning, the first in a series of events constituting God's redemptive plan. In the first step, Christmas, God became man, in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, born of a virgin. He lived a sinless life among sinners, showing them the way back to God--through grace, for He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NLT).

The next event was His death. He willingly laid down His life, suffered at the hands of sinners, who crucified Him. He told His disciples, “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily” (John 10:17 NLT).  They buried Him, sealing the tomb with a huge rock to ensure His disciples wouldn’t be able to move Him out. The devil who motivated them must have thought he had won this fight, but God had a surprise for him!

Third was His resurrection from the dead. The morning of the third day, there was an earthquake, an angel rolled the stone aside and sat on it. The angel comforted the women who had gone to embalm the body. “Don't be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen” (Matthew 28:5 NLT). Jesus came back to life, delivering a crushing blow to the devil once and for all. Jesus will never die again. Death and the devil were both defeated. That death paid for the sins of all who'd repent, ask for forgiveness, and accept the sacrifice made on their behalf. Because He rose from the dead, those who believe in Him shall also rise someday.

Fourth, He ascended into heaven as His disciples watched with broken hearts. Angels assured them, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:11 NLT).

The final event will be Jesus’ Second Advent. This time, He’ll come not as a baby, but as the King of kings and Lord of lords, and He will set up His kingdom. At His coming, every eye shall see Him (see Revelation 1:7), but it'll be too late for those who have not called on Him for salvation. Judgment and punishment will be all that await them,

As you celebrate Christmas this year, don’t just go through the motions. Understand that God loves you very much, and longs to enter into a personal relationship with you. How do you plan to respond to the One who has gone to such trouble to demonstrate His love for you? He has freed you to love and serve Him willingly. The window of opportunity is limited; it'll close for each person when they die, or when Jesus returns. Nobody knows when either one is going to happen (see Matthew 25:13). I encourage you to call on Him today. As the Bible says, “Today when you hear his voice don’t harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:7 NLT). The Bible also asks, “What makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus Himself?” (Hebrews 2:3 NLT). The answer to this question is obvious—no one can escape punishment if he or she chooses to not respond to God’s love.  Decide today! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Our Priorities Matter To God

Most people love to save time, money, energy, and resources when they tackle a project. In other words, we like to see things turn out right on the first attempt, to avoid making corrections or re-doing later. Unfortunately, our best efforts don’t always yield the wanted results. Why is that? I found the answer tucked away in a little Old Testament book, Haggai, in the minor prophets— not putting God’s interests first!

Haggai the prophet delivered a message to Zerubbabel, the Governor of Judah and Jeshua, the High Priest. In the message, God expressed displeasure about the deplorable condition the temple was in, while the remnant Israelites were building luxurious houses for themselves (see Haggai 1:9-11). It appears the houses were the only good thing happening to them, because God called their attention to all the areas in which they were failing. He said to them, “Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes” (Haggai 1:5b-6 NLT).

After addressing their problems, God prescribed the only solution that that was bound to bring resolution. He commanded them, “Now go up into the hills, bring down timber, and rebuild my house. Then I will take pleasure in it and be honored…” (Haggai 1:8).
The governor, the high priest, and the people obeyed the Lord, immediately working to restore the temple, with God cheering them on (see Haggai 2:4-5)! And for their obedience, God promised a blessing. “I am giving you a promise now while the seed is still in the barn. You have not yet harvested your grain, and your grapevines, fig trees, pomegranates, and olive trees have not yet produced their crops. But from this day onward I will bless you” (Haggai 2:19). What an encouragement!    

Are things not working out for you quite the way you hoped? The solution is closer than you might think. Examine your life closely. Have you been putting your interests ahead of God’s? That could be it. Seek God’s strength and courage to put Him first in all areas of your life, and He’ll bless you! I know, because I’ve experienced it. It’s amazing; it’s hard to explain. My experience is in the area of giving for His work. Even when I think I’m broke, I’m still able to take care of my responsibilities. I don’t know how He does it, but trust me, He does. What a faithful God!

The widow of Zarephath, mentioned in 1 Kings 17, also experienced this. Due to King Ahab’s evil reign, the prophet Elijah pronounced a drought in Israel, which led to a food shortage. The Lord instructed Elijah to go to Zarephath to be fed by this widow. He went to Zarephath. There at the gate, he met a widow gathering sticks. He asked her for some food, but the widow let him know she had enough ingredients for only one meal: for herself and her son. The prophet asked her to make him a little bread first anyway (see 1 Kings 17:13), because the Lord had said, “There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again” (1 Kings 17:14 NLT). She obeyed, and sure enough, “She and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days; the containers never got empty. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah” (1 Kings 17: 15-16). 

God is faithful; He never goes back on His promises, and He honors those who honor Him. Let’s be trusting and do things God’s way and sit back and see Him work on our behalf. What a mighty God I serve!