Posted in theology

Our Days are Numbered

By Elizabeth Prata

*I heard an Adrian Rogers sermon several years ago that stayed with me. He talked about how people delay their decision for or against Jesus, thinking they have lots of time to go into that. Rogers shared several deaths that were unexpected, sudden, and odd that shows we don’t have the time we think we do. One was when a man was lawnmowing and ran over a nail, which the mower threw up and it went into his heart. The other was a woman walking by a building at the same time a person sitting on the edge of the sill nudged a plant pot and it fell out the window onto her head. His point was, decide now, today, what you will believe.

There have beem some equally odd deaths I’ve read about that brought his sermon to mind again. Isolated, freak accidents, they are called. But the person involved in them winds up just as dead as if the death was expected.

Grief spreads far and wide for hunting guide killed in accident near Faribault
On Sunday southwest of Faribault, a motorist who lives nearby agreed to be Pineur’s good Samaritan and attached a strap to the two vehicles intending to pull the pickup from the ditch. However, the hitch broke on Tyler Nusbaum’s vehicle and part of it went hurtling toward Pineur’s pickup. The piece went through the windows of the camper top and the back of the pickup, and it hit Pineur in the back of the head, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Rock Thrown From Mower Kills Passing Woman
“A freak highway accident left one woman dead and the Georgia Department of Transportation trying to answer questions. A Georgia DOT crew was mowing the grass on the side of a sparsely-traveled rural highway. At the exact same time, a car with five passengers passed by.” (The mower) ran over a rock. The rock was a pretty good-sized rock. But it was launched from the side of the bush hog,” said Sgt. Chad Mann, of the Troup County Sheriff’s Office. Annie Lee, 58, was sitting in the back seat with her family when the volleyball-sized rock smashed through the windshield, grazed the driver and killed her instantly. Police said it was a shocking incident, but not one that could have easily been prevented or one that would happen again.”This was an isolated freak incident,” said Mann.”

The woman was sitting in the back. The rock went through the windshield, missing the driver and the passenger, and hurtled toward Ms Lee, and she was killed.

Just like that. Tragic.

Think about it, one moment you are sitting on your truck and the next second you are in hell. Or heaven. One moment you are laughing with your family in the back seat of the car and the next second you are in heaven. Or hell. It happens that fast. Paul didn’t leave any time for there to be limbo, or to hang around and wait for the Ghost Whisperer to show up. He said if you are absent from the body you are with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) The rapture takes place in the blink of an eye, where your bodies are transformed from flesh to eternal in 1/150th of a second. The same happens with many people in the way they die. It happens instantly, just like it did for the two unfortunates in the news articles above.

The Bible says our days are numbered.

Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. (Job 14:5).

David cried out, Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. (Psalm 39:4).

As Matthew Henry explains,

He prays to God to make him sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of life and the near approach of death (v. 4): Lord, make me to know my end and the measure of my days. He does not mean, “Lord, let me know how long I shall live and when I shall die.” We could not, in faith, pray such a prayer; for God has nowhere promised to let us know, but has, in wisdom, locked up that knowledge among the secret things which belong not to us, nor would it be good for us to know it. But, Lord, make me to know my end, means, “Lord, give me wisdom and grace to consider it (Deu. 32:29) and to improve what I know concerning it.”

Do you have the wisdom and grace to consider your end, and the courage to improve what you know concerning it? It could happen any time. Repenting after death is too late. Now is the acceptable time. Now.

begg.jpg

*This essay first appeared on The End Time in June 2011. I updated one of the news articles

Posted in death, theology

A good funeral, part 1

Our fleshly tent is so fragile. When the blood stops pumping, the heart stills, the last breath exits, the body is only a husk. Temporal, feeble, weak, our flesh goes the way of the grass, burnt under a hot sun. Snap, life is over. It is the soul that is strong, eternal.

Death Comes Soon to All

Man who is born of a woman
is few of days and full of trouble.
He comes out like a flower and withers;
he flees like a shadow and continues not.

(Job 14:1-3)

husk

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Stephen Hawking, coffins, & other thoughts

Noted theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died this week. He was brilliant, no doubt about that. His nickname in school was “Einstein”, and he lived up to name by contributing mightily to the areas of cosmology, particularly in Big Bang Theory and Black Holes.

He died of a rare form of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) in that it progressed very slowly. He was 76.

Mr Hawking applied his mind in attempting to unlock the secrets of the universe, its forms and origins, functions and future. Though he made many discoveries, he never discovered the basic truth: God made it. In fact, the further Hawking went along, the more entrenched he became in denying the Designer and Sustainer of life. He made flatly rejecting statements about God and religion, such as these quoted in The UK Guardian in 2011-

The belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a “fairy story” for people afraid of death, Stephen Hawking has said. In a dismissal that underlines his firm rejection of religious comforts, Britain’s most eminent scientist said there was nothing beyond the moment when the brain flickers for the final time.

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” Source

‘There is no heaven’. This is a true statement- for Mr Hawking- if indeed he maintained his rejection of God to the end.

‘There is no afterlife’. This is an untrue statement for Mr Hawking. He is discovering now that he is indeed alive, and further, has been granted a fresh body, albeit one that will be withstanding the fires and punishments of hell for all eternity (if indeed he did not repent at an unknown time.)

Hawking was the smartest man, as smart as than Einstein…seeking the mysteries of the universe all the days of his life- it was only death that revealed those mysteries to him. Sadly, it is too late.

Hawking went the way of all flesh (with a nod to Samuel Butler). The way of all flesh is death, either to resurrected life in glory with Jesus, or to eternal death & punishment apart from Jesus. Answers In Genesis has a sensitive and thoughtful epitaph on Mr Hawking’s life, here.

It’s times like these, when a famous atheist dies, that one ponders hell all over again. Hell is a monstrous doctrine. Not monstrous as in evil, for God is holy and just and all those who are sent there deserve it. Even those who are forgiven, like me, deserve it. It’s only the imputed righteousness of Jesus that diverts us from our fleshly final fiery resting place.

I mean monstrous as in the definition of “extremely and dauntingly large; as in, “the monstrous tidal wave swamped the surrounding countryside”.

It’s a huge thing to ponder hell, because it is for all eternity. Who can know?

In a similar vein, I saw this photo on Facebook this week.

Some people around here think it’s funny, others amusing, others intrigued. I never knew how much the idol of college football was alive and active until I came to Georgia. The University of Georgia Bulldogs’ arena is the Temple and the ‘Dawgs’ are worshiped by thousands of adoring fans.

I don’t think it’s amusing. I think it’s blasphemous. Sure, people, bring your idol with you to eternity. What could go wrong?

When my husband and I were in Puyo, Ecuador, a town then on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest and very remote, we spent a week. There were few industries in this one-dirt-road town. It truly was a frontier town, with one main road, plank sidewalks, a lonely hotel, and a few stores. One industry was coffin making. The people in that part of the South American country loved their highly decorated coffins. They would be made of heavy wood, and at the corners, one or all four, there would be clear glass. Inside the headlight-like small alcove would be blinking lamps, candles, statues of Mary, jewelry, or just lights. Perhaps they thought the lights could aid Charon as he guided the casket across the river Styx to the abode of the dead.

Do you know what I wish? I wish that all coffins would have two pictures on them, one at either end. One, a picture of glory and the New Jerusalem. The other, a picture of the Lake of Fire. That would give funeral-goers something to contemplate. There is an afterlife, and all flesh is consigned to one of them.

The difference is your position on Jesus. If you believe He is your risen God, having trusted in Him as savior and repented of sins which He forgave, you go to heaven. If you have rejected Him and failed to repent of your sins, you go to the Lake of Fire to be punished for your sins. You have committed cosmic treason, which must be justly punished..

Hell is a big subject. So is heaven. We will all have an eternity to contemplate it. After death it is too late to change your location. Repent now, while it is still day

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all [people] everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31).

 

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

I was here

Did you ever see the doodle/tag Kilroy was here? It was popular when I was a kid. It was a tag that came out of WWII and was a precursor to graffiti. It continued being popular for a while after WWII, such as my coming up days in the 1960s.

Kilroy tag at Washington DC WWII Memorial

It is generally thought that the origin of the tag was from James J. Kilroy who worked at a Massachusetts shipyard in WWII. When riveters finished their shift would make a chalk mark at the end of his shift to show where he had stopped and the next riveter had started. JJ Kilroy allegedly began tagging uniquely to stop the practice. Dishonest riveters would erase the previous worker’s mark and chalk a new mark farther back on the same seam, giving themselves credit for part of the previous riveter’s work, as Wikipedia says. The tag grew from there.

Then in the late 1960s and early 1970s spray paint graffiti came about, more tagging. John Naar was the first graffiti photographer. His pictures were published the 1973 seminal book on graffiti, by Norman Mailer and Mervyn Kurlansky’s “The Faith of Graffiti”. The Amazon description says,

In 1973 author Norman Mailer teamed with photographer Jon Naar to produce The Faith of Graffiti, a fearless exploration of the birth of the street art movement in New York City.

EPrata photo of local train tags

Did you ever see names or initials scrawled in wet cement? I saw this article at the magazine Gothamist,

A gang of tween vandals were “tagging” their names in wet cement outside their school in Middlesex, New Jersey recently when the local constabulary happened upon them. Taking swift action, police collared the young hoodlums, took them downtown for questioning, and finally handed them over to their parents, who signed an agreement to punish the children and paid a $250 fine each—except the father of 11-year-old Kelly Zierdt, who is refusing to pay his daughter’s debt to society. And now his little princess is being called before a judge to face justice.

Graffiti and tagging isn’t new. The Atlantic published an article about the graffiti on the ancient standing walls and sidewalks at Pompeii, Italy.

From Roman walls to Twitter, humans have a long-standing obsession with leaving their mark. …The oldest known graffiti at Pompeii also happens to be among the simplest: Gaius was here. Or, more precisely, “Gaius Pumidius Diphilus was here,” along with a time stamp, which historians have dated to October 3, 78 B.C. … So-and-so was here has been one of the messages humans have scrawled, etched, and eventually Sharpied and spray painted onto public spaces for millennia.

From across time and across oceans, the same impulse resides in humans to tag, make a stamp, declare identity, do something that remains. Why? Roger Gastman tried explaining the urge in the same Atlantic article-

“Overall, people want to write on things to be known,” Roger Gastman, the author of The History of American Graffiti, told me in an email. “To be everywhere at once yet nowhere at all.”

To be known. Man wants to be known, he wants to know that after he departs he won’t be lost to the mists of time as his body becomes dust. But he will be forgotten. He will be dust and he will be gone from this earth. Instinctively, he knows this.

All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. (Ecclesiastes 3:20).

Will I be remembered? Will my mere few decades on earth carry any weight at all as the press of eternity weighs down the memory of me and as the overlay of other memories of other people rise up, compressing mine to a sliver, and then poof, my wispy remaining presence even as fleeting memory is obliterated completely? Noooo, I WAS HERE!

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. ~Walt Whitman, ‘Song of Myself’

My first thoughts about eternity came to my mind when I was in my 20s. When I was teaching school in my twenties, a woman I’d taught with for a few years named Ann retired. A few months after she retired, a phase of life she had eagerly been looking forward to, she died quickly of cancer. It started me thinking of life and death. Is this all there is? To work to live, then die right after you retire, nothing to be gained? What was the point of life? Was there an afterlife? If so, what was the thing that allowed someone in? Do we all get in? When someone close to you dies, these are the thoughts one naturally begins to think. I WAS HERE!

When we turn to Ecclesiastes again, we see that the verse says,

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Therefore, we know there is an eternity. We know that we do not stop when our heart stops. We know there is a God. We know that he is so much higher than us we can’t understand all his works from start to finish. We know this, instinctively. It is the urge that pushes us to tag, write, declare, “I WAS HERE.”

My friend recently discovered that a High School friend had died. She wrote about the issue of eternity at her blog. What Happens When You Die? Here is an excerpt, please read it in its entirety. It’s good.

I do know what happens when we die, and I will share that with you now since I’ve been asking you if you know.  In Hebrews 9:27 it says that it is appointed for men to die once, and then after that is judgement.  For those of us who have believed in God’s Son Jesus, and are placing our trust in His perfectly sinless life, death on a cross as punishment for our sins, and resurrection to life (the indication that Jesus sacrifice was acceptable to the Father, and His power over death) our judgement was taken care of by Jesus on the cross.  So for we who believe and are born again “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8; please click on the link and read the entire chapter).  But for those people who do not believe in Jesus and are not trusting Him to pay the penalty for their sins, they will face eternal judgement and condemnation “and these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46 please read this entire passage)

Our barbaric yawps, graffiti spray, Kilroy tags, claims staked in cement only to be smoothed over by a crushing roller, will dissipate into the ether. All of it. Yet we want to be heard. Mr Gastman was getting close to the truth, ‘we want to be known.’

We will be known. We will go on. This is at once either a terrifying thought for the unsaved, or a comforting thought for the saved. Those who are not in Christ, who have not repented of sins and asked Him for forgiveness, will face Him in judgment. He knows you, unsaved person. You are known. The problem is, you do not know Him. Our fists shaken at the sky, our tremulous childish voices yawping into the cosmos are heard and seen by the One who created us.

What happens when we die? Eternity comes in an instant, and we go on as changed beings in hell or in heaven. Will we descend to join the moans and cries of others who declared their own eternity, only to discover that their piteous cries on earth melted into the air almost as instantly as their destination eternity had come? Or will they ascend to glory to know and be known?

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV).

You see, we are known. We are here. Yet here is as temporary as the tag that declares presence. Presence goes away. Eternity remains. Do you want to be known as friend to the One who will save you? Or do you want to be known as enemy to the One who condemns you? Our life is not about I AM HERE, but I am there. Unbeknownst to the unsaved, they have already been tagged.

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15).

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Philippians 4:3).

This is the ultimate tag. This is where it matters most of all where your name is. Not on a subway train. Not on a ship hull. Not in wet cement. Your tag in the Lamb’s Book of Life is where it matters ultimately.

What is The Gospel?

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Release from the ‘Tyranny of the Clock’

Missionary to Vanuatu in the late 1800s, John G. Paton, writing about the death of one of his first native converts in his book Thirty Years Among the South Sea Cannibals, said:

“While staying at Aneityum, I learned with as deep emotion as man ever felt for man, that noble old Abraham, the sharer of my Tannese trials, had during the interval peacefully fallen asleep in Jesus. He left for me his silver watch one which I had myself sent to the dear soul from Sydney, and which he greatly prized. In his dying hour he said, “Give it to Missi, my own Missi Paton; and tell him that I go to Jesus, where Time is dead.”

That converted cannibal had a real and profound grasp of his position in Christ. I have read many times that in heaven sin will be dead, tears will be dead, sorrow will be dead, but I never read anything put quite like that. In heaven, time is dead.

Graphics Fairy

What will it be like when we are never running late? When the good labors we perform stretch endlessly ahead in joy and interest but not in constriction of artificial hours or days? When we don’t have birthdays or appointments? When there is no catching up, falling behind, or getting ahead? Instead, all our tasks and meetings simply unfold perfectly and in a pace that is like the very river of life streaming from the Fount- constant and perfect?

God instituted seasonal time, and He instituted day and night. (Psalm 104:19, Genesis 1:14). He did this for the benefit of man, certainly not because God needed to mark time. He dwells in eternity where it is all time at once. The clock measures time precisely, in specific increments, and this mechanism more than any other has subdued man. The clock at once has inhibited man in his actions and catalyzed man in his actions. I’m late! I’m early! I’m behind! I’m on time- give me a gold star!

The clock segments the teacher’s day. It regulates the inmate’s day. It formulates the train conductor’s, the pilot’s, the bus driver’s day. The clock convicts the chronic tardiness of the employee. The clock dares. The clock monotonizes.

Anarchist George Woodcock wrote in The Tyranny of the Clock,

Socially the clock had a more radical influence than any other machine, in that it was the means by which the regularisation and regimentation of life necessary for an exploiting system of industry could best be attained. The clock provided the means by which time – a category so elusive that no philosophy has yet determined its nature – could be measured concretely in more tangible forms of space provided by the circumference of a clock dial. Time as duration became disregarded, and men began to talk and think always of ‘lengths’ of time, just as if they were talking of lengths of calico. And time, being now measurable in mathematical symbols, became regarded as a commodity that could be bought and sold in the same way as any other commodity.

Sadly he did not know that liberating man from the tyranny of the clock would only enslave him to another device, another machine, another apparatus, whatever it may be. God created time for our benefit and ever since He has been ordaining its orderly progression, despite man’s over-dependence on the clock.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)

In heaven, time is dead. However without clocks the orderly progression of all things will continue, for God is God of heaven as He is of earth. Our liberation from the tyranny of the clock will free us in ways we can’t even imagine. The old cannibal and new man, Abraham of Vanuatu, knew. He went where time is dead and men are alive. Where there are no clocks but precision is more precise than it has ever been anywhere on earth.

making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:10)

Posted in Uncategorized

Jan Crouch and Muhammad Ali- questions of death, final destination, and eternity

Jan Crouch died a few days ago. Muhammad Ali died yesterday. Famous people dying makes us think about eternity. The news coverage puts eternity into the spotlight, along with the eternal question, what happens after death?

One minute after you slip behind the parted curtain, you will either be enjoying a personal welcome from Jesus Christ, or catching your first glimpse of gloom as you have never known it. Either way, your future will be irrevocably fixed and eternally unchangeable. ~Erwin Lutzer, One Minute After You Die

Of those family and friends of who we are pretty sure were justified on earth and are now glorified in heaven, we mourn their passing but celebrate their ongoing life. We might envision them meeting Jesus, and think of their wonder at the glory that surrounds them, and how excited they might be to praise and sing to the Savior. It is pleasant to ponder these imaginings of those we miss but are fairly sure have gone on to glory.

For those of whom we are less sure they are resting in peace or singing in the choir invisible, we have different imaginings. These ponderings would include people like Jan Crouch and Muhammad Ali. What was it like for them one minute after they died?

Janice Wendell Bethany Crouch was a woman who professed Christ but in near certainty did not possess Him. She was in fact a greedy false teacher who taught and believed in a different Jesus. I don’t think that can be debated. By any stretch, she was likely not justified and is probably not resting in peace, but in all probability is in torment. (Titus 1:16). We can’t say for sure, because final destination is the task of Jesus to determine. But there are strong indicators given what the Bible verses say about the entry requirements to heaven. So, we ponder her meeting one minute after she died.

The UK Daily Mail pulled no punches about Crouch’s death and life:

Televangelist Jan Crouch who founded the world’s largest ‘prosperity praying’ church and was famous for her purple hairdo and extravagant spending dies aged 78 

But before she passed away yesterday, days after suffering a massive stroke at her Florida home, the 78-year-old lived a life of enormous wealth funded by her Evangelical TV empire. Alongside her husband Paul, Crouch preached to millions of viewers on a weekly basis, promising them wealth if only they would open up their own pockets and donate to her. Using that money the couple bought adjoining mansions in Florida, jets worth almost $60 million and a $100,000 mobile home just to house Janice’s dogs, according to a lawsuit filed in 2012.

Jan Crouch was a ridiculous caricature of a woman. With her cotton candy, wild colored hair, extravagant lifestyle, and outlandish statements it was easy to dismiss her for being unbiblical in even her appearance. (1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Peter 3:3). Her evil influence regarding life and doctrine affected people across the entire globe. Jan Crouch did not know the Jesus of the Bible. So it’s easy to imagine that she might well have entered hell one minute after she died.

Matthew Henry said of false teachers (2 Corinthians 11:15),

It is far better to be plain in speech, yet walking openly and consistently with the gospel, than to be admired by thousands, and be lifted up in pride, so as to disgrace the gospel by evil tempers and unholy lives.

I have many thoughts about her and others like her, who lead millions astray. She grieved the Spirit many times, and though I want to say more, I’ll end this part on Jan Crouch saying exactly what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:15, of false teachers:

Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Muhammad Ali was a famous boxer, heavyweight champion of the world in fact. He was a masterful athlete, a gifted marketer, an orator extraordinaire. I came of age during his tenure as heavyweight champ. I was 14 when the Ali’s victory over Joe Frazier, happened. You remember the Thrilla in Manila. It was the greatest fight of all time, people say. Ali dominated my early adulthood like no other athlete did, not even Olga Korbut, Nadia Comăneci, or Evel Knievel. OK, lol on that last one. But my point is, Ali’s deeds and persona insinuated into even this retiring, bookish gal’s mind. He surely was a force to be reckoned with.

My father-in-law was a policeman and he was on duty inside the arena during the famous 1965 Lewiston Maine Ali-Vs. Sonny Liston fight. Ali was named Cassius Clay then, his real name before his conversion to Islam. The most famous and iconic shot of Ali ever taken occurred in Lewiston during that controversial fight. Neil Leifer’s photo is below,

Muhammad Ali after first round knockout of Sonny Liston
during World Heavyweight Title fight at St. Dominic’s Arena
in Lewiston, Maine on 5/25/1965. Leifer photo

In retirement since 1981, Ali has “helped promote world peace, civil rights, cross-cultural understanding, interfaith relations, humanitarianism, hunger relief, and the commonality of basic human values.”

In 1965, Ali joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name. He converted to Sunni Islam in 1975, and then to Sufism in 2005. Wikipedia reported,

Several weeks before the [Lewiston] fight, the Miami Herald published an article quoting Cassius Clay Sr. as saying that his son had joined the Black Muslims when he was 18. [Nation of Islam]. “They have been hammering at him ever since,” Clay Sr. said. “He’s so confused now that he doesn’t even know where he’s at.” He said his youngest son, Rudy Clay, had also joined. “They ruined my two boys,” Clay Sr. said. “Muslims tell my boys to hate white people; to hate women; to hate their mother.” Clay Jr. responded by saying, “I don’t care what my father said….I’m here training for a fight, and that’s all I’m going to say.”

In 1967, Ali was fervent enough in his beliefs in Nation of Islam to accept the consequences for his refusal to be conscripted. He had objected on religious grounds. Ali was arrested, found guilty and stripped of his heavyweight championship title. He fought the charge all the way to the Supreme Court, where his conviction was overturned. However, Ali had lost 4 prime fighting years in his career. He felt THAT strongly about Islam.

Muhammad Ali was easy to love and Jan Crouch was easy to hate. One spent a lifetime helping people and the other spent a lifetime bilking people. One rejected Christianity and another professed Him. Yet it is entirely likely that both are in hell, enduring eternal torment.

And so while relatives and friend plan your funeral- deciding on a casket, a burial plot, and who the pallbearers shall be, you will be more alive than you ever have been. You will either see God on His throne surrounded by angels and redeemed humanity, or you will feel an indescribable weight of guilt and abandonment. There is no destination midway between these two extremes; just gladness and gloom. Erwin Lutzer, ~One Minute After You Die

Ali’s good works won’t satisfy the entry requirement to heaven. His sincere religious beliefs won’t get him in. (Proverbs 16:25). Crouch’s pleas that everything she did, she did in His name won’t get her in. (Matthew 7:21-22).

The requirements to enter heaven are few, but are clear and direct. You must repent of your sins, and believe in the Jesus as revealed by the Bible. (John 3:15, Acts 1:11, Acts 2:32). Evidence for your profession is that you are submitted to Jesus’s ways, have stayed on the narrow path, and have grown in sanctification-producing fruit. If not…then not.

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:46)

I don’t write these things to point fingers and certainly not to gloat. I have shed tears writing this, and have stopped many times through the day to pray to Jesus in gratitude for His saving grace. I’m not saying that to appear super-spiritual but to demonstrate the weightiness of eternal matters. We cannot comprehend the seriousness of sin. Unbelievers are eternally guilty. Believers are eternally righteous. These are the most important ponderings in all of life.

When the curtain parts for us, nothing can keep us from answering the summons. One minute after we die we will either be elated or terrified. ~Lutzer

How can we be sure of where we are going after we die?

There are two important tests in Scripture for a person to determine whether or not he or she is a true believer.

There is first of all an objective test, which asks, “Do I believe?” Ask yourself if you affirm the Scripture’s record of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Do you believe that He is God manifest in the flesh? Do you believe that God saves sinners solely through the merits of Jesus Christ’s obedient life and substitutionary death on the cross?

Second is the subjective or experiential test of assurance in which you ask yourself, “Is my faith real?” The apostle John’s purpose in writing the epistle of 1 John was to give true believers assurance of their salvation (1 John 5:13). In that small epistle John gives several marks to distinguish a true believer. Source Gty.org

For more, go to the link, or here:

A Believer’s Assurance: A Practical Guide to Victory over Doubt

Is It Real: 11 Biblical Tests of genuine Salvation

For the unbeliever who may be wondering about the questions of eternity and final destiny, here is a resource,

What is the nature of true saving faith?

May God bless you and may you be assured of your destination into eternity. We all enter an eternity. Mine is with Jesus. I pray yours will be too.

And this is that testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (1 John 5:11)

[By Elizabeth Prata]