My Way

“We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience,” said, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest. This profound, true statement certainly deserves careful thought. So much of our attention seems to be given to our physical being but what about our spiritual self?

We aren’t on this planet very long before we realize that our physical body will not go on forever. Sooner or later we will face physical death but our spirit will live on forever. Every person that is living on this earth is on a path that is leading to an eternal  destination. That eternal destination is decided on this earth, as a physical being.

According to the Bible there are only two ways to choose from. One way is entered by a wide gate. It’s very broad and seems to be free and easy with lots of people on it. The other way is entered by a narrow gate, the path looks steep with few people on it. Each path leads to a very different kind of destination. We choose our way as we live.

The broad way  is easy to find and unless we make a conscious decision not to take it we will find we are already on it. The road has very few restrictions or warning signs and it promises enjoyment and fulfillment. The crowds on this downward path do not realize that it leads to destruction and death.

In Matthew 7:13 we have the words of Jesus advising His followers which way they should choose. “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life and few are those who find it.”

The song, “My Way” written by Paul Anka was made popular when Frank Sinatra sang it in 1969. One British funeral home said it was their most requested song to be sung at funerals. It begins, “And now, the end is near and so I face the final curtain.”

“I’ve lived a life that’s full, I’ve traveled each and every highway but more, much more than this I did it my way. …I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway, and much, much more than this I did it my way.”

“I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried I’ve had my fill, my share of losing and now, as tears subside I find it all so amusing to think I did all that and may I say – not in a shy way oh no, oh no, not me I did it my way.”

The last verse says, “For what is a man, what has he got if not himself, then he has naught to say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took the blows and did it my way. Yes, it was my way.”

Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 12:15 says, ” The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Most people want to choose their own way, the way that looks good, that looks easy with not too many bumps.

The problem with choosing the broad way,  is it seems like life but it leads to death and destruction. When one of His disciples asked how we can know the way, Jesus replied,  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” John 14:6

So, if the destination you want at the end of your life’s journey is heaven, to be with Jesus and the Father, then you must choose now to follow Jesus and the narrow way.  If  you want your own way and the destination you want is eternal fire and darkness then you are free to continue on the broad way. God freely gives you the choice!

 

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God’s Love And His Anger

On July 8, 1741, Jonathan Edwards delivered his famous sermon entitled, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God.” The message was given in Enfield, Connecticut at the height of the Great Awakening. The powerful imagery of hell invoked fear.

The text was Deuteronomy 32:35, “Their foot shall slip in due time.” God was angry with the Israelites who had forsaken Him and provoked Him to anger with their worship of demons and other gods. Over and over He had been their Rock, their provider and their deliverer but they turned away from His love and now He was angry with their rebellion.

The message was meant to make people think seriously about their eternal destination. He wanted sinners to realize that someday they will be judged by God, whose judgement will be more fearful and painful than they can comprehend. Graphic descriptions and vivid imagery enhanced the themes presented. A short summary of some of the main points were;

1. Unrepentant sinners face a fearful judgement from which there is no escape
2. Time is short for the unrepentant; God’s wrath will come suddenly and unexpectedly
3. It is only God’s free choice that extends the ‘day of mercy’ and provides another opportunity to respond to His call.
4. Although there are not visible means of death before them at the moment the wicked should not feel secure.
5. All that wicked men may do to save themselves will not save them from the pain of hell if they reject Christ.
6. God has never promised to save anyone from hell, except for the provision of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross.

His words were meant to condemn the sin in those who were unrepentant and to shake the “fence sitters” out of their complacency. People responded in various ways. Many times the sermon was interrupted as listeners were moaning and crying out, “What must I do to be saved?” Some fled the church and others screamed and nearly fainted! He scared the hell out of a lot of people!! Some repented, believed and received Christ.

Most of the time we want to think of God as all loving, giving and kind. And He is! Scripture says God is Love, that’s His very nature, but He created us with a will, we are not robots. We can exercise our will to love Him and live a life pleasing to Him or we can turn our backs on Him and follow everything that is pleasing to us. We always have a choice.

When we choose our way, He still shows us His love and stands with arms extended, calling us back to Him as He did with Israel. Unfortunately many people reject His call and decide to go their own way. They think they can do it their way and it will be accepted. God says our righteousness is like filthy rags. We can never be good enough or do enough good deeds to cover our sins.

God created us as eternal beings which means, each person will live forever. We were made with a body, soul and spirit. Our body of flesh and blood will die but our soul and spirit will always live somewhere in eternity! God has provided two places for us to live; heaven or hell. There is no third choice! There is no waiting place where we can buy more time to be made ready for heaven!

Two choices;  #1. Heaven, in the place Jesus has prepared for us, to be with Him forever, in the presence of our Father and His angels,  and #2. Hell (the lake of fire) which is prepared for the devil and his demons but where unrepentant sinners will be sent after they face Almighty God! In his book,”Beyond the Cosmos” Hugh Ross says, “The lake of fire is a place where people and demons get what they want above anything else: freedom from the will and rule of God and freedom from the restraints of conscience.”

Jesus told the disciples, don’t worry about the persecution you will encounter as you witness for Me. “Don’t fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge;…” Proverbs 1:7 “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.”

Hell is a real place! It’s a place of torment from which there is no escape once you are there! In parables and stories Jesus spoke of people being  sent to a place of outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The book of Revelation speaks of fire and brimstone as the final end of those who refuse God’s offer of salvation. Those who accept the world’s system will be tormented with fire and brimstone with the smoke of their torment ascending forever. Revelation 14:9-11

Today is the day of salvation! James 4:13-14 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will…’  Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.” Hebrews 2 (paraphrased) “We must pay attention to what we’ve heard. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? Jesus came to deliver us.” Hebrews 3 and 4, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Jesus, the sinless Son of God, came from heaven to earth, took on human flesh, lived as a man, was crucified as the Lamb, sacrificed for the sins of all mankind. The blood of Jesus, now cleanses from sin and saves all who receive Him as their Savior. Romans 10:9-13 (paraphrased) “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart… the word of faith…  if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.”

“For with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation… Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed… Whoever will call upon the Name of Jesus will be saved.” John 3:16 “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

My friend, what about your soul? Will you spend eternity in heaven or hell? The decision is yours! Do not wait, you may not have another time! Christ stands at the door of your heart but you must open the door! Can you say the words from the hymn by Horatio G Spafford, “It is well with my soul!  – My sin – oh, the bliss of this glorious thought – my sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.”

Today is the day! There is no guarantee of tomorrow!