I wonder how many have already decided not to read today’s devotion. Come on with me today. It will be encouraging.
[Jesus said,]â€œYou have heard that our ancestors were told, â€˜You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.â€™ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.â€Â Â Â Â Â Matthew 5:21-22 (NLT)
Jesus spoke specifically about hell more than anyone else in the Bible. Pull out a concordance and you will find the passages for â€œhellâ€ in the gospels except for one in James and one in 2 Peter. We think of Jesus speaking about the Father’s love and mercy. And I believe that message is the one to speak BUT there must be an underlying message of steel of the alternative. What happens if you say â€œNoâ€ to Jesus’ gift of salvation? Hell is the only answer. The details of whether hell is eternal or has some final end is immaterial. Hell is ultimately the place where God isn’t and it is final.
My faith in God is based on who I have learned that He is.
Creator â€“ God has always been and brought all that I know into existence. When I look at the ocean, I see God who is so big that He can hold that water in the palm of His hand. When I look at pictures from the Hubble Telescope, God as made more than I know about and each star and planet is unique. When I look at a flower or a snowflake, I know that God has put such attention to detail that He also planned for me to be unique and knows my name.
Father â€“ God is the dad I never had. He tells me every day how much He loves me. He gave His Son for me. He gave me Jesus to show me how to live an abundant life with Him. He gave me His Spirit to give me gifts so I can serve others. That feels great! Any time I want to talk, He is there. Any time I need to cry, He is there.
Judge â€“ Here is where discipline and consequences come into my reality. When I first said â€œYesâ€ to Jesus 16 years ago, my focus initially was on His love. I soaked in Jesus’ love. I needed to. As I studied and prayed and lived my life from that point on, I learned about consequences. I learned that God gave me choices and when I decided to go my way and get what I wanted, then I had to live with that decision and what it brought with it. Repenting, asking forgiveness for what I had done, immediately restored me to my Father but it did not erase what I had set in motion. God is not the King of Monopoly passing out â€œGet Out of Jail Freeâ€ cards just because I said â€œSorryâ€. As I come along to God’s plan and direction, obedience happens because of my love for my Father. I have come full circle.
I don’t think about hell for myself. I made a commitment to being Jesus’ disciple and that is never going to change. However, there are people in my life, people I see on the street, people who sit in pews at the church I attend, who do not know or accept Jesus as Savior and LORD. They are good people but I want to share this gift that was given to me. I want them to know joy no matter if there is a hurricane or earthquake in their life. A simple, extraordinary, extravagant Gift that quenches the fires of hell.