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Discussion in 'Discussions about Religion.' started by beensetfree, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Mortality


    Our mortality is something

    We mostly just ignore,

    Even though the time that’s left

    Is shrinking ever more.

    I think this is a special way

    That people’s minds are blessed;

    Though we know someday we’ll die,

    We keep thinking, “Not just yet.”

    Humans are aware

    Life’s a temporary condition,

    But thinking of death over much

    Would make our life perdition;

    So God in all His wisdom

    Keeps death forever at bay,

    But belying all our optimism…

    It takes us anyway.
     
  2. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Keep on Sowing Your Seed

    "If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow. Perhaps it all will."1

    One of William Barclay's friends tells the following story: In the church where he worshiped there was a lonely old man, old Thomas. He had outlived all his friends and hardly anyone knew him. When Thomas died, this friend had the feeling that there would be no one to go to the funeral so he decided to go, so that there might be someone to follow the old man to his last resting-place.

    There was no one else, and it was a miserable wet day. The funeral reached the cemetery, and at the gate there was a soldier waiting. An officer, but on his raincoat there were no rank badges. He came to the graveside for the ceremony, then when it was over, he stepped forward and before the open grave swept his hand to a salute that might have been given to a king. The friend walked away with this soldier, and as they walked, the wind blew the soldier's raincoat open to reveal the shoulder badges of a brigadier general.

    The general said, "You will perhaps be wondering what I am doing here. Years ago Thomas was my Sunday School teacher; I was a wild lad and a sore trial to him. He never knew what he did for me, but I owe everything I am or will be to old Thomas, and today I had to come to salute him at the end." Thomas did not know what he was doing.2

    "Dear God, again today I am available. Please make me usable and use me today to be 'as Jesus' in some way to every life I touch so that I will have an influence on others, not only for time, but also for eternity. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."
     
  3. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    A Weight Lifted


    We’ve all heard people say, “It felt like there was a weight lifted off my shoulders.” You’ve probably had that feeling yourself. I experienced it earlier this week.

    I have been bearing the weight of a devastating family problem for over two months and for all that time, I have lived with a feeling of suspense, desperately wanting to know what was going to happen next; but, like everyone else, unable to see the future.

    I kept thinking that I was “at the end of my rope” but hanging on. After 62 days I had begun to think I might lose my grip on that slippery rope.

    The situation is in the court and I still don’t know what the end result will be, but a small change in circumstances reduced my anxiety about not knowing.

    I was careful about relaxing; I was afraid that anything less than total victory would not be enough. Then the weight began to lift—or perhaps “lift” is the wrong word. It was more like I felt it begin to ease, to slide off my shoulders and out of my heart little by little.

    Although a part of what I longed for and prayed for has been restored, I still find myself pushing away bitterness for what happened. However, I am still praying for acceptance of the new circumstances; and I am heartily thankful to God for the crumbs that fell from His table into the heart of my problem.

    The recompense for injustice still remains in the hands of the court, but I can wait a long time for restitution if I can just feast on those small crumbs. As it happened, I didn’t have to wait on a decision to come from the court, I only had to wait for the decision to come from my Lord.
     
  4. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Psalm 23

    This is an eye opener… Some probably
    never thought nor looked at this Psalm in this way…
    even though they say it over and over again.

    The Lord is my Shepherd
    – That’s Relationship!
    I shall not want
    – That’s Supply!
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
    – That’s Rest!
    He leadeth me beside the still waters.
    – That’s Refreshment!
    He restoreth my soul
    – That’s Healing!
    He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.
    – That’s Guidance!
    For His name sake
    – That’s Purpose!
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
    – That’s Testing!
    I will fear no evil.
    – That’s Protection!
    For Thou art with me
    – That’s Faithfulness!
    Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me,
    – That’s Discipline!
    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
    – That’s Hope!
    Thou anointest my head with oil,
    – That’s Consecration!
    My cup runneth over.
    – That’s Abundance!
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
    – That’s Blessing!
    And I will dwell in the house of the Lord.
    – That’s Security!
    Forever!
    – That’s Eternity!
     
  5. Psalm23

    Psalm23 Alfrescian Old Timer

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    Brother Beensetfree,

    What a wonderful exposition of Psalm23!

    God Bless you forever!

    Psalm23
     
  6. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Thank you brother and blessings to you too!


     
  7. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Bible in Fifty Words


    God made

    Adam bit

    Noah arked

    Abraham split

    Joseph ruled

    Jacob fooled

    Bush talked

    Moses balked

    Pharaoh plagued

    People walked

    Sea divided

    Tablets guided

    Promise landed

    Saul freaked

    David peeked

    Prophets warned

    Jesus born

    God walked

    Love talked

    Anger crucified

    Hope died

    Love rose

    Spirit flamed

    Word spread

    God remained
     
  8. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Psalm 37: Learning To Rest In God

    When everything around them seems to be falling apart, what can a believer do?

    Strength in Storms


    The trees we have in Kansas are typically bent to the North because during the summer, the strong southwesterly winds are persistently pressing them that way.

    After time, even the largest of trees begin to grow towards the North, but this wind doesn’t harm them, and in fact, it helps them. When they’re growing, the stiff and consistent wind continually strengthens the parts of the tree that are more vulnerable, and by doing so, the tree grows proportionally stronger in those areas.

    The wind has caused the tree to grow stronger, so during the severest windstorms, it’s less likely to lose large branches…but the winds also manage to strengthen the root system. The dry and windy summers of Kansas cause the tree’s root system to grow rapidly, and as it grows rapidly, it sends down giant taproots, sometimes 10 20 feet deep, and these act as anchors for the tree during drought and wind.

    The tree ends up with a root system that’s elaborate enough to hold the entire tree firm, even in the fiercest of winds. I believe there’s a lesson for us in that. You know what they say; what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Meanwhile, in a biosphere, the trees were dying, even though they had plenty of sunshine and abundant moisture.

    The problem? There was no wind at all. This meant, the trees didn’t have to put up any resistance at all, and over time, that made them more vulnerable to disease, and as they weakened over time, they began to die. In fact, the trees and the savannah suffered from a lack of developing “stress wood,” something that’s naturally created in response to winds.

    It was only when they discovered the trees and savannah needed the wind so they could build up resistance. Why? It’s because they’d never built up any resistance at all to outside environmental forces. Another lesson; the strong winds that hit us, benefit us, and there is strength of faith that’s developed after being delivered from the storm, but the greatest growth is while we’re in the storm…just like the trees!
     
  9. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Continued Psalm 37

    Don’t Worry

    In this psalm from David, he writes, “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (Psalm 37:1-2), and what I believe David is saying is, when you look at all the evil in the world and all those who do evil, don’t envy them, because they’re not getting away with anything.

    The day is coming (Rom 12:17-19; Rev 20:12-15) when God will judge them, so it’s not our job. That is God’s prerogative. Rather than fret, or worry, here’s what we are to do: “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

    Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:3-4). Those desires might not come immediately, which is why he writes, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act” (Psalm 37:5), and “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7a). If we can walk in this world with an eye to the kingdom, knowing full well that God’s got this, we can wait, trust, and rest in him, and that means, “no fretting!”

    Established Steps

    The psalmist writes, in what to me is wisdom literature, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the LORD upholds his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24).

    If you delight in something, that means you have a strong feeling of joy or happiness, and there is great pleasure and satisfaction in it. Whatever you can think of that you delight in, whether it be an ice cream sundae, a new car, a birth of a child (big one), that is delight, so delighting in God is good since it can establish your steps. If you are that delighted in God, as you would be with your child or spouse, you’d spend lots of time and show them lots of attention.

    The person that finds great delight in God might fall, but they won’t end up on their face permanently (cast headlong). That’s because “the Lord upholds his hand” for those who delight in Him. And for those who’ve trusted in Christ, they find their greatest delight in Him because of what He’s done.

    Not Forsaken

    David must have felt a sense of abandonment at times because he was often running for his life, trying to escape King Saul, so when David wrote, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread” (Psalm 37:25).

    David wrote from experience, and he knew what it felt like to be forsaken…by Saul, and by his own sons, so when David says, he’s never “seen the righteous forsaken,” the Hebrew word for forsaken is, “`azab” and means, “to depart from, leave behind, leave, let alone, abandon,” or “neglect.”

    David says he’s never seen God do that, and neither have I, so we can rest in the fact that “the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever” (Psalm 37:28). Not only does the Lord preserve them (and you if you’ve trusted in Christ), “The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him” (Psalm 37:40).

    Conclusion

    There is so much in this psalm that it could fill volumes and volumes of books, but if we reduce it, it would be these things: If you delight yourself in the LORD, he will give you the desires of your heart, but you must commit your ways to Him; you must trust in Him at all times; you must wait on His timing; and you must refrain from anger because the anger of man rarely does good.

    I think the key words in this psalm are the most important ones: We must trust, wait, rest, delight, and commit, and this will give us patience, peace, stability, and the knowledge that the Lord will deliver His own and bring swift judgment upon those who refuse to repent and trust in Christ. Vengeance is God’s, and not ours.
     
  10. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Resume of Jesus Christ



    Address: Ephesians 1:20
    Phone: Romans 10:13
    Website: The Bible.
    Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and Jesus
    _____________________________________________________
    Objective
    My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I’ve sent you my resume because I’m seeking the top management position in your heart. Please consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Qualifications
    I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19)
    I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7)
    I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7)
    I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians 3:13)
    The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me, (See Galatians 3:14)
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Occupational Background
    I’ve only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49 ).
    I’ve never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
    My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15 -17)
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Skills Work Experiences
    Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are bruised, (See Luke 4:18).
    I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33 ).
    Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of your sins, (See I John 1:7-9)
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Educational Background
    I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6).
    In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians 2:3).
    My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105).
    I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21).
    _____________________________________________________________________
    Major Accomplishments
    I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times, (See Genesis 1:26 ).
    I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15 ).
    I defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly, (See Colossians 2:15 ).
    I’ve miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
    There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can read them on my website, which is located at: www dot – the BIBLE. You don’t need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
    _____________________________________________________________________
    References
    Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing, salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
    _____________________________________________________________________
    In Summation
    Now that you’ve read my resume, I’m confident that I’m the only candidate uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation, I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life, (See John 6:47 ). When can I start? Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15 ).
    Send this resume to everyone you know,
    you never know who may have an opening!
    Thanks for your help.
     
  11. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Sin of Lying


    A minister told his congregation, “Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17.”

    The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark 17. Many hands went up.

    The minister smiled and said, “Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying.”
     
  12. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Family Bible


    Old Brother Higgins built a shelf
    for the family bible to rest itself
    lest a sticky finger or grimy thumb
    might injure the delicate pages some.
    He cautioned his children to touch it not
    and it rested there with never a blot
    though the Higgins tribe were a troublesome lot.

    His neighbor, Miggins, built a shelf
    “Come children,” he said, “and help yourself.”
    His book is old and ragged and worn,
    with some of the choicest pages torn,
    where children have fingered and thumbed and read.
    But of the Miggins tribe I’ve heard it said,
    each carries a bible in his head.
     
  13. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Bible Lives


    Generation follows generation
    – yet it lives.

    Nations rise and fall
    – yet it lives.

    Kings, dictators, rulers come and go
    – yet it lives.

    Torn, condemned, burned
    – yet it lives.

    Hated, despised, cursed
    – yet it lives.

    Doubted, suspected, criticized
    – yet it lives.

    Damned by atheists
    – yet it lives.

    Scoffed at by scorners
    – yet it lives.

    Exaggerated by fanatics
    – yet it lives.

    Misconstrued and misstated
    – yet it lives.

    Ranted and raved about
    – yet it lives.

    Its inspiration denied
    – yet it lives.

    Yet it lives
    – as a lamp to our feet.

    Yet it lives
    – as a light to our paths.

    Yet it lives
    – as the gate to Heaven.

    Yet it lives
    – as a standard for childhood.

    Yet it lives
    – as a guide for youth.

    Yet it lives
    – as an inspiration for the matured.

    Yet it lives
    – as a comfort for the aged.

    Yet it lives
    – as food for the hungry.

    Yet it lives
    – as water for the thirsty.

    Yet it lives
    – as rest for the weary.

    Yet it lives
    – as light for the heathen.

    Yet it lives
    – as salvation for the sinner.

    Yet it lives
    – as grace for the believer.

    To know it is to love it.
    To love it is to accept it.
    To accept it means life eternal.
     
  14. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Grounded in His Word


    Sometimes I feel like giving up, just throwing in the towel,
    When all I feel is pain and doubt, and start to wonder how
    I’ll ever make it through the day, and through the long, dark night.
    But somehow, Lord, You come along, and make everything all right.

    No, you don’t always remove the pain, but You give me strength to endure.
    When I feel Your presence near me, it makes me know for sure
    That no matter what may come my way, somehow we’ll get through it.
    I just lean on You, and do my part, the only way I know to do it.

    If I’m grounded in Your Word, Lord, I can see how you’ve helped others:
    For Job, Paul, David and Noah are all my Christian brothers.
    Lord, You helped them out, when things looked bleak and dark.
    Somehow, they came out better, though they did bear the mark.

    The mark that You place on Your servants’ hearts, to show we’re Yours.
    Our having gotten through our trial, show Your strength endures.
    It gives us the chance to witness to those who would never hear
    The story of how You died for us, despite and sins and fear.
     
  15. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Reaping what you Sow; the Wages of Sin


    My cousin is a lay preacher. Over the years, there has been one subject that he has preached upon more than any other: “You Reap what you Sow” Of course, he uses plants and vegetables as illustrations of how a person cannot sow, for instance, onions and expect to reap apples; but he is also fond of calling up the story of David and Bathsheba.

    As those who are familiar with the Bible know, David lusted after Bathsheba when he saw her bathing. When he gave into his lust, Bathsheba became pregnant. David then sent her husband to a certain death in battle in order to prevent him from learning of the sin. Although David later repented of his sin, for the rest of his life he endured many hardships. I don’t know whether all preachers interpret it in the same way, but my cousin sees this as a clear illustration of David reaping the bitter fruits of what he had sown.

    I don’t know about David, but I do know about myself and I know that I have paid dearly for sins for which I long ago repented. There is a clear delineation between the time of my morality and the moment of my fall from the grace of God. Although I know God has forgiven me, there are all kinds of ramifications of sin that forgiveness cannot repair. I would prefer not to use my own situation to explain, so I will use a different story so that you can get the idea.

    Consider a person who works at a grocery store and gives in to the temptation to steal from the cash register. He is of course sowing a lot of trouble. When he gets caught, he only begins to reap the bitter fruit. When he repents, God rejoices; but the deed is still there in this person’s human history.

    When he tries to get a job, he cannot acquire a position of trust because he violated trust in the past. When someone gives him a chance of employment and he works without incident for many years, there may still be a time when some little thing is lost or mislaid and someone remembers that he was once a thief and they begin to suspect him of stealing again. When he has children, they may someday learn of his misdeed. His mother, his wife, and all his other relatives will always worry that he will stumble once again.

    So we do reap what we sow and we may yield a bumper crop of sorrow. So watch yourself. Don’t sow wild oats. Sow faith, constancy, goodwill and generosity. You will then receive sweet fruits you can savor.
     
  16. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Side by Side



    They lie on the Table side by side
    The Holy Bible and the TV guide
    One is well worn and cherished with pride
    No not the Bible, but the TV guide.

    As the pages are turned, what shall they see.
    Oh, What does it matter turn on the TV
    So they open the book in which they confide
    No not the Bible the TV guide.

    The word of God is seldom read.
    Maybe a verse before they fall into bed.
    Exhausted and sleept and tired as can be.
    Not from reading the Bible, from watching T.V.

    So then back to the table side by side,
    Lie the Holy Bible and the T.V. guide.
    No time for prayer, no time for the word.
    The plan of salvation is seldom heard.

    But forgiveness of sin, so full and free,
    Is found in the Bible, not on the T.V.
     
  17. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Day I Was Born

    I felt like a fabric so torn
    And hated the day I was born
    Life seemed gruesome and unfair
    When I saw all in a sumptuous fair


    I thought it was a welcome time
    To cruelly cut myself in my prime
    But you may ask, "What about God?"
    I considered Him indifferent and odd

    I questioned His timing and plan
    Which didn't make meaning to a bitter man
    In all my pains, I wanted to protest
    By doing things He would detest

    I wondered why He felt so cool
    When I was stuck in a fiery pool
    All these and my unbelief I now regret
    For He still loosed me from the net

    I'm surprised He chose today
    To remember and wipe my tears away
    And the battered tatters to be undone
    A rebirth of a sort, on the day I was born.



    My poem seems to have a heavy dose of melancholy.
    Indeed, I had always protested my birth,
    for I thought life was devoid of mirth.
    Life had a strange intent,
    for I was born without my consent.

    Everything was in total disrepair, or so it seemed.
    I believed Satan's lie that God had pleasure in my pains.
    When I gave up all struggles, something happened.

    I got a scholarship. An induction was fixed on August 25th.
    The date was not so important since I was simply overjoyed.
    But on a closer look, I was struck with a surprise of my
    lifetime.



    The induction was fixed on my birthday.
    A day I had hated, turned to be a day of joy and blessing.
    So, I became ashamed of my impatience and was inspired to
    compose this poem.

    God has remained a mystery to me ever since.
     
  18. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    The Bible


    I and the Bible, my book,
    in its scriptures where I look.

    Telling of God’s word is what it’s for.
    Telling that if you find God, you’ll be lost no more.

    For I read it both day and night,
    to my heart, it brings pure delight.

    In my heart I store its scriptures.
    In my mind it frames a picture.

    In my life it gives me wisdom,
    for it tells of the gifts from Him.

    It tells of the commandments, for which we should live by.
    It tells of the place in Heaven reserved for me when I die.

    The light in your life will never go dim,
    if you read of the words of Him.

    Avoid the Bible and you’ll remain lost,
    for the price it pays, it’s not worth the cost!

    I, like the Bible, can tell of the word,
    to all of God’s children who haven’t heard.

    To go to Heaven you have to accept in your heart,
    the love-salvation of God which the Bible departs.
     
  19. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Jesus heals…


    Jesus sat upon the mount
    And healed whoever came—
    The blind the deaf, the ill,
    And people weak and lame.

    So I have heart to turn to Him
    To ask Him to heal me,
    For He who healed the crippled
    And made the blind to see

    Will also reach out His own hand
    To make my sorrows fade;
    I need only bow my head in prayer
    And He’ll come to my aid.
     
  20. beensetfree

    beensetfree Alfrescian (InfP) Old Timer

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    Who Goes To Heaven? Do Only Good People Go To Heaven?


    Many believe that they’ve done enough good to go to heaven, but who goes to heaven? Do only good people go to heaven?

    Who is Good?
    If you ask a person on the street if they’re a good person, almost every one of them will tell you, “Yeah, I’m a pretty good person,” and then they’ll give you what is supposed to be evidence of that, by telling you about a few circumstances where they helped someone out or did some good things, but what does the Bible say about the goodness of man?

    Are there any people that we can say are really “good?” Does doing good things for others count for anything? Can it help us in our relationship with God? Yes and no, but that will be made clear later. A friend of mine was with me when we ask a man on the street if he thought he was a good person and good enough to go to heaven.

    He didn’t think he was a good person but said, “I’m great person! The ladies love me,” so that’s when I thought, this man doesn’t understand that none of us are good. We might do some good things, but so can a thief or bank robber.

    I doubt very seriously the good things he did in his life will help him in front of a judge. Neither will the excuse, “Well, I was deprived as a youth, my mother didn’t really love me,” or, “It’s the way I was raised, so it’s my parents fault” work on judgment day.

    None are Good

    If you think that there are good people out there, by our human standards, yes, there are many, but it’s the biblical view we want, and we are asking, “Do good people go to heaven?” and that critical question deserves an answer.

    The Apostle Paul quotes the psalmist in writing, “as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom 3:10). I think Paul and the Psalmist both say, “no, not one” because the guy we met on the street thought he was the one exception, but there are no exceptions. We all fall infinitely, and I would say, impossibly short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23).

    That’s too far a bridge for us to gap by ourselves. We need the cross of Christ, so works not done for Christ won’t help you at all. In fact, many will claim good works as evidence of their faith, as in the case of Matthew 7:21-23 where many (not a few) will say, “Lord, Lord,” but these same many will be turned away forever.

    It is only when a person’s been regenerated by the Spirit of God into a new creation (2nd Cor 5:17) that they can do any good works for Christ, but not to be seen by others, but as unto Christ Himself (Matt 25:40).

    The dangers of not doing anything for someone who claims to be a believer are clear that those who do nothing for Christ will end up separated from God forever when Jesus tells them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt 25:45-46), so “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).

    Comparing Ourselves

    We like to compare ourselves with others, don’t we? I know I have, and others have done the same thing with me, my children, and other people I know, but are people the right standard before God?

    I’m certainly not a standard for someone to live up to. Its Christ Who is the supreme example for our lives. We must imitate Him, and not others. You can pick up on godly attributes of others, but it’s Christ that is the gold standard for what God desires in us.

    The Apostle Paul says that should not “dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding” (2nd Cor 10:12).

    It’s fine to live up to what others do but to use others to compare ourselves as to whether we’re a good person or not is flawed to begin with. The excuse I hear is, “Well, at least I’m not as bad as Joe Smith down the street who did such and such…but Joe is not our standard….we need the very righteousness of God. We might not have done as much bad as Joe, and compared to him, we might look like saints, but Joe is not the standard.

    The Importance of Works

    James would tell you that works have a lot to do with our faith, and in particular, whether it’s real faith or it’s an imagined faith.

    We don’t want to be deceived about this, and we know the hearts susceptible to this (Jer 17:9), so this is why James thought it important to write, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:15-17).

    That’s as if we see someone in need and we can help, but we only say, “I’m so sorry, I will pray for you,” and then do nothing. That person’s deceived and their faith is dead. What’s worse, their dead faith won’t help them on the Day of Judgment.

    Jesus was once asked by someone how they might do the works of God, and Jesus told them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29). That’s the only work you can really do to be saved, and it’s essentially putting your trust in Christ after having repented.

    Conclusion

    No one is good outside of Christ. Our works are nothing more than filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6), but that doesn’t mean we don’t do any works at all.

    That would contradict Scripture. Someday, “the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

    For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt 25:34-36).

    What’s the difference in these works and the works we do on our own? Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40). When we do things for others but do them for Christ and not to be seen by others, He will reward us with the sweetest words we’ll ever hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:21).

    This is infinitely greater than hearing, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me” (Matt 25:41-43).
     

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