Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Trail Lessons – Christ Saves Us from Sin and Death

As I hiked the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on Good Friday, I passed by a rushing stream and paused by it to record some thoughts:


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Unveiling the Myth of Hell and Eternal Torment, Part 5

Part 5– Gehenna: Its Purpose in the Past and Future

Prior parts to this series about hell are as follows:

In this part of the series, I will cover the following points:

--In the past, Gehenna was a place of death and burial
--What did the apostle Paul say about Gehenna?
--Was Gehenna ever a garbage dump?
--In the future, Gehenna will be a place of death and burial
--What does Gehenna look like today?

What did God’s chosen people, the Israelites, understand about Gehenna that seems totally neglected in Christian teachings today?  Let’s look at the Israeli prophets for answers and their revelation to us that Gehenna has been a place of swift judgment in the past and will also be again the future.

In the past, Gehenna (hell?) was a place of death and burial

Jeremiah, a prophet of Israel, was the son of the priest Hilkiah, the same priest who found the scrolls of the law and gave them to King Josiah.  (Hilkiah and King Josiah were mentioned in Part 4 of this “Myth of Hell” series.)  Through the prophet Jeremiah, God warned of the impending destruction to come upon Jerusalem and of the impending death and/or captivity and dispersion of the people for all the evils they had committed and for their unfaithfulness.   

Friday, April 4, 2014

Unveiling the Myth of Hell and Eternal Torment, Part 4

Part 4 – Gehenna: The Place Jesus Mentioned

Prior parts to this series about hell are as follows:

If you’ve read the prior three parts on the myth of hell, you may be asking:  “Didn’t Jesus teach about hell?  Didn’t he make himself clear when he spoke of hell and its torment?”

Jesus warned the Israelites about a place of burning, but it wasn’t hell by today’s modern definition.  Jesus referred to a literal geographical location in Jerusalem called Valley of Hinnom (Gai Hinnom in Hebrew language).  Its name was transliterated with Greek letters into the word Geenna.    

The name Gehenna (as written in English) is derived from the Hebrew words “gai”(valley, deep gorge, or ravine) and “Hinnom”.   The Hebrew name Hinnom literally means “lamentation”.  The Valley of Hinnom can also be referred to as the Valley of Lamentation.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Lessons from Hinds Feet - Walking in the Mist

Hannah Hurnard’s book Hinds’ Feet on High Places is one of my all-time favorite books.  Hannah Hurnard wrote a spiritual allegory about a woman named Much Afraid who accepts an invitation from The Shepherd to take a difficult journey to the High Places.  The Shepherd represents Jesus Christ.  The High Places represents a destination of spiritual growth and maturity, not heaven.  Much Afraid’s constant and faithful companions throughout her journey are Sorrow and Suffering.  Much Afraid has “fearing relatives” who miserably taunt her all throughout her journey and tempt her to give up and return to them.  Since 2004, I have read and re-read the story of Much Afraid on her journey to the High Places, and it has inspired and encouraged me every time.  I feel a kindred spirit with Hannah Hurnard because she also believed in God’s ultimate salvation of all mankind. 

This lesson is based on Chapter 12, titled "In the Mist"
(All quotations are from that chapter.)  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Daily Truth - Feelings Lead Us to Choices

We may not have a choice in how something makes us feel, but we always have a choice in how we react to that feeling. There is a difference between feelings and actions.  They are not one and the same.  

How we feel is something which remains within us and only affects us until we choose to act on those feelings.  We hold the stone of our feelings within our personal grasp.  Once we act on our feelings, all the people who come into contact with us are also affected by our actions, as also will be our present and future life.  We throw the stone into the water and there is a rippling effect of great proportion. The ripples go beyond our sight and cannot be undone and gathered back.

Regardless of whatever feelings the circumstances cause us to feel, we do not have to choose to act in sin—against others or against God.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quote - God Holds and Enfolds

“In all humanity’s religions, man reaches after God.
But in all His relationships, God reaches for man.

Reaches for you who have fallen and scraped your heart raw,

for you who feel the shame of words that have snaked off your tongue and poisoned corners of your life,

for you who keep trying to cover up pain with perfectionism…

...God refuses to give up on you.
...God looks for you when you’re feeling lost,
...God seeks you out when you’re down,
...God calls for you when you feel cast aside.

He doesn’t run down the rebel.
He doesn’t strike down the sinner.
He doesn’t flog the failure…

no matter what the day holds, how the season unfolds,

God holds and enfolds…”

(Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift pg. 23)

A song of crying out to the Lord for help

When I am facing really hard times and I feel helpless and distraught, this is one of the songs I often sing as a prayer.  It always brings me comfort.

"I love the Lord, He heard my cry, and pitied every groan...
As long as I live and troubles rise, I will hasten to His throne"

When there is nowhere else to go, I know I can go to Him to find the comfort I need. So I will always hasten to His throne...