How can I go to Heaven?
The Good News
Did you know that every culture has an altar? If you were to go to the darkest, most forgotten places in this world, you would find an altar of some kind, with sacrifices of some kind, directed to a god of some kind. Why? If there is no God then why is everyone concerned about the subject?
The Bible says in the book of Romans (actually it's in chapter one, if you want to look it up) that every creature understands the wrath of God - we are all born with this understanding. It is not something that we have to be taught. We just understand it. That's why there is an altar in every culture. Everyone knows we all are in trouble with someone somewhere because of the things we have done ---those things that we hope no one ever finds out about.Religions have been formed in every culture to treat this problem. All of them have designed some way to make us feel better about ourselves by making sacrifices of some sort or another. People will make expensive trips to exotic places to find some connectin with inner peace. Some folks will do degrading and painful things to themselves to demonstrate their desire to rid themselves of the terrible weight of guilt. But no religion has ever been successful in clearing the burden from our hearts.
UNTIL...A baby was born to a virgin girl. He grew up in a place called Palestine. His name was Jesus. He claimed to be God in the flesh. He claimed that He could forgive us of our sins. He claimed that He would die for our sins and would then resurrect three days later. Thousands of people gathered to hear him teach. Thousands of sick people were healed. Many that were dead He brought back to life...and sure enough just like he said would happen the priests of religion figured out a way to crucify Him. They thought that they could end His message by putting Him in a tomb, sealing it with a huge stone and guarding it with Roman soldiers. BUT three days later He came out of the grave.
Guess what else...It seems that for several thousand years before He was born...writers from every generation were predicting His coming. They said that He was a lamb who would pay for our sins by shedding His blood. These writings were preserved and we now have them in our language and they have been translated into thousands of languages around the world. We call them the "Scriptures." They are also called "The Bible."
After Jesus came out of the grave His followers continued to write about what happened following His resurrection and they told us what He said about our sin. You see, when Jesus was put on the cross He explained that this was the only altar necessary to free us from the guilt of our sin. He said that God, our Creator accepted His shed blood as the payment for our sin... And since God accepts it as enough payment, then we should too. We can be forgiven of our sins and God will give us a new nature that will guide us to doing right things, if we simply call on Him for this salvation. If we ask Him to save us from our sins, than we don't have to be afraid of God's wrath anymore. We can find out what it is like to have His favor on our lives instead of His wrath.
The Bible says this, "For God (our Creator) so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever (that's you and me) believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." If you want this forgiveness, you must ask for it. How? God can hear you when you call out to Him. He is everywhere. Just tell Him in the quiet of your heart that you are a sinner and want Him to forgive you and give you that new nature. He said, "For whosoever (you and me) shall call upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved (that's totally forgiven).
If you have called out to Him to save you and you want to know more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to help direct you to a group of people in your area who can help you learn more about this good news. If you live in the Mattoon, Illinois area please come and visit us at the Maranatha Baptist Church. -D.H.
Is there a God?
Recently a famous attorney published a book in which he attempted to prove there is no possible way to know whether or not there is a God. Using the kind of reasoning that has won many court battles this man did his best to explain his intellectual arguments. I noticed the book at Dollar Tree and almost bought it because it claimed to be the winner of all debates on the subject. He did have some good points, and I don’t think his questions should be ignored.
Let’s face it. The whole premise of Christianity is based on truth. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” We should never be afraid of honest questions. We should never shy away from difficult concepts, when they deal with issues of this magnitude. So let’s think about this for a minute.
We believe in a God that is eternal. That means He has no beginning and no end. Ok, I can’t even wrap my head around that. There has to be a beginning and end. Well, if that is true, what is on the other end of the beginning and end? My brain is going into convulsions just trying to process this.
What about the universe? Have you seen the pictures from our satellites? This place we live in is huge! Einstein described the universe as a great circle with the end of it circling back on itself. Thanks, Albert. That helps a lot. What’s on the outside of the circle?
When did life begin? The brightest scientists in the world looking at it from a purely secular viewpoint conclude that it must have been billions of years ago. Who can even understand that number? And, oh yes, NASA is, right now, exploring a tiny asteroid (translation: random space rock) that is hurtling through space who knows where, and how far from here, (and did it even come in contact with the earth at any point in time) which they believe will give us an understanding of where life began. Really?
I have concluded one thing. If there is a God, than He lives in a world so different than ours that there is no way for us to even comprehend it. Therefore, there is no way for me to know if there is a God, unless…He decides to show Himself.
Oh wait, there was one person in the History of mankind who introduced Himself to us as God. He was such a unique individual that all of mankind’s history balances on the fulcrum of his birth. He is called “The only Begotten Son of God.” According to the writings of those who knew Him, He claimed to be a Gift from God to mankind. He claimed to be God in the flesh - A God that we could see and understand- One who could relate to us in our world. We may not be able to understand the mysteries of the Universe, but we can know about Jesus and His life.
That is something I can understand. Jesus laid out a path for us to follow so that we could reconnect with the One who created us. You won’t find Him on a space rock. You will find Him, the origin of life, in a manger, born of a virgin girl in city called Bethlehem. -D.H.