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            Only this life is our one opportunity to be ready for the next—life everlasting!  Only in this life can we learn spiritual lessons of faith and trust on God through the Atonement Blood of His Son—this is the only time and only place where God can prepare us for His Kingdom.

            Two choices face every soul on earth—trust God or trust self.  Only one life on earth is given to us to learn how to trust God in Heaven.  When the rich man pleaded for a drop of water to cool his tongue, Abraham had to respond to his request with the following:

            Luke 16:25 “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” 

            We think of many “good things” God has blessed us with over many years, and ponder how we used them; abused them; or shared them with others when we had the opportunity to do so!  When God blesses us with good health and strength, we can use that to help others—giving our time, energy, and abilities to do something worthwhile for another—expecting nothing in return.

            We should be treating others the way we want to be treated—and if not, today is the day to start doing that. Deuteronomy 8:17 “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” 

            It is God who blesses, so we should be thankful and grateful for all He has given.  The question we ask ourselves is: Do we want to be highly esteemed by men; or highly esteemed by God!  We all have way too many toys, tools, and trappings, but none of them will mean much when we cross over to the other side.

            Once we are on the other side, there is no coming back—this is the one life and the one opportunity given to us to be right with God and with everyone around us.  When we are at peace with God we will be at peace with everyone else, and God can then bless us with His gift of eternal life—by faith in the Atonement Blood of His Son.

            The time when everyone will cross over to the other side, approaches—Luke 16:22 “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

            This, we are aware, is not just a story, but it is a true account of what two people experienced when they crossed over to the other side.  Jesus never calls people by their name in any of His parables, but both Abraham and Lazarus are mentioned here.  This is a real account of real people in a real place—on the other side.  They lived on earth like we do—and how they lived here, determined their destiny there.  

            We are obligated to follow Jesus, as He willingly gave His life on the cross.  The apostle said Romans 8:12-13 we are under no obligation to live “after the flesh” as the world does—putting no faith in God for anything.  If we keep following that rebellious way, we “will die” spiritually, but if we keep putting our trust on God, and our faith on the Blood of Jesus by the power of His Spirit, we “will live.”

            Romans 8:18 “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.”  Trials experienced today, refine our faith in the Blood of Christ for salvation.  Any test of faith makes us trust God for the ability to endure in the faith—as we claim victory and our Atonement rights in Christ.

            Lazarus went through tough times and many tests during his life on earth, but now he is in Heaven with Abraham.  Lazarus had been hungry but is now filled.  We can be so hungry that even crumbs seem like a meal.  Asking a blessing on our food, prevents us from taking the meal for granted.  If God did not provide, we could, some day, be longing for crumbs.

            Life goes by so quickly, and no one gets a do-over; no one is given a mulligan—to replay a golf shot—there are no second chances—it is one shot, then Judgment Day. Hebrews 9:27 “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” 

            Rich or poor; success or failure; famous or unknown in this life; we all head for the other side—and once we are there, there is no crossing over.  If we ask: Has life gone by for you quickly; the reply is almost always: Yes, it surely has.  Life does go by so rapidly, and no one gets a do-over; no one is given a mulligan; and there is no second chance once we leave to cross over.

            Romans 8:20 “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

            The trial may be difficult; the test may be extended, but the reward of continuing to believe God and to trust on the Atonement Blood of Christ—is far more valuable than anything on earth.  2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

            God’s creation is longing to be free from the grip of sin—longing for their new home. It is because of Adam’s sin that Genesis 3:17 “cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.”  A day of freedom from that curse of sin is promised to all believers who endure through trials and tests, and retain their faith in God.

            In the meantime, we should Hebrews 3:13-14 “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.”

            The converting of our rebellious heart from unbelief in God about anything and everything, to a believing heart that trusts God through the Blood of Christ for all things, must take place in this life—there is no crossing over afterward.  The rebellious nature we must be delivered from, will not trust God for any thingGalatians 5:24 “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh [sinful nature] with the affections and lusts [passions and desires].”  

            How we live and on whom we trust in this one life we are given, is the issue.  Many unbelievers think that Hell is a place to party, where people hang out with their friends, but that is certainly not true—Hell is a real place with real people suffering real torture forever.  Luke 16:23 “In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.”

            The rich man is conscious; his vision is clear; but he does not like what he sees.  Some think that death just means life is over, and there is nothing on the other side, but this man is very much alive.  Death just unlocked the door to the other side, and he does not like what is behind that door.  His own choices in life, brought him to that place of torment.

            To believe that Hell is anything but what it actually is—a place of never-ending torture, is a lie straight from the devil so that people will not take living the Truth of God seriously.  The true Christian life is a very serious matter, and it must never be taken lightly.  To sound the trumpet is to warn the world, that not only is trouble coming in this life, for disobeying God, but far worse trouble is rushing toward them for an eternity as well.

            Robert Ingersoll, the infamous American atheist, said: The idea of Hell was born of revenge and brutality; I have no respect for any man who preaches it! I despise and defy this doctrine unquote. But it does not matter what anyone thinks; it only matters what is true!  Even if someone does not believe in Hell, it is still a real place, with real people suffering in it.  The Scriptures cannot be any clearer on the subject—and it is Jesus who is speaking in the reference passage Luke 16.

            If there is no Hell, Jesus is not being truthful, which is not possible—Revelation 19:11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”  Since it is true, then billions of people are deceived by the devil to think that Hell does not exist.

            Polycarp AD 160 was a disciple of the apostle John—and he knew how real Hell was.  When he was threatened with death for his beliefs, his response was: Thou threatenest me with fire which burneth for an hour, and after is extinguished, but art ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly.  But why tarry; bring forth what thou wilt, unquote. Polycarp knew that Hell was real and eternal, and he wanted to warn people about going there.

            Unbelievers search for contentment, satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness in many ways and in many things—but without God they will never find them. The unbelieving and unrepentant shut God out of their life, so they do not trust Him in faith for anything in life—they refuse to believe an unseen God.  

            If we are insulted, persecuted, and mocked for our faith, God says Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” The living hope we have is the living Savior we trust—the One who paid for our sins on the cross.  No crossing over is true in both places!


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