Thankful for the Assurance of Heaven

In honor of Thanksgiving, I considered writing a post about all the things for which I’m thankful. Then I considered writing a post about all the things for which others should be thankful.

But I decided to get ultra-personal.

Those who know me personally know my husband graduated to heaven this past summer. What you may not know is that his last 2 years of life were spent radically different from the decades that preceded them…both physically and spiritually.

This is a bittersweet holiday for me. My first without Russ. Yet I’m incredibly thankful to know he is now with his Savior.

How can I have such assurance? The Bible tells us of heaven. Still, it’s one thing to read about heaven, but it’s another to know it’s true in the face of a terminal illness.

Here’s a link to the testimony Russ shared last May – a testimony shared with the knowledge that his death was a month or two away.

Listen for yourself and then you decide whether my assurance is justified.

Russell Pennington Testimony

 

After you hear it, you’ll know what I know…heaven is real and as the Bible promises, we can, indeed, have the assurance of that destination if we know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

And there’s nothing better to be thankful for than that.


Trick or Treat for Adults

Trick or treating is supposed to be for children. Unfortunately, I see an adult version of trick or treat all too frequently on social media feeds.

The “treats” vary, but they’re all tempting:

  • We’re giving away 5,000 free iPhones because the company can’t sell opened boxes
  • Free $100. gift cards from Starbucks to celebrate the company’s anniversary
  • Win a camper RV just by sharing the post on your FB feed

No. Apple is not giving away iPhones. Starbucks is not distributing $100. gift cards. And you will never win an RV just by sharing a post.

Why do people fall for this stuff? Maybe it’s because they want it to be true. Perhaps it’s because they didn’t have parents who taught them that “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Maybe it’s because, as many have actually posted, “It can’t hurt to try!”

But it does hurt. It clogs people’s newsfeeds with junk. Worse, those who believe the lies and click on the links become susceptible to scammers who collect personal information for later use. And that’s the “trick”—a painful one that can have long-term consequences.

Still, there’s one offer that may sound too good to be true, but really is true. That’s the offer of salvation. It truly is free!

What’s the catch?

No catch. Still, many struggle with the idea that they can’t do anything to earn salvation. They want to be able to say they did it themselves. Problem is, the only thing we can do ourselves is to get farther away from God. And that’s not just a “trick,” it’s a disaster.

But the solution has been laid out for us as clearly as possible:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV).

When it comes to our relationship with God, there’s no need to play trick or treat. Receive the gift offered, no strings—or tricks—attached!


Everyone Has an Opinion

Everyone has an opinion

A well-known Christian speaker recently posted on social media that she was suffering from poison oak and asked for the best remedy. She received countless replies—each person absolutely certain their remedy was the most effective.

Problem is, the opinions were not only varied, they were often in direct conflict.

Take a hot shower to relieve the itch.
Don’t take a hot shower. It will make the itch worse.

Cover the affected area with an oatmeal paste
Don’t use oatmeal, use the inside of a banana peel.

Soak a cloth in coffee and wrap the affected area.
Don’t use coffee, use vodka to wrap the affected area.

What should she do? What works for one person might not work for another. All she can do is try the various options and hope one is effective for her.

Life can be like that. We’re surrounded by opinions on everything from politics to pasta. From clothing to cars. And from toothpaste to tomato paste.

We try different product brands until we find the brand we like. And we even do it with religion. But unlike toothpaste and clothing and cars and even politics, applying the rule of popular opinion to religion has eternal consequences.

So if we can’t put stock in opinion polls, how do we know which set of religious beliefs is right?

All Religions are Not the Same

It might help to see what the various world religions have in common…and how they differ. For example:

All religions are about humanity reaching up to achieve heaven…except Christianity.
Christians know God reached down to us first in the person of His Son, Jesus.

The founder of every religion is dead and buried…except Christianity.
Jesus Christ’s tomb is empty because He is alive.

Every religion requires following a list of rules to please God…except Christianity.
Christians know our ability to please God is based on a relationship made possible by Jesus Christ.

All religions require people to try to be good enough to earn salvation…except Christianity.
Christians know that nothing we can do will make us good enough to meet God’s standard of holiness.

The fact that Christianity differs from every other world religion tells us something significant. You can choose from among many world religions that offer various paths to the same destination. Or you can choose Jesus Christ, who blazed a new path to heaven, made possible for us because He’s the only one who had been there first and then came to show us the way.

Everyone has an opinion. But not all opinions are equal.

What is your choice? Why?