Heaven or hell?

Today would have been my father-in-law’s 72nd birthday. Although he is greatly missed by his wife and family, we have the comfort of knowing that he is with God.

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I realize that the idea of a Heaven or Hell may sound like a fairytale for some and even though I may try my best to convince them that these places exist, they will not believe.

It used to bother me, but then I realized that I can’t change a person’s heart. I can’t awaken their minds or make them see the truth— “For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand” (Matt 13:13).

The saddest situation is when people who have referred to themselves as “Christians” renounce God and turn away: “…Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God…  For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ” (Heb 3:12-14).

I know where my father-in-law is, and I know that one day I will see him again. Whether or not you believe that there is a Heaven or Hell is irrelevant— you will be in one place or the other. Find out how you can go to Heaven! (http://www.billygraham.org/assets/media/specialsections/touchonelife/Printer-FriendlyStepstoPeacewithGod.pdf)

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Run to God!

My husband and I are reading through Job and we are at the part where Job’s friends are there to console him. After his first friend speaks, Job replies by describing his pain—“My body is covered with maggots and scabs. My skin breaks open, oozing with pus” (Job 7:5, NLT). Even though Job had lost everything and was now physically suffering, he never “curses” God.

People endure so many different things. My father-in-law suffered with a debilitating illness for 20 years yet it made him a stronger Christian. No matter how much pain he felt, he had a smile on his face. He could have easily turned away from God but instead he clung to Him even tighter.

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Then I thought about people who have other hardships and how they have stopped relying on God. Rather than asking God why they are suffering, they instead say in their hearts that there is no God.  These people are like seeds that have been planted on shallow soil or around thorn bushes—they spout but then die off quickly (Matthew 13:5-7, NLT).

I think God uses hardships to shape us. It is a test of our endurance—will we keep relying on Him even though it seems like He is doing nothing to help us? First Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (NLT). Are you suffering physically, mentally, or emotionally? Then run to God, cling to Him, and never let Him go!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Goals

I know I’ve been running/jogging/walking 6+ miles for only a few days now, but I’ve made a goal of running a ½ marathon next year. This is a pretty big goal for me because I’ve never liked running, in fact I was on the Cross Country team in high school only because my goal was to join a sport every season and that was the sport for that particular season (I only placed once– #20).

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This whole idea of having goals made me think about these words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 5:48, “… you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect”; but how can we be perfect if Romans 3:10 says, “…No one is righteous— not even one”? It made me realize that our goal is to be perfect—the way God is perfect. Not that we would ever be completely perfect, but that’s what our end goal should be.

It’s not the kind of perfection that exudes pridefulness (“I’m perfect, and you’re not”)—it’s more like being so much like Jesus that we can imitate him perfectly. Just as I have a goal to run a longer distance, I should also have the goal of being a perfect imitator of Christ. I think these are good goals.

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti