- Heaven For Real
- Lies Told At Funerals
- Slavery In America
- Do Not Ask Why
If Heaven Is for Real, How Do We Get There?
As part of a comprehensive mental health evaluation, I ask all of my patients, including Christians, their understanding of their own faith. I am amazed that most Christians do not read the Bible and falsely believe that after death, they will be in heaven, because they were relatively good people; better than most.
Isaiah 64:4-6 We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. So if God sees our righteous deeds as filthy rags, how can we get to heaven? Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and you cannot take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
Salvation is not a reward for good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. And there is even more good news, that no matter what we have done in the past we are not too bad to be saved. 1John1:9 But if we confess our sins to Him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. Matthew 9:13 For I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough, says the Lord. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard.
Romans 3:24-25 We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we can be saved in the same manner, no matter who we are or what we have done. I encourage all of my patients to become familiar with the Bible and to base their lives on His word, rather than on their own understanding or mis-understandings.
Two Lies That Are Told at Most Funerals
When I attend funerals I always hear two statements. #1 That he or she was such a good person. #2 That he or she is in a better place. It may be scary, but the Bible contradicts these statements.
God's view of the nature of man is represented in Jeremiah 17:9 "The human heart is the most deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?" According to God, we deceive ourselves about how desperately wicked, even when we try to be good people, that we really are. And as far as everyone who has a funeral being in a better place, Matthew 7:13-14 clearly expresses Jesus view of the pathway to heaven. "You can enter God's kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it."
According to the funerals that I've attended, it is said that everyone is a pretty good person and everyone is going to get into heaven. If you are a Protestant, Catholic, or nondenominational Christian, you have to make up your mind whether or not you will accept the Bible as truth.
According to the Bible we cannot earn our way into heaven. Isaiah 64:5-6 "You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. But you have been very angry with us for we are not godly. We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved? We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we will wither and fall, and our sins will sweep us away like the wind."
Titus 3:4-7 "But when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declares us righteous and gives us confidence that we will inherit eternal life."
At my funeral I hope it is said that although he tried to be a good man, he was in fact unworthy of heaven. But because he accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior he will have eternal life in heaven.
Slavery In America
Despite the celebration of Independence Day and Freedom, most Americans are not free. We become slaves to that which we serve, that which we give ourselves over to. Most of the couples I see for couples therapy have little in the way of financial savings, and huge debt, which contributes to their anxiety, stress, depression, anger and conflicts.
When we live within our financial means, within God's provision, we can have contentment, and even joy. When we are dissatisfied with God's blessings and seek out our own plan to get more, by over spending, home equity loans, credit card debt,...etc., we live in a state of constant stress, and become slaves to that which we gave ourselves over to.
If you are not in debt, it is wise to stay out of debt. If you are in financial bondage, there is good news found in Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace. Other forms of slavery include giving one's self over to alcohol, drugs, pornography, materialism, the internet, and anything else that steals our time or our money. Peace and Freedom be with you.
Do Not Ask Why? Ask Where?
One of my Christian patients, 33 year old male, was being seen for depression and marital problems. This past winter he developed severe flue symptoms missing a great deal of work. After his flue cleared he developed a severe chronic cold. When his stomach distress and digestive problems returned, worse than before, he was referred to a gastroenterologist.
He questioned as to why God would allow him to suffer, as he was the sole supporter of his wife and 3 young children. During his colonoscopy it was revealed that he had multiple polyps. Biopsy revealed several cancerous cells, which were caught in their early stages. God had given him the Gift of illness. As a therapist, I frequently see the gifts from God coming wrapped in problematic packages.
Sometimes we do not discover where God was working until we look back over our lives. We can train ourselves however, to see God's hand in our current life by putting on our spiritual lens and asking the question, Where might God be working in my current circumstance? If you are currently in the midst of a trial in your life, push yourself to consider if there are any blessings, coming wrapped in your difficult circumstance.