Tag Archives: Hell

Perspective – seeing beyond evil…


 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”          2 Corinthians 4:17

 “Le mal se fait sans effort, naturellement, par fatalité; le bien est toujours le produit d’un art.” – “Evil is done naturally, without effort, it just happens; goodness is always a creative art.” – Baudelaire

looking for something little boyFollowing up from last weeks post on “Renewing Innocence”, we strive to find a measure of healing for our wound of suffering by considering the idea of “Perspective”.

Learning to look on life with the right perspective will strengthen our faith and increase our joy. It is easy to cut down a tree compared to the effort of many seasons to produce a strong trunk. A mother, after spending many long years nurturing and rearing a child, can see him lost in seconds to a madman’s bullet. The bullet is cheap and easy…the love worthy and costly.

Heaven is always found in the costly.

Effortless evil seems so powerful and influential in this present world. It hangs heavy in the air, polluting our hearts and minds. Death and suffering carry a status and authority which stamp a Satanic lie of fear onto even the bravest of hearts. Evil seems so real and tangible. Hell is the cheap give away, offered freely to man like a loaf of stale bread.

Christ invites us to a more costly banquet. He offers his own life to nourish us and speaks his true word. In truth, “troubles” are light and momentary. Compared to costly love, and life that has the quality of eternity, they are as nothing. In fact the difficulties themselves somehow work to unveil the coming of a glorious unseen, eternal reality. Have you learnt to fix your eyes on this reality?

At the end of the “The Great Divorce”, C.S. Lewis marvellously proclaims this mysterious truth. Hell always seems so big when you are in it.The Great Divorce

And yet all loneliness, angers, hatreds, envies and itchings that it contains, if rolled into one single experience and put into the scale against the least moment of joy that is felt by the least in Heaven, would have no weight that could be registered at all. Bad cannot succeed even in being bad as truly as good is good. If all Hell’s miseries together entered the consciousness of even a little heavenly bird on a bough, they would be swallowed up without trace, as if one drop of ink had been dropped into that Great Ocean to which your terrestrial Pacific itself is only a molecule…”

The sufferings of this world will never veto heaven nor cast a stain on eternal glory.

Look beyond today’s trials and troubles and cast a glance into heaven.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”   Romans 8: 18-20

The monstrous power of evil, which tyrannizes the world, will come to nothing.

“Dost thou lie so low?  Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,  Shrunk to this little measure?”  Julius Caesar, 3:1, Shakespeare

Just think of this….

What incredible power evil would have if once you had wronged someone, you, the person you had wronged, and God would remain permanently marked by it!

Would there not in the eternal memory of wrongs suffered resound a hellish laughter of the seemingly defeated and yet strangely triumphant underworld, triumphant because it has succeeded in casting eternally its dark shadow over the world to come?

To be fully overcome, evildoing must be consigned to its proper place – nothingness. Non–remembrance does precisely that, as Kierkegaard insisted: “To forget”, he noted, “is to take back into nothing.”

karl_barthKarl Barth thought no differently: “To the past and to oblivion” is where God’s word consigns das Nichtige, that great destructive “something” that is most properly nothing. (Church Dogmatics 111/3 p.352)

So as Christmas dawns, let us embrace innocence afresh; as a New Year comes before us, let us consign whatever great “something” that has destroyed in 2012 to its proper place of insignificance compared to the glory that awaits to be revealed in us in 2013 and beyond. Renew my perspective Lord!

May the blood of Jesus cleanse and heal, and the Holy Spirit empower you…

I’ll leave you with a wonderful opportunity to “cast amnesia” and “forget about all that evil that they feed ya” from the “Black Eyed Peas.”


To be or not to be…Are you a Christian?


One of the greatest divides that categorises men and women is found in the question: “Are you a Christian?” If you answer no you are classed as a “non-Christian”. The Christians are in, and the non-Christians are lost outside somewhere.

We are so used to using the phrase that we often forget to really think about what we are saying. By “Christian”, do we mean someone goes to church on Sunday? Someone who has been baptised as a baby (or adult)? Someone who was born in a Christian country? Someone who assents mentally to a set of teachings about the death and resurrection of Christ? Someone brought up in a Christian home or culture? Someone who is “nice”?  Someone who is nasty but repentant? Someone who is “born again”? Someone who “speaks in tongues”? Someone who is definitely not a Hindu or a Muslim……or a Jew?

I was recently in Northern India and I asked a local man what he thought a Christian was like. “Britney Spears” was his answer!

Was Jesus a Christian?

Let me share with you a simple insight which has helped me find a more satisfying answer to this delicate issue.

Are you a “heaven bringer”?

Does the atmosphere change when you walk into a room? Does joy break through the inner darkness of your sinful heart? Do your thoughts and words carry life? Are you carrying and encouraging others? Do you meditate heaven’s words, breathe heaven’s air and converse with God?

Jesus was the ultimate “heaven bringer.” Heaven became flesh in his human form. It oozed out of his every pore and contaminated a “hellish” world with love, healing and forgiveness. Heaven stepped willingly into everyman’s hell and rescued all those willing to take hold of his hand and be drawn upwards. His heaven invaded earth as a new regime, overthrowing the evil rule of death and sin. It declared war on evil and destroyed the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

If there is the possibility of being a “heaven bringer” there may also be the opposite potential of being a “hell bringer”. Jean Paul Sartre, in his play “No exit”had one of his characters declare.

English: drawing for The New York Times

“Hell is other people.”

We humans have been born with an amazing potential to make other people’s lives hell!  We need rescuing from the natural hell which resides in our very hearts.

Jesus himself warned in Matthew 18:6 about the terrible consequences of “causing little ones to sin”.

“If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea.”

Now for a bit of “Star Trek”! One of the most awesome things in the universe is the “Black Hole”; a heavy mass of concentrated gravity that simply draws everything into itself. I’ve known people who are like that! They suck out the life from around them and bring darkness and centripetal heaviness.

On the other hand there is also the phenomenon of the “Super Nova”; an exploding sun, a big bang, giving sacrificial birth to a new universe, creative and life giving. A centrifugal force of living energy!

Are you a black hole or a super nova? Are you a heaven bringer, carrying the “good news of the kingdom” to those trapped in hell?

Jesus’ body on earth, the church, should also share his vocation as a heaven bringer. We are called to push back the gates of hell.

 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”     Matthew 16:18-19

God has given “keys” to his church. What do you do with a key? You open a door. God has given us the key to open the door of heaven and see his will and rule breaking forth on earth. These are also keys to open the door of heaven within our own hearts that are all too often “locked up” and bound in sadness. Unlock the joy and peace that is yours in Christ!

 “Anyone seen my keys?”

 We have the keys to unlock the gates of blessing over families; cities and nations. Receive a fresh revelation of your authority, and a fresh vocation to be a Christian…oops, heaven bringer.

“…… for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age…”        Hebrews 6:4-5