What's Your Defense? How to Get Off Death Row

Did you know you've been convicted to death? Take a look around, you're sitting smack dab in the middle of death row. Do I have your attention?

 

Our women's Precepts study was last night, and like we always do, we end praying together.

When the circle got around to our host, she simply requested prayer for salvation for a number of inmates that she's been ministering to. This lady has an awesome prison outreach program and spends time weekly ministering to criminals of various backgrounds and convicted of a wide range of crimes. She asks regularly for their hearts to turn to Christ and we pray weekly for them.

Lately she's been working a lot with prisoners on death row. She told us how she's been particularly convicted about the time-critical nature of their situation... of their eternity. In these people's cases, in theory they KNOW when the end of their life will be. They can plan on it. The time has been set. Their eternity is at hand and  it is an extremely sobering reality.

Glenda has such a heart for this population and it shows in her dedication to visiting and ministering to them, in her prayers for them. This is not the population I've been called to necessarily but I love watching her and hearing her stories of the ground she tills for the Kingdom.

Last night Glenda went further in her requests though. She took me off guard by the new appeal- "Sure, it’s fine that we pray for the salvation of those sitting on death row, awaiting their demise… but aren’t we ALL on death row?"

She went further-

Aren’t we all born under a death conviction?

The truth of that statement hit my heart firmly. It's something we as  Christians talk about a lot- praying for unbelievers. But the cold, hard truth is that she’s exactly right- we are ALL born with a death sentence. We just don’t have the luxury of knowing when that sentence will expire.

We are born guilty. We are born into sin. We are born with a death sentence already assigned.

Like it or not, this is the truth.  And we have choices- we can ignore the truth, we can search for a loophole in the system (I’ll give you a hint- it doesn’t exist!), we can cross our fingers and hope to personally present our case to God at the Pearly Gates (good luck with that…), or we can find someone with the proper experience and credentials to defend us.

We’re up against an eternal life sentence of either heaven or hell.

I suggest the last choice.

Scales of Justice and Judge`s gavel

Today I urge you dear ones- What have you done about the sentence of just penalty that you live under?

Do you have a Defender to plead your cause before the ultimate Judge or are you planning on approaching the Most High on your own?

Who in your life is facing their eternity without the proper defense? Who do you need to give your ‘Jesus Defender card’ to?

We may not have the same time frame of death that those on death row do, I would venture to say not many (or any!) of us know the time or hour of our passing into eternity. Do not let the unknown timing mask the very present and very real sentence we live under.

For our own eternal sentence is no different than those sitting on death row.

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my heart today. Please comment below with thoughts and ruminations of where your walk is today. Please share and follow if this blesses you!

Why we can't all just have a Ring-Pop?? The MOST important reason why we must stop this culture of "Everybody Wins"

I was teaching a <rather> competitive class of 4th thru 6th graders in our Wednesday night church program this last week when I was met head-on with the very real phenomenon of this current 'everybody wins' culture. We had been playing what amounted to an elementary version of The $10,000 Pyramid (an oldie but a goodie) with 2 teams; and, as all competitions tend to have... there was a winning team and a losing team. You know? Like has been for thousands of years... WINNERS and LOSERS. Before we started I had promised (bribed?) the class that the winning team would get ring pops when the game was over. Obviously with such a prize on the line this was serious business. And they took it seriously too. Holy moly these kids were ruthless! In an attempt to enable the teams the ability to give grace, there were multiple instances where the answer to the question was not <quite> right but was pretty close- in these circumstances I made the team unanimously decided whether to bestow a point to the other team or not.

ringpops

In one instance Team 1 decided to give Team 2 the point.

Later Team 1 lost.

And just a bit of chaos ensued. The vast majority of the team 1 members were mad they lost, and even more furious that they had given that extra point to the opposing team... a point, that in the end caused them to lose. I had every. single. teammate. come up to me within the next 20 mins and ask for a ring pop too.

"Can't we all just have a ring pop?"

It became somewhat comical the line of 'broken hearts' that followed me around.

Because I'm mean, I told every single one of them "No." No, children, you CAN'T all have a ring pop. The rules were set at the beginning, you knew what they were, you played the game, you lost. You don't get a ring pop. They were scandalized that I would deny them the prize (and I'm not entirely sure there aren't a couple still mad at me...)

But, as I stated, I'm mean. I laid out the rules and I kept my promise in upholding them.

As a mom of three under four I am increasingly alarmed by our culture of 'everybody wins', 'everybody gets a prize', 'participation awards for everyone!' I fear that we are setting our kids, our teams, all the next generations for absolute spiritual failure. ETERNAL FAILURE PEOPLE! I'm talking HELL here....

This is not simply we're raising generations of soft people, or that they're weak, or that no one has a back-bone or knows the meaning of hard work. No, this is MUCH deeper and the root of WHY we can't allow this culture of prizes to continue.

Because the cold, hard truth is that God doesn't give out participation awards, He doesn't give second place, He's not planning on changing the rules of heaven and hell.

We either play by the rules He's set and go to heaven

or we go to hell.

It's that simple.

We can't all get a ring pop if we're on the losing team.

I know it sounds harsh, it's sounds judgmental, I'm sure I'll get some flack for writing about this. But scripture is clear dear ones! There are rules, a way to 'win' and a way to 'lose'. There is no in-between. There is heaven and there is hell.

Romans 3:23 ...for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 ...for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.

You see what the Bible is doing here? It's laying out the rules of the 'game' the rules of our eternal life. It tells us how to win.

Romans 5;8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:13 ...for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

The really nice thing here is that EVERYONE can be on the winning team. It's simply a CHOICE to be on it!

But stay with me here, I want to speak to why it's so dangerous if our children and these generations of 'everybody's a winner' don't get a clear message from us. Be perpetuating this fallacy, we encourage the idea that people will eventually get the reward, even just for showing up or for simply participating IN the game; that at the very least there's a door prize at the end. That's simply not true when eternal consequences are at stake.

God doesn't give participation points.

Sitting in church, doing good deeds, volunteering to worthy causes, living a 'good' life, giving that extra point to the other team to be nice- they don't count towards getting into heaven. They just don't.

Showing up doesn't count.

Participation doesn't count.

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

We have to show our children that playing by the rules and making the decision to choose the right team (eternally) is of utmost importance, that losing will have some fallout, that not everyone can be a winner all the time necessarily. These lessons can have eternal ramifications! We have to exemplify and model that there are consequences to losing (we can only hope it's as minor as losing out on a ring pop!) (And also keep in mind that on this side of heaven there are some GREAT lessons to be learned in the face of loss!) There are times when we don't get the prize- no matter how hard we worked for it or practiced or played. There is always fallout from losing- whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

There will be a time when God will judge us and either see Christ, His Son, in us or not. He's made it easy, He's told us which side to choose, He's laid out the rules crystal-clearly, there's (thankfully) no practice-makes-perfect involved. It's simply a gift and there's NO losing on God's side!

And THAT, dear ones, is the ultimate win. The ultimate prize. The ultimate ring-pop!

BUT we had to have played by the rules and picked the winning side.

ring-pop-people

So parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors- don't give out the ring pops to everyone. Let your children fail and feel the consequences (no matter how light or harsh) because in the end, their eternities will be molded by letting them feel and see the results of the games they play- the winning and the losing. Each has it's own lesson to learn; and those lesson will follow them into eternity.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my heart today. Please comment below with thoughts and ruminations of where your walk is today. Please share and follow if this blesses you!