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War? When Was I At Peace?
by Mark Bradley
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War? When Was I At Peace?

A lot of attention is paid to war. Wars are fought for a variety of reasons. Some of them right, while others are merely an attempt to expand one countryís power. The rant today is about the war that some people donít even know weíre in. This war is happening right now. Itís been going on for all of time in one shape or another. And, like it or not, you are a soldier in this war. The question is, whose side are you on?
I feel it every day. I see it all around me. Most people have different names for it, but it all boils down to the same idea. We are in the fight of our lives, and we are in the fight for our lives. Is anyone in danger? Maybe more than we realize. Your physical being may not be threatened at this very moment, but I assure you there is danger where you are right now. Letís get started.
The problem with life is that it is short; or is it? What if I were to tell you that you will live for all eternity? What if I said that you will never truly not exist? One more; what if I told you that you would have a physical body for longer than time will tick? Sound crazy? Is it too good to be true? Am I just wishful thinking? Maybe Iíve been home too long with the kids and my brain has gone to mush from too much Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants?
None of this is true (except the part about Dora and Spongebob). I assure you that I am quite lucent and have the control of my faculties, wits, and emotions. I am also not trying to write a new fiction novel. I am telling you that you will live forever. In one form or another, you will exist longer than this planet. Interested? Good. Keep reading.
The existence beyond the grave is a certainty. But, there is a choice to make as to what your address will be. The choice has been offered for the last two thousand years. Many people have accepted that offer and made the decision to live in peace and love for eternity. Some have procrastinated, tried to reason away, or simply refused the offer. They made a choice to live in an eternal place of damnation filled with more pain than they thought was possible.
I will do my best to take you on a tour of the second place first. This place has the opportunity to grasp all five of your senses; and grasp them it will. Your touch will feel the burning of your flesh. The burning does not stop because you never burn up. You will be ablaze for as long as you are there. That is to say, you will burn forever.
Your nose will be haunted by the smell of brimstone, a most ghastly odor that doesnít just burn the hair out of your nose; it brings tears to your eyes and makes you physically ill. Your ears will constantly be filled with the cries and moaning and screaming of those around you. They will wail from the pain. They will knish their teeth trying to grind out the pain. They also made the choice to be here. They are going through the same process as you. They are feeling the same pain and are having their senses assaulted as you. They will never stop; and neither will you.
Your mouth will be filled with the taste of hot, burning fire. The brimstone also works the taste, and brings you to the point where you think you just swallowed a flaming charcoal briquette. You will never get that taste out of your mouth. You will never have a drop of water to put out the fire, inside or out.
Your eyes will have the cruelest of all tricks played. You will know that you are in this place. You will know that you are not alone. You will know that you are here for all eternity. You will not, however, ever see this unholy prison. Your sight will not be taken from you. The fact of the matter is, there is no light in this place. There is fire, but no light. There are people, but you never see them. It is a blackness that has never been thought of on this Earth. It is true darkness.
Here you will remain for all eternity. Infinity is a thought that most people cannot grasp. It confuses me, too. But to know that it is something that will go on and on and on with out stop, rest, or respite is enough to make me consider all my options as to where will I be when all time is stopped and infinity begins.
Now, in case you have not figured it out, Iíll clue you in. The place that I did such a poor job of describing to you is a place known as Hell. It is very important that you realize that it does actually exist as a real place. It is not a figment of someoneís imagination or a threat to children for not obeying. It is real. And the thought that it does exist should spark two important questions in your mind right now:

Is there someplace else to spend eternity? and
How do I get there?

Letís take them in order.

Yes, and
Iím getting there. Stay with me.

The first question I asked about 22 years ago was, ďHow do I avoid going there?Ē I didnít know much about the other place, but I knew it had to be better than Hell. I imagine someone who went down the aisle said they wanted to go to Heaven, but I went to the first adult I could find and proclaimed that I did not want to go to Hell, and that they needed to tell me how to go ANYWHERE but there. I was then informed that there were only two choices. At that point, I decided to stick with my plan and not go to Hell, and told them so. I now know that it was not my plan, and I am thankful for the chance to avoid the pain and suffering.
If you are reading this right now and have made your decision to follow Jesus and go to Heaven, I want to take a minute to tell you that Hell is just as real as when you felt the heat of the flame. It is just as real for someone else as it was for you. Some people donít want to know about it, and then some just donít know. In any case, we have to tell them about the choice that is theirs. We can never give up the fight. I encourage you to keep the watch on the tower and never get weary. Someoneís soul may be the price that is paid. You can really stop reading now. Iím going to the next group for a minute.
If by chance you are reading this and either have no idea how to get to heaven, have been putting it off, or just donít know what in the world I am talking about, sit down and get comfortable. By reading this, you are being given the chance to not only go to Heaven, but to avoid Hell. It really is a great trade-off. You will never know the pain, the darkness, the heat, and the brimstone. That in itself ought to move you to other options. Here it is:
Realize that you are a sinner before God and that you will never be able to pay your debt to Him. Understand that Jesus Christ died for you and erased that debt forever. Believe that Jesus died for you and washed away your sin, and you will be saved. It just doesnít get any easier than that.
This is a gift. It is a gift for you from God. You can never work for this. That point is huge. No man has ever been able to work for his salvation. Leaves too much room for error. How would you ever know if you had done enough? I am giving you the one true method to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that eternity will be spent away from Hellfire and brimstone.
You will know no pain in Heaven. There will be no more tears. No sorrow or suffering. Your will be alive to praise and honor God for infinity. You will know love in its purest form. You will be part of a family that has been adding new members for as long as humans have existed.
Think about this for a minute. On the one hand, you have all the pain and torture that can possibly be given in a nonstop fashion. Or, you can choose to be loved and protected and happy, also given in nonstop fashion. That part of the choice is easy to make. I would like to add that since you donít now when you are going to be excused from this existence, putting it off is not your best option. Donít wait. You will never have a better time to make this decision than you do right now. You sat here and read this paper, didnít you? It takes less time than that to ensure your eternal safety.
Oh, I can hear the arguments brewing. I hear you. The one in the back with the dog. You donít know about this stuff. It sounds too much like a ďreligionĒ, and you donít do religion. I have purposely not mentioned any religion for this reason; religion has absolutely nothing to do with this. This is not a religious matter. This is a ďspiritualĒ matter. You can join a religion, but you are being asked to make a decision about your spiritual security, not what church you are joining.
You over there. The guy with the black mustache and bald spot. You want to know whereís my proof. Iíll tell you to pick up a Bible and read it. The inspired Word Of God is all the proof you or I will ever need. Whatís that? You think youíll go to Heaven anyway, no matter what? I have a question for you, then. Are you willing to bet your soul that Iím wrong and youíre right? What if Iím right? Then where are you? Think about it.

Mark A. Bradley

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