The Balcony

You didn't know Dens for Bears have balconies? Well, they do. And it's Bear's favorite place to hang out.

A Balcony is a place that's High, above all the world throws at us.  It's a place of Light, the sunshine warm and comforting amidst the world's darkness.  It's a place of Fresh Air and Freedom from the tasks of the day and the cares of the world. A place of Life, with the birds and squirrels coming to visit occasionally, hopping and playing on the balcony rails.

Jesus is all those things to Bear too, in a much bigger way, beyond description.  That's why Bear likes to share about Jesus most, while sitting in a lawn chair, out on the Balcony, soaking in the warm light, in Rest and in Peace.  And this is also where Bear comes to think over many things about the Lord.

If it be possible that you don't yet have Jesus in your life, Bear is very sad.  She doesn't even like to think about what life was like for herself before Jesus pulled her out of darkness and so much pain.  (If you want to know a bit more about that, check out "About Bear".   Although that's not even half the story yet, it'll give you a general idea.)

Or, if you do think of Jesus as a part of your life already, but are feeling like you can't believe all He says in the Bible, Bear thinks that can be a very sad thing too.

Bear comes back to the balcony often.  And will have much to say here.

But for now, the most important thing she wants to tell you, is that you don't have to improve your life until you're "worthy" of Jesus, or until you're "good enough" to be loved by Him.  Jesus already loves you.  But, He can't save you from consequences, until you "repent" (a fancy word for saying you're sorry to God), for  your "sins" (all the things you've done in the past that you know likely offend Him and aren't really right).

On the other hand, if you think maybe you can do that much, and trust and believe that He is Who He says He is, Bear promises you a brand new life, that includes experiencing a peace (and sense of His deep love for you) like you've never known before.

Bears aren't very good at explaining things though, so she'll tell you a few Bible verses that explain it MUCH better than a Bear can.  There are lots of verses in the Bible that explain lots of things, but these are the ones that explain the most essential things you need to know as quickly and easily as possible . . .

 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23 KJV)  All have sinned. Especially notice the word all.  There's no one who has ever walked this earth, who hasn't sinned, except Jesus, Himself.  Some people explain "sin" as "missing the mark".  It's like shooting at a target with a bow and arrow, but the arrow doesn't hit the bulls-eye.  Another way to think of it, is like trying to jump up high enough to reach the moon.  Some people might be able to jump a bit higher than others, but even Bears know that no one will leap high enough to make it to the moon.  God is like the moon -- His Holiness and Purity is so high that no one can reach it or match it, on their own.

 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23 KJV)  Sin results in physical and spiritual death.  It's just as sure a thing as leaping in front of a speeding semi-truck.  There are causes and effects.  And there are things that are guaranteed to kill.  (And we've all seen what happens to various animals who have tried dashing about in front of trucks -- the results are not pretty).  There are consequences for our actions. But God freely offers you eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord.  It's a gift He gives, not something you earn.

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8 KJV)  Jesus died for us, proving God's love for us, and creating a way for us to receive and fully live in that love.  He, Who was the only One Who ever walked this earth with no sin of His Own, took the consequences of our sins, so that we don't have to.

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:9-11 KJV)   You can receive Christ by confessing Him as Lord with your mouth, and believing in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead; and you can do it anywhere you are, at any time, under any circumstances. You don't have to be in a church.  Notice that it says that with the heart man believeth.  One man gave his life to the Lord, while dying on a cross next to Jesus.  You don't have to know a lot of fancy rules and regulations.  But, you do need to sincerely acknowledge that He is Who He says He is, that He was raised from the dead by God the Father, and that you are who He says you are (someone who has "missed the mark" and sinned).  And you have to be willing to stand on that, and back it up by what you say.

"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13 KJV)   When we call on the name of the Lord, in the way these verses are talking about, we will be saved. "Whosoever" was a very important word to Bear, when she first heard about what the Lord was offering her.  Because she didn't think she was good enough to be saved, or deserved it at all.  But whosoever covers everybody, no exceptions.  And Bear was very relieved to hear that.

And, that covers all the basics.  So here's a quick summary of what a person needs to do, to be saved:
  1. Acknowledge you are a sinner, to God.
  2. Understand that as a sinner, you deserve death, and acknowledge that to God.
  3. Believe Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from sin and death, and tell God that you believe it, and also tell people, from now on, that you believe it.
  4. Repent by turning from your old life to a new life in Christ, asking God for forgiveness.
  5. Receive, through faith in Jesus Christ, His free gift of salvation. (Meaning that you need to trust that God's not going to lie to you about this -- that Jesus is telling the truth about it all.)
 Another thing that was really good news to Bear, was that God would help her do better in the future -- that she didn't have to change a lot of the things that she was doing on her own, without help from God.  Once God was "on her side", so to speak, then she had real Help available.  And it was wonderful to find out that God didn't expect her to instantly be perfect, and knew she would still make mistakes, and still sin -- just expected her to do her best, and learn to look to His Power and Help and Strength to help her do better.  And to keep coming to Him and asking for forgiveness when she sinned, and asking for that Help to do better.

Plus, there were all sorts of other good promises that Bear found to be true as well.  Bear will just name a few here . . .

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" (Romans 5:1 KJV)

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1 KJV)

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39 KJV)

Again, you don't have to be in a church or be around anybody else, to get a whole new life, in Jesus.  You can pray all by yourself, anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances.

Always remember that.

But soon after you've prayed and settled things with God, you'll need to find other Christians to help you learn more about God the Father, and Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.  And you'll want a good church to go to that can help you.

But that comes after, unless you want to get saved in a church, for some reason.  That's what Bear did, actually, once she decided -- headed to a church where she had some friends, and walked up to the preacher, and said, "I want to get saved today.  How do I do that?"  Because Bear didn't know she could just do it without church, even.  But the preacher was glad to help.  And most any Christian you might know, if you tell them you want to know more about how to get saved (or if you want to just chat about it, even before you decide that's what you want to do), will be very glad to help you.  Because everyone who has found out how good it is to belong to the Lord, feels very sad for those who don't, and wishes they could help somehow.)

If you don't feel like you're ready yet, there's something that Bear did, that she would recommend to you, when she was unsure.

She told God that she didn't really feel like she knew, but that she wanted to know the real God, and sincerely asked that she be shown the truth, whatever it was.  And that she didn't want any lies or imitations -- she wanted God's protection and leading on it, and to rescue her from some stuff that was pretty scary.

Over time, He answered that prayer, and made things clear to her.

But she wishes that she had just trusted Jesus much, much sooner in life, and saved herself a lot of grief along the way.

That's enough to say, for now.  It's time for Bear to fold up the 'ol lawn chair, and get back inside the Den.

But there are a couple of videos that are currently running on a couple of the Den's TV sets below, which will explain things much better than Bears can, that you're welcome to hang out and watch.

The first is a short, four minute, video giving more explanations on some key issues.

The second video (displayed below the first one) is a longer, more in-depth video, that answers many of the questions people have about Christianity including the following:
  • What's the most central thing that all Christians agree on?
  • Why do Christians glory in Jesus' death?
  • If Jesus is truly God's Son, as Christians say, why did He die on a cross?
  • Why do Christians take Communion?
  • What is sin?
  • Why does the Bible say death is the consequence of sin?
  • Why isn't seeing Jesus as a "great teacher" or a "prophet" good enough?
  • Why do Christians disagree with the "All roads lead to God" idea, and claim that Jesus is the only way?
  • Does God really love us?  If so, why?
  • If God really loves us, then He wouldn't really put anyone in "hell" would He?
  • Why would a loving God make Jesus the "only way" to come to Him?
  • I'm a good person and think I live as well (or even better) than a lot of Christians I know . . . So why do Christians say I need to give my life to Jesus to get to heaven?
  • What are some of the things that can hinder a person from giving their life to Jesus?
That's a lot of questions answered in a 37 minute video, and it's well worth watching.  It's from 1957 -- an old one of Billy Graham speaking to a gathering of thousands in an open-air stadium in New York City.  There are a few things about it that startled Bear a bit, when she first watched it.  Nowadays, even when people speak about serious topics, they throw in a joke or two and are sure to smile from time to time -- it's taught in all the speech classes.  Back in the '50s though, people didn't speak like that.  When they talked about serious stuff, they stayed very serious.

Plus, because Graham is speaking in a large open-air stadium, with microphones not up to today's standards in sound projection, he really has to shout and be super precise in his pronunciation of words. Plus, it's in black and white.  Plus, Graham's clothing and haircut make him look kind of "straight-laced" and "uptight".  (But, when Bear looked in the audience, she saw they all dressed that way back in the '50's.)  All those things made it seem a bit intimidating to Bear at first, until she realized those factors were effecting things.  However, despite those things, it's a most excellent summary, answering all those key questions listed above, and many more.  And Bear highly recommends it.

Next is a very fun video of Tamara Lowe's two minute Rap performance...


Or, if you still have some more time to hang out on the balcony, here's one of Scotland's most rough and tough Rugby stars talking about why he switched from drunken parties, free sex, and other past-times to dedicating his life to Jesus. The first 10 minutes of this recording are all about Rugby, but after that, the person interviewing him starts asking him questions about why he's a Christian, how he became a Christian, and how can he still be a very famous and very rough and tumble killer Rugby player on the field while walking as a Christian? Bear recommends this very highly, because it will answer lots more questions about Christianity . . .