Tag Archives: Hell

Love the Struggle

Joy in Forgiveness of Israel’s (my) Sins

Praise the LORD!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
–Psalm 106:1

It has been just over a year since I made the decision to accept the call of God as an adult.  This past year has had more ups and downs than any other year of my life.  In my pursuit of God I have moved across the country, met many new people, switched jobs a few times and completed a semester of Bible College.  I’ve had many different struggles—some spiritual, some mental, some physical (body, mind, soul) and some all three.  To be honest sometimes I hate the struggle and ask myself, “What am I doing here?”

I recently had a very clear call from God to ministry.  Immediately after Satan’s wretched arrows begin to sting like hell—literally.  I have been under spiritual assault from the enemy for the last month.  He is trying to rob my joy and sanity.  He is trying every trick in the book to convince me to question the word of God—and often to question the existence of God at all.  He tells me I don’t deserve the favor of God and that I am not worthy of God’s grace.  And you know what? He’s right.  I don’t deserve the favor of God and I am not worthy of God’s grace but that does not mean God’s grace for me does not exist.

Time and time again the Lord has reminded me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Thank God He is strong because there have been times this last month that I have felt weaker than ever before.  I have realized that I literally cannot fight any battles alone.  I myself am not capable of beating these struggles—but yet I set out on my own again and again.  We are very predictable creatures.  We never learn from other’s mistakes.  We insist on learning from our own experiences.   This is our human nature—to be curious and yearning for new experiences.  We are not satisfied with complacency even when in a place of peace.  I am not satisfied with one little taste of the Lord’s grace.  I cannot sit and be fine with the grace I experienced last year, and so I ask again, I seek again, I knock again.  I pursue God.  The struggle comes when I am pursuing God and thinking I’m doing everything right but not seeing the results I am expecting.  God does not work that way.  One thing I’ve learned is that if you’re expecting God to work one way then you can almost always expect it to happen differently.   This is life—it never goes according to our plans, it goes according to His plan.  Peace will be found when we accept this:

Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. –Proverbs 3:5

I recently heard it said, “Don’t hate the struggle; love the struggle because the struggle means you’re His.”  As long as we are being used for the furtherance of the Kingdom there is going to be a struggle.  There will be a struggle because hell is not happy when we grow up or mature spiritually and get closer to God.  Love the struggle!  Giving up is easy but giving up is not what we were made for.  It’s not who we are.  We are His!  We are the children of God.  Raise your hands and give thanks for though we fail again and again the Father’s love for us endures forever!

So He led them through the depths,
As through the wilderness.
 He saved them from the hand of him who hated them,
And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
-Psalm 106:9-10

Deliver Us!

Do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. –Matthew 6:13

I can see it in the air. The smoke is thick.  Demonic forces have attacked and damage has been done, but there are those of us who still stand.  Deliver us Lord, deliver us!  Victory is on the horizon and hell is not happy.  Don’t give up.  Do not give up.  The Lord our God is with you.  Discernment is the word I hear.  Lord, please bless us with the discernment we so desperately need—true godly discernment!

There’s so much chaos and disorder.  What am I to do Lord? “Be still” God says.  “Be still and know that I am God.”  I know others are feeling the same.  The enemy will try to single us out to make you think as if you are fighting a lone battle but it’s a lie!  You are not alone.  We are here with you—your brothers and sisters in Christ.  God is here with you and He will deliver us.

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” –Deuteronomy 31:8

Moving Forward

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. –Philippians 3:8

The past is gone forever and does not matter anymore. What matters is the future of your life! Your future holds purpose, hope and meaning.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. The blood of Jesus covers all your sins. Yes, ALL your sins! Everything you feel guilty for… you are no longer guilty. Embrace the complexity of your mind with a renewed spirit. Submit yourself to allow a transformation to take place. Turn your eyes to Jesus!

It is the Spirit of God you sense…

Embrace it! Live it! Love it! Emanuel—God is with us!

(Psalm 139:14, Romans 12:2, Matthew 1:23)

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

The Lord God has set peace before you; go up and possess it!

Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’ –Deuteronomy 1:21

The Lord really spoke to me through this verse with possessing the land representing God’s peace and rest which we are commanded to enter and to not be afraid or discouraged in doing so. I feel like so many of us are believers but we play this half world, half kingdom balancing act. Many of our thoughts and concepts are still very worldly and in this we limit God. We limit God by not allowing Him to be a part of every single little aspect of our life. We still think of incidents in life as chance. There is no chance when you are a disciple of Christ. There are consequences of your decisions and actions but there is no chance or “luck.” Once you have invited the Holy Spirit in God is involved in every detail of our lives. The war comes when we decide to follow our own carnal instincts rather than following the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We must pray for discernment and control over our flesh constantly. We must pray constantly. We must be led by the Spirit.

I’m sorry but I’m through with the balancing game. I’m over it. God has won. I raise my white flag in surrender. I’m through circling around the land to see if it’s ok to enter. I’m trusting God and going in. I hope to see you all there with me. The promised land is not just heaven after death. Eternal life is not just life after death with God. Eternal life is Jesus Christ living in us while here on earth. There is of course an afterlife but that is not the only time we can have God’s rest. We can experience the peace and rest of God here on earth but only through complete and utter submission of every single little aspect of your life. Stop circling around the holy of holies and go inside! Stop battling whatever sin you cling to from your carnal nature and give it to Christ for victory. Put it upon the cross. Stop living your life in defeat. Offer it all to God and welcome His rest.

A while back I was wrestling with some carnal, lustful thoughts going through my mind and trying to defeat them through my own efforts. During this time the Lord revealed something to me in a vision. I never fully understood the vision until recently. It was a very simple vision. It was myself with complete light all around me. There was no visual floor or walls. I was just surrounded by white light. I was on my knees with my head on the floor, bowing down in complete submission. From this position the spirit part of my body stood up out of the flesh and looked up arms spread wide open. This was the new me standing in victory praising God and giving Him all the glory. It was the new me that was living led by the Spirit. I could only step away from my flesh once my flesh had been completely submitted to Him. It was my Spirit standing there worshiping God, arms wide open looking unto Him, while my flesh was in complete submission bowing face to the ground. This is how we must live our lives if you want to experience the peace of God. Your flesh must remain in complete submission at all times to God. Our fleshly body must be head to the floor while our Spirit looks up upon His glory. It is then that our Spirit can rise and bring glory to the Father and through this process bring rest and peace to your life.

Exalt the LORD our God,
And worship at His footstool—
He is holy.
-Psalm 99:5

Now I am in no means saying I’m perfectly sanctified or “sinless” but I’m saying that the more and more we submit to God the more peace He offers us in return. I’m urging you to separate yourself from the world to the Gospel. Jesus said to deny yourself and follow Him! I think the words of Paul the Apostle in Philippians says it all:

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

-Philippians 3:8-14

Victory does not have to be a lonely word…

Life is a test of man’s free will. Each is born with light and darkness in them and all have the ability to sense this. We instinctively do bad though we know it is wrong and want to do right. There comes a point in each man’s life where it is examining time. Do we strive to improve ourselves or give into temptation of darkness? Self-efforts at improvement will leave you exhausted. Many men will fight this battle their whole lives never fully defeating the darkness or fully submitting to light. The easy way out would be to give into darkness, to say I am nothing but an evolved animal and I choose to behave as so. Yes, you could say this is the easy way, although, the inner part of this man will tear him apart and sadden him by his decision. He will live his days unfulfilled, knowing he has made the wrong choice but feel too defeated to do anything about it. So, the war rages on until each one’s candle has burnt out, but what happens in the end? In the end there are only two options for the soul—complete light or complete darkness. Once your candle has burnt out the test is over. There is no going back to change your mind or try again. Your fate has been sealed.

So what do you live for today? Many have said that victory is a lonely word. They say, “I cannot defeat this darkness, it is a part of me.” They are wrong. There is only one answer to darkness and it is complete light through our savior Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ was on the cross He took on the darkness of everyone. The Father of Lights in Heaven had to turn His face from His own Son because of the darkness He bore for the world. When it was over Jesus said the Greek word “tetelestai” which translates as “it is finished” or “it is accomplished.” He had overcome the world! Three days later He rose from the grave showing that not even death can defeat Him! He is alive! Victory does not have to be a lonely word. Victory can be found through the same power that raised Christ from the dead. The power of God! Invite the Holy Spirit in and He does not just invade your heart but also every single crack of your skin. This is where victory lies. If you are tired of fighting, if you are weak and weary, then submit to the One who has already won! Submit to the One who loves you—the One who is calling you home. Hear His voice and go to Him. Submit to the light of Jesus Christ and welcome victory.

And He said, My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. –Exodus 33:14

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]

Do “Good” People Go To Hell?

What happens to non-Christians when they die? Do good people who never accept Christ go to hell? What about people of other religions? From my research I’ve realized there are basically three different views on this very controversial Christian theological question. There is the exclusivist, the inclusivist and the universalist. The exclusivist believes that only those who openly express they are Christian and have accepted Jesus Christ will go to heaven and all others will be condemned. Inclusivists believe that there may be possible other ways to achieve salvation than being a 100% dedicated and confessed Christian. They believe that perhaps God will have mercy on some non believers—such as people of other faiths—but they still believe there is a hell and that it will no doubt be inhabited by some. Universalists believe that all souls will in some way be reconciled with God and that all will eventually end up in heaven making hell obsolete or non-existent.

Here’s what I believe:

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I believe in the word of God and I believe in the words of Jesus as the word of God! Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). I know God is a loving Father and that His judgments are just. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17). “God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11).  God loves man but hates sin. “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).  God does not want anyone to be condemned but I’m sure everyone can agree that we should be held accountable to consequences and punishments for our actions that are morally wrong. If you do not agree then you would be what we call a sociopath.

We also know that all men are sinners and no one can match up to God’s righteousness. “Everyman has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).  So what then can be fair? What can make us right with God? How does any man deserve salvation? The answer is we don’t deserve salvation, no one does. How does God deal with this problem? Jesus Christ. Only through Christ can we be saved. Jesus is the only possible way to reconciliation to the Father. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and paid the price for our sins. He took our punishment so that we could be saved. He is the mediator stretching one arm down to us while holding on to the Father in heaven with the other. Christ’s death was not something that could have been avoided. On the cross He said: “It is finished!” This was God’s plan all along. This is God’s gift to us. God has paid the price for our sins. Now we are only left to accept this gift and acknowledge our own shortcomings and need for repentance. We must come to the realization that we need help before we can ever be saved.

So am I an exclusivist, a inclusivist or a universalist? I am none. I am a Christian and in that a devoted follower of Christ. I do not label myself in the minute details that we will never know the exact answers to. It’s not our place to question God! “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).  I know God is loving and a just judge and by this I also know that no one will feel wrongfully condemned. That’s the farthest into it I will go. We are to focus on the cross and spread the gospel of Calvary that is the good news of Jesus Christ. How will God deal with undecided or mislead people? I don’t know and it is not my place to question or try to answer it. For in us trying to answer that question wouldn’t we in turn be making ourselves the judge? “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy” (Rom 9:14-16).  “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” (Rom 2:1).

Jesus said: “Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:36-37).

It is not our place to walk around telling non-believers that if they don’t have Jesus they are going to hell.  The scare tactic is the complete wrong way to minister! It is the love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ crucified that draws people by the Holy Spirit to be reconciled with God.

Give your life to Christ! If you’re worried about the salvation of others then tell them of God’s love and preach to them the gospel! The rest is left—rightfully so—in God’s hands. This is all we can do and this is all we are meant to know. Jesus Christ and salvation through Him by faith is the simple truth that is the foundational meaning and purpose of the entire Bible. If you cannot accept this then “I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Jesus said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (Matt 7:13).  Look around at the world today and life as we know it. I myself see many roads that lead to destruction and many lives that are torn apart from it. There is a path to light! It is a narrow gate that many refuse to enter. It is faith in Jesus Christ. Which road are you on?

“For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer 29:11-13).

-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]