Tag Archives: Hell

Crazy Talk

“I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 NLT

 

I believe the bible. I believe every word. I don’t always understand it, but I believe it. I believe that God sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for the sins of the world then raised Him from the dead three days later. I believe that one day Jesus will return and we will all have to answer for our time here on earth. I believe that each and every one of us will be judged for what we have done and the only way to avoid God’s righteous wrath is Jesus Christ. I also believe that sounds completely crazy to anyone who doesn’t believe that. So how do we reach these people? People that look at our beliefs and think we are some kind of crazy. The bible says that, “Faith comes from listening to this message of good news-the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17 NLT. It’s up to us to tell them, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable, we must tell them about Jesus. Romans 10:14 NLT says, “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?” Jesus has given us a commission, a calling, a command. At the end of the book of Matthew, Jesus tells us to go and make disciples.  So why aren’t we doing it? What’s holding us back? This commission wasn’t just for preachers, it’s for every man or woman that would call themselves a Christian. It can, and will, be awkward. Push through it. If we truly believe the bible, we have to believe what it says about hell and the unbelievers. “But cowards who turn away from me, and unbelievers, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those who practice witchcraft, and idol worshipers, and all liars-their doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.” Revelation 21:8 NLT. Hell is not something that is particularly fun to talk about, but it is a reality. A reality that many choose to ignore or pretend doesn’t exist. I recently read an article that said 43% of Americans were “unchurched”. 43%. Almost half of the US is headed to eternal damnation, separated from God, forever. Christians, we must step-up. If we truly believe what the bible says, and we have any love in our hearts, we must spread the gospel. We must reach out to those who don’t know the hope of Jesus. We must shine the light of God in this dark world. It wasn’t merely a suggestion from Jesus, it was a command.

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end 0f the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NLT

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Dead Faith

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

James 2:14-17 ESV

Faith without works, is dead. What good is it to sit and read your bible all day and never put it into practice? We can pray for someone hurting and struggling all we want, but sometimes we have to do more. I’m not saying not to read the bible or pray, but we have to act as well. It scares me to think about how many “Christians” are practicing “dead faith”, myself included. I try to do a bible study and pray as much as possible, but what good is that if I don’t take what I learn and put it into practice. It bothers me that we care more about a dead lion than the millions that are dying of starvation or preventable diseases. It breaks my heart that we care more about a man turning himself into a woman, than the millions that are caught in the sex slave industry. It’s 2015 and it seems that the color of someone’s skin is more important than the condition of their heart.  We have to start putting our faith into action. Yes, we are saved by faith alone, through grace alone, BUT, our works confirm our faith. James talks about Abraham and how he was justified by faith AND works, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” James 2:24 ESV. What if when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Abraham would have said, “uhhh, nah I’m good. I believe you and everything but I don’t trust you enough to do that.” Sadly that is what many of us do everyday. It’s simply not enough to have faith alone, even demons in hell have faith and believe in God.

Stargazing

“As they were straining their eyes to see Him, two white-robed men suddenly stood there among them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw Him go, He will return!” Acts 1:10-11

Just as the apostles who were caught standing around staring at the sky, I often find myself in the same situation, standing around looking to the sky. I’ve got to a point where I am just at a stalemate, not really doing anything to spread the Good News, not doing anything to find lost people, not doing anything to further my relationship with Jesus, not doing anything really, just standing around looking to the sky. I think this is the case for a lot of Christians (whether they want to admit it or not). We reach a point were we are showing up for church but not much else. We have to keep fighting the Good Fight. We have to keep spreading the Word. We have to keep running the race. I worry that we as Christians are not doing all we can to reach others. I fear that we have reached a point where we no longer see the urgency to spread God’s message of grace and salvation. We as Christians have lost our drive. As I read through some of my older posts, I feel like I don’t even know the man that wrote them. The words have passion. The words have intensity. What happened to that man? It has been almost six months since my last post. Granted I started working a full time job and no longer have all day to study the bible like I used to, but still, why have I put off the most important part of being a Christian, reaching lost souls. The whole reason I started writing was to reach others (and I get super uncomfortable doing it on stage or in person). But even reading the last sentence, “I get super uncomfortable,” tears at me. I’m sure it wasn’t “comfortable” for Jesus on the cross, I’m sure it wasn’t “comfortable” for the apostles to leave everything they held dear in order to follow Him, and I know it wasn’t comfortable when they were all persecuted because of it. We live in a world of “comforts”. Most of us have been blessed to live in a world where we can freely and openly worship without fear of death or physical hardship. Why then is it so hard for us to get out there and spread His word? One of the last things Jesus told us to do before He ascended into Heaven was to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Jesus even says that He is “with you always, even to the end of the age,” why then is it so hard? We as Christians have to stop staring at the sky and focus more on those around us. I’ve had the opportunity to visit different churches around my area and the message is almost the same at everyone, we have to start reaching out. The preachers are all pleading with the congregation to act. We have gotten complacent, me included. I can’t begin to count all the times I have had an opportunity to reach out to someone and simply did nothing. Why? I read the stories of men and women in the bible that gave their very lives in order to spread God’s message, and wonder when we lost that drive. In most cases here in America, and other areas of the world for that matter, we don’t have to worry for our lives if we spread the message. We may be mocked, made fun of, or laughed at but not martyred for it. I for one am tired of being a “cowardly Christian” as I heard one preacher put it. It’s time to stop standing on the sidelines, staring at the sky, and start getting involved. Hell is real, and while we have no fear of death because of the grace of God, there are millions out there that are still lost. Millions that may never know the love of God unless we stop stargazing and start reaching out, no matter how “uncomfortable” it may be, because just as the white-robed men told the apostles as they stood idly by, “He will return!”

The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled

“He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction because they refuse to believe the truth that would save them.” 2 Thessalonians 2:10 NLV

It’s been less than a year since I started believing the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ. I read verses like 2 Thessalonians 2:10, and shake my head and think of people that it reminds me of. People that I hear or see talking about how silly “religion” is and how can people really believe that a man in the clouds is going to take us up to heaven on streets of gold and live happily ever after. I shake my head when I think of these other people, until I realize that up until not too long ago, I was one of those people. I grew up going to church, but it was mainly to see my friends and for the youth trips to Gatlinburg, TN. Once I got out of high school and out on my own, I formed this misguided opinion that there just could not be a God. How could something as awesome as God really exist? I questioned people’s faith, I mocked and ridiculed them for their beliefs, and I straight up made fun of people that believed in this so called, “God”. Looking back on it, I never made fun of anyone for being a Buddhist, or Hindu, or even a scientologist for that matter (ok I probably made fun of scientologists) but the point is, I was singling out Christianity. Why? Why was Christ the center of my focus as far as religion bashing went? The answer to that question is in the verse at the top of this blog, deception. I was being deceived by the father of lies, the evil one himself, Satan. I heard a saying once that said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled, was convincing man that he did not exist.” That saying has stayed with me ever since I first heard it. I honestly believe that Lucifer would much rather you deny he exists than to worship him, because he knows that if you worship Satan, then you must believe in God as well. And if you believe in God, there’s a greater chance that Jesus Christ will come into you life. But if you deny that Satan exists at all, then the devil is already winning in your heart. Whether you believe it or not, one day Jesus Christ will come back. And just like Romans 14:11 says, “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” It goes on to say in verse 12 that, “each of us shall give account of himself to God.” So you can keep saying you don’t believe the living word of God that is the Bible, or the fact that He sent His only son to die for each and every single person that walked this earth. I don’t care what color you are, what part of the world you just so happened to be born in, Jesus Christ loved you enough to die for your sins so that you could go on to have eternal life in Him. As long as you have air in you lungs and a beating heart in your chest, you have time to turn your life over to God. I pray to almighty God that if you haven’t received Christ, that He would lay an undeniable conviction on your heart to hit your knees and repent. Because if you don’t, it’s not going to be that eternal sleep of nothingness when you die like I so often hear about from nonbelievers, it’s going to be the fires of Hell for all eternity.

Luke, I Am Your Father

Luke 12 is awesome. I used a highlighter on almost the whole chapter. If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest that you do. To be honest though, there was a couple verses in there that got me a little worried. Luke 12:45-47 NLT, “But if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and begins oppressing the other servants, partying, and getting drunk- well, the master will return unannounced and unexpected. He will tear the servant apart and banish him with the unfaithful. The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it.” To me, these verses are basically saying that even if you think you are saved, if you are hammered at a party when God decides to come back, it’s probably not going to end well. We don’t know when God is coming back, no one does. We must always be watching, waiting for His return. I don’t think that God is waiting for you to mess up and then come back just to punish you though. I think a lot of people have this vision of God as this Zeus type dude up in the clouds waiting to strike people down if they don’t say a prayer before every meal. That’s not at all who God is. God created each and everyone of us on purpose, for a purpose. God is our heavenly father. As a father myself, I only want what is best for my son. As Gods children, He only wants what’s best for us. My son gets upset when I tell him he can’t do something, but I only tell him no for his own good. The same is true for God. The reason He tells us not to do certain things is for our own good. When we decide to disobey God, it will always end in pain, suffering, misery, sadness, grief, and heartache. But just because we disobey God doesn’t mean we are banished into the pits of hell. His love is unconditional. When my son disobeys, he gets punished but I still love him. I don’t throw him out or disown him. I love him no matter what he has done. The same is true for our God, He loves you no matter what you have done. For those of you that may be reading this and don’t know God, or those of you that know Jesus but don’t have a relationship with Him, I would encourage you to open a bible and really get to know who Jesus is. Yes, He is the son of God, but He was also a person. A living man, just like you and me. I promise you, if you were to spend just ten minutes a day reading the gospels, your life would be drastically changed for the better. I honestly can’t think of a single person that has ever lived that would say their life got worse after spending time with God.

Nobody Is Perfect

I keep seeing these posts saying that Christians are homophobic, racist, ignorant, an all sorts of other derogatory terms. I think that the problem with most people today is that they think they have an idea of Christianity, Christians, and Jesus Christ but they really have no clue. They don’t know of His saving grace or His unending mercy. What they know is people. People are homophobic, racist, ignorant and everything else. Just because you follow Jesus doesn’t mean you are going to start walking on water. Christians are still human, we’re not perfect. We still have our own opinions and ideas of others. I have faith in God and Jesus Christ because I have felt His power. I have felt the Lord’s presence in my life. I spend a fair amount of time in my youth looking into other religions but never felt anything close to the power and grace that is Jesus Christ. Classifying Christians as hate mongers, homophobic, racists because of one persons actions that says they are a Christian, is like someone saying you are a Nazi because you are German, it just doesn’t make any sense. Everyone is so quick to judge. We as Christians have to set the example, we have to take the high road. What I have learned over the years is that if you stand for something, no matter what it is, someone is going to disagree with you. We Christians have to keep the faith, and not get angry at these people that would love nothing more than to stir up strife and make us question our beliefs. I know in my heart that Jesus Christ is as real as you and me, and He loves you. He doesn’t care if you are black, white, rich, poor, gay, straight, healthy, sick, a sinner, or a saint, Jesus Christ loves you. Luke 7:50 NKJV, “Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” You see that? It doesn’t say, “God Hates Fags!” it says, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Jesus Christ said those words, go in peace. Is Homosexuality a sin? Yes. Do I believe you will burn in Hell for it? No. It’s a sin just like getting drunk, sex outside of marriage, gossiping, and gluttony. Will you burn in hell for one sin and not the other? I don’t think so. Instead of focusing on the sins of others, we need to take a look at our own lives. Nobody is perfect.

Guilty As Charged

Telling God you don’t believe in hell, is like telling a judge you don’t believe in jail. I can’t remember where I heard or read that at, but it’s one of the best analogies I’ve ever heard for faith. God and a judge, hell and prison, they are almost the same thing, one is just on a more eternal level. You get convicted of a crime and no matter how much you tell yourself, or the judge, that you don’t believe in jail, you’re still going to go. It’s the same thing with God. I hear people say they don’t believe in God all the time, but no matter how much you don’t believe, one day EVERYONE will stand before Him. 2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” One day we will stand before God, in all His glory, and have to answer for everything we have ever done on this earth. For some of us out there, this is a little scary. The good news is that we don’t have to let our past define our future. We don’t have to keep living a certain way just because that’s the way we always have. Once you truly give your life to God, you are born again. You are a new creation in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is one of my favorite verses in the bible, it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Every bad thing, no matter how terrible, is washed away in the eyes of God. I know the guilt of certain things may still weigh on your heart, but take comfort knowing that once you start walking the straight and narrow path to salvation, whatever roads you previously walked down no longer matter. I know some people out there are the type that need hard evidence, they need proof of His existence. I don’t have any hidden answers. For me, my faith came from a feeling like God Himself were talking to me. I felt Him move in my heart. It was a feeling too big to ignore. I felt God calling me and instead of brushing that feeling off like I had done so many times before, I answered. I know some people will read that and say, “What? He “moved” you?” Think about the love you have for your mother, you can’t “prove” that you love your mother, can you? You may say that you can see your mother, but in 2000 plus years will anybody “believe” she existed? Verse 7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” That one short verse says a lot. Faith in God, faith in Jesus Christ, faith that there is a heaven and also a hell. We must walk in faith. Whether you believe it or not, the truth is that Jesus Christ died for you. He died for your sins. He died in the most brutal way so that you may have ever lasting life. 2 Corinthians 15 NKJV, “and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” Before I was truly saved, I lived entirely for myself. I smoked, I drank, I cussed, I chased women, I did drugs, I did just about everything the bible says not to do. But once I truly gave my life to God, I was washed clean. I was born again. I am a new creation in Christ. I truly am a changed man. I hear people say that the Christian “lifestyle” is boring. The truth is that being a Christian isn’t boring, you just see the world through new eyes. You no longer have the desire to live for yourself. I’m not saying I look down on anyone that isn’t saved, no true Christian should. It’s our duty, our purpose as Christians to spread the word of God. 2 Corinthians 20 NKJV, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” It’s not too late to give your life to God. Jesus loves you no matter what you’ve done. He would gladly welcome you with open arms, all you have to do is ask.