Eternity Is Closer Than You Think

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I want to wish all of my Words of Faith readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. I pray you all have a blessed day with your families and friends.

With that being said I wanted to share with you a little of my heart today.  We all know that the news is so full of troubles.  We are living in a day that I never really thought I would be here to see.  Christians being targeted and killed, homosexual marriage not only legalized but looked as an acceptable or glamorous lifestyle, terrorists threatening our country, fighting in other countries, and wars/rumors of wars, etc.  It’s a scary world that we live in –  as we don’t know from one day to the next what will happen.

However, if we take it down to a more local level – today, Thanksgiving Eve, there was a very serious car accident just a few miles from my home on I-81.  There were several fatalities.  Now maybe my heart is more heavy than usual as I think of my own firefighter son who in the next few months will be studying for his EMT, and I wonder how in the world he will handle it when he has to come upon scenes such as that.  Maybe my heart is extra heavy because it’s so close to a holiday – a special thankful time with family, a time to create memories that last a lifetime, and I have friends who have lost family members this year and my heart hurts for them.   In any case, whatever the reason…. my heart is extra heavy.

I keep thinking about how short our lives truly are.  We can be driving down the road one minute and the next we are facing eternity.    My question to all of you is — where are you going to spend eternity?  If you should find yourself the victim of a terrorist attack or if you should fall over from a heart attack, or if you experience an unfortunate accident – where will you be when your eyes close in death?

For some reason I find people seem to believe that everyone goes to heaven.  This is just not true.  Heaven is for God’s people – His children – those who have called Jesus their Lord and Savior.   Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved,” – that name is JESUS! You can’t call any other god your god and go to heaven.  You can’t live however you want here and expect to receive the reward of heaven.  It just doesn’t work that way.  If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord you will experience hell forever and ever and ever.   Matthew 25:46, “And these (the unsaved)  shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous (saved) into life eternal.” You must call on Jesus and make him Lord and Savior of your life in order for heaven to be your reward.

Please don’t be fooled into living however you please.  It’s too risky!   Are you actually willing to take a risk like that WITH THE REST OF ETERNITY.  The Bible tells us what hell is like – eternal fire, burning you but you don’t die, loud weeping, gnashing of teeth, and maybe the worst part is you are separated from anything to do with God, no hope, no future except eternal fire.   This is not a place that I would want ANYONE to go and yet people are going there by the thousands day after day.

Christian — I ask you and I plead with you… it is time that we get on fire for God.  I’m tired of letting people assume that their loved one is an angel in heaven, watching over them, and yet we know that they lived a most ungodly life here.    It’s time that we let others know that heaven is REAL but so is hell and it’s filling up with people by the second.  Let’s not let satan win their souls – let’s work harder, do more, tell more, and certainly not care who calls us fanatical.    Let’s set our hearts and minds to work harder for the kingdom of God and win souls by loving them yes, but by telling them the truth!  John 8:32, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”   They can’t know the truth – unless we are willing to TELL THEM!

So I ask you again — where will you spend eternity?  Your eternity could come tomorrow …. think about it. Really think about it.   Heaven or hell. It’s one or the other.  The choice is yours.  God doesn’t want any to perish – but He gave YOU the choice.

If you can’t answer with certainty that heaven is your inherited home, please contact me and I would be more than thrilled to come and talk to you, pray with you, and lead you into a relationship with Jesus Christ.   He is the ONLY way, for you to have LIFE and LIFE ETERNAL.

God Bless You All —

 

God’s Blueprint

I remember when my husband and I were designing our home.   We chose the way we wanted it and had it printed as a blueprint for our builder.   It was our dream, our design, and our plan.   However, when our builder was working on our home he called us to him one day and showed us that the steps were going to angle right into the wall of our breakfast nook – we would have literally walked down the steps and into the corner of our wall. Therefore, an adjustment had to be made, and our breakfast nook ended up bigger than we had planned.

Did you know that God had a blueprint too?   He did!   It was revealed to us in the book of Genesis.  “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.  They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.'” (Genesis 1:26)   God had a plan to take the BEST materials and create man in His very own image.

God said that man would reign or other versions say “dominate”.  This means that man was to rule, reign, or dominate the entire earth and expand the dominion of God through the entire planet.  In Genesis 1:28 we read where God told them to “be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it”.   God intended His people to expand, grow, and multiply across the earth.

Under God’s blueprint Adam and Eve were never sick, lonely, impoverished, afraid, or secure.  (How do I know this?  Because they were made in the image of God and were like Him).   Everything on earth was subject to them and they lived in perfect fellowship with God.  Imagine if this had continued as planned, today the entire earth would be populated by a perfect race of men and women, created in the flawless image of God Himself.  This population would be in perfect fellowship with God and at perfect peace.  This was God’s plan.

However in chapter three of Genesis we read where a problem took place (just like the problem when we were building our home).   This problem was called SIN.   Satan came into the garden in the form of a serpent and tempted Eve to disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit.     When they ate it – they immediately fell out of that perfect fellowship with God.  The moment they rebelled against what God had told them – THEY DIED!   They didn’t die physically at that time but three types of deaths were ushered in:

  1.  Death of the Spirit – Adam and Eve were separated from intimate fellowship with God.
  2. Death of the Soul – Adam and Eve lost their peace with God.
  3. Death of the Body – Adam and Eve would now experience a physical death or a definite death date.

This corrupted God’s blueprint and sickness was ushered in…. but …..

WHAT WAS THE SOLUTION???

JESUS!!!!!!!!      The sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross became the only means by which the curse of sin could finally be broken.  Romans 5:8, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners”.    That’s right — God loves YOU!   No matter what you have done, what choices you have made, God loves you and gave His Son for YOU.     Jesus, God’s Son, experienced a horrendous death to pay for our sins.   Isaiah 53:5 says, “But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.  He was beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed.”    Yes — Jesus loves you and gave himself on the cross to take away your sins — but before He did that He went to the whipping post to take away your sicknesses.   If Jesus paid a price like that – don’t you think that God is eager to give you what Jesus paid for?    When you purchase Christmas gifts for your children, aren’t you eager to give them to them?  How much more do you think God is eager to give us a gift that Christ Jesus paid for by the stripes of His back?

 

cross-211989_1280

Jesus Christ came and died on the cross to reverse the curse brought upon humankind through Adam and Eve’s sin.   Through His shed blood we have been released from the bondage of sin and it’s effects.  We can now experience blessings, benefits, and peace from being in fellowship with HIm.   I know it’s hard to grasp but sickness was never a part of God’s original plan or blueprint for our lives.   It is still not His plan — He wants you well.  He paid for your salvation on the cross, but he paid for your healing too.  Now that is good news!

More to come in the next few weeks 🙂

My Story

My story goes back 15 years ago to when I was 29 years old.  That is the year that my life turned upside down.  I was an extremely healthy, energetic, fun, and full-of-life young woman.  I was a wife, and mother to two wonderful little boys.  At that time Brady was 2-years-old, and Austin was 3 months.   Even as I write this it is hard for me to “go back” to that time of my life.  The memories are unbearable and the photographs that I look at from back then reveal a very sick, young woman who went though life in a blur – just holding onto Jesus to get through my days.

I don’t want to go into the details here (because I am about to embark on writing my very first book) –  (yes,  I’m finally going to do it)!    But to sum it up – I had somehow developed an incurable bladder disease.  It was extremely painful and lasted many, many, many years.    I learned so much in that time and I grew in tremendous ways.   God placed people into my life back then that I was very fortunate to meet.  He seemed to guide my every step.  He’s like that, isn’t he?   He was my refuge and my strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

I need to share with you about my understanding of God and sickness at that time. I was raised in the church from the time I was born, but I had a belief system that God heals, just not all the time.   I believed you had to beg enough, and if He felt merciful at that particular time, it would happen.   I was at times told that God was teaching me a lesson, or that there was something that God wanted from me, and I just wasn’t “getting it”.    All these things seemed to be deep in my belief system —— until I met a man who started to come to our church. He was an AMEN and HALLELUJAH man.   You know the kind – they shout it out and the rest of the congregation just looks at them like they are crazy.    He and I (along with my family) developed a friendship and I know that he was meant to come to my church FOR ME.   His name was Ron. Ron began to share with me that God wanted me well. He began to share with me that sickness was not His desire for my life.   He would talk to me for hours on the phone and “counsel me”.   He taught me about the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  He turned me on to the teachings of different pastors, and I began to dig in and study the Word of God for myself.

**********************************************************************************

I began to dig into the Word of God particularly on healing – listening on my headphones and in my house – nearly constantly.  I also listened to healing testimonies, and slowly but surely my mind was beginning to grasp that God WANTED me well.   It was during this time that I had more of a fight well up in me How many of you know that to get through something there has to be a degree of fight inside of you??   It’s hard to fight to get well when you think that God is the one making you that way!!!!! After all who in their right mind would fight against God? 

You see when you are facing an illness – and it goes on a really long time – you have a way of resigning yourself to being that way.   Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t exactly do that.  I fought that thing tooth and nail!     But you begin to “not fight” against the “right thing”.   I spent so much time asking God why He was doing it to me?  What He was trying to teach me?  You know what my answer was…. NOTHING!  No answer!    It was Ron who kindly and patiently showed me in scripture that it wasn’t God who was making me ill.  God wasn’t putting it on me to teach me a lesson, or to get something from me. They were all myths.  As a matter of fact it wasn’t God at all.

The Word of God tells us  to “submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).   It’s very hard (actually impossible) to resist the devil when you don’t recognize that it’s him (satan) that is doing it and you are confused into thinking it’s God instead.

*********************************************************************************

My years were packed full of pain, screaming, crying, physicians, torturous treatments, diets, instillations, catherizations, heartache and did I mention pain, pain, pain  — BUT my years were also packed with rainbows, prayers, faith of children, answered prayers, baby step improvements, hanging onto the word of God, tears at the alter, more rainbows and promises of healing and strength.   Looking back, I learned so much, and I would love to be able to share some of it with you.

I don’t remember the exact day, month, or year that I got well. I know that sounds strange – but I don’t.   I only know that I got well little by little (progressively), and I thank God for that.  He was with me every step of the way.

There is so much that I have learned on this path—and healing has become part of my heart.   For two years I have felt God asking me to teach on healing, but I always felt inadequate.  I felt that way because I was in a car accident 10-years-ago and injured my back.  I felt it wasn’t completely healed so who would want to listen to what God has taught me over the years?    But I’m currently believing God, and standing on His Word that my healing is coming, and you know what – it is!     This past summer, I had a prophetic word spoken over me by someone who knew nothing about God calling me to teach, and those words confirmed what I already knew God was asking me to do.  I decided to say yes to God and do it!

In addition to teaching healing, I will also be sharing with you all through my blog little glimpses of what God has taught me through His Word on healing.

My goals are to:

  1. Strengthen our knowledge of what the Bible has to say about healing. – It’s important to hear what God’s Word has to say (WHICH IS TRUTH)- and not what we have necessarily been taught or believed.  I want to encourage you to READ the Word of God for yourself and let God show you/tell you.   —-Numbers 23:19  “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?”
  1. Help to increase our faith. Our ability to receive anything from God is contingent upon our faith in His Word.   – Romans 10:17 “So then – faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”.
  1. Help us appropriate every spiritual blessing that we have been given in Christ. – Don’t we want ALL that God has to offer us…. Not just a part of it. He paid a tremendous price for you – you are that special to Him!

I’ve been extremely busy …. but look for more to come on the subject of healing.  My hope is that together we will GROW in Christ and GROW in our knowledge  of the truths of the scripture.

Love you all —

Melissa

 

What Seeds Are You Planting?

seeds
License: CC0 Public Domain / FAQ Free for commercial use / No attribution required

I love this time of year when everything is turning green, lawn mowers are busy at work manicuring the yards, rototillers are getting garden soil ready for sowing, and flower beds are beginning to come to life with color.   Everywhere I look I see LIFE and after a cold, long winter like we had, it’s refreshing.

My dad has a favorite kind of watermelon he likes to plant and after looking everywhere for the plants to no avail, I decided to purchase the seeds online.   At this point, it is warm enough for the seeds to be sowed directly into the ground.   This got me thinking about seeds and how amazing it is that you can put this tiny thing in the ground and a few months later you have a bountiful harvest. Of course, I’m talking about vegetable and fruit seeds but we also plant seeds everyday no matter the season and no matter the weather.   We even have the freedom to choose what type of seeds we want to plant.

We can plant seeds of bitterness, envy, strife, jealousy, hostility, and quarrelling, or we can plant seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. We are instructed to “use our freedom to serve one another in love,” Galatians 5:13.   I think everyone can agree that the world could use more love.

When a seed is planted it is buried beneath the ground … even to the point where it cannot be seen.   In much the same way, when we plant an act of love into someone’s life – if possible, it should be done in secret. “But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you,” Matthew 6:3-4.   When you give or show love to someone in the public eye — your reward has already been given to you (people’s praise) but you will not receive reward from God.   Remember, He knows the heart of every man and He knows the meaning behind it.

We plant seeds in the place where we desire the fruit to grow.    Where you are right now is more than likely where God intends you to be, especially if you are walking in communion with Him.  There are no accidents about who God puts in your path today. That homeless person on the corner by the grocery store holding a cardboard sign – YES, you were the one to drive by him at that given time – it’s YOU God wants to plant a seed in his life.   That clerk at the counter who seems to be having a bad day – YES, you are the one to smile and talk to her.   That family you know in town who can’t pay their bill or buy groceries this week – YES, you are the one He is calling to help them. How do I know this?? Because, who you run into, who God puts into your path by no means is an accident – God just doesn’t operate that way. He is an intentional God with a plan – BE INTENTENTIAL like God wants you to be, and plant a seed RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE – TODAY!

When we plant a seed, we do so with a plan of having a delicious abundance to enjoy. Likewise, when we plant a seed of love into someone’s life, we do so expecting something good.   Just remember, it doesn’t always happen immediately…. Just like it takes time for our plants to produce…. It often times takes time for the seed of love we plant in someone’s life to take root and begin to grow. Hang in there and have faith, be expectant, because God will work good out of the loving act that you did.

Galatians 6:7-10, “Don’t be misled – you cannot mock God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone – especially to those in the family of faith”.

What seeds are you planting in someone’s life today? The soil is ready and waiting!

Thank You Jesus

“There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.  He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.  We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.  He was despised, and we did not care.” Isaiah 53:2-3.  

“Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.  And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!  But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.   He was beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed.  All of us like sheep, have strayed away.  We have left God’s path to follow our own.  Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all”,   Isaiah 53:4-6. 

“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word.  He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.  And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.  Unjustly condemned, he was led away”, Isaiah 53:7-8. 

***********************************************************************************************************

“But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief.  Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants.   He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands  When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied.  And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.  I will give him the honors of a victorious solder, because he exposed himself to death,” Isaiah 53:10-12.   

Thank you Jesus for what you did for mankind.  We owe you our lives!

 

 

Loving Like Christ

February 14th is a day the world set aside for us to show love to others. I find it fun to celebrate that day with my family. We have traditions that we like to do each year, and that makes it special.   However, as a follower of Christ we are called to live as He lived EVERYDAY, and let’s face it, He knew how to love others and He did it always!   Jesus himself even told us to love others – “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you…” John 15:12.

Love_you!
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

When I look at ‘the church’ as a whole today, I hate to admit it, but I don’t always see the love of Jesus being exemplified. Sometimes I think we are too wrapped up in our private friendships to know that someone is hurting or needs a friend. We get too caught up in the latest technology to realize that some families around us are struggling so much they are having trouble even to provide food for their family. We have become concerned with entertaining or putting on a show when really it’s not about “us” but about Jesus and his heart was for the lost, the poor, the sick, and the widowed. Paul told us in Galations 6:2-3, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important”.

I have shared before that I love to walk each day. With this ARCTIC BLAST we’ve been having, the last week I decided to drive to the local mall and walk inside. While there, I have felt an uncomfortable spirit surround me… almost like a spirit of ‘evil’ but definitely a spirit of ‘pain’. I walked by one area where a lady was on the floor in a corner crying her eyes (and heart) out to another lady. It was quite obvious that something major was happening in her life. I saw another couple cursing, angry, and storming out the door over someone who lost their cell phone. There was an elderly man who looked incredibly lonely. I witnessed a young couple who looked stressed beyond their years. There were many more that were in too much of a hurry to even make eye contact with me, but I tried to be open to what God wanted me to do and to some I offered kind words, compliments, and to others I gave them a smile. I left there realizing that people are hurting and people need to know the love of Jesus and to a large extent we (Christians) are failing to do this. We are His hands and feet and He is expecting us to be the love of Christ to them!! He is expecting this!!!

Being pre-occupied with ourselves is nothing new. God spoke to the people of Isreal through the prophet Isaiah about the same thing long ago. Isaiah 58:1-3a God says , “Tell my people of their sins! They come to the temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me….. ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed?'” Isaiah 58:3b-9a., “I will tell you why! It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your Godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. Then when you call, the Lord will answer”.

We are told in 1 John Chapter 3 what real love is. “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the Truth”.

I pray that God would open our eyes to see those around us who are hurting, those that need loved, cared for, and ministered to. I pray that He would place a burden in our hearts for them that will not be calmed until we take action. I pray that God would fill us with his Spirit and make us bold to step out in faith for Him. The world needs us more and more everyday …. Let’s be God’s heart, hands, and feet to the world.

I close with a video by Casting Crowns: “Does Anybody Hear Her?” Please click the link below and let the song minister to you.

Ferocious Appetite

fish2
TITAN, our LUCKY fair fish!

I’d like to introduce you to our goldfish, Titan. He is a very lucky little guy because not only did he survive the fish farm where he was hatched, but he also survived being bagged and transported to our local fair where we won him in a ping pong ball toss, being shaken as he was taken home, and the poor little guy has been in a bowl ever since. If you know anything about the survival rate of our local fair fish, you would know that he is indeed one lucky fish!

Not only is he very lively, but he also has a ferocious appetite. When I come close to his bowl with the blue bottle of flake food, he sees it and gets extremely active, even to the point of what looks like him trying to swim through the bowl to get to the food.

His actions made me think about hunger.   There are two kinds of hunger:

  1. The obvious one is our physical hunger. We all know what it’s like to have our stomach rumbling and feel somewhat faint because our body is telling us it is time to eat.   We make a nice meal or go to a nice restaurant and feed our hunger and the good thing is that it goes away… at least for a few hours.
  2. The second type of hunger is our spiritual hunger.   I believe we were all born with a spiritual hunger, but we don’t always recognize it.

Obviously both types of hunger are very real . If we don’t feed our physical hunger we will enter into a starvation period where our body is not getting the nutrients that it needs and we become malnourished (most of us don’t have to worry about that much)!!!   However, when we don’t feed our spiritual hunger, a very bad thing happens as well … the hunger will actually pass and go away. If the hunger is gone, we don’t desire anything and therefore we don’t feed ourselves. This is a dangerous situation to be in (and believe me, we have all found ourselves in time periods like this).

bible
License: CC0 Public Domain / FAQ Free for commercial use / No attribution required http://pixabay.com/en/bible-pages-scripture-book-open-53753/

  “People do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” Deuteronomy 8:3 

What do we do? How can we stop the cycle of not desiring spiritual food?   When someone is elderly and sick and they don’t want to eat, you often see someone “spoon feeding them”. Another words, they force-feed them because they know that nutrition is necessary to keep ones strength up.   The same goes for our spiritual strength – nutrition is necessary for us to remain strong in the Lord.   If we find ourselves in the situation where we are no longer spiritually hungry, we must begin to spoon feed ourselves the Word of God, even if it’s a bite or nugget a day! The amazing thing about spiritual hunger is when you begin to force feed yourself… you will become more and more hungry to the point that you can’t get enough spiritual food!

“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water” Psalm 63:1

Are you hungry for more of God? Do you desire to spend time with Him and most importantly, time in His Word?   I understand if you have lost your appetite. It seems to happen to a lot of us with this little thing we call “life”.   But you can change that!   Just like Titan has a ferocious appetite for his flake food, you can have a ferocious appetite for the Word of God, and as you feed yourself you will find that you want more and more and more of Him. God promises us that when we desire Him – we WILL be filled. “For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” Psalm 107:9.  

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” Matthew 5:6

  

Is God Calling You?

1
during my walk this morning

I enjoy walking in the local graveyard.  I know that sounds strange, but I used to live near it and back then it became my special place.  I have found it is where I can cry out to God and no one can hear me (no pun intended there).  At the graveyard I can sing as loud as I want to God (and believe me, I was not blessed with a beautiful voice).  Somehow, I believe when it reaches the ears of God, it’s beautiful.  As I took my walk this morning, I got caught in the lovely snow, but I kept walking and enjoying my time with Him.  I remembered a short story that I wrote many years ago and I thought I would share it with you….  

Is God Calling You?  

I found myself longing for some time alone with God so I drove to the local graveyard. It had, many years ago, became my special meeting place with Him. I didn’t have much to say but we communed in quiet peace while my mind came to rest.  

My eyes searched the tomb stones and I started to wonder about the people who lay beneath the graves.   What did they look like? What color was their hair?   What color were their eyes? What was their profession? Who were they? The one thing they all had in common is they all died and they all had to face eternity.   I kept wondering who they were and where they are now.  As I rounded the corner I came upon the newer section, my eyes focused on a fresh grave and I immediately felt God place on me a tremendous burden for His people.  

3
walk a few weeks ago

My heart sank with fear that maybe I didn’t touch His people enough and now I don’t know where they are spending eternity.  We are ALL sinners but Jesus died for us so that we can be forgiven of our sins and spend eternal life with him. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.   My heart grew heavier and I wept as I thought of the lost souls that I haven’t shared this good news with.        

Seeing hundreds of graves made my burden stronger. I began to fear that if I pass up the opportunity to witness, I may be giving someone a one-way ticket to hell. I need to do all that I can to tell others about the love of Jesus Christ and His grace and power to redeem and save them.  

God placed before my mind a vision of a lady and she died an early, unexpected death. She is standing in front of Jesus and he shows her the gate to heaven. She can hear the most beautiful music flowing from behind the gate. There is another gate to the other side of her. That gate is dark with ugly worms crawling on it. There is screaming and yelling coming from it – painful cries, wicked anger and hatred.  I see Jesus standing in front of her and he says “I’m sorry but I never knew you.”   The lady says “Oh please let me in — no one ever told me you were real.” Jesus says “I’m sorry, but I never knew you.”    She says “Please let me in, don’t you see if someone would have told me I would have believed.”     Jesus says “I’m sorry, depart from me, I never knew you.”  She gets led to the dark gate and I can hear her echoing cries “BUT NO ONE EVER TOLD ME!!!!”

Then I saw a Christian man standing bowing down in humbleness to Jesus. Jesus shows him flashes of his life, both the good and bad, and says “well done my good and faithful servant, you will enter my gates but I need to show you one thing that disappointed me …. you were supposed to be a preacher. When you were young, I gave you that calling but you didn’t listen.   Please see, my dear child, there are thousands who are not going to be here because you didn’t do what I told you to.”  The young man fell down crying and begging Jesus to forgive him.  

As my vision ended I realized that the man was me. He is me when I don’t listen to God’s call on my life. He is you if God is telling you to give that testimony, invite that neighbor to church or tell that friend what God has done for you and you don’t do it. Every minute of our lives is a gift from God and we need to use each precious one to serve Him and bring Glory and Honor to His name. We live in a lost world.  People know something is missing in their lives – they just don’t know it’s Jesus. The Bible instructs us in 1 Corinthians 4:2 “Those who have been given a trust must prove faithful”.  We need to share the plan of salvation and reach the lost. Is God calling you?

 

Romans 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”

Giving God Credit Where It’s Not Due

god

I believe in giving credit where credit is due, but I hear of so many people who credit God for the bad things in their life, and that is unfair and simply put – it’s just not true.  

There is a doctrine among Christians today that has been fired up by satan himself to get Christians to turn against God, or not see Him for the loving Father that He is. That doctrine is the belief that God is sovereign. Don’t get me wrong, the definition of sovereign is ‘having supreme authority’ and I do believe that God has authority over all things. He made the universe and everything in it. He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. I look forward to the day of his second return to the earth when He will make everything right. However, the belief that God controls everything that happens here on earth right now is a lie from the devil, and the devil is using this to turn people away from God by the multitudes. Please allow me to explain:

In Genesis 1:28, God gave humans dominion over the earth. He told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it”.   Adam and Eve did rule in the Garden of Eden. They even got to name every animal!   We all know the story of how the shrewd serpent tricked Adam and Eve into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and Adam and Eve fell to sin. When this happened God stood by and watched because His Word never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) . He gave them control and even though they messed up – they were still in control. This made our world an imperfect world when sin entered it.  

Most people assume that if God is supreme that nothing can happen without his approval. However the scriptures teach us in 2 Peter 3:9 that “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.   However people are perishing daily. This is because they have a free will to choose to repent or refuse, to choose heaven or hell.

If we believe that God controls everything – then we believe that God allows sickness, accidents, tragedies, and pre-mature death. This just doesn’t make sense with the God that I know and love.

Bad things happen because of three reasons:

  1. The Bible tells us that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. A lot of times things that happen in this world are a direct result of the devil trying to interfere with the plans that God has for your life and many times we allow satan to have his way because we listen more intently to what he says than what God says. “The thief (satan) comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy; I (God) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). 
  2. We have a free will to choose right and wrong. For instance I heard about a group of friends who were drinking and doing drugs while driving wildly. A terrifying accident occurred and they questioned why God would allow this to happen? Clearly, that accident happened because of their own free will and bad choices.  
  3. Finally, bad things sometimes happen just because we live in an imperfect world. Remember, when Adam and Eve fell to the serpent’s lies, sin entered the world. Because sin entered the world there is going to be fighting, strife, envy, wars. It’s inevitable right now.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God only has good things intended for you? He has never done you any harm, and He never will. Any problems you face are either from the devil, of your own doing, or just the results of living in a fallen, sin-filled world. God knew that sin needed dealt with and dominion needed brought back. That’s why he sent his son, Jesus, to die for our sins on a cross, rise again on the third day, and conquer hell once and for all. Someday, Christ will return to this earth and put all things under His control and command forevermore. Until then, He has given his believers a final word: “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all the strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all the believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:10-18.

It’s very hard to “fight the good fight” when we blame God for the bad things. Place the blame where it belongs, get angry at the one who is out to destroy you…. Not the one who loves you and paid a remarkable price for you. Remember, it’s easy: If it’s bad – it’s from satan BUT if it’s good – it’s from God. “Every good and perfect gift is from God” (James 1:17).