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There are only two ways: The right way and the wrong way.
There is no third way.
Something cannot be a little bit right or a little bit wrong: it is simply either right or wrong.
If there is any measure of wrong in a thing, then it is wrong.
If there is no measure of wrong in a thing, then it is right.
A REMINDER FROM JESUS (more…)
God changes his mind. He never changes, mind you (he’s the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever), but he does change his mind. There are numerous instances in the Bible when he was about to render his judgement and then, through a last minute appeal, stayed his hand.
As a born-again, the purpose of your time here on Earth is to do whatever it takes to make it home to Heaven. The way to get there is The Way that Jesus showed us. Here’s a summary of the four most important points that you need to take to heart AND DO if you want to make it home.
First and foremost, you must put God first and foremost. Jesus said that this was the most important commandment. If your earthly family and friends and their needs and wants are more important to you than God, then you won’t make it home. Remember Jesus saying to the guy who wanted to attend his father’s funeral “Let the dead bury the dead; come follow me”? Remember Jesus clearly defining “family” as those who do the will of God? He said: “Who is my mother? Who is my brother? Those who do the will of my Father in Heaven are my mother, my sister, and my brother.” It might come across as harsh, but Jesus meant it to sound so. He meant to shake people up and remind them what their priority should be.
You are either aligned with the world or you’re aligned with God. You can’t be both.
The world is very good at tempting us to forget about our purpose. It sidetracks us, demonizes us, perverts scripture, and even tries to redefine what it means to be a born-again Christian. God permits all this because it is part of our test: He wants to know if we truly want what we say we want. It’s all well and good to claim that you want to follow Jesus and live a “Christian life” (whatever that means), but when things get tough, do you get tougher or do you just wimp out? Scripture says that most will ‘fall away’ from God. You don’t get a third chance if you fall away this time around. Being born-again is already your second and last chance. God didn’t have to give us a second chance, but he did so out of love for us. We all screwed up the first time and fell for the lies of Satan. We rebelled against God. Don’t do it again. Always put God first, even if it means you must suffer and die for it.
Secondly, you must go out in the world and preach the Good News. You must. That’s not just a suggestion; that’s an order from Jesus, who was handing it on from God. How you choose to do the preaching is between you and God, but my advice is DON’T DO IT FOR MONEY. Freely you have received from God, freely you give. The so-called churches that have appropriated the gospel for their own purposes ALL preach for money. They water down and twist God’s Word so as not to alienate any potential customers, but they do this to their own detriment. Don’t be like them. Jesus never preached or taught for money. Be like Jesus.
Thirdly, you must endure to the end. Being born-again is not a first-class ticket to Heaven. It’s a means to getting that ticket, but it’s not a ticket in itself. The Jews thought that being children of Abraham meant they had a guaranteed ticket to Heaven, and Jesus told them they were wrong. Christians or born-agains who think their state of grace is all it takes to get to Heaven are just as wrong at the Jews who thought their Jewishness was enough. Jesus very, very clear in this regard: THOSE WHO ENDURE TO THE END WILL BE SAVED. Just because you’re in a state of grace now doesn’t mean that you’ll die in a state of grace, and those who do not die in a state of grace will not make it to Heaven.
Jesus is very, very clear about that, too, when he says that we MUST be born-again to get to Heaven. Being born-again means being in a state of grace. Grace can be lost, not by a decision of God but as an outcome of our own choices. If you consciously and persistently choose against God’s will, you will lose your grace. If you do something that might appear to be “good” in your own eyes but God says not to do it and you go ahead and do it anyway – that’s sin. God’s spirit cannot dwell in the same soul as sin. Paul spoke about it, as did Jesus. If you lose grace, there is no way to get it back. Jesus said that losing grace is even worse than not having it in the first place – the house that was swept clean is later inhabited by more and worse demons than it was the first time around. Jesus said it would have been better for that person never to have been born.
Fourth and final – you must shake people up. Jesus did it, and so must we. He said he wasn’t come to bring peace to the world but a sword that will divide families and make enemies of unbelievers. The chief characteristic of those who are unbelievers is that they are asleep. We need to wake them up. It’s better for them to hate us and maybe someday turn and embrace God, than for them to keep sleeping and never turn. If they hate us, there’s hope for them. I used to hate born-agains, and look at me now!
God put his laws into everyone’s hearts. That means every soul here on Earth today has God’s laws engraved on their souls. They all crave what we crave – to do God’s will and to go home to Heaven – but their craving is stifled by their self-inflicted pain of sin. We’re not going to shake them out of their sleepy stupor or shock them out of their self-absorbed pity by tip-toeing around and trying not to offend anyone. Remember Jesus’ conversation with the Samarian woman at the well? He didn’t hide his Jewishness or the fact that he was the Messiah, even though Samarians and Jews were not supposed to socialize in those days. If everyone who knows us doesn’t know that we’re born-again followers of Jesus, we’re doing something terribly wrong. We’re God’s representatives here on Earth, just as Jesus was. Jesus didn’t tip-toe around, not for anyone’s sake, and neither should we.
So go ahead – get spat on, be called a bigot and crazy and narrow-minded, be an outcast from your family and friends, lose your job, get driven from your hometown, and get arrested for preaching God’s Word. If you suffer all this solely for being a born-again follower of Jesus, then congratulations, my friend! You are well and truly on The Way home.
God means business.
The “everyone gets a gold star” mentality has no place in God’s kingdom on Earth. Not everyone is going to make it to Heaven. In fact, most people, as a result of their own free-will choices, will end up in Hell.
This is the hard-core reality that should govern everything we do every day.
Jesus spent a lot of time haranguing his disciples for their lack of faith. He nagged them and goaded them solely to remind them that God means business. It’s not enough to be Jewish. It’s not enough to be born-again. It’s not enough just to “believe” or to do “good works”.
You must have faith, and you must also demonstrate that you have faith. You do this by submitting 100% to God in everything you do. Not just a little bit, not just in some things, and not just on Sundays, but in everything, every day, all day.
Faith is trusting only in God and doing God’s will even if it is contrary to the way of the world. Faith is submitting to God for no other reason than it is the right thing to do in God’s eyes. Faith is not only knowing that God knows best, but showing that God knows best. You do this by making God-inspired choices every day, all day. Faith is lived, not just spoken about.
We all have an expiry date on our bodies. Our souls will go on, but our bodies will die. The expiry date of our body is our own personal End Of The World. This could happen at any time, even today. Where we are at that time in our relationship with God (in other words, the extent of our faith) determines where we’ll spend eternity.
God means business. He loves us all the same and he wants us all to come home, but if we aren’t submitting to him 100% in everything we do for whatever time we have left on Earth, we can’t go home. There’s no place in Heaven for rebellion against any aspect of God. It’s God’s way or no way.
Jesus showed us what full submission to God looks like. He lived The Way and taught The Way, and our job, before our expiry date arrives, is to live it and teach it just as Jesus did.
God means business. I cannot stress enough how real and how permanent Heaven and Hell are. Heaven is the best we’ve experienced and can imagine; Hell is the worst we’ve experienced and feared. We can choose our way to Heaven, or we can choose our way to Hell.
This is the hard-core truth: Most of us will end up in Hell.
Jesus said that the path home is narrow, and those who find it are few.
Not everyone gets a gold star.
God means business.
Just a reminder.
Our goal is to make it to Heaven, and our way to get there is to become as much like Jesus as possible. Jesus was fully human but also fully filled with God’s spirit. Jesus was not God, but God worked powerfully through him. This was possible because Jesus freely and willingly gave his free will over to God in everything he did. Everything. Not just some things – everything. That’s what we need to do to be like Jesus, and that’s what we must do to make it to Heaven.
In contrast, the “man of perdition” that Paul mentioned, who is the same one that Daniel described and that John wrote about in Revelation, will do the opposite of what Jesus did. That’s because instead of being filled with God’s spirit, he’ll be filled with Satan’s. In other words, a human will provide the body for the disembodied “Father of Lies” himself.
I was an atheist for the first 36 years of my life. During that time, various demon spirits moved in and out of me, most of them evil. I didn’t consciously invite them in; they just showed up as a consequence of my misguided thoughts and actions. I drew them to me, but unconsciously. Now, as a born-again follower of Jesus, evil spirits are still around me, but there’s no longer any room for them in me because God’s spirit has taken up residence. No human can have both God’s spirit and evil spirits at the same time. It’s either one or the other.
As Paul pointed out, everyone who doesn’t acknowledge that Jesus is Lord is antichrist (literally, “opposed to Jesus the Christ”), which means that most of the world’s population is antichrist. The man of perdition is also antichrist, but he’s not just your regular run-of-the-mill antichrist. He’s so antichrist that he’s considered The Antichrist. This is a man who has consciously chosen to host Satan’s spirit and to consciously work in opposition to Jesus (and therefore to God), so we’re talking one messed-up dude here. You don’t become The Antichrist by mistake: you become The Antichrist on purpose.
I mention this because the spiritual landscape is swiftly changing. The people of the world are being repositioned and softened up to accept a “global” leader who will be the man of perdition. God warned us about him through Jesus, Paul, Daniel, John and others, so he’s definitely coming. As born-agains, we’ll know him when we see him, and our job at that time will be to warn others about him, and to keep showing people the only way home to God.
Here’s what we should expect of The Antichrist. He’ll be very rich and well-positioned politically and religiously. He’ll perform “miracles” and will know everything about everyone. He’ll also be extremely handsome and charismatic; most of the world will be spell-bound by him and will without hesitation die or kill for him. His hold over people will be supernatural and powerful, and no-one will be able to escape his lure unless they’re born-again. Yet, sadly, even some born-agains will fall for him.
I’ve been under the thrall of demons, so I know how powerful their hold can be. I would still be under their control were it not for God rescuing me, but only after I cried out to him. God has given us all free will and he’ll never ask for it back. He respects our right to choose and won’t force his will on us, even if it means we choose our way to Hell. But the instant we break and cry out for help, God is there.
In contrast to what the world considers to be freedom (i.e., doing whatever you want to, whenever you want to do it), true freedom is putting your free will 100% into God’s hands and asking for his help and guidance in everything you do. As born-agains, we know this is true, because we live that reality every day. We know what it is to live without God’s help, and we know what it is to live with it, and there’s no comparison between the two. I’d rather live just one more day with my will completely in God’s hands than to live forever without his help.
The Antichrist has chosen the latter path, and that’s a horrible place to be. Even the pleasures of near-absolute power will in no way make up for what happens after that cold heart stops beating, and stop beating it will. Scripture tells us that The Antichrist’s days are numbered, and that Hell is his final reward.
Hell is the final reward of all antichrists.
We need to be reminded of that every so often.
Heaven is our goal. Following Jesus as a born-again is the only way to get there. The Antichrist will try to persuade us otherwise, either through temptation or brute force. He knows all of our weaknesses, and he’ll try to exploit them. He’ll try to convince us that God’s Way is not only narrow but narrow-minded. He’ll brand us bigots. He’ll outlaw God’s Word. He’ll torture and kill those who won’t comply with his dictates. He’ll even torture and kill our family and friends. He’ll promote alternative belief systems that have elements of God’s Way but ultimately are antichrist.
Don’t fall for his lies. Don’t be deceived. Don’t be afraid.
Stay your course and endure to the end, no matter what that entails.
Jesus is Lord and God is our Father. We don’t bow down to anyone else.
Remember that when your time comes.
Every born-again believer has three main jobs while they’re here on Earth – the first is to tell people about Heaven, the second is to show them how to get there, and the third is to “endure to the end”.
If you’re reading this, your end hasn’t come yet, so you’d better keep enduring. Otherwise, Heaven is no guarantee for you, any more than it is for anyone.
As for telling people about Heaven and showing them how to get there – the best way to find out about Heaven is to read scripture and ask God questions, and the best way to show people how to get to Heaven is to point to how Jesus lived his life and to make the choices he made.
Jesus is not just our example of how to live a good life – he’s everyone’s example, no exceptions.
One thing we need to clear about is that Earth is a knock-off of Heaven – a very small, very imperfect knock-off. Earth is bound by time and space, whereas Heaven is boundless and eternal. Earth can corrode and rot, but Heaven cannot. There is no death, disease or decay in Heaven. Everything and everyone are perfected, but not in a mindless or automaton kind of way. On the contrary: Imagine the best day you’ve ever lived on Earth, when your mind was clear and sharp, your body was primed and invigorated, and the weather was exhilarating. That’s a foretaste of how you’ll live every day in Heaven. Now combine that with the emotional ecstasy you experienced on being reborn, at that instant when the demons exited and God’s spirit entered in. There are no words on Earth to describe that ecstasy because it is not an earthly sensation; it’s Heaven.
So this is what Heaven is like – perfect senses, perfect body, perfect feelings, perfect weather. Every day, all day.
And the sleeps at night – like nothing you’ve ever experienced on Earth! Absolutely perfect sleeps, without exception.
When you ask people what they think Heaven is like, they usually talk about clouds and harps and angel wings. This is not Heaven; this is satanic propaganda to make Heaven look alien and boring and dissuade you from wanting to go home. Because that’s what Heaven is – home: The true homeland of all souls. We’ve already been there because we were created there. And every iota of our being wants to go back.
In fact, we want to go back so much, we try to recreate Heaven here on Earth. We do it through social systems (where everyone is equal and is watched over by allegedly ‘benign’ leaders who strive for the ‘common good’) or through medical care (where people are injected with chemicals to appear ‘beautiful’ and ‘youthful’ and ‘healthy’) or by living beyond our means. We are goaded to strive for artificially ‘perfected’ bodies, to live in a dream home with a dream kitchen, and to take occasional breaks from our dream jobs to go on dream vacations, sometimes in our dream cars. None of these things are, of course, anywhere near perfect, and none of them ever truly satisfy us, no matter how “dreamy” we or our surroundings become. Other than for the presence of God’s spirit, it’s impossible to recreate the ease and perfection of Heaven here. God made it impossible so that we wouldn’t get too comfortable on Earth and lose sight of our true destination.
There is nothing on Earth that can compare to Heaven, except for the presence of God’s spirit and the beauty of God’s creation.
In Heaven, everyone believes in God and everyone follows Jesus. Everyone is young and beautiful and healthy. There is no pain, either physical or mental, no regrets, no bad memories, and no bad thoughts Everyone is athletic and everyone can “sing like the angels”. There is only love in Heaven; no fear. Nothing rots. There are no conspiracies against God; no grumbling; no doubters. Think of the best day or best moments you’ve ever experienced, and then expand that into infinity. That’s Heaven.
As Jesus reminded us, we each have our own personal space in Heaven. It’s our real forever home. God has shown me mine. It’s everything that I’ve ever wanted in a home, and all my “treasures” are there. It’s small and cosy, and there’s a beautiful garden out back with all my favourite trees and flowers and butterflies and birds. My cats are there, too (they even have their own wing!), along with all my favourite foods. And there’s a huge skating surface to the rear of my property where I can figure skate to my heart’s content, performing tricks and manoeuvres that I could never do while on Earth in my imperfect, non-athletic body.
By the way – you’re all invited to come visit me in Heaven, if you make it and I make it. Just drop by and say: “You invited me on your blog”, and we’ll sit down and have a big slice of whatever you fancy the most, washed down with your favourite beverage. And then we’ll have a good old chat, because we’ll instantly be the best of friends in a way we could never be on Earth.
Only those who love God and choose his way will make it to Heaven. Maybe some people we knew on Earth will be there, but maybe not. Those who don’t make it, we have no recollection of when we’re in Heaven. We don’t mourn them or miss them because, for us, it’s as if they never existed.
They, on the other hand, can never forget us or what they’ve forfeited by their wrong choices while on Earth. That’s one of the most horrendous aspects of Hell – never being able to forget or overcome regrets or escape the consequences of bad choices. Hell is one long tortuous panic attack that never ends. And that’s on a good day in the Pit.
God’s shown me my little piece of Heaven so I’ll know what’s waiting for me if I keep on the right path. This helps me endure what’s going on here now and also provides a powerful incentive to make the right choices, especially when the temptations are strong. Paul was shown Heaven; everyone who’s born again is shown Heaven. All you have to do is ask God and he’ll show you, when you’re ready. Bug him enough, and he’ll show you a little sneak-peek, even if you’re not quite ready. He loves showing you what he’s got “stored up” for you. He just doesn’t want you to get ahead of yourself and assume that Heaven is a given.
Because Heaven is not a given, not for anyone.
Hell still remains an option as long as you’re here.
Our best experiences on Earth are a foretaste of Heaven. Don’t mess it up for yourself.
Follow Jesus all the way home.
To the world (non-believers), death is defeat. It means “game over”, battle lost, start crying. Non-believers use every means at their disposal to prolong their life, as their goal is to delay death and live as long as they can.
In contrast, to believers, death is when real life begins. It’s what we’re living for, so the less time we spend on Earth, the better.
The night before he died, Jesus told his disciples that if they loved him, they’d be happy for him because he was going home. His disciples were crying, but he told them they should instead be happy. He said that where he was going was infinitely better than where he was, and that if they really understood that, they’d be celebrating with him, not crying and trying to hold him back.
We’re trapped in our mortal bodies, and death is the only way out. It’s important that we see our body as something separate from who we really are. Paul called the body a vessel of the spirit, and so it is. We should look after our body (just as we would any vessel that we use daily), but we shouldn’t obsess over it. Our body is just a container. It’s what our body contains that we should be obsessing over.
A few days ago, I caught the tail-end of a film discussion. A woman was describing how the director had been forced by popular consent to change the film’s ending from the main character dying to the main character “riding off into the sunset”. She referred to the “riding off into the sunset” ending as a happy ending. Listening to the woman, I recalled how I viewed death when I was an atheist. I saw it as inescapable and inevitable, but I didn’t want to think about and I certainly didn’t want to talk about it. If someone got sick and died – well, that person “lost the battle”. Death was ugly and sad; the thought of it was like a funeral dirge overlaying the Happy Birthday song of life.
The dead relatives and friends I went to see at funeral homes looked odd to me. It was them, and it wasn’t them. I couldn’t quite place what made them look different (skin tone? prone position? set of the mouth?). The “life”, as they say, was gone out of them, but what was that life? As an atheist, I had no answer for that.
Now, as a believer, I have an answer. I know what the “life” is that leaves the body at death. And I see death as something to look forward to as long as I stay in God’s grace.
I’m not afraid of death and it doesn’t make me sad to think or talk about it. On the contrary, I’m looking forward to death the way an expectant mother looks forward to giving birth for the first time – slightly nervous about the pain that might accompany the event, but joyously excited about what comes afterwards.
What I dislike about death now is how it is misrepresented in mainstream so-called Christian religion. I hate the lies that are spouted at funerals (which I no longer attend). I hate the presumption that all Christians go to Heaven. It’s a flat-out lie. Jesus dealt with the same presumption with the Jews of his day, and he also hated that lie. The Jews hated him for telling them that their presumption was a lie. Instead of listening and accepting truth, they hated him. This same skewed mindset about death and Heaven pervades mainstream Christianity today.
Death is a happy ending for those who die in God’s grace. It’s their reward or “payment for services rendered”. We need to revise our view of death to see it not as a failure or ‘sad ending’, but as Jesus saw it. Heaven is everything we’ve ever wanted. It’s a place of no tears, no pain, no unhappiness, no dissatisfaction, no ugliness, no homelessness, no rot, no decay, no hunger and no sickness. If we make it to Heaven, we’ll be ‘perfected’ in every way. This is not something to cry over or be afraid of. We’d be crazy to cry over that. Our earthly bodies are but a pale shadow of what our glorious Heavenly bodies will be. It’s like our souls are now wrapped in a filthy rag (our Earthly bodies), but some day, if we stay close to God, our soul be wrapped in the finest of materials (our Heavenly bodies).
Despite how much we have to look forward to in Heaven, we are never to hasten our own death. Suicide (even doctor-assisted) is self-murder, and murder is contrary to the commandments. Those who knowingly and willingly violate the commandments and remain unrepentant will not be rewarded by a place in Heaven. God has written his laws in our hearts, so there is no excuse for doing what we know in our heart-of-hearts is wrong.
The best course is to live out your life to its natural conclusion and go willingly when your time has come. I have no doubt whatsoever that people know when their time has come. God tells them, one way or another, and then gives them time to repent. He also gives them strength to endure, if they align their wills with his. Even those who don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear will know when their time has come. God loves us all equally and doesn’t want any of us to go to Hell. But to Hell we’ll go, if, even on our death bed, we choose man’s laws over God’s.
Jesus infuriated the Jews of his day when he told them outright that they would likely go to Hell and that the people they looked down on (tax collectors, prostitutes, beggars, etc.) would likely go to Heaven. The religious Jews saw their Jewishness as a ticket to Heaven, but nothing could be further from the truth. The religious ‘Christians’ of today have the same arrogance and false expectations. And if you point that out to them, you’ll get the same response as Jesus got.
Sometimes, as Jesus showed us, it’s better to say nothing.
The world sees death as a medical failure and something to fear. Don’t be fooled by that lie. But also don’t be fooled by the lie that Heaven is a sure bet for believers. Rather, see death as Jesus saw it – a great reward and homecoming for those who freely do God’s will. There is no happier ending than what awaits those very, very, very few who die in God’s grace and in God’s time.
Aim for Heaven. Don’t proudly expect it – aim for it.