Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What Sends People to Hell?

Heaven and Hell are real places. Unless someone is deep into the occult or under the influence of alcohol or another sense numbing drug, most people imagine they will go to heaven or at least a nice neutral place. Few people willingly say they are going to hell. I have heard people pronounce this judgement on themselves because of an act they did that they deem hideous, but if given the option to check our final destination as one might check the boxes of what you want to eat on a hotel room service selection, nearly all would check the heaven box.



So if going to heaven or hell is truly a choice, and it is, what sends people to hell.

Literally it is God that moves us to our final destination, but He is simply fulfilling our choice already made in our life. We--the people of the world--individually either send ourselves to heaven or to hell.

But how, one might persist? And what exactly is the choice that made the decision so absolute?

JESUS is the critical choice.

A person either by the grace of God selects to receive Jesus as their Lord/Master and Savior OR a person rejecting God's saving grace selects to not have Jesus as their LORD, and thus their Savior. Jesus saves people from positively going to hell because they have sinned against God and thereby deserve hell because, in sin, they are unholy and can't possibly enter a sinless state in heaven. He gives all people a choice.

Jesus is a complete person. We can't pick part of Him and reject the rest. If we want to go to heaven, a place of God Worship, we ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins and to allow His sinless life, death and resurrection to be the price paid for our admission to heaven. Jesus is the answer God provided. It is His world and universe, therefore, being the Creator He gets to chose the rules.

So what sends a person to hell? Truly, that person himself, by rejecting God Himself, and choosing to live in denial of God and His Word. Scripturally it is called the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, since it is only by grace that the Holy Spirit opens a person's eyes to the truth and allows him a very real choice. Jesus is truly God who came in the flesh.

Do you want to obey and live for God?

If you say yes, then follow God as your living LORD,  study His Words in the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you down the narrow path daily in life.

If you say no, then live anyway you like--good or bad, according to any rules you like. Determine anything you want to be truth and follow as diligently or as sloppily as you desire. You may even choose to live wild, and in a sense ruleless, picking whatever will most satisfy your present desires and fill you with happiness or even ecstasy, for however long that feeling might last.

Those who --by God's grace--to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior, saying YES to God, go to heaven and are immediately sealed with the living Holy Spirit of God as a guarantee that they are going to heaven. God begins at that moment to change them from the inside out into the likeness of Christ Jesus. The more surrendered we live unto God, the more our life shines like a light in the darkness of evil sin continually committed on earth.

Those who say no, most definitely reject heaven and go to hell.

So what sends people to hell? They send themselves by rejecting Jesus. It is that simple.

Be forewarned, don't look to the people who claim to have chosen God as to proof of whether God is real, because you would be basing your eternity on potential liars. Sadly many people trick themselves and others by pretending on the outside to choose Jesus while all along they most definitely never have, but it makes themselves feel better to be accepted among a group of people they choose to align with to pretend, and at least to be near what they deem are good people.

Only look to God and His Word for your own personally decision. And thereby, live life to its fullest knowing you are responsible for your eternal destiny because you had a choice and you chose!

I have chosen God's way with having Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I wish everyone would choose the same. It is the best decision I made in my entire life and I am so thankful to have peace knowing my final destiny and being able to understand many complex issues in life. If you want my advice, of course, I say, kneel quickly as you can and repent of your life sins and as for forgiveness from God and tell Him you want Jesus as your Lord of your life and your Savior from spiritual death to have spiritual life.

Love,

Lindy

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Love of the Brethren - What is Christian Love?

As Brothers and Sisters of God, Christians, Followers of Jesus, we are asked by God to love each other,

but also unnaturally -in the worldly sense- are drawn by God's love within us to LOVE one another unconditionally.

It is said, "They will knew we are Christians by our love... of each other."



We are told that we know that "we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."

The want of love is so universal. The world talks about love as much as the church, and quite frankly, shows expressions of love toward others. There is an appeal to being and receiving love.

So what then is TRUE LOVE that is in the Brethren of the followers of Jesus Christ, that is so unlike that of the world when it loves.

It is the love we have of God that produces in each of us obedience to God.

1 John Verse 2, "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments."

This true love is spiritual love, not natural love of a personal attachment or founded in a self-interest or because we are among a common group that has similar sentiments and ways of living.

True Love, that possess us at salvation, the dwells within us who are God's children. His children, living in obedience to Him are like-minded because the world we live in is against God, us and lives in the sinful practices which God's grace has taught us to hate.

Therefore, by this we can recognize the Love of the Brethren: They are

  • washed by the same blood (the Blood of Jesus),
  • supplied by the same grace (His all sufficient grace through the cross)
  • opposed by the same enemies (Satan, his demons and all of his children) and 
  • have the same view of heaven.
Therefore, regardless of little differences, even painful interactions, we the children of God love one another with a pure heart fervently, PERIOD.

We love each other not because we deserve love, or because we are particularly loving, but because we are each bought by the precious blood of Jesus and given His Spirit of Love to dwell within our being, and thereby, we are compelled with a supernatural attraction to love brothers and sisters in Christ.

I love you. 

Lindy


If you enjoyed reading this post, you might also like to read I love the Church


Friday, April 12, 2013

God Chose Me

I am a mess. A delightful mess to God and therefore to myself but not to others... always. In this life I have learned to live by His acceptance and to let other's view of me to fade in light of His.

Throughout my weak life, I so long "to do", to be used by God, to partake in His ministry here on earth. Being alive and thus living on earth at this present moment I have no other choice-- if I am to be used by God, it must be practical.

But I have a great defect, I am a sporadic mess, or so it seems to me and others.

God Chose me! For me this is enough.


Fortunately for me, this highly qualifies me for God's team. He prizes in the weaker vessels, the ones that are continually emptying themselves out because they can find nothing good in and of themselves.

I frustrate human endeavors - their grand plans become muddled messes in my hands because I am fumbling around, up one day and down the next. I am vulnerable to affliction and derailed often.

I am a target, a war zone and not at all safe to be around for those who want the pleasant, easy life. It seems as thought disasters of this world follow me, but I know it is the infernal attack that is bombarded against me because I am HIS.

Today we are in a world of Jihadist - they keep a list of those who they consider to be the most grievous enemy, and offer a high reward to their own followers who are willing to go after and take down any who make their 'hit list'.

I am certain I am daily upon my God's enemy "hit list". While the enemy can do me NO eternal harm, he can continually thwart my consistency and ability to be reliable to the appreciated methods of the world, even and oddly most cherished, in the local Church of God.

I am a fireball, overcome with love and passion for God and I move quite consistently throughout life with this passion... I struggle to think of anything completely apart from the workings and effect of God's kingdom. I have been flogged by words of those who were in the Christian communities I participated as being 'too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.' And while those evaluations were made nearly 2 decades ago I do think the assessment has followed me.

Unpredictably Me because I am His


I make people uncomfortable, always seek for more of Him and less of me. Approaching events with spiritual eyes instead of the physical vision, I am afforded to see what the mere observer cannot, but this is not a blessing to the body of Christ. It has been my long experience that the Church body and particularly leadership wants everyone to see what they display--what they present to be seen-- and are gravely frustrated when someone, who claims to be a child of God,  sees something peculiarly different.

Of all my frustration of being God's child, I must say this has been my greatest heartache: to know that God chooses me, that He chose me 30 years ago and continues to be happy to claim me as His own, His precious daughter... the good, bad and ugly... He sees through to the finished work and by the veil of Christ. He adores me, and of course accepts me.

But His local church and people of the church (so many different bodies and varieties) look for finished works, polished packages, those they can display as fine examples of Christianity. It is here --among these chosen useful ones of the local church--that I am frankly not up to par. I am not programmable since I move with the Holy Spirit and therefore I can appear quite untamed in the current 21st century church order and experience.

To move with the Holy Spirit, to allow Him complete reign, is to live life unpredictably free. I never know where I might be told to go or what I might be told to do and that abandonment to Him alone is the vibrant enthusiasm in-which I thrive and glow. To be empowered by God is to be unpredictable, beautifully uncertain of the next move, because it is God alone who gets to orchestrate the melody.

I thank God for helping me to see why I appear to have such un-functionality in these eyes of the local church. And I only can pray that He connects me with the ministry I can partake for His utmost glory. Plugged into Him as my source, emptying myself to make more room for Him and then listening to be ever obedient to His whim or more particularly His need - I am alive, experiencing the Living God, and joyful to be chosen by Him, available, awakened to that which is Spirit instead of only physical.

God knows what I need and what I am able to do. I simply must learn to trust Him and be content in what He appropriates to me. My heart bubbles to be used by Him. Thank you, God! Thank you for every opportunity made available to me.

Lindy

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Morning Prayer - Learning How to Pray

Morning Prayers are very important. 


They help to start your day out with a God-centered focus.

However, morning prayers can be difficult because you want to get started on your day and so many things are needing to be done; you have a lot of distractions. If you still have children in the home, morning prayers sometimes feel like an impossible dream because after a time of being apart--during the  night--children often come to you and have many needs.



You can try to rise earlier, to provide extra time for you to spend in prayer because you feel you have so many things to get done. Some people finds this helps. The importance of making time for morning prayer reminds of a saying by Martin Luther:


“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” - Martin Luther quote.

The great German reformer, the man for whom the Lutheran Church began, Martin Luther, is quoted as saying he needed to spend at least three hours in prayer every morning because he had such a busy, filled day. He felt he needed this amount of time to cover the obligations and events of the day with God before he could begin doing them. He is a man that understood the importance and power of morning prayer.

When we pray, we allow God to filter through our thoughts and events of the day. We bring everything before Him prior to beginning our day. We let Him have input and to help us know whether He is supportive of our plans. Of course, it is best to not make any plans before you lay your ideas in front of God, letting Him help you to establish what you should do and how you should do it. Bringing things before God FIRST should be important to you if you are living for Him.

So, in morning prayer, as soon as you wake, you can prayer even before your feet hit the ground. Personally, if I am struggling with distractions I do this. I find if you can pray in bed, you make sure you don't do anything else to get distracted.

As you get more disciplined in praying, when morning prayer is established in your life, you might find it enjoyable to get up and ready for the day and then sitting down or kneeing in a special spot with your Bible, a journal and a devotional or Bible study type of book. Some people find it helpful to put on praise music; other get distracted by music.

Prayer is very personal and you will have to allow yourself to develop what works best for you.

In the morning when we pray, mercies are new. 





In morning prayer, thank God for the new day, greet Him, share with Him how you slept or any dreams you might remember and want to discuss. It is at this time that you will want to confess anything that could be keeping you separated from God, any known sin. You might also allow God the time to examine you for any unknown sin. It is important to consider the condition of your heart when you are starting to pray if you really want your prayers to be effective. He cares about all the details of your night. Don't forget to pause and listen allowing God time to respond to you.

James 5:16 - The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Sometimes people try too hard in prayer.


Some people think if they work hard enough, they can eliminate all of their thoughts--which is a type of meditative prayer--a very focused kind of prayer if you are aiming on focusing only on God, but it is not an essential element of morning prayer.

Think of morning prayer as "telepathically" getting God on the telephone. Actually you are SPIRITUALLY connecting with God. You turn your thoughts and spirit to Him, in a sense, calling Him to talk, and He answers the phone. He is listening for what you have to say and He is wanting to respond. Prayer is communication, talking to God. Don't try to complicate it by making it some spiritual exercise of contemplative oneness that must be achieved in order to consider it prayer. Daily prayer is very practical.

As you talk to God, worship Him, thank Him for the new day, then bring before Him your loved ones and your concerns for them. Ask Him to have mercy on them, to find ways to draw near to them, to help them make the best choices, to put people in their life that will help them grow spiritually, and if there is a very specific need, address it with God. Then, as always, listen for God's response.

Listening is Part of Communicating.


Since I make it a habit to listen for God's response, I find having a journal or something to write on as being necessary while praying, because I want to recall what God said or instructed me to do or say when I finish praying.  Listening to God is when people who are beginning to pray struggle. You might want to read, Struggling to Pray, which I previously wrote.

Many people get bombarded with voices and wonder which voice is God's. If Satan sees that you are getting serious about praying he will quickly try to challenge your attempts. He hates prayer and certainly does not want you communicating to God, being empowered by the Holy Spirit. He wants you to remain weak, fumbling through the day. He also does not want you to pray for others; he doesn't want God intervening in your love one's life.

What you need to know is that GOD is all-powerful and Satan (and his minions are not). In time, you will be able to quickly discern the voice of God, even over your own subconscious voices. Focus on the loving, patient, voice that is full of grace, with no condemnation. Narrow in on the voice that is gentle toward you, but strong in presence, the voice that is pouring out nurturing concern for you. Overtime His voice will be loud and clear-- even if hundreds of voices are all speaking at the same time. You will improve at learning to detect God's voice through practice in actually praying.

Let God order your day.


Frequently we have so much on our plate, our schedules are full. Therefore, it is so important that we let God order our day. He will help us to know what HE WANTS us to get done and in doing that step by step throughout the day, relying on God to order our steps, we can put our head on the pillow at night knowing we had a successful day, a day that was honoring and obedient to God. Trust me, or better yet, trust God -- you have enough time in a day to accomplish what God wants you to do. When you start to feel overwhelmed, pause during the day and ask HIM what HE WANTS you to do next. It is in this continually connectedness throughout the day that you will be empowered by God for the situation at hand and you will be most effective in living for Him. 

If you are truly, a follower of Christ, you will want to follow Him step by step through the day. Starting your morning in prayer is absolutely the way to begin each day as a follower of Christ!

I hope you enjoy God each morning in a time of prayer. Every day you try you are one day closer to praying daily in the morning.



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Help Me To Pray - Aloud

I have been doing a series of articles on prayer:

Struggling To Pray

Learning to Pray,

and Now, Help Me to Pray--Aloud.



So many Christians find "serving God" easier to do than praying. Matter of fact, "doing" comes easier than praying. We do every day - all day long - whether it is for God or not, BUT don't we also talk? Why do we struggle so much to pray?

We certainly don't struggle in talking. We are very relational. We text, twitter, Facebook, chat, IM and even occasionally phone one another. We are very familiar now with the technology of "talking" to someone who is not physically with us, therefore, if we apply our current abilities of modern communication to "talking" with God in prayer we should be pros!

In this post I am going to cover praying aloud!

I am not necessarily talking about group prayer, but verbal prayer. Our thoughts can run around flitting about as ideas pop into our conscious mind, but when we speak aloud our thoughts generally focus on what is being said. We can funnel this ability into our prayer life.

God hears our thoughts, he also hears our heart before thoughts are even formed in our linguistic part of our mind. He is Spirit and Truth! We are spiritual also.

We have a physical body; is an outward form and a highly proficient vessel created by God that allows us to live life on earth. But our soul is not of flesh and blood - Our soul includes our mental processing (our mind), our will and our emotions. Apart from our soul, we have a spirit.

Our spirit is the highest level of our being. When we are born again as Jesus taught Nicodemus we don't not re-enter our mother to be reborn physically - we are reborn spiritually. Sin caused us to be spiritually dead--to be disconnected from God. Jesus dying on the cross bore our sins--he died for them, took the penalty for them, BUT he rose from the dead. Because of this - and this alone- we are able to be alive in our spirit - alive to God - fully abiding in Him - fully connected to Him.

Therefore, we are able to communicate to God in Spirit and Truth. We - our soul-self- communicates to God through our reborn spiritual self, but we can use our physical body - our voice - to pray. Of course, prayer can be silent and only internal - our thoughts communicating to God by our spirit, but to discipline ourself, we can speak aloud when we pray.

Try it! Simply talk to God as you would a friend. Also pause, and listen.

Allow yourself to use a variety of means to stay connected to God. There is not one "spiritually right" way to pray. Give yourself freedom to pray in a variety of ways - it will grow your prayer life and your relationship with God.

So go ahead, talk aloud to God! Pray!

I am ending this post with a video I recorded, a very short sample of praying to God aloud.




Friday, April 5, 2013

Learning To Pray 101

To pray one must have faith, discipline and practice. I will begin with these three things in coaching how to pray. I can only help because I have run into all the floundering difficulties myself and continue to need to be reminded of these basic principles.



Praying takes faith- believing God is Who He says He is in the Bible and that what He says about life and us is true.

Prayer also takes persevering discipline to push through the instinct to get up and to be busy about the day or to go back to bed.

Finally, praying is a skill learned -just like every other form of communication- and therefore it takes practice.

FAITH

When you kneel to pray (or you may sit or lay prostrate before the Lord or any other position), you will commonly be bombarded with so many thoughts. Some will be doubts. Others will be things you need to do. Hopeful some will be longings to be with God and things you want to pray about--focus your attention on these things.

An excellent way to bring yourself into the presence of God is with music or reading of the Bible. Your ability to imagine - to see and think upon God and the things of God will be important in giving your brain something to focus on. So a song or a passage in Scripture can help you to fill your thoughts with God. Allow yourself to see images of what comes to the forefront of your thinking.

It is not uncommon to be bombarded with sin, images that are not pure and even some that are perverse when you are starting to learn to pray. You are a sinner saved, not a virgin-born perfect child of God like Jesus. You have a past and it will take time for sins to reduce in size until its memory is a burden no more. Cover those imagines or thoughts with the  blood of Christ--literally see the blood of Christ pour from the cross dripping onto and engulfing them. You will see how quickly the power of Christ's blood is in your life! If the enemy taunts, you gently but firmly remind him that he must leave "in the name of Jesus and the blood of Jesus." Tell him to be silent and repeat this phrase - by it - he must obey and go.

God says we are to pray to Him. Therefore you must approach prayer with at least a mustard seed size of faith believing if He asks us to do something that it is real and that He will teach us how.

Would He ask us to do something that is not possible? Certainly not!

So when you kneel to pray, come with confidence that HE is waiting and wanting you to do so. He is the one able to make prayer possible - your faith is in HIS ability, not yours. (that should take some pressure off!) God makes prayer a reality in our life. Do not forget if you are saved--born from above--trusting God as your Lord in your life and your Savior of your sins--you are the temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells in you. I know this is hard to believe, but if God says it is true--it is so!

You might want to start with a simple statement: Dear LORD, teach me to pray and help my unbelief.

Praising goes hand in hand with prayer and is the way we are ushered into God's presence and the way we get satan/his minions to flee. So lift up praises to God. Worship Him. Thank Him for all the good He is and has done. Love on Him lavishly and let Him respond to your affections with His Words of love. Prayer is a two-way communication.

Perseverance

Resist the impulse to quickly finish. Train yourself to remain before God 5, 10, or 15 minutes gradually growing. Even if both-you and God-are silent, be still and know that you are with God. Wait on Him. Nothing in your life is more important than God - give HIM some time in your day. Just as when you begin exercising you will quickly want to quit--to throw in the towel but I say, "Sit on the towel so you can't toss it!" (in a figurative sense, or literal as it might be helpful to you).

Allow God you lead your prayer time. He may bring up things. Let Him speak to you. If He addresses an area of sin, agree with Him that it is indeed sin and repent: asking forgiveness and determining to turn away from it and to sin no more. If He brings up things to do or that are undone, receive instruction on the steps He wants you to take. (Having a notebook to jot down things is very important during prayer.)

 If people come to mind pray for them. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in how to pray for a person; pray His will and purpose for them -not yours. And if it is a person you have a conflict with, again as in other areas of sin, ask God to forgive you and to help you deal with this person in the way He would desire. Release this person from any obligation they might owe you and let God be the one they are accountable to for repentance and restoration (even for punishment)--not you. God says, "Vengeance is mine." Let Him be God in your life over all things and people. 

Over time--in other blog posts-- I will give more ideas and instruction in prayer, but this is enough to get started. Do not think you are not praying if you are in meditative silence. Let your mind clear of the clutter and to fill of God's goodness. Waiting on God is a simple but essential step in prayer.

Practice

Prayer is a new skill you are acquiring. We don't speak a foreign language without taking the time to learn and to practice. Praying is a foreign language to sinful man. You will have to be willing to invest time. You will blunder through many beginnings. You will be frustrated and feel like you are getting nowhere. These are all common to learning anything new. 

God instructs us to be like little children. Think about how little children find faith easy and rarely question the existence of God or the ability to pray. Do you ever hear a little child see a table of paint and brushes lament that they can't draw or paint? Of course, not.

 As we grow older, we become more critical of ourselves and want to do things perfect or not at all. In the process of learning to pray, you will have to push through this kind of thinking and to continue to practice daily or even a few times a day. Starting your morning and ending your evening in prayer are both excellent beginning steps.

If you were going to learn to play a musical instrument or a computer software program, you would set aside several frequent and consistent times to learn. Prayer is no different. It is important, so make time. You will be more than blessed for the minutes you give to being in the presence of the God who created the universe and YOU!



If you have questions or comments, I will respond.  I plan on writing several more blog posts on prayer to help as many as possible to enjoy the gift we have in spending one on one time with God.

Truly there is so much we have to learn! 

If you are struggling it might help to read this post I wrote earlier.