You can choose to go to Heaven

To me the best salespeople aren’t the ones who try to pressure me into doing what they want me to do.  To me the best salespeople are the ones who give me the facts and respect me enough to let me make up my own mind.  One of my former pastors, Rev. Dave Terhune, used to say that he’s in sales and God is in management.  My pastor presented Jesus, told how much Jesus loved them (by dying in their place, and rising from the dead to give them new life forever), and their response and the consequences of their response (surrender to Jesus and live with Him forever; decide not to surrender, or decide not to decide, and be separated from Jesus forever (Hell)).

Pastor Dave never saved a single soul using this method.

But God saved hundreds of people, using Pastor Dave, using this method.  Give people the truth.  Give them the options and consequences of those options.  And let God do the rest.  Because only He can do the rest.

Contrary to what much of what our culture believes, God loves you and everyone else.  In eternity past He thought: I want to make a Jim McNaughton.  Now God knew before He made me that I would reject Him and need to have my mind taken away from me for ten years before I would be humbled enough to accept Him.  He knew that I would hate Him when I was in that pain, for what He had done to me .  He loved me enough that he was willing to endure me and my rebellion, until at last I surrendered to Him.  Now I realize that all that indescribable pain was worth it.  On the other side of ignorance and pain is the realization that God suffered with me and for me and I was never alone.  Mental Illness was a gift packaged in pain that changed my attitude from pride to humility.  Looking back the pain was infinitely worth it.  And I would go through it again if that was the only way to know Christ.  But… I definitely would not want to go through it again if I didn’t have to go through it again.

I think it was King David who said, “Strike me, it is a kindness.” And his son King Solomon that said, “The wounds of a friend can be trusted.”  Just because I was in the worst pain I have ever experienced didn’t mean that God didn’t exist, that God was powerless to stop the pain, or that God was evil.  God exists, He gave me the pain, and He made it work together for my good.

Millions of people suffer infinitely more than I have.  I don’t know why God allows so much pain.  But, I believe that when someone hurts, He hurts.  I watched the movie, God’s Not Dead, a few hours ago and they brought up our Free Will.  God chose to give us a choice as to whether we believe, trust and obey Him.  Or, whether we do not believe, trust and obey Him.  When we believe, trust and obey God we experience peace, joy and love.  All that is going on around us may be chaos.  But, on the inside, we enjoy God’s presence.  When we choose not to believe trust and obey him we experience evil, or the absence of God.

God wants you to choose life, to choose Him because He knows He is the best thing for you.  He made you because He wanted to love you and wanted you to experience His joy in receiving and giving love.  But He respects you and your right to choose.  He will not force Himself on you.  When He made you He placed you in times and circumstances that would best influence you to search for Him and find Him and realize that He loves you.  But He also allows you to choose to ignore Him, and pretend He does not exist, and die without Him, forever.  He is not wrong for allowing this.  It is the outflow of having a Free Will.  If you say to God, “Leave me alone, leave me alone, leave me alone,” (active rejection), or decide not to decide, (passive rejection), He will do what you want.  And an eternity without God is Hell.

God is desperately pleading with you to choose Life, to choose Him.  But the only guaranteed time you have is today.  His arms are stretched out to you, His hands open wide.  But it is up to you.  Will you return His love?

Jesus was faithful again in a small/large thing

My wife called me and said she had lost a roll of 100 stamps.  To us, $56.00 is a lot of money.  We prayed over the phone, dear Jesus, please find the stamps.  It was 5:00pm and my wife had bought the stamps at the Post Office around 9:30am.  She had searched everywhere and so decided to go back to the Post Office where she bought them.  As she approached the Post Office’s parking lot she prayed, dear Jesus, I know you care about postage stamps.  When she got to the parking lot she saw the top of the tiny, flattened, cellophane covered roll of stamps.  She called me and said excitedly, “Did you  know God cares about our finances?”

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”

God cares about the smallest details of our lives.  That is the character of Jesus.  He cares so much about you that He decided He would rather die than spend eternity without you.  And now it’s your turn to decide if you want to spend eternity with Him.  He will not force you, He’s a gentleman, and only goes where He’s invited.  He offers eternal life, right now, not just after you die.  And you don’t have to be perfect, that’s His work, to make you like Himself.  You do have to choose, as He makes you able, to not sin anymore.  But if you do sin again, He is faithful and forgives you and helps you through the consequences of sin.  He will also challenge you to discover that His way is better than any sin.  When you choose to obey Him, He will give you real life, real joy, real meaning, real satisfaction.  You will discover that satan’s way has never ultimately satisfied you like Jesus’ way.

Jesus is with you right now.  He can give you the power to change.  All you have to do is ask Him, and let Him give you the power to obey Him.

Defeating the sin which so easily ensnares us

Satan is appealing to my pride again.  He is telling me (not in words, but in thoughts and feelings) that I KNOW SO MUCH ABOUT GOD that I don’t need to learn from other people (which God says in Proverbs clearly that I do need to learn from others).  I identified this feeling when in a Christian bookstore reading the covers of some books.  I decided to buy the book I was looking at (and my feelings were telling me that I didn’t need to read it).  Then I told my wife what I was going through. 

I have started reading the book (All In: You are one decision away from a totally different life by Mark Batterson) and it is very good and I am learning alot and being motivated alot (which satan didn’t want). By telling my wife about my struggle, the sin of pride is not in the dark anymore, where it can grow and destroy me.  Instead, it is in the light which exposes its true malicious intent.

1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.                                                                             – Paul the Apostle, Hebrews 12:1 NKJV


 I experience world-class feelings of insecurity and inferiority sometimes.  Satan used my God-given need to feel the value God has given us, against me.   However, detecting satan can be so difficult sometimes.  He can be so subtle and appeals to our God-given needs (but he wants us to meet those needs outside of God’s will).  But by following Jesus I (and you) can defeat satan.

It has been said that to learn how to recognize counterfeit money you have get to know the real thing better.  It has also been said that to learn how to recognize satan, get to know Jesus better.