Saturday, February 18, 2017

Nothing but Net

 “Just as a body, though one has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”       1 Corinthians 12:12-14


Today, like most days, I got out of bed early, made some coffee and sat down to read my Bible and other studies. I discovered Rick Warren’s A Purpose Driven Life years ago, but because I tend to lose focus at times of the “oh look, there’s a bunny” variety, I’ve never finished the book. The point of it is to take a forty day journey into self-discovery and develop a closer relationship with God. I'm really liking the book because it puts things in my life into perspective.

I’m on day four so far (fingers crossed), titled “Made to Last Forever.” I read about how we aren’t made for just the here and now but are made to serve God’s purpose into eternity. This earth is only the starting point in our journey of what’s to come. Rick Warren describes what we should be focused on in terms of eternity instead of what we typically focus on in our short lives here.

So I started thinking about my own purpose and talked to God for about an hour before I believe He gave me an epiphany about what I was saying. I thought of an iceberg and the typical analogy about the surface being only a small part of the whole. Then, I pictured a basketball net situated directly above the top of the iceberg. Strange I suppose, but it made sense the more I thought about it.

As we know, there is only a small sheet of ice sticking out of the water in comparison to the rest on the top of an iceberg. I think of people as a unit as the surface layer and God as the remainder bringing us all together into one piece of ice joined with Him. Though people make up only a fraction of the bulk, our purpose in being here is nonetheless very important. We are One, and every flake of snow sticks together in a snowball of purpose; every shot we make in the net above adds to the score board.

The game of basketball is made up of teams. Each member is important, no matter what their position, to the overall success of winning the game. Each point adds to the ultimate victory in the end, and as long as the team focuses on this goal they’ll play successfully. In sync, the team is unstoppable, and the work the coach puts into ensuring each player develops the strength and skill to play their position shows.

When people serve their God-given purpose in life, they make continuous perfect shots into the net above the iceberg. Their efforts are added to the surface steadily growing its mass over time. Every single shot matters because we are brought together as individuals serving one singular purpose of advancing God’s kingdom bringing each of us a sense of fulfillment in what we do. We are truly one body, and when the group succeeds, it benefits all. Shot after shot, our snowballs help solidify the surface of the iceberg as we offer our unique gifts to it.

I firmly believe that all people want to be loved and accepted for what they bring to the world. They want to know that who they are matters. Nobody wants to feel or be seen as a nobody. We weren’t designed by our awesome Creator to be losers, but unfortunately many don’t see the value in themselves. They believe the lies they’ve heard about who they are, or they’ve been pushed down too many times by life’s circumstances and heartbreak to feel worthy of more.

What many don’t understand is that they personally have something unique to offer this world, something only they are capable of giving it. Their position on the team matters. Even when someone chooses not to play the game, their decision pertaining to the whole of humanity makes a difference. Getting side-tracked and choosing to follow the important things of this world instead of their true purpose for eternity matters. Every choice we make either adds to the top of the iceberg or it doesn’t, and playing half-heartedly will not help the team. Half-hearted attempts to participate take away from the whole point of the game. 

You might say that the contribution you make in the game doesn’t really make a difference. Think of it this way though; if everyone else felt the same way, what would happen? Nothing, that’s what. We’d all be sitting on the benches or in the audience wondering where the players are. There’d be no game. We'd automatically forfeit by not showing up.

 God gave us the gift of free will to be used as we choose. Granted, there are times when we must take a break and sit on the side-lines because we are too tired or to give someone else a chance to shine, but we aren’t supposed to stay there indefinitely. We have to make an effort to get back in the game when we’re ready. We have to add to the mound of solidarity on the iceberg that purposeful work brings. 

The enemy in this world doesn’t want us to know about any of this. He is the star player of the opposing team trying to score on us in any way that he and his teammates can. He plays dirty, not caring about being fair or playing by the rules. He’s the bully who knocks you to the ground when you play.

But, there’s good news! The leader of humanity’s team is Jesus Christ, and by playing honestly and by the rules, He has already claimed the victory of our team. By choosing to follow His lead, we discover the good gifts God's given us. Only He shows us our unique purpose in being here. The only other option is to keep maneuvering around the court hoping to get the chance to shine. The choice is yours. Do you want the sure thing, or do you want to play aimlessly wondering whether you’ll make a difference in the score?

The iceberg is our court. God is our coach. He watches from the side cheering us on, knowing that if we work together in unity we can accomplish all that He created us for. The word ‘loser’ isn’t part of His team’s vocabulary. With His sure guidance, the result is nothing but net. As one body, we have the ability to bury the enemy under the snow pile of our success, and with the help of our team captain, Jesus Christ, the enemy and his teammates will be pushed to the edge of the iceberg forced into the water of the frigid sea. I don’t know about you, but defeating the enemy never looked so good.

Source

"BibleGateway." 1 Corinthians 12 NIV - - Bible Gateway. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2017.

Warren, Richard. The purpose-driven life: what on earth am I here for? Lake Forest, CA: PurposeDriven, 2002. Print.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Being Born Again: The Relationship with Christ

1/17/2017

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36, NIV). To be born again is about a relationship with Christ. The term "Christian" is a label that lets people know Who you serve, but it's up to God's children to seek a genuine relationship with Him. The word "religion" is a word that gets thrown around way too often, and I believe it confuses people because some will automatically judge a person based on the label put on their particular religion. In this case I'm referring to Christians, but it pertains to all other beliefs as well. People's lives are based on living and learning through experiences, making mistakes, being in relationships, by making good or bad choices and through being close to their Creator and following their individual belief systems. There is a personal reason they've chosen to follow God or demonstrate their views in a certain way. Those who use derogatory names or descriptions to describe a group of people (like Christians) are probably basing their opinions of the group off a few instances or experiences with people who sadly made all Christians look bad, such as false prophets or hypocrites claiming to teach the truth but who actually follow their own way. But, that doesn't mean all Christians behave in the same manner. I see some who claim they follow Christ, but their "fruits" don't show it (Galations 5:22-23). God knows the heart though, and He knows who's genuine and who's not (Jeremiah 17:10). Nobody is perfect, but it's the very act of letting Christ help us to live the new life He's given us that proves who the ones are who at least try to do and be better human beings. True repentance is not based off pretty words with no real feeling or meaning behind them. To truly repent it must come straight from the heart. It has to matter to you whether you want real change in your life. It should come from the leap of faith you take when you tell Jesus you believe in Him and what He's done for you. Though the heart may sometimes deceive us, it doesn't mean God can't take up residence in there and gradually teach us the way to go in every circumstance we find ourselves in. It's the willingness to listen and act in accordance with the Word of God that He cares about.

Source

New International Version. Biblehub.com. http://referencebible.org/topmenubiblehub3.php

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Political Correctness and Speaking Out

1/15/2017

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (ESV, Matthew 10:28).


I was scrolling through the Home page on Google+ tonight, and I discovered a post that one of my friends shared about a woman named Brigitte Gabriel (a spokesperson against radical Islam) titled "Muslim Student Challenged A Christian Speaker.  Her Response Made America Stand Up and Cheer," by Elvin Bartley (Yes I'm Right, (n.d.)).  The link can be found at http://www.yesimright.com/muslim-student-challenged-a-christian-speaker-her-response-made-america/  

My thoughts on it:

I watched the video, and I have to agree with her statement pertaining to the question the student asked concerning some Islamic people. I especially liked how Brigitte defended her own position with actual facts about the deaths in some countries caused by radical groups. She didn't just give broad generalizations. Please watch the video to fully understand what I'm talking about here. Thank you.

The main thing I wanted to comment on is spokesperson Brigitte's statement at the end of the video where she said we need to "throw political correctness in the garbage" (not sure if that is her exact quote, but it is for the most part). So many people are worried about offending different groups of people that they don't stop to think about whether what they represent is even moral in the eyes of God. Deep down, whether people want to face it or not, we all have that little voice that knows whether something is right or wrong. This is not a judgment on any one person or group. It is a general statement about the conscience (or the Holy Spirit depending on how one views it).

I'm not saying each group shouldn't have a say. That's what freedom of speech is all about. Yet, so many people (or groups) don't like it when others don't agree with what they have to say or what they represent. They accuse those who have a different opinion of being racist or being hateful towards them (or their group) just because they are being opposed. It's hypocritcal when one person tries to express their views and expects to be respected for them, yet they criticize someone else for expressing a difference of opinion or belief. That makes no sense.

Last I checked, it isn't against the law (at least in America) to have and express your own opinion. And just because some don't believe in the same things as others do in the world doesn't mean they should be called names or beaten up because of thier God given right to express those beliefs. People should be allowed to have their own views without receiving backlash because of them (unless they are obviously spewing hatred; I get why that shouldn't be tolerated of course).

The only way to convince people to see your side of things is to put what you believe out there and let them make their own decision about it. You will never make your point about something stick if the one you are trying to convince doesn't choose it for them-self. Trying to force someone to agree with something they don't believe in will not only make those who don't agree with you fight against it, but it will also never make them open their mind to your point of veiw.

Think about it. Do you like to be told what you 'must' believe? I've never heard of anyone who does. It doesn't make someone who doesn't agree with your point of view horrible. It makes them use the free will that God gave them to decide how they want to live their life and what choices they'll make for them-self or their family. Forced change is never going to equal genuine change. Forced change is what causes wars and other conflicts among people.

Finally, I see so many who aren't worried about offending the One person Who matters more than all of us combined, and that's God. He's the One Who will judge all of us in the end. We should be most worried about offending Him. To not be concerned about His view of you and your choices will only hurt yourself. You can't blame others for how you have ultimately chosen to live your life.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mat.10:28).

References Cited

Bartley, Elvin. "Muslim Student Challenged a Christian Speaker.  Her Response Made America Stand Up and Cheer." Yes I'm Righthttp://www.yesimright.com/muslim-student-challenged-a-christian-speaker-her-response-made-america/. Accessed on 15 January 2017.

English Standard Version. Bible Hub. Web. 15 Jan. 2017.


Friday, April 8, 2016

What's Your Story?

4/8/16

   This morning I was listening to a song by Superchick called “Hero”, and in it the singer paints a vivid picture of different stories of people who are heroes.  Not one of them was named Thor or Captain America.  Don’t get me wrong, Thor and Captain America are awesome, but I’m talking about your average everyday people, the ones seen as ordinary or the ones people really don’t pay attention to at all.  They are the teachers fighting to keep troubled kids in school because they see them as more than pain in the ass kids who will probably dropout anyway, they’re the people who befriend the shy new kid in school, or it’s the person who chooses to go on even though they suffer from depression or loneliness and can barely get out of bed each day, let alone face the world.  Superchick gave some great examples of who heroes really are.  They are rarely in the spotlight, but they’re remembered by those whose lives they touch.

   So, what’s your story? Are you one of the people I described above? Are you someone’s Thor or Captain America in regular clothes, whose superpower is paying attention to those around you and caring enough to make a difference in this crazy world? Are you a hero, or are you one of the villains who make it a goal to bring people down, adding to the faceless, nameless crowd that faces negativity every day?

   We all matter.  We’re put here for a reason.  Sometimes, we wonder what that reason is, and at times we get lost and wander around in a kind of daze, all the while thinking this world is just too big for us. But, you could be the one who makes the world a little bit smaller and manageable for those who are lost.  You could be the one who brings someone back down to earth, “a friend that sticks closer than a brother” (see Proverbs 18:24).

   We all have a story, and it’s a beautiful, horrible, crazy, hopeful mess caught up in the colorful garden that is our life. In terms of eternity, we have such a short time here.  I don’t know about you, but I want my life to count for something.  I want to make a contribution that hopefully helps and encourages people.  I believe it’s what I was born for.  I feel it, like I feel rain pouring down during a storm.  We aren’t designed to wander aimlessly.  We have treasure inside of us, begging to be found. 

   Every experience in our lives can be used to help or relate to someone else, whether the offered experience is good or bad.  We’re born to different backgrounds and economic circumstances for a reason.  Our stories are written by the years we live, and we are brought into the lives of people for a purpose. In some way, we can mutually benefit from each other. Granted, I am well aware some experiences are things we want to tuck away to places we won’t dare reach into for fear of the consequences of doing so. I’m not saying we should bare all to the world.  I’m only saying we should share what we are able to. 

   You can be someone’s hero. Imagine what one act of kindness, encouragement, or your strength and wisdom might do for someone who needs it?  You could lift someone up and help them see who they really are.  It’s the best feeling to witness that moment when a person finally wakes up and realizes they matter. Even the smallest gesture can touch somebody’s life.  Plus, you never know who else may be paying attention to you.  The things we do matter, and the words we speak over someone’s life make a difference.  It may not seem like it, but they do. When all is said and done, we will be remembered for how we affected people’s lives, the way we left our part of the world a little better (or worse). It’s how we’ve treated each other and what we believe in that matters.  YOU matter.


Thanks to Gotquestions.org for Biblical verse help.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Condemnation, Take a Hike!

4/6/16

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”
                                                                                                           -Romans 8:1 (NIV)

   Human beings have such a great capacity to see the unique gifts and goodness in others.  We have the ability to celebrate each other’s accomplishments, and we encourage each other to dream of things that could be and to push past our fears in order to realize those dreams.  On the flip side, we can also be extremely critical of one another, hurting each other with harsh words and with even the slightest of offenses.  We are a mixture of good and bad, but we are beautiful in what I like to refer to as our flawed perfection.  I admit it took me a long time to come to this conclusion about humanity.  I have witnessed the most magnificent selflessness in people, and I’ve seen and been through things that created the worst of scars.  We all have.  The thing is, though, that some of the worst scars I’ve dealt with are the ones I have inflicted upon myself.  As the saying goes, “We are our own worst critic.”

   One of the biggest issues I have always dealt with is guilt.  I used to place myself on a pedestal (as did others, in my opinion), and if I messed up, even in the smallest way, I felt so guilty for it. I hate pedestals. They are for statues that are fake versions of those who couldn’t stand on them for long without falling anyway.  Pedestals should be left to chiseled, unfeeling rock, not living beings.

   I’m not quite sure where my guilt always stemmed from.  Maybe, it’s because I used to feel inferior if I didn’t do things perfectly.  I say ‘used to’ because I finally came to a point in my life where I became too exhausted and irritated to attempt perfection anymore.  Perfection is for God alone.  We slowly chip away at ourselves when we try to be everything to everyone all at once.  I have cried to God plenty of times because I wanted to be the best version of myself that I could be, a version that was way too hyped up in my own head. There have been too many times when I’ve felt broken down by my own expectations of what I thought I should be.  Plastered on smiles can only last so long.  Eventually, they fall away revealing the pain of false perfection underneath.

   I know I’m not alone.  There are so many people who feel like I do, ones who try to live up to the unrealistic standards of others, or worse, the crazy expectations they’ve placed on their own shoulders.  That kind of weight slowly presses down though.  It’s backbreaking, and it’s dangerous.  I say it’s dangerous because if one misinterprets the weight as something they can handle completely on their own, then they very likely could become a victim of pride.  I used to be this way.  I thought I could do things on my own without relying on anyone else.  I sure didn’t want to bother God with my problems.  I figured He had enough to do already without having to deal with my issues too. 

   I never doubted God could do what He wanted to.  I just didn’t know Him well enough to understand what His love meant when it pertained to me personally.  I couldn’t understand all of what Jesus’s sacrifice and victory meant for humanity. His love surpassed anything I ever knew, and to this day I am still constantly amazed by it. Romans 8:1 tells us, “…there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…,” but, though I’ve been a Christian for years, I never truly understood the meaning of this verse until more recently.

   About a month ago, I was sitting in bed at around 3 a.m. surfing through channels on t.v. trying to find anything to watch besides another infomercial about dancing my way to weight loss or how to get rid of joint pain, and I stopped on Joyce Meyer’s show.  She was talking about God’s love and what it means concerning mankind.  She said, “A lot of people try to get God to love them by trying to behave perfectly.  But, God IS love, and all He wants us to do is act as a receptacle of His love, and to simply take in what’s being freely offered” (1 John 4:16). Wow!

   Jesus commands us to love God and to love each other (Mark 12:29-31).  I believe that part of loving God is to allow Him to love us as well.  We can never truly trust Him unless we understand how much He loves us.  Trust in His Word doesn’t come from nodding our heads in church at verses we know we should agree with.  It comes from having faith that God is Who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.  I’ve heard different teachers of God’s Word relay this message in various ways numerous times. Though it may be difficult for us to grasp that there is no condemnation for us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it doesn’t make it any less true, because even when we don’t understand right away what “no condemnation” means, it doesn’t mean we never will understand what it means.  Each person learns different lessons in their own time and in diverse ways.  To take away from God’s perfect timing for those lessons is to take away a part of what we are supposed to learn in the first place.

   It will take this lifetime and beyond to learn all of what God wants us to know, and I know we will never stop learning, but the sooner we are able to develop even a small amount of faith in Him to keep His promises, the sooner we will experience a greater freedom in our lives.  There is no need to keep reliving mistakes we make.  Just confess them and move on. I admit that, though I know this truth, I still struggle with guilt occasionally.  People don’t change overnight after all.  But, I will keep reminding myself over and over until it fully sinks in that I should accept my own flawed perfection, and that’s all I need to do.  God will take care of the rest. And though I don’t have absolutely perfect trust in God yet, that doesn’t mean I can’t take a step forward in faith each day and take God’s extended hand.


Thank you to BibleHub.com for help with the Biblical verses. J

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Think Before You Judge


3/17/16: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
                                                                                                      -1 John 1:8, NIV

“I’d never do that,” and “Wow, what an idiot!”  These were the types of things I’d say about people once upon a time when I was younger and really judgmental about other people’s lives.  I didn’t think before I spoke, and I never thought I’d do anything that could possibly make me look as dumb as the people I was criticizing.  I was wrong.
    
I have done plenty of things over the years since that time (and before) that I’m not proud of.  I have broken some of the Ten Commandments, gossiped (though I learned a valuable lesson about doing that when it happened to me), and I’ve judged others for things I had no right to judge them for.  People say, “Don’t judge me unless you’ve walked a mile in my shoes.”  While I can’t go back in time and explain to my younger self just how important this piece of advice is, I can reach out to people and tell them what I’ve learned.
    
Nobody is perfect.  It’s such an easy thing to say, and it’s something I hear all the time and often say myself.  Yet, the ironic thing is, even when we know in our hearts that people make mistakes, most of us still find ourselves automatically judging someone when they do.  I don’t think we even mean to do it.  It’s like there is something inside of us that can’t resist pointing out the faults of others.  Maybe it makes us feel like we are somehow superior to everyone else, that our faults can’t possibly be as horrible as the faults of those we wag our tongues about.  Even when we know nobody is perfect, we still can’t resist expressing our disdain for those who draw attention to their imperfections. We might not voice what we are really thinking out loud, but that doesn’t necessarily stop us from forming an opinion about the person, even when that opinion is based off the little information that’s available to us.
   
I see a commercial on television every once and a while showing a new mother with her baby in the NICU who weighs only a little over 3 pounds.  The mother tells us that her baby was born two months early due to the mother’s smoking habit.  The message is clear.  Don’t smoke when you’re pregnant.  It’s obvious.  I mean, cigarette packs warn women about the birth defects that could happen if they smoke while pregnant. Understandably, we wonder why any woman would take the risk to put her growing baby in such danger. 
    
The commercial plays on our expectations of what the mother should have done once she knew she was going to have a baby. However, as bad as her decision was to keep smoking, I have to stop and think about how extremely difficult it must have been for her to go on television, a media that begs for judgment from others based off the couple minutes we see on a commercial, and tell people how wrong she was to smoke while pregnant.  It’s obvious she is sorry and regretful for what she did.  She knows firsthand how it negatively affected not only her baby but herself too.  She has to live with the knowledge that she could have prevented what happened to her infant, and the baby could have been born without suffering from the consequences of her actions.  Yet, the mother still chose to come forward and risk being ridiculed and judged for her poor decision. Being a mother myself, I can only imagine how much the lady beat herself up for what she could have done to make things turn out differently. 
    
It isn’t easy to admit when we’ve made a colossal mistake.  Only someone who has experienced the full repercussions of a bad decision is able to list the numerous lessons learned and why the mistake should have never been committed in the first place.  Just the pain alone of knowing we could have prevented the consequences of our own poor judgment should make us more sensitive to the pain of others when they too admit they’ve messed up.  But, for some reason, many conveniently don’t remember their own faults when they witness someone else suffering from self-inflicted careless actions.  Instead, accusers are willing to jump on the bandwagon with others and judge the poor sap who is already probably feeling lower than dirt.  Perhaps, by taking the proverbial shovel out and throwing more dirt on top of the pile, people secretly feel like they can throw their sins in the hole and bury them right along with the sins of their neighbors.
     
Why do we feel like we need to put our own opinion in when somebody else makes a mistake?  We know we aren’t perfect.  We know we have our own issues we’d never want shared with the world for fear that, if the world knew, we too would be judged according to its hypocritical standards.  Why don’t we admit none of us should be pointing our fingers at anyone for their faults?  I am reminded of the Biblical account of a woman caught in adultery.  Her accusers bring her to Jesus to ask Him what should be done about her.  Surely, she deserved the standard punishment for her crime; certainly her crime was so reprehensible that she deserved to die for it.  Yet, Jesus calmly stated “Let any of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (NIV, John 8:7).  Not one person threw a stone. The older ones walked away first, followed by the rest.  They knew there was no way they could pronounce their own flawed judgment on the woman when they could never stand up to the same scrutiny themselves.
     
There is another saying; “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” (Say what? Origins of words and Sayings). Only the most self-aware people understand the wisdom of those words. Making mistakes is a part of being human.  We can do our utmost to try to be perfect so that our own judgement is warranted when we see someone screw up.  But, in reality, there is no reason at all we should be talking about how bad someone else is. In the Bible, Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2).  There are so many lessons in the Bible about what sin does to people, yet we still sin.  Even when we know deep down there will be consequences, we still want to do what makes us happy even when our decision is based off selfish desires.  It’s even possible to sin when we think we are doing the right thing.  If anyone believes they are immune to it, they are only kidding themselves (see Romans 7:19-21).
     
“Let any of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone…” (John 8:7).  These are powerfully convicting words and sobering ones. Nobody escapes the reality that sometimes we hurt others and ourselves.  But, we can treat others as we would like to be treated if we were to stumble.  We can try to empathize with those who have learned their lessons the hard way, and instead of pointing our fingers at them, we can learn from them. At least then we show that we are able to rise above our initial reactions to a person’s faults and instead reach out to them with the same compassion we’d need in our own trials.  Even when we didn’t deserve it, God still saved us (Romans 5:8).  That’s the very point of showing compassion to other human beings, to show them love during the times they either can’t love themselves or when they’ve fallen down into a pit of their own making.  By reaching out a hand to help each other up, we are demonstrating the very thing God gave humanity. His grace.

Works Cited
New International Version. [Colorado Springs]. Biblica, 2011. BibleHub.com. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

Say what? Origins of words and Sayings, Online blog. Original quote by Geoffrey Chaucer’s 'Troilus and Criseyde' (1385). http://originsofsayings.blogspot.com/2006/08/people-who-live-in-glass-houses-should.html

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Where Will You Be Going?

1/26/16

If you have ever doubted Hell's existence or think it's just a place bad people go to party and break all the rules, I have to tell you (and so does the Bible) that you are wrong.  I say this because I want all people to be able to go to Heaven one day, though I know some won't. I say this because I just read a blog by another woman named Leah Adams who wrote about this very topic and inspired me to get off my butt and do the same.

I had an aunt who had an out of body experience, and she told me about what happened when she died multiple times due to surgical complications.  She told me about the tunnel you go through, and she told me that outside that tunnel she felt an overwhelming darkness and loneliness coming from it, a place where a person could barely stand one second of the place, let alone all eternity. She instinctively knew if she stepped into that place that she'd never get out. She also saw the light at the top where she was heading until she came back from death's grasp.  She mentioned watching a show on television where another guy had felt the same thing when he died and was brought back to life. That same tunnel was there with the same things my aunt described. They are not crazy, only changed from the experience. My aunt said it was the worse place we can ever imagine, and then it's even worse than that. It's beyond human comprehension to describe it in our terms.

There are plenty of other documented cases of people who have died or had an out of body experience and came back.  Each one has their own story, and there are things that are so closely described as the same that even the most skeptical person would have to at least wonder about the afterlife.  It isn't like those who have told their story are making it up. That would just be crazy because they knew how it will sound to others. Read "90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper, the minister who died and came back.  Another book called "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, describes his trip to Heaven and back.  If anyone had a reason to be skeptical, Eben did, yet he knew when he came back he had to tell his story.

Satan is not some devil with a red cape and pitchfork.  He's not some sexy guy that Hollywood likes to portray as the intriguing bad boy.  He thinks of the human race as nothing more than cockroaches.  He wants to bring us down and destroy us.  He isn't our friend or someone we can rely on or party with in Hell.  He's real, and He's worse than we can possibly imagine.  Think about it.  Those who go to Hell are out of the sight of God.  This means there is no joy, peace, happiness, love, or friends and family to run to for help. It is a permanent place full of dread, darkness, pain, and unimaginable suffering.  I honestly don't understand why in the world anyone would choose that for them-self.  There is a quote that tells us "You can choose God now or later." I choose now. I hope you do too.  Don't wait until the decision is made for you just because you ignored making the choice in life.  Don't put off the most important decision you'll ever make. Who you choose to follow says a lot about who you are.  Please, choose Jesus. I BEG you to choose Jesus. 

Please, I implore you, don't think you have forever to make the choice about accepting Jesus.  The Bible clearly tells us He is the only way to get into Heaven (John 14:6; see Leah Adam's link below too).  He is "the gate" (John 10:9).  You can't do it on your own through "being a good person" because nobody except Jesus is perfect.  Even Mother Teresa, one of the greatest women that ever lived, was a sinner because we "all sin and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). We were born with the stain of sin, and it takes more than what we can ever offer God to get rid of it. Look at this crazy world and all its horrors that go on everyday. Those horrors aren't caused by people who are perfect. If we had the capability to be perfect then there would have been no need of a Savior to take our sin penalty.  I mean, why in the world would anyone actually want to leave Heaven and come here to this fallen world and die for us unless He knew what was in store for us when we die without his intervention on our behalf? Only an insane person or Someone Who truly knows the repercussions of sin would die for all of humanity and then rise again in victory. A crazy person can't rise again or save us, but Jesus did and still does.  Please, think about it.

Nobody likes to think about the day they'll die, but one day, when your time is up, you won't have the luxury to choose anymore.  If this scares you, good.  It would scare the crap out of me if I didn't have Jesus' saving grace on my side. I used to be afraid of death, but now I know without a doubt that I will go to Heaven one day.  That makes me not have to fear death (see 1 Corinthians 15:55, NIV), and who wouldn't want that?

I'm not some religious nut.  I am someone who knows the truth, and I want everyone else to too.  The Bible also says in James 4:17 "if anyone... knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it...(commits) sin," and I don't want to be guilty of that.  I want everyone to experience joy and salvation through Christ.  He has changed my life for the better.  I know He will change yours too if you just make the decision to follow Him.  Pray for forgiveness of your sins, and ask Him to come into your heart and make Him your Lord and Savior.  Then, you can be assured about where you will be spending eternity.  A repentant heart is one that God loves.

God bless you all!


Please check out the article Leah wrote at http://www.leahadams.org/hell-4-things-jesus-wants-you-to-understand-about-hell/

Help with Bible verses from http://biblehub.com/james/4-17.htm and others.  Also, internet searches gave me information about Don Piper-"90 Minutes in Heaven" and Eben Alexander- "Proof of Heaven"