Hell is Not a Penthouse Party

Let’s get something straight, shall we? There seems to be this whole group of people out there who have this belief that hell is the place to go. They talk about how it’s going to be one big party with all their wild friends, since all of us “small minded bigots who just try to control them” won’t be around to stop them. It will be the bar that never gives the last call, the high that doesn’t fade, and the party that never ends. Everyone can do what they want, when they want, and the master of the party, Satan himself, will be right there with the bong, or the keg, or the pill, or the needle, a couple of hot babes on his arms (that he is more than willing to share and they are more than willing). No rules, no laws, no condemnation, guilt, or consequences. They see hell as the devil’s playground and they just want to play.

Here is the truth. Satan was an angel in heaven. Beautiful and stunning and it is believed he led worship to the God most high. He had it all, except that wasn’t good enough for him. He wanted God’s throne, His power, and the worship of His creations. He loved heaven so much, and saw all the greatness of God…and wanted it all for himself.

Lucifer, the devil, Satan, didn’t leave the confines and laws and rules of heaven and go build a penthouse playground where he could be in charge of one big endless party.
He was thrown out of heaven, he tried to take over, he lost, and was cast out! After they tossed him out on his ear with one third of his crazy followers, he didn’t create some evil paradise to go live and party in. He was cast out to earth. He lives here. And he is pissed off about it. He hates people, all people, tattoos, bible thumpers, sadists, and even Satan worshipers. People are God’s special creation. We were created to be just like God and are loved so much. Hell wasn’t made or created by Satan, it was created by God, AS A PRISON! It was never made for mankind. We were supposed to live forever with Him.

Satan knows that his end is prison forever. All spiritual beings (God, Angels, Devils, Demons, People) live forever. God’s will and perfect way is for us to live with Him in the real paradise. Satan, the slanderer, the deceiver, lied to Adam, the first man and said God was withholding the best from him. When he believed the lie and did exactly what Satan said, and what God warned him not to, all people were put under Satan’s rule. Now we live according to his way. There is evil, suffering, war, murder, rape, abuse, addictions, death, sickness, poverty, disease, perversion, and every other horrible thing you can think of because that’s what the devil mandates here in his territory. This is Satan’s handy work, not God’s. From the day that Adam and Eve listened to the Liar instead of God, (the Truth), hell has been enlarged, to accommodate those who refuse to follow God. And when Jesus died and went to hell, He took the keys from Satan. The devil doesn’t even have the keys to his own penthouse! We choose where we spent eternity. Heaven or hell.
We have two beings fighting for us, they both want us with them. One wants to lavish us in His love, provide for our every need, and provides a place where there is NO MORE SUFFERING. The other wants us to suffer forever WITH HIM. Satan’s end isn’t a party. It is eternal hellfire and damnation. It is eternal separation from God. That’s his punishment for trying to harm God’s special creation, mankind. Every other person, human, who spends eternity suffering there, will be doing it by choice. God doesn’t send a single person to Hell. He never will. They choose the lies over the truth. They choose suffering over peace and rest.

Why!? Because they believe the lie. The one that says, “All my friends are going to be there and we are going to party forever.”

A hypocrite says they love you and then abuse you. A hypocrite has two faces. One that is their true face and one they show the world. Our God is one! One love, one truth, one Spirit. He can’t lie. Ever.

Who’s the hypocrite? The people who find themselves in a mess in this evil world, who turn to God for help, and still have some struggles and issues, yet they keep going to church and they press in to God for strength and hope. Or the one who tries to convince the world that God is bad, Christians are all bigots and hate everyone else, and that hell is going to be one big party? Satan is the ultimate hypocrite. He wanted it all, and now tries to convince us all that it isn’t worth having.
We can’t be perfect. God knows that. It’s not God that whispers in your ear that you are worthless, screwed up, a failure, and unlovable. It’s our enemy that tells us God doesn’t care, that He expects you to be perfect, and that you can never measure up. God says, “I love you.” No strings attached.

Who are you going to believe? Who are you choosing to follow? How do you want to spend eternity?

Isaiah 14:11-17 (BSB), “Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you and worms are your covering. How you have fallen from heaven,O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, they will ponder over you, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, who did not allow his prisoners to go home?”

Surrender

 

William Booth: Founder of the Salvation Army said, “The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”

Surrender has to take place in so many areas of our walk with God. First, we have to surrender our hearts to Jesus. Then, we give Him our past, our mistakes, and our sin. Once forgiven and restored to the Father, then we have to daily surrender ourselves.

We can believe that God is real, that His word says wealth and riches are in our house, and still not receive. Unless we surrender out paychecks and bank accounts to Him. How do we know we have? When paying tithe doesn’t cause us to cringe, when giving an offering is an honor, when God tells us to give up something we worked hard for and give it to another… we can do it cheerfully. Jesus told us about the rich young man who came and asked what he should do to inherit the kingdom. Jesus said to follow God’s commandments and when this young man said that he had, Jesus asked him to surrender his wealth. He told him to go and sell all that he had. That young man left with much sorrow. He wasn’t sad because he was going home to sell everything. He was sad because he really wanted to please God, he just couldn’t surrender his stuff. He chose to surrender to his flesh. We have to be fully surrendered to the Father. A partial surrender is no surrender at all.

For me, one of the hardest things to surrender to God has been my worry, and my plans. (Or my worrying about my plans). We sing in Church, “I surrender all my plans and dreams”. Recently when we sang it, I thought to myself, “Have I done that?” At that particular time the answer was, “NO.” It was a few weeks before the Fall Extravaganza Expo. This is an example in my life of an area where I needed to surrender. I have been in charge of the Expo for six years now and every year I am anxious that everything goes well, that I don’t disappoint anyone, that vendors and shoppers are thrilled, that the Church makes some much needed money, and that the whole thing is a success. Then, I worry if my stuff is good enough, if I will have to bring it all home again, if I will make enough money to make it worthwhile, and the list goes on.

I had to purpose, in my mind; to go back to the day that God showed me the craft show in our gym. I had to remember the gifts and talents that He gave me. I had to stand on all the prayers and the confirmation of the Church leaders. I had to surrender the day to Him, and refuse to worry or lose sleep over it.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT), “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

Satan likes to use our past against us. There have been times that I jumped on the bandwagon and moved way ahead of God. So the enemy likes to remind me of those times. He tries to get me to doubt that I really heard from God, using those past mistakes as an example of my lack of communication with the Father. Or he outright lies and says that I am not allowed to have dreams or plans of my own, that my plans aren’t good, Godly, or important. But when we surrender our plans and dreams to God, it doesn’t mean we give them up, or that we shouldn’t have dreams or plans. In fact we are encouraged to dream big! So we do plan, we just make sure we are on the same page as our Father.

One synonym for surrender is submit. Submission means “under the mission” so when we surrender our plans to Him, we are simply submitting our plans under, or unto His will, His timing, and His direction. So practically speaking when we have a dream or a plan we give it to Him. We surrender it. Then we ask for direction and wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Not something super spiritual, just allowing the normal communication between your spirit and God’s to take place. We may start out up and running full speed ahead, at His leading. Or it may be slow going at first with much prayer and meditation. Either way, don’t get so caught up in those plans that you aren’t putting God first, or shutting out that still small voice. Sometimes He is going to ask you to wait, sometimes to slow down, and other times He may ask you to change your plans. The ideal situation is to be so hooked up with Him, to practice being led by His Spirit, that your plans just line up with His. However, in reality sometimes we just want something to happen, or have some great idea that is only from our flesh. By submitting them all to Him we are giving Him permission to mess up our plans, or to confirm and expedite them. One way we submit them to Him is to share with our elders. Ask them to pray with you. This is a great place for comfirmation.

“God has a plan for His Church upon earth. But alas! We too often make our plan, and we think that we know what ought to be done. We ask God first to bless our feeble efforts, instead of absolutely refusing to go unless God go before us.” ― Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender

When we know in our hearts that God has gone before us, that the plan is His, or approved by Him, we can surrender in confidence. It is His ability that brings it to pass. It might not be an immediate success, however, if we preserver, it will happen. The Expo is a great example of this, every year it gets better and better.

There will be times that He will ask us to change our path, or the way we are doing something. Just like Sue said a couple weeks ago, there will be times that He asks us to “change lanes”. We are still accomplishing what we set out to do, but we are going about it in a totally different way. What Sue called taking the exit ramp and going around in a circle, God has shown me as “going around the mountain.” We know the song, “She’ll be coming round the mountain when she comes” for a while that seemed to be my theme song. I would try to reason out how to make something happen, or why it didn’t happen the way I wanted it, or where I went wrong. God says that is wasted time! When I thought moving forward would be a waste of time if I didn’t figure out all my mistakes, God was trying to save me time by getting me to move forward. At another Church we attended we had some families leave the Church. A friend came to talk about it with me and said, “The ship is sinking and we need to figure out who is punching all the holes in hull.” Of course, he wanted to blame someone. I don’t take credit for what I said to him that night, God gave me a picture in my head and I simply answered, “if a ship is sinking, the first thing you do is shore up the leaky places, you fix the ship first, and stop it from sinking.” I expected an argument, but he immediately agreed. That was God. Praying about it later God showed me that we don’t have to figure everything out. Asking “why” can be such a waste of time. He had it covered. People left because He was doing some housecleaning. Had we tried to play the blame game, some very nice people would have gotten hurt, and the Church may not have been able to pull out of the rough time.

When things don’t go as planned instead of asking God “Why?” A better question to ask Him would be, “Now what?” He has a plan. Our circumstances aren’t a surprise to Him. He has us covered. Keep looking to Him to lead you. We can put the cart in front of the horse and end up with a lot of back peddling, or we can give our plans to Him, keep dreaming and open our hearts to direction. He knows what we need. Sometimes what we need is different than what we want. He is faithful and loving. As a good Father, He wants us to have only the best.

Matthew 6:32 (Net Bible), “But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Philippians 4:19 (NIV), “And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Another big area of surrender that seems to elude Christians is surrendering our past. People go on pilgrimage, a journey to a place of spiritual significance, Christians and Jews go to the Holy Lands, Muslims go to Mecca. Some Christians take a pilgrimage back into their past, remembering every little ugly sin on the way, theirs and others. They make a big deal out of it; it’s a type of “penance” for them. This is a very important place of surrender, letting go of those mistakes. Like I said before, Satan is more than happy to remind us of them, but God says He has forgotten our sin, that He has cast them as far away as the east is from the west. He didn’t say North to South. If you travel from the North Pole, you eventually reach the South Pole and vice-versa. However, if you start from anywhere on the map and travel east, you never reach the west. It can’t be done. No matter how far you travel, there is always somewhere farther east, you just keep going in circles. That’s how we are to look at our sin. It’s gone! It’s under the blood. Stop revisiting those places!

In my own life, in hindsight, almost every place where I really struggled with my faith, those distressing seasons in my life, were during times when I hadn’t fully surrendered. Our enemy will attack, but if we are totally surrendered to our Loving Father, He will lead us out! We don’t have to camp there. On the other hand, if we have areas of our lives that we haven’t given over to Him, we can find the duration of the attack much longer than needed.

We all have to stand for something. We have heard that saying. So it also should be just as obvious that we have to surrender to someone as well. People surrender to an enemy because they fear for their lives. Then they live a life with rebellion and fear in their hearts. We have only a few options. Surrender to Satan, who is an abusive father and our end is Hell, to the world and our flesh who are careless parents who want to spoil us with stuff and feed our lusts, (which will ultimately end us in Hell, both of these kinds of surrender keep us weak), or we can surrender to a Father who IS LOVE. A strong Father who defends, protects, and provides for us. Surrendering to Him transforms our lives now, and gives us a wonderful future in eternity with Him. In this surrender we find strength, just as William Booth said.

When we have trouble surrendering, it simply means we don’t trust Him. When God told me that I cried! Just thinking about how that made Him feel. I love Him, and felt that I was really getting more intimate with Him, yet there I was carrying a load that I wasn’t meant to carry, one that subconsciously, I didn’t trust Him to carry. Sometimes we just get lazy and forgetful. We go through a dry time, or even an easy time, and start carelessly picking up stuff we once laid at the cross, or listening to a voice that isn’t God’s. Before we know it we are “going around the mountain” instead of moving forward. Remember one of Satan’s main tactics is to distract us from God’s plan and path. If he can keep us focused on ourselves and going around in circles, then we can’t see clearly where we are supposed to be going. That’s why it’s so important to daily surrender. We can trust Him, in fact anything less than absolute trust is a lack of surrender, and God says it is sin. We should find it easy to surrender to someone who knows us inside and out, who loves us so lavishly, and knows what’s best for us.

Did you mess up today? Surrender it to the Lord. Did you have a great accomplishment? Surrender the glory to Him. Do you have loved ones that need saving? Stop nagging them and surrender them into the Lord’s hands. Are you wore down and tired of fighting? Turn the battle to the “Gate”! The battle is the Lord’s. Most of all stop trying to make things happen, stop trying to figure it all out, and just talk it over with Him. He is faithful, His Spirit will lead you and His word will light your path.

Isaiah 30:20b-21 (NASB), “He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.

Rest

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Matthew 11:28-29 (NLT), “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

My spirit is confident in the finished work of Jesus. Yet, I still find myself feeling overwhelmed at times. Have you ever had one of those days when you feel like a hamster on a exercise wheel going round and round and not getting anywhere? Or maybe you thought you had finished your “to do” list only to find a million other things that need to be added? Maybe you are burdened with a big mortgage and not sure how you can make the payments. Sometimes it feel like you are a beast of burden that has an iron yoke around your neck. Possibly you are weary of work, any work, all work, work, work, work…

There is rest.

We aren’t under the Law any more, but there still remains a “Sabbath” rest for God’s people. The good news is that it isn’t a one day a week rest, it’s a full time, all the time rest.

Hebrews 4:9-11 (AMP), “So there remains a [full and complete] Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has once entered His rest has also rested from [the weariness and pain of] his [human] labors, just as God rested from [those labors uniquely] His own. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], so that no one will fall by following the same example of disobedience [as those who died in the wilderness].”

More good news, the work that we do is to enter into His rest.

What? I know it doesn’t make sense, but seriously a lot of what God asks us or tells us to do doesn’t. Work to rest? A paradox. Just like a Lion is a Lamb, the Sinless One became sin, God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How about this one, we surrender to get victory. We give up to get it all. I could keep going but you get the picture. Our minds are limited to our five senses. What we can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. Our body is bound by time, and laws of nature. That’s why we can’t use our minds to figure God out. We walk in and by Faith.

When we understand, a heart understanding, who God is, who we are, and what our place is in His plans, we can be confident that no matter how bad things look, how bad we mess up, how many bad choices we make, His plan doesn’t change. It takes off all of the pressure. We do go to work. We apply ourselves at our jobs, but they aren’t our source, God is, heaven is. It’s not us that has to change the world. We just do what God says, and He changes hearts. The pressure isn’t on our great witnessing, or lack of it. It all hinges on just getting in a right relationship with the Father and letting Him use us however He sees fit.

Just like peace isn’t the absence of war, rest isn’t the absence of work!

Both are conditions of the heart.

We can be at peace and rest in confidence that He loves us.

So, on those days that I feel harassed or overworked it’s because I forgot the most important “work”, fellowship with Him. Not lip service, not fast-food ordering up blessings, not praying for my four and no more, but taking time to share and to listen.

Honestly, starting your day with acknowledging Him as Lord and master, telling Him how much you love Him, and allowing Him to reciprocate, will make your day go so much smoother. Not perfect or stress free, just 99.9 percent better.

Try it.

Rest… In Daddy’s arms.

Eclipsed

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV), “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

If you have read any of my devotionals, or are familiar with my blog, or know me at all, you have figured out that I use this verse a lot. Why? Because I have discovered, the hard way, that it is very important to keep our focus on Jesus, or as Isaiah says in Isaiah 50:&, to “set your face like flint”.

Think about it this way. The sun, which is huge, can be totally eclipsed by the moon which is about four hundred times smaller. How is that possible? The moon gets between the earth and the sun blocking out the light. In the same way we can allow “things” to get between us and the Son, Jesus. Sometimes it is a person, our problems, our anger, our disappointment, even our success and accomplishments. Other times we end up giving more attention to our surroundings, the devil, or our own selfish desires. No matter what keeps our attention, if it isn’t God, we can eclipse His glory.

A total eclipse pretty much caused darkness, a partial eclipse may still give us a small glimpse, maybe a little light around the edges, but God never intended us to live either way. His plans for us are uncountable, His thoughts for us limitless, as many as the sand (in the desserts, in the lakes and rivers, and even under the oceans).

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Psalm 40:5 (NLT), “O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.”

Psalm 139:17-18 (NIV), “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand– when I awake, I am still with you.”

We can’t fulfill His purpose for us if we can’t keep our focus. A runner has to keep the finish line in his sight, a scientist has to constantly think about that cure, a writer works toward the end of the story, all of these things take focus.

In reality, His Glory should eclipse everything else. His love should overwhelm us! His light should cause every other distraction to fade away, including our problems. His promises greatly outnumber our afflictions!

If you need a little encouragement, listen to the song “He Is Jealous For Me” by David Crowder Band. Here is just a small sample “all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by Glory”.

So, what are you allowing to eclipse Him?

Or have you chosen to allow Him to eclipse all else?

Choose wisely.

Vessels of Honor

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Romans 9:21 (KJV), “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

Romans 9:21 (NIV), “Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”

Do you want to be used for special purposes, or just for common use? God is the Master Potter and we are the work of His hands. His intention for each one of us is to be used for special purposes, to be vessels of honor. He has gifted us and given us talents with this in mind. Not one of us is meant to be the “chamber pot”! Instead we are to be the beautiful vase, or the chalice of a king. Unfortunately we don’t listen, or we listen and don’t obey, or we think we can’t hold water, or are too dirty to hold the kings wine. Sometimes we don’t like the process that it takes to become that vessel of honor. Clay has to go through quite the process to become anything. It is dug out of the ground, uprooted from its comfort zone. Then it is kneaded to get all the air bubble out. Next, it is thrown on the wheel, not carefully placed, thrown. The potter uses his hands and different sharp implements to shape and cut the blob of clay into the shape he wants. Most of the work is done on the inside, invasive, in the beginning and the outer work is finished up last. After all of that work, the final stage is the fire. Only through trials and through trouble can we become solid and usable.

Jeremiah 18:1-4 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down at once to the potter’s house; and there I will reveal My words to you.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the wheel.  But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.”

So maybe we got off track and we became flawed. Don’t fret; we are still in the Potter’s hands. This is the safest place to be! Allow Him to remake us. It isn’t always easy. In pottery class I learned a lot. Any piece can be broken down and crushed into dust. Then it is soaked in water until it is soft and pliable, only then can it be remade. If you have allowed your heart to be hardened, it will take longer and may be more painful. But always, God can start new with us.

II Timothy2:19-26 (NIV), “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

Looking at those verses in II Timothy we can see how vessels of honor behave:
1. They name the name of Jesus.
2. They abstain from wickedness.
3. They are prepared for every good work.
4. They flee youthful lusts.
5. They pursue righteousness, faith, peace, and love.
6. They ignore foolish speculations (gossip, assumptions.)
7. They are not quarrelsome.
8. They are kind to all.
9. They are able to teach.
10. They are patient when wronged, gently correcting those in opposition, with the intent of helping them come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil.

So what will it be? Will you surrender your heart to God, The Master Potter, and allow Him to make you into something beautiful?

Who Can Save Us?

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The world looks to all kinds of places, people, and possessions for their salvation. We all at one time realized that our lives weren’t the best. We tried to run and hide, we tried to find an escape, if only for a short time, we tried to cover up our mistakes, change our address, get a new job, or get a new spouse, only to have to face the hard truth, our lives were a mess. Some tried drugs, alcohol, relationships, immersed themselves in work, or in serving others, and still couldn’t find fulfillment. Others went to doctors, psychologists, counselors, palm readers, and fortune tellers, consulted our horoscopes, the stock exchange, googled, twittered, and tried to re-invent ourselves. But when we looked in the mirror, or looked at the condition of our soul, we were sorely disappointed, the change wasn’t there, was only skin deep, or wasn’t enough, or worse yet, we had changed so much that we weren’t even us anymore.

So where do we place our hope? Who can save us?

Psalm 62:1-2 (AMP), “For God alone my soul waits in silence, from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my defense and my fortress; I shall not be greatly moved.”

Romans 5:8-9 (NIV), “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

We can’t fix us. We can’t even clean us. We end up being white washed graves, looking good on the outside, but full of death on the inside. A doctor, a psychic, a teacher, or a religious leader, can’t change us. A ten step process, a secret formula, or some new “spiritual” phenomenon, won’t change us, not fully, or completely. Bull dog tenacity, strong willed perseverance, nor stiff necked stubbornness, can’t get us what we need, what we so long for.

We need a Savior. Who can save us?

There is only One who can. In fact, He already did. Not two thousand years ago, but before the beginning of time! We just have to accept it. Apply what was purchased on the cross, by the very blood of the Son of God, to our lives. Then He doesn’t give us the “wash and wax” or just to a make-over, He makes us brand new, something never seen before, not put together out of old junk, no Frankensteins here, just a complete new edition. It’s a miracle, plain and simple. All the work, the time wasted, the pain and brokenness, all for nothing. We hurt ourselves and others trying to do it on our own, and it’s time to stop.

Maybe you are still living in the living hell of this fallen world. Just give up, surrender your heart to Him. He knows what you’ve been through, and He knows what you need. He sees your brokenness, your hurts, your faults, and frailties. Only He knows how. Nobody knows you like He does. You can trust Him with your life and with your heart. He is trustworthy. He is faithful.

Psalms 62:5-8 (ESV), “When we give Him our heart, truly and completely, then we can say with David, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.”

Are You Surrendered?

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We no longer live under the law! We are free from the law! Isn’t that wonderful?

Romans 8:1-2 (NIV), “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

John 8:36 (NIV), “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Now we can do whatever we want. Right?

People use that as an excuse to excuse just about anything. There is still sin. We still live in a fallen world. As a child of God I don’t have to pay the penalty of my sin, but does that mean I can really just do whatever I want. Paul answers this question for us.

I Corinthians 10:23 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up.”

What God calls sin, its still sin. Can I live with someone before I get married? Of course! Is that beneficial to my marriage? Absolutely not! I know we did it that backwards way. Can I live an alternate lifestyle? You bet. Will God bless that? Not a bit. There are some things God asked us not to do because He is Holy and He wants us to live Holy. Some things He has asked us to do, or not to do, because it is simply harmful to us or to others. Overdrinking, overeating, drug addiction, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and sexual immorality are all harmful practices.

Ok, so maybe you like some of those things that God says don’t do. What is my answer to that? If you love Him, really truly love Him, and you aren’t just doing lip service, you will want to please Him more than your flesh. Simply put: if you continue in sinful behavior, you are not in a true relationship with Him.

When we have surrendered our hearts to Jesus and let Him sit on the throne there, we change. Our way of thinking changes and our habits change. The more we read His word and spend quiet time with God, allowing Him to speak into our lives, the more we change. As we are being led by His Spirit, those ungodly desires just seem to fade away. I know from experience that it isn’t always easy, but it is best. God’s desire for us is a more wonderful, spectacular life than we could ever even dream about. Why would we want to keep doing things our own way and not surrender to His will?

What about all of those other people out there. They seem to do just fine living in the flesh and doing whatever they want. They blatantly live the opposite of the way God instructs us, and people applaud them for their honesty. How do we handle that?

We never accept sin. God doesn’t. However, He never stops loving them. We shouldn’t either. If I love them, do I have to ignore their sin? No! Just don’t beat them up, don’t beat them over the head with your Bible. Don’t call them names, ridicule, or belittle them. None of those things are loving. We need to make friends with people. We have to show them the love of God. The dividing line is if you start to behave more like them, than them behaving more like you. We can’t be everyone’s friend. It’s permissible or lawful, but not beneficial. Be honest, we have all had a friend at some point in our lives that used, abused, or influenced us in a bad way. Stay away from those people.

I Thessalonians 5:22 (Jubilee Bible 2000), “Separate yourselves from all appearance of evil.”

If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. We are supposed to separate (some versions say “flee”, others say “abstain”) from all appearance of evil. Does it look like sin? Does it taste, feel, sound, or smell like sin? Stay away.

Paul also tells us in I Corinthians 15:33 (NIV), “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” In verse 34 (NLT), “Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.”

Paul likes to “tell it like it is.” I would probably be afraid of him, had I known him in person. Most of us are afraid of confrontation. We may be timid and too worried about what people think. However, Paul practiced what he preached.

Ephesians 4:15 (NLT), “Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.”

So if you have surrendered your life to God, stay that way. Daily allow His Spirit to guide you. If you haven’t surrendered, please do. I promise, it is easier than kicking against the thorn. Just ask Paul. Are you friends with unbelievers? Be patient, live right in their sight, be generous and full of God’s love. Show them the father. Let God be your guide in when to cut the ties with an unrepentant friend and when to keep on working with them. He knows.