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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

82 awesome benefits of knowing Jesus


There are two main things often associated with knowing Jesus. They are,
1. I get to go to heaven
2. I don't have to go into judgment for my sins

Those are two very awesome benefits. And anyone should be content with these. But both of these are in the future. Does God have anything good in store for us now in this life? Absolutely! Some benefits of knowing Jesus will come later. But many are available right now.

I can't tell you that following Jesus is easy, but it's worth doing. Paul wrote in the Bible,

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18)


Some of the many benefits that come with knowing Jesus  


I suggest that as you read through this list, stop after every benefit and thank God for that particular benefit.

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57)


1. You have fellowship with God's Son, Jesus our Lord--1 Corinthians 1:9
2. You have access to the Father through Jesus--Ephesians 2:18
3. You can access God with confidence--Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 10:22
4. You have access to God's grace--Romans 5:2
5. You have righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit--Romans 14:17
6. You are justified (declared righteous and innocent) by Jesus' blood--Romans 5:9
7. You have overflowing hope--Romans 15:13
8. God works in you to will and to act to fulfill His good purposes--Philippians 2:13
9. Jesus continually prays for you--Hebrews 7:25
10. The Holy Spirit prays for you when you don't know what to pray--Romans 8:26
11. The privilege of walking in the light--1 John 1:7
12. Christ dwells in you--Colossians 1:27
13. You can store up treasure for yourself in heaven--Matthew 6:19-20
14. You're adopted by God to be a son or daughter--Romans 8:15
15. You're taught by God to love others--1 Thessalonians 4:9
16. Jesus reveals the Father to you so you can know Him--Matthew 11:27
17. God won't leave you--Hebrews 13:5
18. The Father and the Son make Their home in you--John 14:23
19. Your Father strengthens you with power through His Spirit in your inner being--Ephesians 3:16
20. Your Father gives you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in order to know Him better--Ephesians 1:17
21. The opening of the eyes of your understanding--Ephesians 1:18-19
22. You overcome the world--1 John 5:3-5
23. The full assurance of understanding--Colossians 2:2
24. God makes you stand firm in Jesus--2 Corinthians 1:21
25. You're securely in Jesus' hands--Romans 7:4; John 10:28-29
26. You can bear fruit for God--Romans 7:4
27. You're an heir of God --Romans 8:17
28. You're a co-heir with Jesus--Romans 8:17
29. You have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven for you--1 Peter 1:4
30. You're united to Jesus--1 Corinthians 6:17
31. Your name is written in heaven--Luke 10:20; Hebrews 12:23
32. You partake of the divine nature--2 Peter 1:4
33. You're shielded by God's power through faith--1 Peter 1:5
34. God is able to keep you from stumbling--Jude 24
35. The peace of God will guard your heart and mind--Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15
36. Your guilty conscience will be cleansed (now that's freedom!)--Hebrews 9:14; 10:22
37. You'll be useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work--2 Timothy 2:21
38. You'll receive abundant grace--John 1:16
39. You can understand the depth of Jesus' love--Ephesians 3:18
40. Jesus helps you in your weakness--Romans 8:26
41. You'll be filled with all the fullness of God--Ephesians 3:19
42. You'll have the mind (thoughts) of Christ--1 Corinthians 2:16
43. God gives you faith--Ephesians 2:8-9
44. God gives you His righteousness due to faith, not your works--Romans 4:1-8
45. You can be built up and given an inheritance by God's grace--Acts 20:32
46. You receive powerful spiritual weaponry--2 Corinthians 10:3-5
47. You receive the whole armor of God--Ephesians 6:10-18
48. You're blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ--Ephesians 1:3
49. You receive His divine power to live a godly life--2 Peter 1:3
50. The Spirit of God gives you power, love, and self-control--2 Timothy 1:7
51. You receive everlasting encouragement and good hope--2 Thessalonians 2:16
52. God's Spirit lives in you--1 John 3:24; 4:13
53. Jesus gives you understanding so you can know God--1 John 5:20
54. You receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken--Hebrews 12:28
55. God hears you--2 Corinthians 6:2
56. God helps you--2 Corinthians 6:2
57. You can understand the things God has freely given you--1 Corinthians 2:12
58. You're a container for God's light--2 Corinthians 4:6-7
59. God has prepared you a new body in heaven--2 Corinthians 5:1
60. Jesus Himself is your high priest--Hebrews 8:1
61. You have received the light--Hebrews 10:32
62. You'll experience the heavenly gift--Hebrews 6:4
63. You'll share in the Holy Spirit--Hebrews 6:4
64. You're enlightened--Hebrews 6:4
65. You'll experience the goodness of the word of God--Hebrews 6:5
66. You'll experience the powers of the coming age--Hebrews 6:5
67. You're delivered from the power of darkness--Colossians 1:13
68. You're brought into Jesus' kingdom--Colossians 1:13
69. All things become possible when you believe--Mark 9:23
70. You're served by angels--Hebrews 1:14
71. In all things God works for the good of those who love him--Romans 8:28
72. The Lord is your Helper--Hebrews 13:6
73. God is for you (so it doesn't matter who's against you)--Romans 8:31
74. You have a better kind of hope through Jesus--Hebrews 7:19
75. There is no condemnation for you who are in Christ Jesus--Romans 8:1
76. You have peace with God through Jesus--Romans 5:1
77. God has given you life for the ages, and this life is in his Son--1 John 5:11
78. You have the abundant life--John 10:10
79. You have exceeding great and precious promises from God--2 Peter 1:4
80. You're raised up to sit together with Christ in the heavenly realms--Ephesians 2:6
81. You know the truth--1 John 2:20-21 
82. You will be saved from the coming wrath of God through Jesus--Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10


This isn't a complete list of all the benefits of knowing Jesus. Part of the joy of reading the Bible is discovering the great blessings that come from knowing our Savior. Then you'll be strengthened and encouraged to live your life for Him, knowing that He is with you every step of the way - in good times and bad.


Sincerely,
Wes

P.S. - Reading a list of benefits is nothing compared to experiencing them. If you don't yet know Jesus, you can know Him right now. He's already saved you on the cross. Believe in Him and experience the salvation He's already bought for you.

For more information, see The good news of Jesus and how it benefits you



Thursday, December 24, 2015

You are 1 of 107,602,707,791 important reasons Jesus came to earth

2000 and some odd years ago God launched into the next mind-blowing phase of His plan for the world.

All of heaven listened and watched intently as God told His Son it was time for Him to go. Without question, His Son rose up from His majestic throne, laid down His crown as second-in-command in the heavenly realms, removed His magnificent royal robe, and dove head first toward sin-enslaved earth. He made a nearly splashless entry into the very world that He created.

Only a small group of shepherds were called to see Him on His first day as a human. No invites were sent to the upper crust of the earth.

The earth has never been the same since Jesus was born long ago.

Why did Jesus leave His perfect home in heaven to come to this earth? He told us very clearly the purpose of His mission:

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him." (John 3:17)

Yes, God sent His Son for you and all the billions of people who've inhabited this earth because He loves each and every one of us. Be thankful for God's awesome gift of Jesus, and celebrate Him coming to save the world.


Merry Christmas!
Wes

P.S. Stay tuned: The Master's plan is continuing to unfold...



Sunday, December 20, 2015

Invest in this secret "super account" that the government can't touch (because they don't even know it's there)



The government taxes us, and taxes us, then taxes us some more. Tired of getting squeezed like a lemon, just so the fat cats can get fatter?
 
If you could invest in something that they can't touch, and that won't be affected by inflation and other economic swings, would you?


Sad but true... you can't take it with you

Image result for money  and time image
There's a time limit on how long we get to use and enjoy our earthly possessions. We all know that whatever money and stuff we gain that remains at the end of our lives will stay here when we die.  And some of it may very well be taken by people we don't want to have it - like the government, greedy relatives, leechy lawyers, and smelly bankers.


Glad it's true... you can send it ahead of you


"You can't take it with you" is an unchangeable fact. But there is another mucho more powerful economic fact concerning planning and investing for your future.    

God recently revealed to me that I needed to put away more for my future. I had been making small investments here and there. But He showed me that I needed to really step up my game. It made me think hard about the investments I had been making. God impressed upon me this Bible passage that I had read many times. Jesus said,  


19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6)

I've believed these words since the first time I read them many years ago. But recently they have carried a heavier meaning for me personally. Part of the reason for this is the fact that I'm not getting any younger. And I'm thinking more seriously about the investments I'm making.

Up to this point in my life, the investing I was doing was important, but most of it I was only going to enjoy for such a short time - the years I have left in this life. I'm 47 now, so that wouldn't be a very long time compared to my future immortal existence in God's kingdom.

So I had a choice:

Invest more for a quickly evaporating future in this life
 - OR - 
Invest more for a future that will never end


It's not easy to delay enjoyment. But at this point of my life this decision was pretty easy to make.   


How to store up treasure for yourself in heaven


Step 1: Open your secret super account in heaven

You must first open your heavenly account so you can make deposits. You do this by coming humbly to the bank owner - Jesus. You can't build up savings in heaven until you are saved by Jesus. When you come to Him, He will reconcile you to Himself by forgiving you of your sins. And He will give you a new, better life. When you come to know Jesus, your account is open - no social security number required, no debit card or checkbook required. Best of all...no government regulations or taxes.

Step 2: Make deposits into your heavenly account

All that you do for and with Jesus builds your heavenly bank account that you can enjoy forever in the next life. And that bank account will NEVER be negatively affected  by anything on the earth. Jesus is running the heavenly system, not the greedy men of earth. You can trust in His power and faithfulness to protect what you've invested.

Image result for money  and time imageHere's one example Jesus gives us of how someone stores up treasure in heaven.

"Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward." (Mark 9:41)

Giving a cup of water in Jesus' name - that's pretty simple. You can make large deposits and small deposits into your heavenly account. The point is - make deposits.

You and others will be blessed immediately in this life when you do things in Jesus' name. And you'll store up treasure for yourself in heaven to enjoy in the next life. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

But this isn't just about how you spend your money. It's also about how you spend your time. Are you spending your time and money on Jesus' behalf?


Ways to build your heavenly account


Following are some things that will grow your heavenly account:

  • Give to the needy secretly (Proverbs 19:17; Luke 6:27-36)
  • Do good to your enemy (Proverbs 25:21-22; Matthew 5:43-48)
  • Suffer persecution for following Jesus (Matthew 5:11-12)
  • Pray secretly (Matthew 6:5-6)
  • Fast secretly (Matthew 6:16-18)
  • Be welcoming to God's people (Matthew 10:40-42)
  • Work to help others know Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:5-9; 1 Corinthians 9:17)
  • Do good deeds in Jesus' name (Ephesians 6:7-8)
  • Seek God seriously (Hebrews 11:6)
  • Fear and respect God (Revelation 11:18)


Are you doing any LONG TERM financial planning?


Jesus told the following story of a man who thought he was wisely planning his future:

15 Then [Jesus] said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” 16 And He told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12)

There's a lot to learn from this story. What stood out to you as you read it? Does it cause you to rethink anything you're doing for the future?

Let's say as an example that your financial planning is not "rich toward God" and starts when you're 25 years old and encompasses the rest of your earthly life - say until you're 85. That's a 60-year plan. That's relatively "long term." But what is it compared to being "rich toward God" and planning for your next life, which will last forever? All of a sudden, your 60 year plan looks pretty short-sighted.

There's nothing wrong with investing and saving for this life. It's good to try to be prepared. But is that all you're doing? Ask yourself, "Where is my treasure, on earth or in heaven?"


Who will you live for?


Here's Jesus' desire for our mindset. This was written to people who have already done Step 1 above.

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3)

This isn't always easy to do. Earthly things are constantly bombarding us and trying to steal our attention. This is a mental and spiritual battle. Are you willing to fight this battle? If so, Jesus will empower you for the victory. Realizing that this world is so very temporary should help us to set our minds on Jesus and our never-ending future in the next life.

The following is one of my favorite Bible verses. It's also one that challenges me constantly to consider how I live my life. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I succeed. Nobody said life would be easy.

And [Jesus] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Is there any higher calling in life than to live for our Savior, the One that has done so much for us, and has such a great future for us? Bonus: As we live for Him, we store up treasure for ourselves in heaven.


Sincerely,
Wes

P.S. - Merry Christmas to all. Celebrate Christ this Christmas. He is the reason for every season.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Jesus and the zombies


I freely confess that I'm a former zombie.

Let me explain...

"Freddy Krueger's the best!"
I didn't look or live like what you might imagine is a typical zombie. I walked without a limp, spoke somewhat coherent English, ate with mid-level manners, didn't have horrible body odor, laughed, and loved. I played football and was pretty good at math. And I know I looked cool sittin' at the drive-in theater with my super-hot zombie girlfriend. But there I was...super dead.

The strange thing was that I didn't know I was dead. Nobody ever told me I was dead. Even when I went to the doctor, they said nothing about me being dead. They didn't even look at me funny. They just stared into my ears, then gave me some drugs and a bill. But now that I think about it, I do remember every once in a while the bully in school would yell at me, "You're dead!" But I thought he just wanted to kill me. Maybe he was a prophet, and I should've paid more attention to him.

But, in my defense, I had no basis for comparison. Everyone around me was also dead. Even my friend Rob was a zombie.

Zombieism is like a disease, but it can't be detected with heart monitors and stethoscopes. It's a spiritual thing. So basically, zombies don't know they're zombies, and they don't care that they're zombies...initially.


The dead live and breed


All people are born spiritual zombies (yes, zombies reproduce). Mankind is literally the walking dead. Now I say "literally" because it's true, even though we don't perceive the living's deadness with our eyes or nose.

But Jesus has spiritual eyes, and He knows the deep inner workings of man. He sees that we are all dead. He can probably smell us too. Here's a few examples from the Bible of Jesus talking to and about zombies.

A zombie who wanted to follow Jesus said to Him,

“Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22)

Dead gravediggers? That's interesting.

Jesus said to zombie religious leaders who tried to teach other zombies about God,

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean." (Matthew 23:27)

The blind leading the blind is not good. The same with the dead teaching the dead. Jesus saw the deadness of man, but it was pretty clear no one else did.


The only cure for zombieism


The walking dead cover the earth. But there is a cure...one cure.

Paul, a high-ranking former zombie who became one of Jesus' closest followers, was given the ability to see the zombie condition. He wrote to a bunch of former zombies,

"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:1-6)
"I got this!"

You may need to slowly read that again. There's a lot of good stuff in there.

It reveals the cause of our zombie condition - sin (which we are all born into), and disobedience toward God. We follow the ways of the world, not God's ways. We follow the spirit that leads us into disobedience, not God's Spirit.

We also read here that all of us have been zombies at one time. And this condition of sin and disobedience deserves God's judgment.

But some have been cured and made spiritually alive. And we see the only cure for it - God. His great love, His abundant mercy, and His power to give zombies real life through them coming to know Jesus. We are made truly alive when we are with Christ.

The Bible says,

"Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:12)

Pretty clear, huh? Got Jesus? Not a zombie. Don't got Jesus? Zombie.

Some people don't like the fact that Jesus is the only cure for spiritual zombieism. But man will never make a pill or concoction that is able to do what God can do for the walking dead. Man can't make physical life in a test tube, and he also can't make spiritual life in a test tube.


Seriously, Jesus is the only cure


Here are some verses from the Bible that show us that this power is only found in Jesus. He doesn't need a patent for this cure. Amazingly, it's totally FREE to all who will believe. And it really works.

"For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son also to have life in Himself." (John 5:26)

 Jesus and His Father have life, and They are not dependent on others for this life. Humans are dependent on God for physical and spiritual life.

Jesus said to the zombie Jewish leaders who were persecuting Him,

"You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life." (John 5:39-40)

Some try to find life apart from Jesus - even through good things like the Bible. Sometimes they are so focused on this, that they don't come to Jesus. They're still zombies.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

He came to give spiritual life to zombies. Let Him give you life RIGHT NOW!

"[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, Who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the good news." (2 Tim 1:9-10)

God has saved all of us. Jesus has already destroyed death and revealed life and immortality. But we don't yet see the full effect of His work. Some zombies have entered into salvation and are now enjoying some of the limited aspects of Jesus' work. But not all zombies have entered into this salvation by connecting with Jesus.

Jesus truly is the only way. The Bible says of Him in Acts 4:12,

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

This fact should save you a lot of time as you search for spiritual wisdom in life. Why waste your time looking to anyone but Jesus for answers?


How to become a former zombie


Jesus said,

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged, but has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)

If our ears are open to really hear Jesus, and if we believe in Him, we will be rescued from the deathly zombie disease. And Jesus will give us true life. He transports us from zombieland to abundant-life land. It may be hard to understand. That's why you should experience it for yourself by hearing Jesus and believing Him and His Father.

When you come to Jesus with a repentant attitude, ask Him to give you His Spirit.

“So I (Jesus) say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11)

The Holy Spirit that God gives to zombies is the power source that transforms them. It is the Spirit of Jesus living in you giving you spiritual life. Without His Spirit living in you, you're a zombie. Paul (former zombie) wrote in the Bible,

"You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ." (Romans 8:9)

Ask and the Spirit will be given to you. And you will truly live.   


Former zombie spills his guts


When God opened my mind to understand Jesus through the Bible, He became my standard of comparison. I then knew I was super dead and that He was super alive.

He brought me to Himself and rescued me from zombieland. I experienced what it really meant to be alive.

I knew at times before this that I wasn't the person I needed to be and wanted to be. But I was powerless to change myself to the degree that I needed to.

My zombieism would reveal its ugly head in many different ways, and people around me were suffering because of my zombie actions and attitudes. Those same people were blessed when I was cured by Jesus. This isn't just about us as individuals. This involves all of our loved ones who are affected positively or negatively by our lives.

Be a blessing to others by getting cured today.


No appointment necessary


I've said Jesus was super alive. He was so alive that, when He died, He came back to life again. And this was by His own power. He said,

"The reason my Father loves Me is that I lay down My life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18)

Now that's power you can't get in a bottle. Did I mention this power is available to all who come to Jesus? And it's FREE. And you don't need an appointment. Jesus is available around the clock and throughout the calendar. But most importantly, He wants you to come to Him. He said,

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11)

What do you want? An engraved invitation? Jesus didn't say, "Come to church." He didn't say, "Give me your money." He did say so clearly, "Come to ME...ALL..."! Whatever reason you can think of to not come to Jesus is a weak excuse. He is the cure!

Untold millions have come to Jesus and been cured by Him. Maybe you're a former zombie. Maybe you're still a zombie, but you know someone who has been cured. Ask them to tell you their story. I'm sure they'll be more than happy to do so - it's encouraging great news.


The zombie resurrection


The Bible foretells a time when zombies who have died will be resurrected, but still in their zombie condition.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:11-13)



Not all zombies will be cured in this life. But after this resurrection, God, Jesus and His followers will continue to work until all zombies are cured. This is God's will.

"[God our Savior] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4)

Here is a picture of our heavenly Father's heart toward all zombies. Jesus said,

20 "And he (a zombie) arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21 And the son said unto him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight, and am no more worthy to be called your son.'
22 But the father said to his servants, 'Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring here the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to be merry." (Luke 15)
 
The walking dead become the walking living when they come to their Father.

At some point God opens the eyes of the zombie. And for the very first time, when he looks at himself he knows that he's a zombie. Then he is brought by God to the knowledge that he cannot fix his own deadness. Then God reveals to him the cure - Jesus. The zombie, now wanting to truly be alive, comes to Jesus and is made alive by the powerful Spirit of God.

There will come a time when zombies are no more.

Sincerely,
Wes

P.S. 





 



Friday, December 4, 2015

One story you MUST understand...because you're in it


Can you spot yourself in this story? The details may not fit you exactly, but you're in here.

Please don't just do a casual read of this, because it's your story, and my story, and everyone's story with God in a powerful nutshell.

Let it sink down deeeeep into your heart.

Jesus said,

"What have I done?"
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there wasted his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
"There's my son!"
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has wasted your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”


No matter what you've done, never ever, ever, ever, ever...ever...EVER doubt the depth of your heavenly Father's love.
Image result for prodigal son images
"I'll miss you Fatty. But I'm goin' home!"



Say "Sayonara!" to sin and the swine. It's time to come home to your Father and enjoy the best steak you've ever had. 

Jesus said, "...there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Angels are watching to see what you'll do.


Sincerely,
Wes

P.S. This story is from Luke 15:11-32





Friday, November 27, 2015

Encouraging true short stories of people being set free from a BIG lie about Jesus

In 2009 God set me free from a mega-lie about Him and His Son. This lie is the teaching that They will eternally punish all who do not believe in and follow Jesus. I was set free from this after 17 years of believing, teaching and preaching it.

Destined for...
This blog post contains letters from people who were also set free from the tormenting teaching of everlasting burning in hell. Some have typos and grammar issues (just like my regular posts), but I left them as they were written. These letters were sent to Tentmaker.org and are used with their permission

Tentmaker has a very large site, and I have read some very good stuff there. I encourage you to check it out. (Disclaimer: I can't say that I agree with everything they teach because I haven't read everything on their site)

There are a lot of stories here, and may be a lot to read at one time. If need be, make several visits back to this post to read all of these encouraging letters from people who have been set free from the poisonous teaching of eternal torment. I believe God will bless you as you read their experiences.


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"Why do they teach this stuff?"
I went to the Lord in my agony of spirit and told Him that if there was such a place where people will eternally be tormented and tortured, than I asked Him to PLEASE TAKE ME INSTEAD OF MY BOYS. (I have 3 sons)

I cried out to Him over a period of about a week concerning this and I was as honest about this as I could ever be. I mean, I really would VERY GLADLY go to this abominable place for eternity than see my precious, deeply loved sons go. I would take their place with NO hesitation!

So, in my agony, I reached out to my trusty computer and typed in "hell." Lo and behold, it brings me to a paper entitled "Can This Be True" and other works by J. Preston Eby.

Well, I couldn't believe my eyes! As I read I had to stop from time to time because of the tears and gut sobs of incredulity intermixed with surprising bursts of laughter.

I kind of felt a little insane. I mean, could this really be true?!

Could it be, Lord, could it be? My world had been rocked violently. It seemed as if the Lord was saying to me, "How do you think you can love your sons more than I do?"


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I was raised independent fundamental Baptist. Contrary to what some will say, The Bible has much to say in support of universal reconciliation. It is a Biblical doctrine.

The main thing that convinced me was that the victory of Jesus Christ was more powerful than the annihilationists thought. Adam's destruction is NOT more powerful than Christ's redemption. Hell will have no victory. In time, all things will be gathered in Christ.

1 Ti 2:6 - "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."

The ransom for ALL had been paid. No one has given me a good enough reason why God should not get all that he has paid for. Man may fail to get all that he pays for, but God will not fail.

2 Cor 5:19 - "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." God wants the whole creation, not just a part to be reconciled.

This is the day of reconciliation. This is the day when the Church does the work of being an ambassador for the reconciling work of Christ. We say "Be ye reconcile to God"! We are fellow laborers with God in this endeavor.


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I was raised in a very strict Baptist missionary home. Born in Tokyo , raised in Japan , my dad started 4 churches during a period of 40+ years. He would often preach about the torments of endless burning, attempting to motivate the Japanese congregation by fear, I suppose.

About a year ago I did a study on the words eternity, forever, everlasting, and do you know what I discovered? From the context of a significant number of these words, their meaning COULDN'T POSSIBLY mean endless!! And if we as students of the Bible correctly interpret scripture with scripture, this has a profound effect on one's evaluation of the true meaning of these words.

I was WILLING to accept God's Word about this teaching, assuming the most horrible thought, that people would burn and burn forever and what a tormenting thought that was.

But I believe God blessed me in a remarkable way by revealing these secrets to me, just like He did to you Rodger!! THE TRUTH HAS SET US FREE, thank God!

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Image result for wolf in sheep's clothing imageThe darkest doctrine ever devised by men was that of an "eternal suffering" for the billions of souls that die lost without Christ. Like wolves among the sheep, carnally-minded men within the church system found it very effective to use the fear of an unending hell to control the masses that enter their religion.

Unfortunately this doctrine has remained at large in Christianity as a whole.

But the Lord Jesus said, "when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself." - John 12:32

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My confidence that God will win everything and everyone by His love has grown into certainty. Previously I used to feel I ought to "witness", or I'd want to do it so that they would be saved from eternal torture, but now I'm itching to say, look, everything's going to be all right in the end. He's the God of creation, not just a little god for Christians: He's going to revive, He's going to bring back to life, He's going to restore the whole creation, He won't fail to save and reconcile everyone because everyone from all time and from everywhere is whom His salvation was intended for. He is God, and we are not little gods who can spoil His plan by sending ourselves to hell forever.

This revelation of God's nature and purpose has totally changed the way I perceive everything. Even through the darkest times, when I have nothing to offer him, I know He is there, that He continues to love me, and that nothing can change that. And, at last, I have stopped crying out in my sleep.

"God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not charging their trespasses to them" - (2 Corinthians 5:19).

In other words, the action of reconciling the whole world and not charging them with their wrongdoing has been completed. Like a rock pushed over a cliff, the action is completed. The result is inevitable, even though all the effects are not yet evident.

"God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not charging their trespasses to them, and he has given to us the message of reconciliation." - (2 Corinthians 5:19)

Our message is not one of terror: "or else;" it is "be reconciled to God, make friends with God, he wants to make friends with you." Love doesn't threaten, or give deadlines or ultimatums; Love "suffers long, and is kind ... thinks no evil". Ruth Jacob



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The words my son spoke cut me like a knife and I will never forget them:

"Daddy, I try to be a good boy, but I can't be good like you. The devil is going to take me down to hell with him and I'll never see you and mommy any more."

He believed in his heart that if some people weren't going to make it, it could be him.

I had already started studying about the love of God and the salvation of all mankind just previous to this, but had not yet shared it with my son. That night I shared the true Gospel with him and swore I would never go back to a life of false teaching and fear. That night I allowed my little boy to be a child again, and allowed myself to have the faith of a little child also. NO church will ever take that away from us.



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I am currently a recovering "mainstream Christian." I was born again a little over 8 years ago, and since then always believed that like it or not, every non-sincere Christian on Earth was going to hell. This teaching still affects me today and I believe hinders everyone who believes in it from truly loving God because they are taught that God's holiness and hatred of sin somehow outweighs His love for us. In reality, God's hatred for sin is BECAUSE of His love for us, because sin causes Him and all of us nothing but misery. I still have the attitude of "too good to be true" and other similar beliefs virtually engraved in my heart, and I know it will take time to recover and discover the true wonder and completeness of God's love, so any encouraging words, stories, etc. are appreciated.
"You think Jesus would really do that?"

One of the hardest ideas I had to come to grips with as an ET (eternal torment) believer was that as sinners, everyone "deserved to burn in hell for their sins." Imagine what it felt like to believe that. Just for being Adam and Eve's great great...grandchildren, everyone in the world deserved nothing less than to spend eternity in a place that would make Auschwitz look like a summer camp - including myself, my friends, my 6-month old cousin, and you. I'm grateful now that I see this depressing and destructive doctrine for what it is. No wonder many commit suicide over this doctrine. If it were true, does it mean that the victims of 9/11, the Holocaust, Hurricane Katrina, etc., not only deserved the horrible death and suffering they received, but also infinitely more misery, just for screwing up a few times in life? Interesting that its usually the same group of conservative Christians who say "all life is sacred" yet turn around and say "you're a filthy rotten disgusting sinner who deserves nothing but punishment from now till the end of time." If God created us in His own image, He would've given us a sense of justice similar to His own, so if eternal punishment for a finite amount of sin seems unreasonable to us, it's probably unreasonable to Him, too. A central concept in Christianity is that God is our Father, and like any good Father, He disciplines his children. But any good parental discipline is meant to correct and better a child, not just to punish him for the hell of it. The doctrine of ET makes God seem more like, say, the Columbine gunmen, who believed that responding to the "sins" their classmates committed against them with completely disproportional wrath was just. Fortunately, the real God is far from that in His concept of justice.



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In October of 1998 God clued me in to who He really was. I was researching the subject of "the book of life" hoping that I might find something to make sense of the doctrine of endless suffering in hell. I was on the internet and I came to a work written by J. Preston Eby.

He talked in detail about "the book of life." He also spoke of the Greek word "aion". I was intrigued by what he was saying. The idea that scholars had been wrong before was nothing new to me so I was very open to this. I went to bed that night with a smile on my face. "Could God really save the world?", kept going through my mind. I studied it over and over.

The elders at the home church reviewed it and we came to the conclusion that it was indeed true. I had joy but I was also depressed because I had built this wealth of knowledge and it all pretty much needed major tweaking (and also the fact that I have been called a cultist doesn't help either). But the Lord has been gracious in giving me understanding. And I will continue to proclaim "The REAL Good News".

Years later the absurdity of it all started to set in. The "common sense" of it all. Things such as "If endless hell is true, why is Christ considered the victor when he could save only a few?"

"Why would God create people strictly to burn?(Even if you believe in free will He still created them to burn in hell because He knew before He created them that they would reject)?"

"He tells me to love my enemy yet He will burn them forever and ever."

If your readers have had these same questions then I urge them to read J. Preston Eby's articles and go to the links page and check out other sites. I hope that they find the same peace about it that I have.



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I'd read about the incredible love that God supposedly had. At the hour of my greatest pain and so close to checking myself into a psych ward I confronted God and told Him I needed an answer NOW. God took me back to the times of intense peace and love that I had felt previously. He showed me that He loved everyone as much as He loved me. He made it so absolutely clear in my heart and mind through the scriptures and His voice speaking inside me that He was not the monster that He was made out to be. He was not the two-headed out of control love/hate creature that I had been taught all of my life. The more scripture I read and studied the more God brought peace to my mind. He showed me that He will be all in all, that His love knows no end.

I understood that my earlier conversion experience was not so much the moment that I accepted Christ, but rather the joyful time when I first realized it fully. Christ had chosen me, and everyone else, long long ago.

Certainly, it took a long time of relearning. When you have had a concept drilled into your head for many years it takes a long time to go back through the scriptures and realize where you have erred.

But now my heart is so converted to this message of truth that there is nothing you can do to ever change my mind.........not even if I'm the last man standing.



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Belief in eternal torment is partially to blame for a severe anxiety disorder I have suffered since age 17.

I have seen testimonies of people that have gone nearly or completely insane due to this horrible teaching. Don't let it happen to you. Explore the wonderful truths of the salvation of all mankind found in properly translated Bibles. Learn what Christ meant when He said on the Tree of Crucifixion, "It is finished." Discover the wonderful promises He left for you, your friends, relatives, and loved ones.

Spend some time on Gary Amirault's web site at http://www.tentmaker.org/


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An article that Gary Amirault wrote on his Tentmaker site was the best news that I have ever read. I usually don't like to read long articles, but this time I couldn't stop. When I finished reading it I knew that the cat was out of the bag. The lid was blown off the big lie. I've never been the same since. I've been set free. I sometimes walk around talking to myself about it and to anybody else who wants to hear about it. I like talking about it. I love this gospel, that through Jesus, everybody will be reconciled to God. I was ashamed of the churches "gospel". Thanks again for the encouragement



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I used to walk around in a daze... convinced that almost every person around me was going to hell. I found that utterly horrifying - and that led to my huge breakdown. According to *** ****, who spent time in a mental institution, a HUGE percentage of people in those places are Christians who love Jesus with all their heart - but simply cannot reconcile the God of love with the God of eternal Hell Fire. God bless brother!



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It is amazing how one's view of God changes when they are set free from the HELL doctrine. How well I remember growing up under it. The evangelists sure knew how to make that one work to increase their "souls saved" account.

I have also experienced the hell that it has created along with the "unpardonable sin" terror teaching.

When I was about 19, I had a strange experience one night as I lay in bed before I went to sleep. Some foul language went through my mind towards the Holy Spirit. Then the next thought was, "You've committed the unpardonable sin." For days I could hardly eat or sleep because I was sure I was headed for hell. It was a terrifying experience. Finally I went and told my father who prayed a simple prayer and I was free. In time I was to learn that salvation was for all without exception, but while my spirit rejoiced, my mind rejected it. It was some years later that I came to more fully understand and accept that it was never God's plan to torture anyone in the mythical fires of hell. Thank God for His glorious plan to bring us all into His glorious image in and through Christ!

Yes, Jesus is now Lord, and our life is now IN CHRIST. What a joy that is!



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We were both brought up with the eternal torment teaching so the literature you've read in support of eternal torment won't be anything we've never heard.

I believe that I was "set up" by the Holy Spirit to find this wonderful truth of universal reconciliation. I had become so grieved because most of the population, as I believed, was going to hell AND because most of the church people I knew didn't care!

I have never been so relieved in my life to see my most heartfelt desires coming true before my eyes. I remember making a statement that brought about some strange looks. Once at a Bible study...I said, "I hope we are wrong on the hell thing. I hope we've mistranslated or misinterpreted it somehow". Can you imagine how I felt when I first had hope that I could have been RIGHT????

I'm either considered a heretic at my church, or just some really "big hearted" person who just can't stand to think of anyone being hurt. I think that's how my pastor described me to my friend as they discussed my "deception."

I know what you mean about eternal torment getting you down...I was there. If it should prove to be true...I will need to go and pick out my own room in the mental hospital.......it would take some powerful drugs to numb my "big heart" . Wonder where that "big heart" came from...could it be the image of my creator????



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I grew up in a small Pentecostal church. Sundays were full of tongues, preaching on the immeasurable love of God, His repugnance of sin, saving the lost through example, saving the lost through evangelism, praying to save to lost, and the torment of eternal separation 'because God hates sin'. Nobody wanted 'bloody hands' so we prayed and fasted. When someone died on the Indian reservation, we got a tongue lashing, "If we would have prayed a little more, fasted a little more, ...then things might have been different." "The blood of the Indian reservation is on our hands."

"Cool guitar riffs are going send me to hell?"

This left little hope for me. I was 14 years old, hated myself, but knew God was real because I had experienced His presence. I fiercely battled the temptations of teenagers; smoking, drinking, listening to rock music(this was a big deal in my church). After an alter call on Sunday, I was saved, heaven bound. By Tuesday I was slipping, I was already thinking about listening to rock music, condemned. Then on Wednesday, I was thinking about smoking...the slope was increasing. By Friday, I wanted to escape the mental torment - so to the drink I ran...and had to repent on Sunday lest my feet were scorched if I died. As if my own salvation weren't enough work, I had to evangelize and pray my peers into the Kingdom lest there souls cried out from hell. I could hear it now upon my entrance into the pearly gates,

"Why didn't you say anything? You knew. You let me go to hell and didn't say anything." This was a struggle to say the least; Accept Jesus as your savior so you too can be as miserable and condemned as me! This cycle lasted throughout my whole teenage life and into my twenties.

In my twenties God reassured me of His love in very supernatural ways. In the midst of a sinful lifestyle, He would poor down His gifts and love upon me. At one point He specifically said to me that if I never prayed again, and went to a bar every night, His love for me would not change. Rather than driving me to a prayerless life, and being a drunkard, this had the opposite effect, I desire to speak to my sweet savior. I became sure of my salvation through Him and Him alone.

As for the salvation of others...He showed me a few things their too.



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First, I would like to say the teaching of eternal Hell robbed me of a happy childhood. My father was not a believer and I was continually worried that he would die and go to Hell forever. I went through a period of depression as a kid because of this.

Another interesting thing is that I married an unbeliever. At the time I completely believed that my husband was going to Hell if he died in unbelief. It was like I was trying to defy God in a way by showing Him that I could fall in love with a hellion so why can't God do the same. I thought - Doesn't He loved these outcast sinners?

Then.......to top it all off...........I wanted a child even though I believed that there was a good chance my child could grow up to become an unbeliever. This caused me much grief, and eventually led me to searching for answers to all the questions I had.

I also have a friend who I used to go to church with. She is much older than me and she found out a couple of years ago that her son is homosexual, and she went into a deep depression and had to be hospitalized many times. I found out that most of her depression was rooted in the fact that she believed her son was doomed for eternal Hell in the next life. She is doing much better now and has left the church. She now wants to start a house church with her husband.



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I started life in a church which taught eternal torment. Later I became part of a cult that taught annihilation. I didn't know that universal salvation was even a possibility until a couple of years ago after my near suicide.

It was during the years that I was coming out of the cult and the deep depressions that the experience brought to me and the thoughts of ending my own life, that made me think about my two sons that I would leave behind me if I did take that way out of life.

I embraced the joy of universal salvation about two and a half years ago, when I found out for the first time in my life that there actually are other people in the world who believe it and have for a very long time. It was the same day that I was going to hang myself in the garage that I found websites that talked about universal salvation.

Thanks, Rodger, for sharing your thoughts here and in other places on the web. I was one of your "silent readers" that you mentioned two and a half years ago the afternoon I nearly ended my life.

I had had such a desire to understand God all my life. When I was a little girl I had felt so loved by my childish idea of God, the child who had no knowledge of all the theologies written about Him.

The stained glass window above the altar in the church was of Jesus holding a shepherd's staff in one hand and cradling a little lamb in His arm. That picture of Jesus, 'my' Jesus Who loved me, spoke more to me than words.

I remember my innocence about Him being shattered when a missionary came to our church and showed us slides of African children, children just like me but half a world away, and the missionary said that these children and others like them would go to an ever-burning hell if they didn't hear about Jesus.

As a little girl I didn't have the adult vocabulary or knowledge of the theology that had spawned this remark, but from that day on I felt sick in my soul for what was ripped from me.

When I was contemplating taking my life a couple of years ago, I kept thinking about what kind of God I would be leaving my two precious sons in the care of.

What would He do to these precious lives I had brought into world? What kind of God were they expected to love?

I know people who love the God who will torment people forever. I know people who love the God who will annihilate people into oblivion forever.

I had come to the point in my life where I could no longer contemplate loving either of those Gods, neither in this life nor in eternity.

I felt angry and paralyzed that I had to give over the ones I loved more than myself into the hands of someone who would treat them this way. And in the depths of my soul I extended that to all human beings. I had to. It DOES matter what kind of God we are expected to love.

The many churches may remain in disunity. But in reality there is only one God. And all humanity is ultimately utterly dependent on Him for its destiny.

Eileen "Someday we'll all be friends, at the end of time when God is ALL in ALL."



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The false teaching of eternal torment had a terribly condemning effect on my younger brother and I for decades.

Our parents weren't 'church-goers', but mom sent us to VBS at a nearby church when we were 6 & 8 years old. It was there that we first heard about how Jesus loves us and how God will 'let' the devil torture us forever if we don't believe in Jesus.

My brother, now age 46, has never set foot in a church in the 40 years since that week.

The few times that I'd gone to church with friends in my teens and early 20's, I never felt like I fit in....I wasn't 'good' enough. It was confusing to me how the preacher would spend an hour talking about how we were supposed to 'live', what terrible things awaited those who didn't live 'right'....then 'invite' us to accept Jesus while all the good people sang "Just as I Am."

I didn't understand the gospel the way they taught it. I knew God....talked to Him a lot and read my bible when I needed comforting. But, those few times I'd been to churches had planted a seed of uncertainty.

I remember when my older 2 daughters were babies, over 20 years ago, I'd once prayed: "Lord, I know I'm going to Hell, but please save my babies!"

I didn't take my older kids to church when they were little. I taught them that God and Jesus loved them...nothing about hell.

My oldest daughter was 5yo the first time she heard about hell----she was so excited.

We were outside when a man and boy came to the front gate. She ran ahead of me to see who was coming to visit, while I was restraining my protective hound dog. I was halfway there when she came running back----"Mommy, where's hell? That man says we're going there. Can we go today?"

I let the dog go---LOL!

About 10 years ago I had a conversation with a lady in her 70's at a Baptist church. I don't recall the exact conversation, but this woman had attended church longer than I'd been alive, and she had no assurance of her salvation----she 'hoped' she was good enough. Sad.



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In my late teenage years, one day when entering my workplace, I was confronted by the manager. The conversation went something like this.

"Andrew, what is that book you are carrying?"

"It's a Bible, sir."

"Are you a Christian then?"

"Yes, I am."

"Tell me, what happens when we die?"

"Well, if we are a Christian, we go to Heaven."

"But if we are not a Christian, where do we go then?"

"If we are not saved, the Bible says we go to Hell."

"But doesn't God love everyone?"

"Yes He does."

"And this place called Hell - what's it like?"

"It's a place of punishment."

"What kind of punishment?"

"Well, the Bible says it is a place where the wicked are burned up."

"Is this for ever and ever?"

"Yes."

"Tell me, who made Hell?"

"Well, the Bible says God made everything, so He must have made Hell."

"And why did He make Hell?"

"To punish the wicked."

"But you have just said that God loves everyone. Why then did He make Hell? Could He not have foreseen what would happen, that countless millions would suffer in Hell forever?"

For the first time in my life I found myself embarrassed with the 'gospel' of evangelical tradition, and though these questions were obvious, these were matters I had studiously avoided. Fortunately for me the time to start work had arrived, and I escaped further questioning, but like Saul of Tarsus, I found myself kicking against the goads, and God was preparing me to receive the transcendent truths of His purpose to reconcile all to Himself.

Andrew Maclarty, Nottingham , England



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I remember when I was a young man, camping out and sitting around the fire, I would look intently into the flames and glowing embers and ask my friends just how is it possible that people can go to a place like that for eternity. No one ever had an answer. My conscience was so stirred by the nightmarish scenes conjured up in my mind that I could not rest until I had a good answer.

Not until a friend, years later, handed me a Concordant Literal New Testament and some of the writings from THE CONCORDANT PUBLISHING CONCERN, were my fears put to rest. My conscience exulted at the wonderful truths! It could not side with the doctrine of demons called "eternal torment."

I thank God my conscience was not cauterized so that I could not recognize the truth when it was brought before me!



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The greatest thing that has ever happened in my life, is when the Lord Jesus showed me, that in the end, He will save all mankind. I now believe in the glorious Gospel of grace, not of works lest anyone should boast.

I remember as a young child, I completely believed what my church leaders and my pastor told me about God. However, I now have come to understand that they had told me certain things that were simply not true about Him and because of these errors, it caused me much needless pain and suffering throughout my life. For one thing, when I was young, I feared going to Hell. I feared very much going to a place, that these men of God spoke of, a place called endless torment. You see, I was told by these men, that there were certain things that would be required of me, certain things that I must perform to their expectation before I could become saved, before they would accept me as saved.

The problem was, that their rules, their requirements were beyond my capability to perform. So no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I begged, no matter how hard I pleaded to God, I was unable to meet these requirements for salvation.

How well I remember, I prayed to God, many many times asking Him to save me.

"I could fry in hell? Forever?"

So I was stuck, I was damned. Damned because I simply could not perform to the expectation of these men, because in their eyes and according to the standard that they had set up, I was not yet saved, and if I would happen to die before becoming saved, my destiny was an endless hell. So it is impossible to portray the anguish I went through as a child. I was so afraid to go to sleep at night, for years and years of fearing death, fearing to face an eternal torment and judgment. You see I feared God all right, not out of love or respect, but out of a fear that of an eternal judgment and damnation. And in MY CHILDLIKE MIND, I knew I dared not question the authority of these men. After all, these were supposed to be men of God. These were men who supposedly knew and studied the Scriptures. These were the people to whom I was supposes to respect, honor and obey. But AH, our God is faithful, He is so wonderfully faithful unto His creation, especially unto those living under fear.

So, during this same time of confusion and fears, I also received divine insight, I also knew, that I knew that God loved me. This knowledge and understanding of God's love wasn't so much taught unto me by men, but came from my loving Heavenly Father Himself.

His love, His love, is what kept me going, kept me pressing on, kept me striving, kept me longing for more of God, to get closer and closer unto Him. My head was confused with the teachings of men, the teachings that brought despair and fear to my soul, but at the same time, God in his mercy was speaking to my heart. His Spirit brought love and comfort through this maze of my turmoil. Quite by accident, (not really) I came upon a teaching that God is the Savior of all men in January of 2000.

I remember I had punched in SALVATION on my PC , and Ken Allen's site, True Grace Ministries came up.

www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/ministry.html

It was a real shocker to me, to read that my God is truly"the Savior of All mankind," and He won't torture endlessly most of humanity, as I had formerly been taught.

My, this was an awesome awakening!!

This understanding, THE RECONCILIATION OF ALL MEN, really hit home. It literally captivated my whole being. After spending the last number of months in constant study and research on this subject, I soon realized I had to repent to my Lord for believing that He was a "god of eternal torment and torture" to those whom He's already destined to save. I am now convinced of the truth of Ultimate Reconciliation of ALL by the abundance of Scripture and the love that God has for His creation. Upon learning that Christ did not sacrifice in vain for anyone, I was set free. Free to learn, free to explore, free to question, free to imagine, free to worship in spirit and in truth. Allen Steinhauer



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When I was seven my stepmother lit a fire in a beaker and said to me, "If you don't open your heart's door to Jesus and invite Him in, God is going to put you into a fire much bigger and hotter than that after you die and He will never ever let you get out of it."

So in my heart I prayed the way she said that I had to. Awhile later she said it's obvious that you still are not saved because you are still such a bad boy. At that point in time I felt totally hopeless, and I was sure that God had given up on me.

My Dad used to beat me with a bamboo cane repeatedly shouting "In Jesus Name, in Jesus Name," until the welts on my legs would bleed. He told me that it was easy to tell at an early age that I was going to go to hell. Then they both sent me away to a foster home because they could no longer cope with my bad behavior. My real mother had died giving birth to me. My Dad's second wife had died at child birth too but the child did not live either. So at the age of seven I became convinced that everyone had given up on me, including God.

Later, at the age of 28 (I'm 67 now) I began a twelve year nervous breakdown over my inability to successfully emotionally cope with the idea that God lets any creature suffer forever. I was only able to recover by gradually learning that there are no verses in the Bible that teach endless suffering in hell for anyone. See



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"Your teachings (not that they are "yours") have changed my life. After putting up with the doubletalk and confusion I experienced in a Baptist church (which I point out was a church full of intelligent and lovely people for whom I still have admiration and respect) I just found it harder and harder to keep the ideas together in my mind. My suspicion is that Christians encounter reality in Jesus Christ, which is something so real that even when their theology causes them confusion and angst, they choose to withstand the trauma and dilemma because they think that to do otherwise would be tantamount to forsaking their faith. They cope amidst theological crisis generated by hell by adopting beliefs such as: “God is chastening me”, “God is mysterious, I am a mere man”, “I must have more faith”, “it does not need to make sense” etc., or worse, they see their intellectual suffering as being a form of spiritual maturity even though it is simply a consequence of the diabolical ideas they have of God.

If a person genuinely believes in the doctrine of eternal torment and is prepared to accept the double talk of many teachers such as “God is love, but He is also holy” i.e. “Look out, it is not all Good News!”, then it takes the scope for emotional suffering to a level beyond what people can cope with. I can personally attest to the fact that if a person genuinely believes that they or a loved one is going to hell, they go insane, become cold and indifferent, become dissociative or develop some other coping mechanism. So much for the Truth setting one free…

As a case on point, one person I have known since my childhood, a highly intelligent bible translator, has battled with severe mental illness for years and I am quite suspicious this is partly because of his views of God and Jesus. I believe he has experienced the reality of the Jesus, but I believe he has developed layers of thinking and adopted highly complicated yet convoluted theological beliefs in an effort to settle his troubled mind (he is an ardent Calvinist by the way, and a huge fan of Spurgeon and Rushdoony). People see him as wise and a man of great integrity, yet he made an attempt on his own life in the 1980s, and was also hospitalised 8 years ago because he was suicidal...


The doctrine of hell allows people to act in this way without reservation, because they look at the perceived stakes (eternal bliss or eternal torment) and conclude that all behaviours are acceptable in obeying God’s mandate or obedience (i.e. following the Law). Love and grace somehow become less important than “God’s Law”, and the result is truly toxic. It also creates Christians that are split, as they cannot keep all the laws, so they pick and choose ones which they can uphold better than the others. I suspect this is why certain sins are more accepted in the church than others. If you swear or cuss, that is treated severely because people can learn to not swear without particular effort. If on the other hand you treat your wife badly, that is considered a more difficult sin to deal with and is rarely attacked with the same fervour (in my short experience).

This person now blogs frequently on social decay in the Western World and preaches that our society must implement God’s Law or face doom. He condemns abortion, which is patently hypocritical for reasons I will not divulge (he also secretly empathises with the plight of the shooter in Norway). I do not feel angry at him, I actually feel sorry for him, and I feel shame at my own life when I look at his. I have the same tendencies to be legalistic and hypocritical and had it not been for Tentmaker, I would have gone down exactly the same path. That is, had I maintained a belief in eternal torment, I would have felt perfectly justified in being an absolute tyrant in my dealings with my loved ones (“There are more important and pressing things at stake – the world is going to hell!”). It would not (and did not) produce kindness or mercy in me; it did (and would have continued to) do the opposite!

I hope I have not wasted your time in writing to you at length, but I suspect you get tired of personal attacks and outright aggression towards your teachings (I once told my bible group about universalism, and it was met with resistance or silence from nearly all of them). Please keep in mind that I strongly suspect your website may have prevented my own suicide, and more likely prevented me from becoming completely insane from the terror and fear of hell.



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When I was coming out of the cult experience a few years ago that dominated my life, and as I felt myself needing to find the God who was really and truly the saviour of ALL, there was one thought that kept niggling at my brain.

I was tortured to the point of suicide, because I could not resolve in myself how to love a God who would torment or annihilate my fellow human beings who got to the end without 'passing the test' by choosing God! I had "God cannot violate our 'free will'" rammed down my throat and it was making me sick and I just wanted to die!

I kept thinking about my two sons. Not about them being without their mother - because at the time I was so tortured I was making life hell for my family, but I kept thinking about how much I have loved them since before they were born, how much these two lives meant to me, how precious they are, warts and all! And I kept thinking "What kind of God would I be entrusting them to if I go?" And it broke my heart. I wept and wept every time this thought overwhelmed me, because I hadn't yet found anyone who believed and taught God, the saviour of all.

I was SO ANGRY, that I had to turn my children over to this God who would torment them or annihilate them forever IF THEY FAILED!

It is indeed, GOD'S CHARACTER that this is all about isn't it? It is about who He is.

To someone "out there" who may be being tormented in their heart and mind just as I was - that is a very important message. And there may be someone out there who needs to hear - for the first time in their life - about the true character of God, the God who doesn't give up on any of us, who wouldn't think of abandoning us to our sick and distorted 'free wills', and who will heal us of every misconception and lie that we have ever been taught and believed. Via con Dios everyone Leenie



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I have thought for some years now that it is a scar in the mind to believe that Jesus was tortured at the end of his life, only that sinners could be tortured for all of eternity at the end of their life. The belief in an eternal Hell is a disfigured tattoo within the mind of those who accept it, which needs to be removed. It is a mental imprint which molds the entire belief system of any tattooed with it. I once met a young Lady in Alabama who was forced to go in front of her church to ask for forgiveness for becoming pregnant. The Pastor told her if she did not do this, that she would burn in hell for all of eternity. This was some twenty years ago, before I even knew of Gods truth on this subject. She came to me and asked what she should do, I was married and attended the same church with my wife of back then, who was a member of this church. I had already disagreed with some of their teachings already, which was well known by their Leadership and some members. Whatever reason the young Lady came to me, I am unsure, but I told her that forgiveness comes from God, not public confession. I advised her not to do it. The church later asked both me and the young lady not to attend any more.

I don't know what became of the young Lady, but this experience put a bad taste in my mind toward churches that teach things that place the human mind in bondage. That taste, has never left me, and God used it to remove the tattoo of hell in my mind.



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I also had a brief crisis when [I'm catholic] a priest asked me to give catechism to a few adults before they could commune. I read the literature from the Vatican about God's plan to throw all non-believers, non-Catholic Christians, etc. into eternal hellfire. After that I had a nervous breakdown IN mass!

I politely and quietly left, and since then have become a firm Universalist in my heart. How could God send an individual to ETERNAL hell after only 80 years of earthly life? Justice? I can't fathom it.

And what about God's accountability...didn't He make us? Is He then unable to remedy original sin? Of course He can - that is why Jesus said "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me (John 12:32)." Surely, Christ is the good shepherd and will save all men. There are too many ambitious people out there using the name of Jesus to make money and manipulate and control others by fear for their own welfare.