The last couple of weeks have been insane! Not only did I get a job but with the twins suddenly starting school it’s really made life interesting. You have sitters to contend with, a school bus that’s supposed to lick your kids up and drop them off to and from school yet for some reason they aren’t on the list. Also keep in mind that we are completely broke. So broke that I truly think I am truly looking forward to seeing my last unemployment check. Did I mention that I have no idea when it’s coming? I also don’t get paid until next week.
Here’s the part where people complain and say; “God? I thought you led me to this job and tings were going to get better! Instead they’ve gotten worse! Due to this new job and the crazy hours for training I am tired, I’m broke and quite honestly I’m beginning to doubt that you even know what you’re doing.” My motto has been God has brought me to it, he’ll bring me through it. God has a plan but sometimes while following there are going to be trials and periods where following God doesn’t seem to be the best solution. I know that God has brought me this far so why doubt him now? True faith is weathering all the storms and trusting God. Sure, I’m broke and exhausted but God truly does have a plan and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me next week.
Here’s the deal. I got this wonderful idea to look into a Rosary. I hear what you’re saying; “Dude, you’re not Catholic. You can’t do that.” I say why not? The problem with religion is that we put so much emphasis on symbols and theologies that we sometimes need to shock people. Wake them up a little. What better way than to wear a Rosary when you aren’t even Catholic. My friends who aren’t religious are saying what’s the big deal? The big deal is that for non Catholics to wear a Rosary is sacrilegious. You can’t do that. Plus, people will assume you’re Catholic. I am not trying to make devout Catholics angry at me in fact the Rosary to me represents a hardcore belief in God so why shouldn’t I wear it. It shows people that they have to much reliance on symbols and their focus should be elsewhere. Say the Bible for instance? I again hear what you’re saying; “Symbols define us, they make us who we are.” Sure, I’m a free Methodist yet you see you don’t see me sporting a big ol’ cross. Even the pagans are sporting crosses so it doesn’t really say anything anymore. Crosses are just jewelry and by wearing one it doesn’t make you a Christian. “Dude, the Rosary is sacred. You can’t just wear it.” I will and feel free to comment. I love a good debate
Okay, after my last blog about Christian metal core I got to thinking and could even hear people grumbling. I know that a lot of Christians may think that I’m a bad role model and you know what? I actually began to doubt myself. As soon as I wrote that blog I asked God; Are you sure you want me to do this? I’m a mess spiritually, I don’t exactly fit in with a lot of Christians and when you think of what a Christian should look and even talk like I’m not what people think of.” Then God said; “That’s exactly why I chose you.” I thought about that for a minute and then God began showing me the qualities I failed to see. Sure, I’m a mess but aren’t we all? I’ve been an atheist, flirted with Satanism yet here I am a soldier for God and all the good he represents. I was shrouded in darkness and just tired of running in circles and there are so many others out there just like me. Who better to reach out to them than me? It doesn’t mean that I know everything because I don’t. I know what it’s like to feel as if you’re just drifting along hoping for life to magically make sense. News flash, it never truly makes sense but God makes it all manageable.
A lot of Christians talk about their comfort zone and how they don’t want to offend anyone or step on anyone’s toes, but I don’t have a comfort zone so when I step on people’s toes with something I say I’m not trying to be mean or even offensive it’s just who I am. I also encourage others to think outside of what their religion is telling them. If it doesn’t sound or feel right then do your own study! Don’t cripple yourself spiritually by accepting something you have a problem doing or believing in. So many of our churches squash free thought and when you question what you’re supposed to believe they scold you. Why is that? To get where I am spiritually I allowed myself to study other religions, looked at all the things that they were saying and prayed about it,. I asked God to show me the truth and he did. Instead of being gullible and scared of thinking for myself I trusted in God and sought out the truth.
It’s true that I’m not the stereotypical Christian. I don’t hum Amazing Grace and I’m not stuffy. I don’t wear suits or even have the best posture in the world but God still chose me. I sometimes don’t understand it because there are others that God chooses that are more conventional, and more in line with what a typical Christian represents. Me, I like to think that even though I’m rough around the edges God still saw something in me that he could use and I’m humbled and thankful that he did.
I represent the scruffy people that are lost and in need of a light that only Jesus can provide. I don’t heal people and I don’t claim to hang out with Jesus every morning, but I when I need him he’s there and as I did some laundry and felt that I was the wrong guy to write these blogs he reassured me that I was in fact the right guy and I have without even knowing it reached someone who was looking for the truth and was lead to my one of my blogs. I’ll never understand exactly what God sees in me and to think that I spent so many years doubting him and even rejecting him here I am boldly proclaiming my love for God. I was listening to a song to today that spoke volumes about how I feel at this moment of my life. P.O.D.’s Alive has become an anthem for me and when I heard it today I actually got what that song is truly about and I can relate to that. I have been singing it all day. God rules!
The kids are gearing up to head back to school and I am staring down the possibility of going back to work so until the dust settles I have very little time to formulate any insightful blogs so we have this that I give my son all the credit for. I got him into Christian music but one day I walk into the dining room and he was listening to something that sounded like someone was beating the crap out of a trash can and screaming as if they maybe missed the trash can and hit their leg. That was my introduction to metal core. What is metal core? See above. My question to my son was is that Christian music and could you maybe turn it down? I’m old and have three kids who do enough screaming thank you very much.
Fast forward to a few weeks later and I had a really stressful day. Yes, Christians do have stressful days but I had no release. I no longer listen to non Christian music so I all I had was some old school thrash but it just wasn’t helping. I needed something aggressive! Then I remembered what my son was listening to. METAL CORE!! I listened to As I Lay Dying and I was actually digging it! Sure, it was noisy and couldn’t possibly reach kids the same way other forms of Christian music could but I destressed and retracted my firm belief that Christian metal core is an abomination and noisy. Lyrically these bands don’t tackle the same issues that more traditional bands tackle but that’s a good thing.
It’s interesting because a lot of Christians write off all Christian music but fail to see the reality that these bands are not only reaching non Christians but are supported by Christians. For me to write off metal core without even giving it a chance was being a bit hypocritical. Thank goodness for Fuel Radio for giving me a crash course in a form of music I had little knowledge of. In closing I urge everyone to listen to A Plea For Purging’s The Marriage Between Heaven And Hell because this is an album that is nothing short of amazing and aggressive. My Children My Bride’s The Lost Boy is another great metal core record.
To get started you have to have a starting point so here’s a few bands. As I lay Dying, Norma Jean, Symphony Of Peril, Underoath, A Plea For Purging. The point is that as a Christian you can listen to music that’s aggressive yet is also in line with your faith.
Faith is an amazing thing. When I think about who I was two, even three years ago I can’t believe that I’ve actually changed so much. When you look at me I’m sure I don’t look like the stereotypical Christian but I think that’s why God chose me to write these blogs and basically struggle with faith, and trust in God. I can be honest with people and tell them that being a Christian isn’t the easiest thing in the world. People assume that because you’re a Christian you lead this happy life void of any unhappiness or trials. I would honestly walk into church and see all of these people and think; “These people are happy and they have it all together.” I honestly thought that God wrapped these people in bubble wrap and protected them from the big bad world.
Dude, I was wrong and I’m not afraid to be honest and tell you that that is so not gonna happen. You will go through trials and tribulations and there’s just no escaping it. My house was robbed, my son was jumped while sitting on our front steps yet I still proclaim that Jesus is still King Of Kings and Lord Of Lords. He has truly improved my life and despite the valleys and trials I have yet to have a life as rewarding as the one I have now. I was going in circles for so long that I just grew tired of not getting anywhere. I never thought in a million years that being a Christian would be so rewarding. Yet it is. I am on the verge of getting a job that fits into my crazy life. The hours are insanely perfect and I won’t need a sitter because I will be home to not only get them off the bus in the evening but I’ll be able to spend time with them.
Is it possible that I could’ve gotten this job without God? No way. My filling out the application on line was done just to see if they would even hire me and they actually called me in for an interview. With my wife’s health the way it is the job came at a time when she needs to relieve a lot of the burdens she was carrying. No, this couldn’t have happened at this time, and this crucial moment without God’s hand gently guiding me to the place I am now. It truly shows me that by giving God full control of my life good things happen not when I want them too but when it’s needed most. I wanted to write this blog to praise God for all that he’s done in my life. I want to praise him for it all. Good times, bad times, all of it.
When people talk about Christians being a bit boring I can see why. I don’t to get stupid drunk or stoned out of my head to have a good time. I am happy hanging out with my kids or rocking out to some Jesus metal. Sure, I’m boring but I am a lot happier and know that my life has purpose and meaning.
Hell is a very frightening place. No wonder everyone wants to sweep it under the rug and pretend that it doesn’t exist. Matthew 13:5o describes hell as a furnace of fire, there will wailing and gnashing of teeth. MARK 9:45 further describes it as a fire that will never be quenched. With so many religions dismissing hell it gives people a false sense of security. Imagine being stuck inside a burning building yet not dying. Imagine the flames continuing to eat your flesh, and no matter how much you scream or beg for help none comes. Imagine that your surrounded by others, you can smell the burning flesh, feel the smoke coating your lungs. No wonder so many religions are lying to people and telling them that God really isn’t a bad guy.
Jesus came to earth to save us from eternal death, and when you read John 3:16-17 you see that God never intended for us to suffer eternal torment. He sent Jesus to save us yet because of pride and ignorance we reject His gift of salvation. Romans 5:8-9 But God Has made clear his love to us, in that, when were still sinners, Christ gave his life for us. Much more, if we now have righteousness by his blood, will salvation from the wrath of God come to us through him. This proves that God is in fact just and merciful. Romans 3:23 for we have all fallen short of the glory of God. We were all born sinners, but the blood of Christ washed that sin away. We were doomed from birth.
Lastly I want to share one of the most important parts of the Bible. Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in they name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? and then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
We can’t get into heaven by taking the Bible out of context or doing what we think is right. We have to do the will of the father and that will is in the Bible. When we tell people that God will save everyone we aren’t doing the will of God and that will cause the Lord to say; “Depart from me I never knew you.” That scares me because we spread so much false doctrine and theology claiming that it’s from God yet it isn’t. Not only is rejecting God a cause for judgment but also not doing the will of the Father. Do you realize how many so called Christians are condemning themselves to hell through false doctrine?
Lastly, if God actually offered salvation to everyone I would throw my Bible in the garbage, I would stop sharing Bible verses on Facebook and I would stop promoting and listening to Christian music. As a matter of fact I would no longer be a Christian because there’s no point. I’m going to Heaven anyway so why read my Bible or even lead people to Christ? All these so called Christians that tell people that there is no real danger of hell because God loves us, he wants us all to live eternally are not only liars but lazy Christians. How can you say that there is no hell? How do you tell people that there is salvation for us all without accepting Christ as your savior? You can’t.
My blog about hell is going to anger some people, it’s going to shock some people and I knew that as I started studying hell. Let’s face it no one wants to accept that hell is real. Churches a lot of times don’t preach to much about it because they’ll lose some members of their congregation. God led me to this study for a reason. I wanted the truth and I got it. The only thing I used was my Bible and my concordance and I can already hear people grumbling about taking verses out of context to suit my needs. The words that Christ spoke are in red and there is no benefit for me to take what He said out of context. I don’t want to be held accountable for that. So I didn’t use other writers opinions because they weren’t really useful. I wanted the truth and I got it.
Hell translates three different words. Sheol, Hades, and Ghenna. Sheol occurs 65 times in the Old Testament and in the King James version is grave 31 times. Hell 31 times and pit 3 times. The general idea is the place of the dead. This does not mean that the grave is all that’s involved. Hades is the New Testament equivalent of Sheol. It occurs 11 times in the New Testament and except 1 Corinthians 15:15 it is rendered hell by the King James version. The revised version does not translate it as and leaves it as Hades. In some passages this intermediate state between death and the resurrection is associated with suffering. Matthew 11:23 Luke 16:23
Gehenna or the valley of the Hinom was the place where Jews apostatized (To abandon one’s religious faith, a political party, one’s principles, or a cause) and worshipped Moloch (1 Kings 11:7). It was later converted by Josiah to a place of abomination where dead bodies were burned (2 Kings 23:13-14). It thus became a symbol and was used by the Lord to indicate burning and suffering. It occurs 12 times in the New Testament and denotes the eternal state of the lost after the resurrection.
Let’s first focus on something Jesus spoke about, (Luke 16: 19-31)I’m sure everyone knows this story but let’s look at it from another angle. We all know that Lazarus was a lowly beggar who was covered in sores and was eating out of garbage cans and suffering. There was also this other hip cat who was filthy rich. He wore the finest robes, never wanted for anything, Now you know what happens but I think a lot of people fail to see what Jesus was telling us. Sure, Lazarus was rich in spirit while the rich guy was poor in spirit. Read verse 23-24 out loud for me. Where was the rich guy? Why was he there? Verse 25 answers that very question. Despite being poor Lazarus still served God, he kept the Lord’s commandments while the rich guy just focused on money and what was pleasing to his flesh. The rich guy is pleading to Abraham to let him go back and tell his brothers about hell but Abraham was like dude, if they aren’t going to believe Moses or the prophets surely they won’t believe one who’s risen from the dead. That speaks volumes to me because the beggar was denied a second chance to accept salvation so why have the rules changed? Jesus rose from the dead! He is our link to eternal life yet we reject him so why should we be any different than the beggar?
Read John 24-29. Verse 29 And those who have done good, into the new life; and those who have done evil, to be judged. What is evil? If you read the ten commandments that is our guide to a life that is pleasing to God. In order to have eternal life you have to repent while you’re still breathing. It doesn’t say that those who have done evil will get a second chance, Again use the the rich man’s story as a focal point. He was condemned to hell without an opportunity to repent and ascend from hell to heaven.
In Mark 9:45 Jesus tells us that if your foot is a cause of trouble to, let it be cut off; it is better for you to go into life with one foot than to have two feet and go into hell. Whatever is causing you to sin remove it from your life! What is sin? Lawlessness and sin is what separates us from God. You don’t have to be a serial killer to be cast into hell. Rejecting God, continuing to sin even when you know it’s wrong. There are missionaries all over the world teaching the message of Christ yet we continue to follow our sin nature, or we are shackled by this idea that God is merciful and loving so we surely won’t be judged and cast into hell. Wrong! You must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. If you aren’t you will be judged accordingly. Let’s break for a little bit so we can digest what we’ve learned and continue this in another part.