First, you must
give your heart to Jesus Christ and repent of the sins in your life.
Jesus will then take away every sin from your past from that moment
on. No matter what sin you have committed, He will never remember
them and His Spirit will come into you and live within you. You will
have His peace and joy within, which the world can never give you.
He truly wants you to go to Heaven and be blessed while you're on
Going to church is very important to the Lord, because it is His house and He wants His people to praise Him. While we are praising Him in the church, we will receive many different kinds of blessing, such as healing and deliverance. Also, it is very important to listen to His word and fellowship with other Christians. This is what He wants us to do after we are saved.
Reading the Bible daily and praying, many times a day, is a good way to have a relationship with Jesus. This way, you will hear His voice. God loves to hear your voice raised, praising Him instead of praying silently. God talks to us through the Bible because every word in the Bible is God breathed.
Some Christians and non-Christians literally hear God's voice; sometimes in whispers and other times His spirit speaks into our spirits. When this happens it is like a normal conversation between two people.
After giving our hearts to God, we must work out our salvation daily by giving up the worldly things that we have been doing before our salvation. If you really try, Jesus will strengthen you in every area of your life and you will find a joy that you could never imagine. The world can never match this joy.
God will test your obedience and if you are sincere, God will begin blessing you beyond belief. Some blessing come quickly, while others are slower to come. This is why we have to pray continually.
Learning God's word is very important. Without knowing His word it's very hard to lead a life holy to the Lord and serve Him and be blessed.
If you have a desire to serve Him, God will bless you immeasurably. God's own son wanted to serve Him so much that He gave up His life for us. He didn't just die, but suffered mightily by hanging on the cross for hours, shedding His blood to cover our sins. This was done to save all mankind from the lake of fire.
God hates sin. Please ask God to search your heart to see if you have sinned willfully or without knowing before your bedtime prayer each night. We all sin every day and fall short of the glory of God.
With God, nothing is impossible. He can do any and all things through us, but He will never force us to come to Him. We are born with a will and it is a matter of personal choice for each and everyone to come to Him or reject Him. He wants us to make a choice for Him and not the world.
This is the reason that anyone who has the salvation experience should witness and let others know about the Jesus that lives within them and resides on their tongue.
Many feel that after we die, we don't know anything. In reality, only our bodies die, but the spirit and soul lives on through eternity, just as when we were alive. This is the reason He wants everyone to come to salvation.
If you have been saved but have back slidden, please search your heart and make it right with God. Don't wait too long for we don't know the hour or the day that our lives will end or when Jesus comes for His church.
One of the saddest things in life is to never know Jesus. My heart aches for these unfortunate people because I know where they are going. I have Jesus' love in me.
Jesus' heart aches for His people every second, but there is nothing He can do for those who don't believe in Him. Whoever doesn't believe will be in Satan's hands for eternity.
God bless you,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The rapture of the bride of Christ is indeed upon us. Our Heavenly
Father in his great grace and mercy has given us these holy prayers
to help us prepare in repentance
and holiness for the imminent coming of his holy son The Holy Lord
Christ. We must ask the Holy Lord Jesus Christ to stand in the gap
22:30) for us with his Holy Father as we may ask The Holy Lord Jesus
to stand in the gap for our families. God wants to keep families
What is Sexually
(This is a question that was asked at the Heaven is so Real Korean Cafe, so I decided to post the answer here to help some, who are struggling with this problem or sin).
Peace and all spiritual blessings to you all. Hebrews 13:4 says
without marriage, no one should have sex. Some Christians don’t pay
close attention to the word of God. If they really know how bad hell
is they wouldn’t knowingly commit any kind of sin. Read Mark
9:43-48. It says any part of our body that sins, it is better to cut
it off than go to Hell with our whole body together. This means
anyone or anything including our own body that leads us to sin it is
better for us to cut them out of our lives than for us to go to hell
that includes even our families. If anyone is leading us to sin we
need to flee from them.
Anyone who has sex without marriage is a fornicator or commits sexual immorality will not inherent the Kingdom of God unless they repent. Read Galatians 5:19-21 and Revelation 21:8. People who are not married should not even tongue kiss because it makes a person’ thought pattern change (by them desiring to have sex) and by tongue kissing also leads into sex sooner or later. Some people don’t take seriously what the bible talks about when it comes to sexual immorality and fornications they are not afraid of spending eternity in Hell. Any Christian who knows how bad Hell is will be so afraid to do anything against the will of God. Most Christians do not have a God fearing heart; all they want to do is enjoy the present time and ignore what will happen later. Suffering in hell for eternity without resting for even a second is very serious. One hour enjoyment on this earth can lead us to hell for eternity that is why we need to be careful with the choices we make. What if they die suddenly and have no time to repent. How foolish is that? This is the reason why when Christians are in love with the opposite sex it is better for them to only hug and hold hands until they get married.
If people knew how bad hell is, they would not sin knowingly ever. The Bible talks more about Hell than Heaven because God knows how bad hell is and He doesn’t want anyone to end up there, but at the same time He allows us to make choices. Read 1 Corinthians 6:17-20. Those who are born again are joined together with the Lord. Sexual immorality is sin against a person’s body. Do you not understand that the Holy Spirit lives in us? We were bought with His precious blood. This is why we should never knowingly sin because it grieves the Holy Spirit and eventually He will leave us. Brothers and sisters in Christ, please pay close attention to these scriptures. Jesus loves us and wants us to be part of His Bride.
Every believer who Raptures or dies and goes to Heaven has to stand before the judgment Seat.
The Bible didn't say only the pure hearted Christians will be raptured. It says those who are eagerly ready and waiting for the rapture. I understand what you are talking about but those are your thoughts not biblical. Read 2 Corinthians 5:10 and 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. This means whoever is raptured alive and those dead in Christ all have to stand before the judgment seat and they will be judge for the work they did and lives they lived whiles they were on earth. Remember there is not one Christian who is really pure in the eyes of God as long as we are here on earth. I believe whoever will be thrown outside the gate called the valley, is Christian's whose work become ashes, this means they were saved from the flames (hell) so that is why they cannot enter the Kingdom. Read 1 Corinthians 3:15. The Lord said children up to 7 whether they believe or not will be saved.
May God’s favor be on you all.
IN LIGHT OFOUR FUTURE ETERNAL LIFE WITH GOD, ARE OUR PRESENT WORRIES JUSTIFIED?
As humans, we are prone to worry. Our journey through life is strewn with happenings that we cannot control. Illnesses strike us, often without warning. Economic problems sometimes seem to destroy our plans for a better life. A loved one dies. Our world just doesn’t seem to be progressing in the right direction. So we worry, even though the Bible warns that worry is a sin.
Here are some thoughts that may be helpful to avoid worry, they are just random ideas: Believe in miracles -- No one is in charge of your happiness but you – Reflect, in five years will this really matter, how about next month? -- Time heals most everything, Give time enough time -- We get only one trip through life, what matters most is how we loved -- If everyone threw their problems into one pile and we saw them, we’d grab ours back. -- Growing old beats the alternative, dying young. -- God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or did not do.
Even though those whom have pledged their lives to Christ know beyond any doubt that they will spend eternity with God in Heaven, we might worry about this. Is there such a thing as knowing beyond doubt? Even after the many times I have read the Bible, I am not at peace with this 100% of the time. My talks with God give me assurance, but then something in the present life interrupts these thoughts. I cannot seem to avoid concern over the present, not for myself, but for my wife and others. Health problems continually cause her misery and are unsettling even though she believes in her future eternal life with God.
The only relief is prayer for help from God. We know He has our best interests in mind. Meditation on what we know God has in store will give us peace. Of course we should assure ourselves of Christ’s coming. There will be two stages of His Second Coming. The Bible passages relating to this are -- First; a place for His faithful was prepared after He returned to Heaven from his life on earth. He gave assurance of His return in John 14:1-3:
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Further assurance of His return is given in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” This is also known as the Rapture of the Church when Christ calls all believers to meet Him in the clouds just before taking them to Heaven as He promised. We of course want to join Him in the clouds and be taken from the earth before the Great Tribulation.
For those left behind, the other part of Christ’s Second Coming, known as the Glorious Appearing will be most important. It applies to all those left behind from the Rapture who did not make a pledge to Satan [or take his number 666] during the Great Tribulation.
In Matthew 24:30-31 - “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn [because most people did not believe that Christ is the Messiah in order to join His elect]. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Revelation 19:11-21 [in part - This tells about Christ descending and then defeating the armies that Satan as the anti-Christ had amassed to conquer Israel.] “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges … his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
“Then I saw the beast [Satan] and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered to make war against the rider on the white horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf [during Tribulation]. With these signs he had deluded those who had taken the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword.”
So those who believe that Jesus will take His faithful to Heaven in the Rapture really have no reason to worry. But I would worry if I did not believe that I am ready for Him. To be ready, we must say the Sinner’s Prayer, confess that we along with everyone in the world are a sinner, ask for forgiveness and pledge our lives to the Lord. Then we must live as we believe the Lord wants us to live, loving Him above everything and everyone, and loving others as we love ourselves. This advice is found in the Bible and the wonderful book “Heaven Is So Real” by Choo Thomas.
Sinner’s prayer: Simply say this prayer aloud, sincerely from your heart: “Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God and You died for me. Please come into my heart, be my Lord and Savior and forgive me of all my sins and take control of every area of my life from this moment on. Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and use me for Your glory. I want to serve You and love You all the days of my life. Thank You Father, that I am now Your child, in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.”
prayer, read the Bible, pray often and go to church to hear God’s
words and fellowship with God’s people. Your life will never be the
same; you’ll have peace while on this earth and live forever with
Jesus in Heaven. God bless you.
George Hagen: [email protected]
During the coming Great Tribulation, judgments from Heaven more powerful than any nuclear attack will be released. But there is a refuge – God Himself. Those who belong to God through faith in Christ will be removed from earth before the Tribulation. How do you make God your refuge and hiding place? By trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ through faith.
We invest millions of dollars in warning systems for approaching storms, lightning, earthquakes but these often fail to protect. We do this to save human life, God’s most valuable part of creation. But there is one warning system that can only be used by those who know the Lord and His Word. The warning is this: “God intends to judge our world. His righteousness requires it. All who have not repented of their sins and received forgiveness through God’s Son Jesus Christ will find themselves caught up in God’s judgment and consigned to an eternity separated from Him.” Every Christian must warn those nearby of this coming judgment just as you would warn your neighbors of an approaching storm. We know there are gathering storm clouds that portend God’s judgment.
I was fortunate to have a friend who loved me enough to persevere until I finally embraced Christ. She had sent Bibles and other great books over many years. When she sent the book “Heaven Is So Real”, reading it shocked me at first, but then made me realize the value and wonder of being a child of Christ. What a great transformation - from one barely knowing who Jesus is, to one who wants to tell the world about Him. I pray that everyone reading this is already working to tell others about Christ.
When will Christ’s faithful be taken from the earth to Heaven in the Rapture? We are not told except that it is expected soon. The Rapture will occur before the start of the terrible Great Tribulation. How should we respond when people doubt the fact of the Rapture and later the Second Coming of Christ? The same prophets who predicted Jesus’ first coming on earth hundreds of years before, also told of His second coming. They were guided by God so we know there will be a second coming. “After that, we who are still alive and are left (on earth) will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord Forever.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 Jesus’ own further words give us certainty to quell skepticism. “Let not your heart be troubled …I will come again.” John 14:1-3.
But so many people who once believed in the imminent coming of Christ no longer believe. “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-14). How can we help them return to the faith needed for their salvation? Assure them of our faith and tell them on what it is based. I KNOW that Christ will come and take His faithful to Heaven. No, my testimony would not be admitted in a court of law, but I believe it with all my heart.
The Bible in Revelation 20:1-20 tells us that after the Tribulation Christ returns to earth to rule for a thousand years, the Millennium. Jesus compares His second coming to a Groom returning for His Bride. Matthew 25:1-13. During this thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth, the ruins of Jerusalem will be rebuilt and people will build earthly homes and dwell in them (Isaiah 61:4, Isaiah. 65:18-25, Amos 9:8-11, 14-15; Zechariah 6:12-13, 15). Jesus will once again live on this earth while Father God will remain in Heaven. Mortals will continue to be born and die but live much longer than now. Those who are righteous will go to the Father in Heaven but sinners will go on to hell as they do now. (Isaiah 65:20-30; Rev. 1).
During that time Satan will be bound and peace and prosperity as never before will be experienced. This fulfills the prayer that Jesus taught – “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in Heaven”. It rewards those who believed this and fulfills the prophesies made to Israel in the Old Testament. “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD”.(Isaiah 11-9).
The “New Jerusalem” already built in Heaven does not physically come down to this current earth but remains in Heaven until after the final judgment of all humanity (The Great White Throne Judgment). This final judgment happens after the 1000 year reign of Jesus on the earth and all the dead are brought back to life, those that were not brought back in the Rapture. (Daniel 12:1-3, Rev. 20:12-13). At this time, the heavens and earth as we know it will be destroyed. (Isaiah 65:17-20, 2 Peter 3:10-13, Rev. 20:6-10,11, Rev. 21:1). God will then make a new heaven and earth. It is on the NEW EARTH that the New Jerusalem comes down (Revelation 20:11-22:1:1-8. Only those whose names are written in the Book of Life will be able to dwell there. All others will be thrown into the lake of fire..(Rev. 20:12-15). Death & Hades are not destroyed until later.
Who will be there to enjoy this? Rev. 20:4-5 -- “And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark (666) on their foreheads or their hands [in the Tribulation]. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. This is the first resurrection.” The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. All those who have pledged their lives to Christ will be with Him forever.
But there is bad news for those who will die without accepting Jesus as their Savior. When we accept Christ, our name is entered into the Book of Life. At the end of the millennium, Revelation 20:13-15 describes the judgment of God. “each person was judged according to what he had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Instead of fearing this, it is time we lived as if we really believed God’s Truths. Romans 8:28 states that God works all things together for good. We should be optimistic about the future if we believe this. If we really believed that Christ is with us all the time, we would never be lonely, even though we may still miss a dear departed one. Also if we really believed in the power, grace and love of our Lord we would stop agonizing over sins long ago forgiven by Him. When we first truly recognize that our faith is genuine, it is more refreshing than a cool breeze on a hot day, and it lasts as long as we continue to believe.
As we age we might have regrets that we can no longer travel as we did years ago. Yes this was nice and many of us had interesting adventures. But our coming trip to be with Christ and the glories to follow will be wonderful and more than a thousand times greater than any earthly trip. The apostle Paul had been given detailed visions of Heaven. He had suffered mightily in serving Christ – he was shipwrecked, flogged, chained, stoned and treated like an animal. Yet he said his sufferings weren’t worth comparing with the coming glory of Heaven. Many Christians don’t really understand what the Lord has prepared for us in eternity. All our worldly treasures and pleasures are not worth worrying about. Only people are worth cherishing. We should consider what God has done for us and what our future with Him will be like. This will give us a proper perspective in our life.
Before the steamship “London” sank in the English Channel in January 1866, a Wesleyan Methodist minister went from person to person and led the whole ship to faith in Christ. He told them: “Those of you who are not converted, now is the time, not a moment to be lost, for in a few minutes we all will be in the presence of the Judge”. Only three persons survived. We are not on a sinking ship, but we should be aware that time is short. When Jesus comes for His faithful, it will be too late for the others. Those who do not already know the Lord must act! Revelation 20 vividly describes the coming judgment by God on His Great White Throne. He will refer to the Lambs Book of Life Rev 21:27. If your name is not in it, Jesus will say: “I never knew you; depart from Me”. Nothing sadder will ever be heard. We must tell anyone we know who could someday hear those words from Jesus, how to avoid that sad day. If I am given a chance to influence someone and don’t act, I will also feel sadness. I don’t want to hear what Jesus will say about this neglect.
[Ideas were taken from writings of Dr. David Jeremiah, with help from my email friend Princess Lavear]
George Hagen: [email protected]
IS THE TRUTH OF ANY USE?
Many passages in the Bible are like a travel brochure of our eternal home, and should fill us with anticipation. Heaven is real and it is beautiful beyond comparison with even the best areas of our lovely earth. Our life here is brief compared with the life of our soul, the real person we are. Our soul will live in a new body in Heaven forever. That is a long time!
Our job while on earth is to live so that we will make it to Heaven. Many people believe that they will make it because of their good deeds or going to worship service. Unfortunately this is not the truth that will set us free. No matter what we do we cannot earn our way into Heaven.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32 This is a popular saying that was first used by Jesus Christ. And the truth of which He spoke was: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
But the truth is of no use until we believe it. Why should we believe this? Because it is a clear statement in the Bible. Why should we believe that the Bible is the Word of God? The Bible was written by men but under God’s direction and revelation. The men who wrote the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and John in the New Testament were witnesses to Jesus’ life. Luke was written by a physician and historian who obtained his information from eyewitnesses. There is no record of Jesus saying anything not true or not believable. People who have seriously studied the Bible have concluded that it indeed is the Word of God. Even those who were dedicated to disproving it ended up believing and were converted. The Bible has withstood assaults for over 2000 years and survives for our benefit. Yes we can ignore all of this, but is that a good idea for our future?
People always want to know what the future will hold for them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we really knew? We can. -- The Bible book of “Revelation” was written by the Apostle John about A.D. 95. John was the apostle that Jesus loved most and an eyewitness to Jesus’ life, death and was with Jesus after His resurrection. He was exiled by the Romans to the island of Patmos off the coast of Asia to rid the empire of John’s teachings about Jesus. But while there he was given a revelation by the glorified Christ, and directed to write it down.
The book of Revelation is the most revealing story of our future. Unfortunately even many who read the Bible do not take the time to understand it. Revelation tells us exactly what our future will be. At God’s appointed time which I believe is very near, the risen and ascended Lord Jesus will burst onto the world scene. Then everyone will know that Jesus is Lord of the universe. Those who love Him will rejoice and greet their Savior with songs of praise. But His enemies will be filled with fear. The book of Revelation gives much detail about these happenings.
For those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, their future is with Him. This is the truth that will set us free. My knowing where I will spend eternity is tremendously comforting. I also have free access to help from our Lord any time I ask. I am amazed at all the help I receive just for asking. No, He doesn’t act like a genie or my servant. The help and aid received is based on what He believes is in my best interest. So that is just one reason that I love Him. And I am just a humble servant of our Lord; His help is available to all.
George Hagen [email protected]
The idea to write about this came to me in the usual way, out of the blue. Just before getting into bed one night, this thought came, and soon -- other thoughts.
I am an ‘expert’ on this subject as much of my life was without Jesus, and part of it even without God, or so I thought.
There was a period of a few years in my 40’s that I didn’t believe there was a God in Heaven. I have written about this, but what was a mystery is now clearer. I know now that although I thought God was not in my life, God was not separated from me. He was there all the time and waiting for me to know Him. And that was when I realized that there just had to be a God who created such in a well ordered-universe, and populated our perfect world with beings of incredible complexity. I concluded that it would not be just unlikely, but impossible for this without God. Then prayers were begun thanking God for our good life and good health. Seldom did I utter any other prayer, or ask for His help. I did not know that friends were praying for me. I did believe that my mother was praying from Heaven though.
It took another thirty years to ‘discover’ Jesus. Again He was waiting for recognition, but that didn’t stop Him from being a part of my life. I know now that Christ was there helping me all the time. You can possibly imagine how ashamed I was when this realization finally came to me. I was sad that I had failed to credit Him for all the great happenings in my life. But I got past this with much prayer, and became overjoyed that I was finally feeling that I belonged to Him.
Those who have no room in their life for God do not realize what a life-changing event it might be to worship God and come to Jesus as their Savior. Some say humans feel emptiness in their lives without Jesus, without God. I cannot attest to this as my life went on during the period when I did not know God. I was happy, had a great family and a successful career. The only thing I know now is that I made some mistakes that would not have happened if I had prayed about them beforehand. More importantly, we may not have lost our first son. Otherwise my life went on just fine without God. So I did not feel the emptiness that Christian writers mention.
Now, I cannot imagine my life without Christ. I now know what would have been my ultimate fate though. Thanks to a loving Christian lady, a revelation, and the book “Heaven Is So Real” I found Jesus. It has been a great trip in the spiritual sense. But it has not always been easy in a physical sense. The Bible says that Christians must suffer for their faith. I wondered about this as until the last several years, my life was idyllic in most ways. What is the suffering we must endure, and when does it start, I wondered? The loss of our first son didn’t affect our lives too much as we thought he would return someday. After being influenced by some bad people, he simply went on his own way after graduating with honors from McGill University, and being well liked in his first job. Could this have been altered if I had known Jesus and called on Him for help?
During the last several years my wife Anita has had some severe medical problems. This has materially affected our lives. Her infirmities might be beyond my endurance if I had them, but she remains cheerful. Are these the ‘sufferings’ we must endure? I simply do not know. Personally I have had a number of serious physical problems, but with each one, they have been healed by prayer and doing what was indicated to help myself. One was a completely blocked main artery. My body simply grew a replacement main artery. The cardiologist said that my good physical condition and exercise helped. I believe that the Lord intervened to help without me even knowing. Many other physical problems healed miraculously. The latest example was about eight weeks ago when I twisted my hip while working in the yard. This nearly laid me up, as for weeks it was painful to walk and painful to try to sleep. I had prayed about it, but finally told the Lord that I believed He would cure it, and soon…and He did. I exercised to help, but since the pain had gone on for weeks even with exercise, and then suddenly stopped, it had to be when I really believed He would help.
Where does this lead us? My conclusion is that when we know God and truly have Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have the ‘peace beyond understanding’ that Jesus promised. We may not have peace in this earthly life though, as God does not promise this. But He does give us the strength to bear whatever occurs. We do have peace in knowing where we will spend eternity, and that is certainly the most important peace we could ever have.
But for those who don’t have God in their lives, I believe that most of them do not miss Him in a sense that would cause them to suddenly believe. It is up to us as Christians to spread the Word of Salvation. But only God can bring Himself into their lives so that they worship Him. Short of meeting in Heaven those who we have tried to introduce to the Lord, we may never know what influence we have had. And that is OK; we don’t need earthly rewards or recognition for doing this. We just need the warm feeling inside that we have tried, and this comes automatically from God.
George Hagen [email protected]
There are vast differences in death bed experiences. The book “Turning Toward Joy” by Dr. David Jeremiah has an interesting illustration of this. In 1899 two famous men died. One was an unbeliever who spent his life attacking the Bible and Christian faith. Robert Ingersoll was famous as a lecturer on immortality, for which a Harvard University Ingersoll lecture series was named. His death devastated his family. When his death came, it left his family with no hope. What is more amazing about Ingersoll is that he lectured on immortality and yet didn’t know how Christ would make this possible for him.
Contrasting this, evangelist Dwight L. Moody died the same year. Instead of despair, his family celebrated since he had been in poor health. On his death bed at his last moments, he exclaimed, “earth is receding, heaven is opening and God is calling”. His family told him he was dreaming, but he said it is no dream, “I have been within the gates and saw the children”.
Christians who believe in an afterlife in Heaven should not worry about a departed loved one. That is if they know that s/he will spend eternity with God.
could have been saved even on his deathbed. But he apparently died
in ignorance. Although a learned man, he was ignorant of the real
meanings in the Bible having spent his time maligning it and Christ,
rather than making them a part of his life.
It is possible to be saved by Christ any time as long as there is a breath and a mind still functioning. Remember the man, a murderer, on a cross beside Jesus? Just before he died, he realized that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Jesus then told him that he would be in Paradise with him. Even on a deathbed, I cannot imagine anyone closer to death than this man dying on the cross. And this man didn't even have time to ask for forgiveness as far as we are told. Therefore we have to conclude that Jesus will forgive anyone at any time.
However, it would be taking a big chance to wait until our dying hours to come to Him. Many people die without ever being on a deathbed, they simply keel over from a stroke, or are killed in an accident. We never know when will be our last day, so we should not wait even an hour to come to the Lord as our savior.
My life has been mostly a joy, and at times I have wondered why. I knew I didn ’t deserve it but it was accepted with thanks to God. Even in the corporate world where I was responsible for the fortunes of over 2000 people, their families and our shareholders, I found joy and excitement in my job. We made our company a “fun place to work”, while seriously pursuing business. Of course it was not fun when on rare occasions I had to tell someone that the company would be better without them. Even then though, except for one man who took it badly, all parted as friends. I saw some of them later and we could talk on a friendly basis.
After retiring from the public company, I had time to reflect and plan my future. Also I gave some thought to my whole life. I began to wonder why I did not feel a strong emotion when a tragedy happened to a person I knew. I remembered Ray, a grade school chum who suddenly died and I couldn’t bring myself to be sad about it. I knew I would miss him, but there were other friends. At that time in life, I had no perception of life after death.
The only person I felt the pain of his passing was my half-brother Melvin. I loved him and we were close. He was a generation older, but a great relationship was still enjoyed. We were two thousand miles apart when he died during the night. Somehow I knew the moment, as half-awake I heard him say “Goodbye Lee”. That was the name used until going into the Navy when it became “George”. I waited the next day for a phone call from his family, but it didn’t come. I concluded that it was my imagination and decided to give him a call in a few days. But two days later there was a call with an apology for not calling sooner. I asked about the time of his death and it was just when I heard his goodbye.
did mourn for him, and it took a while for it to sink in that I
would never see him again. Aside from this though, the tragedies in
no other life really touched me. I loved my Mom and Dad but when
each died, I knew it was inevitable at their ages. My parents and I
always had a loving relationship and I still think of them fondly,
but I didn’t mourn for them. After my mother died, I knew that she
was watching over me from Heaven, just as she prayed for me while
she was alive. When our first son who appeared to have everything
for success, suddenly left our lives, I wasn’t too fazed. I thought
he would come back. But as the months and then years passed, I
concluded that he was living the life he had chosen.
While these losses were unhappy events, my life was still a joy. My real regret now is that I didn’t then know about the saving Grace of Christ, nor until 2004. I would have prayed for salvation for my Dad, my brother, our son, other relatives and dear friends who had passed away. I also might have paid more attention to nurturing faith in our kid’s lives. We cannot go back and relive life, but this is the only reason I would want to.
guess I was too hard core to be concerned about anyone other than
those in my life. When I heard about some bad happening in another
area or another country, I may not even have said to myself “that is
too bad”. If I even thought about them at all, it was that perhaps
they deserved this, that they were lesser people, or that dying was
just part of living. Now I hate this thought of my callousness, and
lack of belief that everyone is equal in God’s eyes.
But after I found Christ, I began to think about others, and to feel some of what they were going though. Anita and I started to support ministries that were offering help in tragic situations. I even volunteered to travel and help poor people learn to plant potatoes, but perhaps fortunately the trip never materialized. Anyway, although I did not immediately realize it, the way I viewed the lives of others had changed. I now began to think how I would feel --”if I were walking in their sandals”. People and their lives began to mean more to me. But I cannot say that I am affected by every misfortune in the world as there are just too many to comprehend.
You might think that this changed my perspective of joy, and it did somewhat. Although I might feel sadness for another, my life was and still is a joy. But now my wife Anita is going through difficult times. She has many health problems, and it does affect my life as well as hers. She worries that she is hindering me from the fun we used to have in travel and adventure. But I told her and I really mean this, we had so many great trips and experiences that I don’t need any more. Also we have our wonderful memories. Anytime we want to visit London, Paris, the Great Smoky Mountains, all we have to do is call up the memory or look at some photos. I truly care little for anything in this world except the people. I love Anita more today than ever, and she still is a joy even with her health problems. We have achieved our worldly goals and are content. We now look forward to life forever in a better place.
Do Some Find Joy in Living and Others Do Not?
The Bible tells us that life is not supposed to be trouble free and that there will be trials. But our Lord promises that He will be with us to give strength to bear them. Most if not all of the great people of the Bible went through more than you would think they could stand. The fact that they did not lose faith made them great. God wants us to be happy but He does not promise uninterrupted happiness. With all the evil in the world, there will be happenings that are not joyful, and some people will have more tragedy than others. Why, we don’t know, but we do know that Christ said we will all be tested.
Then there is the rest of the world, especially in some of the third world countries. The only joy in their lives is what they make for themselves. We are fortunate to live in our wonderful country, giving much reason for joy. But we should not be satisfied with the direction it seems to be headed. We should pray that America will return to the precepts under which it was founded – One Nation, Under God. Taking God out of the schools and public places is a real concern.
Joy and sadness and sorrow are often linked. Recently a dear friend we have known for over forty-five years died of cancer. His death came only a few days after he and his family knew he had the disease. Instead of mourning over this sad turn, and though they will miss him so much, they celebrated his life with a memorial party. He was a man of Christ so they know that he will live in Heaven.
Should we feel joy when a truly bad person is arrested, suffers, or dies? How about when a public figure we didn’t appreciate is disgraced? Being human it is hard not to feel at least a little satisfaction about this. We may think “Good, this gets rid of this person”. But when/if our Christian love kicks in, it isn’t joy we feel. It might be concern for the person or the family. We may even feel like praying that s/he will know the Lord. Only an evil person will have glee at the misfortune of another in most situations. But I could not help feeling satisfaction when reading that a Taliban leader was killed. These people are totally dedicated to killing those who don’t share their extreme beliefs. Notwithstanding, I have prayed that as many as possible in all the world will finally accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This includes these bad people.
Can those of other faiths, or those of no faith experience joy in living? My answer is yes, as I went through periods in my life this way. In my forties, for reasons I thought valid, I suddenly no longer believed there was a god of Heaven. For a few years it seemed better for me to believe that everything had evolved in some way without God. Later, just as suddenly, I began anew to look at our wonderful world and the universe as too perfect to have been created by chance. Prayer and thanks to God for my great life started anew.
Did I have joy during the period void of God? I kept enjoying life all the while. My parents taught me to care for others, to be honest with others, and to respect the lives of all creatures (except mosquitoes). So I was indeed happy most of the time and content with my life. Even after I returned to worshiping God, I did not realize the big picture that was missing.
In 2004 I came to Jesus as my Lord and Savior after reading the book “Heaven Is So Real”. Then I thought about the risk taken all my life in not knowing Him, I shuddered and thanked God for not taking my life. So while there was joy in my life, it was through ignorance of the penalty that could have been.
It seems that many people are never happy as they envy what others have. I never envied anyone with great wealth or great power, or even great talent. Well maybe just a little for talent. What I think about now is this question: “Do they know Jesus?” To me that is the crucial question, but sadly, most to the world knows nothing about him. Their great wealth or power will not help them after they leave this earth. I applaud when learning that a celebrity has made a generous gift to alleviate human suffering. But I ask myself the question – does s/he know Christ? When hearing one of Elvis songs that I still love, I think of this. I hope he was saved, and he may have had more chance than Sinatra, another favorite who seemed to live on the edge of bad stuff. I have even prayed for them. I do not envy a celebrity or a powerful person, I just wonder if they will achieve real success which is a life with our precious Lord.
Another requirement to experience joy is contentment. This is an opposite of envy. The Apostle Paul had troubles and trials almost beyond comprehension, but he said he was always content with whatever was his lot. In his letter to the Philippians Paul wrote, asking God: Give me faith to meet (disappointments) bravely. Trials I do not understand. To let God work His will in me – To trust His guiding hand. Help me to shine, a clear bright light. And not to live in vain – Help me hold forth the Word of life, in triumph over pain.
Contentment does not mean lack of ambition for betterment; it means that along the way we will be satisfied with our life as it rolls along. Anita and I often sought better things in life, but we were very happy with what we had at each stage, even as we started married life with little. Yes I did work hard for more and more wealth and spent much time on investing. When we finally achieved wealth, more was wanted. Finally, though, I felt that this is enough, and that my time and our money should be used for others.
At that point we could have acquired a fabulous home almost anywhere, but we were happy with the one we had built in 1978 for all of $65,000, where we still live. I took to heart Jesus’ saying that “it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter Heaven”. So we are no longer rich in money but we are rich in the knowledge that we used our wealth for the benefit of the Kingdom. The last thing I want is to appear to boast about achievement or benevolence. This is only intended as a humble person’s statement about contentment. I now know that it was God that made this happen. Finally I realized that this is why God helped with our life, and he certainly did. Without His help in all ways, my life could have been nothing. Now I know that He planned that we would help with His Ministry on earth with both money and time. The more I learn of how God works in people’s lives, the more I am awed at His power and love.
So joy does not come with wealth, power, or achievement. It comes as a byproduct of contentment. I know that joy or sadness is also a state of mind. Some are never happy no matter what. Others just love their life for no visible reason. Finally joy comes with knowledge that this earth is just a training ground for eternal life with our Lord. One author said that when he looks up at the sky he thinks of Heaven. When he looks at the ground, he realizes what a small and insignificant space he will occupy after he dies. He then knows that our main job on earth is to get to Heaven. How could we ever have more genuine joy than to know where we will spend eternity? So our purpose is to praise the Lord as our Savior, and to help others know Him. With this we have real joy. Of course there may still be hardship, suffering or sadness over the loss of loved ones, but we will have peace in knowing our ultimate future.
George Hagen: [email protected]
Please read this carefully!
Please don’t assume that this is just another of Dad’s ranting about end times. This is for real, and I know it will take place soon now! Print and put this message where you can find it later.
When you realize that Mom and I are no longer here, you will then know for sure that what has been said and written about end times is true! We have prayed many times that you will come with us, and we hope you do, but this is just in case. We have been so blessed with a wonderful family who made our life very happy. We pray that we will be together forever.
When we are gone and you find yourself still here, you must act in order to have a chance of being with our Lord in Heaven. Being the good persons that you are is wonderful, but it alone will not give you a place with our Lord. You can still make this happen, but you must act!
First you need to remember or relearn how to be saved. The way is in the Bible in John 14:6 – Jesus said: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Its meaning could not be clearer! Unless you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will not be in Heaven.
The steps are in the book “Heaven Is So Real” and there are copies in my office of the latest edition. Take one if you will. Read the part titled “For Salvation” on page 250 at the end of the book. Pray the prayer of Salvation. “Simply say this prayer out loud, from your heart: Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God and You died for me. Please come into my heart, be my Lord and Savior and forgive me of all my sins and take control of every area of my life from this moment on. Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and use me for Your glory. I want to serve You and love You all the days of my life. Thank You Father, that I am now Your child, in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.”
This is the necessary first step, but I urge you to read the whole book as you will find Jesus’ guidance. Read it! Then begin to read the Bible, first the New Testament. There are Bibles in various versions in our home. Forget the pleasures you have enjoyed, now your job is to make it to Heaven.
As you know I have written many articles about faith. These were written with guidance from God. You were sent a complete set with a table of contents, but you will find them on a USB drive below the monitor. Many of the articles are in the file drawer beneath the printer. Many are also on the website http://www.ChooThomas.org under “How to be saved”.
You will have to endure the Great Tribulation that will begin shortly after we leave. At first it will seem not bad, or that things are getting better. But in time, things get terribly worse. ‘Endure’ is the correct word, as there will be trials beyond your imagination. Satan will do all he can to take as many with him to live in hell forever. He will even try to make you believe that he is god, but don’t believe this. You must resist him and above all do not take his number ‘666’. Money will be useless unless you accept Satan. You will be tortured if you resist him, and eventually killed. But enduring this, as terrible as it will be, is a small price to pay to assure that you will live in Heaven forever instead of hell with its never ending torture.
To avoid the terrible Tribulation, take the steps to Salvation shown above – NOW! Dad
P.S. Since sending this, other points came to mind:
If you are left behind, stock up on non-perishable foodstuffs and emergency supplies. Before long you will be unable to buy anything unless you pledge your life to Satan. In time, because of the chaos during the second half of the Great Tribulation, there will be no electrical power. Water may not be supplied without power to run the pumping stations. Also there will be no power at the service stations. Think about how you will get along without running water and gasoline.
The Internet will be out of commission as well as cellular towers and phone service. Of little use will be computers, and only a laptop will work, and then only while the battery has a charge. Before this occurs, you should play the CDs and DVDs such as those of “Heaven Is So Real”, copies in my office. A battery-powered radio might be useful. A few radio stations may be operating for a while. As inconvenient as these things will be, they are a ‘walk in the park’ compared with what happens later in Tribulation.
People left behind will scramble for a place to hide after the destruction of the world begins. But they will find no safe place either from the chaos or from Satan. Don’t waste time now worrying about what you will do, or thinking about taking all you can tote and flying off to a foreign place of safety. There will be no safe place, as much of the world will be destroyed. Over one-half of those still alive will be killed in the horrible events that begin midway in the seven-year Great Tribulation.
If you should be deceived and accept Satan, you may have a better life for a little while in that you can continue to use your money. But soon after, Satan will begin to torture you and laugh because you fell for his guile. Hell will begin for you while still on this earth, and then it will continue forever! It will be too late to accept the Lord as your Savior.
The Bible tells us that when Tribulation ends, Jesus will come to the earth to rule. This is His second coming. The earth will be restored and those who may have literally lost their head, but kept their faith in the Lord, will rule with Him. All of Jesus’ faithful will be with Him forever.
George Hagen: [email protected]
THIRTY DAYS TO LIVE
I once wrote an article titled ‘If This Were the Last Day Of Your Life On Earth”, as it could be, what would you say to others today? What message would you want to give to your loved ones; to your friends; and to others who have crossed your path? We hope that everyone lives a long and healthy life, but the fact is, most people will not know when their last day will come.
After I leave this earth it will be too late to say something that might have made a difference in someone’s life, and after life. Opportunities have been missed to tell someone what they need to hear about their faith, and then I learn that they are no longer here. I am nobody special but have a desire that everyone will have a wonderful experience with the Lord as I have. Some who read this have Heavenly contacts closer than I, but others haven’t.
I have thought about this and pondered what should have been said to someone when the chance was there. Jesus commanded his disciples and then everyone to spread His Word. The best present we could ever give to another is the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. Knowing Him and believing He is our Lord and Savior is the only path to Heaven. Jesus made this indelibly clear saying: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”, John 14:6. This is the message that should be given to everyone. When I have a chance to talk to someone about faith, I could have started by saying: “What do you think is wrong with the world?” Then after their reply: “Do you think that Jesus is the answer?” Then “What was His purpose in coming to earth?” I want to take every opportunity I may have to convey our Lord’s precious message.
Christian author Mark Mittelberg suggests this experiment. Why not live as if this were your last month on earth? In what practical ways would this change how you engage with people about God? He suggests keeping a journal of the happenings during this month. With each tick of the clock, a moment of your life is behind you. As you read this, minutes pass that you can never regain. Our days are numbered, and each one that passes is gone forever! When we seriously regard our time on earth as a limited resource, this has incredible power to liberate us. We can be freed up with new vigor and enthusiasm to find creative ways to bring the news about the God we love to people in our lives that we love, and to everyone!
Sometime back I came across this beautiful poem titled “IF I KNEW”.
If I knew it
would be the last time
That I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.
If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would videotape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.
If I knew it would be the last time,
I could take an extra minute
to stop and say "I love you,"
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.
If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can let just this one slip away.
For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything just right.
always be another day to say "I love you,"
And certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do?"
But just in case I might be wrong, and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.
So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day,
That you didn't
take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear
Take time to say
"Please forgive me," "Thank you," or "It's okay."
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.
Especially if this is your last chance to pray,
And tell another about God’s way,
Don’t let this day pass until you do,
God will love to hear this too.
George Hagen [email protected]
Will All Christians Make It To Heaven?
What do you believe about Jesus Christ? You might be shocked to know that less than half of those who call themselves Christians believe this statement -- “Jesus Christ did not commit sins during His time on earth”. Wow! This is based on a survey by the Barna Group March 27, 2009. [This group serves the information needs of the church by offering statistics, resources, seminars and custom research on current cultural and spiritual trends. http://www.barna.org.]
No one should judge another but questions do arise. Have these people who call themselves Christians ever read the Bible? It is clear in the Bible that Christ never sinned. Also Jesus was proved the son of God by His resurrection from the dead. [2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15, 7:26; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:14]. Though a core teaching of the Christian faith is the divinity and perfection of Jesus Christ, tens of millions of Christians do not accept this. If we as Christians do not believe these things about Christ, our faith is empty!
Also unfortunately, about 25% do not agree that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches. Further – over half of American Christians do not believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit exists. They believe that they are mere symbols of evil and good, but are not living beings. They do not realize that these entities are operating in their lives all the time. This to their peril!
If we don’t know the truth about Satan, we do not cast him out of our lives regularly. We blame God for our troubles, or we blame others. Satan is totally evil and will do anything to break up marriages and cause Christians to ignore God. In great contrast, the Holy Spirit is with those who believe and is a tremendous help. Those little urgings you get to choose the right path or to do something truly beneficial for yourself or others are from Him.
Another Barna study discovered that half of all adults now contend that Christianity is just one of many options that Americans can choose. Our country was founded on Christian beliefs, and I believe that God helped our nation to be strong to fight for what is right. Now so many no longer hold these truths dear, and are trying mightily to take Christ out of the schools and all government institutions. How sad for the USA!
Interestingly, a huge majority of adults pick and choose what they believe rather than adopt a church or denomination’s slate of beliefs. That may be wise as only about one fourth of “Christian” churches truly teach about Christ, even some of those claiming to be Jesus based.
Sadly, almost 25% of Christians surveyed do not believe that God is the “all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe who rules the world today”. These people believe such things as “everyone is god”, “god is realizing true human potential”, etc. What does God think about these folks? He likely regards them the same way He mourned over the wayward Jews in the Old Testament. He tolerated it for awhile, but finally punished them.
If those facts don’t bode enough bad news for Christianity, we also know that the vast majority of the world’s population follows other religions, or doesn’t believe in God the maker of Heaven and Earth at all. This is why Jesus said that only a small percentage of people will be a part of His Kingdom. In John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is obvious that many Christians have not read the Bible. I know that many people have been encouraged to read it to find out more about God, after reading the book “Heaven Is So Real”.
Some astronomers are searching the heavens to find how the universe was formed. Many scientists continue to search for links to prove that humans evolved from apes or even sea creatures. It is not a sin to be curious about these things, but perhaps these scientists would save a lot of concern if they just read and believed the story of Creation in the Bible, that it is the true Word of God.
Today the most severe punishment we could possibly receive is to be separated from God. We need God in our lives and we need Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Otherwise we will end up knocking on Heaven’s door, greeted by Jesus who will say “I don’t know you”. I pray that those who do not have Jesus in their lives will wake up before it is too late.
George Hagen [email protected]
December 29, 2009
What Is Wrong When We Don’t Feel the Christmas Spirit?
This year, a year when I have felt closer to God than ever, yet I felt little of the spirit of Christmas. Most years of my life, this was the time I would go around singing or humming Christmas carols to myself. I did play carols on the organ and sang the words to some, but somehow the wonderful feeling of Yuletide was not there. Was this due to knowing that less joy was being experienced by others in our tumultuous world?
What it could also have been is my limited exposure to the ‘tinsel’ effect in the stores and on the streets. Not much shopping was done as Anita didn’t feel like walking too much. Also the few stores I entered seemed to be subdued. This may have been their attempt to economize in the down economy, or perhaps it was their display of “Happy Holidays” that turned me off. I listened for people to say “Merry Christmas” and for this to be displayed in ads. I wore a pin with the message: “Merry Christmas, the gift from Christ”, and gave a couple away. I attempted to say Merry Christmas to everyone I met, even the many who said “Happy Holidays”. I disliked seeing “Happy Holidays” everywhere, and almost no “Merry Christmas” displays. Many people did say “Merry Christmas” with a smile though.
And there was evidence of merchants and our government continuing to downplay Christ and God everywhere. Perhaps this caused a buildup of resentment in me that killed some the usual joy of the season. It was not that I held a grudge against anyone for this. I realize that non-Christians expressed enough displeasure during the year toward the display of anything Christ-like that merchants felt they were risking customer ire if they did not go along with this. Instead there was an attempt to boycott some of those by Christians. However, it is sad that only a few Christians care enough about their faith to get emotional about anything that happens. This will allow the continual erosion of the values on which this country was built.
But back to the Christmas spirit idea. We know that Christ is the reason for the season. Throughout the year I said many prayers thanking Him for what He did for us in coming to earth, teaching, and leaving a legacy of Christian churches and faith. We must always remember His terrible tortures and finally death on the cross to take the ‘cup’ of the sins of the world. His sacrifice was a wonderful act of love for humanity. The fact that Father God set up this entire drama shows us that God all along planned this as His great gift. So the birth of Jesus as a human on earth is to be celebrated with great joy, but even more is our thankfulness for giving us a path to salvation. For all of this we should have great joy in our hearts all the year. And I do, but perhaps it is because of this that I do not feel as much of the spirit of Christmas as I used to. I just seem to feel that there is so much artificial good will squeezed into this ‘holiday’ time that the reason for the season takes a backstage. People seem to have more interest in things and other people than they do in God. However I still appreciate all the well wishes of friends and we had a joyous Christmas celebration Christmas day at our home. Our entire family was with us and the kids did all the preparation and work to make this an easy and joyous time for us.
Am I alone in this feeling, and am I wrong to feel this way? Perhaps readers will have their own ideas and help me to understand why I didn't feel as much of the spirit of the Christmas season this year.
George Hagen [email protected] Christmas Day 2009
Our Christmas Poem
worldly ways, this was not our greatest year,
But even so, we managed to persevere.
no longer fly and see world marvels,
But our memories are rich of past travels.
health is not good, but to be with her you wouldn’t know it,
She bears her hurts and memory loss and seldom even shows it.
our marriage she has been my best friend,
And on her for more than 63 years I depend.
could have become a bore,
If Jesus not found in two thousand four.
to dear friends who prayed us in,
We will spend our eternity with Him.
a book that provided the zeal,
Simply called “Heaven Is So Real”.
learned to love God as never before,
He taught us true values right to our core.
blessed us with kids who always are near,
With them in our lives we have less to fear.
happy because we know beyond doubt,
Someday soon our Lord will take us on His route.
continuing joys of a marvelous life on earth,
We gladly trade for being with Jesus on His hearth.
friends, we wish you the best this earth can bring,
And pray that you someday will live in a world of forever spring.
literature may not win a Pulitzer prize,
But it has a few vignettes of our life.
George and Anita Hagen
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Faith
Pollster George Gallup reports that 8 of 10 Americans say that religion is at least fairly important in their lives. Even among people who do not go to church, 20% read the Bible, and 7 out of 10 pray at least weekly. Although this poll doesn’t state to whom they pray, or what religion these folks follow, the chances are good that if you bring up the subject of God or going to church, most people are willing to discuss it. Even many of those who claim to be atheists will talk about what they believe and why.
In the many times I have asked a stranger if Jesus is important in their lives, more than half say He is. A few say it is not something they want to talk about. Some say they know about Jesus and don’t want to hear more. Several have stated that they are Muslims and that I can’t change their faith. Some Catholics have said “I am Catholic” -- end of discussion. These experiences make me think that if I hadn’t mentioned Jesus at first, it could have opened a discussion. After the usual pleasantries, if it appears that they want to talk, I could have asked about their beliefs, or what is important in their lives. I will probably do that in the future, but will still try to talk about the importance of having Christ as their Lord and Savior.
The facts are, according to Lee Strobel bestselling author, people are intrigued by spiritual stuff. Books about God, both pro and con pepper the best seller lists. Witness the “Da Vinci Code”, a book that many Christians condemned. The movie “The Passion of the Christ” was viewed and acclaimed by millions, and people still talk about it. WhenTime Magazine put a picture of Jesus on a cover a few years back, that issue became their best seller for the year.
Now more than ever it is socially permissible to get into conversations about faith – if we do it sensibly and with concern for the other person.
One way to start a conversation about faith is to ask what books they most remember. After they answer, you could ask if they read the Bible. Cite its interesting stories that are like some of today’s thrillers. Mention that modern Bible versions are more easily understood than the old King James Bible. If they express an interest, mention how some Bible verses sort of jumped out at you and caused you to rethink your life. Simply put, God's plan of salvation is the divine romance recorded in the pages of the Bible. It is God's way of providing his people deliverance from sin and spiritual death.
Many other topics could lead to a discussion of Christian values such as TV and the Internet -- what children are seeing. What do they think about today’s entertainment, is there enough about family values? How has the media changed in emphasis over the last ten years? Is there more violence and sex? What do they think will have to happen to put the world on a better course? Is Christ the answer?
You could also ask what they are planning for the weekend. After they respond, tell them that you will go to church on Sunday and possibly watch a ball game, or whatever you are planning. Then say “By the way, do you think about church or God very much?” Often this will spark a discussion about church, their faith or lack of it. Let the other person dominate the conversation so as not to overpower them with your views. Ask follow up questions and listen carefully to their responses. Then ask more questions about their life. Tell them briefly about your life, how you came to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior and how that changed your life.
In case you are
reluctant to talk about your faith, please remember that Christians
are charged by Christ to spread the good Word about Him. You should
also keep in mind that there may not be forever to do this. No one
knows what day will be his or her last. Don’t wait! Even though
the message is vital, people are more likely to be moved to listen
when we express a sincere interest in their lives.
And when you believe they could be receptive, tell them the consequences of not pledging their life to Jesus. If they do not, they will be left behind when Christ comes in the clouds for His faithful. Be sure to tell them that they should not accept Satan’s number 666 at all costs or they will be with him for all eternity. Tell them that the book “Heaven Is So Real” portrays what we will see in Heaven, details the author’s experience with Jesus, and expresses what hell is really like.
George L. Hagen [email protected]
Is the World Coming to an End?
We hear on TV and read daily of catastrophic happenings all over the world. An earthquake takes place every day somewhere, and some are severe causing massive destruction. Hurricanes and tornadoes continue to take their toll on lives and property. The warming trend of the earth is destroying vegetation through drought, removing livelihood for many people and animals, and creating new deserts. People depending on agriculture are finding it difficult or impossible to grow crops so are flooding into cities for survival. New plagues are surfacing regularly; some coming back that were thought to have been eliminated. Terrorist attacks and crime is on the increase in many parts of the world. Also wars and uprisings kill an untold number of people and displace even more. Rogue nations are developing atomic weapons capable of destroying civilization. Some atomic stockpiles could fall into the hands of terrorists.
So what are we to think? Does this terrible trend of events signal the end of civilization as we know it? If so, shouldn’t we just “eat, drink and be merry” and enjoy the end as best we can? That is the advice of those who do not know the Word of God.
Scriptures tell us what will really happen. Yes the world will be partially destroyed sometime in the future, but it will be rebuilt by God in new glory. Meanwhile, the Lord will take his faithful ones up into Heaven before the worst occurs. Then there will be seven years known as “The Great Tribulation” where Satan rules. People left behind can still make it to Heaven if they refuse to pledge their souls to Satan by taking his forbidden number “666”. Those who do will be with the devil forever and suffer his fate in hell. But those who refuse Satan and pledge their souls to Christ will live with God forever in Heaven. Yes they may suffer terrible tortures by Satan and hear his lying promises of everlasting life, and they may be killed if they continue to resist the devil. But it will be worth it a million times and more.
How do we know that these biblical predictions about the future will come true? Simply because over 2000 prophecies and predictions made hundreds of years before the event have been fulfilled. For example, the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and his death and resurrection was prophesied .500 and 700 years before Jesus was born. The Bible contains 2500 prophesies so 500 have yet to be fulfilled including those in the above paragraph.
So how do we
avoid all this misery? By pledging our lives to Christ here and now
if we haven’t already done so. We will be taken up in the clouds
with the other faithful ones when Jesus comes. And He will be coming
very soon now!
George L. Hagen: [email protected]
November 5, 2009
What Is Faith?
Faith is the source of our strength, courage and guidance and our victory over the evils of the world, temptations and Satan. So why can’t we just accept in faith God’s promises and let them flow into our life all the time? We are just not constituted this way; at least I know I am not. Even though in the morning I decide to spend time with our Lord, my mind continually encounters thoughts that divert me. I have to consciously bring my mind back to our Lord, and a quick silent prayer helps. No matter what we are doing, our Lord can be a part of it. We have to keep reminding ourselves that for our own good we need to have the Lord in our lives. Whatever effort it takes is worth it in attaining such a comforting feeling of inner peace. While on this earth I plan to take advantage of the wonderful promise of having “peace beyond all understanding”.
Hal Lindsay in his book “Apocalypse Code” offers enlightenment about faith. God promises an experience of perfect inner peace in spite of even severe adversities. He promises wisdom and confidence so that we can stand up for the truth of the Word of God. His peace can be our daily experience. I feel so sorry for people who don’t know God – who don’t understand His promises and what He has to offer us. This is available not only in the next life but in this one. I think about the many in the world who have heard the truth but find themselves denying it and worshiping false gods – false leaders, money and other hollow idols.
Faith is the key
to these provisions. Few if any subjects in the Bible are more
important for us to understand than that of faith. The Bible
declares many things about faith and here are a few:
We are born into eternal life through faith. We are declared righteous before God by faith. We are forgiven by faith. We are healed by faith. We learn God’s Word by faith. By faith we understand things to come. We are controlled and empowered in the Holy Spirit by faith. We can please God only by faith. Faith pervades every aspect of our relationship with God and our service for Him. Hebrews 3-4.
At times in the
last few months I have felt disappointment that I did not seem to
have this promised peace “peace beyond all understanding”. Yes I did
have the comforting thought of knowing where I will spend eternity.
But what about life here and now? Weren’t we supposed to feel this
peace all the time? The answer is no, unless we exercise our faith
and keep the Lord in our thoughts. We must continually thank and
praise Him, and acknowledge that it is God’s will, not ours that
governs our lives. We can dedicate almost any activity to the Lord
and feel His presence. We not only gain His peace, but also His help
in whatever we do. Earlier in my life I would have thought this
folly and nonsense, but now I know that it is His promise, if only I
keep the FAITH!
George L. Hagen: [email protected]
October 9, 2009
Questions About the Rapture
As the time draws nearer for the Rapture, questions seem to be flying around with many different ideas about it. They range from outright denial that there will be a Rapture, to confusion between its timing and that of the Great Tribulation. Some believe Tribulation will come first, and that Jesus will only take His faithful ones to Heaven at His Second Coming after the Tribulation. There is also discussion on whether the rapture will be silent as depicted in the fictional series “Left Behind” where people suddenly disappear with no warning and those left are in shock and wonderment.
Here is what will happen and the sequence, as given in the Bible, and revealed by Jesus to some of His faithful. Jesus has told those with whom He communicates that the Rapture will be very soon. No one will know the exact day or hour until He arrives. Jesus states that He will be coming in the clouds to take His “Children” to Heaven. He will come with trumpets and loud acclamation and everyone on earth will realize what is happening. (Rev, 1:7 & 1 Thes. 4:15-17) The first taken up will be the spirits and souls of those who have already died but who had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They will be given new bodies in the air. After these souls are raised up, He will call up those who are still alive that have accepted his wonderful offer of salvation. They also will get new bodies. There will be great concern, to put it mildly, among those left behind. (Luke 13:22-30) This is NOT His second coming as He will not touch the earth. His second coming is after the Great Tribulation.
Then the Great Tribulation begins. Some believe that the calamities that have already been occurring are a part of the tribulation or a fore-runner of it. This is probably true, but the Great Tribulation is promised to be terrible and nothing like it has occurred before or will happen again. (Rev. 6, 16:16-20 & Mark 13:19) (see also Matthew 24, Luke 21 & 2 Peter 3).
In the first part of this Great Tribulation the world will witness what seems to be the answer to its problems. A man who may already be alive will come to the front as the world leader. He will promise two main things -- world peace and one religion that all can accept. His program will sound so good that he will be acclaimed as the world leader. He will sign an agreement with the Jews to allow them to build their long sought temple. This agreement will later be broken. The Great Tribulation will last seven years and the above will occur during the first half.
After this man who is really the Anti-Christ has consolidated his rule, he will display great miracles using the power Satan gives him. He will even resurrect from the dead. This will convince many that he is really God and people will begin his worship. Then he will build a statue of himself and require everyone to worship it. Those who agree will be asked to accept his mark, the mark of Satan, on their arm or forehead, or perhaps have a microchip implanted under their skin. His mark is the number “666”. (Rev 2:10-12, 13:11-18, 14:9-13)
Everyone who refuses his mark and does not worship him will be first denied the right to buy anything. Their money will be useless. Their foreheads will be marked with the cross of our Lord and great hardship will begin for them. Then they will be persecuted without mercy and those who still refuse Satan’s mark will eventually be killed, probably beheaded. But these will be raised up as saints in Heaven. Those accepting Satan’s mark will be with him forever and suffer his fate. (Rev 14-1, 11-13)
Some believe that those who do not pledge their lives to our Lord before the Rapture will not be given a second chance. I believe that some people will indeed be given a second chance during the Great Tribulation. That is if they pledge their lives to Christ, ignore the lies of Satan promising everlasting life and if they refuse to follow the evil one, and do endure his tortures. (Rev 14:9-13; Rev 20:4-6, Rev 7)
Then massive wars and destruction of the earth begins. One part will take place in an area called Armageddon. The Anti-Christ will muster armies from the east, likely China, to assemble and try to destroy the Jews in Jerusalem. The battles will rage in the Armageddon area next to Israel. The huge armies of the east will be confronted with armies of God and soundly defeated. Millions of these warriors will be killed. Also the Bible seems to point to Russia as attacking Israel with their mighty air force intending to drop atomic bombs. God will destroy these planes before they can drop any bombs. All of this terrible turmoil and destruction will occur during the second half of the seven-year Great Tribulation. (Rev 16:16, 20:9)
Also during this time the earth will suffer further disaster almost too horrible to imagine. It will be far worse than depicted even in some science-fiction films. Whole cities will be destroyed. Possibly some of this will be with atomic weapons. The major part of the destruction of mankind will be the work of the Lord’s wrath because of the horrible sins of the world. Over one-half of the world’s population will be killed, and much of the heavily populated areas of the earth will be scrap heaps. Will those destroyed only be the unrepentant sinners? I do not know but it is an interesting question. However sometime during the tribulation all of the wicked will be killed or die of plagues. After the millennium these will be raised to life for their final judgment, which will be Hades forever. (Rev 16:17-21)
After these terrible times are over, God will begin to rebuild the earth and eventually locate a New Jerusalem where many of His saints and faithful ones will live. There will be a Millennium of 1000 years during which Satan will be bound and Christ will rule. The righteous will reign with Him. This New Jerusalem is already built in Heaven and simply will descend to earth. The earth will ultimately be restored to a state far better than it ever was. Possibly the majority of saved people will live in a wonderful area in Heaven. It is large enough with enough housing to accommodate all who will ever go there. Does all of this sound too good to be true? We need not doubt anything that God will do -- didn’t He create the earth and the universe and everyone and everything in it? (Rev 21:1-2,10-27)
Heaven is ready for us and our wonderful Lord has already built housing and developed a Heaven that is beautiful beyond imagination. We will live there forever with God, unless He sends us to help Him on earth or somewhere in the universe. Heaven is something that we should look forward to with great joy. We won’t be sitting around on a cloud strumming a harp, but working actively to make it better. There will be plenty to do and enjoy with recreation facilities far beyond anything on earth. We will relish new kinds of fruit and there will be gorgeous flowers and other beauty. Some of the food will be the kinds we enjoy on earth, but also varieties we do not know. In short, it will be true Paradise. (Isaiah65:17, 66:22). Our bodies will be new but will be recognizable to those who knew us, but mature adults will look younger. News about this and what Heaven is like can also be found in the wonderful book “Heaven Is So Real” by Choo Thomas. This is really Jesus’ book as He guided its writing.
Many mistakenly believe that they have to earn Heaven by doing good deeds and living an exemplary life. This is false. We cannot earn our way into Heaven; it is a free gift from God. We only have to pledge our lives to Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. He will forgive all the sins that we confess to Him and make us into a “new person”. Then we will want to do good deeds and live in the way Jesus desires for our lives. (John 14:6, 1 John 1:9, Titus 3:3-8, Rev 3:3-6, 10-13)
Should you believe that the above sequence is how it will happen? The Bible deals with all of this. Sometimes sorting it out is a challenge. I am only a servant of our precious Lord, but the essence of this message came from God. On Sunday evening September 27th I was prompted by something just read. I wondered about some of the sequence depicted in a little booklet. So I quickly went over these coming events in my mind. I then asked God if my understanding of them was correct. Three times He confirmed that the above is the sequence in which the Rapture and the Tribulation will take place. The events have been described in the Bible (note the above references).The details have been written by others in more detail, but I believe this message captures important things we need to know.
George L. Hagen: [email protected]
August 30, 2009
Back to Basics
National surveys tell us that those who claim to be Christians are a shrinking group. Further, we find that most people outside of this group know little about God and nothing about Christ. This article is directed to these folks. We hope that even those who know our Lord will find something of interest.
Our country today is largely a society of non-believers. Oh, they believe in something, but it is not God. We have adopted ideas touted in popular books of the last decade. Primarily, the principle is, “take care of yourself first”. Of course we should look after ourselves, but not at all costs. People want instant gratification in everything. They are not willing to wait for fulfillment. While their grandparents were willing to wait for and live for “heaven at all costs”, they do not even think about life after death. They want their heaven on earth. Further, today young people have adopted popular sports and media figures as their idols. They hang on every word coming from or about these people as if they were gods. This has shut our God in Heaven out of their lives.
Many young people, perhaps the majority, are growing up in homes where God is never mentioned. How can they learn of Him without help? If they don’t know God, what is to become of them? God is love, and God teaches moral values. If love for others and appreciation of moral values are missing in a person, they have little chance of happiness. The results are high crime rates, addiction, disillusionment, divorce, and suicide. This is not to belittle those parents who do practice and teach moral values even though they do not teach about Christ. But even then, this leaves an emptiness only filled when God becomes a part of a person’s life.
So who is God? God is our creator; He created the Heavens and the earth, the galaxies of the universe and everything in them. He created you! He created you just the way He wanted you to be. But He also gave you and everyone a free choice. We can follow His path or we can choose our own. And every choice has a consequence. As our Creator, God deserves our allegiance. He created you for His pleasure. He wants and expects you to worship Him. He didn’t put us here to just have a good time. He wants us to be happy, but we are here for a purpose. If we don’t know God, then how can we determine the purpose for which He created us?
How do we get to know God if we don’t already? Prayer, pure and simple. We might pray each and every day something like this:
“Oh God if there is a God, help me to know that you are real.”
With this simple little prayer, we invite God to contact us. Will He? He will if we are sincere in wanting Him in our lives. We were born with an internal need to know God. Until we come to know Him, there will always be emptiness in our life.
What next? The person should seek others who can help him/her to understand what believing in God and ultimately Jesus Christ can do for them. They need a setting where they can learn the basics of the faith. Helpful people can be found in small church groups such as bible study, or in prayer groups, or perhaps the person next door.
Until recent years, I never once asked another person about their faith. I thought it was none of my business. I learned, though, that it is my business. Once I started asking others what they knew about Christ, I learned that a great many were just waiting for someone to talk to about faith. Ask your friends to recommend a church. Or you can call a church and ask about Bible study or prayer groups. Be sure to ask if the church teaches that Christ is our Lord and Savior. Many churches listed in the Yellow Pages have websites that are easily located on the Internet.
Reading the Bible can also be immensely helpful. The Bible is not boring, although some parts are more interesting than others. There are thousands of great stories in the Bible, fascinating tales of real happenings. Start reading Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. Then read Exodus and Deuteronomy. Next, read about Daniel (in the lion’s den) in the Book of Daniel, and about David and Goliath in the Book of 1 Samuel. The books of Ruth and Esther are beautiful stories of devotion to others. Then skip to the New Testament and learn about Christ and His miracles. The books of Luke, John and Acts are especially interesting and informative. Eventually, read the entire Bible. Even fifteen minutes a day will take you through the Bible in a year. I am willing to bet, though that you will find parts that you “can’t put it down” until you find out what finally happened. I was captivated when I started reading this wonderful book, and occasionally I would read it for hours.
Get a bible with modern language. A New International Version (NIV), or the New King James Version are good choices. I like the bible called “The Message” by Eugene H. Peterson. This is the easiest to understand.
I didn’t start reading the Bible until I had read the wonderful book, “Heaven Is So Real” by Choo Thomas. Choo was chosen by Jesus to write this book under His direction. I was actually shocked into belief in Christ after reading just a part of this book. In continuing to read it, I learned many things about heaven and hell that were full of wonder. Most importantly, I learned who Jesus really is. Then I started to read the Bible in earnest and began to attend church. Also prayer became a necessary part of my daily chores. But prayer is not a chore. Prayer is a tremendous help in every aspect of living. If you ask for help, the Holy Spirit is right there for you.
Aren’t all churches and faiths equal? There must be something useful in the major religions of the world. Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam are religions that have huge followings. Of course they have value. Many religions teach that there is a god, the need to embrace moral values, and a path to a great afterlife. These are also Christian teachings. So what is the difference, why should we be a Christian rather than a Buddhist? The difference, and it is a chasm, is Christ. No other religion embraces Christ as their savior. Muslims do know about Jesus, but they regard Him only as a great teacher, not as God. They do not have a holy intercessor who is God.
What about Jesus Christ? He is also God and He gave up His Heavenly kingdom role to come to earth, be born and live like an ordinary man. But Jesus was far from ordinary. He was the only person who ever lived a life without sin. After He grew up, He performed miracles, taught about God, and ultimately was crucified for this and died for our sins. Then He was resurrected by His Father God, and returned to Heaven where He is today. On earth He left a legacy of disciples who continued Christ’s work, wrote the New Testament, and established many churches.
Heaven is a place of purity. No one can enter Heaven who is not pure in heart and without sin. If it weren’t for Jesus dying for the sins of the world, few could ever enter Heaven. No one is pure enough on their own. But Jesus made a path to Heaven if only we believe in Him. There is no other route to Heaven.
How do we get Christ to be our Lord and Savior? This is the easiest step, but one we must choose to take. Simply say this prayer aloud, from your heart:
Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God and You died for me. Please come into my heart, be my Lord and Savior and forgive me of all my sins and take control of every area of my life from this moment on. Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and use me for Your glory. I want to serve You and love You all the days of my life. Thank You, Father, that I am now Your child, in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
Then pledge your life to Him! I wrote a note to Jesus with my pledge to Him and signed it.
How do we know that God hears our prayers? His Word tells us: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
George Hagen [email protected]
August 17, 2009
Would I stand up for the Lord?
If I had been one of Jesus’ friends, would I have abandoned Him? I don’t know. Certainly the disciples were frightened for their lives. But some of his friends, both women and men stood by Him to the end. Since I don’t know how I would have reacted, I can only consider how I would stand up for Him today. If I were persecuted for my faith as so many are in this evil world, how would I fare?
In my adult life I have never been afraid of anything except momentarily. I have faced dangers in my airplane over unfriendly terrain and at night never giving it a thought. But have I ever been challenged by an overpowering force that gave me a choice of living or dying? No I haven’t and hope I never will. People in other parts of the world have been given this choice – give up your faith and live, or die a martyr. How would I react?
It is easy to say, as the disciples did before Jesus was sentenced to be crucified that I would never abandon our Lord. Over the centuries, we know that many were made martyrs by sticking to their faith -- and me?. I now know the choices -- either be with the Lord or be with Satan -- Forever! Knowing that, certainly I will endure whatever comes and choose Heaven over hell.
But the world has largely chosen hell, often without knowing it. If a person has never heard of Jesus, how can they choose Him? Although the Bible is clear that the only way to Heaven is by declaring allegiance to Christ, most people either do not know or believe this. Even if they have been told about Jesus, they still cannot bring themselves to accept Him. They believe they will have to give up too many worldly pleasures; or they aren’t even concerned about Him. To them, life after earthly existence or the fate of their soul is not a worry or anything to even think about.
I could have been one of these if I had not found Jesus in 2004 after reading the book ‘Heaven Is So Real’. What a momentous discovery for me at age 79! To think that before then I only thought about Jesus at Christmas, and soon He was forgotten again. Now I cannot imagine life without Christ being important. I have had a wonderful life and unknowingly was guided and helped by God all through my life. Would He have continued to help me if I had not finally turned to Christ? Maybe, but He may not have helped me into Heaven.
Sometimes we have some rain in our lives, and it would be hard to bear without Jesus being there for comfort and help. The troubles on one day seemed unsolvable. But after prayer at the end of the day I realized that there is nothing beyond help from Christ. This can be compared to having a fifty pound weight lifted from my shoulders except it is far more important.
In my ‘down’ moments I felt that the problems were too much for me and I was diverted from doing anything except to stew about them. I didn’t have the incentive to do much of anything including writing. Good, you say? But I turned to our wonderful Lord who quieted my fears. After that I knew that He is willing and able to help with all situations. I wouldn’t trade this feeling for anything this world offers. Yes, I know I will defend my faith in the Lord no matter what.
James L. Christiansen wrote: The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life.
George L. Hagen
July 28, 2009
How Can We Have God In Our Lives?
I feel sorrow for those who don’t even ask this question. People continue to search for something to fill the emptiness within their lives. They try to fill it with entertainment, work, alcohol, drugs or all sorts of adventures. What they fail to recognize is that the strange, sometimes nagging empty feeling is in the depths of their person. Actually it is a built in profound yearning for God Himself. God created us for His own companionship. If we don’t realize this, we continue to feel emptiness that nothing will fill. We are never complete until we find fulfillment by having God as our constant companion.
I have known folks who cannot be alone just within themselves. They are not comfortable with only their thoughts and have to have something going on all the time. Yet it is within this inner stillness that God can speak to us. We have to be quiet and listen for His still, small voice. Alone with Him He becomes real to our inner spirit. God gave us the Holy Spirit to help us and to aid in communicating with Him. Our personal Holy Spirit is with us all the time and can be of immense help. We can actually sense God’s presence in this environment and interact with Him. It is helpful if we have studied at least enough of His Word to know how others have sought and found Him. But God will make His presence felt regardless of our background and knowledge if we just give Him the time and attention. Our precious Lord has to be the Center of our life, not just someone to call in case of emergencies.
For those who have come to know God in such intimacy, times of solitude are the most precious times in their lives. They can become the highlight of each day. This also may be the time when prayer is most effective. God already knows what we need without our asking, but He still wants us to talk to Him about any and all of our concerns.
For myself, I admit that there are times when I just cannot seem to connect with God. Too many extraneous thoughts clog my mind. I start thinking of problems and annoyances. But I still know that He is near and I just have to wait for a more opportune time to feel His presence. In some respects it is because I know He has already taken over the problems that I can wait in anticipation without having His comforting feeling all the time. I know that He will be there for me at times of most need. It is more likely though that God will be there if I keep thoughts of Him coming into my mind. I can do this but it is not automatic. As any earthly task requires for successful implementation, I must focus attention on our precious Lord .
My health may fail, my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart, he is mine forever. Psalm 73:26
At times we grow weak and weary in both body and soul. However, our God is constantly with us and he renews us and restores us!
If we are counting on the strength in our bodies to give us peace and security we will be constantly disappointed. If we are counting on our own emotional stability to keep us steady we will be constantly rocked by events in our lives. However, if we realize that God is our strength, God is our hope, God is our rock, then we will be able to weather the moments of weakness and pain in our body and soul. We face real life, but we get to face it with a real God! And He will make all the difference in the world! (Pastor Matthew Hartfield Life Map Journal)
July 3, 2009
Was I Really Living?
I have had a happy life and a fairly successful one. But thinking back, I wonder how much was enjoying the ride versus really living. What do I mean by ‘really living’? I guess I wouldn’t have known how to answer this a few years ago, or even suspect that it was something I needed to consider. After I accepted our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, my life changed markedly. Not a crashing change at first, but the change gained momentum day by day. It sort of crept up on me. I knew this would happen after beginning serious study of the Bible, but still, it was an experience that I could not have described ahead of time.
Today when I feel the presence of our Lord in my life after arising in the morning, and then from time to time throughout the day, I do stop and marvel that He takes the time to let me know in some way. I realize I am not any more special to Him than others, and His love is there for the taking by anyone. What a wonderful feeling! It cannot be compared to anything, but if we can remember back when something exciting and wonderful happened in our life, there could be some similarity. It is like the enjoyment of cold water when we have been perspiring outside on a hot day. It is like the first taste of our favorite ice cream or delicious food. But these lovely minor happenings only touch on the indescribable swelling up of the feeling of love for our Lord.
Those who have not come to really know our Lord likely have no idea of what I am talking about. And as I said, I wouldn’t have known either. Often we mistake entertainment and fun for real living. I have continued to enjoy many of these happenings but they take a backseat to the thrill I get in just praying to our Lord and thinking about Him. Perhaps it about time for non-believers to scoff and laugh at such silly ideas. Just remember the old advice - “Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it!”
Perhaps the sad part in my life was that I didn’t even know what I was missing. Although I thanked God most every night for our good life and good health, that was the extent of my devotional. A shock was required to make me realize that my life had to change. This event has been written about before. Until then I just went along doing the best I could and living for enjoyment while at times helping others when their needs were thrust in my face. Mainly I was a preview of the “ME Generation”. My aspirations were all about what would be good for me. Of course I thought seriously about my family, but they often came second. I was on a long course of building a career leading to wealth.
This was fulfilling, but whenever there was a temporary impediment, I didn’t think I had anywhere to turn except to scramble on my own. My wife and family always offered support in every way, and I appreciated and needed this. Where was God? I found much later that He was there all the time and overcame hurdles for me that could have killed future plans. If not for Him, I would have been a miserable failure. Mind you, I did not realize this until long after so now that is one of the important things for which I regularly thank our loving Lord.
From what I read and have learned, the average person feels much like I did before really discovering Jesus in my life. So if you happen to be one of these, I urge you to take a shot at seeing what our Lord can do in your life. I guarantee you will be amazed and almost overwhelmed by His power and desire to help you. As the song “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling” goes, ‘Jesus is waiting and watching for you, watching for you and for me. Come home, come home, you who are sinners, come home.’
Again I have to stop and consider what some may be thinking. “I am not sinning; I am doing good, and perhaps even going to church occasionally.” Yes you are sinning, if it is only that you regard anyone or anything as more important that your love for our Lord. Also we, myself included, continue to commit little acts that are not pleasing to God. Jesus was the only person who has never sinned. Until we become as pure as Christ, we will continue to sin in some way. And of course becoming this pure is impossible for us. But we can be purified and be acceptable to Christ by simply committing to Him as our Lord and Savior. An incredibly simple step, but Oh so important! This will bring you to a life forever with Him. Nothing else will do this.
Even the most enjoyable trip we ever had was a letdown as it ended. Then we would look forward to being home. The adventures with Christ never end, and there is never a letdown. He continues to bring enjoyment day by day and year by year. Of course not everything that happens in our lives is pure joy. In this world of evil there is bound to be occurrences that interfere with this pure happiness. But our precious Lord helps us cope and bear these situations, no matter how bad they get.
June 18, 2009
Things Happen To Good People
I am not the first person to write about this, and won’t be the last. Jesus spoke about it and Old Testament saints had to contend with it. And today, people still ask the question “Why?”
Part of the answer is that people’s definition of good is different from that of Christ. People believe that just because they go to church, they are all good. Or they think that because they are kind to others they qualify as good. I am not the judge to say. But we do know that extreme sickness and hardship does befall people that outwardly seem to be “good people”. But, it also happens to people who are truly of our Lord.
We should know if we are Christians that the Lord does not cause these problems. God does not enter a life and slaughter it. Only if a large group sin, and this means putting anything before God, or performing acts that are evil, has He stepped in. These curses from God are outlined throughout the Old Testament starting with Genesis.
Why do bad things happen to good people? Sometimes it is because it helps them to see how to make this world a better place. In some ways that’s what separates the truly good people from those who only think they are good people, and may blame God for troubles. God allows bad things to happen to good people sometimes because it is a necessary part of God’s way for making a good person great.
I didn’t know that there was a book written with the exact title as this article but after starting to write it, I searched on the Internet. Harold S Kushner, a rabbi, wrote a book with this title that has been called a classic, “a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow”. I have read only excerpts taken from his book. His premise is that God cannot right the wrongs of the world because he does not have the power, as He is limited by the laws of nature.
Here are some quotes from his book: “I believe in God. But I do not believe the same things about Him that I did years ago, when I was growing up or when I was a theological student. I recognize His limitations. He is limited in what He can do by laws of nature and by the evolution of human nature and human moral freedom. I no longer hold God responsible for illnesses, accidents, and natural disasters, because I realize that I gain little and I lose so much when I blame God for those things. I can worship a God who hates suffering but cannot eliminate it, more easily than I can worship a God who chooses to make children suffer and die, for whatever exalted reason.”
There are messages in his book that are probably responsible for its acclaim. -- “We could bear any burden if we thought there was a meaning to what we were doing. Have I made it harder for people to accept their illnesses, their misfortunes, their family tragedies by telling them that they are not sent by God as part of some master plan of His? The question we should be asking is not, ‘Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?’ That is really an unanswerable, pointless question. A better question would be ‘Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?"
Kushner continues: “Let me suggest that the bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us. They do not happen for any good reason which would cause us to accept them willingly. But we can give them a meaning. We can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them. “ I take it that Mr. Kushner is saying that if we can find or create a meaning for the suffering, it then it becomes bearable.
This makes some sense. What I cannot fathom is – how can anyone believe that God created the universe and everything in it, and yet does not have the power to eliminate evil or to destroy those creating it. Of course He does. The Bible tells us that He destroyed entire nations who refused to repent or stop their evil practices. And He will do it again. God did not create robots that do His will. He gave man the ability to choose, and thus we can choose to do evil. If God stepped in every time a bad thing happened, what would this do to God’s provision that we can choose our own ways?
God is all powerful and all knowing. He alone knows the higher meaning behind every suffering and all the evil brought on by humanity. He has the wisdom, we do not. The Word of God tells us that He will put an end to all suffering in His own time table. What we need to do when we see suffering is to think of what Jesus would do. Then if it is in our power we should act. All of us have skills and resources that can be used to help others. This could be with our hands, our money or with our faith.
At times God allows us to be punished as a direct result of our actions. He is simply letting the consequences of our actions teach us a life lesson that we need. But all suffering is not the result of our personal sin. Often we are victims of other people’s evil actions, or unfortunate circumstances. We could even be targets of other’s hostility toward God. Christ suffered for his righteousness and we could also suffer if we are living for Him.
Sometimes we suffer because God is punishing us for wrongdoing, just as we were disciplined as a child. Who are we to question our Creator’s plans for His creation? Mortals have only a very limited knowledge of His plans, much less ability to understand. At such times we may feel that God has abandoned us. But usually it is we who have abandoned God. When we sin we turn away from God’s love and then wonder what happened to God in our lives. God has a plan for the lives of everyone, but because we have free choice, we can go our own way, often to our detriment. If we allow Him to guide our pathways this can bring joy and fulfillment and the best use of the gifts and talents He has given us. Our lives will become more Christ like. While I will never be like Christ while on this earth, pledging my life to Him has made a huge change for the better.
Many of the unhappy and unfulfilled people around us have simply refused to follow God’s lead. Or perhaps more likely they have made choices that seemed easy or more fun. Their short-lived enjoyment played out. They made mistakes and rather than looking to God for help, just kept repeating the same mistakes. We see this in the lives of some people who married, divorced because of cruelty or oppression but remarried to a similar person.
Many things that cause suffering in the world are the natural occurrence of major storms and earthquakes. In our part of the world we have a degree of control over where we live and some areas are more prone to these disasters. Also war, crime and poverty are evils created by humans. People sin and they suffer as do also innocent ones. Satan may have influenced these sins but many people willingly sin on their own and do their own thing. Until we take responsibility for our sins, we will never understand why we are suffering. We will always believe that it is unjust or someone else’s fault. When someone we know is suffering we should do what we can to comfort them.
Comforting technique may not be an inborn skill for any of us. But we can speak from our heart with honesty, kindness and understanding. Tell them you love them and will be there for them. If it seems right, do something to make their life easier. Let them know that they are loved by God and that He is also there for them and they only have to ask. Everyone has the power to receive God’s merciful grace in times of need. Pray with them if they are willing. Tell them that there are other resources that could help them such as a church or even information on the Internet. Never, though, say that their suffering is meaningless or will go away with time. Instead acknowledge their pain and grief. Even if they say that God is to blame, don’t argue; let them be until you can come back with a message of hope. Perhaps you can relate some event in your life where God really helped you and emphasize that you are no one special, He will help them if they can get to the point where they will ask.
God’s healing help is available to everyone. ‘God is love‘ (1 John 4:16). Sometimes we can help others to know God. This can be done by praying with them, just the wonderful “Lord’s Prayer” to start. Point out that prayer is as easy as talking to a friend. God does not want fancy prayer, just our inner feelings, our concerns and our aspirations. We can suggest some Bible verses that might be applicable. There are also some wonderful books that can help us know God such as the one referenced at the end of this writing.
What should we as Christians do when we see evil? We should not assume that everything and everyone that does not agree with our thinking is evil. But if we see hatred and racism or cruelty, we can do something to make the world a better place. We can speak out against it even if we might be afraid of the repercussions. If we see a crime being committed we should tell the authorities. Acts of kindness toward others can counter much evil. There will always be evil with us while we are on this earth, but we should do all we can to counter it, and do what is kind, right and good. This was what Jesus did and what we are expected to do.
The ministry author James L. Christensen said: “The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life.”
Of course we have to believe that the Bible is the Word of God but most people of the world have not really read the Bible. Sadly, many people in backward countries have never heard of it. Some of our prominent religious organizations do not teach from the Bible. So how could all of these people be able to know what is biblical and what is of this world? It is vital for us to fathom the difference.
We know from the Bible that once man (Adam and Eve) chose to disobey God, then Satan began to rule the world, as he does today. It is the nature of evil to want to destroy the good. While the devil cannot do anything that God does not allow, he has been given free rein over mankind. He is alive and well and works continuously to bring people under his influence. Christians who truly believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, are especially under attack. Satan will stop at nothing to discredit us and even destroy marriages, and to do much worse. So Satan is a major cause of bad happenings.
Lest the reader conclude that all is lost, that is not so. We have already won the battle with Satan. Jesus’ death and resurrection spelt defeat for Satan. The devil will continue to rule the world but his ultimate defeat is certain. Romans 13:14 summed it up: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lust”. If we have taken Christ into our lives as our Lord and Savior, we have all the protection we need. Further, we all have received the Holy Spirit to guide us. Each of us receives from God exactly what we need to do what God asks.
Even way back in the Old Testament days, the coming of the Messiah as the “Prince of Peace” was foretold – Isaiah 9:6“. But Matthew 10:34 states that Jesus’ Gospel of peace would have a dividing effect in the world, but ultimately it would provide a way for us to have peace with God and one another.
So what should we do? Those who spread the Gospel of peace will become known as peacemakers, being blessed and called “sons of God” Matthew 5:9. Everywhere the Holy Spirit leads us, and that means everywhere we go, we are to proclaim the victory of Jesus on the cross. This is a victory that brings us peace with God and will one day bring peace to the world. While we may continue to suffer illness and hardship, this will end when we spend eternity with Jesus. All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.
The following are some interesting quotes from wonderful people:
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” C.S. Lewis
“Going to church does not make you a Christian anymore than going to the garage makes you a mechanic.” Dr. Laurence J. Peter
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” G. K. Chesterton
“Christianity does not remove you from the world and its problems; it makes you fit to live in it, triumphantly and usefully” Charles Templeton
“Jesus, like any good fisherman, first catches the fish; then He cleans them” Mark Potter
“The Gateway to Christianity is not through an intricate labyrinth of dogma, but by a simple belief in the person of Christ.” “Change your thoughts, and you change your world” Norman Vincent Peale
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mahatma Gandhi
Some of the thoughts in this article were inspired by the great book by Jones and Petersen – “God’s Answer to Tough Questions”.
George Hagen [email protected]
May 17, 2009
When will our Lord come for His faithful?
If this message is not what you want to hear, please just delete it. If you believe it will be useful for others, please pass it on. George Hagen, Sarasota, Florida.
Who is writing this message? The Holy Spirit is the inspiration. I am merely writing down the flow of ideas. This message is one I have been thinking about for days and pray that it will in some small way bring those who read it closer to the Lord.
When will Jesus come to take His faithful up in the Heaven? Of course I don't know as the Bible tells us that no one will know the day or the hour. We all can know the season though. Is this the season of His coming? I know so.
So will He come in my lifetime? Although I am in my 85th year, I am 100% sure of this. Will He come in this decade, before December 2010? Yes, I am 90% sure of this. Will He come this year? Assurance drops down, but I believe there is a 70% probability. Will we see Him by the first of September? Again I don't know, but think there is a 50% chance.
Since no one knows when Jesus will come, what should we do while waiting. For some, waiting is terribly hard as Jesus is so much a part of their lives. And it is not easy for many others. They may have maladies that seem incurable and are just waiting for relief that Heaven affords. So what should we do? It is of vital importance to be READY for Him. What does it mean to be Ready? This will be covered a little later.
What will happen to those who are not Ready? The Bible is clear on this. Those who are not taken up in the clouds to join Jesus are the people left behind, left to suffer through what occurs next. They will have to endure the terrible tribulation discussed especially in the Book of Revelation. This period of seven years starts as soon as Jesus completes His mission to take His faithful to Heaven.
At first then it will seem that the big problems that have plagued our world are being solved. One man, who is now alive or who will be raised up by the devil, will come to world-wide power through his charisma. He will promise peace and prosperity. All nations will pledge loyalty to him. They will commit their military power and give their weapons to a world police force. Soon after this has been accomplished, this man will use his unlimited power to cause terrible hardship on anyone who does not worship him. Unless a person pledges their life to him and takes his sign, 666, their money will be useless. (Revelation 13:17-18) They will be unable to buy or sell anything. Remember this man then has unlimited power to enforce his demands. Those who do not pledge to him will suffer hardship. Eventually they may be tortured and killed.
The seemingly easy thing in this tribulation will be to go along with this man. The Bible tells us that Satan has taken over his life. How did this man become possessed by Satan? We don’t know whether he accepted the devil’s promises to gain the power or it was just thrust upon him. If we pledge to him, we are accepting the devil as our master. (Revelation 13:11-13) Once this is done, there is no way out. We will spend eternity with Satan in hell. What may seem the easy course will lead to the worst possible outcome.
So those who are left behind must resist taking the mark of Satan, 666. They will be easily distinguished for persecution. With modern means of identification, the marks of Satan may be more sophisticated such as ID chips. (Revelation 14:9-11)
The ones who are able to withstand the temptation to worship Satan may be tortured and even killed. They will end up being people that Jesus reveres. So it is imperative for a person's eternal well being to resist Satan at all costs! (Revelation 7:15,14:12-13)
During the latter part of this tribulation, great disaster will be reined upon the earth. (Revelation 16:1-6,8-10) So no one wants to be there either.
So how can we avoid going through the terrible tribulation? By accepting here and now that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Here is the way to do this as Jesus taught while He was on this earth. The following is a quote from the book that Jesus wrote through his modern-day apostle Choo Thomas - "Heaven Is So Real". This is the book that brought me to Christ in 2004.
Jesus is the
only one who can save you and forgive all your sins so that you can
have eternal life with Him. (John 14:6.) If you have never before
asked Jesus to save you, now is the time for you to do so, before it
is too late. Simply say this prayer out loud, from your heart: “Lord
Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God and You died for me. Please
come into my heart, be my Lord and Savior and forgive me of all my
sins and take control of every area of my life from this moment on.
Jesus, fill me with Your Holy Spirit and use me for Your glory. I
want to serve You and love You all the days of my life. Thank You
Father, that I am now Your child, in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
After this prayer, to work out your salvation, read the Bible, pray often and go to church to listen to God’s words and fellowship with God’s people. Your life will never be the same; you’ll have a very happy life while on this earth and live forever with Jesus in heaven. God bless you. (Acts 4:12, John 20:31, Matthew 7:13-14)
So that is it! It sounds easy and it is easy, but it is a step that must be taken if we are to be saved. Most of those who read this may already have done this. So this is for those who have not. Don’t wait! Since we do not know when Jesus will come, and it could be today, do it now and be Ready.
We know that Jesus’ coming in the clouds is not his “Second Coming” but rather the bible calls it caught up (Rapture). That will take place soon after the end of the great tribulation. This will be the beginning of our Lord’s 1000 year rule on this earth. (Revelation 20:1-13) Possibly we could be a part of this thousand year rule on earth along with those who were killed in the great tribulation. This seems like a long period but is only a tiny part of our life forever with the Lord. He has promised that we will be extremely happy with Him and we will be used for many purposes.
March 10, 2009
A message from Brother George Hagen [email protected]
We need to be aware of what God requires from us while granting His untold number of blessings in our life. We should know the reason we were put on this earth.
Our Lord Jesus, who is God the same as God our Father, wants us to have a happy life, but He also wants us to worship Him. If we simply go through life reaping His blessings without acknowledging the source, He will not be pleased. We must please the Lord if we are to spend eternity with Him.
Our life on earth is only as a blink of an eye in contrast to our time in eternity. Eternity is forever. Even if we live to be 100, a long earth life, this is nothing compared to the time we will spend as living beings after our earthly bodies die and we are given new bodies. Also no matter how great our life has been, our life in Heaven will be infinitely more beautiful. If we have sufferings, they will all be taken away.
What is our real self that lives forever? Our soul or spirit is our real self. Our bodies are merely a home for our soul while we are on earth. Our soul existed before we were born on earth and will continue to exist after we leave earth, it will exist forever. Therefore we should be far more interested is what happens to our soul than in seeking life’s pleasures, important to us as they are.
The Bible tells us and Jesus made it quite clear while He was on earth that He absolutely requires us to worship Him. Yes we pray to God the Father, but we do it in the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus is quoted in John 14:6 – “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This simply means that unless we acknowledge Christ as our Lord and Savior, confess our sins (everyone sins), ask forgiveness and pledge our lives to Him, we will never be in Heaven with Him and His Father. Don’t be afraid to take this step, there is no downside, just a wonderful blessing.
Why is prayer important? This is the way we talk to God. Before Jesus came to earth and died for our sins, people could only communicate with God through priests. Jesus opened the channel for everyone to talk directly to God the Father. He wants us to tell Him all of our concerns and seek His help and guidance. He is always listening for us to come to Him. No request or plea is too trivial, and none too difficult for Him. No, He does not grant requests instantly like a genie, and He doesn’t grant our every plea. We may never understand how He chooses to respond to our prayers. But He is a loving God and will always help us bear any affliction if we ask for His help. All requests to God the Father should be made in the name of Jesus Christ at the end of the prayer. Jesus is our emissary and will petition our Father in our behalf.
What else do we need to do to endear ourselves to our Lord Jesus and to our Father? God is love, that is one of the definitions of who God is. In Heaven there is only love, no hate, grudges or fear, just love. For that reason we must demonstrate our love while we are on earth in order to be admitted to Heaven.
When Jesus was asked what we must do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, he answered "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27. Jesus went on to explain in other passages that this means that we are to love Him above everything and above everybody else. We are also required to love our family and our neighbors. To Jesus, ‘neighbors’ means everyone who crosses our path in life, or whom we know in one way or another.
When we come to realize the wonderful benefits that God has bestowed on us, we will want to tell everybody about this. Jesus commanded that we spread the message of salvation. This is an important way to let others know that we love them.
How do we get to know our God? Fortunately we have the modern Bible that tells the story of Jesus while He was walking on this earth. The gospels of Jesus were written by men who knew Him. In the Old Testament we learn about God our Father in so many ways. It also has references to the future coming of Jesus as Messiah foretold thousands of years before Jesus’ birth on earth. Daily Bible reading is important if we are to know our God. The Bible is very interesting, not boring. Many of the books tell intriguing stories, the adventures of real people. The Bible also tells us what is ahead for us on earth and in Heaven.
Why were we put on this earth? Our journey here is merely a training ground for Heaven. Our conduct will prepare us to be with Him forever, or not. If we waste this wonderful opportunity, we will be forever sorry. When Christians meet our Savior in Heaven, we will be asked to justify what we have done while on earth. Records of everything we have done or said, even our thoughts are kept by angels. This record will be reviewed. However, our Lord knows all of this so He does not have to refer to it personally. Can we justify what we have done, how we have lived, what has been most important to us in our lives? If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our past sins are forgiven and forgotten. But we still have to justify ourselves to our Lord. Have we really given our life to Him? Do we worship Him and communicate with Him in prayer and how often? Do we really love Him with all our heart as He commanded?
If He came to take His chosen ones to Heaven today, would we be ready for Him? We don’t know when He will come, but He has said that it will be soon.
For our own salvation we should keep these things in mind all the time.
July 31, 2008
About Harboring a Grudge against God
This is a letter I wrote to a lady who lost her son to disease over fifty years ago. She still asks “why does God allow such suffering”, and blames God for this. George Hagen
Dear _____. It was an interesting dinner with you. I have thought about some of the things that were said ever since. I am troubled by parts of the conversation. You said that people keep pushing books and evangelistic material at you. It seems that you resent this, or at least don’t want it. I submit that if no one cared anything about you, perhaps you would not be bothered by these from people you know. I believe that folks that do this are trying to help you. I know I gain nothing personally by offering the book that brought me to faith. I do it because I believe it will be useful to the other person.
I mentioned that a lady in Tacoma, Washington, who we had known for over fifty years, kept sending stuff to me. This included Bibles, a Bible on tape, books on faith etc. At first I sort of resented her “interfering” in my life. Later I simply ignored the material, but thanked her for it. She finally sent the book “Heaven Is So Real” in January 2004. I told you that it was put aside, but for some reason I decided to start reading it one night just before retiring. During the night I woke up to a bright light, went to the bathroom and then back to sleep. Around 2:00 AM I saw a huge flash of light that was terribly bright. It woke me and I awoke shaking and could not see for the light blinding my eyes. The shaking and bright light only lasted a little while, but I realized that this happening was a message from the Lord. I knew that the book was important, very important. I read it and reread it several times, and continue to read parts of it. This book changed my life completely for the better. For the first time I knew that Jesus Christ was Lord and Savior. Before this, for 79 years I had ignored Him. Now I am eternally grateful, literally, to Nancy Shelton who sent this book. I called her and she was so thankful that something finally got through to me after her efforts over fifty years.
You told us of the tragedy of your son and asked why God would allow the terrible suffering of this young man. His passing was terribly sad for you. We don’t know why God sometimes heals people and sometimes does not. We do know though that God does NOT cause these problems. We live in a world of sin, we are all sinners. I am a sinner even today, but am trying very hard not to do anything that is not pleasing to the Lord. The worst possible sin is the one I was afflicted with most of my life. I valued money and many things more than love for God. I often prayed and thanked our Heavenly Father for our good life and good health, but that was about it for praying. I didn’t know Jesus except of course I knew He died on the cross for some reason. I did not attend church. So my sin was in ignoring Christ and in valuing many things more than I did a love of God. My life changed in 2004 and if it had not, I know where I would have spent eternity – not in Heaven.
We have lost many friends of years back, and this is so sad. Beautiful memories of the good times we had together with them live on but will never be again. We know that some of them, and we hope all, have gone to a better place. This knowledge does indeed ease the pain of the loss, and especially for the loved ones in their immediate family.
We mentioned the tragedies of three of our kids, one was lost to us at about age 22, one was afflicted with crippling arthritis, a third with depression. It was not God that caused any of these problems, and with two of our kids it seems that He helped them largely overcome the illnesses so that they could lead normal lives. Satan is alive and well and is trying very hard and with great skill to alienate Christians from God. He would love to have us blame God for our troubles. When this happens, Satan has won. Illnesses occur in our sinful world, not because a person sins as many of the Old Testament people believed, but it is a natural occurrence because of diseases and other afflictions that are rampant in the world. To expect God to cure every illness is not realistic. The chances are even less if serious prayer is not involved, What God does is to make these problems easier to bear if we believe in Him and offer prayers.
When God created the universe, He saw that it was good. Genesis 1:31. But evil entered. The Bible declares that apart from our Lord Jesus, there is none who does good, no not one. (Romans 3:12). So God’s definition of “good” is different from ours. After we come to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will be prompted to really do good and love our fellow man. Before that, our “good” helps others but does not chalk up any points for a life of eternity with God.
After I came to faith in 2004, I started to read the Bible and have read it through three times. Now I continue to read it every day, picking out books and chapters that have been noted before as being most beneficial. Often when reading, a thought sort of jumps out at me. Several times it accused me of some sin that I had not realized was a sin. I immediately accepted this and prayed for forgiveness. Each time a “load” was taken from me that I hadn’t realized was a problem. An example is that I harbored a grudge against a prominent Democrat. Holding a grudge does not hurt the target person, only the person holding it. It is a very serious sin. To hold a grudge against God is fatal.
Am I perfect? Of course not. Before pledging my life to Jesus, did I ever do anything to deserve an eternity in Heaven. Absolutely not. I lived a good life and tried to help others along the way. But without really loving Jesus, these efforts only made me feelthat I was a good person.
In studying the Bible, I came to realize the truth that Jesus stated “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. (John 14:6) In other words, there is no way to get into Heaven just by good works. But it is very simple, we just have to pledge our life to Jesus and then live as we believe he wants us to. There is a “sinner’s prayer” that is the first step. I took this step in 2004 and it changed my life. I found no downside to doing this, only more love for everyone, and I can’t help it, love for others just keeps coming out.
I know you were already tired of people “preaching” to you, but I am not preaching. I have a busy schedule most days and I would not have “wasted” time in writing this just to preach. I believe so much that Jesus will come for His faithful ones soon now, that I don’t want anyone to be left behind. I know that some in our church will not be taken to Heaven at this time, as they think that just attending church and doing good works will get them there. They might make it eventually, but they will have to go through the terrible tribulation first.
May the love of the Lord be with you. If you want to talk about any of this, please let me know.
George (and Anita) Hagen
April 28, 2007
PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE THIS WARNING -- If you know anyone who has not already accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, please let them know about this warning! Recently I received more confirmation on the imminent coming of Christ. I will be glad to share this latest information with anyone who wants it. His coming could be at any moment or a little while yet, no one can know the exact time. I am nobody special and am just offering what I believe with all my heart to be true. I am neither a religious nut nor someone who has “lost it”, my mind that is. This is a deadly serious situation and those who ignore it may not have the future they desire.
I may risk offending you with this, and I hope that you don’t need this warning. However, this is something that I strongly believe will be helpful, and if not to you, to a relative or a friend. I know now beyond any doubt that there is an afterlife for our spirits, and that we must prepare for this. The consequences of not preparing are terrible; our spirit will live forever in eternal hell. OUR REAL SELF IS OUR SPIRIT. Our earthly body is its temporary house. Our spirit lives forever. In Heaven we will have renewed bodies.
No matter what we have done or experienced in our past life, all of us can live forever with Jesus Christ in Heaven. We must take an easy step, but a vital one – confess our sins (everyone on earth is a sinner if only because they value something more than a relationship with God), ask for forgiveness, and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. If you have already taken this step, I rejoice with you, but perhaps you will pass this or a similar message on to someone else.
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the only way we will ever see our Heavenly Father or be in Heaven is through belief in Jesus Christ. He is the way and the only way. Living a good life will not, without Jesus, get us there! I have found the way, but I am only a humble servant, no better than anyone else. All of us commit sins every day no matter how hard we try to live a good life. Jesus forgives all our sins if we ask and will continue to forgive our transgressions if we confess and ask for forgiveness.
When I finally accepted Jesus in February 2004 as my Lord and Savior and believed that he died for our sins, I found my life gradually becoming more fulfilling. Many of the earthly things that I cherished in the past are no longer important. What is important is the love for God and for each other. God is love, and nothing else compares with this.
I found my faith after reading the book “Heaven Is So Real”, by Choo Thomas. Every day, faith becomes more meaningful as I read the Bible and other inspirational writings, and try to share this faith. Yes I still enjoy many other things and enjoy life to the fullest, but my faith overshadows all else. Prayer has brought so many wonderful things that I feel “undressed” without it. The Holy Spirit lives in me and gives continual guidance when I listen. Everyone can have this same experience if they ask.
If you know someone who hasn’t taken this vital step, I urge you to put your arms around them and tell them to take it. Take the thought to everyone you love, and that should be each and every person who crosses your path in life. We are all equal under God, all brothers and sisters in faith. Don’t wait to take the step yourself if you haven’t, nor to share the message with others. No one can know when their life might end without warning!
My careful study of the Bible plus information from other biblical-based sources, leads me to only one conclusion. We are in what some call “end times”. This means that our world will soon be partially destroyed by a dramatic series of events, and later rebuilt.
Here is what is going to happen. Only God knows the exact time, but it will happen. While planning to continue my life in the fullest, I also am sure that it will be much shorter than I had planned or imagined. Christ’s coming to call his followers to Heaven, predicted at least 2000 years before Jesus was born, is very near. I believe it could happen in 2007, but of course I really don’t know. Information about Jesus’ coming is in John 3:16, Mathew 24:21-22, Romans 10:9, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Luke 16:19-31, etc.
The coming of Christ will be a wonderful event for the millions of believers in Jesus. They will be taken up to Heaven along with their young children. For the rest of humanity, it will be the beginning of a hell on earth. Those who remain will be presented with the choice of worshiping Jesus, or worshiping Satan. The latter will be the easy choice, but a horrible choice that no one should make.
The world will then go through seven years of the “Tribulation” described in the book of Revelation in the Bible as follows: During the first 42 months after Christ comes and takes to Heaven those who have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior, the Antichrist will come to power, will consolidate his power and cause peace to reign throughout the earth. Then great world catastrophes will lead many people to recognize that the judgment of God is taking place. In two separate happenings, half of the world’s population, probably many of the evil of the world, will be killed in cataclysmic events like nothing the world has ever seen. There will be earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes and other disasters described in the Bible. A sample of this may have occurred already. This will be a time of great persecution for the people who have delayed until then to accept Jesus as their savior.
At that time the Antichrist will be killed. Next, Satan will resurrect and take over the body of the Antichrist. All humanity will be required to worship him or his image. He will deceive people into believing that he, Satan, is God though miraculous happenings. Those who accept this will have the mark of Satan (666) either on their right hand or forehead (Revelation 13: 16-17). Those without this mark will not be allowed to buy or sell anything. Thus there will be monumental hardship for those people. Those who have pledged to Christ will have the mark of the Lord on them and will be mercilessly persecuted and tortured. Unless they give in to Satan, they will be killed. Satan’s plan is to drive as many as possible to worship him. So the easy way out will be to go along with Satan. Those who accept him will be doomed to be forever in hell. For doomed persons, it will be an eternity of torture and fire with no way out.
No one should choose to go through Tribulation. The choice is yours to make. The only way to avoid this is to become a follower of Jesus Christ, ask for His forgiveness of your sins, and then worship Jesus as your Lord and Savior. This is easy and has many great present day benefits.
To gain information on what is going to happen during Tribulation, read the last book of the Bible, “Revelations”. Especially note the passages in Revelations 20:4 and 14:11. If you haven’t read this before, you may find the images strange. The book “Revelation Unveiled” by Tim LaHaye explains in great detail what the symbols and events in Revelation really mean.
Jesus will help you all the time if you ask. Having true faith gives you a wonderful warm feeling, there is nothing like it. The Bible is the Word of God. Those who don’t believe this probably haven’t read it. The Bible says you are not saved by just doing good works. You must accept and love Jesus as your savior.
There are no
non-sinners and never were except Jesus. I thought I was OK by just
living a good life. For salvation, we must repent our sins. Also
accept that Jesus’ crucifixion and decent into Hell and resurrection
was penalty for removing our sins. Unless we accept Jesus, we won’t
be saved no matter how pure our life. We must worship and love Jesus
and our Heavenly Father, pray often and sincerely, read the Bible,
and live by the messages in the Bible! And try to do what we believe
Jesus wants us to do. We should show our love to everyone, forgive
even our enemies! Help the less fortunate. The door is narrow. Jesus
said: “No one will see the Father except through me”. “I am the
way”. Although the door is narrow, it is wide enough for all who
sincerely seek the love of Jesus.
Attending church is a real help. It gives fellowship and a way to share our beliefs, and have them reinforced. Regular tithing is important, and if we give with our heart, we will gain back in some way more value than we contribute. Everything that we “own” is a gift of God for us to use while on the earth. We can’t take it with us, but we can take the rewards of giving and good deeds.
The alternative to being saved is eternal hell. Satan is in control of the earth right now to the extent that God allows. He is working continually to try to have us come to his home, hell. He is trying to break up Christian marriages and friendships. Tell him to get out of your life - in Jesus’ name. Do this whenever you don’t sense Jesus’ presence.
How do I know these things? How did I get to be a believer? I have never seen Jesus but feel his presence. I ask Him for something (non-material and non-physical) and often get immediate response.
My turning point
was in reading Choo Thomas’ book “Heaven Is So Real”. I have told my
story in another writing of having a vision after reading the first
few chapters of this book.
The author is a present-day apostle of Jesus. Her life is totally dedicated to Jesus while still fulfilling her role as a wife, mother and grandmother. I am most fortunate to know her and we correspond and talk regularly; each time is a wonderful experience. Everything in her book was verified for me in the Bible. I find the Bible interesting, not boring at all, and with modern language. The New International Version, NIV, was researched by noted scholars using all available texts, languages and modern tools.
The time to be
saved is now! We don’t know how long we will be here, months, days
We need to concentrate on eternal life for our spirit, not present day pleasures. Our mission today is to spread the Word. How else will others know Jesus if someone doesn’t tell them?
Summary on how
to be saved:
Accept Jesus as our savior; love him for his sacrifices and what he has done for us.
Be sure to also show Our Father our praise, thanks and love for everything we have and are.
Repent your sins. Ask for forgiveness every day.
Show love to everyone! Forgive anyone who we think has wronged us.
Pray often and pray sincerely to Heavenly Father in Jesus’ name, for important things.
Ask Jesus for the Holy Spirit to help in our everyday life. He is extremely helpful.
Try to do what you believe Christ wants you to do.
Live an example to others and they will recognize it. Some of course will try to tear you down.
Keep Satan from influencing your life; cast him out of your life in Jesus’ name!
Associate as much as possible with people who have similar faith, but don’t ignore others. Also: Attend church and tithe. If you don’t want to attend now, take the other steps immediately and tithe somewhere. However, church attendance helps in reinforcing your faith and in gaining knowledge.
George L. Hagen: [email protected]