Monday, December 06, 2010

Wrestling with Hell

This morning's sunrise

12/6/10 Monday
This morning is flying by. Checked emails, facebook, replied to some and bam, it’s almost 11:00. Just now getting to this journal. It was 22 degrees this morning so we definitely have had the fire going. Saturday we went to a Christmas party put on by our friends at the Midland church we attended before we began going to the small church down the road from us. It was a great party, with great food, and lots of deserts that we really don’t need to eat, but did anyway cause it was so good. It is always good to be missed, good to be loved, and great to be warmly received. Vickie was there too, she had been a member of the group before her husband tragically succumbed to cancer and had since done what we did, joined a church much closer to home. At the end of the party a part of me just wanted to preach, to say that Christmas is the celebration of God coming to earth and becoming a man in order that we can all have life, and that we all now have that gift to share with others, eternal life. There was a gift exchange at the end and it was nice, all of us are Christians so all of us have that eternal life, but my thoughts are on all of those who don’t. That is the reason for, not just the season, but for all of Christianity. Jesus came, died, and rose from the dead in order to give us all life, eternal life.

Sunday morning we went to the Stanton church, as usual. It was good but I had an unusual burden to pray so spent my time before the regular service doing so. There has been a lot of this, this need to pray, lately. I don’t know why, just know I need to do so. So I do. This comes on me in the morning, afternoon, and even at one and two in the morning. I wake up, put more wood on the fire because it’s usually died down by then, and pray. There’s something going on folks, I just don’t know what.

The pastor announced that we were having guest speakers that evening. The speaker I think, was a guy named Bill Wiese, known for his book and video entitled “23 minutes in hell”. This disturbed me as I am familiar with Bill Wiese and his tale of having a vision where he was taken to hell and tortured by demons. He was a guest on GLC once and what he had to say was just wrong, absolutely not in line with the bible. Cherie and I were in agreement in having no desire to go see this guy. Our perspective is that he and his wife are just using this as a way to make money and be lifted up as important spiritual leaders while selling more books.

I wrestled for a while with this, with a great desire to go and stand up for what I know to be the truth, to oppose that which I deem to be error. But in the end I opted to stay home, decided to not stir things up and in that way to support the pastor and not be divisive. So I went online and studied up on the whole thing, the subject of hell and eternal damnation.

At the core of my discomfort is the whole concept of a loving God, who cared so much for mankind that He would send his only son to earth so that He might die a horrible death in order to grant us eternal life, then sentencing anyone to endure incredible torment forever, with no end at all. Just imagine someone burning, the most painful of pains, engulfed in fire from head to foot, forever. In my research I learned that Augustine, the theologian who introduced this whole concept to the church, actually stated that God would eternally heal these people of their wounds from the fire in order that they would perpetually suffer. This is just not acceptable to me, this is not the loving caring God I have chosen to worship.

And then Bill Wiese states that when he went to hell, he was locked in a barred cell and that demons had the great joy and pleasure of continually torturing him and that he could hear the screams of others as they were tortured. NO, Absolutely NOT!!! Hell was made for the devil and his angels, it’s a place they will be punished in, not a place where they have fun doing more evil. Plus the bible is clear that all of this will only come to pass at the final judgment, the last day. It is at that time that the dead are raised to stand before God at the judgment seat, and not a moment before then.

Using fear to scare people into being good, into church, is not God’s way. There absolutely is a place for fear in our faith and the bible states that fear is the beginning of wisdom, but it’s a different kind of fear from the terror of burning for eternity. God offers life, Love, and happiness. Here on earth as well as for eternity in heaven. He draws us to Him, offers it as a gift.

I will write up my study on this and post it later on my Balaam’s ass blog. It will be in depth and include an analysis of the original Greek and Hebrew words used in both the old and new testaments along with a history of how this doctrine was introduced into the church and has since become a tradition held to by many. Ultimately my desire is for truth, and such is God’s desire too.

Today I plan on responding to the several letters I’ve received from the prisoners at the Ft Stockton prison we’ve ministered at. Then it’s bathroom work. Sure wish I knew what I was doing but must do something so will muddle through. There is no promise of the plumber showing up, at least nothing firm I can count on. Ricardo said maybe Thursday, and perhaps Tuesday but he wouldn’t be able to be here for that. He kind of roped the plumber into helping and the plumber isn’t getting paid for his help, just paid for the cost of materials, so I don’t expect much. We will be grateful for anything we get. I’m chiseling a two by four in half down it’s length of about five feet. It is laid on the floor and goes down to the old foundation of the building. If I pulled the whole thing up it would leave a gap that isn’t acceptable so I used the skill saw to make lots of cuts at the level of existing floor and have chipped it away. I’m sure there’s a better way to do it but don’t have a clue so am doing it this way.

We also have a new window to replace this one. Cost about $70 bucks and was the smallest window available at Lowes. The next size up was too big to fit between the studs so went for this one, which is only an inch or two narrower. Should be easy to put in, but won’t know the answer to that till I try. Once I tear the old window out I’m committed to get the new one in quick, especially with this cold weather.

Just had someone drive in to look at the diesel truck. Had someone look at it Friday too. Both were a surprise as the truck is parked back from the road so is not easy to see. Haven’t been in a hurry to sell it and frankly, have been occupied with other things so it’s not been on my mind. Perhaps it’s because the end of the year is close. Maybe I should pull it close to the road. We sure could use the money but on occasion I need to use the trailer to haul something. Plus there have been times my truck isn’t running, especially with the transmission going bad, so it’s been handy to have a back up.

The widow called. Her lift chair stopped working. I don’t know anything about them. Evidently it has a motor on it and that lifts her up. She said she sleeps in it a lot and that helps her hip. I’ll make a run up there and look at it sometime soon.


Anonymous said...

Balaam’s ass blog.

Does this blog exist?
Where is the link?

Pray God's help in getting a bathroom serviceable for Cherie and yourself. God is good.

Bob said...

Here's the link to the blog.
I haven't kept up with it like I planned, but I don't seem to keep up with many things like I want to. Don't have the bible study on hell up yet but plan on focusing on it today.

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