Heading to heaven??? Part 1

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I can’t tell you how many people I hear say that they are a “Christian” yet when asked about any particular tenets of the faith or indeed of their own Christian walk, are left speechless and unable to answer because they are little more than what I term “cultural Christians” – those who believe they have a right to the title because of where they live,  I vividly remember a conversation I had with a Roman Catholic lady in a staunchly Republican are of West Belfast.  We were all attending a meeting with a shared interest in a medical condition we each suffered from, so at least had that in common.  Somehow the conversation turned to religion – a dangerous topic at any time in our Province but definitely a no-go one in the heart of IRA Belfast for a Protestant at any rate.  Yet I stood my ground.  It went something like this…. Me “I’m a Christian”, “Her “Sure, isn’t everyone?”  Me “How so”  Her “Well, if we’re not Christians, then what else are we?” Me “But Christianity isn’t a right, nor a hereditary faith” Her “Well, I’m not a Muslim, not a Hindu, not a Protestant, nor any other religion, so I’m a Christian.  I live in a “Christian” country so I’m a Christian!!”.  After another 10 minutes bouncing the topic around by the end of which she was starting to get just a shade more antsy than I wanted given I was there to talk about my role as chair of a medical charity, I had to just let her have her view and hope that what little I did manage to say about “true” Christianity might be used to turn her around at some later point.   But sadly in this little part of the world, religion has come to be more than a hot button topic given how many lives have been affected by the actions of those insisting on using it as a weapon complete with actual weapons to back their views up.  But before I finish this little portion, let me just be very clear on one thing – the “war” here has never been about religion.  Sure, it’s been used to whip up sentiments and attitudes etc but the Troubles were always primarily about power, control & eventually money – on both sides.  Left to themselves, here as elsewhere, Protestants & Catholics can live happily together and often forge lifelong friendships (one of my very best friends currently is an RC girl who connected with me through my charity work.  In the very early stages of our developing friendship we started discussing our differing views on faith, and discovered we had polar opposite views on many important topics from abortion and sexual attitudes etc, to who the Black Pope was etc, yet never once did it impact our friendship to any degree.  If anything I think it’s strengthened it – we don’t discuss faith matters as much these days purely because of circumstances but are very comfortable doing so nonetheless).

Belfast itself has more churches and chapels per square mile than probably even the Bible Belt in the US and is only now beginning to see an odd one being taken over for demolition.  Yet during the “Troubles” it was still interesting to see how the Protestant paramilitaries (more than the IRA) insisted their part in the war was for “God and Ulster” somehow totally missing the 6th Commandment as if God would somehow be pleased with them for continually breaking it.  But while the IRA never openly put God anywhere in their statements much, they were many times equally tied in to religion in some sense usually through priests who had no problem burying “volunteers” having a firing “squad” sendoff or Chapels providing safe haven for others etc.  But aside from all of that, most of those involved on both sides saw themselves as “Christian” “good Catholics”, or at the very least likely to make it to heaven.  Even murderers often think they have a right to heaven!!

If you’re not a Christian in any sense of the word let alone a “true” one, think on this.   If everyone could just die & go to heaven, what would be the point of living here?  After all, if there is a heaven to start with, then obviously there is a God Who created it and logically also the universe, earth & everything therein, and He could have obviously just not bothered creating us to live on a decaying planet in decaying bodies etc.  He could have just kept us in heaven to start with and save all this hassle.  But He desired more from us than initially mankind (aka Adam & Eve who by the way were real people!!  I’ll write up something on why you can believe that soon) wanted to provide Him – love and a reciprocal relationship.  Should have been easy don’t you think, but sadly there was a fly in the ointment aka Satan, who told the first lie to Eve, who determined she then knew better than her Creator and His “rules”, and the rest is history.

So ponder on all those things and if you find you then maybe are intrigued enough to return for Part 2 I’ll outline a bit better on the dangers of assumption of your eternal future and guide you on how best to ensure you DO end up in the most desired final destination.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21

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Science again playing God – Pt 2

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On a similar yet slightly different note to my last post, medicine is forging ahead rapidly too with many advances it deems to be wonderful in the hope of curing many diseases.  Genetic tampering will know few bounds in the future as more and more genes are being considered for removal prior to birth to prevent all manner of things from Down’s syndrome right through to the entire concept of evil – yep, you heard that right – apparently scientists consider they’ve now located a gene that can predispose someone to evil intent be it becoming a psychopath or just a shoplifter, someday you can have a baby scanned for it, & have it removed (Horizon, BBC 2011-2012   link may not be sustained).

This made me think of how much further God will allow science to progress in the future, and I’m expecting quite a long way indeed.  A verse in Revelation used to have me wondering how it could really come to pass and I’m now beginning I think to see some of what the future my hold. The verse in question is:

And in those days men will seek death and will not find it. And they will long to die, and death will flee from them.  Rev 9:6

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Are you greater than the Archangel Michael??

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Pentecostalists obviously think they are!  They’re casting out demons from Archangel Michaeleverything and anything and many times, set themselves up as mass exorcists who can remove Satan and/or his demons from any area of your life if you will just accept their premise that you are most likely demonized and they can help you get that pesky demon out of your life forever – well, until you next suffer from whatever it was you asked them to pray for you about.   I’ve been “delivered” from demons of fear, resentment, sickness, rebellion, and forgetfulness (!!) amongst others in my time in one notable local Pentecostalist church – worse still, was when they decided I wasn’t well enough to cope with a full deliverance and so undertook a “proxy” deliverance session with me in attendance, and which was (for me) the most satanic thing I have ever undergone at the hands of trusted Christians in a church setting, and which ultimately – what no doubt Satan was ecstatic about – destroyed my faith completely for the next 3-4 years.   So for those of you who’re in this type of church, and think this type of thing is wonderful and see no problems in it – trust me, I wasn’t the only one who suffered radically through this practice at that church at that time, but the sad thing is that despite that knowledge and even after the leadership at that time even acknowledged the multitude of errors it had allowed to occur in many areas of teaching, the church is pretty much exactly the same now as then – might have a different veneer on it, but they still hold to errant charismatic practices without any concern that they’re totally unscriptural.  Check out my other post on “Slain in the Spirit but which one…

Sadly there’s still such a huge drive by many in various churches to push for unscriptural practices because they “feel right” or feed some need to experience God in some new way.   No longer are we contented enough to hold to scripture alone, and thus many are just opening themselves up to dangerous theologies and practices.

But to come back to my post question – if you are involved in “deliverance” ministry in any sense do you think you are greater than Michael??  Before I remind you of what Michael didn’t do, here’s a bit of info on who he actually is:

He is viewed as the field commander of the Army of God. He is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Jude and the Book of Revelation. In the book of Daniel, Michael appears as “one of the chief princes”[1] who in Daniel‘s vision comes to the angel Gabriel‘s aid in his contest with the angel of Persia (Dobiel), and is also described there as the advocate of Israel and “great prince who stands up for the children of your [Daniel’s] people”.

  • And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
  • And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
  • Perhaps you missed the scripture where Jude points out that Michael;

    …… the archangel, when contending with the Devil, he argued about the body of Moses, he dared not bring a judgment of blasphemy, but said, Let the Lord rebuke you!  Jude 1:9

    So Michael along with the heavenly hosts is the one who has already battled Satan and lost,  but yet despite that Book cover imagefact, when it comes to earthly matters, he doesn’t get involved.  And so my question stands – if you (as a Christian) lean towards this aspect of your faith i.e. deliverance, as being valid – do you think you have a mandate greater than Michael’s in order to undertake it??    I’m not suggesting there isn’t a time to contend with Satan’s attacks on your life per se – we all are given a mandate to do that, but that’s entirely different to dealing with Satan himself in the way I heard Wendy Alec of the infamously heretical God TV doing today where she shouts about “binding” him and “coming against” him!!    If you disagree – state your case but also consider the possibility you may be wrong in your views scripturally when doing so.

    A truly remarkable relationship…

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    godThere is one thing that Christianity offers over every other single religion on the planet – well, more than one, but aside from a risen Saviour and forgiveness of sins and a multitude of other vital requirements, our God is the only One with whom we can actually have a relationship!   Unlike the Muslims or the Hindus, Buddhists etc who worship unknown gods and can never be sure if their prayers are even being heard let alone answered, we have a God who actually resides within us through His Holy Spirit and with whom we thus have continual commune.   We have a God who desires to hear His people talk to Him and tell them what He already knows.   And we have a God who absolutely works to help us to hear Him speak to us in a multitude of ways, but especially through our conscience.   How many times you will hear of a Christian who says that they were about to undertake some action, but something stopped them, or they knew instinctively to do something would be wrong.   And I’m not talking the obvious sins here, but more the subtle ones that Paul spoke about when he said that if someone thinks something is wrong, then it is sin for him to do that thing, even if for another person it may not be e.g. eating pork.

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    The dangers of assumption….

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    I have multiple hidden illnesses, most of which cause chronic pain and am judged by many to be perfectly healthy because all they see is a smiling face and me getting on with my life. They don’t see the daily ritual of drugs that keep me able to continue on my feet at times, although thankfully I’m much better at the moment than I have been other years. But I find the assumption that because I look well, I must be well, highly frustrating.

    However, a more serious issue is at stake for me and countless others who have any medical diagnosis, or in one case, (not me!) pregnancy. One of my diagnoses is fibromyalgia – a chronic rheumatic pain syndrome with varying and sometimes multiple symptoms, and quite often when I develop some new symptom whether pain, nausea, visual disturbance, skin rash, or bowel problems – invariably one or more of my docs will happily state “It’s just your fibromyalgia” and leave it at that. I’ve learnt over the past 15 years to never accept that statement until I’m content that it is indeed “just my fibro”! So now, if I have some symptom that I feel isn’t down to my fibro, I will push my GP to investigate it further, or even to refer me on to a Consultant for more in-depth testing. I’m ‘fortunate’ perhaps in having other more complex and potentially more serious conditions alongside it so my GP will tend to err on the side of caution and comply with my request. Sometimes I’m right in my concern, other times wrong, but the Consultants usually tell me I was right to get the symptom checked out given my history.

    Sadly, though what I hear happening more often is that doctors make grave errors in assuming that whatever symptom someone presents with is firstly attributable to some already established diagnosis or health state, with sometimes dire outcomes. One notable case that instigated my thoughts on this post, was of a young 30 something mum to be who took quite ill in the middle of her pregnancy with vomiting and diarrhea etc. She was investigated by 3 or 4 doctors all of whom assumed her problems were just “severe morning sickness” and treated her with little more than fluid replacement for weeks. By the time one new doctor finally figured out it was more serious and tests confirmed she had severe Crohn’s disease (an inflammatory condition of the bowel) it was too late, and despite intensive treatment, she and her baby died from complications of the disease. This was an utterly unnecesary death in many ways, and just spoke volumes to me of the dangers of assumption. And I’m sure any of you reading this would equally have at least 1 horror story in your own experience of something similar.

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    So you want to go to heaven? WHY????

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    This is aimed primarily at those who are not Christians, or who otherwise don’t consider Jesus to be their Saviour and God to be the primary focus of their lives here on earth. However, many who call themselves Christians would do well to read on and equally give thought to some of the points I’m going to raise here.

    heaven.jpgI suspect that if you asked 100 people whether they wanted to go to heaven or hell, at least 99 of them would sensibly say heaven. But if you asked them why they figured they should be allowed into heaven answers will vary from the sublime to the ridiculous with everything in between, with even some Christians not having a good answer sadly. If you’re one of those, read on as what I’m going to say may make you rethink your reasons.

    I imagine most people want to go to heaven because firstly its something ingrained in us since childhood – this idyllic nirvana state we’re brought up to believe is pretty much our right if we are “good” and don’t do “evil.” Many have varying views on what heaven actually is. Most consider it to be a place of rest and/or peace, and some actually do think they’ll spend most of eternity sitting on a cloud somewhere watching the world go by. So lets start by having a little scripture lesson on the reality of the 2 places you could spend eternity in for starters – just so you know exactly what God says they are.

    Hell:
    It will be full of more people than heaven as Jesus stated that the road was broad (i.e. easier to travel on) that leads to it.
    Isa 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

    hell2.jpgThere will be angels (or rather demons!) there also:
    2Pe 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

    It is a place of final total and utter destruction with no hope of ever changing your mind:
    Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    Heaven:
    By contrast it’s impossible to find any singular or even just dual streets.jpgverses dealing with heaven – Jesus spoke about it at length in more parables than about any other topic other than salvation itself (Matthew 25 in total, Matt 22:2-13, Matt 20, 1-14 and multiple other instances).

    But Revelation 21 provides greater insight to the magnitude of the new Holy Jerusalem and is precisely descriptive. V. 22 is the one most people are alluding to when they talk about “streets paved with gold.”

    “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. “

    But over and above those descriptions is the purpose of heaven.  If it was purely a new home for everyone on earth who was good, once again, there would be no need of a Saviour for all would end up there, as there would then also be no reason for hell.  Some people seem to think hell is purely for Satan and his demons forgetting Satan’s role and purpose on this earth – he is the “Prince of the air” and has been given the earth as his domain!! In other words he rules here as is rather evidenced by the increasing propensity for evil even amongst children nowadays.  And his other role is to pull as many people down with him as he can and that’s becoming easier by the year as more people succumb to the “Live your best life now” syndrome rather than concerning themselves with their eternal future.   Heaven is solely for those who have been made worthy of living there, and who desire to live with God and to worship Him alone for eternity.  God created man solely to worship Him, but man determined from the outset he’d rather worship Satan and have his own way, so God has allowed him to do so, but has equally (thankfully) also provided a way back to Him for those who desire to take it. What Adam destroyed, Jesus rebuilt – a relationship with God by faith. There are no “good” people in heaven – only saved sinners.  Even Jesus Himself asked:

    “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God” Luke 18:19.

    So if you’re one of those who errantly thinks you’re going to get into heaven by merit of your own “goodness” whatever that may mean to you, think again.  Jesus says otherwise:

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt 7:21-23

    And a final thought – if you don’t want to spend your time here worshipping God (90 years perhaps at most) then why on earth would you want to go to heaven where you will do so for eternity???

    (Also read:  https://tikkiro.wordpress.com/2007/05/26/rapturitis-if-there-be-such-a-word/
    https://tikkiro.wordpress.com/2007/12/02/the-difference-between-paul-washer-joel-osteen/)