BRAND NEW! This is a new short story called, “Living an illusion – embracing the default ignoring the divine.” A fictional account of what could possibly happen to many people after they die and cross over to the other side. An interesting dialogue between a man named John and a spiritual messenger named Cassiel sets the tone for a chilling story about the difference between what people think about life and what God requires. I hope that everyone will consider the consequences of this very serious subject. Yes, the masses do not want to think about our earthly behavior or our eternal destiny but seeking out our own salvation with fear and trembling are divine words of wisdom and warning. This story is not for the faint of heart and should cause all of us to think deeply about our own worldviews and our everyday life of thoughts, words, and decisions.




William F. Holland Jr.

Most of us have heard that every person who has ever lived will someday stand before God and have a detailed discussion about the life they lived. Some will argue and even deny that believing and knowing God is hardly a summary of the meaning of life, but there are still a significant group of people who will agree this is true to some extent. There have always been endless opinions and ideologies about why we are here and the true meaning and purpose of life, and as we well know there is not a shortage of arm-chair philosophers ready and willing to express their ideas. It is not my intention to be offensive but the masses are generally simple minded and it is common to find many individuals following the well-worn path of what I will refer to as the default life. This is a mentally and emotionally relaxed existence that requires no spiritual discipline, sacrifice, effort or yielding of the will. Within this worldview, the priorities and concerns have more to do with being perfectly content to float down the river so to speak, than to study and learn about our destiny. This que sera, sera, whatever happens…happens attitude, enjoys all that life has to offer and is perfectly willing to take a dangerous chance about God and the next dimension. On the other side of the fence, there is a remnant of Christian disciples who will agree that each person has a unique and specific purpose and as we work together with our creator, we can know and achieve the reason why we were created. If life is about searching and learning what God requires of us, then being willing to accept the call to become a devoted follower of Jesus Christ is our ultimate mission. This life-changing decision and the miracle of spiritual transformation has everything to do with us as a clump of clay, yielding our mind, body, and soul to the Omnipotent Potter. Hopefully, we agree this is definitely worth considering since He has promised with all certainty that He is The way, The truth, and The life.

Many Bible scholars are convinced there are also two divisions of judgments and both are directly associated with whether the individual falls into the categories of what is referred to as saved or lost. Even though there are many different levels of good and bad, the basic concept of spiritual light and darkness describes a certain number of souls who are spiritually born-again and are declared as being a child of the Most High OR those who willingly reject the invitation to become a member of God’s family and thus are referred to as spiritually blind. The deeds that were committed or omitted in both camps are directly associated to how everyone will be judged as everyone will be held accountable to the sovereign decisions that only God has the perfect wisdom to address.

With years of listening and observing, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that I am just as much of a philosopher as I am a minister. I consider myself as just another beggar trying to help others find the bread. Vessels of honor do not need to be beautiful or intricately decorated with gold in order to carry water to someone who is dying of thirst. God is just looking for someone to do what He says. It’s only by the grace of God that I can wade into the deeper waters of reason and purpose and if I have ever pointed others to the way of Christ, it was only by the Holy Spirit. I’m a truth seeker but I’m also a sinner just like everyone else. I try to live according to the promise of God’s Word and I believe in evidence that is not seen which invites me to embrace Him and allow His mercy to guide me and help me every moment. Besides the Bible, I have also read the thoughts of many leaders and scholars and noticed that individuals who are committed to their calling are serious-minded, bold, and disciplined, yet at the same time filled with sorrow and compassion over a fallen humanity. I believe that Jesus lived a perfect life and was also meek, patient, and loving while also being honestly blunt and the huge difference is that He was not a hypocrite as humans tend to be. I do not desire to be remembered as someone who could talk about God all day but could not live for Him for even an hour. What do you want to be remembered for? Yes, I’ve made terrible mistakes and taken some hard falls and it’s only with humility and trust that I can live and move and have my being. What is my message? To cry from the housetops and declare to the masses to warn a captive world being held in bondage about how Christ loves them and desires to set them free from sin. To plead with all whom God will arrange with divine appointments about the dangers of accepting the default life and becoming satisfied to trade seventy or eighty years on earth for an eternity of terrible pain and disappointment. The devil may not be dressed in red or carry a pitchfork but he is NOT a joke and neither is the holiness of God who has always demanded honor, reverence, and respect. Our carnal flesh is the most dangerous and ruthless enemy we will ever face as learning how to discipline our fallen nature has everything to do with our eternal future. Salvation is free but it is not cheap. It will cost us everything we have and everything we are. The Lord of heaven and earth is offering everyone to embrace His divine blueprint of salvation as the greatest gesture of compassion the world has ever known.

It’s no secret that seekers of truth have lots of difficult questions. I guess the most important question at the end of life is how much truth did the seeker find and more importantly how much of it did they comprehend and demonstrate? It’s been said that knowledge is merely the accumulation of informational facts but wisdom is the “understanding” of knowledge. Again, we use the idea of levels to describe just how far and how deep we will venture in our quest to know the mysteries and secrets about the meaning of our existence. The passion to discover these revelations seem to only matter to a small amount of the population which is peculiar in itself, but nevertheless, we can agree as the fictional X-file agent Fox Mulder used to say, “the truth IS out there.” Speaking of truth, with the help of technology we can receive a constant flow of communication from the world at the push of a button and most consider this as a blessing. However, what the masses do not realize is that all events are mixed with opinionated commentary that conforms knowledge with bias and influences their personal perspectives with deception. In this light, things are not always the way they seem, and thus the critical need for spiritual discernment. By the way, it appears that humans love to learn the dirt about others and then proceed to judge and advise them according to their way of thinking, but are not willing to examine their own heart and accept their own advice. It’s much easier to tell everyone else what to do instead of dealing with our own failures and embracing the sacrifice of self-discipline. Prayer, for example, has been suggested as the true spiritual thermometer of the soul. Charles Spurgeon is quoted, “Beware I pray thee, of presuming that thou art saved. If there be no vital change, no inward godliness; if there be no love to God, no prayer, no work of the Holy Spirit, then proclaiming I am saved is but thine own assertion, and it may delude, but it will not deliver thee.”

There are a number of people who have had near-death experiences that contained some interesting adventures but who knows if they were real or if they were dreams and hallucinations. Others have claimed to come back from the dead, but most Bible scholars will agree that once a person crosses over into the next life, they cannot return. Of course, we have the mystics who can channel spirit guides and venture through the portals and dimensions of the netherworld, and psychics who believe in reincarnation and use crystal balls and seances to summon the deceased that have not yet crossed over. However, according to Hebrews Chapter 9 and verse 27, we read the order of events as it being appointed unto humans ONCE to die and then the judgment. If anyone has been granted the opportunity to return they would have to die more than once and according to the Bible this is impossible. In this light, we realize that familiar spirits which can be conjured are actually demons and fallen angels posing as someone from the grave in order to deceive the living. Luke chapter 16 also states that souls cannot pass back and forth from Hades to paradise because a great gulf or barrier prevents them from intermingling. I personally believe there is a similar gulf that does not allow a soul to come back to earth after they are deceased unless there is a specific reason that God would allow. On an interesting note, we read in the same chapter of Luke, where the rich man that was in suffering in Hades was able to see into the realm of paradise where Abraham and Lazarus were but Lazarus the beggar could not see him. This would be similar to a one-way mirror. It also creates a speculation about whether the lost who have died throughout the ages can also possibly see not only selected scenes of paradise but also certain situations on the earth. This could be another phase of their anguish as they are constantly reminded of not only their loved ones who are living without God but also how they neglected the opportunity to live for Christ and share the gospel with everyone.

This fictional dialogue between a man named John and a spiritual being named Cassiel is not meant to be condemning or fearful but rather as an important aspect of life that we will all face at one time or another. Dying is a part of our journey and there is nothing wrong or depressing with considering and even embracing this reality. I realize this story would fall under the category of fiction but this scenario could also happen very similar to what is being described. Many religious creeds and doctrines generally teach that everyone is held accountable for their actions and attitudes while passing through our earthly voyage. This is not a strange or unreasonable principal, but also one of the basic fundamental pillars of the Christian faith. So, after we doe, will we really have a chance to sit down with a spiritual being and have a friendly chat? To be honest, we can only speculate what happens after we pass on or what types of conversations we might encounter on the other side, but whatever the case, we expect to have access to someone in this time and place of transition. Just as it is impossible to imagine heaven, we have the same mental block when we try to perceive heavenly angels escorting the saved and fallen angels being sent to escort the lost, but at the end of our guessing, we are not really sure. We have a brief insight of the afterlife in Matthew chapter seven and verses 22 and 23 where Jesus describes how people will try to convince Him of all the good things they have done and He concludes bluntly that for the most part He will not impressed. In fact, “Depart from Me, I never knew you” indicates there will be some individuals who are confused about the difference between religion and relationship. We are not redeemed because we scored a certain amount of points or were a generally good person. It is a sad and sobering consequence where seemingly decent and somewhat religious people will surprisingly find themselves horrified in disbelief. To contemplate the possibility of being deceived and then it being too late to change the circumstance is one of the most devastating and distressing thoughts we could ever fathom. Let us sit back and get comfortable as we peek behind the curtains of the spiritual realm and observe an interesting scenario.

Cassiel was very familiar with flying through the universe, traveling from the dimension of the spirit world back to earth over and over every day. He had just arrived and was now patiently hovering in the corner of a hospital room quietly waiting for the last breath of a man named John. Jenny, a nurse practitioner had been carefully monitoring her patient throughout the evening and was noticing the familiar signs of a serious decline. A younger nurse named Susan stepped into the room and asked, “Would you like for me to call the family and the chaplain?” Jenny glanced at her and nodded yes. As they both headed out into the hall, Susan inquired with a serious reverence, “Have you ever seen an angel in the room of someone dying?” still gazing at her chart and without looking up Jenny responded, “In over 30 years of being present when individuals pass away, I’ve seen some very strange things. It’s very common for someone who are in the late stages of the dying process, even if they are heavily medicated, to stare intently toward a corner of the room and reach up to the ceiling like they are seeing something. Just between us, she whispered, I’m convinced a death angel appears when it’s our time to go.” The young girl paused for a second and was going to say something but just continued walking toward the nurse’s station. John was struggling and rapidly deteriorating as there was no doubt the end was very near. There were beads of perspiration on his forehead and his breathing was now very shallow and more labored. He had been in the ICU with complications since his massive heart-attack a couple weeks ago. There were numerous wires and tubes connected to machines that were humming and lights blinking. You did not to be a medical professional to know this was a very serious situation. Hospice had been called in and he was now receiving a regular dose of morphine every two hours. Sometimes he could hear muffled voices and could see lights and shadows when he would try to open his eyes but mostly everything seemed blurred and confusing. John knew he was slipping away from this life and could sense his heart and body slowly letting go.

In a dream state of swirling images, all at once he sensed something very unusual. Suddenly, he could no longer hear the swishing of his heartbeat in his ears and also noticed he had no ability or even the need to breathe. John opened his eyes as wide as he could and he could make out what seemed like a male figure in the corner of the room next to the ceiling. It was some type of being that was partly in the walls and ceiling and partly into the room… just floating in the air and staring at him. John blinked a few times and tried to focus in spite of the drugs. “Could this be real?” he asked himself? Something unusual was happening. When he closed his eyes, he discovered he could still see and maybe even better than ever. He could hear some type of alarm blaring and was aware of the nurses coming into the room and talking about a code. They were frantic with injecting medicines and using electric paddles but he was not really concerned about what was happening with his body. His attention was focused on his new ability to be suspended in the air above his bed and the sensations he had never felt before. John noticed the unwelcome presence was now reaching out his hand to him and for some reason, he did not really consider the danger, but with all of his strength, he responded and reached out to this mysterious entity. Without speaking, John could communicate and meekly asked, “Where am I?” He was in a daze, looking around like he had just awakened from a dream. “What is happening…who… are you?” “Hello John, my name is Cassiel and I’m a messenger. Your spirit is separating from your body and now you are going through the process of discovering who you are and where you are heading.”

John now had a firm hold of Cassiel’s hand and was being lifted through the ceiling and on up through the top of the building into the clouds. They kept going higher and faster as John felt like his senses were being awakened as if he was being born into a new realm of awareness. It seemed he could hear in all directions what was being said before Cassiel could even say it. The sounds within this environment reminded him of huge Ocean waves crashing on the shore and he could see trails of colors he had never imagined. Everything was like being transparent, but highly detailed, layers of depth more advanced and complete than his senses could describe. He could literally see the wind as the air was wavy like the heat coming off a hot pavement. In the distance, he could make out what appeared to be strange images, explosions of light, and streams of rainbows that were so vividly bright and clean. The only thing he could relate this to is the feeling of being underwater and at the same time engulfed and saturated with an overwhelming brilliance of wonderment, beauty, and awe. John was speechless as they traveled through what seemed like magnificent galaxies. It felt like they had been traveling a long time but there was no way to tell as this dimension seemed to be nothing like the realm of earth. When they finally began to slow down, John thought this might be an appropriate opportunity to mention something about what had just happened. “I remember you…I saw you right before I…left. You were reaching out your hand. I remember looking down at the room and I could see my body and then as I lifted my head, I was flying so fast, like at the speed of light. It felt like I was falling forward through the universe…past the sun and the stars…then I heard terrifying cries that sounded like loud claps of thunder that was vibrating the air along with the echoes of many voices. And then eventually, I could see a tiny light far away and I knew you were taking me toward this opening, like the end of a tunnel that was a million years away. You were holding on to me.” John stopped for a moment and with quivering lips mumbled… “I must have died.” With a long pause, he spoke in a monotone voice, “I’m… dead… aren’t I?” Cassiel had heard all of this so many times before yet calmly but firmly replied, “Yes, John, you did pass away, and now you have crossed over into eternity.”

John had considered himself an average person and with all due respect, this was a sad but accurate description of his life. He never really accomplished anything exciting, significant, or notable but rather lived a melancholy, laid-back style that was shy, quiet, and low-key. His normal routine was going to his mundane place of employment which he hated, coming home, eating dinner, watching TV until he could not hold his eyes open and then going to bed. However, when it came to sports, he was much more enthusiastic. His state college basketball and football teams were unashamedly high on his list of true loves. His fate had allowed him to grow up in the twentieth century in the United States where he had the opportunity to be educated, land a decent job, have a loving wife and raise his kids, but he never realized what a blessing this was. To categorize his social status, you could say he was raised middle-class and had maintained a mediocre level of success considering he usually did just enough to get by. He mowed his lawn, kept his vehicles washed and seemed to get along with most everyone. On the outside, you could say that he was a decent fellow but he also had a short fuse when things did not go his way. He had been a rebellious teenager but finally settled down and became satisfied with being in debt and living check to check like most everyone else he knew. With much support from a hard-working wife, they raised their three children and then he eventually retired after 40 years in the insurance business. He went to the doctor occasionally but did not embrace the idea of eating healthy and exercising seriously, again like most everyone else. Cheeseburgers and milkshakes were his ideas of a wonderful and balanced example of nutrition. When he was in his early sixties, it was discovered among other serious health issues, he had a serious bout with skin cancer and after some aggressive surgery and chemo treatments, his immune system was in a weakened condition. A couple of years later, at 67 years old, he had a massive heart attack and had been in the hospital for several weeks. Before the heart attack, John had been talking to his wife about his funeral and joked in case he would ever need one in the next 20 or 30 years. She thought it was a good idea and decided to make some arrangements just in case. They had a pastor but only attended church once a year on Easter. After John passed away, his wife met with him and he assured her that he would do the best he could to create a eulogy of integrity and admiration. The minister declared that he would affirm a legacy of a good man which included how much John loved his family and how he would give anyone in need the shirt off his back. The song, “Go rest high on that mountain” would be sung at the funeral and the twenty-third Psalm would be read at the graveside service.

It’s sad but true, after the initial shock of the death of a loved one, we all discover the painful reality that the world keeps spinning and life goes on. We are born and we die but it seems we just do not realize it’s what goes on in between these major two events that will make a difference in the next life. Denial is actually a deceptive and very dangerous “happy place.” When it came to John’s spiritual life, I guess you could say this was another part of his journey that was average. He knew a few Bible stories and had listened to a few salvation messages, but he never really had a desire to get involved with God. His enthusiasm about the gospel and the spiritual world could be compared to learning about George Washington or another famous personality but only as a collection of facts. John knew Jesus died on the cross but he had no bond or connection or a personal relationship with God. Sure, like most people, he believed there was a God, but never really felt the conviction to consistently pray or learn more about the Bible or the meaning of life. He thought it was normal to not worry about dying and eternity, and the sad part is, he was right. He had formed his own worldviews and concluded that if someone believed that God was real, they probably had nothing to worry about and everything would be alright in the end. In fact, he had heard somewhere that maybe everyone would go to heaven since God is so filled with love and mercy and did not want anyone to be lost. He assumed that every person who was a morally decent human being no matter what they believed or acted would be given a certain amount of points or some type of credit especially if they were nice and tried to help others. (Now that is a comforting and peaceful thought. Too bad it’s not true). He just took for granted that God probably graded on a huge curve, looked over the silly stuff, and would surely take everything into consideration within His final judgment. To be honest, he always joked privately with his friends that he thought religion was for sissies and old women. He made fun of people who were highly emotional and called them holy rollers, and thought it was embarrassing to profess you were a Christian in public. He did not want anyone to mock or laugh at him or consider him what he called, “religious granola.” Besides, he was a macho tough guy, somewhat prejudice, selfish, always trying to be cool, a progressive liberal thinker, and proud of his independent way of thinking and living.

They finally came to the end of a long tunnel and it opened into a vast cavern that was lit by torches that were fastened to the walls. This place was dark and dreary, filled with shadows, very tall and had many passageways that were not lit and very intimidating. John wanted to know more about where they were and what was getting ready to happen. So… if you are some type of messenger, I… assume you are an angel?” Cassiel turned, stood before him and replied, “Is that what you think I am?” John was noticing how peculiar and unnerving this being really was. It was strikingly beautiful but honestly, he could not even tell for sure if it was a he or she. It seemed male but reminded him more of a living marble statue that spoke wisely and could move gracefully. At some angles, it seemed he was transparent or like a hologram and he could see right through him. At times his face appeared to shape-shift into a wolf monster and then other times when he turned his head he appeared as a hideous skull with red eyes. “I am probably not what you think I am. Not all “angels” are the same.” Cassiel stood at attention like a soldier as John kept staring at him intently. John continued the conversation, “I’ve always heard of guardian angels but… never really believed there was such a thing. I thought these ideas were just folk legends or stories that were the figment of someone’s imagination. Hmmm…were you by any chance my guardian angel?” Cassiel looked him in the eye and began to explain, “There are many spiritual messengers that serve both kingdoms. It is an intricate hierarchy which has many levels and is based on spiritual authority. Those of us from the dark-side serve our master and also work closely with the freewill choices of humans. These legions of ministering spirits are called and provided to intervene according to the spiritual allegiance of humans. For example, those who choose to continue in the default realm in which they were born even after they have heard the gospel, are assigned a constant presence to make sure they retain their original nature and remain devoted to their father the devil. These invisible soldiers work day and night to reinforce humanistic attitudes and to persuade the lost to stand firm in their carnal independence. With a steady flow of influence and persuasion, it’s the job of the demon to convince these rebellious and blind souls to embrace the satisfaction which comes with living a godless existence. This dark deception is stronger than humans can imagine. As mortals become filled with pride in thinking they have created their own way and have been the captain of their own journey, they become hard and calloused to sin. On the other side, we have messengers from the kingdom of light that are given to the saved to help protect, encourage, fight, and watch over them. Most people even Christians have never realized how many ferocious battles are fought in the spiritual realm every day. These guardian angels rage war against the demonic forces because Satan’s kingdom hates those who have been converted by the blood of Jesus and now wants to kill and destroy them. If not for God’s messengers, there would not be any Christians alive. The deeper the followers of God desire to go in their relationship with Jesus, the more intense the battle becomes against them. The dark kingdom does not worry about religion, in fact, they work hard to support it because most of it is carnal. It’s when God’s people fall on their knees to pray and intercede at His throne is when as they say, all hell breaks loose against them.”

Cassiel knew that John had many more questions about the life he had just wasted. Most people are shocked when they realize their life is over and are overwhelmed in a state of grief and confusion. Cassiel continued, “It amazes me how blind and rebellious humans are. It seems they would all unanimously believe that God is the one and only maker of all things but they just have a difficult time overcoming their prideful flesh. You see John, God created all humans and blessed them with everything good and perfect. Unfortunately, His original man and woman made a decision to sin against Him and then faced the consequences of failing to obey His demands. After this terrible fall in the Garden of Eden, all humans thereafter have been born spiritually dead and hopelessly lost. Each person who has been introduced into the world has been given a spirit that is in desperate need of being redeemed and the only way to be transformed into the “realm of the living” is to embrace Christ with all of their heart, mind, and strength. Those who hear the gospel and receive it into their life are given the gift of salvation and their spirit is “re-born” into a brand new child of the living God. His gift of mercy and grace allows anyone that receives him by faith to walk in God’s Spirit on earth and spend eternity in heaven with him. However, all who fail to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior within the temporary journey on earth will remain blind to the absolute truth and the meaning of life. These children of the darkness who willingly rebel against the love of God will not only miss the peace and joy with God in the temporal life but will also face an afterlife filled with pain, suffering, and regret.”

John was obviously concerned and had a sickening feeling that he was one of those individuals that Cassiel was referring to but was still hoping that maybe his emotions were just being overly paranoid. As he continued to weigh the information, he considered if being transformed into the kingdom of light was a critical factor to be on God’s side, this was not sounding promising at all. After a long and awkward silence, John finally cleared his throat and spoke up, “Alright…I see…so…what happens next? Where are the streets of gold, the brilliant cities and crystal rivers, God’s throne… and all that?” Cassiel gave him a stern look and then glanced out into the distance without any change in facial expression. His voice broke the anticipation, “The heaven you have heard about is certainly real and will be unveiled in the future but it is reserved for a very small remnant of saints. You are presently at the entrance of a holding place that some languages on earth refer to as Sheol. This is where certain souls which have crossed over are gathered to wait until the final judgment. Sheol is divided into two separate places. God’s children are brought into a realm called paradise while those who are spiritually lost are sent to Hades. There are levels and degrees of punishment for those who are in Hades just as there are levels and degrees of reward for those who are in paradise. Eventually, at the end of the age, the saints who are also referred to as wheat and sheep will stand before The Lord of Lords at the judgment seat of Christ where all of their deeds will be considered. The lost who are also referred to as tares and goats will stand before Him at the Great White Throne judgment to be sentenced.” All at once, John did not have a very good feeling about where this was heading. He could feel himself becoming tense and flushed as a strong sensation of dread washed over him like an emotional tsunami. John blurted out, “Now wait a minute, you seem to be giving me some very negative vibes here. Since there are only two eternal destinations…just what are you saying?” Cassiel once again stood motionlessly and the silence was uncomfortable, to say the least. “I’m afraid I have bad news John…there is nothing I can do. I’ve been instructed to escort you to Hades.” The words seemed to freeze in the air and then drop like a stack of china plates. It was as if someone had punched John hard in the gut and knocked the breath out of him. He was paralyzed, not knowing what to say, he could not think or move. The intensity in the air was thick, his ears were ringing, and he heard his own voice cracking as he could barely utter the words, “There must be some type of… mistake.” Cassiel’s answer was steady and confident, “there is no mistake.”

Stunned beyond belief, John somehow managed to gain some composure as he wondered out loud why he had not received any type of consideration for the good things he had done. Going on the defense and trying to justify his life he tried to find some confidence, “I believe in God…I was a decent person…I never killed anyone or committed any heinous crime or hurt a child. How can this be happening? Surely some of my good deeds are worth something, I helped people, I went to church a few times, one time I gave twenty dollars to Saint Judes Hospital! I even rescued a dog!” Cassiel looked around as if waiting for someone and then hesitantly responded, “John, I’ve watched you since you were born, and you’re right, you’ve been an average normal person, but being decent or average really has nothing to do with going to heaven. The Bible carefully explains about taking up your cross and following the Lamb that was slain but you were always more than happy to stay away from God. You gladly refused to embrace any level of dedication to Christ and loved yourself more than anything. You never accepted God, you were never born-again and you never wanted a personal relationship with the Lord. You willingly allowed your mind to be deceived as it was easy and pleasurable to live according to what you wanted to do and now… you are facing the consequences. What else can I say? I must tell you the truth…it’s too late for you! You will spend eternity without God’s presence because you did not love Him on earth. Your final destination will be filled with regret and you will be reminded of your selfishness and rebellion while you suffer in this place of darkness and dread. God loves you and Jesus died for you but you rejected salvation. Your final answer was to walk away and now you will remember this forever. Only those who choose to surrender their will on earth and sacrifice their life because they sincerely love God and desire to know Him personally are invited to live in heaven with God forever. Only those who have been washed in the blood of Jesus and have been truly born-again are rewarded with eternal life. You never allowed yourself to be convicted with fear and trembling about what true salvation really meant. You never had a fervent passion to develop a spiritual intimacy with the one who created you. You never wanted to learn how to pray or worship in Spirit and truth or had a desire to know what the Bible required for you to do. The Holy Spirit tried to warn you hundreds of times that without self-discipline and a determination to have God as the highest priority, a person cannot walk in God’s Spirit or live in His presence. Yes, there are masses of people who are religious and spiritually lukewarm but sadly there is only a very small group that will actually go to heaven.”

Out of desperation, John felt like he was on trial and needed to present some type of critical evidence which could overturn this magnificent presentation but he could not think of anything that could excuse his earthly life of sin and overturn this depressing verdict. “What about mercy?” John pleaded, “What about God’s love and compassion?” Cassiel continued, “The grace of God sent Jesus to the cross to save whosoever will believe, however, this grace does not mean that mankind can live however they want. Grace is not a license to sin but rather the opportunity to be forgiven of sin and then welcomes the individual to become accountable by inviting Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Master of their life. This means inviting Christ to sit on the throne of their heart and freely giving Him control over everything they think and do and unfortunately also explains why hardly no one will agree to these terms. There is only one throne in our conscience and either God sits on that throne, or the devil sits on it. There can only be ONE king! Everyone wants a Savior but only a few want a Lord and will agree to completely lay down their life for Him. Sure, God loves everyone, but that does not mean everyone is saved. There are no back doors in heaven, there is no slipping or sneaking past God. Either your name is written in the Lambs book of life…or it’s not.

John had taught his kids to be strong and independent but intentionally neglected to guide them to Jesus because he thought they would be made fun of in the modern liberal culture. The same was true about missing a wonderful opportunity to teach his grandchildren about God. His political views were very liberal and he basically believed that everyone should be able to do whatever they wanted without anyone intervening. For unbelievers, it’s all about being logical and sensible which does not include having faith about something you cannot see or Bible teachings that are difficult to understand. Every now and then he would hear someone say, “What if there is a God, and what if He’s right?” But, he would just laugh it off as another rip-off trying to raise money or promote a political agenda. One of his last foggy and fading thoughts before he died was recalling a recent magazine article which declared that everyone could be happy with whatever situation they were facing. It did not mention God but expressed the idea that if a person could just think good and positive thoughts, anyone could live in true peace and contentment. The focus of what was deemed an inspirational message was that everything will somehow work out in the end. Another deceptive presentation of a humanistic philosophy that is popular with our culture but very offensive to God Himself. “It’s all going to be alright,” he said to himself. The thought of hoping for the best sounded wonderful to him at the time and with the same sense of false security that maybe heaven was like a large casino, there was a good chance that he could slip past God and sneak in through the back door. Being wrong was now like a sharp slap in the face. He saw himself as being decent, clean, well mannered, and always thought that religious views should never be talked about in public. He could care less what other people thought and considered his own views no one’s business. John never felt the necessity to read the Bible or pray and rather received everything he needed to know from the news. His honest conclusions were to be cautious around extreme religious people because they were suspicious kooks. Besides, in his mind, most religious people were hypocrites and probably more dangerous than anyone else in our society. He had formed his own ideas and thought that if there really is a God, He will do whatever He wants in the end so why should he worry about it? He used to tell his friends the Bible was confusing and living and dying was like rolling the dice or playing the lottery as some will win and some will lose. Instead of taking the time to research the Word of God, he built his own persuasions and convictions which included always trusting his tuition and depending on his own common sense. Besides, he was educated and intelligent, and with science declaring that everything started from nothing, it appeared to him this “God thing” was mostly an emotional folklore for the weak-minded.

Again, the lack of sound was excruciating. They slowly began to walk together and to John, he felt like a condemned convict being led toward his cell on death row. He gritted his teeth and winced as if he was in excruciating pain as he was already recalling his old life and the terrible mistakes he had made. He thought about all the wasted time he had spent watching television, how he had neglected his family and how he had been ashamed of God. He had been a fool turning over his decision-making process to his carnal nature. He could have tried harder to follow Jesus but he just didn’t want to. He could have been as close to God as he wanted but he loved his flesh much more than anything. He could have turned away from the temptations of the world and cried out to the Lord, but he just had no desire to do it! And now…no do-overs, no more second chances…he was literally going to hell and there was nothing anyone could do about it. He thought how he had made such a mess and ruined his life and is now reaping exactly what he had planted. If he could only go back and warn everyone. If he could only have a chance to explain that being a Christian is not what everyone thinks it is. He would stand on every street corner, write books, shout from the rooftops, and beg people to listen to Jesus. He would fall on his knees and pray day and night if only he had another opportunity. He began to weep and cry out in agony as he desperately grabbed Cassiel by the arm and pleaded with him to please give him another chance. It was no use, everything was settled, nothing added and nothing is taken away. Cassiel pulled him loose and with the tone of a lifeless robot said they needed to keep going.

Continuing further down the corridor, the atmosphere began to change as it was becoming darker and more difficult to see up ahead. The air was musty and transforming from what was a stale musty aroma of mold to now more of an odor that smelled like something burning. It wasn’t long before John realized this offensive stench reminded him of smoldering charcoal and the misty fog was actually a growing density of smoke. The temperature was also noticeably becoming warmer which made him feel nauseous and fearful. Cassiel slowed to a stop and politely stated this is where they would separate. John’s breaths were ragged and had increased like he had been jogging and with a sense of panic blurted out, “where are you going…what’s wrong?” Cassiel turned and again looked directly at him, “I must return to earth for there are many more souls getting ready to cross over. I’m going to escort them just like I did with you. Just continue in this direction by yourself and you will eventually be greeted by another guide named Procel who will lead you the rest of the way. Goodbye John.” “Wait, do not leave me!” Please, I’m afraid, it’s becoming darker… please… the smoke is causing me to be short of breath and dizzy.” In the distance, John could now faintly hear what sounded like people crying and screaming. Louder he called out, “Oh… No…please…I beg you to please help me…dear God!” Cassiel walked away and quickly disappeared in the smoke. John was now all alone surrounded in a cloud of gasses and vapors that reeked of brimstone as it seemed like he was standing at the edge of a bubbling volcano. Everything was quiet except for the crying voices which echoed along the chamber walls and seemed to be coming from all directions. His thoughts painted a horrible picture of people burning alive and suffering but yet not being able to die. He remembered the scripture that mentioned a rich man who enjoyed the luxuries of life and a beggar named Lazarus who laid at his gate hoping to receive the crumbs from his table. Both of the individuals passed away and the beggar went to paradise and the rich man lifted up his eyes being tormented in the flames of hell. He could see Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham and asked if Lazarus would be allowed to dip his finger in water and come to quench his thirst but Abraham said there was a barrier that prevented anyone from crossing over. Then he begged Abraham to please send Lazarus back to earth to warn his five brothers about the agony of hell. Abraham told the rich man that if the inhabitants of the earth will not listen to God’s Word or His messengers, they would never listen to someone even if they came back from the dead.

Suddenly, John could hear footsteps, and out of the fog, there appeared an image of a disturbing looking creature walking toward him. This must be the escort Cassiel was talking about. He could sense an evil presence as the hideous demon stopped and stood about five feet in front of him. The creature’s eyes were penetrating and it was motionless except for an arrogant sinister smirk. John was trembling in fear as the beast was more fearful than any horror movie he had ever seen. It had four different faces which could see in all directions and each had monster-like characteristics. The face that was in the front was boring a hole through him and reminded John of an evil and angry Gorilla. It was tall and dressed in battle gear of heavy leather covered in sharp spikes and his arms and legs were overlaid with chain armor. The beasts wore a helmet with horns like a Viking and had a large belt of iron plates around the waist. The fallen warrior was very hairy and wore tall boots with many buckles and it had large calloused hands. With a loud and irritating voice, he growled with authority, “Come…now!” And then with a terrifying explosion of laughter, Procel bellowed, “It only gets worse from here!” He took a couple of steps into the darkening decent then turned around and aggressively motioned for John to come along. John was frozen, petrified. He could not move as his legs had become stiff and his mind was racing in terror. He thought about running the other way, but where would he go? He could see tunnels and passages that were dark and filled with smoke and no telling what other types of abominable creatures were waiting to torture or even devour him.

John cleared his voice and spoke up, “Please…sir… allow me to ask a question.” Procel walked back until he was within a few feet of where John was standing. In a mocking response, he angrily grunted, “Make it quick, I have work to do.” Trying to present his question while fighting back the tears and the high-pitch whine that sounded like a helpless schoolgirl, “Is this really hell…or is this a… holding place until the judgment? There was silence except for the faint sounds of agony in the distance and Procel’s breathing. John continued, “What I’m asking…is this place…forever?” The beast began to chuckle in a low guttural sound of hostility and then answered with a wisdom and intelligence of a cruel prosecuting attorney, “This is Satan’s kingdom, a place called hell, and it’s more horrifying than anything you’ve ever dreamed, ha, ha, ha, ha! I have the pleasure to welcome you to this lovely holding chamber for the souls of those who did not know God. I don’t know the details about anyone… including you! And frankly…I don’t give a damn! After the judgment, you will be sentenced to a burning lake of fire where you will suffer in darkness and agony until God says you’ve had enough. Is it forever? Ha, ha, ha, well… That’s all up to Him!” And then in the blink of an eye, the blasphemous beast reached out with force, took hold of John’s arm and began to drag him. John began to scream as loud as he could, “Help me…please help me! Noooooo…please…Jesus help me…please.” With an aggravated and barbaric voice, the creature staring forward mumbled under his breath, “Ha, ha, it’s too late to cry out to Jesus now mister… you should have cried out to Him when you had the chance” and soon they both disappeared from sight. For a few moments you could still barely make out John’s sobbing and pitiful cries but soon it blended in with all the other voices and that was the last time he was seen.

You have just read a possible account of what might happen at the end of life for those who have never asked for forgiveness, yielded their will to God, or called upon Jesus Christ to save them. I could have just as easily written the story about someone who is escorted to heaven, but the idea that everyone is going to heaven is one of the reasons I am so disturbed. I’ve been to my share of funerals and have yet to hear about someone who may not have made it. No matter how someone lived, they are presented as a good person who is now dancing around the throne praising God. I know and you know this is not true. I’m afraid there are many people who think they saved but instead are deceived. The gospel has been preached and taught all around the world and for the most part, people of every nation has at least heard about Jesus and why He died on the cross. In America, most everyone is acquainted with the gospel and the basic Bible stories, but why do the masses still refuse to believe and serve God in their own personal life? The cross is one of the most recognized symbols in our culture and yet how many have considered that Jesus came to pay our ransom and rescue all would believe? Obviously, the multitudes are satisfied with their way of living and are convinced they are already doing everything necessary to have eternal life. Maybe people think that dabbling in religion or attending church will somehow be seen by God as the same as having a personal relationship with Him. Maybe there are many like John in our story who never really worried that much about it and thought that everything would all work out in the end. Whatever the case, every person whether they call themselves a Christian or not will eventually face the painful and frustrating fact that salvation is similar to God throwing a drowning person a life preserver. We must take hold of it or we will drown in our sin.

It’s critical that we acknowledge the truth and give God all the glory. It’s not us that is doing the saving because we are not the Creator or the Savior of the world. When it comes to witnessing, we cannot persuade or make another person accept God’s invitation, neither can we heal or deliver them because that’s the job of the Holy Spirit. However, we have been commanded to demonstrate our faith and have been commissioned to pray without ceasing. As a vessel of honor which is obedient to the voice of the Master, we must focus on these two things if we are really serious about developing our relationship with God and our love for all people. Living a life of spiritual awareness not only will cause a radical transformation in our life but this attitude also has the potential to generate the character of Christ within us for all the world to see. This is not the power of human force, talent, or ability, but a release of spiritual authority according to God’s will to bring conviction through His holy and perfect Word. Our heavenly Father knows what it will take to convict someone’s conscience, to change a mind and heart, and whether or not they ever will accept Him. If we truly care about those around us and have a burden for their soul, we must make intercession and fasting a regular part of our daily walk. If we do not care and become cold and calloused, our disobedience will lead us into a backslidden state and we will be held accountable for the sins of omission. A burden for those who are lost and suffering is a sobering spiritual thermometer which reveals how much we love God and how close we are to Him.

Each human being has been given a free-will to manage and express their own political and social opinions and religious worldviews and by the way, this gift of free-will is also a huge part of our accountability and how we will be judged. God’s plan has always been for every individual to hear about His great love and to respond with brokenness and humility, and then sincerely accept Him into their heart. As Romans 10:17 declares, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” The Lord wants to live within those who receive Him by faith and longs to direct, manage, and guide their lives. This is what it means for Jesus Christ to be not only our Savior but also to become our Lord. There is room for only one throne in our heart and either He is sitting and ruling as King or we have not surrendered the throne and are still in control. Many will live their entire lives without ever considering this crucial revelation and will never experience the peace and joy of learning how to literally submit to God or completely trust Him. In this light, if we have not allowed Him to renew and possess our mind and conscience, then we are not in the position to understand these deeper mysteries. If we only want Him to save us from eternal suffering without Him becoming our Master, we are deceived and have completely missed the point of the covenant vow of salvation. I personally believe that many have not only refused to surrender their will but have actually missed the intention of redemption altogether. We can appreciate the wisdom of how the greatness of a person’s accomplishments is in the measure of their surrender. Speaking of eternity, did you notice when Procel the demon mentioned that God would decide if John’s punishment in hell was eternal? Traditional Christian teachings have agreed with an eternal hell and many still teach this precept. However, there are also many scholars who have researched the original languages and have provided another doctrinal interpretation where God will eventually reconcile all things as a way of completing and restoring everything into eternal perfection. The idea of every lost individual having a specific sentence of punishment in hell and serving their designated time is truly an interesting subject. It is disturbing that our critical human emotions are not very merciful and for some morbid reason even becomes excited when it comes to judging a lost soul and agreeing they should suffer forever without any chance of release. According to traditional teachings, children under the age of accountability, those who have never heard the gospel, the mentally handicapped, etc., are excused from the agony of eternal darkness because they were never introduced to Christ or could not comprehend and are considered innocent in the eyes of God. Being granted leniency according to God’s sovereign mercy is not a compromise but rather a display of divine justice. It is impossible for us to know all the details about how God will judge everyone and it is not really something we should worry or argue about. Another idea behind reconciliation is the speculation about whether or not an average lost person will serve the same amount of torture or length of time as someone like Hitler or Stalin. It is noted that according to scripture, in heaven there will be rewards and crowns and seemingly different levels of honor and recognition according to loyalty, dedication, obedience, and service. Thus it only seems logical there must also be levels of pain and suffering in hell based on each persons amount of evil thoughts and deeds. Whatever the case, the Almighty God is total authority and absolute truth, has all wisdom, is the holy, righteous, and perfect judge and He will make all decisions about everything and everyone according to His infinite glory.

When it comes to witnessing, we cannot and should not expect to coerce, demand, or intimidate a person into believing what they do not agree with. I certainly cannot expect someone to trust me or accept the gospel of Christ just because of my excitement and enthusiasm. I can tell everyone all day long that I believe Jesus is God and openly declare the plan of His salvation but these words will fall on deaf ears unless the Holy Spirit intervenes and anoints what I am doing. When someone becomes angry and aggravated toward another individual because they refuse to follow Jesus or because they do not believe everything just like they do, this attitude reveals how our old nature is still saturated with an aggressive and defiant spirit of pride and manipulation. God is filled with compassion and is reaching out to an angry world with the gracious offer of eternal salvation but He desires for His servants to stop trying to be a being a control freak and instead begin to walk in the attributes of His character. We can only present God’s Word, we cannot make them believe. If they laugh and mock the gospel, the Bible tells us to dust off our feet and keep moving. God so loved the world that He sent Jesus, His only Son to die in order that whosoever would believe in Him, would not suffer destruction but instead could be ransomed forever. However, He will not force anyone to follow Him. You see, all humans are born with strong rebellious feelings of enmity against the Creator and as a result of our fallen human nature, evil always opposes good. It’s only natural to reject and rebel against the authority of the Almighty because we are all possessed with carnality until we become delivered by grace. The cross is an offense to our nature because it demands us to surrender our decision-making process and allow God to lead us. Our flesh hates the fact that we must be purchased and redeemed with the price of Jesus blood in order to be transformed from “lost to saved.” This is why God has declared in His Word that we “must” be born-again, but again, our carnality wants no part of this submission. This spiritual metamorphosis includes repentance, being forgiven, renewing our mind, surrendering our will, and going through the process of spiritual metamorphosis, as we miraculously become a brand new spirit being. This conversion evolution allows us to experience His grace and the ability to comprehend His wisdom and the true meaning of life. The average person is not threatened with celebrating a baby in a manger, but they are defiant against a full-grown Jesus inviting them into His kingdom. The rich young ruler had no problem with being religious but walked away in sorrow when Christ explained the true meaning of spiritual dedication and sacrifice. The cross represents the opposite of everything the flesh holds dear.

Political correctness is now a cornerstone of the new legal system of social acceptance which demands that everyone must embrace a certain way of thinking. I use the word demand instead of suggesting because of the aggressive and violent agenda for every human being to obey this wicked system. The choice is to either compromise and accept this fleshly order or face the devastating consequences of persecution associated with not following its regulations. Those who reject these cultural ultimatums are deemed unfit to function and are considered a threat to the freedom and happiness of the world and are openly discredited and stigmatized in every way possible. The conservative Christian view is now considered to be a serious enemy, the poison which contaminates the conscience of civility and the world’s interpretation of a logical and healthy social environment. This modern movement has publicly condemned and discredited the Bible along with God Himself as being racial, hate-filled, along with a multitude of phobias that discriminate against those who disagree with its dark philosophy. Yet, according to this new system, progressive thinking “demands” a tolerance and respect for its own secular agenda. However, this one-sided, biased political law refuses to be held accountable to tolerate conservative Christian ideas that are contrary to the order. Of course, the system enables and uses the media to dominate social opinion and is a dangerous influence on all who will drink its cool-aid. Together, this aggressive system of the beast is absolute hypocrisy and deception in the most offensive form and will continue to strongly influence the masses from here to eternity.

We can clearly see where this fallen world is headed and according to Biblical prophecy, we know it is not a good direction, to say the least. Within the shadows, there has been a growing movement of resistance toward God and slowly but surely over the years the harbored secrets and mysteries of the demonic world is now being more boldly exposed. The gates of disgusts have now been opened in the name of freedom and are now morphing into a universal crusade to literally abolish God from the planet. As the young generation of leaders rise into power, we can know that without being taught to reverence the holy Creator and to love and worship His authority, the culture will eventually be based on atheism and the imaginations of carnality and demonic persuasions. It’s true, Christianity has always been a minority and as the population grows larger, the concept of a small remnant of Christian influence within the masses will continue being a voice in the wilderness. It is not size alone that presents the greatest obstacle because we must also include the current epidemic of spiritual lukewarmness within the church. We can clearly see that much of what we see in the church is not the same concept as God’s idea of His holy and victorious bride. Furthermore, as we are now seeing the results of God being removed from our public education and replaced with secular humanism, it should be no surprise that many of the younger generations have completely lost respect for the Christian faith. Sadly, this has conceived and nurtured a harsh and calloused culture of politically desensitized zombies who are driven to justify their own desires and believe that truth is not absolute but rather relevant to each individual. The Creator according to the Bible stands for everything the humanist opposes and now with the moral barriers being opened to selfish and even barbaric independence, we are witnessing the rapid and popular advancement of hell on earth. Instead of mankind bowing their knee to the maker of heaven and earth, we are seeing human arrogance on steroids as the remaining opportunity for Satan to deceive the masses is increasing at a furious pace. The tsunami of wickedness, perversion, debauchery, deception, confusion, chaos, violence, and hatred is covering the world and being translated through a deceptive media frenzy filled with fear, depression, anxiety, and control. The strategy of evil is simple: confuse the mind, distract the conscience, overwhelm the heart, and steal the soul.

It is not a new revelation to realize the masses of the world will never come to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The world, in general, has been filled with wickedness since the beginning of time and will continue to grow worse until the end of the age. I know this sounds like a negative confession, but we have read the end of the book and we already know how the story concludes. An important question concerning how the Christian should approach this hostile environment is simply answered with always being saturated with an awareness of the Holy Spirit. Listening and obeying the voice of God in all that we do is the perfect resolution for the overcomer. The blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony are critical pieces of our spiritual armor as we press toward the mark of the high calling of Jesus. We are not to be ashamed of the gospel because we know it is the power of salvation unto all who believe. Christians not only have a right and freedom to obey Biblical commands and follow the Creator of the universe, but they also have a responsibility to carry the light of the gospel in hopes that someone might possibly be convicted with the eternal truth which can save their soul. A true Christian is not condemning toward the unbeliever but rather burdened with a sincere sorrow for the lost who without Christ will suffer in the next life. A true disciple knows that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only spiritual authority that can open the eyes of the blind and set the captives free from sin. The world is filled with darkness and deception but the gospel is being offered to anyone who wants to live in the joy of God’s presence. Surrendering our heart to Jesus Christ is the only way mankind can comprehend the true meaning of life. Yes, there are problems that need to addressed like, how can those who know the truth about judgment not be alarmed or have a sense of urgency about those who are lost? Does it not haunt those who call themselves a follower of Christ that many of their friends and family members are walking on the narrow edge of hell? Do Christians even believe in hell? Could it be that followers of Christ are so terrified of God’s demand to change that they allow themselves to be distracted because it makes them feel better to think about other things? Denial is not the answer! Distractions are only prolonging the urgency to approach God and fall down before Him. Taking anxiety medicine and trying to not worry and think happy thoughts will not erase the reality of God’s requirements. Yes, it’s painful to consider the world is filled with spouses, parents, and children who will live and die without accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord, but it is absolutely true. We must face these agonizing facts and awaken from our spiritual slumber. Billions of people like John in our story, have found themselves in a horrible place of suffering and were someone’s spouse, someone’s parent, and someone’s child. These individuals are now currently waiting for judgment and as the demon correctly stated, “it is too late, no more chances.”

So, just how are we to address this subject of eternity? Some might suggest that we talk about something happier that includes streets of gold and floating around on clouds of eternal peace and joy. This would certainly be a pleasant thought and it does bring comfort, however, our subject is very serious and worthy of sobering consideration. Our story may have been fictional, but we must face the facts of it being a heart-breaking and horrifying reality that a “false security” is actually being embraced all around us. I have never stood on the side of the road and held a sign that says, “Repent and turn to Jesus today” but I can definitely understand the conviction and passion that causes individuals to do it. The burden for the lost can become very intense and it should convict us deeply and yet the frustration about exactly what to do also can be discouraging. I’ve always believed that evangelism and spiritual conversion is directly associated with a “divine appointment” which simply means that God carefully prepares the opportunities for salvation. In this light, witnessing is not a haphazard event but rather divinely directed by the Holy Spirit on the part of the messenger and the listener. God plans these meetings and gives the listener a chance the hear the truth and then the decision to accept or reject is left with them. This choice to obey or disobey is not only active in the process of salvation but after we accept Christ. Every Christian has the choice to fight against the conviction of His truth or surrender our will to His authority every day. Spiritual warfare is not just a one-time confrontation but rather a daily battle within the deepest part of our conscience and will also play a huge part in our final conversation on judgment day. We can do many religious deeds and perform good works and along with our moral views and declarations, we can appear to be righteous to all who know us and talk a good game, but it will always come down to how much of God we wanted in our lives and how much of our carnal nature we were willing to sacrifice. Our salvation is proven by God’s infinite love for us but our relationship with Jesus Christ is demonstrated by our intimate love for Him. With a world of reasons and excuses, we can know that mankind has never taken Jesus seriously and only a few have been willing to surrender their will completely to Him. The full gospel of Christ is offensive to our human nature and if presented any other way, it is being distorted. This is one of the main reasons why modern “feel good” religion is so popular and how we must not be afraid to warn everyone about its dangers. The gospel has been remodeled to please the masses and has softened the burden for lost souls by talking about how much God wants to make us rich. Is this disturbing? Yes! Shame on us if we ever become more interested in the comforts and pleasures of this world while forgetting about having a burden for the lost souls that are falling into hell every second. If we are NOT disturbed and convicted about people dying without Jesus – something is deeply wrong with us.

God is the maker of all things. He created humans and blessed them with everything good and perfect. His original man and woman made a decision to sin against Him and then sadly faced the consequences of failing to obey Him. After this terrible fall in the Garden of Eden, all humans thereafter have been born spiritually dead. Each person who has been introduced into the world has a spirit that is lost and in desperate need of being redeemed. Those who hear the gospel and receive it into their life are given the gift of salvation and their spirit is “re-born” into a child of God. His gift of mercy and grace allows them to walk in God’s Spirit on earth and spend eternity in heaven with Him. However, all who fail to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior within this temporary journey are blind and deceived to the absolute truth and the meaning of life. These children of the darkness who refuse and rebel against the love of God will not only miss the peace and joy with His presence in this life but will also face an eternity of pain, suffering, and regret without Him.

There was a time when I had no desire to love God or serve Him. I did not know Jesus personally and had no intention to know Him. My spirit was hopelessly lost and I did not care about spiritual truth. It’s natural for me to sin but it’s not an excuse. It’s natural for me to be selfish, hard-hearted, and self-centered but I cannot justify it. I’m filled with pride within the core of my being and it’s very uncomfortable for me to live holy and do what is right. I was born with a carnal nature that hated God. My original nature demands to be independent and is determined to make my own decisions. I do not want anyone to tell me what to do or how to live. My nature is very aggressive and stubborn and will fight anyone to the death who tries to change me. I was born with a rebellious attitude, but praise God, Jesus looked beyond my fault and saw my need! Somehow you loved me in spite of who I was and with your grace, you redeemed me and transformed me into a brand new creation. You were willing to take a clump of dirty coal and turn me into a sparkling diamond. You burned away my old self-righteousness and made me pure and clean and righteous by the blood of Jesus! Humans are not robots as you have graciously given to each person the ability to choose how they will live and who they will follow. This also includes the most crucial decision a person will ever make – whether or not they will believe, trust, and follow the Lord of Lords. Once a person has heard about God’s great love for them, they will make the daily choice to either embrace Him or reject Him. We are born with an un-renewed mind which is the processing plant that makes all decisions and works very closely with our conscience. Together, these two are known as co-captains of our ship that determines all the plans and decides which direction we will go. These two work directly under their fleshly dictator who sits on the throne of their heart. Whoever is king of their life is whom the body will serve!

So, in order for me to be changed and transformed spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, it’s going to require some serious determination, to say the least. The old way of thinking and living must die in order for Christ to become the Lord and King of my conscience. There can only be one master and the serious problem is that we do not want to kill our independence or our fleshly desires. Many are determined to have both world’s at the same time but if we try to bring Jesus into our lives while still serving our old nature, we will not have the capacity to experience the blessing of His presence or any type of spiritual victory. This attempt at living in the middle of the road is often associated with the deception of a religious lifestyle. The painful reality is that attempting to mix Jesus and the devil together is actually living in a denial of hating God and being an enemy against our Creator. The only way to truly walk holy with the Lord and invite Him to control us completely is to yield and sacrifice our will to His will and then learn to sincerely hate sin.

To be an overcomer for Jesus we must abhor sin to the point of being nauseated with the idea of disappointing God. Unfortunately, many have never experienced being filled with spiritual sorrow. We can develop a reverential fear and trembling when we realize how much our sin hurts and disappoints God. Unless we become angry and insulted with our sin, we will continue playing games with manipulation, denial, arrogance, and deception. Sadly, this way of living is considered a lukewarm lifestyle and also one that does not have a happy ending. Yes, there is grace, but this is not an excuse to continue living in carnality. Yes, there is mercy, but God in His perfect judgment must require an accountability from us in order to preserve His divine truth. Yes, there is His sovereignty, but this cannot annul or overturn His eternal Word of wisdom and authority. Yes, there is forgiveness, but this privilege is more than saying we are sorry. True repentance is turning away from our sin and never allowing it to snare us or control us again. As we can see, there are many interpretations of the Christian life because our flesh and the devil are doing everything possible to distract us from the truth. We are our own worst enemy and until we come face to face with this revelation, we will continue LIVING AN ILLUSION. We are either dwelling in the holy of holies or we are not. He is either our Lord of all or not our Lord at all.

Heavenly Father, I was born spiritually blind and had no desire to love you or serve you. I did not know you and had no intention to know you. My spirit was hopelessly lost and I did not care about spiritual truth. I was born with a rebellious attitude and it was natural for me to sin but it is not an excuse. It’s my carnal nature that persuades me to be selfish, hard-hearted, and self-centered but I cannot justify being controlled by it. I’m filled with pride within the core of my being and it’s very comfortable for me to live for pleasure and do whatever feels good. I was born with a selfish nature that hates the idea of following you and my flesh loves to be independent and make my own decisions. I do not want anyone to tell me what to do or how to live. You know my nature is very aggressive and stubborn and will fight anyone to the death who tries to change me. Somehow you cared about me in spite of me being a terrible sinner and by your grace, you redeemed me and transformed me into your child. You delivered me, redeemed me, sanctified and justified me into your eternal righteousness. You were willing to take a clump of dirty coal and turn me into a sparkling diamond. You burned away my old self-righteousness identity and made me pure and clean by the blood of the Lamb! I am a new creation! will always worship you and be grateful, as I could never repay what you have done for me. Help me, Jesus, to become what you died for me to be. In the holy and precious name of Jesus Christ, amen.”