When Christians Condemn: Lost Souls Stay Lost

Oh how I get excited to see people zealous for God like me, but it breaks my heart to know that some of these extremely zealous people think that they need to go boldly in public to a secular environment with their Bible in one hand, a large sign in the other hand to draw attention, and proceed to stand there and yell at strangers. If that is truly God’s call for them, who am I to say it is wrong? But honestly, I have a hard time seeing that God intended for us in today’s world to stand there and yell at passersby telling them that they are being condemned to hell. Isn’t God the God of love? Almost everyone familiar with God’s Word is familiar with the “Love” chapter in 1 Corinthians 13. I highly doubt that someone who really needs to hear the good news of Jesus Christ will be able to hear God’s lifesaving message through very loud noise (like a clanging cymbal) from words such as “You are going to hell!!!!” I am sure that some being yelled at might even feel threatened that they will get beaten down with the Bible.

Apparently, this is what is happening at the community college campus that I attend on a part-time basis. I have not observed this kind of behavior myself, but I recently read a disturbing review written by a female student who stated that she would have given the college a five star review if only authorities did a better job at protecting students. She mentioned some important issues that need addressing by campus security, but the one that really got my attention and saddened my heart is when she stated that she did not feel safe from those that she termed “Prophets of Doom” who are allowed on campus waving their Bibles in one hand, holding signs in the other, and yelling out condemnation to her and others walking by.

My heart hurts at the thought of that because how in the world can that possibly help draw people to Christ? I want people to have reverential fear of the Lord, but I do not want them to fear Him in a way that they will not run to Him. That is what happened to me when I was little and I ran away from God almost my entire life. Most of you know my life almost ended in drunkenness and depression, but God came to my rescue and I am grateful that no one ever yelled at me because I would have kept running away until I died with never accepting Christ into my heart.

I believe that there is a better way to preach the good news without yelling at people. Nothing sounds good through yelling. I live my life today looking for opportunities to win hearts for Christ. I look for guidance from God for what to speak, whom to speak with, and when to speak it. Sometimes a heart may not be ready and I have a good chance of scaring people away if I run ahead of God. I do not want to do that. I want God to use me to draw hearts into His light of grace. I want to share my own story of the great lifesaving things God has done in me. He literally brought me from death to life and that is the message that I want to share. It is part of the greatest true love story ever told in the Bible and I am always ready to share it – when He makes a way for me to do so.

Judgement day is not here yet and didn’t Jesus say Himself that He did not come to condemn the world, but came to save it? Then why are some of us condemning people causing them to run away while there is still time for them to turn to Jesus?! I may sound naive and I guess I am as a fairly new Christian of less than seven years, but I am praying for those zealous people to open the eyes of their hearts and try a new way. Besides, how can we love anybody like Jesus if we are too busy condemning them? I do not believe we can. I have heard others get so caught up in saving souls that they forget that it is Jesus, and only Jesus, who does the saving. Let’s all seek God for guidance first because too many lost souls are at risk of being lost forever.

I certainly do not want to be known as a prophet of doom, but a messenger of God’s great love. Thanks for listening. There’s so much more I can say, but instead, I just want to pray. Pray with me?

Ah, truly, love never fails…thank You, Jesus. ♥

God’s ongoing miracle of keeping me sober through the obstacles that life brings.

It is hard to believe that it has been about 20 months since a routine exam came back with results that had the doctor concerned that I might have cervical cancer. I remember well how my life was thrown into such a state of confusion at the end of 2014. The unfavorable results had me going through a procedure that had caused physical trauma as well as emotional trauma — it was for nothing. Well, that’s what I thought when I was in the midst of the challenge. But like God always does, He worked it all out for my good. Anyway, the procedure was unsuccessful, so it was discouraging that there were still no answers. The unknown can really be a scary thing. I had to be sent to a different specialist who could do a special surgical procedure that gave hope that it would be successful in cancer prevention. After that initial so-called “simple” procedure turned into something super complicated and extremely painful leaving me in tears wondering what was next, I was so relieved to hear that they would not keep me awake for the more invasive procedure.

The whole ordeal brought me down for a bit. I blamed myself for what I was going through. I blamed it on my past choices in life. I was finally dealing with the consequences of my dark past. But I had some amazing people of faith there for me praying me through and reminding me that nothing from the past defines who I am today. I know who I am and even better than that, I know Whose I am. I belong to Jesus! I hope others who might be struggling with past mistakes will see this about themselves too. It is amazing freedom.

I am grateful to share that God opened doors for me to end up with the best specialty doctor I have ever had in my entire life of having to deal with specialty doctors. My sobriety of over six years is truly an ongoing miracle and I just have to keep sharing about it. To get through this whole thing sober is nothing short of a miracle. As I was having to go through different tests with the new doctor, I cannot tell you how many times I had to take a pregnancy test before some of the pre-surgery tests that were being done. I cannot tell you how many times someone from the medical staff asked me “are you planning on having children?” It really brought me down in spirit for a while. It was a constant reminder to me that I am childless and this procedure would make bearing a child difficult. It reminded me of my choices that took away my chances of ever experiencing the joy of motherhood like most women in my life. Never mind the fact that I am single. Never mind the fact that I have chosen to stay right with God and remain celibate, especially after God rescued me from the last dangerous relationship that had me wanting to drink myself into a coma. And never mind the fact that I was 49 years old (I have turned 50 since). I really struggled with my past choices, the painful procedures and those pregnancy tests along with too many questions about children really could have had me reaching for the bottle once again. But God is bigger than all of that and I kept holding on. I am so grateful for how real He is in my life. Trusting Him gave me the strength to not throw all the great things He has done in me away. GRATEFUL!!!

The doctor ended up removing a portion of my cervix to kill off the potential cancer in March 2015. Six months after that, she confirmed that there was no sign of cancer or pre-cancer cells — God is so good. I need one more good report before the doctor will be satisfied that I am completely healed so since it has been another six months already, I went in for test #2 just today. I am believing God for complete healing! The results should be back by next week, but no matter what, I am so grateful and in awe of the peace He has given me. I am grateful for how this whole challenge has grown my faith and trust in God. We cannot be overcomers if there is nothing to overcome, right? I am grateful for this faith-walk filled with challenges that bring me closer to the One who breathes life into me and gives me a reason to want to keep living.

I hope someone will be encouraged by this testimony of God’s power to stay sober through some of the darkest days that life brings on this side of heaven. Don’t give up hope. Many of us cry ourselves to sleep in the midnight hours when we are overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. God promises us healing and joy among so many other promises. I pray that you will keep holding on, just like me.

These words from my devotion this morning said this and I hope it will encourage you like it did me: “Look beyond today’s pain and sorrow toward the promise of joy and healing tomorrow.”

Here is a Psalm from the Holy Scriptures for the road, be blessed by God’s Word to you: “Trust Me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me glory.” ~Psalm 50:15

Jesus carried our sins in His body to the cross. We are dead to sin and now live for what is right. By His wounds, we are healed. (God’s Word, not mine!) I believe! Show us Your glory dear God, in Jesus’ name.

Getting through a patch of darkness when it feels like God has left me.

.It is time to be super transparent again and share this very personal part of my journey to heaven because I think someone who is experiencing something similar needs to hear it and take heart. I think that this time my vulnerability might not be just for a fellow servant of God, but perhaps it will also help me to get past any unresolved feelings of failure and shame that I seem to experience whenever I go through spiritual darkness as I have been for several weeks. I had a dark spell last year as well and I thought that it was pretty bad, but I almost think that this year has been a little darker for some reason. I have been going through it more than I care to admit, but I am willing to be open about it if it means helping another get through theirs.

Those of us who are wholehearted servants of the Lord who have become threats to the kingdom of darkness know (should know) that we are going to be harassed and sometimes tormented by the invisible enemy. It is a given. It comes with the territory of saying yes to the call and putting our faith into action for God with no compromise. Therefore, we must remain steadfast in our faith and remember that we are not the only ones going through whatever we are going through for the Lord’s sake. Amen? To back this thought up, I am reminded of Scripture that says:

Blog - 1 Peter 5_9

I think it is always encouraging to know that we are never alone with the difficulties that come with this amazing journey on the pathway to Heaven!

When my battle gets fierce like it has been, I try to convince myself to count it all joy because these dark patches are really “training with Jesus” in this incredible journey of spiritual growth. Many times I am successful at counting it all joy. Then like more recent times, things happen that cause me to feel ashamed because I somehow managed to allow the overwhelming negative voices take over in my head. I want to give up and disappear and I have a hard time sharing these thoughts with people who have been walking closely with me on this journey. Especially the strong leaders that God has blessed my life with. I tell myself that it is doubtful that they would understand my torment and I do not want them to think less of me. My heart knows they would not judge me nor give up on me, but my mind tells me otherwise.

These horrible thoughts have been accusing me and telling me the reason I am going through the darkness is because God has left me. The old familiar “Loser”, “You are not worthy”, “You are a screw-up”, “Just go ahead and give up already”, and “Where is your God?” They torment my mind, knock me down, and then I feel like the depression that God had already given me victory over tries to sneak its way back into my life to take me out for good. Does this kind of battle sound familiar to anyone out there? PLEASE. Tell me it is not just me!

So why am I taking the risk of sharing all of this? I do not really fully know!! But I think I am sharing because first, I hope that someone out there gets me! If not, then I cannot help but wonder if this is going to be my last vulnerable piece of writing. That probably is not going to happen since God always wins. Even so, it is so difficult not knowing if sharing this personal stuff is really of any use to anyone out there. My second reason for sharing is that I want to share what I feel the Lord has been revealing to me as I have persevered and have taken each step seeking my God all the way through the dark patch back into His light of grace. Thankfully the Light is shining bright once again. I was listening to the enemy’s lies that God had left me, but I know now for a fact that He never left because I have been faithful. I know this as truth because God’s Word is truth. And if you have been His faithful servant, He has not left you either. THE DEVIL IS A LIAR. I am going to say that as many times as I need to until my last day on this earth.

I want to share Scripture straight from God’s heart to yours that I hope will help you like it has helped me to keep pressing on. There is so much more than this to share, but these are the ones that God reminded my heart of recently and I am passing them along. You may already know these truths, I have known them for a while, yet the evil lies still got through. So I believe we all need to be reminded of God’s truths on an ongoing basis in this dark world we are passing through. Of course this long writing is not for everyone, but I pray it reaches someone who is struggling the way I have been.

Here are some things to ponder:

Do you think God has left you even though you have remained faithful to Him? Then you must know and believe the truth that He has been there all this time, because His Word tells us that He NEVER forsakes His faithful ones: “For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.” (Psalm 37:28)

As a faithful servant of God you are one of His anointed. Take heart and be strong in Him for He is your refuge: “The LORD is the strength of His people, He is the saving refuge of His anointed.” (Psalm 28:8)

We all sin and we should all know that sin separates us from God. So if you feel He is not near, it is a good time to check yourself — search your heart and repent of any sin. You know what they are. If they are not obvious, ask God to help you. He will reveal sins that you may not even realize. Remember that God is quick to forgive. You cannot buy or work for His forgiveness so do not try. Just confess to Him, pour out your heart as a sacrifice to Him (I am SO grateful for this truth): “My sacrifice, O God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) If you repeat the same sins over and over, you need to ask for God to help you turn away. Ask Him to remove the ungodly desires and replace them with His desires. He will! He did for me!

Want to ensure your success on this journey? “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (Proverbs 3:6) All we have to do is put Him first!!

And finally, ALL will go well for us if we obey God and commit ourselves wholeheartedly: “If you obey all His laws and commands, you will enjoy a long life. Listen closely…be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you…Hear O people! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourself wholeheartedly…” (Deuteronomy 6:2, 4-6)

I want to encourage you to continue to seek God and His face — seek His Word daily if you are not already. May you become as hungry for Him as I have become.

And two more for the road that I pray will never happen to you. God DOES leave people, but it does not have to be:

“But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed.” (Deuteronomy 8:19) Remember other gods can be anything (harmful vices, etc.) or anyone (husband, wife, children, etc.) who you put first before God. I am human too, so I know this is a great challenge. But God gives us the power and desire to do right by Him. We must want it and seek His power and desire with our whole heart. I do, I hope you do too.

“The LORD is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”  (2 Chronicles 15:2) To me, this is easy…STAY WITH THE LORD, ALWAYS!!! But even if this did happen, just return to the Lord. His Word also says that He will return to us if we return to Him. You need to search His Word to see for yourself, but here is just a few you can start with in this truth: Malachi 3:7; Zechariah 1:3; Joel 2:12; then of course there’s the wonderful parable that Jesus spoke of that you can read again starting in Luke 15:11 — an amazing picture of our Heavenly Father waiting with arms wide up for His children to return to Him. How awesome is that! I serve a wonderful God of love. The God of second chances…I wouldn’t be alive today if this were not true.

So let’s keep holding on to His promises dear faithful ones. Let’s keep on keeping on our pathway to Heaven where we will see God face to face when that great day comes. Until then, follow His ways, follow His laws, and you cannot help but lived a blessed life. Remember, this is not our home, and we are never alone. Thank You Lord Jesus!

Thanks again for all who choose to listen to my vulnerable heart for God. May God bless you richly. ♥