angel

/Runner_one
I wanted to put down in writing an event that happened to me many years ago.

Back in 1985 I was in the middle of a very nasty divorce from my first wife. Things had gone horribly sideways and spilled over into my job. Sparing all the nasty details, suffice to say I had a breakdown of epic proportions. For weeks I couldn’t function, I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and when I did sleep, I was plagued with nightmares. Early one day I grabbed a few things and just began to drive.

I had little money and was in a very dark place mentally. Although I had been raised Christian and grew up in church, I was very far away from God and was living a non-Christian life. As I drove I was in a cloud, I could only see darkness, pain and despair in my future. I could imagine no happiness, no joy, and no future. Suffice to say, I considered my life over at the age of twenty two.

I drove north from Texas and found myself in Oklahoma City. There I turned eastward towards my childhood home of Tennessee. As I drove my despair clouded my perception and I became more and depressed. I really felt like I was driving myself straight into the gates of hell.

Somewhere in eastern Oklahoma I pulled in for fuel and a restroom break. Afterwards, as I continued my journey, I noticed a man standing at the side of the interstate on ramp looking for a ride. He was dressed rather peculiarly for the middle of summer, wearing a long old west style slicker and an ivy cap, sometimes known flat cap or duckbill cap. The reason I noticed him was because, in my mind, he bore a striking resemblance to the Gyro Captain from the Road Warrior film.

I continued my journey and thought nothing more of it. Soon I was forced to stop again as I suddenly needed to use the restroom very badly, which was unusual, as I could, and still do often drive for hundreds of miles without stopping. I completed my bathroom break and turned my car back toward Interstate 40. As I turned onto the on ramp my eyes were drawn to another hitchhiker looking for a ride. Only it was not another hitchhiker, it was the very same person I had seen a short time earlier at my previous stop. I am quite sure I did a double take on seeing him.

For reasons that I did not understand at the time, but have become clearer later in my life, I pulled over and offered him a ride. He got in the car and thanked me for the lift. In a short time he began to make what I first assumed was small-talk. It was far from small-talk, it was as though he could read my soul. He talked about life’s heartache and troubles. It soon became clear that he appeared to know more about me and my troubles than he should. He turned the subject to God and his many blessings. Now more than thirty three years later I don’t remember what all he said, but he seemed to have just the right words I needed to hear. It was, for lack of a better word, miraculous the way he seemed to be able to speak to my soul and lift the burdens I felt were crushing my very spirit. He rode with me the rest of the afternoon. By the time we were approaching Little Rock Arkansas I felt like a new person. He promised me that everything would work out. He said I was just beginning on a new journey and he assured me that God had good things in store for me in the future.

It was very late in the afternoon as we entered Little Rock, the sun was just setting and I decided to get a motel for the night. I stopped at a corner to let him out of the car so he could continue on his way. Before exiting the car he asked me if I could spare a little money for food. I told him that I never give money to strangers because I couldn’t know if it was just to be wasted on alcohol or drugs. I would however be happy to buy him some food. He graciously accepted my offer and I tuned into a nearby convenience store parking lot and went in the store.

All these years later I can still remember exactly what I bought for him that evening. I purchased a pack of bologna, a half-gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. I also picked up some condiments as well as a candy bar for desert. After paying for the items, I exited the store and found him waiting by my car. I handed him the bag of food and thanked him for making me feel better. He, in turn, thanked me for the ride and food. I got in my car and started it; placing the car in reverse I looked around to be sure I wouldn’t hit him backing out, I couldn’t see him anywhere. Because it had only been a moment since he walked toward the rear of my car, I was concerned that possibly he had tripped and fallen behind me. I did not want to back over him, so I placed the car in park and got out to make sure he was clear.

He was nowhere to be seen. I walked around the car, and then I walked around the only other car in the parking lot, nothing. I went in the store and asked the cashier if the gentlemen in the long coat had come in. He said no one had come in since I had walked out. Confused, I walked back outside and walked out to the street-corner and looked all four ways. There was no one to be seen. I walked around and looked behind the building, nothing. I even got down on my knees and looked under my car as well as the other car in the parking lot, nothing. The man had disappeared as though he was a ghost. There is no way, even if he had run, could he have gotten out of sight as fast as he did. The man and the bag of food I had given to him had vanished without a trace, gone as though they never existed.

Finally, I gave up, went a short ways down the road and rented a motel for the night. I went in, took a shower, said a short prayer, and then, for the first time in weeks, I slept like a baby, all night, peaceful and dreamless. The next morning I awoke feeling refreshed and invigorated. The mental clouds were gone, the burden was lifted, and I felt like a completely new man. I continued my journey eastward with a new zest for life.

Eventually I traveled on to Michigan, and then to Florida, where I met a woman slightly older than myself. After my divorce was final, we were married and now more than thirty years later, are still together. The man was right, everything did work out, my wife and I have had a good life. There have been difficulties, and at times the road has been rocky, but the good far outweighs the bad.

I am convinced that the man that rode with me all those years ago was an angel. Often I have looked back on that dark day and wonder where I would be today if it were not for that man’s intervention. Seeing what I was going through, and where I was heading, I fully believe that I would have been in prison or even dead had he not been standing on the side of the road that day. It humbles me and makes me wonder what God saw in me that he would send me an angel.

Since that day, I have often thought of Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. I know many will not believe me, my story or my conclusion. That is your prerogative; however I shall always thank God for the angel that was sent my way that day back in 1985.

Matthew 7:21 – Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

There are a few things to note here. The most important thing is that Jesus is talking about false-believers who are trusting in their works to get to heaven. This can be understood when we see what “The will of my Father” is, which is to believe in Jesus for your forgiveness of sins and your righteousness, as seen in John 6:40.

Jesus saying “I never knew you” denotes a lack of relationship with Jesus, his spirit was never inside of them. When he calls them “workers of lawlessness” he’s pointing out that even our best works are sin-stained.

Signs of my salvation

Proverbs 9:10

  1. The theatrical way Jesus reached out to me
  2. The way Jesus used a dream to bring me back from unbelief, evidence of his shepherding me
  3. My love for God and willingness to do his will
  4. My repentance, willingly giving up sin (PMO)
  5. I don’t believe God looks for excuses to condemn
  6. I feel the love in my heart from God, sometimes as heat
  7. His bible promises in Romans 10:9 and John 3:16 and John 6:37 and John 3:36 and Acts 16:28-31 and John 6:40 and Philippians 1:6 and John 10:29 and Phil 1:6 and  John 15:16
  8. God has answered my prayers before
  9. Obedience stemming from faith isn’t a work.. obedience is a posture that leads to works
  10. If John 3:36 is true, you are either, right now, in believing obedience to Jesus Christ, or unbelieving rebellion. For a guy that spent all kinds of time and effort studying this, the answer was astoundingly simple: we either believe the Son, or we do not.
  11. The true evidence of salvation is a changed heart.
  12. Being worried about how salvation works or if I am really saved, Jesus confirmed for me on 7/26/18 through my heart that I am saved.
  13. back in 2011 in hospital I got a mysterious call from a woman who said “we made it”
  14. God using me as a prophet
  15. On 8/27/18 – Fell asleep on toilet.. felt the presence of God. It looked and felt like the sun.. warm light! 🙂

He quietly opened his Bible to John 3:36 and asked me to read it aloud to him: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

He said, “How many categories of people do you see in that verse?” “Two,” I answered. “What are they?” “Those who believe, and those who don’t.” “Which are you, J.D.?” Mike was showing me that there are only two postures we can take toward Jesus Christ. We either “believe” or we do not.

Biblical belief, or “faith,” means making a decision. When Jesus called the crowds in Mark 1 to “repent and believe” (Mark 1:15), He was not adding something on top of belief, but clarifying what real belief entails. Repentance and faith are belief in action, meaning they will lead to good works.

We believe not only that Jesus is Lord (as a fact of history), but that He is our Lord as well, and we submit to Him as an act of obedience.

When the writer of Hebrews honors the great Old Testament heroes of faith, he identifies every single one with an action. Noah constructed an ark; Abraham left his home; Jacob blessed his grandsons; Joseph gave instructions concerning his bones; Moses chose to be mistreated; and Joshua circled the walls of Jericho. The great “chapter of faith” is all about actions. Faith is belief in action. In fact, there is no noun for faith in Hebrew, because faith does not exist apart from its action. Faith starts with mental agreement, but if this mental agreement does not lead to obedience, it is not yet “faith.”

Salvation is a posture of repentance and faith toward the finished work of Christ in which you transfer the weight of your hopes of heaven off of your own righteousness and onto the finished work of Jesus Christ. The way to know you made the decision is by the fact you are resting in Christ now.

Spirit-generated belief will always result in a new heart—a heart that loves good works and pursues them for Jesus’ sake. It is impossible for Spirit-generated faith to not lead to these good works, so if they are absent, so is genuine faith. These good works are not, however, the same thing as the faith itself. Faith’s sole object is the finished work of Christ. Faith cannot rest in the good works it produces. Faith cannot rest in itself. Faith that looks anywhere else but Christ will find not assurance but incessant doubt. Only by resting entirely in his finished work can the troubled soul find peace.

Paul’s words to the Philippian jailor were simple and sufficient: Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ means acknowledging, submissively, that Christ is the Lord and that He accomplished our salvation, just as He said He did—and resting our hopes there.

This recognition that Jesus is the absolute Lord is called “repentance.”

Those whose sorrow for their sin does not result in a change of actions have not repented.

So closely linked are belief and repentance that the Bible uses them interchangeably: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life” (John 3:36 esv).

Following Jesus means submitting to Him in all areas at all times regardless of whether you agree with what He says or not. Following Jesus means allowing Him to invade every area of your life, not simply influence it. Jesus comes into our lives as “Lord,” or not at all.

In fact, they seem even to make our final salvation conditional on our continued obedience. Acts 12:43  Acts 14:22  1 Thess 3:5 Phil 2:16 Romans 11:22 Jude 20-21 Hebrews 12:15 Hebrews 2:1 Hebrews 3:12-14 John 15:6 Matthew 10:33 Matthew 10:22 Rev 2:7 Rev 2:11 Hebrews 6:11 1 John 2:19

These passages do not teach that you can lose your salvation. But they do teach you something important about the nature of saving faith: Saving faith always endures to the end.

Many go through the initial motions of salvation, yet, after a period of time, fall back into their old ways. Such a person was never really saved to begin with, despite all their early, initial excitement.

Faith that fades, no matter how great the initial fruit, is not saving faith.

Matthew 10:22

One of Paul’s travelling companions, a guy named John Mark, abandoned the mission field because it got difficult, only to be restored later. Think about that—he abandoned the apostle Paul. He “put his hand to the plow and looked back,” showing he was not fit for the kingdom of God.4 Yet he was later restored to full usefulness in the kingdom (Acts 13:5, 13; 2 Tim. 4:11).

Jesus said that no one who came to Him He would ever, for any reason, cast out.6 Ever. If you are willing to repent, He will always receive you.

His saying that if you’ve hardened your heart to the cross, there’s nothing left to say to you, no “better” weapon in God’s arsenal.

Furthermore, Scripture speaks of so hardening your heart against God’s spirit he leaves you alone.

It is true that “once saved, always saved”; but it is also true that “once saved, forever following.”

The book of 1 John gives several confirmatory “tests” that show the Spirit is at work in our hearts.

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3–6, emphasis added)

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. (1 John 2:9) If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15) If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:29, emphasis added) No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6)

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:14–16)

In other words, if you say you love God and don’t love others, your faith is a fraud.

Generosity and grace towards others is a sign of a true believer.

I think you can boil down John’s list of “heart changes” into essentially two categories: A love for God and a love for others.

When you understand how much you’ve been forgiven, you will forgive.

Throughout your Christian life you will diagnose some spiritual problem—things like “I don’t hate sin enough” or “I don’t love God enough.” The prescription for those spiritual maladies is not to “stop them and you’ll really be saved,” but to believe the gospel, which is the only thing that can cure those maladies. Only by believing that God’s acceptance of you is not based on how much you love God or hate sin, but based solely on Christ’s finished work for you, will you ever gain the power to start hating sin and loving God. It’s the great irony of the Christian life! The only ones who “get better” are those who understand that their acceptance before God is not based on their “getting better!”

God’s prescription for every diagnosed spiritual illness is faith in the gospel.

God’s prescription for every diagnosed spiritual illness is faith in the gospel. Faith releases Spirit-life into the soul.1 “The law” diagnoses our problem; faith in the gospel provides the solution.

“To progress,” Martin Luther said, “is always to begin again.” Go back to the way you started the Christian life—by believing the gospel, that God accepts you just as you are because of Christ—and believe it again. As you do, the power of new life will be released in you.

Most of this post is taken from Greear, J. D.. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: The Teen Edition. B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

My house is made for marriage!

One time when I was dreaming and still with my ex starting with an O, I heard before I woke up, God saying “My house is made for marriage” is a deep, authoritative voice.

Since the bible begins and ends with marriage, and since we’ll all be married to Jesus in the end, I guess this makes sense.

Evolution is a Farce

I went to a private high school and naively thought I wouldn’t have evolution in college. When I got there I was caught by surprise. I knew evolution wasn’t true but I didn’t have the confidence to defend myself and I faltered in my faith. This is a worn out topic, but just want to share my thoughts as I’ve had time to rebuild my beliefs.

Evolution states time and chance take molecules and turn them into man through random mutations in DNA and natural selection. Seen from 20,000 feet it states hydrogen left to itself long enough will turn into a human or that microbes turn into microbiologists.

The following are my simple, rational anchors:

1) Organic evolution: non-living matter spontaneously becomes living matter has never been observed or reproduced. This is the gaping hole of many holes n the theory. Miller-Urey and all spark experiments only produced non-living matter. Teaching evolution as a fact without demonstrable evidence is academically dishonest. Presuming something to have occurred without proof makes evolution a faith. The only other claim of non-living matter becoming living matter is in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Both are a faith. Only One has been seen alive.

2) Fossils used for evidence are found in sedimentary rock, one such fossil was a fish giving birth showing rapid burial. Sediment covers the majority of the earth as if by a global flood. 95% of fossils are marine fossils, many of which are found on the tops of mountains. Ocean fossils….on tops of mountains. Fish ancestor fossils thought to be dead for “millions of years” have been found alive (coelacanth) backfiring by showing “millions of years” of precisely no change. Darwin himself stated for his theory to prove true millions of transition fossils would need to be found. As of today there are zero. The theory is not proved true by experiment or by fossil record.

3) Natural selection is better termed natural rejection. It is an eliminating process, not a creative process. Random mutations are not helpful. You do not need mutations, you need completely new additions of DNA. Furthermore, DNA is coded chemicals and functions like computer software. Every living thing runs on a DNA OS.

4) Scientists can not reproduce on purpose anything they say happened by accident. Matter itself is complex and particle physics is a growing field. Every blade of grass has an antenna and solar cell more efficient than anything man has designed.

5) Jesus claimed to be the Jewish God, their Creator in the flesh. Rising from the dead gives one serious clout. Jesus is God and His resurrection confirms the entire Word of God including creation and disproves all other fairy tales of men.

There are a host of other problems with the theory of course, not the least of which are its roots in Aristotle’s natural philosophy, but these few are enough for me allow for complete dismissal.

To be honest, the theory bothered me a lot. Not so much the theory as how it was taught. I was quite upset with the teacher which was due to a mixture of my ignorance and his arrogance and it took me a while to learn what I needed in order to let go. As a young student, I had no idea how absurd the academic setting was and it caught me off guard. I do still sometimes get angry when I hear an atheist ranting but have learned to pray for them instead and keep my peace.

I can only hope that someone is encouraged by this leg of my journey.

Love to all,
William