Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Filling Someone With Daylight

Before I handed over my life to Jesus Christ in 1979, the number one things in my life were weight training and karate. I used to spend hours every day working out with weights and practicing karate. Yet, even though I knew I could handle myself (twice in my life I have fought guys who had knives when I was unarmed, and both times I beat them. Another time, a guy had a metal umbrella handle [the part that sticks out of the handle was metal] that he had cut off to a sharp point, and he was trying to stab me with that, and I beat him. I have also had a gun held on me more than once), I was always keenly aware of the possibility of someone attacking me, and I was constantly thinking about what I would do if they did attack me. I knew that, if someone had a gun, especially if they were out of reach, I would have no defense. Therefore, I was always in fear, because I was constantly thinking about how to defend myself if someone attacked me, and I was constantly playing out scenarios in my head to train my mind to be ready in case something did happen.

However, after relinquishing control of my life to Jesus Christ, I lost that fear of being killed. Now, if someone were to hold a gun to my head and pull the trigger, I know for a fact, without a doubt, that I would be in Heaven forever, with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who is God the Son, Yeshua Hamashia, the Messiah, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, the “I Am”; and with God the Father, Yahweh (YHWH), the “I Am” (the Name He told Moses).

The only regret I would have, if someone were to hold a gun to my head and pull the trigger, is that I would no longer be able to tell others about Jesus, so that they might escape Hell and escape God’s wrath and judgment, and so they might gain eternal life in Heaven. I want to tell as many people as I can about Jesus, because Hell is a place I would not want my worst enemy to go to. When I really think about the people that will be in Hell for all eternity, in that horrible, terrible place of torment, suffering forever, it makes me cry. I have talked to people about Jesus at the Mall, at the movie theatre, going door-to-door, at Fairs, etc. But I feel like I’m not doing enough, because so many people are dying and going to Hell every single day. The fact that so many people are not following Christ, and are therefore headed for Hell, is something that should tear the heart out of every true born-again Christian, and should make every true follower of Christ Jesus weep and have compassion for those who are lost. It should make every born-again believer want to go out, every single day, and tell as many people as possible how they can escape from Hell. Yet, so many American Christians are satisfied with going to church and minding their own business, instead of going out on the street and witnessing to people. American Christians are so complacent, lazy and materialistic…including myself.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What are you captivated by?

This past Sunday morning while driving to church, the car ahead of me had a bumper sticker that said, "So mote it be" (which is an archaic phrase meaning "So must it be," and which originated in the rituals of Freemasonry, and is common today in Wiccan and ceremonial magick rituals. For those who don't know, 'Wicca' is a polytheistic Neo-Pagan nature religion inspired by various western European beliefs, whose central deity is a mother goddess and which includes the use of herbal magic and benign witchcraft).

Sunday night, again on the way to church, a van in front of me had a bumper sticker which said something like, "One nation under goddess."

If Religion were simply a matter of opinion, like what brand of toothpaste you prefer, then there would be no problem, and everyone would basically be equally correct in whatever they believed.

If it were a matter of race or culture or nationality, then I would say we need to respect people's differences and realize that any Religion, like any race or any culture or any nationality, should not be seen as better than or superior to another one.

However, it is a matter of a person's eternal destiny. It is a matter of their soul. It is a matter of whether a person spends eternity in Paradise/Heaven, or whether they spend eternity in that incinerator, that eternally-burning garbage pit, called Hell.

What about you? Do you know what will happen to you after you die? Do you know where you will go? That should really be the highest priority of anyone's life: to look into it, research it, ask questions, and make sure you know for sure, finding the most definite and truthful answer you can. Anyone who says about death, concerning their eternal destiny, "I'm not gonna worry about it; when it happens, it happens," is a fool. Anyone who says, "Well, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong; and I'll take my punishment like a man," is a fool. Thankfully, it is possible to know for sure where you will spend eternity.

Most people, if asked, "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" would answer "Yes." However, see how many of the following questions you can answer 'no' to:

-Have you ever, in your lifetime, told a lie? Even a white lie?

[If a person lies to you, what do you call them? A liar! One of the Ten Commandments---God's Law---is "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." (i.e., lying.) If you have ever lied, then you have broken one of God's Laws!]

-Have you ever, in your lifetime, stolen anything, no matter how small, and no matter the value?

[If a person steals something from you, what do you call them? A thief! Another of the Ten Commandments, God's Law, is "You shall not steal." If you have ever stolen anything, then that's another of God's Laws that you have broken.]

-Have you ever looked at another person and lusted after them?

[Jesus said, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt. 5:28) Another of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not commit adultery." If you've done this, or if you have slept with anyone outside of marriage, then you have broken yet another of God's Laws.]

-Have you ever used God's Name as a curse word?

[Another one of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not misuse the Name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name." If you have ever said, "Oh my G-d!" or "G-d D---it!" then you are guilty of breaking still another of God's Commands.]

-Have you ever hated anyone or held anger against them?

[Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." (Matt. 5:21-22) Have you also broken this Commandment as well? Your sins are stacking up higher and higher!...]

-Have you ever loved anything---your car, your house, your wife, your kids, your TV, your boat, your computer, sports, money, sex, or even yourself---more than you love God?

[The Ten Commandments say, "You shall have no other gods before Me." This is idolatry. Can you honestly say that, every single second of your entire life, you have always loved God more than anything else? If not, then that's yet another Law you have broken.]

Jesus said, "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:20) He also said, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48)

Are you perfect?

The Bible says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) "Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one." (Psalm 53:3) Jesus said, "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' " (Mark 7:21-23)

All of us have broken God's Law. All of us are sinners. All of us fall short. All of us have mutinied against our Creator, and selfishly followed our own way, instead of walking in perfect obedience to Him. All of us are wicked and have rebelled against and offended a holy, righteous God...the God Who created us.

One day you will stand before God. Based on God's Law, the Ten Commandments, would you go to Heaven or Hell? Every one of us deserves to go to Hell.

You might say, "But isn't God a loving God? Isn't He a forgiving God?"

Let me ask you this: If a Judge lets a criminal go free, and just excuses his crime, is that a good Judge? Of course not! God cannot merely excuse your sin. Would you want God to just freely allow sinners into Heaven, no matter what? Would you want God to let Hitler into Heaven? Would you want God to let unrepentant mass murderers into Heaven? Would you want God to let those who have raped and brutally murdered little children, and would do so again if they could, into Heaven? If He did, that would be evil. He would not be a good Judge. He would not be a good God. What about those who have done 'lesser' sins? Would you want God to allow liars, robbers, manipulators, dictators, slave owners, wife beaters, drunks, drug users and cruel people into Heaven? Not only would it be unfair and unjust for God to do so, but Heaven would then no longer be would become no better, and no more enjoyable, than Earth, because it would be filled with corrupt, evil people.

The Bible says, "Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." (Luke 18:26-27)

"In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3)

There is good news. God the Father sent Christ Jesus, Who is God the Son, to pay for our sins on the cross. But you must turn away from your sins and follow Christ in order to accept this payment. Jesus said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32)

The Good News is, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

The All-Important Question

Have you been captivated by God through the gospel?
Have you been taken captive by Christ Jesus, the Son of God?
Have you been regenerated? (not just converted, but re-created.) "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (II Cor. 5:17)
Has your life been radically and dramatically transformed
and changed through the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit?

It's not about my opinion, or a philosophy, or a way of thinking,
or being religious, or even converting to a Religion.
It's about being accepted by God the Father, which only comes
through completely surrendering your life to Christ Jesus.
It's about having the righteousness of Christ imputed to you. It's about God the Holy Spirit coming and living inside of you, so that you, having been cleansed of all sin, then become God's temple...a living temple.

God commands people to accept Him as their treasure. "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed..." (Psalm 2:12a) Let Him pay for your sins, or else pay for them yourself; but if you pay for them yourself, it will take forever---literally---because a sinner can never fully pay for sin. Surrender to Jesus Christ or burn in Hell forever. "...choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve..." (Joshua 24:15a)

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If Evolution Is True...

If atheistic evolution is true, then human life has no value. If life happened accidentally, then society has no value, since life and society are merely results of an accident. If we are no more than chemicals that accidentally came together, then what would it matter if I were to kill or rape someone? Evolutionists say that morals are for the protection of society, but what does society matter if its all just an accident and we're all just chemicals? What do our actions matter in that case? If your son or daughter or mother or father dies, who cares? Why get emotional about a bunch of chemicals? Why, then, should I care about anyone else, if we're only chemicals that accidentally evolved? Who cares if the human race continues to exist or not, if all we are is an accident? If all this is an accident, then don't give me any nonsense about the 'good of society' or moral laws, because they then become meaningless. Our actions become meaningless. Life itself becomes meaningless. Existence becomes meaningless.

Praise God that we are not an accident, but were created by an all-powerful, all-knowing, holy and perfect God. Because we are not an accident, and because we were created in the image of God, and because we were created to glorify and serve our Creator, then life does have meaning, and we do have purpose! Human life then becomes precious, because if we are created in the image of God, human life then has value...and our actions toward God and toward one another do matter. If other people were created in the image of God, then we must respect and love others. If God created all of us, then He is our rightful owner, and we must obey and serve Him.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

My Spiritual Life’s History

I grew up and was baptized as an infant in a Lutheran church where I attended both church and Sunday School every Sunday, was an Acolyte, was confirmed and was fully involved in the Luther League, which was the youth program. Beginning in the 5th or 6th grade, I read my KJV Bible daily at home on my own, as well as saying my prayers every night. By the time I finished High School, I had read the entire Bible from cover-to-cover, several times, in different versions (KJV, The Living Bible, Good News Bible, etc.)

Nevertheless, I never heard a gospel message. I believed in the Bible, the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, that Jesus was the Son of God, etc. However, though I did have faith, it was mainly an intellectual belief…I had never experienced the new birth (i.e., being born again; regeneration; being saved)…kind of like those in Acts 8:14-17 who had been baptized, but who had never experienced the new birth; or Apollos in Acts 18:24-25 who had a thorough knowledge of the Bible, and even taught about Jesus (comparable to a Sunday School teacher), but who had never been born again; or those in Acts 19:1-6 who had repented of their sins and had been baptized (by John the Baptist’s baptism), but who had never been regenerated (made into new creatures) though having the Holy Spirit indwell them.

In the beginning of 1979, at 19 years of age, I was attending a Commercial Art class at what was then called Miami-Dade Community College South Campus. A black guy who was Pentecostal took me outside every day during breaks for a couple weeks or so, and explained to me the gospel of salvation. He told me that, because of the power of God in his life, he was not afraid of anyone. Being shy to the point of being almost paranoid of people, this appealed to me, so I went home and asked God to give me what that guy had.

Around that same time, I found some Jack Chick gospel tracts lying on the table in the Parsonage library (which sometimes served as a meeting place for the Youth) at my church. I read one or two at the church, and I took a third one home. While my mom was outside hanging up clothes on the clothesline, I read one of the Chick tracts, using my mom's ironing board as a table, and, leaning against that ironing board and folding my hands, I prayed the prayer in the back of one of the tracts, and asked Christ Jesus to come into my heart, forgive all my sins, and take over my life. It was then that I was born again.

I then began to notice that the church I had attended all my young life was a dead church, and not at all like the church in the book of Acts. What was preached there was a ‘social gospel,’ rather than the gospel of salvation.

Nevertheless, I was twice blessed with the opportunity to preach in the pulpit while the Pastor was on vacation. In one of those sermons, I talked about the joy of the Lord. Afterward, I overheard one person commenting, “It’s pretty bad when someone in the church can preach better than the Pastor can,” which was really a demonstration of how spiritually dead our church actually was.

There was one couple at that church who were born-again Christians, and who I considered to be my ‘spiritual parents,’ because they helped me in my early years as a baby Christian. They were also the leaders of our church’s Clown Ministry, which I joined, and which was an excellent experience for me, and was a lot of fun.

Not long after, I began to attend a basic Bible Study course, meeting at someone’s home (who later left for Africa as a missionary) through Campus Crusade for Christ. This was my discipleship period in which I learned the basics of following Christ as Lord and Savior, and I am greatly indebted to Campus Crusade for Christ for discipling me as a baby Christian.

Shortly before leaving that church, I attended Men’s Sonshine Cursillo #23, now called Via de Cristo, which was then the spiritual highpoint of my life, outside my salvation experience.

I then left that church to try to find a church that was more like what I saw in the book of Acts. I began attending an Evangelical/Charismatic Lutheran church, where I was introduced to speaking in tongues, which began my struggle with trying to find out whether the Charismatic gifts were for today or not…a struggle that lasted for many years.

I then went away to another city to live with my Aunt while attending college at the University of North Florida. While there, I attended a couple of different Baptist churches with my cousins, who were all Baptist. I attended a youth service, which helped me in my spiritual growth. At one of those churches I decided I wanted to be baptized as an adult by immersion, because I believed that baptism was for believers, and was a picture of us being buried (i.e., dying to self; dying to the world system and to living for this world; the ‘old nature’ being put to death) and rising again as new creatures created in Christ Jesus, to live for Him and Him alone. I also did this in obedience to Christ’s command (Matt. 28:19) as well as a public testimony of my decision to follow Christ.

I later joined an Independent Baptist Church, which, though they were quite legalistic, they were also the most helpful to me of any church up to that point, as far as teaching me how to evangelize. I went door-to-door with them on a weekly basis, telling people about Jesus. I also went around the city with an older gentleman, named Mr. Keller, who was very zealous for the Lord, and who had a burden for souls to be saved from Hell. He and I would go door-to-door, or talk to people on the street, and even went to the city jail a couple times to preach, give out Bibles, and to tell prisoners about Jesus.

I also worked for 1 year at their Christian Elementary School, teaching P.E. In the afternoons, I would drive several miles to their combined Middle School and High School, to watch over the Study Hall (something I did not enjoy). During two summers, I was a Camp Counselor at their Youth Ranch, which was fun.

At the prompting of some people at the Independent Baptist Church, I attended Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC, for 2 years. The school helped me tremendously in every way except one: my spiritual life. Without going into long, tedious detail, I’ll just say that my zeal for the Lord was destroyed there. I went into deep rebellion against God and experienced the blackest, darkest days of my entire life. For years afterward, I even had nightmares about the school.

After that, still suffering from rebellion and recovering from my loss of zeal for God, I casually visited different churches of different denominations: Lutheran, Presbyterian, Charismatic, etc.

I then joined a Lutheran Evangelical church, which my family had joined a couple years before. They had just gotten a new Pastor who slowly introduced more and more Charismatic practices into the church. I was a member of this church for several years, in which time I taught 1st and 2nd Grade Children’s Sunday School, and began a Clown Ministry there, using children, teens and adults, performing not only for the church, but for schools, nursing homes and hospitals as well.

Though I disagreed with a number of the things the church taught, I stayed silent, figuring I would never find a perfect church. However, the breaking point came when a woman speaker visited one day and tried to loudly and aggressively force me, along with several others, to begin speaking in tongues, in front of the entire congregation. I saw clearly that false doctrine and unscriptural practices were occurring at that church, so I left the church. About a year later, that church split, when it was discovered that the Pastor was an alcoholic and would drink from the church’s Communion wine all day long during the week; yet he and his wife both refused to admit it, even when the church elders, and later, representatives from the Lutheran board were brought in to address the issue.

After that, I again began to inconsistently visit various churches.

Then, after a period of several weeks spent in a ‘Creation vs. Evolution’ online debate; while at the same time, participating in another online debate with a Catholic, addressing the issue of faith plus works vs. salvation by faith alone, the Lord used this to show me that I needed the fellowship and encouragement of other Christians. Then I saw an article in the newspaper that gave a summary of all the local churches and synagogues, including quotes from each Pastor, Priest or Rabbi from each church or synagogue. I noticed a Christian and Missionary Alliance church, which, although I had read of them as being a missionary organization, I had not realized they had also become a denomination. Because of the respect I had gained for them from reading biographies of their missionaries, and because I liked what that Pastor had said in his quote, I visited and later joined that church, which turned out to be the best church I had ever attended up to that point. During the several years I was a member there, I experienced some of the most incredible and awesome interventions and miracles from the Lord, at my workplace, that I have ever experienced. In fact, I even refer to the last year there as my ‘Year of Miracles,’ because God worked such incredible and unbelievable miracles in my life during that time.

While a member of that church, I participated in a study of Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God,” meeting at someone’s house, which was an excellent study, as well as an enjoyable time of fellowship. Immediately after that ended, I began attending BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), which was absolutely the best and most intensive Bible study that I had ever participated in. I learned and gained more from those studies than from any previous Bible study. Beginning with my 3rd year in BSF, I was chosen to be a Discussion Leader.

Around that time, I also attended a Promise Keepers meeting in Tampa, which was good, though it could not match my Cursillo weekend years before.

I had strongly disliked Miami for many years, and felt like a foreigner and a minority in my own country. So, when my family, who had already moved to Central Florida, kept pressing me to move up there with them, I finally gave in. I moved, along with my brother who lived only 15 minutes from me, to Central Florida. I moved in with my parents in Dunnellon (which was a bit of a miracle in itself, since I had previously sworn that I would live under a bridge before I ever lived with my parents again), and my brother moved in with my other brother and his wife, in Ocala. Even though I was living with my parents, I refer to this time as my ‘Year of Blessings,’ because living in Dunnellon was light years more enjoyable and tolerable than living in Miami. In addition, I bought the first sporty-looking car I had ever owned. Though I had owned numerous cars before, I had always wanted a sports car, but had never had one. Though a Pontiac Sunfire was not technically a sports car, it was close enough for me.

I first began attending a local Charismatic church with my family, but I didn't feel comfortable there. I had determined, before moving from Miami, that I would try to find another Christian Missionary and Alliance church. God answered my prayer, and I found one that was only 3 minutes from where I was living! I attended there for the rest of the time I lived with my parents.

I also wanted to find a BSF class, which I did, and began attending there. However, it was not nearly the same as the one I had attended in Miami. I strongly sensed a binding spirit of legalism, which I felt was a hindrance to Christian growth, so I stopped going.

My brother shortly got a job and moved into his own apartment. After 1 ½ years living with my parents, I too moved into an apartment in Ocala. I bought a PS2, which was exciting, because it was the first time I had ever bought a gaming system.

After moving to the apartment in Ocala, which I lived in for 3 years, I attended several different churches, though I didn't find one that I really wanted to join. At one Baptist church I attended, I participated in a study of Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” meeting at someone’s house. It was OK, but nowhere near as enjoyable or profitable as the study of Blackaby’s “Experiencing God.”

At one point, I had been praying for God to bring someone that could be a Christian friend to my workplace. I had also been praying to become involved in a Bible study, as well as praying that God would lead me to a really good Christian church.

Well, God answered my prayers. A Christian brother named Anthony started working at the company where I was working. He invited me to his Calvary Chapel church, which I attended for a while, and which I enjoyed. I noticed that he had a copy of a book by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, who are hosts of “The Way of the Master” TV program as well as a web site ( and several books. I told him I was reading the same book. Shortly after that, Anthony saw someone witnessing to a group of people in the local Mall, and introduced himself. The person's name doing the witnessing was Byron, who was using evangelism techniques he had learned from “The Way of the Master” videos and books. This led to Byron and Anthony organizing a “Way of the Master” weekly class, which Anthony invited me to attend. We went through a series of videos and handouts over the next several weeks. After that, we set out to begin witnessing in teams at the local Mall, at the Movie Theater, and later, at events like UF Football Games and local Festivals. Thus began what I refer to as my ‘Year of Evangelism.’ I had not been so active in witnessing to people since the times I used to go witnessing with Mr. Keller years ago. Though I have been very nervous at times, telling people about the gospel of Jesus Christ has been a great blessing and a great challenge. I believe this is the most important work we can do.

Byron decided that he wanted to find a church that was more on fire for the Lord, and more on fire for evangelism, than the church he was then attending. Part of the reason was that he would go witnessing door-to-door every Saturday, and practically no one from his church would ever join him. I went with him to visit a couple different churches that he had found online, and the second one we visited, we both decided we liked. He became a member of the church immediately, and I became a member several months later. I am currently attending that church, and I consider it to be possibly the best church I have ever attended. I praise God for once again answering my prayers and desires.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Is God Real?

In College, I was required to read a book by Freud that had very strong, convincing 'proof' that God does not exist.

After reading that book, for the very first time in my life, I seriously thought that maybe God does not exist after all...that maybe I had been wrong all along. But then I began to think back on the events of my life...and after a few minutes of serious doubt and unbelief, and thinking that maybe my entire life I had believed a lie, that maybe there was no such thing as 'God' after all, I realized that God really does exist. I was totally confident of this because of the things that had occurred in my life.

There have been many, many things in my life that give me complete confidence that God is real. Many of them, however, are things which I cannot adequately describe in words, because they are so beyond the normal human experience. Other things, taken individually, might be dismissed as mere coincidence; however, such things happen so frequently that the excuse of them being 'coincidences' becomes insurmountably inadequate; taken as a whole, they become overwhelming, glaring evidence of God working in my life. Still more things have happened in my life that are so extraordinary, unusual and miraculous that most people would not believe it. Because of all this, I will try to limit my examples to only those things which most people should, hopefully, be able to logically comprehend or relate to, or at least limit my examples to those things which are not as hard to believe as some of my other experiences. Not only that, but to list everything would take many, many pages of writing. Therefore, please realize that the following examples are only the tip of the iceberg.

Let me just preface it by saying that, just as is true with every born-again believer, I have met, and know, God personally (and please, don't ask me the silly question, "Well, then, what does He look like?", because God is spirit, not flesh; so He obviously does not have a physical body), and I, like every regenerated believer, have a personal, intimate relationship with Christ Jesus, God the Son, Who is my Lord and my Savior. I have been made into a new creation...the old is gone. In addition, God the Holy Spirit lives and dwells in me. God lives inside me! Not in the sense of, "Well, God lives in everyone," because that is not true. Not all people, contrary to popular belief, are children of God. You are only a child of God if you have been born again. Everyone is a creation of God (not a direct creation, like Adam and Eve, but a reproduced creation); but not everyone is a child of God.

Anyway, when I was 19 years old, I repented of all my sins, turned to Jesus, and asked Jesus Christ to forgive my wicked, sinful life; I acknowledged that I was a wicked sinner who deserved eternal torment in Hell, because of my evil, selfish, prideful rebellion against God, my Creator, and against His holy Law. I knew that I fully deserved God's wrath. I asked Jesus to come into my life, and to be my Savior and the Lord of my life from now on. I have surrendered my life and my future to Him. The sacrificial blood of Christ Jesus has cleansed me of all my sins, and because of His sacrifice for me, Christ's perfect righteousness has been applied to my account, so that God the Father considers me to be sinless, holy and perfect. Just as, in the Old Testament, where the broken tablets of the Ten Commandments (broken by Moses because of man's sin, showing man's inability to obey God's Law perfectly) were covered over by the Mercy Seat, and the sacrificed animal's blood covered the Mercy Seat, so that, when God the Father looked down at His Law broken by man, He saw the sacrificial blood between the broken Law and Himself. Similarly, when God the Father looks at me, He sees the sacrificial blood of His Son, Christ Jesus the Messiah, the Lamb of God, the King of all Kings, the Lord of all Lords, God the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, the "I Am," the Alpha and Omega, the only Intercessor between God the Father and man, the Second Adam, the One Who always was, Who is, and Who is to come...when the Father looks at me, He sees His Son's blood covering over my sins; He sees the perfect, holy, sinless life of Christ Jesus being imputed to my account; He sees me as a holy saint. Being now a clean, holy vessel, the Holy Spirit indwells me, and I became a living temple of God. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the last time being around 70 A.D. God now dwells within those chosen, predestined individuals who have been regenerated/born again/made righteous and holy in God's eyes.

Years ago I was hiking with a group in North Carolina. For some reason which I don't even now remember, I got really, really, mad...I was EXTREMELY agitated! In fact, I was SO agitated, angry and irritated, that I took my walking stick and, in a fit of immature anger, smashed it in half against a tree. I was the last one in the line of hikers, so, realizing I could not go on with such an attitude, which would ruin everyone else's (and my) day (because, if I continued with that attitude, I knew people would start saying things like, "What's your problem? Why are you acting like such a jerk?"), I dropped to my knees and quietly (yet very sincerely) prayed. A few minutes later, I didn't stand up...instead, I actually LEAPED up with incredible JOY and EXUBERATION! I was extremely EXCITED and incredibly HAPPY---SO happy, that I lifted up my hands to God, rejoicing, and began jumping up and down for joy! I ran...actually, I BOUNCED...jumping up and down in excitement, to catch up to the rest of the group. God had not only taken away my furious anger, but He had replaced it with His joy. My attitude had been INSTANTANEOUSLY changed, to the very opposite a RADICAL degree.

Now, I am the type of person that can nurse a grudge, and I tend to let things boil inside of me, until I explode like a volcano. At that point, I become so enraged, that it takes me a long, long time to cool down. (In the years since, God has been working on me to teach me not to be so much like that.) During that hike, when my furious anger was not only instantly erased, but replaced with ecstatic JOY, that was something that only God could do in me, because there was absolutely NO earthly or natural reason for me to not only stop being mad, but become instantly joyful and exuberantly excited.

Another time...and this happened after I had already been saved...I was deeply burdened with guilt over a specific sin that I had committed...this was the most burdened and guilty I had ever been and felt in my entire life. For the first and only time in my life, I seriously began believing (in ignorance) that I had committed the unpardonable sin. I began to consider that, no matter what I did from that point on...even if I asked for forgiveness...I was still going to burn in Hell forever. Everything that I had done and believed in my life didn't matter, because I had now possibly committed a sin that was absolutely unforgivable. I wondered if, no matter what happened, I was now destined for Hell, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I felt like there was a heavy, black cloud of depression and hopelessness over me. I was so upset and distraught over this, that it actually caused me to throw up!

Well, since I had nothing to lose, I knelt down and prayed. Even though I didn't believe I could be forgiven, I begged for forgiveness anyway, pouring my heart and soul out to the Lord Jesus, turning away from my sin and turning to Him for help. I was completely, totally, deeply sincere with God, and it was a true, heartfelt prayer. Suddenly, and instantly, I felt a huge, gigantic, incredibly heavy weight being lifted off of me! The 'dark cloud' which had seemed to cover me, suddenly vanished!

People often use the phrase, "it was like a heavy weight had been lifted off of me," to the point of being over-used, so that it is almost a meaningless phrase anymore. Well, for the first time in my life, that phrase became real to me. I suddenly felt an unearthly peace...not a peace like you feel sitting in a quiet meadow or beside the ocean as you, something far deeper. I suddenly knew that all was right with my soul. I was confident that nothing could harm me, because I was restored to God, and He was protecting me. Even someone being rescued after being buried for days by an earthquake could not feel such soul-deep peace. I felt like I had gone from Hell to Heaven in an instant...from a sense of the darkest depression, total futility, and complete hopelessness, to a peace and exhilaration, release and comfort, unlike anything else in the world! And this change had occurred in a split-second!

These are merely a couple examples of many, many events that have happened to me which, especially when you add them all up, provide unmistakable, personally-experienced evidence that God is not only real, but that He lives within me, and that He loves me. May each person reading this (if you have not already surrendered your life to Christ Jesus as your Lord, and become a new creation in Him) repent of their sins and ask Christ Jesus, Who is God the Son, to wash away all your sins, and follow Him forever. If you do so, the Holy Spirit, Who is the Comforter and the Teacher, will indwell you, and you will then KNOW He is real, because you will know Him personally and intimately.

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