Absurd question right? Everyone knows that if anyone went to heaven then it was Billy. Well, not everyone. Apparently there are so many ways to heaven that in someone's scheme he was "in" because he is one of those rare evangelists who lived without having a sexual scandal mark his ministry. For others, he was "out" because heaven is limited to their group.
My denomination and culture taught me certain ideas about the invisible world. It was filled with evil spirits, demons, and devils where a king of darkness named Satan lived. After many years of doing "spiritual warfare" I began to see things differently. Here are just a few "crazy" ideas I used to believe about satan, the devil and demons. Have you ever thought about this?
A vast number of things that we have attributed to "demonic" activity simply aren't. For instance, we suppose that if cabinet doors swing open and things fall off the walls or plates jump off shelves... it must be a demon in the house. Yet, the truth is we never find these things associated with demons anywhere in the Bible.
Things that go bump in the night. Slithering or flailing people doing extraordinary things or knowing things that couldn't be known by natural means. Houses inhabited by demons that cause cabinets to open or things to fall off the walls. Have you experienced any of these kind of things? Not surprisingly many people would say yes.
Do demons exist? Are they fallen angels? Evil spirits? Do people in seances hear their dead mother speaking or is it just demons?
If demons are real, then where do they come from? There is actually no origin story to demons as they are never called fallen angels in the Bible.
Of course Jesus wasn't a Christian technically since he was/is the Christ. Do we see any signs that he was instituting a new religion called Christianity though? Let's check out some common "church" beliefs and see if Jesus ministry aligned with them.
Did Jesus demand that his followers adhere to a set of beliefs about his birth narrative in order to follow or know him? No. The gospel of Mark which is considered the oldest gospel doesn't even mention it.
Did Jesus require that his disciples believe in hell? No, the Old Testament scriptures never spoke of hell, and Jesus only warned his generation of "hell" on earth... Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom where hundreds of thousands of bodies would be cast and eaten by worms after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Here are numerous articles demonstrating Jesus never taught on HELL.
The New Jerusalem, a quasi natural-spiritual city that will float down out of the heavens above at the end of the world? A city that is made out of gems and silver and streets of gold?
Well, can I encourage you to rethink that just a bit? Of course there is a heaven if we are talking about "in his presence is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures evermore" (Ps. 16:11). But the New Jerusalem was never about going to heaven. It was simply a synonym for how everyone would belong to the community of the presence of God on earth.
Is it really appointed unto a man once to die and then the judgment? Let me ask you a question. How many times did Lazarus die? Unless you believe he is physically alive today then you know that Lazarus died and was raised from the dead, but then some years later he died a natural death again. He died twice. Plus, what about all those thousands of people in our day who were clinically dead for some time and then came back?
So maybe, just maybe this verse has been used out of context.
Breaking soul ties. We did it. We tried it. It didn't work. Then we shoved our heads in a hole in the wall waiting to figure out what's next. Ok, maybe not, but it did leave us stranded trying to figure out the next religious technique.
But as somewhat of a spiritual scientist who digs deeper, I wondered why there was usually temporary relief but no permanent changes. Here is what I discovered.
What is the Lake of Fire? It is assumed that the Lake of Fire is a place of eternal torment, or hell. That is the standard modern definition in most churches in America. But is that true?
I think I can show scripturally and logically that the Lake of Fire is a symbol for the fires that destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.
One of the great limitations that religion put on us is the idea that the will of God is some secret mysterious plan of God's that he rarely lets us in on. We struggle making decisions about the pursuit of our dreams because we are waiting for a "sign" that we should do this or that. Sadly, we never feel we are in the perfect will of God, and actually miss following our heart in the process. See the will of God isn't found in the Bible. It is found very simply in your own heart.
There are a number of things that we are taught that aren't actually in the Bible. Feel free to look these up, but you won't find them in a scripture anywhere. For instance:
- Pray this sinners prayer so you can be saved.
- Believe in Jesus SO THAT you can go to heaven.
- Get forgiven SO THAT you can go to heaven.
- Confess and admit your sins SO THAT you can go to heaven.
- Ask Jesus into your heart.
Of course heaven is real, but the things we supposedly believe come from the Bible, aren't always there.
Whether you grew up in church or not, there is a good chance you can quote John 3:16 from memory. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him will not perish, but will have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Like most of us, you probably think that this "eternal life" is a synonym for "going to heaven when we die." But that would not be the truth.
I believe that God has given us the power to access, activate and achieve our dreams. Of course there are lots of methods and programs to help us reach those goals, but I wondered if it was less complicated.
And I found that it was.
Yes, we do need to learn how to steward our hearts into those dreams. But I wanted to know what the common denominator was in getting our heart's desires. Was it prayer? Was it having enough faith? Was it being smart enough? Was it just luck? Or was it an arbitrary God who blessed some but not others?