You’re Going to Hell

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“If you wore your hair past your ears, you were going to hell.”

“If you wore a colored dress shirt to church, instead of a white shirt, you were going to hell.”

“If you were at a stop light and looked poorly at a woman and then got into a wreck and died, you were going to hell.”

The list of rules and unofficial law went on and on. Deep diving into the insanity of whether you wore a short sleeve shirt versus a long sleeve shirt, to church, determining your eternal destination.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

“God’s grace was something that was preached but not understood.”

God reminded me this past week that we all come from different places. Even members of the same church, who are fellow believers in Christ, have prior built foundations. Rules and family situations, that may have felt true and normal at the time, which turned out to be built on lies of men.

I’m reminded that if the backdrops of our lives can differ so much with those that are around us, what about those that we encounter online?

I think we can easily assume that others are just like us. Raised, perhaps, in stable families; Raised in churches that were more about God’s grace versus invented “Biblical” law.

“I was afraid to read the Bible.”

We assume so much in our day-to-day interactions. This week, when I was able to actually listen to someone, I heard a different story than my own. I had assumed, perhaps projected my own experience, and I was wrong.

God is teaching me to listen more intently. I can’t imagine growing up without the peace that God has shown me through his grace. I can’t imagine thinking that my slightest action was going to send me to hell. I’m sure my wearing shorts to church, more often than not, would secure me a permanent place there… if the laws I described above were founded in truth. Thankfully, God, in his grace, isn’t concerned about my clothing.

The lies of the devil are prevalent. His lies even infect the church. Be aware. Listen. Lift a fellow brother or sister up. Speak truth.

Peace.

I met my wife in hell

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I met my wife in hell. In the bowels of a Christian haunted house. I was playing some sort of motorcycle riding bad boy; she was playing the role of my sister. Nothing weird, just evangelism.

I remember my dorm floor chaplain asking me to be in the play. I wasn’t interested. And yet felt that I needed to be a part of this “scare people to Jesus” movement.

At our first practice, I was immediately attracted to the other woman playing my sister. You see, we had two casts that rotated turns acting throughout the night. No polygamy or Arkansas relationships going on here. Turns out I was attracted to a mean married woman. I’ve never known much about the lady folk beyond Jane Austen.

We rehearsed, rotated through the different walkthrough sets, finalized how things were going to go down. I didn’t notice Tabitha until the next night.

We were between scenes. It was late. I was laying across some chairs, tired. She didn’t see me and almost sat on me. We laughed. I knew I could talk to her about almost anything. I told her something about my Grandpa Ayers, not sure what. The sister I hadn’t paid a second thought to was suddenly front and center.

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Tabitha and I always laugh about how we first met. How we were both in a place where we had given up on dating, on finding the “one”. Heck, Tab wasn’t even supposed to be at school that semester. A cancelled class, much to her displeasure, put her on campus at the same time as me. God is funny.

Life hasn’t turned out the way either of us thought it would. I’m still working in an unhealthy work environment with zero room for advancement. We haven’t been able to have any more children beyond our only son. The Special.

I think we’ve been in a period of refocusing. Trying to figure out who we are as a family and who we want to be.

I’m not sure what the future holds. We could be leaving East Texas; we could be adopting children. I have no idea. But I do know that obedience to God, that stepping out and following Him, has always been hard but good.

Capable of Much: The Tongue

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This morning my wife and I read James 3 in preparation for our Wednesday night Bible study. The first part of it really stuck out to me:

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. – James 3:1-12

In verses 3-8, the tongue is compared to a:

  • Horse bit
  • Rudder
  • Small spark
  • Fire (Hell)
  • Restless evil (full of deadly poison)
Verses 9 & 10 points out our hypocrisy:
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. – James 3:9-10
Which then reminds me of Proverbs 18:21:
21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Everyday, we make constant word choices in our conversations. We have the ability to lift people up or tear them to pieces with a verbal tongue lashing. Just this morning I was presented with such a choice at work. Thankfully, I took the high ground and kept my mouth shut. Do I still want to say something? Yes. Do I need to? No.
11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
I want to be known for speaking words of life into peoples lives. I want to be a spring of fresh water. Do you?

Darksiders

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Update: Looking back, I don’t think my criticism of this game was healthy. Read this.
Press Start:
War, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, has been accused of somehow beginning the end of the world early. Stripped of his powers as punishment, War must traverse what is left of the Kingdom of Men in order to seek out and eliminate The Destroyer.
Ideology/ Worldview:
Darksiders envelopes itself in a world of distorted Biblical allusions. No where is God mentioned, even though the entire story is loosely based on the book of Revelation. Instead of God ruling supreme in the game’s world, the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse act as some sort of cosmic referees between the forces of Heaven and Hell. Which come to think of it, this game also exhibits a mixture of Eastern mysticism with focus on balance, and yin and yang. Also present are altars which require blood offerings.
Interaction/Gameplay:
Slaughter monsters and collect their souls to feed to demons. Beyond that, lots of flashy swordplay which evokes games such as God of War or Devil May Cry.
In the End:
As a Christian, I feel personally convicted over playing this game. The flippancy with which demons are interacted with and treated (as if it were a normal thing to interact with demonic creatures) sickens me. I also dislike having to feed “souls” to demons in an effort to buy them off/ obtain information. Darksiders is a dark game – surprise! – based on a pseudo spiritual mythology. While I am willing to overlook certain aspects due to their fictional nature, I am unwilling to treat Hell and demons with such a non-serious attitude. I really wanted to like this game (graphics and gameplay are fun) but in the end find that I cannot recommend it for myself or others.
Due to Darksiders intense spiritual nature, avoid at all costs!

– Level of Impact Rating –
Medium: Casual play. Does not require large chunks of time.