“I knew about you, but…”

My most traumatic life experience has nothing to do with the abuse I’ve lived through, the amount of death that I have been surrounded by, or near death experiences I’ve had.
My most traumatic experience came in the form of a church play…

When I was younger (like, little kid young), my church did a show a couple of times called “Heaven’s Gates, and Hell’s Flames”.

When I was about 7, we did the play and my mom played a young mom who dies with her baby & faces judgement after having lived a “good” life, but not really committed to the gospel. My little sister played the baby.
Let me set a scene for you that has haunted me to this day.
One of my biggest fears, and actually quite a bit more traumatic for me than I ever realized:

A young woman and her baby are killed. She stands before the judgement seat & begins to think over her life. She knows of God & His Son, she has been a good person, but she’s never really sold out to Christ. Never been dedicated to the relationship or expansion of the Kingdom. Her name is not in the book of life. But, her baby has yet to be marred by the world & unable to make any decisions for herself.

So, the woman’s baby is taken from her to heaven; Then she cries, as she realizes where she’s going, and as she is dragged off to eternal damnation, she screams “I knew about you, but I never really knew you!”

– Reality Outreach Ministries, Inc.

This was my mom, and to this day, there are certain times when I still picture my baby sister being removed from her hands, her being dragged away, & her blood curdling scream comes into my head: I knew about you, but I never really knew you.

Just like the Pastor in the Left Behind movie who screams at God, “I stood right there!” pointing at the pulpit. Lamenting on how he had spoken the word of God each week but it hadn’t penetrated his heart.

Since I was 7 years old (there is a reason they recommend offering a place for kids 9 and under during the performance) and watched my sister be taken from my mom’s arms & my mom dragged away to the pit of hell – this has been one of my biggest fears.
For myself, for my family.

That we would know about Him, but not really know Him.

We know all the lingo, the words to the songs, we raise our hands in Worship.
But, it’s not enough…

Our hearts have to be filled with faith & our lives filled with action (James 1:14-26).
Lip service, pious tweets, & pretty Instagram pictures aren’t enough.

And, just like the young mom in the play; just like the pastor in Left Behind; God’s word says some people will look like they have it all together, like they are on their way to Heaven, but they will be turned away:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons  and perform miracles?’  Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!'”

– Matthew 7:21-22

One of the biggest criticisms I’ve found online for this play (which still tours), is that it scares people into repentance; and it’s not true repentance. Along with this scare tactic people have complained about comes a lot of people who balk at a doctrine of hell, and eternal separation from God, calling it “unbiblical”
…Unfortunately they are wrong.

It’s clear from this passage, and others, that though God’s will is that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9; John 3:16-17; Ezekiel 33:11), some still will due to His loving design of free-will (Ezekiel 18:21-32; John 3:18; Romans 6:23; Revelation 20-21; 2 Thes 1:9).

So, I’ve been terrified at different points of my life…
how do I really know I’m saved…

Lucky for me, His word outlines that, as well:

  • I am saved if I: confess Jesus as Lord; believe in my heart that He has been raised up by God. Justified by belief in my heart & professed of faith with my mouth – Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9-10,13) (Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32)
  • If I am saved, my life will look different, and it will be evidenced by my love for others (1 John 4:7-21); it will be evidenced by the fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-24)

It’s about the heart. The changes made, dying to myself each day & following him (Luke 9:23, Matt 16:24, Mark 8:34).

I know I can’t actually see into the hearts of those around me, but I can be sure of my own salvation. I can be pretty sure of the salvation of those in my life based on the above evidence.

And, I can recognize the tool of the devil to try to confuse & scare me, as he is prone to do (1 Peter 5:8).
When I hear that scream in my head & I get worried or confused, I can come back with the Word of God knowing that fear and confusion isn’t of Him (2 Tim 1:7).

I have faith on the other side of that fear that instead of me crying out “I knew of you, but never knew you”; Instead, my name will be in the book & I will hear “Well done, good and faithful one”.


Let me know what you think, below. Let me know how I can pray for you 🙂

Stewardship…or something

As I have started to think about my dreams – my Tiny House & traveling youth ministry…a PhD & a plot of Pacific Northwest land – I have been going back, back to the dreams that started it all…

fullsizerender

And, I have been thinking forward, forward to what the future may hold.

In high school, I had visions of a youth ministry/program. Running groups for teen moms. Teaching young adults about taking care of themselves & the world around them. Giving a safe place. Providing groups for the depressed & anxious, lonely & alone.

Without being a teen mom myself. Before I knew what sustainable living was. Having no idea of the extent of social media or the means/location God would send me, God still awakened these dreams in my heart.

Yet, I don’t know that I have been a very good example in my own life of these ways of living. ..

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Cor. 6:19-20

“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:28

When I read these passages, I am reminded: my body & this earth are not my own. I am meant to be a steward of them, and take care of them.

However, as I have been reflecting on these old dreams, and my life up to now, I am not sure I have done my best to take care of either…

I do have a goal to live a more sustainable life, to live in a manner of being a better steward of what God has given me. I want to be able to teach that to others.

But, up til now,  I really don’t think I can say I have done my best here.

Struggling with depression for ten years, and a continuing struggle with anxiety, kind of left me depleted of some of my natural resources.

When you’re depressed, you can be fatigued, irritable, and unable to function at times. You may not fuel your body the best, may not sleep well, and may not care to let the love of others care for you, even as you cannot manage to care for yourself.

Yet, God has been showing me over the last few years, what a free life can feel like. What beauty comes with taking care of ourselves and the world He’s blessed us with.

So, as I continue to prepare for the dreams He is opening up to reality, I will continue to strive to be a steward of the body He’s entrusted me with; and I will begin to look at ways to be a better steward of the environment – living more intentionally, less cluttered. More sustainably, less selfishly.

I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

Choice

So, I know it’s Friday, and typically, on Friday, I would do a Five Minute Friday post…and I have one of those that I will type in a post tomorrow, but today (and in my FMF post), I have a lot more to say on CHOICE.

CHOICE is the topic of a new link-up I wanted to take part in called Tuesday @ Ten over at Finding the Grace Within. She encourages any form of artistic expression around the topic, and keeps the link up open a little longer, now (thankfully)… So, while there will be more on the subject tomorrow, here’s my original poem for:

CHOICE:

Two worlds, two paths
Ahead at my feet.
Posing the question of my life
Which do I choose?
Like Frost, faced with his option,
Yet mine is:
The World, or
The Word?
Choosing the Word seems
Ludicrous
To those who don’t understand.
The Way of the Cross
Is before me;
The Blood guiding.
But, the fruit is there, too.
The poison of humanity;
The temptation,
The basest of desires.
My breakable heart within,
And yet with a Spirit Unbreakable.
Do I choose The One
Whose Cross I see?
Or follow the other
Who calls for me?
I see the beautiful dream,
The life of promise;
So clear.
Yet, the desire for the other is strong.
Only one will I truly find
Fulfilling.
The hardest choice I’ve ever made;
Bewildered that His voice is so clear,
Guiding me.
I know where I need to go,
Where my heart will find Joy,
Where Peace will be mine.
Into the Freedom,
Out of the fear.
Into the Light, out of the darkness.
On hearing His voice,
The Flame of Passion
Ignites within.
The choice made, the toughest I’ve faced.
The Freedom of His will for me,
The Dream He’s given
Now to be chased with
Abandon.

© Candice Jenee, 2014