christianity

I was reading about Hell…

Every few months or so, I kind of go into this deep meditation or research kick and read about Hell. The existence of it. And I sit here, wondering why I worship my God. Do I worship Him because I love Him, because I love His Son? Or do I do it because I’m afraid of going to Hell?

Bear with me as I muddle through this. I need to get this out and my thoughts are kind of all over the place.

Hell is a horrible place, from what I’ve heard/read. Being tortured by fire at extremely high temperatures. Molten sulpher. Worms that eat you. Other countless horrors. And the part that disturbs me is that it lasts forever. It never, ever, ever, ever stops. NEVER. I can’t grasp that and yet, it sounds sooo scary to me. I’m terrified of going there. Even as I sin because I can’t help it. I’m a human, I’m a sinner. That’s that. And Hell is a scary reality for me. As far as I’m concerned, it exists, and I hate it.

I don’t want to be a “Christian” who’s following this faith only to avoid going to Hell. But I find myself doing that. I start to analyse my every move, making sure I don’t do something to offend God. But then I hear that Jesus died for me so that I wouldn’t go to Hell. Okay, that’s wonderful.

But what about those who have never heard of Jesus? Why should they be punished for eternity for something that is not of their fault? God can do anything–why wouldn’t He provide them the Gospel? Will us Christians who are supposed to evangelize end up going to Hell because we didn’t go out and try to teach all of those people the gospel? How does this work?

Why is there a Hell? I tend to think of my God relationship as a parent-child/teenager relationship. And when I relate myself with Aidan, I can’t see myself ever, ever, ever punishing him forever and ever for anything! I love him too much. I love him more than anything; the mere thought of anything terrible happening to him brings me near tears. So how can God, who loves us so, want to punish us for eternity?

Okay, okay. So that’s where Jesus comes in. Apparently God doesn’t want to punish us for eternity. He sent His son to die for us so we would be able to go to Heaven. But that still doesn’t help me reconcile the idea that there are lots of people who never even get the CHANCE to learn about Jesus and therefore they get to suffer for eternity. Who is the blame for that? Will *I* go to Hell because I’m not evangelizing? Because I’m not in other countries teaching/preaching the Gospel? It is SO hard to lead someone to Christ. I’ve tried. I can’t do it. It’s not my talent. Will I go to Hell because I am unskilled in that area of my life??

Does God offer them an opportunity after they die? Who knows? Should I even be caring/fretting?

So then I start to think–if I’m going to Hell anyway, then why am I trying to be so good? Why don’t I just do whatever I want? I should just go to Best Buy now and take that plasma HDTV I want. I can think of lots of things I want to do, but I don’t because I don’t want to offend God and therefore go to Hell.

It all boils down to Hell for me. I’ve always been afraid of being punished. Even when I was little, my mother said that a “whipping” was the one thing I was terrified of. Is it healthy to lead my life with that kind of a fear? What happened to my desire to have a relationship with God? And with Jesus? Where did that go?

Is Hell real? Or is it an idea planted to scare us all into behaving? Will we understand at the Final Judgement? Will we all see our lives and our actions and understand and accept why we deserve Hell for eternity and go there willingly? Is there even going to be a Final Judgement? I don’t know about you, but the thought of all of my sins/thoughts/actions/everything being exposed to the world scares me to pieces. And fills me with great shame.

I don’t know, I don’t know.

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A Weird Small Group

Ironically, the church service that I walked out on Sunday for several reasons was the topic of discussion tonight at small group. And… it was just weird. At first, I wasn’t really feeling it, but then I was feeling it too much. I had so much I wanted to say, but I kept quiet because to say what was inside of me, I’d have to reveal a lot more than I wanted to reveal tonight.

The passage was on Jonah, and the whole getting swallowed by a fish episode. They kind of puzzled through it. I understood all too well what it meant. I understand all too well what it means, was able to apply it perfectly to my life, to where I am with God, to how I’m feeling about everything and about God. It hit so close to home, I had to make superhuman efforts to keep from getting emotional. To keep from thinking too hard. It’s…I don’t know.

I guess that’s all I wanted to say.

ETA:
The Quote of the Night came from Joshua: SQUARE BOB SPONGE PANTS! And… and… Paddington Bear will never be the same.

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You’ll Never Stand Alone

I stood in line for 90 minutes this morning to cast my ballot. And now, it’s done. We’ll find out who our new president is tomorrow.

Small group was kind of intense tonight. We did some serious praying. Kelly P prayed for me, and her words were so beautiful that I was in tears within seconds. Kim wrapped her arms around me. I feel so yummy around those people. I love talking to them and sharing with them and being around them. And.. ROB showed up! That was a treat. I never see Rob and he’s so cool. Craig bought pizzas. His Dominoes was doing a special for tonight. $3.99 pizzas, unlimited. He hooked us up. I took cookies and M&Ms. Yummm.

I need a full blown Kelly P (who looks very cute with her new haircut) fix soon.

After group, we hung out and chatted. Good times. Interesting conversations. VERY interesting. Talks ranged from prostitution in Vegas, falling asleep randomly, and the proper way to stab someone to the election (UGH), jobs, Tami’s NEED for meat, and at some point, Chris decided to recite the whole “pilot” alphabet. alpha, beta, charlie…. Weird. I was disturbed about Tyler saying he used to read Cosmo for the sex tips. See, he’s a guy. Aren’t the sex tips in those books meant to please MEN?

I know he was kidding. But it was great ammo to tease him with.

I lost my cell phone! :( akljfalfjdkfa. I think it’s in Garth’s couch. I heard that’s a BAD place for it. :( I have to get over there and get it out, and soon. Of course, I put the dang thing on vibrate before I lost it, so I couldn’t call it to locate it. BOO. Hopefully I’ll find it soon.

Rob gave me his box of Mentos freshmints or whatever they’re called. They are yummy! :)

A few of us went to Craig’s after for an “election party.” We are such dorks. Craig ordered MORE pizza and Tami demanded chicken. So I made her chicken nugget thingys. Then she fell asleep on Craig’s loveseat. I wonder if she’s still there? Rob was cracking me up the whole time. My favorite quote from him tonight was: “I am calling Hell and confirming your reservation.” Favorite quote from Tami: “I like whiskey.” From Garth: “Y’all suck at leaving.”

So, you’re probably thinking “What kind of a Christian small group is this?” Mmm. All I can say is that we’re just normal people. But not so much. We like to act stupid and be sarcastic and tease each other. But then we have each other’s backs all the way. If one of us is sad, someone is going to be there for the other. Hugs, prayers, serious LOVIN’ ON. If something happy happens, then everyone celebrates. We share interests. We share our worries, our lives, ourselves. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

/end sappy music

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When I Say That I Am A Christian

When I Say That I Am A Christian

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I am not shouting that I am saved,
I’m whispering…”I was lost”…That’s why I chose this way.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I don’t speak of this with pride,
I am confessing that I stumble (all the time) and need someone to be my guide.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I am not trying to be strong,
I’m professing that I am weak…and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I’m not bragging of success,
I’m admitting I have failed and cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I am not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are too visible but God believes I am worth it.

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches…which is why I speak his name!

When I say that…”I am a Christian”…I do not wish to judge,
I have no authority…I am only loved.

I didn’t write this, but I think it’s so pretty.

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