December 2022 Newsletter

Hello again. It’s December of 2022. We are all living above ground so that is good, right? I have a big question for you this month. Here it is:

“What does Christmas mean to you?

Some will say family and friends. Others will point to just another day, while yet others will say it’s a festival of tree lightings, gifts and parties.

I think that the real meaning was lost years ago when Santa appeared, and a money-making holiday was born. I used to be one of these, “festival” guys. Let’s party was my cry until I learned what Christmas was all about.

It’s not gifts and alcoholic drinks. It’s not family gatherings around a turkey or ham. It’s not tree lighting and parties. These things may enhance the holiday, but the real original celebration of Christmas was because it reflects the birth of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son.

They said he was God in human form. He was not half god and half man. He was all God and all man. Listen to what the apostle John recorded Jesus saying. It is found in the 3rd chapter of John’s gospel, the 16th verse.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If we believe that Jesus is actually the Son of God, we acknowledge that he pre-existed as an eternal being before he was born into human flesh. John characterizes him as the “Word”

We also acknowledge that he was sent by God, the Father to earth for a specific purpose. Here again what john says about the only begotten Son of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jesus existed as the “Word” from the beginning.) The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14) The key points to remember are:

1. Jesus pre-existed before even creation as the “Word”
2. He was with God, and he was God.
3. H was sent to earth on a divine mission…To save mankind from their sin.
4. He created all things. Creation was his handiwork.
5. He possessed life, and it was the light of men.
6. The light of God shinned through Jesus into the hearts of all men and was not understood or accepted. But some did accept and were saved.
7. He came to his own, (The Jews) and was rejected but there were others that would believe that he actually came from God and was indeed his only begotten son.
8. All that would believe were given power to become the sons of God.
9. He took upon himself the role of a servant, giving up his divinity, to live as a man.
10. Being found in human flesh, instead of being divine, he humbled himself and became obedient unto the death of his own will and even the sacrificial death of the cross.

His obedience led him to become the spotless lamb spoken of by the prophets and the sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. (Isaiah 53:5)
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. (We can have the mind of Christ. We just need to allow it to happen.)
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

This is what we celebrate at Christmas. We give thanks to God for sending his only begotten Son that through him we can have eternal life. However, the greatest gift we can ever give to God is to receive Jesus into our hearts and make him Lord. When we do that, we fulfill our destiny and realize our full potential as God originally wanted. That is why we were created. That is why we are here. That is why we exist, to glorify God. That is what Christmas is all about. This Christmas, let us celebrate Jesus’ birth, why he came and who he really is.

A Good Christmas Gift for The Grandkids… An Elephant Named Clyde & Mister Tugboat Call to be sure they are in stock 3582-687-1776

Trivia Question…Last month I gave you one trivia question… Where did Jesus walk on water? The answer is the Sea of Galilee.

Here’s one for December…Where did Jesus get the bread and fish to feed 5,000 people?

Coming Soon, “Shadows in the Light of a Pale Moon” My Newest Book

I just finished my new book, the last one of this year and my 17th so far. The book is titled, “Shadows in the Light of a Pale Moon” It will sell for $14.95 and should be on the world-wide market soon. Here’s a synopsis. (Your V.I.P. price is $10 plus shipping)

“Shadows In the Light of a Pale Moon” is the story of Benny Ackerman, a fictional character that becomes the victim of a home invasion. He ends up killing one of the three intruders that broke into his home in the middle of the night. Because there was a death, his weapons were seized by police and a justification hearing was conducted to determine his mental competency.

During the investigation, police and the Judge both found that Benny’s actions violated multiple gun safety guidelines. He did everything wrong, and it was a wonder that he survived.

Benny was ordered to take a state sponsored gun safety and self-defense class before he could get his weapons back. During the class which had several other court-ordered folks, Benny learned the right way to defend himself and his family.

“Shadows In the Light of a Pale Moon” is written for anyone desiring to learn more about self-defense. Everyone can benefit from the many Tips, Do’s & Don’ts and a special section on “what to do in various situations.”

The book also focuses on 2nd Amendment Rights, Gun Control, Use of Deadly Force, Burglary Statistics, Home Inspections, Prevention Techniques, Victim Rights, Odds & Possibilities, The Christian Perspective, and much more.

Other books by John Marinelli are available at
www.marinellichristianbooks.com

For All You Karaoke Folks…Bart of MusicByBart is now doing karaoke at Mc Calls on Mondays from 1-4 and The Pub on Wednesdays from 5-8. See you there.

January Dance Party…Uncle Pepe will once again host his quarterly dance party. It is at Captiva recreation center in The Villages from 5-8 the 4th Sunday off January. Only Villagers can attend so if you live in the Villages, call him at 352-633-6300 and reserve a spot

I will leave you with this award-winning Christmas poem.

Wise Men Still Seek Him

Wise men still seek him
Who appeared so long ago.
They come now by grace
Through faithful hearts aglow

Wise men still seek him,
For he is their “Bread of Life”
A sustaining inner strength
Through times of sorrow or strife.

Wise men still seek him
The Christ of Calvary
God’s only begotten Son
Crucified as sin’s penalty.

Wise men still seek him,
Jesus, God in human array.
King of Kings and Lord of Lords,
Born to earth on Christmas Day.

Poem By John Marinelli

Until next time
John Marinelli, Author & Poet
www.marinellichristianbooks.com
[email protected]

November Blog

This month I’d like to discuss “Free Will and The Sovereignty of God.”

Am I in control of my own destiny or is it all planned out and I am just a pawn in a much larger scheme? Sometimes I feel like I have no control over my life. Do you feel that way? This blog will deal with “Free Will” verses the Sovereignty of God. This has been a source of controversy in the church for centuries. Is God in control, or am I the master of my destiny?

The Sovereignty of God is the Biblical teaching that all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens without his permission and direction. This view is supported by scripture.

Here’s the text…God works, not just some things, but all things, according to the counsel of his own will (see Eph. 1:11). His purposes are all-inclusive and never thwarted (see Isa. 46:11); nothing takes him by surprise.

The sovereignty of God is not merely that God has the power and right to govern all things, but that he does so, always, without exception. In other words, God is not merely sovereign in principle, but is also sovereign in practice.

“Although the sovereignty of God is universal and absolute, it is not the sovereignty of blind power. It is coupled with infinite wisdom, holiness, and love. This doctrine, when properly understood, is most comforting and reassuring. Who would not prefer to have his or her affairs in the hands of a God of infinite power, wisdom, holiness and love, rather than to have them left to fate, or chance, or irrevocable natural law, or to shortsighted and perverted self? Those who reject God’s sovereignty should consider what alternatives they have left.” Loraine Boettner. As I see it, there is only death and destruction.

God created all beings including the angels but some have fallen. Let us be sure that this does not make God the author of sin, for, as man, they fell from their created state. This includes all false gods. But God is over them, whether they be angels, demons, or the god of this world, the devil. The Psalmist said, “..Thou are exalted far above all gods”, Psalm 97:9, and again, “.. Our Lord is above all gods,” Psalm 135.5, and also “O give thanks unto the God of gods.” Psalm 136.2.

Man may fight against God but he cannot win. He often uses evil man to accomplish his will in the battle. Jesus is said to have been slain from the foundation of the world, and the cross is one of the most credible evidences of Gods Sovereignty. “Crucify him,” “Crucify him”, was their cry, but when they nailed him to the cross, they did not realize they were fulfilling God’s will for his Son. Peter said, “Him (Christ), being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:23.

But this God of all power was not defeated by this evil act, for the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead. By it the devil was defeated and all his ministers of (self) righteousness. This is also a great example of Sovereignty and free will operating at the same time.

Judas, the one who betrayed him, had betrayed himself, and met his just due. John wrote, “..Jesus knew from the beginning…who should betray him. And he still said, .. no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil (i.e., slanderer) … He spake of Judas … for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” (John 6:64-71.) Our God cannot fail, lie, or sin. Neither is he frustrated at man’s failure.

Judas exercised his own, “Free Will” in an act of betrayal but in doing so he played right into the hands of God that proclaimed even before the foundation of the world that Jesus, the Son of God would be betrayed and slain. This act of betrayal took Jesus to the cross as the spotless Lamb of God in a divine sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. (Free Will & Sovereignty working hand and hand to accomplish the plan of God.)

God is the author of his sovereign grace and mercy. “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy… And whom he will, he hardeneth.” (Rom. 9:15-16, 18.)

Many Christians have doubts about God’s sovereignty, yet there is one aspect of the Christian life where they profess, maybe unknowingly, that God is sovereign. They may say, as many do, “God has done all he can do, now the rest is up to me.”

How contradictory! They may stand on their feet and deny this blessed, comforting, enabling doctrine, but when they bend the knees in prayer, asking God to save, do they not realize they are calling on a sovereign God, who only he has the right and the ability to save?

The question is, If God has done all that he can do, why pray to Him? But we pray knowing he is the only one who can do what man cannot otherwise do. This power belongs to God, and not man. (Excerpts from Sovereign Grace Baptist Proclaimer)

Now that you have a clearer understanding of the Sovereignty of God, let’s talk more about the Free Will of man. It’s important to see that man is not sovereign. He is rarely in control of the events that shape his life. However, God has still given man “Free Will” so he can choose his own lifestyle. In effect, we can be evil, nice, straight, gay or be and do anything we want. Our choices, however, comes with consequences. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Gal. 6:7)

Pastor Steve Weaver writes, “A good definition of free will is the ability of the mind to make choices in accordance with its nature.” Our nature is evil. Thus, we are bound by it in making choices. We choose the path that best suits our needs, even if it is in direct opposition to God’s laws of righteousness.

This definition of “free will” also applies to God’s free will. He too is bound by his nature. Therefore, he cannot sin! Why? Because it is not his nature! But God does have a free will and, unlike human beings, he has an accompanying good and holy nature.”

Jonathan Edwards, a 17th century Christian preacher and theologian said that the will is the mind choosing: though there is a distinction between mind and will, the two are inseparable in action. We do not make a choice without our mind approving that choice. We choose according to our strongest inclination at any given moment.

The Bible teaches that I’m not free to choose God because it is contrary to my nature. That’s why we need new natures that are given to us by the Holy Spirit at regeneration. Unless a man is “Born Again” he cannot enter or even see the kingdom of God (John 3).

Though man is commanded to seek the Lord while he may be found, and to come to Christ, we watch in vain for man to do so. Romans 3:11 literally reads, “There is no God seeker.” John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me, (Jesus), unless the Father who sent me draws him and I will raise him up on the last day.” Literally, the verse says, “no one is able.”

Gerhard Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says that the word translated draw in John 6:44 means “to compel by irresistible authority.” It was used in classical Greek for drawing water from a well. We do not entice or persuade water to leave the well; we force it against gravity to come up by drawing it. So it is with us. We are so depraved that God must drag us to himself.” (Chosen by God)

The controversy is in whom God has chosen to be his sons and daughters. Hyper-Calvinists believe that some are chosen, and some are not from the foundation of the world. Free Will folks, of which I am one, believe that what Jesus said, as recorded in John 3:16, qualifies all that accept his invitation. Listen to the verse and pay particular attention to the word, “WHOSOEVER” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus died for the sins of the whole world…every man, woman, boy and girl. The compelling call of God, through Jesus is an open invitation to whosoever will. These are the chosen of God that are pulled out of sin and given a new heart that can believe and worship him.

Now let’s look again at how free will and sovereignty work hand and hand in our daily lives to fulfill God’s master plan for the ages. Miles Monroe, a famous evangelist, once explained it this way. When God created the earth; He drew up a master plan, like an architect, that took into account every soul and every action that man would take. Nothing was left out.

God is never taken by surprise because he saw it before the world was. It was put into his plan. Then He began to create, taking into account who would accept Jesus and who would not; who would need deliverance; who would need help, etc. Every prayer and every need were seen beforehand. Your provision was made way back then and is waiting for the time you need it. You just need to grab it by faith.

This pre-design gives us free will to choose without violating God’s Sovereignty. I know that some will say, I prayed and believed but didn’t get what I asked for. My provision didn’t materialize. It could be as James 4:3 says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” David Wilkerson, the author of The Cross & The Switchblade, offers six reasons that prayers go unanswered.

1. Our Prayers Are Aborted When They Are Not According To God’s Will.
2. Our Prayers Can Be Aborted When They Are Designed To Fulfill An Inner Lust, Dreams, Or Illusions.
3. Our Prayers Can Be Denied When We Show No Diligence to Assist God In The Answer.
4. Our Prayers Can Be Aborted By A Secret Grudge Lodged In The Heart Against Another.
5. Our Prayers Can Be Aborted By Not Expecting Much To Come of Them.
6. Our Prayers Are Aborted When We Ourselves Attempt To Prescribe How God Should Answer.

See his full explanation at http://www.tscpulpitseries.org/english/undated/tssixrea.html The devil’s final strategy in deceiving believers is to make them doubt the faithfulness of God in answering prayer. Satan would have us believe God has shut his ears to our cry and left us to work things out for ourselves. That’s just not true.

If you do not see the hand of God, you can bet that the problem is with you, not God. I’d suggest that you go back before the throne of God and stay there until you get an answer. Don’t forget to take your Bible with you. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

One final thought. You may not be hearing the Lord because you are not “Born Again.” Listen to what Jesus said, John 10:26-27, “but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

If you are not hearing his voice, well, what should I say? You are not of his flock? Only you can determine that. It’s a total life-changing commitment to follow Jesus. Maybe you did not make that kind of commitment. He must be Lord of all or he is not Lord at all.

The next time you make a decision, ask the Lord to show you if your decision is his will. If you have peace about what you are about to do, chances are it is God’s will.

Until Next Time
Rev. John Marinelli
Author & Poet
[email protected]

October 2022

October is a busy month. Here’s what’s happening

Book Signing Event

Marilyn & I will be at Barnes & Noble in Ocala for a book signing on October 29th Noon to 2 PM. We will be there along with other local authors in celebration of Indi-Author Day. Please drop by and check us out. We’d love to meet you.

Johnny Mello Show

We are looking for places to perform our 2 1/2-hour Doo Wop, Country & Rock N Roll show. If you belong to a club or organization, please drop our name in the lap of those who book new groups. We do parties, dances, fundraisers, and a lot more. They can reach us at 352-687-1776.

Haveaheartusa.org

Drop by our newest website and check out the great resource for animal caregivers. My wife, Marilyn, runs the show. Here’s the address, http://www.haveaheartusa.org.

Dance Party

It’s that time again. Uncle Pepe is having another dance party at the Captiva Rec. Center in The Villages. Doors open 4:30 PM on the 4th Sunday of October. The party ends at 8 PM. Bring what you want to eat and drink. Music will be provided by Uncle Pepe and his invited guest. It’s a fun time for all. However, you must live in The Villages in order to attend.

Back In Stock

My two children’s books are back in stock. Mister Tugboat and An Elephant Named Clyde. They are currently being shown in Barnes & Noble in The Villages… in the local author’s area by the check out. These books are perfect for grandkids.

In The Spotlight

This month I’d like to feature, “It Came To pass”. Here’s a synopsis of the book.

“It Came To Pass” is a timeless love story, all centered on the love and protection of God. The book tells the story of romance, war and tragedy that flows through WWII and the Vietnam conflict. The storyline will follow Bill and Sarah, childhood sweethearts and how they demonstrate faith in troubled times.

Central to the story is a golden coin that was lost for over 300 years, found by an American soldier in France during WW II and lost again by a ten-year old boy in a little town north of Odessa, TX.

The story will also address some modern-day social issues and will touch on God’s Will, Man’s Destiny, Faith, Loyalty, Free Will and The Authority of The Bible. This is a fictional story; however, the WW II and Vietnam facts are true and are based upon public records.

You can buy the book off my website at https://www.marinellichristianbooks.com. It’s an easy read and sure to bless you and strengthen your faith. This book would make a great Christmas gift.

Bible Trivia

Here are a few “Bible Trivia” question.

1. “What is the name of Abraham’s father?
2. “Which Bethlehem was Jesus born in”
3. “Who followed King Saul in the precession of Hebrew Kings?”
4. “Which Bible character was caught up into heaven, escaping death?”

I will answer these questions in the November newsletter.

Bible Questions

If you have a question about the Bible, let me know and I will try to answer it. Send your question to [email protected]

Mid-Term Elections

Please be sure to “VOTE” Most of you know that Marilyn & I are conservative Christians. That means we believe in God, are pro-life and seek to honor God and be a blessing to those around us. In these last days, our beliefs have been ridiculed, spoken of as evil and targeted by national media as racist. Their slander is a pack of lies. I will vote for those who support my faith and beliefs. I hope you will too. I have to tell you that the Democratic party is not my first choice. They have moved away from the truths of our founding fathers and I can no longer support therm.

My Collie Girls & Me

Here is a great book to read. It is full of pictures, well written, full of faith and love. It’s at Barnes & Noble in The Villages on the local author’s shelf. It is authored by Marilyn Marinelli.

Audio Recording Studio

Uncle Pepe, the guy that host the dance party at Captiva, also has a recording studio in his home. If you sing and want to make up a CD for friends and family, he’s the guy to talk to. He is reasonably priced and very professional. Send me an email at [email protected] with you name and phone number and I will forward it on to him.

That’s all folks

Until Next time
John Marinelli, Author & Poet
www.marinellichristianbooks.com
[email protected]

November 2022

Hello everybody…It’s November. Where did 2022 go? This month is a time to take back what was lost by bad politicians and look forward to better days.

Be Sure To Vote

It’s finally arrived. We can now vote our values. If your values are liberal, you will most likely be voting for a liberal administration that pushes a liberal agenda. In the past, that was not so terrible because even the liberals were patriotic and wanted the best for America. Now, that is not true. Today’s liberals are socialists seeking the overthought of our country.

They, the liberals, are far left and follow socialistic values. They took us away from being energy independent. They are responsible for high inflation. They blame others for their bad choices. I could go on and on but who cares. The fact is…we are now faced with hard times, high interest rates and a government that lies to us about almost everything.

It’s time to vote for the good guys, conservatives that will take us back to the prosperity and freedoms we use to have. “Don’t Forget To Vote”

Local Author Day

We had a great day on the 29th of October at Barnes & Noble in Ocala. We sold lots of books and met a lot of new people. Many signed up for our monthly newsletter and are now on our Verry Important Person list. Thanks to all who came by.

Book of The Month

Our, “Book of The Month” is Pulpit Poems. It is a great book full of Christian Poems that are divided into over 50 categories.

Pulpit Poems is especially designed as a, “Resource” for Pastors and Bible Teachers in their sermon and bible study preparations.

There are over 215 Inspired Christian Poems, most of which are short and powerful. They are “Great For Bulletins And Newsletters.” It’s also good for “Sunday School Lessons”, “Posters and Pass-A-Long Materials.”

Pulpit Poems is a work of love spanning nearly 50 years. It is sure to bless your heart and encourage you as you walk by faith with the Lord.
Pulpit Poems is a “Great Gift item” for Pastor’s Appreciation Sunday or a Christmas gift for other church leaders. It is also perfect as a “Daily Devotionals.” Each poem is tied to a scripture with a brief thought-provoking commentary.

Bible Trivia

Last month we presented three trivia questions. We had a lot of interest but few correct answers. Here are the questions again and the answers:

1. What was Abraham’s father’s name? Answer…Terah

In the Book of Joshua, in his final speech to the Israelite leaders assembled at Shechem, Joshua recounts the history of God’s formation of the Israelite nation, beginning with “Terah the father of Abraham Genesis 26:31

2. What bible character was caught up into the heavens, escaping death? Answer… Elijah 2 Kings 2:1-18

The chapter begins, “When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind . . .” (verse 1). The Bible doesn’t actually say that Elijah rode to heaven in a chariot of fire, but that is the assumption, since there was a flaming chariot and horses of fire at the scene, along with the whirlwind.

Note: There was also another Bible character that was taken without experiencing death. His name was Enoch.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. Hebrews :11:5

It is believed that these two men are the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation that show up at the wailing wall in Jerusalem, are killed an d come back to life.

3. Who followed King Saul in the precession of Hebrew Kings” Answer King David

Then came all the tribes of Israel to David unto Hebron, and spake, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. Also in time past, when Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD said to thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a captain over Israel. So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel 2 Samuel 5:4

4. Which Bethlehem was Jesus born in? Answer…Bethlehem of Judea

Matthew 2:1-2 – Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Note: tradition says that the birth of Jesus was actually in August, not December.

More Trivia

Here’s a trivia question for this month….. Where did Jesus walk on water?

“MusicByBart”

Karaoke is still alive at Mc Calls in The Villages, every Monday from 1-4. See you there…lots of fun. It also looks real good that Bart will be doing karaoke at the PUB too on Wednesdays from 5-8 PM

Thanksgiving

Don’t forget to “Gobble! Gobble! this month. It’s not far away and if you need to curl up with a good book, check out our website for a good book. The address is www.marinellichristianbooks.com

I’ll close out my newsletter this month with a Thanksgiving Poem?

Thank You Heavenly Father

Thank you, Heavenly Father,
For this beautiful day
And for the many blessings
That come our way.

For by your Spirit
Comes joy untold,
As hearts are mended
And lives made whole.

Thank you Heavenly Father
For this beautiful day.
It is with deep appreciation
That we kneel to pray.

For Jesus, our Lord
Has set us free
And given us eyes of love
To behold your majesty.

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we shall rejoice and be glad in it” Psalm 118:24

Even the day is blessed of God. He keeps us on track and leads us into His will that we night be to the praise of His glory.

Until next time
John Marinelli, Author & Poet
www.marinellichristianbooks.com
[email protected]

Animals In The Resurrection?

Introduction

How many of us have lost a companion animal? We grieve for them as they were human and we even write poetry about them as a continual remembrance of their companionship. Marilyn and I have lost several companion animals over the years. If you are an animal lover, you will understand and appreciate this article. It answers the question that torments most of us that can only watch as our companion animals die.

Do They Go To Heaven?

There is a big controversy over whether or not our beloved companion animals go to heaven when they pass away. It is a tough thing to go through when your best friend dies…The one who has been there for you every day for years, waiting for you to come home, wanting to play and watching over you with a protective growl when strangers approach. Researchers say that the grieving process for a companion animal is equal to and sometimes even greater that the loss of a human family member.

We must go to the only absolute source to find the answer to the question, “Do animals Go To Heaven When They Die” Marilyn and I believe in the absolute and infallible authority of the Bible. It is here that we found peace and comfort when our first beloved companion animal died. The Holy Scriptures can also be a source of comfort to you in your sorrow.

The animals were created by God, (Gen 1:24), and they were placed under the dominion of Adam. (Gen 1:26) That means we are responsible for their well being. How is it then that 70%-80% of all animals that enter animal shelters in the US are destroyed? Here’s what the Bible says about animals and Heaven:

  • The apostle Paul writes: The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God – Romans 8:1921 NIV.

Animals, according to this scripture passage, are now subject to the vanity and Sin of man, but when the human drama is over and the children of God are revealed, all the animals that were in bondage will become partakers of that freedom.

  • And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” – Revelation 5:13 NKJ.

Our companion animals will join us in praise and worship of the Lord for His glorious salvation. How great is that?

  • The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them – Isaiah 11:6 NIV.

If the “wild” animals are going to be in heaven, then certainly our beloved pets will be there too.

You can rest assured that your beloved companion animals will go to heaven when they dies, but what about you? Where will you spend eternity?

The animals are subject to the vanity of man and are under that bondage until the children of God are revealed at the end of the human drama. We, on the other hand, are in bondage to Sin and subject to our own choices in life. Here’s what the Bible says about that:

  • “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3-10-12)
  • “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
  • “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
  • “Wherefore, as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12-14)

These simple Scripture passages tell us that we have fallen short of God’s Glory. Man’s fall from Glory came as a result of disobedience, which is considered Sin. The penalty for sin is death, which passed upon all men, because all have sinned.

No one can say they are righteous. We do not seek God. Instead, He seeks us and we respond to His love from a repentant heart. Jesus said, “No man can come to me except my Father draw him first” (John 6:44) He also said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever, believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)

We have the privilege to believe in Jesus as God’s only Son, who was given as a sacrifice for sin, our sins, so we could escape the sentence of death and live forever with God, as it was originally planned.

The word “Salvation” means to be delivered. To be saved is to be delivered from the fear of death. It becomes a reality when we personally accept Jesus as our Savior, agreeing with God, that all, including us, have fallen short and are in need of His redemption.

Our companion animals will see God and dwell with Him throughout all eternity. A simple prayer of repentance and a cry to God for salvation can secure our destiny and assure us that we will see our “Best Friends” again.

Until next time
Rev. John Marinelli

Are You Really Free?

Introduction

We Americans celebrate the 4th of July, as a national holiday in honor and memory of our independence from the bondage and rule of the king of England.

We rejoice that we are free from the rule of any foreign power. History tells us that the original 13 colonies were being over taxed in an effort to steal the very heart of the land for the use and pleasure of a foreign King. It was a very clear picture of what is said in John 10:10.

“The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy: I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly”

Our ancestors rose up against the king and fought off the tyranny until they gained victory, which resulted in a life of great abundance for many…more so than the people of any other land. We, as Christians, do also realize that tyranny and bondage comes in many forms and by many kings, both in the natural and spiritual realm.

Freedom In The Natural & Spiritual Realms

In the natural realm, we fight off the oppressors to preserve our freedom, sending our next generation to die, if necessary, that we may live in peace and freedom. But what do we do in the spiritual realm to get free and stay free? What type of bondage do we face and by whom?

II Corinthians 10:4-12 tells us that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, (Earthly like tanks and war planes), but are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.” The Biblical writer understood that God’s people were at war in a battle of wits with an unseen enemy that somehow enters the imagination, planting thoughts that call up impure desires from within that are meant to capture and hold our minds in bondage to the forces of evil. We know this enemy as Satan, the devil and his entire evil hoard.

Life In Abundance

Life in abundance is not found in the things we posses. It is, however, discovered in the truth that comes from our heavenly Father. That’s why Jesus said; “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. He, of course, is the Truth that came from the Father and who did, in fact, set us free, by way of the cross. But our liberty is not to be used as an occasion for sin, so says Paul, but rather an opportunity to serve the Lord.

Paul also said; Galatians chapter five that we should “Stand fast in the liberty where-with Christ has made us free and be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage”. He knew that freedom always comes with a price tag. It cost something to keep it active. There is always a price to pay. We pay the price, in the natural, with the blood of our sons and daughters that die in foreign lands. In the spiritual, we pay with our lives, laid down unto the death. This is the ultimate sacrifice for our own freedom.

Free Will

Now I know you are going to say that I am straying off the biblical path and going against what the bible says, not really. A closer look reveals that Christ has indeed set us free…actually bought us with a price, His own blood. We are indeed free but free to do what? This is the moment of truth, where we all stand in the valley of decision, making free will choices in life that keep us free or lead us back into bondage. Without our “Free Will” choices on a consistent basis, we will fall and fall hard. That’s why we are instructed to “Put on the whole armor of God”, “Stand fast in the liberty” “Resist the devil” because our freedom can be easily taken away if we do nothing.

Let me show you where it says that we pay the ultimate sacrifice…Revelation chapter 12, “And they (that is us) overcame him (that is the devil) with the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony and that they laid down their lives unto the death.” Most pastors call attention only to the 1st two parts of this scripture but it is the 3rd, the laying down of ones own life, which seals the victory. Jesus supports this “self death” notion when He tells His disciples that they must deny themselves, take up their cross, (referring to their own death) and follow Him.

Why is it so necessary for us to die in order to live an abundant life?

Romans Chapter five tells us that Sin entered the World (human experience) through the transgression of one man, Adam. It also tells us that by one man, Jesus Christ, all shall be made alive. Adam is the 1st man and Jesus is the 2nd man. The 1st man fell into sin and as a result death passed upon all men, for all have sinned. Romans chapter three supports this where it says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Also there is none righteous, no not one. The wages of sin is death. Death passed upon all men. Get the picture? Holiness (glory of God) was replaced in the 1st man with sin, which is, in fact, the very nature of Satan. We are bound to the devil by nature…however, the 2nd man, Jesus, did not sin, has no evil or darkness in Him and as the spotless Lamb of God paid the price of sin. He bought us back, giving us life in relationship to God. Through Him and in Him, we move and live and have our being.

Remember the baptismal picture? We are buried with Him (Jesus) and raised with Him (Jesus) to newness of life. Now we have two natures, one of sin which is that of evil and one of God which is, like in the beginning, Holy. According to the bible, these two natures war against one another inside of us, seeking to dominate our personalities.

We are asked, by the very fact of having a free will, to make our own choices, to walk in one or the other. Paul again says that if we live in the Spirit we should also walk in the Spirit. He also says that we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what is that perfect and acceptable will of God.

There is no Switzerland in the Spirit realm. We either walk in the flesh or in the Spirit. One must die so the other can live. We must carry our own cross; letting that nature of rebellion die so the nature of God can grow and be supreme. This is the ultimate sacrifice, to forgive instead of condemn, to love instead of hate, and so on…Galatians chapter five list the evil fleshly appetites as well as the fruit of the Spirit.

Again I ask, are you really free? Here’s how you know that you are:

  • You will have a good sense of peace in your heart.
  • You will be quick to forgive.
  • You will be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
  • You will see or be aware of the fruit of God’s Spirit in you.
  • You will see the gifts being manifested in you as you follow Him.
  • You will have hope in the future and be optimistic about life.

Notice that there are no feelings of depression, anger, hate, or malice of any kind. There is no jealousy. The deeds of the flesh are bound by death and the new creature lives in harmony with God and at peace with his neighbor. However, that same new creature is also a warrior who stands against the evil nature in himself and the evil actions of those around him. This is not a passive stand. It is an aggressive walk in the Spirit that says to self and all around. “ get out of my way for I am walking with God.” He is determined to stay free, as God originally intended.

Take a moment this 4th of July, the season of celebrating freedom, to reflect on those things that have you bound. Chances are they are things of the flesh, which tells you that you are in need of a “Death To Self” experience. There is a need to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. How do we do that? By, as Romans 12 says…present your bodies as a living sacrifice unto God. Paul also tells us in II Corinthians 10:4-7 that we are to use the knowledge of God as a weapon to cast down every imagination.

Bondage By Choice

Your bondage is by choice. God has not given you the spirit of fear that leads you back into bondage, but of Power and Love and a Sound mind. Life abundant is given only to those who pass through death first. They must, at all cost, stand up in the Power of Jesus’ name to keep it. This takes guts, prayer and a determination to follow Jesus. It is also the true meaning of Lordship, when Jesus becomes LORD over your flesh and leads you to the cross in a transforming death unto life experience. Thus is the reality, “Though you are dead, yet shall you live”

Truth & Application: The flesh is characteristic of the nature of evil. It is where Satan wants you to dwell…so you portray his image on this Earth instead of God’s. All that Satan needs to do is to plant a thought or fashion an image in your mind that calls up what is already inside of you. This is the imagination of II Corinthians 10:4-7. Act upon the thought or image, giving it place and you fall out of the Spirit into the flesh. Reject the imagination and you put to death the old man and continue to walk in the Spirit.

Being really free is a “Free Will” choice and is a conscious action of the will to keep the flesh in a state of death and the Spirit in control of your mind. We cannot blame God when we make bad choices. We can however, repent, ask for His forgiveness and begin again…this time with a new determination to walk in the Spirit.

Until next time
John Marinelli,

Count It All Joy

James 1:2-8

Introduction

There are times in our lives that we fall short of real joy. Being happy seems to elude us and we drift upon a sea of wishful thinking. Stress overshadows us, confusion follows close behind biting our heals and heartache is just around the corner with a sneering smile as if to say, “it’s my turn next”. Ever felt that way? I guess we all do now and then…or should I say, “Most of The Time” The bible says that we are to rejoice exceedingly when we fall into various trials.

Note the action word is “Fall.” Only a fool would willingly walk into a situation that hurts them or puts them at risk. It is most often that we fall into it because of a thousand reasons.

Start Counting

It’s hard to count it all joy when you are depressed, troubled, fearful, angry, upset, worried, anxious, or in any other bad situation. We are usually consumed with it and forget to count. But God says we are to start counting. We are asked to laugh and rejoice in the midst of that terrible trial. The only reason given for such joy is that the trying of our faith will bring patience.

It is important to realize that without the trial or testing of your faith, you will never know where you stand. If you fall apart under the weight of the trail, your faith is obviously weak and in need of help. It clarifies our measure of faith and level of spirituality. It is also important to realize that God does not tempt us with evil. The trial is not from Him. He only uses it to teach us and show us how much we have grown in His wisdom, love and grace.

God’s goal and purpose for using the trial is to teach us patience. We, as Christians, can never ever be a testimony to others without exhibiting patience. If we are always angry or appear constantly worried or always fearful, we do not show forth the character of God nor do we shine our light as a beacon to those around us. In other words, we will be just like them and they will not see Jesus in us. We must have the longsuffering needed to minister to those in need.

Growing Pains.

So the next time you fall, sing on the way down and rejoice as you hit bottom, knowing that God will bring forth His patience in you and you will discover that the fall was not the end of life but only a quarry in-which the imperfections are chipped away. We could call these types of experiences growing pains.

I will leave you with this poem

Growing Pains

Count it all joy, Brethren
When you fall into despair.
This is the only way to know
That God is really there.

It is one thing to say,
“I believe that God cares”
It’s yet another to see,
His mighty armies there.

So every time you fall
Into some sort of trial,
Believe in the Lord, Jesus
And begin to laugh or smile.

It’s only spiritual growing pains
As you learn patience and faith.
Better to grow now in God’s grace,
Than to hold back until it’s too late.

Poem Written By John Marinelli

Until next time
Rev. John Marinelli

Creation Verses Evolution

Introduction

Most of us were raised with the theory of evolution being taught to us as fact in the public school system. For those of us that may not know what evolution is, it is the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms. It is the gradual development of something, from a simple to a more complex form. Darwin’s theory, over the years, has become fact, accepted in all walks of life and even in the scientific community. It also includes man as one of the living organisms that evolved.

This theory is, of course, contrary to the Bible and eliminated God, as the creator of all living things. It’s premise is that if you apply enough time, existing chemicals and other substances that are found on earth, will spark life and form living organisms that over more time will grow and develop into higher organisms and eventually plant, animal and even human life. That’s like saying if I place all the raw materials needed to make a watch in a bucket and leave it for millions of years it will eventually become a fully operational watch. Time and substances cannot produce life.

Again, the Bible is the only source for a realistic understanding of life. I will again point to Intelligent Design as a proof text that God was and is still behind the creation of all things including man. Listen to what Moses wrote in Genesis, chapter one;

Genesis 1
King James Version (KJV)

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. 9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day. 14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. 20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. God rested on the seventh day.

Note: God spoke creation into existence. He said, “Let there be, and it came forth from nothing.

All the above scripture verses clearly say that God created earth and everything else. He is the “Intelligent Designer” behind it all.

Here are 10 sure evidences that dispute evolution, showing it to be false.

Moon Dust

Meteoritic dust falls on the earth continually, adding up to thousands, if not millions, of tons of dust per year. Realizing this and knowing that the moon also had meteoritic dust pilling up for what they thought was millions of years, N.A.S.A. scientist were worried that the first lunar ship that landed would sink into many feet of dust which should have accumulated. However, only about 1/8 of an inch of dust was found, indicating a young moon. The assumption is, that if the 1/8 thickness is evident on the moon, it also has to be the same for the earth because they are in close proximity.

Meteoritic material contributes nickel to the oceans. Taking the amount of nickel in the oceans and the supply from meteoritic dust yields over the years indicates that the age of the earth is only several thousand years, certainly not millions as evolutionists claim.

Thus the nickel count in our oceans and meteoritic dust deposits found on the earth clearly indicates a younger planet.

Magnetic Field

The earth’s magnetic field is decaying rapidly at a constant rate. Using this rate of decline, one can back step and determine the magnetism of the earth. 8,000 years ago, the earth would have equaled that of a magnetic star, a highly unlikely occurrence. Also, if electric currents in the earth’s core were responsible for the earth’s magnetism, the heat generated would have dissolved the earth.

Fossil Record

Charles Darwin stated, in his Origin of Species, “The geological record is extremely imperfect and this fact will, to a large degree, explain why we do not find intermediate varieties, connecting together all the extinct and existing forms of life by the finest graduated steps. He who rejects these views on the nature of the geological record will rightly reject my whole theory.”

Now, over 130 years and billions of fossils later, we can rightly reject the view of an incomplete fossil record or of one, “Connecting together all forms of life by the finest graduated steps.”

Out of millions of fossils in the world, not one transitional form has been found. All known species show up abruptly in the fossil record, without intermediate forms, thus contributing to the fact of special creation.

Probability

The science of probability has not been favorable to the evolutionary theory. Dr. James Coppedge, of the Center for Probability Research in Biology in California, made some amazing calculations. Dr. Coppedge applied all the laws of probability studies to the probability of a single cell coming into existence by chance. He computed a world in which the entire crust of the earth…all the oceans; all the atoms and the whole crust were available. He then had these amino acids bind at a rate one and one-half trillion times faster than they do in nature. In computing the possibilities, he found that to provide a single protein molecule by chance combination would take 10, to the 262nd power, years to get a single cell. (That is, the number 1 followed by 262 zeros) The single smallest living cell known to mankind – which is called the mycroplasm hominis H39, would take 10, to the 119,841 power, years. That means that if you took thin pieces of paper and wrote 1 and then wrote zeros after it, you would fill up the entire known universe with paper before you could ever even write that number. That is how many years it would take to make one living cell, smaller than any human cell!

According to Emile Borel, a French scientist and expert in the area of probability, an event on the cosmic level with a probability of less than 1 out of 10, to the 50th power, will not happen. The probability of producing one human cell by chance is 10, to the 119,000 power.

Sir Fred Hoyle, British mathematician and astronomer, was quoted in Nature magazine, November 12, 1981, as saying “The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way (evolution) is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.”

Second Law of Thermodynamics

The second law of thermodynamics states that although the total amount of energy remains constant, the amount of usable energy is constantly decreasing. This law can be seen in most everything. Where work is done, energy is expelled. That energy can never again be used. As usable energy decreases, decay increases. Herein lies the problem for evolution. If the natural trend is toward degeneration, then evolution is impossible, for it demands the betterment of organisms through mutation.

Sun’s Diameter

The sun’s diameter is shrinking at the rate of five feet per hour. At this rate, life could not have existed on the earth 100,000 years ago because the sun’s heat output would have rendered the earth inhabitable.

Earth’s Rotation

The spin rate of the earth is slowing .00002 second per year. If the earth were the billions of years old, as the evolutionists say it is, the centrifugal force would have notably deformed the earth billions of years ago.

Written Record

The 22nd edition of Robert Young’s concordance lists thirty-seven ancient written accounts which all place the date for creation at no earlier than 7000 B.C.

The Bible

Finally, and most importantly, the Bible says that God created the universe and every living thing, so the world must have been created. In denying this, we call God a liar.

SOURCES

Baker, Sylvia. Evolution: Bone of Contention (Phillipsburg. N.J.: Evangelical Press. 1986) Second Edition. p.25) Sunderland, Luther D., Darwin’s Enigma. Fossils and Other Problems (El Cajon, CA: Master Books 1988). P. 74 Parker, Gary. Life Before Birth (El Cajon, CA: Master Books 1987), pp. 41-44 Chick, Jack T., Primal Man? (Chino, CA. Chick Publications. 1976). P. 23 Cook, Charles, “God’s Young Earth Signature,” Bible-Science Newsletter, August 1989 p. 5

The above evidences against evolution are taken from Kevin Martin’s 17 reasons against evolution website. http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evolution%20Hoax/evidences.htm

The damage of this theory has been to our children, whose minds have been conditioned to believe a lie. The consequences of such a lie are devastating:

  1. It devalues human life, putting it equal to animal life, not as a higher being.
  2. It says God is not real, leaving man with no accountability, fear of judgment, and respect for other life.
  3. It strips man of any reason for his own existence and says life is meaningless.
  4. It denies man God’s divine destiny, the purpose for which he was created.
  5. It says to our children, “Why try?” “What’s the point?” “Is that all there is?”

When a theory is taught, by educators as fact and our children are denied access to evidence that exposes the theory to be a lie, our society slowly shifts from a God-Fearing nation to an immoral self-absorbed society that has no regard for anything but itself. Without God, living life has no meaning.

There Are Signs Everywhere

I am so glad that God left us signs everywhere that He is alive and well and tending to His creation. Knowing all of this should lead us to ask Him, Why do I exist…and to discover His destiny or will for our life.

Until Next Time
Rev. John Marinelli

Do You Have A Vision?

“ Where There Is No Vision, The People Perish” – Proverbs 29:18

Introduction

Do You Have A Vision? Webster defines the word “Vision” in these ways:

  1. The act or power of seeing.
  2. Unusual foresight.
  3. Something seen in or as if in a dream or trance.
  4. A vivid imaginative conception.
  5. Something of extraordinary beauty.

Now, let me ask you another question…what is your vision? It’s only natural that we, being in relationship to God, should be the type of people that possess the act or power of seeing, or have unusual foresight, or be able to concept or fashion the future through a vivid imagination.

Everybody Has A Vision

I was told many years ago by an evangelist that every Christian has or should have a vision. He also said that you should never share your vision with smallminded individuals that do not walk in faith because their minds cannot contain what God has spoken into your life. (God speaks those things that are not, as though they were) Hebrews 4:17

If you really think about the reality of Hebrews 4:17, God has been doing that very thing ever since we gave our hearts to Him. Why not make a list of things that God has spoken to you before they actually came true. You may be surprised at the depth of His love over you. It actually does abound.

My Vision

God gave me a vision years ago in the form of a dream. I saw myself standing in a high tower…actually a “Top of the World” restaurant, preaching to a group of people who were terribly frightened because of a violent tornado that was about to crash into the all glass building.

Opposition

When I sought to share this vision… that the tornado was the judgment of God upon the world and that I was standing in the gap, just before its destruction, as a messenger, calling back the lost and fearful to God, people just laughed and said I must have been mistaken or that it was a nightmare, not a vision from God. My vision was too big for their little minds. They could not see with the eyes of faith.

I remember also when God put on my heart to form the Fellowship of Christian Poets. Many around me said, why do you want to do that? Poetry doesn’t sell.

They could not see the ministerial value of the gifting that I possessed. My wife, Marilyn, was the only one who supported me and joined me in the effort to live out the vision that replayed over and over in my spirit.

I have indeed heard from God through His Holy Spirit and have dedicated my life, my future, my wealth and gifting to its fulfillment. It is this vision that keeps me going and always striving to be all that I can be, to the glory of Jesus. When tough times come knocking at my door…when trials and tribulations fling their fiery darts…when people around me laugh, it is the vision that God laid upon my heart that keeps me hanging on and going on unto victory.

Different Visions

I believe we all have different visions that actually shape our destinies. I also believe that many of us have the same vision. That’s why you see some churches that focus more on evangelism that do others…and others that excel in Biblical teaching, more so than some others. Look at all the different ministries: Elderly, Youth, Evangelism, Counseling, Unwed mothers, Prison, and on and on. They are people with the same vision doing the same thing as a group. This is of the Lord and it is marvelous.

The Fellowship of Christian Poets is like that…people of like mind, with the same vision…to see their gifting used of God to bless others. Our reason to exist is to fulfill the vision from God. All who join see that vision and agree with its premise. Together we stand and labor together for the Lord.

Your Vision

Again I ask…Do you have a vision? What is it? What have you done to capture the vision and live it out? Have you ever written it down and shared it with others? Remember, faith without works is dead. Living out your vision is being a doer of the Word and not just a hearer.

Living Out The Vision

It’s time to acknowledge what God has dropped into your spirit. It’s time to live out the vision in this life, thereby bringing into existence what God said that has not yet happened but will in due time. This is the Word made flesh…the Word becoming alive in you as you grasp it and take hold of it by faith.

Let us all seek the Lord for revelation so we can see the vision and make it happen in our everyday lives.

Until next time
Rev John Marinelli

Does Hell Really Exist?

Introduction

Hell is a literal place, just like Heaven. They both play a big part in man’s future. For the redeemed; heaven is waiting, for the lost or unsaved, hell is their final destination.

According to Gallup research, 94% of U.S. adults believe in God or a universal spirit; 84% believe Jesus Christ is God or the Son of God; and 53% believe in a literal hell. A Newsweek poll found that 94% of Americans believe in God; 77% believe in a heaven; 76% think they have a good or excellent chance of getting there. 58% of those surveyed believe in hell. According to church historian Martin Marty, hell began to disappear from man’s thinking in the 19th century, and no one seemed to notice. In rejecting heaven and hell, one also rejects the awesome seriousness of moral and immoral behavior. But for those who take God seriously, human freedom means the capacity to make moral decisions, which have radical and enduring consequences.

In general, more adults in the U.S. believe in hell now than did 40 years ago. The concept was losing ground as recently as 1980 when just over half of those surveyed said they believed in hell. By 1990 the percentage had risen to 60%. One 2011 survey reported only 52% believed in hell.

Mathew 7:13-14 records Jesus saying, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (KJV) There are only two roads in life, one leads to Hell, characterized by destruction and the other road leads to life or heaven. The masses, all the religions that do not accept Jesus as the only way, walk down the broad road. It is wide enough for all to fit. But the road to life is narrow…One Way…Jesus, the Christ of God.

Hell is a reality; a real place for real people. It is so bad that Jesus told the crowd in one of his sermons, (Mathew 18:8-9), “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offends thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire”. (KJV)

Here are some other references concerning the reality of hell.

Mathew 10:28 “ And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (KJV)

Rev. 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (KJV)

Mathew 25:46 “ And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” KJV)

Mathew 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (KJV)

In our modern vernacular, hell signifies a place of fire and punishment and this is indeed taught in the scriptures.

Hell is mentioned in the Bible (KJV) 54 times. Hell appears 31 times in the Old

Testament and 23 in the New Testament. In the OT, hell is translated from the Hebrew word “Sheol.” In the NT, hell was translated from three words, Tartaroo, Hades and Gehenna. All words express some or all of these characteristics: an eternal separation from God, a place of darkness, suffering, pain and torment. It is not a place where you want to visit or move to.

In my earlier days, we used to say, flippantly, that we’d probably end up in hell, having a party with all our friends. I have since come to my senses, realizing that hell is a place of isolation. Those that go there will be alone forever. Can you imagine being in total darkness, all alone with just your suffering and pain to keep you company? Don’t think that your punishment will be administered by demons or the Devil. They will be cast into the lake of fire. There are no jailors to talk to or to call out to…just you, all alone, suffering forever.

Why would God do this to me? you might say… because you rejected the only way to Him, Jesus. He made the way possible by sending Jesus to die for your sins so you could be free to worship Him. He allowed you to live this long and has constantly called you to Himself in a variety of ways, all with no response. You sidestepped His invitation, ignored His call and refused to accept his destiny for you. However, God does not send anyone to hell. They chose not to be with Him and Hell is the only other place. The rich man lifted up his eyes in hell, in torment when he died and so will you if you reject so great a salvation. Luke 16:23

Have I scared you? I hope so because it is no laughing matter. Your eternal destiny is at stake and I want you to know the reality of hell and hopefully keep you from going there…so, here’s what you do… “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Until Next Time
Rev. John Marinelli