Ray Waldo is a retired pastor with a passion for sharing knowledge, understanding and (if possible), wisdom with everyone he meets. Prior to his retirement, Ray served as a local pastor and teacher to five different churches in two states. He also served as a short-term missionary, teacher, and crusade speaker to groups in Mexico, Kenya, Uganda & the Democratic Republic of Congo (while Congo was still in conflict).
Ray is also a widely recognized teacher, writer and public speaker. He was the top-billed speaker to groups of over 10,000 people when he visited Africa. He is currently writing two books (online) that he expects to be published within the next two years.
Many people believe that, after death, there is just one judgment – the Great White Throne Judgment mentioned in Revelation 20:11-15. They believe that everyone (in either body or soul) is gathered together at that time and God chooses those that can go to heaven and sends the rest to hell (or the lake of fire). Is that Biblical? Or, are there multiple judgments by God?
I have made a very unscientific study of what goes on at funerals. According to the religious preferences of those involved and according to the societal influence, the style and tone of funerals may vary widely. Some are short and sweet (well, maybe not “sweet”) while others are long and drawn out affairs. Some are very formal while others appear to be ad lib. Some are restricted to just the family and others are community events. But one thing that is common to all is what people say.
In every funeral that I have ever attended (regardless of whether the deceased was a “saint” or a self-proclaimed atheist), more than a few people said, “He/she is in a better place.” Has there ever been a funeral where that phrase was not uttered? I think not. Continue reading What happens when I die?
Just the word “judgment” brings a bit of a chill into one’s being, doesn’t it?
For many Christians, they visualize God’s judgment as a time of uncertainty and fear. It is like (only infinitely more fearful) standing in a courtroom today, waiting for the jury to announce their verdict. It is especially fearful, knowing that you are guilty but hoping that the prosecution did not prove it to the extent that the jury will convict you.
The problem with God’s judgment is that HE HAS ALL THE FACTS! Who could possibly escape the certain judgment since we are guilty and the Prosecutor, Judge & Jury all know the truth?
Well, the good news is that even though we are all guilty before God for our rebellion & sin, when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He washed our record clean with His own blood (shed on the cross). So God the Father can view us as forgiven & justified. It is not necessary for us to be punished when Jesus has already taken the punishment for us.
Just how does the judgment of God work, anyway? I am glad that you asked that question… I hope to provide some answers in the pages that follow.
The Between The Lines Online Community (BTLOC) exists to provide ordinary people with a venue for giving help and guidance to others. (AKA “Just Ordinary Folks”)
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There is an old adage that some things should be “taken with a pinch of salt.” Meaning, of course, that one must apply some common sense when considering that statement. Unfortunately, some of the people who claim to look into the future speak things that fall into the category of “needing some salt.” Their view of the future is a bit too theoretical (or even too far-fetched) for the common person. We need to apply a “reality check” to their statements.
Back in the ’70s, a national evangelist (who is still active on TV today) was conducting a crusade meeting nearby and the radio stations were advertising it with quotes such as, “During the meeting, I will identify the antichrist and show slides of him and of his home country…” I am not sure how that turned out since I did not attend any of the meetings. I felt that his statement was in opposition to the Biblical teaching that NO ONE knows such things except God the Father.
However, those are the kinds of “over the top” comments that get a lot of attention today. The “common man” (used to describe mankind, be it man, woman, child) is very interested in what is going to happen in the future. That is the reason for such a surge in interest in the writings of Nostradamus and the like. “Inquiring minds want to know.” But most of the interpretations of Nostradamus’ writings (along with the ideas of some present-day teachers) have to be “taken with a grain of salt.” What we NEED is some teaching that will not have to be changed next year, or even thirty years from now. (I wonder if the ’70s evangelist that I mentioned is still presenting the same person as his “antichrist”?)
This book is written with the “grain of salt” already applied (grin). By that, I mean that I have tried to run all of the concepts/statements/teachings through the “reality check” filter BEFORE I write it down. I have not tried to find a concrete answer for every symbol. What I have tried to accomplish is to help ordinary people see the past and present as “windows” for viewing the future. I hope that you agree and find that the content here is such that you will not need to have a salt shaker in one hand as you turn the pages with the other.
As a child, I used to have a terrible time going to sleep. Sometimes, I would be awake almost the entire night. I had a real aversion to snakes and I would lie there imagining myself falling into a pit of snakes! (Please don’t try to psychoanalyze me in that regard <grin>.)
Even later in life, I continued to have problems getting to sleep at night. I don’t recall the exact date that I started to overcome my insomnia but, in time, it has been a total change! My wife gets a little frustrated that I can go to sleep “as soon as my head hits the pillow.” (I sometimes snore and that keeps her awake.) Many people ask me HOW I do it. I hope to give you some of my answers in this article. First, we need to understand insomnia.
What causes Insomnia
The WebMD website states that the major causes of insomnia are depression, anxiety, and stress (especially if it is long term or chronic). When you recognize that stress is causing difficulty sleeping, the National Institute of Health website lists these (and other) techniques to cope:
Set priorities-decide what must get done and what can wait, and learn to say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload.
Note what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.
Avoid dwelling on problems.
That is some pretty good advice. The problem that I had (and it is probably the same with many other insomnia sufferers) was that my mind would not stop thinking and allow me to go to sleep.
Peter Michaelson speaks of the cycle of not being able to sleep and then worrying about the effect that the lack of sleep causes. He calls it “sleep catastrophizing” (dwelling in a fixated manner on worst-case scenarios).
The insomniac becomes agonizingly focused on the consequences of not sleeping: “I’ll be exhausted tomorrow”; “I won’t get my work done and I’ll get in trouble with my boss”; “I’ll be overwhelmed by a backlog of work.”
How to get a good night sleep
The simple answer is to stop worrying. But knowing that we should not dwell on problems is a lot easier than actually turning off the worry in our minds. Consequently, stress builds and, over time, the accumulation of stress and frustration makes chronic insomnia routine.
The Sleeping Resources website offers “26 Home Remedies for Insomnia.” Some are reasonable while others border on ridiculous. All such remedies seem to be designed to help one stop worrying about the stress in their lives. Many people would say, “I have tried that stuff and I still cannot sleep.”
The solution came to me one day when I *REALLY* read the Scripture at Psalms 127:1,2. I will quote from the NIV but all the other versions agree.
1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.
The problem is a lack of trust in God’s care and provision. It is centered in our desire to fix things ourselves but Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.“ (Matthew 11:28 NIV)
Trusting God is the only lasting way to cope with the stress in our lives. Paul taught us how to stop worrying when he wrote to the Philippians (Phil 4:6,7 NIV):
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do you have a comment? Do you (or did you) have insomnia? What did (or did not) work for you?
Recently, a person with whom I correspond asked this question. Here is a part of the question:
Am I saved because I say “I love you Jesus, come into my heart”? Or am I saved when the Spirit enters my soul and sends a message to me that we are now one. …
My point is this. I believe that Jesus makes the decision, not us. He has the power to give Salvation. Man does not have the power to take it when he wants it.
Here is my reply…
I understand where you are coming from. The problem (IMHO) is in the definition of the word “saved.” It all depends upon your theological perspective. The varied definitions of what & when have caused a multitude of other conflicting theological issues as well (“once saved, always saved” is a good example.)
Recently, I saw a non-trinitarian church sign which said, “Acts 2:38 – The plan of salvation.” I assume that they believe (as many “oneness” churches do) that you are not SAVED until you repent, are baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ” and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (as a simplistic reading of Acts 2:38 may suggest).
Not meaning to “throw gasoline on the fire” but the NIV uses the term “being saved” in Acts 2:47; 1Co 1:18 & 2Co 2:15. This suggests that it has not yet happened! Another phrase that speaks of our relationship to God is “redemption.” But that also is used for events that have not yet come to pass: cf. Ep. 4:30; 1:14 & Lu 21:28.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines racism, 1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. 2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.
Racism is often associated with the white supremacy movement of the 1950’s, or the apartheid era of South African politics, or the racial cleansing in Kosovo, or the actions in WWII Germany by the Nazi party. However, racism is still alive and well today. News articles constantly criticize white leaders who are not politically correct in their speeches.
However, racism is “discrimination or prejudice based on race.” The most basic accusation leveled against white racists is that they “favor one person over another based upon race.” What is NOT popular (politically correct) is to recognize that some black people are equally biased against persons of the white races.Continue reading The color of racism