Tag Archives: Heaven

At The Gate of Hell

Today God gave me something in Revelation 2, verses 12 through 14, which say:

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. (Revelation 2:12-14)

One interesting thing to note about this passage, is that God isn’t criticizing them when He says that they dwell where Satan’s throne is. To the contrary, it’s only after He mentions it that He says what it is He has against them. What the church in Pergamum was doing, was setting up a camp right next to Hell, if you will. Most Christians today aren’t even willing to go near the “bad side” of town, much less live in a city that hated Christians; they deserved some form of recognition. However, living so near to sin lead to some of them to return to it.

There is always danger when we are near to sin. Paul put it rather well in his epistle to the Galatians, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” (see: Galatians 6:1) Though we might not fall for the teaching of Balaam, we may be tempted by other things. Everyone has something that, if they were not clinging to Christ, they would turn to–some type of modern-day idol. Which is why it is so important that we do evangelize and help others who have fallen to sin, but we do so while keeping our-self pure from the sin which they are caught in. And, as only Christ is pure in this World full of impurity, that means making sure that our focus is on Him. Of course, our focus should always be on Him, but even more so when we’re trying to help a fallen brother or sister.


Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Delivered Through Love


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The Sermon Today

Hello again!

Today the pastor decided to change it up a bit and preach on Luke two today, rather than Galatians. Here where his four points:

I. Christ is worth pursuing first.

II. Christ is worth pursuing fast.

III. Christ is worth pursuing faithfully.

IV. Christ is worth pursuing foolishly.

For all of these points he used the shepherds (in the Christmas Story which is found in Luke two) as examples:

I. Christ is worth pursuing first. — The shepherds didn’t care about their sheep, instead, they went straight to Jesus.

II. Christ is worth pursuing fast. — The first point overlaps with this one.

III. Christ is worth pursuing faithfully. — Somewhere in Luke two is says something like, “and all who heard were amazed” in reference to the shepherds proceeding to tell everyone about the Messiah. We should be like the shepherds in that we should, in our day-to-day lives, be faithful to ChristI’m going to get to how exactly that’s possible in a minute.

IV. Christ is worth pursuing foolishly. — “Imagine for a moment that some shepherd with a scraggly beard and who smells like sheep runs up to you and gives you a hug. He says, ‘Christ is born!’ and then goes running off. Suddenly, another shepherd does the same, and so forth twenty-eight more times.” — Pastor Chris. We shouldn’t be worried about who it is that sees us, instead, we should be willing to spread the Gospel everywhere and anywhere we go. Whether by simply handing out tracks, or in the case of revival, hugging people.

Here are my (and my dad’s) four sub-points:

I. Christ pursued us first. — He didn’t hold an angelic board meeting. He didn’t wander around Heaven for a bit, instead, he went after us first. Therefore we can now go after Him and pursue Him; and indeed, should.

II. Christ pursued us fast. — As soon as it was ‘the right time’ Jesus came down to Earth. He didn’t dally, he rushed. Therefore we should now rush to Him!

III. Christ pursues us faithfully. — We can run but we can’t hide (why we would want to do either though is beyond me). Christ pursues us faithfully; he doesn’t slack off for a night. Therefore now we can pursue Him faithfully as well.

IV. Christ pursues us foolishly. — Do you think that Christ coming down from on high to lowly man, and then dying for said lowly man, is a smart idea? Many would regard it as foolish; Christ pursued us ‘foolishly’, thus we can now, and should, do the same to Him.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Todays Sermon


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The Sexually Immoral, Impure and Covetous Person; That Would Be the Old Me and You.

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:5)

So let me get this straight Paul, those who are sexually immoral, impure, or covetous don’t get into Heaven. Well wouldn’t that mean Christ’s death is in fact nullified to and by them (the sexually immoral, etc)? Paul, it seems to me as if you’re saying half of America can’t be saved.

12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[f](Romans 10:12-13)

Except of course, for the sexually impure, the covetous, and the impure. If they call on the name of the Lord they get turned away. No! That isn’t what this verse says. So then, do we now have a contradiction? Well we know that there are no contradictions in the Bible, thus that isn’t a plausible answer. Is one outdated while the other is Paul’s newest fade of teaching? No, that can’t be, as in the chapter before this we just saw how Paul wanted everyone to grow up in Christ; which leads to everyone not being tossed about by every wave of doctrine. So is this is just something that can’t be answered?

Let me ask you question please. Have you once in your life ever felt lust? The bible equates this with adultery, thus, as everyone has felt it, everyone is thus sexually immoral. Therefore no one can be saved. Christ’s death seems to be rendered null. Have you ever once in your life sinned? Your immoral! So is everyone. Again, Christ’s death seems useless. Have you ever once glanced over at your neighbors driveway and seen a limo and just thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish I could get something like that! *mental whistle*”? You’ve be covetous, shame on you! You, and the rest of the world whose glanced over at their neighbor, hereby nullifies Jesus’ death and Resurrection. Except for one small fact. Namely that believing in Jesus changes a person.

All who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. They will also be changed. No immoral person can get into Heaven. Good thing Christ changes everyone who calls on His name to a moral person. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make you believe the Christ follower’s big-bang theory. Which is that the moment you accept Christ into your life there’s a puff of smoke and you’re suddenly a goodietoshoes ready to pack your bags and go off to India (as a missionary…). There’s a changing process that everyone has to go through; a changing process which involves reading the Bible on a daily basis (and trying to get something out of it!) and attempting to find a Church which preaches the Gospel on a regular basis. — All that to say; the verses don’t contradict each other, they support each other.

Sexually Immoral Person → Christ died so that He could make Himself our Spiritual husband. Thus He can change that person in a blink of an eye… But wont. It’s better for a child to learn to walk rather than be given strings to hold him up.

Impure Person → Christ died to make all pure; washed as white as snow in his blood.

Covetous Person → And why would anyone want to focus on something other than their savior? Through Jesus’ death for us, He has made Himself the utter focus of our attention.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland


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The Law of Liberty

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (James 2:12-14)

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.  – Whereas those not under the law of liberty, are under the law. I promise that’s a far less pleasant experience. But aside from that, what exactly does it mean to be, “judged under the law of liberty.”? We already know (from yesterday) that the “law of liberty” is the Gospel, so how is it possible to be judged in the Gospel? What happened to the whole ‘Jesus took all God’s wraith on himself so that we wouldn’t have to” thing?

What does James mean when he says those under the law of liberty are still being judged? … It doesn’t seem to make much sense.

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. 

The second verse (the part about judgement without mercy) is important, as it clarifies James prior statement. Judgement is (only) without mercy to one who has shown no mercy, meaning that if you’ve never been merciful, your judgment will consequently be without mercy.

There’s a point I would like to point out here. Hasn’t pretty much everyone, no matter how vile they may be now, been at least mildly merciful at some point in their life? James didn’t specify who or what we had to be merciful to either, so who knows, maybe petting a dog would be counted as, ‘mercy to the dog’. Well, let’s just assume everyone at some point has been merciful to someone or something. Shouldn’t their judgement be merciful; meaning that they would go to Heaven rather than Hell? Alright, lets say everyone has been merciful, have they always been merciful to everyone they meet? Does it even matter? Yes it does matter. Basically, everyone has to be perfect in order to have mercy at judgment. Perfection involves always being merciful, which no one can manage.

Everyone must be perfect: that’s the law. The law of liberty states however, that Jesus was/will be/is perfect for you; on your behalf. Through his mercy, not ours, are we saved (of course, we should still be merciful! It’s just our salvation doesn’t depend on it). – The point of saying all that, is that we’re saved by Jesus’ mercy. With that said, it’s important to remember how it is that we’re saved and that we are in fact under the law of liberty, not the law.

To summarize what James is saying here, “You are saved for Heaven’s sakes, so go and act like it! Don’t you know faith without works is dead? So go out there and get your Spiritual Résumé already.”

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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Posted by on October 7, 2011 in Delivered Through Love


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Where Is the Wrath Of the Oppressor?

Hello again!

This is what God gave me in his word today:

“I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, and have forgotten the LORD, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor? He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking. (Isa 51:12-14)

That’s all good and well for you to say; but quite frankly, at the moment the Muslims seem a little like they might want to kill me. I would prefer not to be reminded that the wrath of the oppressor doesn’t exist… In Heaven.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

So as long as:

A. Everyone else is still alive; I will be too.

and B. If I do die, it’s just because I could bear it? Just out of curiosity; is there a cave nearby that a person could, say, hide in?

He who is bowed down shall speedily be released; he shall not die and go down to the pit, neither shall his bread be lacking.

So in short; at least I’ll have a speedy death, and my family (should I have one at that point) will have food?

The LORD will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; (Psalm 121:7)

Tell that to the voice of the martyrs for me will you?

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going 
   both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:8)

OK, I think I might understand this now:

 “the wrath of the oppressor” Is the wrath of the Devil, right?

He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor. (Psalm 72:4)

Ah, so “the oppressor” is just another name for the devil, just like “needy children” is another name for us Christians. And Jesus has killed the Devil as we all know. And because of that, no spiritual harm will come to me or you… The Lord will watch over our spiritual lives when we enter and leave the world, and will also, if it’s his will, provide a way for physical needs as well.

 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]? (Matthew 6:25-27)

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland


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The Highway of/to Life

Hello again!

Here’s what God gave me today in his word:

And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:8-10)

And in Your eyes I can see
I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world
Lost in a Sea of Faces
Your body’s the bread, Your blood is the wine
Because you traded Your life for mine

Kutless – Sea of Faces

“The Highway of Life”… There’s any interesting thought. “The Highway where you can have life, and even a fool can travel” I’d almost say was a[n] even more novel thought… What exactly does that mean anyway? I mean, I thought that the fool “wouldn’t be called honorable anymore”. And for some strange reason, I’ve always considered going to heaven something of a[n] honor. -i.e. Jesus died and rose again for us so that we could have eternal life! – So why does the fool get it? I mean, I don’t mean to sound arrogant but it seems a little… Wrong; that a fool should get to go to heaven… So what’s happening here? And for that matter, how do we even know this is referring to a highway to Heaven? Well, I’ll see what I can do to answer these questions:


“So what’s happening here?” Well, you see we are all fools in one way or another. That may make you suddenly have an urge to click the back button but please stick with me and let me explain.

First off with the following verse, I would like to explain that Paul is in fact talking to the Corinthians here… He is also saying that though we are fools in the worlds eyes, we are wise in Christ:

10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! (1 Corinthians 4:10)

23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, (1 Corinthians 1:23)

So even  the fool – in the eyes of the world, that is – can enter into Heaven. And remember that the only reason we can do that, is because Christ died and rose again for our sins!


“And for that matter, how do we even know for sure this is referring to a highway to Heaven?! “

We know it’s referring to heaven because of this:

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

That can only happen in Heaven… Just look at Revelation:

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

In short; we are saved because Jesus took our sin upon himself (he became sin for us, as said in 2 Corinthians 5:21)… Also, we know for sure that this is referring to Heaven because there is no sorrow where it is talking about. – We also know this because the verse says “come to Zion with singing”. And finally we also know that in the worlds eyes we are all fools… But we are all also ransomed to God!

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland


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The Might Of the Lord… And Who Can Dwell In It?

Hello again!

First off I would like to apologize for not posting for about 2 days. I was traveling with my day. Anyway, here’s what God gave me today in his word:

“Now I will arise,” says the LORD, “now I will lift myself up; now I will be exalted. You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble; your breath is a fire that will consume you. And the peoples will be as if burned to lime, like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.” Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?” He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil, he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. (Isa 33:10-16)

Giving birth to chaff and being burned in a fire. Not the most pleasant of the thoughts or experiences I dare say. Not only that but apparently, we are all like thorns to be burned in the fire after being cut down to size… I’d have to say that is somewhat depressing, wouldn’t you? And there is no way we can escape this punishment because we would have to be perfect to do so! And as we have seen several time now from Isaiah 64:6. So how is it Christians can be so confident we’re “going up after we’re out of this world” – i.e. going to heaven -?

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Starting to get the picture now? … We are unable to do anything for ourself except sin. Whereas Jesus can do and has already saved us… And in fact will continue to, sanctify and intercede for us. That’s how the Christian can be so confident… But wait a minute! That’s Jesus and Jesus alone... You have nothing to do with Jesus’ salvation, and how on earth would his dying for you save you, it just doesn’t make sense! … I’ll answer that with a verse:

1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:1-4)

In short; because Jesus died for us on the cross, and we died with him (and rose again with him) we are now saved from the fire (i.e. hell), as it were.

You are loved!

Joshua Cleveland 


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