The Master’s Compassion

If the game is compassion, the foul is withholding.

26 For the Lord will be [a]your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.

27 Do not withhold good from [b]those to whom it is due,
When it is in your power to do 
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give 
When you have it with you. 
Proverbs 3:26-28 (NASB)

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;

No good thing does He withhold [a]from those who walk [b]uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You! Psalm 84:10-12 (NASB)

We should be like Him, right?  He is strategic about whom He shows compassion to. We are cautioned to do the same.  Jesus instructs His disciples not to withhold kindness from their  fellow disciples referred to as 'those that walk uprightly' in Psalm 84 and as 'slaves' in this next passage .

21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven [v]may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him [w]ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 But since he[x]did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion [4697] and released him and forgave him the [y]debt. 28 But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred [z]denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’29 So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ 30 But he was unwilling [aa]and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy [1653] on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from [ab]your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35 (NASB) Strong’s Concordance numbers added 

There are two things that stand out here. The generosity of the master’s compassion and the limits of his goodwill.

A compassionate act is a personal choice. Both the Master and His servant made choices.

Tenderheartedness should give birth to more tenderness but sometimes it does not. Pity (internal feelings of sorrow for the misfortunes of others) should give rise to more pay-it-forward external actions of kindnesses.

Unfortunately, compassionate choices can be derailed by shame, self importance, or fear. With God’s help we can be healed of those impediments and show this sorrowing type of pity towards those who have not been kind to us. If you judge  your opponent’s deeds too foul, commit everyone involved to God because He can take care of all that

If your heart is not tender, only God can make it that way. Perfect love casts out fear. Perfect love can also only come from the LORD.  I can be compassionate to others because I trust in God’s great love for and encouragement towards me.

2 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any [a]affection and compassionmake my joy complete [b]by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing [c]from[d]selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude [e]in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, Philippians 2:1-5 (NASB)

How can we show Christ-like compassion? Please share your ideas in the comment section below. Thank you for stopping by. I pray that both you and I will get better “doing” the Bible and becoming Biblically compassionate; meeting real needs and pleasing our Savior. Amen.

The Remnant

A remnant is a chosen few the King of Heaven sought,

Not a small discarded cloth hoping to be bought.

Common to these chosen is a trial they survived.
It does not mean that faith in God nor honor has revived.

When the awesome truth of God, by His wrath has been revealed,
Selected are the witnesses. Their proclamation sealed.
Revelation 11

The witness could be praising God in Heaven, or anguishing in hell.
What matters most is what he tells and that he tells it well
Luke 16:19-31

God reserved a remnant His zealous prophet did not know
He was amazed. Others obeyed – Oh! God was in control
1 Kings 19:13-18
Disciples came upon a teaching difficult but true
Most went away but the remnant said, “We believe in You.
John 6:6-71

Which Parts Belong?

Our need to belong is intense. Belonging drives club attendance, club activity, and club durability… any club … any gathering of humanity really.

How do you decide if you belong in a certain place? …With a certain bunch of people? …Doing a certain thing?

Part of that has to do with whether or not you are welcomed. And part of it has to do with personal confidence in who you are. In personality? Yes, but also in function.

Consider Paul’s anatomical take on this issue.

14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason [a]any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason [b]any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, [c]it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we [d]deem less honorable,[e]on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no[f]division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is [g]honored, all the members rejoice with it.

27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 (NASB) Here is the link to the Amplified version. It is longer but has valuable insight. 

There are two important phrases prevalent and damaging among believers…church attendees. The first is that some say to themselves, “ Because I am not a … , I do not belong here.” The second is similar, “Because you are not a …, I do not need you.” If you listen and watch, you will find these very same phrases at work in churches today. Both are damaging.

I realize it might be difficult to think of our body parts talking to each other this way. Please try. In point of fact, our bodies have a special way of talking to their parts. Complete from head to toe, the body’s voice is “heard” either biochemically or physically communicating to each and every part. Without this communication “part” we wouldn’t function very well, would we?

If we ignore our body’s speaking mechanism, we open ourselves up to disease conditions. If body speak is in error, damage results.

So let’s pay attention. Imagine the church as a human body and that you can really hear its parts talking as conversation pathways move through to each of the congregational “parts”.

With the first phrase,  “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” why do you think a part of the body would entertain the idea they don’t belong? Wouldn’t that be absurd?

In Paul’s description, they are self aware. This does not mean that they are self appreciative. We are commanded to love our neighbor AS WE LOVE OURSELVES. Being self appreciative is essential.

26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? [a]How does it read to you?”27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” Luke 10:26-28 (NASB)

Over the years, I’ve learned that those who have been abandoned in other relationships are somewhat broken in this connected aspect of body life. They are ready to say, “I know I’m not wanted, I’ll leave. I’ll just disappear. Nobody will care if I’m gone. I’m not good enough. I’m not talented that way. I’m not needed. Good-Bye.” They allow themselves to believe the lie that they are not worthy to be included into the body as a whole.

It simply just isn’t so. Every part is needed. Isn’t that Paul’s point? Separated parts cease to live.

It is also an observation that self appreciation and its balance can be taught. Proper recognition of self can be formulated into certain routines or habits that are healthy. So instead of focusing on the depreciation of self in order to avoid self aggrandizement, unwarranted pride or narcissistic behaviors, building each other up with encouragement and comfort seems to be just what the Doctor ordered.

As regards our own responsibility to our constitution, our function our make-up …our self, it is much better to train our body speak to be, “Thank you Almighty God, for making me according to your will. Help me to be healthy and function properly for your glory within your body. Amen.”

Regarding the second phrase, “I have no need of you.”, why would one part want to do away with any of the other parts?

It is easy to say, “I got this. I can do this without your help. In fact, our society rather encourages that independent attitude among managers and among workers who have their eye on higher corporate ladder rungs.

Getting it done is good. Getting it done quickly is great. Getting it done quickly without oversight or hand-holding propels you forward.

Such methods do not always work well. According to Paul such independent mindsets are counter intuitive within the body of Christ. The body of Christ is an interdependent organism — we depend on each other to function.

Again, there is also a habit developed among believers ranking body parts and then proceeding to compare them,  assigning a ranking system and value code to each.

Who does not want to be valuable?

But if I am an eye and I am told by whatever means that this is a hands of service church where many hands are wanted and valued but… eyes …not so much, might I not desire to be other than I am (the eye that wants to be a hand) in order to to be accepted, or to belong?

Efforts in this direction cause dysfunction. Eye-hand coordination is a good thing. Both organs are needed to accomplish the benefit.

Whatever the verbiage or the desire, reality does not change. An eye is an eye. An ear is an ear. A hand is a hand. A foot remains a foot and so on. The reality of who God made us to be and the function He gives us do not change. They do not change because they are best when they work together.

Know your place and function. Live with it. Embrace reality. Continue being the best you you can be.

We do need each other. We could not function properly if our other parts were not functioning properly. Though we may not all function the same way. If our functions are similar we may not necessarily function the same way at the same time. Each one is needed.

It is for sure and for certain that all our body parts have differences. We actually depend on those boundaries to be solid and distinct. We also depend on those completely separate functions to occur in a healthy and timely manner so that the body as a whole responds and reacts appropriately at any given moment.

Paul approaches the solution to diseased and nervous body speak by bringing up how we consider others and treat those different from ourselves. How do we speak and treat those weaker? … those with more say-so, or those with less? …those with more or less honor than ourselves?… the presentable parts and those we should cover?

When I was told by the church leaders to walk away from my ministry – a ministry for which I was particularly suited and for which God had time and time again shown His favor toward – to not look back…I was no longer wanted, it would have been so very easy to actually sprint in whatever direction took me as far away as possible. I told the LORD I would never go back. Ever.

That would require me to leave that congregation but I couldn’t. My husband also has a ministry there and he would not let me go. We are not separable by Divine statute. It’s a flesh and bone kind of deal.

I still serve in that church but I serve under my husband’s protection. I serve in a place and in a manner that are not as well suited to my gifts and abilities. In those conditions, I find myself still honored by the LORD for acting upon the gifts that are unique to me.

And I pray.

My position in the body of Christ is God’s decision. I am valued if He thinks I’m valuable. I should perform the task He gives me. Honor and function come from Him. It is His body.

His body retains its parts. His body lives.

In that we can all rejoice.


Yom Kippur Affliction


Strongs # 6031

Aw-Nah – affliction, testimony, witness, submission

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It is my awnah to proclaim – “God Most High!”

It is my awnah to testify – “God is higher than I.”

Without Him I am nothing

Neither good in any way

He is the … very breath… by which I say…


It is my awnah to proclaim – “God Most High!”

It is my awnah to testify – “God is higher than I.”

Held up to Holy standards but I fall short of every one

I am not proud of what this wicked heart has done


It is my awnah to proclaim – “God Most High!”

It is my awnah to testify – “God is higher than I.”

For my transgression restitution must be paid

For my sins Atonement must be made


It is my awnah to proclaim – “God Most High!”

It is my awnah to testify – “God is higher than I.”

A spotless lamb has been prepared since the dawn of time

To bear my sins and cleanse this awful heart of mine


It is my awnah to proclaim – “God Most High!”

It is my awnah to testify – “God is higher than I.”


Redeemed! All Clean! Affliction is cast away.

Substituted. Sacrifice. Baptized with fire in a foul, rejected place

A place of blood, of covenant, of wonder working grace.


It is my awnah to proclaim – “God Most High!”

It is my awnah to testify – “God is higher than I.”

Hell Comes in Threes

Dear and truly loved family,

With all this talk of end times and all sorts of people pitching their two cents about the judgment or lack of judgment on mankind by God … or aliens… or the self-inflicted destruction of humanity, I thought it would be good to go over Biblical truth about the three hells (Sheol, Gehenna, and Hades) with you so that you can remain calm in any situation. It helps to know what’s what and what’s just not. So here is the sequel to my previous letter about Sheol-hell.

What I’ve learned about Hell will be restated in REDLessons that touch this conversation of Hell but deserve further study are highlighted in GREEN.

Please let me know what you get from this information. You might see things or connect ideas that have eluded me. I’m always open to the, “… But have you thought of…?” conversations and I will never take my love away from you before, during or after those conversations.

Onward to Hell in the New Testament

I should mention that the first Greek word used for hell is Geenna or Gehenna as we call it. This is, “the Valley of Hinnom” … the place outside the city where idolaters would burn living children as a sacrifice (shiver of disgust) to Molech or Baal. Later, when not used to BBQ precious children, it was the town dump in which fires were kept going to rid the people of their trash. Can you imagine the foul stench? …The awfulness of the ruin? …The tragic memories?… The fear generated?

Hell in the book of Matthew

So here we are at Matthew 5:21-26 – the famous sermon on the mount.

Location is important. For my entire life I thought Jesus spoke these words from the mount of olives outside Jerusalem and within viewing (and smelling) distance of Gehenna – NOT SO. The Bible clearly says he was in the region of Galilee… Galilee of the Gentiles.

It is a beautiful place with several mountains near the sea. The surrounding towns – Capernaum on the north shore, Tiberias on the western shore and Nazareth a fair journey to the west. Some put Jesus on Karne Hittim (Horns of Hittim), a mountain closer to Tiberias. My guess is that Jesus could stand there on the Gentile side and purvey the Jewish nation of his time (Here is a Holy Land challenge. You will need to confirm or deny that speculation. :) – GO for it. I promise I’ll listen. )

The first words that pop out at me are “long ago”(744: ancient). “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago…do not murder…but I tell you…”

Family, where was the first mention of murder in the Bible? Answer: Genesis 4 in the story about how Cain killed his brother Abel. Where do we first hear that God spoke directly about the punishment for this activity? Answer: When Abel’s blood cried out to him from the earth (Sheol?) then not again until Noah got off the Ark – the life blood accounting (Genesis 9).

Do people get punished in Sheol-hell or not? Cain’s punishment was exile. After the flood the punishment for murder is death.

When Jesus uses the word ‘ancient’ he’s talking about God speaking directly to men about the topic of murder from the very beginning! With the advent of the Mosaic Law, God offered sanctuary for accidental murderers and the opportunity for whole communities to judge innocence or guilt– a concept that carries through to the time Jesus lived in. Well that just opens up a lot to think about, doesn’t it?

Is Death a tool for punishment in hell? Who gets to use that tool?

More things in this passage excite me. Jesus is standing on a mountain giving his great sermon and he chooses to up the ante regarding Jewish behavior while standing very close to, if not in, Gentile territory. Jews are those people God assigned the task of educating the nations about proper relationship with God and neighbors. His location speaks just as loudly as His sermon.

The perception transformed first: a murderous deed. This crime bears the label “subject to judgment” Everyone agrees that killing people is a BAD thing. Fine. Now Jesus tells us that if we are merely “angry with our brother” we are “subject to judgment. If we call him “empty” (Raca) or tell him he’s a fool [3474 – mōros – foolish from 3471 -to become a fool ; saltless, tasteless, inert and from 3473- foolish talking], the penalty is the same…thrown out with the trash into hell … in this case hell is Gehenna! Suddenly we’re shocked and this bit is NOT fine.

Everybody gets ticked off from time to time (so did Jesus, by the way) and he’s saying we’re gonna get in punished for it!?! …That our anger is disgusting to God. It is so disgusting that it will jeopardize our life… our salvation.

The topic of Anger is a huge and very interesting study, but hold on. Remember our discussion about ‘angry complaining’ in my last letter? The word in Matthew 5 is orgizo. If you are enraged, if you are strongly displeased, if you are hostile toward your brother, STOP it. In fact, if you are aware that he feels that way toward you… STOP him from feeling that way about you. Immediately. This is what is meant by snatching someone from the fire in Jude. Note that Jesus thinks this matter is so important that he takes a break to urge us to deal with hostilities explaining particular last minute situations. This is the ONE reason to interrupt worship (Matthew 5:23-25).

Fire? Yes, the fire specifically of Gehenna-hell because when you allow this festering angry complaining about each other to continue then Jesus says you are in danger of THE FIRE OF HELL. This is not just any fire [4442 – pyr :- flames] it is the snap crackle and pop of flames actively given a fresh kindling. It is the glowing red, painful, burning fire into which angry complainers will be tossed.

Why anyone in their right mind would WANT to go there is absolutely beyond me.

Does this mean I have to like everyone? No. Do I have to condone activities that I believe to be wrong? No. Do I pretend that what makes me angry does not exist? NO, certainly not. Do I have to be void of character , a pitiful milk toast of a person? Seriously, if you choose that path I might have to hunt you down and smack you! (Uhm…snatch you.) I won’t be able to accomplish that from the bosom of Abraham (Sheol for God’s treasured possession) so, let’s take care of business now while I’m still breathing earth’s oxygen.

Rough times come. While you’re going through those rough times, commit yourself to a Faithful Creator, continue to do good (1 Peter 4:19) and leave room for God’s wrath (Romans 12:19).

Verse 26 speaks into the snatching aspect. If the gnashing of teeth is only applied to “the hell within” just as the kingdom of God is said to be within you, then you can get into and out of it. Angry complainers can stop whilst in this life. One can choose to be that way long term (grudging) or choose an alternative path (forgiving). Jesus urges us to settle matters quickly with our brothers (not only by ourselves, forgiving them in the quiet of our own hearts as some people teach but also in words and deeds) and explains that full payment must be made by those who let things fester. Paying the last penny WILL happen before release is realized. I’m a penny pincher so quick diplomacy wins.

There is much more to say about this but we will keep to the discussion of hell and move on though not out of the chapter.

Another subject, adultery, in the sermon on the mount and the next passage (verses 27-30) highlight Gehenna. Stay away from activities that jeopardize your place in the next life…that win you participation in the Great Tossing. Do whatever it takes. Get drastic if you have to. Cut out or cut off what causes you to sin. Here the body is less important than your soul. There ARE worse things than dismemberment.

Matthew 10:28 – Fear is a powerful motivator. Whom do you fear? What kind of power do they have ….over your body? Over your soul? What if you objectively prioritized your fears? Jesus says that the One who has power over your soul gets top position.

What does it mean to throw your body into Gehenna? You died and your flesh got thrown in the city dump? What does it mean to throw your soul into Gehenna? God sold you … Read this passage from Isaiah 43 – God gets rid of worthless servants, as we’ve seen, and apparently ransoms valued ones.

43 But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name;you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
    and people in exchange for your life.

Uncomfortable? Absolutely. Fiery? Without a doubt. Do you have more questions now about the doctrine- Once saved, always saved? Good. Don’t be conceited nor arrogant (Romans 11:17-22). Make your election sure (2 Peter 1:5-11), be a valued servant. Deuteronomy 32:30; Judges 3:8; Judges 4:2; Judges 10:7; 1 Samuel 12:9; 1 Kings 21:25; Psalm 44:9-12; Isaiah 50:1; Isaiah 52:3, Matthew 18:34, etc.

I think this list of scriptures are substantial evidence but there are more. God sells people, period. He sells them for good reasons. This trafficking in human souls is one reason it is extremely difficult to tell who the people of the LORD really are. Sides, loyalties, allegiances … they keep changing.

You should fear the One who can throw your soul into the trash heap, the Master of masters. It is he alone who has the power to ransom you or to sell you out to the highest bidder. Being sold by the Master to serve another results in being sent into the place of despicable human sacrifice and twisted “worship” — the great tossing,  where your soul dies.

I was asked once, “What if he [God] keeps buying ’em back?” My reply: that’s what the the book of Hosea, the 70 times 7 principle and the parable of the shrewd manager are really talking about. :) The only reason he would turn his back on someone once they asked for return is found in Hebrews 6. Gnashing directed at God’s holy Spirit and the trampling of His son’s sacrifice is not tolerated…ever. No do overs.

Fear is an interesting word (phobeo). It means: to fear, be afraid, alarmed. In some contexts it is improper and an impediment to faith, love, reverence, respect and worship. In other contexts it is a proper fear for God, a deep reverence and awe. Who you fear impacts your actions and your worship. It also impacts your final destination. May the LORD help you and strengthen you to worship Him and Him only.


In Matthew 11 we start hearing about Hades. This is essentially the New Testament equivalent of Sheol. Hades is the underworld, the place of the departed dead, the grave.

The Strong’s number is 86 which my darker side finds amusing. The number and the concepts meld together in a rather curious way.


Another plausible explanation for the saying (eighty-six it) is brought you by the U.S. Navy’s Allowance Type (AT) coding system that was used to identify and classify the status of inventory. The code AT-6 was assigned to inventory that was designated for disposal, specifically after World War II as the Navy decommissioned many of its warships and went through the process of cleaning out its storerooms where they kept spare parts. During this process, any parts that were labeled AT-6 were considered trash and thrown out. It is easy to see phonetically how this could result in the term “86” and the idea of throwing something away to become synonymous.  


Perhaps the birth of this phrase occurred in death? The last time you can be “86’d” might be when they put you under the ground, as most standard graves are eight feet long and six feet deep. 

OK, thanks for listening to a bit of trivia. Let’s get back to the Bible.

In Matthew 11 whole cities are pitched into the underworld because they did not repent when Jesus’ miracles were performed in them. They got 86’d.

Does this motivate you to pray for the cities or towns in which you live? I hope so. Does this change how you respond to God’s power at work in your community? Something to think about and act on. Amen?

Next up is Matthew 16:18. Upon this rock…that is, Peter’s confession – “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God” – Jesus will build his church and the gates of Hades, the underworld, will not overcome it. I used to think of this as a battle situation. Now it looks more like a swallowing up situation….the greedy mouth of Sheol and all.

Matthew 18:9 speaks of avoiding Gehenna and like chapter 5 Jesus urges his disciples to use drastic measures if needed in order to avoid it. This time the discussion begins with a question about the kingdom of heaven – Who will be greatest there? I used to think about this in terms of humility and child-like character BUT now I see it differently. Jesus answers by drawing a little child to him, calling those like that child, greatest. Jesus ends with a warning to not get thrown into …. Gehenna… the place of child sacrifice. The child is still standing with Jesus. How powerful is THAT!?!

Matthew 23:15 – Jesus blasts the teachers of the law and the Pharisees by highlighting their zealous evangelistic efforts. They traveled over land and sea to get a single convert then they made him twice the son of Gehenna that they were. Ouch. That had to sting. Don’t cause someone else to sin. Bad, bad BAD idea.

Then in verse 33 Jesus explains with much sorrow that though he tried to save these teachers and Pharisees, they would not listen and the result is that they will not escape Gehenna. Is he talking about the deviant way they twisted good traditions to oppress the people or the way their worship wasn’t a real love for the true God? Are they destined to die once – their flesh thrown into the trash? Or do they die twice – their soul and their flesh thrown into the lake of fire and kept burning alongside the tormented Satan, the Beast, and the false prophet? Are they forever destined to remind God’s people of his power and cause them to worship Him? Scholars still debate this. It is probably a better path to concentrate energy on being a good servant of the Living God. Amen?

So is Gehenna-hell symbolic of the “Lake of Fire” mentioned in Revelation? Is it just an earthly dump, or a very real place in space and time? Debaters on all sides are just as adamant they hold the truth.

I have, however, been learning about the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. The souls of wicked humanity are “blinked out”, as my friend appropriately puts it, then tossed into it but their bones are viewable, their carcasses are covered with very well fed worms and three important characters are tormented day and night forever in its midst.

Just as the valley of Ben Hinnom- Gehenna – is a boundary dividing Judah’s territory in the south from Benjamin’s in the north, this lake of fire is a borderland between the New Jerusalem and the beautiful lands described as the new heavens and the new earth. They also seem to have fire in common; the sacrificial fire – in that humans are thrown into it, as well as the continual fires to burn foul rejected and disgusting people or things. It’s just like a dump whose caretakers set fires to git rid of things thrown into it.

Whose death was put on display outside the holy city of Jerusalem? Jesus.

Whose death will be put on display outside the New Jerusalem? Those who rebel against Jesus.

What goes around, comes around…. Just a thought.

So to review:

1. People who talk down about their brothers and sisters
are guilty enough to get thrown into Gehenna Matthew 5:21-26

2. Hanging on to things that cause sin will get you thrown into Gehenna.
Letting them go could save your life. Matthew 5:27-30

  1. God destroys both body and soul in Gehenna. Therefore it is right to fear only Him. Matthew 10:28

  2. Whole communities can be thrown into Hades for being blind to miracles and not repenting Matthew 11

  3. Hades cannot and will not ever be victorious over Jesus Christ How does the church not get overcome by Hades? By the Anointed and Living Son of God. Matthew 16:18.

  4. Children are great. Do not be the one getting thrown into Gehenna Matthew 18:9

  5. Gehenna has missionaries too. Do not let them “convert” you! Matthew 23:15

Hell in the book of Mark

Mark 9:43-50 Here we are talking again about Gehenna. We are still looking at the child next to Jesus. We are inside Jesus’ home in Capernaum after a road trip with the disciples who have been arguing about who will be greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. The warning to take drastic measures to avoid getting tossed into hell still rings in our ears.

The new thought here is , “ Everyone is salted with fire.” At first glance it seems like a very random thing to say. What was Jesus communicating? This is the fire (4442) of Gehenna and being salted with it is a good thing? Apparently. Have salt ( i.e. – have fire) in yourselves and be at peace with each other. That is a command in verse 50 – in case you missed that point.

Don’t get thrown into it. Instead, allow it to sprinkle you.


It is possible to be sprinkled with Gehenna’s fire ( a fire to be desperately avoided) and be at peace with your Christian brothers (something good)? Well now, that’s thought provoking.

They had been arguing. We know that angry complainers get tossed. Is Jesus saying that arguing in moderation is a good thing? …That the angst and learning associated with argument could lead to something beneficial? He seems to be concerned that this “salt” could loose its saltiness. Could the fire loose its qualities too…. be quenched or cease to work as it should?

The word for fire is 4442-‘pyr’. While ambiguous on its own, where the word comes from sheds a little light on the subject. Check these images out: tower, flame, to burn with fever, to burn inwardly, red like fire. When a person burns with fever, it is dangerous but it also means that his body is fighting infection and the prognosis is good when the fever is finally broken. To burn inwardly (4448-pyroo)is a euphemism that speaks into our passions (1 Corinthians 7:9; 2 Corinthians 11:29).

8. Allow Gehenna fire to do its work – burn out infection and destroy your passionate trash. Mark 9:43-50

Hell in the book of Luke

Luke 10:15 – So you’ve been sent to prepare the people for Jesus’ coming. Your message is clear, “The kingdom of heaven is near”. You stay in one house and offer peace to it…conditionally… you eat what they give you, you heal the sick. IF a man of peace (1515) is not in the house your peace returns to rest on you but you do not leave. IF you are not welcomed, you go into the street, shake that dust off your feet and repeat the message.

NOW they are in trouble! God’s judgment just kicked in. The whole community “will go down to the depths”. This is the word ‘Hades’ (86). It is used to label the place of the dead or the ‘Underworld’, the grave. I would look at this as the place of the waiting dead.

Luke 12:5 – Here we eavesdrop on Jesus and his disciples. They had just left a meal at a Pharisee’s house. The crowd outside is so large people are trampling over each other and Jesus chooses to speak directly to his own. He tells them to fear the one who has the power to throw their essence, the ‘you’ that is left after your body has been killed, into Gehenna (1067). [see Matthew 10:28] (Kind of humorous from a certain point of view; while the mob is crushing in on you and the possibility of death-by-trampling waves a tousled hello, Jesus tells you not to be afraid to die…in the flesh.)

Again Jesus talks about buying and selling. I used to think this was about God caring for the poor. Now that I’ve read about the buying and selling of souls by the Almighty, when he compares our value to two doves, I read that God never forgets the smallest redemptive act or those involved. He is a very compassionate God who above all desires our repentance. If he cares for the common sacrifice of the poor, how much does He care about the one who offers the sacrifice? …Rich or poor?

Two doves are purchased by the poor as offerings. Not just any offerings though. Doves were used to propitiate or atone for sin and to signify complete dedication to God. He wants me completely and all the time. He does not forget that and though he cares for the ones given in my place, he values the one brought back into relationship with Him …the one who fears Him only … that one He values more.

Luke 16:23 – This is the window into hell (Hades) through the rich man’s eyes. While he was alive -as we know life- he was very nice to himself but not to the beggar, Lazarus. They both die and we find this opulent man very uncomfortable, in a torment associated with severe pain. His thirst goes unquenched. There seem to be levels of the underworld and he got a bad spot. Here there also seems to be a division between the waiting “friends-of-God” and the departed “unfriendlies”.

We know from this passage that torment happens here. It is unclear what the tortures and/or torments are but in Luke’s account, thirst bothers the rich man. When he complains about being in torment (3600-odynao; to grieve, be anxious, in agony) Abraham shows him no pity, restates history, and offers no salvation. So much for the doctrine of purgatory or second chances, right?

So to review:

9. Welcoming and not welcoming God’s people is a pivotal decision…for whole communities. Luke 10:15

10. When you mess up with God, do not fear. Make things right immediately. Be the one in the crowd who is valued by God Luke 12:5

11. There is speech in Hades. There is a division between Hades and Sheol. No mercy or second chances are given to those in Hades. Luke 16:23

Hell in the book of Acts

Acts 2: 27, 29 We’re still talking about Hades in Peter’s sermon after Pentecost. People are thinking that Jesus’ people are drunk or confused so Peter is compelled to explain what it is they have heard… each the testimony of Jesus in his/her own language by the Power of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t stop there, he goes on to explain that part of Jesus’ testimony involves them specifically. That part was his death on a cross. Part of the history lesson is a prophecy from King David – Psalm 16:8-11. He connects what was said – not abandoned to the grave, and not allowing the Holy One to see decay after death– to reality that they all knew. Namely, that David did die and that it is an obvious fact. Now he connects what was said to what happened to Jesus the Christ – God’s holy One did not see decay. Even though He did descend to the lower earthly regions, He was raised to life. What seemed an impossible situation and only wishful thinking on David’s part has been shown to be the timely power of God unto salvation…true to the smallest detail.

  1. In Hades people decay. Old testament and New testament Scripture agrees. Prophecy about Jesus in regards to the absence of His decay is fulfilled. Acts 2: 27, 29

Hell in Letters From the Apostles

James 3:6 – Oh, that blasted mouth! Or should we say voice. James’ choice of words – ‘tongue’. Without it we could not speak. He says it is a world of evil set on fire by Gehenna itself. The wise man said, “Where there are many words, sin is not absent.” So true.

I’ve written many pages about hell but take courage, we are close to the end. :)

A little thought about words before we move forward.

Every careless word that comes out of our mouths is subject to scrutiny and record.

35 The good man brings out of his good treasure [a]what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure [b]what is evil. 36 But I tell you that every[c]careless word that people [d]speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37 For [e]by your words you will be justified, and [f]by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:35-37 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

You are being watched, listened to, and recorded. What you say can and will be used against you in a court of law….not only man’s court. Above all my other sins this matter of the tongue troubles me most. I pray that if I have ever said anything to lead you precious ones away from the LORD, that He show mercy to us both but I know, and accept, that even for unplanned things that come out of my mouth I will be held accountable. And you might wonder why I am so quiet. Translate that lack of verbiage into “scared to death of messing up” and you might come close to how I feel about this.

2 Peter 2:4 — ah at last. Our trouble passage. Yes, we are talking here about being sent -past tense-to a place where darkness [2217- zophos – blackness, darkness, gloom] is the essence of the chains. BUT we are not speaking of torturing humans or their remains. God has sent “angels” to “the basement” of Hades called tartaroo [5020- Tartaroo; to send to hell, hold captive in Tartarus– Tartarus is a Greek noun labeling a place of torment and torture lower than Hades in Greek and Jewish apocalyptic literature (This literature is considered mythological, or based on human imagination) but Strong’s computer generated version of the classic concordance says that this word is not found in the New Testament. Word 5020 is only used once contextually as – cast down to hell.]. These angels are put in chains of gloom to await their judgment.

Dungeons are at the bottom. I imagine them sent to the bottom of the pit of corruption and that it is not a fun place. (Into my mind pops the famous line, “You–shall-not-pass!” from Gandolf while his friends are running away from the recently aroused demon of the great Deep towards Moria’s back door in the first movie from the Lord of the Rings series. Not that these Biblical angel-beings are in any way connected to Tolkien’s imagination. And whereas Tolkien was describing what he imagined a demon to look like, here we are talking about angels. Descriptions of demons are not found anywhere that I know of in Scripture but we are informed of several different types of angels and what they look like. If you are curious you can find those passages later.)

The ‘angelos’ (32) Peter is talking about, he defines as supernatural in verse 11, as opposed to mere human messengers. Humans are in Hades also awaiting judgment but the distinction between humanity, the angels, and celestial beings is strikingly obvious. The group called “angels” are stronger and more powerful and are very careful what they say when they interact with these beings.

Likewise, we should be careful about what we say. When anyone makes a joke about angels or other non-human entities, I cringe. If Angels don’t dare speak disrespectfully about them, what makes humanity think it’s OK? …or funny? May God lock up your tongues if you feel such an inclination edging past your lips.

Another cringe worthy cliché: “…at least I’ll be in good company”. When referencing hell that is so NOT true. Those awaiting judgment are there. The word judgment used in 2 Peter 2 [2920- krisis – judgment (human or divine), justice, the concept of determining the correctness of a matter; negatively, punishment, condemnation] is used of bad people and bad angels, both having been corrupted. Looking at the description of these characters,why anyone would want to hang with them “beats the hell out of me”.

Hell in the book of Revelation

Revelation only mentions Hades so keep that in mind as we travel through and finish up our conversation about hell.

Revelation 1:18 – The Living One holds the keys of hell (86) and death (2288 – Thanatos.. death, to have died, deadly). To make a distinction here, think of Hades as the house of/realm of Death…Death being the spirit who passes by and things cease to live. I am glad that One so powerful, so victorious, and so loving to all he has made (which includes us, praise God) controls and contains these two awful characters. Because of this wonderful fact, we do not have to be afraid. I love that the LORD puts his hand on John’s shoulder and comforts him, strengthens him with the knowledge that death and Hades are not to be feared. God’s got this.

This is a good time to point out who carries the keys to hell. Not the “good” wizard, Gandolf. Not the dwarf diggers of the lower realms of earth. Not the violent and ruthless creatures of the dark. Not conjured up, conquering evil creatures called Oraki or the goblins or demons of European stories.

Only Jesus can bind up or set loose those who are there…angels who have sinned and are experiencing torment in hell’s dungeon…people going in and out of Hades. Praise God we do NOT make life creeds and establish doctrines based on imaginations or fantasy novels, as entertaining as they sometimes are. Praise His Precious Name and rejoice that he is more powerful (that seems so much like an understatement). Bad and scary things, creatures bent on evil, do exist BUT Jesus is in total command of them…and he loves us.

Revelation 6:8 –

When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature(P) say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse!(Q) Its rider was named Death, and Hades(R) was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.(S)

Death is a character. He rides a pale horse. It’s not clear if Hades is also a rider or is walking behind or is an object lugged behind. I tend to think of them both as characters though, because in this passage both are given the power to kill in specific ways a large number of people. Not given power over all people but definitely many. Their power comes from God. This is an important point when discussing world religions and their subsequent philosophies.

Death is God’s servant. Fear God not death. Sound familiar?

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:13-15

Delivered / gave up– 1325 – didomi – to give; a general word defined by it’s individual contexts – the picture is that of hand delivering to another person. Think UPS in Deep Black?

Dead – 3498 nekros – can be used in the physical sense i.e. a corpse or it can be used of the spiritually dead.

The time-line is: 1. dead wherever and whoever you are 2. handed over to God 3. God judges everyone, 4. Death and hell are cast into the lake of fire and then 5. If you are not found named in the Book of Life, you are cast into the Lake of Fire, experiencing the second death.

Note that the ‘Lake of Fire’ and ‘hell’ are distinct from one another. They are NOT the same things.

People spend so much time asking “At what point do we become human? When does life begin? In contrast, I ask, “At what point do humans really die?”

Here’s a take on Zombie Land…. in 1 Timothy 5:6 (AMP)

she who lives in pleasure and self-gratification [giving herself up to luxury and self-indulgence] is dead even while she [still] lives.

Then also look at Gehenna. When do people die spiritually?

Will idolatry, child sacrifice or twisted worship cause our name to be blotted out from the book of life? Will riches, fame and the self-centered living associated with them land us in a hot spot? Will being lazy, worthless servants cause the LORD to sell us to those given charge of the “Trash Heap” and so bring about our death?

OR will the purging, flavoring work of Gehenna’s flames make us better servants and propel us toward everlasting life with Jesus? Will we be sprinkled with those flames or snatched out of them by the servants of the Most High?

The hell we have acquainted ourselves with does die in the lake of fire. Only three are tormented there forever and ever. The weapons hell uses against us, heaviness, gloom, sorrow and trouble, like cords of hell once strong and far reaching now charred by the flame, will cease to levy their strength against us. No longer oppressed by these weapons of hell, may we say they too have died?

So to review:

13. Gehenna-hell lights fires on our tongues. James 3:6

14.There is a place lower than Hades where angels go to await God’s judgment of angels. 2 Peter 2:4

15. Jesus holds the keys of Death and Hell Revelation 1:18

Death and Hell are distinct characters, God’s servants, whose end will be the lake of fire Revelation 6:8 ; Revelation 20:13-15

In conclusion I leave you with this thought from Moses in Deuteronomy 30:19,20

This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

When the grand kids ask you what Nanna believes about hell, you can tell them I believe all three kinds(Sheol, Gehenna, and Hades) of hell exist and they are expressed in and used for people. Tell them that Jesus is victorious over each type of hell and everything and everyone connected with them. Tell the children not to be afraid…to choose life. Tell them to be kind to each other. Tell them to do everything they can to ensure that they are valuable to God, whom we all serve, so that He will not sell us but welcome all of us with open arms, when together we are made perfect in God’s presence.

Love must be sincere; Hate what is evil. Cling to what is good. Romans 12:9

Be wise with a wisdom that comes from Heaven. James 3:17

Make your Mamma proud. Cause your Daddy to walk with confidence and honor among outsiders. 

With Incredible Love for You All,


Consider Hell

Dearest Family, let’s take part of our time and consider the truth about Hell.

People believe many things about it. Some don’t believe in it at all. I am compelled to insure that my children are aware of and rejoice in reality. …that they are prepared to face their future (Proverbs 31:25 – AMP) holding onto the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 19:10), enabled to patiently endure (Hebrews 12:1) all sorts of situations  (Mark 13) and perhaps to attain salvation from the second death (Revelation 20:14 ). This has become immensely important to me. So indulge your mother and read the WHOLE thing. 

Part of the knowledge base you will need to know is a view of hell based on truth instead of conjecture, popular literature past or present, Saturday morning cartoons, movies or any other form of media targeting the subject that humanity is so good at publishing and promoting.

I began this study when your sister, Sharin, said, “… You can’t prove eternal torment and torture to me.” I wasn’t trying to. We were actually reading in 2 Peter. At that point I realized that the conditions surrounding earth’s future were different than I’d ever imagined. From there I studied the new earth references in Scripture and concluded that knowledge of these things should change me just as catastrophically.2 Peter 3:3-13 (NASB) 

According to our study, we are standing on the place of judgment…the earth…the lower earthly regions.

Was that a reference to hell? I found myself asking, “Does Hell even exist? Does it exist beneath me? Are we all walking around on a ball of … hell?”

So… what does the Bible say H-E- double toothpicks is anyway?

The old testament has only one word for hell – 7585 (Sheol) while the new testament has three – 1067(geenna; Gehenna, Valley of Hinnom) ;86 (Hades); and 5020 (Tartaroo; to send to hell, hold captive in Tartarus– Tartarus is a Greek noun labeling a place of torment and torture lower than Hades in Greek and Jewish apocalyptic literature (This literature is considered mythological, or based on human imagination) but Strong’s computer generated version of the classic concordance says that this word is not found in the new testament. Word 5020 is only used once contextually as – cast down to hell.

Let’s make an effort to explore hell as it is Biblically described. We will follow each of these words through the Bible and go forward, book by book, making informed choices based on what God has to say about this place – reality not imagination.

What I’ve learned about Hell will be restated in RED.

Lessons that touch this conversation of Hell but deserve further study are highlighted in GREEN. Please let me know what you get from this information. You might see things or connect ideas that have eluded me. I’m always open to the, “… But have you thought of…?” conversations and I will never take my love away from you before, during or after those conversations.


7585- Sh-ol / grave; by extension, realm of death, deepest depths – transliterated, Sheol. It is mentioned 31 times.


The first mention of Sheol (hell) is in Deuteronomy 32:22 . In this “song of Moses” God is angry with his children, the Israelites, for making him jealous concerning the objects of their worship ( gods who were foreign, recently appeared, or ones whom their fathers did not fear) sacrificing to demons who are not gods, and making detestable idols. In this passage God’s wrath is so great that he destroys the earth by fire – a fire that burns to the realm of death. So then, even Moses knew about earth’s final destiny– the new city of God, the lake of fire and the whole Terra transforming process described in 2 Peter and Revelation. (Whoops. I almost gave away what I have concluded! Another letter is coming about the New Heaven and New earth where that information would be outlined. Today we’ll stick to one topic.)

2 Samuel

Next we have 2 Samuel 22:6, David’s “song of praise”. This was a song that David would sing after God delivered him from the hand of all his enemies …and from the hand of Saul. I picture him making a ritual or habit of singing on his way back from a battle or when he found rest having returned home from battle (you can find evidences of this as you look to the words just under the chapter numbers in the Psalms). In the Biblical context we hear David proclaiming the willingness of a mighty God to help in terrible struggles – even battles with Death itself/himself – whenever David would cry out to the LORD. The entire chapter contains lessons on prayer and the psychology of mounting an effective offensive campaign. Again, where 7585 is used it references the “cords of the grave” suggesting that Sheol uses its cords against us. Also in this passage we see the fire of wrath coming from the mouth of God in anger but this time for the purpose of rescuing the one he delights in.

Fight on the right side. Amen?


Hell as Sheol is mentioned twice in the book of Job. In 11:8 Job’s friend, Zophar, challenges Job’s knowledge of God’s mysteries and his ability to probe the limits of the Almighty. Zophar reaches for the furthest thing he can think of – the heights of heaven and the depths of the grave (7585)to describe how much bigger God is than Job can even imagine. (by which description- at the end of the book we discover- God himself is insulted. We know this because God says none of Job’s friends spoke what was correct about God.) And in 26:6 Job replies to his friends, “Oh yeah!?! Beat this, Morons. Even Death (7585) is naked before God.” Ok- the first two sentences I paraphrased but not the third. Job is much more poetic than I am but just as biting.

So to review:

  1. The realm of death – sheol – is real, and geographical.

  2. The cords of the grave reach us and cause fear because of real harm inflicted.

  3. God is victorious over Sheol.

  4. God knows ALL about Sheol. Nothing about it is hidden from him.

Based on these teachings about hell, I’ve concluded that hell is real but because of the power of God I am free not to live in fear of it or its activity in my daily life.

Hell in the Psalms

Moving on, we enter the Psalms where ‘hell’ is mentioned seven times. That number association by itself is interesting but, again, a topic for another day. The first time we meet up with hell here is in 9:17. David is the author; the tune is, “the Death of the Son”. David experienced death of sons at least three times I can think of – 1. the child born to him of adultery with Bathsheba, killed by the hand of God 2. When Absalom murdered his brother, Amnon, for raping his sister, Tamar. And 3. When Absalom , who desperately wanted to be king, was routed, then found hanging in a tree by his hair. Absalom was killed by the commander of David’s army. This song may be a memorial to one or all of them or of none at all. I mention them to say that David was intimately acquainted with the death of family. This is a concept mentioned in the “song of Moses” as he recounts how one ceases to be a child of God which is also a very interesting study that flies in the face of modern church teachings. It is, none-the-less true and should be considered…another day.

Psalm 9:17 references the grave (7585) saying that the wicked return to it. Logically , one has to start at some place (Point A1) and go away from it (Point B) in order to be able to “return” to it (Point A2). Do the wicked return from whence they came… from the grave?

Certainly in all of the previous examples or events, wickedness and justice played a part. That concept of returning would be interesting to explore. “A dog returns to its vomit” and , “ …dust you are and to dust you shall return.” come to mind.

In 16:10 David rejoices that God does not abandon him to the grave (7585). This is a repeated passage in scripture (Acts 2:27,31; Acts 13:35,37) as it relates to Jesus Christ.

In 18:5 We are back to the song in 2 Samuel 22 and the cords of the grave (7585). Though the Psalm 18 version is shorter (50 verses vs. 51 verses). They would be interesting to compare.

In 55:15 a maskil – David is asking God to instruct Death to take his [David’s] enemies alive into the grave. Here the ‘grave’ is this same ‘Sheol’, word 7585…the place where Death lives. He also describes this place in verse 23 as ‘the pit of corruption’.

Next in 86:13 David’s prayer is that God rescue him from ‘the depths of the grave’.

In 116:3 ‘cords of death‘ is when the ‘anguish of the grave’ (7585) comes upon us…. it feels like being overcome by trouble and sorrow. You may have this feeling and know why – just causes like a death in the family or the loss of something or someone you hold dear – or you may have no clue why you are heavy in despair. The cords of death are Death’s weapons. They are destructive and the ONLY effective response is, “LORD, save me!” LORD in all caps refers to the One who exists and causes all things to exist. This is in contrast to ‘Lord’ which is simply ‘master’. When fighting Death, using the proper name of the LORD is an absolute essential.

Moving on to Psalm 139:8 we find that David acknowledges God’s presence. God is not bound. Sheol cannot keep him out in a “my side” – “your side” kind of way. God can go anywhere. Sheol cannot.

So to review:

  1. The wicked return to Sheol. Do they come and go? Did they start out from Sheol?
    All we get here is that there are pathways into and out of Sheol.
    Anything else is pure conjecture at this point.

  2. What a treasure that God never abandons his own – not even in Sheol.

  3. The cords of the grave can surround a person

  4. The grave and the pit of destruction are in Sheol.
    David asks God to send a person who betrayed him to Sheol…alive.

  5. LORD save me!” is the only effective tool to fight off the anguish of the grave

  6. God can be found even in Sheol.

Based on these teachings, I’ve concluded that hell has parts and that humanity can come and go from hell – resurrected in body, mind and spirit. If I find myself in hell or embattled with it, God knows and will respond to my cry for help. God’s power can and will save those who call on him. I can trust God’s description of and power over hell because he’s been there and been victorious.

Hell in the book of Proverbs

Solomon’s first communication point is a traveler whose unknown destination is ‘the grave’, via the home of “the adulteress”. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life. Her paths are crooked but she knows it not – Proverbs 5:5,6. And in today’s environment, women like her are increasing in number. She appears – uh –as spiritually aware as the chicks in all those “blonde” jokes are aware of real life. Maybe that’s because of adultery’s direct effect of searing the morals and disabling a person’s ability to worship in spirit and in truth. I have found that these people are more interested in selfish pleasures than anything else….

We are warned about her again in chapter 7 verses 24-27. Verse 26 – many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. Here we have one starting point on a high speed, “locked in”, crowded journey leading unsuspecting souls to certain slaughter. STAY AWAY!Wordpress banner compass

The Bible has much to say about adultery. In some cases it is the deception of physical pleasure that wrecks relationships. In some, it is the self-oriented hardness of heart that brings an end to family unity. In still other places, adultery is the giving up of true worship for imitations which ultimately cloud the brain as well as the heart resulting in spiritual cessation of being. Do NOT choose these paths!!! When adulterous thoughts first enter your mind – and they will try to invade each of us at some time – immediately trap and kill that thought by making it submit to our Lord, Jesus Christ. Sex thoughts are good. Worship thoughts are good. Adulterous thoughts are evil and if given any opportunity will kill you. Seriously. Without thinking twice about it.

This passage mentions chambers of death. This is interesting as now we have a new image of a house when talking about hell.

When we get to Proverbs 9:13-18, Solomon’s next communication on the topic, we meet another woman who “gathers” victims in her house; the foolish woman, (3687 –foolish, folly, stupidity, insolence, with a possible implication of rebellion).

She is loud in her invitation which she extends specifically to the simple and to those who lack judgment. Here we do not have a highway on-ramp, we have a teleportation device – enter and go straight to hell, Sheol, the depths of the grave 7585. I’m picturing a “Beam me [down], Scotty… uh… Folly,” kind of scenario. Again, deception is her tool, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious.” This “logic” is totally absurd BUT people listen and are fatally trapped.

If we define ‘water’ by previous verses, it makes more sense.

Water is not really water here. (Proverbs 5:15-20)It is not urine either. Contextually, he is talking about casual sex. You don’t share your body with just anybody. You don’t let anyone steal it. You don’t steal it from other people. Make sure you guard your body, your  ‘seed’ (descendants), your heart, and your soul.

Is the word “food” that is used here really what we eat to sustain our physical bodies? I doubt it. Food would taste the same whether you ate it in public or in some secluded retreat.

What does Jesus say about “bread” (the KJV rendering of this word, “food”)? Man shall not live by bread alone but by God’s words (Matthew 4:4) It is not right to give the children’s bread [deliverance from demonic possession]to their dogs ( Matthew 15:26) Bread equals teachings in Matthew 16:12. It is a daily gift of God to and for his people (Luke 11:3).The true bread of eternal life from heaven is Jesus ( John 6:48). Bread or “food” is the meeting of needs not purchased with money (Luke 15:17; John 6:5) Jesus’ food is to do the will of God and finish the work God gave him (John 4:33,34) The food God’s children eat is another great study for another day as is completed work versus dead works.

Secrecy (5643 – hiding place, secret place, shelter; covering, veil:- covert, secret place, hiding place, backbiting, privily, protection) – where you eat your food – seems to be the enticing element.

Make sure that your fellowship with your lifetime mate and with others is appropriate. As you eat together specifically like the LORD desires, do not get caught up in secrecy. This is true on both the physical (i.e. daily needs) and spiritual (the cleansing power of God plus his nutritive Word of Truth) levels of existence.

Proverbs chapter 15 mentions hell twice. First, in 15:11 to say that God knows EVERY thing. If Sheol (7585) and Destruction lie open before him, what makes you think your inner most heart-thoughts are out of bounds for him? ….and the hearts of men in general? Huh? The incredulous nature of this implied question within the text is almost comical.

Second, in Proverbs 15:24, Solomon explains one quality of the “path of life”. It leads upwards for a reason; namely so you won’t go down to hell. Wise people take on the hills.

If we picture two paths – one of which leads up and the other down, then we see that these trails are ‘different’. Seeing differences is helpful data when making choices. Hebrews says the mature have trained themselves to “distinguish good from evil”. Moving upwards does involve training because it is seldom – if ever- easy. This is a larger topic than I thought but it is well worth the effort of thought and study.

In Proverbs 23:14 our actions matter. Parents who punish children with the rod ( Currently viewed as an unloving activity) actually save the child from hell by doing so ( an act of truly incredible love). Correcting kids is what loving parents do. So, in your parenting, don’t cave, save. If you discipline them when they are young and are consistent, life will be so much more pleasant later on for everyone.

His concluding thought about hell… it just does not quit! “Sheol and Destruction are never satisfied, … never full”. The interesting thing here is that the eyes of man are just like it, never full. If our eyes act similarly to how Sheol behaves, then we have a window into hell’s behavior. “Insatiable”, “curious”, “roving” are some of the descriptors that come to mind.

Sheol and Destruction keep trying to fill us with heaviness, trouble and sorrow (the cords of Death). They keep recruiting women….and men… to kill us. They want the numbers within their chambers to be spectacular as they lead the “lemming” procession into the lake of fire which is the second death, a process and a place by which everything about a person ceases to exist. Everything that is, except their bones through which very happy worms crawl, foraging as they go (See Revelation and Isaiah).

So to review:

12. One pathway into Sheol is through adultery’s door.

13. Sheol has “rooms”

14. Folly recruits victims for Sheol.

15. Folly’s deception involves taking personal sexual treasures that do not belong to you.
Folly entices with secrecy using teachings and actions that suppress the truth.
These will teleport you to Sheol.

16. God knows everything about Sheol.

17. Look for the upward path. It keeps you out of Sheol.

18. Accept correction with the family “Rod”. It will keep you out of Sheol.

19. We learn about Sheol’s behavior by watching our own.

Based on these teachings I’ve concluded that “good company” does not live at hell’s door. Hell’s recruiters exploit our most basic functions, desires and needs. Though we rely on God’s help to get out of hell, there are things we can do to stay out of it. In fact, family testimonies (adventures, strengths and weaknesses, victories and failures – the Rod) play a key role in keeping other family members out of hell. It is OK to learn about family. It is OK to learn about hell. This knowledge is important to our survival.

Your eyes will see many things in this life and what you do with what you see is very important. Choose life. PLEASE.

Hell in Isaiah

Moving on, we come to Isaiah’s perspective in 5:14, the great vineyard chapter.

In this case, the grave eats. (7585) Our fat lady does not sing, she eats. She enlarges her appetite as men of rank die of hunger and God’s people go into exile for lack of understanding. Into “grave’s” mouth fall the nobles along with the masses. It is interesting to note that God is exalted because of this event. It shows his righteousness and his justice. I suppose that if you want her to go on a diet, then you should pay attention to things like ‘understanding’, ‘righteousness’, and ‘justice’ — a concept that is repeated in other portions of scripture.

Isaiah is granted another picture of this Realm of Death Isaiah 14. She is all astir and rouses the spirits of the “the departed” (dead) to greet the newbie – Babylon, the Oppressor (verse 4) – while earth above rejoices.

In my own creative imagination, I can picture a dominant female character whisking her way through underground caverns, her gauze-like ash colored outfit blowing in the breeze she makes as she hurriedly passes through. She doesn’t stop long, but passes by quickly, smacking unfortunate spirits out of their slumber, calling them to assembly.

So there they all are in hell’s “Great Hall”. Finally, Babylon enters making a great show – flowing robes, the puffy chest, squared shoulders, stately stride… Proud even at the last as he descends the steps purveying such a massive crowd assembled in his “honor”.

Back to the Biblical account. What he really gets is a chorus of taunting. “Haha. You’re weak just like us!” they say. It goes from bad to worse as the reality of his situation sinks in…literally.

Just in case you thought the “chosen” were off-the-hook, they are not. In chapter 28 we hear about Ephraim’s “covenant” with Sheol (7585). He wants to save his own tookus by making lies his refuge and falsehood his hiding place. Death is not a stranger to these tools. As we’ve seen before, she is skilled at deception.

But now, God steps in and disallows this covenant permitting the grave to be her normal voracious self Isaiah 28:18.

Morning after morning God’s scourge sweeps through. It causes terror. It floods the secret place.

God will never allow you to save yourself. In point of fact, it is a task beyond the power of mortal man. Nor will he allow that which he hates to be the salvation of those set apart for HIS glory. Rather, as we see in verses 26 and 29, God himself instructs his children and teaches them the right way.

Isaiah is slightly sarcastic in his reasoning as if he can’t believe how dumb some people are. It is like he would say, “…so follow God. His way is the path of life, Idiot.”

Isaiah 57:9 brings attention to just how interested in the Grave his people are…and this time his plea is an emotional, heart-felt word from the LORD essentially saying, [Why? Why are you doing this to me? Wickedness is really stupid. Those people will be blown away by a breeze] and he counters saying, “the man who makes Me his refuge will inherit the land and possess my holy mountain.”

Making Yahweh your refuge is one way…the way… to fight effectively against Sheol. This reiterates David’s “LORD save me!” battle strategy. Interesting.

So to review:

  1. Sheol enlarges her appetite through hunger and exile. She eats rich and poor, happy and sad because they regard not the works of the LORD neither do they consider the operation of his hands.

  2. The departed don’t always sleep in Sheol. They are roused for special events.

  3. The King of Babylon, a man, enters Sheol with pomp but descends to the recesses of the pit. Cast out of his tomb v.19 because he ruined his own people v.20 (His behavior riles my sense of justice as well. How dare he turn against his own people! We are so blessed that God is just.)

  4. People can make covenants with Sheol.
    Whether those agreements stand up is God’s decision though.
    God disallows his people to make those covenants.

  5. Seeking refuge in Sheol is misplacing your trust and insulting to God.

Based on these teachings, I’ve concluded that knowing what God does and how he works is important in the regulation of hell’s voracious appetite and helps to ensure our survival. Those inside hell sleep and taunt (…and people say heaven will be boring! Oy-vay….) Hell is interactive. Its rooms are allocated – assigned for special people with specific intent. How I interact with hell has a bearing on my relationship with God.

Hell in Ezekiel

Did you know that God mourns for kings who go down to the pit? He did for this guy in Ezekiel 31. In a message to Pharaoh and his hordes, the prophet puts forth an account of another king -Assyria. God is essentially letting Egypt know that it is He who sets kings up and makes them fall. God also ( and this is important to our discussion of hell) mourns for kings who fall, who go down into the pit. In verse 15, he shows his hurting heart for them by covering the deep springs with mourning and holding back its waters. He covered Lebanon with gloom and the trees of the field withered away and all the nations trembled…. but the other trees were consoled.

Wow. I’m thinking this is rather epic. The way God gets emotional about world leaders….amazing. This is a curious blend of care and impartial judgment and declaration about God’s true authority and power. What we learn about this grave/pit/ hell (7585) is that – as stated before– it has sections. These categories or “rooms” would be – at least in this passage- as follows: trees of Eden ( a way of talking about Earth’s kings) / nations/ uncircumcised/those killed by the sword.

Ezekiel’s only other mention of hell is in the next chapter Ezekiel 32, a lament for Pharaoh. This king is taken on the grand tour of the grave (7585) of those who spread terror among the land of the living. Even though God is the one who caused them to spread terror, they still have an arrangement in hell – the king surrounded by his hordes. Ezekiel shows us the layout: the nation (or king) entombed in the center with his hordes laying about all around him.

This too, is Pharaoh’s lot (v. 28, 32) and at the end of his tour, he is OK with it… comforted by it.

That last bit strikes me as odd. The word used for comfort 5162 – is more confusing. This word, translated “comforted” means to repent, relent, change one’s mind; be grieved/ to comfort, console, express sympathy; to be comforted or consoled; to console one’s self , to change one’s mind; avenge oneself. It is the same comfort that Isaac experienced when he married (he was comforted after his mother’s death) and the same comfort that David comforted Bathsheba with after the death of their first son. It would seem that Pharaoh needed the tour.

When confronted with the truth of our situation, our perspective changes; how did Pharaoh think of God from the vantage point of hell? How will anyone who spreads terror in the land of the living? Hitler comes to mind because he is the great ethical conundrum of those who speak of eternal judgment and punishment – to which I will now reply, He is assigned his portion by the One True Judge. I think his view will be similar to Pharaoh’s but that’s not my call or yours either, for that matter.

This passage kind of makes me not want to join any army though …. I wonder if the soldiers and kings of God’s people – the circumcised in heart – have a different place they go to when they “fall”. I take comfort in David’s psalm – God has not abandoned him to the grave. Perhaps He will not abandon us to it either.

So to review:

25. Sheol has special rooms for kings and their armies

26. Ezekiel’s wailing or Lamentation for the multitude of Egypt brings it down to the “nether world/the pit” (verse 18) just like the prophesy to the dry bones brought those bones to life. Ezekiel 37 The power of the word is amazing Here is another pathway into hell.

27. There is speech in Sheol… from the long dead and fresh dead.

28. Elam takes shame with him when he is set in Sheol.

29. The “hordes” take their weapons of war with them into Sheol and their swords are laid under their heads. Their iniquities are on their bones.

30. Those in Sheol include Kings and their armies (the uncircumcised and those that cause terror in the land of the living) The king in the center and his hordes lay around him. Those named are: Asshur, Elam, Meshech, Tubal, Edom, the princes of the north, the Zidonians each people group with their own space or “room”.

Based on these teachings, I’ve concluded that hell has special arrangements. Both things and deeds can be taken into hell and stay with the departed. This concept introduces the thought that hell may not be as whispy or non-tangible as some have led us to believe.

Hell in the Minor Prophets

Amos warns the people of Israel (Amos 8-9) that bad times are coming. Times when God will be silent. Times when God will find them and punish them with death-by-sword for their sin… for swearing in the names of other “gods”. In the last chapter, he goes into detail about their intense desire to get away and just how futile that pursuit is. Even digging to the depths of the grave (7585) won’t work because God’s hand will take them…even from there.

This part of Amos is a direct counterpart to David’s prayer in Psalm 139. They both talk about God being everywhere but Amos is all about the punishing hand of God finding those who seek refuge away from God while David is all about finding belonging and peace taking refuge in the LORD. It is incredible to me that people seek a refuge in the depths of hell but it is a consistent thought spanning cultures and seems to rise in different ways with each generation. Awful. Tragic. May this never be true of the family that God has given us.

Jonah 2:2 God hears what goes on in hell. Jonah cried to the LORD for help from the grave and God not only heard him but listened to Jonah…two different concepts by the way. The prophet’s body may have been in the big fish but his spirit was definitely in the realm of the departed. That is interesting to note because this is the very sign that Jesus references when the spiritual leaders around him called for a sign. Part of Jesus’ testimony is that he has descended (Ephesians 4:9,10) into the lower earthly regions- i.e. hell – yet also ascended and led captivity captive (Psalm 68:18) and given gifts to men….. A wonderful deed I am eternally grateful for.

Habakkuk too, points out the appetite of the grave calling it greedy and never satisfied (Habakkuk 2:5). God presents through the revelation to this prophet the Biblical idea of “karma”… what goes around comes around. In answer to Habakkuk’s complaint about how the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves, God points out that the final event in the oppressor’s journey is that what he has done will be done to him. Whether they come from earth above or hell beneath, taunts are his lot. It reminds me of Babylon’s entrance to the realm of death.

So to review:

            1. Sheol cannot keep God out of Hell if He wants to go there.

            2. God hears his people from Sheol.
              Being there and being victorious over Sheol is part of Jesus’ testimony.

            3. Sheol eats human kind. Her residents taunt.

Based on these teachings I’ve concluded that Scripture is consistent on these points about hell. Repeated items are repeated so that we will learn them well. Pay attention. God does.

Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Yes. Now about that taunting thing…. Rabbit Trail ——- Weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I read an article where this man rants about having proved that hell does not exist but one thing he forgot to address is this little gnashing thing. Isn’t that connected to hell? …to torture and torment in hell? That’s what I’d been taught. Could the teaching I blindly accepted as truth be wrong? Now, I had to investigate.

Wow. What a study! So I just have to share. Ready? 

2786 – hāraq:- to gnash, grind (teeth)

1031 –brychō:-to gnash, grind

5149 – trizō – to gnash, grind

1030 – brygmos:- gnashing, grinding

Those definitions sound pretty boring… but wait! The old testament gives us more insight.

What causes gnashing?

  • Hatred

He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me. Job 16:9 King James Version (KJV)

About that tearing thing… it’s what gnashers do.

A mom who teaches her children to “tear the prey” ends up a dry withered vine. Ezekiel 19:3,6; 22:25,27…. That’s all about how we treat people with our words, isn’t it? Destructive and damaging words never end well for anyone.

Psalm 22:13:- Jesus’ thoughts on the cross prophesied. This is how God views those that taunted His son – roaring lions that tear their prey.

  • Anger in response to the truth

54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. Acts 7:54 King James Version (KJV)

Now read it in the Amplified version

54 Now upon hearing these things, they [the Jews] were cut to the heart and infuriated, and they ground their teeth against [Stephen]. Acts 7:54Amplified Bible (AMP)

“Gnashing of teeth” is an idiom for angry complaining or malicious mocking ( Psalm 35:16) in the Hebrew while the Greeks associate it with sarcasm – a type of biting mockery.   Hence the reference to teeth?

Anger apparently is a catalyst for such biting behavior. This mom says be polite and gracious. Give your anger to the LORD and let him deal with little nasties. It is a much healthier strategy.

  • Hypocrisy [being non-conformist to one’s own moral creed], and ridiculing someone to get a laugh are all traits of the gnashers.

16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth. Psalm 35:16King James Version (KJV)

Shakespeare had it right when one of his characters declares to his son, “To thine own self be true”. Turning your back on your own moral standard creates opportunity for gnashing of teeth; that is to say the intensity of the self inflicted conflict vents inappropriately.

In our own family, grandma Webster/Rose/Shields is an example. She deeply despised anyone who drank. Her father-in-law lost the love of his life and when he became a widower lost himself in bottles of booze. Your grandma had to take care of him and she hated it. In some sense, she hated Grandpa Frank.

Fast forward several years and her husband, Grandpa Ed Webster died young leaving her to care for five children. Grandma was devastated. In a last ditch attempt to survive this awful trial, she went to her family doctor. He told her to go get a bottle of whiskey. She did. She polished off the whole thing…alone…in one night. That whiskey bottle remains as a monument to this pivotal moment in family history enshrined within her eldest son’s china hutch to this day.

When her head finally lifted off the table she was a changed woman. She was never the same and neither were her children. Added to her other flaws (and we all have flaws) was a harsh treatment of people, a disrespect, and an increased self focus that sent her children into a tail spin. Hypocrisy and the fine art of gnashing killed them all…killed their self-worth, their moral anchors, their joy of being themselves. Tragic.

Ridicule can be grinding can’t it? Trying to manipulate our own comfort by lessening the comfort of others is actually self defeating. Our sense of humor does need boundaries…this is a great launching point.

Guard your morals! DON’T GNASH.

Gnashers are social

Gnashers are their own social category or grouping of people (wicked enemies) and certain things are true of them…

  • Plotting against the just

12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. Psalm 37:12King James Version (KJV)

  • Watching the righteous in an “eagle-eye” and “stalking” kind of way, jealous, upset, melting away, focused on their own dashed desires

10 The wicked shall see it [the fearlessness, blessing and generosity of the righteous], and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish. Psalm 112:10King James Version (KJV)

  • Off kilter and perhaps unfounded, definitely inappropriate gloating

16 All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it. Lamentations 2:16King James Version (KJV)

Where do we find said Gnashers?

  • In the KINGDOM OF GOD. (isn’t that a shocker?!) They just don’t get to stay very long.

12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 8:12King James Version (KJV)

48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

49 And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

5And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:48-51King James Version (KJV)

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 25:30King James Version (KJV)

God ‘says the kingdom heaven is within us, right(Luke 17:21)? Could this place of gnashing-of-teeth be the proverbial “hell within” people talk about? … or the ‘hell on earth’ that has become a catch phrase? The Bible does say a lot about grumbling and complaining…even mockery. Never once are they sought after qualities that gather favor from people or God. I guess God lets them grouse and then he puts an end to their clamor. Our earthly ears might appreciate it too.

  • IN the Jewish nation … the spiritual leadership

28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. Luke 13:28King James Version (KJV)

Important to note that Jesus was talking to the religious elite when he spoke these words. When you identify gnashing in religious leadership, be faithful to the truth and stand apart from them. for they are headed to the realm of the dead just like the rebellious, self aggrandizing Levite, Dathan and his crew.

  • IN the fire … tossed out like trash

42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:42King James Version (KJV)

50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:50King James Version (KJV)

  • IN outer darkness … tossed out like trash

13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 22:13King James Version (KJV)

… lots of tossing by the angels of these folk who are labeled as worthless, lazy and unprofitable…those who only do their duty. They do not have proper wedding clothes (an association with good deeds is valid here). They will be bound before the tossing. They can no longer use their hands or feet but they CAN make noise – weep, wail, gnash…grind.

Gnashing is a demonic destruction tool

18 And wheresoever he( the evil spirit) taketh him (the man’s son), he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. Mark 9:18King James Version (KJV)

Jesus cast it out! Praise God He can get rid of this gnashing business.

The tricky part is where we come to eternal punishment. This has been taught to me as equal to eternal or everlasting torture.

(2851:- kolasis – punishment. Sometimes translated as ‘torture’ this word comes from the word 2967-kōlyō – to hinder, stop, restrain, forbid; oppress; to be prevented, kept from). Everlasting torture is NOT what it says. If I am putting this together correctly, and I am confident that I am, this ‘punishment’ is a type of Divine disallowance of face time or fellowship with God.

But here is where translation becomes an issue. eternal (166:- aiōnios – eternal, long ago ) can actually mean, “long ago” and comes from a generic term that is also controversial (165:-aiōn – eternity, age (time period); ‘this age’ can mean the universe or even the current world system).

 It reminds me of a passage in 1 Peter 3 and even in 2 Peter 3 that talks about those people outside the ark …. long, long ago. From that frame of reference, the Matthew 25 comment about eternal punishment of those tossed outside makes total sense. But because the translations differ and the term is suspect one cannot prove anything either way. Suffice it to say, “No bueno” applies.

Has this information about the Biblical “hell” been life changing for you too? Wow. It has changed how I think about people, increased my boldness, decreased my fear, and helped me to ask God for his help more often along this upward path I’ve chosen.

Thank you for joining me in this gathering of information about hell in the Old Tstament. Please join me for an investigation of hell in the New Testament. I love you all so much. Please tell the grandkids everything.


Color Me Judgmental

I hear a lot of people promoting the idea that judging others is a most abhorrent and anti-social trait, making a virtue out of not judging.  If a captain failed to judge the the position of another boat in his way correctly and make the proper realignment, they might collide. Perhaps not judging is the wrong path.

Let’s consider the kind of judgment you and I experience and engage in everyday.

From the time we begin living, we are sorting information; breath, hunger, and a properly functioning bowel demand it. Visual input of positive and negative spaces are important; get ’em wrong and you take a tumble. Colors bring either joy or stress so sorting out those that suit you best is vital to your well being. Vision and confidence determine, to a large extent, our actions. Mastering the art and science of sorting things out is so important.

Generally we sort things, color, games, people, places, etc. by using our preferences. Preferences are judgments.

Here’s a thought about judgment from Paul. Wordpress banner compass

Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

1 Corinthians 6:3 (NASB)

In context, Paul is chastising the Corinthian church for not judging each other’s disputes but instead taking their conflicts to be sorted out by the public judicial system.

Read that carefully? He was calling them out for NOT JUDGING. He got pretty harsh about it too.

The word “judge” [strong’s #2919] is krinō. To decide, consider, as preferring one thing over another or determining the correctness of a matter; by extension: to judge, pass judgment on, condemn in a legal sense.

I have a hard time imagining myself in God’s great judgment hall legally condemning an angel because I did not think its actions correct or I happen not to prefer the methods it engaged. Yet this is the picture Paul paints for us.


If I’m responsible to judge angels – beings quite a bit out of my league in power, resources and abilities – shouldn’t I put forward some sort of effort to increase my judgment skills?

Teaching our children to sort colors and shapes has value beyond preschool. Teaching them to sort through and make choices about behaviors goes beyond kindergarten and well into eternity. These baby judgmental steps are so very important.

Judging angels demands competence and confidence.

Maybe if I learned more about the reality of eternal judgment (that part part where the True Judge sorts out those who live and those who die), perhaps then I would get a better grip on preferences here on earth. Perhaps I would be better able to practice and allow others to practice judging while keeping the end in mind.

Maybe if I became better at making distinctions, that would help. 

31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 1 Corinthians 11:31 (NASB)

The concept here is not to brow beat or trash our own character before someone else takes a crack at it, but to call out distinctions of character, of behavior, within ourselves. This applies both to the corporate church gathering and to the individual.

If I make a distinction clear, there is no longer any room for others to make that distinction for me. Or is there? Are there four lights  …or five? Are we making comfort perceptions our choice over reality? Sometimes we need help to judge correctly…not to give in to or succumb to the schemes of “alternate” thinkers. 

If I have made a public declaration of the obvious, accepting it, being confident in it, then I am building behavioral judging skills in myself and in others.

Behaviors are threefold; conduct, function and response. They have primary categories with subsets and secondary blends beneath them. Further sorting of behavior includes variations of the target character with brightness, contrast, and saturation points. Colors work in much the same way.

Sorting … color … preferences. This is what makes our lives so vividly wonderful.

Yellow is yellow. Blue is Blue. Red is red. Non-disputable whether your standard is pigment or light based.

Right is right. Wrong is wrong. Bold is bold. Non-disputable whether your standard is an internal creed or culturally based.

Secondary colors are also true having been grouped in combinations from the first set. Green is yellow + Blue. Purple is Blue + Red. Orange is Red +Yellow. Non-disputable. That’s just the way they work.

Kindness is a good deed + favor. Restitution is a foul deed + rest-oriented response. Wickedness is a selfish thought + a malicious deed. Non-disputable. That’s just the way they work.

You and I have permission to judge. It’s the way we sort life out. Non-disputable. That’s just the way we work.

Neither you nor I may condemn anyone to hell for a particular choice or preference – that is God’s job and he does not delegate it to anyone. We CAN, however,  have and make use of preferences. In point of fact we need to practice judging like the SeaHawks practice for game day.

But just like in football, building judging skills comes with a risk. Judging hurts people. It stings. It cramps us up. It bruises.

Question: Where would a football player be if he got hurt and stayed hurt?

Answer: Out of a job

Question: Where would we be without judging skills?

Answer: Out of service

In serving God with other people, we get hurt. God heals us and then we go out and play ball again. We have this encouragement and truth to get us through the difficult times when we judge and others judge us:

15 But the spiritual man tries all things [he [a]examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him]. 1 Corinthians 2:15 Amplified Bible (AMP)


But [as for me personally] it matters very little to me that I should be put on trial by you [on this point], and that you or any other human tribunal should investigate and question and cross-question me. I do not even put myself on trial and judge myself.

I am not conscious of anything against myself, and I feel blameless; but I am not vindicated and acquitted before God on that account. It is the Lord [Himself] Who examines and judges me. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 Amplified Bible (AMP)


Here’s the deal. None of us are subject to the other person’s judgment. But we’re all judging each other. Pause and just let that sink in.

If anybody thinks they can play God while judging, they have another think coming.

So if our judgments don’t matter, why bother?

It’s practice.

So get a thick skin. Prepare for game day. Increase your skills. Increase your endurance. Learn to sort your colors and use them. Paint or play your primary and secondary judgments.

Relax. Be confident in your Maker and His judgments.

Judge and be judged. One day we will be judging angels.

Weird but true.


Biblical Hospitality: the Boundaries of Entertaining Strangers

Because the Bible encourages hospitality we – my husband and I– are trying to understand it better. What is the entertainment of strangers all about? I investigated because I want to be obedient to Christ but felt totally ill equipped.

None of the references to hospitality I found were in the old testament. There are two words for hospitality in the New Testament: philoxenia and philoxenos.

Philoxenia – hospitality, entertainment of strangers [ from 5384 – philos – friendly + 3581xenos- strange, foreign, alien; stranger; host, one who shows hospitality]

Philoxenos – hospitable [this word comes from the same two words above 5384 +3581]

Entertaining … strangers? Are you kidding me?

Does the fact that I’m an introvert mean anything? Amusement for amusement’s sake is neither my desire nor my forte.

Perhaps some help from the word – “entertain” …. 

entertain (v.) 
late 15c., “to keep up, maintain, to keep (someone) in a certain frame of mind,” from Middle French entretenir, from Old French entretenir “hold together, stick together, support” (12c.), from entre- “among” (from Latin inter; see inter-) + tenir “to hold” (from Latin tenere; see tenet).

Sense of “have a guest” is late 15c.; that of “gratify, amuse” is 1620s. Meaning “to allow (something) to consideration, take into the mind” (of opinions, notions, etc.) is 1610s. Related: Entertainedentertaining.

The truth does set us free. Thanks God for word histories. Sticking together and supporting one another is both important and doable. I’m SO excited hospitality doesn’t have to be hosting parties all the time. I would go nuts, be exhausted, and broke.
Another part of this word I adore from the 1610s is “consideration”. Consideration is such an art form. Considering ideas is something we’re all fond of. Considering people is a learned skill for some (especially the previously abandoned) and for others it’s like breathing oxygen. I challenge the skill; my hubby breathes it. That’s one reason we make such a great team.

But in what context does the Bible talk about entertaining strangers?

Philoxenia is used once – Romans 12:13. This verse is part of a set of verses outlining the proper behaviors of Roman believers. Essentially Paul is instructing them to care for the needs of the saints ( fellow believers) while at the same time being friendly to people they didn’t know. This too, is a team effort where support for each other is necessary. May God help us to help each other be hospitable.

5382 – philoxenos – given to hospitality is used a whopping three times.

1 Timothy 3:2 As regards bishops (KJV) and over seers (NASB, NIV ) hospitality is again part of a set. This time it is a list of qualities essential to all persons active in a specific church position. The word “given” is attached to “hospitality” here. [ Given: 1377 – diōkō – to pursue, persecute, to systematically oppress and harass a person or group, as an extended meaning of pursuing a person on foot in a chase; also from the image of the chase comes the meaning of striving and pressing on to a goal with intensity; to press on] It’s like saying, “given to given to hospitality”The double “given” increases the intensity.

Wow. Chasing someone down…systematically…harassing… According to this passage, giving chase is encouraged. (I wonder if a lack of hospitality is a part of church split equations.)

While oppression, persecution and harassment are usually negatives in my ideological vocabulary, I expect a “chase ’em down”, dogged pursuit of strangers from people in spiritual authority. My inner sense of justice demands it. Sometimes those leaders who give chase and the chase itself results in the protection of their flock and is a good thing.

I just never applied that concept to myself. It’s not really “me”. What about hospitality does apply to me?

There is a directive to women about hospitality concerning the welcoming of strangers into one’s home. It is the focal point of the entire book of 2 John. John warns the Lady not to “share” in the sins of others by choosing not to invite specific people over.

Hospitality is a physical-spiritual convergence zone. When we welcome people who teach false doctrines, we share in their evil deeds spiritually, though we really have had nothing to do with what they teach or have done themselves physically. Our misplaced blessing would take effect physically and spiritually thereby connecting us to them in a way that damages us.

Love is obedience to Christ. We cannot be truly hospitable with those who treat Him poorly.

When I invite a person over for whatever, I do not add the prerequisite, “ Oh by the way, what do you believe? Do you teach anything about God? What exactly would that teaching be?”

Should I?

I thought God was encouraging us to have people over more. John tells us not to do that indiscriminately. The place for questioning is the coffee shop or some other neutral ground. Fellowship in our home needs to be protected.

Titus 1:8 is a part of a set of verses outlining qualities every candidate for “elder” should posses.


Qualifications of Elders

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the [a]overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. Titus 1:5-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Again, we are talking about overseers and the protection of families against faulty doctrines or teachings. So far, there are more warnings about hospitality than injunctions to perfect it. That’s interesting.

In contrast, 1 Peter 4:9 is directed to a gathering of believers and offers instruction.

The end of all things [a]is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of [b]prayer.Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so [c]as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving [d]by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:7-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

This is about entertaining strangers within the body of believers. I love how Peter gives reasons for everything…almost everything.

  • Be of sound judgment and sober spirit. REASON: prayer.
  • Keep fervent love for one another. REASON: love covers over a multitude of sins
  • Be hospitable without compliant (‘grudging’ in the KJV). REASON: Peter doesn’t say.

Strong’s word for grudging is 1112 – gongysmos – grumbling, complaint, whispering, private talk (from 1111 – gongyzō – grumble complain mutter, murmur)

Here’s a thought about reasoning for hospitality without complaint. The complainer’s words may be heard by the pseudo-welcomed. I do not know anyone who wants their host to whisper about them in a grumbling, derogatory way or find out the welcome they enjoyed was fake. The effect is emotional abandonment; it throws people off-kilter, separates and injures socially and spiritually. Hospitality plus grumbling is not really hospitality. Perhaps that is why Peter states this as direct command. Serve, just don’t grumble. Don’t.

  • Employ your gifts in serving one another. REASON: being a good steward of the manifold grace of God.
  • Speak as if God is speaking. Serve with the strength God supplies. REASON: so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ

That’s a good reason to do anything. … Even entertaining strangers.

So whether you eat, drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Do it in HIS strength. That is how one is hospitable to God’s glory! No room for complaining about God’s strength is there?

Hospitality: Serve and speak God into the lives of fellow believers. Entertain strangers being considerate and cautious.

Whatever our personality, whatever our resources, or our church “jobs”, we can do this. With the LORD enabling us, WE Can Do This.

Welcome the Nazarene

Welcome the Nazarene
© Christine J. Webster August 22, 2015 All rights reserved


Do you love me?

Feed my Sheep.

Do you love me?

Feed my lambs.

Do you really care who I am?

Verse 1

Love each other as I have loved you.

Let love shine in everything you do.


Do you love me?

Feed my Sheep.

Do you love me?

Feed my lambs.

Do you really care who I am?

Verse 2

Do you care what happens to my NAME?

Can you share my love or bear my shame?


Do you love me?

Feed my Sheep.

Do you love me?

Feed my lambs.

Do you really care who I am?

Verse 3

Do you introduce me to your friends?

Is your own life where our friendship ends?


What I’ve done for others, I do in Jesus’ Name

In word and deed I tend real needs

And welcome the Nazarene.


Do you love me?

Feed my Sheep.

Do you love me?

Feed my lambs.

Do you really care… who… I say … I Am? 

45 Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”Philip *said to him, “Come and see.”
John 1:45-46 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Anniversary Waltz

I will never leave you

I will be your friend 

I will not deceive you

On me you can depend 

Let’s cry on God’s shoulder

When no one is around

See, we’ll both grow stronger 

Our movements will astound 

Hand-in-hand… shine Love’s light

So everyone can see

His joy, His peace, His love,

His perfect liberty.

Hope will be our holder

When others are around.

Now and when we’re older

His dance the victor’s sound.

13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:13-15 

New International Version (NIV)