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Two Kingdoms

god stuff 4

“…there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The KINGDOM OF THE WORLD has become the KINGDOM OF OUR LORD and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15, NAS).”

 

“For He rescued us from the DOMAIN OF DARKNESS, and transferred us to the KINGDOM OF HIS BELOVED SON (Colossians 1:13, NAS).”

 

We must first acknowledge that there are two kingdoms: God’s and Satan’s. Ultimately, we know that the Kingdom of God will reign supreme over all darkness – the world kingdom – Satan’s kingdom reigning currently on earth. By accepting Christ’s redemptive blood through repentance, people are able to transition from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God. This is the broad picture, but what about the more detailed picture that involves we who dwell on earth?  To whom does the earth belong?

  • GOD?

 

“The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it…(Psalm 24:1-2, NAS).”

Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it (Deuteronomy 10:14, NAS).”

  •  SATAN?

 

“…the devil has come down to you…he has a short time (Revelation 12:12).”

“…now the ruler of this world will be cast out (John 12:31, NAS).”

“in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel…(II Corinthians 4:4, NAS).”

  • MAN?

 

“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the EARTH hath He given to the children of men (Psalm 115:16, KJV).”

God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:28, NAS).”

 

This can be tricky if we only look at these Scriptures individually. Ultimately, the earth belongs to God as everything in existence does because He is the Creator of all – the seen and the unseen. He is the “owner.” As the owner, He gave rule over the earth to man through Adam. Adam and his descendants were ordained to rule as “acting manager” in a manner of speaking. However, as manager, he had the authority to give management over to someone else – and so he did. Through Adam’s sin, he inadvertently gave the management to Satan, the prince of the power of the air, aka the god of this world.

A common phrase among people is, “I went/am going through hell.” This is because currently, Satan’s domain is the earth. When he was cast from heaven, God said “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth!” – yet all is not lost. We, God’s ambassadors from the Kingdom of heaven, are clearly to usher heaven down to earth! This hasn’t been happening much because of lack of understanding of God’s Kingdom, but it’s time to learn from whence and from whom we originate.

 

“The devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him ALL the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only (Matthew 4:8-11, NAS).”’”

 

Satan could not have offered Jesus something he did not already possess. Satan took possession when Adam legally gave it to him in the Garden of Eden. God gave authority to Adam, therefore by all legal rights, because of Adam’s fall, the earth is currently run by Satan.

After the flood, God made covenant with Noah hence giving back all legal ground over the earth to man. As time passed, mankind grew more and more evil, in turn handing the earth back to Satan. It wasn’t until Jesus came in the lineage of King David that, by conquering death and the grave, authority was given to Jesus.

Now all who receive Christ as their Lord, King, and Savior have within them the One who holds the authority. God gave Jesus authority and Jesus gave authority to the Church – those who accept Christ (mankind). Through redeemed man, the Kingdom of God can reign on earth as it should have been in the beginning. God owns the earth, the earth is Satan’s dominion for now, but we who walk according to the Spirit instead of the flesh, we can take back what God originally gave to Adam. We must of necessity allow Holy Spirit to overtake us (the individual and collective body) so as to allow the Kingdom of God to come down to earth.

As Dr. Myles Monroe points out in his teachings, when Adam sinned, because he was the visible manifestation of the invisible kingdom of heaven, technically, he committed treason. He lost both his relationship and his kingdom. Dr. Munroe states: “Adam was a king without a kingdom. A ruler with nothing to rule.” God’s holy people need most desperately to discover a Kingdom mindset, how God’s Kingdom government works, and then turn and rule the earth through Holy Spirit so as to overthrow Satan and the hell he regularly ushers. The time is now to take back the earth!

 

I hope you’ll come back next time. If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.

Peace and blessings,

 

Alexys V. Wolf

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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A Reflection

I made it! Today marked a milestone in my short 18 years of living. I graduated high school! The last four years have been an incredible time of growing and maturing, ups, downs, and fellowship. I wouldn’t change a single one of those years (except maybe to add time to my senior year). So, I’m about to take you on a quick reflection on the last four years. 

Freshman year: Oh boy. What a big step. I remember walking into my first day of high school as a little immature and scared kid. Now it didn’t take me long to get comfortable, but it was a little nerve-racking for awhile. As I told a friend a few weeks ago, I made some mistakes almost right off the bat. I let the people I was around and my own selfish ambitions shape who I was becoming, how I talked, and how I thought. Somewhere along the right I got back to who I was and I remembered Who I represented. God made me (and everyone of you) for a particular purpose. I forgot that for a time. Freshman year is when I started strengthening the friendships I began over my elementary and junior high career. I lost some friends, but I guess that happens. 

Sophomore year: Honestly, I dont recall much of my sophomore year. At least, nothing major really stick out for me. This was the first time I spoke at church though! That was more nerve-racking than my first day of high school for sure! 

Junior year: Wow. This was probably the hardest year I had academically. I was so busy with classes that legitimately challenged me. My intention here is not to brag, but school has always come fairly easily for me. I make good grades and most of what I learn will stick with me for quite awhile. Junior year was a test and I passed. I continue to do well in school and make friends. Some of those friends that made a lasting impact on me will be discussed in a minute. Junior year is really when I started maturing both as a person and in my faith. 

Senior year: This year was different than all the rest. I took a couple dual credit classes at a local university. That was a great experience! I also spent a lot of time in the front office (my school as a class where I got to work in the front office). I’m extremely glad I chose to do that (again I’ll tell you more about that in a moment). This year was incredibly fun and exciting! I met some new friends, I made a college decision, and obviously graduation was huge! As for my college decision, I will be attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with the intent of going into some sort of ministry field after college. I have to do my first year online because of limited space on campus, but I have a good shot of moving to Chicago in the Fall of 2015. 

Friends that made a lasting impact: Now don’t get me wrong. I have a ton of friends that I will never forget. The thing is, if I wrote about all of them, I might as well write a book. I could fill pages. I’ll spare you the time and effort by just writing about a few that are really the closest to me. 

First, my brother and I have really formed the relationship brothers should have. We used to fight a lot as kids. We didn’t get along. Yes, it’s normal for sibling to quarrel. But, we just never got really close until around my eighth grade year. Maybe even my freshman year. The point is, now we are best friends. We set aside what was hindering our relationship from progressing and allowed our faith in Jesus to shape our friendship. I love Joey and I’m grateful for the relationship we have now. 

I have another friend named Craig. I knew Craig a little bit in elementary because we played on the same sports teams and of that good junk. He didn’t go to the same school though until eighth grade. What I love most about my friendship with Craig is the fact that I’ve gotten the opportunity to watch him grow in his walk with Christ. I don’t claim to have any huge part in that growth, but I’ve been completely delighted when we have had the opportunity to discuss the Word and I’ve been delighted when he has had questions about God that I was able to give him an answer to. He’s really been an encouragement to me through the years! He knows what it takes, or rather Who it takes to live the Good Life. He’s got a bright future ahead of him. 

Like Craig, I’ve knew the next guy just a little in elementary. Trace also came to my school in eighth grade. Trace is an incredible athlete! I know if he works hard, he can achieve a lot both in life and in his future athletic endeavors. Through high school, Trace and I would poke fun at each other (always in a friendly way, of course!), but he has also been an encouragement. Just watching how hard he works to be the best he can be is what has encouraged me the most. I wish him nothing but the best! 

The next friend is Drake. To be quite honest and a little blunt, Drake is good at aggravating people. It isn’t often I show frustration and anger in public, but at times Drake has successfully brought it out of me. And on purpose I might add! Regardless, he quickly became one of my best friends. Even though we spent much of our time together joking with each other, he’s always been a person I could talk to just to get things off my chest. All of these friends that I have listed (and the last one I will list) are people I can talk to if I need to. We’ve both share a love for golf. Now, Drake is better at golf than I’ll ever be, but I still enjoy the game. I remember one particular time on the golf course, we had a pretty serious discussion in which we basically shared some of the history in our lives. I won’t get into the actual conversation we had because it was just a talk between he two of us. However, the point is that that is a moment that really stuck out to me. 

Finally, the last friend I’m going to talk about. I’ve rambled enough. :) I met this girl for the first time this year. In the front office. Yep. Remember that blow off class I was talking about? It ended up being a bigger blessing than I thought possible. Saylor is an all-around incredible person. Just about every time I’ve been around her, she either laughing at random things, smiling about something, or blankly staring at me because I said something incredibly stupid. Many times this year when I’ve been stressed or down about something, she’s been able to lift me up just because of her attitude. She didn’t know it of course, but just being around her often brightened my day. I looked forward to that time in the office every day just because of the fun and uplifting time I knew was coming. I’ve only known Saylor for a year, but I’m glad I met her and I thank God for her daily. I hope we can continue to grow closer as individuals. 

I thank God for all of these relationships I have managed to make over the years. God is good! My time in high school has shaped me and matured me into the person I am now. My faith has grown tremendously as well! Again, there are many more friends I could talk about, but time would not permit me to do so. I sincerely hope to remain in contact with all of the ones I listed as I enter my college career and beyond. I know many classmates and other relationships formed in high school often lose contact after one or both people graduate. It’s just a fact of life. But you can bet that I will do everything within my power to keep in contact with my friends. 

I think this verse fits well for the relationships God has blessed me with:

“Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.”- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 

-Austin


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YIELDING CONTROL

By Neil Anderson

 Neil Anderson

March 5
2 Corinthians 2:11 
For we are not ignorant of his [Satan's] schemes
 
We generally agree that Christians are vulnerable to the enemy’s temptation, accusation and deception. But for some reason, we hesitate to admit that Christians can lose their freedom and can surrender to demonic influences. However, the evidence of Scripture is abundant and clear that believers who repeatedly succumb to Satan can come under bondage.
 
Demonic control does not mean satanic ownership. You have been purchased by the blood of the Lamb, and not even the powers of hell can take your salvation away from you (1 Peter 1:17-19; Romans 8:35-39). Satan knows he can never own you again. But if he can deceive you into yielding control of your life to him in some way, he can neutralize your growth and your impact in the world for Christ.
 
Since we live in a world whose god is Satan, the possibility of being tempted, deceived and accused is continuous. If you allow his schemes to influence you, you can lose control to the degree that you have been deceived. If he can persuade you to believe a lie, he can control your life.
 
The term demon possessed never occurs in the Bible after the cross. We lack theological precision as to what demon possession constitutes in the church age. But don’t come to any conclusion that you can’t be affected by Satan. We are more a target than we are immune to his strategies. However, we have all the sanctuary we need in Christ, and we have the armor of God to protect us.
 
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the armor You have provided to protect me from Satan. Keep me aware of his schemes today and help me resist him in the power and authority You provide.


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Love to Worship- Spoken Word

This is a video from Dillon Chase. I thought it was great, so I’m sharing it with all of you! :)

-Austin 

 


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MODELING GROWTH

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

January 31
 
James 1:22 
Prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves
 
I am learning about pastors and missionaries across the country who are preaching against the very sins they are committing themselves. Nationally known Christian personalities who vehemently condemn immorality have themselves been found to be hiding an immoral lifestyle. Those of us who are called to preach or teach God’s Word must put it on first. We must get on our knees before God as we prepare the message and say, “God, is this Scripture true in my life?” If not, we had better be honest enough to say to those who hear us, “I wish I were a better example of this passage than I am, but I’m still growing in this area.” To proclaim the Word of God as if it were true in your life when it’s not is a lie.
 
Those of us who receive the Word are also vulnerable to self-deception if we fail to put it into practice. We hear a sermon or a lesson and say, “Wow! What a great truth!! and hurry off to share it with someone else without processing it ourselves and applying it to our own lives. James said that hearers of the Word who are not also doers of the Word deceive themselves.
 
Why are we afraid to admit it when our lives don’t completely match up to Scripture? I believe it’s because many of us have a perfection complex. We think we have to model perfection and not admit to something less. But we can’t model perfection, because we’re not perfect; we can only model growth. The people around us need to know that we are real people in the process of maturing. They need to see how we handle failure as well as how we handle success. When we model this kind of honesty in the Christian community, we greatly reduce the possibility of the deceiver gaining a foothold.
 
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I have placed the quest for earthly perfection ahead of growth in You and Your Word. Help me model growth in my life today.


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RECKLESS ABANDON

By Neil Anderson

 banner_secondary_who i am in christ

January 29
 
1 Corinthians 10:20
I do not want you to become sharers in demons
 
While Christians have been questioning the reality of demonic influence in the church, the world has charged into the spiritual realm with reckless abandon. The Western world is experiencing a massive paradigm shift in its worldview, as best seen in the rise of the New Age Movement, the acceptance of parapsychology as a science, the growing popularity of the supernatural, and the increasing visibility of Satanism in our culture. New Age mysticism, which gathered its greatest strength with the influx of Eastern religions in the 1960s, has been popularized by a host of celebrities in the 1980s. It’s commonplace to hear channelers (mediums) on radio and TV talk shows boasting about their spirit guides (demons).
 
But the New Age Movement is not just a celebrity issue. New Age philosophy is making significant inroads into business, education and even religion across our nation. Recently I challenged two my students to attend, for the sake of research, a New Age conference being held two blocks from our school. When they arrived at the door and discovered the cost to be $65 each, they started to walk away. But two strangers approached them saying, “We were told to give you these tickets.” My wide-eyed students took the tickets and walked in.
 
They reported to me that one of the speakers led conference participants in a meditation exercise. He challenged everyone to imagine a spirit guide coming alongside. The speaker concluded the exercise by saying, “Now invite your spirit guide to come in.” I could hardly believe it. The devil is giving altar calls just two blocks from Biola University!
 
Does the spread of New Age and the occult worry you or frighten you? It need not. In Christ you have every resource to defuse and dispel any threat of darkness in your life or family. Stand on the truth of His Word and walk in the light of your identity in Christ.
 
Prayer: Keep me alert today, Lord, to inroads the devil is attempting in my world that I may tear down his strongholds with the weapons of the Spirit.


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What is the Purpose of Christmas?

This is a video journal I did for Christmas! 

Merry Christmas! 

-Austin

 

 


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4 Steps to Raise Your Enthusiasm Level

Today’s guest post is by Mark Furlong, you can find out more about him at the end of this article. While in large measure this article pertains to leadership on the job, the principles outlined in this article can be applied to church and ministry leadership as well as our interpersonal work relationships. Whether it be a job, ministry, or being involved in helping out in church, if we feel our contribution is important and makes a difference…we will work harder and feel more like a part of the team.

You know that you get a lot more done, in less time, with greater results when your enthusiasm level is high. I am a long time weight trainer and consider it to be the greatest fitness practice available, when done correctly. One thing I know, if you are trying to lift 150 pounds, having the strength to lift 149 will not move the weight. You have to have the strength to lift 150 pounds or more. Like weight training, some projects will not even move unless you have enough enthusiasm strength or force to lift them. (Like starting a new program or making a significant change). Enthusiasm helps everyone do better and have more fun doing it.

The problem is we all live in a world dominated by the 2nd law of Thermodynamics; if things are left alone they will gradually get worse and fall apart (my layman’s paraphrase). This week I’ve been posting on Facebook and Twitter the 4 principles Ken Blanchard shares in his book Gung Ho on how to raise the performance and enthusiasm levels of an individual or team. I’d recommend you read that short, but powerful book, but here are the 4 main points.

  1. Meaningful work.  People get motivated and their commitment level takes off when they see and believe the work they  are doing matters. If it’s just a “job”; writing copy, making another speech, building another deck, or cleaning up another mess, it’s hard to give a great effort. If, however, we see the end result like people will get much healthier, or this organization will be revitalized to serve foreign students who feel alone, or cleaning this up will give a distressed family their lives back; that changes our “job” to an important “mission.” If it’s work that people are actually gifted for and like to do, that makes it that much better (way better actually.)
  2. Control of Goal Achievement.  It was either Eisenhower or Truman who said, “Tell people what to do but don’t tell them how to do it.” Blanchard agrees. He says managers/leaders set the goals for the team but get input from those doing the work on how to best reach that goal. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink says, autonomy is a big motivator for knowledge works. No one wants someone looking over their shoulder, micro-managing, or treating them like dummies. People need to have a large measure of control on how they do their work—that increases enthusiasm.
  3. Encouragement.  Blanchard says ,”Congratulations are affirmations that who people are and what they do matter, and that they are making a valuable contribution toward achieving the shared mission….You can’t overdo TRUE congratulations: Timely, Responsive, Unconditional, Enthusiastic.
  4. Results Assessment.  If the goal is fully reached, throw a party, have some type of celebration! Celebrating is a powerful force for on-going enthusiasm and something most achievement oriented leaders easily neglect. It helps people get that sense of victory, accomplishment, and fulfillment that they have actually completed something important. That is great enthusiasm fuel.

Remember those 4 points and implement them: Meaningful work, Control of the work, Encouragement, and Celebration. Great job, you finished reading this, take a moment and celebrate!

Mark Furlong is an author and achievement coach with over 30 years of experience. He equips people turn their passion into influence and income by mastering entrepreneurial leadership skills. Go to http://www.MarkFurlongCoaching.com to get your free audio “Improving Leadership Results Quickly”.


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Who Was the Angel of the LORD?

This is a research paper I did for my Biblical Literature class. I think it’s also a good teaching opportunity on a debated topic. I may use it in a sermon or to teach a Sunday School class as well. Enjoy!

            Throughout the Old Testament, the Angel of the LORD appears in various places to various people. The appearance of the Angel almost always preceded a major turn of events in Old Testament stories. We see this “Angel” in the book of Judges frequently. The identity of the Angel has long been debated. Some say this is just simply a messenger sent from God, but others argue this is a pre-incarnate form of Jesus Christ. Both sides have presented suggested evidence to support their theories. Most of the claims are based on grammatical usage in the text. Does the Bible ever directly tell us who the Angel is? What does the Biblical evidence say about the Angel?

            The word “angel” comes from the Greek word, άγγελοςThis means “messenger” or “one who is sent” (White, “Angel of the LORD: Messenger or Euphemism”, 299). We know that Jesus was sent directly by God as seen in John 8:29. It is important to note that the Angel of the LORD doesn’t speak in third person, as other messengers seem to do. The Angel speaks in first person as if he is God. Judges 2:1a is an example this: “The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers.” The Angel is talking as God and not just for God. This happens time and time again throughout the Old Testament. The Hebrew for angel and messenger is used 213 times in the Old Testament. The phrase for “Angel of the LORD” is used 48 times in 45 verses in the Bible. We also see people giving the Angel reverence that usually only God receives. For example, in Joshua 5:14-15 we find Joshua fall “facedown” and taking off his sandals before the Angel. (White, “Angel of the LORD: Messenger or Euphemism”, 300-301).  This would imply that the Angel is more than just a messenger if Joshua is responding in worship to him.

In Genesis 18, Abraham gets three visitors. The text describes one of the three as “the LORD.” The other two are believed to just be angels. However, the text indicates that one of the men is God himself, a theophany (Pak, “BIB 110 Lecture Notes”, 22). If these people saw God face-to-face, why did they not die like God suggested in Exodus 33:20? The answer is simple. Either the Angel is not God or God came in the form of the Son (pre-incarnate). That would make this a Christophany in the Old Testament.

Daniel 3:25 also seems to have an appearance of Christ. King Nebuchadnezzar sees a fourth man in the fiery furnace after Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego was thrown in for not worshipping the image of gold. When Nebuchadnezzar sees the fourth man he exclaims, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” It is after that the Nebuchadnezzar seems to recognize the God of Israel as at least legitimate because he addresses the three men as “servants of the Most High God.”

Finally, we go to Exodus to look at the Angel appearing to Moses. In Exodus 3, the Angel of the LORD appears to Moses in a burning bush. The Angel actually says this in verse 6 which seems to be a clear hint of the Angel’s identity: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (“Fire Bible”, 410).

            The case against the Angel being Divinity doesn’t seem to be as strong. Again, the scholars that say the Angel was only a representative of God use grammar and other linguistic evidence, and custom in the text to support their theory.  The main argument is that saying the Angel is deity creates a problem for monotheists, such as the Jewish audience of the Old Testament (López, “Identifying the Angel of the LORD in the Book of Judges…” 15). However, we see the Godhead at work from the beginning.  The claim is that the text clearly distinguishes the Angel from Yahweh.

            This research project has further confirmed what I already had a strong belief in. The appearances of the Angel of the LORD are indeed pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus Christ. The Biblical evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of this. I even believe that God told us exactly who the Angel is on more than one occasion. There are a few Christophanies in the New Testament, too. Even though none of them are described as “the Angel of the LORD,” Jesus is the one who appears. Take the example of Saul’s conversion to Christianity while on the road to Damascus. Jesus appears to Saul, later known as Paul, in the same dramatic way that the Angel of the LORD reveals himself in the Old Testament (Newman, “Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children…”, 155). Christ’s appearance to Saul also brings about a major turn of events just like the Angel of the LORD did in the Old Testament. The people the Angel appears to also fall in worship when they realize who he is as well. Other angels told the people to not worship them. Along with the textual evidence, the Angel’s claims and messages indicate that the Angel of the Lord is actually a pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. God had a plan from the very beginning and he has always used the Son to fulfill the plan.

-Austin


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Suicide

The topic I’m about to discuss if very controversial. If you commit suicide, will you go to Heaven? I’ve heard both sides of the argument on this one. Here’s what I believe. 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoeverbelieves in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” -John 3:16, 17

This passage makes it very clear that whoever believes in the Son of God, will have eternal life. So if you commit suicide, will you go to Heaven? If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, if you have faith in Him, then yes you will go to Heaven. If not, then you would have just sent yourself to Hell.  Did I just say that if you kill yourself you can still go to Heaven? Yes. Suicide’s a sin, but here’s the thing: Jesus hasn’t just paid for your sins from the past. He doesn’t just forgive every time you ask. If you are truly in Christ, he has forgiven ALL of your sins….past, present, and future. He doesn’t wait for you to ask forgiveness every time (you should still do that though). Your sins are already forgiven. He already has paid for them. 

I’m not condoning suicide by any means. “Suicide doesn’t prevent a life from getting worse, it just prevents it from getting better.” However, sometimes even Christian lose sight of what’s ahead and get desperate. We’re still human. I have to belief that God’s grace extends to those who take their own life. If God’s grace can redeem a murderer like King David, it can still reach someone who took their own life. 

That’s my answer. If you are in Christ and you commit suicide out of a moment of desperation, I have to believe you will still go to Heaven. 

If you are having suicidal thoughts though, I would encourage you to seek help from a godly friend, counselor, or minister. Jesus can set you free from the bondage of these thoughts. Keep your eyes on the King.

God bless!

-Austin