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Title: The Lesson
Tags: universalism, free will, deception, reconciliation, probation, judgement
Blog Entry: Everyone learns differently. Some like to be told how to do something. Some like to be shown how to do something; and then there’s people like me. People like myself have a rare ability to be so dense at times that the only way we learn is if we experience life through hard lessons. Like being warned about not putting your tongue on frozen metal in winter and then thinking, ‘hmmm, I wonder what that would be like?’ Our lessons are full of scars and bruises, but hopefully we learn from them. Recently our Father gave us a similar scenario in order to instill some very valuable lessons in our hearts. When I was young and a new graduate from high school, I packed my bags and left my home town to seek a job elsewhere. I found that job in Banff, Alberta. Around the Thanksgiving holiday, I went home to Saskatchewan to visit my parents.  After a few days I packed up and began driving back to Banff. It was a cold, very dark night on that long prairie drive as I fearfully watched the fuel gauge lazily drift to empty. I was being warned. Unfortunately, my gas supply did not get me to the nearest town and I was stuck by the side of a road in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, there was a farm nearby. I was able to get some fuel so I could drive somewhere where I could fill up the gas tank. Unfortunately, the gas station in the nearby town was closed. I had to spend a very chilly night trying to sleep in the car. It was quite an uncomfortable lesson and completely avoidable; I failed to heed the warning of my gas gauge. Despite my carelessness, however, God was watching over me. The farm that my car stopped nearby was owned by the pastor of the church I attended in Banff. A few weeks ago God gave me a stern warning. I took note because He does not usually give me such stark warnings. In this case He was very firm that I was not to reach out to contact people. Just like He had warned us to not ask for money during our wilderness wanderings, or to not plan; now He was warning me not to reach out to others, but instead let Him bring people to us. Last Saturday I forgot that lesson. Actually I did more than forget. I disobeyed a direct command. On Saturday I received an email from a friend. It included a link to an article from someone who used terms that sounded like they had been through a genuine wilderness experience. I was so impressed with the article that I contacted the author. Soon I had put up a link to his own site on www.homerlesandwandaring.com and began an email exchange with these people. Wanda and I were happy at the connection. The next day Wanda had a spontaneous flowing thought from the Holy Spirit about the Gibeonites in Joshua 9, but dismissed it. I read another article by this person and some red flags went up in my own spirit about their beliefs. Later, as the email exchange continued, we were troubled at the lack of humility and empathy that should accompany those who have gone through a true wilderness experience with Jesus. Finally, a dear sister in the Lord wrote to us and pointed out that other links on this person’s website promoted the false and erroneous teaching of universalism or universal reconciliation. I immediately recognized my error and removed all links from my site to theirs. Soon there followed a couple of blunt emails from these people. Our exchange had exposed their ‘self’ nature with their bruised pride and wounded souls. It was a difficult and sad event. I would like to make it clear that this whole situation occurred because of my own disobedience to God’s firm warning. God had given me specific instructions about not initiating connections with others. I had ignored it and instead rushed into connecting my website to theirs without doing my due diligence and researching the links myself. I also failed to apply some basic tests of character to the burgeoning relationship. I dismissed key warning signs I had been trained to watch for in new relationships. All these things I did wrong and I own them as my mistakes. Thankfully despite my errors, it was clear that God had orchestrated this lesson and allowed me to be aware, and self-correct these mistakes before serious damage was done. When I was young, the mistake I made with the fuel only affected me. Now that I am much older and have been through a wilderness season with God, I find my actions now have a far broader impact than I had realized. However, in making these kinds of mistakes that affect others I am not alone. Take the example of Joshua in Joshua 9:3-27 and the flowing thought that Wanda had.  God had warned Joshua to wipe out all the inhabitants of Canaan and to not make alliances with them. The Gibeonites, who resided in Canaan, knew about this command and devised a plan to deceive Joshua into making a covenant with them. Disguising themselves, the Gibeonites arrived at the camp of the Israelites looking worn and bedraggled as if they had been on a long wilderness journey. “ So the [Israelite] men partook of their food and did not consult the Lord. Joshua made peace with them, covenanting with them to let them live, and the assembly’s leaders swore to them. Then three days after they had made a covenant with [the strangers, the Israelites] heard that they were their neighbors and that they dwelt among them. ” Joshua, along with the leaders of Israel, made a mistake in not heeding God and consulting Him about this connection with people they had never met before. This was my error as well. Deception is running rampant throughout the church community today. The devil has convinced many people of his lies hatched in hell and is spreading his propaganda through them. Those who want to follow Jesus in purity and in truth are sometimes taken in by the disguises of these evangelists. The people we made connection with online wrote what appeared normal and truthful. However, on closer examination, the lie was readily seen. The lie embraced is called universalism and or universal reconciliation. Now whether it is called Unitarian, evangelical or charismatic doesn’t matter. It is all rooted in a belief system that at the end of some appointed time ALL people will eventually be reconciled to God; regardless of their free will and God’s absolute justice. To quote, “What I do believe is that everyone eventually will have a relationship with Jesus, as they will be taken through Gehenna’s (hell’s) fires, which are redemptive for the purposes of bringing all men to Christ.” This lie is very dangerous. It rebels against everything we know to be true about God. All it really is, at its deepest core, is a reworked doctrine of purgatory. Same deception with a new coat of fresh paint. The evil one is not very creative. God has taught us very clearly in His Word that this temporary life on earth is probationary and after that judgement is final. “ For Sheol (the place of the dead) cannot confess  and reach out the hand to You, death cannot praise and rejoice in You; they who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness [to Your promises; their probation is at an end, their destiny is sealed]. ” Isaiah 38:18. While on earth we are given free will to exercise and to choose whether or not we will choose ‘self’ or spirit. The result of these continual choices will grow our spirit mass or our anti-spirit (‘self’) mass accordingly. I have already written about this principle extensively.  At the final judgement God will weigh the spirit core and determine if our mass of spirit has grown greater than our anti-spirit mass or vice versa. “ The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.” John 3:19 “ All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits (the thoughts and intents of the heart).” Proverbs 16:2. Depending on our own free will and choices, we choose our final destination and God ratifies and makes that choice final. We will either spend eternity with Him, in heaven; or separated from Him, in hell. Universalism and/or ultimate reconciliation makes a mockery of probationary life. It abrogates all free will by saying that ALL created beings, even those that hate, despise and do everything in their power to spit in God’s face will be reunited with Him eventually. In the mind of a universalist, there is no ultimate final consequence for a life of hating God. You can live a life catering to the flesh and even invite demons to make the ‘self’ nature look like it is on steroids; but all will be forgiven. Would you want to be in a heaven, eventually, with people that have spent their whole probationary life doing everything they can to AVOID going to heaven? Lamentations 3:39 tells us that this life is a school. Spiritual truth is not to be so esoteric that we have no basis for understanding it while here on the earth. For example, anyone who has been hired for a new job usually has to go through a period of probation to see if they are compatible with the new company. Companies are not only looking for the right skillset, but also for new employees to share the same vision for the company that the owners have. This same concept can be applied to God. He is looking for a people that will voluntarily love Him and share His vision to live a life of holiness during the probationary period. If they do not, how does that respect their free will? How does that respect and honor the holiness of God? How is that a compatible vision? Why would anyone want to live a holy life, or go through a wilderness season to dismantle the ‘self’ nature? Just have all the supposed fun here; have hell burn off the ‘self’ nature and EVENTUALLY in some “age” to come they will be rewarded with heaven. Universalism/reconciliation mocks the whole concept of ‘self’ that our family has paid a high price to understand. By not doing my due diligence in research of this lie, I exposed faithful readers to our website to this deception. The final mistake I made in this process is the most humbling to me. Our family has learned through an extremely difficult process just how important relationship is to God and to us. The experiences we endured taught us to look for three essential characteristics in people who are growing into maturity with God. These characteristics are humility, love expressed as compassion and finally empathy. Wanda and I have learned to look for change over time in a believer’s life to see if these characteristics are developing. My mistake was not to take that time to observe these key elements of spiritual maturity before I exposed these people to our readers. In order for one to grow in Christ, the Holy Spirit needs to be present in a believer’s life. As the Holy Spirit convicts and teaches He will heal the heart (spirit) so that the heart can live out of the holy emotions of faith hope and love continually. When there is no inner healing, a person will be susceptible to titillating lies that appeal to their ‘self’ nature and embrace head knowledge only which is primarily from our Greek past. These lies are at enmity with God.  “ For I have bent Judah for Myself as My bow, filled the bow with Ephraim as My arrow, and will stir up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and will make you [Israel] as the sword of a mighty man. ” Zechariah 9:13. These titillating lies prevent believers from living a life of genuine spirit led faith and the trials that produce maturity in adult sons (the sons of Zion) with a circumcised heart. This stumbling block will stymie humility, compassion and empathy from taking root and flourishing. Instead there will be a continual expression of unhealed emotions and falsehoods. The head (‘self’) will then take precedence over the heart (spirit) instead of the heart over the head. The Spirit of God dwells in the heart. In this situation I discovered too late that the key characteristics we were looking for were not present and the budding relationship was shipwrecked. The inevitable result was conflict. Now contrary to popular thought, conflict is actually very healthy in relationships. Especially when both parties desire maturity in Christ. Conflict is like God’s WD-40 for people who are stuck in relationships with a bad case of rusted out ‘self’. Conflict exposes our ‘self’ nature and as uncomfortable as that may be at times, it makes us vulnerable. The subsequent humbling can bring about a conviction to repent and produce deeper wells of humility in our heart. Humility is absolutely necessary for relationship to flourish before God and before our fellow man. It has been a challenging week as God has brought us through a very painful lesson. I have been humbled by my own failures to put into action safeguards which I paid a high price to learn. For that I am sorry. It will not happen again. Wanda and I have learned not to allow error into our walk with God or expose our readers to such. What Wanda and I do want you to learn from this website is true love for God and true love for your fellow man. That love means we put relationship before intellectualism, humility before theology, empathy before doctrine and compassion before dogma. To do anything less is to NOT bring Jesus to those we meet. However, this does not mean we waver in truth, just as Jesus never did. He came to show us how to love each other in truth and we will do well if we follow His example. If we encounter others who would believe that free will is unimportant; that hell is only temporary and that the cross was unnecessary, I say to you now, stay far away from such people. Though their words may tickle your ears and appeal to your ‘self’, they will drag you from the path of true faith and you will end up in the ditch. Learn from my mistakes. ©   Homer Les and Wanda Ring