In my high school literature class we studied the Jean-Paul Sartre play No Exit, in which hell’s occupants are confined to a room and have nothing to do but engage in fruitless, pointless discussions.
In David Brandt Berg’s article“The Green Door,” hell is a polished hospital-like facility with rooms full of people involved in much the same work they did on earth, but without any hope of achieving anything worthwhile: scientists engage in endless experiments that bear no results, soldiers fight battles that never end, trains never reach their destinations, and rockets don’t make it off the ground. Nothing ever gets done. In Inferno, the first part of Dante’s epic poem A Divine Comedy, part of hell is pictured as an endless mountain range that one must keep climbing, one peak after another.
If you were told that a brand-new palatial mansion was yours, bought and paid for, would you believe it? What if it was guaranteed in writing? Wouldn’t you believe it then, and wouldn’t you want to find out where your new home was located and what it looked like? Wouldn’t you ask about the view, the neighbors, the climate, and every other detail you could think of? Wouldn’t you start dreaming of the day you would move in? And how do you suppose that news would change your life and priorities in the meantime?
Well, someone has promised you such a mansion—Jesus—and He has put it in writing. “In My Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also.”1 If you have received Jesus, it’s all yours—no payments, no taxes, no upkeep. Sound too good to be true? Well, that’s just the beginning.
One by one the prisoners filed into the small meeting hall. Each one wore the same gray outfit and had the same closely trimmed haircut, but their faces showed that each was an individual with his own story of what had brought him to this place.
“I am arranging for the most hardened and dangerous criminals to watch your program,” the warden had told us. “Many of them will never see freedom again. They are the ones who most need to hear what you have to say.”
I came to earth because I love you. I gave up the splendor of heaven to come and make salvation and eternal life available to you.
My gift of salvation is for anyone who will receive it, and I long for everyone to come to know Me and My love. That message always has and will always be passed on through the words and deeds of My friends and followers.
Born and raised in a small Ukrainian mining town during the Soviet era, I grew up in an atmosphere of atheism. One day I came across a book titled Not by Bread Alone. Being an avid reader, I read it in a single sitting. The book offered a simple plan of salvation, followed by a prayer to receive Jesus as my personal Savior. The concepts of God, faith, and prayer were all foreign to my thinking, but something about the book captivated me. When I repeated the prayer, I had a feeling that was both marvelous and a bit scary, as though my soul was being elevated to the ceiling.
Several years later I left my hometown to study at the state university, and there I met members of the Family International who led me from A to Z into a life of faith and service to God and others.
I’m a dentist, and many people come to my office every day. You would be surprised at how many of them are quick to tell me about their problems. They really need someone to talk to, someone who will listen. So I listen for as long as needed and then try to comfort and encourage them. Of course God can solve their problems a lot better than I can, so I always try to bring Him into the conversation.
At a primary school, during their weekly class on morals, some first-grade students were asked to finish the story of the hard-working ant and the lazy grasshopper in the way they thought would be best.
Most of us know this story—one of Aesop’s fables—of how the Grasshopper wasted the summer months playing his fiddle while the Ant labored hard storing food for the winter. When cold finally came, the industrious Ant and his friends were all safely tucked away with all that they would need, while the Grasshopper was left to search for food and found himself dying of hunger.
God’s idea of prayer is not a ritual, but loving and lively communication between a father and his beloved children.
But sad to say, most people don’t think they can talk to God like that. Some think they’re not religious enough, not righteous enough, or not spiritual enough. Some think He’s too big, too far above them. Some think He’s too busy to be concerned about them and their problems, which they think must seem awfully petty to Him. Some feel unworthy, not good enough. Some feel guilty or ashamed about things they’ve done. Some are even afraid of Him. If only they understood how differently God sees it!
“Let not your heartbe troubled,” Jesus tells us. “You believe in God, believe also in Me.”1 “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”2
He wants to be with you always, through every disappointment and every hardship. He wants to protect you from harm. Even when there is trouble on every side, you won’t need to worry or fear.
Jesus told His followers that He would “send the Promise of the Father” upon them, so they would be “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). If you have received Jesus as your Savior, if you have been “born again of the Spirit,” then you have already received a little of that Holy Spirit power. But that doesn’t mean that you’ve received the full measure of the Holy Spirit. This is usually a separate experience that happens later.
A glass of water makes a good illustration. If the glass has at least some water in it, you could say that it’s a glass of water, even though it’s not a full glass. Many Christians are like glasses with just a little water, a bit of God’s Spirit. But those who have prayed for an infilling of the Holy Spirit are like glasses that have been filled till they overflow.