I grew up in church. I grew up with my Dad preaching hellfire and brimstone and drilling it into us. I grew up being told what to believe but never shown why we believed what we believe. This lead to an adult life of searching in all the wrong places for whatever was missing. I as an adult had been in and out of the church. I have attended several non-denominational, Pentecostal, Apostolic, Baptist, and Assembly of God. I have also been members of all these different denominations. Don’t get me wrong I have met so many amazing life long friends at these places. But, this lead to one confused adult who still only knew a confused, distorted view of God and his “requirements” to get into heaven. I have always been involved in a ministry as well; Such as single moms, women and children’s ministries. Even with this distorted view, I attempted to lead others. This is NOT a great idea.

Well, fast forward into my late 30’s and I just always use the scripture in Phillippians 2:12 where it says work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. That has been my excuse and goto scripture when someone would lovingly or not so lovingly tried to correct something I was doing. Which by the way we are called to do. Because my salvation is between myself and God and no one else. This is part of that distorted thinking. I also used the excuse that I had been spiritually hurt in the church by a Pastor and his wife, feeling betrayed and defeated I left the church. Again, my distorted thinking I took off, leaving God out of every equation and decision for years. Letting this distorted thinking take over my mind and spirit I made excuses about all my actions. Because I felt betrayed and hurt and held on to that one scripture allowing me to work out my own salvation I justified everything with scripture

My famous sentence has been “I don’t feel like that is a heaven or hell issue.” I’ve lived this way for years. Even allowing my children to be taught in a church that teaches the Trinity. I allowed my distorted thinking and views to affect my children. Yes, me, mom the failure. Then I married my now husband, husband number three but marriage number four. Who is a genius when it comes to knowing the Bible. He has this ability to help you read something and understand the meaning without any hesitation or confusion. He has never once told me what I have to believe, how I have to dress or how to act, not once. But, This led me to study more on my own and talk with God about so many things I have been confused about. He has shown me so many things over the last few weeks. Things I’ve never really thought about.

Before I go on let me say this, all these years I also gave up my “hard to read” King James Version Bible for the ESV, NIV, and message Bible. Why? Everything but the KJV has watered down the truth into something that makes almost everything other than the ten commandments permissible. I know this from the last few months of praying and studying my KJV Bible. When you throw out your excuses, know as lies from the enemy a whole world of conviction sets in. Then this morning when I was doing my chores, I was listening to my worship soundtrack and praying and I felt the Lord speaking into me. You know when the Lord is speaking something into your spirit it’s gentle, stern, unmistaken and to the point. Well, he did just that. He asked me, When do you throw out your excuses and when do you draw a line between the world and my standards? He also showed the excuse not thinking something is a heaven or hell issue it a BIG FAT BOLD LIE from the ENEMY himself. He was showing me this morning I blog the part, I sing the part, I talk the part but I definitely walk the part. Talk about a spiritual slap in the face.

No matter where you are at in your walk with God there will always be someone judging you. There will always be someone ready to remind you of everything you have done wrong. There will always be someone to give their two cents on the changes seen in you. Whether it is the way you talk, what you post on the internet, the way your dress, the way you do your hair or any other changes you have made they will be ready and willing to have something to say. I will also tell you more times than not they will be the ones closest to you.

So, keep in mind, if you make changes in your life resulting from personal convictions that bring you closer to God, you owe non one an explanation.

In conclusion, we need to stop hiding behind water down version of Gods word. Bottom line, If the Bible calls you to do it, then without question it is a heaven or hell issue. We need to study, pray, fast and worship and allow God to lead us to our own convictions and change our lives accordingly.

Be blessed, Hollie McCalip