The Case for Christ -- After his wife unpleasantly surprised him by announcing she had become a Christian, but pleasantly surprised him by the good changes in her life, atheist and Chicago Tribune investigative reporter Lee Strobel went on a journey around America to interview scholars concerning the Biblical Jesus Christ. In this book he presents what he found that lead him to believe for himself that Jesus is the Son of God. Lee said although these interviews lead him to believe in Christ, the biggest evidence of Christ's power is the radical change in his own previously immoral life. He said even his very young daughter noticed this positive change in her daddy!
One of my favorite parts is where one scholar talks of how different the apostles were after Jesus' resurrection. Before Christ died, the disciples were often timid and doubtful, but after they saw the resurrected Christ, they proclaimed the salvation story with boldness. They even suffered persecution and most were martyred because of their firm beliefs in Christ. As one noted, many people will die for things they sincerely believe in even if it is not true. However men do not die for a known lie. The disciples knew the resurrection was not a lie -- they saw the risen Lord. Therefore, they boldly witnessed because they knew persecution on earth is nothing compared to the glory of Heaven, and they were not afraid to suffer for the Truth's sake. "When the Son makes you free, you are free indeed."
23 Minutes in Hell -- This book is very sobering and reminds the reader of the realities of hell. Actually hell is so much worse than the human mind can imagine -- and it lasts for eternity! You do not want anyone to go there! Hell was created for the devil and the fallen angels, but we will go there if we refuse to accept God's offer of salvation through His Son. God doesn't send us to hell. Our unbelief does. God will not force you into His presence, His home, Heaven ... so come to Him through His Son.
When I got my composure, at least enough to start forming thoughts, I thought about saying to the Lord, I don't even think I asked Him out loud, I just thought it and He answered me. I said, "Lord why did You send me to this place? Why did you send me here?" He said to me "Because people do not believe that this place exists." He said "Even some of my own people do not believe this place is real." I was shocked at that statement. I thought every Christian has got to believe in Hell. But not everyone believes in a literal burning Hell. I said Lord "why did you pick me?" But He didn't answer me on that question.
I have no idea why He picked me to go there. I'm the least likely to go to this place. My wife and I hate evil movies. We hate anything bad. I don't even like the summer time, much less heat. It's filthy. There's no order. It's all chaos and disorder and disgusting. And I love everything orderly and excellent. He didn't answer me on that question. He said to me, "Go tell them that I hate this place, that it's not my desire for one of my creation to go to this place, not one! I never made this for man. This was made for the devil and his angels. You have to go and tell them! I've given you a mouth, you go and tell them."
I thought to myself, "but Lord, they're not going to believe me. They're going to think I'm crazy or had a bad dream." I mean wouldn't you think that? As I thought this the Lord answered me and He said, "It's not your job to convince them. It's the Holy Spirit�s job! You just go and tell them!" And it was just inside, "Yes Sir!" Absolutely, I have to go and tell them." You can't worry and fear what man is going to think of you, you just have to go and do it and let God do the rest. Amen? And I said, "Lord, why did they hate me so much?" "Why did these creatures hate me?" He said, "Because you're made in my image, and they hate me." You know the devil can't do anything against God. He can't hurt God, per say, but he can hurt His creation. That's why the devil hates mankind, and deceives him into taking him into Hell. And he inflicts diseases upon him, anything he can do to hurt God's creation.
(The Peace of God)
And then God flooded me with His thoughts. He let me touch a piece of His heart, of how much He loves mankind. Unbelievable, I couldn't even take it. It was so overbearing. The love He has for man, you can't take it in this body. You know how much we love our wives and our children? Well the love we have can't even be compared to the love God has for us. His love is infinitely greater than our love and our ability to love. It's just the same as it says in Eph 3:19, �...to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge...� It goes so far past knowledge, you can't even grasp it. I couldn't believe how much He loved mankind, that He would die for just one person to not go to this place. And it hurts Him so much to see one of His creation going to this place. It pains the Lord, He weeps to see one person going. And I felt so bad for the Lord.
I felt His heart, He let me just touch a piece of His heart. He felt such sadness for His creation going there. And I thought "I've got to go out and witness and take every last breath I have and go tell the world about Jesus, How good He is." I mean, we have the gospel. It's good news. It's good news, and the world doesn't know. They have to be told! You know, we have to share this knowledge. People just have a lack of knowledge in this area. God wants us to share with them how good He is, and how He hates this place.
He said to me also, "Tell them I am coming very, very soon." And He said it again, "Tell them I'm coming very, very soon." Now I think, why didn't I say to him, "What do you mean Lord? What's 'soon' to you?" That's how we think. But I didn't ask. You just don't think to ask those things then. You just want to worship Him so much. The peace of God that comes over you being next to Him is unexplainable. I've been in anointed services, but there is no comparison to the love and the peace of God you feel being next to Him.
And then I looked up and I saw those demons on the wall, that were so ferocious, they looked like ants on the wall! They just looked like ants! They were still big, but with the power of God next to you, all of God's creative power, they looked like ants on the wall. I couldn't get over it. I thought, "Lord they're just ants!" And He said, "You just have to bind them and cast them out in my name." I thought "boy, the power He's given the church." These things that were so ferocious, we were no match for a devil without Jesus, none. They're ferocious, but with Him, they are nothing! A boldness rose up in me right then, when I saw these creatures I felt like saying, "you creatures were the ones torturing me, wanting to tear me apart? Come on! Come on now!" Maybe a little bit of my flesh rose up or something, you know, I thought,�Jesus get 'em."