What is The Question?

Will a person who has never heard the Gospel be allowed into Heaven when they die? This is a question that I often hear. But most people don’t like the answer I give. However, before I give my response let me say this. If this is your question and you are a follower of Christ, you are asking the wrong question.

My opinion on this subject is not worth a dime. What does the Word of God say? That’s what matters. The Bible says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This means that everyone deserves to be separated from God for eternity. The Bible also says “There is none righteous, not one.” So it does not matter if they have heard the Gospel or not, no one is good enough to go to heaven, no one!

But don’t accuse God of being unfair. You see God loves all people so much that He gave His only Begotten Son to die on the cross. Anyone who puts their trust in Jesus can have eternal life with God in heaven. However, how can anyone trust in Jesus if they have never heard of Him? And how can they hear of Him unless someone tells them about the Gospel?

Now there are 7.9 billion people in the world today. A lot of those people have never heard the Gospel. Now we all know that among Jesus’ last instructions to His followers before He went to heaven were these words. “Go into all the world, make disciples of all nations.” That tells me He wants all people to hear the Gospel. So let’s do some math.

I have been a follower of Jesus for 56 years. If the first year I was a follower I had introduced one person to Christ then there would have been two of us. The next year if we each led a person to Jesus there would be four saved. Using this system four would become eight, then eight would become sixteen, and sixteen would become thirty-two. Following this multiplication process, if I reach one person a year and each one of those people reaches one, the math shows that after only thirty years over 10 BILLION people would have heard the Gospel. That is almost 3 billion more people than exist today.

Here is the bottom line. It is not the will of God that any should perish. God has the plan to reach all lost people. You are His plan. Now, will the person who has never heard the Gospel go to heaven is the wrong question. The right question is, What am I going to do about the people who have never heard the Gospel? If someone has not heard the Gospel today, it is not God’s fault. It’s ours!

Douglas & Deborah Huff

Email- pavementendsministry@gmail.com

Cling To God’s Amazing Grace

This is a fictional story that I wrote a few years back. Nothing like this is happening in America— Yet.

Accept for the stars in the moonless night sky there was no light. The pale gray asphalt gave off enough of a glow that we could walk without stumbling. We were thankful for the dark, because we could walk the streets without drawing the attention of the soldiers. We made it to church that night without any trouble.

When we got to the dark house where we were to meet, our leader briefly turned his small flashlight on. He shined it in the dust at the side of the door. Even though most people would not have saw anything but random lines in the dirt, we clearly saw two lines that intersected to form a crude drawing of a fish. This was the sign that the meeting was happening and that it was safe to enter.

Without knocking the leader slowly opened the door, a small light illuminated our faces revealing out identities. A low voice said. “Follow me”. We walk down a short hall where a door opened to a room that had no windows. Crowded into the room were ten other people who had also come at great risk of their lives to worship The Lord.

In this small interior room we could speak without fear of being heard outside. The Pastor spoke up, “Welcome brothers, now that you are here we will start.” Then with a clear voice he began to sing, “We love you Lord, and we lift our voice to worship you O my King” and we all joined in to sing praises to God. We sang several songs and someone prayed.

Because Bibles had been outlawed no one had one, but the pastor passed out hand written copies of John Chapter 3. He then began to speak of how Nicodemas had come to Jesus in the night because it was also dangerous for him to worship Jesus. The pastor’s message was clear and comforting. I felt peace and courage as I listened.

But then the peace was vanquished by the sound of the front door being blasted open by gunshots. The boots of a dozen soldiers could be heard as they went from room to room. Then the door to the room we were in burst open. We were blinded by the bright lights that were attached to the soldier’s weapons.

I was paralyzed with fear. A voice from behind the lights demanded that we line up against the wall. One of the soldiers gathered up our copies of John and handed them to the leader. He looked at handwritten Words of Life and screamed, “Who wrote this crap”? The pastor stepped forward and began to say, “I did” but before he could say the words a bullet tore through His chest. His blood splattered over all of us.

Then the voice of the leader changed, where it had been harsh and loud now it was soothing and oily gentle. Pointing at the body of the pastor he said, “I know that you all really support your government and that you have simply been misled by this criminal”. He continued, “I am not an unreasonable person. Now that you have seen what happens to subversive criminals I know that you will want to renounce his teaching and declare this Jesus to be a fraud. If you wish to leave this room with your life then step forward and tell us that you know this Jesus is a foolish fairytale.

I have never been so scared in my life. My heart was beating at an insane rate. I did not want to die. I believe that Jesus is God; I had vowed to follow Him forever. I am ashamed of what I did next. I wish I had been brave, but I was not, I was a coward. I stepped forward. I could not hold my head up but I mumbled these words, “Jesus is a fake”.

Then one by one the rest of the Christians stepped up, and one by one they each said the words, “Jesus is a fake”. As we each denied Christ we were told to stand together on one side of the room. In a few minutes all but three had betrayed the Savior.

The three stood there, a teenage girl, a very old man and the pastor’s wife. They stood there weeping. The soldier pointed his weapon at them and said, “Renounce God or die”. The old man lifted his head and with clear and strong voice said, “Even so, though I die, I will never betray my Jesus.” As he said these words, the pastor wife and the young girl slipped their hands into his and lifted their eyes to the heavens. Their faces shown with a Holy Light and for a few seconds the room was silent. As if paralyzed by an invisible presence the soldiers were unable to speak.

Suddenly the lead soldier shook his head, as if he was shaking off the invisible presence. He pointed at us and roared “Leave”! We all scrambled to get out of that room through the front door. Once outside the house we stood looking at each other in shame.

Then we heard three voices begin to sing. The quavering voice of the old man, the grief stricken voice of the pastor’s wife and the high clear voice of the young lady began to sing, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound”. There was an explosive sound of a gunshot. Silence! But then strong, and clear the pastor’s wife and the young girl sang out, “that saved a wretch like me” BOOM another gunshot shattered the night. There seemed to be no break in the song this time, the teenage girl continued to sing loudly and clearly, I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I See! A final shot rang out and the voices were silent.

I ran, along with the other Judases. The sound of the shooting faded but the song reverberated in my soul. I found a dark place to hide and prayed that Jesus would forgive a wretch like me.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving. Families spend time together and there’s always plenty of turkey, dressing and gravy. Thanksgiving comes at the best time of the year. I love the falling leaves, the cool days, the cold nights and the smell of smoke from someone’s fireplace. I love Thanksgiving for many reasons, but most of all I love the fact that grateful people are giving thanks to our good and gracious God.

In First Thessalonians, Paul the Apostle teaches us about thanksgiving. He begins by showing us that we should give thanks always for one another. We should be thankful for our churches, church leaders and our pastors. As we thank God for our friends and loved ones, we should also constantly lift each other up in prayer.

The Word of God tells us that it is His will that we should give thanks in everything. Now, I do not think that God is insisting that we give thanks for all things because there are some things that we are just not going to be thankful for. However, God has promised never to leave us or forsake us. Therefore, no matter what circumstance we are in, we can always give thanks because we know that God is in it with us.

The Bible teaches that we are to rejoice always, because there is always joy to be found in Jesus. We should pray without ceasing, because we have a God who never ceases to listen to our prayers. In everything we can give thanks, because God is victorious over all things.

I love Thanksgiving because on this day and every day, I know that my gracious God is worthy of all my gratitude.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

Anyhow

We are a blessed people. We woke up in a dry and comfortable place this morning. Most of us had a good breakfast, if we wanted it. Indeed, God has given to most of us more toys, stuff and valuable junk than we ever had any right to expect. However, no matter how much stuff God has given us, we always want more. It seems that we are never satisfied.

The world has a way of convincing us that God’s gifts are not enough. Sometimes we accuse God of not being good to us just because we cannot afford the latest gadget. But, as much as we grumble and complain, we cannot deny that God has blessed us beyond anything we ever deserved. The fact is our Father in Heaven has provided our every need according to His riches in heaven.

As for me when I woke up this morning, I was cool, dry and comfortable. I knew I was going to have something to eat. I am healthy, so to God be the Glory. I said thank you Jesus for blessing me so much. However, I know that life can change in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow I may wake up in a cold damp cave. I may wake up hungry and sick. We never know what another day may bring into our lives. But this I do know, the God who is worthy of praise when life is easy, is also worthy of praise when life is hard.

In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul tells us that he had learned to be content in whatever state he found himself. Paul knew that no matter what he faced in life, God was good and greatly to be praised. So let us learn to be content in what ever state we find ourselves. In good times or bad, in comfort or pain, in sickness or health, let us lift our hearts to heaven and praise God anyhow.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

WOW, God Loves Me

“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean.” This is a line from one of my favorite old hymns. Like the writer of this old song I am in awe of the fact that the God of all creation loves me.

This morning as I sit in my study there is a fly buzzing around, and I am determined to hunt it down and swat it. As I think about my place in the history of this earth I know that life is but a vapor. Along with all the billions of people that have lived here before me, I know that I and that fly will soon be nothing but dust. The Word of God tells us this, it says, “from dust you were taken and to dust you will return”.

It is true that your body will return to dust. I know that sounds depressing. But understand this; there is a great and awesome God who is mindful of your soul. You are nothing but a tiny speck of dust on this earth and yet the God of all creation has set His great heart on you. You are the crowning jewel of His creation and He loves you.

It is because of His love for you that He sent Jesus, His only begotten Son as an atoning sacrifice. Jesus the Son of God was crucified for your sins. He died, was buried and rose again so that you can receive forgiveness. In the grand scheme of things, on this earth your life is but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. But if you believe in Jesus and trust Him with this tiny speck of dust that is your life, then you can live forever in Heaven in the presence of God .

That is why I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus my Savior, who took no thoughts for His own life but He shed drops of blood for mine.

Douglas Huff & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

This Old House

This Old House

On April 16,1978 Deborah and I were married. On that day, by God’s Grace the two of us became one . In 1979 we purchased a house and it has been our home every since . In this house we have laughed and cried, we have fought and made up, we have celebrated and mourned. This is were we live. In this house we raised our family and every inch of it is coated with memories. It is our home, but it is not us, it is not our marriage.

This house greatly reflects our personalities. We are familiar with all the creaks and pops and every crack in the walls. There is contentment to be found in its every flaw and we want no more comfortable place than is our house. But if it is taken from us tonite and if tomorrow we are homeless we will still have each other because what God has joined together nothing can put asunder. You see this house is our home, but it is not us, it is not our marriage.

All over this land there are buildings that people call churches. Some are beautiful brick and mortar structures while others look more like metal warehouses. In these buildings church members have laughed and cried, they have fought and made up and they have celebrated and they have mourned. In these buildings the family of God has grown and they are filled with memories. But if all these buildings were destroyed today and we had no place to gather, we would still gather and we would still worship God. These buildings are not the church, they are not our salvation.

The church is the bride of Christ, Jesus is the bridegroom . He loves the church and He gave His life for her. But when Jesus said,” I will build my Church” He was not talking about brick and mortar. No, He was talking about us. Those of us who are His followers, we are His bride, we are His church. We have been chosen by God to be precious, living stones in the spiritual house that Jesus is building.

One day all these buildings that people call churches will rot and burn, they were never meant to be permanent. However The church that is the bride of Christ is built on a firm foundation and will never fail. Christ loves the church and gave Himself for us, He has sanctified and cleanse us and one day we will be presented to Him as a glorious church, holy and without blemish.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Useless

Useless, an old building torn down and reduced to a pile of worthless wood. Good for nothing, really all it was fit for was to be burned or left to rot. Looking at the heap of old planks I thought, maybe there is something good in there. One by one I examined the old planks. Everyone of them was rough. Twisted and warped there was not a straight edge to be found. It was just an old pile of useless lumber

I took the best of these crooked boards, pull out all the nails and ran them through a planer to make them all the same thickness. Then using hammers, saws, clamps and glue I cut and banged and squeezed the old wood into a box. That is what it was, full of nail holes, scars and blemishes it was just an ugly box.

But then I covered it with polyurethane. The polyurethane did something wonderful. It highlighted all the imperfections. Now the nail holes and scars are no longer blemishes instead they are character marks. All the mistakes I made, now look as though they were planned. With the coating of polyurethane, the ugly box suddenly turned into a beautiful chest.

As usual I see a Spiritual metaphor.

Many people are like that old pile of wood. Warped and twisted their lives are fit only to be left to rot. But they try. With their own abilities they work hard to make something of their lives. They cut, hammer, glue and squeeze until they turn their life into an ugly box. They have done the best they could but still their life is useless. After all they are amateurs. They need the help of the Master Carpenter.

Jesus is the Master Carpenter. He invites you to surrender your hopeless life to Him. If you will allow Him, He will fill you and cover you with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can highlight your imperfections and scars turning them into trophies of grace. The polyurethane I used turned an ugly box into a beautiful chest. In the same way, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit can turn your life into a beautiful vessel that is suitable to adorn the throne room of Heaven.

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

Email- pavementendsministry@gmail.com

Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh

The Apostle Paul was the greatest preacher ever. His obedience and sacrificial service to Jesus are something that we should all imitate. There is no doubt that when he was beheaded for his Savior the next thing, he heard was his Heavenly Father saying, “Well done My good and faithful servant.”

Yes, Paul was a great man of God. And yet he suffered from what he called a thorn in the flesh.” What was this “thorn in the flesh”? No one knows. It could have been an illness, a deformity, blindness, or anything that affected his physical body.

There is one thing that I have never heard anyone else suggest. Maybe Paul’s thorn in the flesh was an addiction. Maybe he was addicted to alcohol or drugs or food or even porn. Some people would say; “Paul could not have had an addiction because he was a Godly man.” Yes, he was a Godly man but he was not a perfect man, He had faults and his faults made him feel like he was ” the chief of sinners”. God does not use perfect people; He uses broken people. Especially those with thorns in their flesh.

The Bible does not answer every question, and that is a good thing. It is a fact that all Christians struggle with sin, even the Godliest among us. All of us have a thorn in the flesh of some kind. We do not know what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. But we do know that God’s grace was sufficient for Paul and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

One of the blessings of the Bible not giving us all the answers is this; not knowing what Paul suffered, we can identify with him in our suffering. When we feel wretched and wonder who will deliver us from this body of death, we too can thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord. Because God’s grace was sufficient for Paul’s thorn in the flesh and it is still sufficient for yours.

Douglas & Deborah

From Down Where the Pavementends

Email- pavementendsministry@gmail.com

Only Three Years

Three years, that is how long the earthly ministry of Jesus lasted. From the time John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God” to the time when a Roman soldier said, “Surely this Man was the Son of God” was only three years. There was only thirty six months between the day He left the carpenter shop to the day when He ascended to heaven. He had one thousand and sixty five days to train twelve men to turn the world upside down.

He knew His time was limited so He did not waste it. He prayed a lot, slept when He needed to and was always about His Father’s business. Satan tried to distract Him, family members did not believe in Him and religious leaders were afraid of Him. But He would not be hindered. Only three years to bring salvation to the world. Nevertheless with His last breath, He could say, “It is finished” as He commended His Spirit into His Father’s hands.

As Jesus ascended into Heaven, He spoke a Great Commission to all who would trust and follow Him. He told us to “Go into the whole world making disciples of all nations and baptize them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” This is the business that God’s children are to be invested in.

Jesus knew exactly how much time He had and did not waste it. You and I however do not know how much time we have. The Bible teaches us, it is impossible to know what will happen tomorrow and that our life is like a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Like Jesus we must realize that our time is limited and determine not to waste it.

The salvation of many souls may depend on your obedience to The Great Commission. We must follow the example of Jesus. Satan will try to distract you, put him behind you. Family members may not understand you. Religious leaders may feel threatened by you. Do not let this hinder you. Pray a lot, sleep when you need to, always be about the Father’s business and never stop until God says “It is finished.”

Douglas & Deborah Huff

From Down Where the Pavement Ends

Email- pavementendsministry@gmail.com