A Personal Testimony Part 1

Curt Hoggatt is a wonderful friend of my husband and me. Curt Hoggatt enjoys writing daily devotionals to text or email his friends. I have often encouraged him to write a blog. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

 

 

HOW TO GET YOUR LIFE BACK (My Testimony)

This is my testimony of what God has done for me in my life, and how He changed me.

I have never written my testimony out or shared it with anyone else. We seem to have forgotten the impact someone’s testimony may have on someone who desperately needs to hear it. We rarely give time for a missionary even to share what God has done in their heart. But this is my testimony, and my prayer is that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE reading this, will surrender their life as I did that night.

 

Many years ago, this was my life. I was saved as a 9 year old boy when I understood the Gospel after a number of years in church. I heard it for years, yet it had not taken root in my heart until this day. I was taken out by Mr. Barnett who showed me from the Bible what Scripture said about my being a sinner, and my need of Christ. I asked the Lord to save me that day and He did! I remember the joy I had, even as a child! Oh how I wish I could say I wholly followed the Lord from that day forward, but as a nine year old, I was already in a lot of sin. My father was a deacon in the church and the treasurer, which assured me of no protection from the devil! My parents were good people, but somewhat naïve to what was happening in my life.

I fear for our children who are raised in the church, yet, never have a real salvation experience because they have been around it all their lives. I believe that is why we see them grow up and leave. It was never REAL in their heart in the first place! I believe that people must come to Christ without pressure; because everyone else around them thinks they know what that person needs to do, and what is best for that person. I’m glad I wasn’t pressured at an early age to do what my parents wanted me to do. Sometimes the SEED takes years of nurturing before it takes root, as it did me.

 

Parents, do you know where your children are with God? Do you? Don’t take it for granted that they are trusting God! Are you praying for them?

Don’t lie to yourself in this area! Are your children just going through the motion for YOUR benefit? 

Do you know who their friends are? As the old saying goes: “Birds of a feather DO flock together!”

 

During my growing up years, I hit the altar and cried a million tears because I knew I wasn’t pleasing the Lord. The devil had gotten such a hold on my life, my spiritual life was a just a wreck! Others could do it, but not me. When you choose to go your own way and do your own thing, you not only suffer the loss of joy and peace in your life, but you will also endure further chastening form the Lord as I didGalatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall also reap.” 

When I was 15, we had an awning over our back porch. As it often does in the Hammond area, snow had fallen and had frozen to the metal awning over the back door. It would then thaw as the sun hit it, causing water to run off and freeze back as the sun went down.

That afternoon, I stepped on the back porch to take the trash out and slipped on the slick steps and went down in a pile at the bottom of the stairs! A bottle had broken in the fall and my right hand landed on the jagged edge severing the tendons and nerves in my right ring and little fingers.

I knew right away the reason for this happening! I eventually gained the use to my little finger and the nerves after a number of years. With that I lost the strength in my right arm. And still, to this day, I suffer from the loss in my hand. Why? Because I wanted my way rather than the Lord’s.

What happened to me spiritually? I once again got right with the Lord, but eventually went back to my old ways.  Looking back, I see that I wanted God to come MY way, and excuse my sin. Yes, I put on a show when I needed to at church!

After I had entered the service and finished boot camp, I came home and promised God I would follow Him. I did for about 4 weeks at my next duty station in Beeville, Texas. I read my Bible and prayed daily, but slowly starved to death spiritually. I had no Christian friends there; no church from town came out looking for those who wanted to attend their church. I wonder what might have been if I had found just ONE Christian brother on that base, or if one church had made an effort to reach me!

Gradually, I got so defeated that I told the Lord, I wouldn’t claim to be His Child anymore because I couldn’t live it! I stayed that way through the service even though I had a friend, Ronnie Rollins, get saved down at Brother Roloff’s church in Corpus Christi, and he witnessed to me! I remembered my promise I had made the Lord that I wouldn’t claim to be a Christian if I couldn’t live it, which I totally believed was an impossibility for me.

I got out of the Navy on October 27, 1969. I came home and married my sweetheart, Marcia on March 21, 1970. Marcia and I had our first daughter, Nicole that year. I wish I could say I was a good husband and father, but I wasn’t even close. Life was all about me! Every weekend I would hunt or fish until dark, leaving Marcia with all the responsibility of the home. I hated babysitting when Marcia worked, and would pawn Nicole off on Marcia’s mom or sister while I went to do “my thing.” When we went to my parents to visit, my dear wife would fall in my Mom’s arms and just weep because I was making her married life a real mess. I can’t tell you how wretched I really was, or how self-centered I was. When you walk away from God, your life is just plain misery, with no joy or peace at all.

At that time I was working two jobs, trying to make ends meet and pay the bills; one of those jobs was an evening job in Decatur.

Little known to anyone but God and myself, the Spirit of God was calling me. Every night for a year, on my home from Decatur, I argued out loud with God that I could NEVER be what He wanted me to be. I’d just fail Him again.

While this is happening in my life, I turned on the radio and heard Jack Van Impe one Sunday morning, and heard him mention Prophecy and the coming war with Russia. Now keep in mind that in 1967 Israel had defeated an overwhelming Arab army and NOW controlled Jerusalem, and the Yom Kippur war had just taken place. I knew that the Lord was returning, and I wasn’t ready to meet him! (If His Coming was near then, how close must we be now?) Add to that, Pastor Don Brueck of Winchester Road Baptist Church was coming by to see me get back in church.

That fateful night of Thanksgiving week I was so heavy with conviction. I came home that night from my second job and flipped on the TV only to hear Billy Graham giving the invitation.

That was all it took! I just broke! I cried my heart out to the Lord that night and He cleansed me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet!

When you get real with God, He changes you completely! I still weep (I am now) when I revisit THAT night when the Lord put His Hand upon this man­- that was 45 years ago!

I found out the next day that Pastor Brueck’s wife got burdened for me and was praying for me that night! (Yes I’m teary eyed again.)

Has God ever put someone on your heart for no reason that you know of? Did you start praying for them? Did you text them and let you know that they are on your heart, and you are praying for them?

It’s sad to say, but there have been very few times that someone has told me since then that God had put me on their heart. And believe me, we have endured some very dark times as a family and I wish someone had let me know that they cared.

Curt Hoggatt    cbmgh@outlook.com

If this Testimony has impacted your life, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

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Just Say NO?

Galatians 1:10 – For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

I naturally love pleasing people. I will say yes to everything and everyone, and then because I am way to busy and cannot say no, I end up lying by inevitably going back on my promises. It can be my downfall. If I am not careful, I begin think “No” is a bad word, especially because I don’t like when people tell me no. I squirm and twitch when I have to say no. I don’t want to hurt anyone emotionally. It very much bothers me to think someone might not like me. Satan knows these things and will use that to his advantage….the devil is in the extremes.

When I think that way it is thinking in the present instead of the future. I like instant gratification, and I tend to be impatient- yes, that also means I eat a lot, tend to be bad with a budget, and I am not authoritative with my students. I have to learn how to tell myself no. It is hard to tell people no when I cannot tell myself no.

If I say yes to people and “all the things” asked of me every time, will I have time for priorities? I will tend to lose what is most important, like my family and my daily devotions. If I say no to everyone and everything all the time I may miss out on some awesome memories, events, or maybe even God’s will for my life.

I need to find the right balance; we all need positives and negative answers in our lives. Like I’ve heard in a sermon, “a car needs a negative and a positive charge to start.” Which answer, in the long run, is better for me? More importantly what are God’s priorities for me? Am I trying to please God more than I try to please people? Am I hurting or frustrating those I love? Am I being fair to my family? Who and what are my priorities?

I need to learn how to say no; I need to learn balance with my answers. When someone asks me to help them, or hang out with them, before I answer to please them or myself, I should first think about it, instead of giving them the answer they want. They don’t always need an immediate answer-better to give an answer later, then last- minute find out I cannot help or make it. I need to give them the right answer, not the answer they want to hear.  I could say, “Let me check my schedule,” Or “Let me ask my husband.”

I think more people will become angry when I have to go back on my word from compulsively saying yes instead of just giving them an upright, honest no. Usually I worry way too much about what people think, when in reality most of my thinking about them is wrong anyway.

Even if I do start practicing self-control and boundaries today, that does not mean I will always make the right decisions; thankfully God gives daily strength and grace to have victory. I cannot quit and go back to my easier habits because I made a couple mistakes. Learning and growing is essential to life.

Thankfully God knew what He was doing when He gave me a spouse and a calendar to keep me in check, and to help balance my personality.  The people who truly love me will take my answer, whether it is a no or a yes. When I am saying no to my friends, I am saying yes to my family. When I say yes to God, I am saying no to the devil.

I hope this helps you realize that it is not always wrong to say no, but is wrong to lie, even if you are pleasing people. Why do you say what you do? Why do you do what you do? Are you doing it for God, others or to please yourself?

Proverbs 21:2 – Every way of a man [is] right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

Matthew 6:1-18 – Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.   (Read More…)

Matthew 6:1 – Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

1 Corinthians 4:5 – Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Proverbs 16:2 – All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

1 John 4:1 – Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Books That Have Been a Blessing To Me

Books for Women

AUTHORS:

  • Books on Prayer, Marriage, Family, Women, Modesty, Christian Growth
  • You can find most of these online: Amazon, Christian Books Distributors

 

  • Debi Pearl
  • Cathy Corle
  • Francie Taylor
  • Terrie Chappell
  • Jaclyn Weber
  • Elisabeth Elliott
  • Elizabeth George
  • Hannah Hurnard
  • Elizabeth Hanford
  • Corrie Ten Boom
  • Helen Andelin
  • Stormie Omartian*
  • Nancy Leigh DeMoss*
  • M. Bounds
  • A. Torrey
  • Jerry Ross
  • Ted Huston
  • Scott Hanks
  • Jeff Fugate
  • Jack Hyles
  • Dennis Corle
  • S. Luchon
  • John Bishop
  • Monroe Parker
  • Anne Ortlund
  • Katie Garraway

 

 

* These books do NOT all use K J V verses. 

  • Created to be His Helpmeet-Debi pearl
  • Fascinating Womanhood-Helen Andelin
  • Sacred Marriage-Gary Thomas
  • Hinds Feet in High Places-Hannah Hurnard
  • Money Makeover-Dave Ramsey
  • One Year Bible
  • Matthew Henry commentary
  • AW Tozer commentary
  • J Vernon McGee commentary
  • Lies Women Believe-Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolglemuth
  • Finding Security in an Insecure world-Wendy Burks
  • Sidetracked Home Executives-Peggy Jones and Pam young
  • Fly lady Baby Steps-Marla Cilley
  • To Train up a child-Debi and Michael Pearl
  • What the Bible says about child training- parenting with confidence-Richard Fugate
  • Hannah’s song-what love looks like-Diana Hagee
  • Women of the Bible-1year devotional-Syswerda and Spangler
  • Oswald Chambers
  • Recovery without Relapse: Experiencing lasting triumph over life’s triggers-Benjamin Burks and George Crabb
  • Distressed, oppressed, or possessed: curing the oppressed from emotional distress-Steven Curington

Insecurity

Have you ever created something? Did you then have someone come along and make fun of it or ruin it? God designed you with purpose. God knows what you look like, how you think and your exact circumstances. He took thought and time to create you and your life. (Psalm 139) Yet we constantly still make fun of how other people look or criticize how we look. We constantly are worried what others will think, do or say about us or our family.

I don’t think anyone is ever totally satisfied with how they look or the situation in their life. But we can figure out a battle plan to overcome our insecurities. We all deal with insecurities in life. When we deal with insecurity, we need to bring it to the One who can help. If we don’t, we are silently telling God, “I don’t need you-I got this covered.” We don’t think we have time to read our Bible or pray. We think we don’t need authority or help with our issues. That is the devil’s lies to get you deeper into depression.

Insecurity is focusing on self and circumstances instead of God; everyone struggles with some kind of insecurity, which can make us compare, complain – or be angry at God. When we are insecure, that can also make us lash out at other people.  We find other ways to cope with our insecurity instead of running to the Bible and prayer first!

If you have had something tragic happen to you, I might not be able to help you, but I know someone who can. God can help whoever, whenever. He will not take the situation away, but He can bring someone into your life to help you. He can help your viewpoint and give you the strength to overcome. I might not be able to help, but I can point you in the right direction. I can recommend a person to talk to, books and Bible verses to read.

Who [God] comforteth us in ALL our tribulation, that WE MAY BE ABLE TO COMFORT them which are in any trouble, BY THE COMFORT WHEREWITH WE OURSELVES are comforted of God.

For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so OUR CONSOLATION ALSO ABOUNDETH by Christ.

And whether we be afflicted, IT IS FOR YOUR CONSOLATION and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, IT IS FOR YOUR CONSOLATION and salvation.

And our hope of you is STEDFAST, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation

 ….Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we TRUST that He will yet deliver us;    (2 Corinthians 1)

Did you read those verses? I know it is soo easy to skim over the verses. Really think about the words.

No one is perfect since Adam and Eve, and because of that we will not be perfect until Heaven. The Devil uses that to discourage us and get us away from God. But that does not mean there is no hope for us! God died for us so that not only can we go to Heaven, we can share that story with others-we can help them have the victory over their insecurities as well. Jesus came down on this earth and suffered like we do. He has been through it all and He can help us with whatever we are going through. He has saved us from hell, He has blessed you this far, can He not help you in the future?

Think of people in the Bible. Were they perfect? No. Did they struggle with sin? Yes.

Elijah ran away from Jezebel. He thought he was they only one doing right; Elijah thought no one could understand what he was going through. He almost quit his ministry.

Esther was an adopted girl who had to marry an unsaved man who did not believe like she did. She was a Jew who had many rituals and traditions, but she had to keep her religion and lifestyle a secret. Her husband could kill anyone instantly.

Sarah and Hannah could not have children, so their husbands had relationships with other women- talk about insecurity!!

God can work out any situation, any circumstance-as hard as we we have it, there is someone out there who can help you. Jesus can always help, and He uses other people to help you. He uses people who are willing to listen, to give comfort and advice. Pray to find the right people.

Don’t focus on the past, what is “wrong” with yourself or your situation. Accept what God has given you and placed in your life. Figure out how to use it, give God the glory and get it right. Don’t give in to insecurities! Every day is a new day for a reason. Your insecurities are NOT helping you! Let go of them!

God wants you to be confident. (2Tim 1:7) God wants to give you the strength for victory. He knows life will be hard, so He gives us the Holy Spirit and friends to go through it with us. Stay patient, work hard, build your faith, focus on Him- God always has a plan. He is in the business of turning “curses” into blessings.

 

Casting down imaginations [thoughts], and every high thing [elevated barriers] that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God [anything we put above God or the Bible], and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.    2 Corinthians 10:5

Worrying What Others Think

 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do to me? Psalm 118:6

 

greatest prison2When I was in middle school, I had a debilitating fear that if my hair was not perfect or my outfit wasn’t like everyone else’s, I would be made fun of and no one would like me. Apparently I thought that everyone noticed and thought about me especially. Someone told me later, “Most people are so caught up in their own lives and their own worries that they don’t have time to think about you.” Unknowingly, I thought my worth was based upon my hair style and the clothes that I wore. Thankfully, I got over high school fear.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  II Timothy 1:7

… At least, I thought I had overcome that fear; as it turns out, the devil just repackaged it in new wrapping paper and a ribbon. Now that I’m older, I worry what others think about my cleaning, marriage, or family.

The truth is my worth is not based upon who my family and friends are, or what I wear or do; God has already died and rose for me. I am already going to Heaven. God has already created me for a reason. My worth is in God—not what I do. I should be impressing God, not others. I should be comparing myself to GOD, not others.

When I worry about what others will think, that mindset is distracting my thoughts from God’s main purpose for my life. What God knows about me and expects from me is MORE important than what others think. I should not make decisions based upon what others will think of me. What is my motivation for my decisions?

I should not be ashamed for believing truth or doing the right thing, let alone for God or the Bible.

When I worry, I am not trusting in the Lord—my insecurity is then ruling my thoughts. I need to stop lying to myself and focus on truth. (Philippians 4:8) Are these thoughts from the devil or the LORD?  Is what I am thinking pleasing to God?

Focus on your love for others, not fear of others. God is love, and God loves people. He created everyone, even the ones you worry about or try to please. Pray for people. Help people. Show others your love for them by loving God, doing right, and dwelling on truth. Telling others the truth in love is the best way we can help others.

Caring about others is helping them, not worrying about their opinions.

Contentment

 

goldfish bowl compare.png

God has us all on this earth to give HIM glory, to help others and to grow spiritually, emotionally and physically. We all have a reason and specific job to do on this earth that only we can personally do. There are only certain people that we can reach.

….for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139

Most of us realize this, but too often the devil will sidetrack our thoughts with people in our lives, things we see, hear or even read. The devil will turn our focus on ourselves or others instead of God first and His blessings.  When our focus is taken off from God, our happiness is also taken away. We like something we see, or something someone else has or maybe even just how someone is. We want to have or be like a certain person instead of the position and plan God has for us. It is hard not to get jealous of someone else’s blessings.

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Instead of thanking God for our blessings, we become dissatisfied, discouraged and ungrateful. We feel like we have to compete with the world and prove something. We start expecting things and then we become disappointed. We become angry at God and our family. We begin to think we deserve more. We start the slippery slope of comparing our life to others and questioning God. We get mad and jealous and we think life is unfair. Why did God allow me to be in this kind of family? Why did he put this into my life? Does that mean God loves some people more because their life “seems” easier or better than your life?

What is God trying to teach you? Maybe this is the only way you would learn, maybe this is how you will be able to help someone else that NO ONE else could help? Ask God to show you.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4 

    count your blessingas.jpg

 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4

We need to daily ask ourselves, is my focus on God or that person? Do you care more about what others think than about what God thinks? What does God expect from only you?

Focus on God and what He has done and is doing in your life! When we focus on others and what they have, we become discontent then that leads to jealousy. Jealousy is very powerful. Many sins have been committed because of jealousy. Stop it in your thought life now! One sin always leads to another. Jealousy leads to other sins. We need to remember what God has already done in our lives. Find out what God’s plans are for you. Be thankful for what and who you already have in your life. Tell God and a spiritually strong friend to help sort through your thoughts and emotions.

Jealousy is a form of hatred

Realize who and what we are ultimately living for.

dont compare your inside

Don’t try to be someone or something that God did not create you to be, even if you are afraid no one will accept you. You will never be happy acting like someone else you think people might like better.  Being different can complement and balance those who are opposite.  You have your family for a reason. You have your life experiences for a reason; use it for God’s glory. Be the best woman who God (not anyone else) intended you to be. Count your many blessings!

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 2 Timothy 6

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. Psalm 23

 

“All that I need is my faith in Jesus.
All that I need is my home above.
All that I need is my Father’s Mercy.
All that I need is my Savior’s love.”

Biblical Way to Heaven

20180622_104207

For by GRACE are ye saved through FAITH; and that NOT of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, LEST ANY MAN should boast.   – Ephesians 2:8, 9

  • You cannot go to Heaven by good works or feelings.
  • You cannot go to Heaven by going to church or giving to the poor.
  • Our good is as dirty rags.
  • You have sinned, everyone has sinned

~

For all have SINNED and come short of the glory of GOD.
Romans 3:23

Because of what happened in the Garden of Eden, it is fact that there is sin in the world. Our sin blocks us from GOD and Heaven—no one is perfect. Everyone has done something wrong in their life, and everyone will continue sinning until the day they die. When you ask Jesus in your heart, you are humbly admitting your wrongs and asking for His forgiveness of your sins.

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For the WAGES [payment] of sin is death, but the gift of GOD is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord
Romans 6:23

We make a decision, whether we want to or not. We cannot ignore the decision. It is either inviting Him into your heart and going to Heaven, or ignoring Jesus and ultimately sending ourselves to hell. You cannot get out of the decision. When a child disobeys an authority, he needs to learn via punishment that what he did was wrong. Heaven is perfect; we cannot bring sin into Heaven. You would not want to drink water that has any dirt in it. Heaven cannot have one ounce of sin in it. We deserve hell. Thank God for His mercy and grace!

But there is GOOD NEWS! God died and rose again for us so that all we have to do is believe, confess, and accept what HE has ALREADY done for us. It is 100% done. It is not dependent on our feelings, or giving money to the poor, or even going to church a certain amount of times. Isn’t that a relief?!

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But God commendeth his love for us, that WHILE we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

GOD died for everyone, even the person who you do not like. God died for the person who will still reject Him regardless. He created everyone and He loves us all unconditionally. His love does not change by what we do or say.

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For with the HEART man believeth unto righteousness; and with the MOUTH confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:10
For whosoever [it doesn’t matter what you have done or will do] shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. Romans 10:13

The bottom line is, you have to get saved for you, not because of your parents or friends or anyone else. You have to personally ask GOD, whether quietly or out loud. It does not matter where or when you talk to GOD; it can be anywhere, at any time—isn’t that awesome?!

20180622_104137

Finally, I want you to know that once you are saved, you will always be saved. God died on the cross ONCE. You only have to ask (pray for salvation) once.

For Christ also hath ONCE suffered for sins
(
died on the cross), the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:   -1 Peter 3:18

”…for he hath said, I will NEVER leave thee, nor forsake thee.”   – Hebrews 13:5

And I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE; AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.   – John 10:28-29

Praying is just you talking with GOD as you would with your closest family member and friend.  HE already knows you better than you know yourself. You just have to realize and accept what HE already knows and has done for you.

If you have not already asked Jesus to take you to Heaven when you die, I urge you to tell HIM that you now know you are not perfect. Tell Him that you know you deserve hell, but you realize that because Jesus died on the cross and rose again, you can go to Heaven if you just ask HIM into your heart. You are not trusting in your feelings or good works to get into Heaven; put all your doubt and worry on Jesus. Put your full trust and faith into HIM.

Recap:

  1. No one is perfect.
  2. Everyone deserves hell.
  3. Everyone does have a chance to go to Heaven.
  4. Jesus died and rose again so that we can go to Heaven.
  5. We just have to ask Him into our hearts, tell Him we are a sinner and deserve hell.