My Gethsemane: Wrestling With Death To Gain Eternal Life - From The Journal Of James Hartline
The Journal of James Hartline
November 20, 2006
Wrestling With Death
To Gain Eternal Life
"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane,
and saith unto the disciples, "Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder."
Then saith He unto them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful,
even unto death: tarry ye here and watch with Me."
Oct. 5, 2005 Cover Story In San Diego CityBeat:
"How James Hartline Became Hillcrest's
Most Notorious Christian Soldier"
I have found that place where eternity has staked out a burial plot for the carnality of all mankind. It is the place where all personal dreams and ambitions are brought into direct conflict with the will and purposes of God. It is called Gethsemane. Gethsemane, the garden of anguish, the garden of death. It is the last place that Jesus went to prior to His betrayal. It was in Gethsemane, that the Master wrestled with His humanity and overcame it. With drops of blood flowing down His tormented brow, Jesus crucified each and every emotion and thought, bringing them into subjection to the will of the Father. All of His fears, His anxieties, His entire shuddering flesh: brought into alignment with the impending cross of cruxifiction. And the cross prevailed upon the mind of Christ. That is Gethsemane's purpose: the wrestling out of all spots and blemishes from the resisting soul until nothing remains but the purified will of the Father.
I, too, have been to Gethsemane. Strangely, and unfortunately, I find myself returning again and again to Gethsemane to wrestle with my humanity. It is always a low blow to my carnal mind, when I know I must drag my screaming carcass back to that garden of death to bring some place of resistance into agreement with the will of my heavenly Father. It seems that there is a daily resurrection of some portion of my buried flesh. And when that triumphant hand raises itself up out of the dirt of its burial plot, I must once against drag that snarling, rebellious corpse back to Gethsemane. In this life, Gethsemane's existence will always be an unfortunate and painful necessity.
We all must go to Gethsemane. Each man's Gethsemane is uniquely different. We all will surely know when we have entered into that place where human reality fades and the critical debate between our flesh and spirit will fight to the death over our eternal priorities. Each time we enter into Gethsemane's dark and eerie domain we get ever closer to the place where Christ, Himself, surrendered all. Oh, how I moan at times in fearful thought, that Christ should ever find me on the outskirts of Gethsemane, asleep, while He intercedes with the Father for more of my will to be given over to His heavenly purposes.
And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter,
"Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch for one hour?
Keep watching and praying, that you may not come into
temptation: the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
My Gethsemane has been a lonely and arduous battle for me. The long shadows of death have encompassed me for nine years now. On December 1, 1997, I was infected with the virus that causes AIDS. There is no cure. That is the beginning and the end of the matter. Without a miracle from God, I will one day succumb to this wretched disease. Those who engage in homosexuality will eventually bite into what the Bible calls the "Vine of Sodom." Once I bit into that seductive fruit, the poison began to make its parasitic march throughout my bodily organs and systems. Oh, what a fatal flaw, did my thinking provide me, when I thought that sin's consequences would pass me by on its deadly way to others.
I have had to go to Gethsemane many, many times to wrestle with God and my flesh in dealing with AIDS. Each time, the wrestling has brought me closer to Him. Most bound in homosexuality will die in their sins rather than repent and surrender to Christ. The mind, once given to that reprobate state, will rarely find its way out of that pit of delusion and eternal damnation. I am most fortunate. For, in my wrestling over this disease of AIDS, I have surrender my flesh and all homosexual desires to God. In the process of seeking healing from AIDS, I have been completely delivered from homosexuality. Gethsemane has served me well in the eyes of God.
Arrows of Hate, Arrows of Scorn
"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you
from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil,
for the Son of man's sake."
Most American Christians are obvlious to the extreme hate that is now manifesting in major metropolitan areas of the United States towards those that adhere to a belief in the Bible. Nowhere is that hate more intense then inside of the homosexual communities within America's urban areas.
Living inside of Hillcrest, the homosexual stronghold of San Diego, California, it seems as if I have been swallowed up at times, into a great caldron of hostility and bigotry because of my faith. What have I done wrong? What have I said that has germinated such anger towards me. Simply, standing for Christ and proclaiming the Word of God, has brought me into a war that I did not invent. Nevertheless, by surrendering to the will of God, I have enlisted in such a battle. It is a war over philosophies. It is a war over ideas. And most assuredly, it is a war with titanic spiritual dynamics: it is the war of ages between God and the rebels under satan's spell. Everyone who chooses to pick up the cross of Jesus Christ will enter into this conflict. To wave a white flag in surrender to satan, is to drop the cross and deny Christ.
There is a permeating emnity between those bound in the snare of homosexuality and those that speak the truth of the Bible. Once I renounced my former life and its sinful attire, I too, became the focus of a major campaign of hate and intolerance by San Diego's homosexual advocates. On a daily basis, I am ridiculed and mocked by those that claim that I am hateful and demented because of what they term "religious zealotry." They claim that opposition to the sin of homosexuality is intolerant zealotry. I say, in stark opposition to them, that those who will actually die in their quest for sexual fulfillment, are the ones who are demented zealots.
On August 21, 2005 the entire world was made aware that my life was constantly threatened by radical members of San Diego's homosexual community, when World Net Daily published an international story
detailing a death threat made against me
that had been posted on the Hillquest Website:
For nearly seven years, I have lived just one block from San Diego's Gay and Lesbian Center. I have been the target of many threats living in that location. The Gay and Lesbian Center is the physical manifestation of an entire neighborhood in complete rebellion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From the promotion of homosexual marriages and pornography to an orchestrated campaign against the Boy Scouts of America, this government funded temple of immorality stands as a testament to rebellion against the Word of God. It was, however, the indoctrination of young teenagers into homosexuality, lesbianism and transsexualism by the Gay and Lesbian Center, that really stirred my soul to go to war against this organization of evil.
"Even so, it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven,
that one of these little ones should perish."
"Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends"
This is where I have many times had to go to Gethsemane. I know that those who are determined to take these little ones and steal their innocence for ungodly purposes, have plotted my demise. But God has commanded me to stand for Him in the midst of such gross darkness. I have taken my fears, my burdens, my pains: all potential negative outcomes, to Gethsemane. I have wrestled them down to the earth, and pinned them to the ground into submission to the will of my Father in heaven.
There is no place in Hillcrest that I can walk where I am not recognized. My photographs have been circulated throughout the city. A cover story in the widely read weekly newspaper, San Diego CityBeat, circulated my picture under the title "The Enemy Within: How James Hartline Became Hillcrest's Most Notorious Christian Soldier." On many days, as I walk about the streets of Hillcrest, hateful glares will come my way, but my eyes stay focused on Christ and His mission for me. How we have come to a place in our society where the alledged "victims" of intolerance and hate crimes, have turned out to be an army of victimizers against Christians, is truly a sign of how asleep the watchman on the walls have been.
So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him,
"What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God,
if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not."
Photo from Fox News placed
on gay website that regularly mocks me
called the James Hartline Watch.
Free From My Steel Cocoon
How HIV Turned James Hartline to Christ
By Amy Reid and Tim Branson On CBN"s 700 Club
You can watch the interview and story of James Hartline that was told
internationally on CBN's The 700 Club:
Free From My Steel Cocoon:
What Do I Do With This Liberty?
"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy name:
the righteous shall compass me about;
for Thou shalt deal bountifully with me."
"And I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts."
Once we have been to our Gethsemane, where do we go from there. Well firstly, we know we would not have been to Gethsemane, if the Lord had not drawn us there. Thus, we know that since God brought us there, to crucify our own plans, and our own ambitions, He will also draw us into His purposes afterwards. For so many years, I had known nothing but sorrow, sickness and failure. How could a man who had been involved in homosexuality for thirty years, been in prisons for nineteen years, as well as mental illnesses and drug use, do anything worthwhile for the Lord Jesus Christ?
And Jesus looking upon them said,
"With men it is impossible, but not with God:
For with God, all things are possible."
If the devil could have killed me, he would have already done it. God has called me, and it is irrelevant what man thinks of that, or of me as a person, for that matter. Whom God calls, He qualifies. It is not a matter of education, or societal standing, or physical prowess. Simply, I am the least likely. In all facets, in the eyes of man, I am qualified for only one thing: the trash heap of all things failed. My God has called me to look the devil in the face and remind him that he has no say in my destiny or my success. It is God. He called. He qualifed. He equipped. And the devil has lost. I am eternally grateful for Gethsemane.
Nov. 1, 2004 Rally To Save The Mt. Soldedad Cross
Plotting to save the Mt. Soledad Cross with Pastor Leo Giovinetti.
Pastor Leo & Mission Valley Christian Fellowship adopted me
as their "Christian Pit Bull" and son in the Lord.
James Hartline In Chicago Preaching The Word Of God
During The World Gay Games in July of 2006
The Journal of James Hartline
Preparing For My Departure:
But Running My Race Until I Leave
James Hartline, Director
The Hillcrest Mission