It’s a Hell of a Revival!

The following was originally published by  World Net Daily here, and The Christian Post here.

As long as I can remember, everyone believes in heaven, but fewer believe in hell. If they do believe, it’s only those “other” bad folks going there – Hitler, Stalin, the neighbor who leaves the trashcans out all week. And before he left Christianity, Rob Bell (called a rock star pastor by Time) wrote a book, Love Wins, arguing that nobody goes to hell, because well…love wins (the phrase was quickly adopted for gay marriage, climate change, and Kim Jong-un).

But recently it seems to me that there is a “hell” of a revival going on-or more precisely a revival of hell. If Trump’s election has done anything, it’s gotten people to think about hell a lot and specifically who MUST go there!

I guess love DOESN’T win all the time.

Consider:

  1. Pennsylvania Assistant Principal Zachary Ruff told a pro-life student, “”You and Trump can go to hell,” and “You can go to hell, where they are, too,” “they” apparently referring to aborted children. I nominate Ruff to be the new head of Planned Parenthood! His values are perfectly aligned with Cecile Richards.

2. At the University of Utah, students protested conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s appearance on campus with signs that said, Hate is not welcome here,” while they chanted (uneducated in hypocrisy), “It is right to rebel, Ben Shapiro go to hell.”

3. Rosie O’Donnell, in response to House Speaker Paul Ryan posting praise of Christmas and Jesus, said, “paul ryan – don’t talk about Jesus after what u just did to our nation – u will go straight to hell.”

4. Hamilton playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, tweeted, “You’re going straight to hell, @realDonaldTrump. “No long lines for you.”

5. Shia LaBeouf, who I LOVE in Even Stevens and Transformers, told a cop that he’s “going to hell” because he’s black.

6. Donna Brazile told Hillary backing critics of her book to all “go to hell.”

7. Madeline Albright said to a laughing audience, that “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Meaning any woman who doesn’t vote for Clinton. That Albright – she’s always cracking me up!

8. And lastly, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, said that the California teacher who bashed the military while teaching “ought to go to hell”.”

Whoah! It’s like Nancy Pelosi’s Armageddon! Hell is everywhere! We’ve gone from “love wins” to “who am I gonna send to hell today?” so quickly!

And you might expect that from insane Christian-in-name-only types (Westboro Baptist Church), but the vast majority of the hell talk seems to be coming from the Christianity-is-the-Taliban left.

Why all the hell talk?

Simple. Because every culture and every people have a sense that justice is real and wrongs must be righted. People may have vastly different views on what is right and is wrong. I.e., Pro-lifers: abortion bad. Most pro-abortion activists? Save the whales! Abort the baby! But all have an innate sense that justice must prevail. Why?

Because we are created in God’s image. He is a God of justice. He will right the wrongs. So even if our sense of wrong is corrupted by sin, like God, we still have that innate craving that wrongs should be righted.

All of that said, here two things you’ve gotta know about hell:

1. Hell is real. Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven. If you believe Jesus is divine, no getting around hell. Jesus is right; Rob Bell is wrong.

Justice demands all wrong must be punished. But it doesn’t happen on this earth! Only 61% of murders are solved. That means there are murderers who never face justice in this life. So how can justice prevail?

God is a just God. And He will punish all wrongdoing. Nobody, “get’s away with it.” And according to Jesus, hell is the place just punishment takes place.

2. God doesn’t want anyone to go there. Every religion but Christianity says the way to erase our bad is to do lots of good, and the good will outweigh the bad. But even if you could do a truly excellent thing for every sin you’ve ever committed, it wouldn’t erase the sin. So, what to do?

Jesus went to a cross and took all the sin – took our “just” punishment, so we wouldn’t have to.

Damnation used to mean punishment in hell. So to say, “Damn you!” meant, “Go to hell!”

I had a clever seminary professor, and about 30 or 40 years ago, when speaking to teens, he’d say, “Some of you love to say, ‘Damn you! (when a preacher says that it wakes everyone up). Quit that! You can’t damn anyone. So, some of you say, ‘God damn you.’ You need to quit that too. Because God doesn’t want to damn them. He wants to save them.

I’d add, “No matter what Rosie says!”

So for the Rosies and the Shias and the Lin-Manuels – I hope you do believe in hell. But be assured, you can’t send anyone there, and God doesn’t want to send anyone there, even you. That’s why He paid such a ridiculously high price to keep folks out.  Max Lucado says it best: “Jesus places ‘do not enter signs’ all over the gateway to hell, and he announces to anyone who wants to go, ‘if you go you’ve gotta go over my dead body.’”

Amen amen.

 

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Do Dogs Go To Heaven? How About Cats?

I actually wrote this many years ago, but an excellent dog rescuing friend had a dog die recently, and it reminded me how important this question can be for some.

But before I get to the most important question, I must dispense with some other items (warning: skip below for the answer if you’re allergic to cat-bashing).

Do cats go to heaven? 

The stuff of nightmares this beast is.

Of course not. That’s like asking if the serpent in the garden (Genesis 3) went to heaven. Cats are a result of the fall. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that there were no cats in the Garden of Eden. It wouldn’t be paradise if there were cats there. 

Am I making this up as I go along? Absolutely.

Charles Portis, in one of my favorite books, True Grit, said it this way, through his character Mattie Ross:

“I have known some horses and a good many more pigs who I believe harbored evil intent in their hearts. I will go further and say all cats are wicked, though often useful. Who has not seen Satan in their sly faces? Some preachers will say, well, that is superstitious “claptrap.” My answer is this: Preacher, go to your Bible and read Luke 8: 26-33.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Brrrrrrr. Scary…

But enough of this silliness!

If you have a cat, I love you too. And you can replace “dog” with “cat” throughout the remainder of this post because I have no authority (Biblical or otherwise) upon which to rest my cat opinions.

So on to the main question! Do dogs go to heaven?

1. The Bible doesn’t say they do. The Bible doesn’t say they don’t. So no one can answer with certainty. If someone speaks with certainty on this issue, quit listening. They are puffed up and full of themselves.

2. There will definitely be animals in heaven. See Ezekiel 47:9.

3. Billy Graham’s answer (it’s a great one): In response to a little girl who asked this question, he is purported to have said: “If that’s what it takes for you to be happy in heaven, God will make sure your dog is in heaven.”

Excellent answer! Takes #1 into account. And speaks the very essence of God’s loving description of heaven – a place of no pain, no suffering, no sorrow (Rev. 21:4). Heaven is a place that Jesus called “paradise” – knowing what that word would mean to us.

4. Joni Eareckson Tada (a woman who take the promises of God very seriously), wrote the best answer of all time (in my estimation):

 “If God brings pets back to life, it wouldn’t surprise me. It would be just like Him. It would be totally in keeping with His generous character….Exorbitant. Excessive. Extravagant grace after grace. Of all the dazzling discoveries and ecstatic pleasures heaven will hold for us, the potential to see Scrappy would be pure whimsy-utterly, joyfully, surprisingly superfluous. It’s not that animals have souls or that God owes Scrappy anything, but heaven is going be a place that will refract and reflect in as many ways as possible the joy of our Great God, who delights in lavishing love on His children.” (from God of All Creation by James Robison)

That answer gives me high hopes. I’ve had some great dogs that I loved dearly. Great dogs that I cried over when I lost them.

I must admit that for years, I thought this was a stupid, stupid question. But as I’ve grown older, and a little (teeny tiny bit) wiser through experience, I must admit – it’s a good question.

God blesses us with every good thing-James 1:17. And for many, pets have been a most excellent thing. They’ve been gifts from God that have blessed us, been loyal, and been a source of great friendship, comfort, and love, in times of great need.

Will your dog be in heaven? I can say this with absolute certainty: the God who loves you extravagantly will see to it that your pet will be there if that’s what you need for heaven to be paradise. And I agree with Joni – it would be just like our God to have your pet there.

Be blessed. I happen to know that your heavenly Father is quite fond of you. 

David

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