Tag Archives: hell

Daniel 5-6; Parenting In The Lions’ Den

My Mom and Dad used to love taking their young grandchildren on adventures. One of their favorite destinations was the Columbus Zoo.

Dad said that one time, while visiting the lion exhibit, my nephew who was about three at the time, got the attention of one of the adult lions. Ryan walked up to the thick glass wall, and the lion met him there, face to face. Ryan walked a few steps to the right, the lion followed. Ryan walked to the left, the lion followed. It soon became a game between boy and lion, and the crowd of people at the exhibit laughed at the silliness.

“Isn’t that cute? The lion likes the boy.”

“Yeah,” my dad said. “For dinner.”

That lion wasn’t playing a game of follow-the-leader with the boy. That lion was stalking its prey. And only the glass wall prevented my nephew from being torn to pieces and savagely eaten by the wild beast.

Do you remember Roy Horn of Seigfried and Roy, entertainers who used white lions in their act? Roy raised those animals from a young age. He treated them like kittens, loved them, played with them. They were his pets.

But one night, one of those “pets” savagely grabbed Roy around the neck, and began to drag him off stage. Roy sustained life threatening injuries, and his life has never been the same.

A wild animal is not a character in a Disney cartoon.

Throwing Daniel into the lions’ den was sentencing the man to an awful, violent, and terrifying death. But we know he didn’t die.

The story doesn’t end there, however. Darius, the king who had been tricked into condemning Daniel, had the men who deceived him thrown into the den of lions. He sentenced those jealous, evil, conniving low-lifes to the same death they’d planned for Daniel.

Now if that was the extent of it, I’d say they got what they deserved. But the Bible tells us Darius didn’t stop with the men who’d plotted against Daniel. The king had their wives and children thrown into the lions’ den as well. Their wives and children met with the same gruesome end as the men.

I can hear you shouting, “NOT FAIR.”

I’m not going to try to argue that except to say, if you read this you’ll not see God tell Darius to kill those people.  I know the God of the Bible takes no pleasure in people dying without Him. He doesn’t want anyone to suffer the agony of hell. In fact, He paid the awful, violent, and terrifying death we all deserve.

But the Bible is also clear: the guilty will not go unpunished. Hell is real. And people who die without honoring God really do go there.

Here’s what occurred to me today: Many people – maybe you although I pray not – are ignoring God, or disobeying Him. Some deny Him or defy Him. The Bible tells us if that’s the case – be prepared for an awful, violent, terrifying existence for eternity, knowing you had a chance to avoid it all.

But I want to ask you – how many of your loved ones are you willing to take down with you?

You might brag like a post I read on FaceBook recently, “Yeah, I’m going to hell, and enjoying every step of the way.” But what is that message saying to your children? You do know, don’t you, that you are the single greatest influence on your children for the good or for the bad.

You might be appalled at the story here in Daniel, when you are doing the exact same thing. Your life does have an effect on your loved ones… an eternal effect. You may be foolishly willing to go to hell. Just understand that that precious child in your lap is watching you, imitating you, learning to think and believe like you.

It’s NOT FAIR of YOU to take them with you.

December 30 – Doomed

Revelation 12-18

The Book of Revelation is a book of hope for Christians. In His revelation to John, God tells us to hold on to Him. Life will be hard. But if we remain on God’s side – we win.

But reading these chapters also makes me sad for those who reject Him. Oh, they might appear to have some victories here and there during this lifetime. But they are doomed.

It makes me sad that, as I read the imagery of the seven bowls of wrath, people continue to reject God, even when His power and authority are demonstrated in undeniable ways. Read chapter 16 and see them scorched with fierce heat, and blaspheming God. Or gnawing their tongues because of pain, and refusing to repent. Or blaspheming God even when hundred pound hailstones are falling on their heads.

Over and over God reveals Himself: nature declares His glory, Jesus reveals God in the flesh, changed lives, strength in weakness, joy in sorrow.

God nudges, and woos lost people. He also disciplines and pours out His wrath to get their attention. I see a God who is not willing that anyone die without Him, and who will go to any lengths to win each and every one while they still draw breath.

But, hear me. Those who take that last breath without accepting what God offers through His Son are doomed. There are no do-overs, no second chances in eternity. What you choose in this lifetime makes all the difference.

Christian, as you read the book of Revelation with me, let’s rejoice in the truth that God is the ultimate authority. That Satan’s defeat is inevitable. And that God is preparing a place for us to spend eternity with Him in more glory and splendor than we can imagine.

But if you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, I pray that you will begin the new year on the winning side. God is going to be true to His Word. One day, at the name of Jesus EVERY knee will bow.. That means you, dear one. EVERY tongue will confess that Jesus is who He says He is. Like it or not, you will recognize that you are doomed without Him. Please don’t let that happen.

Holy God, thank You for giving this revelation to John. We can see that the war between You and Satan is played out here on planet Earth. And we can see that You are the victor! God, I am so glad I am counted as Yours, that You are fighting my battles right this minute, and that one day I am going to heaven to be with You. Father, I pray for those who don’t yet call You Lord. May they humble themselves, repent of sin, and accept your gift of Grace through Your Son, Jesus. I pray that no one reading this blog will meet you in eternity doomed.

November 17 – We Must… I Did

Acts 4-6

Last night my pastor shared some thoughts from Paul’s letter to Titus. He pointed out that the grace of God starts at salvation, but doesn’t end there. God’s grace instructs us to live godly lives and to look for Christ’s return. God’s grace reveals Jesus who redeems and purifies His children, who then become “zealous for good deeds.”

Then Paul says in Titus 2:15:

These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

The pastor challenged us to be zealous in talking about Jesus. If we really believe what Peter said in Acts 4:12, that there is no other salvation than in the name of Jesus, that our family and friends will go to hell without Him, then how can we remain silent?

The high priest warned Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus or bad things would happen to them. Peter answered:

We must obey God rather than man. (5:29)

Then Peter proceeded to talk to the high priest about Jesus. That’s zeal!

There are some people in our world today who continue to name the name of Jesus with a black hood over their heads, and machetes at their necks. We don’t face that threat yet in this country. But I wonder if we’re allowing ourselves to be bullied into silence, anyway.

God is asking me, and maybe asking you, who it is we are obeying. I don’t face a threat on my life if I talk about Jesus. But do I let public opinion handcuff me, am I afraid of stepping on toes, do I allow Satan’s voice to stop me from talking about Jesus because he’s convinced me my friend isn’t interested, or that I won’t know what to say?

Who cares? If I really believe that Jesus is the only salvation, and that anyone who doesn’t know Him as Savior will spend ETERNITY IN HELL…

then I must be zealously sharing Him every chance I get. I must make opportunities to talk about Jesus. I must ask the hard questions of my unsaved loved ones.

I must obey God and forget what man thinks about me.  Because in the end, I won’t be accountable to the United States government on that day. I will be accountable to God, however.

And when I look Jesus in the eye, I want… because of God’s grace… to be able to say that Paul’s “We must…” became my “I did.”

 

 

 

October 26 – I Never Knew You

Luke 12-13

Will God really send good people to hell? Certainly there won’t be preachers and Sunday School teachers there, right? Won’t people who volunteer at the homeless shelters, those who never lie or cheat, people who are kind and thoughtful, get a free pass?

I can promise you, according to Scripture, that God will not send one holy person to hell. There will not be one sinless person in that fire. Zero.

But Jesus said that some of the people who were following Him, who heard His teachings, will knock on the door of heaven only to hear God say, “You can’t come in. I never knew you.”

The World Series started last night. My brother-in-law and nephew were there, amid thousands of people wearing their Indians’ shirts and hats, and waving their red towels to cheer on the home team. Thousands of people stood at the same exciting moments, chanted the same words, praised the same players, complained about the same umps, and most of them had 100% of their attention on that field.

But I only know two of the thousands of people who were at that game. Many people dressed like my loved ones. Many acted like them, even said the same things my loved ones said. But if all of those baseball fans knocked on my door, I’d only let two of them in.

Now some of the opposition were easily detected. They were the ones in the light blue shirts. They were not Indian fans. Their clothes were different and they cheered at different times in the game. They neither looked nor acted like my loved ones. So if they came to my door, I could weed them out easily.

But it’s the rest of them, the ones who looked and acted like my loved ones that aren’t so easily detected. But not knowing them, I wouldn’t let them in, either, even if they looked the part.

Looking like a Christian, learning to talk like a Christian, doing Christian things, doesn’t mean God knows you. Jesus tells us the only way the Father can know any of us is if we go through Him. His blood. His forgiveness. His Way.

And only those whom God knows will be welcomed into eternity with Him.

Does He know You?

September 6 – It’s Not A Suggestion

Ezekiel 32-34

The last thing Jesus said before ascending into heaven was, “get out there and tell people about Me.” (Matthew 28). The Great Commission, as it is known, is a call to action for all believers.

Ezekiel tells us how important it is to warn people about the consequences for not listening to God. He calls us watchmen, we who see the sword coming to destroy, and who blow the trumpet and warn the people.

Ezekiel says if the people don’t heed the warning, their destruction is on them. But look at 33:6. If the watchman (that’s you and me) knows there is danger ahead and doesn’t warn the people…

that man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. (33:8)

Ezekiel repeats that fact in verse 9. God is that serious about holding us responsible for telling our family, neighbors, friends about the Truth. We have the Good News, that Jesus paid the price for sin and offers forgiveness as a gift.

But the flip side of the Good News is really bad news! That is eternal hell, separated from God, in agony and regret.

The Bible is clear, if we  don’t warn people about the consequences for rejecting God’s grace, the forgiveness of sin, they will die in their sin…

and it will be our fault.

 

August 3 – The Flip Side

Isaiah 64-66

The books of prophesy contain so much hope for God’s people. Christian, there is joy ahead. There is peace. Our longings met, and our hunger and thirst satisfied. We won’t be haunted by memories of past mistakes. We’ll enjoy a new heaven and a new earth forever in God’s Presence. The reality is beyond our imagination.

But the flip side of that coin is so much worse than we can imagine. God, through Isaiah, is talking about the redeemed who “will go forth and look on the corpses of the men who have transgressed Me. For their worm will not die, and their fire will not be quenched; and they will be an abhorrent to all mankind.” (66:24)

That’s hell. A fire of regret and agony caused by memories of missed opportunities. A thirst that can never be satisfied, knowing for eternity that you are the lowest of the low, abhorrent, disgusting, defeated, wrong. And the worst part of that is that you will truly be separated from God with no hope of ever seeing the light again.

Ever.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, rest assured you have a glorious future ahead of you. If you haven’t accepted Jesus, the flip side of that truth should scare you out of your mind.

July 14 – Grieved

Amos 6-9

As I read these chapters today I am reminded that there is danger in getting comfortable, in feeling secure, in reclining on beds of ivory, sprawling on couches, eating and drinking, without caring that people are dying and going to hell.

May we never have the attitude that “At least I’m ok. My salvation is eternally secure. Let the rest of the world get what they deserve.” God calls it “the arrogance of Jacob” (6:8) which is the same as saying, the arrogance of God’s people. That’s me. That’s you if you know Him.

God is grieved over sin, over people dying without the Savior, over disobedience and hate.

Grieved.

Am I too comfortable to care?