Tag Archives: heaven

Heaven is for Real

Image Credit: www.movpins.com
Image Credit:
www.movpins.com

My daughter, son-in-law, granddaughters and I watched “Heaven is for Real” a couple of nights ago, and though many have said how wonderful it is, I can only assume they were watching a different movie with the same title, because the movie my family and I watched was far from wonderful. Indeed, I was saddened because the film makers, who produced this movie, showcased heaven, while ignoring Jesus Christ, Son of the living God. To ignore the King of kings, who reigns over both heaven and earth, is to negate His kingdom, for if the King of a kingdom is overlooked, then the kingdom itself has very little value.

Image Credit: www.ubfriends.org
Image Credit:
www.ubfriends.org

As a born-again believer and follower of Christ, I do, indeed, believe that heaven is for real. Therefore, I am in complete agreement with the title of both the book and the movie. However, that is where my agreement with this low-quality film ends. You see, my belief in Jesus Christ, Messiah and Son of God, also known as the King of kings and Lord of lords, is based on what the bible says about Him and His kingdom, but sadly, this movie and the book fall short of the truth recorded in God’s word.

I could have tolerated the poor acting and the poorly written script, which placed the movie on par with other “B” movies…

“A B movie is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not definitively an arthouse.”  ~ Wikipedia ~

However, what I could not tolerate, was a supposedly “true” story about heaven that failed to glorify God.

Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.

No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and His servants will worship Him. And they will see His face, and His name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.  ~ Revelation 22:1-5 NLT ~

heaven2This description of heaven, revealed by the Apostle John, who visited heaven while imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos, describes heaven, the place, however, his main focus was on God and His Son, for their thrones are front and center, and all things flow from their midst. Not only that, John also tells us that the servants of God will be worshiping Him, and that His name will be written on their foreheads. The movie mentioned nothing of these things. Also missing from the movie’s description of heaven were the Crystal Sea, and the trees of life on both sides of the river.

In the book and the movie, the boy claimed that everyone in heaven had wings, including him. However, while the Lord and some angelic beings are said to have wings in the scriptures, it never once says that humans have wings in heaven. Furthermore, the saints who have visited heaven, either in a vision or a dream, have never done so while having a near death experience. And what’s more, in scripture, those who truly have visited heaven, were either prophets or apostles, who had a close relationship with the Lord, not children or people with no prior relationship with God. In fact, according to Jesus, you cannot even see God’s kingdom, unless you are born again. Therefore, every person who has ever claimed to see heaven prior to or without being born again is either lying or else they have been deceived…

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  ~ John 3:3  NLT ~

And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of His mouth and destroy him by the splendor of His coming.

This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies.12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.  ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:6-12  NLT ~

Heaven is for Real 1In addition to what I’ve already shared with you, there were many other things about this movie that troubled me. However, to me, the most disturbing scene was when the embittered mother of a son (who was killed while in the military),  questioned her pastor. “Do you think my son went to heaven?”

His answer to her question was a typical Hollywood answer. While it seemed like a nice and comforting answer, it clearly went against the bible’s teachings, thus rendering it untrue. In the movie, Pastor Todd Burpo gently asked her if she loved her son. Then, when she replied affirmatively, he told her that he loved his son too, and that God did as well. Then, he told her that God didn’t love her son any less than He loved Colton (Burpo’s son who had supposedly visited heaven), implying that since God had allowed Colton to go to heaven, He would also allow her son to go to heaven. 

Without a doubt, God truly does love us and our children even more than we are able to, however, that God’s love for mankind does not guarantee our entrance into heaven. There was no mention of Christ or the need to be born again in Pastor Burpo’s response to this sad mother, and this is what both saddened and outraged me.

For Pastor Todd Burpo, who is supposed to be a servant of God, and therefore responsible for sharing the gospel of Christ with mankind, approved this movie, which deceives people into thinking that everyone has access to heaven, regardless of whether they have been born again or not. In fact, Todd Burpo is not the only minister to approve this deception, for T.D. Jakes, self-proclaimed Apostle/Bishop of The Potter’s House, a megachurch with a membership of close to 30,000 people, located in Dallas, Texas, was also one of the producers of this deceptive film. Remember, as a religious leader, these men are held to a higher standard than those who are not…

17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.  ~ Hebrews 13:17  NLT ~

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.  ~ 1 Peter 5:2  NLT~

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.  ~ James 3:1  NLT ~

Beloved readers, those who are called or appointed to be leaders of the church must be careful in doing so, for they will be judged more strictly. Leaders of the church must be above reproach, sharing the gospel of Christ truthfully, boldly and lovingly. They must know and love God and His word, and they must never preach, teach or minister for financial gain.

Beloved, God would not have us ignorant. Therefore, it is also our responsibility to know and understand His word, so that we will not be deceived. Though the writers and producers of both the book and the movie, “Heaven is Real,” claim this story is being shared to bring comfort and hope to people, and though this sounds like a good thing, let us look at this realistically.

The authors and producers of this film and book did not participate in this venture simply in order to minister to men, women and children, but for their own financial gain. Pastor Todd Burpo has had much financial gain since publishing his story, and you’d better believe that T.D. Jakes wouldn’t have taken part in the production of this movie had it not been a lucrative venture. 

Beloved readers, let us remember these words of Jesus…

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”  ~ John 14:6  NLT ~

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  ~ John 3:3  NLT ~

If I were to grade this movie, I would give it an F, because though it was supposed to be a true story, when you hold it up to what God’s word says about heaven, it becomes clear that this story holds no truth. And though the movie attempted to glorify heaven; by failing to glorify God and His Son, Jesus Christ, the heaven presented in the movie held no splendor or appeal. Furthermore, although heaven is real, the heaven revealed in this movie was nothing more than a low-quality, fictitious fable.

To know what heaven in all its splendor and glory is truly like, I suggest you read the following scripture passages…

These are just a few of the scriptures that describe the only true heaven, created by Almighty God, for His glory. After reading of God’s glorious heavenly home, why would anyone want to settle for a low-budget imitation like the one presented in this movie?

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Edge…

Five Sentence Fiction – Edge

Apr 10, 2013 ~ 3 Comments ~ Written by lillie

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
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Image Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Wonderland_Walker_2.jpg

Fear and regret welled up inside him, as searing hot pain burned him from within and without, consuming him in a blaze of hopeless torment. “Oh God,” he cried out in agony, as the bitterness of his current state engulfed him with sorrow and remorse, while the unrelenting holocaust drove home the knowledge that it was now too late to go back and change anything. 

He had always lived his life on the edge,  like a tightrope walker, while never fully committing to the Lord, he enjoyed many of the forbidden fruits of life, being careful not to do anything too terribly bad, and always making sure that he never missed going to church on Christmas and Easter. How sharply focused everything suddenly was, as revelation came in a flash of lightning, burning through all of the lies he had told himself through the seventy-eight brief years of his self-indulgent life, when he had vowed to  himself that he would make Jesus his Lord and Savior when he was older, only to continue putting it off until now, when his life was used up, and it was too late. The truth is that even if he had lived another seventy-eight years, he’d never really had any intentions of making peace with God, and now there was hell to pay, as the flames unceasingly tormented him. 

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Imagine the Angels…

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a Baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

    “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:9-14 NLT)

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/motions/16159/Angel-And-Shepherds-Loop
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/motions/16159/Angel-And-Shepherds-Loop

Do you ever think about how the angels must have felt on that first Christmas evening, so long ago? I do. Think about it with me and dream about what it must have been like to be an angel on that wonderful evening so many years ago…

Imagine living in heaven with Elohim, Almighty God, Maker of the heavens and the earth, God the Father, in all of the splendor of heaven. Every day of your life, since the time you were created, long before the earth and all that is in it was created, you stand in the presence of Almighty God. You not only call heaven your home, you have the honor and the privilege of standing in the presence of God. Can you see it?

Just imagine, You have seen and bear witness to Holy Spirit, as He hovered over the deep. You were there, as His breath was breathed into mankind, a curious being, created in the very image of God. You have beheld His glory, when He would fall upon the prophets of old, equipping them with power to speak the Word of the Lord in the midst of trials, tribulation and circumstances of great joy. You were there to observe Holy Spirit as He descended from heaven like a dove and lit upon Jesus. Do you see the image in your mind?

http://kidsworldag.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-characters-shepherds.html
http://kidsworldag.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-characters-shepherds.html

As Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, King of glory, was with His Father, while Holy Spirit hovered over the deep, you were there to see Him, the Word of the Lord, there in the beginning, going forth and creating. You watch as He even now, holds all of creation together.

Since the instant you were created, who knows how long ago, you have witnessed Almighty God, in all of His glory and magnificence. You are blessed to hear His voice as it thunders across the sky. You are honored to hear as He speaks in His still, small voice. You were present at the rebellious outrage of Lucifer and 1/3 of your fellow angels. You saw with your own eyes, how the Almighty God cast them out of heaven and threw them to the earth below, causing mass destruction.

You watched in consternation as God has allowed Satan to prowl about the earth, like a roaring lion, seeking to destroy all of mankind and the earth as well. You watched in alarm, as Adam and Eve sinned against the Almighty, and you witnessed the Lord’s response to them. Were you surprised that He showed such mercy to them?

And, when the Lord chose Gabriel from among you, to deliver two separate messages, to two different people about the appearance of the Son of God, were you bewildered, or were you not informed of this mission until later? When Holy Spirit came upon Mary, overshadowing her in His presence, did you watch in wonder, as this meager peasant girl was granted an honor that no one else in all of eternity would ever experience before or again?

When Jesus stripped Himself of His heavenly garments, and clothed Himself in the frail flesh of humanity, were you confused? As you watched Him lay aside all of His heavenly privileges as the Holy One, the Son of God, and allow Himself to be carried in the womb of that peasant girl, were you curious to know what was going on? As you watched the girl’s perilous journey to Bethlehem with her betrothed, did you stand ready to leap to their defense for the sake of the One who was carried in her womb?

http://www.radical.net/blog/category/christmasadvent/
http://www.radical.net/blog/category/christmasadvent/

As the King of kings made His entrance into the world on that first Christmas, borne into the squalor of a filthy stable, were you amazed? And when the Lord commanded you to go forth and deliver the good news to the lowly shepherds who were in the field that night, were you perhaps just as awe-struck as they were? Did your heart pound with joy and wonder as you too, beheld the newborn King who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid to rest in a manger of straw?

Do you try to puzzle in your mind what the Lord’s plan is as you see the Ancient of Days, crying helplessly, as the girl gently lifts Him, kissing His holy face before nuzzling Him against her breast, feeding and sustaining the very One who gave her life and sustains her? Is it possible that you have not been informed about what God’s majestic plan is? Could it be that you don’t yet know of the suffering in store for this infant King?

Do you understand that this, not the presents, the commercialism, Santa Claus and all the other hype, is what Christmas is about? As people bustle about giving glory to themselves, their families, the merchants and the things that they receive on Christmas, do you give glory to the One whose birth is to be celebrated on this day?

While still others try to deify the angels who were merely witnesses to this miraculous event, rather than the Holy One who gave His One and Only Son as the perfect Christmas gift, do you honor Him? Are you aware that this glorious gift of salvation from God is so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. (1 Peter 1:12 NLT)

This Christmas, let’s give glory to God with the angels, as we rejoice in the gift of Jesus Christ, Messiah, Son of the Living God, the Word of God, the Light of the World, King of kings and Lord of lords, Lamb of God, Lord and Savior!

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – The Highway to Hell

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

http://www.behance.net/gallery/ROAD-TO-HELL/312826
http://www.behance.net/gallery/ROAD-TO-HELL/312826

I wanted to finish this word from the Lord today. The other day, we talked about the narrow gate to God’s Kingdom, and it’s important for us to understand and beware of that other way, the broader, seemingly easier way, the highway to hell. I want to share this word with you, my beloved, because many people choose this way, and if the gateway to life is on the small, narrow road, then you can be sure that the highway to hell is the gateway to death and eternal damnation.

A lot of people don’t like to talk about hell today, because it’s unpleasant, and they’re right, it is unpleasant, and it is not God’s will for any to perish, because He truly loves us. The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise to return, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so He is giving more time for everyone to repent. (2 Peter 3:9 NLT)

Beloved, I want to share this word from the Lord with you, not because I want to “scare the hell out of you,” but because I love you. You see, for everyone out there in cyberspace, who is pro-choice, I want to share the truth with you that long before you were pro-choice, God was pro-choice. From the very beginning, He could have created a race of slaves, who were obedient to His every whim, but He didn’t, because He wanted something more than just mindless, obedient robots and slaves.

creating_adam
http://www.genesissecretsrevealed.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/creating_adam.jpg

God created man in His own image, and He breathed the breath of life into our nostrils, giving each one of us a spirit. Have any of you ever struggled with your image of yourself? Have you struggled with low self-esteem and low self-worth? Well, know this, beloved, you were created in the image of God, for His glory. The Lord says to you, “All who claim Me as their God will come, for I have made them for My glory. It was I who created them.” (Isaiah 43:7 NLT)

Dictionary.com defines glory this way:

  1. very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown: to win glory on the battlefield.
  2. something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride: a sonnet that is one of the glories of English poetry.
  3. adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving: Give glory to God.
  4. resplendent beauty or magnificence: the glory of autumn.
  5. a state of great splendor, magnificence, or prosperity.

Beloved, we were created to be a people of resplendent beauty or magnificence for God. But sadly, many of us choose to walk in filth and squalor, rather than reflecting the glory of God and being all that we were created to be. My friends, from the beginning, mankind was given a choice, to either love God and walk in His ways, so that we would be men and women in all the fullness of what we were created to be, or to hate God and become whatever we choose to become.

There were also consequences for turning away from God and what we were created to be, and He made those consequences clear to His children, over and over again, not out of hatefulness or vindictiveness, but out of love, much the same way a parent sets consequences before their children. Because I love my children, as they were growing up and maturing, I gave them more freedom, and with that freedom, came more choices. For example, would they choose to obey the driving laws and the curfew I set before them? Or would they choose to drive recklessly or stay out past their curfew? Because I loved them so much, I wanted them to choose to obey the laws and me for their own good, so I set before them the consequences of disobedience. I told them these consequences up front, not because I wanted to punish them (I was praying that they would obey the law and me), but because I wanted to protect them from harm.

My rules and the consequences many times chafed against them, because in their foolishness and in their youth, they couldn’t see the true dangers lurking in the world, which were far more harmful to them. I am blessed that often, my children were obedient, and therefore the punishments and consequences were unnecessary. But there were times, when they rebelled against me and the rules that I set before them, and I was forced to punish them. I can assure you, this brought no pleasure to me, just as it brings no pleasure to our heavenly Father, when He is forced to punish us because of our rebellion. Still, those punishments and consequences are necessary, to protect us from straying further away from the narrow road, and possibly condemning ourselves to an eternity separated from God.

Brothers and sisters, hell was created for the devil and his angels, and God never wanted man to go there. However, as I said earlier, God is pro-choice, and He gives each person the opportunity to choose Him and live, or to choose the devil and spend eternity in hell. Now some might say, “Look, just because I’m not a Christian doesn’t mean that I serve the devil,” but that’s not how God sees it.

Jesus said, Anyone who isn’t helping Me opposes Me, and anyone who isn’t working with Me is actually working against Me. (Matthew 12:30 NLT) Jesus also said, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on My own, but He sent Me. Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you are unable to do so! For you are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:42-44 NLT)

So you see my friends, the highway to hell is broad and wide, and many take that road, choosing to turn away from God. God doesn’t send anyone to hell. They choose to travel that road. If you give me directions to your house, but I choose to take a different road, which goes in the opposite direction of where you told me to go, would it be fair of me to say that you sent me to a place that I didn’t want to go to? Of course not, because I chose to go the wrong way.

http://dzinekart.com/vector-leading-road-to-heaven.html
http://dzinekart.com/vector-leading-road-to-heaven.html

So it is with everyone who travels the highway to hell. God has given us clear instructions for how to get to His Kingdom… Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NLT) The Lord tells us, For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 NLT) 

It seems so simple, and yet many will not find that narrow gate, because they refuse to look for it. Instead, they chase other ways, following after their own  hearts, and their own reasoning. Hear me today, my friends, there is only One Way to the Kingdom of God, and don’t be angry at me for saying this, because these are not my words, but God’s words.

Beloved, I pray that you will heed the warnings in this post. It hasn’t been an easy or fun post for me to write, but I truly care about you. We truly serve a God who is pro-choice and pro-life. It is His desire that none of us should perish. Therefore, it seems right for me to close with the words that Moses spoke to the Israelites thousands of years ago, and as he offered them this choice, so I too offer you this choice:

“This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?’ It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?’ The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between life and death. I have commanded you today to love the LORD your God and to keep His commands, laws, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and become a great nation, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live! Choose to love the LORD your God and to obey Him and commit yourself to Him, for He is your life. Then you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:11-20 NLT)