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September 16, 2007
Last Sunday, as most of you know, Julie, Eric and I had the opportunity to go on the “Hell’s Gate Jet Boat Excursion”, compliments of Weed Building Supply, Inc. It was a fantastic time. (slides) They told us that the name “Hells Gate” got it’s name because as the early settlers paddled down the Rogue River just outside of Grant’s Pass, Oregon, and came to that place in the canyon where the solid rock walls tower a hundred feet up on either side and the water roars through with a tremendous roar and all the water of the river is forced to go through that narrow gorge, it was as close to Hell’s Gates as they could imagine. Many people lost their life on that river. If “Hell’s Gate” didn’t get them – just on the other side is “Done Rapids” which got its name because if you go through them – you are “Done For”!
We didn’t go through the rapids but we did go through “Hell’s Gates” and back. But we weren’t in a canoe or raft. We were in a jet boat – and we flew right over the rapids and shallow water – safe from danger and harm.
The journey was wonderful, too. We saw osprey, grey heron, deer, and turkey. I took a picture of one of the osprey nests we saw along the way. But the fun was in the journey. They fed us until we almost burst. Slipping and sliding around the river like playful otters was a blast and everyone got soaked.
It was a wonderful experience that Julie and I got to share together – with Eric and 50 other people. But I learned a few things, too. God speaks to us in many ways and I want to share a few thoughts about out excursion.
First of all, there ARE gates of hell – but they aren’t on the Rogue River. The bible says,
“Though you already know this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered His people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home – these He has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immortality and perversion. They serve as examples of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”
Jesus said that hell was a place that God originally prepared, not for man, but for the devil and the fallen angels. It is a place of separation from God and all that is good. It is eternal and it is painful. And it is for those, like the devil and the demons, who willfully choose to separate themselves from God. That choice is expressed in rebellion. That choice is expressed in sin.
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
I Corinthians 6:9-11
There is an eternal hell for the wicked – the sexually immoral; adulterers, prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, and so one. And believe it or not, I think hell is an expression of God’s love. God will not violate anyone’s free will – and if you
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