A recent Langstaff Letter ‘Are there Dogs in Heaven?’ brought many a reply. Most of them affirmed the belief that dogs (and even cats) would be in heaven. Let me give you some of the responses –
“Thought provoking Brother Alan! I always thought about the Lion laying down with the lamb as the evidence. Walter Martin took an opposite position, citing Ecclesiastes 3:20-21 (NKJV) ‘All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?'” (Pennsylvania)
“Amen! Please read the last verse of Jonah and see the value God places on animals.” (Minnetonka, MN)
“This has to be one of my favorite articles you have written!
Based on Romans 8:22 I have long been convinced I will again see the pets I have loved in this life! It is reassuring to hear that you, someone I highly respect, does too. The new thought to me was the innocence of the animals, even though they, too, experience the consequences of the Fall!” (St Paul, MN)
“Very interesting Pastor Alan. I had not thought much about this, but my daughter asked me this question yesterday.” (Missionary in Brazil)
“I believe animals are in heaven, and the restoration scriptures were part of that; but here’s another to add to the list of proof: Gen 9:5 “For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning; of every beast I will require it and of man: of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.” Interesting God places a reckoning of lifeblood from both man and beast.” (Minneapolis, MN)
“I love the letter and Wesley’s comments. I am sure our six year old chocolate lab would be in agreement.” (Australia)
Since we are thinkings about dogs, I thought I might include an abbreviated version of an article “Live Like a Dog” that was in an earlier edition of the Langstaff Letter.
When Dorothy and I married over 50 years ago, I not only acquired a beautiful bride, but also her dog – a blue cattle dog called Scotty. Overall, we got on pretty well (the dog and I that is) even through I was heeled twice (bitten on the back of the ankle just as a cattle dog would herd cattle). Across the years, we have had many dogs, including a collie, two poodles and more recently bichons. Currently, we have a white bichon called Benji. Through fifty years of experience, I have learned some things from dogs.
DOGS LIVE FOR TODAY
Benji our Bichon lives for today. He has no concept about tomorrow. Today is all that matters. He lives in the now.
There is a biblical basis for living one day at a time (bearing in mind that planning and preparing for the future can be part of today). Just think of a few scriptures.
“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24) Or consider the words of Jesus when he says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.” (Matthew 6:34)
Maybe we need to learn to live like a dog in a scriptural way so as to live in the “now,” one day at a time. By the grace of God, enjoy each day and make each day count for God.
DOGS APPRECIATE LITTLE BLESSINGS
Benji can be so excited just to get a treat or when I slip him something from the table when we are having a meal (and Dorothy is not watching). It seems that is the way it has always been. In Matthew 15, we have the story of the women who came to Jesus crying out to him on behalf of her demon possessed daughter. She came and worshiped Him saying, “Lord, help me!” For whatever reason, Jesus answered, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to little dogs.” But she was not going to be put off and replied, “Yes Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from the master’s table.” To which Jesus replied, “O women, great is your faith. Let it be to you as you desire.” Her daughter was healed.
Crumbs. Just crumbs. But they can make a little dog happy. What about us and the little things of life? Are we able to appreciate the little blessings in life? A beautiful sunset . . . The fall colors . . . The kindness of a friend . . . Our daily bread. Let us not forget to count our blessings, even the little ones.
DOGS ARE FOCUSED
The Luthers (Martin, Katharia and six children) had a lot of animals. In 1542, for example, they had eight pigs, five cows, nine calves, hens, doves, geese and the “absolute darling” of the Luther family a dog called Tolpel.
“When Luther’s puppy happened to be at the table, he looked for a morsel from his master, and watched with his mouth open and motionless eyes; Luther said, “Oh, if I could only pray the way this dog watches the meat! All his thoughts are concentrated on the piece of meat. Otherwise, he has no thought, wish, or hope.”
Our dog Benji is like that. When he gets his mind on something, he focuses on that thing and nothing else. If it is time for supper, he not only sets his sight on that but he lets Dorothy know about it, too. When it is time for me to take him for a walk, he follows me around the house looking at me as if to say, “It’s time for my walk, so you better get with it.” He has an expectancy that what he wants will happen.
Christian’s need to be focused too. One of my favorite scriptures is Hebrews 12:2, which declares, “Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.” Paul knew how important it was to be focused when he wrote in Philippians 3:12, “I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” And then in verse 14, “I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul was focused and so should we, by living our lives intentionally.
Note: We always enjoy receiving responses to our Langstaff Letters – even from cat lovers 🙂
Speaking of cats, it recalls a day in the office when David Plaisted and I were talking. He didn’t seem to like cats much, and said what good thing was there about them. What came to my mind was the reply, “Well, they killed the rats to stop the plague.” Honestly, cats are beautiful animals with a lot of cattitude; but like the larger cats, just being cats as the Lord made them. It’s been said Dogs think they are human, Cats think they are God. But the Lion does represent royalty. It’s like being able to caress the tiger. They have their own kind of loyalty and irresistible mystery. If I had my way I would have a zoo of pets. I just love animals. I have a small fish tank with betta, 2 catfish and 3 different snails. My son says mom one of these days you’ll return a shark, saying your tank isn’t big enough.
Let’s not forget horses. They’re the most beautiful, elegant animals God has created. As the movie Man From Snowy River portrays, they are indeed poetry in motion. In Revelation, Jesus rides a white horse.