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GLMX #230: An Inside Job

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Many people see the New Year as a time to turn over a new leaf, to turn their backs on bad habits and old ways that do not benefit them, and to make changes in their lives that will make their future better and brighter than their past. Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Every man should be born again on the first day of January.”

At this time of the year, many people make New Year’s resolutions that focus on changing some aspect of their outward status — their appearance, their health, their success, their career, or their education. However, the most important change you can make at the beginning of the New Year is not an outward change at all. It is an inward change — a change of your heart, your soul, your spirit, and your mind. The Bible calls it being “born again.”

In John chapter 3, Jesus Christ explains to a man named Nicodemus that “ye must be born again.” The new birth that Jesus Christ is talking about is not a physical rebirth — one that changes how we look on the outside, but a spiritual birth. It is an inside job — one that changes how we really are on the inside.

Why is there a need for us to change on the inside? Well, the Bible tells us that we are all sinners who have done things that do not please God. Just in the past year, you did and said things that God was not pleased with. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 also says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

We are born with a sin nature and are prone to doing wrong. This sin nature is not something that can be fixed by outward means. It cannot be fixed by ‘turning over a new leaf’, making a resolution, or joining a support group to help us change. It can only be fixed by a new birth — a spiritual birth that is only possible through the work that Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. If you have not had this spiritual birth, the new year is a great time to make this most important change in your life. By being “born again” through Jesus Christ, you will be given a new heart, mind, soul, and spirit. You will be free from the bondage of sin and evil; you will be a child of God; and you will have a home in Heaven. I think that is a great way to start off the New Year. Continue Reading…

GLMX #229: A Gift You Will Never Want to Return

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This past week, the world celebrated the Christmas holiday. As part of the festivities, millions of people gave and received Christmas gifts. As has become customary, many of those who received gifts showed up at a store on the day after Christmas to return their gift in exchange for something else that they really wanted.

Those who liked the gifts they received will still have to deal with maintaining those gifts in order to keep them in good condition. However, eventually, a shiny new gift will one day become worn out and not so shiny or new.

What if I told you that there is a gift that you can receive that you would never consider wanting to return? What if I told you that there is a gift that you can receive that would not just make you excited and happy for a few moments, but would give you permanent peace and joy as you go through this life? What if I told you that there is a gift that you can receive that will be of more benefit and blessing to your life as you enter the New Year than anything you could possibly imagine? What if I told you that this is a gift that will never grow old, that will never decay, and that will never fall into disrepair or disuse? And, perhaps best of all, what if I told you that this gift is absolutely free and that it is being offered to you right now?

It might sound too good to be true, but everything I just told you is, in fact, a reality. Each of those things can be found in “the gift of God which is eternal life in Jesus Christ.” Having eternal life means that you are reborn spiritually so that you can fellowship and communicate with God, your Creator. It also means that when you die, you do not have to go to an awful place of punishment, but that you will go to a wonderful paradise called Heaven to be with God forever. This gift is truly the greatest gift in all the world. And Jesus Christ is offering it to you right now.

Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Allow me to share with you three wonderful things about this gift. Continue Reading…

GLMX #228: “Hands Up, I Surrender All”

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You’ve heard the chant of protesters across America — “hands up, don’t shoot!” For them, that phrase is a statement of dissatisfaction with what they perceive as injustice. But, people put their hands in the air for numerous reasons. People raise their hands in a celebratory gesture at football games or concerts. Some raise their hands in the air as an act of worship or praise in church. This past week, we saw civilians who had been held hostage by a gunman in a cafe in Sydney, Australia, raise their hands in the air as they escaped to indicate to police officers that they were not a threat.

Perhaps you have thrown your hands in the air in frustration. Jewish rabbis raise their hands when giving the benediction. “Jazz hands” are often used while dancing. Some people raise their hands with palms facing inward when they are trying to express that they don’t understand something. In France, you can raise your arm and rotate your hand back and forth to let someone know that you are unhappy with their driving. In Germany, people often clasp their hands together and raise them above their heads to express gratitude. In Russia and former Soviet countries, it is customary to raise your hand in a fist above your head and shake it to express anger. And, of course, we all know that you can raise your hand and wave it in order to say “hello” or “goodbye.”

It’s clear that what we do with our hands can express many messages. But, perhaps, the most important thing we can express by raising our hands is surrender — not only surrender to police and other human authorities, but to God. The writers of the Bible tell us that they raised their hands to demonstrate that they were surrendering to God’s will, that they were leaning on Him, and that they were trusting in Him. Continue Reading…

GLMX #227: How to Be Saved from Yourself

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Have you ever heard someone say that they are their own worst enemy? When we use that phrase, we are simply saying that we often make choices and do things that we know are bad for us, yet, somehow, we seem unable to stop ourselves from repeating those detrimental habits. The fact of the matter is each of us can be our own worst enemy.

Take, for example, the man who knows he is wasting money, but for some reason can’t stop gambling. Or, the person who knows that smoking is ruining their lungs, but seems to be unable to stop. Or, the young lady who seems to attract abusive, no-good men in her love life all the time. Or the person who can’t resist eating certain foods that they know will eventually cause health problems for them down the road.

If you are honest, you, too, will admit that there is some area in your life that you struggle with gaining control over no matter how good your intentions are. Sometimes, it seems like we need to be saved from ourselves.

Our condition is like a man who has fallen into a deep, narrow pit. No matter what he does, he cannot climb out. He is unable to save himself. He cannot be saved unless someone comes along a pulls him out. Continue Reading…

GLMX #226: You Have the Right to Remain Silent

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Much of the recent news coverage in our nation has been focused on the police, how they carry out their duty, and how they interact with citizens. One of the things they will do if they have to arrest you is they will read you your Miranda Rights. Perhaps the most famous line in this recitation is, “You have the right to remain silent.”

The rest of the statement reads: “Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?”

Most people exercise their right to remain silent and have an attorney represent them in the court room. Why? Because an attorney is someone who is knowledgeable about the law. An attorney knows how to navigate the legal system. An attorney is someone who can interact with the judge and the prosecutor. In short, an attorney is someone who can do something that we simply do not have the training or time to carry out. All we have to do is just remain silent and let our attorney work on our behalf. Continue Reading…

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