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GLMX #203: Are You On ‘The Last Ship’?

The Last Ship

The Last Ship

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The recently-premiered television drama, The Last Ship, based on a novel of the same name by William Brinkley, tells the story of the fictional U.S. Navy ship, the Nathan James. While the Nathan James is at sea, a global pandemic kills or sickens over 50% of the world’s population. The crew of the Nathan James, which has been unaffected by this virus, is tasked with finding a cure in order to save the human race. As the ship continues its voyage, it encounters entire swaths of land that have been laid waste because of the decaying and dying human population. The ship’s crew, unable to land on familiar shores for fear of becoming infected with the deadly virus themselves also search for a place that has not been tainted by the virus where they can start life over again.

As I thought about this story, I was reminded of an old spiritual that was sung by slaves and former slaves in America and was sung during camp meetings led by traveling preachers. The story embedded in this song titled, “The Old Ship of Zion,” tells of how this ship carries people safely across the unknown and troubled waters of this world and lands them at Zion — the promised land, or Paradise. Allow me to share with you some of the words of this song: Continue Reading…

GLMX #202: Take Me to the King

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One of the most popular Christian songs of our day is “Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann.

Notice some things with me about this song and especially about the King whom Mrs. Mann sings about. The King is someone you can go to when you are weak and tired. The King is someone whom you can go to when you have no place else to go. The King is someone you can go to when you feel like your prayers are not being answered. The King is someone you can go to when you have been hurt and abused.

Who is this King? This King is none other than Jesus Christ who said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Yes, the King is someone who wants you to come to Him. He can give you strength. He can dry your tears. He can give you peace. He can give you hope. And, most importantly, He can give you salvation from the sins which have caused so much pain, heartache, and suffering in your life and in the lives of every person who has ever lived.

Unlike earthly kings, King Jesus is approachable. He wants you to come to Him just as you are. As Tamela Mann’s song says, you don’t have much to bring anyway. The Bible says in Luke 15:1, that when Jesus taught and preached 2,000 years ago in Palestine, ‘all the publicans and sinners drew near to hear Him.’ In fact, Jesus Christ said that He “is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

If you have not come to Jesus Christ and accepted His free gift of salvation, then you are lost in your sins and on the way to eternal punishment and separation from God. Jesus came so that you would not have to suffer that terrible fate. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Why don’t you come to the King today and accept what only He can do for you. Let Jesus Christ take over and let Him provide the fulfillment, happiness, joy, peace, love, and eternal assurance about your future that you can only dream of.

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Take Me to the King” by Tamela Mann

GLMX #201: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted

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The great writer, theologian, and apologist C.S. Lewis once said, “Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth thrown in: aim at Earth and you will get neither.”

Today, too many people are aiming at Earth and missing Heaven by a long shot. People work hard to obtain everything they’ve ever wanted. They push to get everything this world has to offer — cars, clothes, jewelry, appliances, or the newest electronic device. Many of these same people find their satisfaction in the things they own. They live for the thrill of getting some new item that they have long desired. Sadly, people cling to things and are consumed by the pursuit of things they think will make them happy, attractive, or fulfilled.

Today, our society is more materialistic than ever. People want, and work hard to get what they want. And, yet, they continue to feel unfulfilled and restless. They are consumed by the idea that there is something more out there for them — that what they have is not enough. Even though they may have everything they have ever wanted, they still don’t have it all.

This constant craving for material things is futile and foolish. The Bible says, ” Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” We get bored with things after a while. Stuff does not last. It decays and gets old. It can be taken away — stolen, destroyed by accident, or destroyed in a natural disaster.

The stuff that we gain on this earth will one day perish. The Bible says in Second Peter 3:10 that “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Because this physical world and all that is in it will perish one day, it is foolish to place our hearts where our earthly treasure is. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:19-20: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:”

What are these “treasures in Heaven”? These treasures are eternal rewards that you will gain by becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. You will gain peace with God, joy because of your salvation, and fulfillment and purpose through your service to Jesus Christ. You will also gain Heavenly rewards that far surpass the value of anything you can gain on this earth. You can truly have everything you have ever really wanted. First Corinthians 2:9 says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

MUSICAL SELECTION: David Crowder*Band: “How He Loves”

GLMX #200: “Repentance,” the Movie, and the Gospel

A shot from “Repentance”

A shot from “Repentance”

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Recently, I had the opportunity to watch the movie, “Repentance”, starring Forest Whitaker, Anthony Mackie, and Sanaa Lathan. This psychological thriller was originally titled “Vipaka”, which is a Buddhist term for karma — the idea that we reap what we sow and the need for repentance to make things right.

In the film, Thomas Carter (played by Anthony Mackie) is a life coach and a jack-leg psychologist who became popular from a bestselling book that he wrote after his experience in a car wreck five years before. A man, Angel Sanchez (played by Forest Whitaker), is deeply troubled by the “untimely,” strange death of his mother which, unbeknownst to us at the beginning of the film, Thomas and his brother, Ben (played by Mike Epps), have something to do with. Angel goes to Thomas for counseling to help him come to terms with the death of his mother.

Somehow, Angel becomes convinced that Thomas has something to do with the death of his mother.

One day, Thomas visits Angel’s home to tell him that he was going to leave for a while and that he needed to seek counseling from someone else. Angel reacts negatively, ties Thomas up, and kidnaps Thomas’ wife and his brother, Ben. Angel begins torturing Thomas to get him to confess the sins of his past, sometimes comically using Thomas’ own teachings from his book against him. Angel, of course, is waiting for Thomas to confess his involvement in his mother’s death. Thomas begins confessing every sin that he can think of until he gets to the one that apparently relieves Angel’s burden.

The lesson of this film reminds us of a Biblical truth — “be sure your sin will find you out.” Every wrong thing that we do, no matter how well we think we may have hidden it, will eventually be brought out into the open. Ecclesiastes 12:14 says, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Jesus Christ also said in Luke 12:2-3, “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

As the original title of the movie suggests, each of us will eventually have to face up to our sins and suffer the consequences for what we have done. Some of these consequences will be physical and temporal — for example, going to jail for a period of time for robbing someone, or paying a fine for speeding. Other consequences are spiritual and eternal. The Bible says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” If we die in our sins, we will also suffer eternal punishment in Hell unless we repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

We may not be able to avoid the physical and temporal consequences of our sins, however, we can avoid the eternal consequences of our sins. God does not want any of His creation to go to Hell and be separated from Him forever. (The Bible says that “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”) He made a way for us to escape that punishment. He wants us to repent and trust Jesus Christ as our Savior. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to Earth. Jesus lived a perfect life while He was on Earth and willingly went to the cross to die for all of our sins. On the cross, God poured out His wrath on His Son so that He would not have to pour it out on us.

On that cross, Jesus Christ died a death that we should have died and paid a debt that we should have paid but never could have paid. Because of His sacrifice, we do not have to suffer the eternal consequences of our sins in Hell which we deserve.

What DO we have to do?
Continue Reading…

GLMX #199: The Edge of Tomorrow and Eternity

The Edge of Tomorrow

The Edge of Tomorrow

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“The Edge of Tomorrow” is a new science fiction action film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. In the film, Earth is in the middle of a war with alien invaders. William Cage (played by Cruise) is a spokesman and officer in the U.S. military. However, when he refuses to obey an order, he is stripped of his rank. Cage, who has been sent to a squad with a bunch of misfits, is thrust into the dangerous conflict as earth’s military forces launch a D-Day style counterattack against the invading alien army.

Cage dies in the battle and the human army is defeated.

However, Cage awakens again and finds himself at the beginning of the day before the counterattack. Knowing what will happen the next day, Cage tries to warn everyone that the aliens have anticipated the counterattack and will crush the human army when it advances. However, the army is sent on the mission again, Cage is killed, and the humans are defeated. This “loop” happens several times with Cage repeatedly dying and waking up on the day before the counterattack. However, each time before he dies, Cage is able to learn valuable information about the tactics of the enemy. Each time he is sent into battle, he uses what he has learned to help the human army fare better against the aliens until they eventually come out victorious and Cage is instrumental in bringing down the enemy.

Wouldn’t it be great if life worked that way — if we constantly got the chance to relive our lives, learning from the mistakes of the past, and getting better with every successive existence?

Unfortunately, though, the adage is true — you only live once. And you only die once too. In fact, the Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” No, when it comes to life, we don’t get do-overs. We don’t perpetually exist on the edge of tomorrow, but on the edge of eternity. Continue Reading…