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GLMX #138: The Ultimate Thrill Ride

 

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They are the most-attended sporting events in the United States. Tens of thousands of excited, passionate fans gather in the stands and the infield to watch race cars zoom around a racetrack at over 180 miles per hour mere feet, and sometimes mere inches, from one another. The high-energy, heart-racing event is watched by millions more on television. Almost nothing else on earth can compare to the breathtaking spectacle. Yes, a NASCAR race is the ultimate thrill ride.

But with such a thrill ride, comes the threat of danger. One month ago, a terrible crash at a race the day before the Daytona 500 underscored the risk that fans and drivers take when they go out to the racetrack. One of the women who suffered broken bones from the crash described it as a “scene from a horror movie.” Not only have drivers and fans been injured at these events, but the specter of death is always present as well. The careers of some of NASCAR’s most promising drivers — such as Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin Jr., and perhaps the sport’s most notable figure, Dale Earnhardt — have been cut short by deadly crashes on the race track.

The danger of a thrilling NASCAR race also tells us something about life. Many people go through life searching for thrills in many different ways: a whirlwind romance, getting high on drugs, the perfect marriage, an expensive vacation, promiscuous sexual activity, or a concert or sporting event that they eagerly look forward to.

All of these things may sound and be exciting, but they each come with their own risks and, on top of that, they don’t last forever. Whirlwind romances often end just as fast as they began. Drug highs never last, frequently turn into addictions, and often damage a person’s body beyond repair. All marriages have their share of troubles and difficulties, and many seemingly “perfect” marriages end in divorce. As much as we may like them to, vacations don’t last forever, and one always has to return to an often mundane everyday life. Illicit sexual activity leads to broken hearts, broken relationships, and sometimes sexually transmitted diseases. And a concert or sporting event, no matter how exciting while it is going on, always comes to an end.

After going through such experiences, we are often left wondering if there is anything in life that can permanently satisfy and fulfill our heart’s desires and our deepest longings. I’m here to tell you that there is. But such satisfaction and fulfillment is not found in events or in things. It is found in a person whose name is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ said, “I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

+ Plus, listen to Tobymac singing “Made to Love”

GLMX #137: How to Get Right With God

 

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Have you ever wronged someone and failed to go back and make the situation right with them? Perhaps it was a family member, a co-worker, a friend, or a spouse who you offended. Such a situation often leads to resentment, non-communication, and even hatred. You and the other person may find it hard to speak to each other or to work together. If you don’t go back and make it right, it may seem as though a brick wall has risen up between the two of you.

Did you know that such a wall exists between you and the most important, most powerful being in the universe. Yes, from the time we are born, a wall is standing between us and God.

+ Plus, listen to Tobymac singing “Me Without You”

GLMX #136: The Last Words of Hugo Chavez: “I Don’t Want to Die. Please Don’t Let Me Die”

 

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Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez

This past week, Hugo Chavez, who served as president of Venezuela for fourteen years, died. In June 2011, it was revealed that he had gone to Cuba for surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. Even though he declared himself fully recovered in July 2012, just four months later, he was back in Cuba for more surgery. His condition worsened as the cancer began to affect his lungs, and after two months of treatment in Cuba, he returned to a military hospital in Venezuela where he remained hospitalized and was “fighting for his life.” He developed a “severe respiratory infection”, and on March 5, 2013, the government announced that he had died from a massive heart attack. His last words were: “I don’t want to die. Please don’t let me die.”

Hugo Chavez’s dying words reflect the desire that all of us have to live forever. Death is a painful, unnatural experience. Painful for the people who are left behind to grieve, and unnatural because in God’s original plan, death was never meant to be. However, even though we all have to die physically, the Bible tells us that we can live forever through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.

Jesus Christ said in John 5:24: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” The Bible also says in John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

These verses tell us that the way to have eternal life is through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour. The life that Jesus Christ provides is permanent — it lasts forever. Because we live in this sinful world, and because the “wages of sin is death,” we will still have to die physically. But instead of fearing what lies on the other side of the door of death, we can be confident and die in peace knowing that Jesus Christ is on the other side of that door and is waiting with open arms to receive us into Heaven.

The great evangelist D.L. Moody said that when he died, he would actually be more alive than ever before. And, as he lay on his deathbed, he exclaimed, “Earth recedes and Heaven opens before me!” If you know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, death will only be a transition from Earth to Heaven. Even though you will pass from this earth physically, you will be entering upon a new, eternal, existence in Heaven.

Wouldn’t you like to have this wonderful assurance about death? Wouldn’t you like to know that you are going to a better place when you die? You can know this today if you accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and here is how you can do that right now:

+ Plus, listen to Bethel Live singing “Forever and a Day”

GLMX #135: Getting to Know the One Who Never Resigns

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The empty papal throne

The empty papal throne

This past week, the world witnessed the resignation of Pope Benedict the 16th. To the surprise and disappointment of many people around the world, the now Pope Emeritus decided that he was no longer strong enough to be the leader of the over 1.2 billion strong Catholic Church. He became the first Pope in over 600 years to resign while serving in the papal office.

As the world watched the pomp and ceremony of the resignation of Pope Benedict the 16th, many were left wondering who the next leader of the Church would be and whether or not he would be able to handle the numerous scandals that surround it. Perhaps the Pope was not able to handle so many negative situations that have engulfed the church, and thus saw the reason to step down.

As the Cardinals convene to elect a new leader who is expected to take the church in a new direction soon, we must understand that nothing in this world lasts forever. People do not stay in the same position forever. Situations do not stay the same forever. But there is One Who never steps down. He sits on the throne of Heaven and is the ruler of the billions of people that live on the earth. He will never step down or resign from His position as King of kings and Lord of lords. He never gets tired of forgiving people, helping people, and saving people. He stands at the door of every person’s heart and is waiting to be allowed in. His name is Jesus Christ and He can be your leader right now and forever.

GLMX #134: So Jay-Z, You Want to be “Forever Young” and Live Forever and Ever? Here’s How.

 

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Jay-Z

Jay-Z

Rapper and hip-hop artist Jay-Z sings a song titled “Forever Young”. In this song he talks about his desire to be forever young. Then he asks the question, do you really want to live forever and ever? His song, even though it may not be talking about living forever in Heaven, according to the Bible necessarily, (and yes, the original cut has some unsavory language), but Jay-Z’s song touches on a longing that is in the soul of every man. Listen to a few of the lyrics that I can share with you:

Forever young,
I wanna be forever young
Do you really want to live forever?
Forever and ever

Forever young
I wanna be forever young
Do you really want to live forever?
Forever and ever

Jay-Z’s lyrics testify also to our culture’s obsession with youth. Television ads about anti-aging creams and techniques populate the airwaves. People fret over dieting and health issues all in an effort to look and feel younger. This past week, a new project was launched to study how humans can extend their life span. The project is being funded with millions of dollars from the founders of big companies such as Google and Facebook. Make no mistake about it, people have a longing and desire to live forever.

This obsession with youth is a reflection of our desire for immortality, permanence, and living forever. This is a desire that humans have experienced since the beginning of time. You might recall learning about the fabled Fountain of Youth, the waters of which were said to restore the youth of anyone who drank from them. This fountain was spoken of and sought for from the fourth century BC in Ancient Greece to the 16th century in what is today Florida.

The Holy Bible tells us about a place where people’s bodies will no longer age and decay, where people will never get sick or diseased, where no one will ever die — in other words, where everyone will be forever young. The best thing about this place, however, is that everyone who goes there will be in the presence of the loving Creator who is the source of all life, energy, and vitality. This place is called Heaven or Paradise, and right now, I want to share with you how you can get there so you can indeed be forever young.

+ Plus, listen to Newsboys singing “I Am Free”