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GLMX #232: Beauty is Only Skin Deep

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

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Plastic surgery is big business around the world. In 2013, nearly 12 million nonsurgical procedures took place. The International Business Times reports an increase in young people seeking plastic surgery due to what has been called “selfie imperfections.”The article states, “In response to the current obsession with social media selfie photos, more people are resorting to plastic surgery to fix imperfections like prominent noses, unacceptable wrinkles or curves, or hands that don’t look perfect in Instagram wedding ring announcement photos.”

While millions of people obsess about their outward appearance, their real concern out to be about the part of them that they can’t see and that no one else can see. It’s not the outside that needs a re-make. It’s the inside — the soul — that needs the surgery. On the inside, people are messed up because of their own sins, failures, and faults that leave them feeling guilty, inadequate, and even unworthy of success or the finer things of life.

God does not want you to live under the pressure of constantly trying to fix your problems by fixing up your physical appearance. Changing how you look will not change your personality, make you a better person, or make you act nicer toward others. It’s the inside — the part of you that you can’t see — that needs to be fixed. And God is the only one who can fix a person on the inside. He can heal your soul. He already knows your sins and failures. He already knows your darkest secrets. In Jeremiah 16:17, God says, “Mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.” Ecclesiastes 12:14 also says, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” You can’t hide anything from God.

Not only does He know all about your faults and failures, but He has done something about them. Two thousand years ago, he sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and accept the punishment that you deserve for your sins, failures, and faults. Jesus Christ shed his own blood so you would not have to. And 1 John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Today, you can bring everything in your past that you have been trying to hide from others before the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will wash you, cleanse you, and make you a new person on the inside. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Would you like to be made a new person on the inside? Would you like to have your soul washed, cleansed, and made brand new through the blood of Jesus Christ? Would you like for Jesus Christ to do surgery on your soul, to fix what you can’t see? If so, there are a few steps you must take. Continue Reading…

GLMX #231: No Laughing Matter: Satire, Terror, and the Seriousness of Eternity

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This past week, the world watched as scenes of terror unfolded in the City of Light — Paris, France. Two Islamic extremists walked into the offices of a weekly satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and opened fire killing five of the magazine’s cartoonists, an economist, two police officers, and four others. Eleven people were also wounded, some of them critically.

The men who carried out the attacks claimed they were avenging the Prophet Muhammad over some cartoons of him which the newspaper had printed in 2012. While some might question the wisdom of printing such material which is known to be offensive to Muslims, many have rallied behind the magazine in support of free speech and the freedom of the press. After all, one of the biggest factors behind the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo is that it is satire — humorous commentary meant to generate laughs while also pointing out (and poking fun at) the vices, folly, shortcomings, or abuses of others. Surely, something so harmless could not possibly become the target of a violent terror attack.

But, on January 7, 2015, it did.

And, during that attack, each of those who died or who faced death also faced the seriousness of eternity. Even the most lighthearted person would quickly sober as he thinks of death and what lies beyond.

Some in our world today like to joke about death and eternity. At funerals, people often tell jokes or funny stories about the person who died in an effort to ease the grief of those who are left behind. Some say that they wouldn’t mind going to Hell because all their friends are there or because they think Hell will be one big party. Others often make jokes about what Peter will say or do when they meet him at the pearly white gates of Heaven.

But, in all actuality, death and eternity are no laughing matter. The twelve people who died in the Charlie Hebdo terror attack are either in Heaven or Hell right now. On top of that, their families, friends, and loved ones are left behind grieving over their loss and the tragic way in which their lives were stolen from them. Death and eternity are serious business.

One day, you, too, will face the seriousness of eternity. Hopefully, it will not be in such a horrible way as was experienced by those who were killed this week. Nonetheless, such a moment will come, and the only thing that will matter at that moment is whether or not you are ready to leave this temporary life and go out into eternity.

Once we die, we will not return to this life. We will go out into eternity where we will face God and be ushered into one of two eternal destinations — Heaven or Hell. The Bible says that some “shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” The destination where you end up is based on a decision you make in this life. Since this is the only life you get, I encourage you to choose wisely. Continue Reading…

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…

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