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GLMX #213: Is It Well With Your Soul?

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When someone asks you, “How are you doing?”, you might reply, ‘I am doing fine’, or, ‘I am doing well.’ But, how true is that statement? Are you truly doing well?

For many of us today, things may not be well physically or financially or in our relationships with others. We may be sick, tight on money, or going through painful relationship drama. Our souls are troubled because of such things.

Many years ago, a man from Chicago experienced a heart-breaking tragedy. He and his family had planned a vacation in England. However, when the time of departure came, the man was delayed because of some business matters, and he sent his wife and four daughters ahead of him on the ship. While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the ship that they were traveling on was struck by another ship. 226 people died in this accident, including the man’s four daughters. Only his wife was saved.

With his heart weighed down by grief, this man boarded a ship to sail to England to join his wife. While sailing, he crossed over the same spot where his daughters lost their lives. However, while on that journey, he wrote the words to the now-famous hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.” The man’s name is Horatio G. Spafford, and despite the terrible tragedy that he suffered, the song he wrote is devoid of any hatred, bitterness, or resentment. Instead, it is a buoyant hymn filled with hope, love, and a message of peace. Please listen as I share it with you now.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul!

How was this man, who suffered such pain, able to express these beautiful sentiments? It is almost as though he were not bothered by what had happened to him or concerned about what would happen to him. He was content and he was at peace. Mr. Spafford was able to be this way because, although everything was not well in his life, it was well with his soul. He accepted the fact that his life, and the lives of all those around him, were in the hands of God. And, he was not afraid of death because he knew that Jesus Christ would be with him to the end and would be there to meet him on the other side. Continue Reading…

GLMX #212: Joan Rivers and the Suddenness of Death

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers

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Although she was 81 years old, her mind (and her tongue) was still as sharp as ever. In fact, she had engagements booked throughout the rest of this year and into next year. According to the president of an arts center in Baltimore, who often hosted her, Mrs. Rivers was ready to go “non-stop.” Yet, her life came to a screeching halt when she went into cardiac arrest last week, and died Thursday, September 4th.

As a Christian evangelist, I sometimes feel guilty when someone like Joan Rivers dies. She was born in the same town I was born in — Brooklyn, NY, although many years before me. Although I never knew her personally, and even though I enjoyed her jokes from time to time, I never thought about witnessing to her. As funny as she was, and as much as we enjoyed her time on earth, I am afraid to say that, based on her religious beliefs, she is likely in Hell today.

However, the question that matters the most right now is not where she is, but where are you going? Because you can die suddenly too. In fact, you might be another Joan Rivers. You might be riding high in life, self-actualizing, and doing what you were made to do. However, your life can change in an instant, and your eyes will close on this world for the last time.

As much as we are influenced to believe that the human race is nearly invincible, the truth is we are really quite fragile. The Bible says, “What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” King David wrote in Psalm 39: “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.” The death of Joan Rivers reminds us that we need to be ready for what comes after death — a meeting with God and the beginning of life in an eternal destination.

Today, you have the opportunity to make sure that you will spend eternity in Heaven with God by accepting Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Please don’t put off this decision, for as we see from the life of Joan Rivers, we do not know what tomorrow holds. Continue Reading…

GLMX #211: In Christ Alone

In Christ alone

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One of the most beloved Christian hymns of our day is “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The words of this song express many beautiful truths about Jesus Christ and the relationship that people can enjoy with Him. Please listen as I read the words of this song to you. Continue Reading…

GLMX #210: The “Transcendence” Movie and Knowing God

“Transcendence”

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One of the most highly-anticipated films of 2014 was the science fiction movie, Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, and Paul Bettany. When the film was released, however, it received very poor reviews and barely recovered its investment at the box office. In the aftermath, analysts surmised that this was because many of those who went to see the film were expecting a typical action-oriented summer film, instead of a quieter story that ponders the deeper questions of life and what it means to be human.

In the film, Dr. Will Caster (played by Johnny Depp) is working to create a sentient computer — a machine which would amass unto itself all the knowledge ever gained by mankind. Not only would the sentient computer be smarter than all of humanity put together, but it would also be able to think, feel, and relate like a rational human being. Dr. Caster believes that such technology would create a “technological singularity” in which artificial intelligence would surpass human intelligence for the first time in history causing human civilization to be radically changed. He calls this possible achievement “transcendence.”

Despite Will’s insistence that such technology would allow humanity to solve many of its problems, some do not agree with him, and they believe such an advancement would endanger humanity. A radical anti-technology group known as RIFT shoots Will and attacks artificial intelligence labs across the country.

Will is only given a month to live. Seeing that his life is slipping away, in desperation, his wife and a fellow scientist upload his consciousness to the artificial intelligence system that he had been developing. Once he is connected to the internet, Will — in his virtual form — is able to quickly connect and gain access to all of the digitized knowledge stored in any computer system in the world — thereby becoming transcendent.

Will uses his vast intelligence to develop new technologies in the fields of medicine, energy, biology and nanotechnology. He is also able to connect to and control the minds of other people. The government and the anti-tech organization RIFT fear what Will can do in his transcendent state and set about to destroy him and thereby wipe out all of the technological advancement that the world has gained.

While scientists say that the artificial intelligence portrayed in this movie is still many years down the road, man’s thirst for knowledge (and power) is unquenchable. However, no matter how much knowledge man gains, he will never know all there is to know, simply because it is impossible to know how much there is that we don’t know. While a single sentient computer may be able to amass all of the knowledge known to mankind, there is only one Being who knows everything there is to know about the infinite universe. There is only one Being who is truly transcendent.

God.

The Bible tells us about how vast God’s knowledge, wisdom, and understanding is in these verses:

In Isaiah 55:8-9, He says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 40 says, “Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? …[God] sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers…To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.”

Job 11:7-9 says, “Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.”

Romans 1:33 says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

We can never hope to know all that God knows about the universe or even about our small part in the universe. But, the incredible thing about God is that He wants us to know Him and He wants to know us.

Acts 17:27 tells us that we were made to seek God and that He is not far from any one of us. First John 4:10 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us…”

However, sadly, we humans are separated from God because of our sins. Just as God is infinitely more knowledgeable that we are, He is also infinitely holier than we are. Because of our sins and imperfections, we cannot be in a perfect relationship with Him, and we are automatically destined for eternal punishment in a place called Hell.

God, however, did not want this rift between Him and us to last forever. He did not want us to have to suffer in Hell, so He did something about it. He provided a solution that would heal our broken relationship. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. 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.” The only way we can have a relationship with God the Father is through Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, in order that we would have a chance to begin a relationship with God. First Peter 3:18 says, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened (or made alive) by the Spirit.” After He died on the cross, Jesus rose from the dead demonstrating that He had removed the threat of death and Hell for those who choose to believe on Him.

If we want to begin a relationship with the only truly transcendent, all-knowing, and all-powerful Being in the universe — the Creator Himself, we must admit that we are sinners in need of forgiveness, and then trust Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and the consequences of our sins. Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

You can pray a short prayer to let God know that you have decided to trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour and that you want to begin a relationship with Him. Please repeat after me and mean it from your heart.

Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today and forever so that I can have your peace and assurance about my life today and my eternal future. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”.

Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Our God” by Chris Tomlin

GLMX #209: Robin Williams and “Divine Madness”

Robin Williams

Robin Williams

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The ancient philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, pondered this question: Why do so many creative people — those considered to be great artists and geniuses — seem to struggle with some form of mental instability or mental illness. The Greeks called it “divine madness,” and it was brought to the fore this week by the shocking suicide of actor and comedian Robin Williams. Continue Reading…