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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…

GLMX #198: Things Money Can’t Buy

Things Money Can't Buy

Things Money Can't Buy

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Last month, the world was unfortunately introduced to a 22-year-old man named Elliot Rodger. His father is a Hollywood movie director, and he was raised in a $1 million home. He drove a Mercedes-Benz and a BMW. He bought $300 sunglasses, was chauffeured in limousines, attended private concerts, and flew first class. He had everything money could buy. But on Friday, May 23rd, he killed six people because, according to a YouTube video he left behind, he was frustrated and angry because women showed no interest in him.

With money and privileges that most people could only dream of, you would think that Elliot Rodger would be one of the happiest people on earth. But he wasn’t. By his own admittance, he was angry and bitter at the world. While psychologists and psychiatrists debate his mental state and try to come up with a plausible reason why this man would kill his own roommates and then kill three others, one thing we know for sure is that no matter how much money he had, he was not happy, content, or satisfied with his life.

Sadly, today, many people focus on pursuing things that money can buy. And what is even more sad is that people actually look for fulfillment and meaning in these things. They look for happiness in cars, houses, success, sex, money, and more money. They quickly find out, though, that life is about far more than success and gaining material things. They realize that what they are really searching for is happiness, joy, love, internal peace and assurance for the future — all things that money can’t buy.

These things last forever and keep our hearts at rest during times of turmoil and conflict. Money cannot buy such things. Only a person can give them to us. And that person is Jesus Christ. Continue Reading…

GLMX #197: Maya Angelou said, “I Believe Jesus Christ Was the Most Courageous of Persons Because He Dared to Love”

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

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This past week, world-renowned poet, award-winning author, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, died at the age of 86. Over a span of five decades, she wrote seven autobiographies, three essay books, and many other books of poetry, including plays and movies. She is perhaps best known for her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which was the first non-fiction best-seller by an African-American woman. Her poem “On the Pulse of Morning”, which she recited at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993, was also published, and sold over 1 million copies. Maya Angelou received numerous awards including three Grammys, a Pulitzer Prize nomination, the National Medal of Arts, the Lincoln Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

She was an active member of the Civil Rights Movement, and she worked with both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. In 1960, she was named the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Dr. King was assassinated on her fortieth birthday. Despite never attending college, Angelou received over 50 honorary degrees and was the Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.

Mrs. Angelou lived during some of the most tumultuous days America has ever seen. The odds were firmly stacked against her success both as an African-American and as a woman. But, she faced her challenges courageously and lived a full life that was a blessing to her nation and to the world. Maya Angelou said, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” She also said, “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”

How did Maya Angelou gain the courage to live her life in a way that mattered to so many people? Here is what she said in an interview with The Times-Picayune:

It’s a wonderful thing to know that there is something greater than I am, and that is God…

When I found that I knew not only that there was God but that I was a child of God, when I understood that, when I comprehended that, more than that, when I internalized that, ingested that, I became courageous.

I dared to do anything that was a good thing.

When I was asked to do something good, I often say yes, I’ll try, yes, I’ll do my best. And part of that is believing, if God loves me, if God made everything from leaves to seals and oak trees, then what is it I can’t do?

Maya Angelou also said, “I believe Jesus Christ was the most courageous of persons because He dared to love.”

Maya Angelou’s belief in God and her knowledge that she was a child of God gave her the courage and confidence to accomplish great things with her life. The Bible tells us that God gives all of His children strength and courage to do great things with their lives. Psalm 56:4 says, “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” 1 Chronicles 28:20 says, “Be strong and of good courage… fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee…” And Isaiah 41:10 says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Would you like to have the same courage to step out by faith and accomplish something significant with your life as Maya Angelou did? This faith and courage starts with you becoming a child of God. You can become a child of God by believing on the Son of God, Jesus Christ, for salvation. 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 Bible also says in John 1:12 that “as many as received [Jesus Christ], to them [God] gave the power to become the sons (or children) of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

This verse shows us two steps to becoming a child of God: First, to receive Jesus Christ; and, second, to believe on Jesus Christ.

Receiving Jesus Christ implies that He has offered Himself for us and offered something to us. When He came to this earth in the form of a man 2,000 years ago, He offered His life as a sacrifice that would satisfy God’s wrath for our sins. When Jesus died on the cross, He took the sins of the whole world on Himself and suffered our punishment from God for those sins in order that He might offer us God’s forgiveness for our sins, salvation from our sins and the punishment of sin, and eternal life with God in Heaven. Second Corinthians 5:21 says that Jesus was made “to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed Himself on the cross for us because He loved us and did not want us to have to suffer eternal separation from God because of our sins. Maya Angelou said, “I believe Jesus Christ was the most courageous of persons because He dared to love.” We are the beneficiaries of Jesus’ love for us.

The second condition to becoming a child of God is to believe on Jesus Christ. To believe on Jesus Christ is to place your faith and trust in Him for salvation. It is abandoning yourself to the reality that only Jesus Christ can save you from your sins and the punishment of sin. And it is acting on the realization that the only way you can become a child of God is through putting your faith and trust in Him.

Are you ready to receive the free gift of salvation and believe on Jesus Christ so that you can become a child of God today? If so, you can take action right now. 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.”

Pray this short prayer with me, and mean it from your heart, to seal your decision with God today:

Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I want to trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. 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 from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God and 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 new found faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

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

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Be Strong and Courageous,” by Michael W. Smith