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GLMX #147: Scandal, Olivia Pope and Jesus Christ

 

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Scandal

Scandal

Scandal… the word conjures images of trusted leaders caught up in adulterous affairs, high-powered politicians cutting backroom deals, and scheming, corrupt businessmen running ponzi schemes and swindling others out of their money. The word “scandal” has been thrown around a lot recently, especially since three political crises situations came to light and shook up the White House and other branches of government. Now officials are scrambling to fix what went wrong and to ensure that it never happens again.

You’ve probably also heard the word “scandal” in reference to ABC’s political thriller series starring Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope who runs a crisis management firm and operates as a “fixer” to protect the public images of politicians who find themselves in trouble.

Perhaps, some of us can identify with the word “scandal” ourselves. Of course, our problems and crises may not be in the public eye, but we certainly struggle and have done things wrong that we would be ashamed to have others find out about. In many ways, we are just as messed up as the people we watch on TV and read about on the internet who have to work out the problems in their lives under the microscope of public scrutiny and criticism. Sometimes, we tend to think that we are better than others because we do not have the problems they have. However, we have our own set of problems that we must deal with. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:10, “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Yes, indeed, we have to face the problems, scandals, and messed up situations in our own lives. However, the Bible does not just tell us about our problems, it also tells us that there is One who can fix our problems. This problem-fixer is Jesus Christ. How does Jesus Christ fix our problems? The only way Jesus can fix our problems is if we turn over our hearts and lives to him and allow him to do in us what we cannot do in ourselves.

+ Plus, listen to Marvin Sapp singing “I Belong to You”

GLMX #146: The Game of Life

 

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Harvard professor and historian Jill Lepore says that ‘a whole history of life can be written by studying the games of life.’ Following this idea, she wrote a book titled, “The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death.” In the book, she tells the story of a man named Milton Bradley who created a game in the 1860s called “The Checkered Game of Life.” The game board had checkered squares on it which named life experiences that people could go through. There were good experiences such as perseverance, wealth, marriage, and happiness. And there were bad experiences such as crime, disgrace, suicide, and prison. The goal of the game was to get to the furthest square marked as “Happy Old Age.”

Even though Milton Bradley said he came up with his game from scratch, there were actually multiple forms of this game which had already been made. The first game of this type was called “The Human Game of Life” which was published in 1790. The goal of this game was to reach death and then immortality. The goal of another game called “the Mansion of Bliss”, which was published in 1800, was to get to salvation in much the same way. “The Mansion of Happiness”, which was published in 1843, used a heavenly mansion as the goal of the game of life.

More modern versions of this game changed the goal of life to be something entirely different. Hasbro’s edition of the game made becoming as rich as possible the goal of the game of life. And in the 2007 version of the game, called “Twists & Turns”, the purpose is to experience as much of life as you possibly can. There really is no end or final destination in this particular version of the game. It is all about seeking thrills.

So, which game is right about the game of life? Are the earliest versions of the game correct, with salvation, immortality, and heavenly mansions as the goal of the game of life? Is Milton Bradley correct, with “happy old age” being the goal of the game of life? Or are the most recent versions of the game correct, with riches and experiencing the thrills that life has to offer being the goal of the game of life?

+ Plus, listen to Casting Crowns singing “Lifesong”

GLMX #145: Justice

 

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This past week, America witnessed the wonderful deliverance of three women who had been kidnapped and imprisoned in the home of their captor in Ohio for ten years. These women were re-united with their families and friends who had prayed and hoped — and even some who had given up hope — that they were still alive somewhere and that they would one day return home.

Those families and that entire community are relieved that an evil situation that lurked right underneath their noses for so long is finally gone. And the kidnappers who perpetrated this evil will finally face justice. “Justice” is an act of reparation where someone is fairly punished for what he has done wrong.

Throughout our lives, each of us has faced acts of justice because of our wrongdoings: a parent chastising us for disobedience, a teacher sending us to detention for not being cooperative in the classroom, and as we got older, law enforcement having to give us a ticket for driving faster than what the law says we are supposed to drive on the highway. This administration of justice is what keeps our society running in a harmonious manner.

There is one other very important matter where justice must be administered as well. And that is in the area of our personal relationship with God. The Bible tells us that God is a just God. Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Because of our sins, we each must face justice from God.

From the beginning of the Bible to the end, the penalty (or judgment) for sin is physical death and eternal punishment in a place of fire and torment called Hell. God warned the first man, Adam, of the consequences of breaking his laws. He said, “for in the day that thou eatest [the forbidden fruit] thou shalt surely die.” During the thousands of years that followed, God repeatedly made the consequences of sin and disobedience clear. In Romans 1:32, he said, “they which commit such [sins] are worthy of death.” Death is the judgment for sin. It is the way justice is administered.

Because God is perfect and holy, his justice must be served, and sinners have to pay the consequences for their sins. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” And Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

However, because God loves us, he did not want to leave us in our sinfulness, waiting our entire lives to be punished by death and then to go to suffer in Hell. So, he decided to do something about it.

+ Plus, listen to Hillsong singing “Mighty to Save”

GLMX #144: What Money Can’t Buy

 

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This past week Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae released the new music video for his song “Confessions of a Millionaire.” The powerful and insightful song talks about the tragedy of people who spend their time and money going after houses, riches, yachts, private jets, prestige, and power — all the things that money can buy.

Sadly, today, many people — not just millionaires — focus on going after things that money can buy, And what is even more sad is that people actually look for fulfillment and meaning in these things. The truth, though, is that life is about far more than success and gaining material things. And people who focus on these things their whole lives are often sorely disappointed. They were actually searching for 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 cannnot buy such things. Only a person can give them to us. And that person is Jesus Christ.

+ Plus, listen to Lecrae singing “Confessions”

GLMX #143: It’s Not Complicated

 

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A lot of what happens in life is complicated and confusing. Life itself is complicated. For many people, their childhood is a blur. Navigating college and young adulthood is a challenge. Relationships are fraught with obstacles and difficulties. During these different periods of our lives, we often yearn for simple answers to the big questions that we face. We look for clear-cut solutions to the problems that we deal with. And we want straightforward advice on complicated life issues.

Life is like a narrow trail filled with twists, turns, hairpin bends, and deceptive forks in the road. We wish for clear road signs that will guide us throughout this life. But, as complicated as the rest of life is, there is one part of life that is, perhaps, surprisingly simple: that is the area of most importance — the matter of the destiny of your eternal soul.

People often ask questions such as: What happens when I die? Where do I go when I leave this earth? Will I go to Heaven or Hell? Thankfully, all we have to do is turn to God’s Word for clear answers to these questions.

The Bible states clearly that all people are sinners. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Because of our sins, we are automatically shut out of the family of God, and we are on our way to a place of punishment called Hell after we die. However, God wanted to provide a way for us to be reunited with Him, to become a part of His family. He wanted to save us from our sins and from the punishment of sin. That is why he put in motion a plan of salvation to give every human an opportunity to turn away from their old lifestyle and to gain a new life in Him. And salvation is not complicated.

+ Plus listen to Casting Crowns singing “All Because of Jesus”