Gospel Light Minute X | An audio outreach of Gospel Light Society
Gospel Light Minute X
Gospel Light Minute X


GLMX #149: Invictus or Invictor?


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Have you ever heard this phrase: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”? What you may not know is that those two short sentences are the last two lines of a poem by English poet William Ernest Henley titled “Invictus”, the Latin word for “invincible” or “unconquerable.” The full poem goes like this:

William Henley’s poem is a poem of defiance in the face of great odds. At the age of 14, he contracted tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate his leg directly below the knee. He underwent the amputation when he was just 17. Shortly thereafter, he was told that his other leg would have to be amputated. However, by enlisting the help of another doctor and undergoing intense surgery, he was able to save his other leg. This event, and his determination to live, enjoy, and control his life despite his circumstances, are what led him to write this poem while he was recovering in the hospital. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.

Henley felt that he needed to be in control of his life, and he thought that he could control every aspect of his existence including what happened to him after he died. From his words, we see that he did not accept that there was an eternal being whom he could lean on for support in this life and for assurance of his destiny in the life to come. He wanted to be the “master” and “captain” of his entire existence.

However, the Bible tells us in Psalm 103 that we are but “dust.” It goes on to say, “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.” James 4:14 says, “What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” And in Jeremiah 10:23, the prophet cries out, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

As much as we may try to control our lives, we are not the masters of our fate. God is the one who is in control of the entire universe. The good news is that God has a great plan for each of our lives, no matter what your current situation is, and no matter how your life may be going right now. God says in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God’s plan is for us to live a victorious life.

+ Plus, listen to Bart Millard singing “Victory in Jesus”

GLMX #148: In the Name of Love


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In 1984, the Irish rock band U2 released a song titled “In the Name of Love.” The song is a tribute to people who gave their lives because of their love for something that mattered more to them. The first lines of the song go like this.

One man come in the name of love
One man come and go
One man come he to justify
One man to overthrow

One man caught on a barbed wire fence
One man he resist
One man washed on an empty beach
One man betrayed with a kiss

Early evening, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

In the name of love!
What more in the name of love?
In the name of love!
What more in the name of love?

These lyrics refer to the soldiers of World War II who fought and died for the sake of Europe’s freedom as well as the pacifists who opposed the war because of their love for peace at all costs. The line about the man “washed up on an empty beach” likely refers to Roger Casement, an Irish nationalist who fought human rights abuses in the Congo and Peru. He was put to death by the British government in 1916. The song is also a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. who was assassinated on April 4th, 1968, because of his efforts, through love and nonviolence, to end discrimination against blacks in America. All of these people died because they loved an ideal and they loved people more than they loved their own lives.

The song is also about Jesus Christ who was “betrayed with a kiss” and willingly went to the cross to die for the sins of the entire world. In John 15:13, Jesus Christ told his disciples, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

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.” Jesus Christ, as God’s Son, willingly came down from Heaven, took on the form of a human being, and died on the cross for our sins all because of his great love for us. He did not come down and die for us because we were good people, or because we were rich, or because he was trying to get us to worship him. He came down and died for us only because he loved us and because he did not want to see us die and spend eternity without him. As U2 sings, what more could he have done in the name of love?

+ Plus, listen to U2 singing “In the Name of Love”

GLMX #147: Scandal, Olivia Pope and Jesus Christ


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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”