Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2016

Two articles like the links posted below (plus, the rapid, wholesale degradation we see all around us every day), remind me of Jesus’ words of what life would be like before His return: “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah” (Mt. 24:37).

What were those days like?  Genesis tells us: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of man was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5).

And, “God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.  Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth'” (Gen. 6:12-13).

Jesus’ words are not an idle threat, but a redemptive warning.  Only eternity will reveal how many take Him seriously.

The reality is that there is no authority on earth anywhere remotely like Him.  He is speaking to every person alive.  Are we listening?

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/05/18/478212837/in-search-for-cures-scientists-create-embryos-that-are-both-animal-and-human

The Holy Spirit tells us through Isaiah, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Is. 5:20a): http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Guard-Charged-with-Assault-After-Confronting-Transgender-Woman-Using-Womens-Restroom-380010941.html

How should we respond to Jesus?  If you’re a Christian, repent of your sin on a daily basis.

If you’re not a Christian, ask Jesus this moment to forgive you of your sins, and tell Him you owe Him your entire life and that you will follow Him from this moment on.

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I was greatly moved this morning hearing for the first time the incredible, true story behind the hymn, “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”

In the 1800’s, a missionary from Wales who had endured severe persecution finally saw his first converts in a particularly brutal village in the Northern Indian province of Assam. A husband and wife, with their two children, professed faith in Christ and were baptized.

Assam and its surrounding provinces was located in one of the most oppressive forms of Hinduism — a place where the caste system was entrenched, and where headhunters ruled.   

These provinces often prided themselves on the hostile reaction they gave foreigners.

Their village leaders decided to make an example out of the husband. Arresting the family, they demanded that the father renounce Christ, or see his wife and children murdered.

When he refused, his two children were executed by archers. Given another chance to recant, the man again refused, and his wife was killed. Still refusing to recant, this husband and father was martyred.

Witnesses later told the story to the Welsh missionary.  The reports said that when asked to recant or see his children murdered, the man said: “I have decided to follow Jesus, and there is no turning back.”

After seeing his children killed, he reportedly said, “The world can be behind me, but the cross is still before me.” And after seeing his wife pierced by the arrows, he said, “Though no one is here to go with me, still I will follow Jesus.”

According to this missionary, when he returned to the village, a revival had broken out, and those who had murdered the first converts had since come to faith in Jesus themselves.

The Welsh man passed along these reports to the famous Indian evangelist Sandhu Sundar Singh.

Singh had risen to prominence in India because he was training foreign missionaries, and a theme in his teaching had been the necessity of avoiding the cultural trappings of Western Christianity.

He insisted that the missionaries now pouring into India focus on the essentials of the gospel while allowing the now vibrant Indian Christian community to develop their own Christian customs.

The accounts of the family that had been martyred in Assam were so astonishing and widely circulated that most Indian believers were familiar with it.

So Singh took the martyr’s last words, and put them to traditional Indian music in order to make one of the first uniquely Indian hymns.

The song immediately became popular in Indian churches, and it remains a mainstay of worship music there to this day.

Eventually some of the American missionaries returned from India and they brought that song with them.

Finally, it ended up with Canadian song writer George Beverley Shea, and he made it a staple at the Billy Graham crusades.

This last part of the story means a great deal to me: I became a Christian by watching Billy Graham preach about Jesus on TV.  I don’t remember for certain, but it is possible that this very song was sung at the end of his broadcast, while he was giving the invitation to follow Jesus.

If that did happen, I would have heard this song for my very first time.  But one thing I do remember: as I prayed to receive Jesus, I still remember thinking, “This is it; no turning back!”

Read Full Post »

I think most people would agree that American society and indeed much if not most of the world is in moral free-fall.  It’s vexing, frustrating, demoralizing and sometimes, fearful.

I say “fearful” because a few degrees one way or another and things could get infinitely worse: total economic collapse, nuclear warfare, terrorist attacks that could bring destruction to hundreds of thousands of people at one time.  It seems the list never ends.

None of us can fully predict the future, let alone what will happen to us five minutes from now.  Now, if this life was all there is, what kind of hope could there be?  But this life is not all there is.

The older we get, the more we realize just how short and precarious life is.  But the good news is that a powerful, eternal perspective on life is available to each of us, every single day.

And that perspective isn’t merely for eternity alone; the biblical perspective on life tells us that when we live with the kind of eternal hope God offers us, it changes the way we live today.

I was reading Isaiah 25 this morning and those words renewed, refreshed and revived me, especially concerning the coming day when man’s strife, confusion, hatred, rebellion, deception and self-deception will end.

Reading through this chapter reminded me that when Jesus Christ returns to this earth, those who belong to Him will finally live in peace, contentment and righteousness.

It may be difficult to imagine, but the Holy Spirit can truly help the believer in Him to grasp it and rejoice in it.

And when we live this way, we can also bring hope to everyone we come into contact with and live with purpose, daily.

I’m thinking right now of parents with young children; the truth of God’s Word is something you can daily share with them to give them hope in any and every situation — especially if they see you live it out!

This is one of the myriad of reasons I so love the Word of God, which can change or transform any person and any situation!  I commend Isaiah 25 to you now; please read it and let it give you that eternal hope.  Please see it, below:

O Lord, I will honor and praise your name,
    for you are my God.
You do such wonderful things!
    You planned them long ago,
    and now you have accomplished them.
You turn mighty cities into heaps of ruins.
    Cities with strong walls are turned to rubble.
Beautiful palaces in distant lands disappear
    and will never be rebuilt.
Therefore, strong nations will declare your glory;
    ruthless nations will fear you.

But you are a tower of refuge to the afflicted, O Lord,
    a tower of refuge to the needy in distress.
You are a refuge from the storm
    and a shelter from the heat.
For the oppressive acts of ruthless people
    are like a storm beating against a wall,
    or like the relentless heat of the desert.
But you silence the roar of foreign nations.
    As the shade of a cloud cools relentless heat,
    so the boastful songs of ruthless people are stilled.

In Jerusalem,[a] the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
    will spread a wonderful feast
    for all the people of the world.
It will be a delicious banquet
    with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.
There he will remove the cloud of gloom,
    the shadow of death that hangs over the earth.
He will swallow up death forever!
    The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.
He will remove forever all insults and mockery
    against his land and people.
    The Lord has spoken!

In that day the people will proclaim,
“This is our God!
    We trusted in him, and he saved us!
This is the Lord, in whom we trusted.
    Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
10 For the Lord’s hand of blessing will rest on Jerusalem.
    But Moab will be crushed.
    It will be like straw trampled down and left to rot.
11 God will push down Moab’s people
    as a swimmer pushes down water with his hands.
He will end their pride
    and all their evil works.
12 The high walls of Moab will be demolished.
    They will be brought down to the ground,
    down into the dust.

Read Full Post »