Thursday, January 30, 2020

The "Day" at the end of the age

Here’s a question for your Thursday morning. What’s really going to happen at the end of the day? Not this day, necessarily, but “The Day.” You know, the Day at the end of the age.

As in, “Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is near…” like the prophet Joel, and many others, warned (Joel 1:15). And where we read, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief…” (2 Peter 3:10).

So what is that “Day” and what’s going to happen then?

Let me illustrate it this way. Right now there are just two football teams left playing for the Vince Lombardi trophy. Go Chiefs!

At the end of the season, every team goes through various processes of evaluation. Successes, disappointments, expectations, performances. From the coaching staff to the players to the guy who mixes the Gatorade, all aspects of the team are judged. Sometimes players get re-signed with big bonuses. Sometimes coaches get canned. Sometimes Gatorade guy gets to move up to guy who holds the headphone cable for the coach so he doesn’t trip over it.

That’s the day. And the Day of which the Bible speaks will be a day of judgment.

It will be a day in which, “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:41-43).

I read recently where Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, “I don’t know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of the planet to a fiery hell. What type of loving, sensitive, omnipresent, omnipotent being wants to condemn this beautiful creation to a fiery hell at the end of all this?”

If I could sit down with Aaron I would humbly explain to him that God has absolutely no desire to condemn anyone to hell. Yes, our sins separate us from a holy and righteous God, and because of our sin we deserve death. But God, who is rich in mercy and because of the great love with which He loved us, sent His Son on a rescue mission to save us from a fiery hell and bring us into His everlasting Kingdom.

I would have Aaron read Ephesians 2:1-10 and 2 Peter 3:9 and John 3:16-21. I would walk him through Romans 5:6-11 and more, to show him the wonders of God’s love and pray that he would repent of his sin and believe in Christ for salvation, for “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, for the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).

Aaron Rodgers probably wouldn’t give me the time of day, but if you’d like to talk to someone about such things, give me a call at 217-632-2488. The season will be over soon, and I want you to be ready for that Day.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Cherishing life as created by our wonderful Maker

Good morning! Long time no see. I took a little writing break, but if you’ll allow me back into the conversation, maybe we’ll both be encouraged and challenged to think critically and biblically about life matters from the milestones to the mundane.

It’s not like there’s not been enough to write about. I’m already gelling with some ideas for future articles with topics like:

“Reasons why legalizing recreational marijuana is a bad idea”

“Did you know that thousands of people in Iran are turning away from Islam to Christianity?”

“Why cheating in baseball matters”

“What do you suppose it must have smelled like on the ark?”

“Life lessons learned from trying to train a puppy”

“Please, please, please tell me you’re not still texting and driving!”

And a host of others!

But there is one pressing topic on my mind today.

Do you know what the leading cause of death worldwide was in 2019? Not cancer, not heart disease, not malaria or HIV, not gun violence, not stroke or diabetes or Alzheimer’s or suicide. No, the 42.4 million deaths from abortion in 2019 was more than twice the number of all worldwide deaths caused by cancer, smoking, alcohol, traffic accidents, malaria, and HIV/AIDS combined (based on numbers from the World Health Organization).

About a million of those were in the U.S., if that matters. And, of course, it is 100% preventable.

Oh, how I wish people knew the intricately detailed, creative, wonderful ways God works to knit us together in our mother’s womb! I wish they understood the depth of God’s amazing love for every single child and how all their days are written long before they draw their first breath. I wish people grasped the precious gift of life authored by our Creator from the very moment of conception, so that abortion truly becomes an unthinkable atrocity.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14).

Let’s pray for abortion to end in 2020. Let’s ask God to change minds from wickedness to righteousness. Let’s celebrate the value of every single life, every single pregnancy. Let’s encourage more families to become foster and adoptive parents. Let’s vote for more pro-life laws and legislators. Let’s sound the trumpet for life and praise God for all His wonderful works.

And to the woman who has had an abortion (or the husband / boyfriend who’s urged it), I lovingly say: There is forgiveness and healing and peace in Jesus Christ. You have not disqualified yourself from the mercy and grace of the Lord. He is so willing to pardon and cleanse anyone who repents and believes the good news.

That good news is the message of Jesus’ death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin and His victory over the grave that brings us new, abundant, and eternal life. Won’t you come to Him for salvation today?