Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hurricane Harvey: The Goodness Of Man

During this past year, it just seems like the world has gone crazy. I can hardly watch the news anymore. There's hate, there's violence, there's stabbings, and killings. And it's all over the globe. Sometimes I wonder if the entire human race has gone mad. Maybe it's a sign of the end times! I don't know.

Is it that things are progressively getting worse, and people are becoming more evil? Or is it that we simply hear about all the bad news more quickly than ever before because of modern communication technology? Is anger and selfishness spreading rampant? Or is just a small minority magnified by the news media?

Honestly, I haven't quite figured out the answer. But then came Hurricane Harvey. Even with all the devastation and destruction, something good is emerging. It's called compassion. What's going on in the aftermath is giving me new hope for the human race. I see images of people helping people, regardless of race, religion, or politics!

I see the common everyday person volunteering to rescue people using boats, canoes, floating devices, and any means possible, even risking their own life in the process. I hear of people all over the country sending supplies and money to those suffering in Houston.

Maybe humans aren't inherently evil after all. And when it comes right down to it, could it be that there's goodness and kindness somewhere inside each person's heart waiting to come out? I think so, and that's what I want to take away from Hurricane Harvey.

The outreach shown by all those who are helping others reminds me of a story that Jesus told. It's the story of the good Samaritan who showed mercy to a stranger who was mugged, bandaging his wounds, then providing his food and lodging, while others wouldn't help, but passed him by.

There are many, many good Samaritans on display because of Hurricane Harvey, reaching out with compassion to those in need. We can learn from their actions.

The moral of the story of the good Samaritan:  Jesus said, "Go and do the same!" (Luke 10:37)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Solar Eclipse Should Be A Reminder!

As of this writing, a total Solar Eclipse is about to happen over a portion of our continent. It's an amazing, unusual event where the mid-day sun is blocked out. It occurs because of that rare moment when the moon passes directly in front of the sun.

In ancient days, it must have caused fear and confusion. Today, it is a predicted event that draws excitement and anticipation. Although it's a purely natural astronomical incident, the eclipse should remind believers of 3 spiritual truths: 

1) That through Jesus, the heavens and the earth were created

"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth." (Colossians 1:15-16)

The sky above, whether it's a beautiful blue, or a colorful sunset, or the sun, moon, and stars, should be a constant reminder of His magnificent, creative powers. 

2) That Jesus Died On The Cross.

When Jesus was on the cross, it shook up the natural, as well as spiritual, world. For the three hours just before His death, starting at noon, darkness fell across the land. How symbolic, considering His was taking on the sins of the world. The mid-day solar eclipse should remind us of the cross. 

"At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock." (Matthew 27:45)

3) That Jesus is Coming Back Again!

There are many prophecies about the Final Day, when Jesus returns. The darkening of the sun during the eclipse should remind us of His future arrival. 

“Immediately after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:30)

So, if you are fortunate enough to experience the solar eclipse, even a partial one, let it remind you of Jesus: that He was involved in the creation, that He died on the cross for us, and that He is coming back again. 

Our response should be worship and praise.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

From Riches To Rags

You've probably heard the term "from rags to riches", describing how someone started out being poor and ultimately became very wealthy. Well, I'm going to flip that commonly used phrase, and change it to say "riches to rags", and apply it to a fundamental Christian truth. 

Now there are many fundamental Christian truths. Here are a few: Jesus is the Savior of the world, Jesus died for our sins on the cross, Jesus resurrected from the dead, Jesus ascended into heaven and is coming back again. 

But there is another fundamental truth of Christianity: Jesus is God in the flesh. That's right, Jesus, is Deity. He is part of the 3-fold God-head (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). When Jesus walked on earth, He was God in human form. 

If you really think about this truth, that Jesus is God, then you must conclude that Jesus existed before the creation of the world! And guess what? You would be right! 

"In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him."  (John 1:1-3)

There are many descriptive titles for Jesus in the Bible. One of my favorite titles is found in an Old Testament prophecy by Isaiah about the coming Messiah, Jesus. In this prophecy, Jesus is referred to as "the King of Glory". 

Here's the powerful realization that we can't help but conclude: The King of Glory purposely came to earth in human form with the intention of dying on the cross to pay for our sins! Jesus went from riches to rags! So that we could go from rags to riches! That truth is plainly stated in the following verse. 

"You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich." (2 Corinthians 8:9)

What this beautiful yet profound verse is saying is that Jesus, who was rich (existing in the heavenly realm), became poor for our sakes (purposely lowered Himself to a humble servant in human form), in order for us who believe in Him to become rich (acquiring His gracious gift of salvation). Wow! 

"Someone who was rich, decided to become poor,
so someone who was poor, could decide to become rich
Someone sacrificed, and gave His life away
Someone lost His life, so some may find the Way

Someone who was first, decided to become last, 
so someone who was last, could decide to become first
Someone sacrificed, and gave His life away
Someone lost His life, so some may find the Way

Someone from above, decided to come below
so someone from below, could decide to come above
Someone sacrificed, and gave His life away
Someone lost His life, so some may find the Way"

(lyrics from my original song "Rich Poor Rich")