Jesus encouraged us, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). The "crown of life" signifies eternal life in Heaven, eternal salvation. Eternal life is a gift offered to us by God through grace. Our responsibility in receiving this gift is to "be faithful until death." We are not just to become faithful, we are to live in faithfulness until the day we die. We must even be willing to die for our faith, if necessary.
Oxymoron certainly is a strange sounding word. It identifies a contradiction in terms, an expression using contradictory terms to get across a point, something akin to sarcasm. A dictionary definition is: "a phrase in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect." Some examples would be: He is a wise fool. She is a woman of beautiful ugliness. He is an example of intellectual stupidity. Used correctly an oxymoron can be a powerful literary tool demonstrating contradiction and absurdity. Let's note some oxymorons that are common in the spiritual reality of many people.
Peter wrote, "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (1 Pet. 2:21). We are to learn from our savior, not only from His teachings but also from His example of how He lived as a human being in this world. The Hebrews writer notes, along this line, "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).
As we come to the end of one year and the beginning of another, it's a good time to do some self examination. Are you where you want to be in life? Whatever your life is like, are you happy with it? If you could have projected ahead ten years ago, would this be what you wanted your life to become? If you knew that your life had to remain just as it is now for the foreseeable future would you be satisfied?
Last week I presented an article entitled, "I Need You To Help Me Get To Heaven." The point of that article was that, as Christians, we need each other to get to Heaven. Many verses and contexts of scripture teach how much Christians need each other for strength, instruction, correction, assistance and encouragement. God designed the church to be like that. With that in mind there is a very specific group of our brothers and sisters who very much need our help.
The title of this article is written in the first person in order to emphasize the personal nature of this need. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate from scripture that we need each other's help to get to Heaven. We certainly need God's help, but we also need each other. As Christians, we need the help of our fellow Christians to get to Heaven.
Ready or not, we are full swing into the Holiday season. Thanksgiving day is just past. That means that Christmas and then New Year's Day are not far away. Of course, not all of us view all of the holidays with the same emphasis as do many people. but it can be a pleasant, even rather exciting time of the year. The holidays seem to come faster as the years go by, and preparations for them begin earlier.
The scriptures that teach us to be thankful are numerous: "Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 5:20). "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Phlp. 4:6). "Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thess. 5:17-18). "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Tim. 2:1). "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Heb. 13:15). These are just a few examples.
The Apostle Peter warns us, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). Oh yes, the devil is real, and he's out to get each one of us. What do we do? James gives this instruction: "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (Jas. 4:7). Submitting to God is equivalent to resisting the devil, and James instructs in the next verse that it is accomplished by drawing near to God: "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." We cannot walk with God- equivalent of drawing near to Him- without submitting to Him. O.K., how do we submit to God? Glad you asked...
The Bible is a marvelous body of knowledge. It is, literally, the word of God. It provides us vital understanding of God's will The Bible gives us abundant instruction as to how to live our lives in a godly manner. Those instructions cover both the positive and negative. Some teach us how to act, what to do. Others instruct us as to what not to do, that from which we should abstain.
Gary L. Hutchens