I remember a friend relating a story many years ago about a man who was stopped by a policeman on Thanksgiving day for some kind of traffic violation. After some discussion the policeman asked the man if he had anything to be thankful for. The man answered in the affirmative. The policeman responded that the man had better be thankful that he wasn’t going to give him a traffic ticket. Being stopped by a policeman is not something that would ordinarily conjure up feelings of thanksgiving in your heart. But if you were guilty of some traffic violation, you surely would be thankful if the policeman let you go with just a warning.
Whew, the elections are finally over! I really get tired of all the talk, all the hype, all the attention and all those incessant political ads! Having lived in Louisiana for so many years, where politics is practically the state sport, and it seems as though there’s almost always an election campaign going on (literally), it’s good to contemplate an escape from the routine we’ve all been exposed to for the last year and a half.
National election day is almost here. Candidates will be elected to public offices all across the nation. Most of the voting will be for state and local officials, but one-third of the seats in the US Senate and all of those in the House Of Representatives will also be up for election. This election stands out from many others in that the populace will also be voting for a new president. We’re told that this election will be the most important election in many years for the future of our nation. But that assessment has been made in regard to many such elections over the past several decades. Politics!
One of the most difficult aspects of becoming a Christian, and then living a dedicated Christian life, is being willing to completely turn your life over to God. Total surrender! This is a concept that is pretty much foreign to our typical philosophy of life. We believe in taking control of our own life, taking the bull by the horns, taking charge, making things happen. And, to some extent such a philosophy is valid. But when we understand the real purpose and focus of life, we will also understand that we cannot maintain control all by ourselves. We must trust God with our life if we hope to gain the most for our life.
Would you like to change the world? How would you go about it? Well, you certainly would not be able to change the world’s physical characteristics, at least not on any significant scale. So, you would obviously focus on changing the people who inhabit the world. How would you change them? You would seek to change the way they act. But how would you do that? Since people act based upon what they think, you would seek to change the way they think, their values, their mindset, their direction in life.
There is a great deal of emphasis on love in our society today. Some of the emphasis is good, some not so good. Some is more surface level feel good rhetoric than substantive action. Many are quick to judge someone as being unloving, even hateful, if he does not conform to some superficial standard of their own choosing. Love should be long suffering. To some extent it is subjective. But even Godly love is not without limits. When it comes to teaching the gospel to lost souls, just what does love demand?
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). This verse was not written just for the people of Israel and their neighbors in Old Testament times. It was written for all generations of people, of all nations, for all time, until the Lord returns. It was written for us in our nation, right now. The message of this verse is profound. It speaks God’s wisdom, and we need to take great care to understand and live by what it says.
What does the word “freedom” really mean? Ask ten different individuals, and you may get ten different answers. In general, the concept of freedom is that of being out from under the control of something, or someone. Thus, freedom is generally qualified according to what frame of reference is being used.
Each one of us has a comfort zone in which we live our life. It has to do with the kind of lifestyle that we’re comfortable living. We’re comfortable dressing in a certain style, eating certain foods, shopping in certain stores, being in certain neighborhoods, being associated with certain kinds of people, taking part in certain kinds of activities. Our comfort zone extends to our spiritual life, as well. We’re comfortable in a congregation with a certain kind of makeup with a certain style of preaching and a certain emphasis on our personal responsibility as individual Christians.
The word “gospel” means “good news.” It is a generic word but has come to be used, almost exclusively, to refer to the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:16). Jesus brought that message from Heaven to earth. The message is universal in that it is meant for all mankind. Yet it is very personal in that every human being must learn and accept it on an individual basis, one person at a time.
Gary L. Hutchens