Concerning the resurrection the apostle Paul wrote, “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty” (1 Cor. 15:12-14). If we read over this text quickly, we might not pick up all of the significance of what Paul said.
What challenge are you wrestling with right now? Life seems to present us with a never ending series of challenges of one kind or another. We work through one challenge and give a sigh of relief, thankful that it’s over with. But just out of sight and around the bend life’s next challenge is already on its way. Most of the time we don’t know what that next challenge will be, but we can be assured that it’s coming.
The scriptures emphasize both positive and negative alternatives in eternity- Heaven and Hell! While we make our choices here in this life as to what we will do and how we will live, I believe we should stop and reflect more frequently and more thoughtfully on the alternatives in eternity.
Things can happen so fast. A mother, shopping in a crowded store with her little one, turns away for what seems to be just a moment. When she turns back, her child is gone. A man I know left his little boy in the bathtub for just a moment while he stepped into the other room to get something. When he got back, his son had drowned. A driver looks away from the road for just a moment. When he looks back, he’s ready to crash into the rear end of another vehicle. A woman is going about her daily routine. Everything seems fine. Suddenly, her vision blurs, she becomes dizzy and disoriented. She falls to the floor, helpless. She has suffered a stroke. One moment everything seemed all right. The next moment her life was in jeopardy.
What would you do if you looked outside your window at home and saw your eight year old son and his friend playing catch in your backyard with a stick of dynamite? Would it be a big deal? Would you care? Would you think it was really none of your business? Do you have any doubt that you would move as fast as you could, screaming as loud as you could, to get their attention? Do you wonder whether or not you would communicate emphatically for those boys to put down that stick of dynamite and move away from it as quickly as they could? Would the experience get your heart pumping just a little bit?
Rust will ruin a tool ten times quicker than will overuse. And, ironically, rust tends to develop due to underuse. Just leave a tool laying around, exposed to the elements, and it will develop rust. Within a fairly short period of time, left unused and rusty, many a tool will become virtually useless. Regular use, on the other hand, will tend to prevent rust from developing on that same tool. In many cases, a tool will remain useable and effective almost indefinitely, as long as it is kept in continued use and maybe a thin coat of oil is applied to it now and then.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10). What a passage of scripture- what a promise from God! Fear is common to humanity; it’s a reality of life in this world. Yet God’s word repeatedly admonishes against fear, encourages us to not be fearful, assures us that we need not fear, as long as we walk faithfully with God.
The news media has been filled with reports of the untimely death of yet another celebrity icon. The cause of death was initially unconfirmed, and determination of possible contributing factors might not be known for some weeks. However, a lifestyle of drugs, and possible addiction, appeared to be common knowledge.
Do you matter? Many people feel that, in the greater scheme of things, they do not matter. In some cases, such a mindset is the result of depression. For some people, low self-esteem convinces them that they do not matter. There are those who want to make a difference but feel helpless and, in frustration, declare that they just don’t matter. Others want to escape responsibility for having to do anything, so they absolve themselves from that responsibility by declaring that they don’t matter. Whatever the reasoning used, it is a sad state to believe that you do not matter.
When asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:36-37). Truly, we should love God with every bit of our being. It cannot be just a spoken love. It must be a love that is openly expressed by who we are and how we think, talk and act. One of the paramount features of a Christian’s life is that it is lived it to the glory of God.
Gary L. Hutchens