During the reign of one of the tyrant Roman emperors, a youth of noble birth was ruthlessly consigned to the dungeon. For years, the heavy iron chains of felon bound his ankles and his wrists.
Day by day he lay in the dark and loathsome prison at the emperor’s pleasure; suffering there, not for a crime, but for speaking the truth, and for faithfully exposing the crimes of those who were now in high places.
His once bright countenance was worn, and his hair had now grown grey with suffering.
But the righteous will not always suffer thus. The Day must come when the sufferer for truth and righteousness will be rewarded. And such a time came for this man in his life time.
The cruel emperor died and his successor now sat upon the Imperial throne. Hardly had that new emperor been raised to wear the purple and crown, than he visited the dungeon to have prisoners released.
Worn and weak with suffering, still in his heavy chains, the prisoner was brought before the throne. His chains were struck off, he was clothed with purple, and instead of that narrow cell and gloomy prison, he was raised to royal rank and honour.
A pair of scales were brought forth, and the iron chains that he had worn were heaped upon the scale, one after another. Then carefully put to the balance, at the emperor’s word, gold was piled on the other scale, and for every pound of iron worn in the dungeon, he now received a pound of gold.
Do you think that he would wish now that his fetters had been lighter?
No! And so shall it be with all who suffer for Christ and His truth down here.
“If we suffer, we shall also reign.” 2Timothy 2:12
Persecutions and abuse borne for His Name and righteousness’ sake, will have a full return in the day when the Lord shall reward His servants. Our “light affliction” here, shall have as compensation, “an eternal weight of glory” there.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2Corinthians 4:17
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.John 8:12
A light house is a common sight if you live beside the ocean. Typically situated beside the shoreline, it’s profile is clearly visible in the horizon when viewed miles away. While mostly ignored and unused during daylight hours, this edifice’s value becomes apparent in times of darkness and storm.
Light emanating from a high powered lamp and focussed into a powerful beam by a fresnel lens pierces the darkness and serves as a beacon guiding ships away from hazards off-shore to safety.
This world that we live in is filled with a darkness that far exceeds any storm filled evening–a darkness that knows no borders, culture, or customs. It permeates every place and is in every heart: sin.
Sin is why people are murdered, homes are burglarized, and children are abducted every day. It’s why so many today are addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, smoking, and the various forms of immorality. The wicked thoughts that continually pervade our minds and our inability to shut them out is example enough of our depraved nature.
Still others fill their time with the glitz, glamour, entertainments, and pleasures of this world seemingly oblivious to the sin that enshrouds their darkened hearts and is keeping them from reaching Heaven’s shores.
God’s infallible Word tells us that the result of sin is death (Romans 6:23) leading ultimately to an eternity of suffering in the blackness of the Lake of Fire for your never-dying soul, Revelation 21:8.
Make no mistake, friend–you will have to answer to God on account of your sin. Our lost and helpless condition is precisely the reason why the great God of love sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into this world of sin and misery.
Our verse tells us that He is THE [only] LIGHT of the world because He is the only One who can dispel the darkness in our hearts due to sin because He is God the Son.
During those three hours of darkness when Christ hung upon the cross of Calvary, God the Father punished Him with unimaginable, intense spiritual suffering for the sins of humanity–past, present, and future. He endured the wrath of God for our sins because He loved us and wanted you and I to have peace with God and a home in Heaven (the Light of Life). In other words, He shed His precious blood and died upon the cross to cleanse you from all your sins if you receive (trust) Him as your very own personal Saviour.
Many so-called religious teachers have come ever since espousing doctrines of clean-living, good works, and self-affliction in hopes of bringing about some form of enlightenment. While some of these principles may have their virtues, they only help fit a person for citizenship in this life, and not for Heaven, Ephesians 2:8-9.
Friend, why continue walking in the dark shadows cast by your sin when you can walk in the “Son-shine” of God’s love through faith in His Son? How sad it would be to live a life darkened by sin, then die, and end up in (Hell and ultimately) the Lake of Fire forever.
Repent of your sins. Personally trust Christ for salvation today–and you will have the Light of (eternal) Life.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways but narrower viewpoints. We spend more but have less, we buy more but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge but less judgement, more experts yet more problems, more medicine but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things but not better things.
“We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.”
We’ve cleaned up the air (in some areas!) but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom but not our prejudice. We write more but learn less. We plan more but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this and many e-mails to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight or to just hit delete.
Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Believing a lie doesn’t make it the truth! And conversely, disbelieving the truth doesn’t make it a lie!
The “God” factor should be the greatest consideration of our lives. God exists and His Word is absolute truth.
Firstly, it is not only important for a person to actually believe in God, it is also essential to know what one believes and in whom we should trust!
But some say, “It doesn’t really matter what you believe about God. Isn’t morality a state of mind? Changing values and the changing points of view of the majority have changed the rules of life, so surely it is all a matter of perspective today?”
There are physical laws that govern the universe, and there are moral laws — absolutes that rule the universe. There is also a moral Governor— God, Who rules over all things He has created.
The timeless moral laws of the universe; God’s Ten Commandments are more than a set of ideas. There have been men and women in previous times past who so believed God that they were willing to die for God, His Word, and His salvation that is far more than a mere set of religious ideas and values.
He personally saves and keeps safe all who put their trust in Him. And this belief and experience by millions of Christian believers is to be found everywhere today.
The philosophy of many folk is that it doesn’t really matter what one believes. They say “As long as we believe in something — anything, we will by separate roads eventually reach the top of the mountain of life’s journey!”
But, ask a doctor if he advocates such an idea in medicine. Ask an architect or constructional engineer if it doesn’t matter what is done or how we do it as long as we produce something, anything! They will scoff at such an idea and say, “Impossible!”
In every sphere of life, without question, it does matter what we believe and in whom we trust. And note that some have paid a high price and suffered greatly because they believed that things according to God and His Word are either good or evil.
Success in life as we prepare for eternity, depends on believing “Truth.” Truth according to God has the outstanding characteristic of liberation. “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Truth also has the active characteristic of providing an eternal rock-like foundation in the believer!
The truth of God will never produce bondage and instability but to the contrary, produce true freedom and real stability!
The Bible warns us in Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25. “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
To travel on a journey, it is vital to 1. Travel in the correct direction, 2. Follow a map, 3. Heed directions from those who know the way. 4. Road signs should be checked along the way to arrive safe and sound at the correct and desired destination.
The Bible alone provides us with God’s directions for life’s journey to arrive safe and sound in heaven. It certainly does matter therefore “What I believe” and “in Whom I trust” to know the right way, God’s way!
Some hope that God will be satisfied with them “doing their best,” but sincerity and religion is not enough. (Religion is the action of a person performing their best and sincerest achievement in an effort to please God.) Sincerely performed religious activity is not enough!
The Bible clearly states that Jesus Christ is “The Way, The Truth and TheLife. No man cometh to the Father but by Me.” John 14:6
He is The Light of the world, The Guide Post and the One Who will take you up to Himselfin heaven! You say, how? Well, you cannot trust your own heart, it will deceive you, for it is deceitful far above all else! (Jeremiah 17:9)
Do I hear you ask,” What then should I believe and in whom should I trust?”
Firstly you will do well to believe all that God says about yourself! I did, unpleasant as it is, but all God says is truth, for we are all by nature and practise, selfish, lawless, disbelieving sinners who have disgraced ourselves and the God of glory Who created us to glorify Himself. (Roman 3:23)
Secondly we are at our best when we put our trust in the One Saviour of all Mankind, the sinless Lord Jesus Christ, Who offered Himself in sacrifice to God to make representative payment for all our debts and dues. “Christ died for the ungodly.”
God has delighted in Jesus Christ and has accepted Christ’s substitutional, redemption payment.
The question is now, what will you do? Will you believe God and Christ’s substitutional work done on your behalf? Will His full payment to God be believed and accepted personally by you?
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” You will be “safe and sound,” for you will never be ashamed if you believe and trust Him!
Everyday they pass me by,
I can see it in their eyes
Empty people filled with care
Headed who knows where
On they go through private pain,
Living fear to fear
Laughter hides their silent cries
Only Jesus hears
People need the Lord
People need the Lord
At the end of broken dreams
He’s the open door
People need the Lord
People need the Lord
When will we realise
People need the Lord
We are called to take his light
To a world where wrong seems right
What could be too great a cost
For sharing life with one who’s lost?
Through his love our heart can feel
All the grief they bear
They must hear the words of life
Only we can share
People need the Lord
People need the Lord
At the end of broken dreams
He’s the open door
People need the Lord People need the Lord When will we realise That we must give our lives, for People need the Lord
Sang by Mina Mun
editor’ note: Mina and her husband Seong came from Korea, they were serving the Lord in Papua New Guinea planting tribal churches among the West Gimi People at the time of this song recorded (Nov. 2010) http://usa.ntm.org/
Mark 1:15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
0ne of the loveliest sights you can possibly see is a sunset. Regardless of where you are in the world, everyone is privileged to witness this beautiful display in God’s creation.
A sunset marks the end of another day. As a result, one cannot help but reflect or ponder the days events while gazing upon the sun as it gradually lowers in the horizon. For some, the day was one of accomplishments or moments of great joy; for others setbacks or depths of great sorrow.
It could even be a sign of a missed opportunity. Whatever the circumstance, a sunset is a reminder of a day that has gone by never to be repeated again.
The words in our verse were spoken by the most remarkable man in history. It’s true He was both a great teacher and a miracle worker, but He was no ordinary man. He was absolutely sinless and perfect in every way, Hebrews 7:26.
There was never a thought that crossed His mind that He regretted. There was never a moment when He said something He wished He could retract. There was never an occasion that He desired to undo an action He did. Upon hearing His words, men could say of Him,”Never man spake like this man.” (John 7:46)
Concerning His miracles, others said, “He hath done ALL things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak.” (Mark 7:37) This man is none-other than the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God could say of Him, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
When the Lord Jesus spoke those urgent words in our verse, He was proclaiming the glorious gospel (“good news”), a message of hope, to a humanity lost and ruined by sin. Specifically, the only way that a person can be in God’s Heaven, is through repentance of sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as being “my sin-bearer.” He was telling people that forgiveness of sins, peace with God, and eternal life was freely available to everyone regardless of creed, colour, or custom.
That invitation is still available to you now, dear soul. Like then, all you have to do to escape the judgment of God in the Lake of Fire is to confess your sinful condition before God and accept the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour.
The Lord Jesus was crucified and died upon the cross of Calvary so you would not have to suffer in Hell for your sins. Currently, your sins are keeping you out of Heaven. This doesn’t have to be the case; read 2 Corinthians 5:21. His purpose in coming to this world, was to die in order to save you personally from your sins. All you have to do is believe it.
But sadly, like our picture illustrates, the sun has set on many lives already–people who have turned down the Saviour’s invitation are needlessly languishing in the fires of Hell this very moment.
Friend, the sunshine of God’s love could be setting on your life even as you are reading this passage. God expects you to make the most out of the opportunities He gives you to be saved. This could be your last opportunity to be saved from your sins. You could die at any moment and miss out on Salvation. All hope would then be lost forever. The eternal welfare of your never-dying soul is at stake. As our verse says, repent of your sins and trust Christ for Salvation NOW before it is forever too late!
The possibility of intelligent life forms existing in outer space has long gripped the imagination of science fiction writers and film makers. ‘Star Wars’, ‘E.T.’ and similar movies have made millions at the box office.N.A.S.A. is doing research in the hope of identifying space messages from intelligent beings.
Space probes have shown that our near planetary neighbours are barren wastes incapable of supporting life, and that planet earth stands alone with its atmosphere and multitude of life forms.
One visitor has come from another world in a most unique way.It is recorded in history as well as in the Bible that Jesus Christ, Immanuel [meaning ‘God with us’], has visited this earth.He said ‘I know where I came from and where I am going.’ ‘You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world’ [John 8:14, 23].
A UNIQUE COMING
The Bible tells us that the power of the Most High overshadowed a virgin Jewish girl called Mary, and when the Holy Spirit came upon her, she conceived a child called the Son of God [Luke 1:26-35].The Babe born in Bethlehem was a visitor from Heaven, for ‘God was manifested in the flesh’ [1 Timothy 3:16].
A UNIQUE LIFE
Jesus Christ is remarkable in that He is Omnipotent, meaning He is able to do all things. He raised the dead, cured the sick and calmed a stormy sea. He could perform any miracle He chose and on many occasions showed His complete mastery over all creation.
He is also Omniscient, meaning He knows everything.He knew the thoughts of His opponents, as well as those of His disciples.He saw Nathanael under the fig tree and knew his thoughts while far away [John 1: 48].
He is also Omnipresent, meaning He is present everywhere.While on earth, He was still in Heaven! ‘No one has ascended to Heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of man who is in Heaven’ [John 3:13]. These are all attributes of God alone!
He was also different to everyone else, for –
He was sinless in word and deed. ‘Who committed no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth’ [1 Peter 2:22].
He was sinless in every thought. ‘For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him’ [2 Corinthians 5:21].
He was sinless in His very being of nature. ‘And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin’ [1 John 3:5].
The Might Creator has visited His creation, for ‘All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made’ [John 1:1-3].
The Mighty Sustainer of all the universes, who is the cohesive power of the atom, upholding ‘All things by the Word of His power’ has stepped from Eternity into Time [Hebrews 1:3].
A UNIQUE DEATH
He was so radical that He was crucified for claiming to be God [Matthew 26;57-68]. Yet in death he fulfilled the great purpose for His visit to earth – He died for the sins of the whole world.
No mere mortal could take His life from Him. He laid down His life and also had power to take it again, for He arose from the tomb on the morning of the third day. He was seen alive by over 500 witnesses on one occasion, and His disciples saw Him ascend to Heaven.
HIS UNIQUE NAMES
One day He will return to earth and be revealed as ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’ Because of His finished work for you on the Cross, He wants to be –
Your REDEEMER. He purchased you with His own life’s blood.‘Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot or blemish’ [1 Peter 1:18-19].
Your SAVIOUR. ‘The Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world’ and ‘We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe’ [1 John 4:14, 1 Timothy 4:10].
Your LORD. He has the right to be given total control your life. He wants you to surrender your will, and to receive Him now as your Saviour and Lord. Only then will you have your sins forgiven, and know His peace, purpose and plan for your life. ‘Lord, what do you want me to do? [Acts 9:6]
Will you kneel before your Creator and Redeemer now, and receive Him as your Saviour and Lord? This suggested prayer would help you to do this – Thank you Lord Jesus for coming from Heaven to die for my sins. I confess that I have fallen far short of your holy standard, and ask You to forgive me my sins, and I now receive You as my Saviour and Lord. Amen
“But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” Job 12:7
As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% more range than if each bird flew alone.
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the trust of one another.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” 1 John 1:7
“That ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
When a goose falls out formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:4
“We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” 1 John 3:16
When the lead goose tires, it rotates back in to the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese; people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangement of gifts, talents or resources.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
“For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want…” 2 Corinthians 8:13-14
The geese flying in formation honk the encourage those up front to keep up with their speed.
We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, productivity is much greater. Individual empowerment results from quality honking.
“And the God of all comfort; Who comforeth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When a goose gets sick, wounded or short down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
“See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” 1 Peter 1:22
“…Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the flowls of heaven?
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1Co 15:1-4)