The Scriptures often use word pictures to help us understand the fullness of Spiritual realities. But since we do not live in the land of the Bible or the times of its writing, we may at times miss the impact of some of these illustrations.
Voluntary service is a relatively new concept in the history of man. In many cultures, it is still more or less unknown. It is an aspect of living known only to cultures operating outside the bounds of survival mode.
First patented in 1884 by Paul Nipkow in Germany, the television has become the most sought out form of medium the world over, challenged only by the recent development of the Internet. With this in mind, I asked myself the question how would Jesus view the television if it had been available in His day? Would He see it as an outlet that could have enhanced His ministry, enabling Him to preach to the masses in a more efficient and large scale way? Would He have used it to send God's message to every Jew and Gentile in all of the civilized world?
Deeply moved by a statement regarding the seriousness of hell made by his great-uncle, Philip King composed this graphic portrayal of the condition of a lost soul in eternity.
In 2004, a car accident critically injured 6-year-old Alex Malarkey. After two months he emerged from a coma, permanently paralyzed but with stories of out-of-body experiences and several trips to heaven. A few years later, in 2010, a major evangelical publisher released his story, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: A True Story, listing Alex and his father as co-authors. The book rose quickly to the bestseller list and sold over a million copies.
There is an account of a marathon swimmer that swam across part of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. Even though she swam inside a cage to ward off large fish, the crew on the accompanying boat were constantly on the lookout for the stingray fish which can give a fatal poisonous sting. This illustration gives a number of parallels to the title taken from 1Corinthians 15:56, which mentions “the sting of death is sin.” It is very true that sin does sting death to each spiritual life it is allowed to penetrate. No one has the immunity to fight off the deadly effects of sin.
In our society Christmas is a time of joy, sharing, and family togetherness. It is also a time of overspending, overeating, and frivolity that cater to our sensual cultural appetite.
The reason for the season is Jesus Christ’s appearance in the flesh, the Incarnation. He was and is the eternal Son of God, who was willing to take on a body prepared of God. This body made possible the remission of sins through the demands of His eternal law. “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” A body that housed perfect sinlessness was crucial to the plan of redemption.
“Oh, for some good church life!”
I suppose the restlessness we see in church members today as they seek better church life elsewhere is not a new thing. The grass on the other side of the fence has always been appealing. Restlessness because we want better church life has some good aspects to it. Vision and purpose in church life are good. But church hopping that is born out of that quest to find the ideal church—is that restlessness good?