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Can we say with confidence that Christianity is true and that all other religions are false? Our society today professes that such a view is extremely bigoted and fanatically arrogant. The social elite assure us that there are “many ways to God” and that different religions across the world are all different cultural manifestations of the same inner quest of man for the divine—that all religions are merely different paths to the same goal.
We live in a day of many uncertainties. In fact, our modern culture denies the reality of certainty altogether. In the thinking of many people, there are no absolutes. Uncertainty exists as to whether anything can be considered right or wrong. Truth is relative to these people, and they consider that what is true to you may or may not be true for someone else. Our modern society cannot even define male and female. This confusion is a symptom of a relativistic culture where the foundation of absolute truth is removed. In our generation, evil is called good, and good is called evil.
Our dating system in Western Civilization is undeniably linked to the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. As much as modern scholars may try to deny or belittle the fact, B.C. stands for “before Christ” and certainly does not merely mean “before the common era.” A.D. is the abbreviation of the Latin phrase “anno Domini,” which is translated “in the year of our Lord.”
We all are forced by the stern reality of death to consider eternity seriously. When a loved one dies or a young person is taken away quickly by a tragic accident, we often ponder the end of life as we know it. Sometimes, we wonder why God spares us and takes others. Nurses and doctors, emergency workers, morticians, and soldiers in times of war often deal with death on a regular basis. If death teaches us anything, it should teach us to “number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
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When I come up against a difficult problem, I throw all my weight against it. I say, “I’m tough, I’m tough.” Sometimes, when I give it everything I have, I find that problems give way. But there are those times when every ounce of strength I can muster, every bit of creativity at my disposal, every talent I can apply leaves me helpless with my problem.
Even as a young boy, Kepler loved gazing at the heavens. In later life, he recalled distinctly the day that his mother took him to a high hilltop to observe a great comet in 1577. When he was nine years old, he also observed a lunar eclipse. Despite physical weakness and impaired vision, young Kepler showed signs of great intellectual power. He studied Latin as well as philosophy and theology. As a young man, he was a strong advocate for the Copernican system of interpreting the heavenly bodies. He saw no contradiction between a heliocentric universe and the Bible. He almost became a Lutheran pastor but became convinced that he could serve God faithfully as a mathematician and astronomer.
We’ve all heard the storybook tales of the prince and the maiden who married and lived “happily ever after.” When we look around our world today, it would be easy to become cynical about the possibility of a “happily ever after” marriage. Is it really possible, or are those stories just for children’s books, romance movies, and young girls’ dreams?
Robert Edward Lee suffered many disappointments in life. Near the end of his life, Lee wrote a letter to a close friend and former staff officer, Colonel Charles Marshall. The letter reveals how Lee’s hope was anchored in his understanding of the eternal nature of God. Lee wrote: “The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”
“In the beginning was the Word . . . .” This simple but profound statement is the opening of the Gospel of John. Looking at the other three Gospels, Mark began his record with the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. Matthew and Luke began their Gospels with the wonder of the Incarnation and the miracle of the virgin birth of the Lord. But John’s Gospel commences with a statement of the eternality of the Lord Jesus Christ, reminding us that the life of Jesus existed eternally before He took on human flesh and dwelt among us.
Rare are the men of history that are able to rise above their own time and generation and see their own battle in the context of the grand scheme of eternity. The Lion of the North was such a man. Although he himself was a king, his ultimate allegiance was to the King of kings and Lord of lords, and he dedicated himself to advancing the everlasting Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Have you ever been discouraged by the fleeting stability of earthly governments and kingdoms? Kings come and go. Empires rise and fall. Nations rise from obscurity to power, enjoy prosperity for a time, but then sink into the mists of history. Of the vaunted glory of ancient civilizations, such as the Aztec and Inca in the Americas or the Egyptian and Sumerian in the Fertile Crescent, only a few scattered remnants remain of their existence.
Adam is the father of us all. No matter our language and nationality, we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. We inherit from Adam the curse of sin, the sting of death, and the certainty of the grave. But from Adam we also inherit the image of God, the hope of eternal life, and the promise of redemption.
In one sense, man is eternal. From the moment of conception, we are endowed with an eternal destiny. We will live forever in Heaven or in hell. But man’s eternal life exists only in one direction. God’s eternal life spans from everlasting to everlasting. A mathematician could accurately describe man’s eternality as a geometric ray—beginning at a point and continuing forever in one direction. But God’s eternality is a line—having no beginning or end but continues forever in both directions.
George Washington Carver is most famous for discovering many remarkable uses of the sweet potato and the peanut. But Carver’s influence was far beyond these two commodities. His greatest legacy was his life of loving service to his fellow man.
Throughout his realm, Duke Wenceslas I earned the nickname “The Good” for his deeds of piety and charity. He strived to defend his borders from the invasions of the Hungarian clans called the Magyars. The duke also promoted the expansion of Christianity throughout his dominions. His leadership had a positive impact upon his people; after his death, many stories and legends would spread in remembrance of him. Some of the reports surely are true, while others are questionable.
We are all prone to think of our “neighbor” in the comfortable circle of those whom we already love. It is easy to define neighbor to include our close friends at church, the next-door neighbor who watches over our house when we are away, the coworker who shares our viewpoints, and the people with whom we enjoy socializing. But what about the family on the other side of the street with the barking dog? What about the coworker who is continually gossiping about other coworkers? What about the one person who always seems to ask the wrong question at the wrong time? What about people from a different cultural background than ours? Are these our “neighbors” too?
The Brewsters took a bold step when they left the established church to unite with a small, persecuted body of believers known as Separatists. William Brewster knew that he was risking his status, his livelihood, and perhaps his own life by uniting with these despised Christians, but he saw the justice of their cause and he loved the truth more than his own life.
According to God’s Word, “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with our God by faith is at the heart of true religion in both the Old and New Testaments. In our own day, there is an abundance of every sort of religion. But God is still looking for men whose religion springs from a faithful heart and is expressed by obedient hands. God is looking for men who will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him. Will you be such a man?
Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was a man of God who consistently and faithfully loved his neighbor. His name is of Greek origin and means “crowned one.” When Stephen first became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is uncertain. He was probably a Hellenistic (Greek) Jew from Jerusalem who came to trust and follow the Lord Jesus during His public ministry.
We live in a day of rampant selfishness. Politicians are suspected of advancing their own interests for political power. Union labor strikes demonstrate distrust between employers and employees. Wars, crime, and acts of terrorism are daily reminders that we are living in a world where men and women do not love their neighbors. In contrast to the selfish culture in which we live, as God’s children we are commanded to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
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