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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Only One Life to Invest or Waste

The apostle Paul and Demas were both missionaries, but Paul’s unswerving goal was to do good—to fulfill God’s will for his life. At the end of his life, he shivered in a dank Roman dungeon, w here he awaited execution. He asked Mark to bring him the coat he had left at Troas (2 Tim. 4:13). Obviously, Paul had few or no possessions, but neither did he have any complaints. He had served the Lord faithfully and therefore anticipated receiving a heavenly reward, “the crown of righteousness” (4:8). Demas, on the other hand, swerved from doing good—from doing God’s will. Having “loved this world” (v. 16), he tossed aside the opportunity to receive a heavenly crown.

Like Paul and Demas, every Christian must choose whether to invest his or her life in doing good or spend in it in getting goods. The desires of the flesh may be met temporarily by getting goods, but the desires of the heart can be met only by doing good. As the apostle John wrote: “The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Westboro Baptist Church and the Military

The United States Supreme Court upheld the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest at military funerals. The church’s right to protest is protected by the First Amendment.

As an ordained Baptist minister of the gospel, I strongly object to Westboro Baptist Church’s conduct at military funerals. I find it ironic that its members hold signs like “Thank God for IEDs” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” Don’t they realize men and women of our Armed Forces have given their lives to protect our freedom, including the freedom that allows Westboro Baptist Church to shout and wave their offensive signs?

It’s appalling that these protesters call themselves Baptists. Most Baptists I know are grateful for the sacrifices our military men and women make. They consider them heroes worthy of our deepest admiration, and they pray regularly for them and their families.

A few adjectives describe how I feel about the Westboro Baptist Church members’ conduct at military funerals: despicable, deplorable, disgraceful, disgusting, repulsive, repugnant, reprehensible, rude, irreverent, insulting, insolent, and inflammatory. (The use of alliteration shows I am an ordained Baptist minister, doesn’t it?)

I just wanted to go on record as an ordained Baptist to say I disdain Westboro Baptist Church’s actions. I’m sure you share my feelings and can join me in saying, “God bless our brave men and women in uniform, and God bless the United States of America!”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lion

It has been said, if March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb, but if it comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion. I haven’t kept track of the 76 months of March in my lifetime, but I believe the saying is fairly accurate. Today, March 1, the month began like a lamb. The weather was almost perfect: about 70 degrees, calm, sunny, and dry; and nothing but blue sky did I see. It will be quite all right with me if this lamb-like weather prevails for the entire month and slips into April. I can live without lion-like weather.

Like the current March weather, Jesus arrived in our world like a lamb. As John the Baptist pointed out, He was “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). By His death on the cross, He brought calming peace to troubled souls (Colossians 1:20). Consequently, all who believe on Him enjoy peace with God (Romans 5:1).

But just as so many March months conclude with lion-like weather, so inevitably all who ignore or reject the Lamb of God will encounter Him as the Lion who roars in judgment (Revelation 5:5).

Anyone can talk about the weather, but no one can do a thing to change it. However, anyone who hears or reads the good news of Jesus’ offer of salvation can believe on the Lamb and avoid the wrath of the Lion forever. John 3:16 explains: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”