Archive for July, 2011
Billy the Kid is still waiting for his pardon. The notorious teenage outlaw was promised amnesty by New Mexico Territorial Governor Lew Wallace back in 1879 in exchange for testimony against three men in a murder trial. Apparently, Wallace never kept his word.
In recent years, Governor Bill Richardson announced his intention to pardon Billy (whose real name was Henry McCarty; “Billy” came from his alias, William Bonney). However, Richardson decided against doing so on his last day in office, and Billy continues to wait for his pardon.
None of this matters to Billy, of course. He’s long past caring about whether the State of New Mexico considers him a fugitive or not. Politicians can say what they want, but young Billy’s fate was decided long ago. As the writer of the biblical book of Hebrews says “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
What about my pardon? I never killed anyone, as Billy the Kid is said to have done. I’ve done no time in prison nor ever been in trouble with the law. But I need a pardon, just as badly as Billy does.
The Bible says that everyone has sinned and needs God’s mercy. (Romans 3:23) Without God’s pardon, I’m no better off than Billy the Kid or any other villain who has lived on this earth. Fortunately, God doesn’t make me wait. The same passage that says that we’ve all sinned also says that Jesus paid the price for that sin, so that I don’t have to. (Romans 3:24)
If you don’t know how to receive the pardon God offers, read through the four steps you’ll find on the home page of this site, and you’ll learn that you don’t need a governor to declare you not guilty. God can do that for you today. No waiting involved.
I have the greatest remote control anywhere. It is amazing what it can do with my television. If I miss something, I can replay it until I catch it, and then jump back into real time. If I cannot watch a program when it is scheduled, I just record it and watch it at my leisure. If it is boring, I just fast forward right until I reach the parts I like. I can watch anything I want, any time I want, and any way I want. I am in complete control. So where is my remote control for life?
The trouble with life is that it is so unpredictable. It just happens. If I am not ready, it goes on anyway. Birthdays come, children grow up and leave home, cars break down, and teeth get cavities, whether I am ready or not. Even the exciting things of life can come and go without giving you time to get ready: a baby’s first step, a first kiss, a “take it or leave it” job offer. Sometimes the unexpected is not exciting, just painful: natural disaster, life threatening illness, or a child’s crisis. If I am going to handle the surprises of life, I need a way to be as prepared as I can be for the road ahead.
I need to understand what is important in life, I need to know what my purpose is for living, and I need to know how to make sense of what happens when life interrupts my living. Something needs to make sense out of all this. So here is what works for me. I believe God is in control of my life, I believe he has a purpose for me during my life, and I believe I will live forever because of his love for me.
So the unexpected curves and events of life make sense to me; not that I understand everything that happens, but because I trust in the one who does understand everything that happens. And frankly, if I didn’t believe someone bigger than me was in charge, I am not sure I could take it. However, I know I am part of a bigger plan and I have a purpose within that plan.
You too can know that your life makes sense because it has purpose. Let me help you find it.
I’ll confess it now: I don’t like to read poetry. When we had to read poetry in school, it was the rare poet who appealed to me. One that did, however, was Robert Burns. One of his poems that stands out in my mind is one called “To A Louse,” with the subtitle “On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church.” The poem addresses a louse which is crawling around on the head of a young lady.
The real point of the poem, however, is the vanity of the young lady. She, noticing the looks and pointing directed her way, vainly thinks they are admiring her and begins to toss her hair. The last stanza, in modern English (Burns wrote in Scottish), says:
O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!
It’s a brilliant thought, and I could certainly do worse than write on this idea. Yet my thoughts are turned a different direction. I can’t help but think how many people are like this poet. They go to a church service and spend their time focused on the people around them. How many times do you hear people say, “I’m not interested in being part of a church… they’re all a bunch of hypocrites”?
I think we need to raise our vision. We need to accept that churches are made up of humans, with all their flaws. When we become part of a group of believers, we are seeking more than human interaction; we are admitting to a belief in something above and beyond those people. Attending a church service should be more than seeing and being seen; our focus should be on the One who is unseen.
If you think that church is full of vain and shallow people, like the young lady in this poem, let me invite you to look again. Look beyond the people. Church isn’t mainly about us; it’s about the God that calls us together.
If you haven’t found a church home, I’d like to help you do so. I’m in contact with Christians around the world; I’d love to connect you with some of them. Just fill out the form under the Contact tab at the top of the page. Hope to hear from you!
It was a chanced exchange that happens when you sit next to someone on an airplane. “What does Herald of Truth do?” she asked. I smiled and gave my standard reply, “we tell people about Jesus.”
Then almost rudely she queried, “Why?” As I looked at her face, I realized she didn’t understand the motive and I started to formulate an answer that should have been obvious to her as well as to me, but I had rarely framed a response. “It’s about souls to Heaven. It’s all about heaven. We want people to get to heaven,” I finally affirmed.
“Oh,” she countered and her book came out, signaling that our conversation had ended.
The book of I John talks about: Doing what God wants you to do, believing in Jesus, confessing sins, loving your brothers by actually do things in addition to saying them and then in chapter 5, verse 13, he writes:
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
In his gospel, John says God loved the world so much that He gave Jesus so we can believe in Him and have everlasting life. John 3:16-17:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
It’s All about Heaven!! Our mission, obligation and responsibility is to tell the remaining 2/3 of the world’s population (4.4 Billion) about Jesus, so that those who do what God commands will go to Heaven.
For you, is going to Heaven important?
How do YOU get to Heaven? And what are you going to do about it?