120 Over 80

Don’t ya just hate going to the doctor’s office?

I mean, sure, it’s necessary and all…but come on. No matter how good I feel about myself going in I always feel like an unhealthy blob when I leave.

I feel like I should take a moment here at the beginning to be sure to thank all of the incredible men and women who dedicate years of their lives to medical training. I am incredibly thankful for all that they do in order to help ensure the health and safety of others.

With that being said, I still don’t like Dr.’s appointments.

I have tried to nail down my reasoning for being apprehensive. It is the long wait? The florescent-headache inducing lights? The uncomfy bed-table thingy covered in the paper stuff that they make you sit on? The slightly judgmental look when you answer the “how many cups of coffee do you drink a day” question?

No. It’s not that stuff. The reason I don’t like going to the doctor is that every time I go I am reminded that I should be doing better, but I am not.

I am not as physically fit as I should be and that is no one’s fault but my own.

My doctor can tell me to cut back on the donuts, exercise more, and drink less coffee. But ultimately it is up to me, and only me, to make those decisions that will actually impact my health.

My health is my responsibility.

And guess what? The same goes for spiritual health.

Pastors, teachers, and mentors all are of tremendous value in pointing us the right way and helping us to grow in our relationships with God. It is so important that you have a person, who is more spiritually mature than you, to help guide and direct you. We need godly examples in our lives to help motivate, correct, rebuke, and instruct us.

But as the saying goes, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.”

Pastors can show you the good news of the Gospel, preach to you the truths of God’s Word, and exemplify Jesus’ love…but eventually, you must make your own choice.

You, not your mom, dad, spouse, pastor, teacher, friend. No, you choose whether or not you will live out a spiritually healthy life or not.

You choose what unhealthy things you will cut out of your life or not.

You choose whether you will exercise your faith or not. Whether you will stretch your discipleship and evangelism muscles or just allow them to atrophy.

But what will you choose to be?

Will you be spiritually obese? -Going to church on Sundays and reading your Bible every day, but yet never sharing with others what you have learned? Maybe you know a lot about Jesus and the faith, but you never actually do anything with that information.

Will you be spiritually malnourished? -Never cracking the Bible open for yourself? Maybe you try to do a lot for others, but you never actually allow your own soul to be nourished by the truth.

Or will you be spiritually fit? -Consuming truth both on Sundays as well as every other day and actually allowing that truth to transform you. Being both a hearer of the Word and a doer of the Word.

It’s time that we get serious about our own spiritual health.

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7

Priceless

How much is a single human life worth?

How much is the life of a stranger worth? How much is a life of a “bad guy” worth? How about the life of a celebrity? What about the life of someone from that country or region? How much are their lives worth? How much is your life worth?

They all have the same answer.

Priceless.

I’m sure we all have read many history books that describe the “dark days” of civilization. Back when human life was viewed as cheap, and atrocities were commonplace. Unfortunately, for millions of people worldwide, those dark days are not just history, but a present reality. The human race isn’t as sophisticated as many would like to think.

Today, many of us will be waking up, drinking our coffee, checking social media on our pocket screens, and going about our normal everyday lives.

At the same time…

Today, many others will be waking up in slavery. Today, many others will not be waking up at all. Today, many others will decide that their lives are worthless and will choose to end them. Today, many babies will die and never be allowed to see the light of day.

It is incredibly hard to think of these things. The rush of emotions is a combination of heartbreak, sorrow, bitterness, anger, numbness, despair, and outrage.

But then there is hope.

There is a God who listens when the oppressed cry out and He rescues them when they call upon His name. (Psalm 107:6)

There is a God who created each and every one of us in His image. A priceless work of art. (Gen. 1:26)

There is a God who left heaven in order to save the helpless and hopeless. (Romans 5:6)

There is a God who offers unrestricted hope. (1 Peter 1:3-6)

There is a God who offers life. (John 14:6)

So many people in our world have proclaimed with their words and actions that life is cheap, meaningless, and in many cases just plain worthless.

We must be louder. Our message that life is precious must be uncompromised and unrelenting. Because that is God’s message. Life is so precious to Him that Jesus laid His own life down in order to ensure that others could have it.

So, what do we do? What do we do with the fact that tens of millions of people are being trafficked every day? What do we do with the fact that over 20 million babies have been killed since January? What do we do with the fact that suicide seems to be such a normal thing that there are now T.V. shows that glorify it? What can we do?

We can love our neighbors. (Matthew 19:19, Luke 10:25-37)

We can speak up against injustices. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

We can be a reflection of our Savior. (Romans 12:2, Matthew 5:13-16)

We can pray. (1 John 5:14-15, Matthew 5:44, Philippians 4:6)

We can remind people that God has made them and sees them as priceless.

 

If you need help, or if anyone you know who needs help, please check out these websites below.

https://needhim.org/

http://pricelessmovement.com/

http://anthemofhope.org/

The Problem of Evil

Evil will, one day, be completely eliminated. This is the good news hope that we can share.

We live on a really amazing, beautiful, and an incredible planet. All of Creation sings and reflects the beauty and glory of its maker.

Nature is awesome. Except when it’s not. Natural disasters are responsible for an average of 97,954 deaths this decade.

People are awesome. Except when they are not. Intentional homicides are responsible for approximately 135,000 deaths per year worldwide.

People are still awesome. Except when they really, really are not. According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 45 to 50 Million abortions per year. (There is a horrifying year-to-date counter at http://www.worldometers.info/abortions/)

Open up any social media platform and you will quickly see that our world is filled to the brim of terrible things, events, and terrible people.

Why?

Why is there evil in our world?

This is a question that has been asked for centuries. If there is a good and perfect God who is in control, then why is there still evil in the world?

Apologists (those who work to give an answer for the faith based on 1 Peter 3:15-16) have been faced with this question many times. There are many good books, articles, and debates that clearly and comprehensively tackle the “Problem of Evil.” If you are looking for a more complete answer to the “Problem of Evil” there are many good books that you could check out. C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain is a good place to start.

But apologists aren’t the only ones who face, or have ever wondered about this question. Chances are that you have already been asked a question like this one. Or, perhaps, you yourself have pondered this question many times.

Well, what I offer you today certainly is not a comprehensive guide. However, I do hope that these few points can provide a bit of clarity as to why and how there is evil in the world. And, more importantly, how God views evil and what He is doing about it.

-What the Bible says-

-God did not create evil, He hates evil. There was no place for imperfection in His perfect creation. (Gen. 1:31)

-God gives mankind freedom to make their own choices. Often times mankind’s choices result in evil. (Gen. 2:16-17 & 3:1-7)

-When sin entered into the world it brought everything we consider evil, death, suffering, unfairness, sickness, pain, etc. This evil impact everything and everyone man, woman, even the earth creation itself. (Gen. 3:14-19, Romans 8:21-23)

-God always has and always will work to contain evil. It’s not as bad as it could be. (Gen. 3:21, Deut. 9:5, & Jonah 3:6-10)

-God has always had a plan to defeat evil once and for all. (Gen. 3:15, Mark 10:35, Romans 5:6-8, Colossians 1:21-22)

-Jesus hasn’t come back yet because He cares for and loves people. (2 Peter 3:9-10)

-God has been and will be successful in His plan to defeat evil. (2 Corinth. 5:17, Rev. 21:1-5)

-Important things to remember-

-God did not create robots, He created free thinking people that can choose either Him or something else.

-The world is a place full of evil and suffering as a result of those bad choices called sin.

-We ought to view sin and evil just as God does. We should despise it. (Proverbs 8:13)

-Jesus defeated sin, death, and evil when He died on the cross. Evil will be completely eliminated in the New Heaven and New Earth. This is the good news hope that we can share.