What rules our world today?

Believe it or not it is death. Every day more than 100 million people die each day from diseases and other ailments as well as from accidents and preventable causes. From the World Economic Forum‘s website: Nearly 150,000 people die each day around the world, according to 2017 data. Of course this year’s data has the COVID-19 death toll included but it is safe to say that there are millions of people dying every year even without this pandemic. According to the data referenced above the number of people dying each year is nearly 5.5 million, regardless of their economic status or country of origin.

Yes, death comes to each of us at some point. Whether it is sooner or later is not up to us but God knows. Hope is only in your individual beliefs and if those beliefs don’t include belief in Jesus for your salvation then death will be an eye-opening experience for most people in the world. God’s Word says that we will all face Him for judgment of our souls after we die and none of us will escape death unless the Lord comes to take His church home before we die.

So…what is your idea about death? All of us have to face it one day. Some of us won’t be here next weekend. Some of us may not live through tomorrow. So have you made sure of your salvation yet? There is a judgment after you die so you can’t say that we “just go poof” because our spirit lives on into eternity. Whether that eternity includes family and friends in a life-giving setting is up to your choices in this life. Because it is up to your choice about accepting salvation or not, which will determine your eternal home.

Jesus’ death and resurrection paid the penalty for ALL of the sins in the world but your eternity is decided by your choice of whether you believe in Him for your salvation or not. It truly is a matter of belief or of unbelief for each of us which decides our future home in eternity. So which will you choose? Life with Jesus or eternal separation from Life? The choice is yours.

Why are people leaving?

In Luke 2 the angels tell the shepherds that the Person who was born in Bethlehem is the Savior, the Messiah. The first four books in the New Testament are called the Gospels. What is the gospel? Its definition is this: the teaching or revelation of Christ.: “it is the Church’s mission to preach the gospel”. synonyms: Christian teaching, Christ’s teaching, the life of Christ, the word of God, the good news, Christian doctrine, the New Testament

People are leaving the church in droves. Some are young and some are even preachers. Some are older, parents and grandparents even. What has happened? What is happening?

Is it because of how the church has treated people over the centuries? Are people today looking at the history of the “church” and not really seeing the message of Jesus reflected in the people who belong to the church? Actually…I think that both of these are true and it’s unfortunate for the church and for the people who see the church this way. But it’s not because of their view of the church it is because of the way that the church is seen in the world and in the media today. All of the bad parts are showing and they are being highlighted more and more. So much so that people can’t see the good which the church has done.

It’s kind of like a beautiful white shirt or a pair of pants that have been stained with blood and mud and dirt and oil and it seems that it will never really be clean again. The outline of the stains will still be there even if you use bleach on it. People have used the Bible to justify horrible things like slavery and subjugation and that has nothing to do with the message which Jesus taught. Just like the life of a man, it doesn’t matter how many good things he did in this life. If he slipped just once and did something bad, it will be that one mistake that will be remembered.

It is the same with governments or politicians and the church. One slip up or word, even if it was unintentional and not meant in the way it was received, will cloud the perception of those who hear it or have seen it. No amount of apologies or restitution will ever make things right again. This is the reason, in my opinion, that people in the past twenty years or so have turned away from the church and Christianity.

In Philippians 2, Paul begins with this: If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.

The church, meaning the people in the church, should exemplify this teaching in the world today. Not showing the hate which has been associated with some in the church but exemplifying the love which Jesus taught about God.

What is a life with Christ?

A life with Christ is not what most people think about when they think of Christians. Many people seem to think that being a Christian is a life of lack, one in which all of the fun things in this life are forbidden. God has given us a life of abundance but not one which we should live as the rest of the world around us lives. God calls us to be “in the world but not of the world“; Christians should live in this world but we are not to follow those living in the world. The world around us follows the ruler of this world, Satan, who deceives the whole world because that is his purpose. This is why we should keep our lives separate from those living in the world.

A life with Jesus the Christ is one which should mirror His life on Earth. We may not be called to be evangelists or healers or teachers or even preachers, but we are called to be “set apart” as His followers. If for no other reason than to be a beacon of light in a world of darkness. Sometimes our speech shows other that our progress in following Jesus still has a way to go and that is when people wonder about our conversion and whether it is real or not. God can come into your heart and change you so completely until your manner of life, your speech and your personality, is completely changed but you have to be willing to walk with Him to get to this point.

God doesn’t force us to change because love cannot be forced upon anyone. But the very idea that Jesus came to give His life so that you have a chance at being accepted by God into His family should humble you to the point of your asking Him to mold me and make me what You want me to be. Because it is only by becoming the person that God wants you to be and the person that He knows you can be so that you can be the most useful to Him. Why does He want us to be “holy or set apart” from the world around us? Because if our life isn’t much different from the world and those living in it, why would anyone be interested in becoming a Christian?

It is only because of the lives that are changed that people can even tell that there is a difference between a Christian and a Muslim or a Buddhist. If we walk and talk like they do or even like those who do not believe in any religion, then how will people know that we are different? Why would they want to know what makes us different? Yes, we can say and tell others that we believe in Jesus as our Savior but if our speech and our life doesn’t actually reflect that then how can they know? Will they actually believe that what you say about your Savior is true if you still talk and act as if you don’t know Him?

A life with Christ in it should be a life with love and compassion for others in it. It should also be a life with more of God’s Word in it than the words of the world around us. Seek His wisdom today to help you to see what may be missing in your life and ask Him to come in and clean out the old stuff and make your heart and life fresh and new and completely whole in Him.