Have you ever thought, If someone were raised from the dead, I know people would believe? Or, If I could do a miracle for my friends, I know they would believe?
In Mark's gospel, Jesus made a fascinating statement that some have misunderstood. Speaking of believers, He said, "They will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover" (Mark 16:18). Some, of course, have misunderstood this and have held snake-handling services. But that is not trusting the Lord; it is testing the Lord.
Peter's denial of Jesus did not happen over a period of seconds or minutes, but over a period of hours. An hour passed from the time the first person said, "You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean," to the time Peter denied his Lord for the second time. He had ample opportunity to hightail it out of there, but for some reason he hung around.
Nehemiah was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes of Babylon, which meant that he was in close proximity to the king at all times. A cupbearer would drink what the king was about to drink. If it was poisonous, then that was the end of his job—and his life for that matter. But the cupbearer was more than someone who simply tasted what the king drank. He often would become an advisor to the king, someone who influenced him. It was a very prestigious position in the palace. A cupbearer would have lived in affluence and influence.
Have you ever eaten something that was sweet going down but made you sick later? Let me restate the question: Have you ever eaten eight Krispy Kreme doughnuts in one sitting? I have. I got a little carried away. They were great going down. But less than ten minutes later, I was asking, What have I done?
Pastor Chuck Smith once told a story about a Papua New Guinea tribe that had a widespread birth defect. Everyone had one leg shorter than the other. Interestingly, the idol they worshipped also had one leg shorter than the other. They had created a god in their own image.
Someone once asked the great British preacher C.H. Spurgeon if he could put into a few words his Christian faith. "Yes," he replied, "I can give it to you in four words: Jesus died for me."
Never underestimate the power of prayer. When you are praying according to God's will, your prayer is unstoppable. And how do we know what God's will is? By careful study of Scripture.
When it comes to God's judgment, sometimes people will say they believe in a God who is not judgmental. That sounds good, but here is what they are really saying: "I believe in a God who doesn't care about right and wrong." To put it more bluntly, they are saying they believe in a God they just made up in their heads.
Why must God judge people? Answer: because He is righteous and holy. We see this repeated again and again in Scripture. In Revelation 4:8, we read about angelic beings coming before the Lord, not resting day or night, and repeating over and over again, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come."
When the topic of God's judgment comes up, some people would say, "It's about time!" They have no problem whatsoever with seeing God's wrath fall upon a world that has rejected Him and His Word.
Workers laid the foundation for one of Italy's most famous structures in 1173, a tower designed to stand next to a cathedral. During construction, however, they discovered the soil was softer than previously thought, and the tower began to sink.
I think we could all agree that the United States needs a spiritual awakening. We can't bring a revival about, but we can pray for one. And God tells us, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Jonah was an Israelite who was given a job to do, but he didn't want to do it. He was called to go and preach the gospel in Nineveh, which was one of the most wicked cities on earth. The Ninevites were the enemies of Israel. The prophets had told Israel that one day the Assyrians would overtake them, and Nineveh was the capital of Assyria.
If you are born once, you will die twice. If you are born twice, you will die once. By "born once," I mean the physical birth. By "born twice," I mean a physical birth as well as a spiritual birth in which you are born again, spiritually putting your faith in Christ.
If I decided how my day were to go, I would never write in "crisis." I would never write, "Get sick" here or "Have my tire go flat" there, or "Have this unexpected disaster take place." I would just write in all the good stuff. I would plan for everything to go my way. There would be no traffic on the freeways. It would always be green lights and blue skies.
The last thing God wants is for anyone to go to hell. That is why Jesus spoke of it in detail. That is why He warned us about it. And that is why He did everything He could do so that we would not have to be separated from Him for all eternity. Jesus Christ experienced hell on earth so that we would not have to experience it for eternity.
Eighty-four percent of Americans believe in some kind of afterlife, and eighty-two percent believe in heaven. Seventy percent believe in hell. Whether or not you believe in it, it is still there.
I have found as I travel that some people are more open to the gospel than others. I never know how it is going to play out, so I just give out the Word of God and invite people to come to Christ. And people will react in different ways.
The cross was the goal of Jesus from the very beginning. His birth was so there would be His death. The incarnation was for our atonement. He was born to die so that we might live. And when He had accomplished the purpose He had come to fulfill, He summed it up with a single word: "finished."
Easter is not about brightly colored eggs, wearing pastels, or enjoying a big meal, although it could include these. Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When I was a kid, I had all kinds of ribbons on my walls for races I had run, but not one of them was blue. Not one of them had the words "first place." They were all purple. Purple represented "honorable mention." An honorable mention is not first, second, third, or fourth place. It means "also ran." In other words, "We don't want him to feel bad, so we'll give him a purple ribbon."
When the apostle Paul proclaimed the gospel to the men of Athens, he used a word that we rarely hear today: repent. He said, "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:30–31, emphasis added).
Every thinking person gets around to asking the questions "Where did I come from?", "Why am I here?", and "Where am I going?" Science attempts to answer the first question, philosophy seeks to answer the second one, and Jesus has the answer to all three.