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.
Our world today is full of religious people, but they don't use that word to describe themselves. They use a different word: spiritual. They will describe themselves as very spiritual and then will add, "But I'm not into organized religion."
Where will you turn in a time of crisis? When tragedy hits? When disaster strikes? Will it be your favorite magazine? The morning newspaper? The evening news? You will need something to give you strength and direction in your time of need—and you cannot find a better resource than the Word of God.
Far too often it seems that Christians don't want to have any contact with unbelievers. Maybe they don't want to talk to them for fear of being polluted spiritually. But the church needs to infiltrate, not isolate. And to reach our culture, Christians must go where people are.
To be able to reach our culture, to be able to reach our unbelieving friends and family, to be able to reach someone who doesn't believe in Jesus, we must first have a genuine concern for them.
Just about everything I can think of in this world of ours has its limits: wealth, time, wisdom, opportunities, even physical life itself. Paul wrote: "For this world in its present form is passing away" (1 Corinthians 7:31). And John declared, "this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave" (1 John 2:17).
Whatever we might acquire in life, the novelty of it will diminish over time. Take a new car, for example. Don't you love the new-car smell? You look for excuses to drive it. You vow to never eat in your car. And then a month goes by and you're late for work. You have to eat, and sure enough, you have your first spill inside your car. Some time passes, and you get that first little dent in the door. Then the paint chips a little. And after a while, that new car is not so exciting.
God is wiser than I am, and what is immediately good actually may not be eternally good. And what is eternally good isn't always immediately good, but painful.
The word disciple means "learner." A disciple is a pupil, one who comes to be taught. But a disciple is not a passively interested listener. The idea of a disciple is that of someone who listens to one who possesses full knowledge, drinking in every word and marking every inflection of the voice, with an intense desire to apply what has been taught. A disciple really wants to learn.
The great preacher John Wesley was riding along on his horse one day when he realized that three days had passed, and he had not been persecuted in any way. Not a single brick had been thrown in his direction. He had not been hit by an egg. So he actually stopped his horse and said out loud, "Could it be that I am backslidden or I have sinned?" Slipping down from his horse, he knelt on one knee and asked the Lord to show him if there was anything wrong with him spiritually.
If your faith cannot make it through adversity, then, with all respect, I would have to say that it isn't real faith. The faith that cannot be tested is the faith that cannot be trusted. Real faith gets stronger through hardship, not weaker. It becomes more resilient; it doesn't fall apart.