The Dangers of Loving the World, Part 1 (Onward Christian Soldier #85)

Onward Christian Soldiers
Onward Christian Soldiers

Our key Bible passage today is 1 John 2:15: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Our lesson today is titled “The Dangers of Loving the World, Part 1”

Every Christian is called to spiritual warfare! The Bible speaks of three terrible enemies that war against the Christian—the flesh, the world, and the devil. We have already considered the flesh, so in this lesson, we will study about the enemy called “the world.”

The Bible uses the word “world” in three different ways. First, it can refer to THE EARTH or the cosmos which God created. Next, it can refer to PEOPLE as in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world…” A third use is found in I John 2:15, where the child of God is warned, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” Continue reading “The Dangers of Loving the World, Part 1 (Onward Christian Soldier #85)”

Have You Been Broken? Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #26)

Pilgrim's Progress
Pilgrim’s Progress

PART A


PART B


TEXT: 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

As we continue our series on Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible, allow me to read from the story of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan as a prelude to our topic for today.

Now, in this Valley of Humiliation, poor Christian was hard put to it; for he had gone but a little way, before he espied a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him; his name is Apollyon. Then did Christian begin to be afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back or to stand his ground. But he considered again that he had no armor for his back; and therefore thought that to turn the back to him might give him the greater advantage with ease to pierce him with his darts.

Therefore he resolved to venture and stand his ground; for, thought he, had I no more in mine eye than the saving of my life, it would be the best way to stand.

So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the monster was hideous to behold; he was clothed with scales, like a fish, (and they are his pride,) he had wings like a dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke, and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to question with him.

Last time we saw Christian, he was on his way into the Valley of Humiliation. And, in that valley, he met the great enemy of every believer — the devil, here given one of his many names, Apollyon. Christian’s first test was whether or not he would turn and run or face his foe. And that provides a great starting point for our message today.

Last week, we learned that one of the reasons why we need to be humbled and broken is so that we will be spiritually vigilant so that we will not fall into temptation.

Another reason why we need to be broken and humble is so that we will grow stronger in our Christian faith by applying what we have learned and using the tools that we have been given. Our passage states, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Now, the word “temptation” involves not only an invitation to sin, which we dealt with last week, but a test or a trial. Continue reading “Have You Been Broken? Part 2 (Pilgrim’s Progress According to the Bible #26)”

GLMX #228: “Hands Up, I Surrender All”

hands-up2

You’ve heard the chant of protesters across America — “hands up, don’t shoot!” For them, that phrase is a statement of dissatisfaction with what they perceive as injustice. But, people put their hands in the air for numerous reasons. People raise their hands in a celebratory gesture at football games or concerts. Some raise their hands in the air as an act of worship or praise in church. This past week, we saw civilians who had been held hostage by a gunman in a cafe in Sydney, Australia, raise their hands in the air as they escaped to indicate to police officers that they were not a threat.

Perhaps you have thrown your hands in the air in frustration. Jewish rabbis raise their hands when giving the benediction. “Jazz hands” are often used while dancing. Some people raise their hands with palms facing inward when they are trying to express that they don’t understand something. In France, you can raise your arm and rotate your hand back and forth to let someone know that you are unhappy with their driving. In Germany, people often clasp their hands together and raise them above their heads to express gratitude. In Russia and former Soviet countries, it is customary to raise your hand in a fist above your head and shake it to express anger. And, of course, we all know that you can raise your hand and wave it in order to say “hello” or “goodbye.”

It’s clear that what we do with our hands can express many messages. But, perhaps, the most important thing we can express by raising our hands is surrender — not only surrender to police and other human authorities, but to God. The writers of the Bible tell us that they raised their hands to demonstrate that they were surrendering to God’s will, that they were leaning on Him, and that they were trusting in Him. Continue reading “GLMX #228: “Hands Up, I Surrender All””

“With Talent On Loan from God…” — A Thanksgiving Celebration

[audio https://www.buzzsprout.com/3192/224334-with-talent-on-loan-from-god-a-thanksgiving-celebration.mp3]

On this Thanksgiving, I thank God for the talents and gifts that He has bestowed upon my family and me and that is no doubt the reason why I love to see people do what they are truly talented and gifted by God to do. It is a blessing to see singers, musicians, actors, actresses, athletes in all sports, writers, speakers, business people, doctors, cooks, auto mechanics, lawyers, and leaders of all types seemingly without effort and almost flawlessly doing what they were given by God the talents and the gifts to do.

Their talents (or gifts) come from God, and He has blessed the world with an abundance of and an array of talents. Every time we see these talents on display, we ought to be thankful to God for them and for the way in which many people use them to benefit and bless society. Many years ago, I heard a popular secular radio talk show host begin his radio broadcasts with the phrase ‘with talent on loan from God…’ Even though I have not listened to him in years, that phrase stuck with me. It was good for him to know that whatever talents and gifts he has they came from God, and it is good for all of us to know that, and we all should give God thanks.

God is the source of each of the gifts and talents that people have received. First Peter 4:10-11 says, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.” These verses tell us that every person has received talents from God and that it is their responsibility to use those talents for the good of others. Every time someone uses the talents God has given them, they bring glory to their Creator, and we should offer thanksgiving to God for the talents that He gives to us to use for His glory, praise, and honor.

Many people do not hesitate to honor God as the source of their great talent, and they seek to honor and glorify God by the use of their talents. Many have also spoken of their faith in God and in Jesus Christ as the foundation of their success in life. Listen to these words from some people whom you might recognize.

Oscar-award winning actor, Matthew McConaughey, said, “First off I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to. He’s graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late (British actor) Charlie Laughton, who said, ‘When you got God you got a friend…’”

Super-bowl winning quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson, “First of all, God is so good. He brought me here a mighty long way. My dad used to always tell me, ‘Russ, why not you?’ And what that meant was believe in yourself, believe in the talent God has given you even though you are 5 foot 11, and you can go a long way.”

NBA star, Kevin Durant, said, “When I’m talking in front of people or when people tell me I’m great, I remind myself that I can always be better. I’ve just got to be thankful to the Lord for the gifts He’s given me. My gift back to Him is to always be humble and to work as hard as I can.”

Peyton Manning, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, said, “At age 13, I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since… My faith doesn’t make me perfect, it makes me forgiven, and provides me the assurance I once looked for. I’ve been blessed [to] have so little go wrong in my life, and [have been] given so much.”

Political analyst and columnist, Kirsten Powers, said, “I don’t really feel like I had any courage when I became a Christian, I just gave in. I wasn’t courageous; I didn’t have any choice. I kept trying to not believe but I just couldn’t avoid [accepting Christ]. If I could have avoided it, I would have. There is nothing convenient about it in my life or in the world I live in. It’s not like living in the South where everybody is a Christian. I live in a world where nobody is a believer. But God pursued me.”

Olympic gold medalist, Allyson Felix, said, “My faith is the reason I run – it calms my heart and makes everything feel like a lift. My speed is definitely a gift from [God], and I run for His glory. ”

Truett Cathy, the late, great businessman and founder of Chick-fil-A, said, the main purpose of his business is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us; and, to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.”

Odell Beckham, Jr., of the New York Giants, who recently made what many are calling the greatest catch in NFL history, is also a believer. On the night of the now famous catch, he gave God the glory by saying, “God gave me this talent.” The day after making his amazing catch, he said, “I wanna thank God for everything he’s doing in my life.” He also said, “God is good. That’s an understatement. He’s always on time, maybe not when you want him to be but always when the time is right! God puts people and obstacles in our lives not for us to fail, but to bless us in mysterious ways that our own understanding can’t imagine… If you don’t know God, my advice? Get to know him! And If you do know God, get closer to Him!”

Madison Bumgarner, the pitcher for the World Series-winning San Francisco Giants, said, “If it weren’t for my faith, there is no way I would be where I am at today. My faith is a really big part of my career and my life… The biggest thing I want people to know about me is that I am a believer, I’m a Christian, not just that I’m a baseball player or any of the other stuff I like to do… Jesus Christ means everything to me. He is my Saviour and I live for Him. I don’t want to live for myself; I want to live for Him.”

Actress and author, Candace Cameron Bure, said, “God has changed me in ways that words can’t describe. He has transformed the way I think and live my life. Things that were once important to me are no longer. I can’t help but share the Good News with everyone! I know there is nothing more important. I know that without Christ, the eternal consequences are devastating. I urge you to surrender your whole life to Jesus, turn from your sin and trust in Him with all your heart.”

Denzel Washington said, “I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit. I know it’s real… I’ve always understood why I’ve been blessed to be put in this situation [acting and directing]. And I’m more than happy to take advantage of it and to preach, if you will, about what God has done in my life.”

American musician, Sheila E., said, “[After a period of difficulty in my life] I decided, ‘You know what, Lord? If you just give me another chance, I’ll do whatever you want me to do.’ I got the Bible and I started reading and I kept it on my chest. I slept with it and never took it out of my hand for weeks.”

Bobby Bowden, the second-winningest coach in college football, said, “If you love [God] and serve Him and try to be loyal to Him and obedient to Him, He’s not going to let you fail. That’s the thing that has happened to me.”

Albert Pujols (Pu-holz) of the St. Louis Cardinals said, “My life’s goal is to bring glory to Jesus. My life is not mostly dedicated to the Lord, it is 100% committed to Jesus Christ and His will. God has given me the ability to succeed in the game of baseball. But baseball is not the end; baseball is the means by which my wife and I glorify God. Baseball is simply my platform to elevate Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.”

Country singing star, Carrie Underwood said, “I grew up going to church camp and reading my Bible and having different faith books and movies in my life…My songs are sometimes focused on God, Jesus and faith, and that is a part of my “Bible Beltness,” where such themes are popular. I was not the first, nor will I be the last, to sing about God.”

Tim Howard, the U.S. soccer goalkeeper, who also has Tourette’s syndrome said, “Living with Tourette’s is not easy. But God has blessed me with the gift of athleticism as well. He has done some powerful things in my life through the combination of these two gifts. He also has shown me ways to use my position as a professional athlete to encourage others with Tourette’s syndrome. Today, I am blessed to be living a dream. And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace. That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that’s the kind of peace Christ gives. It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding. You can experience this same sense of love and peace, too. All you have to do is ask for it.”

Award-winning actor and director, Blair Underwood, said, “I am a Christian. I believe God has a plan. I believe he is not going to leave us hanging. As a man, in our society, I don’t have all the answers. Being able to turn matters over to a higher power works for me.”

Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”

Michelle Williams, one third of the popular group, Destiny’s Child, said, “[Despite some criticism that I have received for doing both secular and Gospel music,] I believe that I am doing my part to be a witness for Jesus Christ. Some people will do gospel when their career fails, but I chose to do it at the height of the popularity of Destiny’s Child. And I didn’t want to do it because it was a fad. I wanted to do it because it’s in me. It’s in my heart. God places people in different parts (areas) for different reasons. We know Jesus is coming back soon and I am doing my part to make sure that people know about him as well.”

Famed neurosurgeon, Ben Carson, said, “If your priority is to look good in front of people, your life will take a different direction than if your priority is to use the talents that God has given you to make a positive difference in the world. I believe God has a specific purpose for me – and for every other person to whom he gives the gift of life. If there is a God and you believe in him, you know the best is yet to come. I always pray before any operation. I think God helps me know what to do….We’ll always be safe in Jesus Christ if we place our faith in the Lord.

Oprah Winfrey said, “I am a Christian. That is my faith. I’m not asking you to be a Christian. If you want to be one I can show you how. But it is not required. I have respect for all faiths… My favorite Bible verse, because I am a Christian, is Acts 17:28. It says, ‘In God I live, and move, and have my being.’ And you want to know why I’m so successful? Because I knew that at four-years-old, I wouldn’t be who I am today without that.”

I could go on with the testimonies of many other people who have become successful through the use of their God-given gifts and talents. But, as we close this celebration of the talents that God has given, I want to let you know that you, too, have talents from God, and you can be a success through the talents that He has given you.

Pastor Rick Warren said, “Whether you are a musician or an accountant, a teacher or a cook, God gave you those abilities to serve others. You are a manager of the gifts God has given to you. They may be great or small in your eyes, but they matter to God. When God made you, He made an investment in you, and He expects a return on that investment.”

I tell people all the time, God did not put you here to do nothing. God wants you to use the talents and gifts He has given you for His glory and for the benefit of others. And when He uses you, you ought to give God thanks.

The main way you can begin to give God a return on His investment in you is to give your heart and life to Him today. You see, not only, did God invest in you by giving you unique talents and abilities, but He made a major investment in You when He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross so that you would not have to suffer eternal punishment for your sins. Allow me to explain: No matter how talented and gifted you are, and no matter how much you may have accomplished in life, you are still a sinner just like everyone else, and if you do not accept God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, then you will spend eternity in hell.

Allow me to show you how you can accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour today.

1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.

2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “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.”

6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door“. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you! We love you! May God bless you! And Happy Thanksgiving!

What You Need to Know About Satan, Part 1 (Onward Christian Soldiers #56)

Onward Christian Soldiers
Onward Christian Soldiers

Isaiah 14:13-14: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

The Bible tells us that, before the creation of Adam and Eve, there was in the universe a being who had rebelled against God, his Creator. This being is called Satan or the Devil. Satan is not just an influence for evil. He is not a red demon with a pitchfork as he is often pictured. He is a very real being.

Where did Satan come from?

There are two main passages in the Bible which tell us of the original position of Satan and how he became the enemy of God. These passages are Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.

From the Bible, we learn that Satan was originally created as an angel named Lucifer. The word “angel” means “messenger. ” All angels were created by God. The Bible says in Colossians 1:16, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”

Though angels are beautiful and powerful creatures, they are not to be worshipped for they are only created beings. Only God, the Creator, is to be worshipped.

The Bible describes Lucifer in this manner in Ezekiel 28:12: “Thou sealest up the sum [of perfection], full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.”

Since Lucifer was perfect in beauty, he was as beautiful as it was possible for a creature to be. Since he was filled with wisdom he was as wise as a creature of God could be. Of all the angels in Heaven, Lucifer was the wisest, the most beautiful, and the most powerful.

Jen Lilley: ‘I Would Rather Not be an Actor and Be in God’s Will; I Can’t Deny the Power of Jesus Christ’ (Gospel Light Minute #168)

Jen Lilley
Jen Lilley

She is an actress best known for her TV roles including her portrayal of Maxie Jones on the ABC soap opera “General Hospital” from 2011 to 2012. In 2013, she joined the cast of “Days of Our Lives” as Theresa Donovan, and starred in “The Book of Esther” portraying the biblical character. Her other film and television credits include “Revelation Road,” “Crossing Streets,” “Criminal Minds,” and “iCarly” among others.

In an interview with the Christian Post, she spoke about leaving “General Hospital” and how her faith in God guides her to make the right decisions. About leaving General Hospital, she said, “It was definitely a really scary and challenging experience…[However] At the end of the day we know that our battle is not against flesh and blood. You have to hold your head high and have grace…. I’m actually really excited to be off of ‘General Hospital’ because I know God orders my steps, and this only means He has a new adventure for me. I pursue God on a daily basis, I’m not stepping into oblivion.

On turning down a role in a major motion picture, she said, “I remember reading the script and being like, ‘I can’t do this as a Christian for a lot of reasons. One being that it is a horror movie. I like psychological thrillers but when it’s demonic, there’s no uplifting message. The first person (in the script) to die was a child. I’m a huge advocate of children’s rights. They kept saying God is dead, God doesn’t exist. I would rather not be an actor and be in God’s will.”

As a child, she witnessed her mother pray for Jesus to heal her brother from a debilitating disease while he was still in her womb. Though he was delivered still-born and had stopped breathing for a few minutes, she maintains that her mother’s prayers and laying hands on him brought him back to life. She said, “Regardless of whether I can prove it, I can’t deny the power of Jesus Christ. I can’t deny he raised my brother from the dead. I can’t deny when you say things in the name of Jesus, things happen.”

Her name is Jen Lilley. Continue reading “Jen Lilley: ‘I Would Rather Not be an Actor and Be in God’s Will; I Can’t Deny the Power of Jesus Christ’ (Gospel Light Minute #168)”

Major League Baseball Pitcher, Billy Wagner: Sold-Out to God (Gospel Light Minute #166)

Billy Wagner
Billy Wagner

He is a former major league baseball relief pitcher. Nicknamed “Billy the Kid”, he pitched for the Houston Astros from 1995 to 2003, the Philadelphia Phillies from 2004 to 2005, the New York Mets from 2006 to 2009, the Boston Red Sox in 2009, and the Atlanta Braves in 2010. He is one of the few relief pitchers with a total of 400 saves in his career. In 2012, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Seven times he was selected to All-Star teams, and in 2003, he pitched a combined no-hitter.

Though he was born right-handed, after breaking his right arm twice in accidents as a child, he taught himself to throw baseballs using his left arm. Raised in his grandparent’s Christian home, he accepted Jesus Christ into his life at age 12. In an interview with CBN, he said, “I was saved when I was, I believe I was 12 years old. My grandparents had that kind of work ethic and religion and faith that kinda kept me on track.”

When he began playing with his left arm, he said, “God has given me a left arm that has given me a pedestal to be someone that can help [people] better themselves in the faith. Being a Christian I’ve been able to sit there and say [that] this is a learning experience. I said some things when I was out on the mound, I acted in a way when I was out on the mound that is not what God had wanted, but being able to be forgiven and to repent shows that that is what being a Christian is all about.”

“Baseball is just fantasy. It’s a short-lived life, and I have a long life with God. That’s most important, and if I take that for granted, everything that He has graced me with, He can take away. God wants you to be competitive for Him too, so being competitive is the easy part. It’s the balance of knowing who you are and what you want to be. Once I realized as an athlete what was important and what wasn’t, then, I think you’re able to sell out to God.”

He went on to say, “I live a very blessed and graced life with what He’s blessed me to have. So when I think of my career I think solely of what God has given me and blessed me with, and know that [while I’m retired now] I get to go home and live a second chapter that is blessed. My biggest goal and what I want people to see in me is that I love the Lord and He’s the answer. He’s the way, and He’s the rock. All you have to do is lean on Him and know you don’t have to worry. He’s gonna give you that peace.”

His name is Billy Wagner. Continue reading “Major League Baseball Pitcher, Billy Wagner: Sold-Out to God (Gospel Light Minute #166)”

GLMX #215: How Louis Zamperini Found his Greatest Peace and Satisfaction

Louis Zamperini
Louis Zamperini

One of America’s greatest heroes is a man named Louis Zamperini. He was an Olympic distance runner, a World War II prisoner of war survivor, and an inspirational speaker. He died this past year on July 2nd at the age of 97. His life story has been told in a new film titled Unbroken, which was directed by Angelina Jolie and is set to be released in December 2014.

While the movie focuses on Louis’ life as an Olympic track star, a soldier, and a prisoner of war, it does not focus on a very important part of Louis’ life — how he came to believe in Jesus Christ as his Savior and how he found peace and satisfaction in his life. Back in 2003, Louis told his story on CBN.

As the son of Italian immigrants, he said he was constantly teased in school, and his “whole life became a life of getting even.” He was quite a trouble-maker as a young man — stealing beer, cheating in school, and constantly getting into fights. One day, his brother, who was the chief of police, and his school’s principal got together and convinced Louis to take up track, and that is how he became a world famous distance runner.

In 1941, Louis enlisted in the U.S. Army and was shortly thereafter sent to the Pacific theater during World War II. During a search-and-rescue mission, Louis and his fellow crew members crashed into the ocean. After 27 days on a lifeboat at sea, they were attacked by a Japanese plane. Miraculously, none of the three men was hit by a single bullet. On day 47, the three survivors landed on the Marshall Islands and were captured by Japanese forces. Louis was moved around to several prisoner-of-war camps until the end of the war when he came home to a hero’s welcome.

Back in the United States, Louis fell in love with Cynthia Applewhite and proposed to her only ten days after their first meeting. They married, and the couple had a little girl. However, Louis started having nightmares about his time as a prisoner of the Japanese. He often woke up thinking he was strangling one of the prison camp captains who was especially cruel to him. One night, he nearly strangled his wife in his sleep. During this time, he had also begun drinking heavily again.

One day, someone talked Louis’ wife, Cynthia, into going to hear evangelist Billy Graham. Cynthia went to the event and gave her life to Jesus Christ. However, when she came home to share the good news with her husband, he refused to attend a meeting with her.

Louis admitted that with his drinking and his mental anguish, his wife had every right to divorce him. However, she told him, “Because of my conversion, I’m not gonna get a divorce.” Louis was happy about that and eventually decided to go to a Billy Graham meeting with his wife.

Louis said Billy Graham “talked about one person only, the person of Jesus Christ, for 30 minutes. He read the Scriptures. ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ ‘The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Well, I knew I was a sinner but I didn’t like the idea of someone else reminding me. If anyone had ever asked me if I believed that Christ was the Son of God, I would have said yes. My whole life I believed it, but [in] the heart [I didn’t]. I knew somehow if I’d believed it in my heart, my life would have been different. So I knew I didn’t possess the Savior but I still didn’t want to do it. I think the best description to that is the Bible says that men prefer darkness rather than light. Here I was preferring my rotten life to the light. Then I started having a flashback to the life raft and prison camp, all those thousands and thousands of prayers — ‘God spare my life through the war, and I’ll seek You and serve You.’ I kept thinking I came back from the war alive, and I never even thought about those prayers. I never tried to keep one prayer.”

That night, Louis gave his life to Christ. He said, “I got off my knees and somehow I knew I was through getting drunk. I knew it. I also knew that I forgave all my guards. I think proof of that is I had nightmares every night about [them] since the war. The night I made my decision for Christ, I haven’t had a nightmare since — 1949 till now! That is some kind of a miracle.”

Louis eventually went back to Japan and spoke with many of his former captors. Some of them even gave their lives to Christ as well. Louis said, “I believe with all of my heart that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and who are called according to His purpose. Christ told us in the Scripture, ‘I am the way, I am the truth, and I am the life.’ Christ is the way to God. People are always seeking truth; the truth is Christ, and He’s the life. I think our eternal life starts now by faith in Jesus Christ. That is the strength we live by, and death no longer has a sting…not to the Christian.”

Dear friend, Louis Zamperini’s story is indeed an inspirational one. But, I want you to notice that Louis did not find complete peace or satisfaction through his great accomplishments as a distance runner or as a war hero. He found his greatest peace and satisfaction when he gave his life to Jesus Christ. Louis is not alone in that experience. Many accomplished and successful people have stated that their greatest satisfaction comes from knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior and being loved unconditionally by God.

You can have the same peace and satisfaction in your heart and life today if you will simply do as Louis Zam-pe-ri-ni did and give your life to Jesus Christ. God wants to have a relationship with you. He wants to fill the empty place in your heart that you have sought so long to fill. He can do this today if you accept His Son, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Saviour. When you become a follower of Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that Christ comes to live inside of us. With Christ living inside of you, you will have the peace, love, joy, happiness, and fulfillment that you desire. On top of that, you will have eternal life, and you will go to Heaven to be with God after you die.

Jesus Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Are you willing to make the simple decision to trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour today? The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

The Bible also tells us in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you want to be saved right now, you can pray a short prayer to let God know that you are making this all-important decision. Just repeat after me and mean it from your heart.

Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today and forever so that I can have your peace and assurance about my life today and my eternal future. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.”

Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!

MUSICAL SELECTION: “Broken” by Lecrae (ft. Kari Jobe)

The Judgments of the Bible (Part 2)

gods-judgment

TEXT: Matthew 25:31-33, Jude 6, Revelation 21:11-15

So far, we have looked at four of the judgments spoken of in the Bible: The first is the judgment of the world’s sin through the outpouring of God’s wrath on Jesus Christ. The second is the era of self-judgment which goes on during the church age. During this era, God gives Christians and non-Christians the time to correct themselves and do what is right as it pertains to their lifestyle and accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. Then comes the judgment seat of Christ, which we talked about during our extensive series, the Rewards After the Rapture, when Christians will receive rewards for the work they do for Christ. Finally, we looked at the judgment of the Jews where Christ will separate those who choose to believe in Him as their Savior and Messiah from those who don’t.

Today, we are going to look at the remaining three judgments spoken of in the Bible, however in the near future, by the grace of God I will deal with one these judgments separately and more fully and that is the Great White Throne judgment but for right now let’s look at the next 3 judgments:

1. The judgment of the Gentiles. Just as God judged the Jews based on their acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ, He will also judge the Gentiles. The Bible tells us that when Jesus returns, He will “sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” This judgment is sometimes called the judgment of the nations.

2. The judgment of Satan and his demons. Jude 1:6 tells us, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” This judgment takes place at the end of the millennial kingdom when Satan is loosed from his prison and allowed to roam the Earth and deceive people for the last time in his attempt to get them to rise up against the rule of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem.

3. The judgment of all unbelievers. This is the judgment known as the Great White Throne judgment. Revelation 20 tells us that at this judgment “the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

What does our review of these judgments teach us? Well, we are shown that God is a just God — a fair and righteous God. While it may often seem that evil people get away with doing evil things, and while it may seem that the devil has free reign on the Earth to do as he pleases, the Bible makes it clear that in a series of judgments, God will ensure that everyone who has ever lived will receive just retribution for their actions — “vengeance is mine, I will repay.”

Tasha Smith: From Atheism to ‘Challenging God’ to Finally Understanding God’s Love (Gospel Light Minute #146)

Tasha Smith
Tasha Smith

She is an actress who has appeared in numerous movies and plays. She is well-known for her role as Angela Williams in the Tyler Perry films “Why Did I Get Married?” and “Why Did I Get Married Too?” She also stars as Angela on the OWN comedy-drama television series Tyler Perry’s “For Better or Worse”. She launched an organic perfume line titled “US” with her husband in 2011. And she coaches many aspiring actors through her acting workshop. She has appeared on America’s Next Top Model as an acting coach, helping the models with different scenes. Her TV credits include: “The Parkers”, “Girlfriends”, “All of Us” and “The Game”. Her other film credits include “Miles from Home”, “Couples Retreat”, “Something Like a Business”, and “Jumping the Broom”.

In an interview with EURweb.com, she discussed her conversion from atheism to Christianity. She said, “When I was 25 I had an encounter with God because my father had gotten sick. I had a time where I really challenged God, like, if you’re really God you’ll show me such-and-such’. I was going through this whole thing where I questioned whether God was real or not. I really needed God to be real because I was feeling so depressed and so unhappy, I felt like if there isn’t a God [then] I have no reason to live. It was just a bad time in my life and God really showed up and met me where I was.”

In an interview with Da Gospel Truth, she said of her faith, “There was definitely a time where I did not believe in the Lord. I needed to understand the love of God. You hear so many people always telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, telling you you’re a sinner, telling you how bad you are, all those things about yourself. I was lacking the understanding of the love of God. I didn’t know there was a God that loved me. I think that it’s the love of God that brings man into repentance. Once you embrace that love and have that fellowship with God, all those things that you shouldn’t be doing will go away. He said no flesh is going to glory in His presence. Once we spend time in the presence of God and fellowship with him, all that stuff that we thought was so great, that we idolized, that we made so big in our lives become so small and insignificant in the presence of God. I strongly encourage people to fellowship with God and show them in the Word how much He loves them.”

When asked how she stays motivated in her work, she replied, “I know God has a purpose for my life. I know that every opportunity I have in my life, whether good or bad, is another journey that I’m going to have with God. To be honest, I am so grateful about where I am in my life right now. Based on where I’ve come from, every day is a blessing. I’m human and there are definitely times when I get down, but I try not to focus on that. I try to stay in the Word and stay in fellowship with God. I get excited when I’m doing something for somebody like teaching my classes, working on a script and just staying creative, focused and prayerful! That’s it.”

Her name is Tasha Smith. Continue reading “Tasha Smith: From Atheism to ‘Challenging God’ to Finally Understanding God’s Love (Gospel Light Minute #146)”