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out to the general public at the bottom of the news program, scrolling across the bottom of the screen.  There had been another terrorist attack, this time in Manchester, England, this time at a concert being given by Ariana Grande...not an artist that I was familiar with, but the aftermath of the attack is beginning to become all too familiar.

At least 19 (the toll is now up to 22) people were killed Monday night, including an 8-year-old girl, in the explosion at the end of Grande's concert. Manchester hospital officials raised the number of people wounded to 119, which include 12 "seriously injured children." The total number of injured jumped from the previously reported 59 because of the "walking wounded" who sought medical treatment after the attack.

I couldn’t help but think about the reality of the situation...the reality is...nineteen souls were separated from their physical bodies in an instant...and thrown out into eternity...their destination either heaven or hell. 

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, Hebrews 9:27 (ESV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23 (ESV)

Let me ask you a question.  What do you think?  Out of the nineteen souls flung out into eternity, in an instant, on Monday evening...if you we’re trying to make an estimate...how many do you think went to heaven and how many do you think will spend an eternity separated from God in that place named hell?  There’s no way for us to know...it could have been all nineteen went to heaven or it could have been that all nineteen went to hell, or some other number in between...the only thing we know for sure is that their life on this earth was ended by evil, and they are now residing in their eternal abode.

We would like to think that all of them had an opportunity to hear the good news that Christ came into this world to die on the cross, as a substitute, in their place, for their sins, and offers forgiveness of sin to all who repent and trust Him as their Lord and Savior thereby receiving the gift of eternal life in heaven.  We would like to think that someone cared enough to tell them that Jesus came to make the only way to heaven possible and available for those of faith instead of there remaining no hope for people, perishing in their sin and having nothing to look forward to, except eternal death in hell.

Reality is hard to type out at times, it’s difficult to think about on occasion, but it has a way of bringing to focus the most important need of any life...and that is salvation...a deliverance from the power and effects of our sin.

It really happened on Monday night, people went to heaven or to hell.

When confronted with the truth, there is brought with that truth an urgency to help and to pray and to make a difference...and while there is much that can be done with the broken families and friends who are left behind in this world in their grief and pain.  No longer can anything be done for those that are gone.  It will not matter for them.  Their eternal destiny is sealed.

What if it happened...the sudden deaths of a football team...in a stadium, or family and friends attending a concert...in a local venue, or in your place of employment, or in your neighborhood, or in the hospital you visit, or anywhere, where people you know and work with, and play with, and worship with...were gone...in a second.  How many of your fellow workers would go to heaven?  How many of your neighbors would go to heaven?  How many of your Bible Study group would go to heaven?  How many of your teammates would go to heaven?  How many of them have heard about eternal life and Jesus and the way of salvation?

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”    Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)

Shouldn’t those who are saved reach out immediately to those who are perishing with the good news of salvation through Christ?  Can we just take our time?

Are we so arrogant that we think we know when someone will die and someone will live?  I would imagine that all nineteen...were completely amazed at where they were...five minutes after they died.

Our hearts mourn for those that are dead, for those that were lost...for those we have no knowledge of their personal relationship with God through Christ.  We hurt for their friends and family, we hurt for their nation and their peoples.  There is so little we can do...confronted with the reality of it all.

If you’re like me...when confronted with the reality of it all...I have asked the Lord to help me...to mourn...to care...for those who are living...especially for those I know and live life with...for those who can still make a decision about whether they will receive the gift of eternal life offered to them by Jesus or not.  There is still so much that we can do...confronted with the reality of it all.

I have asked Him to help me care enough to share with them the information that they need more than anything else in life...the gospel.  So that they can know and be certain that they will go to heaven when they die.

Shouldn’t everyone you know have an opportunity to hear about Jesus.  Shouldn’t everybody you know have a chance for eternal life?

There were two tragedies, at least, on Monday night.  One, that broken men...lost in their sin...can take the lives of the innocent through a barbaric act of terrorism.

And two, that if those who died, never had a chance to hear about and receive the salvation offered to us by Jesus.  The tragedy that Christians are not motivated enough...do not care enough...do not believe enough... to share with them...what they needed most.  Good news.

We cannot prevent the first tragedy...they will continue to happen...because this world is broken...and broken people are lost in their sin.  We will try to prevent them...but try as we will...they will occur.

The second tragedy can be averted.  In our world, where we live, with the people we encounter.  We can care enough to share the truth...and leave the results to God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (ESV)

Posted by Ralph Sawyer with 0 Comments
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John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

             Memorial Day is a very special day for remembering those who have given their lives to defend ours.  As a boy, I remember parades with marching soldiers, led by veterans carrying the flag.  I remember seeing tears come to the eyes of my father and other grown men who had served in World Wars I & II.  My father had served as a machine-gunner during the first World War in France.  As with most combat veterans, he didn't talk about it much, but he kept a newspaper describing how a young lieutenant had fallen on a hand grenade that landed in a trench, in order to save his men.  All Dad said was that it was his lieutenant!  I still have that paper.

             It seems people were more conscious in those days of the sacrifices paid for our freedom.  There were always people visiting the cemeteries, decorating the graves of fallen soldiers.  People knew by the single star flag in the window of a home that a family member was serving or had lost their life in the war.  In many cases, there was more than one such flag.  The fallen weren't just numbers and statistics—they were brothers, fathers, and neighbors, all loved and mourned.  I remember a young man named Jerry, who graduated from high school just as I became a freshman.  He was the quarterback of our football team, president of the student council, an excellent trumpet player, and a very popular young man.  He enlisted in the Marines right out of high school.  Within a year, we heard that he had been killed by machine-gun fire in Korea.  These experiences and memories make it personal.

             I served four years in the United States Air Force, but refuse to stand up on Memorial Day to be “recognized for my service.”  I don't believe I'm alone.  I know the argument—that everyone who has served was willing to give their lives, and I get it.  However, for me, Memorial Day is to remember those who did give their lives.  Next to them are all those who were wounded, and came home with broken bodies or broken spirits.  No one can come close to imagining the experiences of so many young men, even before they have reached the age of twenty-one.  At that age, you are strong, fast, fit, and feel indestructible.  You're pretty sure you have already learned everything a person needs to know. But then, you are suddenly in the middle of a war and being shot at by men you've never seen or known.  You form a comradery with the other men around you, joking and getting to know about each other—families, backgrounds, experiences. Then, there is an explosion, and these guys are killed, or mutilated right in front of you. Or, you might be the one who wakes up in a muddy, bloody field or a military hospital bed.  The shock is devastating and doesn't fade—an image you'll have in your mind for the rest of your life.  These are the men we should remember with gratitude, honor, and respect.

             For me, the Flag has always represented these men and their sacrifices.  In the military, you learn to equate the flag with freedom, home, history, duty, and honor.  I'd like to explain some of the symbolism of the Flag.

             There are thirteen stripes, representing the first thirteen colonies that formed our Great “Nation Under God” 241 years ago.  The Red represents the blood shed for our freedoms; the White represents the purity of the one we follow—“In God We Trust!”   There are fifty stars (one for every state) on a background of Blue representing our eternal destiny, Heaven—if we are a people “under God” and trusting in Him).

             Therefore, we cannot have a “Memorial Day” without honoring the greatest sacrifice of all, God's only Son, Jesus Christ, sacrificed for our sins on Calvary's tree.  He is our Creator, our Lord and Savior.

             Isaiah 53:4-5: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

             John 19:16-18: “Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.”

             There is a line of a gospel song that goes; “He gave His life-blood for even me!” It is through Him that we can have peace, joy, and the “hope that is within us” that we will spend eternity with Him, in the place He has prepared for us.

             In the last few decades, we have allowed God to be taken out of our schools, our public square, and even close to public utterance of His Name.  He warned us in:

             Mark 8:38   “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels”.

             As a nation, we have sinned by our apathy, “politically correct” tolerance, and our “turning away from God”!  As a result, we see our nation more divided, more affected by crime and violence, more immoral, more disrespectful, more dishonest, and more decadent than we can remember.  In our schools, our children are being taught things that wouldn't have even been considered when we were children.  There is only one answer:

             2 Chronicles 7:14:If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”.

             I have seen indications of the Body of Christ in the United States, starting to repent and seek God's forgiveness.  I believe we have been given a “window of opportunity” to turn back to Him, to proclaim Him, to glorify Him, and to reach as many lost souls as possible.  I believe this should be a Memorial Day during which we should have a great deal to remember, and a great deal to resolve.

             “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,

            With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;

            As He died to make men holy let us die to make men free;

            His truth is marching on!

            Glory, glory, hallelujah, glory, glory, hallelujah.

            Glory, glory, hallelujah, His truth is marching on”!

Posted by Dan Hubbell with 0 Comments

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