Saturday, April 19, 2014

Too Late

"Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Matthew 27:3-4 ESV

 Judas - one minute an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, the next His traitor. Why would he do such a thing? Perhaps greed, power, anger. When these emotions were heightened by the surrounding events, Judas took one of the most magnanimous falls in history. From sitting at the table with Jesus to a secret meeting with the chief priests, Judas did the unthinkable. He handed over a life, then later, took his own.
  Judas was impulsive. He spoke out of turn. His words advertised what his heart had been holding in secret. His sin became public display. His shame, grief, and guilt are a reminder what impulsiveness can lead to.
 The prophet Isaiah referred to Jesus as "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." As I read the last days of Jesus' early life, I can see why he was sorrowful. He knew what was in the hearts of his followers, not just the ones who were with Him at the moment. He knew what the hearts of all who would ever follow Him were capable - and would carry out.
 Judas, too, was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. However, his was different than Jesus'. He was undone by his own sin. His regret was too late, or so he thought. Instead of repent, he replayed the course of his actions, and took his own life.
 For the rest of us, it's never too late to repent. We can come to the feet of Jesus, the place Judas left, and confess the sin in our hearts, and the ones we have committed. It's never too late to come.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Ping

“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)

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing on March 8th. A space ship can land on the moon and come back to earth with no problems, yet we can't find a missing airplane. I've watched with millions of other onlookers in anticipation for the plane to be found. The aircraft and black box are important to the searchers. The bodies of loved ones are important to the families and friends. The nightly news elevates our attention as sounds of "pings" from the carrier's black box have been declared. The news of the pings is encouraging, but until the plane is found, hope is waning, despair and anger waxing. Lives have been lost and man's resources to recover the aircraft have been futile thus far.
As a society we weep for the souls now lost deep beneath the ocean's waters. Did we weep for the lost souls while they were alive and walking the streets of their home towns? Do we concern ourselves over the lost people in our families and circles of influence?
If the plane is found, the bodies may be recovered. Their souls however, left the plane the day it plunged into the ocean's deep. Where each person wound up for eternity was a choice they made before the flight's demise.
Every day we encounter people who've not given much attention to where they will spend eternity. They may be unaware of the consequences of "deciding not to decide" about eternal life. I observe folks and their carefree attitudes of waylaying the decision to settle the issue of an eternal live position.
Those of us who are secure in heaven as our final destination often get smug. We observe the lost and judge. Sometimes we pity. But just how often do we take the bold step to share the life giving hope of Christ? Concerned over being scoffed at, or rejected, trumps witnessing to one whose final destination extends far deeper than the ocean floor. Procrastination eases our consciences until we hear of the planes that go down and the unexpected heart attacks, the car accidents, and so on. Then our spirits are jolted into shock. We can be catalysts for sharing the news of eternal life. Caring enough to share before a person dies has to be paramount. After they've left the earth's surface, all the concern is a dated headline. It is past.
Today, will you join me in listening for the pings of lost souls? Let's be part of the search and recovery of those who are slipping into eternity never choosing heaven as their final destination!