Thought For The OPEN Mind - Humor From American Culture!
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Why Can't I Just Be a Good Person?Michael Ramsden"People are basically good," writes one poet. "It is only their behaviorthat lets them down."It is remarkable to think there are many today who believe they are goodenough to get into heaven. Perhaps there is so much bad news about othersthat they conclude by comparison they are superior, and thus, deserving ofa place in eternity. But then it is even more remarkable that whenChristians claim they know they are going to heaven, they are regarded asbeing conceited, boastful, and arrogant. People immediately ask: Howcan they think that they are better than everyone else?The fact that the same person can think of himself as superior to others,while at the same time criticizing Christians for arrogance, underlinesone of the effects of living in a postmodern world. Though thecontradiction is frustrating, Christians need to be able to respondcoherently to the questions at hand: Why can't I just be a goodperson? Isn't it unfair of God to say that you can't get into heavenunless you believe in Him, even though you have been a good person? Whodoes He think He is?Jesus was once asked a similar question by a group of inquirers: "Whatmust we do to do the works God requires?" (John 6:28). Interestingly, thequestion was posed in plural form; it seems they were looking for a list ofgood things to do. But Jesus replied in the singular, "The work of God isthis: to believe in the one He has sent" (6:29).Of course, in the minds of those who feel they have lived a good life,Christ's answer will not go unchallenged. What makes belief sospecial? Surely what we do is far more important than what we believe.How can a good person, who is not a Christian, be denied access on thebasis of belief?The difficulty here lies in the assumption that is being made in each ofthese questions--namely, that there is such a thing as a goodperson. Jesus again offers further clarification in the form of questionand answer. He was once asked, "Good teacher, what must I do to inheriteternal life?" (Luke 18:18). The theory of the questioner was clear:Jesus is a good person; good people go to heaven, so what must I do to bein the same group? But Jesus's reply was surprising. "Why do you call megood?" he asked (18:19). He then answered his own question: "No one isgood--except God alone."The simple truth is that the issue is not about good people not gettinginto heaven. Alas, the problem is much worse! Jesus seems to definegoodness in terms of being like God, and on that basis there are no goodpeople anywhere. Thus, the real question is not about who is good enoughto get in to heaven. The real question is how God makes it possible foranyone to get in at all. The answer is that we need to be forgiven, andthat forgiveness is won for us through the Cross.(1)In fact, this is precisely why the Gospel is called Good News, and why wedo well to declare it. The good news is that getting into heaven is firstand foremost about forgiveness. The Christian testimony is, in fact, farfrom arrogant! Christians can be sure that they are going to heaven, notbecause they are good, but because they have received forgiveness bybelieving in Christ.In other words, if we will trust in and rely on Jesus--hispromises, his person, his life, death, and resurrection--we can be surethat we are saved. Christians are not good people because they livemorally superior lives to everyone else. They have been made "good" inGod's eyes because Christ has made forgiveness possible--because Christhas extended his own righteousness to those who will believe.Good people will certainly go to heaven. However, the path to goodnesslies not in religious observances or respectable acts, but in theforgiveness of a good God, given to us through the Cross of Christ.Michael Ramsden is European director of Ravi Zacharias InternationalMinistries in the United Kingdom.(1) For further reading on this subject, I recommend The Cross ofChrist by John Stott.---------------------Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words ofchallenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others whowould enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,tell them they can sign up on our website athttp://www.rzim.org/publications/slice.php. If they do not have access tothe World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
How To Keep Order In Your Universe People were confused about it for centuries. They looked at the sun rising and setting every day and they reached a seemingly obvious conclusion: the earth is the center of everything and the sun revolves around the earth, right? If you say "right," you need to go back to third grade science Actually, if you think the sun revolves around the earth, well, you agree with about one out of five Americans in a recent survey. You know, it's a good thing to get right—what's in the center and what revolves around it. Now, it's easy to make the same mistake that ancient, and even some modern people have made, confusing what should be the planets of our life with the sun that those planets should all be revolving around. In our word for today from the Word of God in Luke 4 beginning in verse 42, Jesus has to make sure that the "sun" is in the middle, and everything else is revolving around it in His own life. In this case, the "sun" is the life mission He is on. He's in Capernaum where He has spent much of the day miraculously healing people and casting out demons. Then it says, "at daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for Him and when they came to where He was, they tried to keep Him from leaving them. But He said, 'I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.' And He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea." Notice those words that decide Jesus' priorities: "I must." Jesus knows His musts, His non-negotiables, the "sun" around which all other demands in His life must revolve. And He is faced with a lot of people who need Him, asking Him to do a very good thing. But He says "No" based on His non-negotiable mission. He knows He must not allow anything, no matter how noble, to deter Him from what He came to do—to keep spreading His message to other towns. And Jesus has left us a model for making the hard priority choices we all face. You may be struggling with some right now. And maybe, like Jesus, all your choices are good ones. When it's hard to sort all that out, it's time to do what Jesus did—get alone with God and let Him refocus you on what is most important from His perspective. Each new day, we need to be with the Father making sure we are making His non-negotiables our non-negotiables. Certainly, our relationship with Him is the ultimate "sun" around which everything else is just a "planet." We can't make any choice that will adversely affect this anchor relationship. There are other non-negotiables God wants you to make the center of your choices: what's best for your marriage, your children, sticking to His calling, His life-mission for you, uncompromised integrity, your responsibility to show the people around you what Jesus is like, and your responsibility to spread the Jesus message to people who will die without it. See, life's choices are a lot less confusing when you know your non-negotiables. Then you decide based on everything else having to revolve around those non-negotiables. Actually, you have to be sure you know God's non-negotiables as you re-clarify them with Him each new day. There are just too many noble detours that you just can't afford to take. Your personal universe is in order when the sun is in the center, and then everything else is where it's supposed to be - planets taking their place around a sun that never, never moves. To find out how you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, please visit:http://www.yoursforlife.net/alpha or call 1-888-966-7325. Click Here Wist u dat de God van u houdt?Avez-vous su que Dieu vous aime ?Wußten Sie, daß Gott Sie liebt?Avete saputo che il dio li ama?Você soube que o deus o ama?¿Usted sabía que el dios le ama?http://everystudent.com/menus/intl.htmlClick Here
RANDOM TIDBITS The ingredient in poison oak that makes you itch is called urushiol oil. *** Cicadas are related to aphids, not grasshoppers, and look more like large flies than grasshoppers. *** The smallest horse in the world is 'Black Beauty', a dwarf miniature horse. Black Beauty is only 18 1/2 inches tall. She was born in 1996 in Kitrell, North Carolina.
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