No Veneers…

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Recently, I made a long road trip from Washington State to Texas. Since I am no longer a kid, I didn’t push the trip too hard and at the end of the day, I would get a hotel/motel room.

I was blessed to not encounter any bed bugs and each accommodation provided a small breakfast in the morning.

Since I was trying to make the most of each day, instead of sitting down to eat breakfast, I would just grab an apple or two that I would eat on the road. I love apples.

Well,  one morning I was a couple of hours into the drive and decided to bite into this delicious looking apple. But, once I did, I discovered that the outside looked beautiful, but the inside was rotten to the core. Man, I was bummed… I thought “deceptive advertising” and promptly threw it into the garbage.

That got me to thinking. So, much of this world is “deceptive advertising.” Drugs promise a beautiful experience but destroys lives. Alcohol entices with suave commercials but ends up wrecking families. Fame looks exciting but so often leaves the “star” alone and isolated. These are veneers… they have the appearance of something to be desired, but in the end they often leave behind tragedy as its legacy.

Not so with our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ.  He who came live, died and rose again… gives eternal life to those who trust in Him. And He promised in:

Matthew 5: 3-12… Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

When we trust in Jesus for our eternities, our lives are forever changed and we will desire to please Jesus, and some of those changes that we see take place are here in Matthew 5, which are very good changes indeed.  But, the beauty is that it doesn’t end with our life here on earth, for truly, our great reward awaits us in heaven, and I can trust that because Jesus is pure and trustworthy. No veneer with Him.

 

The Greatest…

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Earlier this year, the boxer Muhammad Ali died (1942-2016). He claimed to be “The Greatest.” He once said “I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.”

But this man, with this claim… he aged like all men. His human body deteriorated with Parkinson’s disease and he went the way of all men. He was a Muslim. No matter the claim of greatness… as a Muslim, he could never be sure that Allah would allow him into heaven. As a Muslim, you will leave this world with some doubt as to your eternity. That’s simply the truth.

Jesus’ disciples once asked “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus then in Matthew 18: 2-3… called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

When I read the verses above I am reminded of the fact that as a mature adult, from a worldly perspective, I am pretty much self-sufficient. I have enough money to get almost anything I want, definitely anything I need. I still have my health. I have a wonderful wife and family.  However, the reality is that God is my provider, Jesus is the reason I am acceptable to God (Colossians 1:21-22). I am not worthy of God, I am not really self-sufficient without him. I am dependent on God for everything just as my granddaughter is dependent on her parents for survival (Romans 8:32).

As an adult I can become too self-sufficient and have too big an ego… I can truly believe that I am “The Greatest.” I pray that God will help me to focus on Him in a child like way realizing I am dependent on Him for everything that truly matters… in this life and in the next, for Jesus said in John 17:3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

When my full dependence is upon Jesus in this life, I have eternal security in the next. What peace that is!