Tag Archives: Jesus

It Didn’t Take Torture…Just Truth

Kim Hyon-hui is back in the news. You probably don’t know that name. It was forgotten long ago by most. But Kim gained notoriety 30 years ago, when South Korea hosted the Olympics in Seoul. She was a North Korean spy, and she placed a bomb on a 707 headed for Seoul, killing 115 people.

With the 23rd Winter Olympics set to begin this weekend in Pyeongchang County, South Korea, Kim’s story has resurfaced. And, it is an amazing story. She was recruited at 18 years old; she learned to perfect Mandarin and Japanese; she was given weapons and martial arts training; and she was taught to blend into other cultures.

Nevertheless, Kim’s 1st mission, the 707 bombing, would be her last. She was captured while fleeing, and unsuccessfully tried to take a cyanide pill. She was imprisoned, but eventually pardoned. At 56 years old now, she lives a fairly quiet life, working for the South Korean government in witness protection. She has raised 2 kids, and she is still hunted by the North Koreans.

Of course, when she was captured, Kim expected to be tortured in interrogation. But her captors chose a different path. A simple ride around town eventually changed Kim’s ideology. She had been lied to her whole life. She was told that South Koreans lived in squalor; they were terribly unhappy; and they would love to live in North Korea.

Driving through South Korea exposed those lies. People had smiles, enjoyed life, and were free to go where they wanted. When confronted with the truth, Kim, to her credit, changed her false belief system.

Consider this, friend: if someone had been taught that Christians were hateful, vengeful, sexist, racists, bigots, etc…would a “ride” through most churches help change minds? You see, reality immediately exposed the lies Kim had learned. Christian life should prove the love of Christ to any who are “riding through” our midst (Acts 2:44-47).

Kim still experiences a deep pain and shame for what she did. She wrote about her experiences and donated book proceeds to the families of her victims. She hugs and weeps with the families. She has been pardoned, but she still desires forgiveness.

Unfortunately, even though she has been to church, true forgiveness still eludes her. In an interview recently, she wondered, “Can my sins be pardoned?” Sadly though, she answered, “They probably won’t be.”

Kim hasn’t experienced the great joy of salvation. Paul told Timothy that he received mercy to prove that all people can be saved no matter their past (1 Timothy 1:15-17). John assures that our forgiveness can be known (1 John 5:13). If our faith remains, we expect the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).

It didn’t take torture to change Kim’s mind about her past sins; just being exposed to the truth did the trick. I hope that one day she learns the great joy of salvation – the confidence that comes through believing, repenting, confessing Jesus, and being baptized into the forgiveness of sins. I’ll probably never get to share that with her, but I’d love to tell you the same, and guess what? I just did.

Sinkhole or Firm Foundation? Better check before things go BOOM in the night!

It happens to every homeowner. Tucked in bed, sound asleep, and you hear a noise. You get up and look around, but don’t find anything. So you go back to bed. The next day, you discover a mess somewhere, and with an “Ugh,” head to get the broom.

Now imagine an extreme version. That’s what the Bushes, an Idaho family, experienced recently. They heard a loud noise and looked around. They didn’t find anything so they went back to bed. The next morning they checked their garage…and the floor was completely collapsed in a sinkhole!

Turns out, their garage had been built over an old basement. In the “secret room,” they found shelving, old toys, letters, and other items. Engineers told them it is amazing the floor hadn’t collapsed years ago since it was just 2” of concrete!

What would you do if the floor fell out from beneath you? Would it surprise you to know that it can reveal a lot about you? There are many warnings in the Bible about maintaining firm footing on the proper foundation.

In one example, King Ahaziah “fell through the lattice in his upper chamber” (2 Kings 1:2). Scholars debate the full meaning of this. Some claim it is a lattice “wall,” others say a “window,” while many teach, “skylight.”

Regardless of what exactly it is, he trusted in something that collapsed under him. And when he fell through, he became bed-ridden from the injury. What happened next reveals a heart issue. He didn’t call on God or look to godly advisors.

Rather, he sent messengers to enquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether he would live or die. Therefore, God, through Elijah, told Ahaziah that he would die in that bed. He trusted in idols – a flimsy foundation.

We all have secret rooms filled with junk. We hide them with flimsy walls and floors. But they will all crash eventually. Like a BOOM in the night, when Christ returns, all will be revealed.

Therefore, be careful how you build and what you build on! Christ is the only firm foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10-17).

What’s This Button Do? Oops. #ThreatNoThreat

In the immediate wake of Hawaii’s false Ballistic Missile threat, news agencies began reporting that the “wrong button” had been pressed. Not true. Actually, the wrong link was clicked on a drop-down menu. Nevertheless, it was a big mistake!

In addition, it took 38 minutes to notify the public that there was no threat. By then, thousands had sought shelter, entered manholes, or called loved ones and waited. After all, there is no running from an inbound nuclear missile on an island.

Now, if you’ve seen the drop-down menu, you know it was very confusing! (See Picture)

Needless to say, the system is being updated and new, clearer options have already been added. We simply can’t allow false reports of impending doom being spread to millions of people or we will have “boy who cried wolf” syndrome.

It would be nice if a warning system was 100% accurate and never had fake notifications, right? Well, did you know that the Bible has that? It has a 100% track record of prophecy and fulfillment!

Jesus warned His followers not to be deceived by false alerts. More than three decades before the Temple was destroyed, Jesus gave specific warnings about what would happen, where to go, and when to go. Because Jesus’ followers listened to His words in Luke 21:20-24, historians confirm that not a single Christian lost their lives when the Romans sacked Jerusalem.

And Jesus’ followers know that there will be no false alerts when He returns.

“The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

There won’t be any accidental “clicks” in that day. It is a day that the Father set aside from the foundation of time. Accept the forgiveness He freely offers and live faithfully for Him today!

Of Babies And Sled Dogs…Both Are Innocent!

But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Luke 18:16).

Tramadol is prescribed to treat moderate pain. Prescribed to people that is. But when dogs in the Iditarod tested positive for the pain killer, well…it caused quite a stir!

The Iditarod is a 1,000-mile race through Alaska that ends in Nome in March. Sixteen dogs, and a “musher” who drives the sled, compete in this challenging race. And, during the race, the dogs are drug tested at 3 different locations.

Some say it was the “musher,” Dallas Seavey. But friends and competitors defended Dallas, saying he would never jeopardize his dogs or the sport. Also, the place in the race where the dogs were drugged made no sense strategically. Some say anti-sledding animal rights groups are to blame. Even fans are under suspicion, as there are opportunities along the race to pet and give treats to the dogs.

The truth is, we will probably never know. But one thing is clear; no one is accusing the dogs! Why? Dogs don’t dope themselves.

So, consider this: if we immediately assume the dogs are innocent, why do many Christians fall victim to a theological lie about sinful babies?

Considering children, Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to “such as these” (Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16). Furthermore, we must become like little children to enter the Kingdom. Does it make sense to say, “become guilty, sinful, and totally depraved… like these little sinners” in order to enter heaven?

Sin falls into two categories: 1) Knowing what to do and not doing it (James 4:17), and 2) Doing what we shouldn’t (lawlessness) (1 John 3:4). Babies, therefore, cannot sin. Moreover, they can’t die in sin as happens with all who do not believe (John 8:24).

And, if guilty of sin, how could a baby be reconciled to God?
We must believe (Mark 16:16); what does an infant believe?
We must repent (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30); can an infant change their minds/lives?
We must confess Jesus with our mouths (Romans 10:9-10); what can an infant say?
We must be immersed for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38); what sins does the infant need washed away (Acts 22:16)?

But babies grow up. And when they do, they will make choices. And in those choices, knowing right from wrong, they will fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

When their sin separates them from a holy God, they will have to make another choice: be saved by the grace of a loving God, or refuse the mercy of a just God. Unlike dogs, people can, eventually, choose. We don’t blame dogs in a doping scandal and we don’t look to infants to reconcile sinfulness. Mush!