Protecting Our Planet

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The people of Earth need saving more than the planet itself.

Society’s eco-friendly obsession is tragically misguided.

 

Before I begin, let me clarify that God’s natural creation is very special indeed, and should not be misused and abused. However, in our modern-day culture’s attempt to rescue the Earth, it has carelessly overlooked one glaring fact – this planet will not last forever, but the people who inhabit it will.

After man chose to rebel against God by deliberately sinning despite warnings, the entire creation became corrupt, and entered into a chronic state of death and decay. The once perfect and beautiful creation that God made to reflect His glory and for mankind to enjoy became a devastating portrait of the ruined state of man’s sinful heart. The curse upon creation was meant to be a punishment to man for his sin, but it certainly was not God’s original plan for His perfect, supernatural design. As a result of man’s sin marring God’s creation, God promised to destroy the earth someday and replace it with a new, better one.

 

Isaiah 65:17 ~ “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”

 

The Earth was made as the perfect home for humans.

When God created this world, He lovingly fashioned it with His words for our well being as He simply spoke the universe into existence. He desired for us to have a wonderful, vivid place to live in because He loves us so much. This truth is proven by the scientific fact that Earth is the only planet naturally capable of sustaining human life out of all the other celestial bodies in our solar system. God wanted our home to be functional, fascinating, and fantastic, providing endless proof of His existence to us. Everything that we observe around us in nature was made by God for us to use and enjoy, while giving thanks and praise back to Him for His loving care and thoughtfulness.

People (NOT the planet) are positioned at the pinnacle of God’s creation.

The Bible says that God formed man from the dust of the ground, so that people’s bodies are literally a part of the Earth, God’s tangible creation. However, the part of us that manifests who we really are, the human soul, was created from the mind of God Himself. People were created in God’s likeness by symbolizing the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We represent this three-part union of the Godhead through our body, soul, and spirit. While God’s existence is infinite without beginning or end, our human existence is both finite and eternal at the same time. Our lives have a beginning and an end here on Earth, but when we die, our soul lives on forever in eternity.

Because God took so much time and care to design man as a divine reflection of Himself, He treasures our souls as priceless, and sees them as being worth immeasurable value. When man chose to sin against God, he became separated from the heavenly fellowship he used to enjoy with his Creator. In turn, God saw the tragic Fall of Man as the fateful event when He lost a part of Himself, His prized creation whom He loved more than anything else He made. Despite the evil heart and wickedness of man, God’s unconditional love for his soul endured, determined to save and protect him from a horrible, agonizing eternity spent in sorrow and darkness without Him. God could not bear to see His favorite creation, human souls, go to Hell, the fiery pit filled with unspeakable torment that was designed to be eternal punishment for Satan and his rebellious fallen angels.

God took it upon Himself to save the world from man’s mistake.

Now God knew that He could always create a new earth after man’s sin, but He also realized that the souls of people He created would have to face eternity after death, the punishment for man’s disobedience. God placed His priorities in saving that which would be lost forever if He chose not to intervene – the eternal souls of human beings. So He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to our world here on Earth so He could die for our sins and take our punishment upon Himself. When God chose to save the world, He cared much more about the people who live in it than He did about the physical surface they walk upon. Being made from a special part of Himself, people are the apple of God’s eye. While God regularly maintains His natural creation daily, His concern for the people He loves takes the place of utmost importance.

God doesn’t need our help to save the planet; He needs our help to reach its people.

Our beautiful planet Earth is filled with a vast amount of different peoples, all of whom need to know the truth of the gospel. For every person who would choose to scorn and reject God, there is another one out there who is desperate to hear the truth about His love. No matter how many cultures, languages, and people groups exist on our planet, God is concerned about every single last one of them. It is foolish and arrogant of our society to assume that we alone are responsible for sustaining the planet, which God created entirely without man’s help. Instead, we should consume ourselves with the responsibility of reaching out to people all over the world who need to be protected from an eternity without knowing God in their hearts.

 

Here are verses which prove that people, not the planet, are God’s top priority:

 

John 3:16 ~ “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Romans 5:12 ~ “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5:19 ~ “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Romans 6:23 ~ “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 10:13 ~ “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Matthew 9:37 ~ “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

Colossians 1:16 ~ “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Colossians 3:11 ~ “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Ephesians 1:4-5 ~ “ According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

Mark 16:15 ~ “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Matthew 28:19 ~ “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Luke 19:10 ~ “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

John 5:24 ~ “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 20:31 ~ “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

 

The rescue mission of Earth needs to be redirected.

Rather than celebrating the planting of seeds in temporary soil, we should be celebrating the planting of seeds of truth in the eternal soil of human hearts. Instead of bending over backwards to save the planet, we should be going out of our way to help reach the lost souls who need salvation. Just as Jesus took it upon Himself to reach out to the Samaritan woman whom no one else would associate with, it is our job to reach out to those all around the world who need the gospel, no matter what they look like, or where they come from. God’s love is for everyone, to be received, enjoyed, and spread all across the Earth. Don’t waste precious time and effort trying to save the temporary parts of God’s creation; use it wisely by giving your heart to God so He can use it to reconcile the hearts of the lost.

Guard yourself from falling into the trap of modern-day pantheism, where the Earth and all its animals are worshiped and put up on a pedestal above the well being of man and God Himself. While whales and elephants are my favorite animals, and the oceans and forests of the world are my favorite scenery, I realize that people’s eternal souls are far more important than anything else. We will behold the beauty of the Earth once again when it is remade into a new form someday; but the heart and soul of one individual person can never be replaced. It is my mission to protect the inhabitants of our planet from dying without the knowledge of God’s love in their lives, and I hope that it is your mission too.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

Easter Is Not “The End.”

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Jesus will always be there for us on the road of life.

The Lord Jesus came back to life on the third day, but the story doesn’t end there.

When most people celebrate Easter each year, they usually tend to focus on the climax of our Savior’s sacrifice, namely His death and subsequent resurrection. However, the rest of the story sometimes gets unintentionally overlooked, the part where Jesus spends a short period of time walking on Earth in His new body. After Jesus arose from the tomb, He walked alongside His disciples on Emmaus road, and also visited some of His faithful followers inside their homes for food and fellowship.

The purpose for Him doing this was not only to provide living proof of His glorious miracle, but also to show His followers that He still cared about them and loved them very much. You see, from a human perspective, it would seem that the first thing Jesus would want to do is go back to Heaven immediately, after He had endured so much suffering here on Earth. Yet our Savior was the very Portrait of unselfishness as He went out of His way to spend time with those He loved before He ascended into the golden clouds of Heaven.

Why is this part of the Easter story so important to remember?

While it may be easy to see the latter part of the Easter story as less exciting, there are many meaningful lessons to be derived from our Lord’s final chapter on Earth. When I think about this part of the story, the first thing it reminds me of is how much Jesus loves us. He certainly didn’t have to stay behind and spend extra time with people, but He chose to because He loved them. He could have decided to leave for Heaven immediately, letting His followers believe the miracle of His resurrection by faith alone; but He wanted to show up in person before their very eyes to make their faith whole and complete.

The next thing this part of the story reminds me of is how the Lord desires to comfort us. When Jesus walked and talked with His disciples and other followers after His resurrection, He was calming their hearts from the fear they had of the Jewish leaders. Jesus knew that His followers would undoubtedly face persecution for their faith in Him, and wanted to assure them that any future attacks on their faith should not dissuade or discourage them. The disciples and other followers of Jesus would have felt absolutely helpless against the world without the loving, comforting words they received from Him.

The last thing this part of the story reminds me of is how the miracle of Easter continued to give people hope even after the Lord’s resurrection. When Jesus visited His disciples and followers, He encouraged them by telling them that the story wasn’t over yet. He let them know that another Comforter would come to them, the Holy Spirit, and that someday He would return again a second time as King of the whole Earth. Even more exciting news for His followers was the fact that after Jesus’ second coming, they would all ascend up into Heaven to live with Him for all eternity.

For Christians, the Easter story continues to go on every day in their hearts.

When I was younger, I used to be sad the day after Easter, thinking that because the official holiday was over, that meant we could no longer celebrate the Lord’s resurrection. However, now that I am older, I have realized that Christians NEVER have to stop celebrating Easter; in fact, they should be celebrating it EVERY DAY! You see, the Lord IS risen. That is a present state of being. Yes, He arose from the grave over 2,000 years ago, but He is still alive! Because He is still alive today, and sitting at God’s right hand in Heaven, Christians should ALWAYS have a cause to rejoice and be glad in their hearts! The story of Jesus’ Easter miracle is eternal, and those who know Him in their hearts will always have a reason to celebrate it, because He conquered the grave by coming back to life! What a wonderful thought it is to meditate upon! The Lord Jesus Christ provided a way for us to have eternal life through His temporary death on the cross. Because of His sacrifice, those who believe on Him can partake of His joy daily, and enter into eternity with a sense of fulfillment for their existence.

How can we continue to celebrate Easter after the official day is over?

There are many ways to continue celebrating Easter as a Christian, and not surprisingly they aren’t that different than what Christians should be doing to worship God daily. The best way to celebrate Easter every day is by offering praise and thanks to God for all that He has done for us. Specifically, we should thank Him for the amazing sacrifice of unconditional love that His Son Jesus performed on the cross for our sake. The more we show God our constant appreciation of His love for us, the more He will be inclined to show it to us more apparently each day. Also, another way to honor Easter in your heart every day is by simply remembering the events of Jesus’ loving sacrifice. The more you ponder upon the details of His journey on earth and all He endured to secure your eternal life, the more you will feel grateful to Him. Place yourself back in time over 2,000 years ago on the morning that Jesus Christ arose – imagine that you are one of His disciples, eagerly anticipating His imminent resurrection. Once you fully consider all of the circumstances surrounding the miracle of Easter, you will experience the great joy that the disciples felt when they ran to the tomb and found it empty!

What does the rest of the Easter story mean for us today?

The miracle of Easter provides eternal hope for mankind, ensuring that God is powerful enough to save us from spiritual death. After Jesus Christ ascended up into Heaven, His disciples were watching Him with their eyes lifted up to the clouds in the sky. Immediately after Jesus’ ascension, an angel appeared to them and commanded that they get busy doing the Lord’s work to further His eternal kingdom of reconciled souls. In the same way, we should also be busy today, doing our best to give the world an example of Christ’s love. While we should celebrate the miracle of Easter every day in our hearts, we should also be looking forward to eternity, and possess a sense of urgency about the countless lost souls that are at stake. When the Lord does eventually return, He should be able to find us diligent in His service, spreading the truth of the gospel and winning souls back to Him. We are not to forget about Christ’s return, but instead be eagerly awaiting Him when He decides to appear in the clouds of Heaven.

 

Here are the Lord’s own Words and promises to help us celebrate Easter every day:

 

Luke 24: 13-32 “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

“And he said unto them, ‘What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?’ And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, ‘Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?’ And he said unto them, ‘What things?’ And they said unto him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

“‘But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.’

“Then he said unto them, ‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

“And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?'”

John 14:1-3 ~ “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

John 14:16-18 ~ “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Matthew 16:27 ~ “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Matthew 24:30-31 ~ “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Matthew 28:6 ~ “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Acts 1:9-11 ~ “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward Heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into Heaven.'”

Psalm 51:12 ~ “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.”

 

In the meantime, while Jesus is physically in Heaven, He is always with us spiritually.

 

Just as Jesus surprised His disciples by walking with them on the Emmaus road, He is always desiring to walk with us on our journey down the road of life. Whenever we need His help, He is there to guide us and also to comfort us. His Holy Spirit lives within the hearts of those who believe on Him, so that they are never alone under any circumstances. Jesus was more than willing to teach His followers more about Him as they walked together, and He is also happy to teach us too, answering our questions about life’s tricky twists and turns. The Lord certainly has not left us comfortless, as He stated in His Word: He gave us His Holy Spirit, His Word, and the privilege of constant communication with His Father in Heaven through prayer.

Jesus is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother, and He will always be there for us no matter what, as He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. While we serve Him each day, we can look forward to His glorious return in the golden clouds of Heaven. If you do not know Him today, I sincerely encourage you to meet Him today – He is waiting for you on the top of a hill along the road of life, lovingly reaching out His hand for you to join Him so you can walk together. Will you accept His invitation of eternal fellowship by asking Him to come into your heart and save you? The Savior is waiting for you, calling you by name to come follow Him before the sun sets and eternity begins.

– Gloria D. Hopkins