Being Human

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Posted 2/17/10 at 11:58 AM | Ron Hutchcraft

Bridges to Nowhere

Mankind seems to know instinctively that we need some kind of bridge to get to God. We can feel the distance between us and the One who made us.

Maybe you are trying to discover what will get you to Him.

Acts 4:12 is one of the most defining, most bottom lining statements in the entire Bible. It tells about when the disciples of Jesus have just been talking about the name of Jesus Christ. It says, "Salvation is found in no one else. For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." FULL POST

Posted 2/9/10 at 1:51 PM | Ron Hutchcraft

It's All For You

Do you like to be recognized and made to feel important? It's usually an honor for our name to be mentioned in the newspaper. When our name is in something, we're suddenly a whole lot more interested.

It's that way with what may be the most important statement in the entire Bible, certainly one of the most quoted. Here's what it says in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life." Those words are probably the most dramatic answer to any questions we have about how God feels about us. God loved the world so much that He proved it by sacrificing His one and only Son - the most valuable thing He could give. He did all this so we who deserve to die can live forever. We all deserve to die. Romans 6:23 in God's Word says, "The wages of sin is death." That's the penalty for running our own lives. We all build a wall between us and our Creator by taking our lives into our own hands. This is called sin. It's difficult for us to get to the One who loves us because of the sin wall. There never seems to be any meaningful reason to live. That's because the One who knows why we're here is on the other side of the wall, and if we die with that wall there we're there forever.

On the other side of that wall is hell - an eternal death of conscious separation and loneliness, away from God forever with no earth sedatives to ease the pain. God, the one we have wronged, acted to get our death penalty paid with the life of His Son. He did it all for you. FULL POST

Posted 2/2/10 at 1:47 PM | Ron Hutchcraft

Fallen Down But Finishing Strong

There are many today who know the disappointment, and maybe even the shame, of a serious fall. Do you give up, or do you fight back?

Usually the most-watched event of the Winter Olympics every four years is the women's figure skating competition. At the 2006 Games in Italy, a lot of America's hopes for a gold medal were riding on Sasha Cohen after she managed a thin, first-place edge after the initial short program. Then came the decisive long skating program. Suddenly, all hopes of any medal seemed to disappear with a major fall early in her program. With a major deficit in her score from her fall, Sasha Cohen could have easily lost heart, but she didn't. She fought back with a strong and impressive showing in the rest of her performance. When the rest of the world's best had all skated, the young woman who had fallen and seemed to have forfeited any hope of being a champion stood on that podium with a coveted silver medal.

You could also look at what happened with Jesus' disciple, Simon Peter, to see what Jesus wants to do after you've failed. In Luke 5:4-6, we see what happened after Simon's all-out fishing effort ended in a discouraging and total failure. Then Jesus came aboard and said, "'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.' Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything.'" Some might translate that to say, "Hey, I gave it my best shot. I failed. What's the use of trying again, Lord?" Maybe you know that feeling. FULL POST

Posted 1/26/10 at 10:43 AM | Ron Hutchcraft

Reaching Through the Flames

Kevin Shea was one of the New York firefighters who got a call to the World Trade Center - those famous twin towers in lower Manhattan. A bomb blast had ripped through the basement of the World Trade Center, killing six people.

It injured more than 1,000 people, emptied out those buildings, and ripped a hole 100 feet across and three stories deep. A few minutes after the explosion, Kevin Shea and his fire company pulled up. He had already been decorated for heroism in the line of duty, and he was now inching his way across the parking garage of the World Trade Center. Suddenly, the concrete beneath him gave way, and he fell four floors into this crater left by the bomb. His partner saw it, and as he looked into the crater, he just saw roaring flames down there. He said, "I saw his feet, and it looked like he was falling into hell." There is only one reason Kevin Shea didn't die that day.

That day, firefighter Kevin Shea landed on a pile of office room dividers, which broke his fall as well as his left knee and foot. In the fall, he lost his helmet and his face mask. The flames were coming his way. Later he said, "Rocks and cinders were falling everywhere, and I thought this is it, and I prayed to God just to take me quick." Lieutenant Joe Ward lowered himself right into that fiery crater, and by the glow of the flames, he found Kevin Shea. He reached out a hand to rescue him, and hoisted him to safety. Someone came to where he was, faced the fire, and brought him back. FULL POST

Posted 1/19/10 at 10:26 AM | Ron Hutchcraft

One "Unloseable" Hope

A train began its journey headed for a popular resort area along the Indian Ocean. The train never made it. It was suddenly hit by a massive wall of water - the killer tsunami that devastated so much of South Asia in December of 2004. The force of the waves tore the wheels off of some cars and leveled the train in a grove of palm trees. In one of those countless heart-wrenching scenes that came out of the tsunami aftermath, one young man at the train site wept in the arms of his friends as the body of his girlfriend was buried. He spoke out to this sweetheart who had died on that train: "Is this the fate we hoped for?" Then, as he began to sob even more, he said, "My darling, you were the only hope for me."

It's hard to think of a more devastating feeling than losing what you had put all your hope in. It's a feeling you may know if you've lost your health, the love of your life, your job, an anchor person in your life, the thing you've invested so much in, or the person that's been the glue sort of holding your life together. Many have been told by their marriage partner of decades, "I don't love you anymore" and are left to feel crushed inside.

So many of us have either lost or will lose someone or something that we had put a lot of our hope in. Hope is often snatched away by death, divorce, desertion, disease, and disaster. Suddenly, our life is thrown into confusion, anxiety, and even despair. What we need is something to put our hope in that is "unloseable," something that can't be touched by death, disease, divorce, or disaster, and something that will never desert us. Actually, there is Someone who will never desert us. Surprisingly, many people have discovered in losing the source of their hope, they finally found the one hope they can never lose. It could happen to you today. FULL POST

Posted 1/13/10 at 4:55 PM | Ron Hutchcraft

Starting With the Architect

In any construction project, there is a specific order in which you have to do things. Obviously, you don't just start by having the carpenters show up and start putting up the building. There has to be a foundation laid first, but you can't lay the foundation or start building until you have the detailed plans for the building. It takes contractors, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, pavers, and heating and air conditioning people, but first you need the architect! Without his design, it would be mass confusion at the construction site.

Maybe what you've been trying to build hasn't been going the way you hoped, or the love and the happiness that you were planning isn't working out like it was supposed to. Maybe you've been able to build your life pretty much as you wanted; the building is up, but you're not satisfied living in it. There's restlessness, confusion, disappointment, and maybe loneliness.

If your plans haven't worked, or if your plans haven't given you what you were looking for, it's time to go back and start with the Architect. In the Word of God in Psalm 100:3, God says, "Know that the Lord is God. It is He who has made us and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture." Three times God tells us whose we really are - we are His. We are made by our Creator and for our Creator, to live by our Creator's plan. We are sheep led by an all-powerful, all-loving Shepherd. FULL POST

Posted 1/5/10 at 12:05 PM | Ron Hutchcraft

The Place to Say "Yes"

Every once in a while, comic strips have something really good to say. Have you ever seen "B. C."? He is this little scraggly-haired caveman that makes some fairly modern observations. The best one appeared one Easter and began with B. C. outside a tomb with a rock next to it. Then, in the next panel, he goes in the tomb and looks around. In the third panel, he finds the tomb empty. Finally, in the last panel, he comes out, stands outside the empty tomb, and shouts one word: "Yes!"

Acts 2 refers to three "panels": a hill, a hole, and a heart. Peter is preaching just weeks after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, and some of the people in the crowd were probably among those who had called for His death. Peter says in Acts 2:23-24 , "This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him." Peter continues in Acts 2:36-37, "God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'"

Centuries have passed, but Peter's message is the same for your life as well. A hill comes first - the hill of Calvary. Walk up to the top of that hill where the cross is and look into the face of Jesus. The Bible says that you have crucified Him, actually we all did. He didn't go there because Roman soldiers or Jewish leaders made Him go there. Jesus died on the cross because it was the only way to pay the death penalty for our sins. FULL POST

Posted 12/29/09 at 2:14 PM | Ron Hutchcraft

The Shadow That Scares Us

Have you ever seen a large shadow of something that looks kind of scary? Sometimes you can't figure out what's creating the shadow, but all you can see is a massive shadow on the wall or ground around you. You might feel like running for help even though there's not an actual reason to run. When you see what is casting those huge shadows, the reality behind the shadow isn't very scary at all.

There's a big shadow that has bothered all of us at one time or another. To be honest, it can be a pretty scary shadow. You see that shadow sometimes when you're in the doctor's office, when you have a close call, or when you've been to the funeral of someone you know. It is, of course, the shadow of death.

The great Jewish king, David, wrote about that shadow in what may be the best known psalm in the Bible, Psalm 23. In the fourth verse of that psalm, he says, Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. The You, of course, is the one David talks about at the beginning of his psalm - The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. When his loving Shepherd leads him out of this life and into what he calls the house of the Lord forever, he will have nothing to fear. FULL POST

Posted 12/22/09 at 11:51 AM | Ron Hutchcraft

Someone to Trust With the Keys to Everything

When improvement or remodeling needs to be done at your house, sometimes you can't always be there when the workers are working. They might need keys to everything, so there is no place in your home that they couldn't go to get the job done. You need not only workers who can do the job, but workers you can totally trust.

Finding someone to trust these days is getting harder and harder, especially when it comes to someone you can trust with your life, your deepest hurts, your darkest secrets, your fondest hopes, and your greatest needs. They must be someone from whom you have no fear of betrayal, desertion, or rejection. We all hunger in our soul for one person we can so totally trust with all the keys to every corner of our life. Ultimately, you need someone you will never lose after you've trusted your heart and soul to them.

Maybe it's hard for you to trust, especially if you've been betrayed, disappointed, or hurt by someone you relied on. Maybe the person you were counting on just went away. Maybe they decided to leave, or maybe they had no choice. Either way, you trusted them with everything, and now they're gone. FULL POST

Posted 12/15/09 at 1:32 PM | Ron Hutchcraft

How to Be Safe in Dangerous Times

A tide table is a little tool that is smart to have if you are going to be spending time next to the ocean. It tells you what time high tide and low tide will be each day. That's good to know, especially if you're going to really set up shop for a while on the beach, which many people do. Some people bring their own little civilization to the beach with them: tarps, coolers, toys, and appliances. You'd think they were planning to live on the beach.

It can be kind of fun to watch the people who fall asleep somewhere between low tide and high tide. Slowly, but surely, the waves start creeping up from the edge toward their civilization. You really should wake them up, but that wouldn't be any fun. Eventually, as the tide tickles their toes, they wake up only to find some of their civilization about to float away. It's panic city, but it didn't have to be that way. High tide doesn't have to surprise you; it doesn't have to swamp you if you consult the tide table.

You might say that God has a tide table, or information that can actually help you avoid getting swamped by high tide. According to the Bible, high tide is coming. The Bible refers to it as the last days. That's last as in the turbulent days that count down to the finale of human history - the personal return of Jesus Christ to write that final chapter. Interestingly enough, surveys show that over half of Americans expect that return of Christ to happen. The Bible leaves no doubt and also describes the times leading up to it. FULL POST

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