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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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HOPELESS END OR ENDLESS HOPE?

A man in Louisiana explained why he refuses to buy life insurance: "When I die I want it to be a sad day for everybody." Believing that man is nothing more than a pile of material (if magnificent) molecules, millions find it impossible to view death with anything other than gloom and despair. What is it like to face death with no more hope than human reason (without faith in God) can give? The skeptic Ingersoll, while dying (1899), exclaimed, "Oh God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul." The French skeptic Voltaire (1694-1778) argued that human reason alone was a sufficient guide in life without a revelation from God. But human reason failed to comfort him as he neared the end of his life. The thought of what was beyond the grave terrified him. On his deathbed he told his physician "I am abandoned by God and man. I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months of life." When the doctor told him he could not comply, Votaire said, "Then I shall go to hell." Bertrand Russell, another famous unbeliever, affirmed that his life was built on the foundation of unyielding despair. He issued a joint statement with Albert Einstein, just two days before Einstein's death, confessing that "those of us who know the most are the gloomiest about the future" (quoted by Ravi Zacharias in Can Man Live Without God?, p 4 7). All these were brilliant men with tons of human brain-power. But they discovered that human brilliance, intellect, reason, and brain power alone are no match for the power of death and the hopelessness that accompanies death without Christ. Atheists and materialists sometimes boast they can die without fear. But they want us to ignore or forget the fact they are also dying without hope.

Contrast this doom and despair with the hopeful and confident words penned by the apostle Paul as he awaited certain death in a Roman prison cell: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have f ought a good f ight ... finished my course ... kept the faith ... there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:6-8). For Paul death was not the end, it was the beginning! Not a descent into doom and despair-but an entrance into a glorious forever, at ,home with God! Not a hopeless end but an endless hope! And the difference was not human brilliance or reason alone-the difference was Christ! Are you headed for a hopeless end or endless hope?

Dan Gulley
Smithville, TN