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Airplane engine explodes on takeoff

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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An engine on the British Airways plane caught fire before takeoff, forcing passengers to escape on emergency slides, at McCarren International Airport, September 8, 2015 (Credit: AP Photo/Eric Hays)

“We have a fire, repeat, we are evacuating.” So reported the pilot of British Airways flight 2276, on takeoff from Las Vegas to London last Tuesday. The left engine of the Boeing 777-200 caught fire, engulfing the plane in smoke and flames. All 170 people onboard were evacuated. If the explosion had occurred just a few seconds later, after the plane was airborne, who knows what could have happened.

Travel can be dangerous. Staying home can be dangerous as well. According to Johns Hopkins physicians, people who are less active physically have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, anxiety, depression, and certain cancers.

The future is guaranteed to no one, not even the young. Scientists at Kings College in London have identified 150 genes that contribute to what they call an “ageing signature” in your body’s cells. Their tests show that some of us age much more rapidly than others. So even when you assume you have many years to live, you might be wrong.

Here’s the good news: we can live fully today, no matter what tomorrow brings.

Henri Nouwen notes: “Far more important than the quantity of years is the quality of our lives. Jesus died young. St. Francis died young. St. Therese of Lisieux died young, Martin Luther King, Jr., died young. We do not know how long we will live, but this not knowing calls us to live every day, every week, every year of our lives to its fullest potential.” How?

When Samuel anointed David as the future king of Israel, “the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13). As a result, others recognized that “the Lord is with him” (v. 18).

Wicked King Saul “was afraid of David because the Lord was with him” (1 Sam. 18:12). After he became king of Israel, “David became greater and greater, for the Lord, the God of hosts, was with him” (2 Samuel 5:10). The prophet Nathan said to David, “the Lord is with you” (7:3). God said to him, “I have been with you wherever you went” (7:9). When the Spirit came “upon” David, others could sense God’s presence in his life.

The same Spirit who came upon people in the Old Testament came into believers at Pentecost, so that they were “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4). Now our bodies are his temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) as he indwells us “forever” (John 14:16).

But while the Spirit is present in every believer, he may not be powerful in every believer. We can “quench” his power (1 Thessalonians 5:19) through disobedience and pride. We can “grieve” him through unconfessed sin (Ephesians 4:30). We must submit to his control every day (Ephesians 5:18), or he cannot lead and use us effectively.

When the Spirit is working in and through your life, others will see that “the Lord is with you.” (Tweet this) You will demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). An unbelieving world will know that you have “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). And God will fulfill his culture-changing purpose with your life.

If Jesus is your Lord, you have all of the Spirit there is. Can the Spirit say the same of you?