"Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, . . . They are not
just idle words for you-- they are your life" (Deuteronomy 32:46-47).

Monday, July 15, 2013


Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it" (Mk. 8:35).

At the age of six, his family migrated from Norway to America. In 1904, they settled on a 320-acre homestead in North Dakota and took up farming. By the time Johan Jonsen was a teenager, he had developed such a disgust for the farming life that he looked for any way out. He found it in a friendship with a notorious outlaw and gunslinger named Bert Dekler. Under Bert's tuterlage, Johan learned to handle a pistol and committed his first crime, a bank robbery, at age 17. Three years in the Montana State Prison did nothing to reform the young man, and he went right back to a life of crime upon his release. By the age of 32, Johan had become a hermit living in a cabin somewhere along the Rat River in the northeastern section of the Canadian Yukon. He trapped to eat but never gave up his thievery. Other trappers accused him of pilfering their traps which got the attention of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In December 1931, he shot a mounted police officer which began a man-hunt to arrest the "Mad Trapper of Rat River," as he became known. After a 45-day manhunt the mounties trapped Johan on a frozen river. He resisted arrest by firing on the officers. They returned fire and killed the "Mad Trapper," thus ending the life of man who had already wasted his life (Read his story here).

America must have seemed like the land of freedom for that Norwegian family, a place where they could start fresh and have a chance at a decent life. However, what looked like a opportunity turned into a nightmare when Johan chose an unrighteous life. God offers every single person an opportunity for real life through repentance of sin and belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For every person who will believe the gospel and surrender to Christ, effectively choose the righteous life that God offers, God will order the events of his or her life (Jeremiah 29:11).

Ironically, Johan believed he was losing his life spending it as a farmer, so he went in search of his life only to lose it. Jesus told us what would happen: "Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it" (Mark 8:35). ​​Consequently, the Christian's life becomes one of great hope, lasting meaning, and infinite purpose. Moreover, after the earthly life of the Christian is over and eternal life has begun, God will make sure that the life he or she lived on the earth continues to bring him glory.