April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day is the first day of April. On this day, it is customary to play practical jokes on people, causing them to believe something that isn't true or to go on a fruitless errand.
Although the origin of the custom is unknown, a common theory is it developed as part of ancient spring festivals.
April Fools' Day jokes are generally amusing but harmless. For example, someone may give a friend the telephone number of the zoo, telling her to return a call from Mr. Fox.
April 1 is recognized as a day for pranks in Germany, France, Great Britain, the United States, Canada and elsewhere.
In India, the last day of the feast of Huli, March 31, is regarded as a day for mischief. In France, an April Fools' prank is called a poisson d'Avril (April fish) and in Scotland it is an April gowk or cuckoo.
In 1998, Burger King published a full-page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item on their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans.
According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc. but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers.
The following day, Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich.
Simultaneously, according to the press release, many others requested their own right handed version.
People are prone to respond to many things based on how it makes them feel or what it stirs up in them. For instance, have you run into anyone excited about winning contests overseas or being contacted by a rich Nigerian who wants to give or split millions with them?
"All you need to do is send your banking information," they promise.
These scams are far more serious than pranks. They appeal to a person's greed. The person who believes it is real is hard to persuade otherwise.
We have an amazing ability to be convinced we are right. Many believe in urban legends. The black helicopters that fly over our homes at night. The government is observing you through your television. Hmm. On and on the list goes.
Proverbs 28:26 says, "He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe."
Wisdom can be described as the accurate application of understanding, and understanding can be defined as the accurate application of knowledge.
Knowledge is the accumulation of information. Understanding is the sifting of that information to the extent of establishing correct concepts. Wisdom is knowing how to apply those concepts.
The Bible says the man who has some knowledge, and in essence believes in himself, is a fool.
Psalms 53: 1-2: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. 2 God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God."
There are many who claim to be avenues of approach to God. Also many who claim that their path is a path to eternity, to life, to God.
Jesus was articulately clear that he was the way.
John 14: 6-7: "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.'"
He was either totally insane or he was speaking the truth. It is each person's decision. Was he God and the only way or was he a lying lunatic?
If he's God as he claimed, then we better respond with wisdom, not some eclectic mumbo jumbo that makes us feel good.
A ruler in his day asked, "What must I do to live for eternity?"
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth. No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. 'How can a man be born when he is old?' Nicodemus asked. 'Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!' Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth. No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.' Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." John 3:3-6.
Jesus was clear. He is the only way.
He said that no one sees the kingdom without going through a process of transformation, without being reborn of the Spirit of God.
The fool says in his heart, there is no God.
This message is not an April Fools' joke. Rather, it is a request that we do not allow ourselves to be made fools of.
Bob Reasner is pastor of Abundant Life Assembly of God in Sterling. He can be reached at www.abundantlifealaska.org. Sunday school is at 9:45 a.m.; morning worship is at 11 a.m.; evening worship is at 6 p.m.; and Wednesday Bible study at 7 p.m.
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