Sustainable Faith

We hear a lot about sustainability these days. We’re told we need to green up our environment. We need to drive electric cars. We need to remove gas stoves from our homes. We must quit eating meat and start eating crickets. We must drive shorter distances. We must lower the number of cows on this earth, because of their gas emissions. We are now being told that we can be replaced with artificial intelligence. It makes a person wonder if humanity is sustainable on an earth that was created by God, but is being overrun by those pretending to be God.

Oh. It’s not the first time people of this earth have been hoodwinked into doing something that sounds good at face value. But then once the changes are being made, we realize that it wasn’t such a good idea, after all. The plan isn’t really sustainable. Someone was playing mind games with us and we got tricked into a false ideology. I’m sure all of us have fallen prey to some type of conspiracy theory at one time in our lives.

But we don’t have to be suckers when it comes to what’s going on around us. We need to keep our eyes open, our ears alert and our hearts guarded. We can fall prey to temptations and ideas that sound good, but are downright deceitful. How often do we make decisions or act under the pressure of soundless ideologies? Ideologies that haven’t been vetted. They’ve just been thrown at us, and we’re expected to bow to them without asking any questions. Shame on us if we don’t dig in and investigate the idea and the instigator of the idea.

Is your faith strong enough to sustain any threat or temptation? Do your actions defile your relationship with God?

When we take a new job, we’re saying that we’ll show up and do our best every day to get the work done. But this week, my coworker didn’t live up to his end of the bargain. He was a no call, no show for several days. He’s now unemployed.

When we call ourselves followers of Christ, we say that we’re following his commands. How can we follow his commands if we don’t know them? If we don’t read and study the Bible, how will we learn to live biblically? Are we committed to our relationship with God or not?

How do we sustain our faith if we’ve never built a solid foundation? How do we build a solid foundation? I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face. If we’re not reading the Word of God daily, we are not building a solid foundation. We can read books about the Bible. We can read devotional books. We can listen to sermons and podcasts. We can attend a Bible study. But we need to read the Bible for ourselves. We need to dig deep and learn God’s Word. That is how we build a sustainable faith. One that can stand against any hard knocks this life throws at us. If we don’t know God’s Word, we are settling for less than the best for ourselves.

Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written on it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. Joshua 1:8

Before Moses died, he appointed Joshua to replace him as the leader of the nation of Israel. And God confirmed that Joshua would be successful as the leader if he obeyed God’s instructions. One of the instructions that God gave Joshua was to study the Book of Instruction that he had given to Moses. He told Joshua to study it continually and meditate on it day and night. Joshua did just that, and he was successful in leading the nation of Israel to victory in taking the land of Canaan, as God promised to them.

There was another man in the Bible. His name was Balaam, and he was a wicked Midianite prophet. Israel was conquering nations on their way to Canaan, which caused fear among the surrounding countries. Balak, the Moabite king who feared Israel, trusted Balaam and asked him to curse the Israelites. Through a series of events that included a talking donkey, God instructed Balaam to say only the words that God gave him to say. And so, Balaam proclaimed blessings on Israel and curses on Moab, angering Balak.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of the story.

Later, Balaam went back to Balak and told him how to launch a counterattack on the nation of Israel in a more subtle, inoffensive way. He counseled Balak to send Moabite women into Israel’s camp to seduce the men and introduce them to Baal worship. They began to eat meat offered to idols. This was far worse than any curses Balaam spoke against Balak. He showed Balak how to trip up God’s chosen people. And some of the men of Israel went along with it. What man doesn’t like a pretty girl who pays attention to them and offers them free food? How can that be wrong?

God’s people today get tripped up by false teachers and seemingly innocent ideas that look far more appealing than sacrifice and obedience to God looks. Sin will be presented to us as something pretty, convenient and comfortable. It won’t be a physical, knock down drag out fight. It could be an activity or event that makes you feel accepted by your peers and friends. It could be a new acquaintance who puts you on the edge of uncomfortable, but you let them influence you, anyway. After all. Who wants to appear to be a goody two shoes? Beware of who influences your thoughts, desires and actions. Are those you trust the most in life influencing you in a godly way? Or are they influencing you to move farther from your life as a follower of Christ? Oh. It may be subtle at first. Until one day, you wake up and notice your life is unrecognizable. You no longer desire the things of God. Are you living for the One True God or a false god? Can you tell the difference between godly advice and ungodly influence? Beware. Lest you fall for something that causes you to fall into sin.

You can find the story of Balaam and Balak in Numbers 22:1-25:15, Joshua 13:22 and Revelation 2:14.

But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. Revelation 2:14

Giants in the Land

The Israelites were moving closer and closer to the land of Canaan. There must have been loads of excitement in the air. They were almost home. They could feel a sense of relief and accomplishment. God had provided for them, but they had complained. Soon they wouldn’t have much to complain about. They would root out the people who were living there, according to God’s command. He had told them to clean house and move in. So Moses sent out a reconnaisance team to scout the land. They wanted to know what the area looked like and get a feel for their new homeland.

Imagine being the twelve who were chosen to scout the land. Imagine walking the roads and byways. Watching the people. Were there many or few? Were they large or small? Were they well-fed or hungry? What was the lay of the land? This was going to be home, and the energy among the scouts must have been electric.

The scouts reported that the country was very bountiful. Lots of food was available. They even carried back a sampling from a massive grapevine. There was plenty of land for everyone to settle into. But the people who lived there. It was hard not to notice them. They seemed to be giants. And ten of the scouts were deathly afraid of them.

They said they saw giants. And they were afraid. They were afraid the people who were bigger than them were bigger than the God who had rescued them from the Egyptians. Didn’t they realize these giants were much smaller than the God who had parted the sea so they could walk right through it. Didn’t they realize these giants were much less powerful than the God who provided for all of their needs. Didn’t they realize that these giants would be handed over to them by God? They forgot all that God had done for them. They forgot all that God had promised them. So frozen in a moment of fear, they lied.

These ten men who were afraid of the giants were part of a group of twelve who had been sent out to spy on the neighboring country. God’s plan was that they would eventually conquer the land and take it back as their very own. You see. The land of Canaan was the birthplace of their ancestors who had moved to Egypt due to a famine over four hundred years earlier. And now that they had been freed from slavery in Egypt, God was giving their homeland back to them. It was a time for celebration and victory. But their fear and lack of faith turned one of the best times of their life into forty years of the worst. It was a forty year sentence for them. And for most, it was a death sentence.

After exploring the land for forty days, the men returned to Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel at Kadesh in the wilderness of Paran. They reported to the whole community what they had seen and showed them the fruit they had taken from the land. This was their report to Moses: “We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak!” Numbers 13:25-28

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6

It should have been a rather uneventful journey. The twelve spies set out on a short trip to check out the land the Lord had given to them. Oh. They weren’t sure what they would find, but they were pleasantly surprised. The reconnaisance mission was deemed a success by all twelve until ten of the men spoke their fear and doubt out loud. Those doubtful words caused the people of Israel to go mad. How dare Moses lead them out of Egypt where all their needs, except for freedom, were fulfilled. How dare Moses lead them to a land, although flowing with milk and honey, that housed giants. How dare Moses expect them to move into the land to conquer it and remove the giants. How dare he. But really. What they were saying was….how dare God. How dare God expect them to fight to take back the land that was rightfully theirs. How dare God expect anything of them when he had promised to always be with them. When he had handpicked them out of all the people on the earth to be his chosen people. How dare he.

These twelve men weren’t the runts of the litter. They weren’t the weaklings. They were leaders in each of their tribes. They weren’t nobodies. They were respected men. And their faith fell weak when they ran into people bigger than themselves. Oh. When we run into problems that are bigger than us, we can’t just get scared and run the other way. That’s the moment we step into our faith and live it out loud. We don’t let fear hold us back from obeying God. We walk by faith.

We weren’t meant to slay giants on our own. God will handle the giants in our lives. Our job is to trust and obey him. For there’s no other way to live in Christ except in full surrender. Even when we’re faced with giants. Many times the only thing we see standing before us is the giant. We don’t see all the blessings and abundance that surrounds us. We see the one thing that could cause problems, and we focus only on it. We obsess and grumble. We moan and groan, because we have no idea how we’re going to overcome this one thing. And all around us lies the answer. God has already given us the land. We have to trust him to make the way of provision. In his timing and in his own way, God is faithful to provide the victory for us. But we must step out in faith. God will work through us.

But the fear and doubt put the joy and happiness of nation of Israel on a back burner. Because of their disobedience, God punished them by making them live forty years across the river from their promised homeland. Forty years. And everyone aged twenty and above would not be allowed to enter that new land. They would die before the nation moved forward. So for forty years, they saw every one of the adults live and die in their temporary homes. The promised freedom was just within reach. The fulfillment of God’s promise was just within sight. But because of their lack of trust and respect for God’s command, they paid a huge price.

Let’s not make that same mistake with our lives. Oh. The price for us may not be forty years of living in the wilderness. It may not be forty years of eating manna. We don’t know what we miss out on when we defy God. We just know that when we’re not living in submission to Him, we’re not living in God’s abundance. And abundance doesn’t necessarily mean health and wealth. It’s peace of mind. Joy and contentment. Fulfillment in the will of God. Let’s live abundantly in God’s grace and not our own fear and cowardice. Let’s take the land God has given us.

And those giants. They may not take the fight lying down. But with God on our side, nothing is impossible. Those giants will be cast aside with our hand in God’s. The fight may get dirty, but God will be the victor. Let’s never forget that. He will not fail us or abandon us. God never loses the battles he fights.

Waste of Time

God had just delivered his people, the Israelites, from the hands of the Egyptians. The Israelites had been living in Egypt for over four hundred years, and God had promised that he would lead them out. But the waiting had been long and hard. Over time, the Israelites became slaves of Egypt. They worked hard, but the work was for the benefit of Egypt. Not for the Israelites. Oh sure. During the long period of years they were in Egypt, they prospered. They grew from seventy people to a nation of millions. There was an abundance of food to go around, so their tables were always full. But the work was backbreaking. Their job was to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses, the supply centers for Pharaoh. And they weren’t free people. They couldn’t just walk away.

Then there’s Moses. He had a checkered past with Israel and Egypt. He was born to an Israelite couple, but he was raised in Pharaoh’s palace. By Pharaoh’s daughter, none the less. Because before Moses was born, Pharoah became very concerned when he realized the Israelites outnumbered the Egyptians. He was afraid that if war broke out, the Israelites might side with his enemies and fight against him. That’s when he made them his slaves. Then he ordered the midwives to kill all the Hebrew baby boys upon their birth. The midwives rebelled and said no. So the Israelite camp continued to grow. It was during that time when Moses was born. When he was a very young infant, his mother put him in a basket and set it adrift in the Nile River. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby boy in the basket and raised him as her own.

Now, here we are. Moses is eighty years old and has returned from Midian to free the Israelites from Egypt. And through a series of plagues and broken promises by Pharaoh, the Israelites are once again a free nation. They are homeward bound. It’s Canaan or bust.

Oh. I’m sure the Israelites were excited about the prospect of leaving their prison land behind. After all, their ancestors arrived in Egypt as free people. But little did they know that throughout the years, they would become forced labor for the Pharoah’s pet projects. And now God was redeeming them from slavery and moving them back home to Canaan. How exciting for them to know that they would be returning to the place of their ancestors. There must have been some fear of the unknown, though. After all. None of these people had lived anywhere except for Egypt. They had no idea what to expect on their journey or in their new homeland. They just knew they were following Moses as he received direction from God.

The distance from Egypt to Canaan was roughly a week’s journey. On foot. Some of their forefathers had made the trip more than once and survived without mishap. But this group was much larger and more demanding. It would be the trip of a lifetime. To put it mildly.

Early on, the Israelites began to complain when they heard the foreigners traveling with them do the same. It didn’t take long for them to miss the good food Egypt had to offer. Now they were eating manna three times a day. Manna was a miracle food that God provided for them every morning, but they soon tired of it. They missed the variety of foods that were readily available in Egypt. Didn’t they realize the trip from Egypt to Canaan wasn’t really that long? They wouldn’t be eating manna forever. They weren’t trusting God. They were thinking only of themselves. They had lost sight of the promise God had given to liberate them from their Egyptian slave drivers and give them a new home. They forgot the price they might have to pay in order to arrive in Canaan. Freedom isn’t always free.

Complaining never pays.

With your unfailing love you lead the people you have redeemed. In your might, you guide them to your sacred home. Exodus 15:13

Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt. And the people of Israel also began to complain. “Oh, for some meat!” they exclaimed. “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” Numbers 11:4-6

The Israelites took their eye off the prize. A bit of suffering, sacrifice, and perseverance to get to the goal is worth it in the end. They forgot that. Oh. They had heard the stories of their ancestors making the trip from Canaan to Egypt. They heard all the details. The packing. The walking. The herds of livestock. And they heard how they finally arrived in Egypt and settled in. But that was then. It’s one thing to hear the heroic stories of your ancestors. And it’s a completely different story to actually live it yourself.

So. Why were they so disgruntled? Why did this one week journey turn into a 40-year trip? It was so unnecessary. Or. Was it? Sometimes, we only learn the lesson of dependence on God through the long obedience. Our stubborn hearts and insistence on doing things our own way spells trouble. But we’re too selfish to see it. And God took them through a longer route, because he knew they had wayward hearts. He knew that if he took them through enemy territory that they would become distracted and want to return to Egypt. He knew they might become weak from fear when facing their enemies. He couldn’t have that. He needed their entire attention and devotion pointing straight toward him. Oh. It was a long lesson for his people to learn. But he led them through the wilderness in spite of their complaints and idol worship. He never reneged on the covenant he had made with his chosen people.

Did these people, the chosen nation of God, waste forty years of their lives? It was a death sentence for those aged twenty and above. They would never see the promised land. And those under twenty and born later must wait to receive the promise. For forty years, they ate manna every day while the abundance and variety of fresh food was just across the river. All because of disobedience to God. Their fathers and uncles and brothers didn’t trust God to take care of them, when he had promised that he would. They didn’t trust that he was giving them the land of promise. He said he would deliver the land to them, but they would have to clear it of their enemies. The land was plentiful and spacious. But lack of faith cost a generation the fulfillment of God’s promise.

So many times when we’re in the middle of a wilderness journey, we want to take the shortcut to peace and prosperity. Or whatever it is we’re hoping for. But the long road of obedience is where the pruning and the shaping and the growing occurs. We’re a stubborn people set upon our own ways. In order for God to bend our wills to his, he allows the long path of life to lead us to him. If we’re bendable. If we’re willing to learn from hard lessons that life isn’t fair or easy. Life isn’t quick and perfect. Faith and perseverance grow as we journey through life. It’s a sanctifying process each day we walk the journey. But the eternal end is worthwhile if we stay the path that leads to the Promised Land.

We don’t have to eat manna for forty years. We can believe God’s promises are true and will be fulfilled in his time. We know God is faithful. Our job is to hold the enemy at bay and fight for our God. Full surrender to God’s will and guidance will lead us to the land of plenty. We must remain faithful.

Tornado Warning

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning earlier this week. It was late afternoon, and the tornado sirens were ringing in the neighborhood. These sirens are always tested at noon every Wednesday. This wasn’t noon at Wednesday. It was Monday. This was a warning. Not a test. The weathermen on every channel were alerting everyone to shelter in place. Go to the basement and get away from windows. Protect yourself from flying debris. Multiple counties were included in the warning. Oh. A tornado watch had been issued earlier in the day, but this was the first alert of a warning. The warning let us know that a funnel had been sighted in some unknown location. Perhaps multiple locations. This was real.

We were told by the weatherman that the storm had a history of minor rotation in the tv station’s viewing area. The wind was picking up to high speeds. Hail was beginning to form in some areas. And of all things. It was rush hour. Many people were leaving work and heading to the freeways to make their way home.

Emergency alerts were being sounded at multiple office buildings. Employers were rushing to put their emergency plans in place. They wanted to let their employees know that this was an actual warning. This was not a test and all emergency plans must be implemented. Immediately and without question. Now is not the time for businesses to figure out how to handle an emergency situation. Emergency plans should already be in place and rehearsed. It’s not the time to fly by the seat of your pants. Lives could be at stake.

According to the weatherman, the biggest thing to watch for is the thunder. Wait thirty minutes from the last clap of thunder, and then it’s safe to come out from under cover. Until the threat has finished and moved to the east of your area, you must remain in your safe space. Sirens are reactivated every few minutes to let the community know that the threat is still viable.

No doubt. Not everyone who heard the warning heeded it. There were plenty who went about their day without skipping a beat. They were too busy to take cover. They had to get on the road to pick up their little ones before the daycare closed. They had to stop for a few groceries for dinner. Or maybe they didn’t understand what the sounding of the siren meant. And they didn’t bother to find out. They didn’t know or care that a life threatening weather pattern could be coming their way. After all. They had heard the sirens plenty of times in the past. And they never saw a tornado or lived through the devastating aftermath. They assumed that life would go on as usual, same as any other day. And fortunately. It did.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

A similar scenario happens every day of the week. Oh. It’s unrelated to the weather. It’s related to the end of times. This earth as we know it is headed to a day of reckoning. Every life living on this earth will be called on to stand in judgment. Jesus will be coming back for all Christians. Those who have repented and confessed their sins will be removed from this earth in an instant. The rapture will remove believers who have breathed their last up from their graves. Then those who are alive will rise up to meet the Lord in the air. After that, Christians will never be separated from the Lord again. Their life on this earth as we know it today is over. Praise his name.

However. Those left on the earth are the ones who made the choice not to be a Christian. They didn’t repent of their sins and ask for forgiveness by God Almighty. They chose to follow their way instead of God’s way. And they are headed for trouble now that all the believers have left the earth. Oh. They don’t know what they’re in for.

But. Between now and that day, the siren is roaring on this earth. The sound is deafening to those who have been awakened to the need for salvation. Because they know what the risk of living for themselves versus living for God. But those who are ignoring this upcoming event or are ignorant of its coming are tuned out. They are unprepared for this final moment of life as we know it on this earth. Either they don’t care or they don’t know that this event is a separation of God’s children and Satan’s children.

Oh. There are plenty of warnings. There are wars and rumors of wars. For the past few years, it seems the world is in a state of constant chaos. We hear confusing messages of where hope and peace can be found. Morals and ethics continue to plummet at an all-time high speed. A one-world government commonly known as globalism is already being planned. Self care is promoted, but does it lead to eternal life? That’s the question we must ask ourselves. Are we caring for ourselves enough that we have given our lives to God and have submitted our will to him? If not, all our so-called self care is in vain.

You should know this that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Those who don’t hear the sounding of the last days are the ones who are most at risk. They will face an eternity in hell if they don’t repent of their sins and turn to God. But those who have heard the call and responded still must stay on the path. Because the path is wide, but the gate is narrow. All of us are on the path to eternity, but we’ll only enter heaven’s gates if we remain faithful in following God.

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Matthew 7:13-14

To Be A Disciple

Disciple (dĭ-sī′pəl): One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.

We’re either a disciple of the Word of God, or we’re a disciple of the world. It’s that simple. Oh. It may not seem so cut and dried. But our choices. Our decisions. Our actions. Our words. They all show who we are. And they show whose we are. So. If we say we’re a follower of Christ, then our actions need to match our words.

Let’s examine a week in our life. Where do we go? Who do we listen to? What social media do we follow? What do we post on social media? Who and what do we applaud? Who influences us? Work and family aside, how do we spend the majority of our time? Are we always scrolling on social media? Are we fixated on the latest sports rankings? Do we spend most of our time shopping online? Do we take time to interact with our neighbors and friends? What books do we read? What movies and shows do we watch? Do we read the Bible? Do we pray? Do we attend church?

Our lives are telling the world around us who or what we worship. We don’t always have to speak up about what’s important to us. Our lives show the truth without us even realizing it. So. What are you saying about yourself without saying it?

We need to consider who we turn to for advice. Who informs us on life philosophies? Where do we turn for comfort and guidance? Do we turn to God and ask him to give us strength and new mercies for each day?

I find that people today are reversing the definitions of fact and fiction. Or, put another way. Fact versus opinion. Truth never changes, but opinions can be fickle. If we’re looking to please the crowd, we may say and do anything for approval. But when we stand for truth and truth alone, we know only one story to tell.

A fact is something that is known to be true. An opinion is an interpretation of facts.

Dr. Jeff Myers, Truth Changes Everything

Disciples of the world preach opinions as truth. They choose to stand behind secular ideas rather than biblical truths. They allow culture to define their life and thinking. Disciples of the Word live the Bible as truth. They don’t let cultural ideologies define or defile their faith. They refuse to bow in worship to false gods. Of course. No one’s perfect. We all make mistakes. We all get it wrong at times. But is our heart’s intent to serve God or ourselves?

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

I am positive that much that passes for the gospel in our day is very little more than a very mild case of orthodox religion grafted on to a heart that is sold out to the world in its pleasures and tastes and ambitions.

A.W. Tozer

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:1‭, ‬3‭-‬5 

We try to cram so much of earth into our lives that we can miss heaven. If living this life is all about pleasing ourselves and we’re still not happy, it’s time to look elsewhere. If we’re disenchanted with what this world has to offer, maybe we’re not looking in the right place. We can’t just follow what our heart wants and call it good. Because our heart will lead us astray. Look all around. There’s much proof of that silly notion.

Jesus calls his disciples to take up their cross and follow him. Carrying our cross is not a task to be taken lightly. Look at what it cost Jesus. It cost him his life. If I claim to be his disciple, am I willing to take that risk? Because being a disciple of Christ calls us to face suffering for his sake.

Do world disciples suffer when they please the crowd? Do they risk everything in the name of the world? Is there a cost? Absolutely. There’s a cost, but it might not be obvious until the moment we slip into eternity. And then there’s no going back. Let’s not make that mistake.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. James 1:22

Not What We’d Expect

He was young and good looking. Smart. Well educated. He was trained to be a leader. He was acquainted with the king. Perhaps he was the heir apparent to the throne. But then he was taken captive by the enemy. He and a group of other young men of nobility were led to a distant country to serve at the pleasure of the enemy king. Their lives changed in a moment. Their city had been overrun by an army that destroyed their temple. This temple built by King Solomon had stood for three hundred years. It was a magnificent piece of architecture. And it was plundered. Not only were the sacred temple items stolen, but so were the royal citizens who lived in the palace. The sworn enemy took the best of the best in this invasion. Of course. This enemy king took the young men who were already familiar with palace living.

“Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon. ” Daniel 1:4

Daniel and his three friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were now captives in a foreign land. They were no longer their own. Scripture tells us that the prophet Isaiah had warned King Hezekiah that family members would be taken captive to Babylon and these young men would be made into eunuchs. So based on that Scripture, we know that Daniel and his friends would not marry and have families. These young men were emasculated. They were subjects of the king. But not one word is written that they complained or fought against this evil act performed on their bodies. This single act robbed them of the ability to father children. They would have been opposed to such barbaric acts, but they knew that God was in control. They chose to stand strong in their faith in God with each trial and testing placed in their path. They would not surrender their faith, even if it meant death or mutilation of their bodies.

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord : The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord . Some of your very own sons will be taken away into exile. They will become eunuchs who will serve in the palace of Babylon’s king.” 2 Kings 20:16-18

King Nebuchadnezzar had made sure that these young men who were from families of prestige and wealth were rendered helpless. When it came to the next generation, perhaps one of one of these four men was the heir apparent to the Judean throne. We don’t know if Hezekiah was the father of any of these young men or if their fathers worked in the royal courts. But we do know that these young men knew what royal life was all about. They had been trained in royal living. They knew the palatial lifestyle, the wealth, and the opulence of living under a successful king. They were surrounded with delicious food, beauty at its finest and endless luxury. Anything they wanted was at their disposal. They were accustomed to an opulent lifestyle, but now they found themselves living in the palace of their enemy. And oh. How the tables have turned. They were not the ones to give commands or issue decrees. They were the ones who were being told what to do. When. Where. And how. They were told what their names would be. They were told what kind of food they had to eat. They were forced into a three year re-education program.

This king was trying to undo all their Jewish knowledge and ways and beliefs. I’m sure there may have been other young exiles who were happy to shed their Jewish customs. Because after all, they were in this mess because their nation had forsaken God. Their nation, as a whole, had rejected God’s commands. So the land of Judah was being punished. And yes, God had warned many times over the years that this exile would occur. They just didn’t know the timing of it.

In this invasion, young men of varying degrees of loyalty to their Jewish faith were most likely taken. So perhaps not every one of these young men held firmly to the Jewish customs, traditions, and observances. Perhaps they were eager to mix with the Babylonians. Didn’t they realize the price for mixing with the enemy? Perhaps they were glad they didn’t have to pray certain times of the day or eat a restricted diet. Perhaps they were glad they didn’t have to offer sacrifices for their sins. I’m speculating here, but we know that the land of Judah had forsaken God. It’s likely that not all of the Jewish exiles held to their Jewish faith. As the nation goes, so goes the people.

But these four young men were determined not to lose the heritage of their faith. They were determined to be faithful to their God, the only God. They knew the ways of God. And they knew the words of God. They were spiritually prepared to fight the battles ahead of them. But there were changes they had to contend with during this challenging time. They agreed to change their names. They agreed to attend this three year re-education program. In the three years that they were being indoctrinated with the Babylonian ways, customs, and traditions, they were able to learn the heart and mind of the king. They learned to live as Babylonians without becoming Babylonians. Impossible? Not if God is with you.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. John 17:15-16

But when they were offered the diet of a lifetime, the opportunity to eat the king’s food, they put their foot down. They said no. We cannot eat that food. Now there are a few different reasons why they chose not to eat the king’s food. It could be because they were Jewish. After all, Jews eat kosher and the Babylonian diet was not kosher. The Babylonians ate a rich diet and they were proud of it. And so when this rich plate of food was placed in front of them, they were appalled. Their refusal to partake could have been because these foods were off limits to people of the Jewish faith. They could have said no to the food because it had been sacrificed to idols, which was inappropriate in their faith tradition. The third reason could be that this was the king’s food. And even though they were now subject to him, it didn’t mean that they agreed with everything he did and said. And they perhaps knew that by eating his food meant that they were in agreement with him. And they were not. So they refused. We don’t know for sure what the reason was that they refused this food, but we know that they stood firm in their faith and said no.

And when Daniel approached the chief of staff to ask for a different plate of food, the man was afraid for his own life. He knew that by allowing these young exiles to reject the king’s food, the king could demand his head. So Daniel asked for a trial run on his requested diet. And the chief of staff agreed, because God had given him both respect and favor for Daniel. The gauntlet had been thrown. If these four young men looked unhealthy by the end of the week, they would eat the king’s forbidden food. Otherwise, they would remain on their Jewish diet. And at the end of that week, those four young men were sharper and healthier than any of the other young men. They were allowed to continue with their diet.

What we know is that eating the king’s food would have defiled their relationship with God. Their refusal to eat it kept their faith with God in good standing. And that was their ultimate goal. Nothing else mattered. They stood strong in their faith, and they complied with the king’s orders when doing so wouldn’t compromise their faith. Changing their name and attending the three-year indoctrination program didn’t weaken their faith, so they agreed to those demands.

When the three years of training had been completed, the king tested each young man. God had given these four particular young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. He also gave Daniel the ability to interpret the meaning of visions and dreams. No one impressed the king more than these four young men. They had been given favor by God and won a place in the king’s service.

When we compare our lives to this time in Daniel’s life, it’s easy to wonder how this story of Daniel and his three friends applies to our lives today.

Considering everything that’s happening in our culture today, we see so many false ideologies being taught in schools for children to bow down to. We see the evil that world leaders are pursuing. We see the casual way lies are spoken as truth, the cover ups, the destruction of lives and livelihoods, of families being torn apart, of wars and rumors of wars. As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to stand strong in our faith. We need to know where to draw the line on what will defile our relationship with God. And that is where we say no. We need to know where to draw the line so we don’t compromise our faith. For each of us, it may be a different place. It may be a different social scenario or work expectation where we realize we can’t cross the line. We may not know today what that line is. But we better know it when it comes at us.

Just as these young men had been raised to know the Jewish faith and how God had delivered his people many times, and how he had provided for them many times, so too, we believers must know biblical truths. Because it is from those biblical truths where we will draw our strength when we are forced to take a stand. Daniel and his friends knew God’s faithfulness in their previous lives. And they knew God would be faithful in their new life, as long as they were faithful to Him. We too must draw on God’s faithfulness in our times of testing.

These four young men chose to stand strong in their faith in God regardless of what happened to them. So today, let’s let that be the lesson for us that we can stand strong in our faith when others are mandating certain behaviors from us. When we know that a certain act or word will defile our faith, let’s say no to it. Let’s stand strong in the Word of God. But that means that we need to know the Word of God. We need to read and study the Word of God. We must spend time daily in prayer. We need to be faithful in building our relationship with God and making sure that it is strong so that it will stand the test of time. No matter the test we’re facing, with God all things are possible.

Perhaps in our time of testing and maneuvering through the potholes in today’s culture, we will be found faithful and excellent in our service. Perhaps we need to trust God to show us mercy and favor as we live for him in situations where living for God isn’t popular or desired. We must stand ready to engage in today’s culture and customs, even when they are in direct opposition to the Word of God. If we don’t know today’s culture, how can we actively engage to share the love of God?

We can’t live in our own spiritual vacuum and win the world to Jesus. We can’t retreat and hide from the world. We can’t shelter in place. How will we learn to be in the world if we don’t live in it? We can’t hide away and live in our own personal exile. We can’t retreat when we haven’t even fought for our faith. We must stand and be accountable for our convictions. Let’s not even consider compromising, if it would cost us our faith. Eternity lasts forever.

All Creation Sings

Standing outside on a cold winter morning, I see my breath as I exhale. I hold tightly to the leash as my dog sniffs the frozen ground. She leaves her mark on every spot that every other dog in the neighborhood has marked. I see the frost tipped grass that’s browned from the fall. It appears to be in a stagnant season at this point, but it’s only resting. The grass is gearing up for a busy season that’s just around the corner. It’s preparing for warmer months of growth and green and vibrance. It’s taking a break. It’s as if it’s the calm before the storm, but the grass is still very alive. The grass appears to be dead, but the work underground is moving along right on schedule. The dormant period for grass is an important step in its life.

I notice all the tree branches that have fallen from Thursday’s winds. Downed limbs mark the spot every few feet in the yard. As the small branches lay on the dead looking grass, their weakness is evident. Otherwise, they would still be holding strong to the tree that bore them. They couldn’t hold their strength against a strong wind. And that’s okay. Because the trunk of the tree still stands. The wind didn’t overtake the tree with its roots dug deep. But I noticed in my neighbor’s yard the two trees that have fallen, not from this week’s wind but from winds of days gone by. Sure. These neighbors will have the trees removed. They’ll have their fence repaired again, and life will go on as normal. And the winds will continue to blow at the appointed time.

I recall another sighting earlier in the week, as my dog and I were outside. Looking overhead, I noticed the small Cooper’s Hawk frantically flying through the air chasing a smaller bird just out of its reach. The hawk was searching for its next meal. The smaller bird was looking for a safe haven. In that particular moment, the smaller bird reached its safety nest before getting caught. And as I noticed the small hawk flying away empty handed, I knew it was still on the hunt for its next meal. And I knew it would be successful. At some point, there would be another small bird or rodent that would be caught in its mouth. The hawk would savor its meal and gain strength to sustain life. Life is a never ending circle.

Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy! Psalms 96:11-12

I also noticed a tree in my front yard beginning to form buds on the ends of each limb. Work was in progress as it began preparations for springtime. Oh. It seemed a tad early in the brisk cold, but the tree was planning for the future. It will soon spread its leaves and the flower buds will open, leaving a fragrance in the air for passersby to enjoy. This tree is gearing up for the growth and beauty that it will provide. Spring just can’t come soon enough. The dormant period is coming to an end.

As the days lengthen and become warm, they tease us with anticipation of the upcoming splash of color that’s around the corner. It’s assumed that nature is silent in the winter, because in our neck of the woods we see only brown and gray outdoors. But as the days grow longer and warmer, the gloominess will be replaced by a peek of sunshine and spring rain. At this moment in the soil, the bulbs and bushes are preparing for the next season of life. Creation sings not only in the spring when trees are budding and flowers are blooming. Creation sings in the winter with the frost on the plants. With the snowfall. With the frigid air. With the ice. Creation is singing. It’s just a different song. And it’s a song that a lot of people don’t like to hear because it’s cold. It’s inconvenient to bundle up to stay warm and safe. But hey. Life is full of inconveniences and we survive.

Creation is preparing for the next phase of life, because seasons come and go. In each season, we can find beauty if we look deep enough. If we don’t give up when things look bleak, when the sun isn’t shining, and all we see is gloom, we find hope. Then another day, the sun comes out and we feel its warmth. We see the limbs blown down, and we know that new limbs will grow. We see these empty trees and we know that new leaves will sprout. And they say that hope floats.

The hyacinths that I see coming up through the ground are an early sign that life is being lived under ground. And so that gives me hope that my life is still growing even underground where it can’t be seen. There is still beauty working in the dark days, in the lonely days and the trying times. When the ground looks barren, maybe we need to dig a little deeper. Because creation sings every day, even when we can’t hear it. Even when we can’t see the work nature is doing, it is still working. The wait is worth it.

They Think They’re Winning

There are those who believe they’re winning. They believe they’re moving the world to globalism. A one world government. They believe they can coerce people of all races and ages to accept anything they say. They believe that raising taxes will bring more stability to a shaky economy. They believe they’re influencing school administrators, counselors and teachers to trick students into accepting questionable ideologies. They believe the parents of those kids don’t need to know about their underhanded manipulation. They believe that women should be able to legally kill their unborn babies on demand. They believe that anyone at any time in their life can change their pronouns and suddenly become the opposite sex. And they think they’re winning.

There are others who believe they’re winning. They believe they’ve seen progress in the fight for their own children’s allegiance. They believe they’re gaining ground in making the family the center of everyday life. They believe they’re making progress in saving the lives of the unborn. They believe they’re making a difference in how schools are teaching their children. They believe they’re starting to reign in activists who would hurt the cause of families and children. They believe their voice is finally being heard as they fight to know what’s being taught in public schools. And they think they’re winning.

They all believe they’re winning the short game. But, in the long term, what’s really going to happen? Are they hiding the truth in plain sight? Shouldn’t we keep our eyes wide open and our ears pealed to hear what’s not being said? Shouldn’t we be diligent when it comes to standing up for our beliefs? Shouldn’t we stay in the fight?

Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged. John 16:11

There are always two sides to everything. One side wins. And the other loses. That’s how it seems. Even if it isn’t a fight or a game or a sport. Someone always loses. And someone always wins. Some would say “shhh, don’t tell them they’re not winning”. Because at the end of the day, there’s only one race that matters. Both sides will be losers unless each individual in the race submits their life to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t necessarily matter what we’re fighting for or fighting against. If we’re not fighting for our own eternity in heaven, then we’re all losers. But wait. The message of salvation is open to everyone. Why wouldn’t we want to tell those who are on the losing team how to win in the end?

Sure. It’s up to them to change the way they’re living their lives. It’s their call whether they repent of their sins and ask for God’s forgiveness. It’s on them to choose Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. So why would we keep quiet? Why would we who are Christians keep silent when we know the only way to eternal life? Why wouldn’t we share the Good News with others? Do we want them to rot in hell? Absolutely not.

Oh. We tell ourselves that what comes around goes around. Meaning. We all get our just desserts. One day we’re in the game. The next day we’re out. Some days we’re winning. Other days we’ve flat out lost. Life is unfair. But eternity is forever. Let that sink in.

Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:15

Just the other day, I was driving to a dentist appointment and merged onto the three-lane freeway. It was an easy merge, because no other cars were in my lane. After a few minutes of driving, I looked in my rearview mirror. In one of the lanes, I saw a large box truck driving slowly causing all the cars behind it to slow down. No one was passing the slow truck. They just drove in one long slow line to their destination. I’m sure some of the drivers were very unhappy about driving so slowly, but they made no effort to go around the slow truck. And what they couldn’t or wouldn’t see was that all three lanes in front of the big truck were wide open. This big slow truck was the sole cause of their frustration. Yet they did nothing about it. Who was winning that game?

As I continued to drive, I came upon a big slow utility truck. It dawned on me, as I slowed down, that I could most likely be in the same predicament as all the other vehicles traveling very slowly behind the big box truck. So knowing what I assumed to be true, I moved into the left lane and passed the slow truck. Sure enough. He was the only reason for my slow down. The road ahead was wide open for me to resume speed. If I hadn’t just witnessed the long slow line behind me, I too would have most likely become frustrated by all the slow traffic. It was a simple fix. But I had to see for myself that there was a solution to my predicament. I had to get out of my lane in order to overcome the problem.

Every driver who stays behind the slow truck is the loser. They don’t move out of the slow lane to see that the road ahead is wide open. They have a choice to end their misery, but they do nothing about it. And some people do nothing about their misery, because they don’t know there’s a solution.

It goes without saying that if we listen to only one side of an argument and accept it without question, we only know one way of believing or doing something. But if we turn the page and read the other side of the story, we may find that history paints the picture in a totally different light. There are always two sides to every story. And the side we believe is winning may really be the loser in the long run. But because we’ve always just stayed in the lane where we’re comfortable, we don’t know the other side of the story even exists.

How sad it is to only know some of the information that’s available to us. How sad it is to not test out theories and ideas when we have the means. How sad it is that we don’t engage with those of a different belief to learn what they believe and why. How sad it is that we don’t share our Christian faith, knowing full well that Jesus Christ is the answer to the problems of this world. How sad it is that we don’t do our part to make sure everyone knows they too can be on the winning team.

There’s a far greater battle that’s going on in the spiritual realm. It’s an unseen battle, but it’s very real. And it is the cause of all the battles we’re facing. Satan and his army are fighting the heavenly armies of God Almighty. Oh. Satan may think he’s winning because we can see the headway he’s making in this world. Evil is running rampant. Morals and ethics are at an all-time low, while crime and corruption are at an all-time high. So yes. It appears that Satan is winning.

But he isn’t.

In the long game, Satan and all his followers are the losers. Big time losers. It will be the ultimate failure to be on Satan’s side when eternity calls your name. When your last breath is taken and you’re standing in God’s judgment, you want to be on God’s side of the battle. Because if you are, you’re in eternity with God. If you’re not, you’re in hell for eternity. We all have a choice of where we will spend eternity. Let’s choose wisely while there is still time.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 1:9

Sanctity of Life

I didn’t realize that last Sunday was Sanctity of Life day until the day had almost passed. As soon as I saw the post on social media, I knew from past experience that most churches wouldn’t openly support it. And I was right.  Later that afternoon while once again scrolling social media, I saw a survey asking people if their church publicly supported the right to life for the unborn. After I voted, I saw the results. More than half of the responders said their church didn’t openly show support for this event. The majority of churches, those who call themselves Christian, were silent on making sure the unborn have a right to live their lives.

If our churches that say they support the unborn are silent on the day to honor the unborn, what are they really saying? What aren’t they saying? Why wouldn’t they stand up and speak up for those who can’t yet stand or speak for themselves? What are they ashamed of? Who do they think they’re offending by being silent? Who are they supporting with their silence?

If churches that say they’re pro-life don’t speak up for the unborn, will they speak against the push for assisted suicide? Will they speak against the evils of euthanasia? 

Is life really sacred to those who believe life begins at conception? Or not?

Why? Why wouldn’t churches be willing to say publicly what they’re willing to say behind closed doors? If they don’t openly support it now, when will they? If they don’t publicly support this biblical truth, which other truths will they ignore or just not defend? Do they think silence is approval for the event, or is their silence one of dissent? It can’t go both ways.

Our unwillingness to offend the pro-choice crowd offends the pro-life crowd. Why don’t we take a stand when we have the opportunity?

Oh. I know individuals who are staunch Catholics. Yet when they hear the news of someone’s unplanned pregnancy, they’re the first to recommend ending the pregnancy. After all, the time isn’t right. Or perhaps the child will be stuck with a deadbeat dad. And no one wants that. Or perhaps a violent act against the mother resulted in pregnancy. So we end the child’s life? Is that the only option in these situations? We kill the most innocent of lives in order to “protect” them from an unknown and increasingly evil world? It’s for the child’s own good? And they don’t even get a say in the matter. Their voice can’t even be heard. Until there’s a silent scream on the end of a medical instrument suctioning the newly formed body out of the mother.

And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Isaiah 64:8

We as Christians and pro-life supporters have much to be ashamed of. We don’t stand for the rights of the unborn when we have the opportunity. We don’t form a line and say enough is enough. Enough of us don’t band together in a effort to speak for those who can’t speak or even breathe on their own.

Even the leader of the free world voiced his thoughts on the day set aside to honor the sanctity of life. He was lamenting the fact that we couldn’t “celebrate” the fiftieth anniversary of the legalization of killing the unborn. He claimed the opposing political party was waging war on women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions. And he said the fight wasn’t over. Sorry Joe. It isn’t a healthcare issue. Someone always ends up dead with this procedure. The goal of this so-called healthcare issue is death for one of the lives.

If Christians are silent on this issue, then the fight has been won. Those who applaud the killing of the babies being formed in their mother’s wombs are the winners. Their fight is over. But the babies. The unborn. They’re the losers. They lose their lives every time in this fight for women’s rights. It’s definitely an unfair fight. One of the parties doesn’t even know about the fight until they’ve lost their life. How fair is that?

They say that life isn’t fair. Well. It definitely isn’t fair to the life who isn’t even given a chance to live it.

The person who is one heartbeat away from being the leader of the free world spoke her belief clearly. And it was all done with the omission of one word. Life. She chose not to include the right to life as she quoted the Declaration of Independence on that day. It was an intentional rebuff of the unborn. She spoke what she believed. We heard what she said. And we heard what she didn’t say. And now. How many who support the right to life will hold her accountable? Shall we get in line?

Sure. There were both sides represented at the event last Sunday. Those fighting for the right to life for every unborn person. And those fighting to end the life of the unborn during any stage of the pregnancy, and even after birth. Now that the event is history, it’s good to do a lessons learned to note the words being spoken and the words left unsaid. Which side of the argument really won the war that day? Oh. You say. It was a peaceful protest. Of course. As it should be.

There should never be a question of whether the unborn have a right to life. Each life is a sacred gift from God. Regardless of the moment of conception, each life is precious. As Christians, let’s stand for those lives. Let’s commit to fighting for the life of everyone from womb to tomb. Life is God-given, and let’s honor him with our lives.

Worth Noting

For so long, he’s been hailed a martyr. But now the tide is turning. Now he’s being called different names. The man who once cried out that he had a dream is now being mocked as someone unworthy of his own race. He’s now being judged by those who once called him one of their own. Many now want to destroy his legacy. Everything he stood for is at risk of falling by the wayside. All because those who have come behind him believe in an ideology that’s in total opposition to all he worked for. Oh. How the tables have turned.

Rumors of behaviors unbecoming of a family man have been spoken of him since his untimely demise many years ago. Those accusations, whether true or false, taint the legacy of a man who worked long and hard for liberty and equality for all mankind, regardless of the color of their skin. He dreamed of a land where his children could walk and live freely the same as any other child. He dreamed of a country that treated all skin colors equally. For he witnessed a separation and segregation of a people whose skin color was darker than acceptable to so many born of a lighter pigment. And he stood against it. Even as the higher powers that be were planning for his demise, he stood for his beliefs. And on one fateful day, a single bullet penetrated his body ultimately ending his life.

Other reports are now circulating that he stood for unseemly ideologies that have become popular today. Whether the reports are true or not have yet to been determined. But this man, same as anyone else, was far from perfect. Perhaps the truth of this man’s achievements and failures may never be fully known, aside from God who knows everything.

A newly minted statue memorializing the man was recently dedicated. But family members are calling the statue hideous. Unsightly. Dishonorable. Distasteful. They are not pleased with the rendition that someone was paid many millions of dollars to create. And thousands upon thousands of pages of secret files against him by those in top government positions have been uncovered. Many other pages are still being held under wraps. Some are afraid for the truth to come to light.

What was it about this man that would cause many to applaud, and yet others to tremble in fear? What was it about him? Was it only because of the color of his skin? Or, were there hidden truths that, if made public, could sway the course of history? How could it be? Will we ever know? Are we better off not knowing?

While this man wasn’t perfect, by any means, he led a movement that started a revolution. He planned and participated in peaceful protests that rallied against the discrimination of his people. Even after multiple arrests, he still stood for the same message of equality. His message never wavered or lessened. He stood courageously for the good of his race.

One wonders if there will come a day when this man’s statues will be knocked down and shoved into a corner, as so many others have in recent years. Has his time come and gone? Has this man now been deemed to be on the wrong side of history? Is it inappropriate to publicly acknowledge his contribution to society? Only time will tell.

Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34-35

There are people who are trying to taint his legacy, but truth always stands. Even when others make false claims or bring one’s faults to the light of day, God uses willing, imperfect people of all types. This man may have been involved in sketchy activities in his day, but he also did some great works that are still applauded. His efforts should not be forgotten.

I wonder. This man who pushed for peaceful protests against injustice paved the way for the rest of us. What peaceful acts are we involved in that would cause the world to sit up and take notice? Do we dare to stand up and fight for religious freedom when there are those who would remove Christianity from the face of the earth? When other Christians speak for truth in public settings, do we stand with them? Or. Are we too afraid to be noticed, so we stay silent? Do we share the message of forgiveness and salvation freely to those who need to hear it?

If each of our lives were publicly examined, how many of us would be humiliated as we stood in the public square? How many of our noteworthy acts and words would be cast off, because of our hidden behaviors? No one is perfect. No. Not one of us. We all could be the next one on the chopping block if only our private thoughts were read aloud.

So. Why are we so quick to cancel others because of a word spoken in anger or misjudgment? Who of us would be worthy of even one statue in our honor? What accomplishments have been noted for us that will be remembered in future generations?

The good news in the matter is that we serve a God of redemption. He will forgive all our sins and never remember them again. He won’t remind us of our moral failures or indecent thoughts. He won’t remember the name calling or lies or murderous looks we’ve given. When he forgives our sins, he forgets them. He doesn’t hold our previous wrongs over our heads. Our slate is wiped clean in the eyes of God. Oh. He won’t build a statue in our honor, but he will prepare a place for us in heaven so we can be with him for eternity.