The Source/Supply…In Whom Do You Trust?

Recently, I had a breakthrough. For over 2 decades, The Almighty has been lovingly trying to teach me to trust Him. And as anyone who knows me readily understands, it took those ENTIRE TWO DECADES to sink in. And it’s this realization, this breakthrough, that has prompted today’s post.

Where do you look for your strength or for your provisions? Is it an entity (like the Government) or a person (like your parents) or maybe it’s a thing (like your paycheck)? Perhaps your one of the millions who have bought the line to “look inside yourself.” And while that “look inside” can give you a bit of a boost now and again, it ultimately feels as tenuous, fragile, and unsettling as most of the above. Trust the Government, and you have to make sure your candidates get elected or that your policies are enacted; even a Government shutdown can throw you. People, as reliable as some are, still fall short of being always available or reliable. And let’s not even bother going into the problems with trusting in your paycheck. I’m pretty sure anyone who’s worked for more than 3 years knows how unreliable a paycheck might be!

The entities, people, and/or things we put our trust in secretly reveal our deepest convictions of what is true. For me, I’ve often trusted in my creativity, my problem-solving abilities. I could fix, solve, or repair ANYTHING! And while I remains the guy to call when the impossible needs to be done, I have finally recognized that The Almighty’s ability is far superior to anything I can do. I am limited to that which I have access to, be it money, people, tangible resources (like wood, steel, etc.), and physics (I can’t drive to the other side of the world or make it to some faraway destination in mere minutes). But The Almighty is not bound by such limitations.

Recently, I wrote about the challenge of trusting God when He’s silent. And in my own life, I have seen God make what seemed impossible possible. But even then, I hit bumps and began to doubt. How can I afford XYZ? Oh how will I ever get ABC done? And then Jesus lovingly tapped me on the shoulder, “Hmm. Didn’t I give you this house? Do you think I did not anticipate these things?” And I am humbly reminded that until He made it happen, I could not even afford to be where I am nor doing what I do.

For so long, I’ve bought the line that “this is important; you have to do this now.” And I’ve listened to the critics that “you can’t just step into the unknown like that!” But if God calls you out into the unknown areas of life, who are you to say you shouldn’t go? If He has a plan and asks you to wait, who are you to tell Him there’s no time? But it’s even bigger than that!

If we have acknowledged our sin, accepted Jesus’ death on our behalf, acknowledge His resurrection, and chosen to follow Him as Lord of our lives, then we have abandoned the option to believe He won’t do what’s best for us.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for all, won’t he also give us everything else?

Romans 8:31-32

I know that, at times in my life, I’ve argued with that second question. “Who can be against us?” EVERYONE! LOL! But truthfully, imagine it this way, if you had the Incredible Hulk (or, more directly, Dr. Bruce Banner) as your best friend, and you went everywhere together, can you see anyone really challenging you or picking on you? Even if they did, all Dr. Banner has to do is decide to Hulk-out and BAMMO! Game over! So, yeah, people could pick a fight, but they’re picking a losing fight.

So, when we come across opposition or challenges, if we have chosen to follow Jesus, then we don’t have to get upset or be fearful. We have but to bow ourselves before The Master and ask what He would like us to do? He may ask us to suffer without just cause, or He may remove the opposition, or He may resolve the challenge. Nonetheless (love that word; no less than before the statement was made, this is still true), whatever He has for us to do (including waiting patiently for Him to come through), we can know that He has the best possible plan to resolve the situation.

For me, it’s taken nearly 20 years to get that through my head! I pray it does not take even 1/100th of that time for you! But if you find that you just can’t do that yet, then I encourage you to spend time in prayer and the Word and look for opportunities to wait on the Lord and see Him resolve things you thought couldn’t be dealt with. Sometimes, we are our own hindrance to growth in Christ.

And if you follow this blog, and you haven’t yet chosen to follow Jesus, then I implore you to stop running away now. There is only one God, and He is a just and righteous God. His standard is, and must be, perfection. At the same time, He loves mankind so much that He couldn’t just standby as we destroyed ourselves by sin. No human has ever lived a perfect life, except for one, the God-Man, Jesus, the Son of God. He was sent as God in flesh, to live, to serve, and to be crucified (a capitol punishment; in His case, it was sanctioned murder, being innocent of His accused cries). On the third day, He rose from the dead (confirmed and verifiably dead, but then alive again, confirmed and verifiably). If you will stop living your life by your own standards, accept His Lordship (seeking His way, not your ways), you can be free from your sins and enjoy a relationship with The Almighty God, who loves you so dearly that He’s willing to endure every form of suffering and pain to make a way for you to know Him, even before you knew you needed it and what it was worth. Take time now to start a relationship with Him, confessing your sins, and beginning from this day forward to walk with Him, following His lead (fully, without adding or subtracting from what He’s said), and seeking to bring glory to Him by your submission to Him in all things. If you don’t have a Bible, you can get one here: https://staging.wayfm.com/bible/ (I am not affiliated with Way-FM, in any way; this is just a simple way to get a free Bible.)

1 Corinthians 15:10 – Godspeed!

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Suffering Honors Jesus & Denies The Flesh

The last few months have been an opportunity to learn a lot about suffering for Jesus and denying myself. If you know the Bible, you know that, in Luke 9:23, Jesus lays out that to follow Him means “you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (NLT). That sounds simple enough, but let’s break it down.

Jesus tells us to give up our own way. So, it’s no longer about what I think is best, how I think something should be done, nor is it about when I think He should do something, where, nor why. It’s about letting go of all of that and letting Him be God!

Then, I’m to take up my cross daily. A cross was not a pretty image, nor was it some lovely jewelry or artistic ornament. Rather, a cross was a clear implement of death! Taking up my cross means my flesh gets put on that cross every day! When I get up in the morning, my flesh knows it’s going to be dying that day.

The last part is following Him. If you can get through those first two, this last one is easy! But the focus of this post is mostly that second one. My flesh needs to die!

Let me take a moment and say something that I amNOT talking about: suicide! Suicide is another lashing out of my flesh, but I am also NOT condemning those who have been overcome by the demons in this world and made that choice. What I AM SAYING is that no one should read this post as an excuse nor an endorsement for such an offense. Your life, no matter how you see it, is VALUABLE! You are here because Jesus has purpose for you; don’t turn your back on that purpose!

Now, back to my flesh being put to death. Jesus carried a cross; He hung on a cross, too! He calls us, as disciples of Him, to follow in those footsteps. And that often takes place through suffering. This may be extreme suffering under persecution or just supernatural suffering brought on by family, friends, jobs, or children. Be it persecution, a difficult or troubled child, or a physical challenge due to birth, accident, or even a bad choice, if you follow Jesus, you will experience suffering.

“Wow! Great marketing, man! I bet everyone will want to follow Jesus, now!”

No. It’s not marketing; it’s the truth. And if you choose to follow Jesus or choose to deny Him, I’d rather give you the truth and let you decide based off honest truth/facts rather than lies and emotions. But that suffering you’ll endure, it’s not without cause nor without purpose.

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not drive to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jess may also be seen in our bodies.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

As God has settled my family into a new (to us) home, and as He begins a process of restoration, I’ve become keenly aware of my own sufferings. I literally have therapists telling me how I need to engage in more “self-care” (their term for taking a lunch out, massage, or other things to help de-stress). And while I respect these therapists’ opinions, I seek to honor Christ above all else. That doesn’t mean I can’t get a massage, nor does it mean that I should stress and have a heart attack! What it means is that my de-stressing should be, first, by casting my cares upon Him. Second, I should let Him guide me to the things I need to do. Some years ago, a friend gave me a gift certificate for a massage, and I learned how amazingly loose a massage can make me, restoring a good deal of energy/flexibility. But even in this, it wasn’t something I sought out in place of the Lord, but rather, it was something I received while walking with Him.

Suffering sucks! I will readily admit that! No one seeks out suffering, and no one should. But when faced with a choice to feed my flesh, my desires and pleasures, or to accept some pain or suffering, one should first press into Jesus, and then accept the road of pain/suffering over the road which would encourage one’s flesh. One’s spirit will always be encouraged and uplifted by spending time in the Bible and in worship of the Almighty and Jesus. When Believers place themselves into the hands of the Almighty, by the aforementioned time in the Bible, in worship, and also in prayer, then pain and suffering no longer hold the potency they once did, and we can step into pain/suffering with the knowledge that God has a purpose and is using it for His glory.

When we get to Heaven and enter into the glory of the Lord, what a sight that will be! Many of us believers have no idea how much the Lord has done through us and our pains. Equally so, I suspect that many of us will find ourselves marveling that He used us even in our worst moments. This does not excuse us; we are to be in communion with Jesus, every day. We need to be constantly connected with Him, letting Him flow through us and into our interactions, activities, and thoughts. But even when we fail, He is faithful. Even when we think we have lost it, He is the one holding it all together, making it work for the best.

What an amazing God! What a glorious Father, we serve, then! He has given us everything, taking from us the worst of our refuse, and suffering, in our place, on the cross, and rising again because He is that powerful! Death could not hold Him! The cross could not fell Him! And my worst days are not a surprise to Him! He uses them! Praise God!

I can’t close this any better than Jude closed his letter, and so, with the words of Jude, I close this blog…

“Now, all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and bring you with great joy into His glorious Presence without a single fault. All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.”

Jude 24-25

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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Spiritual Opposition Always Follows Spiritual Progress

This principle shifted my thinking! Spiritual opposition always follows spiritual progress; my pastor, at the time, said this in one of his sermons, and I had never really thought about it before. Some of that was my the time and environments I was raised in, but part of it was my own ignorance, having missed this clear reality in the Bible!

In many ways, I’d grown up in a prosperous time for America, and in the midst of that prosperity (as often happens in prosperous times), the Church in America started dulling its message. With so much prosperity, many churches began to just seek higher donations. Some churches began to seek notoriety through numbers. And still others thought they were doing “good work” but never asked if they were doing “God’s work!” Even so, no matter the cause, the result was the same, many young humans (believer and unbeliever, alike) began to forget what it was like before things were so good.

As often holds true, good times often weaken the resolve of mankind. We forget that we didn’t EARN these good times. We forget that bad times come to all. Worse yet, we lose our ability to press into the bad times and make the best of them. I remember stories of how an orange was a fantastic Christmas gift during the depression, how socks could be such a wonderful resource on the battlefields of World War II, and I personal recall the fragility of portable media, how a hot day could mean the end to your favorite album if you forgot to grab it from your car!

These are small examples, but when we draw this out to the spiritual, it becomes truly potent. The woman who comes to Jesus, and immediately, her pimp threatens her. The man who turns his life over to Jesus, and his buddies show up, unannounced, at his house “ready to party!” Or the single parent who has been praying for his/her kids, and they suddenly have a collector banging on the door. The Enemy of our souls will take ANY opportunity to distract us from the Gospel and from our purpose here on the Earth!

Most of all, when we are making progress (quitting sin, learning a truth, or being faithful to pray for a brother or sister or unbeliever), we can expect to face opposition! It could be as extreme as suddenly being fired from your job, as insane as being accused of a crime you didn’t commit, or as simple as getting an unexpected (or forgotten) bill for something. Whatever it is, when the troubles come, our natural response is, “What did I do wrong?”

We tend to naturally assume there’s some cosmic balancing scale, and we must’ve tossed something onto the wrong side of that scale. I think this goes back to the fall in the garden. We decided to be our own god, and when we made that choice and ate the fruit (not necessarily an apple, y’all!), our eyes were opened, and we used the most logical metric to understand good and evil. And yet, God does NOT work that way! He’s neither a vending machine nor a scale.

In point of fact, the clearest example of this is in Jesus. If God was interested in tic-for-tat or in “scales of karmic justice,” then Jesus wouldn’t have died, y’all! Truly, think this through for a moment; if it was about balancing good/bad or about putting enough good into the vending machine of the cosmos, then Jesus would not have died! Maybe he would’ve bled a bit. Perhaps, he would have endured a small beating, something just to cover the gap. But He certainly would not have died!

In actuality, the very reason Jesus HAD to die was because we were DOOMED!!!! If God were to show some scales of justice, they would be eternally tipped against someone just because of one choice! God’s law demands purity, not “clean enough”. Hence, we never could do right enough to offset the wrongs we’ve done, and that’s assuming we never again failed, but we all know that’s a falsehood; we inevitably fail again.

So, when troubles come, I must ask the question not, “what did I do wrong?” but “what am I missing?” The second opens me to the possibility that it’s not dependent on me. If troubles come, the question of “what am I missing?” allows me to look to God and see what He is doing. Perhaps there is some pride, or other sin in my life, which He is working to remove. It could be that He’s put me in a position to wait on Him. Or it could be that He’s asking, “Will you trust me through this?” like I discussed some weeks ago. Whatever the case, I no longer look to my sinful self and assume I’ve screwed something up. Rather, I look to Him and continue to follow Him through the struggle.

Hence, my focus is restored, once again upon Jesus, and if there’s something I did do wrong, He will show me. This also removes the need to blame others (the need; I no longer NEED someone ELSE to be at fault. If others are at fault, we should hold folks accountable for their actions), as I can walk through this with Jesus rather than trying to “fix it”. Additionally, my keeping my eyes on Jesus, I receive His strength and can deal with the challenge ahead with His grace and His strength, in Truth, and I no longer need to bear the full weight of this challenge.

In short, there is a lot of peace that comes when I recognize that God is not “out to get me”, and if I am following Him, secure in His sacrifice paying the price of my sin(s), then challenges and surprises are no longer fear-filled and indicative of my own guilt. Rather, challenges are just challenges, and I have the blessed opportunity to walk through said challenges with Jesus/God (the Almighty, Creator of All, and all things were created through Jesus) by my side! How cool! What an amazing truth!

Best of all, it’s no longer dependent on me to juggle everything, to keep everything together or accounted for, and I can rest that He’s got it worked out; I can simply follow His lead and enjoy the ride. As an analytical goof who is often taking on more than he should, I can testify that truth is an amazing relief. I can also testify that it is sometimes hard to keep it in mind, as the volleys of life get tossed at me, left, right, and directly in the schnoz! But He is faithful, even when we are faithless! (2 Timothy 2:13)

“Now to Him who is able to keep you [believer in Jesus] from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forevermore. Amen” – Jude 1:24-25, ESV

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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Gratefulness Admidst Pain

Have you ever wanted something, and someone gives you a gift, and you think it’s the something you want, but it’s really something else? Well, my High School English teachers would kill me for that sentence, but I think we’ve all been there a time or two, wishing for A but getting B.

I remember one Christmas so profoundly, I can still feel the emotions and remember every aspect of this one moment. I was about 13 years old, and all I wanted in the world was a stereo! Oh, I could go without ANY OTHER Christmas gifts, if only I could get a stereo! To make matters worse, one night, my parents went out, and I was fiddling around on the limited family computer (I think I was playing an early computer game), and I saw a box. This box sat level with my parents’ bed, with a blanket over it, so I couldn’t see. Being me, I didn’t go look, but I KNEW I was getting my stereo!

Christmas morning came, and the presents started being opened, and I got to my big present. And yet, it wasn’t as big as I had thought, but maybe it was a remote (that was the new thing, then! Remote-controlled stereos), or maybe it was a receipt or some adventure to go on to find my stereo. And as I opened that package, my heart sunk into my legs, and I struggled to hold back tears and be grateful; my gift was my Dad’s boom-box (basically, a CD player with speakers and a radio, for those of you who don’t know what a boom-box is). My parents went on to explain how they couldn’t afford a stereo but could give me this. Oh! I knew my parents weren’t rich, so I tried so hard to be grateful, but the tears welled up anyway…

I find that I still struggle with being grateful when I’m given gifts that are not what I wanted. My heart is so set on a thing that anything less or different is hard to be grateful for it. But, I am also working on it! I’m learning to see the heart in the gift that was given. And the same is true of God.

Sometimes, we ask God for something, like a spouse, but He gives us a better car. “A car is not a spouse, God! Don’t you know this?” LOL! Every time I say something like that, I immediately see one of my kids getting upset with me. Here I am telling the Almighty God of the Universe, the One who knows everything, that He doesn’t know the difference between a car and a spouse. But you know what? He knew I needed that car to keep me from being broken down on the road two weeks later. He knew that I needed that vehicle to help my friend move the following month. He knew!

As for the spouse, sometimes God says no or not-now. Truthfully, I don’t understand that! I really don’t! From my analysis, I know that what is truly needed is a spouse! But then I have to admit that I’ve just violated Proverbs 3:5.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

Do you see the conflict? I’m judging God’s provision by my limited knowledge. I’m trusting in my own analysis. I’m depending on my “educated” understanding. But, as may be obvious to you, God is bigger than me, better educated than the greatest of scholars, and has an understanding beyond human comprehension. He understands, sees, and knows so much more than I can hope to understand, see, or know.

So, when God provides a car, even though I asked for a spouse, I must submit my heart to His wisdom and healing touch. I need to look at that car, let my tears fall, and say with absolute trust, “Thank you!” My perception of what is best is often inaccurate. He knows what I need, and He will provide it. (As an aside, let me say that this DOES NOT mean one cannot keep asking for a spouse! Jesus tells us to be persistent in our requests until we get a response; so, there is nothing wrong with continuing to ask for A when you get B.) In the midst of my humanity, I need to remember my limitations, and I need to practice gratefulness for what He HAS given, even if I am grateful through my tears.

Ok. I should finish my earlier story. In the midst of my trying to be grateful and working so hard to keep from sobbing, I had missed that my older brother was now standing next to the couch I was sitting on. Furthermore, I missed the fact that he was holding a very big box. After clearing his throat, I looked in his direction and was elated to see a nice, new, shiny stereo for me! I didn’t care how it compared to any other stereo, it was my stereo, and I could finally listen to my music in nice, detailed, equalized sound! Yeah, baby! I had arrived!

When we surrender our lives to Jesus, when we line-up behind Him and walk with Him, following His plans for our lives, we will find He has the perfect gifts for us. Sometimes, they’re not what we want, but they are what we need, and they are ours, our gifts from our Father. And through these gifts, we are better equipped and enabled to serve Him. Nothing is wasted and little is much when God is in it! Consequently, I encourage you, Dear Reader, to press into gratefulness for what He gives you, even if you must weep as you’re grateful; He’ll work on that weeping, and you’ll find more gratefulness. Better yet, you’ll find your life more aligning with His, as you practice this denial of what you think is best and gratefulness for what He has given you.

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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My Doubts Will Answer To Your Scars

There is a fantastic line in a Skillet song called “Terrify the Dark”, and it is that line that now titles this blog post. But before I get into that, let me take you back.

Many years ago, a dear and close friend brought a band to my attention, Skillet. I’d never heard of them before, and truth be told, I wasn’t exactly into the hard-rock, punk, metal, nor industrial music scenes. In point of fact, there was a whole side of music I had not yet opened to. Fast-forward a few years and the girl I was seeing was into Skillet. At first, I wasn’t that excited about their sound. But with the album Collide, I started getting into their sound.

In 2004, Skillet performed at an event called Acquire the Fire. At the close of their set, Skillet did something many bands, at the time, did not do; Skillet took a moment to play Be Thou My Vision and engage the crowd in worship of our Creator and Lord. So many bands, at that time, were all about the money or their own music or what-have-you. But Skillet took a moment and brought it back to why we are believers, the amazing God of the Universe who created us, lived among us, and gave his life to save us (being resurrected on the third day). Not only that, but they did a hymn! And not only a hymn, but one that is a prayer for God, Himself, to be the center of our thoughts, purposes, life, and everything, our very vision!

Afterward, I got the distinguished honor to shake John’s hand and thank him for being so bold. His heart, at the time and to this day, is a unique treasure; he is a man who seeks after God with all he is, all he does, and follows Him into the future! Even in the early aughts (2000-2009 for those who didn’t know, like me), finding someone like that in the music industry could be difficult, and John’s story is a worthy tale of following God amidst adversity. But I’m not here to talk about John (Cooper, if you’re reading this, I’d love to chat with you, sometime, just as brothers in Christ; nonetheless, much love for ya and your mission!).

Consequently, Skillet has become a source of enjoyment and inspiration, as their music gets me up and moving, gets my fingers coding at light speed, and is just so backed with little golden nuggets of wisdom! (I would be remiss to not mention the vocal gold of Jen Ledger! Words would fail me to express it; Jen, if you happen to read this, you keep lookin’ up and pressin’ forward. God’s using you in so many ways! Much love, sister!)

And with that preface, you can understand why this is intriguing to me that I’ve listened to this song for 3 years now, and only once has this line stood out to me.

First, you have to appreciate the message of the song, “Your light will terrify the dark!” The visual imagery is profound. The light of the Almighty, the light itself, will terrify the dark. It’s not the attack, not the weapons, not the power, not the intensity, not the potential, nor the virility. It is merely the PRESENCE! His light terrifies the dark. It doesn’t merely intimidate, nor does it concern, nor does it simply disturb, but it fully terrifies the darkness. The idea is like a Chinese man hearing of Genghis Khan coming for his town; he isn’t merely afraid, Khan had generated an image that struck immediate terror into anyone who heard he was coming.

And with that understanding, then grasp the sweet potency of this line:

My doubts will answer to your scars!

And fear will have to place, no hold upon my heart!

Skillet, Terrify The Dark (chorus)

My doubts will answer to your scars. This reminds me of a scene in 1883, the paramount TV series. The series takes place on a wagon train moving from Texas to Oregon. In it, one of the cowboys, helping to wrangle the herd of cattle being transported with them, takes a liking to one of the Tim McGraw’s character’s daughter. She also shows an interest in him. Well, the father, in giving the cowboy his blessing to court his daughter, tells the cowboy, “you break her heart or get handsy, you and me are gonna have a problem.” In other words, that cowboy will answer to the father if he breaks the daughters heart or worse. Well, as Hollywood does, the cowboy and the daughter get intimate; sure enough, the father just about kills the cowboy before the daughter stops him. This, ladies and gents, is what it means to “answer to” someone.

So, think about that. Your doubts, not you but your doubts, will answer to Jesus scars. They will be dealt with by the scars on Jesus’ head, hands, side, feet, and back. (As an aside, think on that for a moment; Jesus beating, flogging, and death touched every side of his body. He left nothing behind to give His life for you!) You don’t have to be captive to fear, nor to doubt. They must submit to Jesus!

In our modern world with COVID-19, fear became almost a constant for a lot of folks. Some of us fought against fear, some fought each other, and some gave into fear, letting it take up residence in their lives. Dear Reader, you don’t have to live this way! Not if you have given your life over to Jesus and seek to follow Him! He has freed you, even from your fears and doubts! Take a page out of Skillet’s song book, and let His light terrify the dark, and shove your doubts up to the throne, and let them answer to His scars because He loves you too much to let you live in fear and sin! Repent (this means to turn away from your sin and never go back to it) and ask Him to take charge of your life. Let Him become your standard and the goal you strive for, but more importantly, let Him be the Father you need, let His advice be the wisdom you follow, and let His word be the first and last input in your life and all you do. Be like Christ, and follow Him into the truest freedo you’ll ever experience!

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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Everything Is A Trade-Off

Today’s post is more of a random musing than many others which brew for longer times. But recently, this theme has surfaced in my life, and I think it’s worth commenting on. In America, we’re so used to the idea of “have it your way” and “have it all.” Something our predecessors understood has been lost on my generation and the ones since.

Everything is a trade-off. Do you remember when you’d “make it last” or you or your parent would fix something rather than replacing it because of cost? Even if you don’t, I can testify to these things. I remember my Dad bending and shaping a fireplace screen, so it would be fixed and useful because replacing it was not an option. We’d rescreen windows, and a neighbor was often helping me fix my bike. Those moments are still fond memories and formed portions of who I am.

These days, we’ve gotten so used to figuring out “can we afford it?” Or we look at “well, does it have the features I want?” And all that is well and good! It’s worthy to make sure you spend your money well and that things meet the needs their being acquired for. But what I am pointing to is the moments when we choose new over old just because it’s new!

Recently, a friend encouraged me to read a book called One Second After by William R. Forstchen. It is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend it. But one of it’s important attributes is that it’s highlighted, for me, the importance of caution when acquiring or investing in new technology. These days, we move at such a speed that many things are easily run over or past. To steal a quote from the movie The Hunt for The Red October, we are running so fast “that [we] could run right over my daughter’s stereo and not hear it!”

There’s an old saying, “Free as in Speech, or Free as in Beer?” But what’s missed is that someone paid for both! One of the first lessons to my kids was the fact that whenever someone gives you something “for free”, always consider who paid for it (store owner, promoter/company, you via price increases, you via tax increases, etc.). The point is that there’s a trade-off in all things!

Microwave A will warm your food, but it doesn’t have any fancy bells and whistles, custom settings, timers, etc. Just a basic “heat my food up in this much time at this much power” microwave. It’s $20. But Microwave B is $45 and includes a popcorn feature, something that will cook a small chicken and has a built-in thermometer, and it includes a timer and a defrost feature. Is all that worth $25 extra? Probably. Let’s assume the extra features really cost that much, for this argument’s sake. But is it worth the extra $25 TO YOU?! Do you need those features? “Well, I might want them, one day; I might get a sudden craving for microwavable popcorn.” Well, if you have the spare $25, go for it! But recognize that you’ve traded that $25 for those features. For $25, you could’ve bought some popcorn and a pan to pop it in, and you could’ve taken yourself out from some nice fast-food (like Chipotle or Smashburger or even a medium Starbucks ;-D).

Another consideration is digital versus analog. Oh nuts! I think I lost half of you. 😀 I kid, but truly, I’m not sure if most people know those terms, as they are fairly niche terms. So, let’s look at it this way, portable music (Amazon, iTunes, Pandora, etc.) is digital versus vinyl or cassette tapes which are analog. Some people swear digital is better; others will go to war for analog. I tend to be Switzerland, neutral. But I will point out to both parties that there are trade-offs. Digital has a convenience to it that analog can’t provide. But all of that comes with trade-offs. Digital can be more easily altered which means you don’t have a reliable historical record. Analog can be easily lost, which means it’s not as durable. Then there’s the warmth that analog is often felt to have, but digital is more crisp. In sort, analog has a certain warmth and a depth to it that digital loses, but digital has a portability and durability that analog can’t match.

At the end of the day, the point is that in all things we should be aware (or “heads-up” as we used to say) of the gains and losses we accept around us. Something may cost a bit more, but it covers all the needs. Is it worth more? To the person that needs it, it is. Do you need those features? Maybe it’s worth holding on to the extra money. Do you really want to jump on that bandwagon? Maybe it’s not worth the cost!

In our ever-emotional, cheap and convenient world, it is important to take a moment to pause and consider the benefits and drawbacks of the things we spend our time, money, and energy to acquire, support, and utilize. There’s some food for thought!

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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I Don’t Matter…Truly!

The other night, I was quite irritated with one of my children because of an attitude issue. As I took a moment to calm down and clear my mind, it dawned on me that “I don’t matter!” Now, initially, this was a very self-pity-ish way of thinking. “I don’t matter; woe is me. No one cares about me.” Blah, blah, BLECH!!!

Nonetheless, as I began to take care of some things, the deeper truth welled up inside of me. I really don’t matter! Now, this is not some self-pitying tripe. Nor am I saying that my life or activities don’t matter to anyone at any time! That’s asinine; I have kids, and by virtue of being their parent, my existence matters.

Rather, what I came to realize is that, when you get down to it, I am not the one that matters! Jesus is! He matters because He is God, because He laid down His life for my sins, because He rose again on the third day, and because He is the only one worthy of such worship and importance! By His declaration, my life matters, but He matters more, and I need to acknowledge that.

When you’re in pain, experiencing pain, or just generally unsettled, it’s easy to get selfish. If you’re on the Autism Spectrum, it’s even easier to get self-centered because you’re oft inside your own head, even more than being in the world around you. So, this isn’t meant to condemn anyone, but it is hoped that it might convict a few, as I was convicted.

And that conviction should lead you to repentance (turning away from the sin, in this case selfishness). Whatever my desire, and however well-reasoned or well-intentioned my thoughts, my desires and my thoughts are not what matters. What does Jesus want? What has caught Jesus’ attention?

For me, I have made a point to pivot and redirect my selfish thoughts and intentions. Most notably, I’m working on purging the phrase “I’m tired” from my vocabulary. Most of the time, it’s an accurate expression, but even so, many times, it benefits no one to declare it. My yawns are visible, the tiredness is seen in my face, or the clock, alone, shows that the day is coming to a close and it’s times to rest. Declaring that I’m tired benefits no one in these situations.

On the flip side, there are times when my tiredness is my reason for not doing something. I worry about pushing myself too far or too hard, and I try to strike a balance between what I must do and what is optional to do, so I can maximize my energy level over the day. And yet, that’s not really what Christ calls us to do. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus asks the disciples to pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane, and the disciples keep falling asleep because it’s late. In this moment, Jesus acknowledges “Keep watch, and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (Matthew 26:41, NLT, emphasis mine)

In short, Jesus is telling the disciples (and, now, us) that the inner-man, the part of us we call the “spirit”, the part that, in Christ, communes directly with God, that part is more than willing to push beyond our physical limits. But our flesh, that part which is inclined toward sin, is weak. This plays out two ways; 1) The flesh can’t conquer the spirit, if we choose to follow the spirit, and 2) If we live our lives by our flesh (or by our own efforts), we will find ourselves not able to do what He’s called us to.

At the same time, Jesus knows that we’re human and need rest. This blog is not trying to say that you can go without sleep! I am not of the mind that we should knowingly do harm to ourselves. However, I am also not saying that we should tell God that we can’t do something because we’re tired or because we don’t think it’s possible. Quite to the contrary, if God calls you to do something, then that is what you should do, consequences notwithstanding!

Paul reinforces this in Galatians 5:14-17, when he tells us to follow the Spirit and not give in to the flesh. Furthermore, the writer of Hebrews reinforces this in Hebrews 11 as the various miracles of God, throughout history, are identified as coming from God through faith. He even goes so far as to say, “Faith shows the reality of what we hoped for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NLT)

With all these ingredients, let’s cook this stew!

God understands our weaknesses; Jesus lived as a God-in-flesh for 30-ish years. He knows how tiring life can be, having been persecuted, sought out as a celebrity, having lost his earthly father, having been on the go for most of his 3 years of ministry, and having suffered a brutal death of abusive torture, endured the death-inducing 40-lashes, and then walked up a hill to be nailed (raw back against rough wood) to a cross and hang for 3 hours before dying. He surely understands being tired and being worn out.

While He understands our weaknesses, He also calls us to live by the Spirit, not by the flesh. As Zechariah 4:6 (NLT) says, “It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” In the context of this passage, God is laying out before Zechariah that He will work through Zerubbabel to finish the temple, and that nothing will stand in Zerubbabel’s way. But this is not going to happen by any other manner than by the very Spirit of God, Himself! Similarly, our lives can be lived in the flesh, but we will miss the best of what God has for us, and we will fall short of all that God desires to accomplish through our lives. We are called to live by His leading, through His strength, in His Spirit!

And when we live by the Spirit, when we submit our plans and desires to Jesus’ Lordship, we will find Isaiah 40:31 (NLT) becomes very real in our lives; “but those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” And I can testify to this! I have seen the Lord make me able to do that which I could not; I would’ve never thought I could be a single Dad, let alone raise 3 kids through their teenage years, but here I am, doing so, by the grace and strength of the Lord!

At the end of the day, it’s not about me! I don’t matter! I think John the Baptiser put it best when he said, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30, NLT) He is greater than I, and His reflection through my life must increase, and my reflection through my life must decrease. People should see Jesus, through me, more, and they should see me, through me, less. In essence, the highest compliment I can ever expect to receive is “you [sound/look/feel] like Jesus!” Of course, I assume that will be the day the Lord takes me home, and then, I hope His compliment will be, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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The Illusion Of The Day

There’s a fantastic song by Caedmon’s Call, which is called Masquerade (linked to YouTube, if you want to listen), and it speaks of the illusion that city lights can make, leading us to believe that it’s almost as bright as the day. It tells the story of such a city and the contrast when a lightning storm rolls in. The lightning flashes so brightly that the city lights are shown for what they are, poor imitations of the real thing. In fact, the song goes so far as to say, “Now the lights of that little town were as dark as the night compared to His light!”

This morning, I was coming to terms with my own humanity. In so many ways, I hate myself. I’m inefficient, inadequate to my own standards, and generally am not the person I want to be; worse yet, a lot of what bugs me about me are things I can do nothing about! My brain is what it is; I’ve experienced trauma I didn’t know how to avoid, been through trials I had no control over, and I’ve made mistakes I didn’t know would cause the damages they have. In short, I am a man in such desperate need of mercy and grace, I can feel it with every breath! So, why do I tell you this?

Every attempt of mankind to “find God” is fraught with futility. Whether you go the Roman Catholic way of penance and confession, good works, or whether you go the Mormon way of emotional experiences, following the Mormon Church’s exact guidance, or whether you are of the Church of Climate Change, believing that elitist ideology, perfect composting, and a minimum “carbon footprint” will save the world. (Disclaimer: I’m not trying to insult anyone here; this isn’t a comparative religions post, so I’m not claiming anything exacting about these groups, just using them as an example.) No matter where you go, if you’re trying to find God, find a god, or find some god-like existence or perfection, you WILL fall short of it! Even if you are a Protestant (or Non-Denominational) Christian, trying to find God will leave you lost!

In reality, humans have never had to “find God”. In point of fact, the action words in the Bible are more like looking for something that you have an idea where it is. Like looking for a book, or trying to find your shoe, as opposed to trying to find love or peace. God isn’t hiding. But quite often, we are!

We hide behind our comfort foods. We hide in our media (TV shows, news, or streaming content). We hide behind pleasure, be it sexual relationships, pornography, or adrenaline rushes. We encase ourselves in our careers, our houses, and our cars, and we think that we have somehow “arrived” at the place we’ve always desired, but eventually, the lightning crashes down reveals that all of our fancy lights are but mere darkness compared to what our souls ultimately craze in The Almighty.

Today, I caught myself pining for the future, for a time when my present “lack” would be filled, and my current frustrations and pangs would cease. And as I pined for that future, God gently whispered, “when will you choose to be happy with Me?” It was not a condemnation. Quite the opposite, it was the cry of a Father who has given His son so much, and His son (that’d be me, if it’s difficult to follow) has not been wholly grateful. And it’s not like I’m ungrateful.

In fact, it’s the fact that I’ve become absorbed in the thoughts and expectations of dozens of people. I’ve gotten lost in what seems best, in what makes fiscal sense, in what my day-to-day life of tangible needs has burdened me with! I’ve gotten lost in the gratefulness of what I have. I’ve forgotten to be grateful for what I truly have.

“What? You lost me!”

I know. I’m sorry. It’s hard to express this properly. Let me use a tangible, albeit fictional, example. Let’s say that I have a small apartment, a wife who’s expecting, and we are about to buy our first house. In such an example, I am so grateful for this apartment, for my first child, for my wife, and for the possibility of a house that I get lost and start to worry about how to get a house in this market. I start worrying about whether I make enough (yeah, my boss just said I’m getting one of the biggest raises of my career), whether we’ll have enough room, whether it’s the right neighborhood, or is it close enough to schools, etc. Let me highlight that for you: I start to worry!!! And as I worry, I forget that I have a job! Not everyone has a job; oh, I remember when I didn’t have one, how scary it could be to be running low on money, or to have to pick whether we pay a bill or get food! I forget that I have an apartment that provides shelter from the elements! Oh man, I remember when we had that previous apartment that was so drafty and barely kept the heat in! I forget that my wife loves me, and that we can raise our child, under the gracious protection of The Almighty, regardless of where we end up living.

I forget that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me like my own Dad did. (The example has ended, by the way.) Sometimes, we are grateful just so far. We remember to be thankful for A, B, and C, but we forget to go all the way to X, Y, and Z. Or maybe we forget to be grateful for O because it’s round, and we really needed a square! Or we forget to be grateful for P and Q because those were difficult and by the time we got through them, we were more grateful to be on the other side of the trial than we were to have P and Q. (Incredibly important letters, P and Q; they’re often understated, but they are quite perspicacious in their qualms and inquisitive purposes. LOL! Sorry, I had to do it, but they are important, yet understated, letters!)

At the end of the day, especially in America, it’s very easy for us to think we’ve got it together, to think we don’t need Jesus, and to think we are truly grateful for everything we’ve received. But today, I challenge you to look at the things you might be forgetting to be grateful for, the things God has placed in your life to bless you, help you, or challenge you! And sometimes, those challenges are a challenge to turn away from what we think we need and to spend time in the Arms of the One we really need!

Today, I choose to embrace the pain, grab hold of the frustrations, and press through them both. The Lord is greater than any of my troubles, and I desire to know Him fully and unrestricted! I would rather pursue His best for my life than to back-hand Him with my temporary pleasures or my immediate entertainment. I choose to power down my city’s lights out of a desire to wait for and see His daylight.

Whatever my challenges, worries, or struggles are today, He is more than able to overcome them! So, I choose to trust Him and press into my relationship with Him, trusting Him to work out the details.

Dear Reader, I pray you will trust Him, too, and that you will press into a relationship with Jesus, the Messiah/Christ. If you don’t know Him, you can begin a relationship with Him today. It starts with you admitting that you’ve sinned, that you have broken God’s laws, gone against His righteousness. Then, you simply declare (and believe) that He has died in your place and risen from the grave. And from this day forward, you start digging into this relationship with Him; get to know Him through His Word, the Bible, and through prayer (really, just a conversation with God). And as you get to know Him, He’ll show you areas of your life where sin has messed up His original purpose for you. As He shows you those areas, do what He says and let the cleanup begin (and eventually complete). Oh, and the last thing, find a church near you that teaches from the Bible and get into fellowship with other believers (hang out, talk about what God’s teaching you, hear what God’s teaching them). We need the support of each other, especially in these dark days when so much is turning against God.

If you don’t have a Bible and would like one sent to you, you can request one through WayFM (this site is not affiliated, nor do we receive any benefit from WayFM): https://www.wayfm.com/bible/

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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When I Get Where I’m Going; Thoughts on Legacy

Today, I happened to be listening to Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton singing “When I Get Where I’m Going”, and it got me thinking. I’ll spare you the random hops and schisms that led me to this, but I began to consider what would my kids remember, if I was gone. I thought of how we played my Dad’s favorite hymn at his funeral, and…do my kids even know my favorite song, let alone if it’s a hymn?

What would my kids remember of me? What would my headstone say? “Soli Deo Gloria”, like my Dad? “He was a living sacrifice”? “Beloved Father, Brother, and Friend”? What kind of phrase sums up me? And do my kids see that? Or would they remember me a different way?

So much of our world has pushed us to think only of today. Whether it is the entrenched consumerism, society’s ever-militant desire to deny God, or the immediate fears of things like COVID, there are forces all around which seek to draw us only into a self-centered “now” and to ignore the ramifications of our actions.

Some years ago, God asked me a question, “what if I took your kids from you, tomorrow?” “Whoa, God! You can’t do that! That wouldn’t be right!” “That’s not the question; what would you do differently, if you knew you wouldn’t have your kids tomorrow?”

After a few tears, my brain started cooking. God wasn’t being mean; He was being purposeful and directing me to think about what was important, to be intentional in raising my kids. And that day, I decided, if I lost my kids tomorrow, I’d want them to know that they were loved, to know the Gospel that Jesus could save them from their sins and give them everlasting life via a relationship with Him, and I’d want them to know that I, specifically, was their father who loved them.

By the gracious hand of God, and through multiple circumstances, my kids know these things. Even if He were to call me home today, I can confidently say that they would remember that their Dad loved them dearly, and they’d know their Father God. What they did with that? Well, that’s largely up to them, but I think that’s also part of why God hasn’t taken me off this earth yet.

So, what would be your legacy? Do you have kids? If not, what would your friends say of you? Do you have at least one close friend or maybe a brother/sister? What could he/she say of you? Would they speak of the love of Jesus flowing from you? Would they be able to articulate the Gospel? Or would they say that you were a partier? A rocker? A lover who never committed? What is your legacy, thus far?

The beauty in Christ is that there are second chances! If your legacy does not reflect Jesus, then you can repent (admit it’s wrong and turn around) today and start a new legacy. It may not be as clean-cut as you’d hoped, but maybe that legacy goes from “yeah, he was my father, but I never knew him” to “yeah, he was my father, and at the end, he weirdly changed and tried to be a part of my life.” But I’ll encourage you that I’ve known folks who had that story, and that “weirdly changed” later became “he started following Jesus, and it took me some years to realize that I needed to do that, too.”

In 2 Kings, there’s the recounting of a man who was sick and dying. Isaiah is sent to him to tell him to get his house in order, for he is going to die. The man weeps and cries out to the Lord to remember his faithfulness and his service to the Lord. Shortly thereafter, Isaiah is given a second message for the man; he is told he will recover and has been given another 15 years. While some think this is God changing His mind, I tend to view it as God telling this man what he needed to hear to motivate him to do what he needed to do. Some may view that as a lie, but God knows all; if the man hadn’t cried out, I’m certain he would’ve died, but he did, and God knew he would.

The same is true for you and I. We may think we’ve failed, permanently and completely, but God is so much more faithful and capable than we have ever known! If we follow after and serve Him, He will make beauty out of ashes, and He can work through you to leave a legacy of service to Jesus that will carry on for generations.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10. And I encourage you not to serve Jesus in some religious, self-serving, or even self-saving way. Rather, serve Him out of a real acceptance of His death in your place, a recognition of His resurrection, and a desire to follow after and serve Him with whatever time you have left!

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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Where God Guides, He Provides…Or Does He?

Ok. I owe you an apology for the click-bait-ish title. At the same time, I think anyone who has stepped out in faith has felt this way at one time or another. “God’s got us! Right? I mean, we followed Him here, didn’t we?”

Recently, my own life has been marked by a step of faith. Honestly, one could call it steps of faith, as it has been a month since the original decision. And in that month, my decision has been challenged plentifully. The key question that has surfaced in my head has been, “Did I hear God, or am I just doing what I want?”

Well, the short answer is, I know I heard God because there were several items (I call them pillars) that have shifted to direct me this way, and those haven’t shifted back, and nothing of what I’m experiencing in opposition is anything that changes those confirmations. It is merely opposition, and the Enemy loves to oppose those who are following Jesus!

In the midst of this, my mind has been reflecting on two folks, Elijah and Abraham, and I will cover them in that order. Both of these men followed God in ways that seemed a bit foolish at the time, but by the historical record of Scripture, we know it worked out.

In 1 Kings 17:1-7, God sends Elijah away from Jerusalem and has him camp by this brook called Cherith. Here, “the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evenings, and he would drink from the brook.” (v. 6, NASB) Sounds kind of nice! Sweet brook, good water, birds bringing food….yes, please! But it turns! “And it happened after a while, that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.” (vs. 7, NASB)

Now, Elijah had predicted this drought; God had told him to get out of town right after he faithfully declared that it was coming. But here Elijah is enjoying a bit of a respite, and his provisions dry up. What we aren’t told here is whether the Lord’s word came to Elijah right after the dry up or maybe there was a brief lapse between the water drying up and the Lord speaking.

In Scripture and in my own life, I’ve often seen that God sometimes allows a modicum of pain to prove our faith. Now, this isn’t like a court room, but it is like a knife or sword forge. When a knife/sword is complete, there’s a proving to be sure it won’t bend, break, or be easily dulled. Similarly, the Lord will prove our faith, mostly to ourselves, as He already knows the outcome. Even so, that proving of our faith has an effect similar to tempering a knife/sword; it generates a unique, beneficial tension that helps to strengthen the knife. Similarly, our proven faith helps us to know we can go the distance with Jesus, and it makes us less likely to freak out when He allows something difficult to come our way.

As aforementioned, I’ve also been thinking on Abraham. Remember in Genesis 12, when God calls Abraham (then Abram) to go forth “to the land which I will show you”? I’ve often thought this would make a great comedy routine. Think about it; ladies, imagine your husband comes to you…. or guys, imagine your buddy comes to you….and says, “so, we’re packing up everything we own, and we’re moving.” “Oh! Wow, that was fast! Uh, well, cool! Where are we moving to?” “The place God will show us.” “Ok. And that is….” “Oh, no, He’ll show us when we get there.” “…Uh…huh….so, we’re going in…which direction?” “Oh! Uh…well, God will show us that; He just hasn’t yet.”

You’re either cringing or laughing. Either way, it’s an appropriate response. And yet, as we can read and now know, God did show Abraham a great land, and we know it now as, roughly, modern day Israel. But seriously, consider what it took for Abraham to go to Sarah and say, “we’re moving, and I don’t know where to; we’re just going to follow God, and He’ll show us the land He has for us.”

Hence, the title! The old Christian adage, “Where God guides, He provides” is a great rhyme and a good adage to remember, as it is true! Even so, it is also true that we sometimes wonder, “Well, does He? Really?” And my dear Reader, if you’ve followed my story here or spent the time to review the posts here, or if you are one of the folks who know me, well then, you know I can say with full authority and testimony that, “YES!!!!!!! HE DOES!!!!!” But sometimes, He’s going to ask you to trust Him.

Trust is not a common thing in our culture, these days. With mainstream media being hit-and-miss on actually reporting truth, with political leadership being two-faced, hypocritical, and cultured liars (in many cases, not trying to be too general), and even with churches turning into places of happy-messages versus being solidly Biblical even when the truth doesn’t feel good, it’s not a surprise that we would be tempted to ask God for more proof, more evidence and rarely be willing to step out and trust Him.

But dear Reader, I cannot emphasize this enough, we must trust Him! It literally causes me to get teary-eyed just typing that. If we seek evidence for God’s trustworthiness, there is plenty! It may not be our particular situation, but it is nearly the same or close enough to relate and sufficiently proclaims that He is good and trustworthy. No other person on this earth has as much evidence and proof that he or she is trustworthy, a person of their word, than The Almighty. If we even have the most basic trust ourselves (which must have to do most things of life like walking or speaking any words), then we must trust Him. It is truly not an option, it’s that obvious and imperative, but He is gracious enough to allow us to have the option.

At the conclusion of all things, we can know that He will always do what is best for us, even if that isn’t what we want or is doing nothing at all. His love for us is so immense that He chose to take on human form; Jesus took on breakable, weak, limited skin, just to save us from ourselves. And that salvation was no small thing. (We are in the midst of Passion Week. If you don’t know what He went through, The Passion of the Christ does a good job of showing it visually.)

He was mocked and brutalized while a willing captive (he could’ve resisted and/or defeated his captors), a crown of thorns was woven and pressed into his head, thorns pressing deep enough to reach his skull. Then, he was subjected to a Roman flogging, whipped with a device that was designed to rip flesh, to leave a person’s back ripped open and raw, and many who received the 40 lashes didn’t survive. But that was not enough! He was then forced to carry his cross up to Golgotha, so weak that he needed help to make the journey, and then was nailed to that cross, his raw back touching the rough wood. He hung there for 3 hours; 3 hours = 180 minutes = 10,800 seconds in excruciating pain. And in the midst of those 3 hours, He forgave, He made sure His earthly mother was taken care of, He made one last call to the people to help them realize He is the Christ, and He expressed His humanity, all before giving up His spirit and dying.

If the story ended there, we’d be pitiful to believe in Him as Messiah. But 3 days later (if you are exacting, it was more like 36-40 hours, but because he died before nightfall, it is 3 days due to the lunisolar calendar), He rose from that grave, having conquered death. After some final time on earth, He ascended into the Heavens, and He will come again.

Dear Reader, if you don’t know my Lord, much of this won’t make sense or will be harder to do than how I’m expressing it. I encourage you, today, to accept His sacrifice in your place, to begin following Him through spending time reading the Bible, His Word, and spending time talking with Him in prayer. And, equally important, I implore you to connect with a Godly, Christ-centered, Biblical church near you, so that you can be built up with and by other believers.

Godspeed – 1 Corinthians 15:10

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