God's Strong Support - 2 Chronicles 16:9

Strong Support for Our Purpose

When we hear “You’re here for a purpose,” what do you think? Many people seem to think that it means that you are going to be accomplishing a pre-set list of things. What if, however, there is a broader meaning to purpose that can open up some powerful truths for living?

In 2 Chronicles 14-16 we meet a king of Judah who was a Godly king, Asa. He sought the Lord and he fought against the idolatry in his lands. Among the other events of Asa’s life, we see two battles that he fights. One, he fights with purpose and one he fights without it. The results? He wins both.

The first battle is Judah verses the Ethiopian army. Asa goes before the Lord and he asks for the Lord’s help and blessing. He acknowledges that they fully rely on the Lord for victory. The Lord gives them victory and much riches and spoil are collected from the army and the surrounding cities.

The next battle happens much later in Asa’s reign. After many years of peace, the king of Israel decides to cause trouble with Judah. Asa, being savvy, goes to their ally with a big army: Syria. He sends them money and asks them to break their treaty with Israel. Syria agrees and the ensuing fighting sends Israel packing back home. Asa comes in and takes over the land they had encroached on and gains all the spoils they left behind.

From an outside perspective, Asa won both battles and he gained material goods in both cases. Once cost some money and one cost a fight, but they both ended up in a way that benefited Asa and Judah. We can’t stop reading there though. The Lord wasn’t as pleased with the second outcome as the first one.

A seer comes to Asa with a message, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” (2 Chronicles 16:9 ESV) Asa’s reign that had years of peaceful living was now doomed to trouble. In fact, Asa ends up not putting the Lord first and ends up being cruel to his people and suffering from disease (vs. 10, 12).

Our purpose is to put God first and let Him take care of accomplishing what He sees is good for us.


The Lord Delights in You - Isaiah 62:2-4

Delighted and Determined

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. – Isaiah 62:1-5 ESV

Isaiah 62:1-5 is a beautiful promise of hope and celebration. I love the idea of renewal fresh from God in, “you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give” (v. 2). I love the focus on belonging in, “your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her.” (v. 4). I love the imagery of happiness and joyful relationships in, “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” (v. 5).

There are so many beautiful promises in this passage, but those aren’t what jumped out to me at first. The first sentence is, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.” The emotion behind this is determination. God, through Isaiah, is telling us how determined He is to bring His righteousness to life through us. He doesn’t sit with His fingers crossed and hope that we figure it out. He isn’t silently waiting for us to remember or think things through. He is determined to bring bright shining salvation to His children, and He will be as loud as He need to be to do it.

As we learn about His salvation, grace, love and hope, we will then be able to the promised blessings in our life and our culture. Once we accept that Jesus is the hope for eternal life, we will be given a new name, a name given by God as we are adopted into His house (Ephesians 1:5). As the world see us being righteous by His power, they will learn to see righteousness as beautiful, not constricting or cruel (John 16:8). As we learn to trust in Him and walk closely with Him, He will pour out blessings beyond what we could have imagined for ourselves, even sometime material blessings (Ephesians 3:20).

The Lord is continually calling to us and desiring us. What is the Lord speaking into your life? What promise is He giving you that you can hold onto? Remember, He will never give up on you.


Fresh Air, Part 1 – Sermon Notes

[These are sermon notes from a sermon given at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO by Craig Kackley. The message can be watched here.]

For many people the New Year is a good time to think about new changes and improvements in our life. This series is about choosing to use this year to build a deeper relationship with Christ.

On the earth, there is a weather phenomenon called the Intertropical Convergence Zone. This is an area where the trade winds converge and cancel each other out. Sailors call this area the doldrums. There’s not any wind and wind powered boats can’t move through this area.

Often our relationship with God falls into this pattern where we find that we’ve lost the passion in our relationships.

Four Stages of Doldrums

  1. We try to fake it.

There’s an idea that if we go to church we often feel like we have to have it all together. We know that we’re here to worship the most powerful God, but we feel pressure to put on a face, to pretend that everything’s alright.

  1. We put it off.

There’s a lie that time heals all wounds. In truth, time will make our wounds worse. A untended tooth can lead to a much worse situation: a root canal. Yet, we often do this with our spiritual life.  (Hebrews 12:15)

  1. We give up.

The heart of COTFC is to minister to people in this place, those who don’t have any hope in church or change.

  1. Death.

The end of all things that are not in the Lord.

We need to be spiritual revived. This revival, however, is not due to anything you do. It has to do with what you choose. This goes back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). In the garden, there was two trees, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We tend to gravitate to the second tree, we try to understand things instead of focusing on our spiritual life. When we are feeling stuck, we move to the knowledge tree. It ends up pulling us in like quick sand and the more we struggle, the more we get sucked into knowledge which causes us to strive and struggle more and the cycle continues.

Christianity isn’t about behavior modification. It’s about living the life the Lord has for me is about deeply falling in love with Jesus, knowing Him, receiving Him and seeing Him in our life. It’s laid in Deuteronomy 30:19, “Today I have given you a choice between life and death… Oh that you would choose life…”

How Do We Choose Life?

Choice 1: To Do More – OR – Receive What Has Already Been Done

Some churches teach that to be spiritual or Godly you need to do more of something. Example, struggling? Read more. Reading 2 chapters a day? Read 4. They use the example of Jesus asking Peter to stay up just an hour to show that our prayers should be an hour long. If that’s where you are, you’ve missed it. Jesus said to the Pharisees that they searched the scriptures for life, but they missed that He stood in front of Him. One of the first steps to breaking out of spiritual apathy is to acknowledge that there is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less. We do not need to try earn His approval. Romans 5:8 Christ died for us while we sinners, not while we were getting things right.

Choice 2: Obey Out of Duty – OR – Obey Out of Delight

When we have the feeling of “getting” to do something, we are more likely to do that then when we feel like we “have” to do it. Anything that we feel like we are forced to do, we are going to stop doing when our motivation leaves us. Anything that we get to do, we are going to do because we enjoy it and not because we feel that someone is going to fail us or condemn us if we don’t.

Things become easier to do when we either love the thing we do or we love the person we’re doing it for. John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” This is great litmus test of the status of our hearts. Some people hear Jesus saying, “If you love me, prove it. Try harder and learn more. Eat more of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. See how much behavior modification you can do. ” Others of use hear, “If you love me, don’t worry about it. If you love me, you’ll do what I ask. Be with me and enjoying doing what I ask. It’s about a relationship and not about rules.”

Are you in the do more camp where you will never be enough because you are seeking what you already have? Are you in the camp of life to be given life through the blood of Christ so you can then turn around and obey out of delight?


An Open Heart and Mind - Part 4 - Proverbs 1:33

An Open Heart and Mind – Part 4

Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” – Proverbs 1:29-33 ESV

Yesterday, we talked about ignoring God’s counsel, and the day before that we talked about not choosing the fear of the Lord. The first day we talked about hating knowledge. Today, we continue on through Proverbs 1:30

Despised My Reproof

All of the topics that Proverbs 1:29-30 covers are important, but this one hits a little closer to home. While I can desire knowledge and keep the fear of the Lord in my heart and celebrate the salvation of Jesus, it is much harder for me not to despise reproof. Correction in all forms is hard to take as pride is constantly at war in my heart and mind. Even when it’s the Lord, it’s difficult to take it until I remember His love and embrace humility.

The warning in this verse is stronger than just struggling to accept reproof. The word used is despised. The idea is that it is disrespectful of the things that the Lord is bringing up. Synonyms for this word include: detest, hate, loathe, abhor, deplore. Every one of these words is a strong description of dislike. It’s beyond just a preference; it’s a passion to avoid correction.

The root of this is in all of us and it can be summed up in one word: pride. Pride makes us feel that we are good enough and that we are the ones who have achieved things to this point. When the foolish people that Proverbs 1 is talking about face the ugly truth that they aren’t as good as they thought and that what they do have is gifted and powered by God, they hate it and run away and despise it.

Humility is the idea of knowing who you are. It’s not about being less than what you are or more than that. We think that by putting ourselves down we’re being humble, but it’s not true. Humility means acknowledging everything about who we are and giving credit to the source. Humility means being open to seeing ourselves as God sees us and being able to accept who God made us to be.

Pride, while being the biggest block, isn’t the only thing holding us back. The second biggest block that keeps us from operating in humility is shame. Pride blocks it because it blinds us to seeing ourselves as God see us. Shame blocks it because we don’t feel we can accept or are good enough to accept who God made us to be.

Foolish people sit in their pride and shame and try to cover themselves with it. They justify their shame and they tout their pride. They have pulled both close as if it’s a protecting blanket. Then, they fight passionately to keep shame and pride covering them as much as possible.

We need to be aware of these tendencies and acknowledge when we’re letting pride shout at others or shame hide us. Letting ourselves be seen as we are, even if it’s just by us and God is a terrifying experience. Most of us have a negative talk track in our mind that reminds us of how we aren’t good enough or where we’ve failed. Stepping out against the negative talk takes a great deal of courage and a high level of trust in the person who sees you.

Trusting God is the best way to build up humility in our lives. It must be the deep kind of trust that comes from living life together, each day growing more and more. Shallow trust may make us feel like we can go to church and sing worship songs. Shallow trust makes us feel like we can pray over our food, when we remember. Shallow trust won’t get us free of the burdens of shame and pride that keep us from humility.

Humility is what we need, though, to be able to accept correction from the Lord. Humility lets us see ourselves and still believe that God can use us.

Proverbs 1:31 tells us the end of the foolish ones who hate knowledge, refuse to fear the Lord, reject His counsel, and despise His correction. It’s the worst possible outcome. Those who live this way are left to live out the consequences of their choices. The very traits that are developed by these selfish perspectives are their undoing. The end of all sin is death. The only question is how much damage can be done as we crash and burn, to ourselves and to others around us.

Instead, choose the way of life that leads to peace and life in the Lord. Choose obedience by loving knowledge, fearing the Lord, accepting and believing His counsel and respecting His correction. We can live powerfully when we live humbly and obediently.


An Open Heart and Mind - Part 3 - Proverbs 1:33

An Open Heart and Mind – Part 3

Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” – Proverbs 1:29-33 ESV

Yesterday, we talked  not choosing the fear of the Lord, and the day before that we talked about hating knowledge. Today, we continue on through Proverbs 1:30

[They] Would Have None of My Counsel

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, advice is worth what you pay for it. The implication is that free advice is worth nothing and probably shouldn’t be followed. God’s advice, however, is always free and always worth it. Sometimes, however, we don’t choose to seek it out. The foolish people in this passage seem to be actively pushing it away.

The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. – Psalm 33:11 ESV

The Lord’s advice isn’t trivial. What He is offering to us is life forever. In Acts, Apostle Paul is talking with the elders at Ephesus and he says, “for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20: 27 ESV). Paul isn’t saying that he knows everything that God knows. A few verses back Paul says this, “ how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:20-21 ESV). Paul is saying that the whole counsel of the Lord is the plan for salvation.

God wants us to return to Him through the blood of His son, Jesus Christ. He has planned this from the beginning (John 1:1, 14) to bring us back into His presence. This is his counsel, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 ESV)

Receive him, believe him and you can become children of God. Romans says that we’re join-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). How amazing! Jesus, who was from the beginning and will be forever, came into the flesh to live as a blessing for the people and died to be salvation for all. We can be join-heirs in the blessings of heaven with Jesus himself, not because of who we are or what we’ve accomplished but because we believe in salvation through Jesus.

This is the counsel that the foolish reject. This is what they are pushing away and running from. Perhaps they’re highly intelligent and can’t handle the faith aspect. Perhaps they are driven by ambition and independence and can’t let go of the need to be righteous themselves. Perhaps they just chose sin over salvation.

Whatever the case for their rejection, let’s not join them. Accept the counsel of God and let him lead you to a deeper awareness of the relationship we can have with Him through salvation. God’s counsel is forever and His salvation is to all generations.


An Open Heart and Mind - Part 2 - Proverbs 1:33

An Open Heart and Mind – Part 2

Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” – Proverbs 1:29-33 ESV

Yesterday, we saw the warning in the choosing to hate knowledge. Today, we continue through Proverbs 1:29.

They Did Not Choose Fear of the Lord

Earlier in Proverbs 1, it says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (v. 7). We can know that the entire knowledge block we have is because we aren’t fearing the Lord. What does it mean to fear the Lord? How do we know if we’re doing it?

The fear of the Lord is often described as reverential awe or something along those lines[1]. This is true, of course, but I’d like to dig in a bit and see if there’s a practical application of the fear of God we can lean on.

Psychology Today says, “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats.[2]” We know that God is not someone we should be terrified of. There are so many scriptures that talk about God’s love and how much He wants to be with us and comfort us. Romans 8:38-39 tells us that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Therefore, we know that the fear of God isn’t something that would cause us to pull away from God.

The Psychology Today definition points us to an interesting truth about fear: it is a vital response. In other words, we can’t do without it. If we didn’t have fear, most of the human race would have died off a long time ago due to not taking risks seriously. That cliff? Yeah, it’s  along drop, so be afraid of it. Not afraid of the drop? More likely than not, you’ll get too close. This is what fear is for: making sure that what we need to be aware of to survive is clearly in focus.

Let’s apply that idea to the fear of the Lord. Fearing the Lord should be creating a response in us that is vital to staying connected to Him. There should be a sense of urgency in being aware of Him. When we’re seeking Him and keeping fear of Him foremost, we are keeping what’s important to know Him clearly in focus.

To see what not fearing the Lord would be then, we can flip the scenario. If you are complacent about your relationship with Him, or if you don’t know what’s important in getting to know Him, you aren’t feeling the fear of the Lord. You aren’t finding in yourself the vital response to His presence that motivates you seek Him out. What do you need to survive, not just on this earth, but more importantly, in the next life?

Verse 29 tells us one other important things about the fear of the Lord: we can choose it. It’s not something that some people are born with and others aren’t. It’s not something that we get handed to us if we’re lucky. We can choose to keep this need for nearness as a focus. The fear of the Lord is something to be cultivated and emphasized.

[This is part 2 of a 4 part series. The first part can be found here.]
References

[1] http://www.gotquestions.org/fear-God.html

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/fear


An Open Heart and Mind - Part 1- Proverbs 1:33

An Open Heart and Mind – Part 1

Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” – Proverbs 1:29-33 ESV

There are passages in scripture that I always try to apply 100% to other people. I don’t like to shine the light of awareness into my heart to see if there is a shred of reflection in me. The passages in Proverbs that deal with sinners or the unwise are often in this category. I’m a child of God, and I’m good. Therefore, this is not me ever, under any circumstances. It’s only those bad people, over there, far away from me.

How I wish this was true! No matter how long we’ve walked with the Lord, we will always have areas that the Lord wants to shine a light onto and show us how we can learn to let go of pain and self and be transformed to look more like Him. Proverbs 1:29-33 is one that often contains little bits of truth that we can turn over to the Lord for cleaning. Verse 29 uses the pronoun they which refers to simple ones or fool from earlier in the chapter (v. 22). Now the Lord is getting to specifically what the trouble is and what the consequences will be.

They Hated Knowledge

The first aspect that we’re warned about is hating knowledge. It doesn’t talk about people who didn’t have a chance to learn or who were apathetic about learning. It’s referring here to people who hated it. Hate connotes not only avoiding it, but actively working against it.

Knowledge is defined as awareness of facts, or familiarity with circumstances, events or subjects.[1] So, those who are actively working against that choose ignorance of facts or circumstances. They don’t know and they don’t want to know and they are going to stop you from helping them to see.

Knowledge can sometimes refer to what we refer to as traditional education, but it can be encompassing more than that too. Knowledge is what we need to have to help our families and our friends. Knowledge gives the ability to do well at our jobs, or to provide help to others. We gain knowledge in any area that we choose to become aware of and learn from.

For us as Christians, we need to ask ourselves in what areas of our mind are we walking away from an awareness that the Holy Spirit is trying to bring to us. Are there subjects that we don’t want to bring up because we are afraid of what we’ll have to face? Are there situations that we only go emotionally in and not mindfully in?

One defense that we bring up in this area is what psychologists would call confirmation bias. Basically, when we want to hear a certain thing, we seek out people and information that support the idea that we already have. Confirmation bias doesn’t want to hear that there might be other things to learn or that we might be missing certain pieces of information. We want to hear what we want to hear and we dismiss or fight against anything else.

We can’t be changed when we are fighting against an awareness or knowledge. Change is a multi-step process and one of the key ones is the ability to see the difference between where we are and where we need to be. Confirmation bias always breaks that step because we are pursuing information that keeps us where we are. In fact, we don’t even want to listen to anything that would show us as being wrong.

[This is part 1 of 4 covering Proverbs 1:29-33. ]

References

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/knowledge?s=t


Slow and Steady Wins the Race - Proverbs 19:2

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. – Proverbs 19:2 ESV

Proverbs has many tidbits of wisdom that are packed full of good ideas. These verses aren’t simple steps to apply to life, however. They are sometimes cloaked in phrases that seem vague or impractical. While at times it might be frustrating, it is part of the wisdom of the book to make us be the ones that learn what they mean and practice finding ways to apply them to our lives.

There are two pieces to this proverb which, at first glance, may not seem to even correlate. The first piece is about desire and knowledge, the second is about haste. Nothing in either section even hints at something in the other section. Instead of looking at them separately, we need to dig into what implied truth has them linked. What can we take away from joining these two ideas that we can apply to living wisely?

First, let’s look at the opening half: “Desire without knowledge is not good.” When I stop to think about this one, it seems odd to me. I don’t equate desire and knowledge on any level at all. To me desire is a feeling or an emptiness that I’m wanting to fill. Knowledge is something that is in my head, or an intellectual awareness that may or may not change my feelings about anything. Yet, this proverb says that the very disconnect I’m defining these by is not good.

The kind of desire that to me is the most brainless, is the kind that is a gut reaction. I’m thinking of times when I’ve seen something or heard something and it brings up in me an intense emotion of desire. To use a culturally relevant example, think about seeing a picture on your Facebook feed of an acquaintance on a beautiful beach or other exotic location. Have you ever had a moment when you reacted with a deep desire to be there or have what they have? How about window shopping, in person or online, where you see a picture and suddenly want it even though you know you don’t need it?

In all those examples, the desire is wanting something that you don’t know context about or have even space for in your life. Desire like that can take us away and cause us to run after things that aren’t important or beneficial to us. That is the desire without knowledge.

The opposite of “desire without knowledge is not good” would be “desire with knowledge is good”. Sometimes after we’ve talked about desire and how it affects us, the feeling or idea left behind is that we should somehow stop desiring things. Just like the above example of wanting the exotic vacation based on seeing a picture, it’s not about not wanting a nice vacation. It’s about finding an understanding of your vacation situation and desiring that. Maybe you’ve got a trip planned soon; maybe you can’t see the next vacation through all the bills. Either way, learning to desire what is helpful for you and your situation. When you’ve accepted that and have thought about it and learned to desire that, you’re in a good place. (PS: If you still are wanting the cool vacation even after this, you might be dealing with envy. That’s also bad, but a topic for another post.)

Now let’s dig in on the second half, “whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” This is another phrase similar to, “Haste makes waste.” In other words, hurrying up makes us slip and fall. We fall down when our feet are moving faster than our eyes are seeing. The word haste doesn’t just mean moving fast; it means moving excessively fast. It’s about going quicker than your abilities can support.

The opposite of missing due to haste would be staying on the path by moving at a reasonable speed. IT doesn’t mean that you can’t push your abilities to their max or that you shouldn’t try to better yourself. It’s not about avoiding mistakes or never falling down. It’s about finding a speed that allows you to see where you’re going in life and keep your feet moving on the straight and narrow.

Both of these truths are fantastic on their own, but in these passage their linked. What is the implied truth between thoughtful, aware desires and keeping our speed in line with our abilities? The truth is this, if you want to run faster than you’re able and get distracted from the path you were created to walk on, the quickest way to the end is to desire things that you know nothing about.

Our ability to stay focused on walking the walk we were created to walk hinges on our ability to be aware of what we want and why we want it. Again, it’s not about not wanting things. We’re not being asked here to give up any form of desire. We’re being asked to understand our heart and our motivation. If we don’t, the consequences of that will pull us away from our purpose and cause us to stumble. God has a plan for you days, stay with Him; it’s worth it!


 

Foot Notes

[1] https://bible.org/article/introduction-book-proverbs


Growing a Passion to Be Like Christ – Sermon Notes

[These sermon notes are from a message given at Church of the Four Corners in Independence, MO by guest speaker, Pastor Bill Newby. This message can be viewed here.]

The cross was not only a horrible way to die, in the sense of physical pain, but it was also considered shameful. Yet Paul talks about boasting in the cross.

The cross of Jesus Christ deals with all of our sin. God’s mercy is new every morning. If you are perfectionist or guilt prone, you feel that your sins are worse than anyone else. When God’ mercy comes in, you say, “Yes, but…” It’s not true though. You’re not especial a sinner; you’re a plain old sinner like the rest of us.

We need to have a “preference, a penchant, and a passion for the cross.” Preference means what we want, penchant mean what we strongly prefer, and passion means what we’re all about. If you can’t pray for a passion for the cross, yet, then pray for a penchant or even a preference. Think about the excitement when the Royals won; imagine that kind of passion for the cross of Jesus.

The job of pastors is to bring the church to this point: measure of the stature to the fullness of Christ. In the original language is translated perfect, and it has to do with completion or maturity. It’s about all of knowing Jesus personally and learning to grow to his standard. In Romans 8:29 the good God is trying to work in us to conform us into the image of Jesus so there are many brothers and sisters. God takes all things and uses them to make us look like Jesus. We will look, talk, and act like Jesus. In addition, we will be passionate about what Jesus cared about.

Jesus served the people with miracles to the point of raising the dead. The people’s response was to plot against Him to have him killed. The Jews could only stone without permission; crucifixion was the Roman specialty. Pilate knew he was innocent, but was too cowardly to do anything about it. After being beaten and humiliated, He should have had the right to throw those people away and condemn them before God. He didn’t though, he said, “Forgive them.” That’s the heart that we’re being taken toward.

When the preciousness of looking like the Savior is greater than the problems and troubles you see, then God becomes real. He can change our world because He’s now in it, through our submission to Him. If we are praising God for this, nothing in this life is wasted. Instead, all can be made to His glory and our blessing.