Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Self-esteem vs. God's esteem

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him (Jeremiah 17:7).

One thing guidance counselors look for in children is good self-esteem. Confidence is needed to set goals and achieve them. People with poor self-esteem rarely achieve their full potential.

But healthy self-esteem is a hard thing to achieve. Some people think so highly of themselves that they become proud, while others think so little of themselves that they hide away from everyone else.

Too much self-esteem is dangerous. When confidence becomes arrogance, you stop listening to advice; after all, you know all the answers. Proud folks can be insufferable big mouths or tiresome know-it-alls; they can also be dangerous risk takers who won’t accept help no matter how badly it is needed.

Too little self-esteem can also be dangerous. When confidence hits rock bottom, you stop trying to make friends; after all, why would anyone want to spend time with a loser like you? You are likely to settle for dead-end jobs and dead-end relationships, because you don’t believe you’re capable of anything better. You might even think about suicide.

Healthy self-esteem starts with God. You know that you’re valuable, because God made you personally, a unique and special person unlike anyone else anywhere in the world. You also know that you are deeply flawed because of sin; you don’t love God or your fellow human beings the way that you should. You are wasteful with time and money; you break promises and say hurtful things. But you also know this: God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you, so that you could be forgiven and restored to God’s family. And you know that with the help of God’s Spirit, you can do things in life that honor God and show love for the people around you.

That’s healthy self-esteem—it is held in tension between your need for God’s help and His amazing love for you. Because Jesus loves and forgives you, you never give in to despair. Because God’s Spirit helps you with life’s problems, you are hesitant to brag about your achievements. Healthy self-esteem is just one benefit of being a Christian.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In defense of marriage (part 1)

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

With these words preserved in Genesis chapter 2, God created marriage. Marriage is the cornerstone of human life, the building block for every civilization. And yet this most basic of human relationships is under attack as never before in history. A group of feminists in Europe have even called for marriage to be made illegal. This week and next, I am going to take a look at some of the ways marriage is being undermined, and what God’s will is for marriage.

It may sound incredible to you, but one of the major problems for marriages today is the emphasis on romantic love. The songs on our radios speak of wonderful, romantic, soul fulfilling love. Store displays are filled with magazines devoted to the subject of new love in tender bloom, and many give assurance that their readers can have a perfect wedding.

Americans are being peddled the idea that love is all about holding hands on a Ferris Wheel, intimate candlelight dinners, and walks along the beach under the light of a full moon. We do not hear songs about love sustaining a couple through months of strenuous chemotherapy. Rarely do we see magazine cover stories about love flourishing in the face of bankruptcy. And how often do talk shows feature elderly couples whose life-long devotion to each other has never wavered?

Marriage is about more than thrilling, romantic love. Marriage is about promising to be there for another person, regardless of the circumstances. Marriage is about sharing good news as well as bad; vacations filled with fun, as well as long days seated by a hospital bed; the thrill of shopping for a new house, as well as the challenge of an empty bank account; the pleasure of sparkling conversation, as well as those times when depression has made your partner surly or unwilling to communicate.

Many couples break up when the first bloom of romance fades; they have been convinced that marriage is not worth participating in when the romance has fled. But continuing romance is not essential for a successful marriage. Romance is like nectar—just as nectar attracts a bee to a flower so that pollination can take place, so romance attracts men and women to each other to consider the possibility of marriage. Romance is an introduction, a way in which souls shake hands and start to get to know each other. But marriage is not built on a handshake and some small talk; marriage is built on a commitment to be a life-long friend, a companion and helper and cheerleader. Marriages only thrive when built on the kind of committed love that the Bible speaks of in 1st John chapter 3: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians. This is the kind of love that anchors relationships; this is the kind of love needed for a marriage to last.

Another of the challenges facing marriages today is the challenge posed by sex. Sexual desire is one of the most powerful drives within human nature. The desire for sex has led many people into making hasty, poorly-thought out decisions. Homer’s poem The Iliad reflects this sad truth as it spins a tragic tale of one couple’s uncontrollable lust, which results in 10 years of bitter war between Greece and Troy!

We live in a world where the desire for sexual satisfaction has gotten out of control. Advertisers use sexual imagery to sell everything from aftershave to cars. Sites that offer pornographic images and intimate chatting are the most profitable businesses on the Internet. Prostitution is a legally recognized profession in much of Nevada and in many countries around the world, including Canada. Sex is big business.

Because sexual satisfaction is a significant concern for many people, marriages often suffer. Sexual contact between husband and wife was intended by God as a way to deepen the intimacy between them; but as things stand today, many spouses feel as if their marriage is substandard if they don’t have a magnificent sexual relationship. Regrettably, some are even willing to leave their mate when the sexual spark loses its luster. They don’t realize that we all grow old, we all get gray, we all lose some muscle tone.

Researchers have found that during lovemaking, the human body secretes a chemical that makes partners feel emotionally bonded to each other. Even science shows us that God’s intention for sex is to bind two people together. In Matthew chapter 19, Jesus describes marriage this way: a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. When a man and a woman share physical intimacy, they become joined as ‘one flesh’; Jesus says: they are no longer two, but one.

Sex is misused when it causes separation instead of lasting unity. Sex is not about selfishly making sure that your needs are satisfied. Like every act of love, sex is about finding satisfaction by giving joy to the person you love. Marriages cannot survive when your first priority is making yourself feel good.

A third challenge to the stability of marriages is the search for a ‘soul mate.’ Have you found your soul mate? Do you believe that somewhere in this world, there is a soul that will fit together perfectly with yours? Do you believe that souls come in matching sets, each complementing the other’s strengths and compensating for the other’s weaknesses?

If you do believe in soul mates, I apologize for having to burst your bubble, but Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 22 contradict the whole notion of souls being paired together forever. While speaking about the new unending life that we can look forward to following Judgement Day, our Lord says: At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Jesus is clear. Marriage is for this life only—the unique bond of matrimony ends with the grave.

The notion of soul mates is actually destructive for marriages. Think about it. No one is perfect; the Bible reminds us that we all are sinners. Since we are all sinners, every marriage will go through times when the sins of one spouse make the other person miserable. The Christian should not be surprised when this happens; instead, he or she knows that Jesus equips us to offer forgiveness and continued love; Peter writes, love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

But what of the person who hopes for a soul mate? During a period of disillusionment, she might conclude that the man she married isn’t really her soul mate—she made a mistake and married the wrong person. Since her soul mate is still out there somewhere, the solution is obvious—she needs to free herself from this marriage and resume her search. Do you see how the belief in soul mates can break up marriages?

And yet, in a sense each of us does have a soul mate—His name is Jesus. A classic old hymn begins with the words, "Jesus, Lover of my soul." Jesus is the only one who is a perfect match for us. Only He can make us shine at our full potential; only He can compensate for our inadequacies. Only He can love us perfectly and completely. Jesus is the lover of your soul—He proved it by going to the cross for you, so that your sins could be forgiven and you could live with Him eternally. Only Jesus deserves the title ‘soul mate.’

Holy matrimony is a creation of God. Marriage had its beginning on the sixth day of creation in the Garden of Eden, in a world where everything was still perfect. It makes sense then, that if we want our marriages to be as close to perfection as possible, we must align our marital relationships with the goals God has for marriage.

God states His first goal for marriage in Genesis chapter two: It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. The primary reason for marriage is to provide the blessing of close companionship between a man and a woman. God intends that husbands and wives love each other; that love is demonstrated by mutual life-long commitment.

God’s second goal for marriage is addressed to Adam and Eve as soon as they have been introduced to each other: God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1:22). God instituted the marriage of man and woman as the place in which children are to be conceived and raised.

The third goal of marriage does not come up until after sin has corrupted humanity. Even in ancient times, people were obsessed with sex, and treated it as something that could somehow be separated from God's design for marriage; so in 1st Corinthians chapter 7 Paul shares the following words: since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband…if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. God’s third purpose for marriage is to provide the only appropriate place to express sexual desire. Think about it—if no one engaged in sex except with the one person whom they married, could AIDS have become the epidemic that it is today?

Marriage—a commitment to be helper and friend to one person for life, the nursery for children, and the place reserved for the intimacy of lovers—this is God’s design. To depart from this plan, to try and re-write the rules of family, is to come up with something that can only be a pale shadow of God’s original, perfect design. If you want a marriage that is aimed for the very best, aim at the goals that God first established in paradise.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Being cautious, but not *too* cautious

In regard to evil, be infants (1 Corinthians 14:20).

There’s a difference between acting stupid and being naïve. If you know that thieves have been stealing from homes in your neighborhood, it is stupid to leave your doors unlocked at night. If a politician is caught taking bribes, it is foolish to reelect him for another term.

But naïveté is different. Being naïve just means that you haven’t experienced the worst this world has to offer. Children trust everyone to speak the truth—until someone lies to them. A young girl believes that love will last forever—until the first time she is dumped. A young man thinks his dad is perfect—until the first time he sees Dad make a serious error in judgment. Each time we are hurt or let down, we lose some of our innocence—our naïveté.

Usually, calling someone naïve is an insult—it’s like saying, "you should have known better." There’s an old saying that goes, "fool me once, shame on you—fool me twice, shame on me." As we experience life, it is assumed that we will develop personal defenses. We will get better at spotting suspicious behavior. We will improve our ability to detect half-truths and lies. We will develop tough skins that can shrug off hurtful words. If we don’t develop our defenses, some will pity us, while others will look for ways to take advantage.

But a certain amount of naïveté can be a good thing. Do you want to grow so suspicious of others that you automatically assume the worst about their motives? I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to expect the worst from others; I want to find and encourage the good things they can do. That requires some amount of naïveté.

Paul wrote, In regard to evil, be infants. It is good to be naïve when it comes to evil things. Wouldn’t it be great if no one had any interest in pornography? Imagine a world where no one got curious about illegal drugs. Sometimes we’re better off being ignorant of hurtful things.

Sadly, everyone in the world is touched by evil. We do need to be on our guard, especially if we have children to protect. But don’t trade naïveté for paranoia; God made us to enjoy life, not to be afraid of it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Supporting others in their need

Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).

No one likes to feel like a doormat. No one wants to be used by others. When other people take advantage of us, it results in feels of resentment and shame—resentment at being treated so badly, shame at letting it happen to me. It would be easy to throw up barriers that say "keep away! Don’t bother me with your problems." The thing is, human beings need each other. We need each other for help in solving problems. We need each other for mutual protection. We need each other for companionship and love. We cannot thrive if we push other people away; relationships can only grow if we are willing to reach out and support each other in times of need.

God commands us to care for each other; Jesus said, love your neighbor as yourself. If someone needs help, we are expected to give it. We have ears that can hear words of pain, frustration, and fear. We have mouths that can offer solace and encouragement. We have hands and feet and money that can be used to aid those who are in need.

Of course, there are some who would take advantage of Christian generosity. They constantly beg for help but don’t try to stand on their own. They take what we offer and waste it on frivolous things. There are even some who just pretend to be in need, because they think that Christians are easily fooled. Jesus said, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). We need to watch out for scam artists who pretend to be something that they’re not. At the same time, however, we cannot let evil squash our desire to do good.

It is tempting to help others on a quid pro quo basis—"you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours." But that’s not the way Jesus thinks—He died to forgive us, never expecting that we could pay Him back for what He suffered. We are to show love the same way. Families exchange gifts at Christmas, but no parent expects a child to spend like an adult can. We are all different; we cannot expect that those who are in need will be able to repay us for our generosity, nor can we assume that everyone will use what we give them in a responsible way or show appropriate gratitude. The truth is, none of us treat God’s gifts like we should, or show proper gratitude towards the Lord; yet that does not stop Him from seeing to our needs each and every day.

Friday, September 18, 2009


My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured upon Thy lips; therefore God has blessed Thee forever.

Gird Thy sword on Thy thigh, O Mighty One, in Thy splendor and Thy majesty! And in Thy majesty ride on victoriously, for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let Thy right hand teach Thee awesome things. Thine arrows are sharp; the peoples fall under Thee; Thine arrows are in the heart of the King's enemies.

Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee with the oil of joy above Thy fellows. All Thy garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made Thee glad. Kings' daughters are among Thy noble ladies; at Thy right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.

Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear; forget your people and your father's house; then the King will desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. And the daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; the rich among the people will entreat your favor.

The King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold. She will be led to the King in embroidered work; the virgins, her companions who follow her, will be brought to Thee. They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; they will enter into the King's palace.

In place of your fathers will be your sons; You shall make them princes in all the earth. I will cause Thy name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the peoples will give Thee thanks forever and ever
(Psalm 45).

For the past several weeks, you and your fellow slaves have been pushed to the breaking point. You’re all tired and hungry—although this is nothing unusual. After all, the man who owns you assumes that you are so used to the life of a slave that you are used to such hardships. As a matter of fact, it is likely that your owner doesn’t think of you as human at all—after all, he treats his pets better than he treats you.

But over these past few weeks, he has been driving you especially hard. It’s because of the king—the king is getting married. There is to be a huge celebration, culminating with a banquet to end all banquets. The king’s hall will be filled with notables from near and far, so the preparations are painstaking—everything must be absolutely perfect. You and your fellow slaves have felt the burning sting of the whip many times before; you dread the thought of the punishment to come if you fail to please in even the smallest way as this most important day draws near.

Finally, the wedding day has come. For just this one special occasion, you have been given clothing better than the stained rags you usually wear--clothing that is nothing fancy, but respectable enough to not offend the eyes of the wedding guests. Your owner makes sure you look presentable, then strictly warns you to obey every request made of you. The guests begin to arrive; you hurry about, humbly obedient, as you are commanded: "Take my coat." "Fetch me a drink." "Throw this away." The guests snap orders at you, not even bothering to look you in the eyes; you are little more to them than a piece of furniture. On occasion, one tosses you a coin and laughs as you scramble after it.

The guests pose elegantly in their finery, while complaining that they could find nothing suitable to wear. Standing in their shadow, you listen to the words of the rich and powerful—the chatter of those who pay others to do their worrying for them. You cast no shadow on them—you are their shadow. They stand in the light, not you. When they move, you move in response.

What would it be like to stand out, dressed in fashionable clothes? What would it be like, to have others wait on you? What would it be like, to live for a few hours without fear—fear of being beaten, starved, or assigned to labor that is even more harsh or degrading?

But a shadow cannot dream of life in the light—and so you stand there, unseen and serving the dreams of others. Then the room grows quiet, and all eyes are drawn to the door. The king enters, and everyone is hushed. He is about to be married. From the back of the room, you cannot see much, but his entrance has overshadowed everyone else. From somewhere across the hall, an orchestra begins playing, and singers fill the room with angelic music like you’ve never heard. Your heart aches at the beauty.

Then the king’s herald steps to the center of the room. At his gesture, the singers leave off and the orchestra starts to play soft accompaniment to his words. The herald speaks—but his words are not the usual empty flattery one expects from a royal spokesman. The words he sings have a sincerity that stand in sharp contrast to the hollow boasts of the tipsy guests. He sings of the king’s grace—of the mercy that he shows to every one of his subjects, even the nation’s slaves.

The king has conquered every enemy, yet he is humble and just. These are the qualities the herald praises—not the king’s wealth or power, although he has these a-plenty, but rather his humility! This king loves righteousness and hates wickedness! How different he is from other kings, who embrace what is wicked if it will further their plans, and are not troubled by injustice if it will secure their power. But this king fights for truth.

You listen intently as the herald boldly proclaims that this king has been blessed by God, and set apart from all other men to serve the cause of heaven. The speaker goes so far as to call his kingdom an eternal kingdom, and he even addresses the king as "God." You begin to wonder what it would be like to be allowed to kneel before such a king and hear what he might say to you.

Now the herald turns his words to the intended bride. It quickly becomes clear that the king has transformed her. By royal command, she has been given an entirely new status. He has completely rewritten her life’s story by adding a fairy-tale ending. She will now be a member of the royal family—the bride of this great king. Because of this, the king’s speaker invites her to leave behind her people and her father’s home and instead find joy in being the beautiful one, whom the king longs for. Forget your old way of life and instead worship the king—he is your lord.

You can’t help but be envious. To have such a person as your Master! To sit at the side of this king, a king chosen and blessed by God, whose words are just and merciful and humble! You would gladly give up whatever small pleasures your present life contains for such an opportunity.

You strain your eyes scanning the crowd, trying to catch a glimpse of the fortunate bride, the desire of the king’s eyes who has been granted entrance into the world of royalty. What must she be feeling? You can’t see her from where you stand, but the people up front are getting restless. Someone is walking through them, and they are hastening to step aside, not daring to brush even momentarily against the moving figure. Suddenly, the well-dressed nobles part before you, and there, facing you, is the king’s herald. Your heart sinks—what unknown mistake have you made? What awful punishment awaits you?

But the herald is not scowling. Behind him, through the parted crowd, you can see the king on his throne, and he seems to be looking at you. Then the king smiles—and you are dazzled at the sight. The herald clears his throat, and your gaze snaps back to the king’s representative. Eyes locked on yours, he says words too incredible to be true: "It is you. You are the one the king has chosen. My words have been sung for him—and for you. You can forget your old life, your old ties and associations. The king loves you. He is your lord."

The herald gently takes your arm and leads you towards the throne. All the nobility who thought you less than nothing now shrink back in your shadow cast by the light of the king. The riches they boasted about will now be given to you. The joys and pleasures that they took for granted are now yours. You rule over them—imagine that.

This is the story told by Psalm 45. I am the King’s herald. We have gathered here in the King’s hall in anticipation of our Lord’s upcoming nuptials. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the King, the King to whom we sing: "You are the King of Glory, O Christ! You are the everlasting Son of God! Your throne, O God, is eternal. You are the mighty warrior who advances the cause of truth and justice to deliver Your people from their enemies. By your arrows the enemy falls at Your feet, O Lord our Righteousness."

I am the king’s herald, and today I come before you to say: it is you. You are the one that the King has chosen as His bride. The meeting of the King with His queen is happening right here, right now. I bring you word from the King Himself, the King seated on the everlasting throne. As a called and ordained servant of the Lord, I announce to you the grace of God. In His name and in his stead, I am announcing to you that you are the one He loves so much that He dedicated both life and death to you, and He rose again from the grave so that you would never be parted from Him. He gives you His kingdom. He went into battle on your behalf and won the victory over sin, death and the devil—for you. I am pleased to tell you that the King has rewritten your life’s story; He has given it a new ending. A new, perfect life following the grave awaits you, a life with Him in His eternal kingdom. The King is God, and he has saved you for Himself, because He loves you so very dearly.

Believe my words and take joy in your royal status. 2nd Corinthians chapter five reminds us, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! Even now, you are a new creation, given rebirth by our Lord through Baptism; and although the change is hard to see now, it will evident to all when the King dresses you in royal finery to stand before Him on the Day of Consummation. So listen and take heed: forget your old way of life; leave behind the ways of earthly society. The King is your Lord—worship Him! How can the meager pleasures of your earthly slavery under sin possibly compare to the joys the King would replace them with? Christ has freed you—do not live like a slave to sin any longer. Your Lord is the King of grace—live in His light, the light of truth, humility, and righteousness.

Some scholars call Psalm 45 the most secular psalm of the entire Bible. They understand it to be a love song written to honor the marriage of the Davidic king. And it might indeed be that. But to us, this Psalm is not secular but sacred, because in the marriage of the Davidic king to his bride, we can see what God has in store for us. The Psalm gives us new insight into what our relationship with Christ is like, and what it means. And because of this, the Psalm writer, God’s herald, speaks to we who are the Bride of Christ, giving us both joy for today and never tarnishing hope for the future.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Daydreaming is a popular pastime. I daydreamed through many boring classes in grade school. I daydreamed while riding on the bus. I still daydream while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, or when I go out for a stroll around town.

I know that other folks daydream too. People daydream while working in the factory. People daydream during board meetings. People even daydream while driving down the highway. When things get boring or unpleasant, minds start to wander.

Some daydreams are pleasant. You might picture yourself relaxing on a sunny beach, or traveling the country in search of adventure. You might spend time mentally designing your dream home and the landscaping around it. You might even fantasize about the impossible, like being a super hero or exploring outer space.

But other daydreams can be dark and disturbing. It’s dangerous to fantasize about hurting other people. Wishing you could have an affair with a married co-worker can only lead to trouble. Obsession with something you cannot afford can lead to you making a costly mistake.

Daydreams can serve a useful purpose—they can help us escape stress by thinking about something that is calming. But daydreaming can also become a problem. It’s a problem when you aren’t paying attention to the teacher, the dangerous machine you’re operating, or the road ahead. Daydreaming is a problem when it focuses on dark emotions and destructive impulses. And daydreaming is a problem when it is used to escape from dealing with reality.

Life is not always pleasant or enjoyable. But you don’t have to retreat into daydreams in order to cope. Jesus said, In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Jesus has defeated the powers of darkness, and He actively supports everyone who trusts in His loving care. Jesus can give you patience, inner strength, and a purpose for going on. When you are friends with Jesus, you don’t need to escape reality by daydreaming.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Discard your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires (Ephesians 4:22).

People complain about change. They get concerned when a politician changes position on an issue. They get angry when a favorite TV show changes cast members or is moved to a different time slot.

But change is often a good thing. How many times have your computer programs been updated with patches? Don’t you like bugs being fixed and new features being added? Do you really want politicians in office who are so inflexible that they never adjust their thinking in light of new information?

We don’t like change because it forces us out of our comfort zone. We have to learn new ways of doing things, and that takes both time and careful attention. We have to slow down and think about what we’re doing. Change, even good change, is stressful. Since most people don’t like stress, most people don’t like change.

This explains why some people don’t want to become Christians. To follow Christ requires change. Jesus tells us to abandon love of sin, but that change of attitude is hard. Some bad things are fun; we don’t want to give them up. Other sinful things are a matter of habit, and we don’t want to go through the effort of changing our ways. Some fear loss of security; they shrink away from the idea of letting someone else take control of their lives, even if that person is the Son of God. Others are insulted by the suggestion that their decisions are flawed, or that their lifestyles need retooling.

But the gifts offered by Jesus are more than worth the stress brought by change. He forgives our sins, and He teaches us how to forgive others; this allows us to have peace with our past. He promises new life in paradise after we die; this frees us from worries about the future. And He tells us what’s true and what’s not; this gives us peace in a world full of conflicting opinions.

Change is rarely easy—no one knows that better than Jesus, who was crucified by people who were terrified of the changes that He advocated. But changing direction to follow Christ is well worth the effort, because His path leads to peace, happiness, and security.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.

Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.

Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD (Psalm 27).

Psalm 27 is a prayer about confidence. It is constructed like a typical prayer of the church: first, God is given glory for being the source of our confidence; then, God’s help is requested for unwavering confidence in the face of earthly struggles; finally, the prayer concludes with a reaffirmation of faith in God’s care for us. Since we live in a world that constantly tries to erode our confidence with fear, let us take some time to find refreshment in the words of David’s uplifting Psalm.

Verses 1 through 6 speak of the confidence that can be ours by living in God’s presence. Verse 1 gives us four reasons why we, as Christians, can be confident: The LORD is my light and my salvation…The LORD is the stronghold of my life.

The first reason that we can be confident is because of who our Lord is. Translated literally, this verse reads: Yahweh is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? Yahweh is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? "Yahweh" is the personal name of God; it is the name by which He identified Himself to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. When God established covenants with His people, promises that He would take care of them if they remained faithful to Him, God used His personal name Yahweh to make the pledge binding. Yahweh is our covenant God, the God who commits Himself to the welfare of those who love Him. When our covenant God promises to take care of me, whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid?

Our second reason for confidence is that the LORD is [our] light. Scripture frequently uses the term ‘darkness’ to refer to sin and ignorance of holy things. Such darkness can only be dispelled by the light of God’s truth, revealed to us through His Son Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of John chapter 12, Jesus says: I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. Our covenant God is our source of light, the One who we can look to for the pure light of truth in a world filled with confusing shades of gray. In His light, no enemy can pretend to be our friend by hiding under a shadowy cloak of half-truths and lies.

Our third reason for confidence is that the LORD is our salvation. We entered life already dying—dying from the cancer of sin gnawing at our souls. We were conceived in sin, born with no appreciation for anything that is good or right or sacred. In our darkened way of seeing things, God seemed to be an enemy, someone trying to force us to behave responsibly, someone who only wanted to spoil our fun. Our every inclination was to follow Satan, unaware that his path only led, in the end, to hell. But our loving God sent His Son to save us from such an awful end; Peter tells us, Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (1 Peter 3:18). In Hebrews 5:8 we read, although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once he brought things to completion, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. We draw confidence from knowing that our covenant God will forgive any and all of our sins for the sake of His resurrected Son.

Our fourth reason for confidence is that the LORD is the stronghold of [our lives]. On our own, we are too weak to resist being pulled down by temptation into evil’s grasp. We need a sanctuary, a place where we can find rest from our struggles with sin and be refreshed with new strength to continue the fight. That place of refuge is our covenant God, our stronghold in a world that seeks to destroy our souls. It is this wonderful promise of security that moved Martin Luther to write, "A Mighty Fortress is our God."

Verses two and three speak of the sorts of things that may worry other people, but which hold no terror for those sheltered in God’s arms. When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh is a word picture for back-biting, slanderous talk; a similar thought is expressed in Galatians chapter 5: If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. But David does not fear malicious gossip any more than he fears physical assault. Instead, he states confidently that God will protect him; how else to account for his enemies suddenly stumbling and falling, even though David has no visible defender? David does not need to see God to recognize the works of His mighty hands.

Verse 4 shows us where David’s heart desired to be. David was a king; he had all the pleasures and distractions that power, fame and money can provide. But David’s heart did not seek the glory of leading soldiers into victory. David’s heart did not find contentment in the arms of beautiful women or the luxuries of a royal palace. David’s heart was dominated by one desire-- that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. David was envious of the priests who could devote every waking moment to the service of their God. David wished with all his heart for more time to spend in God’s house. Not because the Tent of Meeting was sweetly scented with fine incense. Not because the Tent of Meeting was beautifully made by the finest craftsmen Moses had at his disposal. Not because the air was filled with the beauty of the sacred music that David loved so much.

No, the reasons that David wanted to be in the Tent of Meeting were two: first, he wanted to be in the presence of His God, the God who is known for His mercy and generosity to sinful people who deserve neither mercy nor generosity. Children are comforted just by resting in the arms of a loving parent; David found even greater comfort from simply being in the tent where God had promised to meet with His covenant people.

The other reason that David longed to be in God’s sanctuary was so that he could seek Him. The Hebrew word used here means to investigate, to meditate on; what David wanted was to be a life-long student, learning of the ways of God at the LORD’s own feet, much as Mary knelt to learn at Jesus’ feet when He came to visit her and her sister Martha. It was a similar devotion to the Lord that led the disciples to abandon their previous careers in order to follow Christ full-time. When you meet someone who earns your love and respect, you want to get to know that person better; and so David desired with all his heart to be a full-time student of the LORD--every hour in God’s house was precious to him.

Verse 5 explains the benefits that come from having confidence in the LORD. When troubles come—as they always do—those belonging to God will be able to go to Him for protection. In David’s time, that shelter was represented by the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting. In our day, the Tent of Meeting has been replaced by the churches of Christ, the places where we go to meet with Him who saves us. It is in the LORD’s house that we find encouragement in the face of despair, new strength through Word and Sacrament when we are weak.

In verse 6, David tells us what we ought to do when we find sanctuary in God’s place of meeting: at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. First he speaks of sacrifice; a sacrifice is a gift that it hurts to give. Everyone knows that the best gifts are those that could only be given because we made a sacrifice, gave up something that we wanted so that we had the time or resources to come up with the best gift we could possibly give. That’s the kind of giving to God that David speaks of—giving so much to God that it results in a sacrifice for us. Yet, notice the attitude in David’s heart—even though giving sacrificially results in inconvenience or deprivation for us, he gave with shouts of joy—David was so grateful for God’s undeserved love and mercy that he wanted to thank God with lavish offerings. Just as a parent willingly sacrifices time and money out of love for the children, so David shows us that our love for God should lead us to give to Him both sacrificially and joyously.

The other thing that David did, that we should imitate, was to sing and make music to the LORD. One of the reasons David went to God’s meeting place was to give Him glory and honor and thanks for all His acts of goodness. Going to the LORD’s house should be a time of eager devotion, a chance to let everyone know how good God has been to us. You tell your friends when your family has grown by marriage or birth; you share the good news of a new job or a new house. How much more important is it, then, to speak of the many ways in which God has blessed your life? It is when you praise God in the presence of others that you show Him the honor He is due.

In verses 7 through 12, David pours out his need to God; in spite of all the reasons he has to be confident, there are problems that are still wearing him down. Even the most faithful of believers experience doubt, periods of time when troubles lead them to wonder if God is far away. At such times, the believer’s heart feels divided; he cries out to God like the man speaking to Jesus in Mark chapter 9: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" And so David, confident as he is in God’s mercy, still cries out: do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior! In life, our faith is never as strong as it should be, all the time. And so it is necessary to seek the LORD in His temple, that our confidence may be built up once more.

But David is not a victim of despair. He knows that God will listen to His plea for help, because God said I will listen, for I am compassionate (Exodus 22:27). He recalls that God has seen him through hard times before, and is thus assured that He will do so again. He realizes that the depth and commitment of God’s love is far beyond any human’s capacity to care, even that of a devoted mother or father. Through baptism in Jesus, God adopts us as His children—He becomes the parent who will never leave us, never fail us. He is the Father who will always take us in.

In the concluding two verses, David reaffirms his confidence in the LORD and speaks of the importance of patience. He realizes that God does bring relief from troubles, but sometimes one has to wait for a while. In Isaiah chapter 55 God warns us, my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. We are always in a hurry—we want everything now. We don’t want to wait until marriage to experience sex. We don’t want to wait in a hospital to recover from sickness or injury. We don’t want to wait 20 minutes for dinner to cook. We don’t want to wait for anything. But God does not share our impatience. God takes the long view—the eternal view. Everything He does is timed to bring us closer to Him in life, so that we might stay close to Him eternally. Sometimes this requires that we wait—wait patiently.

Being patient does not come naturally to us, but if we are confident that the LORD will keep His promises, patience is possible. It is because David has confidence in his covenant God that he can share these closing words of advice with us: Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. May the LORD give you such confidence as He gave to His servant David.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Do unto others...

Do to others what you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12).

Everyone experiences betrayal. It starts when you’re little. You invite a friend into your house and he steals a toy. You promise to be best friends forever, then a few days later your pal is busy playing with someone else.

The betrayals continue as you get older. You get stood up for a date. Your friends gossip about you behind your back. The boss promises you a promotion, then gives it to someone else. The person you married files for divorce.

Betrayal is everywhere. Politicians go back on campaign promises. Courts overturn initiated measures. Companies fail to keep your private information secure. Sales reps make false claims about their products. It seems as if everyone lies or breaks their promises.

Trust grows over time; as you get to know other people, you find out how dependable they are. But since everyone lets you down from time to time, how much can trust grow? Hurt by lies and broken promises, it is easy to become bitter and keep people at arm’s length.

Thanks to Jesus, there is a way to replace bitterness and isolation with trust and companionship. That method is forgiveness. When you forgive someone, it’s like wiping the chalkboard clean—all record of past mistakes is gone. When you forgive someone, you choose to start trusting them again—not just a little bit, but completely.

I know this sounds scary; why open yourself up to more hurt in the future? There are two reasons. First of all, is life really better when you hide in your shell like a turtle? Isn’t sharing love and affection with others worth the risk of occasional letdowns? And what about you? How many lies have you told? How many promises have you broken? How much betrayal are you responsible for? I’m sure that you feel terrible for hurting others. I’m sure that you want them to give you another chance. The Golden Rule says do to others what you would have them do to you. If you want others to forgive you and trust you again, you know what you need to do. Call on Jesus; He will help you to forgive and trust others, the way that you want to be forgiven and trusted.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13).

The hardest thing in life is to forgive another person. When you forgive someone, you are promising to bury the hurt and never bring it up again. When you forgive someone, you are promising to trust them and rely on them just as if they had never let you down. Of all the difficult things in life, forgiveness is the hardest.

Forgiveness is hard, because you don’t want to be a chump. There’s an old saying that goes, "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." If someone has betrayed your trust, isn’t it asking for trouble to go back and trust them again? Yet that’s the nature of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is hard, because we want revenge. When someone hurts us, we to return that pain with interest. But forgiveness denies us that satisfaction; forgiveness lets the other person off the hook without suffering punishment. That’s the nature of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is hard, because we want to have the upper hand. When someone has wronged us and wants to get back on our good side, we’re in the driver’s seat. We can make them work hard to please us. But forgiveness acts differently. When you forgive someone, the relationship is restored immediately. Forgiveness is not earned; that’s the nature of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is hard—it’s the hardest thing in the universe. Just look at Jesus for the proof. The Son of God had to die in order to make our sins forgivable. Thankfully, He did not stay dead; Jesus rose from the grave to bless us with His forgiveness. When we beg Him for mercy, He forgets our sins as if they had never happened. He does not bring them up again, or look at us suspiciously, waiting for our next slip up. When Jesus forgives us, He does so without hesitation. He has no desire to punish us in hell; in fact, He suffered hell for us while on the cross—Jesus forgives us because He loves us. And when Jesus forgives us, He does so unconditionally. He doesn’t expect us to earn His favor or repay Him for His generosity. Through Jesus, we experience forgiveness in all it’s beauty and wonder; with His help, offer that forgiveness to everyone who needs it.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing (Philippians 2:14).

Some years ago, researchers studied how frequently Americans complain. They listened to people having conversations with each other and evaluated each sentence: was it a question, a statement of fact, or a complaint? The results of this study surprised me. For the average American, 75% of what comes out of his or her mouth is a complaint. The amount of negative comments rises to 90% for those people whom we see as grumpy. But astonishingly, even those with the most pleasant of personalities were found to spend fully half of their time complaining!

Complaining is so very easy to do. The weather can provoke any number of complaints: "The sun is awfully hot today." "That darned wind messed up my hair." "We could sure use some rain." Drivers have a whole litany of sour remarks: "Where did that idiot learn to drive?" "It’s going to take forever to get through this construction." "Gas prices went up again?" The workplace gives us endless opportunities to complain: "I can’t believe how much the government takes out of my paycheck!" "No matter how hard I work, I never seem to get caught up." "The boss is just so unfair." And our homes are no haven from negativity: "If I don’t do it, it won’t get done." "All these channels, and nothing on." "Why do we always have the same things for dinner?"

We complain to show our dissatisfaction with the way things are. But why do we complain so much? Some people believe that complaining is healthy—a way to blow off steam. But when 75% of what you hear from others is pessimistic, it is going to be exceedingly difficult for you to maintain a positive outlook. Master propagandist Joseph Goebbels once observed, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." If you are constantly being told that something is unsatisfactory, eventually you will come to see things pessimistically and join in the chorus of complainers. Complaining does not make you feel better by blowing off steam; rather, it only pulls others down to join you in feeling bitter. It was a wise man who gave the advice, "if you don’t have anything good to say, then say nothing."

Through the apostle Paul, God offers an alternative to complaining: fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). Brooding on your problems does not solve them or make you feel better about them; it just wastes time and distracts you from the good things in life. If you truly want to feel better, our Lord invites you to look to Him and His teachings to be uplifted.

It is said that ‘misery loves company’. And so countless numbers of unhappy employees use break time to pour out their frustrations to each other. They find solace from being reassured that they are not alone in their pain, that other people are just as miserable as they are.

But what kind of comfort can you really gain from finding out that another person’s marriage is also on the rocks? How does it help you to know that other people are also strangers to their children, because they have to work three jobs to keep their family fed? Does it really make you feel good about your situation, to hear that your friends are just as unhappy as you are?

Although you can get a feeling of camaraderie from trading tales of woe with others, such exchanges don’t provide you with what you really need—a ray of hope. It is much more helpful to spend time with a person who has successfully dealt with problems similar to your own, because they can give you hope that, like them, you too can experience better days in the future. Perhaps they can even pass on some advice from their experiences to help you through your present days of darkness and struggle.

But no matter who you talk to, the value of their advice will be limited. What they went through can never parallel your own situation exactly; solutions that worked for them may offer little or no help to you. There is only one person who knows exactly what you’re going through. There is only one person who can offer advice that is truly relevant to your situation. That one person is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He wove your DNA strands together in your mother’s womb; He created your immortal soul and attached it to your embryo at the moment you were conceived. He has witnessed everything that’s happened in your life, listened to every thought that’s crossed your mind. He knows you, knows what you’ve suffered, knows what you need. In fact, He knows your needs personally, because He Himself lived and suffered and died. Hebrews chapter 2 tells us, since He Himself has gone through suffering and temptation, He is able to help us when we are being tempted; all we need do is turn our problem-filled lives over to Him. He is always ready to guide us; copies of His Bible are everywhere, the Good Book wherein He tells us of many challenges that others have faced and how God saw them through. It is in the Bible that the Lord shares His wisdom with us, gives us the advice we need when faced with life’s tough puzzles.

"You can’t understand what I’m going through!" A lot of people feel this way. They feel isolated, alone with their problems. They don’t believe that anyone else can possibly understand how they feel, what their life is like at this moment.

"You can’t understand what I’m going through!" With these words, the suffering person pushes away those who would offer help. They feel that any advice from someone clueless to their pain would only be a waste of time. In fact, they fear that having to explain their pain will only make the hurt feel worse—better, they think, to just be left alone.

But you know what? Everyone knows what it feels like to have their trust betrayed. Everyone has been lied to. Everyone has been made to cower in fear by cruel words or the threat of violence. Everyone has had something stolen from them. Everyone has been insulted or treated with disrespect.

God gave the Ten Commandments to regulate our behavior, because it is our nature to act without regard for the pain that our choices might inflict upon others; and it is because of our unwillingness to obey the Commandments that every one of us knows what it’s like to be betrayed, lied to, threatened with harm, stolen from, and disrespected. Sin is a problem common to all people, as is the pain that comes from being hurt by another person’s sinful behavior.

A woman whose husband has cheated on her might say to me "You can’t understand what I’m going through!" Now it’s true that I am a man, and that my wife has never cheated on me; nevertheless, I still know from experience what it feels like to be betrayed by someone whom I trusted implicitly. I can still sympathize with that woman’s feelings of betrayal and her reluctance to ever trust anyone again. A man home from war might say to me "You can’t understand what I’m going through!" Now it’s true that I’ve never been shot at; nevertheless, I still know from experience what it feels like to be unexpectedly attacked by someone wanting to do me harm. I can still sympathize with that man’s fear of sudden, unexpected noises, of being defensive around strangers. Sin levels the playing field for all of us. We all commit sins; we are all victims of the sins committed by those around us. This is why we need Jesus to walk with us, hand in hand, every day. Jesus suffered the torment of every sin on the cross to win relief for us. Only He can forgive us for hurting others. Only He can give us true release from the pain of being victimized by sin.

Why are people so negative and pessimistic so much of the time? It’s because, deep down, they are afraid. Negativity comes from fear. Pessimism arises from fear that things will never get better. Discouragement results from fear that you will fail. When the things that we fear make us feel helpless, we often become angry, sometimes even violent; other times, feeling powerless prompts us to flee from what is making us afraid, trying to hide from it somehow. Fear gives rise to all sorts of negative attitudes and behaviors.

Fear can suck all joy out of life. How can you enjoy life when everyone around you is constantly complaining about how unhappy they are? How can you enjoy life when you’re expending most of your mental energy on worrying? If you let pessimism filter your view of life, it will eventually blind you from seeing opportunities, leaving you feeling as if there is no way out, no way to change things. When this happens, the result is despair, the mind-numbing belief that there is no longer any hope.

Fear is a very old problem—as old a problem as sin. All the way back in the Garden of Eden, when the first sins were committed, our ancestors immediately hid themselves. Why? Because they were afraid--afraid of what was going to happen when God found out what they had done. Yet God responded to their fear in an unexpected way. Yes, He was truly angry. Yes, Adam and Eve were punished for disobeying Him; their lives would now be maintained only at the cost of hard, sweaty labor, and would eventually end in the grave. But their Lord did not strike them down for their sins, as they deserved—we are told that Adam lived for 930 years before he died. Instead, the heavenly Father gave them a promise to cling to—the promise of a descendant, a Son of Man sent from heaven to destroy the power of sin and free mankind from the suffering that evil brings. That Son of Man sent from heaven was Jesus, who came to earth to free us from fear by suffering in our place God’s punishment for our sins. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we can be forgiven--we need no longer fear God’s displeasure. In fact, God the Father adopts everyone who believes in Jesus and turns away from the love of sinning. When the Lord of all creation promises to care for us as His own dear children, what can we possibly be afraid of? How can anything cause us to worry?

With God’s love filling our hearts, there is no reason to be negative or pessimistic, no reason to ever complain. When life gets you down, don’t pull other people down to wallow in self-pity with you; instead, take your concerns to the Lord in prayer. Heed the words of David, preserved for us in Psalm 62: Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. And when you speak with others, listen with sympathy to their troubles, but don’t then weigh them down with your own; instead, follow Paul’s instructions in 1st Thessalonians chapter 5: Encourage one another and build each other up.

You are a child of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ. Rejoice in the LORD and be glad (Psalm 32:11)!

Friday, September 04, 2009


Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing (Luke 23:34).

I wonder if you can relate to Jim. Jim is filled with a lot of anger. He was mistreated as a child. When he got to be a teenager, he ran away from home. Jim lived on his own; he had to fight for everything he had. He fell in love with a beautiful woman, but her family did not approve of him and the relationship died. He entered military service, and was always the first to volunteer for hazardous duty. Although he learned discipline, Jim still seems like a powder keg waiting to explode; he is slow to make friends, gets offended easily, and generally assumes the worst about people.

There are a lot of people like Jim. They are mad at the world. They have been insulted, abused, and taken advantage of. They have learned to be constantly on guard, ready to lash out at the slightest provocation. Strangers are assumed to be the enemy, unless they prove themselves otherwise. Surrounded by nothing but potential threats and hurt, life is lonely and bitter. But the worst part is self-hatred. Deep down inside, there’s a part of Jim that wonders "what did I do to deserve this? I must be a very bad boy to be treated this way." This nagging doubt grew into destructive self-loathing. Now he looks at compliments and friendly gestures with suspicion, wondering what the giver wants from him in return. He walks away from people that care about him because he doesn’t believe that he deserves to be loved. He does reckless things like driving too fast, because he secretly hopes that he might get killed. Jim hates life, and he hates himself most of all.

No one is immune from suffering. We’ve all been taken advantage of, pushed around, and laughed at. It’s easy to get angry. We get angry at those who cause us pain, and we get angry at ourselves for being a victim. Why did I let that happen to me? Why didn’t I stand up for myself? Such anger can blind us to the possibility of love, and cripples our ability to show affection.

But Jesus does love you. His love caused you to be born, and His love took Him to the cross to die for your sins—you are that precious to Him. Many people hated Christ and mistreated Him; but instead of getting angry, Jesus asked God to forgive them. That’s the only way to be free from hate; ask the Lord to help you with forgiveness. Jesus has forgiven you and those who hurt you; ask His help so that you can do the same. Only forgiveness can exchange bitter anger for heart-warming love.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)

Everyone worries about the future. Rich people worry about their investments; poor people worry about making it to the next paycheck. Parents worry about their children’s health and education; kids worry about bullying and being popular. Couples struggle with balancing how much to reveal and what to keep private; the problem for singles is finding a good companion to spend time with.

Everyone worries, and the news media doesn’t help matters any. Thanks to worldwide communication, we know about earthquakes and floods killing people anywhere in the world. Every failure of our political leaders is grist for the evening news. We get daily updates on wars and terrorist attacks, with pictures of the carnage. Even if it took place in a state halfway across the country, we are told of gun crimes and child molestations. Thirty minutes of national news can make you afraid to step outside and get your mail.

Of course, we contribute to the problem. We love gossip—hearing what terrible things other people are doing and passing the news along. It makes us feel in the loop, to know what’s going on in the community. It also makes us feel superior; we can pat ourselves on the back for not behaving like those other folks. But it also contributes to worry—what is our school coming to? What will be the future of our neighborhood? Gossip only serves to feed our anxiety.

Sure, you can turn off the TV and walk away from gossip. But some worries can’t be tuned out so easily. What about the high cost of food, fuel, and medical care? What about the dear friend who’s going through a divorce? What about that mysterious dark spot that turned up on your last x-ray? You can’t always hide from things that scare you.

Jesus tells us not to worry. He is God’s all-powerful Son, and He loves us. He has ended storms with a word, healed people of incurable diseases, and even raised the dead. Nothing you are worried about is beyond His power to handle. So pray to Jesus; ask Him to take away your fear and give You confidence in His love and power. Nothing is too hard for the Lord; He can clear away your problem, or He can help you to face it unafraid. How He gets involved is up to Him; but you can be confident that Jesus will help you, if you trust in His love.

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