The God a Man Would Make

The God a Man Would Make

One of the protests against the claims of Christ is that Christians have made the whole story up, that God is nothing more than the projection of man’s own wishes, a magnified man if you will.  There are many answers to that charge.  Here is one.

You need to think only for a moment what a god made in the image of man would truly look like to dismiss such a thought.  This god might indeed have some excellent qualities but he would also be as violent as a terrorist and as fickle as the stock market.  He might in his better moments care for the poor or the down and out or the stranger.  But he would just as likely abuse them.  And who would know when he would do one and not the other?  That would be a scary god at best but a dangerous one at worst with all the attributes of humanity and infinite power to exercise them.

On the other hand, consider the God the psalmist worshiped.  Psalm 86:8 – There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.

Here is a God who stands apart.  Consider only what Psalm 86 reveals about him.  He hears and answers the prayers of the humble.  He is gracious.  He makes the soul glad.  He is good and forgiving.  His love is steadfast and boundless.  All of creation is headed to his feet to worship him.  His works are filled with wonder.  By walking in his truth, a broken and divided heart is mended.  He delivers from death, pride, oppression and ruthlessness.  He is merciful and willingly shows signs of his favor to his servants.  What a God!  Indeed, there is only one and therefore none like him!

Looking beyond this psalm we learn that unlike man, he is not fickle.  Numbers 23:19 –  God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?  He does not think like a man.  Isaiah 55:8 – “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.

On and on the story goes.  It is why Christians love the Scriptures.  Studying its stories and pondering its words, they see him, not as men dream he is but as he himself has revealed.  His story always goes on and those who connect with him will go on with him.  That connection comes through the One who speaks most clearly to us about God’s nature, his only begotten Son.  The Son is said to be “the radiance of his glory.” (Hebrews 1:3)  Look at Jesus and you will see the heart of God.  Come to the cross of Jesus and you will begin to know it.  This is no god thought up by men.  Men cannot think so high nor act so great as this, at least not without the help of this awesome God of the Bible.  There is none like him!

What a wonderful Savior he is!

What Would God Give You Today?

What would God give you today?

Ephesians 1:17 – that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…

Paul prayed for believers to receive a gift from God.  The gift he had in mind he called the Spirit of revelation in the knowledge of him.  That prayer reveals something critical about how people come to know God.

There are three important words every Christian should be familiar with.  Revelation is God revealing himself in human history.  Inspiration is God moving people like Paul to make a record of the revelation, in other words, the Scriptures.  Illumination is the work of the Holy Spirit as he takes the inspired record, the Word of God, and opens the understanding of individual believers to grasp what God has revealed.

People do not come to know God without God’s aid.  Knowing him is more than an intellectual grasp even though our intellect is involved in the process.  Otherwise brilliant people have searched for a lifetime and concluded that God isn’t there.  God does not reveal himself to arrogance or pride of any kind and that includes intellectual arrogance.  But here is what he has shown us.

But this is the one to whom I will look; he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)  God looks to the humble and to the humble he makes himself known.

God thinks knowing him is a treasure above all treasures.  Jeremiah 9:23-24 says “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me.”

That knowledge of God is the gift Paul wants for the church because it is the greatest gift of all.  Did you ever get a gift that turned out to be more than it appeared, like a gift within a gift?  If you read beyond Ephesians 1:17 you will see that the gift of knowing God unfolds just that way.  As you unpack the gift of knowing him, you will find enlightenment, hope, inheritance, power, and the assurance that comes from a true understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done.  You will also see that within this gift of knowing God there is also the gift of knowing where things are headed, straight to the feet of Jesus.

There is no greater gift to have and no greater gift to offer a broken world than a path straight to the feet of Jesus.  May each of us find that path today!

What a wonderful Savior he is!

God Has His Critics

God has his critics.  Where is God when things go wrong?  How can a good God allow such bad things to happen?  These are but two of the many questions that get thrown at God every day.  So, when seventeen people are killed in two suicide attacks in Baghdad (happened today), where is God?  Tragedies unfold with blinding speed in our world.  Some people look at these happenings and want God to give an account of himself.  “Where were you, God?”

The short answer is that God never moved.  But if people won’t look for him before tragedy happens they may not be able to see him when it does happen.  So where is he right now?

First, there is no place where he is not!  Consider this.

Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘in him we live and move and have our being.'”  That was the apostle Paul preaching in Athens to people who debated how many gods there were and whether there even was a god.  Paul said that he is not far from each of us.  How close is that?  I breathe in his presence moment by moment.  So do you.  Did you know it?  Did it slip your mind?

Or consider this.  Psalm 139:7-12 asks the question “where shall I go from your Spirit?”  The psalmist then gives a litany of places where you would think to get away from this ever present God.  Not the heavens, not the grave, not the wings of the morning nor the uttermost parts of the sea will take us to a place where God is not.  There is no darkness he cannot make light and no night he cannot turn to day.  Pretty awesome, I think.

So here’s the riddle.  If God is as close as your hand or your next breath, why don’t people know it?  How can he be that close and yet people are not aware of it?  The answer is that either we have not been seeking him and so we don’t know what we are looking for, or seeking him we found the way he offered into his presence disagreeable.

If a person finds God and his ways disagreeable, there really isn’t anything else to say except that there are situations and places that are far more disagreeable than God.  When we get to some of those places perhaps there will be a change of heart if it is not too late for a heart transplant.  But for those who would seek him there is the greatest news ever.  He isn’t hiding and He wants you to find him and he wants you to know him.

1 Corinthians 3:16 – Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

Those words were written to Christians, Christ followers.  These were the people who acknowledged that God was right and they had been wrong.  They were the forgiven, restored to God’s family and fellowship.  Concerning those people, Paul said that God was not only nearby but actually within.  By their faith in Jesus Christ, they were part of the temple which the Holy Spirit was building.  This temple is not wood and stone but people.  The mighty God who made the worlds comes to abide with them, to make his home, to create a place of worship.  In the very next verse Paul said “You are that temple!”  Amazing!

You may walk in fresh air all day but if you wear a gas mask or otherwise refuse to breathe that air, it will do you no good.  God may be as near as near can be and people will not know it.  But some exercise faith in Jesus Christ and when they do, they become increasingly aware of a mighty, holy, wonderful presence.  And to their everlasting astonishment, he is not just out there, he is in here.  Do you know that you are God’s temple?  I pray you do.

How Do You Know the Church Still Matters

How do you know the church still matters?  Is the church still a viable institution in the modern world?

I will be the first in line to say that the church has lost a ton of influence in our American culture.  And why shouldn’t she have lost influence?  In some places the church cannot be distinguished from the general culture except for the shape of her buildings and her tax exempt status!

Still, wherever the church behaves like the church she is making a massive difference.  Some of the difference she makes is obvious as when she labors to help and reclaim the down and out or she stands firm against a tide of opinion on moral issues.  Some of the difference she makes, perhaps the most important, no one notices.  On her knees, seeking the mercy of God for neighbor and nation alike, the church has been a source of blessing and an unknown protection for many.

1 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Now that is a great description of the church acting like the church!  Every word here is loaded and ready for action.  In one mighty sentence Peter gives the how, the who and the what of the church making a difference.

How?  You are a chosen race.  The English word that is a direct descendant of ‘chosen’ is the word ‘eclectic.”  The Free Dictionary defines eclectic as “employing individual elements from a variety of sources.”  The church is an eclectic generation.  The church begins to look like the church when she no longer looks like the world.  The world gathers itself into like groups; families, clubs, nationalities, parties.  God, on the other hand, picks unlikely people from unlikely places and brings them together to do unlikely things.  Peter says the church is different by its very nature because of the One who does the choosing, God.

Who?  You are a royal priesthood.  Now the priesthood we know.  The prophet speaks to the people for God.  The priest speaks to God for the people.  Peter is saying that the church in its entirety calls upon God for the sake of others, fellow believers and unbelievers.  But don’t miss this.  This is not just any priesthood but a royal priesthood.  Royal means there is a King!  Kings are such meddlesome people!  They expect that their subjects will obey them!  So the New Testament King, Jesus, expects that this eclectic bunch called the church will do as He commands, intercede for neighbor and nation.  When the church is the church, this is what she does and she does it because the King has commanded it.

What?  You are a holy nation.  The rest of the verse defines what Peter means by that.  To be holy is to be set apart for God’s use.  We think of preachers and missionaries.  Peter doesn’t.  He thinks of the entire church.  Then he carefully defines what we are separated for and why.  To be a Christian at all is to be called out of the darkness of the present order into the marvelous light of God’s glory and grace.  But being called out does not mean being taken out.  We are left here for a time in this ‘present darkness’ (Ephesians 6:12) to proclaim the excellencies, the moral virtue and boundless goodness and massive righteousness and lavish grace, of God who saves us in Christ.  That is a holy life!  Singing, shouting, saying by whatever means we can how good God is!

Does the church still matter?  When the church acts like 1 Peter 2:9, she matters more than anything in the world.  She is nothing less than the Bride of Christ and she is engaged in nothing less than the most important, honorable, and urgent work ever, telling the Jesus story that sinners may hear and come out of the darkness and join her in the wonderful light of the glory of God.

What a wonderful Savior He is!

Famous Can Kickers of the Bible

Famous Can Kickers of the Bible

“Kicking the can down the road” has become a familiar phrase to us and crops up most often in reference to our government’s inability to deal with the national debt.  But the phrase applies to many situations.  Anytime that we fail to take needed action now we are ‘kicking the can down the road.’  We should know that when do this, we will certainly see the can again.  It is just a matter of time.

This came home to me reading the opening verses of Jeremiah 8.  The first three verses are actually the conclusion of Jeremiah’s famous “Temple Sermon” which began in 7:1.  That sermon featured Jeremiah standing at the Temple door telling all who entered not to believe what was being said inside.  Then, as they say, Jeremiah went from preaching to meddling.  Along the way, in what should have been cold, cold water in the face of God’s sleepy people, we hear God say to Jeremiah that he should no longer pray for these folk.  At that point you have to wonder what could be more gut-wrenching and attention grabbing than that!  Jeremiah 8:1-3, that’s what.

These verses are not for weak hearts.  God told Jeremiah that a day was coming when the graves would be opened, not for a resurrection, but for an exposition.  God gave a litany of the so-called leaders of the people; kings, officials, priests, prophets.  Then God added for good measure the citizens of the great city, Jerusalem.  It is hard to imagine the shame of having your bones brought out and scattered across the face of the earth.  Yet the bones of these people would soon be spread before the sun, moon, and stars they had worshiped during their lifetime.  They had worshiped nature while they lived, so God would let them worship nature in their death.

Now we all have hope of a decent funeral.  Some expect more, some less.  But I have not met anyone who would not like to be fondly remembered when they are gone.  Some may say, as I have said in lighter moments, “do what you want, I’m outta here!”  But it isn’t true, is it?  Imagine for a moment that one of those kings is your father or a beloved friend.  What shame was visited upon this nation by this exposing of the bones of the nation’s leaders!

That’s when I realized that these people were the can kickers.  They did not follow the ways of God in their lifetime and they must have thought that judgment would not come, at least in their lifetime.  And in their last conscious moments on earth it must have seemed to be true.  “Whew!  At least I got through before the ax fell.”

We do note that these were leaders and leading people whose bones were exposed to such shame.  Leaders have an awesome responsibility.  They are not responsible for the sins of others but they are responsible for the unique position they hold and the influence they exert or fail to exert.  We influence people every day toward God or away from Him.  Leaders especially.

Hezekiah was a remarkable man of faith.  The record of his walk with the Lord is written large in the Old Testament.  But you will find no perfect man until you bow at the foot of the cross.  There was an incident from Hezekiah’s latter days that is telling.  In a moment of foolish pride, he invited some visiting Babylonians to view his personal wealth, the nation’s wealth, and the nation’s armaments.  As soon as they were gone, Isaiah came to him with a word from God that these very people would be the undoing of the nation.  In fact, it would be the Babylonians who brought the bones out of the tombs.  But it was Hezekiah’s response to Isaiah that rivets our attention on the attitude behind kicking the can down the road.

Isaiah 39 tells the story and verse 8 is Hezekiah’s response.  Here is what he said.  “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.”  But here is what he thought.  “There will be peace and security in my days.”  Can you hear it?  The last worst thought of a can kicker – at least the ax won’t fall on me!  If a man of Hezekiah’s stature fell prey to kicking the can down the road, certainly I need to be careful.

The debt that is being kicked down the road by our government is only a symptom of a much bigger can that is being kicked down the road by our nation.  Failure to live within our means is a spiritual problem and we will not find real answers without a spiritual solution.  God’s ways are being spurned at the very moment we need Him most.  There is no encouragement in the Bible for can kickers.

But there is great encouragement for anyone who will stop, pick up the can, and go to God with their failure.  He didn’t send those leaders away.  They left.  They could have come back.  I did.  You can.  John 3:16

What If You Knew the Outcome

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven!  And the first voice, which I heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”  Revelation 4:1

What if you knew the outcome from the beginning?  What if you knew where the stock market would be next month?  Would it change your actions?  What if you knew the final result of the tournament?  Would your attitude be different from the fans around you?  If you knew that your team would prevail, would there be an air of confidence, not to mention the word ‘swagger?’

Surveying heaven to get the scoop on earth

John was invited by God to see what was coming next.  Imagine that.  No less an authority than God wants to show you things that only He knows.  Once John saw these things his attitude was bound to be quite different.  No swagger, I’m sure.  But talk about confidence!  When a brother or sister in Christ grieved over the loss of their property at the hands of the Romans, John more than anyone else would be able to stand with them knowing and sharing a future of which he was certain though they were struggling to believe.

Everything about this invitation to John is amazing.  But the order of things is important.  God intends to show John the future on planet earth.  But the next two chapters (4 & 5) are not about planet earth but about heaven. Apparently God thinks it very important that His people get a good survey of heaven before He gives them the scoop on earth.  We find sound biblical reasons for this.  Not the least of these reasons is that we need God’s help to see anything as He sees it.  Remember this?  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”  (Isaiah 55:8f)  Everybody will see what is happening when it is happening.  But not everybody will understand it.  John is given a gift of perspective by God Himself.

Everything John saw when he stuck his head through that door shed a new light on everything he would see as he finished his walk of faith on earth.  And everything John saw has been given to us in God’s Word.  By attending to His Word we too can gain a new perspective, a walk that is distinctive, and an attitude that breathes confidence.  The real scoop on earth was not that there were ‘wars and rumors of wars,’ but that those wars were themselves signs of something coming, something big, really big.  John was shown the big thing.  God had him write it down so that you and I could see it too.

Each piece of that vision of John is important to us because it changes how we see.  Yet the first striking thing in this vision is the door itself.  The ESV translates this way, “standing open.”  That is what the verb means.  This door did not just open for John to come through.  It was already open, had been open for some time.  Now, no one can look through that door and understand what they see without God’s help.  But the fact that the door stands open tells me that God really does want to help.  He isn’t hiding.  He hasn’t hidden the things we really need to know.  They are in His Word and we can go through the door with John.  What we see when we survey heaven will change our understanding of the scoop on earth.

How Do You Know Anthing

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.

How do you know anything?  Really.

The chair I sit in is made of wood.  I know this by experience.  But there are other things that I think I know about which I have no experience at all.  I know there are hills in San Francisco.  I have never been there, yet the testimony in words and pictures is so great that I am confident to say that I know it is so.  I know there are hills in Pittsburgh by experience.  I know there are hills in San Francisco by authority, the authority of others that I trust.

There are many things we hold to be true not because we have experience or because we have done the hard work of investigation ourselves, but because we trust the word of some authority.  This is not a bad thing unless the authority you trust is not trustworthy.

For some the authority they trust above all is science.  If they are presented with information that begins “science has shown,” there is an automatic level of trust granted to the statement.  They may not consider how often science itself changes its mind, good science, not the kind you find in newspapers and magazines but the kind you find in labs and real life observations painstakingly evaluated.  That’s what good science does.  It corrects itself when it discovers it has been wrong.

This would be interesting.  Ask a friend, “do you think planet earth will always be here?”  Then listen carefully to the response and pay special attention to why they believe it.  The person might say no and give some solid scientific reasons for thinking that the earth as we know it will one day no longer exist.  Another person might believe that matter is eternal.  Some people do.

If we ask the apostles what they think and why, they would say something like “No.  It will be gone soon.  God said so.”  The Bible verse above sums it up neatly.  Details are found throughout the Scripture.  But the uniform testimony is that planet earth as we now know it does not go on forever.  The authority for believing that is what God has said.

Simply saying ‘God said so’ doesn’t work for a lot of people these days.  But they should consider how often the authorities they trust change their mind.  God hasn’t changed His mind.  And that is the real point in Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:35.  The main thing was not the passing of the planet but the trustworthiness of God’s Word.  Who will you believe today?  A fickle world or a faithful God?

How Do You Account for the Anger

How do you account for the growing anger against Christians in our nation?  It can be disheartening for Christians to read hateful comments directed toward Christian leaders or about Christian beliefs.  The recent mistreatment and misrepresentation of Pastor Louie Giglio is a case in point.  He did nothing to take the hit he received in the press by being dismissed from the Presidential inauguration.  He was a model of grace in his withdrawal of his name, yet some of the comments I read about him in the press were very disturbing.

In fact, we have been amply warned in Scripture that this is the normal state of affairs for the followers of Christ.  We Americans have lived under the umbrella of religious liberty for so long that we have come to believe that our past experience is the norm.  The testimony of the apostles and of Jesus before them and of the prophets before Him says it is not so.  We are beginning to experience what our brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of the world have long experienced.

2 Chronicles chapters 14 through 16 give an account of the reign of King Asa, one of Judah’s better kings.  If you read that account you will see that Asa’s journey had been blessed by God in many ways.  Asa was a man with a heart for God and God granted peace and prosperity through much of his reign.

In an early test of Asa’s faith, faced with an Ethiopian army more than twice his strength, Asa called upon God for aid.  The Lord answered with an amazing victory.  This victory was followed by a renewed call to faithful living and a renewed energy on the part of the king and the people to follow God.

However, later in his reign Asa forgot his earlier history and God’s great deliverance.  When Judah was pressed by Israel on its northern border, Asa relied on Syria for aid rather than God.  This faithless act seemed successful until Hanani the seer showed up and rebuked the king for his folly.

You would think that a man of faith like Asa would humble himself before the Word of God.  Yet, Asa, stung by conviction, reacted as sinful human nature often reacts to truth from God.  He was angry.  The sad but telling story of 2 Chronicles 16:10 reveals that Asa had Hanani imprisoned and even this did not satisfy the rage of his pride.  He proceeded to abuse the people as well.

If a person with knowledge of God and a history of walking with God can balk in anger to find that his current wishes and plans contradict the will of the Almighty, should we be surprised at the anger of an unbelieving world?

Men still react violently against conviction that comes from God.  Pride will never walk in peace with God.  A soul possessed by such pride will not be satisfied nor can it find a lasting peace.  The way to real peace has never changed.  But it is a way that pride shuns.  Peace comes in confession, repentance, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died to redeem proud people who think they know a better way than God.

What a wonderful Savior He is!

How Do You Know the Outcome

How do you know the outcome?  How can you be confident when so many things around you are in disarray?

Paul thought he knew the outcome.  In 2 Timothy 4:18, perhaps some of his last recorded words, Paul wrote with confidence “the Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.”  Every?  Every.  Safely?  Safely.  That is confidence in the outcome.

What is more remarkable is that Paul wrote these words in the middle of turmoil and trouble that makes the head swim!  He did not write in a vacuum of delusion but from house arrest where he stood condemned to die.  These words were not ‘pie in the sky bye and bye’ but the words of a man at the close of one of the most incredible journeys through life imaginable.  Paul was confident of the future because he knew the past.  If we put his words in the context of this one paragraph alone we will get a glimpse of the depth of Paul’s confidence.

This paragraph begins in verse 9 as Paul urges his young pastor friend Timothy to come to see him as quickly as possible.  Paul knows the end is near as the preceding paragraph reveals (6-8).  But it is not only the brief window of time that moves Paul but the intense need of the moment.  Consider Paul’s urgent need in the light of the people involved, or not involved, in it.

Demas.  Demas found something better.  He abandoned Paul and was off to Thessalonica.  What the attraction of that place meant to Demas we cannot know.  Perhaps it was home.  Perhaps he was led there by something he met in Rome.  Whatever happened to Demas, Paul described it as loving the ‘present world’ and as desertion.  Demas left his post and thereby left Paul without whatever aid and comfort he had provided.  Demas was on board as late as the writing of Colossians and Philemon.  This was a fresh wound for Paul and it shows in his words.

Crescens, Titus, Tychicus.  These men left also but apparently for different reasons.  Tychicus’ mission is spelled out.  Paul sent him to Ephesus, perhaps carrying the letters we call Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon.  Any one of those letters is worth more than the gold in Fort Knox though no robber along the road would have thought so.  What missions the others were about we do not know but Paul has no ill word about these men.  He is simply missing these companions in a time of great personal need.

Luke.  May God ever bless Luke, faithful to the end!  Do you have such a friend.  Count yourself blessed!

Mark.  Paul once regarded this man a unfit for missionary work.  He deserted on the first missionary journey (Acts 13:13) and became a bone of contention between Barnabas and Paul (Acts 15:36f).  While Paul may have been wiser about the mission, Barnabas was wiser about the missionary.  Something had transformed Mark into one ‘very useful for ministry.’  Get Mark!  These were healing words for Mark to hear and for Paul to speak.

Alexander.  Alexander was trouble.  He caused great harm to Paul and he wasn’t through.  He will get you if you don’t watch him carefully.  Perhaps you know him by another name?  Somehow he managed to isolate Paul in such a way that Paul felt that he was entirely alone.  Entirely?  Yes, that is what it felt like.  I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been there, do you?  Nobody can help.  Luke was there but at this moment it was like he wasn’t.  Who can you tell?  Who will come to your aid now, in this?

The Lord.  Doesn’t it make you want to shout!  When the chips are down as far as they will go, Paul was not alone and no Christian ever is!  Strength He brings to the weak.  Courage to the fearful.  Hope to the despairing.  Wisdom to the perplexed.  Healing to the broken.  Companionship, sweet, sweet companionship to the lonely.  Right out of the lion’s mouth He brought His servant, His child Paul.

Verse 17 reveals that Paul knew he would finish his preaching task.  We know why.  Paul knew why.  God rescues.  That’s who He is and what He does.  What He has done, He will do, till the last and final rescue comes and He walks His child safely into His heavenly kingdom.

Wow!  Could that be me?  Could that be you?  If I can have that kind of confidence I might just manage today.  That kind of confidence is known best by those who can look behind them and say ‘He has rescued me, over and over again.  He will.  He doesn’t change.”

What a wonderful Savior He is!

How Do You Know that You Will Survive

How do you know that you will survive the craziness of this world and that there is a future and a hope for genuine peace?  Do you hear what I hear?  Conflicting ideas, crazy ideas, and ideas already proven failures are offered up daily.  You wonder how anyone could think some of his stuff up!  How do you find peace, how do you know hope in a world like ours?

I grew up in a time of great stability in the United States and I was doubly blessed by a home environment that was even more stable.  I always knew that when I got home Mom would be there and that by nightfall Dad would  be there too.  I always knew that there would be something to eat.  I always knew that fall Fridays meant football and I always knew where we would be on Sunday.  I always knew. I am certain that my parents dealt with many uncertainties of which I never got a glimpse.  But they gave me the key ingredients of a happy childhood; love, stability, and boundaries.

More has changed than just my age.  I look at the children in our culture today.  Some of them are doing remarkably well mind you.  But many children today are stressed beyond anything I could even conceive when I was growing up.  The frightening spiral of violence is shaking us at our roots.  Yet it has not shaken out many answers.  Children have always been capable of meanness but what we are seeing is something of a different order.

One of the most striking things about Scripture is the certainty that some people had about life, about peace, and about hope.  Theirs too was a violent world.  John the Baptist and Paul lost their heads and Peter was crucified upside down.  How’s that for violence!  There was little certainty of the next meal until it was before you.  Often, there was little certainty of the next bed or even the next day!

Truth is, we don’t know about tomorrow either.  These Bible characters who exhibit to us such confidence in living became that way by listening to the One who asked “Why are you anxious?”  (Matthew 6:28)  Why?  Really?  Don’t we have cause aplenty to be anxious?

He knew they were anxious.  He knows we are too.  That’s why He asked.  It is also why He commanded, “Do not be anxious.”  He spoke those words into the violent, turbulent, anxiety-ridden world in which they lived.  He speaks the same word to our world.  Either it is possible to do His bidding and not be anxious, or it isn’t.  That’s why I ask “how do you know?”  If it is possible, how do we get there?  There is a way and that is what this blog is about.