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Faith’s Fall

We were traveling down a two-lane road at a leisurely 23 MPH when the unthinkable happened: Faith fell out of the car’s window.

To say that Faith fell is a bit of an assumption since I didn’t actually see her exit the SUV via the fully opened window. What I did see when I glanced in the back seat was one dog where there had been two. This terrifying revelation might have gone unnoticed until we reached our final destination had it not been for Molly. Thankfully, her swift (borderline frantic) reaction to her sister’s sudden departure quickly caught my attention.

The moments immediately following the realization that Faith was MIA are an adrenaline-filled blur. Mom, who was behind the wheel, hurriedly pulled the car to the side of the road as I jumped out the passenger door and hit the ground running. My legs were moving at such a feverish pace I’m sure it must have looked as if I were fleeing from a bear. Meanwhile, my lungs went into overdrive, too, as I repeatedly shouted Faith’s name like a panic-stricken parent.

Thank God, it didn’t take but one block before I spotted my little bundle of gray fur standing stock-still in the grass next to the road’s shoulder. Faith looked completely stunned and a bit confused, which I would have been too had I just flown out of a car window. Once our eyes met, I knelt down on the sidewalk and opened my arms wide as she came running to meet me with a look of sweet relief.

As I scooped Faith up and carried her back to the car, three thoughts ran through my mind. The first was a vow to never leave the back windows all the way down ever again. The second was to thank God that she survived the fall completely unharmed. And the third was to marvel at the amazing picture I just received of Jesus’ rescue mission to save mankind.

You see, just like Faith, we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We’ve all exited the protective presence of God via a dangerous leap out a window into the world, so to speak. And yet, while we were still sinners – while we were still standing on the unforgiving ground outside the will of God – Jesus died for us. He left the perfection of Heaven and entered into the brokenness of this earth for the exclusive purpose of pursuing wayward sinners. He ran after us all the way to the cross where He sacrificed His life in order to scoop you and I up and out of our lostness. Then, after paying the ultimate price for our redemption, Jesus rose again and carried us to a reconciled and restored relationship with God.

And, yet, some people are still living in a fallen state which raises the question, why haven’t they been found?

Some believers wrestle with this question which I completely understand since I’ve wrestled with it, too. But Faith’s fall opened my eyes and gave me a greater understanding of our Savior who relentlessly pursues yet will never force anyone to receive His rescue.

You see, instead of hitting the ground and standing still, like Faith did after her abrupt exit out the car window, some people hit the ground running. They actively resist the love and gracious gift of salvation that Jesus is offering. Does this mean that Jesus simply gives up and no longer pursues them? Of course not! If Faith would have run from me, I still would have gone after her. And so it is with God’s children. No matter how fast or far they run, Jesus faithfully and relentlessly pursues lost people until their dying day.

But Jesus will never force anyone to accept Him. That’s where free will comes in. While Jesus runs after and seeks out, it is up to the individual to surrender to His love and fall into His arms of mercy. As scripture says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. “If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelations 3:20 – emphasis mine).

For those of us who have been found in Jesus Christ, we know that there is no greater joy than being united with our Savior and no sweeter relief than being reconciled to our Father God. And so, as ambassadors of Christ who have been saved by grace through faith, let us go forth and boldly tell the world our rescue stories. Let us share far and wide the glorious news that redemption and restoration is available to every sinner, no matter why, when or how they fell. Let us faithfully deliver the message to the broken and wayward that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have ever lasting life.” (John 3:16)

 

 

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A Tale of Trickery

It was a cruel trick – and one I should have seen coming.

The fateful trickery occurred back when I was a naïve middle schooler who thought the world was just as warm and wonderful as the summer sun I was standing underneath. But with one mean move by a so-called “friend” I learned that behind the widest of smiles can lie the most cunning of grins.

This truth became evident to me thanks to a young man I will call Charlie for anonymity’s sake. Charlie and I knew each other well and, although I never considered him a best friend, I certainly never considered him a foe. That is, until he set a trap to trip me.

The trap was laid at an outdoor summer gathering with a whole group of our friends. For a reason I couldn’t understand but didn’t question at the time, Charlie singled me out of the crowd and suggested that we race from one end of the grassy yard to the other. Despite being a poor runner, I readily agreed to the competition. A moment later I was braced in a runner’s position and Charlie was counting down from three to one.

And that’s when it happened. Right as I was propelling my body forward with fierce determination, Charlie put his foot out in front of my right ankle and, before I knew it, I was air born. In an instant, I was face down in the lawn with blood on my knees and grass stains on my shirt. As I lifted my head off the hard earth with stars darting in front of my eyes, I looked up and saw Charlie standing a few feet away. He was laughing so hard I’m surprised he hadn’t split a gut. And he wasn’t alone. When I turned my head a little further, I could see that all of his closest confidents were right there with him, laughing at my expense.

At the moment, it’s as if a lightbulb was turned on in the dark room of my mind, revealing that Charlie was not a friend who could be trusted. He was a frenemy who had set a trap to make me fall.

Now, you might be wondering why in the world I’m sharing this story with you. Naturally, you might think I am trying to highlight middle school bullying but, in fact, I want to highlight a form of bullying that goes far beyond the teenage years. I’m talking about government bullying.

At this very moment, Americans are being played by certain powerful individuals and institutions who have set a trap designed to make we the people fall into fear, bondage and captivity. That trap is known as COVID19.

We began hearing about this trap back in January 2020, although few of us had any clue what lie ahead. By March the headlines had shifted into fear mongering at its finest. Every news bulletin announced that millions would die nationally if we didn’t shut everything down for fifteen days to “slow the spread.” So, that’s what we did. We all stocked up on toilet paper and sheltered in place.

But, we all know how that trick played out.

Fifteen days soon turned into thirty and thirty turned into indefinitely. Meanwhile, the millions of cases we were told to fear never materialized, prompting the “professionals” to revise their models downward. But even that couldn’t deter the deceivers from carrying on this trick. They began reporting deaths as “with COVID” and, when that didn’t look serious enough, switched to reporting just cases, regardless of severity. All the while, the news continued to hammer home that the “pandemic” might never end and that we better get used to a new, masked, social distanced “normal.”

Do you see what I see?

Just like Charlie invited me to race, so the American people have been invited to believe the COVID19 hysteria. Just like Charlie stuck his foot out on the count of three, so the government has stuck its media propaganda out in front of the eyes and ears of the masses. And just like Charlie was setting me up to fall, so the deceivers who are pushing this trickery are setting America up to crash and burn. We the people have been played. We have been fooled.

I understand that some people will read this and find it hard to believe. If you read the headlines and watch the news, you’re likely to think I’m sharing conspiracy theories. But you must be on guard against these talking heads, for they are much like Charlie’s snickering friends. They have been in on the plan from the start. In fact, they’ve helped carry it out. And they are playing you, too.

For those of us who follow Christ, what is happening in America should not take us by complete surprise. Scripture is very clear about the reality of wicked people who seek to destroy all things good and godly – and America fits that description. America was founded on godly principles. We need look no further than the Declaration of Independence for proof. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Of course, we know that the enemy is always trying to destroy the way, truth and life of Jesus Christ, so we should expect that he wants to destroy America. And what better way to do it than with virus-born fear?

For decades, godless leaders have been attempting to undermine the Biblical principles upon which this nation was built. We’ve watched this occur in our schools with the removal of prayer in the 1960’s and with the legalizing of abortion in 1973. The enemy has been infiltrating our government bodies and corrupting our medical system with poisons and procedures that destroy rather than heal. It’s all been evil trickery designed to dismantle our land of free people who trust in the Almighty God.

This is why it is of critical importance that we be on guard against these deceivers who want to paralyze us with fear and turn us against one another.

We must turn off the news and tune into the Word of God so we can see clearly what trickery is being perpetrated upon us. Once we do this, we will see that we are being lied to by “those who call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). It is imperative that we look at the current state of our world through the lens of scripture so we can understand and know the truth. Then and only then will we realize that what we are watching is a campaign by the wicked to destroy and defeat the righteous.

Beloved, I wish I could leave you with a neat and tidy bow to end this post, but such an ending would be disingenuous. Although we know that God is victorious and His people will be preserved, we also know that each day this earth is drawing closer to its final end and, as it does, more calamity and trouble will befall us. But we are not alone during these trying times. The Spirit of the living God is with us and He will not leave or forsake us.

So, dear friend, I urge you to cling to Jesus and never let Him go. Let the trials of this age compel you to seek the face of your Savior more and more every day. And, in the words of Paul, “put on the whole armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)

 

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Remember This

We humans live in a world that isn’t very conducive to living peacefully in the moment. Instead of helping us to be present in the present, the world is constantly tempting us to project into the future. Instead of making it easier for us to rest in today, the world works to keep us distracted by bombarding our brains with “what if” worst-case scenarios.

In the last four months, this reality has become more obvious than ever before (at least in my lifetime). For proof, just turn on the news and watch it for five minutes. Since March, nearly every story has been about “the virus” and the “experts” doom day predictions. Every headline plants a seed of fear that “things are going to get much, much worse” and “might never get better.” If you choose to believe these headlines, chances are you’re convinced that what lies ahead for America is nothing short of apocalyptic.

But these projections and predictions do us no good, especially since most of them never come true. What’s more, Jesus specifically told us that only God – not a human with a PhD or a news anchor – knows what the future holds. Yet these gloom and doom talking points have completely overtaken every airwave in America, from commercials to billboards to email inboxes. And, in the process, they’ve infected the human psyche with fear, worry, depression and hopelessness.

Friends, regardless of which news station you watch or political isle you stand on, you must understand that this future-centric fear mongering is straight from the enemy.

The enemy wants to keep us so obsessed with what might go wrong tomorrow that we miss the blessings of today. Behind every worldly mouthpiece, actively distracting and disquieting us with predictions and projections, is satan himself. He is purposefully feeding us this fear and doubt because it furthers his agenda to kill, steal and destroy the peace and rest that thrives when we humans embrace and live fully in the God-given moment.

The bad news is that satan and his doomsday minions aren’t going anywhere – at least, not until Jesus returns. But there is good news! Thankfully, God has not left us defenseless against these fear-filled attacks. In fact, God has implanted within each of us a precious tool to help defeat fear and restore peace. This tool is the human memory.

Our ability to remember is a priceless treasure – and a powerful one, too.

When we actively set our minds on remembering who God is and what He has done in the past, both in our own lives and in the lives of the saints who have gone before us, we disarm the enemy’s problematic projection tactics. As we recall how perfectly faithful God has been in the past, our present faith is strengthened and future hope restored.

Psalm 77 is a perfect example of how this works. As the Psalm opens, we find David crying out to God in his day of trouble. But he doesn’t linger long in tearful laments. Very quickly David switches his focus to the remedy for his heavy heart: remembering. “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” (Psalm 77:11)

As the Psalm progresses and David does more remembering, the mood of the chapter changes. As he recounts past events that demonstrate the wondrous and mighty power of God, David gains more confidence. From God’s authority over the sky and sea to His redemptive grace and perfect faithfulness dating back generations, David’s hope is revived by remembering the goodness of his Lord.

The restoration of peace that David experienced by using his memory is a lesson to us all.

Just like David, each one of us has been gifted a memory that can be used to recall the unmerited mercy, love and grace of God poured out upon our own lives and the lives of our fellow man. Like David, we can actively choose to remember God’s wonderful deeds and blessings He has bestowed upon our nation for generations.

And, most importantly, we can remember the promises and eternal truths found in scripture. We can open up the Bible, a great treasure trove of memories, and remind ourselves of the words spoken by our Lord and Savior, Jesus. We can feast on the Good News that the peace of Christ is with us in every season and all situations. We can read God’s love letter to us and receive the blessed reminders that our Heavenly Father, our refuge in every storm, will never leave or forsake us.

Beloved, when the world starts tempting you to look ahead and project fearfully into the future, pause and remember Psalm 77. Remember the Gospels and every account of the unfailing, unchanging, unshakable greatness of our God. Remember that God is good and perfectly faithful. And remember at He isn’t even close to finished yet.