Love, Devotion and the iPhone

I heard someone say long ago that one way to lose an appetite for sin was to watch others do phonesit. Notice someone in a fit of rage, or giving someone a lustful stare; be around someone who is entangled in the chains of bitterness or see the way deceit and gossip tear people down. See the ugliness of sin in action, despise it and then use that as motivation to destroy it in your own life. Of course there is a dangerous slope into hypocritical judgmentalism that must be avoided. But, the bible does tell us to consider the lives of others and to either follow their good example (Heb 13:7) or avoid their bad example (1 Cor 10:11).

So with that in mind, here is my recent observation: Have you noticed how addicted we are to our phones? Now, I realize this is not necessarily a sin, nor is this a new topic. More and more people are writing about the effects of our attraction to technology, good and bad. But here is the narrow window I want us to look through for a moment: How is the attraction we have to our phones impacting – in a negative way – our intimate, personal time with family and friends? If you have not already, take some time to pay attention to what is happening around you. Notice the couple sitting in the coffee shop, immersed not in each other, but in what is happening on the screen in front of them. Pay attention to the mom or dad sitting on the park bench, with children begging them to watch their adventure on the slide, while they fail to look up from the phone. Or observe the family sitting in the restaurant where 1 or 2 or all of them are engaged with Face book, texting or Twitter – rather than the people sitting right next to them. Instead of enjoying that moment in their own life, they are too busy trying to figure out what is happening in everyone else’s.

Of course if you are like me, in order to see these things – you might have to look up from your own phone. The fact is, I love technology. My phone allows me to stay connected with people I care about all over the country, with the news of the day and even receive edification from amazing bible teachers and theologians. I believe this is an incredible gift and I am not advocating for its dismissal from our lives all together. But the fact is, we are taking it to an extreme. I have noticed that I subconsciously go to my phone at any moment, in any conversation – for no real reason at all. I’m just picking it up, I’m scrolling, I’m checking social media – almost with no forethought. It just happens. And I am doing it at the worst of times – at the playground, at the coffee shop, at the restaurant. Last week I was on the couch watching a movie with my youngest daughter and all of a sudden I hear her ask ‘Daddy, will you put the phone down and watch this with me?’ I’m not even sure I remember picking it up – it was just instinctive.

I am not interested in motivation by guilt. The fact is that man-driven guilt rarely causes people to change over the long haul. So here is what I have been pondering: Is there a biblical principle that could inform and encourage us to have a healthy use of our phones, while avoiding the detrimental effects of over-use? Perhaps there are many, but here is the one that sprung to my mind: Romans 12:10 ‘Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves’. The Greek word behind honor is a word that means ‘to treat as valuable or precious’. To honor someone means that we work to show that individual that they are valuable to us. This verse is essentially commanding ‘go out of your way, sacrifice, and ensure that person knows they are of great worth to you’. How many of us feel valuable when the person we are with is more intrigued with the cyber-world than a conversation with us? How many of us feel we are worth something if we have to beg for attention over dinner or during a walk or while taking a drive? And how do our children and grandchildren process their value to us, if they constantly have to compete with the iPhone for our devotion?

We are given a scriptural charge to remind others of their value, to build relationships and to enjoy each others company. For me, that means that I need to leave my phone in the car a whole lot more. It is best to not take it to dinner or to the park or on the walk with my family. I need to leave it upstairs while we play a board game or watch a movie. Technology is a wonderful tool – but it needs to stay in its place. So enjoy those personal, intimate times – be devoted to each other and put the phone down for a while.

Grace and Peace



Warning Flags

Reg FlagThis week I saw a suggestion on Twitter that every man read Proverbs 5 and listen to its warnings. And as many times as I may have read this passage, it came off the page to me in a way it never has before. Lust is something that I have battled with to varying degrees and in varying ways throughout my life. I have not met many men (any actually) who do not struggle with it in some fashion. And honestly, the number of women who are entangled in this battle is equally as high. From pornography to romance novels, mental fantasy’s and physical affairs – both sexes are plagued with temptation to sexual immorality. And this passage is full of warnings for us to heed.

Sin desires you (Genesis 4:7). It desires to have you; to master you. And Proverbs 5 starkly warns that the evil that wishes to consume us, will come in the most attractive package possible. Regardless of the picture that the false-religious people try to paint,  sin is inviting; it is desirable. It will come at you as pleasing as possible. In this passage, sexual temptation knocks at our door ‘as sweet as honey’. This means it would be good. We will crave it. it may even seem at the moment to be worth it to give in and taste. This is what is so dangerous for us. We may think right now that we can stand – that we would never yield to this tempter. Yet no one can say that. Any of us could falter (1 Cor 10:12); and not only could we yield to this sin, but we could even WANT to fall in order to receive that which is ‘sweet and smooth‘.

The inviting nature of sin is why it is so critical that we heed the warnings. What starts out sweet, ends as ‘bitter poison‘, loss of honor and groans of anguish. The divine word is giving us a chance to see the end result beforehand. It is a plea: consider all of those who look up to you; all of those who you have influence with. Spouses, remember the one who you pledged your loyalty to. Parents and Grandparents, consider your children. Leaders, consider those who look up to you in the faith. In one fleeting moment – it is all gone. Craving that which is sweet as honey – we become dishonorable and open to ‘public disgrace‘. And then we are left in that dreadful, dark place described in verse 13: with everything lost, from the depth of our souls we would cry out ‘Why didn’t I listen?’

For those who are married or will one day be married – the bible points us to the good and right fountain, verse 18 – to be satisfied in our spouse. Pray and ask that God would strengthen you, and mold your heart and mind to only be captivated by your wife or husband; or if you are single, pray to have the strength to be sustained until you can be captivated by your (future) spouse. And pray – everyone – above all to be satisfied and captivated by Christ! It was Thomas Chalmers who said ‘A new affection is more successful in replacing an old affection than simply trying to end it without supplanting it with something better’. Christ is the something that is better!

I urge you to read, meditate and pray through this passage. I urge you to be open with those people in your life who you can trust with your struggles. I urge you to let someone know the moment you feel yourself being pulled in by the allure of sin. AND DO IT NOW, because the day may come when you do not want to be stopped; a day when you do not want to be warned. Each year people lose their life at the beach, because the inviting pull of the ocean causes them to run right past the flags warning of a deadly undertow. Do not run pass the warning flags of Proverbs 5. Let it not be said of us by future generations that we ‘died because of lack of self control’. May the Father protect us by His grace!

I love you all
Grace and Peace

Proverbs 5

5 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
listen carefully to my wise counsel.
2 Then you will show discernment,
and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
3 For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
and her mouth is smoother than oil.
4 But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
as dangerous as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 For she cares nothing about the path to life.
She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.

7 So now, my sons, listen to me.
Never stray from what I am about to say:
8 Stay away from her!
Don’t go near the door of her house!
9 If you do, you will lose your honor
and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
10 Strangers will consume your wealth,
and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
11 In the end you will groan in anguish
when disease consumes your body.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
and now I must face public disgrace.”

15 Drink water from your own well—
share your love only with your wife.
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
having sex with just anyone?
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
Never share it with strangers.

18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts satisfy you always.
May you always be captivated by her love.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

Beware a Harsh Delivery

I have never had a problem with words. As long as I can remember, words have come easily for me. Very rarely, in any situation, am I at a loss as to what to say. (The good people of my church can insert jokes about my preaching length here) But the manner, the tone, the thought, the care by which I deliver those words is often a much different story. And I have learned as I mature in Christ, that the way I say something directly impacts how the message is received.

As they grow older, it has become obvious that my children have received the same gift of words, at least to some degree. Their language skills are showing characteristics of quick wit, creativity and humor. But unfortunately, they have also received my penchant for a sometimes callous and unkind delivery. And the more I have worked to lead them away from this behavior, the more the Holy Spirit has illuminated the same issue in my own life. And I am very thankful for that grace.

‘A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger’ Proverbs 15:1

The Hebrew word behind ‘wrath’ is interesting. It can mean fury or rage, as we would expect. But it is sometimes translated ‘poison’. How many of you have ever been in a poisonous conversation? One that spiraled out of control as one harsh word after another was delivered, like painful blows in a fist fight. And sadly, whatever good message we may have vanishes quickly in the heat of battle.  Our point is completely lost; buried under an avalanche of sinful communication. Healing, helpful words of truth are quickly silenced by the painful noise of a cruel voice. It really doesn’t matter how right we are, when the person we are speaking to is reeling from the harshness of our delivery. We lose influence, when we lose control.

The Holy Spirit, through Proverbs, is reminding us that gentle words are a repellent to poisonous conversations. If this is an area of struggle for you – as it is me – then may I suggest seeking scripture for practical advice and thoughts on the importance of words and how we deliver them. The bible has much to say on this topic. In addition, let’s be reminded that one of the effects of the Spirit in our life is gentleness (Gal 5:23), so ask daily that He will allow that fruit to grow quickly and exponentially in you. And finally, if your children are showing signs of your own struggle – then do not just teach them the right way to speak; but model for them repentance in your moments of failure.

Grace and Peace


Lamenting and Hope

Lament: (verb) to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something. (noun) an expression of sorrow

RainbowWhen was the last time you lamented? Seriously, when was the last time you threw a good lament God’s way? (If it has been a while feel free to let one fly. God can handle it – I promise) Well, the Bible is filled with them, and the book of Lamentations contains five of them (hence the name). Lamentations describes one of Israel’s saddest moments, the destruction of Jerusalem to Babylon (587 BC).

In chapter three the author describes the agony of God’s judgment. It begins, “I am the man who has seen affliction… (v. 1).” Right away you know this is not going to be sunshine and roses. And it only gets worse. Listen to some of these phrases: enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation (v. 5); walled me about so that I cannot escape (v. 7); though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer (v. 8); he has made me desolate (v. 11); I have become a laughingstock (v. 14). And at his lowest point he says this: “My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD (vv. 17-18).” This is a man who has given up hope.


A few verses later he writes:

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (vv. 21-25)

He snaps back to his senses when he remembers the Lord’s love, mercy, faithfulness, and goodness. I said all of that to say this: No matter how bleak things may look at times, God is still God. Wait for him. Seek him. Hope. In. Him. Our hope will not be put to shame (Psalm 119:116; Rom 5:5). Hope is the imagination of the soul. When was last time you truly hoped for something? When will be the next? How about right now? Let’s let our collective imaginations run wild, and see what God does.

Hopefully hoping (I have no idea what that means, but…),

– Immanuel Marsh

A Reward of Perseverance


My wife and I recently returned from South East Asia, where we were picking up our adopted son to bring him home. I wanted to share a rather significant moment I experienced while there, related to our call to persevere in prayer.

Around 2007, I felt a rather significant shift in my life. My personal goals radically changed, and I began to deeply desire fulfillment in life in new ways. Particularly, I craved to be in full time pastoral ministry and I began to seek God on how to reach that goal. Over the next 6 years, I stayed in prayer constantly about this. In that time, I had around 5 opportunities that I was certain were going to come together and make it a reality. I went through the process each time, and each time it ended with a closed door. Great disappointment followed, but by the grace of God alone – I continued to persevere – not only in prayer but also in faith that God could be trusted in my disappointment.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I stood on top of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong, looking down on the city. I was contemplating how incredible it was to be in this country; how God had provided every cent for the trip; the incredible and tangible ways he had moved in the previous year and specifically in the previous 10 days to make it happen; how our adopted son was in this city and how God could have chosen anyone in the world to do what we were getting to do; and how I would have never see any of this coming years ago. And in that moment, God spoke a verse to me:

For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! Isaiah 64:4. 

God laid it on my heart at that moment: we were living out a reward of perseverance. It is not a reward we expected; it was not even what we were praying for. It was a fulfillment – but not the fulfillment we thought would come. But I would not trade it for anything. It is better than what I wanted. It is better than what I asked forIf I had received what I requested when I requested it, I would have missed out on something greater.

I believe we are called to persevere in our requests, if God delays an answer. And I believe that perseverance needs to be long-suffering; we have to be in it for the long haul. I think along the way, we may face disappointments. But by God’s grace – we keep going; we keep praying; we keep hoping; we keep trusting. Because we are praying to a good Father who knows how to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). Our perseverance will be rewarded. And when the reward comes, we will look back and be grateful that we never gave up.

There is a Distinction

‘Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers’ – Psalm 1:1


The very first line in the book of Psalms is a simple introduction, yet a profound truth, that reminds the reader that there is a distinction between the Godly and the wicked. That there is a division between those who know and love God (the Blessed) and those who are at best indifferent or at worse outright opposed to God. And that division should be visible when the life of a blessed person is examined. How they live day to day (walk), the judgments and worldview that they take (stand) and the people they are in deep community with (company) should be a daily working out of this distinction.  Obviously, humanity opposes this idea. The prevailing thought of the cultural worldview is that there are many valid ways to live and that it is inexcusable to declare someone’s life choice as invalid. No one today is called wicked, simply because they do not acknowledge God. And we must recognize that this ideology has even taken a foothold among the church; among those who are ‘the Blessed’. The people of God are continually tempted by fundamental cultural thoughts AND by their own fallen nature to mimic the way of life of the wicked; the ways of those who do not yet know Christ.

The purpose of this meditation is not to pass judgment on the world; not to condemn the wicked. Human society – of every generation – has a judge who will eventually issue his order against them (1 Cor 5:12). Rather, it is those who identify themselves as ‘the Blessed’ who need the reminder: You are separate and distinct, so live by that reality. This is not legalism. The Blessed are not called to live in obedience to God and in light of His Kingdom in order to belong; rather they are called to live this way BECAUSE they belong. The Blessed are invited and commanded (simultaneously) to live by the commands of God (walk); to take their stances – on issues – based on His view (stand) and to allow their greatest influences to be their fellow Kingdom citizens (company).  And it is this distinction that the King uses to bring others into His Kingdom and to display His glory (Ephesians 3:10).

There is nothing more tragic than to see the Blessed living as the wicked. To do this, requires someone to re-design God as they want him to be. AW Tozer said that the ‘idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they are true’. May this never be us! May the Blessed know God as He is, and may their whole person (mind, will and emotions) line up with Him in joyful worship!

Waiting for the Lord…

‘…How long will these people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?’ – Numbers 14:11

‘Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God..’ – Deuteronomy 7:9

‘I wait for the LORD…and in his word I hope..’ – Psalm 130:5

‘I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done’ – Psalm 143:5

‘..When the son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ – Luke 18:8

‘Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’ – Hebrews 11:1

As I write this, it is approx 7AM in the city of Hong Kong. In that city is my son, Jack. And today he turns 2 yrs old. And I will not be there to celebrate with him, although that has been my constant prayer for the past 10 months. We have all been there, in that place where after long periods of prayer – the thing that you asked for does not come, or does not come in the manner you hoped. How do you feel then? More importantly, how do you respond? What is the next step? For me, I am not angry. I am disappointed in the situation, but I am not disappointed in God. I am not bitter. But, I do wrestle with temptation. For me in-particular, when a prayer seems to go unanswered, that temptation works itself into my life in 2 ways: 1) I am tempted to be discouraged from praying consistently and passionately – even though Jesus implored us to ‘always pray and not lose heart’ (Lk 18:1)2) I am tempted to think that God’s ‘silence’ equals inaction; that somehow he is not involved in whatever I am praying over. Now, I understand the fallibility of both of those temptations. But I am sharing what I wrestle with. Yours may be different; Perhaps it is anger or bitterness; resentment or separation. Whatever those temptations are, in moments like these we must combat them with the word of God.

The people of Israel saw many miraculous signs in their wilderness experience. But there were also days of ‘silence’ when it appeared that God was not present. The people assumed God had left them, forgotten them and abandoned them to the fate of death. Yet, God was there and was trying to teach them to not just rely on signs and wondersHe wanted them to believe in HIM, not just to believe in signs. God is a faithful God, and He desires His people to KNOW that; for it to echo in their souls as truth. Because the Psalmists believed in Him, not just His signs, they had the confidence to wait on Him in the ‘silent’ times; And their confidence was based on the promises, the word, that God had spoken. Because God is faithful, His word is faithful. It can be trusted. The promises He has made to us will be fulfilled. In those quiet times, when things are not coming together as we hoped – it is critical for us to remember what God has done; what He has already said. Meditate on how good He has been to you, and remember that HE is faithful and He will not change. His voice will come again. You can wait on Him in expectation. But will we? Will we wait on Him with confident, expectant, faithful hearts? That is the question that Jesus wondered, out loud. Faith is when you are assured in your spirit – by God’s spirit – of what He has promised. You are convicted these things will come to pass, not because of what you are seeing at the moment. But because your hope is in the faithful one.

I miss my son. I will mourn not being with Him tomorrow. But I have asked God to keep my heart faithful; to keep my prayers consistent and persistent; to keep me encouraged and to help me trust in His faithfulness to us. And He has answered that prayer. Even as I type this, even as I mourn missing Jack’s 2nd birthday, I am remarkably hopeful. I know that God started this adoption process; I remember all that He has done in the past year; I have been meditating on all of His works on our behalf. He has kept this process moving. He has removed roadblocks and He has knitted our hearts toward the son that He chose for us through adoption. I believe that. I KNOW that He is faithful. And I trust in the words that He has spoken to me – over the many days of this journey. And today – I hope in those words. I am convicted of what I cannot see. And I believe that soon, very soon, by His grace – I will hold my son. And I believe He can, AND WILL, do ‘far more abundantly that all that we ask or think‘ (Eph 3:20).

We have all been in this place, and we will all come to it again – over and over in our lives. My faith family, in the silent moments: rest in the faithfulness of our great God and Savior. Guard your hearts from temptation by trusting in His word. Meditate on all He has done. Believe in Him.


Praying for Miracles: Good Gifts from a Good Father

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him! – Matthew 7:11

As many of you know, my family is praying for a miracle. We have been waiting for about 4 weeks for a judge in Hong Kong to sign a paper, giving us legal custody of our son, Jack. When the paper is signed, we can book a flight and go get him. The miracle we need, is all about the timingSince last January we have prayed to have Jack by his birthday. God has knitted our hearts to his, and the thought of not being with him on this day is gut wrenching. We have known, all these months, that this would take a move of God. The time table we were given showed that this would be improbable if not impossible. Which is why we have prayed so hard; as a family in our living room, in the van on the way to church, at the altar and around the table. And we have involved many of you in those prayers – through email, blogs, texts and fundraisers – many of you have lifted up your voices to the Father on our behalf. Even as we have entered this week, a critical week for us if we are going to receive this blessing, we have had people let us know they were praying, even fasting on our behalf. Thank You!! The time table for this part of this process is 8 to 10 weeks. We are 4 weeks in. The problem is that his birthday is before then. Very soon. Thus, the miracle.

As we have prayed for these many months, I have reflected on different verses – including this one above from Matthew 7. The verse is intriguing to me, because essentially Jesus tells parents that they can learn about their relationship with God the Father, by thinking about the relationship they have with their own children. In other words, yes we love our kids! And we know how to give good gifts out of our love for them. But we are fallen and fallible and prone to error. So as good as we can be to our kids, how much greater is the perfect, infallible Father that we have in Heaven? Meditating on this today, I thought of 3 ‘good gifts’ that I give my kids:

1) I plan and guide their lives.

My kids are all young (under 12) and right now I plan and guide their days and nights. No, they are no robots. I do not dictate to them every decision they make. They can choose to do good things, and receive rewards and blessings. They can choose to do bad things, and receive discipline and troubled circumstances. But still, as their father, I stand as the guiding force in their lives. I make plans for them – plans that will benefit them, plans that will train them, plans that will bring them good and enjoyment – and I see to it that those plans come to fruition. They don’t have to ask me to do this – I just do it; because I love them and they are mine. So – how much more does the Father do this for Hischildren?

2) I sometimes tell them no.

My kids ask me for a lot of things. Many of their requests, I grant; I grant them because I love them and I delight in giving them the desires of their heart. If they didn’t ask, they might not get it. But because they ask – I answer. But sometimes, I do tell them no. Sometimes what they ask for is not the best, it is not for their ultimate good; although it might seem best to them, I understand it is not. And when I tell them no, my hope is that they trust me; that they love me and that they know they can be confident that I am seeking their ultimate good. So – how much more does the Father do this for His children?

3) I sometimes hide gifts from my kids, and bring delays, so at the right time I can surprise them.

I love giving my kids gifts. I delight in the delight I see in them when they receive from me a good gift. Sometimes I get them a gift, but I delay in giving it right then. I save it, hidden away. And I do that so at just the right moment I can spring it on them. Sometimes I literally mold their circumstances, so that when I give the gift, it has the greatest impact on their hearts. My purpose is not to be mean – I do it to maximize their joy. So – how much more does the Father do this for His children?

We are continuing to pursue our miracle through prayer. Thank you if you are willing to pray on our behalf. This week is critical for us.We rest in the words of Jesus, even at this late hour, that ‘All things are possible for those who believe’. It is my personal hope that our good Father has been molding our circumstances, allowing delays, in order to give us this gift at this time, right on time, for our maximum joy and His deserving glory. Many of you are also pursuing a miracle. As you do, meditate on the goodness of your Father – who knows exactly when and how to give you good gifts.

Sustained Always

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus… – 1 Cor 1:1 you wait for the revealing of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless…God is faithful… 1 Cor 1:7-9

I am in this season where it seems I am being reminded of my character flaws every day; primarily brought to the surface by normal routine circumstances. While this is anything but an enjoyable exercise, I do know that if it is Spirit-driven, then it is ultimately for the glory of Christ, for my good and for the good of those who are in my community. With this as my background, I read through 1 Corinthians chapter 1 this week and was greatly encouraged by what I saw.

I imagine that Paul was often bewildered at the change he had experienced. One moment he was passionately working for the destruction of the Christian movement, angered at even the mention of the name Jesus. Then in an instance, everything changed: now for Paul, Christ was glorious and the growing movement of Christianity was his purpose. Not only was he changed, but he was changed into one of the great leaders of the church. How could there be any other explanation for what had happened except that God had rescued him? I also imagine that Paul was constantly tempted to fall back into his previous way of life. His heart, His passion had been changed in a moment; but he was not yet made perfect. He was bringing with him a lot of past baggage. The battle against who He was, while striving for who He wanted to be – was fought daily (Read his words in Romans 7:21-25). How could he maintain the strength and confidence to press forward? It appears that Paul reached this conclusion: if God had rescued Him to begin with, then surely it was God who would sustain Him until the end.

These are glorious truths for us, when we find ourselves in those moments where it seems we cannot get anything right; where all of our efforts and desires to ‘do good’ are burned up in a moment of weakness or stress or attack. The words from our morning devotion, the peace of an afternoon prayer or the silent determination to not make the same mistake again, are lost in a split-second reaction from our flesh. And all that is left is frustration and disappointment. So where do we go? Where is our hope in those moments of utter failure? Well, It is found in these words: ‘God is faithful’. The kingdom of God is unlike the kingdoms of earth, where your position and standing is determined by your merit; your accomplishments; your performance. No – our position in His kingdom is found in the accomplishment and performance of Jesus. Your standing is based on God’s call. Your place is held by the sustaining power of Christ, the one who loved you and the one in whom the Father is greatly pleased.

So – we try. We strive for what is right. When God reveals to us our rough edges, we allow Him to smooth them over. We repent of sin; we ask for help. We pray His word. We seek the ever present help of His Spirit. But in all of this effort we know, that ultimately we are upheld by His grace, His call, His sustaining. So in that – we can assuredly rest. Amen.