Sunday, December 10, 2017


            Ah! Christmas! It’s a magical time when lights and decorations turn the common into breathtaking displays. Hearts are more open to give.  Family and friends come together to celebrate, and music envelops us with the sweet melodies of Christmas. But the true message of Christmas is that which speaks of Jesus’ birth, and of “peace on earth, good will to men.”
            “Peace on earth.”  Those simple words of hope seem to be a stark contrast to the turmoil, hatred and rebellion prevalent in our world today.  Even our Christmas cheer cannot block out the reality of evil and turmoil all around us.  How can we reconcile such disharmony with the message God sent us?  How can the two fit together?        
            Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was also conflicted with the seeming inconsistency of peace in such a troubled world.  He had felt the knife of sorrow cut through his heart when his wife of 18 years died in a fire.  Shortly thereafter, his son Charles joined the Union Army during the Civil War without his father’s blessing.  Charles was soon promoted to Lieutenant and was severely wounded in the Battle of New Hope Church in Virginia.  His recovery was long and his days as a soldier ended.
            Longfellow had experienced death, heartache and war up close. He could not deny their existence. On Christmas Day in 1863, he wrote a poem called “Christmas Bells.”  It reveals his struggle with the idea of “peace on earth, good-will to men.” We know his poem better as the song “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” 
“I heard the bells on Christmas Day, their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come, the belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way, the world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

            Yes. That is the message of peace and good will God echoed throughout the world that first Christmas night.  He reached down into a sin-cursed world that was in chaos, and He joyously, boldly spoke of peace.  Peace that would once again join us together with Him. God’s peace is not a temporary peace that is frail and can be easily shattered by circumstances.  It is an enduring, consistent peace that remains intact within us regardless of circumstances.  It is a union of our hearts with God’s heart.  Peace with God is the longing of every soul whether we realize it or not.  And God made it possible.  His peace is the most beautiful, lasting peace we could ever possess.  Nothing can take it from us, because it lies within us. 
            The bells rang out ‘wild and sweet’as a reminder of the angels’ vibrant message to us on that first Christmas when they announced the birth of God’s Son, Emmanuel, God with us, our Savior, Messiah, Lord and King.  All seemed right with the world that night in Bethlehem.

“And in despair I bowed my head; ‘There is no peace on earth’, I said;
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

            Longfellow knew well the pain and turmoil that still remained in the world.  We know it, too.  We see it on a daily basis and groan under the effects of this sin-sick society.  Jesus knows it, too.  He knows the pull of this world against His peace.  His invitation for us is to persevere through the trials of this world with His peace in our hearts.  It is born of and increased through our connection to Him.  Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  His peace doesn’t necessarily remove the turmoil of the world, but the turmoil in our hearts.  It allows us to live on a higher plane in the midst of chaos.

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

            Somehow, the message of the bells, the message of the angels, was more persistent, more prevalent, more compelling than the chaos around them.  The message of peace, even in its tranquility and stillness was louder.  It rose up and prevailed against everything evil, everything that would try to silence it.  Peace may be resisted, but it cannot be vanquished or conquered.  The peace Jesus promised rises up in the middle of turmoil and dispels it.  It persists and prevails over every wrong. It is not fragile, but is a strong, indomitable peace.  It proves the good will God has toward us in spite of our defiance of Him.
            Jesus said,Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  Receive that peace.  Jesus offers it freely to us that it may be alive within us here and now.  And at the end of this world’s order, peace will reign uncontested in a new heaven and earth.  All sin, fear, disease and evil with be annihilated.  There will be no more chaos, no more hatred, no more rebellion, no more tribulation.  Finally peace will reign within and without.
The message of Christmas remains as true now as it ever was.

“The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Meek – humble, submissive, preferring to bear injuries rather than return them, power under control

            We had an aloe plant that we left outside during that last cold snap of the winter and it died – we thought.  We had not meant to mistreat it but were negligent of its care.  Even the part that survived turned brown except for one small tip that was still green.  Aloe plants are wonderful for healing burns, so when I burned my hand, I broke off part of that tip to soothe the pain.  That little broken, mistreated aloe still provided healing for me.  Surprisingly, with a little water and warmer weather, it sprang back to life.
            Are we like that aloe plant?  Are we resilient and return good for evil?  Or do we choose to strike out against those who hurt us? Kindness changes hearts.  That aloe plant taught me a valuable lesson.  Don’t return evil for evil.  Instead, do good to those who hurt you.
            Meekness is listed among the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  This fruit only appears in the life of those who are born of the Spirit and walk in the Spirit.  It is evident in those who cultivate the character of Christ in their lives.  We cannot achieve meekness on our own.  We are certainly not born with meekness. Much to the contrary, we are born in a world that declares survival of the fittest, a “me first” culture. 
In this world of vengeance and hatred, it takes real power to be unmoved from the path the Father places before us.  We only receive that power through the Spirit of God at work in us.  Just as fruit trees have an unseen force at work in them throughout the year making it possible for them to bear fruit in season; we must have the force of the Spirit at work in us every day if we are to be able to develop His fruit in the various seasons of our lives. 
            It takes a heart like Jesus’ heart to heal the wounds of those who have hurt us, to return good for evil and kindness for spiteful actions against us.  Jesus said when we learn meekness from Him, we will find rest for our souls.  That rest doesn’t mean we won’t have battles to face and problems to overcome. It simply means we stay focused and are content in the Father’s will whatever the outward circumstances.  
Jesus never pushed His own agenda as a man, even though He had the power to do it. He possessed the boldness and authority to act, but never used it for the advancement of His humanity.  He used it only for the Father’s purposes.  If persecution was not the Father’s will at that time, He simply walked away from it.  There were occasions when men took up stones to kill Him or sent soldiers to arrest Him, but those attempts on His life were futile until it was God’s timing. There were other times when men tried to force Him to become their earthly king, but He evaded them, too.  Jesus never considered the will of man.  It made no difference, had no bearing on His decisions.  He was set on accomplishing the purposes of the Father only.
            When persecution and death were in God’s timing, Jesus went to Jerusalem knowing what lay ahead of Him. Why?  Because He was meek and submissive to God’s will. He was strong enough to walk into a trap knowingly because He wanted nothing less than God’s will.  We see that so clearly in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed just before His arrest; “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” He had the power to deliver Himself, but He used it instead to press on in the face of death. 
            In the fourth chapter of Acts, we read that Peter and John had healed a lame man at the Temple.  As the man rejoiced and praised God, a crowd gathered wanting to know how this happened.  Peter took that opportunity to preach about Jesus, the One in Whose name the man was healed.  So, Peter and John were arrested, threatened, and commanded by the religious rulers not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus.  Their answer to these leaders was honest and clear.  They said, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”  They weren’t defiantly disobeying authority, but they had to answer a Higher Authority, the same Authority these religious leaders claimed to follow.  If the disciples kept the leaders’ command, they would have to disobey Jesus’ command to preach and teach in His name.  They were threatened further and released because the religious rulers were afraid to punish them.  After all, a notable miracle had been done and many of the people saw it, heard their preaching, and believed.
Upon release, Peter and John went to the gathering of believers and told them everything that had happened.  They immediately went to prayer, but their prayer wasn’t one for vengeance.  It wasn’t one for protection or even deliverance.  They prayed, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30)  They asked God to give them boldness in the face of persecution, in the face of the threats that they knew would be carried out if they continued. They knew there would be repercussions and they needed courage.  They needed power to follow the commands of Jesus. 
Meekness is power under control, power to do what is right even when facing evil.  They didn’t ask for boldness to fight the religious people.  They didn’t pray for courage to take up arms, protest or bring down the hierarchy.  They didn’t ask for wisdom to outsmart the enemy. They prayed for boldness to continue doing what Jesus commanded them to do.  They would not be deterred.
These believers had an immediate answer to their prayer.  “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”  God heard and God answered. 
When is the last time you prayed and chains of fear were broken?  When the words of the enemy against you lost their power because of the Word of God within you?  When your whole world shook and left you with a boldness and power that nothing could shake?  When the Holy Ghost filled you again and empowered you for the task ahead?  If we want an answer to our prayers, we have to pray them!  We have to mean what we pray.
            If we want meekness to prevail in our lives, we must have power, the power of the Holy Spirit.  This power is not to destroy lives, but to build them.  It is not to seek vengeance against those who persecute us, but to seek their salvation.  Jesus forgave those who crucified Him, even in the midst of their murderous act.  They mocked Him and called on Him to come down from the cross if He was the Son of God.  He could have.  He had the power to come down from the cross, wipe them all out, and vindicate Himself.  Wouldn’t that have been a wonderful show of His authority?  Wouldn’t that have shown them the majesty and glory of God?  Yes, it would.  But it would have left us all lost in our sins.  Jesus was more interested in securing our salvation than in a flashy show of power that would last in the memories of maybe one generation.  Jesus was set on finishing what He came to do.  Possessing the power to deliver Himself, He allowed Himself to be mocked, tortured and killed.  It not only bought our pardon, but He is now sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven. 
            Jesus hasn’t called us to show how powerful we are, how gifted, how eloquent or well-known.  He calls us to save the lost, encourage the discouraged, strengthen the weak, care for widows and orphans, preach the gospel and show Jesus to the world.  From time to time we need to examine our motives in our prayers and our service.  We should want nothing less than the will of God.
Jesus still gives boldness and courage to those who ask, to those who follow Him.  He still answers prayers, fills us with the Holy Spirit and gives us the power of meekness.  What are we praying for?  For God to bless our bank account and keep us in a comfortable position?  Or are we praying for the boldness to love our enemies, do good to them that hate us, bless them that curse us, and pray for them that despitefully use us?
Christ calls us to put the will of the Father above our own selfish will.  He calls us to be kind and loving even in the face of evil.  We are to give the message of the cross to those we come in contact with.  We are to show the love of Jesus to the world around us. 
Only through the meekness of Jesus in our lives can we have the power to accomplish His work.  His way is not always easy, but He will give the power to those who ask.

“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Psalm 37:11

Monday, October 2, 2017


Light – that which makes things visible, illumination
Keep – maintain custody of, protect, care for, preserve in good condition

A song was brought to my mind by a very unlikely source, and I couldn’t get it out of my thoughts.  It’s called, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning”, and I had not thought of it in years.  It kept playing over and over again in my mind, and I felt compelled to find a copy of the words.  I knew the song spoke of a lighthouse, but my question was, “what are lower lights?”  That term was a puzzle to me.  Of course, many years ago, before GPS and all the other equipment we have now, sailors navigated by the sun, moon and stars.  They especially used Polaris, or the North Star as we sometimes call it.  These were called the upper lights, lights that God had placed above for guidance and illumination. The lower lights were simply the lights from the lighthouses. These lighthouses were placed strategically at harbors where ships could dock safely without running aground on rocks.  Their beams of light signaled a safe harbor ahead as they shone a welcoming beam across the water and guided the pilot safely into the port.
Today, most lighthouses are automated, so they do not have a lighthouse keeper.  But that wasn’t the case in the past.  The lighthouse keeper’s job was all-consuming.  They were on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The safety of the ships and the many lives on those ships depended on them.  Some lighthouses had two keepers to lessen the load, but most had only one who had dedicated his life to it completely.  His duty was simple, but not easy.  He was to help the ships see more clearly in the obscurity of early morning, in the darkness of night, in the fog and in storms.  These keepers saved many lives.
Jesus came to bring Light into the darkness.  He came to make His kingdom visible, and to guide us through the fog and storms of this life.  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”  He placed this light into whoever would receive Him, then left us to be keepers of His light, saying, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.”  A city on a hill.  That sounds a little like a lighthouse, doesn’t it? A city standing tall and shining the light to show the way to those journeying through this world, letting them know there is a safe harbor accessible even in the most treacherous environment.
Jesus is unquestionably the Upper Light.  But He left us in this world as the lower lights, to guide others to Him.  The light of Jesus Christ shining through us is a welcoming signal to those in darkness.  It beams across the sea of humanity to offer hope.
            Are we carrying out our job to keep the light shining, to help wayfarers make it into the kingdom of God safely?  Philippians 2:15-16 says, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life”. Every time I read that verse, I envision the word of God as a torch we hold high to help others see truth and come to freedom.  If we let that light grow dim or go out, we snuff out the only light some people have.
            If we are to be faithful custodians of the light Jesus has given us, we will realize it is a 24-hour a day job.  We will make sure our lights are fueled and the glass panes are consistently clean and clear.  If our earthen vessel dims the light of Jesus, people will not get a clear view and won’t be able to navigate their way to Him.  We cannot be part time Light Keepers.  Our job is too urgent.  Too many lives are at stake.

“Brightly beams our Father’s mercy from His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning; Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, you may rescue, you may save.”

            Being a faithful light keeper is the most crucial responsibility anyone can have.  We are called to direct the “fainting, struggling seamen” to Jesus.  Souls are desperately in need of saving, and I wonder if we are too complacent in spreading the light.  Are we sending the “gleam across the wave”, or do we hide it among ourselves?  Jesus said, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”   Are we really holding forth the light, or have we become an elite club that focuses only on what God will do for us?  If so, our light will become dim and fade away.  We were made, not only to be receptacles of His light, but to shine that light into the hearts of others.  The light of Christ is to be passed on without fail, because every soul is heading toward an eternal destination of either heaven or hell.   
            God said, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”  God saw the evil and darkness of the world and its inhabitants, and He searched for someone who would stand up and make a difference, who would sound the alarm of danger and light the way for people to navigate to the shelter of God’s kingdom.  The sad part was that he found no one.  Where were the light keepers?  Are we doing any better?  How much progress are we making?

“Dark the night of sin has settled; Loud and angry billows roar.
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights along the shore.”

            As a Christian, you are the light along the shore.  Picture in your mind those caught in the storm with no one to intervene and pull them out, no one to shine a light so they can guide their ship to safety.  Are we willing to help them?  Are we available at all times, or just when it is convenient?  It seems no one wants to be on duty as a light keeper all day, every day, but that is what we are called to do. 
            We shine light into darkness every time we give a word of hope and encouragement, give testimony to what we have personally seen and heard in our spiritual walk, when we are a godly example during a tough circumstance, when we communicate the word of God through preaching, teaching, writing, singing, radio, television, social media and many other venues.  We need to learn to wisely use every tool we have available to us.  Time is running out for many souls.
            We are responsible for shining the Light of Jesus Christ, but we are not responsible for their response to the light.  Some may see the lighthouse and refuse to come to it because they have their sights set on faraway places.  But the prophet Ezekiel wrote these words that God had spoken to him.  “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”  (Ezekiel 3:18-19)
            We need to hear the cry of those who are drifting and dying and let them know of the mercy of God to save them.  “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire…”  (Jude 1:22-23)  Where is our compassion?  Where is our fear of God that causes us to reach out even when we fear to do so?
            If we are so absorbed with the things of this world, we will be deaf to the cries of the dying.  If we do not keep our lamps trimmed and burning, we will be of no use to them.  They will die in their sins, but their blood will be on us.  We need to examine our motives.  What is our personal mission?  Are our priorities eternal or temporary?  Let’s wake up and shine.  Dare to ask God what that means for you personally.  Ask Him to give you His plan for you to save the lost.  He uses different people in different ways.  If you keep the light shining brightly in you, your eyes will be open to see those who need your help.

“Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; Some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, In the darkness may be lost.”

            We need to trim our “feeble lamps”.  We tend to look at the Scripture in the light of this world rather than looking at this world in the light of Scripture.  So, we have a dingy, obscure view that compromises the Scripture to make it fit in with our culture, and to look as though we are all okay.  When we look at the world in the light of Scripture, we will see it as God sees it – desperately in need of being rescued.  Yet we will also see the glory and grace God has extended to us all, the life in the Spirit realm that lifts us above this world.  And this life is available to “whosoever will”. 
Once we become a light keeper, the light of Scripture will guide us, and the power of the Spirit will enable us.  Then it is impossible to keep from shining.  Only when we become distant with the “Upper Light” will our lower lights be obscured or put out.  So, take care to tend to your light and keep it burning strong. 
            Let our prayer be, “Send me, Lord, into the world, the fire of Your Spirit guiding.  Send me, Lord, into the world, revealing Your holy presence.”  I can hear the Spirit calling; “Shine the light of Christ in darkness.”  That is our responsibility.

Let the lower lights be burning; Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, you may rescue, you may save.”

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Disappoint – fail to fulfill the expectations of (someone),
fail to satisfy the hope of
            When I finished my first book, it had been at the printer’s for what seemed a long time to me.  They had told me it would be ready on a certain day, and I was excited about finally getting it in my hand.  I received a call about an hour and a half before I was planning to leave to pick it up.  They were letting me know there had been a mistake and the wrong book had been finished.  Mine would not be ready until the next day.
            Was I disappointed?  Absolutely!  But I had just been sitting at my computer typing a scripture into a document when I received the call.  It said, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way.”  God reminded me He was still in control, and He was establishing my path.  As a matter of fact, He had prepared me ahead of time.
It may be tomorrow instead of today, or even next year instead of this year; but God will bring every word to pass in His perfect timing.  You can count on it.
Have you ever been disappointed?  What was the biggest disappointment you ever faced?  How did you handle it?  It could have been someone you trusted who let you down.  It could be that you failed to satisfy your own expectations.  But have you ever been disappointed in Jesus?  Be honest.  If you have, you aren’t alone.  Mary and Martha were.
Their brother Lazarus was sick and they sent word to their close friend, Jesus, Who often came to visit in their home.  Jesus received the urgent message and John 11:5-6 tells us what happened next. “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.  When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.” Does that sound like love?  It seems He didn’t care.  What was He thinking to treat their request so lightly?  Jesus’ thoughts were not following the same path of Mary and Martha’s.  Nor was his response the one they expected, because He knew what they didn’t know.  His love was strong enough to do the right thing instead of the easy thing or the expected thing even though He knew He would be misunderstood.  By the time He arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for four days, was  bound with grave clothes and lying in the tomb.  Martha met Jesus in the way as He approached their house.  She said, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  Clearly a statement filled with disappointment.  Yet she said she still believed that whatever He asked of God, God would give it to Him.  We all say that, but do we mean it?  Are we confident that He makes no mistakes?  We all know the end of the story, but Mary and Martha didn’t at that point.  Jesus went to the grave and told them to open the tomb.  Then He cried out, “Lazarus, come forth”, and Lazarus came forth still bound in grave clothes.  Jesus commanded them to loose him, and Lazarus was indeed alive and well. 
Look at the prayer Jesus prayed just before He called Lazarus to come forth.  “And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”  Why did Jesus wait so long?  Because He was about to do a miracle of gigantic proportions.  He knew what would happen.  No doubt.  He knew when he decided to stay where He was that Lazarus was dead.  There was a greater purpose than Lazarus being healed from sickness.  Jesus showed that He could raise the dead even after Lazarus had been deteriorating for four days.
What are you stewing about that God hasn’t come through yet?  I will admit I have had my times, too.  It seems God is uncaring toward our needs, slow in keeping His Word, but He is waiting for the right time to bring it to pass, because He wants the best, not mediocre.  Mary and Martha expected a certain response from Jesus, and they didn’t get it.  It wasn’t what they wanted and it wasn’t in the time frame they had requested it.  But Jesus gave them what they needed at the right time.  If they had just trusted, they wouldn’t have been disappointed.  Neither will we if we will trust Him.  Jesus will never do everything just how we expect Him to, and He doesn’t work on our timetable.  We have to remember that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways, but His ways are perfect and His thoughts are omniscient.  Jesus will never disappoint us if we will trust Him even when we don’t understand.  Actually, Jesus never disappoints us.  We disappoint ourselves with expectations that are too small or too fleshly to allow His greater good.
As far as disappointing yourself, you are probably in the same boat with everyone else who has ever lived.  Peter was a total disappointment to himself.  He bragged to Jesus in front of all the other disciples how he would never deny Jesus, how he would die for Him.  And I believe he meant it.  He thought he could stand up to anything for Jesus.  Actually, all the other disciples said the same thing.  But a few hours later Peter denied Jesus three times and deserted Him in His darkest hour.  Die for Him?  Not even close. The best he could do was follow at a distance.  Peter was so disillusioned with his actions that he went out and wept.  He must have felt hopeless.  Even after seeing the risen Christ, he said to the other disciples, “I go a fishing.”  They all went with him.  Fishing had been Peter’s occupation before he was a follower of Jesus.  Now that he had failed, he may as well go back to the way things were.  But Jesus wasn’t finished with Peter.  While Peter and the other disciples were fishing, Jesus appeared on the shore and asked if they had caught anything.  They had not.  You can’t go back to your old life and be profitable.  Jesus said to cast the net on the other side of the ship.  They did and caught a record amount of fish.  John knew immediately Who it was.  He told the others, and Peter jumped into the water and swam to shore.  It was there that Jesus reaffirmed Peter’s call.  He asked Peter three times if he loved Him.  Each time Peter said ‘yes’ and each time Jesus told Him to feed His sheep.  Peter’s days of disappointment were over.  He was still a follower of Jesus Christ.  He was still a disciple in good standing.  All was forgiven.  After the Holy Spirit was poured out, Peter became a mighty leader in the early church, and eventually did die for Jesus.  It was only by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by the power or determination of Peter.
Don’t give up.  If you are disappointed in yourself, know this.  Things can be different.  They really can. You can’t undo it on your own, but Jesus can.  Take it to Jesus.  He will fill you with His Spirit and make you able to do what He has called you to do.  Peter was reinstated and empowered to do what he was not able to do before. You can be, too.     
Sometimes, it isn’t ourselves or God that we feel disappointment toward.  Sometimes it’s someone who was close to us.  Someone we trusted in, and they let us down.  When someone hurts us, it can be a devastating wound. 
David was chosen by God to be the king of Israel.  He had a son, Absalom, who was unhappy with David as a father and as his king.  So, he began to spread seeds of discontent among the people and let them know how things would be different if he were king.  Then, he did the unthinkable.  He usurped his father’s throne and, with all his followers, made himself king.  David, the king God had chosen, had to flee the city with those who were still faithful to him as his son forcefully replaced him on the throne.  A terrible battle ensued between Absalom’s army and David’s army.  Yet, as David’s men prepared for war, he commanded them to “Deal gently for my sake with the young man.”  (2 Samuel 18:5)
Absalom’s reign was short-lived, and David returned to his position, but only after Absalom was killed.  Disappointed?  Definitely.  David’s heart was broken.  He mourned for his son, the very one who had done such a treacherous, treasonous thing.  His mourning for Absalom caused his army to feel ashamed of the great victory they had won for him.  His general, Joab, told him he needed to snap out of it and commend his army for a job well done and for their loyalty.  They had risked their lives to restore order and bring peace.  Many had lost their lives.
We can be so disappointed in someone who has wronged us that all we focus on is our own pity and loss.  There are many others who are for us and try to encourage us.  We need to open our eyes to see them, and acknowledge their kindness.  Sometimes a broken relationship can be mended.  That is always the best.  But sometimes it is not possible, and we have to let it go.  Disappointment can turn into discouragement and depression that will bog us down and keep us from moving on with God’s plan.  We need to get past disappointment and get back to the assignment at hand. 
Whether you are disappointed because you can’t figure out what God is doing, or you have failed to accomplish what you desire, or someone has let you down, recognize it as a tool of the enemy to redirect you from the calling of God.  It is to undermine your trust in God.  Keep the faith, hope against hope and stand strong through the power of the Holy Spirit.

“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”  (Romans 5:5 NKJV)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Overcome – to defeat, conquer, successfully resist

            Athletics has never been a strength of mine, and my weakness showed up in all its glory during Physical Education classes in my school years.  I did okay in some of the activities, but I wasn’t really good.  Obviously, everybody else knew it too, because I was usually one of the last ones chosen to be on a team.  That continued until the day the teacher announced that we would begin a segment on badminton.  We played in teams of two, and I suddenly found my niche in that class.  A friend of mine who was good at everything and later became a P.E. teacher, teamed up with me and we won the championship for all the P.E. classes!  We were unstoppable, and it felt great!  You don’t forget moments like that when you are used to being defeated and suddenly you are the conqueror.  It was glorious! I am probably the only person who remembers that, because it didn’t mean as much to anyone else.  But it felt so good to change my status and be a conqueror who was no longer beaten by my inadequacies.
            How about you?  Are you being beaten and defeated in your Christian life by the pull of the world?  This world, this culture, can be a trap to keep us down or it can be the challenge that causes us to rise up and overcome.  There is a way out of the trap, if we are willing to follow that path. 
            Jesus told His disciples, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone.”  That sounds like ominous news.  They were all about to fail on a large scale.  They were about to desert Jesus.  But Jesus didn’t stop there with their failure.  He went on to clarify His words.  He said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:32-33)  Jesus was telling them that even in their scattered, fearful and unbelieving state, they could find redemption and peace.  They did not have to live in defeat.  They could be overcomers.  What was the game changer?  Jesus won the victory.  He has overcome the world, and because He did, we can too.
Jesus came in human flesh, and in that flesh, He lived a spotless, sinless, perfect life fully in the kingdom of God even while He walked the dusty roads and faced the devil in this world.  He was the perfect sacrifice Who took our sin on Himself, died and then rose again.  His death is our death (we are crucified with Christ).  His victory is our victory (we are risen with Christ).  The enemy has been conquered.  God has prevailed! That is where we get the power to conquer.  The Spirit of God in us will uproot the spirit of this world and the spirit of antichrist (the spirit in the world that opposes Christ and works through those who allow it).  The Spirit of God in us is unstoppable and will give us the power and strength to overcome.  We no longer have to be ruled by the dictates of this world.  We do not have to live in defeat.  We can be more than conquerors through Jesus Christ Who loves us. 
Those who are not overcoming are the ones who don’t know they can be overcomers, or those who have no desire to overcome the world.  Those who don’t want to overcome are comfortable in the world and have accepted sin as a normal lifestyle.  They really don’t see any reason to overcome.  Their lifestyle looks pretty much like everyone else’s, and they don’t want to rock the boat, even to be an overcomer and have eternal life.  Sadly, many believe it doesn’t matter because everyone goes to heaven, but as we will see, that is not the case.
In order for you to be an overcomer, there has to be something to overcome.  What is in the world that we are to overcome? Certainly our sin nature, but let’s be more specific.  Galatians 5:19-21 gives us examples of the outward behavior that stems from the nature of this world.  “Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. ” (Amplified Bible) These components of earth-living will keep us ensnared by the world, and will lead us to destruction in hell for eternity. They will prevent us from entering into the kingdom of God, because choosing to be friends of the world means we are enemies of God.  But we don’t have to remain chained to that existence, because Jesus made a way for us.
            Let’s look at the next few verses in Galatians 5.  Like the words of Jesus we read previously, the good news will cancel the bad news if we apply it.  “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Amplified Bible)  When we have been born again of the Spirit of God, we exchange the spirit of this world for the Spirit of God.
            With the power of God working in us, not only can we overcome the practices of the sin nature, but God will do more than we can ask or even think.  He will do mighty works through us that we could never think of, much less accomplish on our own.  “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”  (Ephesians 3:20-21)    We will also overcome death, hell and the grave just as Jesus did.   
The ability to conquer this world with its temptations and trials comes by faith in Jesus. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5)  Through faith in Christ, we break free from the spiritual gravity that holds us down, and we are lifted up into the kingdom of God.  We are like the space shuttles that separate themselves from this world’s atmosphere and soar into a whole new region.   
We remain in this world, but are no longer of it.  We are citizens of God’s kingdom.  However, Satan will continue to bring accusations against us, and try to make us believe we have to be a servant of sin because we cannot possibly live up to God’s rules.  He indicts us every time we make a mistake. He tries to make us forget about the mighty power of God that works in us. But overcomers will rise again when they fall.  “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.”  (Micah 7:8 NKJV)  God gives us whatever we need to overcome our enemies and even our own failures. 
            We can be overcomers instead of being overcome if that is the life we choose.  It is a battle, but it is not a battle we fight on our own.  Romans 12:21 says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Don’t allow evil to conquer you.  You have the power of God’s Spirit within you to conquer it. We conquer evil by doing what is right and good, by allowing the Spirit of God to work in and through us.  James 4:7 puts it this way. “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Be subject to God.  Yield the control of your life to Him.  The word ‘submit’ means to come under God’s control allowing His Word and His Spirit to govern us.  Study the Word of God so you can do what it says.  Let it change you.  Listen to the voice of His Spirit so you can follow Jesus.  Let Him lead you.  Then we are to resist the devil by setting ourselves against him, not by coming into agreement with him.  We oppose him.  It is the direct opposite of what we are to do with God.  We oppose the control of the enemy by allowing God’s Spirit to be in control.  When we do that, Satan will have to run.  The word ‘flee’ means to vanish, to avoid, to escape or to seek safety by flight.   An overcomer submits to God and resists the devil.

Let me leave you with a few Scriptures to encourage you in your life as an overcomer. 

Galatians 1:4 is speaking of Jesus when it says, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” (Galatians 1:4) 
As we submit, He delivers.
            “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  (1 John 4:4) 
The greatness of His power is in us to conquer.

            “Who is the one who is victorious and overcomes the world? It is the one who believes and recognizes the fact that Jesus is the Son of God.”  (1 John 5:5 – Amplified Bible) 
It is our choice.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17

Now, go out and OVERCOME!

Monday, July 10, 2017


Learner - a student, a follower, one who imitates their teacher, one who learns by inquiry or observation

            When I was in high school, I was required to memorize the first section of the Canterbury Tales which were written by Geoffrey Chaucher in 1387-1400.  I did well memorizing the words and even enjoyed the challenge of tackling the Middle English language.  As a matter of fact, after all these years, I can still quote a small part of it, although I have no idea what it means.  I’m sure the teacher explained it, because she was very thorough.  But, it wasn’t a lasting priority for me, so now all I am left with is a few memorized words. 
            There is a little phrase I have often heard, “use it or lose it”.  And it is true.  If we don’t take what we have heard and put it into practice, we lose it.        That’s why the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God is working in us.  We need to go with what He is doing and let it shape who we are and ultimately what we do. It is not enough to know the words of truth.  We must incorporate them into our lifestyles until they become as natural as breathing if we are to learn of Jesus.
Many people call themselves disciples or learners of Jesus, but in actuality they have only memorized a few words instead of becoming imitators of His life.  There are some who hear the instruction of the Teacher and follow it, who cultivate the character and life of the Teacher.  Those are the true learners.  The ones who hear the words but remain unchanged are not.
Jesus calls us to come to Him and learn of Him.  Not just learn about Him, but to learn of Him.  We can learn from other people when they tell us about Jesus, but that is not enough.  He wants us to learn directly from Him.  He said, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me.” (Matthew11:29) Taking His yoke is the key to learning of Him.  This yoke unites us together with Jesus to work with Him toward a single purpose, His perfect purpose.  It keeps us at a steady pace as we pull together with Him.  We learn to match His steps and get in stride with Him.  If we try to work independently, we will hurt ourselves and impede our progress.  When we work yoked together with someone every day and in every situation, we don’t just learn what they do, we learn who they are.  We get to know their heart. The word ‘learn’ in this verse does not mean to simply learn the doctrine of Christ, but to learn Christ Himself.
Paul’s desire was to know Christ in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.  He wanted to experience Christ in every area of life and become one with Him in the good and the bad.  He wanted to have the mind of Christ, to love what He loves and hate what He hates, to let Christ’s purpose become his purpose.  We all need that same passion to know Jesus and to imitate Him in our everyday life.  That’s what real learners do.  They have such a yearning in their heart to know Jesus that they lay aside other things.  The natural realm fades away as they walk in the Spirit of Christ.
            The twelve closest disciples to Jesus left behind their old lives and went wherever Jesus went, and they learned Who He was as they walked the roads with Him every day. They were yoked with Him.  Their connection was continuous.  It should be for us, too.  Prayer, our communication with God, is not a ritualistic discipline to be checked off our “to do” list every day.  It is a moment by moment connection with Him.  It is good to read our Bibles and pray during a certain time, but it shouldn’t stop there.  How does God fit into our lives for the rest of the day?  If you are caught in a stale devotional routine and have been wondering, “Is there more?”  The answer is ‘yes’. We can learn from Jesus, but we must acknowledge His presence more than just a few minutes a day.  The disciples learned because that was the most important aspect of their lives.  They had given up everything to follow Him, and they walked with Jesus daily in the mundane and the miraculous.  They were with Him morning, noon and night.  As a result, they knew Jesus Himself, not just His works. 
            When the disciples had questions, they asked Jesus.  When they were confused, they let Him know.  When there was a decision to make, they looked to Jesus for the right one.  When they disagreed with Him, they told Him and He would help them see things from a spiritual perspective instead of a physical one.  There were times He told them what was about to happen, and times when He told them it wasn’t for them to know right now.  But they learned because they were there all the time, not just part time. 
            The closer we are to Jesus, the more we will see things the way He sees them.  Being in the yoke with Him fuses our relationship, and we, too, can learn from Him as we walk daily with Him in the mundane and the miraculous.
One day, a crowd had followed Jesus out into a wilderness place because they wanted to hear His teachings and be healed of their diseases.  That evening the disciples told Jesus He needed to send them away to get something to eat in one of the villages.  Jesus said they didn’t need to go.  He said to the disciples, “You feed them.”  They told Him they only had five loaves and two fish.  So, Jesus said “bring them to Me.”  They brought them and Jesus blessed them, broke them and fed 5000 people.
The disciples had considered the situation in their natural minds, and they came up with a natural solution.  It seemed to be the best option.  But Jesus saw on a spiritual level, and the situation became a platform for a miracle.  Because the disciples heard Him and obeyed, He changed their focus.  They finally saw what Jesus had seen, but only after it came to pass before their eyes. Jesus can change our focus, too, if we will ask Him and obey what He says even when we can’t envision what He has in mind.  Many are facing circumstances that seem hopeless today.  If we ask God to let us see through His eyes and obey Him, we will see a platform for a miracle.  Stay in the yoke with Jesus.  Don’t try to pull the load alone.  His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  If you are not finding it so, it’s because it is not His yoke.
            We can also learn from Jesus by studying the Word of God.  A friend of mine said that one day when she was reading John 1 where it says “the Word was with God and the Word was God”, she realized, “If I know the Word, then I know God.”  When we read and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of His Word to us, we see the heart of God, the purpose of God, His compassion, His zeal for truth, and His power.  Sad to say, many who have been saved for years still don’t know Him.  They have grown very little. Why?  Because they have not worked out their salvation.  They have not taken on Jesus’ yoke. They have not allowed the Holy Spirit to reveal the Word to them until it is woven into the very fabric of their being.
First John 2:6 tells us, He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.”  Some years ago the WWJD movement was widespread.  It challenged people to ask “What Would Jesus Do?” before making any decisions.  Then they were to follow in the direction Jesus would take regardless of the cost and regardless of who misunderstood them.  The problem was, it became more of a fad rather than the life-altering heart issue it was intended to be.  Yet, even today, it can have a life-changing impact on those who take it seriously.  After all, isn’t that what the first disciples did?  They came to Jesus with their questions, ideas, perplexities and needs.  It’s no wonder, because that is what Jesus showed them when He turned to the Father in prayer for that vital connection.  We need to ask ourselves that question, listen for the answer, and act on it.  “What would Jesus do in my circumstances?  What would Jesus say?”  “How would Jesus react?”  Jesus would do the will of the Father.  His will is found in the pages of God’s Word.  We can go there for answers.
What “hopeless” circumstance are you closing the door on?  Ask Jesus to show you what to do.  When you obey, He will work it out.  We become so earthly minded that we forget our spiritual roots when we need them most, and when others need us to operate on a spiritual level on their behalf.  The Holy Spirit is right alongside us to open our eyes to see things the way Jesus sees them.  We need to ask of Him.  When we have decisions to make, we need to see what God sees and follow His vision.  Are we growing more and more like Him?  We aren’t if we don’t know Him?
            There is an old song that says, “To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus; All I ask to be like Him.  All through life’s journey from earth to glory, all I ask to be like Him.” That is the only kind of earnest, undying desire that will bring us to be true learners of Jesus.  Why do we cling to this world that is passing away when we can take hold of eternity? 

Release your grip and take Jesus’ yoke upon you and learn of Him!
His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Lost – no longer possessed; wasted; unable to find one’s way

            My mother was working with a large piece of plexi-glass when it suddenly shattered into seemingly thousands of pieces.  Once she had gathered all the broken pieces, she put them in a bag and placed them in the trashcan.  Later that day, she realized the diamond was missing from her ring.  She looked for it everywhere she could think of and then remembered the glass in the trashcan.  It seemed to be a hopeless endeavor to find a diamond among so many pieces of glass, but she removed the bag, opened it up and began her search for the lost diamond.  She saw it almost immediately because the sparkle of the diamond stood out from the glass.  She was relieved and very happy when she found it.  The diamond was important, not only because of its monetary value, but because my Daddy had given it to her when they were engaged to be married.  It was worth the search to restore it to its proper place.
            We are like that diamond in the eyes of our Savior.  We are of great value to Him, and are worth the sacrifice He made to restore us.  We were all lost when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Their lives, and ours, changed drastically.
            Adam and Eve had a perfect life in the Garden of Eden.  No pain, sorrow, disease or any kind of evil was there. They also had access to God and freely enjoyed His presence.  But one day Satan began to speak to Eve through a serpent.  Eve was enamored at what she heard as the serpent began to question why God would tell them not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told Eve, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."  This put a question in Eve's mind.  Could they have more than they already possessed by eating that fruit?  Was God keeping something good from them?  The fruit didn't seem dangerous.  It was beautiful to look at, so she indulged. The truth was that God had forbidden them to eat the fruit of that tree because He knew what the knowledge of evil would do to us all, the heartache it would cause and the darkness it would bring to our spirits.  But Eve was deceived by Satan, so, she ate the fruit.  She gave some to Adam and he ate, too. 
            They had been created in the image of God, but when they chose to rebel against Him, the essence of God’s nature and His image in them immediately died.  Where their minds had been enlightened to spiritual things, there was only darkness.  Where they had walked in innocence, they felt the guilt of sin.  And for the very first time, they were afraid and hid themselves from God’s presence. 
            Even their bodies began the process of decline, bodies that were created to live forever. From that moment on, the children produced were born with that sin nature, capable of committing every heinous sin imaginable.  "This is the book of the generations of Adam.  In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth."  (Genesis 5:1-3, emphasis mine)
            What a tragedy!  But God immediately came seeking them in the garden.  He could have easily cut them off from His presence forever.  Instead, He came and “called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?”  God knew where they were and He knew what had happened, but He called them out of hiding.  He confronted them with their sin and dealt with it.  He explained to them the consequences that occurred because of their sin.  But He went beyond that.  He let them know all was not lost.  He covered them and spoke of redemption.
So, as a result of one man's sin, we were all sold into sin, and we lost the perfect world that we were created for.  That’s why every soul has a longing for something more, an emptiness that needs to be filled.  That’s also why nothing in this world can fill it.  We were created for more.  God knew that and already had a plan to buy us back.  The first mention is found in Genesis 3:15. In speaking to the serpent, God said, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."  God came to us.  He came in the form of His Son Jesus Who allowed Himself to become a man so He could die in our place.  Jesus allowed Satan to bruise His heel.  But He defeated Satan when He was resurrected so we can be restored to the place of God’s original intent for us.  Jesus bruised Satan’s head.  He came to call us back to Him.  He came to restore what the enemy had destroyed in us.
Romans 5:19 tells us, “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”  That first man was Adam who brought sin and death into the world and caused us to bear a sin nature instead of the pure nature of God.  Jesus is the One that makes many righteous and reinstates our spiritual life and awareness.
Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)  His purpose was very clear.  He did not come to condemn us.  We were already under a death sentence with no way to overturn it.  Jesus came to liberate us from judgment and restore our former existence.  He came to restore us to right standing with God and give us eternal life.  John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
            In Luke 15, Jesus told three parables about searching for something that was lost.  A woman had ten pieces of silver and lost one.  She searched diligently until she found it.  A man had 100 sheep and lost one.  He left the 99 to go find and rescue the lost one.  A grieving father’s son chose to leave his home and live a life of sin, but he came home repentant and was greeted by a rejoicing father.  In each instance, there was a celebration when the lost was restored to its former place.  Jesus told all these parables to stress to us how God has reached out to bring us back home to the place we belong - in His presence.
            Also in Luke 15, Jesus said, “Likewise, I say unto you there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”  Repentance is our part.  It is the step we make toward God.  He meets us more than halfway.
            Jesus preached, “Repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins, live your life in a way that proves repentance; seek God’s purpose for your life], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Amplified Bible)  Repentance is a complete turnaround.  It changes the whole life.  And Jesus said without that kind of repentance, we will not enter the kingdom of God.
            Remorse is not repentance.  Remorse is being sorry for sin, regretting what we have done, but it brings no change.  It will only increase the burden of guilt.  Neither is reformation repentance.  We cannot change ourselves no matter how badly we feel about our sin or how much we try to reform our actions.  Only true repentance brings us to rely on the mercy of God and leads us to believe in Jesus Christ for remission of sin. 
            2 Corinthians 7:10 puts it this way: “For [godly] sorrow that is in accord with the will of  God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but worldly sorrow [the hopeless sorrow of those who do not believe] produces death.”
            Once we have repented before God, and believed on Jesus (surrendering our lives to Him), we become new creatures.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)  Everything about us changes, from the inside out.  When Adam and Eve sinned, light turned into darkness.  When we are re-born, darkness turns to light.  When we are saved, we know it, because there has been a dramatic change.
            Let’s go back and revisit what Jesus said in Luke 19:10.  “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  What was lost?  The nature and image of God within us.  We were lost because we were without God.  But Jesus came searching to bring us back into unbroken fellowship with God.  No fear, no guilt, no sin, no condemnation.  To be at one with God again.  To be reborn in His image.
            Romans 8:29 tells us that those who are born again will be conformed to the image of Jesus.  2 Corinthians 3:18 says we are changed into the Lord’s image “from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  With the Spirit of God inside us, we can grow more and more into the image of Jesus Christ.  And His image will be increasingly evident in our outward behavior.  Colossians 3:10 says we “have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”  We can be reborn in His image.
            Are you lost?  If you are, stop hiding from God.  The wisest and safest place to go when we sin is to Him.  He offers forgiveness and a new birth that transforms who we are.  No matter what course your life has taken, all is not lost.  You can start over as a new creation in Christ.

Instead of the image of Adam, we can bear the image of God.