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The Hard Stuff of Forgiveness

Want to do hard things? Want to succeed at life’s toughest challenge? Learn to forgive.

Even the most talented people have limited impact until they learn the basics of forgiveness. But what does forgiveness mean, exactly? Is it merely saying “I forgive you”? Does it mean forgetting as well?

We can try to squeeze it into a simple definition by saying: forgiveness is the continuous state of a guilty person not receiving the punishment that justice or intuition demands he receives. But it is still complicated and cerebral and not very practical. Then of course, life doesn’t have simple answers: there is no logical rationalization which we can unpack and forevermore know how to forgive. If forgiveness is so complicated, how can it be understood? Just as scientists can observe light and say it “is such-and-such” or “affects this-and-that,” but cannot say exactly what it is made of; so can man see forgiveness and give an explanation, albeit a weak one, of its attributes.

Forgiveness is mercy. If someone says “You are an egghead!” forgiveness continues to love that person. It is not merely words: it is an attitude. The words “God bless you” or “I forgive you” mean nothing unless continuously lived out on a day-to-day basis. Forgiveness means not holding the actions against the actor.

When God says in Jeremiah 31:34 that He “will remember [our] sins no more,” He is not insinuating that he has a bad memory. God cannot merely “forget” sins. Instead, He is demonstrating to the world that forgiveness involves the injured choosing to put out of his mind the actions of the injurer. In other words, when someone says “I don’t hold it against you” then he really must not hold the other person accountable for their hurtful actions. This is the example set by God. “Disciples, pick up your cross; follow me; learn from me.”

Continue reading:

The Hard Stuff of Forgiveness.

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When Life’s Hard… Breathe In

WHEN LIFE’S HARD… BREATHE IN

“Take a deep breath in. Now breathe out. God is active in your life. Breathe in, again; breathe out. God is active in your life. Breathe in, breathe out. God is active.

Every single breath that you breathe is a gift from God — a deliberate act of God’s will to give you yet one more breath of life, and another, and another.

God is not done with you.

Look all around you. There is life! Look up at the sky, marvel at the mountains, admire the trees—see the people? There are so many people! People with their marvelous relationships: there’s the stability of childhood “besties” and college buddies and the complexity of guy-girl relations. There’s children and elderly. There’s black and there’s white. Some people live in dry deserts; others live in swamps and rainforests, or in cold tundras. There’s life, and beauty — diversity and unity. And it’s all good! And all good things come from God. Every single pure pleasure, worthy word, and splendid sunrise comes straight from the heart of God.”

Keep Reading: http://bit.ly/19KN3f6

I’m Angry at God | The Rebelution

I wrote the following article for the Rebelution dot com. I praise God for the way He works and leads. It was a very vulnerable piece for me to write, but the response has been OVERWHELMINGLY uplifting and encouraging, through the comments, emails, and messages I have gotten. I don’t deserve it, but I am grageful that God can use me even in my brokenness. As one song says: “You make beautiful things out of the dust; You make beautiful things out of us.” I want to allow God to bring beauty out of my dirt, no matter how hard it is.

“‘I just feel so dead. I am so torn up inside. Worthless. Believing lies [and] feeling incapable of believing truth. But I just have to. I am desperate. Angry. I need God yet I feel extremely angry at God. I feel hopeless. This battle never ends. I just want to die.’

I penned these words in my journal not two years ago, not nine months ago, but yesterday and they expressed what I wanted to scream at God in that moment — and I did when I was alone.

I’m not proud of it, but I cannot deny: I’m angry at God.

Pain, lots of pain—and anger—along with frustration, confusion, and despair pretty much describe my relationship with God right now. Sounds really Christian doesn’t it? Aren’t Christians supposed to abide in the love of God and rest in His peace?

I wish I could supply some answers. I like to have my life under control. I like to know what is going on. I hate struggle. If something is bothering me, I like to know why and I like to deal with it. I hate confusion. I hate not knowing which way is up.

But God has chosen to devastate my life like an eruption devastates a volcano. And this frustrates me. It makes me angry that He took my Mom in a car accident nine months ago. I resent the feeling of disconnect from God that I feel. I can’t sleep well; it’s hard to concentrate on work.”

Continue reading: http://bit.ly/angryatgod

“I Love You Too!”

The other night as I sat with friends and family in the Miller living room, it suddenly felt like Jesus silently walked in, sat beside me, and whispered “I love you!” In disbelief at first, I ignored it. “I love you!” he seemed to repeat. It seemed like He wanted me to respond. So I did. “I love you too!” I thought awkwardly.

This is relationship. I had real interaction with Jesus Christ, the Creator and Sustainer of life! I think that this type of interaction really happens many times, but I usually doubt it and dismiss it as simply emotion. I will always cherish this brief interaction with Jesus, and look for more. It amazes me how loving and good God really is. Even in His wrath, He is still loving and good.

Yesterday morning, as I sat in on a chapel service, the speaker showed a YouTube clip about persecution in Indonesia. In the clip, Muslims were slaughtering other Muslims who had converted to Christianity. Although it was only six minutes long, I kept thinking to myself “Just make it stop already! Just make it stop!” I thought the clip would never end, but I knew I had to watch as much of it as I could stomach. I had to see. This brutality is the price these people have to pay in order to follow Christ. And then I thought about how this is what Jesus had to pay to set us free! Not only was He mocked and ridiculed, but He was beaten and bruised, and His flesh was torn apart. He suffered immense pain, agony and separation from the Father [God] so that we could be forgiven of sin and unified with the Father.

And I realized how pathetic my love for Him is. Could I honestly bear His name, while having half my scalp chopped off? I’m not sure I could, save by His incredible grace.

I desperately desire deeper love for Christ. I long for stronger faith so that I can stand firm on the Rock, Jesus Christ. I want to trust Jesus, rather than doubt Him or His love. I want to be convinced of God’s goodness. By realizing my security in Christ and knowing that He is completely good and loving, I can endure the pain He may call me to.

Someone once said something like: “to the degree that we suppress pain, we also suppress joy.” I desperately want to be surrendered to this concept: that to experience great joy, I must also allow myself to experience great pain.

I think in many ways I have tried to suppress my pain. I have tried to be strong. But I think there is something beautiful about just letting yourself hurt and allowing yourself to be weak. The picture that I get is a big and strong middle-aged man kneeling before a gravestone bawling and letting his pain out by gasps and screams.

Many times we get knocked down and we can’t get back up. We need a helper, a savior, a healer. Jesus Christ is that Healer.

I do not know if I have responded well to the pain and hard things in my life, but I want to do better. I want to allow myself to hurt: to grieve loss, struggle with change and allow Christ to bring healing when it is time.

I don’t like pain—I run from it. I pursue happiness just like everyone else. But there is health in bleeding; there is relief in flowing tears. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Finally, I am beginning to understand this verse. Jesus is saying, “Allow yourself to hurt, because I will comfort you!” And we will hurt, but we can’t “bottle” it up, or we’ll burst.

Keep battling on. Keep hurting. Keep healing. Keep relating. Keep living. The end is in sight, just a few more years. God is faithful, by His strength we can do this!

Poured Out Like Wine

Hugo McCord

Would you be poured out like wine
upon the altar for Me?
Would you be broken like bread
to feed the hungry?
Would you be so one with Me
that you would do just as I will?
Would you be light and life
and love My Word fulfilled?

Yes, I’ll be poured out like wine
upon the altar for You
Yes, I’ll be broken like bread
to feed the hungry
Yes, I’ll be so one with You
that I would do just as You will
Yes, I’ll be light and life
and love Your Word fulfilled

Where He Leads Me

Ernest W. Blandy

I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
Take thy cross and follow, follow Me.

Where He leads me I will follow,
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.

I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.

Where He leads me I will follow,
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.

I’ll go with Him through the judgment,
I’ll go with Him through the judgment,
I’ll go with Him through the judgment,
I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.

Where He leads me I will follow,
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.

He will give me grace and glory,
He will give me grace and glory,
He will give me grace and glory,
And go with me, with me all the way.

Where He leads me I will follow,
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.

In the Despair — a Poem of Hope

I believe that all men

At a point in their life

Do arrive to a state

Of despair.

 –

“Oh my God,” cried the king,

“Where are you in this world?”

We do fear that the Lord

Is not fair.

 –

But despite our small thoughts

Our Lord God who redeems,

Keeps us in, close to Him

And His care.

 –

We can

Surely

Know He

Will not

Falter

On His

Promise.

 –

In the times of confusion

Trust in God’s substitution.

 –

On the cross in the East

God did die for our release.

 –

There is trouble

There is pain;

But in all

Can be gain.

 –

Even when

God seems far,

Don’t despair

For you are

On a journey

That is good,

And will make you

More strong than wood.

 –

So look up to the sky,

And whisper to God:

“I will trust you

I will serve you.”

Even if you feel

Under a curse,

Know that Christ

Loved you first.

 –

There is a hope

Midst the sorrow.

I will wait

For tomorrow.

C.D.

It’s a Jesus Story

I honestly do not know what people will think of me after this post, because humans naturally tend to like super-people who serve God perfectly and hardly struggle [with real issues]. Sure, we talk about struggle, we admit to the general idea of failure in our past or present—but few ever publicly admit to the actual, specific, day-by-day struggles of ordinary people.

But the book of Revelation says that we conquer Satan by the Blood of the Lamb [Jesus] and the word of our testimony (Rev. 12:11). So here is my testimony.

First, I will give you a quick synopsis of my life:

Most people reading this probably know that I am a white, Mennonite kid, originally from Minnesota, whose family moved to Los Angeles, when I was twelve, to work for the Southern California district of Choice Books and to plant inner-city churches. Most people also know that my mother, my sister, and I were in a car accident which left my beautiful mother fatally injured and she died in the rescue helicopter moments after take-off. This was four days before my brother’s wedding, just four months ago.

So that is the synoptic of my life, now let me tell you my story. I do not write this because I love to spill my guts on the internet. I write this because Jesus has done a wonderful work in my life, and I have become convinced that not to share my story is denying Jesus’ redemption of my life. Jesus has given me a story, now it is my job to share it. I also share it because I think there are a lot of guys out there who need to hear others talk about their stories. I have nothing to hide. My story is true and my redemption is true, so why would I not tell it?

I “accepted Jesus into my heart” several times when I was young, the two most significant being at age seven and nine. Although I do believe I was sincere, I do not think I completely understood the entirety of who Jesus is. To me He was the God-Man in white clothes who died on the cross to save me from Hell. So I said a prayer in order to escape Hell and satisfy my conscience. I believe Jesus heard my childish prayer and set me on a journey to more fully understand who He is. Why? Because He loves me. Unfortunately, sometimes in the process of getting better, we become worse.

When I was eleven years old, I realized that I liked to lust. And in my foolish weakness, I chose to look at pornography. I cannot say that I just happened to fall into it; I chose to walk into it, and everything that comes with it. And I became a slave to it. I quietly worshiped and served the addiction for three years and was powerless to rid myself of its clutches.

It was during this time that my family moved to Los Angeles in April of 2008. Looking back with my limited perspective, our move was probably a life saver for me, but at the time I hated it. The year 2008, my twelfth year of life, was probably the darkest year I have ever lived. I believe even darker than the last four months. Then, I was a slave to sin (Satan); now, I am a slave to Christ (which is the most freeing situation in the whole world because His burden is light). My slavery, added with the intense loneliness I felt in L.A., affected my whole lifestyle and I quickly became a recluse who only desired to please myself.

All throughout these years, I knew I was not obeying God. I hated it and I pleaded with God to do a miracle and to give me courage to confess. But everyday I awoke and was forced to serve the master I had given myself to. I was living like God’s good son, but I was truly eating pig’s food (Luke 15:11-32).

On Christmas Eve, 2008, I and my parents had a conversation which ended in my recommitting my life to Christ, but I still did not confess my addiction. I sometimes question the sincerity of my experience, but that night marks a point in time when my life began to turn around.

The spring of 2009 was a huge leap for me. Back then, Choice Books sold the “Read the Bible in 90 Days” Bible. Being the type of person who likes a reading challenge, I attempted it. Those three months of ingesting God’s word did something that I cannot explain. It all culminated on June 27, 2009, when I wrote my Dad a letter which explained everything about me that I could think. After having him read it, I felt a relief that I will never forget. I believe it was then, at the moment when I released my idol, that Jesus was able to flood my soul with Himself. But I still had a long journey ahead of me. It took about another year before I was really free from the bonds of pornography—a year of surrendering to Jesus, and strong accountability to my parents. (Let me insert that I credit my parents trust in me as one of the greatest enablers in my surrender. They trusted me to surrender and make right choices.)

I still need to surrender to Jesus, I still have struggles and temptations of various sorts, and I am still a choice away from falling once again; but Christ’s grace is sufficient for me. I do not need to fear temptation or Satan. All I want now is to worship Jesus because He has freed me and justified me before the Father. He is my advocate and I am His child. I can come boldly before His throne and I can look to Him for strength. This is who I am. I have nothing to hide because Jesus has forgiven me of everything, and it is only because of His grace and strength that I can walk in victory today.

Jesus, I am grateful.

This is my story, my song. I hope that anyone reading this who struggles with sin in any way, will realize that they are not alone. I hope they will see that Jesus can save them and redeem them.

If you want peace with God—if you want freedom from sin, if you want the light of Christ in your life, if you want strength to walk through any trial—you must surrender to Jesus. Jesus wants to help you, because He loves you.

Half of surrender is realizing that without Jesus we are monsters but with Him we are weak sheep that need protecting and guiding. (And with Jesus protecting us, we are strong and safe.) The other half is just letting go of whatever is keeping us from worshiping Jesus.

We can either continue in what our flesh says is good or we can surrender to Jesus and His love. We can either worship Satan or we can worship Jesus. There are no other options. When we worship Satan, we become monsters; but when we surrender to Jesus and worship before His throne, we become His precious sheep—His beloved children.

I want to be a sheep, not a monster. What about you?

The avoidance of this topic bothers me. The fact that we act surprised when people confess to struggling with this issue, really bothers me. Anyone who is remotely engaged in western culture and knows anything about human nature should not be surprised. Look all around us. Immorality is everywhere. Let’s not close our eyes to it, let’s not plug our ears! Apart from Jesus Christ that is you, that is me. It’s in our neighborhoods, it’s in our governments, and it’s in our families and churches.

Struggles with sin cannot be legislated out of us. They cannot be pulled, pushed, or shoved out of our lives. We are who we are and we are completely unable to change. Do we get it? We or anyone else cannot change us. So let’s quit trying.

Enter Jesus Christ.

For our sin the just Father demands a payment [retribution]. Our sentence is eternity in hell. We cannot escape it; we cannot pay it off any other way. Yet, God loves us tremendously. So He became a human and lived a perfect life, therefore He had no sentence to hell. Having lived a perfect life He then offered His life as payment to the just Father. He shed His blood and paid hell for each of us. But God being pleased with the payment raised Jesus (the God-Man) up from the dead and set Him at His right hand in Heaven. We now have no sentencing. God is satisfied; we are justified. Jesus now invites us to relate directly with the Father because the Father no longer demands payment from us. All we have to do is surrender and say “Yes, Jesus, yes! I accept you as the payment for my own sin. I am at your mercy! I worship you! I am yours forever. Yes, Lord, I say yes!”

This is the Gospel. This is the power of salvation [from pornography, bitterness, rebellion, pride, and from every bondage of Satan].

One day, because Jesus has done all this for us, we are going to stand before God’s throne and out of perfect, eternal gratitude we will throw ourselves before the throne, caste our crowns [our rewards] at Christ’s feet and cry “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).

So what will it be, my friend? Is your temporary pleasure really worth what Jesus can give you eternally? I pray that you will surrender and abandon your earthly life, at the cross.

C.D.

Higher Heights

Recently, my family and I took my two cousins and my aunt (Mom’s sister Becky) out to the coast, near Malibu, California.

Just out of Malibu there is a massive rock that sits on the ocean side of the road in a very prominent place. Since it is at the point of a minor bay, it can be seen from quite a way off.

About half way between the beginning of the bay and the massive rock, is a sandbank that rises very high against a large, steep hill. We have climbed that sandbank in the past, but this time my cousin Lynnwood challenged us guys to try to scale even to the very top of the ridge. This is no easy task, as the cliff is about as vertical as it could get without actually being vertical. The cliff is made up of loose rock, sand, sagebrush, and small bushes, as well as cacti and yuccas.

So as all the other sand climbers took it easy and remained content with their view of the ocean, my Dad, Lynnwood, my brother Asher, and I took up the challenge to reach the ridge.

As I, in flip-flops, struggled up the hillside, slipping and sliding on the loose rock, my mind pulled itself out of its nothing-box and began to think.

Way down at the bottom were lots of contentedly happy and comfortable people who could see the ocean just fine, while we four crawled up the rugged hillside as if trying to imitate Frodo and Sam ascending Mount Doom. Yet every time I turned around and focused on the ocean, I was impressed by the beauty of the higher perspective. As I climbed closer to the top, my perspective of the ocean became more and more complete. I could see nearly the entire bay in one glance. When I finally summited the summit, the view was extraordinary. I could see the wooded green hills that extended farther beyond my ridge. I could see the blue ocean shimmering in the sunlight. I could see the massive rock saluting the opposite point. And I could see the little people far below enjoying their very limited perspective of this marvelous sight. They had no clue.

Such is life. Many people have a fine view of God. They are not sinning nor in rebellion toward God. They see Him and love Him, but because they are not willing to scale new heights and dive to new depths, their perspective of God remains limited and shallow.

Greater perspective of God takes greater struggle. Our hearts are drawn toward pursuing greater heights, but often we get so enamored with the sea level experiences that we do not do what it takes to experience God in greater ways. And sometimes, in our struggle, others can look at us, or we at ourselves, and think we are doing things wrong; but in reality our struggle is born out of our pursuit of a greater perspective of God.

The glorious characteristic of Jesus is the fact that He loves us no matter where we are at—even if we are running away from the “ocean” [God]. This characteristic intrigues us and compels us to pursue this awesome, mysterious God.

I am challenged to search my heart and identify what is keeping me from pursuing a greater perspective of God. I believe anything that obstructs my path to God is an idol and should be destroyed. Unfortunately, I not only am unable to destroy such obstructions on my own but I often hang onto them. I thank Jesus that He continually calls me and gives me opportunities to let go of those things which are too close to my heart. I want to continually surrender them and submit to His love for me and His love for His own glory.

As a Child of God, Heaven is the ultimate height I am pursuing. Heaven has the greatest perspective. Heaven is the only reality. One day, we, the Adopted of God, are going to wake up in Heaven and everything that happened on earth will be outshone by the brilliance of Heaven. It will be like waking up from a dream. We might not forget life on earth, but it will be of little significance compared to magnificent Heaven.

What amazes me, though, is that, from my understanding of the Bible, apparently seeing the face of Jesus will be so awesome that seeing my mom’s face will be a glorious but minor benefit. Now that will be an awesome experience.

Let’s keep embracing struggle and pursuing greater perspectives of God.

May God bless your journey.

C.D.

In Pictures

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Failure or Success?

“I think our entire culture suffers to hear, ‘I love you whether you succeed or not. Whether you’re productive or not. I just love you.’”

– Donald Miller

Success. We all want to be successful, right? Our brains are trained to think that unless we measure up to such-and-such a standard, we will not make it—we will have no value in the world. When a business man invests in a company, he expects good dividends in return. Why would it be any different for a human? When teachers invest time and energy, isn’t it expected that the pupil will grow up and give back to the teacher by benefiting society? If not, either the teacher or the student has failed. If what we invest in does not return benefits to us in any way, it is a failure and not worth our attention. We are Westerners we are born and bred to think this way.

So if Christians do not bear so-called “fruit” (whatever that may be), they are failures right?

Wrong!

“When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father” (John 15:8). This is a promise, not a command. If we are Christ’s disciples we WILL bear fruit.

We have a mindset that says if something is a “failure” [that which does not fulfill our human-defined measure of success] it is worthless. This mindset causes us to look for success in others and try to copy it and we are rarely able to do so. We work and work to try to “measure up” to the talents, abilities, or success of others but we can never do good enough. We constantly fail our expectations. Why? Because our standard is falsely based on other individuals’ success, instead of God’s truth.

God created each of us individually and set us on separate paths toward success. Yes, He desires and plans for us to be successful. But what is success? Success is doing what we are expected to do, fulfilling our purposes. If someone is a mail man and he carries mail from place to place, than he is fulfilling his purpose. He is successful.

God made us with a purpose. He originally planned and still plans for us to individually worship and commune with Him. That is what we see with Adam and Eve.

So we have a function—a purpose: God created us to individually worship and commune with Him. This is our goal. This is what we fix our lives on, to fulfill that purpose. Knowing this we no longer need to measure up to the external doings of other people. When we focus on worshiping God we no longer pursue being noticed, or having such-and-such grades, talents, or status. We only pursue Jesus.

So what is failure? It is not failing a test, not getting last place in a competition, not lacking knowledge or experience, not failing in evangelism, not lacking money, or not lacking talent musically, physically, or mentally. Failure is lacking a relationship with Jesus Christ the King of Kings, the Creator, the Lover, the Savior. Jesus said “Remain in me and I will remain in you, for a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me“ (John 15:4). God does not measure our “success” by what we do, but rather by who we are.

Read this carefully:

God created you to worship and commune with Him. When you are a child of God, you are walking a path of worship and communion with God. Therefore if you are a child of God, you are a success in God’s eyes. And when you continue to pursue Him and walk with Him and open up your heart to Him, He finds you more and more successful. No amount of success is too little or too great in His mind, because He loves you and He LOVES when you are successful. It thrills His heart.

Success is not something you can emulate—copy. It is personal and individual and can only happen when you are in Christ.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Salvation is extremely simple, but it is the continued walk that can be hard. Do not worry about what you look like to other people. Focus on God. Discipleship cannot be faked, so don’t try to fake it. Just surrender EVERYTHING you have and are to Jesus—and He will do the rest. This is success.

C.D.

The Soldier

“Tell me a story, Daddy!” the little boy exclaimed.

Looking down at his son, the Dad did not see a little boy, but a future soldier. A man who was in training to face the battles of real life, someone who would one day face the world and need to be prepared for it.

So the Dad softly began the story.

“Once upon a time there was a soldier, who served a mighty king. One day, the mighty king called all his soldiers to battle. Like a good man, our soldier responded and headed for the battle.

“The enemy was fierce and terrible. It was said that the enemy was as fierce as a roaring lion. At first this intimidated the soldier, but he pressed on because the king had called him.

“The fighting was intense and many men died. The enemy ravaged the towns and villages of the countryside, burned buildings and killed families. It was brutal. But still the soldier fought on, knowing his king would not let him fight alone.

“At one point, the enemy fought especially hard. It seemed like there was no way for the kingsmen to live out the fight. Some soldiers fled, but our soldier sent a petition to the king and the king sent reinforcements that drove the enemy away—but not after a long night’s fighting. During the night, the enemy made a surprise attack and our soldier was injured. The kingsmen took him aside and comforted him, but eventually they all went back to their fighting.

“The soldier felt all alone. It was dark and he could hear the screams and horrors of the battle. He almost despaired, but just then he felt a firm hand and heard a friendly voice say, ‘I am with you, soldier! Don’t give up; you will be healed if you make it through the night!’ It was the army’s great physician, who had come to help!

“The soldier was encouraged and able to tolerate the darkness a little more after this. But it was still so very lonely. He could hear the enemy making a great noise and he was intimidated.

“Soon the sun began to rise. The soldier could see the glimmer in the far eastern sky. Already the soldier could tell that whatever the great physician had done was healing his body. He sat up and looked around. By now the fighting was over, and had moved to a different place, but the destruction was obvious. The enemy had killed and destroyed, burned and plundered, what hope was left?

“The soldier wondered if there was hope. He saw the destruction from the battle and wondered what good could come from it? Could anything beautiful ever arise again? The soldier looked at his arms and legs, all bruised and bloody: could he ever live normally again?

“Questions and doubt plagued his mind. At first he resigned to the destruction, realizing there was no way around it. This was reality. But as the soldier crawled through the dirt and the ashes, he became angry. Why hadn’t the king responded sooner? Why did the king allow the army’s numbers to become so depleted? Hadn’t the king failed?

“But just then, the soldier looked up, and right there, right in front of him stood the king.

“‘The enemy has been routed and the nation has been saved,’ the king said.

“The soldier was ashamed at his thoughts and anger and looked down mournfully. ‘I am sorry to doubt you,’ said he.

“‘Do not be ashamed, sir,’ said the king. ‘But come and arise, we are victorious!’ And with that the king grabbed hold of the soldier’s shoulders and hoisted the man to his feet.

“‘There is nothing to fear because I will always protect you,’ affirmed the great king. ‘You will never be alone, but always safe under my protection. So go now walk in my joy because you are my victorious soldier.”

The Dad looked at his son who was now fast asleep. It was his story: the Dad was the soldier, and Jesus was the king. One day the little boy was going to face the same experience and the same struggle. He was going to be hurt and would need healing; he was going to doubt, and would need renewed faith. But until then, he would sleep in the safe and loving arms of his dad.

Safe

Phil Wickham

To the one whose dreams have fallen all apart
And all you’re left with is a tired and broken heart
I can tell by your eyes you think you’re on your own
But you’re not alone

Have you heard of the One who can calm the raging seas
Give sight to the blind, pull the lame up to their feet
With a love so strong it never lets you go
No you’re not alone

You will be safe in His arms. You will be safe in His arms
The hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made, He will be with you always
When everything is falling apart, you will be safe in His arms

Did you know that the voice that brings the dead to life
Is the very same voice that calls you now to rise
So hear Him now, He’s calling you home. You will never be alone

You will be safe in His arms. You will be safe in His arms
The hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made, He will be with you always
When everything is falling apart, you will be safe in His arms

Cause these are the hands that built the mountains,

the hands that calm the sea
These are the arms that hold the lame

and they are holding you and me
These are the hands that heal the leper

pull the lame up to their feet
These are the arms that were nailed to the cross

to break our chains and set us free

You will be safe in His arms. You will be safe in His arms
The hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made, He will be with you always
When everything is falling apart, you will be safe in His arms

C.D.