What then shall we do?

Greetings readers! I love talking about matters of the heart and today is no exception.

A few recent observations regarding people’s hearts:

  • One of my children diligently studied on a Friday night, Saturday morning, and on Sunday for a test the following week, but received a mediocre grade. The result wasn’t expected or desired, but what mattered was his heart.
  • A group of business associates gathered from around the globe. Each person had varying levels of expertise. Reflecting on our time together, their knowledge was not at all what impacted my opinion or our overall success. It was their heart, the passion they demonstrated. The teamwork, listening, and asking good questions.
  • An executive within my organization was asked “what company would be a good role model for us to aspire to be like?” His response had nothing to do with talent, or measures of success in dollars. His response admittedly didn’t directly answer the question, but it targeted the most desirable attribute: “I want this to be a company that people want to work for… there are other local and highly desirable companies, but I want people to at least give us a look because this is a great place to work.” I view this as having heart, one that focuses on people as our greatest asset.

In today’s reading (Luke Chapter 3), John the Baptist is preaching on true repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Even with John’s direct and sharp words, people appear to be responding in a favorable manner, asking good questions with the right heart.

  • The crowds asked “What then shall we do?” (Luke 3:10b)
  • Tax collectors respectfully addressed him as teacher saying “what shall we do?” (Luke 3:12b)
  • Soldiers also asked “What shall we do?” (Luke 3:14a)

All three of the aforementioned groups demonstrated an initial recognition that things for them might not go so well in the future.

John’s responses in verses 11-14 (paraphrased):

  • To the crowds: share your stuff (love others)
  • To the tax collectors: quit stealing (be fair)
  • To the soldiers: stop using your power to bully people and be glad for what you have (you’re in a position of authority, respect the position and others in your care)

Notice that John’s response was not simply “repent” (and keep on sinning). For each question, he gave specific instruction for their actions. This goes back to Luke 3:8a: Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.

Also in Luke 3:8, John warns them against relying on their heritage to save them. Our religion won’t save us, nor our deeds, nor our lineage; only our true repentant inward hearts reflected by outward actions, seeking salvation through Jesus Chris will save us.

This chapter also points out the contrasting heart. That of Herod whom John confronted for his sinful ways. Herod’s response was to lock John up in prison and ultimately have him beheaded.

Father God, you know my heart, I have no secrets from you. You know all. Show me my sins. Show me where I need to be more focused on others instead of myself. Have mercy on me. Show me a way out when I’m tempted. Thank you for saving me. Give me words and courage to share the good news with others today. Amen.

 Featured image: bronze sculpture of John the Baptist by Giuliano Vangi.

Motivazione alta!

This week marks four months that my family and I have been living in Italy. Prior to moving, we spent about five months being “all in” preparing.

There is one major item has loomed over my head for several months: Learning the Italian language.

From the onset, I was truly committed to downloading the language apps, and even had some good streaks for logging in several days in a row. I listed to podcasts in the car and made feeble attempts to make it stick. I kept thinking, be patient, it’ll take some work but then suddenly I’ll be speaking like a real Italian.

Four months of living here resulted in ~120 words. Even with 120 great words, it is generally impossible to communicate in Italian. To be less harsh on myself, I did set a goal to learn at least one word per day. Unfortunately that goal wasn’t good enough.

The most important thing I was lacking was motivation. I went through the motions feeling good about checking the box when using the language applications. The online apps give some good affirmation and feedback to keep the users going. Nothing against the apps; those weren’t the problem. The problem was all me.

After feeling like I hit rock bottom with the learning progress it was time to make a decision. Go all in or give up. And there is no way I’m going to give up; it was abundantly clear that it was time, past time, to go all in on learning.

The Italian language school courses begin on Mondays so the following Monday I showed up to the school early, signed up, and immediately started the daily four-hour sessions.

The thing that struck me most on the very first day was a comment from the professor. To learn Italian, she said you must have “motivazione alta” (high motivation). I could easily mentally check out and play along during and after class because again, the problem is not the teacher, method, or material. Success or failure solely relies on my motivation, passion, and attitude… my heart.

Of course this all ties in with today’s reading in Mark Chapter 7 and our daily walk with Christ. Am I honoring my creator, savior and lord in vain as a hypocrite or with my heart?

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (Mark 7:6-7)

Am I all in with Christ, just as I claim to be with language study? Is my motivation for Jesus high? Am I living as though each day could be my last? Does my life appear to be marked by one that is relentlessly seeking the kingdom of Heaven? Am I working out my faith with fear and trembling (as in Philippians 2:12)?

One more thought for today as a reason why in all of this. The end of the Sermon on the Mount has one of my favorite verses. Matthew 7:28 has the word “astonished”. They were astonished at his teaching. Mark 7:37 has the same word; they were astonished at his perfection and his miracles. This astonishment can and should be bestowed upon only one person, that is Jesus Christ.

How will the end of my day and your day today be one that resembles being astonished by who Jesus was and is, and what he did for us? Will we put him in his rightful place as savior and lord today and every day forward?

Every single week for over a year

This week I had the opportunity to have dinner with Jim; a friend, colleague, and brother in Christ from America.

Jim said he scores very low on the spiritual gift of evangelism. This was interesting to me because “evangelist for Christ” is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of him! Jim has a way of showing Christ in the way he lives out his life with his actions matching his words.

When I first came to know he was a Christ follower, it was in a business setting where a large group of people were being asked about what is most important to them. Perhaps it would have been easy to translate the question into “what is most important in business, etc.” and avoid the spiritual realm, but not Jim. He unashamedly responded with “my faith, absolutely number one”.

Jim speaks openly about his relationship with Jesus Christ. More than words though, in an attempt to describe him, all of the fruits of the spirit came to mind:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

People seem to quickly open up to Jim because he is so approachable. I believe it is because of the fruits of the spirit that he exemplifies. He’s just someone you want to talk to and share thoughts, struggles, and joys with.

Jim points to Jesus by asking questions and loving people, not by telling them what to do nor telling them they’re going to Hell. He prepares his heart, waits for an opportunity, listens, prays, and just loves and gives out of obedience to Jesus.

My boys got a glimpse into Jim goodness this week. When I told them I was having dinner with Jim, they grumbled a little bit because this meant no family dinner that night. I said, “well Jim is very special. First, he loves Jesus, and second, he has prayed for me every single week for over a year.”

The look on the boy’s faces was priceless. Someone cares enough about their dad to pray pray for him every week (even when he barely knew who I was). It might seem small but the boys understood this act of selflessness. They smiled and embraced this night away from me. I’m thankful for having people in my life who exemplify the kind of man I strive to become, the kind of man I want my boys to become… a person of integrity and love, humbly submitting to Jesus Christ, with good works that are a reflection of a truly good heart.

The opposite of this plays out in Matthew 23. In my own very basic summary, Jesus rebukes the pharisees for their hearts not being right; for hypocrisy, selfishness, and ultimately for not truly loving God.

so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. (Matthew 23:3)

Our God is serious about sin, about his message and his will for our lives. Jesus does not mince words. Sometimes we paint Jesus too mildly; he is dead serious and today’s chapter is a good example (note the many explanation points; we don’t want to be against him).

Please consider reading Matthew 23 out loud. Here’s a link to a version (NLT) with more common words that are easier to pronounce: Matthew 23.

Father God, show me where I am like the pharisees, and have mercy on me. Forgive my hypocrisy, greed, selfishness, and ignorance. Cleanse my heart as I go out today. May your will be done. In Jesus’ name, amen.

No one knows the Son except the Father

Today is our son Preston’s birthday so in the days leading up to this event I am spending extra focused time thinking about him and praying for him.

I think I know Preston better than anyone else does, or at least as much as Amy knows him. I know his many grins, each with a slightly different meaning; sneaky, joyful, mischievous, nervous, shy, eager, embarrassed, or relieved. So many images going through my mind right now.

I can smell his hair and know how long it has been since he last showered.

His walk, sometimes light and jubilant, sometimes slow and methodical.  Both tell his mode and mood.

Some of the little sounds he makes when he’s frustrated, sad or lonely. I almost always know what each little peep means.

His footsteps far away in the house when he’s scared; he runs recklessly. Amy and I always know this run and we tell him to walk, and we say “there’s nothing to be afraid of.”

The peace that he has when he plays with his toy cars or Legos. He’s in another place being creative, being a little boy, doing what little boys do.

When he’s hungry, or as we often use the slang term “hangry” (so hungry that you’re angry).

When he grabs my hand as we walk together. When he asks me to carry him because I still can, and he knows I actually like it.

When I’m about to leave for business travel and he snuggles up really close to me, he doesn’t have to say a word.

When his questions are not meant to generate a real answer, just a response. He just wants attention.

If you know me at all, you know tears of joy flow down my face as I wrote all of this so far. Perhaps you might also get a glimpse into how much I love this boy, and the more I know him, the more I love him.

A similar theme is in Matthew 11:

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)

Jesus knows the Father (God), and God knows his son (Jesus) better than anyone else. When I think about my own sons, I think about how true this scripture is, the significance of our relationships, and how significant the God & Jesus relationship is.

This leads me to how significant it is that our God created us for a personal relationship with him and his son. He reveals himself to us all the time in many mysterious ways, sometimes seemingly small and sometimes massive.

It was modeled in the God the Father and Jesus relationship, and as we consider our Earthly relationships, this should serve as a reminder that God so much desires us, but we have to choose him. He loves us so much that he sent the one he loved to die in our place. The ultimate sacrifice. The ultimate substitution. The ultimate Father, the ultimate Son.

Overcoming the World

I’m on vacation as I write these words to you today.

Beach, family, relaxation, unwinding, nice meals, reading, sunrises, sunsets, cool night breezes, games, laughs, meaningful conversation, silly conversation, trying new things, exploring, people watching, travel adventures, reflection, worship.

Those are some of the first thoughts that come to mind as I reflect on our time here. Then as I read today’s verses, there is this theme of overcoming the world and commentary from Matthew Henry summarizes these verses quite nicely:

He cannot be satisfied with this world, but looks beyond it, and is still tending, striving, and pressing toward heaven. We must all, after Christ’s example, overcome the world, or it will overcome us to our ruin. – Matthew Henry

As I questioned in my prior post: “With all that is in my life, am I seeking up or seeking the things of this Earth?”

Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5)

Even on vacation, there is the temptation to want more, but as I surrender to Christ and say “I want you more than things”, I find true relaxation, true rest.

I take 1 John 5:5 to mean that we can try as hard as we want (on our own) to deny ourselves the things of this world. We can try to be good people as some religions or human wisdom suggest, but those plans are flawed because humans aren’t perfect.

Believing that Jesus is the Son of God brings us down the path of truth in recognizing that through His perfection and sacrifice, we too can overcome the world.

The world is often like a garbage dump overflowing and stinking. It is messed up because of the lies we’re told, the lies we buy into, and the false hope we often seek, but God has a different plan and he can help us recognize his ways are better than the world’s ways in how we spend our resources (time and money).

Here are some of the things I think the world is saying as compared to what God has to say:

World Says

God Says

Keep your kids busy. Sign up for as many activities as possible. You want them to have every opportunity to get ahead, right? God rested (Genesis 2:2).

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. (Matthew 12:33)

The Bible is too restrictive and too hard to follow. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)
Want more? Work harder. It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2)
If I had just a little more… 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
Let someone else take care of the poor. I give enough through taxes.  44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ (Matthew 25:44-45)
Buy this and you’ll be happy. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25)
You can do it yourself or simply, “you’re on your own”. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

A New Life

This summer has brought a lot of change in my life. There have been changes in work location, work peers, friend groups, church, learning to speak a new language, and much more. It has been busy and oftentimes frustrating beyond belief. There have been storms as well as smooth sailing, sadness and joy, loneliness and renewal.

Later this month we have a long vacation scheduled, and I am really looking forward to it. Contrary to what some people might see on social media, I’m feeling burned out. A break from this craziness will be very much welcomed before the kids start at a new school and we adjust further to our new life here personally and professionally.

With our family’s move overseas, in many ways we have a new life. New opportunities to grow in our faith and to love others. New friends, new interactions at local shops, new coworkers, and new missions.

The same for us as Christians. Upon our decision to choose Jesus as lord and savior, we were given a new life. An opportunity to put on a new self.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d] with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (Colossians 3:1-10)

Each time I read today’s scriptures I have varying thoughts; mostly self-assessment. With all that is in my life, am I seeking up or seeking the things of this Earth?

Is my desire to go on vacation stronger than my desire to grow in my faith and lead others in their faith? Do I seek renewal through rest and relaxation or renewal through begging for mercy due to my sin?

If the answer to this question resides solely on the pictures in my phone’s photo library then it would seem I’ve got a serious idolatry problem. Food, wine, adventure and leisure.

On the other hand, these last few months I’ve experienced God’s faithfulness and gentleness unlike any other time that I can recall. Continuing the habit of journaling every other week (because the “next post” is always on my mind) has helped convict me of my idolatry and helped keep my focus on the kingdom of Heaven.

Thank you to the rest of the Bible Journal team for your commitment to writing and sharing. These daily posts are shaping me. Your love and efforts are making a difference.

Thank you also to our readers. I think about so many of you as I write, as though I’m preparing a speech to you as friends and family in the same room. May my heart and motives be pure for God’s glory.

In closing, I challenge our readers to pick any verse of the Bible. Read it, pray over it, then write down your thoughts. I think you’ll be moved more than you might expect. Either share the thoughts with someone or keep it between you and God; the challenge is to take a step to go a little deeper.

Colossians 3:1-11

Acutely Aware

Italian drivers seem crazy to me. They drive too fast, often disobeying even the most basic traffic signs, they seem to have some unwritten rules that I’ll never understand, and worse, they seem to get upset with the people who obey the written rules of the road.

Dear God, I’m glad I’m not like them (except too often I am).

This week I became acutely aware of many of my own arrogant thoughts as I observed immigrants, the homeless, drunkards, pushy travelers on and around public transportation, and people who were too slow, too fast, or too loud. It is shameful to think about how often these thoughts came into my head.

On the other hand, I acknowledge these thoughts are sinful. I have God’s Holy Spirit reminding me to turn away, to change my line of thinking before it gets worse. Until I get to Heaven where there is no more sin, I live each day with this battle. For now, I have the joy in knowing that when I repent and turn from these evil ways I am forgiven, made new. In these moments I am also reminded to pray for others (instead of cursing them), to give, to share the love of Jesus.

One of the reasons I was able to remain “acutely aware” of these thoughts as sin was because God’s word was fresh on my mind; specifically the verses for this week where Jesus contrasts the proud and the humble.

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)

What a great simple prayer from the tax collector. Sometimes I make prayer too complicated. This is a good reminder to just humbly go to God and start by begging for mercy.

Father God, in this moment, I beg you for mercy. All too often my choices reflect self-focus rather than kingdom-focus. Let me see others how you see them, your children, your beloved, your creation. Amen.

Never Alone

This week I traveled alone across the ocean and back.

I stayed in a hotel alone, met with Italian officials at the Chicago Consulate alone, walked the streets of Chicago alone, went to a baseball game alone, and went for a bike ride along the beautiful Chicago lakeshore alone.

Except because of my faith, I wasn’t really alone. We’re never really alone, especially when we invite God’s Holy Spirit into our lives. I faced major travel hardships, loneliness, along with worry and doubt over the appointments with the officials. Through this, I found so much peace with the sense of God’s presence and him calling me to lean on him and trust him. He carried me and continued to prove his faithfulness, and I’m so grateful.

I shared this story because it ties to today’s verses as a reminder that our omnipotent God sees all and knows all, Jesus is coming soon, and we will all be judged. We can run from him, but we cannot hide.

Today once again, we have the story of the wise and foolish servants:

45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:45-51)

My takeaway (apart from the metaphor that this is about the return of Jesus) is the contrast, and it all comes down to a matter of the heart. Is my heart focused on putting me first or others and God’s will?

From this passage, I see these contrasts-

The faithful & wise:

  • Serve others
  • Treat others with respect
  • Exhibit honorable behavior even when no one is looking
  • Recognize their position was given to them
  • Stay focused on their mission
  • Remain diligent and sober
  • Anticipate the return of their leader
  • Will be granted more responsibility and an honorable reward

The foolish & wicked:

  • Focus on self
  • Become deceived and disregard the consequences of their actions
  • Are two faced, behaving differently when they think no one will notice
  • Abuse others
  • Seek the pleasures of this world
  • Will be punished severely

At the end of this passage we find death and separation, the punishment for our sin. Any one of us can admit to being guilty of being put in some sort of leadership position but yet falling victim to sin; being of the world instead of having our hearts focused fully on the Kingdom of Heaven.

The beauty is that faith in Jesus Christ is what can and will redeem us. Until we get to Heaven we will have a sin problem. Meanwhile, we can repent and submit to the one who was and is perfect. The one who knew of our sinful nature and sacrificed his body and blood so that we do not receive the punishment we deserve. Thank you Jesus.

Today’s other reading: Psalm 134

I think I lost my wallet

Last Saturday the four of us went out for a nice family meal in the city center of Florence, Italy. We had wonderful conversation, great food, and great service. After that we did some exploring on foot to walk off the dinner and to continue the relaxing evening. As we we became tired from the long day filled with walking adventures, we began our journey to walk back to the hotel.

Preston and I were ahead of Amy and Peyton, and we eventually lost them. A few minutes later Amy messaged me asking if I wanted an American beer from the store they stopped into.

After being in Italy for over three weeks, the thought of an ice cold American beer sounded wonderful and nostalgic! As excited as I was for the beer, I was grateful for the thoughtful gesture.

Later we reconvened at the hotel and went to sleep soon after. The next day’s itinerary was long and full of travel.

After a good sleep we quickly packed up, got ready, and had breakfast at the hotel. We checked out and were on our way to the train station with plans to go separate ways for the week.

My plans were to meet with work counterparts to take the train to Milan, then rent a car get us to a hotel close to one of our plants which we would visit the next day. After this we would visit a different plant, traveling city to city via car, train, taxi etc. all week.

Amy and the boys were also headed to the train station en route to the sea for a few days since I was busy with work.

With suitcases and backpacks in tow, we were about two minutes from the train station in central Florence when Amy said, “hmm… my purse feels light”.  She looked inside and said, “I think I lost my wallet”. Panic set in. We frantically looked through the rest of our luggage and began to mentally retrace our steps.

Big tourist towns are known for pickpocketing so that was my first thought. Second thought was, I have to get on that train in about 15 minutes. Our credit and debit cards were the same, and she didn’t have cash. If we had to cancel all of our cards, it would be a complete disaster.

We decided I needed to catch the train and Amy and the boys would retrace their steps since the night prior. We prayed, gave hugs, and I gave her some cash along with one of my credit cards.

I went on my way, and what should have been a joyful reuniting of work brothers had a dark cloud over it. I was sick to my stomach. Amy felt devastated and miserable and guilty. She felt like it was her fault, we didn’t know what we were going to do.

Really all I cared about was Amy and the boys. I felt so horrible for her. I knew she’d put all the blame on herself, and I didn’t like her feeling that way. I couldn’t focus, my mind going in circles wondering what could have happened.

Amy and the boys went to the hotel and scoured the room with no luck. They made the hotel aware of the situation and received some sympathy, but that was it. After that they thought might as well go to the store where Amy was the night prior; the last place the wallet was seen.

The store wasn’t open yet so they waited outside. Finally a light came on and a man opened the door to let her in. Language barriers in play, she was able to explain that she had lost her wallet.

After a long pause which to her seemed like an eternity, the man reached below the counter and slowly pulled the wallet out! He said that he waited until after midnight at the store to see if she would return. What joy!!! I literally had tears in my eyes (in front of the guys) when Peyton sent this picture to me!

Shortly after this lost and found story, I laughed out loud when I looked at my assigned verses for this week… how appropriate, God works in mysterious ways!

The Parable of the Lost Coin

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 15:8-10 & Psalm 122

Separation

On April 18th & 19th, 2018, a team of movers came to our house to pack and ship what we wanted with us in Italy. The goods consisted of beds, chairs, a couch, tables, clothing, cooking accessories, photos, and cabinetry such as dressers and armoires. The packed items were then taken to a warehouse and further prepped for a very long journey, placed in a giant shipping container, sent (perhaps by train or truck) to Chicago, then placed onto a ship that would make its way for the next few weeks across the ocean. In case you’re curious, it is almost two months later and we still do not have our things… maybe a topic for a future post on patience!

Leading up to this move we had hundreds (perhaps thousands) of decisions to separate our possessions into what goes to Italy, what to send to storage and what to let go of. The items chosen to send to Italy are planned to be used for the next three years. Conversely, the storage items would sit for three years unused. Then the rest of it was deemed unnecessary; useless to us.

Arriving into Europe there was a similar pattern of separation. US currency no longer accepted, and many electronics do not work (or would be fried) due to the difference in voltage.

As humans we separate, and so does our creator:

The Parable of the Net

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind. 48 When it was full, men drew it ashore and sat down and sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. 49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous50 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:47-50)

These words are tough to take in. The thought of being thrown into a fiery furnace with weeping and gnashing of teeth is truly the ultimate worse case scenario. We often wish these words weren’t true, we’d like to think that perhaps everyone is “good” and we all end up happily ever after.

The fact is that God is real, so is his book, and so are his promises. His judgment is fair (whether we like it or not). Knowing the harshness of eternal separation, he gave us a gift, grace and mercy through the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ. Jesus was tortured and killed as he took the penalty so that we would not be separated from him. It is ours to choose; not someone choosing for us. Eternity with him or without him.

Today’s Psalm: Psalm 110