Today’s reading is from 1 Corinthians 2:1-16.

Authenticity is on my mind today as we traverse life.

Many times, we “put on a face” of everything in our lives is great.  Our job could not be better.  Our kids are thriving and happy.  Our marriage is like a fairy tale. We just completed the greatest vacation we have ever had, and it could not have been more restful and relaxing!

Is that how your life feels?

I am not afraid to say that life can be a struggle and brings about a fresh set of challenges.  I believe my state of mind and expectations drive my response.  My response to these challenges varies based on the day, what else is going on, and my state of mind.  I am human.  I am imperfect.  I don’t always react to challenges the way I should.

Most importantly, I think we need to surround ourselves with authentic and open relationships where we can share our lives with others in an authentic way.  There is power in understanding that others have similar challenges, others have similar struggles, and know that we are not alone in our attempt to deal with difficulties.

I love how the Apostle Paul writes in this reading with an authentic and vulnerable voice.

1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with the excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.

3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling.

4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. NKJV

Life is messy.  Situations do not always turn out like we planned.  We are not always at our best. Relationships are complicated.  Jobs don’t always turn out to be the dream we though they would be.  Vacations do not always end with the blissful moments we had hoped.

I would encourage us to surround ourselves with supportive, faith-filled people, that we can be authentic with.  We should strive to spend time with people that are not afraid to tell us when we are “off the path” and encourage us when we need it.  These are the same people who share with us when they struggle and when they need encouragement. Let us not surround ourselves with people who are not authentic and tell us what they think we want to hear. I pray that we open ourselves up to vulnerability and input from mentors, small groups, and positive influencers in our lives to help us work through difficult situations.

God encourages us to surround ourselves with other believers and commune together. Hebrews 10:24-25 says the following:

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. NKJV

Do Not Worry

Today’s reading, Luke 12:22-40, is filled with some of the most practical and applicable guidance from Jesus in the Bible, Do Not Worry.

In fact, Luke 12 is packed with great application for believers and perhaps our friends and family that are not yet believers.  The sections of Luke 12 are as follows: Beware of Hypocrisy (1-3), Jesus Teaches the Fear of God (4-7), Confess Christ Before Men (8-12), The Parable of the Rich Fool (13-21), Do Not Worry (22-34), The Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant (35-48), Christ Brings Division (49-53), Discern the Time (54-56), Make Peace with Your Adversary (57-59).   Wow, what great teachings for us to apply to our lives.  Go and read Luke 12 today!

Jesus’ command not to worry is a consistent challenge in my life.  I am confronted with caving to the world’s temptations and allow my emotions to be overcome with anger and frustration.

“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.” Verse 22

“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.” Verse 29

During recent years, I found myself conflicted with my life.  As a husband, father, son, brother, etc. I felt strain from the “world” around me. I was in a professional transition, and I was angry with the situation.  The 2020 presidential election was underway with the daily barrage of controversy, debate, and arguments, including social media posts and news coverage. Our family, like many, had challenges that included happiness and health.  I felt out of control, angry, and I worried.  I worried about the things I could not control, that I needed to let go of, and give it to God.

I took a step back and examined what truly made me unhappy, that I could control, and “let go” of the things I could not control, that contributed to my worry and anxiety. I needed to focus on what made me happy and fulfilled. As I examined my life, social media was something that created worry. I enjoyed Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for many years, but I was wasting my day reading and checking posts, and the tone of the stories were negatively impacting my attitude and candidly, I felt anxious about staying up to date on posts, news, etc.  I derived that social media was one of the things that generated worry, and frankly, anger. I had to make a change and did.  I shut down my accounts. This is a small gesture but it make a big impact on my life.

That was a great decision for me. Unfortunately, I have not completely rid myself of worry, but my life has a few less distractions and irritations.  I have been blessed with a new career opportunity. Our family is in a good place, not without daily ups and downs, but moving in the right direction.  I feel more in control of my worry, and I have become better at turning to the Gospel and prayer during my worry rather than allow myself to feel out of control.  I know there will be challenges.  I know bad things will happen.  But I know my faith and my God are where I need to turn for solace and peace.

Let us all turn to the Lord.  Let us encourage our friends and family to do the same in times of daily strife.  Stress and worry erode our faith and pull us away from God. The “world” and material things will not make us happy or solve our deepest insecurities or issues.  Turning to the “world” and seeking happiness and satisfaction will make it worse.

The Word of Jesus and His saving grace is the only thing that will remove our worry and angst while we are on this side of life.

Chain Breakers

Joshua 24:1-18

The prophet Joshua was nearing the end of his life and he called the tribes of Israel together to remind them of the blessings God had bestowed on the Israelites throughout generations.

Joshua chronicled for the tribe leaders the sins their fathers had committed, the attacks the Israelites endured over hundreds of years, and time and time again how God blessed the Israelites and brought them to 13 “land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”

These passages lead me to consider how families are impacted positively, or negatively, by the choices of previous generations.  Some people come from broken marriages, family addicted to drugs or alcohol, marriages filled with infidelity, and sadly abusive behavior. The life that many live is a direct reflection of the example that has been set for them by their parents or family.  The Israelites lives for hundreds of years suffering for the sins of their fathers.

The good news is we can make the choice to “break the chain” of previous generations and God will provide for us.  The abusive behavior can stop.  The addiction can stop.  The infidelity and adultery do not have to continue. Absent fathers and mothers from our lives does not mean that we should continue that same behavior and cause the same pain for our children.

My brother and I are fortunate because we have two parents that have provided great examples of how to live a Godly, Christ-filled life.  What is important to note is that our family did not always have that as an example.  Both of my grandfathers, our parents’ fathers, came from broken and unhappy homes.  They both came from challenging situations where they experienced terrible sadness, experienced a lack of love, and could have become angry and bitter men.

I believe my grandfathers both “broke the chain” of their earthly fathers because they were “bathed in the Word of God.”  They followed Christ, believed in His power to change them, and followed his teachings.  My grandfathers were not perfect men but they both perfectly broke the chain of their fathers, just like the Israelites did, and set an example of living a life following Jesus Christ.

The great news it that we worship a God that provides us a “path” for our lives.  He commands us to live a life following Him but there will be challenges and trials. God commands us to love Him and glorify Him and He will be with us every step of the way.  There are stories and examples in the Bible where we can learn from other’s mistakes and apply these lessons to make better decisions for our lives.

I am thankful every day that my grandfather’s made that choice and generations of our family to come will thrive based on the choice they made to “break the chain” and follow Christ.

Love God, Fear God

Deuteronomy 7:9-10

9 “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and Keep His commandments; 10 and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face.”

Do you fear God?  Do you love God? Can you love someone and fear them at the same time?

In a worldly sense, I think these two emotions are difficult to maneuver.  When we love someone, we have an unending appreciation, value, and yearning for a relationship with them.  We want to be with them and spend time with them.  We know them and trust them.

When we fear someone, we avoid them.  We resent them.  We may even hate them, to use a much harsher word.  The individual may have altered our lives in a way that seems unforgivable.

Here is how I ratify the two emotions as it relates to God, where I both love and fear Him.

God shows me mercy and grace every day.  I sin and He forgives.  I sin again, and His promises in scriptures says He will forgive again, if I repent and ask for forgiveness.  He showed us inconceivable love by sending His son, Jesus, to earth to become a man, to live a perfect life, breath scripture into our world, and suffer a horrible death to demonstrate His love for us.  God is merciful every day and His actions speak louder than words.

As for it relates to fear, I don’t want to disappoint God.  I have developed a relationship with Him that I do not want to “let Him down.”  I know that if I don’t live by scripture, follow His guidance, I will be punished.  Much like a parent and child relationship, I wish to please my Father.   Growing up, I “feared” my parents, as I did not want to disappoint them.  I did not fear mental or physical harm, by any means.  I “feared” letting them down as I knew right from wrong, good from bad, and I did not ever want them to be upset with me.

At a whole other level of fear, I know that if I don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross to forgive my sins, I will not spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus and the rest of my relatives that have passed.  I know that I will be sent to “Hades,” as the Bible calls it, where I will suffer great pain and “gnashing of teeth.”  That is not for me.

For me, I have learned right from wrong.  I know the standards and morals that I should live in my life.  My foundation for truth and direction is the Bible.  The Bible provides me specific guidance on how God wants me to live my life.  As such, I expect that if I sin against God, I will be punished as is written in the Bible.  As I did not want to disappoint my parents, I do not want to disappoint God.  My parents did not deserve my sin, and God certainly does not either.

Do Good

2 Thessalonians 3: 13 “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”

I have found myself at times in life disappointed with my behavior.  I am disappointed that I am impatient.  I am disappointed that I am “short” or not engaging with people.  I am disappointed that I assume the worst in people and find myself being impolite or not accommodating.

Why do I do that?  My nature is to protect myself from disappointment or insecurity.  My tendency, at times, has been to be not “too nice” when I fear someone else will not be “nice” back.  Really?  Why does it matter if someone will be “nice” back?  Shouldn’t I just be “nice” regardless of the other person’s reaction?

It amazes me how much I enter social situations and rely on other people’s reactions and attitudes to determine mine.  What I mean is if someone is rude or impatient, I will mirror that same behavior.

Verse 13 speaks to me today in the sense of, do good and do not expect anything in return.  Be nice to the server in the restaurant who is impolite or not overly friendly.  Be kind to the flight attendant who embarrassed you in front of many people.  Be patient with the person in the grocery store who cut you off in line causing you to wait even longer.  Engage with the homeless person on the corner who is asking for help and not be embarrassed to stop and talk to them.

When Jesus was on earth, He had dinner with tax collectors, witnessed to prostitutes, and welcomed sinners of all kinds to be with Him at His table.  The Son of God was kind to every person of all shapes and sizes, all the while knowing He would be killed for doing good.  No matter the sin, Jesus loved all people and made a difference in their lives.

One area of my life that I have worked on very hard is witnessing to homeless people.  I used to dread pulling up to a stop light and seeing a homeless person on the corner.  In the past, I would immediately talk myself out of speaking to them, not even make eye contact, thinking they might be scary.  I would convince myself not to give them money as “they are just going to go buy liquor or drugs.”  I am not proud to admit that.

These days, I pull up to the stop light, roll down my window and ask the person to come to my car, if it’s safe.  I give them money, without judgment or reservation, and I ask them their name.  I cannot tell you the surprise and shock on their faces when I ask them their name.  When they tell me their name, I now call them by their name and tell them Jesus loves them and I will pray for them.  The look on their face is priceless.  The thanks and appreciation always come through.  Never once, have I had a negative reaction being nice to a homeless person.

So please join me in praying for Bobby, who I met in Charlottesville, Virginia today.  Bobby was panhandling on the side of the road with a cast and his arm in a sling.  God loves Bobby like He loves you and me.  Let’s pray for Bobby and all the broken people Jesus loves, without reservation or expectation that we will get anything in return.

We Need More Jesus

Ephesians 6 reads.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and have done all, to stand.

The “darkness of our age” comes from covert and overt places.  On the overt occasions, we can see and respond with our opinion when we encounter a situation or question about our faith.  We try to teach our children the Biblical foundations of living a Christ-like life, and how to respond to the many challenges each day that we experience.  There are times when we can witness to our friends, family, and children during a family dinner, a phone conversation, or a ride in the car.

The covert places of “darkness” are what I worry about.  The daily saturation of our friends, family and children with social media that is constantly barraging their hearts and minds to see things they shouldn’t see and tempt them in ways they may not be prepared. Our “armor of God” can be eroded each day by one swipe, one comment on a post, and the daily grind of trying to keep up with a technologically connected world.

I worry about the sexually explicit images young boys are tempted with every day.  Social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are constantly saturating our sons, nephews, and grandsons with sexually implicit images that demean women.  How do I know this?  Because I have profiles on these platforms to see what my children are experiencing.  Literally, they are one click away from pornography, on their phone, without any accountability.

The simple nature of “staying connected” with friends can create a desire to be included and accepted in a fictitious world that will never be satisfied.  Rather than having a strong foundation of faith in Christ, believing they are loved for who they are, regardless of what they look like, that they are loved, cherished, and were perfectly designed by their Father in Heaven, our young people and adults are being barraged with images and ideas that they are missing something.  The pressures and temptations of social media platforms cause our youth to question their looks, wish they had more material items like their “cool friends” who are having so much fun without them, and seed a constant desire that they should be something different than they are.  You are missing out…if you only had…you would be so much happier if you only…you would be so much thinner, funnier, cooler, and the list goes on of feelings and desires that will never be met.

The only constant and predictable solution to ridding ourselves of selfish desires, eliminating feelings of inadequacy, and removing doubt and guilt from our lives is following Jesus Christ.  When I hear of someone’s unhappiness or troubles, I think “they need some Jesus.”   Jesus is the one who removes all shame, doubt, and unhappiness.  Jesus is the one who turned away the devil, in the flesh, after being tempted many times.  Having “more Jesus” in our lives is not some cliché statement without tangible meaning.  Our God, who came to earth to be a man in our flesh as Jesus, changed the course of the world for billions of people by providing us guidance and a formula to a genuine sense of fulfillment, satisfaction and happiness in our lives.

Wondering how to get your family, friends, or children on the right course?  I would implore you to find a great Bible-based church, in person or online, to listen and read the words of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the only “true armor” that will ride with us each day that will fulfill us when times of doubt and temptation arise.  No doubt, these moments will happen but our faith in Jesus is the best defense against a world of sin working against those that we love.

God Has Not Forgotten Us

Happy Independence Day today to you all.

My heart is heavy and grateful this week as our daughter returned from a weeklong mission trip in Guatemala and my wife and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary tomorrow, July 5.

While in Guatemala, our daughter visited a home for young women who have been trafficked, ranging from the ages of 12 to 17, many with children of their own.  One of the young women our daughter met, said her favorite chapter of the Bible is Psalm 10.

In Verses 10 and 11 of Psalm 10, David said 10 “So he crouches, he lies low, that the helpless may fall by his strength, 11 He has said in his heart, God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.”

No matter how bad the world around us seems to be, God has not forgotten us.  He sees us. His promises and love are true, and He fulfills His promises.  The challenge is that God’s timing is not our timing, and our understanding of the hate and sin of this world are not easy to comprehend.

The suffering and sin that we see in our world has occurred since the beginning of time.  If the Bible does anything, it shows us that even back to Adam and Eve, mankind has made poor choices that are evil, inconceivable, and against God.

The sins of the world are not the fault and doing of God.  The deplorable sins and suffering are caused by man alone.

Yet God still fulfills his promises with every new day. A life following Christ washes away even the worst of our experiences and refreshes us with a new life and hope knowing we are loved and wanted by our Creator.

What about the poor and the weak?  What about the vulnerable that are taken advantage of by evil people?

Hebrews 10:23 says “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”

A life without suffering is not possible. Suffering provides us a path to Christ.  We seek solace in times of pain and challenges wanting an end to our unhappiness.  We challenge and frequently deny the need to relent and depend on God for our strength.  Suffering brings about resilience and strength to understand that our faith in Christ provides the solace and satisfaction in this life.

God does not leave us or forsake us.  God’s love is eternal for all, every day, every year, and every generation.  No matter what our situation, sin, or pain, God is walking with us, with every step. Many times, we just need to stop and ask Him for wisdom, guidance, and strength.

Throughout our 25 years of marriage, we certainly have experienced the highs and lows of life.  What is most certainly true is the happiest times of our marriage are when we are walking in faith with our Lord and turning to His Word for guidance and understanding.  Our marriage has been sustained by our faith, together, in Christ.

Happy 25th Anniversary to my bride…and many more!

God’s Perfect Purpose

Today’s reading is from Isaiah 52, where the prophet Isaiah spoke of God’s redemption of the Jewish people after years of oppression.

Pain, suffering, oppression, strife, and difficulties in this life are challenging to understand.  I write about this topic often as my studies of the Bible lead me to find meaning and understanding to make sense of difficult times.  I don’t question God, by any means, but challenges do cause me to ask questions and attempt to find meaning.  The Jewish people turned away from God in different generations, defied His commands, and He punished them.  It is difficult to comprehend why God would cause pain and such severe punishment to the Jewish people.

As a parents, we want what is best for our children.  We provide guidance to help them choose the right path in life. We do our best to have patience, allow them to make their own decisions, and live with the consequences.  Sometimes, our children make bad choices.  Sometimes those choices cause minor issues. Unfortunately, their choices can come with major consequences as well.  Depending on their age, we as parents are forced to deliver discipline, which is ultimately painful for them and us, or discipline can come others involved in their life.

There should be no doubt that God tests us in our lives. We can see time and time again that God brings challenges into our lives to validate our faith and increase our trust in Him. There are times when God provides discipline in our lives based on our actions and poor choices, just like we do as parents.  Here are a couple of verses that speaks to how we should view life’s trials.

1 Peter 1:6-7 – 6 In this you greatly rejoice, through now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials. 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more previous than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – 9 And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in the infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak then I am strong.

Do you feel strong in times of trouble? My first reaction, unfortunately, is resentment, anger, questioning the reason, and attempting to solve the problem. What I fail to realize is that the testing of my faith is an opportunity to build resilience.  I have the opportunity to focus on God’s Word, as the potential reasons and meaning may not be known now or is this life, but I must trust God’s plan and purpose for my life is perfect.  This is difficult and something I work on each day.

James, Jesus’s half-brother, said in James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”

We must rely on the promise that all this world’s trials and troubles are building us up for a perfect purpose and our benefit, which ultimately strengthens our faith and bring us closer to Him.

Christianity – History That Changed the World

Acts, written by the disciple Luke, speaks to what occurred following the final resurrection of Jesus.   It speaks to how the disciples organized and began the work of spreading the Gospel as commanded by Jesus.  It also recounts the most critical moments in the history of Christianity, and mankind, when the disciples initiated the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth to proclaim Him as the Son of God and the only way to salvation.

As a student of history, I frequently watch and read biographies of presidents and leaders, dive into a World War II documentary, or learn about key moments in our nation’s history related to the Civil Rights Act, Watergate, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the list goes on.

Events in history are recounted and reported based on interviews or statements from those that were a part of the event as well as historians who read documents and evaluate historical relics to summate the events that occurred. Much of history is interpreted and reviewed years later by historians that were not at the event.

Why do we believe historians record of what happened in the past?

What strikes me most about the Bible, and specifically Acts, is we are reading the words of the man who was there.  Luke, who was a disciple of Jesus and traveled with Him throughout His ministry, witnessed with his own eyes the miracles and life of Jesus.  In the Book of Acts, Luke chronicles how the disciples were commissioned to spread the Gospel and begin what we know as today as Christianity.  Here is an article that indicates there are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, which is nearly a third of the world’s population.

What I continually consider is the first five books of the Bible were written by people who were eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus. Why do people not believe the testimony of an eyewitness to the life and miracles of Jesus?

My first thought is that the events we read in history books don’t necessarily ask us to make changes to the way we live our lives.  We can hear and believe in the chronicles of JFK, MLK, and FDR but it doesn’t change our way of life today.

Listening and validating the life and miracles of Jesus challenges us to believe that Christ is the Son of God.  The historical parables and stories of the Bible provide us examples of how to live our lives, as well as how not to live our lives.  Nothing is new under the sun.  We think our challenges and strife are unique to us, but they are not. Mankind has continued to struggle with the same challenges and issues over and over.

The value of the Bible is that we can learn from the lessons and parables and improve our daily life as well as provide us purpose.  Life is hard. Challenges and strife do not make sense. The angst and negativity can be impossible to bare.  We can learn and appreciate the stories and parables in the Bible. Yet could all the challenges in our lives be for a purpose?  Perhaps God has a plan for all our heartache and unhappiness?  The Bible tells us time and time again that our lives will be forever changed while we are on earth, and in eternity.

James 1:12

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

John 16:33

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Psalm 34:19

The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.

Revelation 21:4

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Romans 5:3

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance.

Romans 8:18

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

I pray that you will read this today, and trust the prophets and disciples, otherwise known as historians, that wrote the Bible.  Their words could change your life, for eternity.

Who’s Your Jeremiah?

Who do you turn to for advice?  Do you listen to advice even though you do not want to hear what the person has to say?

Our lives are a series of events, traversing through different phases and stages, hopefully learning, and becoming wiser along the way.  The lessons we learn, although difficult and some painful, can mold us into being more thankful and content.

Unfortunately, in some cases, life can make us more bitter and angry.  Perhaps events have altered us so negatively, we have lost our trust in others.  Our perspective on life can become jaded and negative, no matter what the circumstance.

Today’s reading is from the Book of Jeremiah, verses 1 to 19.  Jeremiah, a prophet of God, had the grueling lifelong task of professing to the Jewish people about the pending doom and destruction of Judah.  For forty years, Jeremiah preached to the Jews telling of the pending destruction that would come upon them unless they turned to God to repent.   Jeremiah implored the Jews to ask for forgiveness, turn away from sin and idols, and praise God.  Unfortunately, they did not listen and ultimately, the Jews were overtaken for years of torture and imprisonment by the Babylonians.

Back to the advice of others, I have learned that “there is nothing new under the sun.” We live our lives and at times, we feel alone.  We struggle.  We are frustrated.  We are angry.  We are sad.  We are heartbroken.  We close ourselves off from others.

Why?  Because our focus can become selfish and self-centered.  I am not talking about those that deal with mental illness and perhaps cannot control their emotions.  Sometimes, we only blame others without owning our piece of responsibility.  Perhaps there is someone in our lives who is trying to help us, providing counsel and advice, but we refuse to listen or do not want to hear what they have to say. We can become arrogant and closed off.

Sometimes, the answer to solve our problem, is not what we want to hear.  Perhaps the advice we are receiving is about taking a difficult path or requires us to make changes to our lives.

From my perspective, the most important trait to preserve in our lives is humility.  Humility enables us to hear the perspective of others, consider their opinion, and explore whether we have room to change or grow.  Humility opens our ears and mind to the opinions of others and helps us consider how we ourselves can solve a challenge and not just blame others.

The Jewish people received guidance and advice, straight from God, and they shunned Jeremiah because they did not want to hear what he had to say.  Maybe there is a “Jeremiah” in your life right now that is trying to help you.  Perhaps there is a friend or family member that you “shut down” because they offer you advice you do not want to hear.   My prayer is that we open our hearts and mind, listen to the Word of God, listen to those trying to help us, and stay humble.

Our eternal lives may depend on it.