Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kept in Perfect Peace

I recently attended the Women of Faith Conference in Charlotte, NC, and it was quite an experience.  One thing that struck me about the weekend was how so many of the speakers focused on the busyness of women's lives, and the fact that life can be so draining to the point where women are frazzled practically to death.  Women are pulled in so many directions whether it be their children, husband, work, friends, etc.  I came to the conclusion that I don't want my life to ever look like that.  I'm not one for stress.  Not that I can't handle it, but life is just too short to be stressed out by things that really don't matter in the long run.  Instead, I want my life to be characterized by peace.  I want to be so wrapped up in Christ that everything else just pales in comparison.  I want Him to be my focus and for all my trust to lie in His grace.  I love this verse in Isaiah 26:3 that says, "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."

Everyone wants peace.  I don't just mean the peace that comes from finally having a minute of quiet to yourself after a busy day.  I mean the kind of peace that rejuvenates your soul and gives you the strength to face each new day.  There's a big difference between the kind of peace offered by the world and the peace offered by Christ.  The peace of the world requires a change in circumstances.  A bubble bath might bring momentary peace, but only because your outward situation changed.  The peace of God is internal and changes you.  Lasting peace is not the absence of trouble, but is the presence of Christ in your life.  Believers can still have peace even when surrounded by difficulties.  In John 14:27 Jesus promises, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid."  I'm thankful that Christ doesn't give peace in the same way as the world, because then it wouldn't be real peace at all.  My peace comes from Christ's presence in my life.

Consider this story about the disciples just a few days after Jesus was crucified.  They had followed Jesus for three years and had devoted their lives to him.  They had put their hope in the fact that he was the Messiah and would lead the revolution to free the Jews from Roman persecution.  Then he was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, endured a mockery of a trial, was hung on a cross, and left to die.  Where did that leave the disciples?  Alone, and scared to death.  They hid behind locked doors for fear of what the Jews would do to them.  They were, after all, considered rebels and blasphemers in the eyes of righteous Jews.  In John 20:19-20 we read, "On the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace by with you!'  After he said this, he showed them his hands and side.  The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord."  Prior to Jesus coming into their midst they experienced great fear, but His sudden presence among them brought joy and peace.  Their situation hadn't changed.  Nothing outside the doors of that room was different, but Christ's presence changed them, and brought peace.  Suddenly they were able to face their worst fears because Christ was with them.

We can have this same peace when we give our lives to Christ.  Revelation 3:20 says, "Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."  We can have this fellowship with Christ that leads to everlasting peace, if only we would answer the knock on the door of our hearts.  I praise God that he pursues us.  He loves us  enough to stand at the door waiting for us to open our lives to Him.  So, will you answer the door?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pursuing the Author of Joy

What brings you joy?  Some might say that their loved ones bring them joy; some might say their jobs; others might say having a nice house, and a nice car will do the trick. We are always searching for happiness, for joy, but are the things of this world really able to satisfy that longing?  Material things rust or break.  Jobs can be lost.  Friends and family will inevitably disappoint us.  When we seek joy among the things of this world we realize what a fruitless search it is.

The English translation of the word joy is found 218 times in scripture.  One of the Greek translations of the word is chara, which means "rejoicing, gladness, delight."  This word gives the picture of a celebration!  People sometimes have this wacky idea that if something brings you happiness, laughter, or enjoyment, it's wrong.  They view God as someone standing in Heaven with his arms crossed ready to smush you if you so much as crack a smile.  This couldn't be farther from the truth.  God created joy!  He is the creator of laughter and humor.  God created us to glorify Him by enjoying Him forever!  We are joyful when we have the Truth of God and experience a relationship with Him.  Joy comes from knowing that all the things in this life are temporary, but we are destined for a heavenly place for eternity with the King of Kings.

It dawned on me that so many people pursue joy, when what they should be pursuing is the author of joy.   In John 15: 8-11 Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love.  If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."  We enjoy God by loving him, worshipping him, and obeying him.  Notice that this verse doesn't encourage us to seek things in life to have joy.  Jesus tells us to seek God.  Only then will we find the kind of joy we were created to have in Christ.  Notice too what the source of joy is: Christ himself.  When we sincerely follow Jesus and submit our lives to him, he gives us such great joy that nothing on earth can even come close! "Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.  Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight.  I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God." (Psalm 43:3-4)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

He Who Has Ears to Hear...

How often do our prayers consist of nothing more than requests of God?  I have become more aware of this in my own prayer life recently.  "God I ask..."  "God give me..."  "God bless..."  Interceding for others, and asking God to bless us is not a bad thing.  In fact, it's scriptural.  1 John 5:14-15 says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him."  I believe God loves to bless his children, and wants us to ask him for his blessing, but there is more to prayer than just petition.

How much time do you spend listening for God to speak?  How often do you stop asking, stop talking, and just be still before the Lord?  After all, he doesn't always speak through a strong wind, or an earthquake, or fire.  Sometimes his voice is a gentle whisper (1Kings 19:11.)  How can we hear if we don't stop talking long enough to listen?  Malachi 2:2 says, "'If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,' says the Lord, "I will send a curse upon you and I will curse your blessings.  Yes I will curse them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.'"  Clearly God desires for us to listen to him, because what he has to say is immeasurably important.

I came to a rather humbling conclusion this week.  There are two reasons I think it is hard to listen for God's voice.  One is simply that silence feels awkward.  No one likes a gap in conversation, and I always long to fill it with my own voice (no matter who I'm talking to!)  The second reason is fear.  That's right.  Fear.  I realized that I get nervous when I wait to hear God speaking to me, because more often than not, he calls me to do something outside my comfort zone.  Over my years of following the Lord I have learned that he rarely calls us to do what is easy, or even what we feel like doing.  Instead He he calls us to that what will bring him the most glory.  Keep in mind the fact that God doesn't call us to be comfortable; he calls us to be obedient.

There are a few ways we can listen to God.  One is through prayer, and having a still heart before him.  When you quiet yourself before God and seek him with an open heart, you will hear him speaking.  You might not always like what he has to say, but you can bet that if you are open to his will, he will speak to you.  A second way to hear God is through scripture.  It's called the Living Word for a reason!  The Bible isn't a book to be simply read, but is a way for God to communicate directly with his people.  When you read God's Word with an eager heart, you will often find that he is speaking to you through the written word.  Amazing isn't it?  Often as I read scripture I get the feeling that the particular passage I'm reading was written just for me.

Our approach to the Lord should never be one-sided.  When we come before God in prayer it should be with a humble heart and open ears.  We must remember that we're praying to the Creator of all things!  He is the one that has given you life and breath!  Our first response to God should be worship and praise.  Our humility before him will lead us into an attitude of listening.  When we listen for his will then he will make us doers!  

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."  (James 1:22-25)

Monday, September 19, 2011


Have you ever thought about what it means that Jesus is the light of the world?  John 1:4-5 says, "In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."  Jesus came into a world of sin and death; of darkness; of shadows.  We are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God, and in our fallen state we try to hide ourselves from God Almighty.  We don't want him to see the mess we've made of our lives so we make feeble attempts at covering ourselves and our shame, though little good it does us.

Enter Christ.  The light of the world.  Where the light shines, darkness cannot hide.  There are no shadows where Christ dwells.  The beauty of God is that he knows your sin and he still wants a relationship with you.  There is no use hiding from God.  He is everywhere and is all-knowing.  He is, as Hagar said in Genesis, "The God who sees me."

It's a little disconcerting at first, the idea that my sin is laid bare before a holy God.  But then I rest in his love knowing that, through Christ, I am made righteous, and all my sins have been atoned for through his death on the cross.  How glorious a truth this is!  When we confess that Christ is our savior, his righteousness (or rightness before God) is imputed to us as well.  Nothing we do can earn this kind of gift, but God bestows it upon us freely when we are willing to confess that we are in dire need of a savior, and Jesus is the only one who can do it.

"If I say, 'Surely darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." (Psalm 139:11-12.)  It's is nothing short of miraculous that I serve a God who sees all my sin and shame, yet loves me anyway.  And with an extravagant love at that!  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Review: A Voice in the Wind

Up until this point I have generally avoided reading much Christian fiction.  Most of the books I'd seen depicted amish-looking girls in bonnets.  Not exactly my thing.  But Mrs. Mom recommended A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, and I thought I'd give it a shot.  I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the story.  The plot centers on Hadassah, a young Jewish-Christian girl who survived the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  She winds up as a house slave in Rome and strives to reflect the love of Christ to the family she serves.  Her selfless, pure faith is contrasted starkly with the lives of the family members, who embrace the Roman ideal of pursuing pleasure no matter what the cost.  In a time when Christians were killed for their faith in Jesus Christ, Hadassah's faith never wavers.  When opportunities come for her to talk about God, she embraces them and prays for the courage each day to speak the name of Jesus.

The more I read the more I realized that the Roman times were not so unlike our own.  American culture idolizes the pursuit of pleasure and the destruction of morality.  Our world is centered on you, and doing what you want.  This is antithetical to scripture which says that rather than life being about finding pleasure on earth, we are to glorify our God in heaven.

Another thing that tugged on my heart is the fact that persecution of Christians still happens today.  It's easy to think that the times of believers being fed to the lions are long gone, but this is just not the case.  In many countries today Christians are tortured and killed for their faith.  This reminder has made me much more aware of the freedom I have as a Christian, and I'm so thankful to God for his mercy in my life.

A Voice in the Wind is the first in a series of three books, and is definitely one worth checking out.

Book Review: Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs

Liz Curtis Higgs has written an excellent series on the "bad girls" of the Bible, and this one was just as enjoyable as the others I've read.  It's easy for us to assume that all men and women of the Bible were perfect, always faithful followers of God.  We couldn't be more wrong!  Many of the women in the Bible were flawed, but despite their imperfections God used them to bring about his good purposes.

Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible tells the stories of Sarah, Hagar, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.  To keep us from thinking that the issues these women faced were unique to their time period, Liz writes a modern day version of each story.  She then dissects the scripture where we find these women, and the insight she offers is well researched and Biblically-based.  After reading this book these five women seem more real to me; they seem like women I know.

This book is an excellent reminder of the fact that God uses even the broken things of this world to bring him glory.  He uses the imperfect to honor his perfection.  While each of the women in these pages struggled in her relationship to God, ultimately their hearts were turned to Him, and their desires were for his goodness.  At some point we all need the encouragement that their stories offer.  We have all fallen short of the glory of God, but we can praise Him for he desires to redeem us and bring us to righteousness through Christ!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Evidence of Grace

I will admit, the last few months have been rather trying for me.  I'm not as in love with South Carolina as I'd hoped I would be by this time.  It still feels like we're in a holding pen for the next year till we move on to the next phase of our lives.  Still without a church to call home, and a group of believers to call friends, life in Beaufort is rather lonely.  It would be easy to feel sorry for myself were it not for the grace of God.  Rather than looking to outside sources or people to sustain me, I can always turn to my heavenly Father for strength.  When Paul writes of the thorn in his flesh he pleaded with God to remove it.  "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  Relying on the Lord in all circumstances allows his power to be made all the more evident in my life.  So though there are areas of life that look bleak from where I'm sitting, I still put my whole trust in the grace of God.

So what is grace?  Grace, simply put, is the unearned favor or blessing of God.  I've always thought of grace as getting something we don't deserve.  And it is true that we do not deserve any of the good gifts God bestows upon us.  God withholding judgement and condemnation (what we do deserve) is evidence of his mercy.

The beauty of God's grace is that it is evident all over the place.  When you are on the lookout for grace you will start to see it everywhere you turn.  He is gracious to provide us everything we need from food, to clothing, to a warm bed to sleep in.  How easily we take these things for granted.  Scripture itself is evidence of grace, because through it God allows us to see a glimpse of who he is!  God's Word, "is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." (Psalm 119:105)  Through his grace God shows us the path to righteousness and peace.  He also shows his grace by intervening in our lives when we cannot go a step further without him.  (Not that he ever left us in the first place.)

An example of this leapt to mind just this afternoon.  As I said, I've been homesick for Okinawa and missing the fellowship of dear friends there.  Walking through the commissary today I ran across a friend I'd met in Japan.  I was overjoyed at seeing a familiar face in a place that has been void of familiarity for me until now.  In that moment it was as if God was reaching out to me through this woman telling me that he sees my heart and will provide for my needs.

Small instances of grace such as this all point to God's love for his people, which culminates in the demonstration of grace: that of Christ's death on the cross.  Remember how grace means getting something we haven't earned?  This principle is never more true than when considering salvation.  God's grace is extended to us through faith alone in his Son, not by works or good deeds.  "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this not from yourselves it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

I thank God daily for his grace shown to me through the sacrifice of Christ.  His truly is a love without equal.  I'm thankful that no matter what pain or hardship I go through in this life, his grace will always be sufficient.  In what ways do you see God's grace in your life?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The View Through the Telescope

One thing I miss so much about Okinawa is going to church at the Harbor and hearing Mark Oshman teach.  A couple of years ago he went through a sermon series on the Five Solas of the Reformation (Sola Scriptura, Sola Christus, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, and Soli Deo Gloria.)  Today I listened to the podcast of the last of those sermons, and it really resonated with me.  Soli deo gloria, to God the glory alone.

Two of Mark's visual aides were a microscope and a telescope.  The microscope takes what is small and makes it seem bigger.  It is an illustration of the way we tend to magnify our lives, and we want to be what it's all about.  The telescope on the other hand takes what is unfathomable and tries to bring it somewhat into focus.  Looking through the "telescope" means taking our focus off our teeny tiny selves and putting it on the Creator of the universe.  Not a bad trade eh?

One thing is clear about humans: we were created to worship.  We all worship something, but the problem is our worship is often misguided and misdirected.  Mark talked about how no one has to teach us how to worship, all you have to do is turn on your TV and watch any sporting event.  Fans shouting and acting crazy in the stands?  They are, in a sense, worshipping the sports teams.  Maybe sports aren't your thing, but how about music stars, money, or even your free time?  Something, whether God or otherwise, is the focus of your worship.

Check out Romans 11:33-36.  It says, "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out!  Who has known the mind of the Lord?  Or who has been his counselor?  Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?  For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be the glory forever!  Amen."  Amen indeed!  The God of the universe is worthy of all praise.  Nothing created could ever deserve the worship that God does.

Much of scripture is dedicated to expressing the fact that everything God does is for his glory.  Even creation of the world and people was meant to be a means of expressing his splendor and majesty!  Too often we get the idea that the world was created for us, and everything revolves around us.   We couldn't be more wrong.  Isaiah 43:6 says, "Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."  We were created for God's glory!  To worship, praise, and enjoy him forever!  This, my friends, the the purpose and meaning to life on this earth!

One place people stumble is to think that because God is all about his own glory, that somehow makes him egotistical.  But think of it this way: God is above everything.  He is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving.  If he were to direct his (or our) praise at anything else, he would be cheating us of worshipping the only thing worthy of our praise (himself.)  It would be a lie.  So no, God is not some kind of megalomaniac, he is a loving God who wants nothing but the best for his children.  And the best is himself!  Isaiah 42:8 teaches, "I am the Lord; that is my name!  I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols."

God will not share his glory with anything he has created.  There is room in your heart to worship and glorify only one thing.  Is it God?  Or is it something else?  Are you looking through the microscope, trying to be your own big picture?  Or are you peering through the telescope at something much, MUCH greater?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Submission: The Word We Love to Hate

My Beth Moore book has taken me into the study of gentleness this week, and day 1 focused on one aspect of gentleness- submission.  Why is it we tend to run for the hills when we hear that word?  I think it's interesting that we're so obsessed with being our own boss that, even when it's in our best interest, we don't want to give over the reins to anyone else.  The Lord is the perfect portrait of submission as seen in the essence of the Trinity.  Now I'm by no means an expert on Trinitarian theology, but it is clear from scripture that God (the son) is in submission to the God (the Father's) will.

The kind of submission I've studied today isn't focused on the earthly submission of, say, a wife to her husband, but rather our submission to God's will for our lives.  For a lesson in submission we can always turn to Paul.  He was a persecutor of Christians to the nth degree.  Acts 9:1 describes him as "breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples."  Yikes.  No one would have thought that this man would be the one to bring the Gospel to the far reaches of the globe (or at least far reaching for those days.)  But as usual, God had a bigger plan that people couldn't comprehend.

Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus and asked, "Saul, Saul why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4)  Reading this verse, I also appreciate the fact that Jesus is so intimately connected with his followers that persecuting them is the same as persecuting the person of Christ himself.  Now here is where I think it gets interesting.  Jesus, in a vision to Ananias says, "This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.  I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." (Acts 9:15-16)  Paul knew that he would face hardship and ultimately death for his faith and proclamation of the gospel.  And yet, upon his conversion he "at once began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God." (Acts 9:20)  Paul knew that there is nothing greater in the world than serving the Living God, and that's why he was able to approach his calling with such passion.  His was a life truly surrendered to God's will.

Now we might all say that's well and good for Paul, but what about us?  God calls every one of us to submit to his authority in our lives.  Only then will he be able to transform us into the image of his Son.  Only then will he be able to use us for his glory.  True, sometimes submitting is painful, because often God leads us to places we'd just as soon not go.  But in light of eternity, the things of God are infinitely better than anything we could imagine for ourselves. In John 16:33 Jesus says, "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."  We aren't promised an easy life.  If anything, Christians are pretty much guaranteed suffering at some point.  But our faith is in Him who has overcome!   It's time to let go, and let God reign in his sovereign place in your life.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Stranger in a Strange Land

Do you ever get the feeling that you were born in the wrong era?  This is an almost daily realization for me.  Since coming back to the United States I've felt bombarded by and overwhelmed with the rampant materialism of our country.  I'm surrounded by technology that I don't always think is actually bettering our culture, and when I see people walking around texting on their cell phones it makes me long for the days of eye contact and true engagement with other people.  No one looks you in the face anymore.  They're too preoccupied with the glowing rectangle in their hands.  What a sad commentary on the state of our society. I'm not anti-technology or anything, but I think we are missing vital opportunities to engage with our culture and develop meaningful relationships.  Don't you get the idea that most of your "friends" on facebook aren't really your true friends at all?  I think there is something to be said for using technology to enhance communications and the like, but our culture has taken it too far.

In recent conversations with Mrs. Mom she has said she thinks I was born in the wrong century; that I belong in a simpler time.  I must say I agree with her.  The more I thought about this the more I realized that it's not just a matter of feeling like I don't belong in my time period, but that I don't belong here at all.  I (and all believers) were created for a place much different than this earth.

I've been reading a lot of Hebrews lately and right in the middle of chapter 11 it explains this longing to be elsewhere.  This chapter describes the faithfulness of many men and women of the faith.  Then verses 13-16 say, "All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.  People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."

Do you see?  We were created for better things than this world has to offer.  We were created for a heavenly country where we will dwell with Jesus Christ for eternity.  This verse gives me hope that it's not wrong to feel out of place in this world, because I was created with a longing for heaven.  God is faithful, and he has prepared a place for us.  A place where we will feel that sense of belonging that we long for on earth.  A place where we will be in his presence for all time.  Praise God!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sure of What We Hope For

I'm currently going through a Beth Moore study on the fruit of the spirit, and this week's focus was on faith.  Faith is not so much an action as it is a response to God's faithfulness.  Beth Moore describes God's faithfulness as his believability.  In his Word he proves himself faithful again and again, as he does in our lives today.  I reflected for awhile on ways that God shows himself as believable to me.  One thing I thought of was how when I pray according to God's will, my prayers are always answered, though not always in ways I expect.  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no, and sometimes wait.  Learning to wait on the Lord has shown me his incredible faithfulness, because no matter what the circumstances, he always comes through.

Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  Sometimes it's difficult to put our whole trust in the Lord since there is so much about him that we do not (and cannot) understand.  Being a Christian requires a huge leap of faith, but I have found that after that initial plunge, God is gracious to increase our faith.  There is a story in Mark 9 where a man brings his son to Jesus to be healed of demon possession.  The man cries out to Jesus, "I do believe, help my unbelief!"  I find myself crying out to Jesus in a similar fashion almost everyday.  "Strengthen my faith so that everyday I will depend on you more."

So why does walking with the Lord require faith at all?  I think the answer lies in Isaiah 55:8 which says, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord.  "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"  There is no way we could ever comprehend the magnitude and majesty of God Almighty.  Our puny little brains cannot begin to fathom all that he is.  We can, however, rest in the promise of Romans 8:28 that, "In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Our God is faithful to fulfill his promises, because he loves us.  We can count on that no matter what.  

So here's my next question: do you base your faith on what God does or who he is?  A faith that is based solely on tangible evidence will be a roller coaster ride with the peaks being at times when God is most visible and quickly descending at times God seems more distant.  Again, remember Isaiah 55, God's ways are not our ways and we cannot understand everything about the way he works in our lives.  On the flip side, faith based on who God is will never waiver because God doesn't change.  Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  I'm so thankful that I serve a God who is steadfast and solid.  When everything else about this life on earth is like sinking sand, my Lord is a firm foundation.  I pray that you would know the faithfulness of God in your own life today!