We sing that “I can’t feel at home in this world anymore,” but I often do feel quite at home here. Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us that by faith, Abraham forsook his earthly homeland and lived as a stranger and pilgrim while waiting for a better heavenly city. Would I do the same? Likewise, the Jews looked for Jesus to restore the earthly kingdom of Israel when he walked the earth (see Acts 1:6). It seemed that it even took the apostles a while to grasp that God was doing something much bigger and better.
Like our Lord, let us live with the end in mind. Consider what you desire to accomplish by the end and live for that purpose today. Focus on how your life in the present will bring glory and honor to your Father in the future.
Sex is defined as the state of being male or female according to a person’s biology, specifically his or her DNA, hormones, and most importantly, his or her reproductive organs. The current world view says that the definition of sex ends here. It is strictly biological and not necessarily the same as one’s expressed gender.
Think of all the blood shed by sacrifices over the years. When preparing for the first Passover, God told the children of Israel in Exodus 12:13, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” On the day Solomon dedicated the temple in 1 Kings 8:63, he offered 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. That alone is more blood than I can imagine. Think of all the sacrifices for sin: peace offerings, the evening sacrifice, and countless thousands of animals that shed their blood over the years.
Whatever accomplishments I might have achieved, whatever possessions I might have owned, whatever status I might have attained, even my reputation — those things won’t fit inside my urn. Nor do those things define me in the eyes of God. He is not impressed by the awards hanging on the wood-paneled walls of my paid-off house in this upscale California suburb. Even my new iPhone 12 Max Pro with 128 GB of memory does not raise His eyebrows.
That is God’s recipe for replacing worried thoughts with good thoughts. The thought is a temptation, and God has given us the ability to decide whether we are going to take that thought and form it into worry and fear, or if we are going to reject that thought and think about what is true, what is honest, what is just, what is pure, etc. Whenever you catch that temptation to worry coming to your mind, reject that thought, lock it up, don’t imagine more details of it, don’t scare your body into a fear reaction. Instead, identify something that is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or well spoken of.
In the Scriptures, the fear of God is used in a positive manner. There are a plethora of examples wherein fearing God is beneficial. Here is a smattering: “The fear of the Lord is clean” (Psalms 19:9). It is wholesome and for our good! “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (Psalms 111:10). Fear of the Lord can bring about obedience. Consider Hebrews 11:7: Noah, because of his faith, “moved with godly fear, [and] prepared an ark for the saving of his household.” God has mercy on those who fear Him (Luke 1:50). “The fear of the LORD leads to life, and he who has it will be satisfied” (Proverbs 19:23).
Whether it is the virus, politics, or something else, the temptation to worry is always present. If we can no longer function effectively because we are imagining all kinds of terrible things happening, then we need to take the advice of our heavenly Father. If your thinking is causing you to feel hopelessness and despair, who do you suppose is encouraging those thoughts? Not God. God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13).
How do we treat others who do not conform to our point of view? Maybe we feel we are taking the high road by wearing a mask. The common reason is, “You wear the mask for the sake of protecting people around you.” However, is it worth risking our souls to speak evil of our neighbors because they do not accept our understanding of good? “Meatheads refuse to wear a mask.” On the other hand, we may feel that freedom is at stake, and that the risk factor of disease is being amped up by people who want the world to be under their control. Therefore, we refuse to wear the mask. Do we not risk our souls if we revile others who do not share our point of view? “Sheeple” is a common expression of scorn from such (which ironically, is an attempt to cow others into submission).
Lest we make the sort of mistake Moses himself made in Egypt, the messages in Exodus 2 includes that oppressed people shouldn’t be oppressed, they deserve deliverance and justice, but at the same time oppressed people are not inherently innocent or better than the people oppressing them. In the words of the Israelite antagonist oppressing his fellow slave, we hear an echo of Sodom. Victims and victimizers both alike are sinners and need the mercy and grace of God and divine instruction to order their lives. We’ve all been “straying like sheep” and all need to turn to “the Shepherd and Overseer” of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).