When a single mother had to find work to take care of her family in the 1950s, she took on typing jobs. The only issue was that she wasn’t a very good typist and kept making mistakes. She looked for ways to cover up her errors and eventually created what’s known as Liquid Paper, a white correction fluid used to cover-up typing errors. Once it dries, you can type over the cover-up as if there were no errors. Jesus offers us an infinitely more powerful and important way to deal with our sin—no cover-up but complete forgiveness. A good example of this shows up in the beginning of John 8 in the story of a woman who was caught in adultery (vv. 3–4). The teachers of the law wanted Jesus to do something about the woman and her sins. The law said she should be stoned, but Christ didn’t bother to entertain what the law did or didn’t say. He simply offered a reminder that all have sinned (see Romans 3:23) and told anyone who hadn’t sinned to “throw a stone at” the woman (John 8:7). Not one rock was tossed. Jesus offered this woman a fresh start. He said he didn’t condemn her and instructed that she “leave [her] life of sin” (v. 11). Christ gave her the solution to forgive her sin and “type” a new way of living over her past. That same offer is available to us by His grace.
In 2021, an engineer with the ambition to shoot an arrow farther than anyone in history took aim at the record of 2,028 feet. While lying on his back on a salt flat, he drew back the bowstring of his personally designed foot bow and prepared to launch the projectile to what he hoped would be a new record distance of more than a mile (5,280 feet). Taking a deep breath, he let the arrow fly. It didn’t travel a mile. In fact, it traveled less than a foot—launching into his foot and causing considerable damage. Ouch! Sometimes we can figuratively shoot ourselves in the foot with misguided ambition. James and John knew what it meant to ambitiously seek something good, but for the wrong reasons. They asked Jesus to let “one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory” (Mark 10:37). Jesus had told the disciples they would “sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelves tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28), so it’s easy to see why they made this request. The problem? They were selfishly seeking their own lofty position and power in Christ’s glory. Jesus told them that their ambition was misplaced (Mark 10:38) and that “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (v. 43). As we aim to do good and great things for Christ, may we seek His wisdom and direction—humbly serving others as He did so well (v. 45).
Growing up, Sean knew little about what it meant to have a family. His mother had died and his father was hardly home. He often felt lonely and abandoned. A couple who lived nearby, however, reached out to him. They took him into their home and got their children to be “big brother” and “big sister” to him, which gave him assurance that he was loved. They also took him to church, where Sean, now a confident young man, is a youth leader today. Although this couple played such a key role in turning a young life around, what they did for Sean isn’t widely known to most people in their church family. But God knows, and I believe their faithfulness will be rewarded someday, as will those listed in the Bible’s “Hall of Faith.” Hebrews 11 starts with the big names of Scripture, but it goes on to speak of countless others we may never know, yet who “were all commended for their faith” (v. 39). And “the world,” adds the writer, “was not worthy of them” (v. 38). Even when our deeds of kindness go unnoticed by others, God sees and knows. What we do might seem like a small thing—a kind deed or an encouraging word—but God can use it to bring glory to His name, in His time and in His way. He knows, even if others don’t.
What an epic, even historic, summer it was.Heatwaves, wildfires, storms – it was like Mother Nature and Planet Earth were reminding us that no matter where we are, or what we do, the climate is profoundly changing. Now, as climate presents equal parts challenges and opportunities, we'll need to accelerate climate action.Meanwhile, the explosion of ChatGPT signaled that AI is really starting to take hold. Now, from regulation to adoption, the race for AI dominance is on.At such a critical juncture, it's important to ask where Canada fits in this age of disruption?And can we lead, particularly in areas where we already do – AI, clean energy and food production.For Season 7 of Disruptors, an RBC podcast, we'll speak with incredible innovators and disruptors who are chasing answers to these questions and challenges. So be sure to subscribe and listen everywhere you get your podcasts.
The Red Dress project was conceived by British artist Kirstie Macleod and has become an exhibit in museums and galleries around the world. For thirteen years, eighty-four pieces of burgundy silk traveled across the globe to be embroidered upon by more than three hundred women (and a handful of men). The pieces were then constructed into a gown, telling the stories of each contributing artist—many of whom are marginalized and impoverished. Like the Red Dress, the garments worn by Aaron and his descendants were made by many “skilled workers” (Exodus 28:3). God’s instructions for the priestly attire included details that told the collective story of Israel, including engraving the names of the tribes on onyx stones that would sit on the priests’ shoulders “as a memorial before the Lord” (v. 12). The tunics, embroidered sashes, and caps gave the priests “dignity and honor” as they served God and led the people in worship (v. 40). As New Covenant believers in Jesus, we—together—are a priesthood of believers, serving God and leading one another in worship (1 Peter 2:4–5, 9); Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 4:14). Though we don’t wear any particular clothing to identify ourselves as priests, with His help, we “clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12).
Ann was meeting with her oral surgeon for a preliminary exam—a physician she’d known for many years. He asked her, “Do you have any questions?” She said, “Yes. Did you go to church last Sunday?” Her question wasn’t intended to be judgmental, but simply to initiate a conversation about faith. The surgeon had a less-than-positive church experience growing up, and he hadn’t gone back. Because of Ann’s question and their conversation, he reconsidered the role of Jesus and church in his life. When Ann later gave him a Bible with his name imprinted on it, he received it with tears. Sometimes we fear confrontation or don’t want to seem too aggressive in sharing our faith. But there can be a winsome way to witness about Jesus—ask questions. For a man who was God and knew everything, Jesus sure asked a lot of questions. While we don’t know His purposes in asking, it’s clear His questions were inviting, prompting others to respond. His first response to Andrew was, “What do you want?” (John 1:38). He asked blind Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51; Luke 18:41). He asked the paralyzed man by the Bethesda pool, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6). Transformation happened for each of these individuals after Jesus’ initial question. Is there someone you want to approach about matters of faith? (Luke 18:42). Ask God to give you the right questions to ask.
In 2014, biologists captured a pair of orange pygmy seahorses in the Philippines. They took the marine creatures, along with a section of the orange coral sea fan they called home, to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Scientists wanted to know if the pygmy seahorses were born to match the color of their parents or their environment. When the pygmy seahorses gave birth to dull brown babies, scientists placed a purple coral sea fan into the tank. The babies, whose parents were orange, changed their color to match the purple sea fan. Due to their fragility by nature, their survival depends on their God-given ability to blend into their environment. Blending in is a useful defense mechanism in nature. However, God invites all people to receive salvation and stand out in the world by how we live. The apostle Paul urges believers in Jesus to honor God in every aspect of our lives, to worship Him by offering our bodies as “living sacrifices” (v. 1). Due to our fragility as human beings affected by sin, our spiritual health as believers depends on the Holy Spirit “renewing” our minds and empowering us to avoid conforming to “the pattern of this world” that rejects God and glorifies sin (v. 2). Blending into this world means living in opposition to God’s Word. However, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can look and love just like Jesus!
Before baseball’s 1906 World Series, sportswriter Hugh Fullerton made an astute prediction. He said the Chicago Cubs, who were expected to win, would lose the first and third games and win the second. Oh, and it would rain on the fourth. He was right on each point. Then, in 1919, his analytical skills told him certain players were losing World Series games intentionally. Fullerton suspected they’d been bribed by gamblers. Popular opinion ridiculed him. Again, he was right. Fullerton was no prophet—just a wise man who studied the evidence. Jeremiah was a real prophet whose prophecies always came true. Wearing an ox yoke, Jeremiah told Judah to surrender to the Babylonians and live (Jeremiah 27:2, 12). The false prophet Hananiah contradicted him and broke the yoke (28:2–4, 10). Jeremiah told him, “Listen, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you,” and added, “This very year you are going to die” (vv. 15–16). Two months later, Hananiah was dead (v. 17). The New Testament tells us, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets . . . , but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Hebrews 1:1–2). Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and through the Scriptures and guidance of the Holy Spirit, God’s truth still instructs us today.
The owner of the bookstore where Keith worked had been away on vacation for only two days, but Keith, his assistant, was already panicking. Operations were smooth, but Keith was anxious that he wouldn’t do a good job overseeing the store. Frenetically, he micromanaged all he could. “Stop it,” his boss finally told him over a video call. “All you have to do is follow the instructions I email you daily. Don’t worry, Keith. The burden isn’t on you; it’s on me.” In a time of conflict with other nations, Israel received a similar word from God: “Be still” (Psalm 46:10). “Stop striving,” He said in essence, “just follow what I say. I will fight for you.” Israel was not being told to be passive or complacent, but to be actively still—to obey God faithfully while yielding control of the situation and leaving the results of their efforts to Him. We’re called to do the same. And we can do it because the God we trust is sovereign over the world. If “he lifts his voice” and “the earth melts”, and if He can “make wars cease to the ends of the earth” (vv. 6,9), then surely, we can trust in the security of His refuge and strength (v. 1). The burden of control over our life isn’t on us—it’s on God.
As thousands of Ukrainian women and children arrived at Berlin’s railway station fleeing war, they were met with a surprise—German families holding handmade signs offering refuge in their homes. “Can host two people!” one sign read. “Big room [available],” read another. Asked why she offered such hospitality to strangers, one woman said her mother had needed refuge while fleeing the Nazis, and she wanted to help others in such need. In Deuteronomy, God calls the Israelites to care for those far from their homelands. Why? Because He’s the defender of the fatherless, the widow, and the foreigner (10:18), and because the Israelites knew what such vulnerability felt like: “for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt” (v. 19). Empathy was to motivate their care. But there’s a flip side to this too. When the widow at Zarephath welcomed the foreigner Elijah into her home, she was the one blessed (1 Kings 17:9–24), just as Abraham was blessed by his three foreign visitors (Genesis 18:1–15). God often uses hospitality to bless the host, not just the guest. Welcoming strangers into your home is hard, but those German families may be the real beneficiaries. As we too respond to the vulnerable with God’s empathy, we may be surprised at the gifts He gives us through them.
After I’d gotten settled into the chamber, my body floating comfortably above the water, the room went dark and the gentle music that had been playing in the background went silent. I’d read that isolation tanks were therapeutic, offering relief for stress and anxiety. But this was like nothing I’d ever encountered. It felt like the chaos of the world had stopped, and I could clearly hear my innermost thoughts. I left the experience balanced and rejuvenated, reminded that there is power in stillness. We can rest most comfortably in the stillness of the presence of God, who renews our strength and grants us the wisdom we need to tackle the challenges we face each day. When we’re still, silencing the noise and removing distractions in our lives, God strengthens us so we can hear His gentle voice more clearly (Psalms 37:7). While sensory deprivation chambers are certainly one form of stillness, God offers us a simpler way to spend uninterrupted time with Him. He says, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father” (Matthew 6:6). God will guide our steps and allow His righteousness to shine brightly through us when we seek the answers to life’s challenges in the stillness of His magnificent presence (Psalm 37:5–6).
Question: Why should postprandial blood glucose be kept under 140 milligrams per deciliter? Short Answer: When blood glucose rises above 140 mg/dL, this is the approximate point at which it spills into the polyol pathway at a greater-than-normal rate, which represents a suboptimal state of metabolism that is likely to hurt antioxidant status and compromise detoxification pathways as well as the recycling of vitamin K and folate. It must be kept in mind that a healthy person will adapt to glycemic loads they consume regularly. Thus, a one-time spike above 140 mg/dL should never be used to conclude anything whatsoever. Only repeated spikes above this level with repeated consumption of the same glycemic load over several days to several weeks should be used as a cause for concern. This is a clip from a live Q&A session open to CMJ Masterpass members. In addition to this episode, you can access two other free samples using this link: https://chrismasterjohnphd.substack.com/p/questions-on-blood-glucose-and-oxalate In that batch of free episodes you will also find the answer to this question: How can I protect against oxalates? If you want to become a Masterpass member so you can participate in the next live Q&A, or so you can have access to the complete recording and transcript of each Q&A session, you can save 10% off the subscription price for as long as you remain a member by using this link to sign up: https://chrismasterjohnphd.substack.com/qanda Learn more about the Masterpass here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.substack.com/about This snippet is from the April 12, 2023 AMA. The full recording and transcript is reserved for Masterpass members. Here is a preview of what's included: What Causes Hypercholesterolemia and Does It Matter? How to Reverse Coronary Calcification? How to do a comprehensive nutritional screening How long after eating improperly cooked egg whites should I wait to take biotin? Is the extrusion process as harmful as some claim? How long can one fast before micronutrient deficiencies become an issue? Do B vitamins compete with each other for absorption? Why is thirst a symptom of diabetes? Do I agree with Peter Attia that ApoB should be driven as low as pharmacologically possible? During a fast, does the body break down muscle? How do you rest and refeed your brain? Why would someone have high RBC magnesium but low serum magnesium? GLA deficiency? Should we eat for our ethnicity? How convincing are polyphenol studies? Can coronary calcium be driven by oxalate? Citrulline for vasodilation How to reduce catabolism Rapid-fire run-through of orphaned questions from the submission contest, including a detailed look at Nadia's thyroid numbers Here's a link to the full AMA: https://chrismasterjohnphd.substack.com/p/recording-and-transcript-of-the-april Access the show notes, transcript, and comments here.
Just before Easter 2018, a terrorist entered a supermarket in Trèbes, France, killing two people and taking a third woman hostage. When efforts to free the woman failed, policeman Arnaud Beltrame made the terrorist an offer: release the woman and take him instead. Arnaud’s offer was shocking because it went against the popular wisdom of our day. You can always tell a culture’s “wisdom” by the sayings it celebrates, like the celebrity quotes that get posted on social media. “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams,” one popular quote reads. “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line,” says another. “Do what you have to do, for you,” states a third. Had Arnaud followed such advice, he’d have put himself first and run. The apostle James says there are two kinds of wisdom in the world: one “earthly,” another “heavenly.” The first is marked by selfish ambition and disorder (James 3:14–16); the second, by humility, submission, and peacemaking (vv. 13, 17–18). Earthly wisdom puts self first. Heavenly wisdom favors others, leading to a life of humble deeds (v. 13). The terrorist accepted Arnaud’s offer. The hostage was released, Arnaud was shot, and that Easter the world witnessed an innocent man dying for someone else. Heavenly wisdom leads to humble deeds because it places God above self (Proverbs 9:10). Which wisdom are you following today?
Each summer when I was a child, I would travel two hundred miles to enjoy a week with my grandparents. I wasn’t aware until later how much wisdom I soaked up from those two people I loved. Their life experiences and walk with God had given them perspectives that my young mind couldn’t yet imagine. Conversations with them about the faithfulness of God assured me that God is trustworthy and fulfills every promise He makes. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a teenager when an angel visited her. The incredible news brought by Gabriel must have been overwhelming, yet she willingly accepted the task with grace (Luke 1:38). But perhaps her visit with her elderly relative Elizabeth—who was also in the midst of a miraculous pregnancy (some scholars believe she may have been sixty years old)—brought her comfort as Elizabeth enthusiastically confirmed Gabriel’s words that she was the mother of the promised Messiah (vv. 39–45). As we grow and mature in Christ, as my grandparents did, we learn that He keeps his promises. He kept His promise of a child for Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah (vv. 57–58). And that son, John the Baptist, became the harbinger of a promise made hundreds of years before—one that would change the course of humanity’s future. The promised Messiah—the Savior of the world—was coming! (Matthew 1:21–23).
The air smelled of leather and oats as we stood in the barn where my friend Michelle was teaching my daughter to ride a horse. Michelle’s white pony opened its mouth as she demonstrated how to place the metal bit behind its teeth. As she pulled the bridle over its ears, Michelle explained that the bit was important because it allowed the rider to slow the horse and steer it to the left or right. A horse’s bit, like the human tongue, is small but important. Both have great influence over something big and powerful—for the bit, it’s the horse. For the tongue, it’s our words (James 3:3, 5). Our words can run in different directions. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings” (v. 9). Unfortunately, the Bible warns that it’s very hard to control our speech because words spring from our hearts (Luke 6:45). Thankfully, God’s Spirit, Who indwells every believer, constantly helps us grow in patience, goodness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23). As we cooperate with the Spirit, our hearts change and so do our words. Profanity turns to praise. Lying gives way to the power of truth. Criticism transforms into encouragement. Taming the tongue isn’t just about training ourselves to say the right things at the right time. It’s about accepting the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as a horse responds to a bit, so that our words generate the kindness and encouragement our world needs.
The convention center darkened, and thousands of us university students bowed our heads as the speaker led us in a prayer of commitment. As he welcomed those to stand who felt called to serve in overseas missions, I could feel my friend Lynette leave her seat and knew she was promising to live and serve in the Philippines. Yet I felt no urge to stand. Seeing the needs in the United States, I wanted to share God’s love in my native land. But a decade later I would make my home in Britain, seeking to serve God among the people He gave me as my neighbors. My ideas about how I would live my life changed when I realized that God invited me on an adventure different from what I had anticipated. Jesus often surprised those He met, including the fishermen He called to follow Him. When Christ gave them a new mission to fish for people, Peter and Andrew left their nets “at once” and followed Him (Matthew 4:20), and James and John “immediately” left their boat (v. 22). They set off on this new adventure with Jesus, trusting Him yet not knowing where they were going. God, of course, calls many people to serve Him right where they are! Whether staying or going, we can all look to Him expectantly to surprise us with wonderful experiences and opportunities to live for Him in ways we might never have dreamed possible.
Months after suffering a miscarriage, Valerie decided to have a garage sale. Gerald, a neighbor craftsman a few miles away, eagerly bought the baby crib she was selling. While there, his wife talked with Valerie and learned about her loss. After hearing of her situation on the way home, Gerald decided to use the crib to craft a keepsake for Valerie. A week later he tearfully presented her with a beautiful bench. “There’s good people out there, and here’s proof,” Valerie said. Like Valerie, Ruth and Naomi suffered great loss. Naomi’s husband and two sons had died. And now she and her bereft daughter-in-law Ruth had no heirs and no one to provide for them (Ruth 1:1–5). That’s where Boaz stepped in. When Ruth went to a field to pick up leftover grain, Boaz—the owner—asked about her. When he learned who she was, he was kind to her (2:5–9). Amazed, Ruth asked, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes?” (v. 10). He replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband” (v. 11). Boaz later married Ruth and provided for Naomi (chap. 4). Through their marriage, a forefather of David—and of Jesus—was born. As God used Gerald and Boaz to help transform another’s grief, He can work through us to show kindness and empathy to others in pain.
In a poem that begins, “I’m nobody! Who are you?” Emily Dickinson playfully challenges all the effort people tend to put into being “somebody,” advocating instead for the joyful freedom of blissful anonymity. For “How dreary – to be – Somebody! How public – like a Frog – / To tell one’s name – the livelong June / To an admiring Bog!” Finding freedom in letting go of the need to be “somebody” in some ways echoes the testimony of the apostle Paul. Before he met Christ, Paul had a long list of seemingly impressive religious credentials and achievements, apparent “reasons to put confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:4). But encountering Jesus changed everything. When Paul saw how hollow his religious fervor and achievements were in light of Christ’s sacrificial love, he confessed, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. . . I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him” (vv. 8–9). His only remaining ambition was “to know Christ . . . the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (v. 10). It’s dreary, indeed, to attempt on our own to become “somebody.” But as Paul discovered, to know Jesus, to lose ourselves in His self-giving love and life, is to find ourselves again (v. 9), finally free and whole.
You can't always guarantee the outcome of your business, but you can guarantee the effort you put into it. In this week's episode of the Marketing Speak Podcast, we had an insightful conversation with Michael Zipursky!
“This morning I thought I was worth a great deal of money, now I don’t know that I have a dollar.” Former US president Ulysses S. Grant said those words the day he was swindled out of his life’s savings by a business partner. Months later Grant was diagnosed with incurable cancer. Concerned about providing for his family, he accepted an offer from author Mark Twain to publish his memoirs, which he completed a week before he died. The Bible tells us of another person who faced grave hardships. Jacob believed his son Joseph had been “torn to pieces” by a “ferocious animal” (Genesis 37:33). Then his son Simeon was held captive in a foreign country, and Jacob feared his son Benjamin would be taken from him as well. Overcome, he cried out, “Everything is against me!” (42:36). But it wasn’t. Little did Jacob know that his son Joseph was very much alive, and that God was at work “behind the scenes” to restore his family. Their story illustrates how God can be trusted even when we can’t see His hand in our circumstances. Grant’s memoirs proved to be a great success and his family was well cared for. Though he didn’t live to see it, his believing wife did. Our vision is limited, but God’s isn’t. And with Jesus as our hope, “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). May we place our trust in Him today.
PQS Quality Corner Show Host Nick Dorich, PharmD, PQS Senior Manager of Pharmacy Accounts, recaps EQUIPP's appearance at three summer trade shows including McKesson IdeaShare, Cardinal's RBC, and AmerisourceBergen's Thoughtspot in 2023.PQS Team members that guest on this episode include Pharmacy Account Manager Patti Duda, Quality Programs Manager Stephanie Hale, and Sr. Director, Strategic Initiatives Ian Hubbell. They each share their experiences interacting with pharmacists and share the pharmacists' thoughts about new features and services offered in the EQUIPP® platform.
The NutrEval Profile is Genova's most comprehensive nutritional assessment providing a framework of core nutrients in the areas of antioxidants, B-vitamins, digestive supports, essential fatty acids, and minerals. This functional evaluation is aimed at assessing nutrient insufficiencies and biochemical individuality. In the Medical Affairs department, we are privileged to speak with clinicians every day to interpret test findings in clinical context, answer general questions about testing, and dive into the latest literature to expand our understanding too. On today's episode, we address the top 5 most frequently asked questions about the NutrEval. Although we are focusing on the NutrEval, these questions and answers can also apply to our other nutritional testing as well. Today on The Lab Report: 3:40 Do I need to stop supplements to perform testing? If so, for how long? 7:30 How does urinary creatinine affect findings? 11:00 What do the neurotransmitter metabolites tell us about the brain? 15:00 How do I interpret a NutrEval report that is released in two parts? 17:25 If the direct RBC magnesium result is normal, how is there still a magnesium recommendation on the nutrient recommendation page? – Similarly, if my serum B12 level is normal, why are there recommendations for more on the NutrEval? Additional Resources: NutrEval Subscribe, Rate, & Review The Lab Report Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode of The Lab Report, presented by Genova Diagnostics, with your hosts Michael Chapman and Patti Devers. If you enjoyed this episode, please hit the subscribe button and give us a rating or leave a review. Don't forget to visit our website, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Email Patti and Michael with your most interesting and pressing questions on functional medicine: email@example.com. And, be sure to share your favorite Lab Report episodes with your friends and colleagues on social media to help others learn more about Genova and all things related to functional medicine and specialty lab testing. To find a qualified healthcare provider to connect you with Genova testing, or to access select products directly yourself, visit Genova Connect. Disclaimer: The content and information shared in The Lab Report is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. The views and opinions expressed in The Lab Report represent the opinions and views of Michael Chapman and Patti Devers and their guests.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Fast-food restaurant worker Kevin Ford hadn’t missed a shift in twenty-seven years. After a video surfaced showing his humble gratitude for a modest gift he received to commemorate his decades of service, thousands of people rallied together to show kindness to him. “It’s like a dream, a dream come true, that nobody can even think of this,” he said when a fundraising effort brought in $250,000 in just over a week. Jehoiachin, the exiled king of Judah, was also the recipient of extreme kindness. He’d been incarcerated for thirty-seven years before the benevolence of the Babylonian king resulted in his release. “[The king] freed him from prison. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon” (Jeremiah 52:31–32). Jehoiachin was given a new position, new clothes, and a new residence. His new life was fully funded by the king. This story pictures what happens spiritually when, out of no contributions from themselves or others, believers in Jesus’ death and resurrection are rescued from their estrangement from God. They’re brought from darkness and death into light and life; they’re brought into the family of God because of the extreme kindness of God.
As the mask mandate requirements during the pandemic loosened, I struggled to remember to keep a mask handy for where they were still required—like my daughter’s school. One day when I needed a mask, I found just one in my car: the one I avoided wearing because it had “BLESSED” written across the front. I prefer to wear masks without messages, and I believe that the word on the mask I found is overused. But I had no choice, so I reluctantly put the mask on. And when I nearly showed my annoyance with a new receptionist at the school, I caught myself partly because of the word on my mask. I didn’t want to look like a hypocrite, walking around with “BLESSED” scrawled across my mouth while showing impatience to a person trying to figure out a complicated system. Though the letters on my mask reminded me of my witness for Christ, the words of Scripture in my heart should be a true reminder to be patient with others. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “You are a letter from Christ, . . . written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3). The Holy Spirit who “gives life” (v. 6), can help us live out “love, joy, peace” and, yes, “patience” (Galatians 5:22). We are truly blessed by His presence within us!
On a visit to Ireland, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of decorative shamrocks. The little green, three-leafed plant could be found in every store on seemingly everything—clothing, hats, jewelry, and more! More than just a prolific plant across Ireland, the shamrock was embraced for generations as a simple way to explain the Trinity, the historic Christian belief that God is One essence who eternally exists in three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. While all human explanations of the Trinity are inadequate, the shamrock is a helpful symbol because it is one plant made of the same substance with three distinct leaves. The word “Trinity” isn’t found in Scripture, but it summarizes the theological truth we see explicit in passages where all three persons of the Trinity are present at the same time. When Jesus, God the Son, is baptized, God the Spirit is seen coming down from heaven “like a dove,” and God the Father’s voice is heard saying, “You are my Son” (Mark 1:11). The Irish used the shamrock because they wanted to help people know God. As we more fully understand the beauty of the Trinity, it helps us know God and deepens our ability to worship Him “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).
Life magazine’s July 12, 1968 cover displayed a horrifying photograph of starving children from Biafra (in Nigeria during a civil war). A young boy, distressed, took a copy of the magazine to a pastor and asked, “Does God know about this?” The pastor replied: “I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.” The boy walked out, declaring he was uninterested in such a God. These questions disturb not only children but all of us. Alongside an affirmation of God’s mysterious knowledge, I wish that boy had heard about the epic story God is continuing to write, even in places like the former nation of Biafra. Jesus unfolded this story for His followers, those who assumed He would shield them from hardship. Instead, Christ told them that they’d surely face difficulties. “In this world you will have trouble,” He said. What Jesus did offer, however, was His promise that these evils weren’t the end. In fact, He’d already “overcome the world” (John 16:33). And in God’s final chapter, every injustice will be undone, every suffering healed. Genesis to Revelation recounts the story of God destroying every unthinkable evil, making every wrong right. The story presents the loving One whose interest in us is unquestioned. Jesus said to His disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace” (v. 33). May we rest in His peace and presence today.
It's always a pleasure to have Garrett Peck on our podcast. For years, Garrett was at the center of the Portland food world as GM and host at some of Portland's most prolific restaurants. He managed the Heathman, later Headwaters, as well as The Paley Group's other hotel properties, Imperial, Rosa Rosa and The Crown. When turmoil of 2020 put beyond a damper on the viability of those restaurants, Garrett and his wife Jonie sought greener pastures, which led them to Sisters, OR. There, they connected with some of Portland's other most successful restaurateurs, who also found central Oregon more to their liking. In 2022, the three opened RBC (Rancher Butcher Chef) with other investors. Now with a year under their belts, RBC is lauded as one of the states most successful restaurants, outside of Portland. Garrett shares with us some of the joys of central Oregon life, as well as the growth of Bend as a living and dining destination. Listen to the end for some of his faves in the area. www.rbcbend.com. Right at the Fork is supported by: Zupan's Markets: www.Zupans.com RingSide Steakhouse: www.RingSideSteakhouse.com Portland Food Adventures: www.PortlandFoodAdventures.com
Also in this episode:Sydney Lupton, Marketing Intern at Moneris co-hosts.Sean McCormick, Director, Business Development at Moneris shares some of our recent joint research with Angus ReidMatt Rovet, Senior Events Producer at Moneris talks about the upcoming Canadian Consumer Behaviour webinar.Links of Interest:Elevate 2023 FestivalCanadian Consumer Behaviour Webinar
Perhaps I shouldn’t have agreed to join Brian on a run. I was in a foreign country, and I had no idea where or how far we would go or what the terrain would be like. Plus, he was a fast runner. Would I twist an ankle trying to keep up with him? What could I do but trust Brian because he knew the way. As we started, I got even more worried. The trail was rough, winding through a thick forest on uneven ground. Thankfully, Brian kept turning around to check on me and warn me of rough patches ahead. Perhaps this was how some of the people in Bible times felt while entering unfamiliar territory—Abraham in Canaan, the Israelites in the wilderness, and Jesus’ disciples on their mission to share the good news. They had no clue what the journey would be like, except that it would surely be tough. But they had Someone leading them who knew the way ahead. They had to trust that God would give them strength to cope and that He would take care of them. They could follow Him, because He knew exactly what lay ahead. This assurance comforted David when he was on the run. Despite great uncertainty, he said to God: “when my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way” (Psalm 142:3). There will be times in life when we fear what lies ahead. But we know this: our God, who walks with us, knows the way.
In Beep Baseball, the players who are blind listen for a beeping ball or buzzing base to know what to do and where to go. The blindfolded batter (to account for various degrees of blindness) and sighted pitcher are on the same team. When a batter swings the bat and hits the beeping ball, he or she runs toward the buzzing base. The batter is out if a fielder “smothers” the ball before the batter makes it to the base; otherwise, the batter scores a run. One player remarked that the best part is that he feels “great freedom in running” because he knows there’s a clear path and direction. The book of Isaiah tells us that God, “the Upright One, [makes] the way of the righteous smooth” (26:7). When this was written, the path for the Israelites looked anything but smooth; they were experiencing divine judgment for their disobedience. Isaiah exhorted them to walk in faith and obedience—the often difficult but smooth path. Being concerned for God’s “name and renown” (v. 8) was to be their hearts’ focus. As believers in Jesus, we come to know more about God and build our trust in His faithful character as we follow His ways in obedience. Our path in life may not always look or feel smooth, but we can be assured as we trust in Him that God is alongside us and making a way. We too can feel freedom as we run in obedience on God’s best path for us.
I sat in the stillness of a workday’s end, my laptop in front of me. I should’ve been exhilarated about the work I’d finished that day, but I wasn’t. I was tired. My shoulders ached with the load of anxiety over a problem at work, and my mind was spent from thinking about a troubled relationship. I wanted to escape from it all—my thoughts wandered to watching TV that night. But I closed my eyes. “Lord,” I whispered. I was too tired to say more. All my weariness went into that one word. And somehow, I immediately knew that was where it should go. “Come to me,” Jesus tells us who are weary and burdened, “and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Not the rest from a good night’s sleep. Not the break from reality that television offers. Not even the relief when a problem has been solved. Although these may be good sources of rest, the respite they offer is short-lived and dependent on our circumstances. In contrast, the rest Jesus gives is lasting and guaranteed by His unchanging character. He’s always good. He gives us true rest for our souls even in the midst of trouble, because we know that everything is in His control. We can trust and submit to Him, endure and even thrive in difficult situations because of the strength and restoration only He can give. “Come to me,” Jesus tells you. “Come to me.”
In this episode, Pete interviews Nicky Billou, a #1 International Best Selling Author and a leading expert in activating profitable relationships and elevating entrepreneurial success. Nicky's impactful books, including "Finish Line ThinkingTM: How to Think and Win Like a Champion", “The Thought Leader's Journey: A Fable of Life” and "The Power Of Connecting: How To Activate Profitable Relationships By Serving Your Network," have resonated with audiences worldwide. Nicky's dynamic speaking engagements have left their mark on prestigious organizations like RBC, Lululemon, Royal LePage, and TorStar Media. He is the founder of eCircle Academy where he runs a yearlong Mastermind & Educational program working with Coaches, Consultants, Corporate Trainers, Clinic Owners, Realtors, Mortgage Brokers and other service-based Entrepreneurs, positioning them as authorities in their niche. He also hosts the renowned podcast, "The Thought Leader Revolution," where he's interviewed over 300 of the world's top Thought Leaders, including luminaries like John Maxwell, Seth Godin, and Marie Forleo. Join the conversation as Nicky Billou shares his insights on thought leadership, actionable strategies, and his journey to inspire and guide the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.
The timing couldn’t have been worse. After making a small fortune engineering bridges, monuments, and large buildings, Cesar had aspirations of starting a new endeavor. So he sold his first business and banked the money, planning to reinvest it soon. During that brief window, his government seized all assets held in private bank accounts. In an instant, Cesar’s lifesavings evaporated. Choosing not to view the injustice as a cause to complain, Cesar asked God to show him the way forward. And then—he simply started over. In one awful moment, Job lost far more than merely his possessions. He lost most of his servants and all his children (Job 1:13–22). Then he lost his health (2:7–8). Job’s response remains a timeless example for us. He prayed, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (1:21). The chapter concludes, “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (v. 22). Like Job, Cesar chose to trust God. In just a few years he had built a new business more successful than the first. His story resembles the conclusion of Job’s (see Job 42). But even if Cesar had never recovered economically, he knew his real treasure wasn’t on this earth anyway (Matthew 6:19–20). He would still be trusting God.
After raising money all year for a “trip of a lifetime,” seniors from an Oklahoma high school arrived at the airport to learn that many of them had purchased tickets from a bogus company posing as an airline. “It’s heartbreaking,” one school administrator said. Yet, even though they had to change their plans, the students decided to “make the most of it.” They enjoyed two days at nearby attractions, which donated the tickets. Dealing with failed or changed plans can be disappointing or even heartbreaking. Especially when we’ve invested time, money, or emotion into the planning. King David “had it in [his] heart to build” a temple for God (1 Chronicles 28:2), but God told him: “You are not to build a house for my Name . . . . Solomon your son is the one who will build my house” (vv. 3, 6). David didn’t despair. He praised God for choosing him to be king over Israel, and he gave the plans for the temple to Solomon to complete (vv. 11–13). As he did, he encouraged him: “Be strong and courageous, and do the work . . . for the Lord God . . . is with you” (v. 20). When our plans fall through, no matter the reason, we can bring our disappointment to God who “cares for [us]” (1 Peter 5:7). He will help us handle our disappointment with grace.
At the pastor’s invitation at the end of the church service, Latriece made her way to the front. When she was invited to greet the congregation, no one was prepared for the weighty and wonderful words she spoke. She had relocated from Kentucky where in December 2021 devastating tornadoes had taken the lives of seven of her family members. “I can still smile because God’s with me,” she said. Though bruised by trial, her testimony was a powerful encouragement for those facing challenges of their own. David’s words in Psalm 22 (which point to the sufferings of Jesus) are those of a battered man who felt forsaken by God (v. 1), despised and mocked by others (vv. 6–8), and surrounded by predators (vv. 12–13). He felt weak and drained (vv. 14–18)—but he wasn’t hopeless. “But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me” (v. 19). Your present challenge—though likely not of the same variety as David’s or Latriece’s—is just as real. And the words of verse 24 are just as meaningful: “He has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; . . . but has listened to his cry for help.” And when we experience God’s help, let’s declare His goodness so others can hear of it (v. 22).
It had been a few years since my long-time friend and I had seen one another. During that time, he’d received a cancer diagnosis and started treatments. An unexpected trip to his state afforded me the chance to see him again. I walked into the restaurant, and tears filled both of our eyes. It’d been too long since we’d been in the same room, and now death crouched in the corner reminding us of the brevity of life. The tears in our eyes sprang from a long friendship filled with adventures and antics and laughter and loss—and love. So much love that it spilled out from the corners of our eyes at the sight of one another. Jesus wept too. John’s gospel records that moment, after the Jews said, “Come and see, Lord” (John 11:34) and Jesus stood before the tomb of His good friend Lazarus. Then we read those two words that reveal to us the depths to which Christ shares our humanity: “Jesus wept” (v. 35). Was there much going on in that moment, things that John did and didn’t record? Yes. Yet I also believe the reaction of the Jews to Jesus is telling: “See how he loved him!” (v. 36). That line is more than sufficient grounds for us to stop and worship the Friend who knows our every weakness. Jesus was flesh and blood and tears. Jesus is the Savior who loves and understands.
No one ever died saying, ‘I’m so glad for the self-centered, self-serving, and self-protective life I lived,’ ” author Parker Palmer said in a commencement address, urging graduates to “offer [themselves] to the world . . . with openhearted generosity.” But, Parker continued, living this way would also meaning learning “how little you know and how easy it is to fail.” Offering themselves in service to the world would require cultivating a “beginner’s mind” to “walk straight into your not-knowing, and take the risk of failing and failing, again and again—then getting up to learn again and again.” It’s only when our lives are built on a foundation of grace that we can find the courage to choose such a life of fearless “openhearted generosity.” As Paul explained to his protégé Timothy, we can confidently “fan into flame” (v. 6) and live out of God’s gifting when we remember that it’s God’s grace that saves and calls us to a life of purpose (v. 9). It’s His power that gives us the courage to resist the temptation to live timidly in exchange for the Spirit’s “power, love, and self-discipline” (v. 7). And it’s His grace that picks us up when we fall, so that we can continue a life-long journey of grounding our lives in His love (vv. 13–14).
In his poem “The Witnesses,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882) described a sunken slave ship. As he wrote of “skeletons in chains,” Longfellow mourned slavery’s countless nameless victims. The concluding stanza reads, “These are the woes of Slaves,/ They glare from the abyss;/ They cry from unknown graves,/ We are the Witnesses!” But who do these witnesses speak to? Isn’t such silent testimony futile? There is a Witness who sees it all. When Cain murdered Abel, he pretended nothing had happened. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” he said dismissively to God. But God said, “Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand” (Genesis 4:10–11). Cain’s name lives on as a warning. “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother,” John the disciple cautioned (1 John 3:12). Abel’s name lives on too, but in a dramatically different way. “By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did,” said the writer of Hebrews. “By faith Abel still speaks” (11:4). Abel still speaks! So do the bones of those long-forgotten slaves. We do well to remember all such victims, and to oppose oppression wherever we see it. God sees it all. His justice will triumph.
The global sponsorship portfolio at UBS is rooted in culture and sport including contemporary Art, with Art Basel as the flagship property, and Motorsports, currently Team Partner of Mercedes AMG-Petronas Formula One team, in addition to regional platforms. Anneliese Mesilati oversees the UBS Arena naming rights agreement and the partnership with UBS Arena's anchor tenant—the NHL's New York Islanders. Additional programs include the Founding Sponsorship of PlayersTV, the first ever athlete-owned media network dedicated to showcasing sports lifestyle and entertainment content, and Global Lead partnership of Art Basel - regionally Art Basel Miami Beach. Alongside ideation, activation and management of regional sponsorship activities, Anneliese is focused on aligning initiatives with UBS's leadership in sustainable investing and commitment to “Reimagine the power of investing and connect people for a better world.” Prior to UBS, Anneliese has acted as a brand, marketing and communications lead for several financial services firms including Citi and RBC, among others. You can connect with Anneliese on LinkedIn and find out more about UBS at www.ubs.com EnjoySee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
“Is church over?” asked a young mother arriving at our church with two children in tow just as the Sunday service was ending. But a greeter told her that a church nearby offered two Sunday services and the second would start soon. Would she like a ride there? The young mother said yes and seemed grateful to travel the few blocks to the other church. Reflecting later, the greeter came to this conclusion: “Is church over? Never. God’s church goes on forever.” The church isn’t a fragile “building.” It’s the faithful family of God who are “members of his household,” wrote Paul, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19–22). Jesus Himself established His church for eternity. He declared that despite challenges or troubles facing His church, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 kjv). Through this empowering lens, we can see our local churches—all of us—as a part of God’s eternal and universal church, being built “in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!” (Ephesians 3:21).
Stocks posted gains as investors awaited results from the country's biggest retailers. And while there are plenty of reasons to think the consumer would be under pressure this season, a new note suggests there could be reason for optimism. Plus oil prices are pulling back, but gas is heading towards 52-week highs. What's next for the energy space? RBC's Helima Croft joins to discuss. Fast Money Disclaimer
When you listen to their stories, it becomes clear that perhaps the most difficult part of being a prisoner is isolation and loneliness. In fact, research reveals that in the state of Florida, regardless of the length of their incarceration, most prisoners receive only two visits from friends or loved ones during their time behind bars. Loneliness is a constant reality. It’s a pain I imagine Joseph felt as he sat in prison, unjustly accused of a crime. There had been a glimmer of hope. God helped Joseph correctly interpret a dream from a fellow inmate who happened to be a trusted servant of Pharaoh. Joseph told the man he would be restored to his position and asked the man to mention him to Pharaoh so Joseph could gain his freedom (Genesis 40:14). But the man “did not remember Joseph; he forgot him” (v. 23). For two more years, Joseph waited. In those years of waiting, without any sign that his circumstances would change, Joseph was never completely alone because God’s Spirit was with him (39:23). Eventually, the servant of Pharaoh remembered his promise and Joseph was released after correctly interpreting another dream (41:9—14). Regardless of circumstances that make us feel we’ve been forgotten, and the feelings of loneliness that creep in, we can cling to God’s reassuring promise to His children: “I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15).
When Mary Slessor sailed to the African nation of Calabar (now Nigeria) in the late 1800s, she was enthusiastic to continue the missionary work of the late David Livingstone. Her first assignment, teaching school while living among fellow missionaries, left her burdened for a different way to serve. So she did something rare in that region—she moved in with the people she was serving. Mary learned their language, lived their way, and ate their food. She even took in dozens of children who’d been abandoned. For nearly forty years she brought hope and the gospel to those who needed both. The apostle Paul knew the importance of truly meeting the needs of those around us. He mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:5 that there are “different kinds of service, but the same Lord.” And “we have different gifts” (Romans 12:6). So he served people in their area of need. For instance, “to the weak [he] became weak” (1 Corinthians 9:22). One church I’m aware of recently announced the launch of an “all abilities” ministry approach complete with a barrier-free facility—making worship available for people with disabilities. This is the Paul-like kind of thinking that wins hearts and allows the gospel to flourish in a community. As we live out our faith before those around us, may God lead us to fresh and different ways to introduce them to Jesus.
When Xavier was an elementary student, I drove him to and from school. One day, things didn’t go according to plan. I was late to pick him up. I parked the car, praying frantically as I ran toward his classroom. I found him hugging his backpack as he sat on a bench next to a teacher. “I’m so sorry, Mijo. Are you okay?” He sighed. “I’m fine, but I’m mad at you for being late.” How could I blame him? I was mad at me too. I loved my son, but I knew there would be many times when I’d disappoint him. I also knew he might feel disappointed with God one day. So I worked hard to teach him that God never has and never will break a promise. Psalm 33 encourages us to celebrate God’s faithfulness with joyful praises (vv. 1–3) because “the word of the lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does” (vv. 4–5). Using the world God created as tangible proof of His power and dependability (vv. 5–7), the psalmist calls on the “people of the world” to worship God (vv. 8–9). When plans fail or people let us down, we can be tempted to be disappointed in God. However, we can rely on God’s trustworthiness because His plans “stand firm forever” (vv. 10–11). We can praise God, even when things go wrong because our loving Creator sustains everything and everyone. God is forever faithful.
Guy and Danny discuss investors not paying enough attention to Japan (4:00), treasuries trading like biotech stocks (11:30), Upstart (15:30), Icahn Enterprises (19:30), and the shift from passive to active investing (24:30). Later, they are joined by Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC, to discuss the market reaction to inflation data (38:00), 2023 earnings estimates (41:00), interest rates (45:00), growth vs. value (47:30), energy (49:00), China/geopolitical risks (51:00), small caps (57:00), the yield curve (1:02:00), the AI craze (1:03:00) About the Show: On The Tape is a weekly podcast with CNBC Fast Money's Guy Adami, Dan Nathan and Danny Moses. They're offering takes on the biggest market-moving headlines of the week, trade ideas, in-depth analysis, tips and advice. Each episode, they are joined by prominent Wall Street participants to help viewers make smarter investment decisions. Bear market, bull market, recession, inflation or deflation… we're here to help guide your portfolio into the green. Risk Reversal brings you years of experience from former Wall Street insiders trading stocks to experts in the commodity market. Check out our show notes here Learn more about Ro body: ro.co/tape See what adding futures can do for you at cmegroup.com/onthetape. Shoot us an email at OnTheTape@riskreversal.com with any feedback, suggestions, or questions for us to answer on the pod and follow us @OnTheTapePod. We're on social: Follow Dan Nathan @RiskReversal on Twitter Follow @GuyAdami on Twitter Follow Danny Moses @DMoses34 on Twitter Follow Liz Young @LizYoungStrat on Twitter Follow us on Instagram @RiskReversalMedia Subscribe to our YouTube page
Robert Todd Lincoln lived under the extensive shadow of his father, beloved American president Abraham Lincoln. Long after his father’s death, Robert’s identity was engulfed by his father’s overwhelming presence. Lincoln’s close friend, Nicholas Murray Butler, wrote that Robert often said, “No one wanted me for secretary of war, they wanted Abraham Lincoln’s son. No one wanted me for minister to England, they wanted Abraham Lincoln’s son. No one wanted me for president of the Pullman Company, they wanted Abraham Lincoln’s son.” Such frustration isn’t limited to the children of the famous. We all are familiar with the feeling of not being valued for who we are. Yet nowhere is the depth of our value more evident than in the way God loves us. The apostle Paul recognized us for who we were in our sins, and for who we become in Christ. He wrote, “At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). God loves us because of who we are—even at our worst! Paul wrote, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (v. 8). God’s values us so much that He allowed His Son to go to the cross on our behalf. Who are we? We are God’s beloved children. Who could ask for more?
After an unsuccessful surgery, Joan’s doctor said she’d need to undergo another operation in five weeks. As time passed, anxiety built. Joan and her husband were senior citizens, and their family lived far away. They’d need to drive to an unfamiliar city and navigate a complex hospital system, and they’d be working with a new specialist. Although these circumstances seemed overwhelming, God took care of them. During the trip, their car’s navigation system broke down, but they arrived on time because they had a paper map. God supplied wisdom. At the hospital, a Christian pastor prayed with them and offered to help later that day. God provided support. After the operation, Joan received good news of a successful surgery. While we won’t always experience healing or rescue, God is faithful and always close to vulnerable people—whether young, old, or otherwise disadvantaged. Centuries ago, when captivity in Babylonian had weakened the Israelites, Isaiah reminded them that God had upheld them from birth and would continue to care for them. Through the prophet, God said, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you” (Isaiah 46:4).God will not abandon us when we need Him the most. He can supply our needs and remind us He’s with us at every point in our lives. He’s the God of all our days.
One day, a sixth-grade student noticed a classmate cutting his arm with a small razor. Trying to do the right thing, she took it from him and threw it away. Surprisingly, instead of being commended for her act, she received a ten-day school suspension. Why? She briefly had the razor in her possession—something not allowed at school. Asked if she would do it again, she replied: “Even if I got in trouble, . . . I would do it again.” Just as this girl’s act of trying to do good got her into trouble at her school (her suspension was later reversed), Jesus’ act of kingdom intervention got Him into good trouble with religious leaders. The Pharisees interpreted Jesus’ healing a man with a deformed hand as a violation of their rules. Christ told them if God’s people were allowed to care for animals in dire situations on the Sabbath, “how much more valuable is a person than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:12). Because He’s Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus could regulate what is and isn’t permitted on it (vv. 6–8). Knowing that it would offend the religious leaders, He restored the man’s hand to wholeness anyway (vv. 13–14). Sometimes believers in Christ can get into “good trouble”—doing what’s honors Him but what might not make certain people happy—as they help others in need. When we do, as God guides us, we imitate Jesus and reveal that people are more important than rules and rituals.
Business analyst Francis Evans once studied 125 insurance salesmen to find out what made them successful. Surprisingly, competence wasn’t the key factor. Instead, Evens found customers were more likely to buy from salesmen with the same politics, education, and even height as them. Academics call this homophily: the tendency to prefer people like us. Homophily is at work in other areas of life, too, with us tending to marry and befriend people similar to us. While natural, homophily can be destructive when left unchecked. When we only prefer “our kind” of people, society can fracture along racial, political, and economic lines. In the first century, Jews stuck with Jews, Greeks with Greeks, and rich and poor never mingled. And yet, in Romans 16:1–16, Paul could describe the church in Rome as including Priscilla and Aquila (Jewish), Epenetus (Greek), Phoebe (a “benefactor of many,” so probably wealthy), and Philologus (a name common for slaves). What had brought such different people together? Jesus—in whom there’s “neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free” (Galatians 3:28). It’s natural to want to live, work, and go to church with people like us. Jesus pushes us beyond that. In a world fracturing along various lines, He’s making us a people who are different together—united in Him as one family.
You wouldn’t think anyone would be excited about going to a place called Dismals Canyon to watch gnats. Yet this forest in northwestern Alabama attracts a number of tourists each year, many in May and June when the gnat larvae hatch and become glowworms. At night, these glowworms cast a brilliant blue luminescence, and thousands of them together create a breathtaking light. In a way, the apostle Paul writes about believers in Christ as glowworms. He explains that “you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8). But sometimes we wonder how “this little light of mine” can make a difference. Paul suggests it isn’t just a solo act. He calls us “children of light” (v. 8) and explains that we “share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:12). Being light in the world is a collective effort, the work of the body of Christ, the work of the church. Paul reinforces this with the picture of us “glowworms” worshiping together, “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:19). When we get discouraged, thinking our life testimony is just one little dot in a midnight culture of pitch black, we might take assurance from the Bible. We’re not alone. Together, as God guides us, we make a difference and glow a brilliant light. It seems that a whole congregation of glowworms might attract a whole lot of interest.