ME, Version 2.0, Cyborg Adaptation…


OK, not this drastic, but you get the idea!

Well, at my age I’ve done and experienced a lot of things. Living life is really about change and adjustment to times, events and places. For the past 12 months I have gone from a healthy active life to being permanently disabled. As I said, I’ve experienced a lot, but even so I find that there is always something new right around the corner. For example, this week I had my first surgery in a hospital and became a Cyborg.

If it weren’t for the pain experienced with the actual surgery, I would think it is a really neat thing. (Third day now and the pain is better). After all, I’ve been a lifelong fan of Science Fiction stories, but never thought I would actually join the Cyborg crowd. Now, if you are wondering, a Cyborg is defined the following way: “A person whose physiological function is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device”. Since I now have a small computer implanted in my back and electronic leads in my spine I guess I qualify (smile).

It’s amazing the way that technology can change your life, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. But as much as this new piece of technology is helping me already, it’s not the help I’m looking for. I’m looking for something more permanent. I’m looking for, (longing for as some would say), that time when this physical body will no longer matter.

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 encourages us with these words: “we shall all be changed,

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

Thinking about these verses the words, “Changed,” “Incorruptible,” “Immortality”, stand out to me. Those are important words in the life of a Christian aren’t they? You see they told me that my new Cyborg computer battery has an expected life span of 5-10 years and it has to be recharged every few days. None of those words from 1 Corinthians apply to what I now have or am and I want something better, more permanent. Don’t you?

That’s what is so great is something else I have implanted in me; it’s the Holy Spirit and Jesus living in me that confirms the promise to me that I will be “changed, incorruptible and immortal”. There is an old song I love that proclaims, “I’m going to live forever, I’m going to die no never, Jesus died on the cross for me and I’m going to live forever”. How are you doing in that relationship to the one who offers you life eternal? Cybernetic implants are great, but Jesus is better!

Russ Lawson


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The Challenge of our constantly changing lives…


Change in inevitable…

Change ahead sign

I have never met anyone who has a life that did not have an ever changing life. Granted, some of our lives change more often or more radically than others, but change is normal for our lives. We may face illness, surgeries, marital problems, financial problems; child raising problems, personal relationship challenges and then there are the good things, promotions, graduations, weddings, new houses, births and the list could go on and on. Change is part of our lives, and each change presents its own set of challenges.

Where do these changes come from?


Honestly, I don’t believe that God causes these challenges to happen in our lives, but perhaps there is a reason why so many of our prayers seem to go unanswered. There may be a reason why God doesn’t remove these challenges from our lives. A light went on in my mind the other day when I heard someone say on the radio, “God loves us just as we are, but he also loves us too much to leave us that way. He wants us to change and grow!”

Look to the future

Seeing the old way or the new way

In our church this year we have been dealing with the concept of being transformed by God…I believe that we are being transformed by God in our lives right now! Into what or in what ways I am uncertain. Does God have a plan; can he heal your illness or injury, could he interfere with the emotional or relationship challenges you face? Yes he could! Why doesn’t he? Why doesn’t he reveal his plan to you or me? I don’t have a clue, but perhaps there is a higher purpose that we are as of yet unable to see or understand

God is the answer

One of my all time favorite scriptures is found in Romans 8:28. I know you have heard it many, many times in your life, but it doesn’t change the truth of God’s words found there. The Apostle Paul, inspired by God, wrote these words, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”.

How could what is happening in our lives; possibly result in anything good? I don’t know! But this one thing I know, “God loves us just as we are, but he also loves us too much to leave us that way. He wants us to change and grow”. God wants us to transform in to someone that can love him and serve him with all that is in us. Change is never easy, but it can’t be stopped either. Paul puts the challenge to us in Romans 12:12 where he says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God”.

The bottom line as the saying goes: We need to accept the fact that things are going to change and get on with living your life the best you can for God.

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Independence Day (What do you want on your tombstone?)



It is in my nature to be political, perhaps like some of you. I am interested in what goes on in our country and how those in power govern us.

I believe that we have been granted the right to express our views and make our concerns known to our political leaders and others. We may not always agree with one another in our views, but that makes them no less important, yet should never be dividing as Christians today.

Do you remember the old television commercial, (advertising Tombstone pizza), which ask: “What do you want on your tombstone?

Let me share a story with you about a farmer, born in Kentucky, and raised in Indiana that eventually settled in Kansas. Nathaniel Grigsby who died in 1890 was an officer in the Civil War and a Republican through and through. He was also a friend and schoolmate of Abraham Lincoln while in Indiana. After the war around 1885, Grigsby returned to Kansas at the age of 74 and started farming. Before he passed, he made his family promise to bury him in the cemetery near Attica, Kansas. He also was specific about what his tombstone was to proclaim. Here is the inscription he dictated.

Tombstone with a statement!

Through this inscription I wish to enter my dying protest against what is called the Democratic party. I have watched it closely since the days of Jackson and know that all the misfortunes of our nation has come to it through this so called party. Therefore beware of this party of treason. (Put on this tombstone in fulfillment of promise to Deceased).”

You can agree or disagree with mister Grigsby, but the question we need to ask ourselves is: What will be on your tombstone? I’ve seen a lot of tombstones in my life that proclaim a lot of things. Things like “Loving wife and mother,” or “Beloved Father,” “Rest in Peace” and such sayings. One of the most interesting tombstone messages I have seen said, “Don’t laugh, you’re next”.

God showed  us what is really important in Ephesians 1:20-23 where He said: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

Yes, my political views are important to me, but not nearly as important as my Spiritual views because I know who is really in charge of our world. We celebrate once again, America’s Independence Day, but isn’t our independence from sin and death much more important. I often struggle to “keep my mouth shut,” regarding my political views and it is sometimes difficult. I try and respect the views of others, whether I agree with them or not. My goal is to have the message on my tombstone to simply declare me “A Christian,” because in the end it doesn’t really matter what you political views are, it matters how God sees the message of your life. What do you want on your tombstone?



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Oh Death, where is thy sting?




O' death where in your sting

As a minister for many years I’ve learned that death contains no sting for those who know God. I have been closely associated with death and dying most of my adult life. I have prayed with those close to death and held the hands of people as they breathed their last breath on this earth. I have experienced it up close and personal.

Some people refuse to acknowledge death and its reality, but whether it is from accident, disease or age we can’t stop it from touching us. It is as if some think if they just ignore it and it will pass them by. Some folks cover their fear of death with jokes or humor, but it does not stop its advance upon our lives. Death is one of those things which those of us who are wise enough, realize is but one breath away. As the saying goes, there are two things we can’t escape in our society, death and taxes. You may be able to cheat the tax man, but not death.

Hope in the clouds

I’m not trying to look at death morbidly, but realistically with hope! Death truly is a time of transition. For those who are Christians it is a time of hope, a time of going home, a time of finally opening our greatest gift. If you are not a Christian, then that’s a different matter entirely.

Let me share why I can look at death positively. First, because of the words of Jesus, he said he was going to prepare a place for us after death. No matter what your individual understanding of that is, it is a good thing, a promise from the creator of the universe that he is going to take care of us after death, (John 14:3).

Everyday is filled with new hope

Everyday is filled with New Hope


Second, I can look at death positively because of the testimony of the apostles as they wrote down God’s words for us. Men like Paul who describes the transition as receiving a new body like the one Jesus has in heaven and being forever with the Lord. Paul writes these words of comfort in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory (over death), through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Lazarus raised by Jesus

Third, I look at death in a positive light because of the testimony of some who have seen past the veil of death and shared that vision. I can’t speak to all of the books and movies on the subject, but I want to share this. Recently an older sister in Christ passed away. She had been a faithful member of God’s family for many, many years. I was told that when she died she said, “Look there is John and Nancy” (two of her close Christian friends), “and there is Joe”, (her husband who had preceded her in death), then she took her last breath and died. That gives me chills as I recount this happening, not in a bad way, but in a wonderful, heart filling way. It is a testimony to me that the promises are real. That in an instant, in the blink of an eye we are transported into a new wonderful world with God.

I was reading about a young boy who was clinically dead and was brought back. He was being shown a picture album of family and was shown a picture of an old man, a grandfather he had never met. He responded, “No, that’s not him,” but pointing to a younger picture of the man he said, “That’s him, I met him in heaven.”

As the words of the old hymn remind us, there will be, “No tears in heaven, all will be glory over there.” We don’t fear death as Christians, but understand the words of God, “Death has no sting,” only promise.

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A ticket to heaven… on the payment plan!



Do you have your ticket to heaven? I was talking to someone close to me the other day about the need to be more connected to God in their lives. The conversation was about the importance of reading your bible and attending bible study and worship periods at our church. I made a comment about wanting to be with them, (eventually), in heaven.

They understood completely and agreed, but just were not able to force themselves to make that commitment. They jokingly said, “I want to go to heaven, but can’t we work something out on a payment plan, rather than doing it all at once?

I understand where they were coming from. I understand the commitment that it takes to live your life in such a way as to be pleasing to God, (as much as you are able). It would be great if we could give ourselves to God just a little at a time, but it doesn’t work quite like that.

Honestly, I think there has been a change in our churches that coincides with the changes in our society. It appears to me, (from what I read and observe), that many more people today have a difficult time making a “Total Commitment” to anything. We seem to have forgotten what it means to commit ourselves to anything or anyone and then stick with the commitment.

Think about what you see in our world! Marriage, jobs, school, church, people just can’t seem to stick with anything anymore and these are just a few of the problems we see regarding commitment.

The sad thing is that this is a very real reflection of what takes place in many of our churches. The truth is that you can ask almost anyone if they love God and they will, (for the most part), reply “YES,” but their lives say something else. This is not a new problem is it?

We read of the Israelites in Isaiah 29:13, “…this people come near to me with their mouths, and give honor to me with their lips, but their heart is far from me…

It would be more agreeable to some to be able to “make payments” on heaven rather than making a total commitment, but that’s not what God asks of us is it? In Luke 18 a young man asks Jesus what kind of commitment he required. Jesus told him to sell everything he had and give it to the poor and then come and follow him. Jesus is not asking us to sell everything we have today, that was a specific instruction for a specific problem the man had. But the commitment requirement is no different. There can be nothing in our lives that keeps us from committing ourselves completely to God. Why? Because God doesn’t have a payment plan for heaven, he paid for the trip all at one time on the Cross. Now he expects us to respond with the same kind of commitment to him.

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God will take care of you


Do you really believe that God will take care of you? This morning for some unknown reason, the Lord caused an old familiar hymn to start running through my mind, (I guess He had a message for me). There is a good chance you have heard the words at some time, but just in case you haven’t I’ll share them here with you.

Be not dismayed whate’er betide, God will take care of you;
Beneath his wings of love abide, God will take care of you.

 Through days of toil when heart does fail, God will take care of you;When dangers fierce your path assail, God will take care of you.

 No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you; Lean, weary one, upon his breast, God will take care of you.

God will take care of you, Through every day, O’er all the way; He will take care of you, God will take care of you.

There are a lot of days that the world beats upon our door and Satan beats upon our heart. Disappointment and discouragement are their weapons of choice, but God can protect us from them if we turn to him. God will take care of you, (and me), when we truly lean upon Him for our strength and protection. But you know as do I that it’s often easier said than done, but that’s OK. When we finally realize that we can’t do it on our own and that we have no where else to turn our faith in God grows.

One of the passages speaks to me as I write this is what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:6-9:

“Seeing that it is God who said, Let light be shining out of the dark, who has put in our hearts the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this wealth in vessels of earth, so that it may be seen that the power comes not from us but from God; Troubles are round us on every side, but we are not shut in; things are hard for us, but we see a way out of them; We are cruelly attacked, but not without hope; we are made low, but we are not without help… (BBE)

The words of the hymn said: “God will take care of you, Through every day, O’er all the way; He will take care of you, God will take care of you.” Do we really believe that message? If not, maybe it’s time we start spending more time with our God… pray and read His Word, that’s how he talks with us and encourages us today. The more time we spend with him the more we will learn to trust in him.

Listen to the hymn here:

God Will Take Care Of You: Trust And Believe You Will Receive by [Iong, Shirley]


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Is it God’s Timing?


Is It God’s Timing?


In Ecclesiastics 3:1 we read:To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heavens”. As I read this passage again, I wondered if we really have any idea what this passage of scripture is about.  We think we do, but do we really ….

One translation puts it this way, “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.” That’s the way this verse is presented most of the time…. that things happen because it’s the time which God chose for them to happen.

Honestly, when I was younger that was the way I thought about this verse and AT TIMES it didn’t make me very happy, with the choices God was making for may life. It raised the question… “Why would God choose for this to happen to me at this time or any time?”

Have you ever felt that way? To be honest some of you have had to face some pretty difficult times in your lives.  It may be that you have lost husbands, or wives, or children to death or you have serious health issues which many are probably not even aware. It may be that you deal with the stress of being a caregiver or work for a demanding employer, maybe in a job you don’t like. Life is filled with frustrating times (seasons of change).

Just last week I met with yet another specialist regarding my back injury. He told me that he considered me permanently disabled and I would never be able to do any physical work. I have to admit that that statement hit me harder than I had imagined it would. In fact I’m still processing what that means to my life. Yet, I don’t believe for a minute that God caused this to happen to me. I have taught for years: That God does not interfere with our lives or make bad things happen to us.

I have often used Ecclesiastics 9:11 as proof of this idea…. “I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.” (ASV)


A modern translation puts it this way: “I realized another thing, that in this world fast runners do not always win the races, and the brave do not always win the battles. The wise do not always earn a living, intelligent people do not always get rich, and capable people do not always rise to high positions. Bad luck happens to everyone.” (GNB)


Now, looking back to Ecclesiastics 3:1 I would like you to understand something about this verse and the following verses. They are written by a man trying to give help us understand that: First there is a design or pattern to our world. And Second that we live in a world which is constantly changing. One paraphrase puts verse 1 this way, There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth” (The Message)

Here is what I am trying to say…. We can get mad at God at the changes in our lives; we can become like the fatalist that believe we have no choices in this life and therefore give up all hope. The other option is that we can struggle like the rest of the world, with the idea that things are going to change in our lives, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad and get on with our living our lives and try the best we can to serve God.

Pay attention to the words of Paul in this modern translation of 2 Corinthians 4:11-18 for herein we find the answer to the problems we face in this life.

“Throughout our lives we are always in danger of death for Jesus’ sake, in order that his life may be seen in this mortal body of ours. This means that death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

The scripture says, “I spoke because I believed.” In the same spirit of faith we also speak because we believe. We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus to life, will also raise us up with Jesus and take us, together with you, into his presence. All this is for your sake; and as God’s grace reaches more and more people, they will offer to the glory of God more prayers of thanksgiving. (Esp. Vs 16-18) For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.”

 My prayer is that you may find peace in your many seasons (changes) in your life.


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I had to laugh…


I had to laugh at myself

Laughing At Life

Laugh at the Changes in Life

I had to laugh at myself yesterday as I thought about the changes we go through in life… I remember as at age 10 or 11 I got a bicycle. Actually, I bought a beat up frame from a friend at school, then scrounged some wheels and tires and eventually had a working bicycle. I washed and polished that bicycle, I put a lot of time and effort into it. I earned saved money by cutting grass for people, (.50 cents per hour with a rotary push mower), and doing other work for the neighbors to buy accessories like plastic streamers on the handle bars or simple things like placing a playing card on the frame with a clothespin so that it made the sound of a motor (to my young ears).

About age 16 I graduated to the automobile which totally captured the imagination of the teens of our age. (Of course by then I was working summers bailing hay or as a laborer on a construction crew). We had “baby moon” hubcaps, chrome wheels, fuzzy dice, chrome tailpipe extensions and many other things. I think now they call it “Adding Bling,” but I may behind times in that term. We would gather together and wash and shine our cars as a group. We talked for hours about where we wanted to travel and how “neat” it would be.

At this point in my life I use a cane to help me get around due to a recent injury and in a small way I collect canes as does my oldest son. I have a hand made cane that one of my great uncles made and several years ago I bought one of my favorites, a cane fashioned from a crooked tree branch. There actually are a lot of “cane collectors,’ one of my friends has a project he is working on carving intricate designs on a large cane at this time.

My Cane

Well, don’t laugh, but I decided that maybe I would like to “add some bling to my cane”! I had an idea and went with Melody to Hobby Lobby and we bought a couple of very inexpensive doodads to put on my cane. I was standing there in the Hobby Lobby and started laughing. Melody said, “What the matter?” I told her I was just hit by the foolishness of the changes we go through in life. From a bicycle to a car to a cane and I am still tying to make it special.

My Bling

The Application

Now as I thought about that I wondered how much I was like the man in the parable told by Jesus, who decided to build a bigger barn in Luke 12. In Luke 12:15 Jesus said, “And He said to them, Watch and keep yourselves from covetousness. For a man’s life is not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.

Jesus went on to tell of the folly of a man who was only concerned about gaining more things. He ended the story by saying, “But God said to him, Fool! This night your soul shall be required of you, then whose shall be those things which you have prepared?

So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21).

Whether it is a bicycle, a car or a cane, perhaps a house or clothes or jewelry, no matter what it might be we are always faced with the truth of the old saying, “you really can’t take it with you.” What are you holding onto that may keep you out of heaven, what is in our life that can cause us to one day be called, “you fool” as we stand before God? You know, there is only a few letters difference between Cane and Vain….



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Desensitized to the Cross


I ran across a short story I had saved several years ago that goes like this: A lady on a commuter train was reading a newspaper article about life and death statistics. Fascinated, she turned to the man next to her and said, “Did you know that every time I breathe seven people die?” “Really!?” He said, “Have you tried mouthwash?”

151,600 People Die Daily

OK, I know that is a real groaner, but there is a lesson to be learned for us today. Globally there is an average of 151,600 people who die each day which translates into 105 deaths per minute. We average 16 breathes per minutes, so that means 7 people die in the time it takes for us to take one breath.

How does that affect us?

How does that translate into information that touches our world? Well, here we are at “Easter time,” once again. People have been focusing on the cross of Christ, but hopefully they have been more focused upon his resurrection. That’s what our hope is based upon isn’t it?

Are you desensitized?

As I thought about the “statistics” regarding death in our world, I began to think about the ramifications for those who live in our world. I did a search and found that from 2006 till now there have been 58,139,921,287 deaths portrayed in movies. Now, some would say that movies do not “desensitize” people to death, murder or killing in general, but I would not agree with that assessment. I think movies have a tremendous influence over people, especially young people. I believe that they learn that death is a thing to be taken lightly, because life really has no value.

Does the Death of Christ Touch Us?

So what’s my point? As Christians we are people of the risen savior, who understand the terrible nature of the cross and Jesus’ death upon it. If you have ever seen the movie “The passion of Christ”, you have some idea of the cruelty of His death. Yet, when you talk to some of our world about Jesus’ death, they don’t get terribly emotional. They don’t seem very affected by this sacrifice do they? I believe it is partly because of the influence of our entertainment industry and the desensitizing nature of the movies they produce.

Does Wickedness touch our lives?

There is one scripture that comes to mind that relates to this problem. In Psalm 101:3 the writer says: “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes.” It’s really a matter of choice isn’t it? We choose to go to certain movies. We choose to watch certain television programs. We have control over where we go as well as what we do and what we watch. I have been known to walk out of a movie before, (yes, even though I paid for the ticket). We have often turned off television programs because we made a choice not to set something wicked before our eyes or hear something wicked with our ears.

What is it going to take to change us?

I really believe that until we understand the true nature of Jesus’ death upon the cross we will never really appreciate His resurrection from the dead. Both are part of God’s plan for the atonement for our sin and the joining Jesus in the resurrection unto life eternal. That is what the Gospel message is truly about! That is where we find the power to go on in a sin filled world. As Christians we understand what God did for us and because of that we have no problem giving our lives for Him. (At least it should be that way.)

The message is not about our breathe, it’s about Christ?

Christ’s message to us was to go into the world and tell the message of the Gospel. Why? Because 7 people die every time you take a breath… and most of them never having heard or never really believing the story of the cross and the resurrection of our Savior. Perhaps it’s time we begin telling the story between breaths… what do you think? (Matthew 28:19-20)


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It’s all about trust!


This week our daughter-in-law posted something on Facebook about trust that I found interesting. She wrote: “Sometimes you just have to place your Isaac on the alter and just trust.” I understood her meaning to be that there were times in your life that you may not understand God’s purpose, but you believe in Him and trust in Him anyway. It’s truly about trust.

This really is a Bible (God led) concept…

Of course her reference was to Abraham and the time he was told to kill and offer his first born son Isaac as a burnt offering, (Genesis 22), it was all about trust. It turned out to be a test and he was not actually forced to sacrifice his son, but he didn’t know that when he was taking action to obey whatever God told him to do… it was a test of his faith!  Understanding all of this I replied, “Isn’t that the truth!” I said this because there really are times when we have to trust in God, even though we can’t see the final outcome ourselves. Our grandson, (her first born), however replied, “I’m not sure how I feel about this…(offering of the firstborn),” I love his dry sense of humor!

If you go back and read Genesis 22 you will see that God let Abraham get all the way to the point of actually raising the knife to kill his own son before He stopped him. He wanted to know how much Abraham trusted Him. In Genesis 22:12 we read of God speaking: “And he said, Let not your hand be stretched out against the boy to do anything to him; for now I am certain that the fear of God is in your heart, (trust me completely), because you have not kept back your son, your only son, from me.”

It really is all about trust!

There is so much that goes on in our world that we will never understand. We have no idea how God works or how he influences people or the powers that rule. It’s not up to us to try and understand it all is it? Again, it’s all about trust! We (as Christians), just believe that God ultimately has our best interests in mind.

God’s Word is consistent in this message.

That’s the power of one of my favorite verses that the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28. He wrote: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

God gives us examples

Paul could write these words because he understood from experience the idea of trusting that much…. He had put himself in God’s hands in utter and complete trust on more than one occasion. His life was threatened, he was thrown in jail, he was beaten to the point of being left for dead and was eventually killed for telling others about Christ. Yes, he understood what trusting in God was about, even when bad things were happening in his life.

Where is your trust?

Could it be time to place your Isaac on the alter of sacrifice? Could it be time to trust in God so much that you would give up your most precious thing for God? Can you give up that thing you are clinging to and turn your life over to God? You see the real issue is: “What is holding you back from giving yourself to God?” “What are you holding onto that is keeping you from serving God with unbridled trust?”

I can imagine Abraham pleading with God, “Let me offer myself, not the son I love,” because that’s what I would do. But Abram was a man of greater faith than I… perhaps he trusted God more than I do. He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to God, simply because God asked him to. What are we holding back from God? Where is our trust…..

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