The keys have been dropped. Freedom is here.


Over My Dead Body!

Posted on February 10, 2014 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Does your pain feel like a death sentence? Good!

I know - shocking, right?

What in the world do I mean by “good!”? How can the pain that I am experiencing--to the point of feeling like I'm dying--be good?

You may be thinking this is crazy talk!

My pastor dropped a bombshell during his sermon series on Galatians when he said, "He came to kill you and then to raise you to newness of life. Jesus came to kill you." He went on to ask, "Have you heard that from many pulpits today? That's so mean." Then he added, "He didn't come to make you better. He came to kill you. And then to raise you up so you are something completely different than what you were before." He reminded us again that Jesus did not come to effect a moral reformation, but a mortal resurrection!

If you are a Christian, you probably get the whole dying to live concept. You've been taught this concept, and the Bible speaks plainly about Christ's death and resurrection and how we must lose our life to have true life (cf. Matt 10:39, 16:25; Mk 8:35; Lk 9:24, 17:33; and John 12:25). You also understand that Jesus' death brought life--he was raised by the power of God and in his death by faith believers are made new, live eternally with him forever and find newness of life on earth. You also probably realize that Christ's death was necessary for your salvation (Rom. 4:25), and that by faith in Him, when you die you will be with Jesus eternally.

But, how is dying necessary for life...while you're living?

In writing to the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul makes a shocking statement. In speaking about his own suffering for the sake of Christ he writes about the purpose of pain and suffering and anything else that feels like death:

Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:9

Paul declares that although he felt like he was dying, he knew that God had a purpose for it all, that He would raise him up again, and that He would deliver him from death.

Dying to live. That's what Paul is talking about. The very death he felt was for the purpose of stripping away any self reliance he had. God rescued Paul from all of his misery in the midst of his misery by setting his sights on Jesus, his hope and deliverer. In essence - God killed Paul, raised him to newness of life and delivered him from himself.

That's freedom. The ongoing work of Jesus is to set people free. The freedom and newness of life I experienced in my salvation is the same freedom and newness of life I experience each time God kills me, resurrects me, and delivers me. Every hard place in my life is God's crucifixion of my idols, his resurrection power for my new life free from my idols, and my renewed hope in the One who delivers - Jesus.

Like Paul, I have felt at times that I received the sentence of death. It felt like my very heart would burst and my soul had nothing left in it. It felt like I was alone and afflicted on every side. But God knows that the one condition for a resurrection is death. His very purpose for my pain was to put to death my self-reliance, to put an end to my dependence on my own schemes and plans. God was and is planning my resurrection. He alone has raised and will raise me up to newness of life again and again, delivering me once more from the peril of death!

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. ~Romans 6:4

Why Is My Daughter So Judgmental?

Posted on December 30, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. She recounted comments her daughter made about an incident that took place in our church a while back. What was disconcerting to my friend was the judgmental tone her daughter took; in essence asking the question "How could someone do that?"

At that moment I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was reminded about the way my husband and I raised our own son. We home-schooled and the responsibility for choosing curriculum fell to me because I was the teacher. Each year I selected academic resources to accommodate my child's strengths and weaknesses. I then carefully chose bible studies and Christian growth programs I thought would instruct him in his Christian walk. All those years, I was intent on raising a morally upright Christian. I believed teaching appropriate outward behavior was of supreme importance and would assure us of producing a godly young man. I was more concerned with the appearance of Christianity. At the time, I believed I was doing the best I could with what I knew, but this kind of moralistic parenting is frightening, crushing, and void of Jesus and the freedom and grace he died to bring us. Then I understand why my friend’s daughter was reacting the way she did to the incident in our church. Could it be that her daughter received the same messages my son had?

Please don't misunderstand me - I am not saying virtues are of no value. And I'm not saying we should stop training up our children to walk the narrow path. But we run into problems when we concentrate solely on the character of our children. Their hearts are either crushed under the weight because they realize they can never attain to perfection so they give up, or puffed up and self righteous because they have physically kept the rules and feel good about themselves and look down on others that can't keep up.

Below is an example of how we should train our children just focusing on character. This particular list is specific to what a godly young man is.

A man who will “Fight the Lord’s battles".

A man who loves and is devoted to the cause and purpose of God.

A godly covenant man who takes that covenant seriously and walks in obedience.

A man with uncommon courage and backbone who loves liberty.

A man on God’s mission.

A man on pursuit of righteousness.

A man of godly character and integrity.

A man who has God at the center of all things.

A man of faithfulness.

A man who loves God, life and loves you.

A man whose intentions are pure.

A man who will honor you and who lives with you in an understanding way.

A man who commits his ways to the Lord.

There is a part of me that wishes it were possible- that all we need to do as parents is simply follow a carefully prescribed list of character traits to develop morally upright children. The problem is that this approach doesn't work. Motivation for right behavior never comes from a striving toward moral "to do's". When we raise children with the goal of producing upright Christians it will have one of two effects (as mentioned above): it will either lead to despair or it will lead to pride.

The answer to all of our parental questions about raising godly children lies in one word, One Name: Jesus. Our parenting must become more about what Jesus has done for sinners like us and our children and less about the need to develop character traits in them. Only then will they have the opportunity to experience real freedom: freedom from crushing demands, unreal expectations, prideful feelings, judgmental thinking, and the ensuing guilt that racks their troubled conscience.

Take another look at the list of ideals for a godly young man. Consider this: your children are unable to keep this list of godly character traits and desires. There is only One Man who perfectly kept this list; only one Man who committed his ways to the Lord; only One Man who rules His house well; only One Man who is of lowly spirit and laid down His life; only One Man who will honor you and live with you in an understanding way. There has ever only been One Man who will fight the Lord’s battles, who loves and is devoted to the cause and purpose of God, One Man who takes His Covenant seriously and walks in obedience. There has ever only been One Man with uncommon courage and backbone who loves liberty, only One Man on God’s mission, and One Man who pursues righteousness. There is only One Faithful Man, One who loves God and loves you; only One Man whose intentions are pure. Thank God for Jesus who alone has God at the center of all things!

Our children don't need another set of behaviors and character traits to learn, they need a Savior. A Savior who died for them, lived perfectly for them, and perfectly and unconditionally loves them. A Savior who knows their behavior and their character is not and never will be perfect, and yet runs to them, and calls to them with joy and delight and everlasting love!

The Stupid Comment Award Goes To...

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Actually there are two stupid comments that earn this "impressive" award. One is commonly directed at women, the other at men.

Stupid Comment # 1: “Put on your big girl panties." I am sure you've heard it before. It's been around. It is a common phrase of "encouragement" used in book titles and in subjects of poems and songs. But more and more I hear this phrase used in the context of sincere exhortation from one person to another. Have you heard it? Maybe someone has said it to you?

If someone has said this to you, I'm sorry. And for those of us who have uttered these words, we can do better; we can do much better. Now is the time to rethink this supposed gem of encouragement because really...It's not encouraging. At. All.

In fact, it can be used as a huge sledge hammer of law that speaks disaster for those who are already mired in guilt, shame, and self-condemnation. The underlying exhortation goes something like this: Your situation is not all that difficult, really. All you need is to dry your eyes, put on a smile, and go about your business - everything else will take care of itself.

Lyrics from this well know tune by Nat King Cole echo the same sentiment,

“Smile though your heart is aching/ Smile even though it's breaking/ When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by/ If you smile through your fear and sorrow”

And this poem dealing with life's difficulties,

“It's good to trust in others/ just know one thing is true/ The one you really count on/ Should always be......YOU./ So when someone let's you down/ Don't get in a snit/ Put on your "Big Girl Panties" ...../ and learn to deal with it.

In other words, the real pain and heartache you are feeling is an innocuous emotion you can pretend away—the pain and heartache are invalid. Anyone who has been beaten down by the difficulties in this life knows how ridiculous it is to think a smile will make a seemingly impossible situation all better.

I met with a woman recently who is struggling. Her marriage is difficult and an issue with her son is heartbreaking. She feels tossed around by life's sea of waves and while she still longs for control she knows she has no control - and it's scary. She talked, I listened. When she finished, I said, “I'm so sorry.”

I spoke with her again recently. She is meeting with a Christian counselor and she shared how the counseling is helping her sort through her emotions and her responses. Then she said, "Of all the things people have said to me, I most appreciate what you told me when we met last time...I'm sorry."

That’s it. No frilly words, no eloquent speech, and no exhortation, just two simple words: I’m sorry. Two words that communicated more empathy than anything else I could have come up with at that moment.

Stupid Comment #2: "Man up." This comment is one of those comments that seems so right and so necessary at certain times. I’m certain that it comes from a sincere heart. Have you heard it? Has someone said this to you?

Another way of putting it:"Step up." (As in, “you need to step up!”) Books and songs have been written and whole ministries are built upon this idea of "man up." I love the sincerity and the heart behind the message, but this simple phrase, like the comment above, is an uncompassionate plea to get yourself together.

If you would just start acting like a man--tough, in control, responsible, and strong--your problems would be solved, you will be respected, your wife will love you more, your children will respect you, and your church will now see you as acceptable and able to lead.

Telling someone to get their act together is like giving them a scalpel for the bullet lodged in their chest. They know something has to change (the bullet needs to come out) but they can't do it themselves. Urging them to get busy, roll up their sleeves, and start acting like a “man” sounds good, but will only lead to despair (I can't do it) or pride (look at well I'm doing). Practical exhortations are helpful but not apart from the life giving truth of the gospel that reminds sinners of their utter inability, while rescuing them with God's amazing grace, power, and forgiveness.

The Gospel Trumps Stupid Comments

Regardless of how I feel, the gospel is true. The gospel—the message about the person and work of Jesus Christ--is powerful when I am weak. He is faithful when I am unfaithful. The gospel trumps everything, including stupid comments. If you have been on the receiving end of one of these comments, I'm so sorry.

The gospel reminds us that we are weak--all of us—and that none of us act in ways we should. The gospel liberates us in a way that nothing else can. We are set free from the burden of having to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and smile, or be strong for others. We know all too well the truth that we're not getting it done--the bible reminds us “As it is written: None is righteous, no, not one” (Rom 3:10).

The gospel reminds us that we are just like everyone else and when we are tempted to give in or give up we can remember the liberating truth that God is patient with us in the midst of our difficulties. His love knows no bounds and he is always coming toward us with compassion and forgiveness. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jer 31:3).

On those days when smiles won't come, when our weakness overpowers us and when we can't see our way through to the other side, the gospel reminds us that our weakness is actually our strength.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor 12:9)

On those days when we are deeply tempted to exhort our neighbor to put on her big girl panties or to man up, may we remember our weakness and that Christ is our strength in that weakness; and may we sit with our neighbor, in their mess, uttering only, “I'm so sorry.”

The Good Good News

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Boy, do we need grace and peace in our lives! Are you like me? Do you feel rushed and overwhelmed, forgetting details because your mind is overflowing with everything on the “to do list?” It seems that everywhere I turn, people are feeling the same way–there’s too much to do and too little time to do it. Not to mention our disordered priorities; the things that need to get done, don’t–we’re too distracted with the mundane and insignificant details of daily life.

My husband and I recently experienced this as we traveled over a long weekend to visit family. We both remarked at the end of our trip, “we had left God at home”. Of course, that is not possible! One of my favorite names for God is Immanuel, God with us. So while I know the God is always with us, it played out differently on our trip. All the planned activities for the weekend took over. We found ourselves letting lesser things get in the way. What should have been a priority had been relegated to the bottom of the list! Does that happen to you? Do you intend to have a morning devotion time, but instead oversleep? Do you plan on purposeful meal time, ushered in with prayer, but instead the meal time turns into a rushed “drive-thru” dinner? Does your weekday evening schedule mean no time for prayers with your spouse or children?

If you answered yes to all of those questions, don’t fret, I have good news for you! And it comes straight from the gospel.

My pastor stands before us each week proclaiming this good news: Christ came to set the captives free. He continually “feeds” us the gospel, with the liberating truth that Christ has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. You may be asking yourself – yes, but what does that have to do with ‘leaving God at home” over a long weekend?

Here’s the deal: – the standard that God requires is perfection. Jesus said,

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:4)

It is an undiluted, inflexible standard. It’s not good enough to say: I’m getting better or I’m trying... There is only one standard and it’s perfect holiness (period).

That’s why Christ came. He lived the life that you and I never could. His sinless life and spotless record is counted towards our sinful and lawless account. Our imperfection, our best intentions, our failed plans—all of it--exchanged for Christ’s perfection, His pure motivations and perfectly executed days! That’s good news, isn't it?

Speaker and author Elyse Fitzpatrick puts it this way:

“There is enough law obeying in Christ’s life to cover every law I break. Jesus Christ answered all the demands of the law in my place.”

Condemnation and guilt no longer have power over you, because Christ answered all the demands; the law can no longer condemn you! If you are in Christ, you are free from all the guilt and regret and condemnation you’ve been carrying around.

This truth alone set me free from that weekend vacation visiting family. As I thought about that weekend, I found myself weighed down with guilt and shame for choosing lesser things and not God the entire weekend. But the freedom in the gospel reminds me: yes, I did choose lesser things; but I will always choose lesser things because the standard is perfection and I will never attain that. So the gospel comforts my weary soul with the refreshing good news that Christ is my perfection. In Him I can rest because the perfection I long for, the “rightness” I am seeking, and the forgiveness I desperately need I already have.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).

You see, apart from Jesus and his righteousness we are all left to our own work to be perfect. But God, being rich in mercy sent His Son to rescue us from ourselves. Free from guilt and shame and free to love and serve because of the great and unending love of Christ!

That’s good news, isn’t it?

Injustice and Justice Meet at the Cross

Posted on August 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (1)

I came to faith at age forty. I remember how I longed to experience everything my new Christian life had to offer. I knew God saved me for a purpose. I was not exactly sure what that purpose was, I just knew I was anxious to make my stand for Jesus. I labored to produce the good fruit that I knew would please God. I actually called my stepsister, the only Christian in my family at the time, and asked her if she would join me in evangelizing all of our family members over the course of a thirty-day period. We would divide and conquer--for Jesus! Thankfully, she graciously declined. Evangelizing my family is a good thing; following a checklist and calendar to do it, is not. My burdens were heavy as I sought to live up to my potential as a child of God; I fought for causes and stood my ground, sure that I was right – I had Jesus on my side. Only problem was, everything I was doing wasn’t about the gospel; it wasn’t about loving people. I had lost sight of the One who took the only “right” stand. I missed the One who truly stands for justice, because he is Justice himself. In my pursuit to make my case and argue for the defenseless, to be an advocate, I left out the One Pure Advocate: Jesus Christ. Jesus has fought every battle, defended every small, weak and defenseless human being, and won all wars, battles, and injustices known to humankind. He is perfect Love, perfect Judge, perfect Mediator, and perfect Defender. He loves with an everlasting love that holds no record of wrongs.

The Cross

My motivations are impure, and so are yours. Our desires are selfish and our attitudes are judgmental. We grow weary and at times lazy, and our wanderings into social justice arenas amount to starts and stops. We get discouraged and grow apathetic. We want to see change and grow impatient when we do not. Yet, in our attempts to help others, we are trying to help ourselves; we are the homeless, helpless, and destitute people. We are all addicted, lawbreaking scoundrels. No amount of sprucing up our exterior can hide the fact that our hearts are prone to wander, and they generally end up in the bad part of the neighborhood. The good news, however, is that Christ has accounted for all this and more. At the cross, the sins of the world are taken away.

At the cross, Christ undertakes what God’s justice requires for sinners: death. Does that sound unjust? It should. It is not the way our world operates. People have to pay for their own mistakes. In this world, fair is fair. God’s kingdom is set up differently. His ways are not our ways, thankfully. “‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine’” (Is 55:8). Injustice rushes toward the cross with all the fury from the angry mob driving it. They were fighting their cause, taking their stand. They knew they were right, and this man would pay, he would pay! All of their anger and cries for blood worked. They fought and they won the victory, He would be crucified at their demand. Yet, all those who cried out, “crucify him,” would be counted together with every other sinner throughout history. Those who cried out for his blood are the very ones his shed blood would free. Christ died to take away their sin and yours, too. For those who cried out for his blood; for those who take stands with impure motives and self-righteous claims; for those who miss him in the midst of the fight; for all the ways we get it wrong; Christ knows. He did not die because we had it all together nor did he pay the ultimate sacrifice for our perfect motives. Knowing our imperfections and selfish motives, he comes; he comes to you and to me. He calls us friend. He calls us beloved. Justice met injustice on the cross, and being found in Christ, we are now free.

Healthy People

Posted on July 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Healthy People Don't Need a Doctor

I had a great conversation with a friend a while back. He shared with me what God has been teaching him about resting in the amazing grace and freedom of Christ. He admittedly does not have it all figured out, but as I listened to him my heart burst with joy and gratitude for what God is doing! It's a big deal when we begin to grasp the freedom and liberty we have in Christ. His comments reveal the gospel taking root in his heart expressing itself in love.

Contrast that conversation with one I had a few days later with another friend. She is tired of talking about grace. Her comments reveal a fundamental misunderstanding among Christians about grace, a basic confusion about the gospel, and our need to be reminded of it every moment of every day. We are prone to forget it; when we do, our hearts waste no time in heading straight for the "be a better Christian" program which always leads to the inward focused questions of "Am I growing? " and "How am I doing?"

These two conversations couldn't be more polar opposite. One conversation reveals a heart being set free from having to get it right and to prove one's own worth and value. The other demonstrates a heart set on defending a righteousness of their own and looking for more ways to accomplish or "build" worth and value.

I am reminded of how the bible portrays the condition of the heart by contrasting those who know their need of a Savior and those who believe they're doing just fine: the prostitute and the Pharisee, the older brother and the younger brother in the story of the prodigal, and the publican and the tax collector. The Bible is replete with examples like these. Jesus spoke of them when he said:

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

I Am Capable

Why is it that we're prone to believe the lie that says we can help ourselves, and that our self-help is actually working? One reason is our ability to turn everything into a moral ladder to climb. We are giddy to complete checklists and we listen to the Christian culture around us shouting tantalizing solutions to our deepest desires. Want a Deeper Prayer Life? - 10 Easy Steps. Need a More Consistent Quiet Time? - 30 Days to Build the Habit of Morning Devotions. Longing for a more meaningful relationship with God? - 3 Steps to Memorizing Scripture.

Here's how it plays out: we sign up for Moral Self-Improvement Project 101. We move along this path with the hopes of becoming more and more spiritually mature. As a result, we believe we are improving and mastering the basics. But that's not enough. Now, we move on to Moral Self-Improvement Project 201. But it doesn't end there. As we continue to complete all of the required assignments, we move up to the next rung, and, each step of the way, we believe that we are advancing toward a level of acceptability. We tell ourselves that not only are we of more value to those around us but that we have attained to an acceptable level before God.

While no one would confess that they were perfect, most of us would say, "I'm certainly way ahead of say, Charles Manson for goodness sake!" By looking around and comparing ourselves to others, we determine, "I must be doing O.K.".

I Am Really Not All That Capable

The truth is the Moral Self-Improvement classes are a disaster and they are impossible to pass!

They look so easy and promise such fulfillment and satisfaction but they deliver an endless uphill climb which leads to the "top". They're moving targets so you can never be sure when you've climbed high enough. You're always left with questions about your performance.

Was I kind enough, loving enough, forgiving enough? Were my thoughts pure enough, my motives genuine enough, my giving sacrificial enough? Is my marriage a testimony for others that draw them to Christianity? Was I concerned enough for my neighbors, gracious enough with my grandma, compassionate enough with my toddler? Am I even in the ballpark with keeping up with my friends and staying in touch with my family? Have I evangelized my children's friends and do my kid's teachers' know Jesus as a result of knowing me?

The demands never seem to cease. My deeds never seem to satisfy. My guilt and overwhelming feelings of failure drive my soul to despair, “I’m not being good enough!" Like Paul I cry out "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Rom 7:24).

Who Will Deliver Me?

All of my attempts to either justify myself by my right behavior or give up because of my bad behavior are vain on both accounts. Neither will accomplish for me what I need. The reality is, "I" am not the solution. Nothing in me, nothing I do, and nothing I can accomplish will ever be "right" enough, and no amount of guilt, hand wringing, or regret will ever change that because the only solution to my problem has to come from the outside of me. To the question at hand "who will deliver me?" the apostle Paul answers, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

In his book, Who Will Deliver Us?, Paul F. M. Zahl comments, "Progress in our lives is not principally a matter of new experience or new knowledge. It is rather a fresh returning, in every new round of events, to a very old conviction: Christ died for our sins." This news, that Christ died for my sins, is the good news my sin sick soul needs to hear every moment of every day. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost" (1 Tim 1:15). All of my defending, all of my striving, and all of my hand wringing is null and void at the cross. Like Paul I can cry out in anguish "who will deliver me" and with great relief and joy add, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ my Lord!"

I Don't Have My Act Together

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I am always in need of a fresh reorientation to the gospel that assures me I am loved and accepted in spite of my weakness. I need help from the outside of myself; when I am left to my own devices, I become inward focused and obsessed with my feelings, my discontent, my weariness, and my inability to handle everything.

My pastor once shared a question he was asked at a leadership conference: "What one word would you use to describe leaders today?" Without hesitation he responded, "Tired."

That's how I often feel. Tired. As much as I love my job, I have felt burdened and that burden weighs heavy and takes its toll. My brain is full of hard and terrifying facts of life shared with me by women in crisis. My heart is broken for children and families ripped apart by abuse, addiction, and anger. My body is exhausted from the emotional involvement and the unrelenting need of those around me.

I would love to say that my theology solves the problem of the physical burden and weariness, once for all. Jesus says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt 11:28). I know this rest that Jesus promises is true and real, and I know I have experienced it in my life. But, I need to experience it again, anew.

I need the refreshment of the gospel to penetrate my sin sick and weary soul once more—and not just once, but everyday. I need a gushing rush of God's grace to overflow my heart and remind me that it's not up to me, but up to Him. I need help to remember that it's precisely in the midst of my weakness and my burdens that God's grace is at work.

You see, God is not waiting for me to finally "get my act together." To be honest, that's exactly what I'm waiting for. I would be so pleased with myself if I could say I wasn't stressed, tired, or burdened and that I handled everything in stride. I wish I could say that I don’t contemplate all the ways I screw up, say the wrong things, and forget to say the right things. If I could just get my act together, I'd have no more regret, guilt, or condemnation. Well, now I'm finally getting somewhere! Come to think of it, I’d have no need for a savior.

But the fact is I don’t have my act together, not in the slightest.

The glorious, welcoming, and soul satisfying truth is that all my weariness and all my heaviness is meant for one thing: to point me to my need for Jesus. If I could get my act together and deal with all that comes my way, I would. But I can't. That's why I need Jesus. He alone is the answer to every unmet need that walks through my office door, and every one of my burden stained tears that hits my pillow. And so, until the time that God takes me home, I will "proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes" (1 Cor 11:26). This is not some trite religious statement, void of power. This proclamation reminds me of my great need for a Rescuing Redeemer. I am not proclaiming my own self sufficiency but Christ's sufficiency on my behalf. His body, His blood, poured out for me. His life, His power for me. His return, His victory for me. His redemption, His re-creation of me.

In my weakness, I can stand because of His strength. In my burdens and toil, I can rest because of His love and acceptance of me.