How Should Christians Respond to Evil? Part 2 – January 15, 2021

One need not live long before they come to the recognition that we live in a fallen world. Evil is all around us. Even as we attempt to do good and live godly lives, we can suffer as though we are evil doers. With the current events, we began last week to look at the Christian response to evil. From Habakkuk we were reminded to trust God’s faithful sovereignty in the midst of dark days. Yet, there is another important text we must consider which gives us the action steps which we must take when people commit evil against us. We find these action steps in Romans 12:14-21: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. … 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

When evil people prevail and begin to wrong us, we must respond in a distinctly Christian way. Paul informs us first that we must not curse them but rather we must bless them. This deals with the way that we speak about them. We are not to demean them or speak ill against them. Rather we are to praise them. We see also that we are not to repay their evil with evil. We cannot play the card we hear so often, “You didn’t have a problem when you did it.” Instead, we are to maintain our integrity and acta s a Christian. We are not to seek to avenge ourselves. We must leave our reputation to God. All this seems impossible.

Until we remember who God is. Paul reminds us that God is a just God who will not leave sin unpunished. This text comes on the heels of chapter 11 in which Paul reminds us that God is the sovereign God in control of all things. Therefore, we can trust him and rest in Him. Thus, Paul concludes. We don’t need to be overcome with evil. Rather, we respond with good. Keep doing right.

In our world today it can be easy to buy into the myriad of conspiracy theories and the drama of the news. It can be easy to fall prey to the sensationalism and extremism of social media. It can be easy to become bitter about the friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker, or church member who sinned against us. Our response to this evil is not bitterness, revenge, or hand wringing. Our response must be faithful obedience to God’s Word through humble service to others for the spread of the Gospel and the discipling of the saints. This is our call. Overcome evil with good.

How Should Christians Respond to Evil? – January 8, 2021

Considering current events, it is important for Christians to ask how we are to respond when we believe that evil is marching forward unchecked. For, how Christians should respond to evil and how the world and frankly many Christians today are responding to evil stand opposite to one another. As I have watched events unfold, I have thought many times, “This would be a good time for Christians to read Habakkuk.”

In chapter one, Habakkuk presents to God a complaint that we have all spoken recently. Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (vv. 1-4). We see evil reign around us. We see injustice. We see violence. We see contention. We see laws fail to work. We see laws we feel are wrong enacted. Justice seems perverted. We cry out, “Where are you God?”

Through the end of chapters one and two, God and Habakkuk engage in an interesting back and forth. God begins by informing Habakkuk that he has not lost control and that evil will not go unchecked. Instead, God would send the Babylonians to take Judah into captivity. Understandably, Habakkuk is appalled. How can God use the evil Babylonians to take God’s people into captivity? This seems even more unjust. God’s response is that He would also deal with the Babylonians in His good sovereign time. God does not overlook evil. He can deal with it better than any man.

This back and forth concludes with the most important sections for Christians today. In Habakkuk 2:20 God declares, But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. God still reigns. He has not left his throne. Even when evil rules and justice seems perverted, God’s sovereign plan marches forward unscathed. Rather than question God, we ought to trust God. Christian, trust God not man!

Habakkuk then demonstrates the Christians response. I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. 17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (3:16-19). Habakkuk’s circumstances had not changed for the better in any human mind. Yet, Habakkuk recognized God’s faithful plan. Therefore, he could rest and rejoice in God. Though evil may come, though persecution may result, Christian, rejoice in God!

Christian, we are not called to respond to injustice and evil with anger and vengeance. We are not called to riot and revolt. We are called to rejoice in God. Sadly, many Christians today are responding with anger, despair, fear, and frustration. This happens because we have taken our eyes off the throne of God. God is in control. We are called to obedience.

So, we don’t respond to evil with evil. Rather we overcome evil with good (Romans 12:14-13:7). Good does not look like anger and vengeance. Good does not look like complaints of injustice. Good does not look like protests and riots. Good means sacrificially serving those around us. We trust God even when we believe that evil is reigning. God sovereignly places rulers in power (Daniel 2:21). Therefore, we need not fear or fight. We can submit and trust. We don’t place our hope in politics or personalities. We don’t place our hope in demonstrations or riots. We place our hope in the reality of God’s Kingdom. He is our stability. We remember that God’s Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We serve that kingdom first. We are citizens of that Kingdom above all. This means that we approach the evil and the politics of this world differently. This means that every argument we make is bolstered by Scripture used in its context. This means that we are not tossed about with every change in the world, but we are anchored steadfast to the unchangeable reality of God’s eternal Kingdom.

Let me challenge you to be different in these sad days. Instead of responding with anger or despair (in your heart, in your conversations, or on social media), respond with patient hope and trust. Fill every argument with Scripture used in its context. Turn off the news and open God’s Word. Get off social media and share the Gospel. Live a life which honors God. Rejoice in the Lord!

Should I Get the COVID Vaccination? – January 1, 2021

Over the past few weeks, I have been asked several times about the COVID vaccination. As a Christian, should I get it? Let me state the obvious at the outset, I am not a medical doctor or an epidemiologist. As I have answered this question, I have sought to do so as a pastor, not a doctor. This means that I will not pretend to know things that I don’t have the qualifications or knowledge to answer. My goal is simply to give Biblical principles to help us answer this question in a biblical way as we sort through all the information. As we consider vaccinations in general, and the COVID vaccination specifically, there are several important Biblical principles which ought to guide our decision making.

The first principle comes from the creation mandate. At creation, God placed man as the overseer of creation. He gave man the mandate to practice dominion over creation. Genesis 1:28-30 – And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. The idea of dominion means to bring into subjection. After the fall, this mandate necessitated the idea of battling against disease, illness, and viruses. Biblical Christians hold the concept of medical health in high regard. This is why throughout history, everywhere Christianity advanced, you also saw hospitals and doctor’s offices follow. Vaccinations serve to help that dominion mandate. As we consider COVID, we ought to pray for medical advances that will help us overcome the virus. It is possible that these vaccinations do just that.

We must also consider the principle of life. Biblical Christians support life from conception until death. This is important as we consider vaccinations. What methods were used to develop this vaccination? Some methods involve embryonic stem cells harvested from aborted babies. As Christians, we must decry this method as not only unethical, but sinful. As far as my research has discovered, this method was not used in any of the COVID vaccines. But what if we discover it was? How far does the transmission of guilt extend? Am I guilty of supporting the abortion industry by receiving a vaccination developed with these methods? This leads us to another important principle.

We must consider the principle of conscience. Romans 14 informs us that whatever is not of faith is sin. If I believe that by receiving a vaccination developed through sinful methods is sin, then for me, it is sin. However, because this is indeed a gray area, we ought to be careful about judging the spirituality of those who disagree with us. Be sensitive to and do not violate your conscience.

We must also consider the principle of expediency. Just because we can does not always mean that we should. Neither does it mean that we should not. It is not wrong to question the safety of a vaccination which has been developed so quickly. You must ask if this is the best course of action? Are you prone to allergic reactions to the vaccination? Are you at risk for the side effects of the vaccination?

This leads to what I call the principle of expertise, or the principle of wisdom. In today’s culture, everyone’s opinion is valued the same as everyone else’s. Let me be blunt, this is foolishness. God has gifted different people in different areas. Through the gifts of their intellect, God sovereignly directed individuals to learn and grow in specific areas. We ought to value those individual’s opinions in those areas above the opinion of the novice. With the COVID vaccination, this means that I value the opinion of my doctor above the opinion of my Facebook friend. Do your research, listen to experts, ignore your social media.

Finally, we must consider the principle of love. There are two important aspects to this principle. First, we must consider those around us. How will my failure to get vaccinated impact those around me? Am I around those who are at great risk of the virus? Will my failure to get vaccinated signal a lack of love to those around me? Second, we must consider how we interact with our fellow believers. Romans 14 informs us that God is the judge. If someone insists on vaccination, then I must show love to them and not condemn them. If someone insists on not getting vaccinated, then I must show love to them and not condemn them.

From a Christian perspective, should I get vaccinated? I believe that the answer is “maybe.” We certainly ought to support the objective of the vaccination: dominion over creation through medical intervention. We should investigate the expediency and safety of the vaccination. We should do so in the proper places (NOT Facebook). We should consider our conscience in the issue. We should consider the impacts of our decision on those around us. And we should seek how to best love one another. Above all, we should treat one another with love and respect and brothers and sisters in Christ. Personally, I don’t know what I will do when the vaccination becomes available to me. These are the principles I am working through and praying through as I consider it.

For a better written Christian perspective, I would recommend the following article. Although he comes to a slightly different conclusion, I appreciate his Biblical methodology and perspective. Vaccines and the Christian Worldview: Principles for Christian Thinking in the Context of COVID –

Our Redemptive God – December 25, 2020

Christmas is about redemption. Peter informs us, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus himself stated, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17). Jesus did not come as our example or as a good teacher. He came to save the world. As we gather this morning and exchange gifts, we must remember the most important gift of all: the gift of eternal life.

Our God is a God of redemption. Mankind willingly rebelled against him. Yet, instead of destroying us in wrath, “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So, you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 4:4-7).

That baby we think about in the manger came for the specific purpose to die for your sin. This was the angelic message to Joseph. The angel commanded Joseph, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). This was no ordinary baby. This was the pinnacle of history. This was the fulfillment of prophecy. This was the answer to sin. This was the promised seed of Genesis 3. This was our redemption.

A look at the false gods throughout history revealed them to be angry and vindictive. But that is not our God. He is redemptive. The false gods demand that we sacrifice our children for them. But our God sacrificed His Son for us. False gods require penance and suffering for acceptance. Our God took our suffering on Himself and requires only faith from us for acceptance. Our God is a redemptive God.

Many families follow fun Christmas traditions: The elf on the shelf, Santa Clause, Christmas Lights, etc. Christian families should follow another greater tradition: taking time throughout the Christmas season to remind us of the redemption that Christmas represents. My own family does this through an advent tree which involves a different Scripture reading every day through December leading up to Christmas Day. This is one of the most important Christmas traditions in my family. It reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas: our redemptive God.

Our Incarnate God – December 18, 2020

At Christmas we celebrate the amazing reality of our Incarnate Christ. Incarnate means that God took on human flesh. He became a human. John 1:17 informs us that the Word took on flesh and dwelt among us. An early heresy stated that God did not actually take on human form. He just appeared to have a human form. However, Peter states that their hands touched him. Jesus was actually born, actually lived, actually died, and actually rose again. God took on a human body.

In order to understand this, we must recognize several important aspects. We must recognize God as our creator. God specially formed the first humans and tasked them with dominion over the creation. However, they rebelled against God their creator. All humans since have also rebelled against God their creator (including you and me). But God did not respond how one would think he would. Instead, He became his creation. Over 2000 years ago, God took on human flesh. He did this so that he could die in our place, take our punishment for this rebellion on himself, and justify mankind. Through this sacrifice, we have a restored relationship with God.

When we recognize our rebellion against God and accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us, we are made a part of the family of God. Because Jesus was born as a man, we can be born again into the spiritual family of God. This was the message of the angels on that first Christmas night. Salvation had come into the world through the incarnation of God. At Christmas we celebrate our incarnate God.

This means that Christmas is so much more than happy feelings, presents, and family time. This means that Christmas is about the sacrificial gift of God. God gave us the ultimate gift: His own Son for our souls. Next week, as you give and receive the Christmas gifts, recognize what those gifts picture. The ultimate gift of God for you. Take a moment (actually take many moments) and thank God for that amazing gift. Take the opportunity to share this gift with someone who needs to hear the Gospel.

Our True God – December 11, 2020

What is truth? This would seem like a basic question. However today, this question can be hard to answer. For the very definition of truth has changed over the years. The modern worldview believes that truth is found through science. Through the age of enlightenment, man began to believe that truth is out there. Through an understanding of the world, man could come to understand truth. No place was given for faith. All was run through the filter of reason. The dominant artists, philosophers, and scientists of the day believed that a utopian society was possible if we could all come to find this truth through science. Alternate source theories came onto the scene, the foremost of which was presented by Charles Darwin. There is no God, so he cannot be the source of all things. We are all just happy accidents.

The 20th century brought about several circumstances which all but shattered the modern worldview. Several scientific discoveries (such as Einstein’s theory of relativity and black box radiation) reset much of the beliefs of the scientific community. They believed that they were close to this “theory of everything” when these discoveries caused them to realize they had nothing. Further, science was weaponized. The biological warfare in World War 1 and the nuclear warfare of World War 2 shattered this idea that scientific discovery would lead to utopia. However, the culture could not turn to God. Thanks to Darwin, they didn’t believe that God existed. Instead, they began to believe that truth is found in the individual. Each individual created truth for themselves so that they can best manage life.  Truth is found inside people. Truth became relative. This became the philosophy of postmodernism.

This is the dominant philosophy of the day. Truth is what each determines it to be in order to best help themselves cope with life. Therefore, truth can change. This does not work very well in actual life. As a result, modern culture has altered the belief to be something like, “truth is determined by whoever yells the loudest.” The result is the chaos of today’s world.

The Christian worldview sees things very differently, however. Scripture clearly demonstrates that truth is up there. God does not just determine what is true. He is truth itself. In John 14:6, Jesus informs us that he is “the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” In John 17:3, Jesus prays that we would know the only TRUE God.” Truth finds its source in God. What God says is true because God is true. I don’t get to determine what is true. Society does not get to determine what is true. God alone determines what is true, because He is truth itself. We find truth through the revelation of God: The Bible.

This has several important ramifications. There are many places where Scripture contradicts my (or societies’) view of truth. We must anchor ourselves to the Word even (and especially) when it contradicts culture. For example, God states that the sexual union is to be between one man and one woman inside the confines of marriage alone (e.g. Hebrews 13:4). God informs us that gender is complimentary, not fluid or egalitarian (e.g. Genesis 1:27; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). God tells us that we are to submit to and honor authority even when they are wicked (e.g. Romans 13:1-7). In each instance of life, we must let the Word of God inform us of truth, not culture or our own feelings. Search God’s Word and discover truth. For God is truth.

Our Wise God – December 4, 2020

How does life work? How can we keep life moving in the right direction? We all long for answers to these questions. As believers, we understand that the answers to these questions lie in the person of God. We serve a God who is all-wise. When we speak of God’s wisdom, we mean that “God always chooses the best goals and the best means to those goals.”[i] God knows what is best and works out those things in the best ways.

God is called “the only wise God” (Rom. 16:27) and “wise in heart” (Job. 9:4). Job further informs us that “With him are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding” (Job 12:13). This means that all God does is best. As God’s children we can be confident that God will never give us anything that is not best for us nor take anything from us that is best for us. Every trial, every struggle, every blessing comes from a God who is all wise.

We can be confident of God’s wisdom because we see it demonstrated in creation. The Psalmist declares, “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Psalm 104:24). As we look at the changing leaves, the falling snow in intricate crystals, the animals running through the woods, and beauty of the sunrise, we are reminded that God is always wise and therefore God is always good.

In an amazing turn, God has offered his wisdom to us. James 1:5 informs us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” When we speak of wisdom in our lives, we mean seeing and understanding the world the way God sees and understands the world. So, when we ask, “how do we know how life works?” And “how can we keep life moving in the right direction?” The answer is to ask God for wisdom. James informs us that he will bestow this wisdom on us generously and will not mock us for needing it.

As you face the hardships, the blessings, and the confusing aspects of life, lean into the wisdom of God. He knows what is best and he knows the best ways to accomplish those things. He has not forgotten you. He has not failed you. He is continually working for the best things in the best ways.

[i] Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994. p. 193.

A Note of Thanksgiving – November 27, 2020

Yesterday, we all had the opportunity to pause and consider the various things we ought to be thankful for. I pray that you took that opportunity. Paul portrays the atheistic culture as one that does not honor God as God or give thanks to Him (Romans 1:21). Even in the middle of a chaotic and unusual year, we have much to be thankful for. This week, as I considered all that God has done, I was overwhelmed.

I am thankful for my church family. In 2017 God brought us together in His gracious goodness. My church family at Cambria has proven to be loving, gracious, generous, encouraging, exhorting, and full of godly servants. They love the Word and long to be taught its eternal truths. They love each other and continually demonstrate that through their good works for one another. They have been patient with a young pastor. They have been encouraging to my family. I am continually amazed at God’s gracious goodness in allowing me the privilege of shepherding this church. There is nowhere else in the world I would rather be.

I am thankful for the family God has gifted me. Proverbs 18:22 tells us that he who finds a wife, finds a treasure. Proverbs 31:10 informs us that an excellent wife is far more precious than jewels. I am a wealthy man. God has granted me an excellent wife. She is kind, she is loving, she is hard working, she loves the Lord, she is full of integrity and character, she is meek, she is gentle, she is a gem. All of this is true about her because she values her relationship with God above all else. She allows the Word to form and change her. God has seen fit to grant me two wonderful boys. Their love for God is a constant blessing. Their love of fun and jokes brings laughter to our home. They are turning into young men who are sensitive to the Spirit of God and demonstrating fruit of the Spirit. This is all to the praise of God’s glorious grace. He could accomplish this.

I am thankful for the trials of this year. They have forced me to reexamine and realign my priorities. Sports were taken away. All the extra church programs were taken away. Any façade of political peace I thought might exist was decimated. I was forced to ask what is important and what really matters. The answer was my faith in God, my family, and my flock. I realized that I am a wealthy man. Praise be to God. I hope this letter of thanksgiving prompts you to examine your own life and praise God for the unique gifts He has given you. He is always good and always faithful. You have much to be thankful for … you just need to look.  

Our Ever-Present God – November 20, 2020

Years ago, a good friend made a wonderful and convicting statement. He said, “When God seems far away, I am the one who moved.” This is a statement reflecting the wonderful reality of our ever-present God. God is always with us because God is everywhere. This has been called God’s omni-presence. God cannot be limited by space or time. The Psalmist captured this reality with his declaration, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7-10).

The implications for our everyday life are staggering and comforting. This means that God’s very presence is holding all of life together. In Acts 17:28, Paul declared that we live and move and have our being in Christ. He told the Colossians that Christ holds all things together (Colossians 1:17). The writer of Hebrews states, “he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). This means that nothing happens apart from God’s control. Every situation, every blessing, and every trial comes through God’s gracious hand.

Yet, we must also understand that God acts differently in different places in His creation. God does not dwell in hell in the same way that God dwells in heaven. One is a presence of wrath, and the other a presence of joy and blessing. Sometimes God’s presence means punishment of the wicked (Amos 9:1-4), and sometimes God’s presence means blessing for the righteous (Psalm 16:11). This is both a blessing and a caution. For the wicked, God’s presence is a caution. He will defend his character and enact His vengeance.

However, for the believer, this presence is a blessing. Psalm 16:11 informs us that in His presence is fullness of joy. Revelation 21:3 tells us, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” As we reminded ourselves in previous weeks, God is faithful and loving. So, God’s presence for the believer stands as a wonderful promise. God promises us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5; cf. Deuteronomy 31:6).

When trials come, when darkness overwhelms you, when temptation strikes, when hurts deepen, run to God! He is ever present. He is there beside you. His Spirit dwells within you. You are in Christ and Christ is in you. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. You are never alone. So, run to Christ!

Our Faithful God – November 13, 2020

As COVID seems to be spiking again, there is a sense of weariness among us all. With no end in sight, we are tired. In many ways, we feel as though God has forgotten us. We know God’s promises. We know what the Bible says. But the struggles with co-workers, employees, family, life circumstances, and government have left us questioning the veracity of these Biblical promises. In these times, it is vital that we preach the truth to ourselves. Specifically, it is vital that we preach the truth of God’s faithfulness to ourselves.

The church in Thessalonica battled this very issue. A contingency had come into the church claiming that the promise of the resurrection was false. This was particularly poignant because they were facing serious threats from their neighbors and government. If God would not fulfill His promise and bring them to heaven, how could they face the challenges here? Paul reminded them of eternity in the famous rapture passage of 1 Thessalonians 4. But I want to draw our attention to the way that Paul closed the book with a fascinating and important promise. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 – “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

What God promises, He will do. He never has to revise his words. He never reneges on His promises. As Balaam said to Balak, God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19).

Scripture reveals that God is faithful. He keeps his promises. God promised Abraham a son. As unlikely as that seemed due to Abraham and Sarah’s advanced age, God kept his promise. God promised to make him a great nation. That happened. God promised to send a Son to take away our sins. He fulfilled that promise. No matter how unlikely the promise, God always kept His Word.

In this unusual time, we must remind ourselves of God’s promises. God has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:8). He has promised to supply for our needs (Phil. 4:19, Matt. 6:33). He has promised to care for us (1 Pet. 5:7). He has promised to give us tranquil hearts (Phil. 4:6-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-8). Many times, these promises seem hollow. We don’t see them as a reality in our lives. This occurs because we are gazing at the wrong thing. We need to gaze at God. He is faithful.

I have found that a simple practical exercise I learned in college helps me in these times. This exercise involves two parts. First, I begin a biography of God. I take a notebook and my Bible and I begin to write down every attribute of God I find. I also write down every promise God has made to me in Scripture that I find. This serves to set my mind correctly on God. Second, I begin a works of God notebook. I begin to write down all the ways God has proved faithful to me in the past. This serves to remind me that God has never failed me. Through this, my gaze is turned away from my circumstances and back to God. Look to Him, rest in Him, speak truth to yourself, and find peace.