Friday, July 19, 2013


                We hear much about injustice today. It seems like, whatever the issue is, someone thinks the outcome is unjust. A high profile court case does not go the way certain people want it to go, so they hit the streets demanding justice. A settlement is reached in a labor dispute and both sides claim they have been wronged in some way. Legislation is passed and the opposition claims that it is unfair and unjust.

                It is telling that everyone wants justice when they feel it will benefit them, but they are not so eager for justice when they are on the negative side of the equation. Few people want justice when they are stopped for speeding and are facing a traffic ticket. Few people demand justice when they have messed up at work. Instead, they plead for a second chance.  Few people seek justice when they illegally download a movie or music from the internet. The truth is that if we lived in a world of strict, unbending justice, we would all be in big trouble.

                C.S. Lewis highlighted this in his book The Great Divorce. In this fanciful story, people are given the opportunity to take a bus ride from hell to the outskirts of heaven. When they arrive, each one is met by a particular person sent to welcome them. In one of these encounters, a passenger from hell meets a murderer who had repented and been forgiven, gaining access to heaven. This person thought that was very unfair. He began to loudly complain.

                “Who’s going on? I’m not arguing. I’m just telling you the sort of chap I was, see? I’m asking for nothing but my rights. You may think you can put me down because you’re all dressed up like that (which you weren't when you worked under me) and I’m only a poor man. But I got to have my rights same as you, see?” 
                “Oh no. It’s not so bad as that. I haven’t got my rights, or I should not be here. You will not get your's either. You’ll get something far better.” (The Great Divorce pg 33-34)

                Lewis’ point is that none of us receive what we deserve. The God of ultimate justice chooses to be unjust by forgiving our sins and redeeming our lives. Paul puts it this way in Romans 5:6-8. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

                The Psalmist captures the essence of God’s injustice toward us in Psalm 103. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-- with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

                Aren't you thankful that God is merciful and not a God of blind justice? Who of us could stand in His presence, if He were not merciful? So as we look upon others, maybe we should withhold our judgment. Jesus did.

                Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

                Last night was the MLB All-star game. It was quite a good game from the American league point of view. The American League pitchers had the upper hand limiting the National League to 3 hits and no runs. On the other side, the American League hitters had the upper hand on the National League pitchers. They knocked out 9 hits, 4 doubles, a triple and 3 runs.

                The bread and butter of pitching is the fastball. The idea is to throw the ball as hard as you can and get it by the batter. Of course location is very important. No matter how hard you throw, if it is straight down the middle of the plate major league batters will hit the ball, and often put it into the seats for a home run. So pitchers mix their pitches up. They will throw several fast balls and then throw a curve. The curve often catches the batter off guard, resulting in a strike out or a weak hit resulting in an out.

                Life is full of fastball experiences. These are straight forward challenges that are hard, but we can usually handle them. Then, periodically, life will throw us a curveball. Those experiences take us by surprise and throw us off balance. A person seems to be the picture of health and then they have a heart attack. A person goes to the doctor for what they think is a routine check-up and discovers they have cancer. A young worker, wanting to be helpful, is taken advantage of by a co-worker, resulting in the loss of his job. As in baseball, the key in life is learning to adjust to the curveballs that come our way.

                The Bible gives us a prime example of someone who faced his share of curveballs. His name was Joseph. Joseph was the second youngest of Jacob’s sons and was his father’s favorite. The first curve that he faced was when his father singled him out from his brothers. Jacob gave Joseph a fancy coat that was obviously not meant for manual labor. The coat symbolized a privileged position in the family and did not sit well with the brothers. Joseph didn’t handle that curve very well. There is an indication that Joseph got caught up in youthful arrogance. This was confirmed when he had some amazing dreams, and instead of keeping quiet, he broadcast them to the rest of the family.

                The first curve ball set Joseph up for the second one. This time he didn’t even see it coming. Jacob sent Joseph out to check on his brothers. When they saw he approaching, their resentment for Joseph erupted and they plotted to get rid of him. Their first thought was to just kill him and blame it on wild animals. Reuben stepped in and convinced the others not to take Joseph’s life. Instead they threw him into a cistern. Reuben intended to rescue Joseph later. While Reuben was absent, a caravan came by and Judah hit upon an idea. Instead of killing Joseph, let’s sell him and get some gain from it. That was what they did. When Reuben returned and discovered what they had done he was overwrought.

                Joseph was taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar. For a time, Joseph saw only fastballs, which he routinely hit out of the park. He was so good at what he did that Potiphar put him in charge of his whole household. Then the next curveball came. It came from the hands of Potiphar’s wife, who took a shine to Joseph. She tried to entice Joseph into a romantic liaison, but Joseph refused. It looked like he was doing a good job fouling off he pitches, but she was persistent. When she finally realized that she wasn’t going to get her way, she accused Joseph of seducing her, which landed Joseph in jail.

                While in jail, Joseph kept hitting home runs. Again, he proved himself valuable and was promoted to a position of authority in the jail. While there, he met two servants of the king, each who had a disturbing dream. Joseph was able to interpret their dreams. He asked the king’s cupbearer to remember him and put in a good word for him with the King, the cupbearer forgot. Another curveball.

                Later the king had a disturbing dream that none of his advisors could figure out. It was then that the cupbearer remembered Joseph. Joseph was able to interpret the dream and the king rewarded him with great authority.

                When the famine that Joseph had predicted came to be, his brothers came to Egypt in search of food. This time it was Joseph’s turn to throw a few curveballs. He kept his identity a secret from his brothers. He treated then harshly in his presence, but instructed his servant to return their money with their food. Joseph threw another curveball, imprisoning Simeon and demanding that they bring Benjamin back with them.

                On their second visit, they did bring Benjamin and Joseph tried to throw one more curveball, but he could not. He was overwhelmed by the sight of his younger brother and confessed his true identity to the group. In fear for their lives, they pleaded with Joseph, but Joseph was finished playing games. After Jacob was brought to Egypt along with his entire household, Joseph assured his brothers that they had nothing to fear from him. Joseph gave these words to his brothers. You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

                We cannot always see the outcome of the curveballs we face in life. What we can do is face them with courage and confidence in Christ. The Bible gives us several promises that we can hold onto when those inevitable curve balls come our way.

1. We can face them with confidence because Christ is with us.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 (NIV) We can have inner peace even in the face of trouble, because we know that we are secure in Christ.

2. God will redeem our situation if we trust him.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV) When we seek to follow Christ with all our heart, we can be assured that God will work good even out of bad situations. Paul is not saying that every situation will be good, but that God can and will bring good out of every situation. We may not see it right away, just like Joseph, but it will come.

3. We will be given the strength to face the curveballs of life.
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:6-10 (NIV)

4. God will use our weakness to demonstrate his power.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NIV)

                Young hitters, when they first come up to the majors, are often fooled by the curve. They become fixated on the fastball and become vulnerable. The best hitters in the major leagues have mastered the art of hitting the curveball. They have learned to anticipate when it is coming. One of the things that helps young players get better is having a hitting coach; someone who has faced the curve and knows how to respond.

                As we mature in our faith, we should become better at handling the curveballs that life throws at us. We should learn to anticipate what might come and be ready. We can do this because we have the very best hitting coach; the Holy Spirit. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:26-27 (NIV)

                When a hitter gets too comfortable at the plate, a pitcher will often throw inside to move him off of the plate. The goal is to throw the hitter off balance. The same is true spiritually. When we have been hitting all the fastballs that have been coming our way, Satan will do his best to unsettle us. We need to trust Christ and stand firm in him.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV)

Thursday, July 11, 2013


For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

                Everyone knows that it is a good thing to exercise regularly. The problem often is motivation. We are too tired, too busy, too stressed to exercise. Usually these are just excuses for not strapping on our running shoes and hitting the trail.

                When I run, my motivation has been to prepare for some upcoming race. I want to be ready and do my best, so I run. Recently, because of a change in circumstances, all of my regular running events have become unavailable to me. I have continued to run, but my motivation has been low, so my running has been more sporadic.

                Something has happened though to rekindle my motivation to exercise. I bought a Wii Fit system. Wii Fit offers four varieties of exercise to give you a well-rounded program. They are stretching exercises, strength exercises, aerobic exercises, and balance exercises. Variety is always a positive way to maintain an exercise program. But, the real key to keeping me motivated is that the system monitors and keeps track of my progress, and holds me accountable. I know that it is just an inanimate computer program, but I really hate it when it says, “I haven’t seen you for four days.” I am a “score keeper” and so having the system keep track of my progress really motivates me to keep going.

                The program is set up so that you are led through the exercises by a personal trainer. The trainer shows you the proper way to do the exercise and then does it along with you. While you are doing the exercise, he gives you words of encouragement. To be honest, after a while the words of encouragement get a little repetitive and I tend to tune them out. There is one phrase that is repeated quite often that has stuck in my mind. “Visualize your ideal body.”

                I have been reading a couple of leadership books, and both of them used similar language to talk about facing the future. In one book, that talks about making good decisions, the authors talk about visualizing the potential positive and negative outcomes of the decision to help you make the best choice. In the other book, that talks about leadership, the author talks about visualizing your preferred future and then aligning your vision to that end.

                There is an important lesson that we can learn from this idea of visualizing our ideal future. We most often pay far more attention to developing our physical body, or our business endeavors, than we do our spiritual development. I want to suggest that we should give far more attention to visualizing our spiritual self.

                As with any journey, there are three important questions we need to ask to guide us toward our preferred future. Where do I want to go? Where am I now? How do I get from here to there? The theological term for this process is sanctification.

                Where do I want to go? The Bible is fairly clear about the goal of our spiritual journey. In a nutshell, God wants us to be whole and holy people. He wants us to be in a personal relationship with Him, set apart from the world system. He wants us to be free from sin, with all the aspects of our life in perfect balance.

                The Bible gives us numerous images of the ideal spiritual self.
- Our ideal motivation: He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27 (NIV)
- Our ideal character: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
- Our ideal state of being: But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV)

                Where am I now? We realize that our day-to-day life doesn’t match up with our ideal self. We are sinners saved by grace, and we still struggle with sin. Most of us can identify with Paul’s words in Romans 7.  We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:14-20 (NIV) Being realistic about our current struggles is the first step toward our ideal self.

                The Bible gives us a handle on who we are right now.
- We are sinners saved by grace: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
- We are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
- We continue to struggle with sin: If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9 (NIV)
- We are engaged in a spiritual battle: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

                How do I get from here to there? No one makes a successful journey without plotting a course. If I want to train my body, I establish an exercise program. If I want to grow my business, I develop a business strategy. If I want to grow spiritually, I need to develop a growth plan.

                The Bible gives us insight into how we can move from our current condition to our ideal self.
- Adjust your internal dialog: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
- Adjust your attitude: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)
- Practice spiritual disciplines: Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9 (NIV)
- Develop your spiritual gifts: Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
- Keep your eyes on the goal: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

                One thing that is always true about our vision for the future is that it fades with time. Unless we keep renewing our vision, we will lose sight of the goal. Every time I step onto Wii it tells me how far I need to go to reach my goal. We all need to be reminded that we can never coast on our spiritual journey. If we are not moving forward, we are probably moving backward. We need to regularly visualize our ideal self and then strive with all our heart to move in that direction.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stay Focused

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
--- Will Rogers

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

            We have all had the experience of daydreaming. Our mind becomes unmoored from the immediate situation and begins to float freely over a sea of miscellaneous thoughts. If this happens at school, or at work, we likely will be brought back to reality by someone telling us to focus.

            Satan can use an unfocused mind to lead us into all kinds of places that we should not visit. By doing this, he leads us away from our awareness of God’s presence. He even does this when we try to pray. I have often had the experience of beginning to pray only to awaken a few minutes later to the reality that my mind was really a thousand miles away. At those times, I have to consciously recapture my mind. An unfocused mind inevitably wanders.

            Paul tells us to be alert as we pray. To be alert is to be aware of our surroundings. What is going in our world, our life and our heart? Why is this so important? It is important because our life depends upon it. Annually there are 5,800 traffic deaths and 515,000 injuries due to distracted driving. A few seconds of inattention can be fatal. The impact of having a distracted mind is just as costly spiritually.

            When we are inattentive in prayer, we often miss God’s promptings in our heart. We go through the motions of prayer without fully engaging. When we have a distracted mind, we make decisions that are less than the best; decisions we often regret later. We have all had the experience of asking, what was I thinking? The truth is, we were not thinking clearly at the time.

            So what does it mean to be alert in prayer? It means paying close attention to where our mind drifts in prayer. During prayer it is common for thoughts to come into our minds seemingly out of nowhere. When this happens, rather than trying to ignore them, we need to stop and examine them. Is this thought from Satan or from God? Some thoughts we know instantly are wrong. These thoughts need to be captured and brought before God’s throne. We cannot hide our thoughts from God. It is better to deal with these negative thoughts honestly. We can acknowledge our negative thoughts and ask God to take them captive for His glory. “God my mind keeps going to this lustful thought. I confess that to you, and ask you to replace that thought with your thoughts.”

            Many times, when we pray, our mind drifts to things with which we are struggling. This is often God’s way of bringing something to the forefront He wants to deal with. We may want to hide the struggle, or handle it our self, but God wants to talk about it.

            We also have to be alert to the times when we slip into auto-pilot. We can pray “acceptable prayers” without ever really being involved. The familiar words flow from our mouth, but there is really no substance behind them. When we pray, we need to be aware of what is going on and invite God to take control.

            Being alert is not limited to our formal times of prayer. We need to be alert to all that is going on in us and around us all the time. Our enemy is always looking for some opportunity to take advantage of us. Peter reminds us that our enemy is a voracious predator. He is always on the lookout for an opportunity to overwhelm us. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) We must constantly be on guard.

            Be alert to what is going on physically in your body. We often ignore the warning signs that God has hardwired into our bodies for our good. When we are tired and worn down physically, we become vulnerable spiritually.

            Be alert to the circumstances around you, and primarily how you are responding to them. Our emotional response to our circumstances is a good indicator of what is going on inside of us. Be ready to examine why you respond to certain situations the way you do. Don’t accept your emotions as the final word on the situation. Challenge yourself. Am I responding as Christ would have me respond?

            Be alert to the ebb and flow of your life. Are you beginning to settle into unhealthy patterns? Are you drifting away from Christ, or intentionally moving toward Him?  Are you becoming more or less loving, caring, and joyful? The time to make course corrections is early on. Being alert to what is happening in our life allows us to take action before we crash. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

In What Do We Trust?

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.
Psalms 146:3 (NIV)

                On the back of a dollar bill, printed in bold letters, it states, “In God we trust.” But do we really? More and more we are moving away from putting our trust in God and we are putting it in other things.

                Many people are putting their trust in a political system. They see the hope for the future wrapped up in their political party being able to push forward its particular agenda. Many expect the government to solve all of their problems for them. As we have seen in other countries, putting our trust in a political system is risky. Our own system seems to be broken; unable to really address the issues before us with some sense of decorum and moral rectitude.

                Many people are putting their trust in the almighty dollar rather than the Almighty. They live and die by the mood swings of the stock market. If their stock portfolio is doing well, they feel confident and secure. If it isn’t, they feel anxious and worried.

                Many people are putting their trust in science. We have been told that science has all of the answers to life. Science has become the final authority. If science and faith conflict, science wins. People trust science to solve all the human ills that confront us. They expect science to give us all the answers to the big questions of life.

                Many people are putting their trust in spirituality and religion. At a time when established religion is under heavy fire, spirituality and do-it-yourself religion are booming. People have become very comfortable playing the mix and match game with their theology. They cherry pick the ideas and concepts that they like from each religious source and then combine them together in a personalized hybrid.

                The Bible is very clear that all of these paths are dead ends. The kind of security that they can give is only temporary. It will not stand up under the extreme challenges of life.  They are all forms of self-deception that blind people to real truth found in Jesus Christ. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NIV)

                The Apostle Paul warned us that this is the pathway mankind was on. Long before Wall Street, Washington and the New Age movement, Paul could see the shift away from trusting God to trusting lesser things. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. Romans 1:25 (NIV)

                The Psalmist warns us not to put our trust in those things that seem so powerful to us. Instead, we need to put our trust in the one who created all of these things. Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them-- the LORD, who remains faithful forever. Psalms 146:3-6 (NIV)

                What does it mean for us to put our trust in God? First, it begins with acknowledging that God exists as a personal being, not just some cosmic force. Hebrews tells us that without this firm conviction we can never truly encounter God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

                Trusting God is more than just believing in a god. It also means accepting the reality that God loves us and wants to have a personal relationship with us. That relationship is possible through Jesus Christ. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)

                Trusting in God is living according to his rules; allowing Him to direct our life. It is human nature to rebel against rules; especially rules that we think are unfair. Yet, often, it is those very rules that keep us safe and are our best guide. Our city recently installed a roundabout on a busy street. A roundabout has specific rules for how you are to pass through it. One of those rules is that everyone drives around the circle in the same direction. One day I came up to the roundabout and found a driver going the wrong way. That driver had to go around a barrier to do it. By disregarding the rules, they put themselves and others in danger.

                God created us in His image. He designed us to reflect His glory in the world. He desires that we would live full, enriched and empowered lives. We can only do that when we live according to God’s design. If we choose to go around the barriers and go our own way, we endanger ourselves and others. Jesus didn’t come into the world to take away all of our fun. He came to give us life. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)

                We too easily put our trust in things that seem solid to us. But those “solid” things are only temporary and will soon pass away. The only truly solid stance we can take is to put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)