Writing on the Wall

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Photo credit to Keith Patschka.

 

“Then Daniel answered and said before the king, ‘Let your gifts be to yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.’” (Daniel 5;17)

 
Today I’m thinking about seeing the writing on the wall. The problem is that most of us can see the writing on the wall but we have no idea what it means. There it is, right in front of us plain as day, but we are clueless to it’s impact for us. Sometimes we’re just as clueless as Belshazzar.

 
Belshazzar was king of Babylon. His reign followed that of Nebuchadnezzar. He’s also frequently referred to here as the son of Nebuchadnezzar. That’s a constant implication that he should have been more alert and have responded differently in his ruling than he chose to, considering the things that Nebuchadnezzar had learned about God before him. But let’s look back at the immediate story.

 
Let’s set the stage. It’s the beginning of the third year of Belshazzar’s reign. He calls a great feast with hordes of important people and lots of wine drinking. That can be a normal thing for kings. But then he decided that wasn’t enough. His pride got the better of him and he called for the sacred golden and silver vessels that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem. Those he would use to drink his wine and thank the the gods of his choosing. It was a way to mock God and say that He was no god. So they drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, and of iron, of wood, and of stone —all those idols made by men’s hands and imaginations, and mocked the God of creation who created their very hands and the intimate workings of their bodies that were able to sustain them and enable them to even appreciate the taste of the wine they were mocking Him with.

 
I’m wondering if Belshazzar was aware of what Daniel knew, that the 70 year reign of Babylon was coming to a close?  I mean, after all, he was surrounded with all these counselors who would be aware of prophecies about the kingdom. Daniel himself was the chief of the chief of counselors. But Belshazzar was a human being like us, and sometimes we choose to ignore the truth and choose, instead, what we want to believe. But you can only ignore the truth for so long. See, lies are like idols. They are not real and have no weight when push comes to shove. But truth, it always comes through in it’s time. Truth will always make itself known. You can’t hold it back. Especially when it’s God’s truth.

 
And that’s what happens. God shows up. It’s pretty terrifying. These fingers of a human hand appeared. It was just the fingers; not the rest of the body. And it was big enough for everyone to see. Now that’s a party stopper! And these fingers write on the plaster of the wall of the palace. The king is watching and his color changes, and he’s thinking, “Holy mackerel, what in the world?!” He was terrified, his legs forgot how to hold him up, and his knees clattered together. He called for the Chaldeans, the wise men to come in and interpret the writing but not a single one could. He even promised to cloth the one in scarlet and with a gold chain and make him third ruler. It didn’t matter. Everyone could see the writing on the wall but not one knew what it meant.

 
Belshazzar’s face was probably white as snow. His leaders were just as perplexed. It seems that the queen was the only one with a little understanding as to how to find the answer. I wonder if that was because her heart might have contemplated differently about the gods and things she had seen and learned about Daniel’s God? I don’t know, but of all the advisors she was the only one with the advice that would lead to the answer. “There is a man in your kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar your father, the king, I say, your father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers…”(Daniel 5:11) “ He is alive still and can show you the answer.”Why? Why can Daniel do this?

 
The queen actually lists 6 qualities or evidences of Daniel’s ability. Let’s look at them. The first was an excellent spirit. That didn’t just mean he had a great personality. That word for spirit is the same word, ruach, used for when God breathed His spirit into the first man Adam. This excellent spirit is the spirit of God Himself inside of Daniel that is over and above all spirits. This is the Only Spirit who is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20) The Holy Spirit of God Himself imparted wisdom and knowledge from above and of below to Daniel because that’s where Daniel sought his wisdom.

 
This Spirit of God imparted to Daniel that second quality of being able to rightly divine knowledge, wisdom, understanding, intelligence, and reason. I think it corresponds to how we relate our thoughts to the things around us like science and the things we’re conscious of. Maybe this is the practical and scientific application of what we know. And this most intelligent man above all others in the kingdom, retained his intelligence while retaining and promoting his personal belief in God in the midst of all he knew and in the midst of a foreign culture who didn’t know or want to acknowledge his God. Yet that knowledge and application of the inter-relatedness and power of his God in all of men’s affairs, was what led him to the top and brought him before the king of a whole nation as the only one with the answer.

 
When we as speakers of English see the words wisdom and knowledge and understanding, we think on the same terms. But these are different words in Hebrew and Chaldean and retain separate identities of meaning. Daniel had understanding, soklthanu, intelligence and understanding. How is that different? It’s from sekal which means to consider. So maybe truly understanding the writing on the wall around us only comes when we truly consider things God’s way. This is where we sit down and take the time to look at something closely, and set our minds or our eyes to it with attention. But I think this isn’t just looking at things and sitting down with them and thinking closely about them. That could bring us into a multitude of conclusions, each his own. But this is considering, sitting down with God, and thinking with Him, close by His side, and setting our thoughts to Yours, Lord. This is the kind of considering that led Daniel to be able to read the writing on the wall.

 
God gave Daniel the ability to interpret dreams. That was evidenced by the time he interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. But Daniel could also figure out the solutions to hard riddles or enigmas that others could not solve. No matter how concealed by obscure language, Danielle had the ability to figure out the hidden meaning. Proverbs 25:2 tells us, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” How do you find out something concealed by God? Do you seek it through false idols? Or do you go to the God who knows the answers? Daniel knew who to go to and God blessed him with the knowledge he sought from Him.

 
The last characteristic is that he could unravel riddles. The root of that is about freeing what has been captured. The King James Version says “dissolving of doubts.” Can you hear that? Some of our thinking and understanding and confusion over answers can cause us to be bound, to be knotted up. They can cause us to feel like Belshazzar. And we can be trapped and bound by those thoughts and feelings, feelings like guilt, pride, fear, insufficiency, worthlessness, superiority, anger, hurt, whatever. Or we can be set free by knowing the One who is the Truth, like Daniel knew Him. After all, Jesus declared, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18,19) This was the God of the Old Testament, the Isaiah 61 God, identifying Himself to the world in Jesus. This is the same God that Daniel worshiped and the same God who calls us to worship Him today.

 
So here is this woman, who seems to refer to Daniel more by his Hebrew name than his Chaldean name. And maybe that’s because she realized that Bel or Nebo weren’t gods who saved but Daniel’s God was. And you know, Daniel could care less about the scarlet robe or golden necklace or being third in the kingdom. Daniel just cared about God being made known. And he interpreted the writing. But before that, he reminded Belshazzar about the things he had forgotten or overlooked or chosen to ignore. Because Belshazzar should have remembered and acted upon those memories. Belshazzar should have remembered how all of Nebuchadnezzar’s power was given by the Most High God. He should have remembered what happened when Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was lifted up in pride and his spirit hardened to God, how he lived like a beast all those years until he remembered and knew that God rules the kingdom of man.

 
But Belshazzar was not like the queen. He had disregarded it all and lifted himself up against God. “Mene, mene, tekel, and upharsin.” Therefore, God had numbered his days and brought an end to his kingdom. He was weighed in the balance and found lacking. His kingdom would be divided and given to Medes and Persians just as had been foretold by Daniel according to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. And that very night, it came to pass. What did the purple robe, gold necklace, and third place in the kingdom mean to Daniel then? Nothing. It’s all emptiness if God isn’t in the heart of it. It was the end of Belshazzar and what a sad, empty end. But it was not the end for Daniel. The new ruler, Darius, noticed something about him and, get this, made him one of the three high officials. Belshazzar’s appointment didn’t matter. But God’s appointment does.

 
I want to be able to read the writing on the wall. I want my life to be totally guided by considering You and Your ways, Lord, all the days of my life. I want people to see something different in me that causes them to seek my two cents, my counsel on things. I don’t want it because they see me, but I want them to see something that leads them to You and to Your council. I want to be like a Daniel in this world today of so many gods. I want to live in Your wisdom, and knowledge, and blessing, and presence, and counsel. If kings won’t act like kings, I will. I’m not afraid to search Your ways and Your answers out, O Lord. So teach me to understand all that You are writing on the walls and floors and sky and people around me.

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Consider Your Ways

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“Thus says the Lord of hosts; “Consider your ways.”  Haggai 1:7

This is pretty potent advice here.  It seems like you can take it or leave it for whatever you think it’s worth.  But I’m pretty sure that when God says something, it’s not just advice; it’s a command.  And I’m pretty sure that in honoring that command, one finds fulfillment, completion, satisfaction, blessing, and a real relationship with God Himself.  Which would mean, that not honoring that command, or throwing the “advice” to the side and doing your own thing, would lead to unfulfillment, incompleteness, dissatisfaction, cursing, and a lack of a relationship with God. 

Actually, verse 7 is the second time that God asked the people of Israel to consider her ways.  In verse 5, we hear, “Now therefore thus says the Lord of hosts; ‘Consider your ways.’”  That’s twice in a really short time so maybe it is imperative that the people of Israel and we consider our ways after all.  The Compete Jewish Bible, written from a Jewish Messianic viewpoint, puts it this way, “Think about your life!”  Were they?  Are we?  Am I?  And when they did, do we find them doing something about it?  When I do, is there something that I do about it?

Now, I’ve been heading backwards from the New Testament or New Covenant.  First was Malachi, then Zechariah, and now Haggai.  We’re in Darius’ reign and we’re still under Zerubbabel, and Joshua, the high priest.  And people were living again in Jerusalem during the captivity but they were fixing up their own houses and leaving the House of God in ruin.  Lord, You even say that the people were saying, “It’s not time to  rebuild the Lord’s house.”  But it was time to build their own houses. 

That makes me think about the condition of the Lord’s House at that time.  Because You pose a question, “Is it time for you to live in your own paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?”  I wonder if the paneling in the House of God was broken down and rotting and being uncared for?  It seems so.  Think about it.  The House of the Lord, is where God would come meet with His people.  It’s where His presence appeared.  But no one was giving that the time of day.  They were taking care of their own lives, their own houses, their own families, and seeking the will and presence of God had become less important.  I suppose it was glorifying themselves before glorifying the Lord.  “Let me get my house in line before I think about You, Lord.”  And You, had a problem with that thinking, Lord.  Rightly so.

Stop and think about what that attitude was producing, that attitude of providing for self and leaving your God out of the picture.  They were sowing much, but getting little back in the harvest.  They ate but were never satisfied.  They drank but were never satisfied.  They provided their own clothes but weren’t satisfied.  They earned money but it never sustained.  It was like putting it into a bag with holes.  Think it over.  Think it all over.  It’s the same today for some of us.  We have high expectations but it comes to nothing.  We try to bring it home only to see it  blown away like “dust in the wind.”  Why?  “Because My house lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house.” (slightly paraphrased)

But the truth of the matter is that we aren’t in charge of our lives.  We don’t have what it takes to build our own houses sufficiently.  God, in His sovereignty created the heavens above us and the earth and designed it to bring forth produce in it’s season and in His season.  He is the Master of everything and by His command was everything made.  Now here’s the truth.  Back in the very beginning of what we know, God created.  And Jesus was part of it.  Jesus is the very image of the Word of God and how we see it all come together, from Genesis to Revelation.  “He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”  (John 1:2-5)  Now if all life comes from Him, how can we live apart from Him?  How can we ever think that we are sufficient to build our own houses and neglect Him?

Paul reminds us that we are not “sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant…”  (2 Corinthians 3:5,6)  It’s not about me.  It’s all about God.  We keep having pounded into our minds that it’s all about us, but it’s not.  It’s all about the One who created us and gives all things to us.  So what can we do about it?

We do like the Israelites.  The change our focus and get it back on You, Lord.  We do what You ask us to rebuild Your house and to shine Your glory into the world around us.  We look to You first and let You look to our needs.  We go up into the hills and we bring work and build Your house, so You can take pleasure in us taking pleasure in You.  Then You are glorified.  The truth is, we can try to care for ourselves, but we are insufficient.  You know our needs better than we do. 

Do I feel like I’m working hard and sowing much but reaping little?  Consider my life.  There’s a lot to consider, day by day, and moment by moment.  Consider “the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much better than they?”  (Matthew 6:26)  Consider if things I try to do seem to be all futile efforts.  Is it just because I am giving from me? My way?  What if I reconsidered and went to God first to give of what You give me.  Maybe that’s what Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 9?  “Here’s the point: he who plants sparingly also harvest sparingly.”  It’s not just about planting.  It’s about planting in You, Lord, and for You.  If I plant for myself, my harvest will all be for myself, and that’s not a harvest You bless.  You bless those who plant for You and toward the needs of others.  That’s a harvest after Your own heart, and You bless the planter in You.  “Each should give according to what he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God has the power to provide you with every gracious gift in abundance, so that always in every way you will have all you need yourselves and be able to provide abundantly for every good cause…”  I’m not rich by my country’s standards but I know this, that every time I step out for God’s glory to help meet the needs of others, every time I choose to step out to build His house first before mine, He provides way beyond what I have.  I don’t even know how it will be harvested but I know that He’s provided for me to be a part of the sowing.  And since nothing He does returns void, I can know that He will bless the harvest in HIs time. 

I can feed myself gluttonously on all kinds of food.  But there is only one food that will satisfy.  “For the bread of God is He which came down from heaven, and gives life unto the world.” (John 6:33)  Jesus is the only bread that satisfies.  He said, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes in me shall never thirst.”  He’s the living bread that came down for us.  And if you are thirsty, He says, “Come unto me, and drink.” (John 7:37)  Jesus’ words to the Samaritan woman at the well, hold true for us today also.  “if you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you,’ Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water.”  Why?  “Because “he that believes on [Jesus], as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38)

Really, it all boils down to the character of God.  God, You flow out in love over all people.  You do good because You are good.  You love because You are love.  You give because You are generosity.  You provide because You are Provision.  I can’t help but thinking about the word, “fulness”.  The people were taking care of themselves but it led to emptiness and being unfulfilled.  But in You, You bring fulness into our lives.  All things are Yours, and in Jesus, You provide them to us, the called out ones, His body, Your body, and fill us with the fullness of Him that fills everything from even before the time of creation as we know it. (Ephesians 1:22,23)  And when we turn our focus off of ourselves and our provision and put it back on You, we experience “the riches of [Your] glory, [and are] strengthened with might by [Your] Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts by faith; that [we] being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of christ, which passes knowledge, that [we] might be filled with all the fulness of God.”  (Ephesians 3:16-19)  Why?  “Till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…” (Ephesians 4:13)

This is what glorifies God.  This is what pleases Him beyond words.  “For it pleased the Father that in Him [Christ] should all fulness dwell…” (Colossians 1:19)  We only find our completeness in Christ.  We will only find true fulfillment in Him.  He’s the piece that fills everything up.  He’s the piece that brings everything together in God again.  And what a shame to ignore Him.  What a shame to leave His house, His presence abandoned.  I don’t want to be apart from You.  I don’t want to do things my own way.  I’m absolutely prone to error.  I have no idea how to even satisfy myself.  But in You my joy can become full.  I can choose to be full of myself, or I can choose to be full of You.  That means that I need to be concerned about Your glory above mine.  So let me be more concerned with building Your house and let You take care of building mine.  May I continually consider my ways and line then up in and with You.

Making the Count

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“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”  Galatians 3:6

God, You are an “accountant,”  and You call us all to be “accountants” in You.  But thankfully, we’re not talking about the “mathematical” kind of accountant here.  But it’s because of Your accounting that Abraham came to account things rightly which is what believing is all about.

To understand Your system of accounting, Your counting system, Lord, Your value system, You’re telling me I need to understand Abraham’s belief in You.   But then again, understanding Your accounting system will help me to know what You esteemed as belief and what belief looks like to You.  So I need to hop back to that word, “accounted,” and take a deeper look.

This word “accounted” is the Greek word “logizomai.”  Skip Moen tells us “[it] literally means, ‘to put together with one’s mind, to count, to occupy oneself with reasoning and calculation.'”  It also means “to have completely certain knowledge.”  It’s no longer “a matter of opinion.”  It is considered a certainty.

So why would You consider Abraham’s faith a “done deal”?  Why would You count all his ABC’s and 123s to be where they needed to be and all accounted for, exactly as they ought to line up?  You know, I was thinking about Abraham this morning.  He didn’t even have the ten commandments.  He didn’t have any written Scripture yet.  But, as You looked at the things that counted in his life toward belief, he had and was doing everything that counted to You.  How could he know without a set of rules?

Well, Lord, You were re-educating Abraham.  I mean the culture of Ur, his homeland, was way different than Your culture.  But he listened to Your voice.  What does that mean?  When he was in Ur and You spoke and told him to leave and go where You directed, did he hear those words and sit down and meditate on them for years deciding what You really meant by them?  Or did he leave Ur and follow You even when he didn’t understand it all?  Was his listening and hearing partnered with immediate obedience?

Here’s a man that has probably never heard any of his relatives ever tell him the stories of God in the past.  Here’s a man who came from a land of idol worship.  But when he hears the voice of God, of You, he knows who You are.  He follows.  Immediately.  That’s amazing, that immediate obedience.

Now, what about us?  In my culture, many of us have been reading and hearing God’s word since we were little.  So we’ve got so much more basis to obey than Abraham ever did.  But somehow, it seems we are still in the stage of listening and hashing out and determining and investigating and the many other names we give it and somehow we miss out the most important part of hearing–obeying.  When Scripture says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God it means that the truth comes through the word of God and our hearing must lead to doing that which we hear, obeying.

It’s one thing to say I must forgive, but it’s another to forgive someone.  It’s one thing to say I would follow You wherever You lead, but it’s another to move out of my comfort zone and truly follow You.  It’s one thing to know I should pray, but it’s another to practically learn how to pray the way You want me to by making it an integral part of my being.  It’s one thing to hear about sacrifice and taking up my cross, but it’s another thing to stop choosing my cross and my sacrifices and to actually offer that which is asked and required.  It’s so easy to point fingers when we don’t stop to really count things the way You are counting them.  When my accounting system is set up on my standards I don’t even see that I’m more like Cain than I am like Abraham.  But that’s the wonderful thing about lining up with Your accounting system.  I don’t have to remain like Cain, doing my own accounting, I can adopt Your accounting system and Your countenance and Your delight instead.

Abraham was relearning what really counted, first hand from You, God.  He didn’t have to be perfect.  Thank goodness.  He was only called to be faithful to those things which You made known to him.  You said follow.  He heard and he followed.  Now, we have even more to go by than what Abraham had.  Your voice continues to speak to us and You especially use Your written word.  Look at Philippians 4:8 where You are re-educating us about what counts to You, and what should therefore count to us.  “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

See, these things are Hebraicly known as “practicing hesed (comapassionate acts).”  It’s because this is a reflection of the character of You, God, Yourself.  So to listen to You is to count what You count as important.  If “practicing hesed” is counted important to You, then it ought to be of the utmost importance to me.   If You reckon it important, I ought to reckon it important.  Your measuring cup, Your balance scale, Your measure of value, Your evaluation, Your estimate of worth is the only scorecard that measures up.  Are my numbers matching Yours?  Because Your numbers are the only numbers that count.  But this isn’t just a number system I can retain in my head.  I have to “practice hesed” and practice obedience, and practice faith or it’s not faith at all.  I have to live it out or it’s dead, you know, faith without works is dead.

James tells us to “ prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” Now I’m going to just share Skip Moen’s thoughts here.  “If you don’t put into practice what you are taught, you are doing nothing more than telling yourself lies.  The gap between knowing and doing is far greater than the gap between ignorance and knowledge.  We have plenty of information.  Our problem is doing something with what we know…In the Bible, delusion is not about being mentally ignorant.  Delusion is about not doing what you already know.  Do you see the difference?  The Bible is about obedience, not about collecting more information.  In fact, God says that unless we obey what He has already revealed to us, we just won’t understand one more thing.  Spiritual knowledge is the result of being a doer, not the result of being a good listener.  In fact, the only ‘good’ listener is the one who acts on what he hears.”

Speaking of this hearing, the word “paralogizomai” is the Greek word used for “delude.”  Now, isn’t that interesting that “logizomai” is part of that word.  So there is a right way to take an account and a wrong way.  The right way is to involve Your life in that accounting.  The wrong way is to just stand beside what You know and not take action on it.  See, that “paralogizomai” means  “reason alongside itself”.   It’s like having reason but not using it.  “It is reason that misleads.  Instead of taking me toward the truth, it directs me toward error.  But notice the connection.  If I want my mind to guide me toward truth, I must act on what I know now.  I can’t wait until I have finished the theology of the world before I take action.  If I don’t do something with what I know now, I’ll never finish the book at all.” (Skip Moen)

Did you know that “consider” is another use of “logizomai”?  Consider the cost.  Count the cost?  It’s not just a good idea, it’s life, I mean real LIFE.  See, I consider life outside of Christ and I consider life in Christ and there is absolutely no comparison.  The measuring cup for the life outside of Christ is a shattered mess.  The more I obey, even when it’s really hard, even when no one understands, even when I have to give up things I value, the more valuable Your counting system becomes to me, Lord.  The things I once held valuable just pale in comparison to You.  I consider differently now.  I consider more like You, but like Abraham, not perfectly, but considering more like You every day with every decision and every actual step of faith I take.

So, I guess, like Abraham and like Paul and like so many others all over the world and throughout time “… I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)  We’re counting the cost Your way, and finding it more than worth the obedience and the risks no matter what the world says, because we know what we have to look forward to–YOU!  Thanks, Abraham, for encouraging me in the Lord today.  Thanks, Lord, for showing me how I can be covered in You and counted righteous in Your eyes.  You are so worth lining myself up with and I can’t think of anyone I want to walk with more.

Now I can’t help it, but Skip said it so well again so here I am, sharing his thoughts on You again.  But that’s O.K., because I think they’re the same thoughts in lots of our hearts right now, only he’s helping express them verbally for us.  “Paul is saying, ‘There is not one shed of doubt about this!’…God is greater than all the trials, all the heartaches, all the pain and torment.  God is going to wipe away every tear, every disappointment, every care.  In the end, His way will prevail.  It is His care that will overcome…Christians are not stoics.  We are not unfeeling robots gritting our teeth in the face of tragedy, holding our breath until heaven arrives.  We hurt.  We suffer.  We know pain, just like our Lord.  But we have a glory laid before us, just as Jesus did.  We have a hope that is not based on this world.  And it is incomparable.  Of that, you can be certain!”

Yes, Lord, I believe, therefore I follow and obey.  I must because nothing compares to You.  It doesn’t matter the circumstances around me, no matter how much they hurt, or how scary, or how uncertain.  I’m counting on You because You counted me worthy to die for and worthy to live for.  Well, teach me to die to myself and live in You and for You.  And I don’t ever want to just write about You.  And I don’t ever want to just contemplate You.  I want to live You.  I want to obey You.  I want to experience You every moment of my life.  Even in the silent times, I will wait.  You are teaching me to count the cost Your way.  And You are worth everything. And the wonderful thing is that even in my humanity, even in my pain and sorrow and suffering, I still make Your count because You’ve already counted me in.  So every step I take in faith, no matter my imperfections, I’m O.K. because You’ve counted me in and I’m counting on that.