The Pinball Machine

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Growing up in a Southern Baptist family prevented me from ever playing a pinball machine. Well, “prevented” may not be the best choice of words. I did play pinball a few times. It was fun, but all the machines were designed to be as worldly as possible, so that bit of Baptist guidance won out. Still, pinball is such a good analogy for how the world works against Christians.

As we live, we continually encounter pins that try to bounce us off Jesus’ path of righteousness and over to another pin. If we let this continue, we will constantly be bouncing from celebrity drama to unwise streaming subscriptions to false teachings under the umbrella of Christianity, to who knows what, racking up huge scores for the enemy!

Each time we bump into one of these pins, it bashes us, sending us away from how we should live. God knew we would have this problem. That’s why He gave us “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors (shepherds), and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ1.

This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

Ephesians 4:13 NLT

Jesus expects us to measure up to His full and complete standard. If we don’t, we remain immature Christians. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes2. He goes on and tells us” we are to grow up3.

Big chunks of who we are must be replaced with who Jesus is. Our anger, lust, greed, lying, and so forth are unacceptable to God. However, we probably did most of these things after we were saved; we probably still struggle with some. These behaviors are sinful and must be replaced. Continuing the pinball analogy, as we grow and mature in the Lord, the pins remain, but we, the steel balls, grow a downy (wool) covering. This covering dampens the pins’ impact on our lives. We get less bounced around.

Overcoming the ways of the world takes personal commitment and time. We can’t make these changes on our own. We need the Holy Spirit, Christian brothers and sisters, and we need to learn sound (reliable) doctrines4 of the body of Christ5.

Good News

So here’s our good news. The more we mature as Christians, the closer we get to Jesus and the further we get from ungodly behavior. That downy insulation straightens out our life paths6, keeping us from bouncing around throughout our lives.

Photo by Patrick Von on Unsplash

  1. Ephesians 4:11–12 NLT ↩︎
  2. Ephesians 4:14 ESV ↩︎
  3. Ephesians 4:15 ESV ↩︎
  4. Titus 1:9 ESV. ↩︎
  5. 1 Corinthians 12:27 ESV. ↩︎
  6. Proverbs 3:6 ESV ↩︎
Man working in a stone quarry.

Called for a Purpose

Called by God

1 This is what the Lord says to Cyrus1, his anointed one,
    whose right hand he will empower.
4 “And why have I called you for this work?
     Why did I call you by name when you did not know me?
It is for the sake of Jacob my servant,
    Israel my chosen one.
Isaiah 45:1,4 NLT – Bible Gateway

Perhaps you may remember from the Bible when the prophet Daniel declared God’s word to the king of Babylon that his empire would be “divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.2” King Cyrus was the person who conquered Babylon.

God chose to promote Cyrus for the good of Israel. The Israelites had been conquered by Babylon and forcibly relocated to the Babylonian empire. But God chose Cyrus, and he defeated the Median Empire, the Lydian Empire, and the Babylonian Empire. Then, he allowed the Israelites to return to their land, and he provided the money for their relocation and reconstruction efforts.

Why did God choose to use a Gentile to restore the Israelites? Why did God give Isaiah the prophecy, “I equip you [Cyrus], though you do not know me.3” A common message throughout the Bible is that God prospers the lost for the good of His children. For example:

16 “Evil people may have piles of money
    and may store away mounds of clothing.
17 But the righteous will wear that clothing,
    and the innocent will divide that money.
    – Job 27:16–17 NLT – Bible Gateway

More Than History

You may say, “Well, that’s a nice history lesson but what does that have to do with me?” You have the same banker that the exiled Israelites had. Where God guides, He provides. God is very particular. His Word states, “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.4

God is more than able to “ …supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.5 So, no matter where He leads you or what assignment He gives you, with God, it is never about available funds or resources. It is always about faith and His will. When we know His will, and we know He has called us to the task, the depth of our faith in God determines whether God’s will is done through us or through someone else.

Good News

Every person called by God was called for a reason, for a purpose6. Our Lord has never promised that we will always see the successes that He accomplishes through our lives, but that’s okay. It’s not in our strength that God is glorified. He works in and through our weaknesses7.

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  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2023, August 29). _Cyrus the Great_. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. ↩︎
  2. Bible Gateway passage: Daniel 5:26–28 – Authorized (King James) Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from–28&version=AKJV ↩︎
  3. Bible Gateway passage: Isaiah 45:5 – English Standard Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from [8]Bible Gateway passage: Isaiah 42:8 – New Living Translation. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from ↩︎
  4. Bible Gateway passage: Isaiah 42:8 – New Living Translation. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from  ↩︎
  5. Bible Gateway passage: Philippians 4:19 – English Standard Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from ↩︎
  6. Bible Gateway passage: Ephesians 2:10 – New Living Translation. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from ↩︎
  7. Bible Gateway passage: 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 – New International Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from–10&version=NIV ↩︎

Strangers and Sojourners

Since this is Labor Day, I thought I’d include this dialog from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

Delmar O’Donnell: You work for the railroad, Grampa?
Blind Seer: I work for no man.
Delmar O’Donnell: Got a name, do you?
Blind Seer: I have no name.
Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, that right there may be the reason you’ve had difficulty findin’ gainful employment. You see, in the mart of competitive commerce…

Coen, J., & Coen, E. (2001, February 2). O Brother, Where Art Thou?


I was reading this morning’s “Verse of the Day” on Bible Gateway when I noticed how the Apostle Paul phrased Ephesians 2:19. I think the Revised Standard Version does an excellent job of communicating the nuance that Paul used.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

Ephesians 2:19

As you may remember, Paul was a Jew and had invested the first part of his life in becoming a Pharisee1. So, he crafted this verse to communicate to both Jews and Gentiles. Let’s break this verse down.

We Are Not Vagabonds

In today’s verse, Paul addresses the Christian Gentiles living in the wealthy city of Ephesus, a city located in modern-day Turkey. Paul first tells us that Gentile Christians are not vagabonds – a person who wanders from place to place without a job or home. Instead, we Gentile believers in Jesus have a home in God’s household.

Our citizenship is with “fellow saints and members” of God’s household! We are “fellow citizens,” not citizens in addition to saints and members of God’s family. Rather, we are “fellow citizens.” This is true in this life and our lives in heaven.

Instead of a caste system in God’s kingdom, we Gentiles are equal citizens. God shows no prejudice or partiality among His children. We know this from many verses, such as:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28

Why This Matters

I’ve probably not written anything that you didn’t already know. So, why does it matter? It matters because we must be as cautious as Paul when looking at others. If God was willing to graft the “wild branch”2 into the True Vine, we must not allow our prejudices and preconceptions to deny anyone from hearing the good news and being received into the kingdom of God.

Good News

Someday, you may be walking on a street of gold when you spot Paul. Based on what Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you can greet Paul, give him a bear hug, and say, “Paul, it is so good to see you finally!” And he will hug you back and enjoy your membership in God’s household.

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  1. Acts 23:6 – New International Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved August 30, 2023, from ↩︎
  2. Romans 11:17 – English Standard Version. (n.d.). Bible Gateway. Retrieved August 30, 2023, from ↩︎
Man praying alone in a church.

For Our Father

A Messianic Prophecy

I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness. I will take you by the hand and guard you, and I will give you to my people, Israel, as a symbol of my covenant with them. And you will be a light to guide the nations. 

Isaiah 42:6 NLT

Looking back from the New Testament to the Old Testament, we find in Isaiah 42:6 that Jesus is not only the mediator of this covenant1 but is, Himself, the covenant. Jesus made the covenant through His Spirit and the Flesh. 

The “servant of the Lord” is to be in Himself not only the mediator of the covenant but the covenant, the meeting-point between God and man, just as He is the “peace” as well as the peacemaker (Ephesians 2:14). 

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

Jesus affirmed this covenant in the Lord’s Supper.

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 

Luke 22:19–20 ESV

The “Yes” and “Amen”

Jesus told us that “in that day,” the time of the new covenant2 in which we now live, we are to use His name when we ask God our Father to change times and circumstances. In the three years of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He brought about a confluence of events. Events that were prophecied about Him across millennia. They were fulfilled by Jesus because He is the “yes” and “amen3.”

Good News

So, the next time you get alone in your prayer closet4 and pray to the Father, remember to ask in the name of Jesus. Do this to respect God our Father’s sacrifice of His only begotten Son. Do this to respect the sweat of blood from Jesus when He faced His final decision to obey His Father. Do this to acknowledge the torture, punishment, and death so many prophets endured for thousands of years to proclaim God’s messages that helped to validate Jesus as the Messiah. Do this because you participate in His command to “do this” in remembrance of His death “which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins5. Do this because Jesus commanded you to pray this way6. Do this to receive from God the joy of your salvation7.


God our Father, I pray that you will open our hearts to receive Your will concerning how we pray. Help us to please you with our prayers. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

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  1. Jeremiah 31:31. Bible Hub. ↩︎
  2. John 16:23 Bible Hub. ↩︎
  3. 2 Corinthians 1:20 Bible Hub. ↩︎
  4. Matthew 6:5–6 ESV Biblegateway. ↩︎
  5. Matthew 26:26–28 Biblegateway. ↩︎
  6. John 14:13 Bible Hub. ↩︎
  7. John 16:24 Bible Hub. ↩︎
Cartoon of man being blown back by wind

Blown Away

Love is a fruit in season at all times and in reach of every hand.

Mother Teresa

I love metaphors, but more often, I use interjections. Wow, great job, and yikes, are interjections. One interjection that we used in our recent past was “blown away.” We would say things like, “Have you tried those new Dorito® taco shells at Taco Bell®? They blew me away!” Or, “I was blown away by Alan Jackson’s ”Gospel Songs“ album!”

Blown Away

These thoughts about interjections and metaphors came into my mind when I read King Hezekiah’s poem1. He used a highly descriptive metaphor that will remain in my thoughts forever. Here’s the verse, as translated in the New Living Translation of the Bible:

My life has been blown away
like a shepherd’s tent in a storm.

Isaiah 38:12

I can relate to King Hezekiah. There have been times when I felt like my life was being “blown away,” not like an interjection but as a metaphor. I could see pieces of my life being stripped off like the shingles on my roof during a derecho (high-velocity straight-line winds).

Perhaps, you have had a derecho experience in your life. Maybe you worked for the same company for several years, and then, suddenly, the company downsizes or goes out of business, and you’re stripped of your career.

Maybe you and your spouse raised your kids for 18+ years, and then suddenly, you are empty-nesters. Perhaps you find yourself fighting a serious, life-threatening illness; your life is what might be stripped away. It might be that you have invested many years of your life in a church ministry, and suddenly, the Holy Spirit is calling you to a new people, a new place, and a new purpose. Your tent is being blown away.

God miraculously healed King Hezekiah from certain death. God is not constrained by time or circumstances; He still does miracles. As King Hezekiah wrote in his poem, “Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.2

Good News

You can trust God the Father, Jesus, the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit. The Triune God lives in you if you are a believer. God is ready to be your Amen.

Amen: The basic meaning of the Semitic root from which it is derived is “firm,” “fixed,” or “sure,” and the related Hebrew verb also means “to be reliable” and “to be trusted.”

(2023, July 10). amen. Britannica.

When the storms of life try to blow away your tent, lean into the Amen of your life. He will allow you to keep what is in His will and He blow away the things that are not His will. In both the keeping and the losing, our God will always keep you, care for you, love you. You are in Good Hands. Be at peace.

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[1]: Isaiah 38 NLT – Bible Gateway.
[2]: Isaiah 38:19b NLT – Bible Gateway.

Man thinking


I have heard it said that life is all about problem-solving. For example, do I get out of bed now, or do I hit the snooze button again? Do I buy a coffee on my way to work, or do I drink the stuff my company calls coffee? Should I plan a night in or a community theater play and a unique restaurant for our wedding anniversary?

Minute by minute, we make decisions. Some are easy decisions like buying a cup of coffee, some are difficult – do I undergo radiation treatments or have my prostate removed, and some are heartwrenching – is it time to take the car keys away from my dad? Decisions fill our days and weave their way through our dreams at night.

Hitting Home

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a very personal concern with a friend. He replied, “Which do you want? Worry or grief!? You can worry every day, try each day to keep the thing you fear from happening, and still end up crushed by grief, or you can give your concern to Jesus each day, do reasonable actions that are not driven by fear, and if you suffer that loss, then you grieve and deal with it.” He was right. Worry is worthless; it gains nothing.

The path we walk to follow Jesus is not easy, but it is the right one. I’ve learned that few things in life are easy and right. The Apostle Paul wrote:

24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not” –

2 Corinthians 11:23–25 ESV – Are they servants of Christ? I am a – Bible Gateway

God’s Love Helps Us in Our Decisions

Our decision to follow Christ Jesus may lead us into problems, problems that carry high emotional, physical, or financial costs – like letting go of a dying parent. God may lead into dangers, like the storm the apostles experienced on the sea of Galilee1. And we may experience rejection that hinders our careers, the harmony in our families, or the duties we fulfill in our local churches. Still, we know that there is no consequence we will ever experience from following Jesus that comes close to the repercussions Jesus experienced by choosing to love us.

The bystanders at the cross yelled, “Save yourself 2.” “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.3” Jesus suffered beatings, ridicule, and the shame of death on a cross because He loves us. He has made our decision to follow Him easy because He gave so much more to us than we can ever give to Him, even if we lived a thousand lifetimes.

Good News

Oh, about making decisions. My wife and I have a rule we follow when shopping. If a salesperson wants us to make an immediate decision, then our decision is “no.” For example, no, we’re not going to buy that timeshare today. All decisions cause a history. We must ask ourselves if our decision will stand the test of time. Will it still be a right, Godly decision when we look back at it five or ten years later? Decisions all come down to this: Will our decision please Jesus when we stand before Him and give an account of what we did with the life He gave us 4?

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[1]: “Matthew 14:22–33 ESV – Jesus Walks on the Water – Immediately – Bible Gateway”
]: “Romans 5:8 NIV – But God demonstrates his own love for – Bible Gateway”
[4]: “2 Corinthians 5:10 ESV – For we must all appear before the – Bible Gateway”

golf ball near hole on golf course

Not the God of Almost

Today, as I prayed for a Christian brother and friend, the Holy Spirit reminded me that God is not the God of “almost.”

Job didn’t almost survive the devil’s attacks, Noah didn’t almost survive the flood, and Elijah didn’t almost survive an assassination attempt on his life. God didn’t almost save Isaac from being sacrificed; God didn’t almost deliver the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from the Egyptians. Need I go on? The Israelites didn’t almost make it out of the desert, David didn’t almost kill Goliath, Solomon didn’t almost complete the Temple in Jerusalem. Elizabeth didn’t almost become pregnant with John the Baptist, and Mary did not almost become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. God is not the god of almost.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6 ESV

Our God, the One True God, always finishes what He starts. Think about this: God has never been surprised. He has never learned something new. God has never hoped for anything, needed anything, or been late for anything. He is God. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

God’s Word applies human characteristics to God, but those are just anthropomorphic ideas, something that helps us gain some slight insight into the majesty of God.

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

1 Chronicles 29:11

God answers small prayers, but He desires us to pray big prayers. Don’t ask for the money to help build a church in Peru; pray that He will send you to help build the church. Don’t ask for the strength to mow your lawn and your church’s lawn. Pray that God will give you opportunities to mow your church’s property and the lawns of all the widows in your church. As Caleb asked Joshua, “Give me this mountain,” so we should ask God for the big mountains we face.

Relax, Refresh, Renew

Some men from our church home regularly meet for breakfast every Friday. Recently, one of the guys was diagnosed with bone cancer. As you can imagine, this news was a fierce blow to him and his family. Many people have joined in asking the Father for his healing. If you feel led, please remember him in your prayers.

I usually share a very brief devotional while we wait for our food. Today, I used this passage:

Isaiah 25:4 ESV

Then I asked what happens to us when we find shade from the heat. The first response was, “Relax!” This picture helped all of us around the table to see shade as a metaphor for hope for our dear brother and all of us.

Lately, the weather where we live has been staggeringly hot. Just a few minutes outside saps our strength. The heat compels us to go back inside. It disrupts our summer plans. Likewise, the heat from disease can easily crush us, but God has given us a promise with a history.

Notice what the prophet Isaiah says about God: “You have been.” That’s history. It is not “You will be;” something that will happen somewhere in the future. I like that history. The promises in verse four have stood the test of time, and they are still for us.

God has been a stronghold (fortress, castle) for the poor and the needy in distress. God has been a shelter from the storms of life. And God has been the shade from the heat. These promises are from God for us, and history has proved them.

Now here is an important point. When we enter a fortress or a shelter, we quickly become relaxed; anxiety leaves. The stronghold of Jesus exchanges our fear and frustration with a peace that transcends human comprehension.

When we come into (abide) in Jesus, we become refreshed and re-hydrated by His living water. Lastly, the shade of Jesus renews us. When we are relaxed and refreshed, we can escape the heat that withers life; under Christ’s shade, we become renewed.

Isaiah 25:4 reminds me of another of God’s promises:

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Proverbs 18:10 ESV

It is not necessary for the redeemed of the LORD to be fearful, anxious, or depressed by the troubles that come to us from the world. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.(John 16:33 NIV) Claim the promises of God so that regardless of the trouble you can be relaxed, refreshed, and renewed.

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three crosses


I’ve just returned from a trip to Germany to visit my son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters. It was a wonderful visit, and the travel went well, all but the last ten seconds!

Every connection was stress-free. My seats were in perfect locations; well, I didn’t get business of 1st-class seats. I flew for free, using the last of my frequent-flyer miles. I could not have hoped for a better trip, except for those last ten seconds.

I was sitting on a bench at “Arrivals” when I spotted my wife; actually, I spotted her car and then her. As she searched for a place to stop and let me get in, I hurried to the car. That’s when it happened. I fell. Yet again, I fell hard on the pavement, but I have good news! Three men ran to where I was, working together to get me back on my feet. What an incredible blessing! Instead of me laying there like a turtle on its back, I was swept up to my feet and helped into my car. Wow! I love stories with surprising endings, so now I have one! It was nothing less than extraordinary.

In the car, as we pulled away, this verse ran through my mind:

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12

1, 2, 3

In the Hebrew language, the meanings of one, two, and three are:

One: Oneness, Unity, Primacy, First, Beginning. Single and not plural, not subject to multiplicity or division. (1×1=1) One remains one, it does not change. God is One. (Dt. 6:4) There is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God, one Father. (Eph. 4:4–6)

Two: Divide, difference, oppose, judge, discern, witness, conflict, blessing, abundance, building, couple, dying to self. It is also related to the Hebrew word shanah, meaning change or repeat. Context determines meaning (as with all numbers). Ideally, two should mirror one, as in the “two shall become one (echad) flesh.” Thus, making a true “pair” that works together like one’s ears, eyes, nostrils, hands, and feet.

There are two great commandments (love God/love neighbor), two houses of Israel, two sticks, two sisters, two olive branches, two silver trumpets, two leavened loaves on Shavuot, two cherubim guard Ark of the Covenant and the entrance to Eden, two good spies (Joshua and Caleb), and two witnesses mentioned in the Bible.

Three: Seeds, trees, fruit. Revelation, resurrection, gathering balance, equilibrium, pattern, counsel, witness, and strength. New life, sprouting, resurrection, fruitfulness, words of life (counsel), unity, and the foundation of the Temple/House are all signified by the number three. Three brings harmony and unity to opposites like one and two. Three creates a solid or a foundation and makes the first geometric shape (triangle). The sequence of three makes a chain of continuity: three patriarchs, three pilgrimage festivals, third day, three primary manifestations of the Godhead, three-ply cord, three witnesses, three kings of united Israel, three primary missionary journeys of Shaul (Paul), three woes of judgment (Book of Revelation). In tradition, Moses ascended and descended Mount Sinai three times.



As we just read, three or triplets in God’s Word are often used to communicate intensity, completeness, or something good. Jesus told Peter that the rooster would crow after he had denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:34) and Jesus later restored Peter by asking him three questions (John 21:15–25) When looked at as a whole experience, we see that Jesus knows we will fail and when we will do it. Afterward, He doesn’t abandon us but offers to restore us completely.

More Threes

Jesus declared in the book of John, chapter two, that if the temple were destroyed, He would raise it again in three days (John 2:18–20). He was referring to His death, burial, and resurrection, though the Jews thought He was speaking of the temple in Jerusalem.

A few more threes are when “Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish.” (Matthew 12:40). The three patriarchs of the Jewish people are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matthew 22:32). At the birth of Jesus, the Magi presented to Jesus three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2). And the ultimate three is the triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19–20)

Good News

Since three stands for completeness, then 27, or 33 (3 cubed), is even more complete. So, it should not surprise us that there are twenty-seven books in the New Testament. Let’s all take a moment and marvel at God and His Word. Do God’s will and enjoy Him!

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Misplaced Expectations

The Bare Facts

Isaiah was a prophet of God. One day, God gave him an almost unimaginable message. In the twentieth chapter of Isaiah, we learn that the LORD told Isaiah to “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.1” He did this for three years!

Then the LORD told him that this was a sign – “a symbol of the terrible troubles” – that would come on Egypt and Ethiopia. I wonder if the thought went through Isaiah’s mind, “Now you tell me!”

The Main Point

The Philistines, Israel’s continual nemesis, felt safe because they believed that if Assyria ever attempted to attack them, then Egypt and/or Ethiopia would give them protection. WRONG!

The LORD told Isaiah that the king of Assyria would conquer Egypt and Ethiopia. And then the Philistines would become terrified! “They will say, ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have? We were counting on Egypt to protect us from the king of Assyria.2’”

Misplaced Expectations

Just like people, throughout history, nations have made dangerous decisions based on bad assumptions. A stark example happened in 1957.

The Soviet Union Invaded Hungary

The November 1957 invasion by the Soviet Union into Hungary is a painful reminder of the danger of trusting other nations for your own nation’s safety. In 1956, a national movement swept the people of Hungary to throw off the outdated Soviet repression of their nation. At the beginning of the movement, they did not seek an alliance with NATO, just as Ukraine did not seek a military alliance with the West. But, just as the Soviet Union increased its pressure on Hungary, Russia did the same to Ukraine. And, just as we have recently seen in the war between Russia and Ukraine, the Soviet Union invaded Hungary. Both Hungary and Ukraine looked to the West for help; only Ukraine received it.

The Hungarian anti-Soviet militia thought they would succeed in their effort because they believed rumors, published by the CIA, that NATO and the US would step in and stop the invasion3. No help came from the West, so the Soviet Union’s invasion was an overwhelming success.

I have placed my fingers in some of the hundreds of bullet holes in Hungary’s parliament building that was besieged during the 1957 invasion. It is a chilling reminder of how political decisions do affect people’s lives.

As a side note, few people remember that Elvis Presley made a personal effort to help the Hungarians.

On Sunday, January 6, 1957, as millions of Americans watched Ed Sullivan’s popular television variety show, with the nearly 22 year-old Elvis Presley headlining for the third time, Sullivan told viewers Presley felt “so keenly about Hungarian relief, he urges all of us through the country to remember that immediate aid is needed.” The host followed this with Elvis singing an unrecorded number, the gospel song “Peace in the Valley,” saying “he feels that this is sort of in the mood that he’d like to create. – Wikipedia

Good News

God has given good promises to those that trust Him, who look to Him for their help, their hope, their hero.

6 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.

Psalms 20:6–8 ESV

Both personally and as a nation, I pray that we change, that we stop trusting the untrustworthy and wholeheartedly trust our place in Jesus for our strength.

Photo by Házy Zsolt, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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[1]: Isaiah 20:2 NIV
[2]: Isaiah 20:6 NLT
[3]: After the USSR defeated the anti-communist Hungarian Revolution, the revolutionists criticised the CIA and its RFE network for having deceived the Hungarians into believing that the West—NATO and the US—would expel the USSR from the Hungarian People’s Republic. Although incitements to violence were officially against RFE policy, an internal analysis by RFE adviser William Griffith found, as summarized by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, that “RFE broadcasts in several cases had implied that foreign aid would be forthcoming if the Hungarians succeeded in establishing a ‘central military command’” and “appealed to the Hungarians to ‘continue to fight vigorously’”. – Hungarian Revolution of 1956

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