Pandemic, Plague and Promise

A pandemic like COVID-19 should cause us to step back and consider our lives, our loved ones, and our futures–as they relate to God and His message to us in the Holy Scriptures. While God is not the author of evil, He does design or allow everything for a purpose. This article aims to consider (in brief) a few of the many things that God would like us to learn from a situation like this, as well as verses we can turn to for instruction and hope.

Israel’s Plague

During a situation like this, I am reminded of 1 Chronicles 21 and the plague that killed 70,000 people of Israel in just three days. In verse 1, we are told that Satan provoked David to count the number of men in Israel’s army/reserves. That is to say, God allowed Satan to prey on David’s tendency for pride. It would seem that David wanted to take the census out of pride to see how many people were “under” him, and to determine how strong (in human terms) their nation was. Though we are not told explicitly, I would suggest that David’s attitude of pride and self-reliance was representative of Israel’s attitude as a nation. What we are told is that the LORD’s anger burned against Israel, which resulted in Him allowing Satan to tempt David to sin (2 Samuel 24:1). Thus, the results of David’s sin were felt throughout the whole nation.

What were the results of that sin of pride? God gave David three choices–three options for discipline. David responded, “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.” Thus, the destroying angel of God was sent to bring a plague upon Israel in response to their sin.

How was the plague stopped? God commanded David to offer a sacrifice, and when David offered the sacrifice, the LORD commanded the destroying angel to sheath his sword (verse 26-27). The Scriptures make a point of saying that this sacrifice was costly to David. He would not offer to God a “sacrifice” that cost him nothing.

Lessons to Ponder

God has given us Old Testament examples so that we can learn from them (Romans 15:4). What can we learn from this event in David’s life?

  1. God is working behind the scenes, and He is in control. Though we do not always understand the reason behind current circumstances, we can be assured that God has allowed it for a reason, and that He is in control.
  2. We are dependent upon God. Pride says I can do it myself. It displaces God. Humility and faith recognize that every living thing is created and sustained by our Almighty God. The glory belongs to Him. Without God and Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5).
  3. God is not the author of evil. Satan was the one who provoked David to sin, not God. James 1:13-14 (NASB) tells us, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”
  4. God is merciful. God administered the discipline, and though severe, it was administered with mercy and compassion (1 Chron. 21:15). The severity of the discipline was meant to teach us how very awful our sin and pride appears before a holy God. While God’s discipline seems sometimes to be harsh, He always disciplines in love, with a purpose for our good and to teach us something we need to know. Hebrews 12:5-6 (ESV) says, “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.” It is sometimes necessary for God to go to extreme measures in order to get our attention. In His mercy He speaks to us and is interested in us.
  5. The way in which we respond to God’s discipline is important. David responded with repentance, acknowledging the seriousness of his sin, willingly accepting its consequences even if it meant his own death, praying for those under his care and leadership, and obeying God’s command to offer a sacrifice.
  6. Sin has consequences. God cannot overlook our sin. Sin breaks our fellowship with God and goes against His holy character.
  7. God’s answer for sin and its consequence is a sacrifice. David offered an animal sacrifice, because Christ had not yet come to be our final and sufficient once-for-all sacrifice. But God’s remedy for the consequences of sin has always been through sacrifice, made effectual to us through repentance and faith. Hebrews 9:27-28 (NKJV) says, “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” Christ, at tremendous cost, “by Himself” has already made purification for our sins, fully satisfying God’s requirements for their removal, without any input from mankind (Hebrews 1:3). What God requires of us is our acknowledgement that we are wrong and then the placing of our faith in what the Lord Jesus, His divine Son, has done for us. How wonderful it is that we have a righteous God who is also a merciful and loving God, who desires fellowship with us and also makes that fellowship possible through personal sacrifice!

One word of clarification

While we are told that God was angry with Israel, we are not told that all of those affected were affected as a direct result of their own sin. While we do know that sickness and sorrow in life are a result of the curse that came through Adam’s sin, just because I become sick or something “bad” happens to me does not necessarily mean that it is directly due to my personal sin. Nor can I point to an event in the life of someone else and say it is because of something they have done wrong. Sometimes we are called upon to suffer for the cause of Christ. Sometimes the way we respond to trials can be God’s way of sending a message of hope and assurance to others. God’s ways are “past finding out” and we must trust His character of love and grace, regardless of the circumstance or trial.

Scriptures of Promise and Hope

  • Nahum 1:7 (NKJV) “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.”
  • Isaiah 55:6-7 (NLT) “Seek the LORD while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that He may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously.”
  • Psalm 9:7-12, 17, 20 (NKJV) “But the LORD shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness. The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble…. The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God…. Put them in fear, O LORD, That the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah”
  • Psalm 118:8 (NKJV) “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.”
  • John 11:25-26 (NKJV) “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.'”
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
  • Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • 1 John 4:7-10 (NKJV) “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves [e.g. persistently loves, with a love like God’s for God and His people, v20-21] is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested [demonstrated] toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Closing Thoughts

Consider my life

  • Is there anything in my life that needs to be confessed as sin and forsaken?
  • Am I living my life wastefully for this moment, or prayerfully for the life hereafter?
  • Am I depending on God, or myself? Is Jesus my Lord and is God my Trust every day, or just in “emergencies”?
  • The Lord Jesus told us that we can (and should) go directly to God the Father, in His name, with our needs (John 16:23-24). The Father loves to bless those who trust in His Son. (See also Hebrews 10:19-22.)

Consider my neighbor

  • Do I care more about others than myself?
  • Am I willing to sacrifice for the good of others, as Jesus did?

Consider my future

  • Am I right with God? Do I have a loving relationship with God as my heavenly Father? Are my sins forgiven? If they are, Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1).

 

God has not forgotten us. He knows, and He cares. May we not forget Him.

Scattered thoughts

Scattered musings of the morning…

God reveals Himself to those who need Him. If we don’t see God working in our lives and revealing Himself to us, perhaps it is because we do not need Him…

“Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20). Often times assemblies with which we are associated are small in number. But God is great in using small things to accomplish great results, to His glory.

The way in which we conduct our meetings does not appeal to the natural mind, but it should appeal to the spiritual, biblical mind. Do I have a spiritual or self-centered mind? Do I seek heavenly things over earthly (Col 3:1-2)? Am I dead to this world (Col 3:3)? Is Christ my life (Col 3:4)? Does the Word of Christ dwell in me richly (Col 3:16)? Am I marked by thanksgiving (Col 3:17)? Do I live for the commendation of the Lord over the praise of men (Col 3:23)?

Quote from Voice of the Martyrs magazine (Dec 2016): “When people persecute me or talk about me badly, I don’t feel sorry for myself. I always feel sorry for them.”

106. “Bring them here to Me”

Matthew 14:18

5 loaves.

5,000 men.

5 words*.

“Bring them here to Me.”

“Lord, what are five loaves and two small fish among so many? Feed everyone? Impossible!”

“Bring them here to Me.”

“Lord, You might as well say we don’t have anything at all in comparison to this great task.”

“Bring them here to Me.”

“Lord, I can’t do this.”

“Bring them here to Me.”

***

I wonder how many times I have sighed beneath the load, trying to do something for the Lord, feeling helpless, fruitless, failure. Am I trying to feed over 5,000 with 5 loaves?

Are we trying to do the growing for that little seed we sowed, or are we giving that seed to God and watering it with prayer?

Yes, we need to supply those few loaves and fish. God notices the “insignificant.” But how many more would be blessed, and how much more glory would we bring to God, if we truly realized it was His work, His miracle, not ours?

“Bring them here to Me.”

***

*4 in Greek

97. Able…according to

Eph 3:20 says, “…Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (NKJV)

Wow, what power! what blessing is available for us! But tonight I have been impressed in a new way with the end of that statement–“according to the power that works in us.”

What if I don’t allow Him to work in me?

“…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” Eph. 3:16-17 NKJV

93. Why? (Part 2: The murder of the innocent)

The murder of the innocent

As countless mourn the death of twenty-six victims in one of the worst mass-shootings in United States history (Wall Street Journal)  at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the constant question is… why? This question goes beyond the reasons for why the gunman did the horrific deed… Why do things like this happen? What makes someone act like this? Where is God in all of this?

We don’t know for sure why the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary took place, and we can’t read the mind of the gunman to know if he was mentally mad or emotionally outrageously angry. We don’t know if the violence on television and video games played a part, though they certainly could have. But let’s look at the first murder recorded in the Bible for some general answers to some of these questions.

The first murder happened in the first family

Genesis 4:1-14 gives the account of the first murder. In this account, Cain brings an offering to the LORD from the best of his farm’s produce. Abel brings a lamb to sacrifice to God. Abel’s offering is accepted, and Cain’s is rejected. They were both told what God would accept, but Cain chooses his own way, not God’s. God tries to reason with Cain, reminding him that if he would only bring what God required, he would be accepted too. But instead, in anger, Cain kills his own brother.

What was Cain’s motive? Why did he do what he did?

First of all, we should make it clear that the origin of evil is not God, but Adam’s sin (disobedience and wrong-doing) in the Garden of Eden. Because like produces like, Adam’s descendants can only be sinners too. Both Cain and Abel were born sinners, but Abel chose to believe God and Cain chose to reject God. When Cain rejected God and God’s way, God rejected Cain. When Cain couldn’t have his way, he became angry, and that anger was unleashed on his innocent brother, Abel, and Abel died as a result. The very first man born into this world was a murderer.

Why did Cain murder Abel? 1John 3:12 gives us the answer:

“…not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.” (NASB)

We are told Cain was of the devil. He hated righteous Abel, because he had chosen evil and was inspired by Satan to do evil deeds. God uses this incident as a lesson to each of us to love one another (1 John 3:11) and to not be surprised when the world hates those who are righteous (1 John 3:13).

Genesis 4:5-8 tell us that Cain killed Abel out of anger.  Cain’s anger may have been fueled by his hurt pride, his self-pity, feelings of failure, jealousy, resentment, rejection, bitterness, and desire for revenge, among other things. Anger is blinding. It turns one’s thoughts and focus inward on self alone, and results in irrational behavior. Jude compares Cain’s ways to that of an unreasoning animal (Jude 10). Romans 1 teaches us that those who willfully reject God become like depraved animals.

God attempted to turn Cain away from his anger. He showed His concern in the situation, and demonstrated love toward Cain even in his anger and sinful ways. But Cain chose to let sin and Satan rule over him, and killed his brother Abel anyway.

Understanding God’s response

So why didn’t God stop Cain from killing Abel?

Though God is not required to answer all our “whys,” I think we can understand some of the reasons by looking more into the Word of truth.

We know God didn’t allow the murder of Abel because He didn’t love Abel. Abel is the first to be commended in the great chapter of faith, Hebrews 11.  There we see that Abel is still speaking to us today through his death, telling us of a sacrifice that was made for righteousness’ sake, condemning the hatred, anger and evil of this world. So God uses bad things that happen to speak to others.  Through Abel’s death, we are given a lesson about love in 1 John 3: 11-13.  God did not do Abel an injustice by allowing him to die– in fact, Abel is honored far more as a result.

But there is more. Let’s say God prevented all murders. Then what about thefts? But if God prevented all thefts, what about fights? And if fights, what about lies? So is God responsible to prevent all sin before it happens? The answer is no. God has created mankind as a responsible race. He set mankind over the rest of creation (Heb. 2:5-8). God has made us each accountable to Him, our Creator, and each of us will have to give an account to God for our own sin. The courtroom scene is not in this life. We don’t see the Judge setting everything right yet, but He certainly will in a coming day (Rev. 20:12).  “Behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (James 5:9 NASB).

Cain’s punishment was greater than he could bear. Abel’s honor is greater than he could have imagined. God’s ways are best, even when we cannot understand them.

The wages of sin is death. When man chooses his own evil way, there are consequences. And sin affects even those who are not at fault. It brings suffering, sorrow and shame, even upon those who never committed the crime. Sickness, a result of sin, touches every one of us. The curse is upon all of creation, and it groans (Rom. 8:22). If the effects of sin were seen in the first family that ever lived, then it is not surprising if we see its effects in our world today as well, on a larger scale.

So why did God allow it? In summary, the murder of Abel happened because of sin’s affect on Cain and Cain’s choice to rebel against God. It was allowed by God because God has given responsibility to mankind for their own actions, and has given them the freedom of choice. Our choices affect others, and the final result of sin is death and sorrow. God teaches us about the evil of sin through the tragedies of life, and demonstrates His love through tragedy. God brings good out of evil, and as a result of Abel’s death, Abel is highly honored in the pages of Scripture beyond what he could have had otherwise, and he demonstrated to us the value and virtue of righteousness.

God’s remedy

Does not all of this touch the heart of God? Cannot he stop the hurting? Is there no end to suffering? There is!

God’s heart was grieved over sin in Noah’s day, and He is just as grieved over sin today. He could destroy the world with a word, and stop it all once and for all. But God is also a long-suffering, patient God (2Pet. 3:9). He longs that those who practice evil would turn to Him from their evil ways, and live. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11). But a day is coming when the patience of God will run out, and His righteous wrath and judgment will fall upon this ungodly world (read Revelation). Christ will return and set up a righteous rule, and all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD. Peace will finally reign from sea to sea, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. For the saved, there will be no more crying, no more pain, no more death. They will appreciate heaven so many times more after the sorrows of earth, and they will appreciate the Savior so much more for all that He suffered for them, having suffered themselves. To the grieving and heartbroken, there is a loving God and Savior in heaven who long to bring comfort and strength to all who will turn to Him in their distress (Matt. 11:28, 2Cor. 1:3-5). When the tragedies of this life cause us to turn to God, blessing and healing will result.

So we must close our meditation with the Savior, because He is God’s remedy for mankind’s problem of sin. He knew what it was to suffer, not because of His own sin, but because of the sin of others. He knew what it was to feel the spikes and to know the thirst of Calvary. He knew what it was to die upon a cross, forsaken by man and forsaken by God. He knew what it was to endure the hatred of men and the wrath (righteous anger) of Almighty God. Why? Why should the innocent have to die for the guilty? Why should the Son of God die for a wicked race who had failed in their responsibility toward their Maker? Why didn’t God just send us all to a sinner’s hell?

We will never know the full answer to that why.

Oh love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure, the saints’ and angels’ song. (Frederick Martin Lehman)

 

Related links

Why? Part 1: When loved ones die

CBS news, after the Virginia Tech shooting, spoke of those who believe one act of violence fuels another.

It’s not fair

Anger, a ruthless killer

 

92. Friend of the world, Friend of God

In James 4:4 NASB we read, “do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?” This statement reminds me of Lot, Abraham’s brother.

In James 2:23 we read of Abraham: “and he was called the Friend of God.”

Let’s see what we can learn from one who acted like a friend of the world, and one who was truly a friend of God.

Choices and Riches

We know from 2 Peter 2:7 that Lot was a righteous man. He did not love evil, but he lived in a wicked city with worldly aspirations. Lot lost immeasurably. In Genesis 13:7-13, we find that Lot chose the physical over the spiritual. He chose pleasures over piety. He chose to live close to the world instead of close to God, and was sucked in to the evil world system. He had his eyes on the luscious valley, but his focus was drawn away by the pull of materialism to an evil city.

Abraham was a righteous man as well (Gen. 15:6), but his sights were set higher than this world. He made choices for eternity instead of for time. He was a humble man, giving Lot the choice of where to settle. He chose others over self, and chose to live close to God rather than to enjoy this world’s fleeting pleasures.

Cottages and Tents

Lot chose to dwell in a land doomed for destruction (Gen 13:12). He likely had a nice home with the delicacies of the city. Abraham chose to live in the land of promise (Gen 13:14-18). His cottage was simply a tent (Heb. 11:9), and he looked for a city whose architect and builder is God (Heb. 11:10). Lot was involved in the politics of the world, and appears to have had a high position socially. He had roots deep into this old world. Abraham, in contrast, was ready to pick up his tent and move where the LORD led him at a moment’s notice. Though God blessed him materially, he didn’t let his material possessions keep him from being where God wanted him to be. Abraham had failures in his life and wasn’t always in the place God desired, but God always brought him back to the right place again.

Conquests and Captives

Lot was taken captive along with the world he lived with (Gen 14:12). It was Abraham, the Friend of God, that had power over the enemy and who could rescue his captured brother (Gen 14:14-16). Lot lost basically everything he owned a second time when the city was destroyed– he never learned his lesson. In contrast, Abraham refused the world’s reward (Gen 14:21-23) and instead received God’s reward (Gen 15:1).  God was his shield and his “exceeding great reward.” God promised Abraham His friend an eternal inheritance.

Care and Welcome

Both Lot and Abraham showed hospitality and care to the angels that visited them. The angels’ message to Abraham was a message of life: Sarah would have a son. Their message to Lot was a message of death: the city was doomed for destruction. Lot’s ability to welcome and care for the angels was severely affected by the environment in which he lived.

Children and Sacrifice

Lot was willing to sacrifice his daughters to the world (Gen. 19:8). Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son to God (Gen. 22).

Character and Testimony

Lot softly chided the wicked men of the city, calling them brothers (Gen. 19:14). Abraham spoke of Sodom as “the wicked” (18:23). The character of Lot’s testimony was such that his relatives would not believe him when he told them that they were in grave danger. Abraham failed in his testimony as well, lying about his wife and putting others in danger (Gen. 20:5), but the LORD overruled and made things right again. Abraham’s character as a whole was honorable (Gen. 18:19).

Catastrophe and Intercession

Lot was spared through Abraham’s intercession (Gen. 19:29). Abraham was a man of fervent prayer, bold faith, and deep concern for his brother (Gen 18:17, 25). God revealed special things to Abraham His friend that He did not reveal to others (Gen. 18:17).

Lot hesitated when told to flee from the doomed city (Gen. 19:16). He didn’t want to leave all his earthly possessions behind. Abraham, however, wouldn’t take the smallest thing from the King of Sodom (Gen. 14:22-23). After Lot finally left the city, he didn’t want to fully obey the Lord’s command, and requested to go to a small city instead of fleeing to the mountain (19:19-20). He wanted a shortcut, an easier way, and a place closer to the familiar world he came out of. In the end, he became afraid that God wouldn’t do what He said and preserve him there, and left the city. In contrast, Abraham, when given the last great test, fully obeyed the Lord and climbed the mountain of sacrifice to the very top (Gen. 22:18). There he learned of God’s provision and salvation.

Considering the spouses

Lot’s wife, in her death, is a lesson to us not to love the world (Luke 17:32). Abraham’s wife, in giving birth, is a lesson to us to remember God’s blessing and care for His people (Isaiah 51:2).

Culmination

Lot had some good characteristics, but these things did not profit him because of his association with the world. The last we are told of Lot, we see him in a cave with nothing left but his two daughters and their sinful ways (Gen. 19:30). The descendants of what transpired there eventually were a snare to the people of God. Yet we see that God blessed Lot’s descendants with an inheritance in Deut. 2:19.

Some of the last words we read about Abraham’s life are “Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way” (Gen. 24:1). He had the joy of seeing his son married and going on for God, and he had a rich inheritance to pass on to him (Gen. 25:5). He had bright promises to look forward to. His seed would one day be as the sand of the seashore and the stars of the heavens for multitude. He rejoiced to see a day when Christ would come (John 8:56). He went down in the Scriptures as the Friend of God, the Father of the Faithful (Rom. 4:11).

Lessons to be learned

So what can we learn from these two examples God has given us in the Scriptures? Here are a few suggestions:

Choices and Riches

I have a choice to make: will I choose to live close to the world, or close to God? Will I esteem the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures in Egypt (Heb. 11:26), and the reward of the eternal over the fleeting glitter of this world?

Cottages and Tents

Which do I value more, the mansions of this world or the mansions of heaven? Which world am I living for, this one or the next? Which do I value more, the inheritance that this world can give, or the inheritance that God can give?

Conquests and Captives

Am I one who is strong in the Lord and the power of His might (Eph. 6), or am I a friend of that same world that is an enemy of Christ and the child of God? Am I ready to “save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” (Jude 23)?

Care and Welcome

Is my home a place where other Christians are welcome? Is it a place that is conducive to spiritual growth and development, or is it a place contaminated by the world and its ways? “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2 NASB).

Children and Sacrifice

What am I sacrificing to the world? What am I sacrificing for God? “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:35-36 NASB).

Character and Testimony

My character will greatly influence those I love and come into contact with. Does my testimony to the saving grace of God have an influence on those I love who are not yet saved? We all will fall in one way or another, but the Lord is able to lift us up and help us go on for Him, if that is our desire.

“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2Tim. 2:21).

Catastrophe and Intercession

Am I a man or woman of prayer, interceding for others?

If the Lord came today, would I be looking back longingly at my life’s possessions, or would I be looking forward to eternity with Him in that city of gold? Will I be one of whom it is said, [only] “he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1Cor. 3:15 NASB)?

Am I willing to obey the Lord completely, following in the footsteps of my Savior who went all the way up Calvary’s mountain for me?

Considering the spouses

Lot’s wife gives us the lesson of a wasted life. Abraham’s wife gives us a lesson of a life perhaps thought to be wasted (not being able to bare children), but found to be very fruitful through faith. Is my life fruitful, or faithless?

Culmination

When it comes time to leave to be with Christ, the award that awaits me will largely be dependent on whether I was a “friend of the world” or a “friend of God.”