“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 ESV
“Fathers, don’t scold your children so much that they become discouraged and quit trying.” Colossians 3:21 TLB
“The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.” Proverbs 23:24 NIV
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20b NIV
Children and Fathers
“Listen to your father, who gave you life.” Proverbs 23:22 NIV
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12 NIV
“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, for whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12 NASB
God the Father
Many people have difficulty viewing God as a loving father because their own fathers were emotionally or physically absent or abusive. Some imagine God as an angry entity waiting to condemn and rain down fire and brimstone. But scripture provides a more accurate picture of God the Father, the One who cares deeply about our hurts and wants only the best for us.
“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:4 NLT
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hands.” Isaiah 64:8 NIV
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:8 NLV
“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13 NLT
“I will be a father to him, and he’ll be a son to me. When he does wrong, I’ll discipline him in the usual ways, the pitfalls and obstacles of this mortal life. But I’ll never remove my gracious love from him.” 2 Samuel 7:14-15a MSG
“I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6: 18 NKJV
Update: Judge Kim Cooks of the 255th district ruled Thursday that both parents will have joint managing conservatorship and will make joint medical decisions for the child. Cooks also forbade Younger from speaking about the case and ruled that he is not required to pay attorney fees. Younger’s site, Save James, will thus have to be taken down.
The governor of Texas is intervening in a custody case amid controversy over a decision of a Dallas jury allowing a mother to proceed with gender transitioning against the wishes of his father.
The case of James Younger, a 7-year-old boy who has been at the center of a complicated and bitter divorce and custody fight in Texas because the mother insists the child is transgender and his father says he is not, has gained national attention this week in light of a Monday 11-1 jury decision in favor of the mother, Anne Georgulas, awarding her custody.
The father in the case, Jeffrey Younger, has been leading a campaign to save his son from the transition, maintaining that gender transitioning is a torturous form of child abuse. The fight over the transitioning of James has been part of a custody battle with a messy divorce. The judge who presided over the case was scheduled to rule on the final terms of conservatorship Wednesday, but ended up delaying issuing the decision.
Georgulas is not biologically related to the child as he was conceived using a donor egg. James has a twin brother, Jude.
Late Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Attorney General’s office and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services were looking into the situation.
Georgulas maintains the child is transgender, has reportedly been telling James that he is female since he was three years old, and the young boy is classified by his pediatrician, Dr. Jennifer Pape, as female on his medical records. The child has been enrolled in elementary school as “Luna,” uses the girls’ restroom, and his classmates believe he is female.
Younger took video footage of his son when he was 3 wherein the young boy explained that it was his mother who was telling him he was a girl, was putting him in dresses, and painting his nails. Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that footage Thursday along with the hashtag #protectjamesyounger.
Tweeting in support of the 7-year-old boy and his father were other Republican politicians from Texas like U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, who called the ordeal “horrifying” and “tragic.”
“For a parent to subject such a young child to life-altering hormone blockers to medically transition their sex is nothing less than child abuse,” Cruz said.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, likewise, tweeted earlier this week in response to the case: “This is heartbreaking and sets a horrible precedent. A 7-year-old can’t possibly make this decision or understand it. Parents should know better. I hope this father receives the public support he needs.”
In a Wednesday letter to Attorney General Barr, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy director James Carroll, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote of the erosion of parental rights with regard to the best course of treatment for their children suffering with gender dysphoria, and mentioned how kids in the foster system are particularly vulnerable to gender transition. Roy urged the agency heads to conduct a federal study on individuals who undergo sex-reassignment surgical operations and hormone treatments that are under the age of 18.
“And just this week, a jury ruled against a father attempting to save his 7 year-old son from chemical castration forced upon him by his mother,” Roy wrote, referencing the Younger case.
“Now is the time to conduct this important research, before more children are separated from one or both parents, foster children are denied a loving home that does not conform with activists’ demands, and most importantly, given life-altering treatments that will cause them irreparable harm,” the congressman said.
Petitions in support of the Jeffrey Younger and the Texas governor’s actions have been launched this week, garnering hundreds of thousands of signatures.
In January, Jeffrey Younger gave an interview with the “Luke Macias Show” podcast describing his agony over losing his child and watching him be told that he is the opposite sex.
“You have to see your son sexually abused, and you have to maintain your calm,” he explained, “because the courts are not going to be fair to you. And the only way you can survive this and get your son through this alive is to calmly allow your son to be tortured right before your eyes and outlast the opposition. That’s what it’s like.”
Texas state representative Matt Krause, who represents a portion of Tarrant County in suburban Fort Worth, said Wednesday that unless there is a special session between now and the next session he would introduce legislation that prohibits the use of puberty blockers for children under the age of 18.
At present, no laws in Texas prevent a legal guardian from giving a minor puberty-blocking drugs or hormones.
Transgender activists have long claimed and continue to assert that puberty blockers are reversible and are a mere “pause button” that gives gender dysphoric youth additional time to decide whether or not to proceed to cross-sex hormones and surgical transition.
Earlier this year, Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist from Rocklin, California noted in remarks before the Heritage Foundation that the claims of doctors engaged in the medicalization of gender are extremely misleading.
No blood test, genetic testing, or brain imaging scans can find a “gender identity,” Laidlaw said at the time, adding “there is no objective test to diagnose this, yet we are giving very harmful therapies on the basis of no objective diagnosis.”
Medical scenarios such as girls as young as 13 and 14 undergoing double mastectomies and 17-year-old boys with penises of 9-year-olds, developmentally speaking, because of chemical puberty blockers, are now occurring, he explained. And some of these experimental medical practices are being funded by the federal government.
Laidlaw and his colleagues obtained a progress report through FOIA requests from a 2015 NIH grant that was awarded to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where it notes that in 2017 the minimum age was lowered for cross-sex hormones from 13 to 8.
Last words carry great significance because they reveal what’s important to a person. That’s why we gather around a loved one’s bed as the end draws near, hoping to hear final thoughts, instructions, or wisdom. And of all the recorded last words, the most valuable are those of the Lord Jesus. Before He went to the cross, He spent an extended evening with His disciples, celebrating the Passover. His final words in John 13-17 show us His heart for those who belong to Him.
Consider the roller coaster of emotions the disciples experienced in those last days and hours with their Messiah: They’d watched the crowds welcome Him into Jerusalem as “the King of Israel” just a few days before (John 12:13). But now they were gradually being awakened to the fact that things were not going to turn out as they hoped. They’d left everything to follow Him, and now Jesus was telling them He was going to die.
To see this from the disciples’ perspective, we need to better understand their expectations. According to the Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah was going to come as a conqueror to subdue Israel’s enemies, exalt the nation to global prominence, and rule over the entire world (Isa. 2:1-4). As His followers, they were anticipating places of prominence, authority, and greatness in the kingdom. They didn’t realize that they needed a Savior more than a King. The Messiah had to first offer Himself as a sacrifice in order to save His people from their sins.
THE LORD’S PLAN
When Jesus first began to speak of His upcoming death and resurrection, Peter actually rebuked Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You” (Matt. 16:22). Despite Jesus’ repeated assertions, they could not fit a dying Messiah into their belief system. But on this last night, the reality was finally sinking in, and they were filled with grief and sorrow at the thought of life without Him.
Despite Jesus’ repeated assertions, they could not fit a dying Messiah into their belief system.
Christ’s response to their trauma is best described in John’s gospel: “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Everything He said was for the purpose of strengthening their faith. Before their world began to turn upside down, Christ said, “I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He” (John 13:19). Then He revealed what was going to happen:
These confused and fearful men in the upper room became the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20). Jesus was entrusting them with the task of taking His message of salvation to the world. From an earthly perspective, this looked risky. They were not an impressive group. In fact, they lacked spiritual insight and the courage to stand with Christ when their lives were in danger. Yet Jesus knew their future success didn’t depend on their own abilities but on His power, provision, and intercession. Therefore, as the evening drew to an end, the Lord lifted His eyes to heaven, and this is how He prayed:
These confused and fearful men in the upper room became the foundation of the church. Jesus was entrusting them with the task of taking His message of salvation to the world.
First, Christ prayed that both He and the Father would be glorified in His death, which would bring eternal life to all whom the Father had given Him (John 17:1-2). The cross was not a defeat, and Jesus was not a victim. By completing the work He’d been given, including His redemptive death on the cross, the Son glorified His Father.
Next, Jesus prayed—not for the world but for those who believed that God sent Him. They were precious gifts to Christ, and He had been glorified in them through their faith in Him. Now He was going to send them into the world with His message. Therefore, Jesus asked His Father to protect them from the evil one and sanctify them in the truth of His Word.
In conclusion, Jesus broadened His intercession to include all future believers who would make up the body of Christ—His church. Just imagine, on that night almost 2,000 years ago Jesus prayed for you. And what did He request? “That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21).
He wasn’t merely asking that believers get along with each other, although we should. Jesus was speaking of the spiritual unity of all Christians with the Trinity and each other. Every true believer is baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit and becomes a part of His body. Together, we are sent to proclaim the gospel so that the world may believe.
THE ANSWER TO THE LORD’S PRAYER
God answered Christ’s prayer for that little band of men gathered with Him for the Passover observance. They faithfully took the gospel to the world, and we now have their testimony recorded in the Bible. What’s more, the heavenly Father continues to answer Jesus’ prayer as new Christians enter into the spiritual unity of Christ’s body. In fact, believers around the world gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, which Christ established that last night.
For His final request, Jesus said, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory” (John 17:24). A day is coming when everyone Jesus prayed for will meet together in heaven with Him and with each other in perfect unity. And we can know with certainty that this will come about because the Father always answers His Son’s prayers. In the meantime, the church is called to strive toward unity here and now—loving one another just as He loves us, and testifying to an onlooking world about His transforming power.
Immersed in the routine of everyday life, most do not notice that the world is changing. Moreover, it is changing rapidly, irreversibly and radically. The world, as we knew it, is disappearing before our eyes. The world is changing rapidly, and the rules of the game are changing with it. There are also many events that illustrate these changes in a symbolic way. But many of them pass unnoticed by the majority because the information agenda is formed from other, noisier, but less influential events.
I have been fortunate for a time to leave and return to the United States every so often, and every time I returned, our country, although with familiar surroundings, irreversibly and radically was different. Today, there are many events that signify these changes in a symbolic way. The threat to modern society is fraught with not only terrorism and crime but also many other negative phenomena. These include the activities of sects and cults, the promotion of different justice movements and much more. The world is changing, and not always for the better. There are new threats that most of us are not prepared to meet.
Our country became like the following statement from Romans 1: 21-25, 27-31:
“Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator… likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful..
The world is a madhouse!
Furthermore, the Bible displays that wars on a large scale, famine, pestilences, or epidemics (terrible diseases), natural cataclysms, increase in crime and destruction of the earth. Likewise, widespread apathy and even ridicule toward the evidence of the approaching end, the scripture and disbelief of the word.
But people, Jesus tells us that when we see such things, to not fear, but lift up our eyes, as he is approaching fast. While in Daniel, there is a promise: Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. People, those who are wise…remember, the beginning of the wisdom is fear of God. Not just fear of trembling, but fear to disrespect, disobey, to not know him. We need to know him! To humble ourselves before him! Our Father says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will heal their land.”
People… choose today to humble yourself as pray for our nation and our world to repent! Stop playing the role of god and judging people… stop snubbing your nose at God… Stop playing with fire and pray for our people. Be passionate, obedient and filled with faith… stand in the gap and let people choose to follow the lord. The day of the Lord is near, let us not watch as the nation goes to hell. We are all that is left… we are the remnant! If not… be the remnant! The only hope for America, the west and the rest of the world is to wake up and repent. Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, and lead by example if you so choose to serve the Lord.
Although the 120 Day Prayer Campaign is over. Use the videos playlist to be the echo of the campaign.
“Okay, Sister. After you peel the potatoes, put them in this,” my daddy said pointing to a metal gadget with a handle. “Then turn it and they come out sliced ready for the frying pan. Fried potatoes and onions for breakfast — I’ll think I’ve died and gone to heaven!” Dad shifted his head, faced me, and smiled.
My eight-year-old-self couldn’t help but smile back. When it’s Saturday morning, you get to watch cartoons and make breakfast with your Father – well, what’s not to smile about?
In fact, just thinking about those Saturday mornings make me smile now and I’m well into my 50′s. I remember the crusty fried potatoes and onions covered with ketchup and a side of buttered toast.
Delicious. But you know what I loved more? The time I spent with my daddy.
So when I read Beth Moore’s study of 2 Thessalonians 3:1, and her definition of prayer, I beamed and warmed at the same time. Here’s a quote:
“God loves you. He loves your company. He loves to search the depths of your soul and hear the dreams of your heart. He knows what troubles you when you crawl into bed and what awaits when you crawl out. He knows why you’re scared and where you’re unprepared.”
You know, as great as my earthly father was, sometimes he was too busy for me, or too far away, or maybe just too preoccupied to listen.
But not my heavenly Daddy.
I can enter into His presence any time. But often, I don’t. Mostly because I’m too busy, or tired, or lazy, or just too wrapped up in myself.
I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s the truth.
Maybe you have the same problem.
It’s kind of like being invited to Buckingham Palace for a private dinner with the Queen with all that delicious afternoon tea stuff, and turning it down.
Except better. Because God is not just royalty or an earthly leader, He’s our heavenly Father, and King of His universe. He not only owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He made the cattle and the hills.
And He cares about me. And He cares about you.
Jesus said in Luke 11:9-10,
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (NIV)
The good gifts God has for us are eternal. James 1:17 says,
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (NIV)
Not the gifts you get at Christmas and enjoy for a time. His gifts are rich and meaty and eternal. They are good gifts. Sometimes they are hard gifts, but they always produce eternal dividends.
Recently, in our church home group, we discussed prayer. One man I admire in our church prays this way.
“Father, we come to you by the blood of Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
That’s a mouthful of eternal blessings. And meeting with our Father isn’t just for Saturdays. We can come anytime we want.
And have breakfast.
And you can skip the cartoons and enjoy the feast.
The anesthesiologist told me moments before the C-Section was complete that when I heard the “really loud suction noise” that I could stand up and look over the curtain that separated me (and my wife’s head) from the area where they were performing major surgery. All at once he exclaimed, “That’s it!” I jumped up and much to my surprise I did not see a baby. I saw the doctor elbow-deep inside my wife’s abdomen. It looked like he was leaning in, reaching for her tonsils. I felt the blood fall from my head to somewhere just above my feet. Either I was going to hit the floor, or I was going to man up REALLY fast. God pulled me through and I was able to be the rock I needed to be.
Some days later I found myself with an intense desire to witness my infant son’s circumcision. The intensity of the actual procedure was muted by the moments that led up to it. The doctor and her staff explained what was going on, why they were performing each step, and were already instructing me on how to care for my son in the near future.
The deed was finally done. As I looked on I realized two things. First of all this was definitely the most painful, heartfelt cry my son had ever produced. Second, this was the first time I had ever seen tears in his little eyes. My eleven-day old son was shrieking in pain. His little body was locked up, and tears were flowing down the sides of his face. There was nothing I could do. My boy needed me and I couldn’t rescue him. I had to stand there and watch my son suffer at the hands of strangers.
All in an instant the Holy Spirit ministered to me in what was the most supernatural way I’ve ever felt Him. What was conveyed was, “Jeffrey, do you now have some vague understanding of what I went through when strangers beat my Son senseless? I had to watch my Son suffer in ways you’ll never have to.” This thought was more than profound, but it was what He said next that almost brought me to my knees in that doctor’s office.
He said, “I know how much you love your son and how his tears hurt you. But you can’t comprehend how much I love mine. And I endured his tears and suffering for you.”
I closed my eyes and saw red words from my Bible that said,
“…Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) (ESV)
Noah is six months old now.
It dawned on me the other day that sometimes I don’t even see him as a baby, I just see his standing in my family. I’d do anything for that little boy. I have to step back from time to time and remind myself that he’s completely unable to relate to a single thing that happens in my life. I could not confide in him or ask him for advice. I could never ask him for a favor or lean on him during a rough spot. But I loved him enough to die for him the minute he was born. My love for him changes as he grows, but I don’t love him more. My love for him is 100% unconditional, and 100% of what I have to give.
I felt God say to my spirit, “I love you. I love you EVEN THOUGH you’re a baby. You can’t relate to me. You’re incapable of understanding anything at my level. But when I look at you I don’t see baby Jeffrey. I see a family member. Jeff, no matter how spiritually immature you are, you’re part of my family.
I was reminded of 1 John 3:1 which says,
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (ESV)
I’m starting to realize that Noah was given to me so that God could use him to help raise me.
In this article, which first appeared in the May 2016 edition of Decision Magazine, Pastor Dale Evrist explains the unwavering protection God offers through Christ. Find hope in this message, even if you don’t have an earthly dad to celebrate this Father’s Day.
The picture of Shaun Cunningham’s outstretched arm shielding his young son’s face from an errant baseball bat at a March 5 spring training game between the Atlanta Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates quickly went viral on social media.
If a picture is really worth a thousand words, surely none of those words were as rich in meaning as what Landon Cunningham, a 9-year-old Braves fan, said about the prospects of danger from flung bats and foul balls at baseball outings.
“As long as I’m with my dad, I’m OK,” he told the Ocala Star-Banner in Ocala, Fla.
Dale Evrist, pastor of New Song Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tenn., and author of a book on God’s protection of believers called The Mighty Hand of God, would agree.
When Evrist saw the photo of Shaun stretching out to shield his son—who was looking down at his dad’s phone when Pirates outfielder Danny Ortiz’s bat went flying toward the stands—he almost immediately thought of theological parallels.
“If an earthly father’s instinct in protecting his child enables that father in a split second to ward off a projectile coming at his son to do him harm, and if we serve the God and the Father of the How Much More, then how much more will your heavenly Father give good things?” Evrist told Decision, quoting from Matthew 7:11. “He knows the bat’s coming. He’s the helicopter over the parade. He declares the end from the beginning.”
Evrist acknowledges that God’s plan often allows suffering, and sometimes tragic death, yet God’s economy seems to allow for more protections from natural calamities and human evils than the believer likely realizes.
Scripture is full of instances in which God protected His people—always with His divine purposes in mind.
In Exodus 14:21-31, God is described as fighting for Israel as He divides the Red Sea as a means of their escape from the pursuing Egyptian army. Though often stiff-necked, Israel is God’s chosen vehicle for bringing forth the Messiah.
In Joshua 2, God rewards a fearful and repentant prostitute, Rahab, for her faithfulness in hiding the Hebrew spies by sparing her and her family while the rest of Jericho perishes.
In 1 Samuel 7, the Lord observes Israel’s repentance from idol worship and blesses them with victory and protection over the Philistines for the rest of the Prophet Samuel’s life.
Psalm 91 waxes effusive about God’s protection, characterizing the Lord as a refuge, shelter and dwelling place, an avenger and a saving source.
In Acts 9:15, the Lord says that Paul “is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” Although Paul and all the other apostles except for John died as martyrs, Paul’s life had God’s protection amid shipwrecks, a stoning, beatings, venomous snakes and other threats until his work as a missionary was fulfilled. He suffered but was not crushed.
Evrist notes: “When the servant of God walks in faith and obedience, they are indestructible until God’s plan for them has come to completion.”
Where Prayer and Protection Meet
Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in suburban Memphis, admits he doesn’t comprehend why God allows evil in one place—he mentioned the church shooting in Charleston, S.C., last June as an example—yet stops it in another.
But he’s grateful in those times of protection, all the same.
Gaines is adamant about the role of prayer in the life of believers. He authored a book study, Pray Like It Matters, which is used in churches across the country. And he is certain prayer mattered on Easter at Bellevue.
Some 75 people gathered the Saturday before Easter to plead for the safety and spiritual condition of each person attending Easter services the next day. Such prayer over each seat in the worship center is a weekly work of a small but committed team of church members.
Prior to the final service March 27 at Bellevue, which draws more than 6,000 people each Sunday, a greeter noticed a man carrying what looked like a partially concealed pistol.
She quickly notified a security officer, who stopped the man. After a brief conversation with the man, the off-duty Memphis policeman discovered that a bag the man was carrying contained a rifle and a large amount of ammunition.
All the while, the third service was delayed in starting because a woman had fallen and was receiving medical attention near the sanctuary exit the man was attempting to enter. Her accident kept him from entering the service.
“I don’t understand it,” Gaines said. “And yet I do believe that we are to pray for protection. … In no way do I think we prayed better than some other group of people who experienced tragedy. But I do believe that all Christians ought to engage in fervent prayer for protection.”
Gaines said authorities believe the man was delusional, and it was unclear what his motives were, but Gaines is certain the potential for bloodshed was averted.
The right response to such protection, Gaines said, is thanksgiving and praise.
“The Bible says in Psalm 127, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain’ (NASB). Ultimately, the Lord is our protector.”
Right Alignment, Right Assignment
The character of God is on full display in the Psalms. In Psalm 121:1-3, the psalmist writes of Israel: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber.”
In the same way that Israel had a divinely ordained assignment to bless the nations with God’s salvation, each believer has a God-ordained assignment as an ambassador of Christ that includes promises of protection.
Second Thessalonians 3:3 says, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” In His model prayer, Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, “deliver us from evil.”
Again, Evrist emphasizes, “When the servant of God walks in faith and obedience, is the enemy looking for ways to take us out? Certainly. But I really think in most cases he needs our cooperation, where we put ourselves in harm’s way by not being in the right place and doing the right thing.
“When you really start crunching the numbers, you find that far and away, most Christians can point to a place where God’s hand of protection was evident. You can go through World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan—so many stories of people saying ‘I shouldn’t be here today. God’s hand really protected me.’”
Ultimately, God has the prerogative over our life and death.
“And so,” Evrist says, “we can take comfort in knowing that if someone is walking with God and God’s plan for them really has come to completion, and that their life on this earth is over, I can completely live with that.”
This article first appeared in the May 2016 issue of Decision Magazine.