sausage grinderClick the player below to learn now our culture is putting our kids into a GIANT SAUSAGE GRINDER.  We want every young person to hear this message, before it’s too late.  This was first heard nationwide on the Moody Radio Network.

fieldYou and I have no idea how to look at our lives. Ever since we left the Garden of Eden, everything has gotten smaller. We trust our sight, rather than God’s. And our vision is puny, to say the least. If we could only see us how God sees us.

I’ve found bone-chilling verses in the Bible about God’s control of all things. One of my favorites is in Isaiah, where God tells us that he holds us in his hand like a man holds an axe. He wields it how he wants, for the purpose that he wants. God is in complete control of all things.

Let’s say there are some people trapped on the top of a high mountain. They are miles up, in deadly conditions. Whoever goes to rescue them will be risking their life. Now let’s say that you are chosen to go up that mountain to rescue those people. What’s that saying about you? It says a lot!

If I choose you to go up that mountain, that means that out of all people, I believe you have what it takes. I believe in you more than I trust others. Whether you make it or not, you go with the confidence that someone thought you were worthy.

God is in control of all things. His hand is on your life, to use it however he pleases. If you find yourself climbing to the top of a hellish mountain, he is the one who sent you there.

But can you see the bigger picture? Please don’t miss it!

If you are up the mountain, it’s because God thought that you had what it took for the mission.

What mountain are you climbing right now? Do you know why? It’s ultimately because God chose you out of all people to climb that mountain. God looked at you and decided that you were the one for the job.

Are you on your hands and knees, scraping up to the top? God put you there and he believes in you. You are on his mission. You have what it takes, because you have him!

What’s your mountain? A disease? A bad relationship? A dysfunction? An addiction? A sin?

Loneliness? Lies? Poverty? Riches? Abuse? A bad job? Depression? Temptation?

Please pause right now, exhausted as you are, and know that God believes you have what it takes for the mountain you are on.

What are you called to do? You are called to keep climbing, in faith. That’s your mission. You might not see the top, but that’s not your mission. Your mission is to climb with faith in the One who put you on the face of the rock. You are to climb in such a way that expresses your single-minded devotion to the mission God has designed for you.

The sign of a successful climb is not necessarily reaching the top, but dying in the grip of God, as he wields you with wisdom in his hand.

God wouldn’t place you where he didn’t want to use you for his purposes. Don’t forget that.


(Learn more in Soul Tattoo: A Life and Spirit Bearing the Marks of God, available for preorder now.)


Milk Jug Faith

Hope Stands —  May 25, 2014 — 1 Comment

milk jugIn today’s radio commentary, Sam explains why we are like empty milk jugs.  He shares with us a powerful truth to keep us from being crushed by the pressures of life.  This was first heard nationwide on the Mood Radio Network.  Thanks for listening and share with a friend!  Just click the audio player below.

Hannah with Sicily | © Emily Danielle Photography

Hannah with Sicily | © Emily Danielle Photography

As I held sweet Sicily in my arms, she trembled. We had just met, and she was shy. The other kids ran around us, shouting and playing. Soon Sicily would join in the fun, after a few more minutes of cuddling against my chest. But now she looked at the ground and pressed her face into me, clutching her tiny bag of nuts in her hand. My heart melted, and I hugged her tighter.

Sicily, you won’t remember this moment, but you’ll relive it again and again. When the girls in your class whisper and laugh, and they’re looking at you. When your body starts changing but no one else’s does. When your father raises his voice. When you let your best friend down. When you stand in the corner, not knowing anyone. When you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see. When you laugh on the outside and cry on the inside and nobody knows. When you’ve had a bad day and there’s no one to help you. When the boys in the hallway call you names. When the person you love the most is gone. When you know you’re the dumbest, ugliest, most worthless person in the world and no one tells you otherwise. Then you’ll curl into a ball, look at the ground, and scrunch yourself ever so tight, wishing there was someone there so you could press your head into their chest.

But you’re not supposed to feel that way. The world will tell you every day. Smile. Be pretty. Your parents tell you, your friends tell you, the media tells you, your acquaintances tell you, your country tells you, and you tell yourself. You may not recognize what all the voices are saying immediately, but you’ll figure it out. Smile and be pretty. Don’t cry, don’t doubt. You’re an important part of the world as long as you’re confident.

“What about when I can’t smile? What about when I’m not pretty?” you’ll wonder. No answer. So you’ll assume you’re alone.

Chances are no one will tell you the truth. You’re a miracle, Sicily. When you’re not smiling and you’re not pretty, you’re still a miracle. Curled up in a ball on the floor, someone still loves you. Someone waits with arms wide open ready to hold you tight. His name is Jesus, and he’s better than any crush or any father. He’ll never let you go. He’ll show you how beautiful you are, how perfect, how beloved. He would know; he made you. You don’t have to jump through any hoops, please any person, or smile when you don’t want to. All you have to do is press your head against his chest and let him comfort you. He’ll hug you tight, and he won’t ever ever ever let go of you.

If someone does tell you the truth, chances are you won’t accept it. “Smile, be pretty,” is still tainting your mind. You’ll try to persevere all by yourself in the land of makeup, boys, smiles, parties, friends, phones, money, houses, food, clothes, shoes, family, fun, and pleasure. I promise you from the bottom of my heart it won’t work. You’ll never survive without someone to hold you.

As I held sweet Sicily in my arms, I knew she didn’t understand. She was almost two. She didn’t know what was coming; the world she would have to face. She didn’t know how precious and rare it was to be comforted. And I couldn’t tell her. All I could do was wrap my arms around her and pray that some day she would remember what it is like to be held and embrace the one who doesn’t let go.

(This article was written by Hannah Firestone, who helps with social media and writing at Hope Stands.)