The Crushed Serpent

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

Before we continue with our discussion of the Lord’s Ascension, let’s first revisit that promise made by God back in The Garden.

“I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” God here declares a perpetual state of war, designating The Serpent specifically as a mortal enemy to the Promised Seed, and to all mankind generally.

And then God declares the final outcome of the War – the Seed of the woman “shall crush thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” To be sure there will be wounds suffered  by both. But lets compare the damage.

defeated foeThe act of  crucifixion was indescribably torturous and savage. The whole purpose of it was not death, but prolonging the suffering of the victim as much as possible until they finally died.  We have heard sermons describing all that Jesus endured, and we have seen graphic movies splattering us with the horrid scenes of His torments – beaten with the cat-of-nine-tails; crowned with thorns; slapped by soldiers, who plucked chunks of His beard out as they slapped Him.

And then He was crucified.

Indescribably horrific.

However, and this will take a moment to fully hit you – the crucifixion of Jesus (awful as it was), when compared to what He did to The Serpent while He died on the Cross is nothing more but a “bruised heel” compared to a “crushed head!”

Golgotha means ” the place of the skull.” When the Cross went into the ground atop that hill, it surely gave the appearance of a sword being thrust into the top of a Skull. And whose skull do you suppose it was? The Serpent’s!

Oh, my! The Serpent never even saw it coming!  And now that it has happened, he can never recover.

The prophet Habakkuk boasts of the Lord’s victory, saying, “You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for the salvation of Your anointed. You struck the head of the house of evil to lay him open from thigh to neck. Selah.” (Hab 3:13).

I find the imagery very significant here. The prophet is describing a wound that goes “from thigh to neck.” Obviously this wound was caused by an upward force that ripped through the enemy. I believe it happened at the instant Jesus rose from the dead! As The Serpent straddled the grave in which the Son of God was entombed, roaring with demonic defiance to the Heavens above, he had no idea of the devastation that he himself was about to incur.

Nahum the prophet adds his perspective to the story as he calls out to the fallen Prince of Darkness, “Your injury has no healing, your wound is severe. All who hear news of you will clap their hands over you, for upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?” (Nah 3:18-19).

Paul tells us just how extensive was the triumph of Jesus over the Serpent and his minions – “He defeated the rulers and powers of the spiritual world. With the cross He won the victory over them and led them away, as defeated and powerless prisoners for the whole world to see” (Col 2:15 ERV). The Message reads, “He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.”

Finally, the writer of Hebrews tells us, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14,15).

The Promise has been fulfilled! The Serpent did indeed bruise His heel. And Christ the Lord most certainly did crush the Serpent’s head.

Up From the Grave He Arose!

“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1)

God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him may be saved. This was a radical concept in the day that Jesus lived, and it was one of the reasons why He was rejected and delivered unto the Romans for crucifixion.

The Jews at that time held tenaciously to the belief that “the Holy Land was the Lord’s, and the seed of Abraham His only people” (Spurgeon). But Jesus associated with the likes of a Samaritan woman, tax-collectors, and an assortment of other contaminated souls.

resurrectionHe even challenged the religious leaders pointedly when He said, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, that there may be one fold and one Shepherd.” (John 10:16). He was talking about the distinction in their minds between Jew and Gentile, and He is letting them know that the Door will soon be open for all people to a whole new way of relating to God.

He came and died for all of us!

Appropriate then that the Psalm which celebrates His ascension back into Heaven opens with the single declaration of His victory on Earth – “The Earth if the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell in it!” Jesus holds the Bill of Sale stamped “paid in full.” He therefore is the rightful owner of the purchased possessions!

I belong to Jesus! He paid my debt and set me free! But there is more!!

When Christ rose from the dead He devastated the powers of Hell and Darkness. This was the ultimate “inside job.” God let His sinless Son become Sin that He might die and carry Sin to its rightful place – DEATH. And while entombed therein, a sudden burst of divine life surged back into His body and expelled every unholy thing out – and then launched Him upward out of the grave, bringing all of us with Him in the wake of His resurrection.

He was “declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”(Romans 1:4). And now we can become the sons and daughters of God through faith in His name.

This one and only Risen Savior now stands as King of All, and says, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Rev 1:18).

Yes, Jesus is Lord. The Earth is His, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Thus we can walk in newness of life over the powers of Hell and Death as we listen to our Lord’s voice, and do as He says to do.


The Garden Tomb

“There was a garden near the place he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed.” (John 19:41 MSG)

Our story began in a Garden. It is fitting then that it should end in one as well. However, while the one story ends, a whole new story begins! For this slain Savior, this Royal Son, this Noble Man is going to rise from the dead and be crowned Lord of All.

He will conquer death and the grave, and defeat The Serpent once and for all.

We have already seen how Psalm 22 provides an astounding glimpse into the Crucifixion of The Child. Shortly we will delight is reading how Psalm 24 heralds His resurrection and ascension into Heaven. Garden TombWhich leaves us with Psalm 23 placed in between the two.

Most of us are familiar enough with Scripture to know that Psalm 23 is the Shepherd Psalm. But what we may have never realized is that it provides us with a prophetic glimpse into the mindset of Jesus while He was in the tomb, awaiting His resurrection.

Now hold on to your hats, because what you’re about to read is going blow your mind!

Yes, The  Child has been slain on the Cross and The Serpent undoubtedly gloats over the Fallen Heir – supposing he had won the day. But The Child, though laying cold in the tomb,  rests in the care of His Father; knowing He will not be left in the grave.

And in the quietness of His entombment He sings, “The Lord  is  my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His names sake. ” What poetic language to describe what has heretofore stood as man’s greatest fear – being dead and buried.

Cold tomb? No, “green pastures!” Darkness and decay? No, “still waters!” Lost and forgotten? No, “restored and led in paths of righteousness!”

How beautiful to know that a restoration is taking place as God repairs the damage done to His darling Son on the Cross. There in the Garden Tomb, away from the eyes of the world, all the sin which Jesus took into Himself is now being deposited where it belongs — in the grave.

Yes, a resurrection is coming; and the Savior knows it. Hear His tomb-song continue – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me,” He sings to His Father. “ Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

As for the gloating of His enemies, He sets the record straight, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”

And then He states His confidence in the impending resurrection from the dead – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  (Psalm 23:1-6 NKJV)

S. M. Lockridge, that prince of preachers, put it this way, “Jesus cleaned out the tomb and made it a pleasant place to wait for the resurrection!”

Seeing He had already done this, then surely The Lord can see you through whatever entombment you may be facing today! Oh, lift up your voice and sing this Psalm to the Heavens and let your heart rest in hope of better things than that which now befalls you.

A resurrection is coming!

The Faith of Our Dying Lord

“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10 KJV)

christ on crossOnce again the Psalmist gives us a prophetic glimpse into the personal events of the Cross. He shows us through his inspired pen what state of mind Jesus was in as He drew His final breaths.

“I have set the Lord always before me; because  He is  at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; in Your presence  is  fullness of joy; at Your right hand  are  pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:8-11 NKJV)

The worst is past; Jesus has faced all that The Serpent could level against Him — and His faith did not fail. All that remained was Death, but that would not be the end of this story. And so The Child draws one more breath and cries out in triumph, “It is finished!” (John 19:30)

This is a most curious thing, especially to those who stood around the Cross beholding the spectacle of it all. When Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” He used a common expression from the daily transactions in the market place. The term was stamped on every bill of sale marking it “paid in full.” It indicated that the person holding the document was now the rightful owner of the purchased possession.

Jesus was announcing to all that the full price had been paid to ransom the fallen sons and daughters of Adam from the curse and condemnation of Sin. The purchase was now complete. Those who heard Him cry this out must have thought Him to be delirious with pain, but we know better. He was filled with faith and triumph! The Lamb of God was sacrificed to take away the sin of the world, and it is done. “It is finished!”

He had also paid in full the bill from His malicious persecutors; they had now done their worst; and there were no further indignities with which they could assault or insult Him.  His sufferings were now at an end. “It is finished!”

Also paid in full were all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed to the sufferings of the Messiah. Jesus paid it all; and upon laying the final amount on the counter, He took the Bill of ownership in hand and shouted “It is finished!”

Jesus drew His last breath and declared, “It is finished! Accomplished! Paid in full!”

And with this, The Child died.

“Lord, Remember Me”

Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)

Jesus is fighting the Battle of the Ages as He hangs upon the cross. A hell storm has been unleashed against Him with untold fury. He is cursed by His foes, mocked by others, and separated from God.

And then He hears somebody praying.

The prayer of the dying thief may very well strike us as one of the most unusual prayers ever prayed. Especially when we consider who it was that prayed the prayer, where he was when he prayed it, and most important of all, what it was he asked for in his prayer.

embraced by JesusThe man praying was a thief. We are not talking petty theft here, but a lifetime of criminal activity. The man had gone from being a nuisance to a real civil threat; enough of one that he had been arrested, tried, and sentenced to death on a cross. There was no one who rose to his defense, or tried to rescue him from his fate. He was a man past saving.

What a pitiful soul he must have been to have fallen so far from love. Yet, there was still a measure of goodness in him; for something prompted him in defense of Jesus to rebuke the other mocking thief. “Leave him alone,” he said. “We are getting what we deserve, but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

How did he know that? Perhaps he had been in the crowds as Jesus taught, and had heard His words. Maybe one of his partners in crime had met Jesus, and was dramatically transformed. Or, maybe one of his victims sought him out and forgave him because of Jesus. Any of these are possible. The fact is something moved him to prayer at that moment.

The man is dying on a cross in open disgrace, but somehow knew enough to say, “Lord, when You come into Your kingdom, remember me.” A simple request made in humility and faith. This must have been to Jesus a cherished moment in the midst of His unrelenting torment. “Today you shall be with Me in paradise,” He replied.

But, here’s the thing that stirs my mind. The thief prayed, “Remember me.” That strikes me as being a rather benign request. It seems as if he is saying, “When You get to where You are going, and are crowned Lord of All — think about me every now and then, if it’s not asking too much.”

Seriously? That’s the best you can come up with when faced with such an opportunity as this?

Upon further research I discovered something astounding. The word the thief used when he said remember, literally could be translated “put together again.” It is the exact opposite of dismember. He was in effect saying, “Lord, my life is wrecked and ruined; ripped apart and tossed away like garbage. Would you use Your royal power to recollect the pieces of my life and put me back together again?”

And that is exactly what Jesus did for the repentant man! And it is what He will do for any man who calls upon His name today.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, or how ruined and wasted you may be — “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2Co 5:17).

Ask, and Jesus will remember you!

The Bulls of Bashan

“Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong  bulls  of Bashan have encircled Me. They gape at Me with their mouths, Like  a raging and roaring lion. For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.” (Psalm 22:12,13)

The Serpent has an army of Bulls, Lions, and Dogs. The metaphor is full of meaning. A bull charges forward in rage, a lion stalks and pounces, and dogs bark and bite. This speaks to us of the combined assault of the demonic realm against The Child.burning bull

It also shows how cowardly devils really are. Note that they do not attack until The Child is beaten and nailed to the Cross — defenseless. For all their snorting, growling, and yelping — they are nevertheless puny in their actual powers.

After He was baptized in the Jordan, The Child faced The Serpent in the Wilderness. There He was tempted, and stood His ground. At one point The Serpent challenged Him to cast Himself down off a high place, quoting Scripture in a mocking tone, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”

How interesting that he leaves the rest of that scripture out of his quote — “You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot” (Psalm 91:11-13 ESV). Curious how The Serpent avoids certain Bible verses, don’t you think?

But as the defenseless Child hung upon the Cross, His demonized enemies, with the vigor of bulls and rapacity of lions, surround him, eagerly seeking His ruin. The attack was fierce, savage, and violent — but unsuccessful in turning His heart from faith in God.

Let’s read on in this astounding Psalm –

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet” (Psa 22:14-16).

And then The Child cries out to His Father, ““But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! Deliver Me from the sword, My precious  life  from the power of the dog. Save Me from the lions mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen!” (Psalm 22:19-21)

And just before He draws His final breath,  The Child says, “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard” (Psalm 22:22-24 NKJV).

Despite the worst The Serpent could level against Him, The Child did not lose faith.

The Forsaken Savior

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1)

It is the moment upon which everything in history turns. The Child is nailed to a cross in open shame. He is mocked and rejected, gasping for breath and fighting off the hordes of Hell. All but a few have turned their backs upon Him. And the few that do stand with Him are powerless to do anything but watch in horror as He slowly dies before their weeping eyes.

forsaken saviorThen, showing the depths of His anguish, The Child cries out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Even God has turned away. Yes, God turned His face away from His Beloved Son, so that He could now turn His face towards you and me!

When Jesus was made to be sin, His Father was made to look away. This was the moment Jesus dreaded above all — the moment when He would be separated from His Father. The Amplified Bible tells us that Jesus “shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright presence of the Father (Hebrews 5:7 AMP). And this is why He prayed with strong crying and tears that the Cup might pass from Him. This is why He sweat drops of blood.

When Jesus cries out from the Cross, He says, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” For the record, He is not quoting Psalm 22. Rather, the Psalmist, touched with that prophetic gift that often works in minstrels, was quoting Jesus in His agony, even though it was centuries in the future! Astounding!!

I invite you to read the entire Psalm for yourself, bearing in mind that it provides us a prophetic glimpse into the full sufferings of Christ on the Cross. Here’s a sampling.

“I  am  a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head,  saying,  ‘He  trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!’ This is the pain of ultimate rejection, and mockery.

“I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. (Psalm 22:14, 15 NKJV). This is the indescribable physical trauma He suffered in His Body.

“For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look  and  stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. (Psalm 22:14-18 NKJV). This is the open shame and humiliation He suffered at the hands of the wicked.

There is no way we can ever imagine the full mental and physical torment that Jesus suffered on the Cross. These few glimpses show us enough to merit our full devotion, for He took our place there. This was what awaited each one of us in our own appointed hour, but He interceded and embraced it fully as His own.

He became the forsaken Savior, so that we might be the beloved Saved!

Let This Cup Pass From Me

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Mat 26:39)

A cup is for drinking. But Jesus wanted nothing to do with what this cup was holding. So dreadful were it’s dregs that He fell on His face and prayed. Some bow their heads when they pray, which is a proper show of humility and reverence. Some drop to their knees, which shows adoration and dependence.sweat drops of blood

But Jesus fell on His face. This is a desperate moment. He is confronted with a situation so bad that it seems impossible to deal with — even for the Son of God.

For this cup holds the full measure of sin — every man’s sin – throughout all history, and into the future. The sinless Son of God was now being asked to take it all into Himself. So awful was the very thought of drinking this cup that Jesus sweat drops of blood.

I want you to try something for a moment. Clench your fists tightly and hold them closed. Now, tighten your arm muscles until you begin to shake. Keep holding in that position, and now tighten up your whole body — torso, legs and toes. You will not be able to breathe, and will feel blood rushing to your head. The stress you have created in your body is causing that to happen.

Can you imagine how much stress it would require for you to begin sweating drops of blood? That is what Jesus was experiencing in the Garden.

No, He did not want to drink this cup; but that is exactly what He did. The Bible says, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2Co 5:21). Astounding

Peter, who knew Jesus better than most, wrote, “He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed” (1Pe 2:22-24).

John the Beloved, closest of all the disciples to Jesus, said, “And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin” (1Jn 3:5).

How can we even imagine what this night must have been like for Jesus,  the sinless Son of God? Just the very thought of drinking in the sin of mankind dropped Him to His face, and under the anguish of it all He sweat drops of blood! If this much suffering was caused just by His anticipating the Cross,  then who could ever possibly imagine the suffering He experienced when He actually went through with it?

Astounding indeed.

My Hour Has Come

But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.”  (John 12:23)

We first learn of this cryptic expression when Jesus is at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. They had run out of wine and Mary, His mother, approached Him with the problem. Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4).

Sometime later, when His brothers taunted Him about going to The Feast to make Himself known, Jesus answered, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready” (John 7:6).

hour glass 01And then there is the moment in Jerusalem when the leaders sought to arrest Him, but John tells us, “Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come” (John 7:30).

On yet another occasion when He was teaching openly, John writes, “These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.” (John 8:20).

And finally, as John puts it, “before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1)

Later that evening in the Upper Room with His disciples, Jesus “lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You’” (John 17:1).

What does all this mean?

In the midst of weddings and other festive occasions, Jesus was ever mindful of the inevitable date He would have with an Old Rugged Cross, where He would fight the battle of the ages. But He was never gloomy, nor unsocial. As we follow Him through the pages of the New Testament we find a man that is warm and engaging, wise and kind, thoughtful and caring.

This temper of soul can only come from a confidence that is beyond time and space. We see in this Man a hope that is rooted in eternity. He knows where He is from, and where He is going. He knows what awaits Him, and what the outcome of His ordeal will be. And with that unshakable confidence He faces the events of each day — right up to the moment of His arrest.

And I love the boldness He displayed when the guards arrived to arrest Him. “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” (John 18:4)


Solomon wrote, “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl.3:1). Jesus knew His hour. He knew His purpose, and the timing of it in God’s hands.

Do we know ours?

His Own Receive Him Not (Part 2)

But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.’” (Luke 19:14)

As we discovered yesterday in Part 1, a sinister force had been at work spreading slanderous lies about the King, and using these lies to stir the hearts of ignorant men to perform an act of eternal stupidity — rejecting their King.

Of course I am speaking of Christ and His kingdom, and the work of Satan in perverting the minds of fallen men so as to have them reject Christ altogether, and thus enter into a Christless eternity doomed forever.

shaking fist at God

He that is good gets blamed for the bad.

It is The Serpent’s chief design to have men blame God for things that happen in the course of life that don’t seem fair, or right, or good. A child is killed by a crazed predator, or dies of some dreadful disease—and God gets blamed.

Someone’s life savings are lost in an economic collapse—and God gets blamed. Our favorite sports team loses the championship game—and God gets blamed. And on it goes from the awful to the absurd…covering all points in between.

Such is the case in this story of the Nobleman. He that is good gets blamed for the bad. It is the Serpent who “takes out what he did not put in, and reaps what he did not sow.” And he does it with such cunning as to get people to blame God.

While citizens hate the Lord, and cowards fear Him, we who are His servants must excel in our love for Him. The truth is—our authentic faith and bright conduct as happy servants of the King may be the only hope others have of ever recovering from the deception of Satan and the ruin of sin. Our faithfulness and generosity in dark moments of history may be the only light that some will ever see. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Peter exhorted us to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Pe.3:15). Do you know the Lord? If so, then you can make Him known!

Daniel said, “the people who do know their God shall be strong and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32). Dr. King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Men who take action in the face of passivity and perversion fill God’s heart with pleasure, and transform their world with power – the power of love.

Paul the apostle was described by James, the Lord’s brother, as a man who “hazarded his life for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26). What an epitaph! Could the same be said of you? Wouldn’t you want it to be? The word hazarded literally means “to hand over.” Have you handed your life over to the Lord Jesus Christ?

Paul summed up his own life story in a single sentence when he stood before a king who held in his hand the power of life and death. “O Agrippa,” he affirmed, “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision!” (Acts 26:19). Vision, passion, discipline and risk, on display in a life of faith, hope and courage – it is what marks every true child of God.

And it is the desperate need of the hour.