He Is Risen

Six of our seven grandchildren have made at least one trip out of the United States during their college years. This was recommended highly as a part of their education believing that a contact with the outside world would be broadening and give them a new concept of what it is to live outside of the United States.

When I visit with them about these experiences abroad, it is evident that the goal has been accomplished. Their eyes have been opened that not all the world’s population enjoy the blessings we have. It is also believed that we could learn from parts of the world, and such knowledge would enrich our lifestyle.

On this Sunday I would like to emphasize that looking at our future through the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives the Christian an eternal dimension to life. Life without the promise of eternal life limits our days to a few years on planet earth. Science has increased our longevity, for which we are thankful. However, ultimately we die and are left with the question, What happens after death?

On a visit to my home many years ago, my father and aunt asked if I would go with them to visit their brother and my uncle who was dying. I did and we had an enjoyable visit until it was time for us to leave and I asked if I could read him a few verses from the New Testament. He replied by saying that he had lived for more than 80 years and would soon return to the dust. He didn’t care to have the Bible read to him. When I asked if he did not believe the message of the Bible, he replied, “Only parts of it like the Golden Rule, but nothing that refers to life after death.”

Three heavy hearts were in the automobile as we drove away that day. Hearing a brother and an uncle say that he rejected the thought of eternal life brought tears to the eyes.

Just think of it Ð the Easter message gives us a whole new understanding of the future! Travel can broaden our view of the world, but only faith in the risen Christ can give us a whole new look at eternity. That is the Easter message!

In Luke 24:1-12 we learn that some women went out to the tomb planning to anoint the body, and they were wondering who would be able to roll the stone away. However, when they arrived, the tomb was open. The women walked in and found no body. Two men (angels) announced that Jesus had risen. They then reminded the women of what Jesus said, “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again” (verse 7). Then the women remembered, and they ran off to tell the disciples the Easter message: Christ has risen!

That morning their lives were changed. They did not have a dead Master, but a crucified and risen Lord.

The disciples carried this message with them until their death. If you turn in your Bible to Acts 10:34-43 you have an example of the disciple’s preaching.

Peter was in Caesarea visiting in the home of a man called Cornelius. He had been sent there by God to share the Gospel with him. Here was Peter’s message to Cornelius and the group assembled at his home:

“Christ commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God has appointed as judge over the living and the dead. All the prophets testified about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

While Peter was still preaching, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep the people from being baptized with water?”

A few days later a small church was established in Cornelius’ home. This is the way the kingdom has been built from that day to this Ð one person telling another person that Christ is their crucified Savior and living Lord and then inviting their friends and relatives to ask Christ into their hearts. This would make them God’s children. That message has never changed.

The people of the world need to hear this message, and the Church of Jesus Christ must proclaim it to them. Unbelievers are looking for answers for their confused minds. In many churches they are not hearing those answers, and so they do not return.

In the first part of this sermon, I mentioned that I asked my Uncle Lars if I could read this message of Christ’s dying for our sins. Again, he said, “No.” Think of what a difference this message would have made in his life if he had only let me be used by the Holy Spirit to lead him to Christ and live his few remaining days with the assurance of his salvation. But as far as we know Lars entered eternity alone to stand before a loving, but righteous God. Yes, our hearts were sad.

The comfort of Job is the comfort of all who on this Easter trust Christ, for they can say, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25).

You Can Have a Personal Encounter

I have seen a lot of tears over the last thirty-four years as a pastor. I’ve witnessed tears of happiness at weddings, baptisms, births, confirmations, and birthdays, during home visits as memories are shared, after absolution, and at the Lord’s Supper.

But I’ve also had the occasion to see a lot of sad tears as well. Just recently I was talking with a friend from my congregation who lost her husband a few months ago. She said, “After ten months I’m still crying. Will I ever get over it?”

I’ve seen tears flow as a person describes the constant pain they go through during a long illness. Or care givers who are worn out by the needs of their loved ones. Or people who are facing changes in their life, such as with aging Ð they can’t do many of the things they are used to doing, such as driving.

People also have regrets over past failures. I’ve listened to stories about mistakes parents made while raising their children or in their marriages. And there are tears.

Today’s reading involves a woman named Mary Magdalene who was having a good cry in the cemetery. It was dark, both in the setting and in her heart. Mary had a nightmare of a week. The One she had witnessed do great things, the One to whom she was so devoted, Jesus, had been dragged away unjustly like a common criminal and subjected to the cruelest torment and humiliation Ð death on a cross. She witnessed Him go through this torture, and now, as she came to honor Him and anoint His body, she finds his body is missing from the tomb. Even this small amount of closure had been taken from her. What a cruel joke! “How inhumane can this world be?” she must have thought. “Can it get any worse?”

She had such hope in Jesus and what He was going to do. But now those dreams were shattered, and she was filled with fear. What’s going to become of me? Will they come for His followers too? And so she wept sad, bitter tears. Poor Mary.

But then something happened! The story ends on a totally different note. What started out in a minor key, moved to a glorious major key. Now we witness an excited Mary, an on-fire, passionate Mary. Her tears are still flowing, but they are no longer sad tears, but tears of joy. What’s happened? This is what she said to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord!”

She didn’t know it was the Lord at first. She had gone to the tomb and found it empty. So she called Peter and John to come look at the empty tomb, which they did out of curiosity. And as Mary stood next to the tomb, weeping, she looked inside again and saw the angels who said to her, “Why are you weeping?”

“They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” And when she backed out of the tomb, she saw someone in the darkness, and he asked, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

And she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” She wanted to take care of Him. But instead she had a personal encounter with the living, risen Jesus.

Remember now, she’d seen an empty tomb just as Peter and John had, but it had not changed her sadness and the tears within her. It was only when she heard the Lord say her name, “Mary,” that a whole new perspective opened. Her eyes were opened to see the Lord, and as she turned and saw Him, she cried out, “Rabbouni,” which means teacher, master.

Rabbouni actually was a word of adoration used in addressing God. Just as Thomas, the disciple who said later on said, “My Lord and my God” when he saw the risen Jesus, so Mary’s recognition of Jesus was more oral than visual.

I am reminded of a statement of Jesus in John 10:4 where He says to the disciples, “. . . (the sheep) know the voice of the shepherd.” It’s like that hymn that we sing,

♬”He speaks, and the sound of his voice,

is so sweet the birds hush their singing.

And the melody that he gave to me

within my heart is ringing.”♬

Mary’s heart was ringing, for the Jesus that she had known to be dead was now alive. He had risen! And her tears flowed Ð glad tears Ð as she moved to hang on to Him.

I envision her clinging to Jesus’ feet in adoration, and Him saying to her, “No time for that now, Mary. Go, tell my brothers. I am ascending to be with my Father and your Father, my God and your God. We have things to do!”

And so Mary went back to the brothers and announced, “I have seen the Lord!” Hence, we have the first witness of the gospel. Her fears and anxiety, her worries and disappointment, her darkness and grief had now melted away because she had an encounter with the living Jesus. From that day one, she knew nothing would be able to separate her from His love.

That same Jesus, who appeared to Mary, later appeared to the disciples and to the five hundred. Encounters with the risen Jesus. And that same Jesus has been changing people’s tears ever since. People, like Mary, have been encountering him for the last 2,000 years.

Dear friend, Jesus is not dead. He’s alive! You won’t find Him in a grave or confined to a history book. He is “God with us.” He is here to walk with us and give us the experience of his very living presence. He is here to help us experience the promise, “Lo, I am with you always.” He is here to give us the promise of eternal life as we stand in a cemetery burying a loved one. He is here to point us to the cross and remind us He paid for our sins and purchased a place in heaven for all who will trust in Him. He says to us: “I am the resurrection and the life. Trust me.”

Jesus is with us to walk beside us and through the ups and downs of daily life as we serve him. Time and again, as I visit people who are going through hard times, they say to me, “I am so glad I don’t have to go through this experience alone. I know the Lord is with me.” He’s there to wipe away our tears, as the hymn, “I know That My Redeemer Lives” says.

Some of you have buried loves ones recently and are feeling so alone. Jesus comes along and says, “Remember, I am with you. I have not left you orphaned.”

Some of you are facing troubling health issues, and you wonder how long you will be able to be able to take care of yourself, or if you will be a burden to those around you. Once again Jesus comes along and whispers, “Nothing can separate you from my love for you. I am with you.”

Some wonder if they can encounter Jesus in a personal way just as Mary and the disciples and did on the dusty trails of Galilee. The Church and witnesses down through the ages answer, absolutely! You, also, can have a personal relationship with Him! All you need do is station yourself where He’s promised to show up Ð in His Word Ð and you will experience His power and His presence in your life. As you live with Him in the Gospels, as you talk with him, as you ask questions and allow Him to speak with you, you will experience His Spirit at work in your life.

When you come to the Lord’s Supper and hear Him say, “This is my body, this is my blood, given and shed for you,” you hear the voice of Rabbouni, the Master, the Teacher, the living Lord Jesus Christ, who gives you a taste and a touch of Himself.

When we give ourselves away in service to others, we will run into Jesus. He said to us, “As you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” As we give our lives to others in the name of Jesus, you will experience His resurrection presence.

My dear friends, Jesus is alive! He is One to be encountered this very day. And as He called out Mary’s name, he’s also calling out your name. He wants you to be able to echo testimony Mary’s testimony: “I’ve seen the Lord; He’s alive!”

If you have not yet encountered Him, why not pray this prayer: “Jesus, I believe you are here. I want you to forgive me of my sins and make a new person. But even more, I want you to be a presence in my life. Help me to live life more abundantly.”

Why not invite him in today, and be able to sing that old gospel hymn,

♬”And he walks with me

and he talks with me,

And he tells me I am his own.

And the joy we share as we tarry there,

none other has ever known.”♬

He is risen. He is risen indeed. God bless you.

Your King Has Come

The stage is set! The curtain goes up, and the last act of the drama begins as Jesus rides a donkey down the hill from the mount into the city of Jerusalem. Jesus spent three years preparing for this day and the days that follow. He had been doing miracles, preaching about the kingdom of God, and telling His disciples about what’s going to happen to Him. He’s been confronting opponents, as well, who were rejecting Him. Now His time has arrived. The time for which He was born.

Some Bible scholars estimate than two million people crowded into Jerusalem that day. Pilgrims from all over the world would come for that week each year to worship at the Temple to celebrate and remember the Passover, when God set His people free from slavery in Egypt using his servant Moses. Now, as Jesus approaches the city, it suddenly becomes a parade that is all about Him. Shouting, cheering, and clapping begin to happen. People cut branches from trees in their excitement and wave them around and even throw them on the road before Him. Others throw their coats on the ground for Him to ride on, as if He is some sort of royalty.

Cries begin, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna to the Son of David!”

David? David was Israel’s greatest king, wasn’t he? So where did this kind of thing come from? It came from Jesus. You see, He staged the whole thing.

Jesus knew his Old Testament quite well. The prophet Zechariah writes of a great day. He describes what would one day come to the people of Israel to make their lives better. God would rescue them. He wrote, “Behold, O daughter of Zion. Look and see, your king is coming to you on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9). The people of Israel knew this prophecy as well as Jesus. They longed for its fulfillment when they would be restored as a great, independent nation once again, free of all their oppressors like the Romans. Naturally, they got excited! “Our king has come!”

With all this king talk, we’re reminded of the wise men looking for Jesus at the beginning of Matthew’s Gospel. They called Him the King of the Jews and had seen His star in the east announcing His birth. Echoes of God’s words to Jesus at His baptism also come to mind, when God said as Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan, “My Son, you are my son. With you I am well pleased.” These words are from Psalm 2,. “You are my Son,” used for the coronation of the kings of Israel.

Now Jesus is claiming that title for the first time without saying a word. He re-enacts His message for everyone to see. “Your king has arrived,” as He rode into town on that donkey. Now, whether it is the first century or the twenty-first century, Jesus wants us to hear that message and respond to it. Your King has come!

A person these days might wonder, “So why should I care about that? What’s the big deal?” We might consider kings of old and some of the awful things they did when they came into power. We wonder, “Do we want something like that?” We today might think of kings as simply figureheads in our world that make little difference, such as Prince Harry or Prince George, or Queen Elizabeth, or the King of Norway. It’s interesting to follow them in magazines and newspapers, but they really don’t make my life any better. Why should I care if Jesus is King? What difference does that make?

Maybe we need to take a closer look at this king named Jesus. The first thing you have to notice about Him as king is He’s really different from any other. For instance, when kings travel to foreign countries in the old days, they typically rode in a magnificent chariot or carriage. Today royalty may arrive in limousines or huge private jets. This King arrives humbly on the back of a donkey. You have to admit Ð thatÔs a little different. While other kings live in luxury and prosperity in their palaces and their Downton-Abbey type living, this King says He doesn’t even have a place to lay His head. Most kings come to rule in power and take from the people but this King states, “I have not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many.” This King came to give, not take.

In just five days from when this story takes place, there’s going to be another parade and the same King is going to be in it. This time He walks. He’s carrying a cross to a hill called Golgatha. On that hill awaits His throne. It’s a cross to which He will be nailed. A bloody, cruel throne, wouldn’t you say? He will have a crown placed upon His head, not of gold or silver, but of thorns. Instead of anointing-oil running down His face and body, it will be His blood. At His hour of death, He will not hear weeping, but mockery and jeering from a crowd that wants Him dead. Why did this king do this?

At His cross, this King was taking your judgement for your sinfulness upon Himself. It was the plan. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All have gone their own ways. Our God is holy and cannot tolerate our sin. The relationship is broken, and so He gave us a King who lived a perfect life of obedience to pay for your sin on a cross so that you and I might be cleansed, forgiven and restored to our Father in heaven. You see, this King didn’t come to set up a human political system to take over a government, but rather to take over human hearts. He didn’t come to do battle with a human army, He came to do battle with the power of sin, death, and the devil. He did this in order to set captive souls free and to give eternal life to the likes of you and me. Amazing!

Something else about this King. He’s very passionate about what He’s doing, and He’s passionate about people like you and me. We see at the end of this Palm Sunday ride into Jerusalem, He goes immediately to the temple and raises a ruckus. He upsets everything and everyone – overturning tables and driving out money changers from the temple. He was upset by all of this. Let me tell you why. They were keeping people away from having a prayerful, personal relationship with God. Jesus is passionate about people’s souls. He wants nothing to get in the way of men, women, boys and girls having a personal relationship with their heavenly Father who loves them. He’s different. He’s passionate.

Why should I care about this King’s arrival? Well, finally, because this King is a power to be reckoned with. He is all powerful. On Easter Sunday God took this dead King and raised Him back to life. Pastor S. M. Lockridge, says in his message, “The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him. Herod couldn’t kill him. Death couldn’t handle Him, and the grave couldn’t hold him.” God has put His stamp of approval on Jesus through the resurrection and has announced, “THIS IS MY SON!” Everything He has said Ð believe it, follow Him, and you will have eternal life! He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father as we say in our Apostles’ Creed, in all power, gathering His chosen ones to Himself from every nation. He’s putting all His enemies under His feet. He’s upholding the cosmos and everything in it by His mighty power. He is advancing His rule on earth as it is in heaven. One day this King will appear again in majesty, power and in judgement over all the earth. You and I had better be ready for Him. The risen King told us that. It’s a fact.

So there you have it. Your King has arrived. He’s quite a King, isn’t he? There have been a variety of responses to Him over the years just as there were on that first Palm Sunday. That day there was rejection and the religious authorities were outraged. They began a plot to get rid of Him. Others looked askance and said, “Oh, it’s a prophet! We’ve seen prophets come and go. We’re not so crazy about what they have to say to us. They tend to shake up the status quo.” Others got excited that day but by good Friday the enthusiasm and loyalty was gone. Sad. But He’s not communicating to them today. This King is trying to talk to you! What are you going to do with Him? This King Jesus. He actually wants you to become His subject, to have you bend your knee to Him and respond to Him with trust and obedience the rest of your life.

I’m a Lutheran, and I had to memorize the Small Catechism written by Martin Luther as a junior high student. I remember that the Second Article states: “At great cost he has saved and redeemed me, a lost and condemned person. He has freed me from sin and death and the power of the devil, not with silver or gold but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. All this he has done Ð Why? Ð that I may be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocense and blessedness. Just has he has risen from death and lives and rules eternally.”

Dear friend, anyone who does not bow the knee to this King today, will bow to Him one day, that’s certain. But then it will be too late to know the benefits of Christ’s saving rule. Our King has arrived. And as we enter this Holy Week, it’s a good thing for us to not only remind ourselves of Jesus as King but to examine ourselves of where we stand with this King. He took that ride on Sunday so that I might come to trust Him with my life.

Do you? Do you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven? That’s what Jesus came to give you, that kind of assurance and confidence. He promises this. He rode into that town so that He might take over my life, have His way with me, control me, and that His word might direct my actions and my thoughts, and the things I say. He wants to be my authority and my world view as I look at life. He rode into town that day so that I might serve Him, be a witness to others about how wonderful He is and how there is life in no other. I am to serve others as my servant King has served me. I desire that His serving attitude might be reflected in my relationship with others and take His gentle yoke upon me. I really want to believe and do what He says, trusting that He knows what makes life work. I don’t know who’s listening today, but I do know this: Your King has arrived! He died for you; He rose for you; He lives to rule in you and walk with you. I appeal to you this day, don’t just sing the words about Him being a king. Let us bend the knee – trusting, worshiping and obeying Him with all our heart soul, strength, and mind. He is the life-giver. The King who gives life.

Good News for the Battle Worn

An old proverb goes like this: “Opportunity knocks only once, but temptation bangs away persistently all the days of your life.” We all know the truth of that statement.

Temptations come in various forms and sizes. I, for example, love Tuesday mornings at my church. Women from our church show up with baked goods, and we joke about how tempting those pastries are.

One little four-year-old boy was caught by his mother on the kitchen counter eating a cookie. When his mother asked why he would do that, he replied, “I couldn’t help it. I got up there to smell them, and one got hooked on my teeth.”

We laugh at these light-hearted situations, but other temptations can come along that are not so funny. Jesus knew the truth of the statement, Temptation bangs away persistently all the days of our lives. He had just been baptized and heard this wonderful affirmation by His heavenly Father: “You are my Son with whom I am well pleased.” He must have been on an emotional high as He emerged from the waters of the Jordan! But then He is led up by the Spirit to the wilderness with a specific purpose in mind Ð to be tested by the devil.

When Jesus reached the wilderness, He fasted forty days. In Bible language that means He fasted for a long time! Fasting is an act of counting on God to provide the strength to get through the experience. Jesus focused on God. But the enemy shows up and a battle takes place. It is a juncture in the ministry of Jesus. The Israelites from the Old Testament were tempted in the wilderness for forty years and often gave into temptation. But not Jesus.

Satan throws out three temptations to Jesus. The first two begin with the statement, “If you are the Son of God . . .” Jesus heard those same words at His baptism Ð “You are My Son with whom I am well pleased.” But Satan says, “If you are the Son of God, then use your power to turn these stones into bread.” Don’t just sit here and rely on God to satisfy and take care of you. You now have the power to take care of yourself! That logic sounds harmless. You’re hungry, Jesus; You have the power to turn these rocks into loaves of bread. Do it!

But Jesus replies, “It is written: ÔOne does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

It’s funny how Satan works. He doesn’t operate publically as an evil, outrageous character. He doesn’t walk around with a big sign across his chest saying, I AM SATAN. LET ME TEACH YOU HOW TO SIN AND DO BAD THINGS. Instead, he operates as an angel of light, with a pleasant smile on his face, inviting us to participate in his way of life. Let me help you live life to the fullness. You deserve it. It’s not necessary for Satan to persuade people to live openly wicked lives, only to render their lives useless for the kingdom of God.

Jesus was on a mission to go to die as the perfect sacrifice upon the cross for the sins of you and me. Satan was trying to derail Him from accomplishing that mission.

In the second temptation, Satan takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple. Then the devil dares Jesus to jump reminding him that God promised to send His angels to protect Him. But Jesus said to him, “Again, it is also written: ÔDo not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

The third time Satan just blatantly told Jesus, If you bow down and worship me, I will give you everything you desire. Look at what you can have if you just turn from God and worship me!

At that point Jesus says, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written: ÔWorship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'”

Each temptation is deflected and overcome by an “It is written” passage from the book of Deuteronomy. Satan lost this round, but he shows up again to try to derail Jesus through Peter, who tries to talk Him out of going to the cross. Jesus replied to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Even at the cross, Jesus heard the words of Satan, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and show us.” But He doesn’t come down. Each time Jesus does not bend to the temptation.

This story has a lovely ending. The angels came and ministered to Jesus. It serves almost as a bookend. The Spirit of God leads Jesus into the wilderness, the Spirit is with Him, and God’s angels minister to Jesus’ needs afterward. God is present all along in the midst of this battle.

This is a great story. But what does it have to do with me in 2014? What is the purpose of it? The better question to ask is, first of all, how did we get this story? After all, wasn’t Jesus alone in the wilderness with the evil one?

Well, Jesus must have told it to his disciples to make them aware that a great spiritual battle is going on. He is warning them that they will run into these powers as they follow Him. They are being called to a battle ground, not a playground. They will face testings designed to derail them, to discourage them, and to distract them from their purpose is as a child of God.

This story is here to teach and to encourage us. “Don’t be afraid. Trust me. A battle is going on around you, but don’t be afraid. Just keep trusting me.”

The point to this story seems to be that Jesus is stronger than anything else. In this story we are shown the power of Jesus Christ. He has defeated the power of sin and death and the devil. Paul tells us in Colossians that Jesus has disarmed the powers and authorities, and made a public spectacle of them by triumphing over them on the cross. Jesus got crucified at the cross, but Satan got nailed!

Jesus lived the obedient life. His sacrifice on the cross and resurrection rescues us. He is present with us, and tells us, “Lo, I am with you always.” He is stronger than the empty promises and powers of the evil one, who seeks to lead us astray. Jesus is stronger than the devil, and He holds your future. He will not allow anything to snatch you away from His hands. Don’t give into the discouragement and darkness of our world. Jesus has the last word.

He also seems to be telling us that He understands what we are going through and He sympathizes with our testing, because He faced it as well. “For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tested in every way, just as we are Ð yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15, 16).

As modern day Christians, our temptations may differ a bit from what Jesus faced in that wilderness, but the patterns are the same and the point of them is the same. They are meant to distract us, to turn us aside from the path of servant hood, to which our baptism in Christ has commissioned us. The enemy will do everything he can to thwart God’s purpose for our lives. But Jesus knows what we are going through, He sympathizes with us, and He reminds us to call upon Him and approach the throne of grace where we will find His mercy and grace to help us in time of need. Pray!

When we fall, which we all do, the Bible tells to approach the throne of grace with confidence and boldness asking for forgiveness. Christ understands. He went to the cross that we might have forgiveness for our sins.

Finally, Jesus is telling us to be spiritually armed for battle. Jesus was armed with the Spirit of God, and He had the sword of the Spirit at hand. The Word of God was planted deep in his soul. Each time a temptation was thrown out, Jesus answered it with a word from scripture. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that we know our Bible, the Word of God, those stories, promises, and commands, so that we might be wide awake and alert and on guard when those temptations come. God, through the power of his Holy Spirit, will help us to overcome them and become victors alongside of Jesus who has won the battle for us.

Dear friends in Christ, it is true that we are living not on a playground, but on a battle ground. But we have a strong Savior who understands. As we get to know God’s Word, we can overcome temptation. “You are not alone; I am with you always.”