The Bible Doesn’t Say That

Have you ever heard the saying, God won’t give you more than you can handle? Some people claim that this is in the Bible, but the truth is it’s not in there. No where in scripture does it say, God won’t give you more than you can handle. However, the Bible does tell us that God won’t give you more than He can handle.

In 2 Corinthians 1:8 Paul mentions a troubling experience that his team had faced in the province of Asia. He says, “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.” That in itself sounds like great trauma that the team was facing.

How many times do we get stuck in a situation or we go through a trauma and we try to figure everything out on our own. We think that we can just work more and make more money. Or we think that if we just talk to someone we can work out the situation. Or we can do something better than what we previously did. The truth is none of us are able to overcome all troubles or all sufferings. Remember, even Superman had kryptonite.

All of us have weaknesses. Paul talks about a weakness of his in 2 Corinthians 12:7-8. He says, “in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.”

None of us like being weak. We want to do everything on our own. Paul says in verse 9 that God responded to him. God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul continues by saying, “Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

When Jesus is the Lord of your life, you are trusting Him enough to hand over control of everything. You no longer rely on your strength to get through difficult times. God does the heavy lifting.

I mentioned earlier about Paul’s team facing trauma in the Province of Asia. Paul continues in verse 9 saying, “Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” Paul was able to endure the trauma so that he could learn to rely on God.

That is why it is important for us to see our weakness as an opportunity for God to come through for us and we can learn to depend on Him.

Giving an Undistorted View of God

Ever since Peter Stuyvesant visited the Palace of Versailles the world has had a distorted view of itself.

Peter was the governor of New Amsterdam—later to be renamed New York City—beginning in 1647. He was visiting France to discuss colonial land agreements. While at Versailles he was awed by the Hall of Mirrors.

Peter was determined to bring a similarly amazing showcase to his city. In 1651 he founded the Peter Stuyvesant’s House of Mirrors. He charged one Dutch gulden for admission.

This house of mirrors eventually morphed into what we know as a Fun House of Mirrors seen at many carnivals. For a few tickets the fun begins by walking into a maze of mirrors, both convex and concave. We amuse ourselves by looking at distorted images of our figure.

Today you don’t even have to go to the carnival for this experience. A laptop with a webcam and a silly photo feature will allow you to take a picture of yourself that you can manipulate to look odd.

It’s all fun. But sometimes distorted pictures can cause trouble. It did in Israel during the time of the prophet Samuel. One of the major distortions was found at the Tabernacle, that portable place of praise for God’s people.

It was parked at Shiloh and was meant to be a clear picture of God’s holiness and grace. A system of sacrifices had been established that foreshadowed the coming sacrifice of the Messiah. Yet anything but holiness was found there.

Eli the priest had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, who dishonored God in their treatment of the sacrifices and also engaged in immoral sexual activity with women at the Tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:16, 22). Because the picture of God they were giving was distorted, these two were killed in battle against the Philistines. When news of their death reached Eli, he fell over in his chair, broke his neck, and also died.

Many people often ask the question, “What does God look like?” The question we all need to ask ourselves is do people see God in us.

Just like Eli and his sons we are representatives of God.  We represent Jesus to others.  You may have heard it said that you may be the only Bible those around you will ever ‘read.’  The question is, “Are you giving a clear or distorted picture of the One True God?”

Join us this Sunday at 10:30 am as we continue “The Story”.

Trading in Your Dreams for Another’s

People nearing mid-life often crash into some startling and unexpected observations. For instance, we all dreamed big dreams when we were younger. But as we move at a break-neck pace through our twenties, thirties, and forties, we eventually slam head on into the realization that some of our dreams will never be realized.

That observation throws some people into a mid-life crisis. Some don’t make it that far with their aspirations, having already given them up somewhere along the way. Some run into conflict that makes them weary and they settle for less. Still others make bold decisions to trade one dream in for another.

That’s what Joseph did. Talk about dreams! He had some big ones. At seventeen he dreamed his ten older brothers would bow down to him. It’s enough he dreamed that dream. What makes it worse is that he told his brothers about it.

The older brothers already had issues with the younger son. Their father favored Joseph. He had even given him a valuable, multi-colored coat. That’s the modern-day equivalent of a parent of four teenagers giving one an iPhone and the other three a stack of quarters each for a pay phone (assuming they could find one on their travels). The brothers banded together and tossed the dreamer in a ditch, eventually selling him into slavery at the first opportunity. The next thing Joseph knew he was waking up in Egypt.

From there his life was a rollercoaster thrill ride. One minute a slave. The next in charge of an Egyptian official’s house. The next in prison. The next in charge of the prison. Then he found himself in front of Pharaoh, called upon to interpret the leader’s dreams. With God’s help he was able to warn Pharaoh he would have seven years of abundant crops that he should be put in storehouses in anticipation of seven years of famine. Recognizing his wisdom, Pharaoh put Joseph second in command of all of Egypt.

And because of God’s personal involvement in his life, he was able to save his family. The same family that God was building into a nation. Joseph was in position to bring his family to Egypt and give them the most fertile land to work. And it was definitely fertile. In the time they were there they were “fruitful and increased greatly” (Exodus 1:7).

Joseph could have lost his life getting caught up in the details of his life, chasing his dreams and desires. Instead, he chose a better story. God’s story.

You can do the same. If your life’s dream has stalled, look to God. If your dream now realized is not all you thought it would be, look to God. He can give you another dream. A better one, not according to the world’s standard but God’s. Just like Joseph’s. Then you’ll have a story to tell.

Join us this Sunday as we continue with “The Story” at 10:30 am.

When the Last in Line Gets Chosen for the Team

The casting agent enters the room with her top picks for the show’s leading man and lady. The new series will follow the spellbinding story of a clan that builds a powerful, world-impacting family tree. This is the pilot, and it is crucial to make the right call on the individuals who will fall in love and launch this Kennedy-like family of influence and fame.

Producers and writers alike have waited breathlessly for this moment, the moment when who they have envisioned as the leading characters will be finally realized in an actor and actress. But when they turn to see who has been tapped for these most special of roles, the thud of their collective jaws hitting the majestic mahogany conference table muffles their mutual groans.

There before their wide eyes, instead of the expected vibrant, young couple with gleaming white teeth and tanned and toned bodies, stand a 75-year-old man and a 65-year-old woman. Not what they had pictured for their production.

And yet, this is what God has chosen. His screenplay called for a couple to launch a new nation, one that would impact the entire world. As he would say, a nation through whom “all the nations of the earth would be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3).

Abram and Sarai stand there, adorned perhaps by dusty old robes and crowned with wispy white hair and loosely fitting skin and as befuddled as anyone else. God chose them to begin a nation. An unlikely pair, especially after factoring in the fact that Sarai was barren. How could God expect to start a nation with a woman who could not bear children?

To complicate the story line, it will be 25 more years before they actually have their child of promise. By that time Abram and Sarai will be 100 years old and 90 years old, respectively (and their names will be changed to Abraham and Sarah). Perhaps Social Security checks will help this special couple decorate the baby’s tent and they’ll be able take naps when the baby does. And the rest, as they say, is history. His story.

God picks people you and I wouldn’t necessarily select to take part in his story. In fact sometimes we are shocked who plays the starring roles in his stories. Unlike the way we do business, he taps people, not merely because of their abilities, but for their availability. God searches for people who are open to be used by him. Since he uses only those who are willing to be used for his purposes, there is no doubt that it is he who is doing the wonder-working. Let there be no doubt, throughout history he is the one making things happen.

That’s good news, isn’t it? In the business world, you may not have a great pedigree. In academics, you may not be a Rhodes Scholar. You may not have a lot of money and you may have average looks. But you may be sitting in a pretty good position to be a top pick for God’s work.

Join us this week as we continue “The Story”. Service starts at 10:30 am.

Writing Your Life Chapter into The Story of Life

If you think Genesis is just a band from the ‘80’s . . .

If you think it was Dr. Dolittle who took two of each animal into a big boat . . .

If you think an epistle is a woman married to an apostle . . .

. . . you may need to know more of The Story.

You may be a bit intimidated by the Bible. You’re not alone; many people are.  And no wonder, its pages mention odd names like Jehoshaphat and Nebuchadnezzar. It contains accounts from places you probably never heard of, like Sinai and Samaria. And it seems to be made up of a lot of different, seemingly unrelated stories. But it really is one big, exciting story.

You can see it easily if you open your Bible to the beginning and then flip all the way to the end.

The first words found in Genesis 1:1 read: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  Then, if you turn all the way to the back of the book,  Revelation 21:1, you find, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away . . .”

Join us this Sunday as we begin the incredible journey through The Story.

Psalms 23 Part 6

Read Psalm 23:1-6

  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
  4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

David finishes this chapter with, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Notice how David sums up this chapter. After all that he has done to describe the Lord as the Shepherd he says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” In other words, if I truly believe that the Lord is my Shepherd and all the ways that I described Him as a Shepherd, then goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

The truth is we have to make a decision. Is the Lord your Shepherd? If you make a decision to follow the Lord and accept Him as your Shepherd, then you choose to follow Him wherever He leads.

Choosing Christ takes Faith. Faith means that even though you may not see God you believe that He exists. We can look around and see the effects of God. We can look all around us and find things that we may not see, but because of their functions we believe they exist.

Faith is what has brought many individuals through difficult times.

  • Noah had faith when he built an ark to save his family from a flood that would come from rain that he had not yet heard of.
  • Abraham had faith believing that God would provide the sacrifice to replace his son that God had told him to take and sacrifice.
  • Moses had faith to believe that God would part the waters when he stretched his staff over the Red Sea.
  • Joshua had faith to believe that the walls of Jericho would fall down when they marched around the wall.
  • Gideon had faith that he could conquer the Midian army with just the 300 men that God left him with.
  • Samson had faith that God would give him one more chance to strike down the Philistines when he stood between the pillars that held the building up.
  • Esther had faith when she stood before the king that God would save her people.
  • Nehemiah had faith when he went to rebuild the wall that God would bring the people together to help him do it.
  • Mary had faith when she accepted the calling of being the mother of God.
  • Joseph had faith when he took Mary as his wife.
  • We can see the faith of the believers. Even when they could not see how their circumstances would turn, they had faith that God would see them through their situation.

God will take care of us. He will get us through everything that we are faced with. We just have to have faith and believe that he will do it.

How often do we truly have faith? Do we truly lay our life in his hands? How hard do we try to hang on to it on our own? We can look at different people and see that when they tried to take their life in their own hands, that is when they got themselves in trouble.

  • Remember Adam, when he decided to listen to the woman and not to God, that is when he was kicked out of the garden.
  • Remember Abraham, when he decided to take Sarah’s maidservant Hagar as his wife and not wait on the promise from God is when he got in trouble and Hagar and Ishmael were banished.
  • Remember David, when he decided to stay home from battle is when he slept with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed.
  • Remember Jonah, when he decided to not go to Ninevah is when God had a fish swallow him up to get his attention.

The truth is God has a great plan for us, but when we decide to do things our way is when we get out of God’s will and our life falls a part. We need to choose faith and believe that God has our best interest in mind. I don’t know about you, but I choose faith. I choose the Lord to be my shepherd. I know that what David wrote is true.

The Lord is MY shepherd, I shall not want. He makes 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. Thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. His rod and His staff they comfort me. He prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, He anoints my head with oil, my cup runs over. And since I have accepted the Lord as my Shepherd, then goodness and mercy will follow me the rest of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalms 23 Part 4

Read Psalm 23:1-6

  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
  4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Now, let’s look closer at verse 4. It says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Think about this for a moment. The Lord, our shepherd, feeds us in the pasture, He leads us on the trail, and accompanies us into the dark ravine where unknown danger lurks. After He has made us to lie down in green pastures and He has quenched our thirst with streams of water and He has restored us and led us in the paths of righteousness for Him. Remember we represent Him. Also know this, we are going to go through some dark times in our life.

We might get bad news about a loved one. We might get bad news about our health. We might get bad news about our job. We are going to feel like we are in a dark place. David says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” He walks with us through the valley.

Think about this, the longest shadows are cast in the late afternoon even as the heaviest tests often come at life’s sunset—it is during that time that we must go through “the valley of the shadow of death”. If you are a wise person by that time you will have chosen your Shepherd.

On the narrow trail, the shepherd “led,” but in the most difficult hour of all He is alongside: “you are with me.” In trials, friends and family can only accompany us so far… and then we are alone. But He will never leave us.

Look at Hebrews 13:5. It says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I can remember times when I felt so alone that no one understood what I was going through. God reminded me that He was with me. I can remember some dark times in my life when there seemed to be no one to cry out to, but God was there to hear my cry.

When we are walking through the valley He is there with His rod to protect us from attack, and His shepherd’s staff reaches out and pulls us near when fears come our way. And when we make it through the valley He is there as well, waiting.

Think about all the saints in the Bible that faced trials in their life. How did they make it through those trials? It was with God walking by their side. Think of the Old Testament heroes… Abraham when he went to sacrifice his only son, it was God that provided the sacrifice. What about Jacob when he went to meet his brother for the first time after he had stolen his birthright, it was God that brought forgiveness between the two brothers. What about Joseph when he was thrown in the pit by his brothers and later sold to slavery, it was God that placed him in the palace as governor of Egypt. What about Daniel when he was placed in the lion’s den, it was God that closed the mouth of the lions. What about the three Hebrew Children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were thrown into the fiery furnace, it was God that kept them from burning up in the fire.

Think about all the times that Peter, Paul, Silas, Timothy, Luke, Mark, John, and all the other disciples spent in jail because they preached Jesus, it was God that brought them through those valleys. We are going to face valley’s, but it is God that will take us through those valleys.

David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 23 Part 3

Psalm 23:1-6

  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
  4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

We know that the Lord is our shepherd. With Him in our life there’s not anything that we want for. We also know that He makes us to lie down in green pastures and He leads us beside the still waters. Verse 3 says, “He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

When you think about what David has written here we can get an interesting picture. Yes, the Lord who is our shepherd makes us to lie down in green pastures, but do you think he wants us to stay there. Do you think that once we have laid down that the Lord won’t ever want us to go anywhere else? The answer to that question is no, absolutely not! We have to go somewhere in order for us to fulfill the Great Commission that God has called us to.

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,”. If all we ever do is sit around and soak in what God wants to give us then we never complete what God has for us.

God has greatness for us that we have to embrace. If we let the things that can get us down, keep us down, then we will never do what God wants for us. It is important for us to lie down in green pastures, let Him lead us beside the still waters and restore us to where we need to be, in order for us to accomplish all that God has for us.

Have you received any bad news for your life lately? Have you gotten a bad report from the doctor? Have you been called into the boss’s office to find out you no longer have a job? Have you had an argument with someone that you love? Whatever the problem is, Jesus can restore you. There will be times that we need to be made to lie down in green pastures, so that the shepherd can restore us.

Though the green pastures nourish, the Lord does not want us to lie around the rest of our lives. When we have gained strength, he leads us out from the pasture onto the trail of life, the “paths of righteousness”. It is during this time that we can testify of how God brought us out of our low time. We are walking the “paths of righteousness.”

My walk is for “His name’s sake.” He causes me to stay on a straight path, a narrow, grooved trail of right rather than wrong, obedience rather than rebellion, service rather than self-absorption, discipline rather than impulse, and cross-bearing rather than indulgence. We know the distinction of this because John 10:4 tells us, “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”

We are His sheep, therefore when we walk through life, we represent the father. He leads us in the paths of righteousness. As He leads and we follow His leading, everything that we do should lead others to the good shepherd.

Are you walking in the paths of righteousness? Then testify. Don’t stay in the green pastures. Fulfill the purpose that God has called you to. David wrote, “He restores my soul, He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

Psalm 23 Part 2

Psalm 23:1-6

  1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
  2. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
  3. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
  4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
  5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
  6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Let’s take a closer look at verse 2. It says, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

When we look at verse 2, we have to remember that the Lord is My shepherd. The things that He does will benefit me the rest of my life. The reason why He does these things is for my good.

Have you ever watched something on TV, where you see the person out in the desert walking and they look ahead of themselves and they find something out in the distance and when they get there it is just a mirage? They saw that small pool of water and some trees, maybe some life form, only to find out that it was just their imagination playing tricks on them.

Life’s cravings does this to us. They appear to be pools of refreshment, but instead are dry holes of disappointment and despair. The truth is the Lord sees us exhausted and spent. His first reaction is to make us lie down in green pastures. And even though we are helpless and powerless, we do not want to lie down. We want to solve our own problems. We want our way.

Life is going to throw curve balls at you that you are not ready for. If you have ever watched baseball, you know that the pitchers job is to get the batter out whatever way possible. Many times the pitcher will set the batter up. The pitcher will throw a couple of fast balls to get the batter thinking that there will be another fastball and just as that batter is thinking that, the pitcher throws a curve ball to throw the batter off course.

Life throws us curve balls that make us feel helpless and powerless. And the Lord comes along because He sees us that way and He makes us to lie down, but we don’t want to. We want to solve it our way. The shepherd is telling us, let me take this problem for you.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, “28) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29) Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30) For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

The Message translates it like this. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Do you ever find yourself tired and worn out from everything that life has thrown at you? Do you ever find yourself wanting to just give up? Do you ever find yourself crying and weeping uncontrollable because of all the stress in your life?

That is why God is making us lie down in green pastures. He isn’t doing this to punish us. He is wanting us to rest. It is in those green pastures He disconnects us from everything except His grace and care. By lying down we choose an active inner trustfulness in the One who takes us off our feet of independence. That is the beginning, middle and end of the Christian life: total reliance upon Him.

It is when we fully rely on Him that we find rest. It is when we fully rely on Him that we can lie down in green pastures. It is when we fully rely on Him that we can find peace and joy and love that we are craving on a daily basis.

God is the one that rescues us from the wilderness of self-destructive behavior and brings us into the green pastures where life is restored. God is our rescuer, God is our deliverer, He is our fortress, He is our shelter, He is our rock. When our storms are raging He is the peace in the boat. When we can’t take the bad news, He is the calm in that storm.

The rest of that verse says, “He leads me beside the still waters.” It is those quiet streams of His presence that quench our thirst as we drink from His word, we pray, we worship, and we do His will every day.

Have you ever been so thirsty that you could not talk or your mouth was so dry that it hurt to swallow? What do you do? You go and get a drink of water to satisfy that thirst and sometimes you don’t stop with one drink. You get more. God is the one that quenches your thirst.

How do you quench that thirst?

Try meditating on the word, try praying, how about worship, how about following His will. We shouldn’t do these things only in a crisis situation. We should be doing these things on a daily basis. He makes lie down in green pastures because He knows that I need it. He leads me beside the still waters to quench my thirst. Let Him do those things. Let go of the control that you want on your life and let Him have the control.

Church Shutdown

Yesterday marked the 16th day of the government shutdown and they finally came to an agreement. Think of all the grief and trouble this shutdown has caused people. People weren’t getting paid, resources were depleted and National Parks were closed. People noticed the government shutdown.

Several years ago, the church was the center of a town or community. All the activities of the town were centered around the activities of the church. Sports practices weren’t held on Wednesday nights because of church services. The church was the focal point of the town. The church was a place that civic meetings were held. It was the polling place for the city. I could go on and on about the role the church played in a community. Today that has changed.

My question today to you is, if your church were to shut down, would the town miss it and the role it plays for your community? How important is your church to your community?

We as the church have to make ourselves relevant again. A church is more than a building that is used for worship services. The church is its people. The church is the relationships that it brings. The church is the place that you find opportunities to seek God and to further the abilities that God has given you. The church is the place that you can grow in life and in your spiritual walk with God.

The community needs the church. Are you giving your town a reason to need you? If you didn’t exist would the town or community you are in miss you? If you can’t answer yes, then you need to fix something. Find out what that something is and fix it.

Acts 2:42-47 gives us a picture of what the church should look like today. It says, “42) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43) Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44) Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45) and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46) So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47) praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.