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Marks of the Master


There was excitement in the art world recently with a discovery on a statue. The figure, carved a little over 500 years ago by Michelangelo, is not one of his more famous works, but it was recently reexamined and a possibly tremendous discovery was made.

On the small wax figure, a previously unnoticed mark was found. Upon more examination, it became clear that it was a print–a thumbprint. And it is believed to be a thumbprint of the master artist himself, preserved for all these centuries.

No matter how “important” a work of art this statue is, if this discovery turns out to actually be Michelangelo’s print, what a tremendous find! To have that mark of the master would make this nothing short of remarkable.

But think about one other aspect of that story. It seems that this mark–a mark from the sculptor himself–went undiscovered for over 500 years.

Is there not a powerful parallel in this story from the world of art to something of great importance in our spiritual lives? When God created humankind, He placed His “mark” on us. We are made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27) as the only part of creation that has been given an everlasting soul.

Yet, how often do so many people fail to recognize that in themselves and, as such, do not think they are anything of any value. Instead, human beings are of the greatest value because we bear the mark of the Master!

Whether you recognize it or not…

…you have an everlasting soul, something no other creature in creation has.

…you were worth the Creator sending His Son to die for, something He did not do for any other part of creation.

…you will live forever, either in heaven or hell, something no other creature must contemplate.

All of that is bound up in the powerful fact that you were created in the image of God. You bear a mark of the Master. Don’t miss that fact!

AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

In Search of a Cause Worth Dying For

July 14, 2021 by Jack Wilkie

Not to play the role of pessimistic, doom-and-gloomer, but to say things aren’t going well would be a mild understatement.

Crime, especially violent crime, has gone through the roof in American cities, with some municipalities simply deciding to look the other way. Cities that were centers of food, art, and musical attractions now make you think twice before venturing downtown, especially with a family in tow. The supply chain issues keep cropping up. Maybe they’re simply a temporary effect of the Covid lockdowns. At least we hope.    (see bottom of page 2)

Electrical grid issues in Texas and California along with gas shortages and a hacked pipeline certainly haven’t inspired confidence. Unemployment is high. Thousands of small businesses have disappeared. Even on the surface of aesthetics, one can sense the problem. Our culture is out of ideas, merely recycling old movies, old musical styles, and old fashions.

Millions of people can sense the decline. Worry sets in. And worry, when given enough fuel, turns into desperation. It’s this desperation that led to a summer of riots that caused numerous deaths and billions of dollars in property damage. It’s this desperation that has Antifa trying to enforce their will through violence where they can. It’s this desperation that led to whatever that mess at the Capitol was on January 6.

Political polarization and radicalization happen at rates that are increasing seemingly every day. Young people join up with Antifa and BLM on the left and the Proud Boys and the Groypers to a lesser extent on the right to feel heard, to feel like they’re doing something. They will literally fight in the streets for their side. Even those who are not so directly involved hold strong opinions and often voice them on the internet.

Everything seems like it’s coming to a head, and people want to put their weight behind what they see as the solution – understandably so. More and more, we’re seeing just how many people view these causes as worth dying for. People are looking for something, anything, that rises to that level of importance and is worthy of that level of commitment. People are looking to sign up for something that truly matters.

And they aren’t finding any sense of that whatsoever from Christianity.

Rather than showing people a crucial purpose worth dying for, we have taught people that the only thing at stake is their individual soul, or perhaps the souls of their family at most. We have instilled the idea that our cause is personal salvation and peace through moral living rather than the spreading of Christ’s glory to all creation. We have traded duty and responsibility for comfort and ease. We have rejected discipleship for consumerism. We have made the thrilling mission of planting the flag of Christ in every place into a boring ritual to be endured for an hour or two every week.

It’s time we take up our crosses and start living as though this were a cause worth dying for – an idea most of us spent months directly contradicting last year. It’s time we instill in people a sense of duty that goes far beyond themselves, namely duty to God, duty to the lost, and duty to their Christian brethren. It’s time we bring a sense of adventure and excitement back to Christianity, and not one that is based in phony emotional manipulation, but one that is based on being participants in a lineage thousands of years old to advance the most important cause of all time.

While our neighbors and countrymen grow more despairing and desperate at the bleakness of our society’s pending social, economic, and cultural collapse, we can be beacons of hope. But that won’t happen so long as we are presenting a Christianity whose purpose begins and ends with our own personal fulfillment.

How do we right the ship?

It starts with men. We must equip men, encourage them, and honor them. No more falling into tropes like preaching about how wonderful mothers are on Mother’s Day and lecturing dads on how much they need to step up on Father’s Day. That kind of messaging has given men all the responsibility yet none of the honor or God-given benefits of the role. No more falling into the Homer Simpson, Archie Bunker stereotype of the stupid, childish husband, or its partner stereotype of the man who’s hopelessly unworthy of his spouse and must constantly tell everyone how far she is out of his league.

We honor godly womanhood and motherhood. We must likewise honor godly manhood and fatherhood. We must project a vision of honorable manhood, then teach our men to reach it. It’s time we dispense with the idea that any man who’s interested in the Bible needs to go into the ministry. We need every Christian man interested in the Bible and growing sharper in his use of it.

God gave us two genders for numerous reasons, and in every way in which we ignore those reasons we set ourselves up for failure. With better, stronger, more honorable men, we will regain our sense of purpose, for God has set men up as leaders and as those who cast a vision and pursue it.

We need to show people we have a cause worth dying for. And we need generals on the battlefield pointing the way. Until we recover this design, we will continue to offer the world a hopelessly weak answer to their worldly worry and desperation.

Jack Wilkie accessed July 21, 2021

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