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In the short video I was watching on facebook, two soldiers stood side by side in their fatigues, one talking about the other.   The one on the right was my cousin Karl.  I remember playing with Karl when we were kids.  He was one of my favorite cousins.  He was “Karlie” to me then.  Now he stands having served overseas many duties over many months, and years here at home, helping keep all of us safe and free.  The video was of the brief ceremony promoting him to his new rank of lieutenant colonel.  I wish we could have stayed closer over these years, he and his family and mine, but distance and life transitions have made that difficult.  I was still really proud as I watched.  What a good man he is.  Who knew when we were goofing around and riding go-carts as 12-year-olds with his sister and my sister and brother that He had this in him?

One thing his friend said before he was officially promoted that really stood out to me was that the army doesn’t promote people based on performance.  They base it on potential.  They see in Karl the drive, integrity, courage, and know-how to do even more good for the people of the United States so they’re upping the stakes, giving him more responsibility.   It’s not so much a reward as a vote of confidence: “We believe in You and who you are.  We want you to keep helping us and working toward our cause.”

I guess in my cousin’s performance he has shown his potential so the way he’s served does play a part in it all.  What a great affirmation, though!

When we accept forgiveness from Jesus and accept His offer of adoption into God’s family, we get promoted.   God doesn’t extend love and hope to us based on what we do or what we have done, it’s based on our potential.  He made us from scratch and knows all that we’re capable of when we’re working toward His cause, His power and strength radiating inside of us.  What a great affirmation!  If you’re a Jesus follower and belong to God’s family you should feel great!  You should know that God sees promise when He looks at you, no matter how inadequate, how little, how goofy, how selfish, how scarred, or how timid we might be.  Believe in yourself.  He believes in you.

Other people often overlook the real potential inside each of us so don’t base your life’s worth on what they say.  They might even say you’re foolish to think God can use you to bring about good, to help somebody else, to make a difference that lasts forever.

But as Paul said in I Corinthians 1:25-27,

This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.  Instead, God chose things [and people] the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things [and people] that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

You should be celebrating.  You’ve been promoted!