The Great Stone Face

Stone Face1

If you haven’t read “The Great Stone Face” you should read it now. Here’s your warning—I’m about to spoil the ending. It’s a short story written by the Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850, and it’s riveting.

Hawthorne tells the story of Ernest, a young boy who awaits the fulfillment of a prophecy. He lives beside a mountain that bears the natural image of a man’s face: “All [its] features were noble, and the expression was at once grand and sweet . . . The Great Stone Face seemed positively to be alive.”

The prophecy says that one day, a man would arrive into town bearing perfect resemblance to the Great Stone Face. Every day, Ernest gazed upon the Great Stone Face, longing to see the man who would bear its beautiful image.

Years pass, Ernest grows old, and many men claim to fulfill the prophecy. One built his life on material wealth, another on military strength, another on political leadership, and another on creative magnificence. None of these men, however, doubled the gentle wisdom and tender sympathies of the Great Stone Face. Through all the discouragement, Ernest’s hope remains steadfast:

“‘Fear not, Ernest,’ said his heart, even as if the Great Face were whispering him—’fear not, Ernest; he will come.'”

By the end of the story, after years of gazing upon the Great Face, Ernest’s face grows into its perfect likeness. Someone realizes this and shouts, “Behold! Behold! Ernest himself is the likeness of the Great Stone Face!”

Here’s your one-sentence summary of “The Great Stone Face.”

We become what we behold.

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Five Truths Against Satan

scary lion

Be Alert

That should describe our attitude toward Satan (1 Peter 5:8). I’d bet for many of us, though, we rarely ever think about him. I’d bet we’re more alert about the weather, shopping discounts, or our favorite sports teams.

It’s pretty inconceivable that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). But what’s really inconceivable is that 60% of Christians don’t believe he’s real. How can we be alert to something that we don’t even believe in? And that’s Satan’s great desire. To have us forget about him, and eventually, to disbelieve in him.

“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.” – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

But the Bible is clear that Satan is real. He is not merely a symbol of evil, but an active, intelligent being with a desire to ruin us. He wants us to question God’s character and to doubt our identity. And like a master chess player, his plotting is subtle, clever, and often unnoticed.

Here, I’d like to offer five truths to provoke our alertness against Satan.

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Beyond the Door

Rustic Door Handles

Gospel-Gold

When I read the Old Testament, I often feel like I’m mining. A lot of it feels confusing, strange, and irrelevant. And for average joes like you and me, I think that’s okay. Keep reading. Every now and then, we’ll hit gold.

Recently, I came across some gospel-gold. Here’s how it starts:

“When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free.” — Exodus 21:4

In those days, if someone accumulated an exorbitant debt, he could sell himself as a slave to the person whom he owed. He’d live in slavery for six years, and after the seventh year his debt—no matter the amount—would be paid in full. His owner would be required to release him.

Except on one condition.

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Does God Save People with Good Intentions?

-POP

Honest Questions is a category of a Lift Up where I will feature questions from high school students. Most are directly from my experience of working with them. Some are not. I will do my best to answer as I would to a high school student.


Does God save people who try to love Him through other religions? And what about people who’ve never heard of Jesus?  I have a hard time giving my life to a God who wouldn’t acknowledge their good intentions.


I think that’s a valid question, and I’m glad you’re asking it. It’s okay to feel like that’s a hard hurdle for you to jump—that Christianity says it’s the only way to God. It looks like you have a few different questions here. To help me understand what you’re trying to say, I’ll paraphrase with some specific questions.

(1) Is it possible to love God through other religions (not just Christianity)?

(2) What happens to people who try to love God through other religions after they die? What about people who’ve never heard of Jesus?

(3) Does God even acknowledge the intentions of people who try to love God through other religions? Or are they treated the same way as people who want nothing to do with God?

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East of Eden: John Steinbeck

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Why do we fear that we’re not really loved? Why do we do the things we hate? Why is there so much pain in the world? Is there anything we can do about it?

If you’ve ever found yourself asking these questions, this is a great novel for you.

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