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One of seven billion

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Passengers travel atop a train headed for Mymensing from Dhaka (Credit: Reuters/Andrew Biraj)

You are now one of seven billion inhabitants of our planet.  In the last five minutes, 67 babies have been born in the United States, while 274 were born in China and 395 in India.  Some 382,000 babies will be born today, helping us reach the landmark.

Most of them will ring my doorbell tonight.  Some 93% of children under the age of 13 will go door-to-door this evening in search of Halloween candy.  Doctors advise parents to dole out their loot a little at a time and to brush their teeth immediately afterwards.  Some dental practices are buying candy from kids to send to troops overseas.

Even if they overdose on sugar this week, today’s children will live longer than any generation in history.  Better medical care, access to a more secure food supply, and more effective health care for infants all contribute to our population escalation.

It’s easy to get overlooked on such a crowded, conflicted planet.  With a blizzard in the Northeast, tensions in Gaza, unrest in Syria, and more attacks in Afghanistan, most of us will not make anyone’s newspapers today.  William James, author of the classic Principles of Psychology, later admitted that he made an “immense omission” in his book.  “The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated,” he wrote, yet he did not deal with this fact in his text.

Do you feel this “craving to be appreciated” this morning?

The most transforming single piece of advice I’ve ever received came from my high school youth minister: “Always remember the source of your personal worth.”  Your value is not found in who you are or what you do, but in whose you are.

Two weeks ago I was standing amid the ruins of Philippi, Paul’s first stop on his Macedonian mission.  The city was famous in his day for a monumental battle fought there in 42 B.C.  Brutus and Cassius were defeated by Marc Antony and Octavian; the latter became Emperor Augustus.  When Paul first visited their city, no one knew his name.  Everyone knew the name of Nero, the current emperor.  But today people name their dogs Nero and their sons Paul.

No matter your social status this morning, you can sing with David to God: “How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings” (Psalm 36:7).  No matter your circumstances, your Father promises you, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3).

Whatever comes your way today, remember the source of your personal worth.