Safe Place

The man who sits in the oval office has recently given his first public interview. He said his faith is a safe place. He enjoys going to church because it gives him time to be alone. His wife hangs inspirational quotes on his mirror. He doesn’t want to proselytize. In other words, he doesn’t want to convert anyone to his faith.

I thought I would examine his words. I want to see if they ring true to Scripture. Because they could be my words, if I’m not careful.

What does it mean for faith to be a safe place? Should my faith be safe? Yes, it is by grace I have been saved through faith, and not of my self. It is the gift of God. That feels safe. I feel safe knowing that God loves me. Regardless of what I do or what I say, God’s love is eternal. His love for me will not change. That feels safe. I know that I can turn to God with my deepest wounds and hurts, my successes and failures. He is rooting for me. He is fighting for me. He never leaves me. That is my safety.

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:8

If this man’s faith is a safe place, why doesn’t his wife hang Scripture on his mirror? Why not fill his mind with God’s inspired word instead of someone else’s words? Wouldn’t he feel more secure seeing a Bible verse and thinking on it?

Ever since I read that I’ve been wondering. Should our faith be a safe place?  Do we go to church to be alone?  Who does that? In Hebrews 10:25, we’re told not to neglect meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. The point of attending church is to be with other like believers. Not to be alone.

I wonder. Is he looking for safety and peace in all the wrong places?  Am I?

Is my faith a safe place?  Yes, I rest safely in the arms of Jesus as I walk this road of life. I feel safe in God’s love and care.  But standing for my faith is another story.  Where’s the safety in that these days?  What have I got to lose if I share my faith and my beliefs?  Possibly everything.  Do I stay silent in order to feel safe? If my faith is safe, is it faith at all?


You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15


So basically, what this man is saying is he doesn’t want to help fulfill the Great Commission. You know the one that commands us to tell others about Jesus Christ. I have to ask myself. Am I willing to share the Good News of my faith, or do I too want to keep it to myself?

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, Of all peoples. baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Doesn’t the Great Commission still apply even when our basic liberties and rights are being threatened?  

I wonder what the twelve disciples of Jesus would say if they heard someone say they didn’t want to share the gospel. Would they laugh or cry? Knowing the suffering they endured for sharing their faith, what would they say this man.

Take the world, but give me Jesus. All its joys are but a name. But His love abideth ever, through eternal years the same.

Fannie J. Crosby

I wonder.  Does the man who leads the free world feel secure in his eternity?  He has signed off on ending the life of unborn babies. Will that be on his conscience?  Will that be in his book of records that God reviews as he someday stands in judgment?  I shouldn’t even ask these questions.  I am not God.  I don’t have to make these decisions.  What I must do is faithfully pray for this man.  For I too will be judged.  What sins do I try to cover with my pious acts and words?

There is no free ride to heaven. It takes effort on my part. Someone else, namely Jesus Christ, did the hard part. He died for my sins. Now it’s up to me to keep my spiritual nose clean. I need to stay true to his teachings and act accordingly. No. It’s not necessarily a safe thing to do. This practice of dying to myself, helping the needy, sharing my faith. But who wants to just slide into heaven? Let’s go in with a bang. 

Father, I pray that the scales will fall from my eyes and I will see your Son clearly. I pray that I will recognize the error of my selfish ways and repent of my sins. Help me to live out my faith boldly knowing there may be a cost.

My faith has found a resting place,
  Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One,
  His wounds for me shall plead.

I need no other argument,
  I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
    And that He died for me.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
  This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
  He’ll never cast me out.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
  The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
  Salvation through His blood.

My great Physician heals the sick,
  The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
  For me His life He gave.

~~Eliza E. Hewitt

Good Samaritan

I didn’t see her fall. But there she was on the cold snowy street. On all fours. Strangers ran over to offer help. Even with kind hands supporting her, she was struggling to get up. A young man lay his coat on the ground to give her traction. Yet she was only able to crawl over to the sidewalk. Once she made her way to the brick building, she was able to pull herself up into a standing position. She leaned against the cold wall for a minute to regain her composure. Embarrassed and humiliated, she stood and collected herself before moving on. I wasn’t sure if she was alone, or if someone in the small crowd was accompanying her on her errands.

 She was of an older age. White hair. Slow gait. Youth had passed her by. She appeared to struggle with bodily movements that the young take for granted. She carried a small black handbag. I never saw her face. Was she confused or disoriented? Was she anxious because of the winter weather? I don’t know if her mental faculties were in place. She needed help whether she wanted it or not. And several strangers rushed to her side.

It was a reminder to me that there are plenty of kind people in this world. There are good samaritans who will step up and help a stranger in need. Not necessarily wanting to be obvious about their good deed, but lending a hand when it is called for.

I asked myself. If I had seen her first, would I have rushed to offer a helping hand? Would I have shown kindness? Or would I have been a silent sidewalk gawker, hoping someone else would step forward?  

That same day, a friend had asked me to hold her accountable if she was acting in an unkind way. She said that as close friends we need that accountability, and she expected me to speak up if I saw something ungodly in her behavior. If only more of us would ask for accountability and then hold others to it when asked. This is another good samaritan act that is often overlooked and unwanted. Who of us wants to be told we’re acting in a shameful way? Who wants to be set straight? But kind words of correction and admonition can be set a wayward soul on the right path.


Love your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 19:18


Someone else recently received a life changing diagnosis, followed by major surgery. The treatments that lie ahead would cause anyone to be anxious. And rightfully so. Friends brought food for the family. Acts of kindness were shown. Work schedules rearranged. Love continues to be poured into a family whose normal routine has turned upside down for the foreseeeable future. Random acts of kindness and words of encouragement are a blessing to the one in need.

I have to ask myself. Do I look for opportunities to help others? Not necessarily when their need is obvious. But when it’s a quiet gesture of support and encouragement? When it will be unknown and unnoticed by others? Do I still offer help?

There’s a story in the Bible about a man who asks Jesus how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus asks him if he has read the Scriptures. After all, the man asking the question is an expert in religious law. He has probably memorized most of the historic Scriptures. And he quoted the exact words that will give him eternal life. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself. And Jesus confirmed that he should live the words he just quoted. Then Jesus gave an example of what that lifestyle would look like.

To read the full story about the Good Samaritan, read Luke 10:25-37.

In the story of the Good Samaritan, the man who offered the help was a member of a hated group of people. They weren’t followers of the holy Scriptures. And the two men who offered no help were supposedly godly men. Shouldn’t each of us be willing to help someone in need? Our differences don’t have to separate us. We can reach across the divide to help a needy soul, regardless of their beliefs or lifestyle. Kindness never goes out of style.

Prisoners of War

There is a movement. An uprising, if you will. Trying to silence those who don’t agree with certain social and political ideals. It seems to have come on suddenly, but really. It’s been years in the making.  The social and political ideals have been formulated by ones who have taken a stand against biblical truths. They’re fighting for justice. They say. They are silencing those who don’t fall in line with their agenda.

We think this type of persecution is new. It’s not. It’s been happening for centuries. Just not in our country. It’s a new thing for us. We’ve always had the freedom to say what we want. Now the belt is tightening, and we’ve begun to squirm with a new, unfamiliar discomfort. 

When will things return to normal? We ask. I’m afraid we’ve awakened a new normal. And there’s no going back. There are those who won’t ever let us go back. All in one fell swoop, this country has lost its innocence. We can no longer claim to be accepting of differences of opinion. It’s only one way or be canceled.

 Reminds me of a story I read recently in Daniel 1-3 in the Old Testament.


Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. Psalms 91:1-2


The city of Jerusalem had been conquered by the Babylonians. The best of the best Jewish people were taken prisoner. Their biblical names were exchanged for pagan names. They were forced to learn a new culture, along with the pagan customs and lifestyle. Indoctrination was the name of the game. They were tested on their acceptance of their new lifestyle. If they passed, they were promised careers in the royal palace. They were treated like royalty with the idea that they would discard their childhood learning and customs.

The lesson: Beware when your enemies try to become your friends.

But some of the young men didn’t forget their rich heritage.  They remembered their Jewish customs and remained faithful to the One True God. In their hearts, they were Jewish regardless of where their next meal came from. They were God’s favored people living in exile in a foreign land.

Oh. It was their country’s fault. Their country had forsaken God and his commands. And not just for a couple of years. They ignored God’s leading for hundreds of years. They ignored the warnings he spoke through his prophets. So He allowed hard times and persecution to come their way. But even though not all the people had forsaken God, they all still suffered. And they were captured along with those who had turned their backs on God.

There’s a lesson we can learn from these young men. Oh. We’re not out of the fire yet. The embers are just getting warm.  But this nation still has time to repent and return to God. Will we do it or will we continue down the path of sin?

If we as believers have prepared ourselves, we can face the fire head on. Just as the three men did. They were able to stand for truth. At all costs. Without fear of what lay ahead for them. They would not and did not back down from their decision to disobey their orders. 

If you read their story, you know that there was an extra person with them in the fire. They weren’t alone in their suffering. They stood true to their beliefs. They didn’t waver in their faith. And God was with them each step of the way. In the most difficult moment, they knew they were in God’s hands. Regardless of what happened. If they survived or not, they would stand true for the Living God as they stood in the fire. And He stood with them.

It’s a necessary reminder for us as we travel difficult paths. We aren’t alone. We don’t have to bow to those feeding us lies. We can stand strong in our faith. And regardless of the outcome, God is with us.

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. Psalms 16:8

If we don’t stand for truth and speak up, we may begin to hear the rocks speak out for us. What fools we would be. Do we want to gain the world and lose our souls? 

Shipwreck

It was a trip for the ages. 

Paul was in prison and had requested a trial before Caesar. That meant he must get to Rome, Italy from Caesarea, Israel. What he didn’t know was that he could have been released from prison if he hadn’t asked for a trial with Caesar. But since he asked, he was sent to Rome.

It was to be a long and dangerous trip over treacherous waters.  On the journey, they met with a huge storm. God spoke to Paul time and again on this journey, so he advised the crew on what to do to survive the trip. The storm lasted 14 days. Imagine. 14 days on a wooden ship in a terrible storm in the middle of the sea. There’s nowhere to go. There’s no chance of escape. They must ride out the storm. Will anyone survive?

When God spoke, Paul listened and shared the message he had been given. God told Paul he would survive the trip and stand in front of Caesar. So Paul was calm. He showed no fear. God was with him. God was for him. Not against him.  Paul listened to God and obeyed. His life was spared. He earned a great reputation on that trip. He stayed true to God during the difficult storm. 

They had started the trip with good intentions. The ship was loaded with provisions and trade merchandise for their stops at different ports. They had even tied a lifeboat and pulled it behind the ship. But when the storm arose and never let up, they had to start throwing items overboard. They had to set priorities on what was most important. In the end, they threw out most everything. Then they realized they were close to land, so they decided to run the ship aground. Their bet didn’t work. The ship hit a sand barge and busted up. 

When the boat began to tear apart, the soldiers thought to kill all the prisoners. But no. The commanding officer wanted Paul alive because he spoke with great wisdom and truth.  So the prisoners were spared.

Everyone had to swim to shore with only the wet clothes on their backs. But everyone survived.

They. Lost. Everything. 

For the full story of Paul’s shipwreck, read Acts 27.


In this way, I will show my greatness and holiness, and I will make myself known to all the nations of the world. Then they will know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel 38:23


We may think we’re living in tough times. This past year has been a blur, but yet our eyes have been opened wide. Some people have had the worst year of their lives. They’ve lost much, and there seems to be no end in sight. They struggle to make ends meet. Their kids are still schooling from home. Unemployment has dwindled or dried up. Thousands of jobs have been eliminated. Families have lost loved ones and haven’t been able to say goodbye.

In this life, as believers, we will struggle. But we persevere with God’s help. God is bigger and stronger than all our earthly struggles. He will see us through the best and the worst of times. In this storm of life, God is calling us to go deeper into our relationship with him. Let’s not just serve God on the surface. Let’s not just serve God on Sunday mornings. Let’s be faithful to him when we need him most. He will not waver or falter. Let’s hold onto him.

We will go through rough seasons in our lives. We may stand to lose everything. We may face loss of life and/or livelihood. But we will survive.  In the midst of the storms of life, God is still speaking. He is still guiding us. We must listen closely and do as he says. We must toss aside the things of life that are slowing us down. We must shift our focus on staying close to God and and obeying him.

Do you feel as if you’re in the worst storm of your life? Are waves of doubt and fear crashing in all around you? Do you fear you may not survive this storm? Have you had to toss aside all the extra baggage that you’ve clung to for security and pride? Have you prepared for the storm? Have you dug deep into God’s Word and filled up with His goodness and mercy? Are you ready for the storm that’s brewing?

And just maybe. Maybe it’s time to stop and count the number of times that God has been with us through other storms. Let’s slow down and remember God’s goodness. His faithfulness. Oh. We may not come out of the storm in the same shape we entered it. We may not come out unscathed. But we can survive and move forward one more time. Let’s remember that the God who helped us in the past will help us in the present and in the future. He never changes.

If we listen for God’s voice and obey, we will be safe in the storm. Oh. The waves may roll and the winds may blow. But God is faithful and stronger than any storm we face. We live in confidence of better things to come. We live in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. We don’t have to suffer in shame. We know that on the day of resurrection, Jesus Christ will receive us into his glory. Let’s live with that bold grace and confidence.

This could be your time. That breakthrough could be tomorrow, or it could be next year. But, you have the opportunity to turn however you’re being tested into a testimony. So many heroes were wounded deeply before they were used greatly!

Tim Tebow