Persecuting Jesus

Saul and his crew were on their way to Damascus. After all, he had received written permission from the high priest authorizing him to hunt and arrest anyone who believed the message of Jesus Christ. As he traveled down the road in midday, a light brighter than the sun shone all around him. He was instantly blinded. Suddenly, he heard a voice from heaven. Jesus, the Son of God, asked Saul why he was persecuting him.

Saul was not searching for Jesus when Jesus called his name. He was searching for those who believed in Jesus. Oh. Saul knew what he was doing. He was persecuting those who believed that Jesus, the promised Messiah had come to earth to deliver his people from their sins. And Saul didn’t believe that. He was stuck in the traditional Jewish beliefs and traditions. He didn’t believe the prophecy about God’s Son had actually been fulfilled. So when Jesus called his name, Saul asked who was calling. And he then realized this Jesus was the one he had been denying.

Saul, Saul.  Why do you persecute me? 

Every believer that Saul persecuted was taking the place of Jesus Christ.  For all intents and purposes, Saul was persecuting Jesus Christ everywhere he went.  When he arrested and imprisoned those who accepted the Good News of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection, he was arresting and imprisoning Jesus himself. With every capture and arrest Saul made, he thought he was honoring God. He thought he was following God’s will. But instead, he was persecuting God’s son. He was fighting God, not obeying him. How could he have gotten it so wrong? 

What Saul didn’t realize was that he couldn’t hold back the Son of God from doing the work he was commissioned to do. Sure. The Son of God had returned to heaven, but his followers on earth were now doing his work. And nothing Saul could do could stop what God had started.

I used to believe that I ought to do everything I could to oppose the very name of Jesus the Nazarene. Indeed, I did just that in Jerusalem. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus. I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities. Acts 26:9-11

Saul was a learned man of his times. He had studied under the well respected Jewish scholar, Gamaliel. Saul knew the Scriptures. He was determined to punish anyone who dared to believe differently from the traditions. And yet, God had to bring him to his knees and blind him before he was willing to admit the truth that Jesus was the Son of God, born and died for every last one of Saul’s many sins.

To read the full story of Saul’s conversion, read Acts 9 and Acts 26.


Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Colossians 3:16


Soul, soul.  Why do you persecute me? 

What if my name was in front of that sentence.  Why do I persecute God?  Why do I challenge him and run from his ways?  Why don’t I automatically fall on my knees and worship him in adoration?  Why don’t I automatically choose to obey God? I who know the Scripture and have been taught from an early age to love and honor God. Why am I so careless with my faith?

Do we not do the same as Saul did?  Every time we act selfishly and sinfully, we are acting against God. When we reject Christ and his will for our lives, we’re persecuting him. Do we even realize what we’re doing? Do we take God’s knock on the door of our hearts seriously and open up to him?

What will God have to resort to to bring us to our knees in humble acknowledgment and repentance? Why do we run from him?  Why do we think our ways are higher than his ways? We who’ve been taught the Bible know the truth, yet we deny what we’ve been taught. We ignore the Scripture teaching us how to live an authentic Christian life. We do our own thing. We don’t look for God’s guidance. We become complacent. It’s all about us, we think. Not about God.

I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! Revelation 3:15-16

Anytime we sin, we’re nailing Jesus to the cross all over again. Our decision to deny Jesus and please ourselves puts him right back on that cross. Each time we disobey, the weight of our sins becomes heavier for Jesus to bear as he hung on that cross, causing him more pain and suffering. If we continue to run from God and disobey him when he’s calling our name, we’re persecuting him. Is that what we want?

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23

If we are the body of Christ, let’s wear the name in humility. We must consciously hear and obey God’s words. Let’s act on the promptings of the Holy Spirit and live in obedience. let’s listen well and listen thoroughly when God calls our name. Let’s not be surprised when God calls our name to follow and obey him. Let’s follow willingly.

An Invincible Faith

The conversation went something like this. She said she didn’t see the point of going on. What was it all for? Was it really worth it to continue? Perhaps she’s in a dead end job and no longer finds joy in her work. Perhaps she’s bored with life. Maybe she’s depressed and doesn’t realize it. Or perhaps she needs a Savior.

Oh. But she said she was a believer. I wonder though. Does she believe in God? If not, where is her hope? Where is her joy?

It’s one thing to be hopeless and not have faith in God. But someone who says they’re hopeless and are a believer, well….that opens the door to some questions. Does she not know that those who have placed their hope and trust in God have access to his invincible power? Doesn’t she know that her faith is worth holding onto during life’s momentary troubles?

But perhaps she isn’t aware of how to be invincible in her faith. Perhaps she’s never taken a deep dive into how faith and growth occur for followers of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t just happen. It takes time and effort. But the results are life changing and life eternal. As believers, we shouldn’t scare easily. God is on our side.

So what does invincible mean for a Christian? Being invincible isn’t automatic. It takes faith. Self denial. Obedience. Trust. We must put on the full armor of God each day. There’s the belt of truth that goes around the waist. Then the breastplate of righteousness. These are followed by the gospel of peace. The shield of faith. The helmet of salvation. And finally we carry the sword of the Spirit. We’re fully dressed for battle.

I think of the three Hebrew men who were thrown into a fiery furnace, because they wouldn’t bow to a godless king. And when the the king looked into the furnace, he saw a fourth person with them. During the worst moment of their life, God stood with them in the fire. He saved their lives with his invincible power. If he can save them, can’t he save us during our most difficult days? If he can stand with them, won’t he stand with us in our fiery trials?

Paul was given a thorn in his flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment him and keep him from being proud. Three times he begged the Lord to take it away. Each time the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

It may be safe to say that we all have a thorn in our flesh. We have something that can cause us to be proud or tempted to sin. But God’s grace is all we need. Let’s claim God’s power in our weakest moments, because that’s when his power works best.


Remain in me, and I will remain in you. John 15:4


In 2 Kings 6:15-17, Elisha’s servant is afraid when the king of Syria sends a great army with chariots and horses. He asks Elisha what they should do. Elisha tells him not to be afraid. He said “there are more on our side than on theirs.” And the Lord opened his servants eyes, and he saw the hillside surrounding them filled with horses and chariots of fire. He then realized that the army of the Lord was on their side and would fight for them.

So often, we don’t stop to think of the army fighting for us. They are invisible. But yet, they are invincible. They do their job very, very well. In other words, they don’t lose.

Please be warned. When I use the word invincible, it is not a substitution for the word perfection. I know as believers in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, we will not ever be perfect on this earth. So that is not what I’m saying. My purpose for calling believers invincible is the fact that our faith is grounded in Jesus Christ. We buckle on the armor of God every day. Every single piece of the armor. We’re faithful to read God’s word. We’re prayer warriors. We obey God at all costs. We allow God’s will to work as the primary source of our lives. We are God’s children, and we live like it. We grasp on to God’s mercy. We hold tight to his grace. We ask for his forgiveness. We relax in his love. He is the main source of our comfort. Our identity is not found in something or someone other than God, our heavenly Father.

And when we put him in first place in our lives. Above all else. Our faith is invincible. Our faith will not come crashing down when life throws us a curveball. Our faith will not be weakened when we’re tempted by momentary pleasures. Our faith will not be at risk when we lose the joy of performing our daily tasks and duties and taking our responsibilities seriously. Our joy comes from the Lord. Our strength is from God’s strength. Because of that, we are invincible. God is the Lord of heaven’s armies, and he fights for us. He leads us into battle. When we’re up against Satan’s armies. The enemy of our soul. When we don’t realize that the pleasant thing that’s been offered to us is a trap of Satan’s. God is fighting for us.

We need to have that armor on. And the fresh sweet aroma of Christ needs to be so strong that any type of temptation will be weakened by the aroma of Christ in us. If we sense that our faith is not invincible, then we realize we must fall on our knees and pray and ask God to give us his strength and power. We can claim that as our own any time of the day. Let’s not forget. Let’s be bold. Because we know this one fact. The kingdom of God still stands. And it always will.

Enemies Abound

Our culture teaches us to avoid trouble. We’re supposed to be kind and good. We should treat others in the way we want to be treated. Be honest, but don’t hurt the other person’s feelings. We want an easy life, so we try to blend in. Don’t make waves. We’re told that we’ll get further in life if we agree with what we’re told. And just keep quiet. Don’t cause trouble. These days, we haven’t developed the toughness we need when hard times come. We aren’t prepared for adversity or struggles.

But where does that get us? Oh sure. We should avoid trouble if it’s uncalled for. But sometimes trouble comes looking for us. Sometimes trouble is the instigator, and we’re the target. Do we stand still and let it overtake us? Or do we push back? Which is better? Fight or flight?

Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world. He said we would have many trials and sorrows. It should be of no surprise to God’s children when we face hurdles and obstacles. We will face seasons of unrest and instability. We may be the target of attempts to discredit or defame us. The enemy is a monster who wants our souls. And when we are facing battles, we must commit them to God. Our confidence must be in his power. Not our own. We must know that, as children of God, his presence and power are with us.

Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God. Psalms 20:7

As followers of Christ, we must live strong. We must put on the armor of God each day before we meet our adversaries. Oh. You may think you don’t have enemies, but most likely your enemies aren’t visible. We do fight against principalities. Against unseen powers of the darkness. We are not fighting flesh and blood. We are in spiritual warfare in this world.

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12


Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11


And God tells us that we should not be afraid when we fight our enemies. He doesn’t say if we fight our enemies. Oh no. He says when we fight. We will fight. There will be warfare. And we’re not to be afraid, because he is with us. He will fight for us. He will give us victory.

We also must realize that the army we fight may be bigger than us. So we must commit our situation to God. Because he also said that he has overcome the world. Our confidence must be in God and God alone. Oh. He says he will fight for us, but there’s no doubt that we must prepare for battle. We can’t go in without plans and preparation. God fights for us and through us.

We must surround ourselves with likeminded people.  Brave people. People who will stand for the cause of Christ.  People who will do hard things and fight for truth and liberty. We need friends who will encourage us and pray for us.  If we spend too much time with weak, frightened people, we will become like them.  We must know our enemy. Because he masquerades as an angel of light looking for someone to devour. He makes good look evil and evil look good. It’s easy to be tricked if we don’t know what he’s capable of.

When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’ Deuteronomy 20:1-4

Don’t Play God

Life isn’t fair. It rarely is. And when it isn’t fair, we tend to complain. Or we take matters into our own hands. And that’s exactly what she did.

She was barren. And as all men in those days, her husband wanted and needed an heir. Because, you see, they were very wealthy. And if she didn’t produce a son, her husband’s servant would inherit all their wealth upon her husband’s death. That’s how unfair life was in those days. Because she certainly wasn’t in line to inherit her husband’s wealth. She was a woman.

So she did the unthinkable. She offered her servant girl to her husband with the hope that a baby boy would be birthed from that union. And so it happened. The servant became pregnant. And the wife became jealous. What did she think would happen? When a woman offers her husband to bed another woman and he accepts, does she think it will be all sunshine and roses? Did she think she could claim the child as her own? Did she imagine warm and fuzzy conversations about choosing the name with her servant? No. The women turned against each other. Obviously.

Oh. God had promised her husband that he would have as many descendants as the number of stars in the sky. But God’s timing is his own. To him, a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is a day. When he made the promise, Abraham was at least seventy-five years old.

Sarah took matters into her own hands. She decided that she would play God and make sure her husband had an heir. And the whole affair blew up in her face. I wonder how long it took her to regret her actions. This boy child born to her husband was not the child God had promised. This child was an act of Sarah, Abraham and Hagar. Not an act of God. Abraham was eighty-six years old when this child was born.

If we choose to play God and move his agenda forward when he isn’t in control, chaos ensues. This one act created a nation of people who have tried to rule the world in an evil way. And it’s all because one woman made one wrong decision. And that decision has impacted the world for all times.

But we know that God is in control.

When Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him. He again told Abraham that he would be the father of a multitude of nations. Then God told Abraham that Sarah would have a son at the same time the following year. When Sarah heard the news, she laughed silently to herself. But God heard her laugh and called her out on it. She was afraid and denied her laughter.

A year later, when Sarah was ninety years old , she gave birth to their son, Isaac. Abraham was one hundred years old.


What is impossible for people is possible with God. Luke 18:27


It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. Hebrews 11:11-12

At times, someone will promise us something and it doesn’t happen. And we know they’ve broken their word. We lose trust in them. We learn to doubt anything they say. We have selective hearing when they’re making a new promise. We know we can’t trust what them. Because they have failed us.

So when God dressed as a man paid a visit to Abraham and Sarah, he brought along two angels also dressed as men. And they sat outside the tent with Abraham. Sarah had no clue that the men who sat with her husband were of the heavenly sort. And when one of them said that she would have a child, she laughed to herself. She was almost 90 years old. Well. You can imagine what went through her mind. And God heard her laugh.

Sarah laughed because she was skeptical of God’s promise. Her laughter wasn’t filled with hope and expectation. Oh. She had already tried to fulfill the promise and made a sorry mess of the situation. Then God dressed as a man asked a question. Is anything too hard for the Lord? And his words stopped her in her tracks. He had heard her laughter, and he knew her barren anguish. He saw her heart, and he knew she believed. Perhaps a babe would spring from her worn body. Even at such an old age. Hope was rekindled.

If we look at the timeline from when God first promised to make nations come from Abraham, it took twenty-four years for the promised babe to arrive. Who of us wants to wait twenty-four years for someone to make good on their promise? We are slow to believe. Perhaps lengthy delays weaken our faith. Things thought impossible are achievable only through an act of God. And he proved his love for Abraham and Sarah by giving them a son to carry on their line. Isaac was the long-awaited son for this aged couple.

We can’t rush God. We just can’t. His timing is his own, and if he makes a promise he will keep it. God doesn’t lie. But he also doesn’t give in to our whining and whims in order to please us. In order to meet our self-imposed timeline. Eternity is at stake. And even though we can’t see the big picture, God is still working. Even when it takes years to see his promise fulfilled. Even if we don’t see his promise fulfilled in our lifetime. God will keep his word.

Walk by Faith

His father had packed up all his household and moved with his son, daughter-in-law and nephew many years earlier. Their destination was Canaan. But somewhere during the relocation, they settled in Haran. And that’s the city where they stayed until the father’s death. And then God asked Abram to pack up and move again. God asked him to leave his home country and travel to a place unknown. So what did he do? Abram packed up his household and all his belongings and began traveling. Destination unknown.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3

God made an enormous promise to Abram when he called him to move to an unknown destination. Abram believed the promise and packed his bags. Now mind you. He had many bags to pack. He was very wealthy and owned many livestock. He employed many people who ran his household and managed his herds. Plus, his wife and nephew came along. It was a huge undertaking.

As they began their travels, they had no clue where they would settle. They didn’t know how long they would travel. Was it a one week journey? Was it a year? When would they settle? Where would they settle? But God didn’t tell Abram anything about the destination. So they headed in the direction of Canaan, which was approximately four hundred miles from Haran. They set up camp in Shechem for a bit, but over time they kept moving in stages.

During this time of travel, they never had a real home. They lived in tents. They moved their herds and flocks from one place to another. Always looking for enough food and water to keep their animals alive. God provided for them on each step of the journey. After all. It was God’s idea to move them. He was faithful to them in their travels. And when they finally settled, they stayed in their tents.


For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7


It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise. Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

Hebrews 11:8-10

Abram followed God with each move. Oh. There were a couple of incidents over time that could have ended poorly. But through it all Abram stayed faithful. He followed God on a path that wasn’t clear to him. His faith endured the test of time. Oh. He didn’t see the fulfillment of God’s promise. He didn’t live to see it. But should that always be the goal? Isn’t trusting God enough? Or do we always expect to see the promise fulfilled?

Much later in his life, God made another promise to Abram. He promised to make a great nation out of Abram and his descendants. And then God changed his name to Abraham, because he would be the father of many nations. At this time, Abraham was ninety-nine years old, and he and his wife were childless.

God may call us to follow him to ends unknown. He may allow changes in our life that make us uncomfortable. But he will always lead us along a path that he has ordained. He will be with us in those unknowns. Our role is to trust him. To obey him. Will we be found faithful?

Faithful followers aren’t perfect. We stray from time to time. At times, Abraham’s decisions led to problems. But he always returned his focus back to God. And over time, his record of faithfulness shone through. We have to remind ourselves that we’re not called to perfection. We’re called to faithfulness. And in our faithfulness, we grow and become more like Christ.

Abraham was a stranger in a foreign country, but he was content. He was holding on to the promise that God had given to him. He knew that God would keep the promise, but he had no clue as to God’s timing. But he didn’t give up hope. He knew that in time a great nation would come from him, even though he was old and childless.

Abraham’s faith was the faith that was ready for adventure. God’s summons meant that he had to leave home and family and business; yet he went. He had to go out into the unknown; yet he went. In the best of us there is a certain timorousness. We wonder just what will happen to us if we take God at his word and act on his commands and promises.

Barclay’s Daily Study Bible

God may require us to leave our comfortable life and serve him in uncomfortable surroundings. He may lead us through deep waters that cause us to feel as if we’re drowning. Perhaps our faith is too cautious. Perhaps God would do much more amazing things through us if our faith was expanded. Don’t we trust God? We aren’t living by faith if we know every detail of God’s plan. Living by faith is living in the unknown.

And when we know God is leading us but don’t see the fulfillment of his promise, it’s hard to explain to those who don’t have faith. They may question our actions or motives. If someone doesn’t know God, they won’t understand our will to follow God’s way. The question is. Who should we follow? God or our friends? Obedience or comfort? Temporary status or eternal rewards? The answer seems obvious, because God is always faithful. He won’t lead us down a dead end street. Let’s walk by faith.

Ark of Faith

He was commanded to do the impossible. Literally. God told Noah that he was going to destroy all living creatures and people on the earth, because of all the corruption in the world. God couldn’t find any righteous people on the earth. Except for Noah. God told Noah he was going to flood the entire earth. And he gave Noah specific instructions on how to build a boat that would house two of every living creature and all of Noah’s family. So Noah started building the boat. Without question. He just started gathering lumber and laying out the dimensions.

Oh. It took him approximately fifty to seventy-five years to finish the construction of this boat. And oh yes. He was laughed at. He was ridiculed. He was humiliated. In our day and age, he would have been canceled. No doubt. But Noah kept plodding along. Never looking back. Never stopping. He worked until the boat was finished. And it was a show stopper. Everyone could see it. It was huge.

It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

Hebrews 11:7

Noah’s faith condemned the unbelief of his neighbors. His obedience to God condemned their contempt and rebellion against God’s commands.

I have to ask myself. If I were in Noah’s situation, would I have stepped forward in faith? Doing what God asked me to do? Would I have built that ark in front of my neighbors? In front of my community? And have them ridicule and laugh at me? Would I have done that?

Would I have been willing to put myself out there? Based on God’s command, would I have obeyed?


Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this? 2 Corinthians 2:15-16


And I think of that today. Am I willing to obey God and put myself out there in front of my neighbors and community and boldly obey God even when it seems like it’s a joke? Even when others may ridicule and mock me and say I’m crazy. Am I willing to obey God’s still small voice? Even when that task will prove to be unpopular in the eyes of those around me? And I’m the only one being asked to do a certain task?

Who am I trying to please, anyway? God or man?

What would have happened if Noah hadn’t obeyed? What would have happened if God found no one else who was righteous? There was no one else for God to choose. Did Noah know that? Would God have just destroyed the entire earth if Noah had refused?

But Noah said yes. And it took him years to build that boat. And during the time he built that boat, he had sons and they grew up and began to help him. He didn’t give up on obeying God, no matter how long it took him to finish the task. He continued. He pushed forward regardless of what his neighbors said. Regardless of the names his neighbors called him behind his back. He was the laughingstock. The butt of the joke.

Am I willing to put myself in a similar position if God requires it of me?

What if I’m the only righteous person God finds for the task? I find that highly unlikely. But perhaps Noah felt the same. Perhaps he felt unworthy of the task set before him. But he did it anyway. Can I?

What did the neighbors think when the animals started coming two by two to the ark? What did the neighbors think when the rain started falling? God hadn’t called them to build an ark. He hadn’t chosen them as righteous people. God knew they were wicked. And he left them out of the ark. They all perished in the flood.

How many of us will be called faithful today? How many of us would God reach down and say, I’m choosing you? Because you are righteous, and you obey. How many of us would not be chosen? How many would be left out of the ark today? It’s not mine to answer.

We all have a choice. We can stand faithful to God and obey him regardless of what anyone says about us. Regardless of how long it takes us to fulfill that obedient call. Are we ready? And are we prepared to answer? Am I prepared to let others know that God has set me apart to do a specific thing that only I can do? If God chooses me to do this task or to run this ministry or speak certain words, whatever it is, God is asking. Am I ready, willing and prepared to say yes at all costs? Am I willing to stand for God’s Word and truth regardless of what the world says?

So when I think about Noah’s neighbors, and all the people on the earth at that time, I wonder. Did they think they were living in obedience to God? Did they think their lives were a pleasing aroma to God? Or were they willfully disobedient? Were they willfully living in opposition to God’s will? Did they flaunt evil in the face of God? And when they saw Noah begin building the ark, I’ve got to assume that they laughed at him. Did it bother them that Noah never gave up? Did their taunts grow louder the longer Noah worked on the ark?

Noah never gave up building the ark. He never stopped working on it. And all those years, Noah was faithful to the call of God. He didn’t give up when times got hard. He didn’t wait until his boys were old enough to start helping him. He dug in and began building the ark when his boys were young. So he answered the call of God immediately. And he remained faithful for many, many years.

Who of us would do that? Who of us today would God use? Who of us living today would remain faithful for so many years? When all we had was the voice of God saying, “Do this for me.” And there was no other evidence that God had spoken, but just his nudge. His quiet voice to you. A whisper in your ear. Here is the path I want you to take. Who of us would have remained faithful for so many years?

Noah was faithful. He stood strong. He withstood the test of time. When all the other people on the earth could not stand the test of faithfulness to God, Noah did. And they died because of their lack of faith. Because of their lack of obedience. Who of us on this earth today would pass that test?

Think about it.

Pleasing Faith

We don’t know much about the man. All we know is written in just a few verses in the Bible. But those few verses tell us that this man had a close relationship with God. Enoch walked in close fellowship with his Maker. And one day he disappeared off the face of the earth. He didn’t die. God just removed him from the earth.

It would be interesting to be his wife or children and try to figure out what happened to him. How would they have explained his disappearance to their neighbors and extended family? Did anyone see him disappear? Did they call out a search party? How did they know it was God who took him? Was he surrounded by his family when the moment came?

But that is all beside the point.

It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.” For before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Hebrews 11:5-6

Imagine the stir it would cause if you never died. Imagine God took you straight to heaven. What would people say? How would they know you were in heaven? Did anyone see the hand of God reach down and pluck you off the earth? Would you be surrounded by your loved ones when it happened?

And why you? Why would God choose you for this? 

This is exactly what happened to Enoch. He was a man who was faithful to God. He walked with God and lived a life of faith in obedience to God. This means that he followed the will of God. He stood for truth and he spoke it. He obeyed when God led him. He had studied and knew the Jewish law. He was faithful.


And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6


But we can’t get all hung up on the fact that Enoch just disappeared from the face of the earth. Let’s think about why God chose him.

He was faithful. He pleased God.

Do I have the qualities that God is looking for? Do I please God? Does God call me faithful?

Christians are sometimes criticized for having faith. After all, isn’t that what being a Christian is all about? But when you think of it, everyone has faith in some way or another. Even atheists have faith. They have faith that there is no God.

But the faith of a Christian can’t be stagnant. It must be fed and watered. Pruned and shaped. Molded into a faithful follower of Christ. God requires it of us. Otherwise, it isn’t faith. Is it? We must believe that God exists. That’s the essence of our faith. We must put forth an effort to live as Christ commands. We must follow his teachings. We must walk worthy of our calling in obedience and submission to God’s will. We can only do these things by the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. According to Hebrews 13:21, God equips his saints with everything we need to do his will.

When we walk with God. When we listen. And obey. When we continually seek out truth from God’s word. When we seek to be in his presence. We will find Him. We will meet him in prayer. And in the Word. As we sift the wheat from the chaff in our lives, we will find truth and faithfulness. We will toss the lies of deceit and fear from our hearts. We will feast on His goodness.

Enoch walked with God. He listened to God. And he obeyed. We, too, can be as Enoch. We can walk with God and obey. We can be called faithful. Oh. God may not reach down and take us to heaven without us having first tasted death. No. That isn’t what will happen. But he will be with us. As God is faithful to us, so we must be faithful to him. He rewards those who sincerely seek him.

As Matthew Henry says, we cannot come to God, unless we believe that he is what he has revealed himself to be in the Scripture. Those who would find God, must seek him with all their heart.

Almost Divorced

Mary and Joseph. The couple who almost weren’t a couple. They planned to marry. But before they officially started their life together, it almost ended. Due to no fault of either of them, their marriage would forever be marked by scandal.

Mary was pregnant with a child who wasn’t Joseph’s. 

Imagine Joseph’s fears. The concern. The shame. Knowing he had done no wrong but unable to prove his innocence. Could he trust his bride? Was she being honest?

Imagine Mary’s concerns. Knowing she had done no wrong, but unable to prove her innocence. But who would believe her? Would Joseph trust her? Would her family believe the news the angel spoke? Would Joseph still want to be her husband? Would she be an outcast? But she knew what the angel had told her. And she believed.

It would have been easy for Joseph to win the case in court. Mary was pregnant with someone else’s child. They both knew that. The evidence was stacked against her. What man wouldn’t have dumped her?

But the angel who spoke to Joseph in a dream had a most convincing argument.  But how could it be possible that his Mary had been chosen to birth the Son of God? The Promised Messiah was the babe in her virgin womb. How would they sell that story?

Oh sure. Every Jew was taught that they were awaiting the coming of the Messiah. But why Mary? Why now? So Joseph did the unthinkable. He believed the angel. He kept his vow to Mary. He moved forward with the marriage. He would raise her child. 

The right decision paved the way for Joseph to raise this child in a safe and stable home. Oh. It wasn’t easy. I’m sure. But Joseph could sleep well at night. He could have peace within. He had trusted the all seeing, all knowing God to an unknown future. He willingly accepted the life God laid out for him and his family.

Even Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, recognized who lay in Mary’s womb. And so did the child in Elizabeth’s once barren womb. Mary didn’t need to be vindicated.  But her word and God’s word proved true even before the child was born. And then multiple times after his arrival.  

There were the shepherds who heard the news from the angels. The old man, Simeon, stood in the temple and recognized the baby immediately as the Son of God. And Anna, the prophet, also confirmed the 8-day old baby as the Promised Messiah. Later, the bright star that shone in the east led the wise men to seek this child.

These were no coincidence. These incidents were all by the hand of God. He was moving in his chosen people. The long awaited Messiah was now among them. Carried in a virgin womb. Wrapped in swaddling clothes. Delivered in the town of Bethlehem. Born to be the Deliverance of his people.

 The proof of Mary’s innocence and virtue were in place, if one was looking. 


“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord . “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9


How many times have I almost taken the wrong step, even though the right step was the road less traveled. The wrong step would have been the path of least resistance for Joseph. But the right decision looked foolish in the eyes of his family and neighbors. Who could fault him?  How could he explain the situation to those who asked? Mary and Joseph knew they were in for the long haul. But they didn’t really have a clue what life would be like living with the God Child. 

In our times of uncertainty, it’s easy to choose the obvious path. Especially when it’s what everyone else would do. But I’m not everyone else. And when God clearly says to take the least popular approach, then the response should be just as clear. I wonder how often I have chosen the easier path instead of the one designed by God. No one else has to know. Right? Except for God. But isn’t that enough to make me pause? God knows everything. He knows his plans for me. He knows when I follow his plans and when I don’t. So who am I fooling?

 A life of obedience to God’s will over the ways of the world can be the only choice. It is His perfect plan, even when it doesn’t seem the perfect solution. Even when friends and neighbors offer their unsolicited advice. Turn the other way. They say. Don’t stir up trouble when you don’t have to. Look out for yourself.

But God’s ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His plans are perfect.

Walking With A Limp

It was the wrestling match of the ages. And rightfully so. Who other than Jacob can say they spent the night wrestling with God? Physically wrestling with God. Oh. I’m sure many of us will admit to wrestling with God in prayer for hours on end. Hours that left us weak and limp. Hoping that God had heard our honest, fervent prayers.

But Jacob. Yes. He spent the night wrestling with God. And he came out alive. He came out able to talk about it. He walked away from that match a changed man. Changed in more ways than one. His name was changed to Israel, because he fought with God and man and won. His heart was changed, because he was prepared to reconcile with his brother. His walk was different. He now walked with a limp, because his wrestling opponent wrenched his hip out of the socket.

Oh. During the hours long wrestling match, a conversation was taking place. Perhaps two conversations. One that included Jacob and his opponent. And the other was an internal conversation Jacob was having with himself. Don’t you think? If he’s asking questions aloud to his opponent, they would only come about from his internal conversations.

Let’s just read his mind for a minute.

Who is this stranger who appears in the dead of night in the middle of nowhere and wrestles with me? Who does that? Who is this man? Where did he come from? What does he want with me? Will his strength ever give out? And why? Oh. Why won’t he tell me his name? Am I face to face with God? Will he let me survive the night?

Jacob walked with a limp after wrestling with God. At some point in the night he realized he was wrestling with God Almight. And did his win signify a victory for his soul?


For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12


Perhaps our opponent appears out of nowhere. We’re unprepared for the match, yet we must fight with all our might. And our might is failing. The fight is long and difficult. It’s taking a toll, and we see no way out. We beg God for mercy. We ask for this dark night of our soul to end. We’re unsure of what part of our faith will be left intact. Can our faith survive this match?

Perhaps our wrestling with God is because his will is not ours. Our wrestling matches may go on for days and weeks. Perhaps they’re continuing still today. We’re not willing to give in to God’s perfect will. and it is just that. Perfect. Not that our lives will be perfect when we submit to his plan, but we will be at peace in his will. We may walk with a limp, but it will be because the battle of our own will has been won. With God’s help. and his plan is put into place.

Perhaps our wrestling match is with a physical or mental illness. A job loss. A fractured marriage. A destroyed dream. Perhaps we’ve lost hope with life and feel there’s nowhere to turn. Life struggles will leave us with a noticeable limp. But the limp signifies victory over the struggle as we allow God to heal us. That limp we now walk with is a sign of victory. It’s a sign of perseverance and faith. Of trust in the Almighty God of the universe. So what’s a little limp?

Above the Fray

I watched a video recently of sand breaking apart as ocean water washed up on it. The sand that had once looked sturdy, thick and solid was crumbling. With one sweep of an ocean wave, the sand that appeared to be packed tight, instantly split apart and fell into the waves. The sand had no strength against the strong force of the ocean. It wasn’t prepared for the liquid force of nature against each tiny granule. The ocean won that day.

Fabric can fray. In order to prevent a bolt of fabric from fraying, the edges of the lengthwise grain of the fabric are tightly and thickly woven. It’s called the selvage. Once cut, though, the fabric can easily fray. If not careful, several inches of fabric can be lost due to the fraying.

Life can be tricky and uncertain. Circumstances out of our control can easily tear us apart. If our faith isn’t firmly grounded in the truth of God’s word, it can fall apart at the slightest notion. If our faith is formed by those who call themselves light but are indeed darkness, will we realize before it’s too late that we’ve been deceived? How strong is faith if it hasn’t been tested and tried? Is it even faith?


If the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! Matthew 6:23


How can a person live above the fray of life without unraveling? How does one hold it together when life is falling apart? When the wind blows the house down? When the waves cause the walls to collapse around you? When you’re accused of wrongdoing even though you’ve done no wrong? When everything seems to go wrong all at the same time? How do you stand in the midst of the crumbling sand? When the test of time tests your faith, does your faith still stand?

Jesus could cite biblical passages to explain his behavior. His entire life was exactly in line with biblical teaching. If someone questioned his actions, he could quote Scripture to back up his behavior. He could discuss biblical passages with comfort and ease. He lived above the fray. Even when tempted, he resisted. Can you? Can I?

How do you explain your behavior?  Does it fall in line with Scripture?  Love your neighbor and your enemy.  Do good to those who persecute you.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  Turn the other cheek.  Forgive as you have been forgiven.  Don’t steal or kill. Don’t commit adultery. Resist temptation. 

I look at my life. My actions. What part of Scripture do they point to?

How far above the fray do I live? Could my faith unravel at a moment’s notice? Am I living far enough away from the shoreline that I won’t sink or drown? Do I live just close enough to be accepted by those who don’t call themselves believers? Do I toe the line just enough to say I’m a follower of Christ? Does my life reflect continual growth and knowledge of God’s word?

I have to ask myself. Do my thoughts reflect the attitude of Christ? Do my words cast doubt about my relationship with God? Do my actions mirror biblical truth?

Seek the truth. Know the truth. Live the truth.