Two Sides of the Story

There are always two sides to every story. Like it or not. If it’s your story, you will tell your side. And someone else will tell theirs. How often do both stories match? It’s hard to say. Stories are open to interpretation.

 Both sides of the story can hold truth. It’s not that one side is all lies and the other side all truth. There could be a little of both woven into each story. Or perhaps one party is just outright lying. And they aren’t concerned about getting the facts right.  Perhaps their motives and allegiances are less than honorable.

 Time will tell which story is true. Perhaps the truth isn’t made know in the time frame needed. But there will always be a day of reckoning. Sometimes sooner. Sometimes later.

There are those who don’t seek the truth. They’re looking for ideas of convenience.  Stories that suit their evil intentions. They don’t care who is harmed or whose life is ruined. Revenge is fair game. In their mind. 

I see that happening in a story I read recently. A man was unfairly accused of an act he didn’t commit. Many believed the false charges. Others helped bring him down. In fact, they killed him. By throwing stones at him. His dying wish was that they would not be held accountable for their actions.  Such forgiveness.  Such mercy coming from a dying man. There was another man in the crowd.  He stood by silently watching. He held the coats of those throwing stones at the innocent man. His deafening silence was approval. 

Perhaps if he had spoken up, the man’s life could have been saved. But it wasn’t to be. He remained silent. I wonder if that scene ever kept him awake at night.

You can read the entire story in Acts 6-8:1.

I wonder how many times I have remained silent when I should have spoken up. How many wrongs could I have helped right by moving out of my comfort zone. By putting my reputation on the line. By telling the truth when lies were being spread.

I see this world. This country. In chaos. We’ve lost sight of our Christian values. Why have so many of us who live those values kept them to ourselves? What are we afraid of? Being canceled? It is a real thing. Speaking in opposition to current cultural norms can ruin a person’s livelihood these days. 

Sometimes coming to the truth is a process. It’s a study of the evidence.  Not giving up or making a decision until all the facts have been presented and weighed. 


Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12


Stephen was one of seven men chosen to help distribute food to the widows. In doing that, he had opportunities to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He spoke the truth and was arrested. Some men began to lie about him. They invented stories and accusations against this man who was living in obedience to God. And then he spoke the story of God’s love and plan of redemption for his people. He shared how his Jewish ancestors had followed God’s plan at times. And other times, they deliberately disobeyed him. Stephen pointedly called the Jewish leaders heathens and stubborn people. He accused them of being deaf to the truth. He reminded them that they had deliberately disobeyed God’s laws. Obviously, they were outraged. They seized him and had him stoned to death.

Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. Acts 8:1

I am struck by this Bible verse everytime I read it. It speaks so of humanity. Thinking we’re doing the right thing when we’ve not accepted truth. We’ve accepted information that doesn’t give us pause. We choose convenience over fact finding. We obey lies and are comfortable doing it. Shame on us. We must ask ourselves some hard questions. What if speaking the truth causes persecution? What if we suffer for speaking biblical truth? Are we up for the task? Oh. Scripture says we will suffer. We’ve been exempt for so long that we bristle at the thought of being on the wrong side of the law when we’ve not committed a crime. But it can happen. It already is in some places.

I speak only for myself when I say I’m happy with an easy life. I enjoy being comfortable. I don’t want to be persecuted or canceled. I don’t want to be on the wrong side of the law for being obedient to Christ. But what if it comes to that? Will my faith hold strong? Or will I wilt under pressure? I pray my faith holds me to the end.

For Saul, it seemed simple. At first. He hunted and persecuted those who believed that Jesus was the Promised Messiah. He did not believe, and he fought it with all his might. Then a strange thing happened. He had a roadside experience where the truth was revealed to him by none other than Christ himself.  It was so powerful that he couldn’t deny or ignore it. He realized he had been living a lie. He had been hunting and killing innocent people. Oh. The remorse. But he was now a changed man. He was one of them. He was a believer. As he studied and examined the Scriptures, he learned the error of his ways. He now made it his mission to tell others the Good News. Regardless of the cost. And it did cost him. He was imprisoned. He was beaten and stoned. He eventually paid with his life. All for the sake of Christ.

Choosing the easy way may pay for a time. But when eternity is at stake, let’s choose to pay the cost. There’s no turning back once we cross the finish line. We’re in eternity for eternity. There’s no going back. Let’s get our story right and stick to the truth.

Praise be to God for his indescribable gift.

This Man Jesus

I’ve been thinking about this man named Jesus. When he was born, there were some who recognized who he was. And they saw who he was not. They knew he was the Son of God and not Joseph’s son. He was one of a kind. One could say. But he was perfect. And that’s hard to say. Because there has been no one before him who was perfect and no one since. And no one else will be. After all, he never sinned. No one else can say that about themselves.

As he began his ministry, he spoke words that were different from what people expected to hear. He was followed by many, but hated by many more. He said he had not come to bring peace. He came to bring a sword. A man would be against his father, a daughter would be against her mother. Family would be against family. But why?

He came to bring division.

He said he did not come to bring peace, yet he was called the Prince of Peace. He came to bring a sword, yet he provides a suit of armor. His message was radical, yet he is the long awaited Messiah. He died on a wooden cross, yet he was the Great Healer. He promised eternal life, yet he died a physical death.

This man Jesus is a mystery to some, and a Savior to all who call on his name. He performed many miracles, yet he didn’t save himself from torture and pain and death.

He causes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good. He sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. He is the chief cornerstone and the Rock of Ages. He was despised and rejected by men, but he died to save all of mankind.


This man truly was the Son of God!
Matthew 27:54


Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household! Matthew 10:34-36

The message of Jesus Christ started a revolution, and it is still going strong today. Both the message and the revolution. There are times of revival and there are times of rebellion against his message. Many have repented of their sins, and many have fallen away.

Jesus was a Jew, but his message was for all people. Jews. Gentiles. Everyone. He was not partial. His message was for men and women. He spoke truth to all people at all times.

His wounds healed my sinful heart. His death gave me eternal life. And when he arose from the dead on that third day, he made the way for my sins to be buried in the deepest sea.

He submitted to his Father’s will and left heaven. He was born a baby and grew to be a man. His earthly life lasted 33 years. But he packed a lifetime into those years. His ministry was only three short years, but in that time he upended tradition and the Jewish laws. He appeared to be a rebel, yet he spoke only truth. His message was not for the faint of heart, but for those seeking the Way. His life was prophesied and fulfilled. He was the final answer for a sinful world.

This man Jesus died for me. He literally breathed his final breath as a promise of eternal life in exchange for my repentance. He was God, yet he gave his few years to a human life on this earth and experienced all the temptations that mere mortals face. Yet he never gave in. He never submitted himself to those temptations. He was without sin. He was God in human form. Oh, the day before he hung on that cross, he begged his Father for his life. He asked to be given a pass on this act of sacrificial love. But God, his heavenly Father, said no. My will, Son, is for you to hang on that old rugged cross and die for the sins of all mankind. Just this once. And once was enough. He paid the ultimate sacrifice with his human life for my human sins.

Jesus is the Word of God incarnate, and yet he submitted to the Scriptures.

Michael Horton

Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.

Never Stop Praying

I think of the prayer requests that I’ve received recently. And I’m reminded of how fragile life really is. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow.

There’s the one who lost his father from a tragic fall. There’s the child who’s having surgery. I think of the one who’s been unfairly accused and faces an uncertain future. Then there’s the one who has health issues that seem never ending. The one who recently started chemo. And another who’s finishing chemo and preparing for the next steps. 

I think of the one who was in a car accident. And the family whose loved one is in hospice care. I think of the sister whose faith has taken a turn toward recklessness. The son who is fighting depression. And the daughter who is still struggling with health problems months after her accident. I remember the one who received a daunting mental health diagnosis. And the one who hasn’t yet received a diagnosis. And there’s the one who is struggling with health issues and is searching far and wide for relief.

Another one feels they must lie in order to avoid combative conversations. I think of the one who apologized for possibly offending another. I recall the one who has a bad attitude about their work situation. They all need to pray, and they need others to pray for them.

Her loved one is dying. He doesn’t have long to live. His days are numbered. She isn’t sure how to talk to him. She isn’t sure what to do. I said all we can do is pray. It sounded so helpless. But wait. Prayer isn’t helpless. Prayer is the act of turning over our troubles and concerns and struggles and needs to an Almighty, All Powerful God. It isn’t an act of weakness. Prayer is one of the most powerful acts a believer can do.


Never stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17


I wonder why we use prayer as a last resort, instead of as our first line of defense. Or offense. God is always available. He is ready and willing to hear our prayers. Prayer is power.

Have the habit of prayer, turning your thoughts into acts by connecting them with the idea of the redeeming God.

(Coleridge, Notes on the Book of Common Prayer)

Prayer. The act of talking with God. Sharing our concerns and needs and gratitude and praise. It’s a time to bare our souls and just lay out all our fears and desires. But we can’t forget to offer thankfulness. God is so good to us. He has blessed us beyond measure. He knows everything we will do and what we won’t do. He knows everything we need and everything we want. God can do more than we ask or imagine. We must remember to thank God for everything.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

There’s the sinner’s prayer asking for forgiveness. There’s the prayer of thanksgiving. God hears our every prayer. He answers our prayers in the way he sees fit. For that, we should be thankful. 

We should pray seeking wisdom as we make decisions. And for speaking words of truth. We must pray for discernment. And whether we like it or not, we should pray for our political leaders and for those in authority. We need to pray for those who are against us, not just for those who are for us. We must pray for others, and not just for ourselves.

We must pray. Because when we pray, we draw closer to God. We don’t pray to change God. Prayer actually changes us, even when we are praying for others. Prayer moves God to work in our lives. We can and must pray boldly, and God will hear us. We must not be afraid to pray for anything and all things.

And when those prayers aren’t answered in the way we want or expect, we must still cry out to God. We must still bring our requests to him knowing that he always hears us. God’s will is always accomplished. We must ask ourselves. Are we praying for God’s will or our own? Regardless of the answer or lack of, we must pray. Regardless of how long we wait to see heaven move. We still pray.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 4:16

Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12:12

Clean House

Our internet service was slow, and we needed help. The appointment was scheduled for the very next day. And I wasn’t going to be home the morning of the appointment.  Of course.  There was no time to do a deep clean of the spaces where the technician would have to work. At least that’s what I told myself.

The technician knocked on the door. He had arrived whether I was ready for him or not. Now mind you. I know I’m not the world’s best housekeeper. I’ve never claimed to be. And I don’t plan to change anytime soon. But there’s a problem with that way of thinking.

As I stood in the room with the man, I looked at the space through his eyes. It wasn’t pleasant. It was cluttered and untidy. There was too much unnecessary stuff lying around. Power tools. Computer equipment. Clothes. The closet door was open. It was embarrassing, to say the least. 

Then I walked into the next room he would need to visit. All I could see was the dust. And the crumbs left on the floor by my dog. I hurriedly grabbed a paper towel and dusted as best I could. I picked up crumbs off the floor. I straightened the magazines. I threw away trash. It looked a little more presentable, but it made me uncomfortable. I realized that my laziness was something that couldn’t be easily dusted away in a couple of minutes. My house needed a deep clean. 

Oh sure. There are areas that I do clean each week. I clean the bathrooms. I keep my kitchen clean. I vacuum. I keep things picked up. For the most part. I just don’t typically allow guests to see the places that a repairman would need to see. After all, he needs to see the spaces that hold wires and outlets and other electrical things. Apparently, that’s the least tidy area in my house. 

I’ve come to realize that I’m perfectly comfortable with having a tidy house. It doesn’t have to be spotless in order for me to feel accomplished.


Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:13


I know there is One who sees every room of my heart. I’ve opened the door of my heart to him, so he lives here and has free reign in my life. He walks through my heart on a daily basis. He sees the room where I feed my soul. He knows if my spiritual diet is healthy or if I fill my mind with junk food. Because what comes out of my mouth comes from my heart. He is not fooled.

As the One who knows me enters the door to my heart, He sees the cobwebs that cover the unused spiritual gifts that he has bestowed on me. He sees me when I rise and when I sleep. He knows the way I take. He knows when I obey and when I don’t. He knows me for who I truly am. There is no doubt I’m made in his image. He knows I don’t always represent him as I should.

The clutter of bad attitudes, unrepentant sins, words of gossip, ill feelings, unkind thoughts and many other acts of unrighteousness make the passageways of my heart uninhabitable. There’s no wonder that fear and worry and anxiety fill me at times. If I don’t keep those passageways clear, there’s no way I will be able to sense the leading of the Holy Spirit. He may decide that he’s no longer welcome.

I have to ask myself how I thought there could ever be room for God when all my priorities and moments are planned solely for myself. I need to clean out the closets and declutter my heart. I need to reprioritize and make room for daily Bible reading and prayer. I must sweep the cobwebs from the corners of my mind and air out my soul. I need to clean house and clean it now.

God doesn’t just stop by when I schedule an appointment or make himself available only on Sundays. He lives in this heart. I invited him in to stay, so He always sees and knows the contents of this beating vessel. My heart needs to be clean at all times, because it’s always in full view of the One who created it.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Sometimes I feel unfulfilled. I think I need something new and exciting in my life.  I feel like something is missing, and I search for that missing piece. So when that happens, I go on a hunt. I try to find something to fill that void. So I take a walk through my house to see what can make me happy. But is happiness what I’m looking for?

As I walk through each room of my house, I check to see what I can change that might make me feel fulfilled. Something that might change my mood. Something that will give me a sense of satisfaction. Something that will refresh my spirit.

I look at the kitchen. Do I need to rearrange the items on the open shelves? Would colorful dishes look better than all white plates? Would a new plant look nice on the island? Are the cupboards filled with enough food? And if I look in the freezer, I’ll find the new stash of chocolate I just bought. Can’t run out of that. And when I bite into a piece of the chocolate, do I stop to ask myself how happy it makes me? Is one piece ever enough?

I look over at the living room. How does it look? I check to see if the decor is starting to look dated. Is the paint color fresh? Do the plants look healthy? Is the rug faded? Maybe I need to redecorate with new pillows. I just bought a beautiful new wall hanging. Maybe that will be enough change for awhile.

I check out the dining room. The runner on the table is several years old. Perhaps a new one is in order. The tray in the center of the table is one of my favorite pieces. But maybe it’s time to freshen up the look.

Then I walk into my closet. And what do I see? A rack of clothes. I wonder how often I wear each item. Then I remember that these are just the clothes for this season. If I walk into another room, I’ll find another closet full of clothes for the next season. And shoes? There are more than I need. That’s for sure. And how many do I wear on a regular basis? That’s a question I don’t even want to answer. Oh. I just bagged up a trashbag full of scarves and sweaters to donate. But I wonder how many more items from the closet I should also donate.

I open the door to the garage, and I examine my car. I know it’s not the latest model. It’s eight years old. It’s not as new as other cars I see. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you would find in the latest models. It isn’t a luxury brand. Never mind that it’s paid for. It hasn’t been high maintenance, except for the expensive tires. I’m not embarrassed to be seen in it. Does it impress others when they see me drive up in it? Does it matter?

I walk outside to look at my flowerbeds. I see a lot of shady areas, but there’s also a little space for sun. I wonder if I can find room for a couple more flowerbeds. I envision lots of blooming flowers, but I realize I must be realistic about what will attract deer and what will repel them. I also must be realistic about how much work it will take to keep the flowerbeds looking nice. Can I get enough flowers in the little space I have? Or will it be too much work?

I log onto my bank account. I check the balance of all my accounts. Is the market up today or is it down? Is my money safe? Am I financially secure? Am I prepared for retirement? Can I pay my bills? What will it take to satisfy me? Am I looking for meaning in all the wrong places?


You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. Psalms 63:5


Feasts are known to be satisfying. But that satisfaction doesn’t last. It leaves a longing for more. The thing about the feast. It’s not meant to be a last meal, but perhaps a celebration. It is not meant to fulfill every last longing that someone has. It is a moment in time that will last in memories for a lifetime. But it doesn’t bring lasting fulfillment.

Then it dawns on me that I’m looking in the wrong place. Food and clothes and cars and flowers and money are all good things. I don’t need luxury. I don’t need fortunes. I don’t need fame. They don’t provide lasting peace and fulfillment. But what I do have is peace. Peace of mind. I have a calm assurance that all is well with my soul. I have deep abiding peace.

I know that my relationship with God is the most important part of my life. But I sometimes get sidetracked by other things. I realize the the peace I have because of God’s forgiveness is the calming I need in my life. I realize that as I faithfully read and study God’s Word, I have a greater knowledge and wisdom for making life decisions. I don’t need to search for a quick fix to boredom and discontentment, because I am content in the knowledge that I am deeply loved by a God who knows my name. He fights for me. He died for my sins. He is my Savior. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

The world may try to satisfy that longing in your soul. You may search the wide world over but you’ll be just as before. You’ll never find true satisfaction until you’ve found the Lord, for only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Yes, only He can change your heart and make you whole. He’ll give you peace you never knew, sweet joy and love and heaven, too. For only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

If you could have the fame and fortune, all the wealth you could attain. Yet, you have not Christ within, your living here would be in vain. There’ll come a time when death will find you, riches cannot help you then. So, come to Jesus, only He can satisfy.

Only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Yes, only He can change your heart and make you whole. He’ll give you peace you never knew, sweet joy and love and heaven, too. For only Jesus can satisfy your soul. Yes, only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

Lanny Wolfe

Need Help Getting Dressed

Every day I get dressed.  Of course.   I should get dressed twice, if I really think about it. One outfit I wear every day is the one that is noticeable to anyone who sees me. The other one is invisible. But it’s there.

The problem with the second outfit is that I have to remember to put it on each day. And some days I have trouble remembering it. Other days, I only wear part of the outfit. I seem to have trouble getting the full outfit on. It shouldn’t be that way. Because the full outfit is required if I am to get any real use out of it.

Perhaps the remedy to my problem is that I should put it on first. Before my visible outfit. 

The thing is. I wouldn’t be caught dead without the clothes that are visible. I wouldn’t want anyone to see me in a state of undress. It would be embarrassing and humiliating. It would be unthinkable. 

So why do I feel that it’s ok to be in a state of undress when it comes to the invisible outfit? I should feel embarrassed and humiliated by not wearing it. Oh. That outfit is a little beat up. It’s been in battles. It’s been on the front lines of spiritual warfare. It’s no longer shiny and  new. There are dings and dents. But it’s holding its own. It’s one of a kind. Built just for me. So there’s no trading it in for a newer shinier model. It’s built to last for a lifetime. 

The armor of God is tailor made just for me. How can I ever forget to suit up each day?  Each piece of the suit has a specific use. Without each piece, I’m not fully protected from evil or temptation. I’m putting myself at risk by not taking the time to get dressed properly. Why do I do that?

Oh. I know why I need to wear this armor. I know why I need to get suited up. It’s been made clear to me. There’s no other way to fight the advances of the evil one. I must wear this armor every day. Every piece of it.


Put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Ephesians 6:13


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. 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 6:10-12

Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body of armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:14-17

Each piece of the armor has a specific purpose. It’s made for a custom fit. Perfectly designed with me in mind.

The belt of truth. Stand your ground and put on the belt of truth. If you’ve ever worn a belt, you know it tells the truth. It tells the truth of the size of the waist it surrounds. There’s no fooling it. The belt does not lie. It either goes all the way around the waist. Or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t fit, there’s a different truth to tell.

But the belt that a Roman soldier wore had a sheath for the soldier’s weapon. A sword. The sword was tucked into the sheath attached to the belt. When I put on the spiritual belt, I add truth to my wardrobe. And that’s what matters the most. I must be wrapped in truth at all times.

The breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate is a shield that protects the vital organs of a soldier’s body. If a soldier didn’t use this shield, any injury would most likely be fatal. Just the same, if I don’t use my shield of righteousness, any attack from the enemy of my soul could prove fatal. The shield is strong. It’s made of the best material to combat strikes from the enemy.

Some may ask what righteousness is. Righteousness is doing what is right in God’s eyes. So if I’m doing what’s right in God’s eyes, I am shielded with the strength of God’s protection. If I choose lawlessness, then God’s protection falls away. I am at risk of receiving a fatal blow. Righteousness guards me against the attacks of Satan. His attacks of sin can’t penetrate through the strength of the breastplate if I’m following God’s instructions.

The gospel of peace. For shoes, I am to put on the peace that comes from the Good News. Because I must be fully prepared. If I am walking in God’s peace, I won’t be so easily tripped up on the bumpy and difficult path of life that I’m walking. Because that path takes me through the enemy’s territory, and I have no idea where the traps and potholes will be placed. They are put in place by Satan’s army to divert me from the path of peace and truth. I must avoid the obstacles at all costs. If my feet can be shaken loose from the path of peace, then I will stumble and fall prey to his advances.

When God summons me down the road of obedience, he doesn’t clear the path so I can walk along with ease. He allows those obstacles and bumps, so the shoes of peace I wear will steady my travels and keep me close to him. But I must wear these peace coverings as a means of protection. They allow me to move freely, without fear of what lies ahead on the path.

The shield of faith. A shield is raised up by the soldier to protect him from being hit by the enemy’s arrows. Faith is the shield that I must raise to block the advances of the enemy. My faith must be strong. The strength of my faith determines how long I stay in battle. If I lower or drop the shield of faith, then I might as well surrender. I’ve lost the battle. This fight requires a strong faith. Even faith the size of a mustard seed can win battles.

I must block fear with the shield of faith. I am fighting a spiritual war. With the shield of faith, I can deflect the fiery arrows that the enemy is shooting at me. My faith shield is my first line of defense. Without it, I am lost and defeated. Satan will be free to swoop in and capture my soul. Faith is my weapon of strength.

The helmet of salvation. The helmet is a vital piece of equipment in a battle. It protects the head. Any injury to the head would most certainly prove fatal. This piece of a soldier’s equipment cannot be forgotten. It is a life saver.

When I place the helmet of salvation on my head, I am guarding against the weapons of the mind. Because the mind is its own battlefield. My thoughts and desires. My dreams and goals. My fears and beliefs. They all start in my mind. My mind must be centered on my Heavenly Father. I must think on things that are true and honest, just and pure, lovely and of good report, virtue and praise. These are the thoughts that must fill my mind. Otherwise, the enemy of my soul will wreak havoc on my thoughts. My salvation depends on my mind staying pure and centered on the Host of heaven’s armies. I am fighting for my salvation, and it begins with my mind.

The sword of the spirit. Actually, I must carry only one offensive weapon as I wear this outfit. I am to carry a sword that is tucked into the belt of truth around my waist. The Word of God is the sword stored securely in my belt. It is my only offense against the attacks of the evil one. Sure. I can be all suited up to protect myself. But when I fight, I fight with the Word of God. I can’t leave home without it.

All the other parts of my armor are meant to protect me. To shield me from the attacks. But the sword of the Spirit is my weapon of choice. It’s the only weapon that I can use to fight fairly and truthfully. None other can compare. Oh. Some may say that it’s a poor choice of weapon. But if they’ve never studied this weapon, they don’t know the extent of good it can do. We can be destroyed if we don’t know God. And this sword is so powerful, it can cut through every defense the enemy throws in its path. If a child of God is wielding this weapon, nothing can stand against it. God’s word will prevail.

So, the weapons I am given to fight this spiritual battle are truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God. These are my weapons of choice. I better get dressed.

Buckle up. Here. We. Go.

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