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.

Under the Radar

He was the commander of the king’s army. The king had great admiration for him. He was, after all, the king’s right hand man. He had the king’s ear. And his trust. He had secured great victories against their enemies. But this man suffered from leprosy.

One of this man’s conquests was raiding the land of Israel with his army. And with this mighty victory, they brought home prisoners of war. This great leader placed a young girl in his home who served his wife. She was a servant. A slave. One of the spoils of war. But what he didn’t know was that she had great faith in the God of her ancestors. And when she saw him suffering from this incurable disease, she told his wife that he could be made whole if only he paid a visit to the prophet Elisha in Israel.

So Namaan took a trip to Israel to find out about the healing that was spoken of by this lowly foreign slave. He eventually made his way to the home of the prophet where he was told to go dip himself in the muddy Jordan River seven times. He was insulted and said no. But the army officers with him convinced him that if he was told to do something great he would. So why not try it. And when he came out of the water on that seventh dip, his skin was cleansed of the deadly disease. Namaan had been healed.

He now believed in the God of his stolen slave girl. He now believed that the foreign gods he had been bowing to were worthless. He must now only bow to the God who created the universe.

So he made a trip back to pay respects to Elisha. He wanted to honor his new found faith and offer gifts to the one who had a hand in his healing. He felt indebted to the giver of new life. But there was a problem.

Namaan worked for the government. He spent time with the king on a daily basis. There was no way he could escape his responsibilities as he served the king. And the king bowed down every day to a false god. Namaan was expected to do the same. And now that his allegiance had turned from a false god to the One True God, he knew that in his heart he couldn’t bow to the king’s idol. He must only bow to his Creator. But how could he do that when he was expected to honor the king’s wishes? How was he to show that his faith was now in his Heavenly Father while bowing to a manmade object? How is it possible to do both? And he knew that would be a problem.

He had to keep his faith a secret in order to keep his job. Could he do it? By keeping quiet about his faith, would he lose his faith? Speaking openly about his newfound trust in God Almighty could prove the downfall of his career. Was he willing to risk it all for his faith? Could he be a light in the darkness that surrounded him?

Then Naaman said, “All right, but please allow me to load two of my mules with earth from this place, and I will take it back home with me. From now on I will never again offer burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the Lord . However, may the Lord pardon me in this one thing: When my master the king goes into the temple of the god Rimmon to worship there and leans on my arm, may the Lord pardon me when I bow, too.” “Go in peace,” Elisha said. So Naaman started home again. 2 Kings 5:17-19

Read 2 Kings 5:1-27 to read Namaan’s story.


I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. John 17:14-15


Christians today are having to make a choice of whether to speak up at their workplace about the cultural lies being forced on them. They don’t know if it could cost them their job or not. Some choose to fly under the radar and not make waves. Because really. If they aren’t being forced to state their pronouns or wave a pride flag, why speak up. I don’t know the right or wrong choice. I’ve not be placed in that situation. I haven’t been mandated to do anything. But what I believe is that this issue must be between each person and God. With much prayer and even fasting, God will make it clear to each of us how we should live and work in a world surrounded by those who are against God. And therefore, they are against us.

We must be concerned about what God thinks of our presence in a world full of sin. Oh. We can’t escape this world and remain alive. So while we’re still breathing and moving about on this planet, our desires must be centered on pleasing God while surrounded by the enemy. No. It’s not an easy task. No one said it would be. We can read of many examples in the Bible of great people who failed miserably. Some of them got up and dusted themselves off pledging their faithfulness to God Almighty. Others wallowed in their sins and never repented. I pray that we will be like the former and not the latter.

We know that we must live in this world as it is today. It’s our responsibility as believers to be in the world but not of the world. We must live in a way that honors God and his message of truth, hope and salvation. We must live for the eternity that awaits us in light of the forgiveness of our sins and our commitment to serving God and only God.

Consider those who live in distant lands where living their faith openly is in defiance of their government. They go about their work and live quiet lives. Yet they meet in secret with fellow believers and they hide their Bibles in out of the way places. Oh. They know full well what they’re facing if discovered. And yet they’re willing to practice their faith in private. They perform their work, even if it is back breaking and hard labor. They don’t give up their faith because their lives are hard. Their faith thrives in spite of their very difficult circumstances. In spite of being quiet in their workplace, their faith is firm. Can we do the same?

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.

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.

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

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? 

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.