Ready

As Christians, we often speak of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, the Son of God. But, if asked, can we give an immediate, concise answer (2 Timothy 4:2)? A dear friend and spiritual mentor taught me to always have a one-minute, five-minute, and twenty-minute message “in my pocket.”

Be Ready in Season and Out

His thinking and I found it true, was that at a moment’s notice, I may be called upon to testify to a person, speak to an ad hoc group, or be called upon to preach a message. In those situations, we would have no time to prepare.

I saw this displayed on a street in Cluj, Romania. As a small group of us walked along a wide city sidewalk, we came upon a young Eastern Orthodox priest. He stopped us because he heard us speaking English and wanted to find out if we could understand him when he spoke English. To his delight, we did understand him.

With that out of the way, we began an enjoyable conversation. At one point, he asked how our beliefs were different from his. My friend had the answer. Within five minutes, the young priest was energized and uplifted. But when my friend asked if he could pray for the priest, the veil of orthodoxy fell, and the priest immediately took off down the street.

Our Joy Is to Share the Gospel

It’s never our job to force the outcome from a divine appointment, but it is our job to be ready with an answer. (1 Peter 3:15) Speaking of answers, here is the answer to what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

3 The Good News is about his [God’s] Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 1:3–4 NLT

Our joy is found in Jesus, so let’s be ready to share Christ’s Good News anywhere with anyone at any time. Amen!

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Digging for the Truth

Don’t allow Christianity to hide Jesus. We have nearly an unending list of doctrines, beliefs, proofs, prayers, ideology, philosophy, and all manner of jargon that fills the box of Christianity, but where is Jesus?

The Thief on the Cross

To borrow one point from my pastor’s recent sermon, the thief on the cross, next to Jesus, only knew Jesus. He had no baptism card, no letter of transfer, no catechism, no church affiliation, and no documents or witnesses that attested to his Christianity. The thief knew none of these and confessed that he deserved crucifixion, but right there, while Jesus was in the middle of fulfilling God’s plan, a plan that stretched back before Creation, Jesus took the time to save a person that trusted Him (Luke 23:39–43). That’s who Jesus is, and that’s what salvation is about.

Digging for the Truth

Man’s dogmas or doctrines don’t hamper Jesus. Jesus is looking for people that are looking for Him, even if they don’t know it. Salvation is a very personal event, unique to each person, yet universally the same in its results.

This site’s motto is “Digging for the Truth.” I started this website to dig through the traditions of Christianity, much like the Pharicitical traditions, with the intent of helping us find Jesus. Salvation isn’t complicated (Romans 10:9–10), and neither is living for Jesus (Matthew 11:28–30)). We make the Christian life burdensome; we heap doctrines, decrees, and dogmatic declarations upon individuals, local churches, and denominations.

Just Save My Life

A medical doctor could tell a seriously injured man how each instrument works, how the procedures are performed, and what the protocols are, but the injured man wants the doctor to save his life. How is that different from Christ’s salvation? A person that finds Jesus can be saved without knowing Ephesians 2:8–9. This passage explains how God saves, but a dying man or woman simply needs to ask, as the Philippian jailor asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30)” When you’re dying, the “what must I do” is important; the how can be learned later.

We have the Bible and innumerable commentaries, Bible studies, Christian dictionaries, history books, podcasts, statements of faith, creeds, and videos to help us grow and be transformed. These all have their rightful place. But still, our eternal life depends upon Jesus knowing us and us knowing Him. Jesus said that at the judgment, He will say to people, “Depart from me for I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)

Our Life is All About Jesus

Cultivating our relationship with Jesus is what our salvation is for. Daily, take time to talk with Jesus Christ our Lord. If we fail to nurture a living relationship with Jesus, then we are lost, and condemnation remains upon us; no amount of Christian academic education can save us.

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Between My Ears


As Christians, we often speak of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus, the Son of God. But, if asked, can we give an immediate, concise answer? A dear friend and spiritual mentor taught me to always have a one-minute, five-minute, and twenty-minute “message in my pocket.”

His thinking and I found it true, was that at a moment’s notice, I may be called upon to testify to a person, speak to an ad hoc group, or be called upon to preach a message. In those situations, I had no time to prepare.

I saw this displayed on a street in Cluj, Romania. As a small group of us were walking along a wide city sidewalk, we came upon a young Eastern Orthodox priest. He stopped us because he heard us speaking English and wanted to find out if we could understand him. To his delight, we did!

With that out of the way, we began an enjoyable conversation. At one point, he asked how our belief was different from his. My friend had the answer. Within five minutes, the young priest was energized and uplifted. But when my friend asked if he could pray for the priest, the veil of orthodoxy fell, and the priest immediately took off down the street.

It’s never our job to force the outcome from a divine appointment, but it is our job to be ready with an answer. (1 Peter 3:15) Speaking of answers, here is the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

3 The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, 4 and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.

– Romans 1:3–4 NLT

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Graces

The Scriptures teach us that there are three graces. These are faith, hope, and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13) In today’s post, I want to zero in on these three graces in action. Grace means giving something of value to someone when he or she hasn’t earned it. Many of us grew up in households that had someone “say grace” before meals.

Saying Grace

The details of saying grace differ between denominations, but all recognize that their provision comes from God and thank Him for His kindness. And most denominations give thanks to God for His presence with them at their meal. My children were taught to say grace – to thank God for giving us our food. My youngest grandson always wants to say grace: “God is great, God is good, now we thank Him for this food. Amen.” He doesn’t always get the “amen” at the end, but that’s okay.

Something new to me when I prepared this post was that many denominations “say grace” before and after a meal. From Wikipedia, here is an example of a before and after prayer for members of Methodist/Wesleyan churches.

  • Methodist/Wesleyan (Grace Before Meat) “Be present at our table Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. These mercies bless and grant that we may feast in fellowship with Thee. Amen.”
  • Methodist/Wesleyan (Grace After Meat) “We thank thee, Lord, for this our food, But more because of Jesus’ blood. Let manna to our souls be given, The Bread of Life, sent down from heaven. Amen.”

I may start including an after-meal prayer. The prayers I read in the Wikipedia article were meaningful and beautiful. However, today, I want us to consider “giving grace.”

God Gives Grace

Please consider this verse about receiving God’s grace. We find this passage in Hebrews 4:16: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Our loving God gives grace to many and grace to all that are His. We shouldn’t use prayer as our “last” hope. God is our first hope. He works in and through people, and He works directly in people.

We must not omit God’s provision for our salvation. “We are saved by grace through faith.” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

We Give Grace

You may have said grace hundreds of times, but did you know that you can also give grace? This truth is woven into the English language. From Christians to atheists, nearly everyone uses the word “gracious.” Of course, this word’s root is the word “grace.” The giver is called gracious when he or she gives something unearned by the recipient. And, when dealing with loans, banks often have a “grace” period where they give a few extra days for the payment to be made.

Now let’s consider this verse:

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Ephesians 4:29

Anyone can give grace, but only a child of God can give God’s grace. With God’s residency in us, the Holy Spirit gives establishes appointments for us. We often call these coincidences, but God is not the God of random; He is the God of order and purpose.

The Holy Spirit guides our speech, so we speak life. I think this commentary note helps us understand our giving of grace:

“We may so speak as ”always“ to do good to others. We may give them some information which they have not; impart some consolation which they need; elicit some truth by friendly discussion which we did not know before, or recall by friendly admonition those who are in danger of going astray.”

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

How wonderful God is. He uses us to give beneficial grace to others. Wow!

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

The Roach Mobile Home

Our Praise

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

God is good to His children. Good beyond what we can understand or fully grasp. His love is active love. He is constantly at work in everything. By faith, the Spirit of Truth leads us into the unknown. We enter by the name of a Man we’ve not seen, whose greatness we cannot comprehend, to do a work that is not ours, by abilities we don’t possess, so our Father may glorify His One and Only Son.

I want to share an experience my family and I had when we were preparing to minister through foreign missions. I hope that you find encouragement from our amazing God, the God that did the impossible for us.

The Roach Mobile Home

Because of a delay in our departure to Romania, my family and I were thrown into a difficult time when we were homeless and without an income. Living in Florida, we rented a cockroach-infested mobile home by the week. While amid this filth, the Holy Spirit “fell upon me” and gave me a promise. Here is what I understood from God:

“There are some situations that are delaying your departure. I am fixing those. While I do, I am picking you and your family up and putting you in a new place, a safe place. It will feel like a vacation. It will be a good place for you. You will have an income. You will know when to leave and go to Romania.”

Our Deliverance

That day I called a man I’d worked for. He immediately offered me a software development contract. We drove to Tampa and found an apartment in a large complex near where I’d be working.

Our life there was a vacation. We had a swimming pool close to where we lived, lots of open, green spaces for the kids to play, an income, and more. It was a joyful time. Only later did we learn that the previous occupant of our apartment had been a dope dealer. However, during the whole time we lived there, a spirit of peace covered the apartment complex. God changed the nature of an entire apartment complex just for us!

Our time there was safe, but the complex became rough again at the end of our stay. Police cars were coming at all hours of the day and night. But it was time for us to go. God had opened the door for our foreign missions adventure!

Our Praise

Indeed, God had picked us up from a terrible situation and sat us in a place of rest while He cleared the way for us. This was the beginning of a phrase our family continues to use today: “Every delay is a good delay.”

God is amazingly good to us. He sees us and knows when we are genuinely in need. He makes a way where there is no way. How can we not trust Him and find our joy in Him? Praise be to the God that saves completely!

Amen!

Click if you want to know the gory details and God’s great blessing. ⤵️

Why We Were Homeless

When my family and I prepared to move to Romania to be missionaries, we were given a date when we would move. We sold nearly everything we had, and I quit my job. Then our departure schedule got pushed back. Suddenly, we found ourselves with no income, no departure date, and no place to live.

Our wandering

At first, we found a small motel we called home, but the cost wasn’t sustainable. Then, a local missionary family (and friends) opened their home to us, but our delay continued. Finally, we found a mobile home to rent. We paid by the week, and the mobile home park was filled with the dregs of society.

Our mobile home was full of cockroaches! We had to keep our eating utensils in plastic bags as well as plates and cups. We were greatly concerned for our kids. We never left them alone or allowed them to play outside our trailer. Instead, we took our kids to a public park. We had rented a house already occupied by an army of critters. To this day, we still refer to it as the “roach motel.”

God’s Love

At this point, we were beginning to worry. We had budgeted and saved for life in Romania. Most Romanians lived on the equivalent of $50 a month at that time. We budgeted for $500/month but were stuck in America, where $500 didn’t go very far. Our savings were rapidly shrinking.

One night, as we sat on a filthy couch and watched the cockroaches climbing the walls in the kitchen, the Holy Spirit suddenly fell on me. I don’t want to mess with your theology, but I have no other way to explain it. I stood up, looked around at the disgusting conditions, and spoke what the Holy Spirit communicated to me. Here is what I understood from the Holy Spirit:

“There are some situations that are delaying your departure. I am fixing those. While I do, I am picking you and your family up and putting you in a new place, a safe place. It will feel like a vacation. It will be a good place for you. You will have an income. You will know when to leave and go to Romania.”

Deliverance

My wife and I thanked God and rejoiced. I thought I should call a guy I’d worked for in the past. I called him, and he immediately offered me a software development contract. Within days, we moved to Tampa, Florida.

We found an apartment in a complex in the city, close to where I would be working. We were confident that it was the right place for us. It was summertime, and a swimming pool was within 50’ of our apartment. There were plenty of green spaces for our kids to play in, and we felt safe. I met some other people I’d worked with when I started work. It was great.

We lived there for probably six months. The whole time it felt like we were on vacation. Then the door opened for us to move to Romania. At the same time, domestic problems in the complex began happening. The police were constantly coming to the complex. We learned that the previous occupant of our apartment had been a dope dealer.

Our Departure

We packed our suitcases and moved to Romania. God was so good to us. He made a way for us where there was no way. He pulled us out of a terrible place and put us in place with a long history of not being safe, but He made it safe. It was safe the whole time we lived there. He gave us safety, an income, and a place to regroup. Then, at precisely the right time, He opened the door and moved us.

The Two Lessons We Learned

My family and I learned two critical lessons from this experience. Sometimes, God tests us for our good. We learned that we were “all in” for Jesus. And we learned that God would do astonishing things, like change the conditions of a large apartment complex, for us when we remain in His will.


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The Same is The Same Until It Isn’t

The Same Thing May Not Have the Same Results

I know Einstien defined insanity as repeatedly doing the same thing but expecting different results. Still, the same is the same until it’s different. This is a lesson that young people rarely learn, but adults know as true.

Just recently, a local Pizza Hut® closed. For as long as I can remember, it was our area’s preeminent Pizza Hut® restaurant. Its core business was seated customers. We’d go there, and the jukebox would be playing and people talking and everyone spying on the type of pizza the many waitstaff drew from the kitchen. It was a fun place, a destination for Friday night family outings and Saturday night high school dates.

That Pizza Hut® buzzed with customers for 50+ years, and then it didn’t. That thing called COVID–19 killed the owner’s business model. Now it’s being converted into a seafood and chicken restaurant. That Pizza Hut® restaurant was the same until it was different.

God Changes Things

This life lesson is found in the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit told Paul to warn the captain that they should stop their voyage and spend the winter in the closest port. But the captain and the owner of the ship disregarded Paul’s warning. And why not?

The captain and the owner of the ship had made this journey to Italy many times. Each of their voyages had been successful. So, they reasoned that concern from a Roman prisoner was an insufficient reason for them to change their journey. Every trip had been fine, but this time it wouldn’t be.

10 “Men,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—shipwreck, loss of cargo, and danger to our lives as well.” 11 But the officer in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul. – Acts 27:10–11

Whether discussing pizzas, nautical journeys, or conversations with loved ones, we need to keep an eye on the Holy Spirit’s newsfeed. We need to ask ourselves, has God changed times or circumstances? Might this be the last time we talk with our child before Jesus returns? Is this the last time we may have the privilege of talking with our dads before God calls them home?

God Desires Us To Live in His Will

We are not to live in fear or worry, or sadness. None of those is God’s will. We find in Psalms how God would have us live.

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.”

Psalm 143:10 (New Living Translation)

Our prayer must be, “Oh my God, lead me forward on a firm footing.” God is patient, but when He acts, He typically does so suddenly. Let’s remember the characteristic that Jesus said we, as Christians, have.

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

The Creek Don’t Rise

We are not our own; we have given our lives to God. So, let’s walk on God’s firm footing. Let’s make all of our plans be subject to His will. Let’s apply that Appalachian saying, “The good Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise.” This places our plans under God’s will.

Image by Thomas Grau from Pixabay

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It’s Time for Fall Cleaning!

At its core, Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is redemption, regeneration, reconciliation, relationship, and someday, resurrection.

Well, autumn is here in all of its beauty. Many people are doing their annual “fall cleaning.” All of us with deciduous trees are getting their rakes out, or “should,” in my case. In my state, kids are back in school. Autumn is unfolding before us! For those of us that experience seasons, one of autumn’s aspects is the undercurrent of urgency. We know that winter will soon be here, and we can’t stop it – many people say to winter, “Come on! Show us what you’ve got! I can take it.” I’m not one of those people.

Fall Cleaning

As part of my fall cleaning, I review the Scriptures and messages I posted. I seek balance, but I never achieve it. I do this because a Christian missionary that I dearly miss taught me to do as Jesus said in this verse: 

And he said to them,Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.

Matthew 13:52

So, I search for well-known Scripture and Scriptures typically found in dusty corners of most people’s Bibles. The same is true for topics. I strive to bring out both reminders of well know topics and topics that are new to our society. I always include my favorite Scriptures, such as this one:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9 (emphasis added)

To Will, Intend, Desire, Wish

I find great comfort in this message from God. And, buried within this verse is a beautiful gem. That word, “wishing,” in the above verse is from the Greek word βουλόμενός and is translated in Young’s Literal Translation as “wanting.” Strong’s Greek Concordance 1014 tells us it means: To will, intend, desire, wish.

I have to say that the King James Version seems to do the best translation of this passage of Scripture. The KJV renders βουλόμενός this way: “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

What we learn here is that God’s will is that no one should perish. His desire is for everyone to come to repentance. So, everyone goes to heaven? No. You may rightly say, “God’s will is always accomplished.” Yes, it is, but God is telling us that His intent is for everyone to come to repentance, but true repentance is an act of faith. God doesn’t make anyone accept Him.

Cannot Repent Without Jesus

We are incapable of true repentance. We possess no ability to turn away from our rebellion against God. Only through the act of salvation and the Holy Spirit coming to live in us can we fulfill the confession of repentance we make when we are saved.

At its core, Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is redemption, regeneration, reconciliation, relationship, and, someday, resurrection. God desires that we receive Jesus; that’s why God is patient with us.

Cleaning out the Dust

While it’s still autumn, let’s reaffirm our standing with our Lord. Let’s clean out the dust and grime that may have been tracked into our souls. We need to feel the urgency.

Image by Valentin from Pixabay

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Some Lessons Hurt

In my post, “God is In Control,” I briefly mentioned that some of God’s lesson’s hurt. I felt like I should expand upon this truth. From an early age, we learn that some lessons are painful. I’m not referring to corporal punishment; I’m referring to life lessons.

Life Lessons

When your parents’ car door snaps shut while your hand is in the way, this is a painful way to learn to obey your parents. Or, you are losing a best friend because his or her family is moving away. This lesson teaches us the value of maintaining relationships and skills to make new friends.

A grandparent passes away, a “small” lie wrecks a friendship, and failing to practice your band instrument results in you being assigned to study hall while the band prepares to march in your town’s 4th of July parade. These painful lessons should teach us how to be better people and citizens.

If we are self-aware and learn those lessons, we will be better followers of Jesus. Some people are unable to learn from lessons that hurt. These people often become bitter or angry. We must not allow our hurts to blossom into these.

Learning From Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln served as a congressman in the Illinois Legislature from 1834 to 1840. His heart’s desire was to help the people of Illinois in a practical way by improving their roads, bridges, railroads, and so forth. Sadly, after Illinois geared up for growth, the state entered an economic depression. The state legislature stopped LincLincoln’st initiatives, and he became the poster child for causing thousands of people to lose their homes. Being labeled a “failure,” Lincoln became deeply depressed, developed money problems, and broke off his engagement with Mary Owens.

It took years of incredibly hard and adept work for Lincoln to recover, but as we know, he did. He became financially successful and went on to transform a nation and fulfill his desire “to link his name with something that would redound [contribute greatly] to the interest of his fellow man1.”

Lincoln was crushed by a lesson that hurt. That lesson was this: “Good intentions can be snuffed out in an instant by events beyond your control. When that happens, people will be unforgiving. Yet, through perseverance, you can still accomplish your calling.” I wonder, would Lincoln have been the president our nation needed if he had never faced adversity that took years to overcome?

Some of God’s Lessons Hurt

Being a child of the One True God does not exempt us from lessons that hurt. What may be one of the single most challenging verses in the entire Bible is this:

“28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

This lesson sometimes accompanies great loss. The verse is framed on both sides with powerful declarations.

27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Verse 28 is often reflected on when a child is seriously injured in an accident or when a high school student is rejected by the only university he or she ever planned to attend. It is sometimes used to comfort an adult when he or she finds out that their marriage partner for life has filed for divorce. Nevertheless, the ashes of our hopes and dreams are the ashes of the door God opens for us. Still, some of God’s lessons hurt.


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1 – Goodreads

God is In Control

Do you see Earth convulsing? Do you see the wicked aligning like armies against God Almighty? As my pastor recently preached, can you feel the shaking as God separates His own from those that have rejected Him? Do you feel the oceans raging and the heavens preparing for their retreat? Remember:

Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalms 46:10

A conflict between God and the enemy must take place. The final battle is ramping up, but no one knows the “when” of Christ’s return to retrieve His Church. While we continue to walk in this world, we must understand that God still guides us, ministers to us, and teaches us. Some of His lessons hurt. I could say otherwise, but that wouldn’t be true.

Many of us are already part of the walking wounded. The collapse of Christian morals has allowed wickedness to inflict painful wounds on us. We are learning hard, costly lessons, lessons that have cut us deeply. There is an old song written and sung by Twila Paris titled “God Is in Control.” I think it’s more meaningful now than when she first released the song. Here is a small part of the lyrics:

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever.

Chorus
God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control

Jesus told us that there would come a time when “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.” (Matthew 10:21)

In America, we have not yet reached the “put to death” part, but children are “rebelling against their parents” in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. And their rebellion is ripping families apart. Nevertheless, as the world rages, “the line never changes, no matter how the deception may fly.” Truth is truth, no matter where you find it. It may be hated, cursed, and defamed, but the truth never changes. So, though you may suffer, though there is a giant hole that this world cut out of your heart, “be still,” stand with God. God is in control.


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The Righteous Rise

Today’s post was born while I was reading the book of Proverbs. Some of you may not identify with the subject – good – but for those of you who do, I pray it helps with heals and encourages.

Back in the 1970s, there was a famous singer/songwriter. He was the first “rock star” of the Jesus Music movement, so, being at the front, he received vicious verbal abuse. Many sermons were preached against him. There is little doubt that he struggled to live a holy life. He was a flawed person; I can’t throw the first stone (John 8:7). However, when I began my return to Jesus, his music provided a bridge for me. I was a 1970s hippie playing in a rock and roll band. Larry showed me how I could live for Christ.

Shot Down

Larry was known for changing the lyrics to his songs with no advanced notice. The two verses I’ve included from his song “Shot Down” had at least six versions. The one I used is #6. Here are two of the verses:

​I’ve been shot down, talked about
Some people scandalize my name
Here I am, talking ’bout Jesus just the same

I’ve been knocked down, kicked around
But like a moth drawn to the flame
Here I am, talking ’bout Jesus just the same

– Larry Norman (1947-2008)

God’s Wink

Before we move to God’s Word, I want to share how God winked at me.

In the 1990s, my family and I returned from the mission field dazed and confused. We had a house in Florida, a family in Indiana, and a job offer for me in Salem, Oregon. We moved to Salem. We settled in and began searching for a church home. We found one and loved our time there.

We were active in the church and praised God for blessing our family with a great church home. One day, I learned that our church home was also Larry Norman’s. Salem, Oregon, was where he lived. I felt like God winked and had a small grin when He let me discover this.

One Wednesday evening, Larry did a brief concert and Q&A for the church’s youth group. Some adults also attended, including my wife and me. God allowed me to tell Larry what a positive impact he had on my life. My wife took a picture of us standing together. This was before digital cameras, so, sadly, the pic wasn’t very good, but I still have it.

It Was Not Just Larry

If we read Acts 17:5-8, we learn about the time a riot broke out because lies were told about the Apostle Paul.

Jewish leaders were jealous of how God was using Paul, so they rounded up some known troublemakers to form a mob and start a riot – I’m glad this never happens today. So, the mob was out for blood. They searched everywhere for Paul but didn’t find him; they did find where a Christian man named Jason lived. They attacked his home.

Angry that they’d failed to find Paul or even Silas, they dragged Jason and some other Christian before the city council. The lies poured out like water from a broken water heater. Yet, even when Paul’s destruction was attempted by a mob, Paul didn’t throw in the towel. He and Silas went to the town of Berea and preached there.

Now the Bible Verse

for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,
but the wicked stumble in times of calamity
.
Proverbs 24:16

I am now old enough to have observed God defend this promise many, many times for His children. So, if you’ve been shot down, kicked around, or people have scandalized your name if people have lied about you, stolen from you, or harmed you by their evil plans, be of good cheer. By the righteousness of Jesus, you can rise again. Jesus said that His way of life was hard (John 16:33), but there is a great reward waiting for us when we successfully finish our race. You’re not a loser if you’ve been knocked down as long as you get back up; the righteous rise up!


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