I am the LORD . . . they shall not be ashamed who wait for me. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord
You would think that, upon hearing of Saul's (later known as Paul) conversion, the early church would have given him a standing ovation. The fact is that the believers were still suspicious, because in Acts 9:26 we read, "When Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him. . . ."
The religious leaders thought they had eliminated the problem when they crucified Jesus. But now, His disciples were preaching and performing miracles. It was as though Jesus had returned. And so He had—in the hearts and lives of His people.
After hearing the voice of Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul (later to become Paul) was left blind. He was led to the home of a man named Judas in Damascus, and he had no idea what would happen next.
We don't read of anyone in Scripture actually sharing the gospel with Saul (who later became the apostle Paul). But God used a number of people to prepare his heart to receive it.
We throw the word "hero" around a lot today. If a basketball player is adept at sinking the ball in the basket, we say that he or she is a sports hero. A musician who is really good on a guitar is called a guitar hero. But do we actually know what a hero is anymore?
Do you have big dreams to accomplish something great for God?
Why does God allow suffering in our lives? Why does He allow us to experience adversity?
If the apostle Paul had converted to Christianity in our day, he would be offered a book deal immediately. He would be discussing his unexpected conversion on all the talk shows and would be sharing his dramatic testimony in churches across the country.
It has been said that men talk of killing time while time quietly kills them. According to the Bible, we live our lives for a certain period of time – not a moment longer and not a moment shorter.
Prior to the cross, Jesus went to a garden called Gethsemane. There, as He faced the horrors of what was to come on the cross, He prayed, "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me."
Saul, later to become the apostle Paul, was doing the work of the kingdom before he was even in it. Had he not persecuted the church, I think the first-century Christians probably would have been content to stay in their little holy huddle in Jerusalem and never leave town. It was great, God had blessed, and there were believers all around. So who wanted to leave Jerusalem? But with Saul's persecution, the Christians were forced to spread out, and in the process, they took the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
Does it ever seem impossible to you that God could save certain people? Is there someone you know right now who is not a believer and, in fact, seems far from becoming one? Maybe it is almost laughable to envision this person carrying a Bible around and saying something like, "Praise the Lord!"
Every now and again, stories have appeared in the news about people who pose as physicians but actually are not licensed to practice medicine. Their actions can even sometimes prove fatal for the people they are supposed to be "treating."
My computer screen flashes a little warning sign on those occasions when I try to load too much information onto my hard drive. It tells me my memory is full—it has no more room for any more information.
You would think that after the miracle of casting out demons from two men who had violently oppressed them, the people in the area would have said, "Jesus, You are the man! We love what you did! Now we can go back to the cemetery and pay our respects to our loved ones and put flowers on their graves. We wouldn't even go near there before. These guys were scary.
I spoke at the memorial service for Lenya Avery Lusko, who at age 5, went to Heaven on December 20th. She once said to her mom, Jennie "Mom, when I get to Heaven I'm going to buy a box of cheese and a whole box of peanut butter from the store. There are stores in Heaven, right Mom? I love this because it shows that this little girl understood heaven is a real place.
When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, a sign is effectively hung around your neck that says, "Under new management." You now belong to Jesus Christ, and He does not operate on a timeshare program. Isn't that nice to know?
Our society doesn't really have answers for all the problems we are facing in our country today. Ironically, our society seems to do everything it can to undermine the only one who can help us, and that is Jesus Christ.
Christmas is a day of joy. But for me and my family, it is also tinged with sadness, because it is a day when Christopher's absence is intensely felt.
As we look at our world today, we realize that part of the promise of Isaiah 9:6–7 has not yet been fulfilled. The Son has been given. The Child has been born. But He has not yet taken the government upon His shoulders. We do not yet have peace with judgment and justice. But the good news is that there will come a day when Christ will return. He will establish His kingdom on this earth. And it will be the righteous rule of God Himself.
We celebrate Christmas in order to rejoice over God's most precious gift to us. The birth of Jesus Christ is a gift from God that came in simple wrapping, as well as a gift we don't deserve. But the gift of Christ also explains His purpose for humankind.
When you're a child, Christmas is all about receiving gifts. In December, your head is swimming with nothing but images of your favorite toys.
It's Christmas time. Parents bundle up their children for another day of school before Christmas vacation starts in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut. There's shopping to do and errands to run before they pick them up. Then the worst imaginable scenario takes place.
I have always believed in the promise of Christmas. There has always been something special to me about this time of the year, going back to my earliest days of childhood.