One Thousand Souls

1000 pin
Congratulations on getting 1,000 total follows!

I received a message from WordPress the other day with a little pin letting me know there are now 1,000 people subscribed to my blog.  All I can say is praise God!  Somewhere in-between all my suffering and breaks from writing over the last year and three months of blogging, the Lord has continued to use this blog according to His will and purpose.  I am very grateful and it is so cool to see how God is using it to spread the Gospel around the world!  Thank you all for coming to my blog and giving Jesus and His Word a chance!  Thank You Jesus!

I don’t write this post as some kind of trophy of numbers.  That is not at all what this blog is about and it’s not what I’m about.  There are currently 1,016 people (including email subscribers) from 136 countries around the world reading my blog.  Those are not just numbers on a page as if we are keeping score in some insane social media popularity game.  That is not why I started blogging and that is not why I wrote my testimony and published it.  Those numbers represent actual people and Jesus is all about loving people!

The Lord has done many miracles in my life and He told me to share what He has done for me and preach His truth to the world!  This blog is about loving people and souls getting saved!  This is a calling and a mission to preach the Gospel in fulfillment of the Lord’s command in Matthew 28:18-20!

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in October of 1996, and I have been preaching the Gospel here in America for 23 years now.  Back in early 2018, the Lord told me He was going to use me to preach the message of the Gospel to the world, and that is exactly what He has done with this blog and continues to do to this day.  May His will be done!

“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Romans 3:22-24

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

That is why God called me to write this blog!  Each and every one of those numbers in the 1,016 represent a human soul that God created and loves!  They represent all of you!  Beautiful souls that Jesus died for to set free from sin and death!  That is what this blog is about!  Just like my mission statement says at the top of my blog, this site is about helping people come to Jesus, helping people understand the Bible, and ministering to a lost and hurting world.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus speaking in John 3:16

And the world is lost and hurting, is it not?  Very much so!  We all need a Savior and His Name is Jesus.  He is the only One who ever died for our sins to reconcile us back to God.  There is no other Name by which we can be saved.  That is why this blog is all about the hope, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love of Jesus Christ!  Only Jesus can wash away our sins and save us!  Jesus Christ is Lord!

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4:12

Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me since I started the blog on August 10th, 2018!  It has been an amazing journey of God’s grace and I am just thankful to be a part of it.  All of you encourage and inspire me every day to stand up strong and keep going and I pray this blog is a source of blessing and encouragement for all of you as well!  I truly pray people will come to know Jesus because of something they read here.  My entire purpose and heart for this blog is to preach the Gospel to the world unashamed.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…”

Romans 1:16

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:9

“for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:13

That is the truth and power of the Gospel!  Jesus can save anyone at anytime and you are never too far gone for Jesus to save you!  That forgiveness and salvation is offered to every single human soul on earth no matter where you are in the world, amen!  Call on Jesus to save you and He will save your soul!

I also want to say welcome to all the new folks that subscribed to my blog while I was taking a long break in October and the first part of November!  Thank you all for reading my blog!  I look forward to getting to know you all!  I pray this is a place of rest where people can get to know Jesus and learn from God’s Word in peace.

As writers, we always have to consider our audience.  When I write now, I think of all of you and all the countries you are from.  I read your blogs and enjoy learning about your interests, cultures, and beliefs.  I pray for you as I read about your troubles and challenges as well.  Part of my ministry is also sharing things about my life, my suffering, and my walk with Jesus, and I hope that helps people get an inside look at how God works in the lives of those who love and follow Him.

The Lord has done mighty miracles in my life and He can do the same for you!  God still sends angels (and yes, they most definitely exist), He still casts out demons (yes, they exist too), and He still does Lazarus miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit!  I am living proof of all those things and I am here to tell you that nothing is impossible for God!

It is so exciting to see God’s Word go out into all the world!  If any of you ever have any questions or need prayer, please let me know!  Also, if you have accepted Jesus by faith as a result of reading my blog, please let me know!  I would love to rejoice with you and pray for you!  I am here to help as an Ambassador of Christ and I freely give what He has freely given to me.  I am just a servant of the Most High God, the One and Only, King of kings and Lord of lords and I am here to bring glory to His Holy Name…the Holy Name of Jesus!

“Give thanks to the LORD, call on his

name;

make known among the nations what

he has done.”

Psalm 105:1

Grace and peace to you all!

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I’m In Pain, But I Will Press On

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Photo by Ryan: Pretty morning snow October 24th, 2019

Hello everyone and God bless you all!  I have been having trouble writing the last few days because I am in pain again.  I have been fighting it all morning and I am exhausted.  I honestly don’t know what to write today and I have been praying about what the Lord would like to say, but all I can think of is “be honest about the pain.”  So, here I am doing just that.

Yes, I am in pain, but I will press on.  I am leaning into Jesus and resting in Him.  More like, I am totally exhausted and He is carrying me.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  Sometimes, all we can do is fall into the arms of Jesus and let Him hold us and comfort us.

I have been asking the Lord for mercy today.  I have prayed that He would pour out His Holy Spirit on me and heal me.  I know He can do miracles.  He has done them in my life before.  I am also asking for strength to endure.  I know the Lord will work all of this out for my good because I am His and He loves me.  I love Him and I have been called according to His purpose.  May His will be done!

“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

The Lord brought this verse to my mind yesterday and I prayed that He would empower me to do what it says:

“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”

1 Peter 4:19

Amen!  I know the Lord is faithful and I know He still has good plans for me and my family!  The Christian life is not a life void of suffering.  On the contrary, many of us bear a cross of suffering and we must press on for Jesus.  There is a reason.  He has not left us and He never will!  God has a will and a purpose and it will all be revealed in time.  May we overflow with hope as we trust in Him!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13

Jesus Christ is Lord!  May His will be done in all things!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus speaking in John 3:16

Grace and peace to you all!

So Thankful

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Photo by Ryan, Sunset over the Rockies 11-14-19

The sun is going down here in Colorado and it will be traveling to the other side of the world now giving heat and light to my friends overseas.  Enjoy it!  It was almost 60 here today and I enjoyed it very much.  This post is a bit late, so I will keep it short and sweet.  I have been trying to write a post all day, but errands must be done at times.  As I watch the setting sun tonight, I just want to say that I am so thankful to God for everything He has done in my life!  He is the God who performs miracles and wonders and He is worthy of our praise!

Despite Celiac and all I have suffered, the joy in my heart from knowing Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit is all consuming!  I just want to stop and give the Lord some praise!  Thank You for another day Lord!  Thank You for the breath in my lungs!  Thank You for saving me when I stopped breathing!  Thank You for never leaving me!  Thank You for being merciful to me even in Your discipline!  Thank You for treating me as a son You love!  Thank You for Your forgiveness and grace!  I am forever grateful to You Lord, may Your will be done, amen!

I love worshiping the Lord!  I did a post about Kanye yesterday.  I have been listening to his album all day and giving Jesus big praise.  Here is an awesome video of Kanye and his Dad on Kanye’s 4,000 acres in Cody, Wyoming.  That’s not too far from us actually.  This is a really cool music video and I love his outdoor toys and watching them play in the snow.  I love ATVs, trucks, and all that, so this is fun to watch.  The vehicle with the giant tires is awesome!  Kanye is like us mountain men!  His Dad is a strong believer and has been for a long time.  So cool to see their family’s joy.  It’s amazing how Jesus changes people’s hearts!  The song is called “Follow God.”  I love the honesty in the song and the beat is sweet, enjoy!

“Praise the LORD, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy

name.”

Psalm 103:1

Thank You Jesus for everything!  Thank You for saving my soul!  Thank You for dying for the whole world!

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Have a beautiful blessed evening, and for those of you catching the sun now, have a beautiful blessed day!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus speaking in John 3:16

Grace and peace to you all!

 

Praising God For Saving Kanye

Jesus Is King album cover
Album cover for JESUS IS KING by Kanye West

During my break from blogging in October, there was a lot of drama about Kanye West coming to Jesus and his new album titled “JESUS IS KING.”  I saw some believers accepting him and welcoming him, and I saw others judging and condemning him.  I wanted to hear it from the man himself, so I bought his album and I have been watching interviews where he shares his testimony.  I believe this man has had a deep encounter with Jesus and I praise God for it!  The Lord can save anyone and I give Jesus big praise for saving Kanye West!  As I tweeted to Kanye the other day, welcome to the family brother!

No, I don’t know Kanye personally and he doesn’t know me.  He has about 30 million followers on Twitter, so he might not ever see my tweet, but I wanted to welcome him and let him know I am praying for him.  He is my brother in Christ now!  I prayed for him to come to Jesus many times.  I pray for all kinds of famous people to accept Jesus.  Nothing is impossible for God!

Tweet to Kanye

I can relate to Kanye and the worldly life he lived before coming to Christ.  Everyone that knew me before I came to Jesus thought I was the last person that would ever be preaching about Jesus.  I was all about the girls and the parties.  I was all about my sin and feeding my flesh every pleasure and desire it wanted.  I hated God and I hated Christians.  God reached into that darkness and saved me and He did the same for Kanye!  Jesus Christ can save anyone!

I have never purchased one of Kanye’s albums before this.  I got saved in October of 1996 when I was 18 and I haven’t listened to worldly music since then.  God convicted me early on to get rid of all my old music and from that day on I have listened to only Holy Spirit filled Christian music for the last 23 years.  It is so amazing and powerful that God saved Kanye!  It has been encouraging and uplifting listening to his born again album!  JESUS IS KING is a beautiful testimony of a man who understands what he has been saved from and he gives all the glory to Jesus!

I grew up listening to rap and hip-hop and you all know I love artists like TobyMac and Lecrae and the whole Reach Records crew.  I know not everyone is into rap, but Kanye’s new album is not what you would expect in rap.  It is a beautiful Gospel album fully centered on Jesus.  It’s amazing I am even saying that about an album by Kanye West!  The beats, piano, choir singing, horns, and rapping all glorify God!  Praise God!

When I hear people judging him and doubting his salvation, I think of the verses in Titus chapter three.  I think about what God saved me from and how vile I was in my sin before I came to Christ.  I think about how merciful and loving God is and I wonder if those who are judging him have forgotten just how much grace was poured out on them.

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

Titus 3:3-7

Give this brother grace to grow and learn and pray for him.  He gave his life to Jesus less than a year ago and look at what God is already doing with him.  I take a man at his word.  Kanye is proclaiming Jesus Christ is King and Jesus Christ is Lord and I rejoice in that!  I am praying blessing and protection over him and his family and I pray all my brothers and sisters in Christ do the same.  Welcome him into the family and rejoice like the angels in Heaven over his salvation!

Jesus Christ is Lord, and Kanye West is preaching that to the world now!  He has encountered God’s love and forgiveness and it shows!  He really is walking with Jesus and He is filled with the Holy Spirit, amen!  Like he says in his songs “Closed on Sunday” and “God Is”:

“Follow Jesus, listen and obey, no more livin’ for the culture, we’re nobody’s slave.  Stand up for my home, even if I take this walk alone, I bow down to the King upon the throne.  My life is His, I’m no longer my own.”

-Kanye West, “Closed On Sunday” from “JESUS IS KING”

“King of kings, Lord of lords, all the things He has in store, from the rich to the poor all are welcome through the door.  You won’t ever be the same when you call on Jesus’ Name.  Listen to the words I’m sayin’, Jesus saved me now I’m sane, and I know, I know God is the force that picked me up.  I know Christ is the fountain that filled my cup.  I know God is alive, yeah!”

-Kanye West, “God Is” from “JESUS IS KING”

Thank You Jesus for saving this brother!  Use Kanye for Your glory!  Protect him and his family from the evil one!  Strengthen him in Your Holy Word and anoint him with wisdom and discernment in the Holy Spirit!  Fan into flame the gifts You gave him Lord and may He love you and fear Your Name for the rest of his life!  Give him strength to preach the Gospel and bring Your light to the darkness, amen!

Listen for yourself:

Jesus saved me, He saved Kanye, and He can save you too!  Don’t ever think you are too far gone in your sins!  Jesus died for you on that cross to set you free from sin and death!  Come to Him and He will save your soul and set you free!  Jesus Christ is Lord and only Jesus can save you!  Jesus is your forgiveness from every sin and He loves you more than you could ever imagine!  He is the lover of your soul!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus speaking in John 3:16

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Romans 10:9

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

Jesus speaking in John 5:24

Check out this 49 second song called “Jesus is Lord” where Kanye preaches truth out of Philippians chapter two:

“Therefore God exalted him

to the highest place

and gave him the name

that is above every

name,

that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth

and under the earth,

and every tongue confess

that Jesus Christ is

Lord,

to the glory of God the

Father.”

Philippians 2:9-11

Grace and peace to you and your family brother Kanye!  You have crossed over from death to life through your faith in Jesus and God is glorified!  You are one of His children now and you are an heir to eternal life!  May He continue to use you for His glory!

Grace and peace to you all in the Name of Jesus, the Name above all names!

Getting Back Up

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First snow of the season, October 11th, 2019

Hello friends and family!  I am still here and this disease is not going to beat me!  I feel like I have been in a back alley brawl for the last month.  I haven’t even written a blog post since September 30th!  I celebrated my one year blogging anniversary on August 10th and everything was going great, then I got hit again and I kept getting hit, but God is faithful to fight for me every time.  Thank you so much for praying for me!  Your prayers and your messages of encouragement lifted me up!  Jesus has been giving me the strength I need to carry on and He is helping me get back up after getting knocked down hard.  I never took my hand from the plow.  I’ve just been resting on the plow and I never left the field.

Thank you to all of you on Twitter who have been praying for our family as well!  During my break from blogging due to suffering, our daughter got sick again.  She ended up having strep twice in October and she has it again right now.  She is actually home with me again today.  I sent out a prayer request yesterday for her on Twitter and I thought maybe a couple people would see it.  God had other plans and He blessed it huge and it went viral!  So far almost 500 believers have liked it, 83 have retweeted it, and the prayers just keep coming in!  It is so amazing how much God loves us!  I had been feeling so dismayed and discouraged and the Lord showed me His love and faithfulness yet again.  I am so humbled and encouraged by all of your prayers!  She is actually feeling great today with no fever and no sore throat, praise God!

A big part of my prayer request tweet going viral was because my friend Lizzie retweeted it on her Twitter and she has almost 17,000 people on her account.  She is the brave woman who spoke out about the problems in California and she ended up on Fox News.  I wrote about that back in August.  Thank you so much Lizzie for retweeting the prayer request for our daughter!  I have never had an outpouring of support like that on Twitter before!

I want to let you all know that Lizzie just started a blog here on WordPress too!  Please check out her blog and welcome her to the fellowship!  Lizzie loves Jesus with all her heart and she preaches the truth unashamed with boldness and grace.  You can find her at: The Concrete Rosebud (concreterosebud.com).

So, you can imagine, October was a tough month for us.  I tried to get back to blogging several times, but I was going through so much pain and nausea that I just had to rest.  Winter came early here in Colorado too and we had quite a bit of snow.  On top of that, I was taking care of our daughter through two bouts of strep (and now a third time).  I felt so hopeless when she got it a third time a couple days ago right at the start of the very next month.  Thankfully we caught it early and she has a different antibiotic this time that is working great.  Please continue to pray for her.  Celiac disease lowers her immune system and it is nuts that she has had strep three times in less than two months.  Thank you all for your prayers of healing for our family!

I was really beat down and discouraged by all the suffering in October.  I also dealt with some anger and I had some more strong conversations with God.  I wasn’t even sure if I was coming back to blogging at one point.  I didn’t want to discourage anyone and I was feeling very angry and broken about my pain and the pain our daughter was going through.  When I am hurting I tend to go totally reclusive like an old bear in a cave, but God always climbs in there and pulls me out in His loving grace.  I praise Him and thank Him that He is so gracious and merciful to us.

Brown bear in den

Through the pain, God put it on my heart to read Psalms.  That is pretty much all I read during this last month away from blogging.  The Lord led me to Psalm 57 and Psalm 77 shortly after I wrote the post “Giving Him My Brokenness.”  It was very encouraging and the Lord let me know that He was right there with me in the pain.  We must always stay in God’s Word no matter what we are going through.  There is so much light and power and joy in God’s Word!  Praise God for the wisdom and understanding He gives us in the Holy Spirit!  The Lord is so comforting and loving to us!  Don’t ever give up seeking the Lord no matter how bad the pain!

“I cried out to God for help;

I cried out to God to hear me.

When I was in distress, I sought the

Lord;

at night I stretched out untiring

hands

and my soul refused to be comforted.

I remembered you, O God, and I

groaned;

I mused, and my spirit grew faint.

Selah

You kept my eyes from closing;

I was too troubled to speak.

I thought about the former days,

the years of long ago;

I remembered my songs in the night.

My heart mused and my spirit

inquired:

“Will the Lord reject forever?

Will he never show his favor again?

Has his unfailing love vanished forever?

Has his promise failed for all time?

Has God forgotten to be merciful?

Has he in anger withheld his

compassion?”

Selah

Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:

the years of the right hand of the

Most High.”

I will remember the deeds of the LORD;

yes, I will remember your miracles of

long ago.

I will meditate on all your works

and consider all your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy.

What god is so great as our God?

You are the God who performs miracles;

you display your power among the

peoples.”

Psalm 77:1-14

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy

on me,

for in you my soul takes refuge.

I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings

until the disaster has passed.

I cry out to God Most High,

to God, who fulfills his purpose for

me.

He sends from heaven and saves me,

rebuking those who hotly pursue me;

Selah

God sends his love and his

faithfulness.”

Psalm 57:1-3

Those verses spoke to my heart in a deeply profound way.  There have been times during my suffering that I have felt rejected.  There have been times where the pain put me in a state of mind where I wondered if God was with me at all.  Many times I have been too troubled to speak.  Many times I have been so discouraged I refused to be comforted.  Many times I have cried out to God.  Through it all the Lord has never left me!  He has always shown me that He still loves me and He is with me!  His love, promises, mercy, and compassion never fail!

I remember the miracles He has done in my life and the amazing ways He has revealed His power to me and I rejoice!  I take refuge in Jesus and He is merciful to me.  I know He will fulfill His purpose for me, amen!  I celebrated 23 years walking with Jesus in October and I look forward to being with Him many more years and into eternity!  He has never abandoned me and He never will!

The pain I was in has subsided for now and I pray it doesn’t come back.  As many of you know, I have been fighting Celiac for almost eight years now and sometimes it really knocks me down hard.  Just remember, this disease might knock me down, but it is not going to keep me down!  In the power of the Holy Spirit I can take a hit and just keep going!  God most definitely always sends His love and faithfulness!

I really missed having fellowship with you all while I was gone.  I missed reading everyone’s blogs too and I look forward to talking with you all again!  Thank you for all the encouraging comments, tweets, and emails you sent while I was in my bear cave of suffering!  I appreciate all of you who reached out to me and prayed for our family!

I give it all to Jesus and I will continue in the purpose He has for me to preach the Gospel (John 3:16, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 2:8-9) and share His Word with the world!  May His perfect will be done!  Here I am Lord, send me!

Grace and peace to you all in the Beautiful and Powerful Name of Jesus!

“My heart is steadfast, O God,

my heart is steadfast;

I will sing and make music.

Awake, my soul!

Awake, harp and lyre!

I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, O Lord, among the

nations;

I will sing of you among the peoples.

For great is your love, reaching to the

heavens;

your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;

let your glory be over all the earth.”

Psalm 57:7-11

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Him My Brokenness

Pic quote Colossians 3 v 15

Hello friends and family.  I hope this post finds you well.  I am writing this today because I am in pain and it is wearing me down.  I have been fighting Celiac and Cachexia for almost eight years now.  The new pain I have been suffering due to intestinal damage has been bad the past few months and it started about a year ago.  It was very painful over the weekend and it has been very painful today and I have had enough.  It is just more suffering on top of suffering and I am crying out to God for healing.  I have asked you all to pray for me many times because it says in the Word to pray for each other that we may be healed.  The doctors have told me they can’t do anything for me.  My trust and hope is in God alone.  He is the only One who can help me.  There is no cure for what I suffer.  The only cure is a miracle.

I am only 41 and most days I feel so broken that I don’t know how I am going to make it the rest of my life.  I am trusting in the Lord because I know He can do anything and nothing is impossible for Him!  He has done miracles in my life before and I know He can do it again!

I am going to be taking a break for awhile.  I don’t know for how long.  I will be taking a break from reading blogs and writing posts.  If you don’t see me on your blog, I’m not ignoring you, I just need to deal with this pain and be in prayer.  I just need rest.

I need to spend quiet time with the Lord.  I am trying to understand what has happened to my life and I am asking God to heal me.  I want to hear His voice clearly and I need to know where to go from here.  I will continue to draw near to Him and seek Him first and I am giving Him my pain and brokenness.  I have done what He asked me to do with publishing my testimony and writing this blog for Him.  May His will be done with it all.

My life is in His hands.  Whether I live or die is in His hands.  Whether I am healed or the thorn remains is in His hands.  All I know is a man can only take so much pain and humiliation and everyone has their breaking point.  I have cried out to God and I have plenty of faith that He can heal me.  I have seen Him move in power and do wonders!  He can do anything at anytime!  May His will be done with my pain and my life!  May His will be done in everything!

Thank you for your prayers!  I hope to be back soon!

Always remember that Jesus is love and He loves you!  I know He still loves me and He is with me even now as I write this through the pain.  I give it all to Jesus, may His will be done!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Jesus speaking in John 3:16

Grace and peace to you all!

P.S.

October is my salvation month!  I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in October of 1996 at the age of 18 my freshman year in college.  It has been 23 years now that I have walked with the Lord.  I look forward to writing more about that in October.  See you then!

 

An Amazing Day For Paul & Silas

Pic quote Acts 16 v 31

I was reading in the Book of Acts this morning, and I was encouraged by the historical account of Paul and Silas in prison.  It is found in chapter 16 and I am excited to share this section of Scripture with you!  It is incredible what they went through that day and this is just one of the many incredible events in the Bible!  I invite you to read these verses with me and be encouraged by how the Lord works in our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit!

This story takes place when Paul and Silas traveled to Philippi to preach the Gospel.  Philippi was a thriving city in the Roman empire and it was the lead city of that district.  It was also filled with idolatry and violence and it was very dangerous for them to be there preaching about Jesus.

“From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia.  And we stayed there several days.”

Acts 16:12

What is so cool about the New Testament books is that they are very personal letters.  They are personal testimonies and eye witness accounts of what happened during the time of Jesus and what happened after He ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to his disciples and all who would believe.  The Book of Acts is a historical record of Jesus ascending to the right hand of the Father in Heaven, the Holy Spirit coming down to earth like fire, how the apostles formed the early church, and how they went out into all the world to share the Gospel in fulfillment of the Great Commission by the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.  It is filled with amazing miracles and after reading it, you will have a great understanding of what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit and truly follow Jesus!  The same miracles of Acts are still happening today and I have testified to that truth in my own life!  The Lord still sends angels, He still casts out demons, He still does miracles where He brings people back to life, and the Holy Spirit can still sound like a rushing wind, amen!

The author of Acts is commonly believed to be Luke, who also wrote the Book of Luke.  It does not specifically state who wrote Acts in the introduction, but Luke 1:1-4 and Acts 1:1-3 show it was Luke.  It was written sometime between A.D. 61 and 64 only 28 to 31 years after Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead.  Luke was also a doctor (see Colossians 4:14).

“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.  Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

Luke 1:1-4

“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.  After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.  He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

Acts 1:1-3

Did you know Jesus stayed with his followers for forty days after He rose from the dead?!  How cool is that?!  That is really cool, and how incredibly comforting that must have been to them!  That is just one of the many awesome things you will learn reading the Book of Acts!

Now that we have the stage set, let’s take a look as Luke shares the true historical account of Paul and Silas in prison:

“Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future.  She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.  This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”  She kept this up for many days.  Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!”  At that moment the spirit left her.

When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.  They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.  After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.  At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.  The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself!  We are all here!”

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.  He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized.  The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God–he and his whole family.

When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.”  The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released.  Now you can leave.  Go in peace.”

Acts 16:16-36

What an amazing day Paul and Silas had!  First they cast a demon out of a girl, then they are arrested, stripped naked, beaten, flogged, and imprisoned, then God does a great miracle and shakes the earth for them, then Paul stops the suicide of a Roman guard, and then the guard and his whole family get saved and the man takes care of their wounds and feeds them!  Praise God!

You might wonder why the guard was going to kill himself.  The life of a Roman soldier was hard, brutal, and violent.  He thought the prisoners had escaped, which meant he failed at doing his job.  The penalty for such a mistake would have been death.  If the prisoners had escaped, he was already a dead man, so he was going to end his own life.  Paul had great compassion and love to stay inside the prison, so the man could live!

When the man washed their wounds that they had received from the severe flogging, what kind of wounds did you imagine?  The Roman flogging whip had sharp jagged bones and metal spikes and balls embedded in the whipping strands.  It was not just a whip.  It would literally cut into the person’s back and tear it with every horrible stroke.  They would have had large open gashes all over their backs and they were in excruciating pain.  And that is what happened to them after they were stripped and beaten first!  It was a great blessing that the newly saved Roman guard took care of them with such love and compassion.  The man just about ran his own sword through himself!  What an amazing miracle that he was saved in such a mighty way!

It is so beautiful that Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God while they were in such terrible pain sitting inside a Roman prison cell.  What a powerful testimony as the other prisoners listened to them sing and pray in the power of the Holy Spirit!  What amazing hope and trust in God!

Do you see how powerful the Holy Spirit truly is inside of us?!  Demons still have to flee when they are commanded to get out in the Name of Jesus!  Whether it is the Apostle Paul, or me, or you, those filled with the Holy Spirit have the power of God inside of them!  That is exactly what I said in December of 1996 (just two months after I was saved at the age of 18) when I ran from room to room in my parent’s house casting that demon out!  I said, “I cast you out in the Name of Jesus Christ!”  I had never felt such power inside me before!  The Holy Spirit is so amazing and beautiful and powerful, and trust me when I say that you need to know Jesus Christ to overcome evil!  I love how Paul just turned around and rebuked that evil spirit out of the girl!  So awesome!

What a simple, humble, and powerful question the guard asked Paul and Silas!  What must I do to be saved?  There is only one answer that Paul and Silas gave him: believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!

That is the only answer that can save us still today!  If you want to go to Heaven, you must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and He will save your soul!  The stories in Acts are all true and similar miraculous events are still happening in our time by the power of the Holy Spirit!  The Lord is still moving in power among us and nothing is impossible for God!

Believe in Jesus today and you will be saved!  That promise is for you, your whole family, and everyone in the whole world!  Jesus loves you!  Just like with the Roman guard, Jesus does not want you to perish!  Jesus cares for you and He died for you, so you could be free from sin and death and have eternal life!  That is why Paul and Silas stayed in the prison!  That is why they could still sing and pray after being beaten so badly!  They had the love, compassion, and strength of Jesus inside of them by the power of the Holy Spirit!  What must you do to be saved?  Believe in Jesus!

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

The Apostle Paul in Romans 10:9

It’s just that simple, beautiful, and powerful folks!  The same amazing grace that saved the Roman soldier can save you too!  God can save anyone and no one is ever too far gone to be saved!

Grace and peace to you all!