You Are Being Transformed by Turbulence!

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18-19 NLT)

Shortly after beginning His public ministry, Jesus went to the Synagogue in Nazareth, His boyhood home, and was handed the scroll of Isaiah the prophet. After reading the above words from Isaiah 61, He rolled up the scroll and announced to those present: “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” Several things were accomplished in that reading, much of which escapes us, as it did those who were in His original audience.

What things? He essentially announced He was the Messiah, God’s Chosen One, the fulfillment of ancient prophecy that was referenced to identify the coming of God in human form. Jesus was saying in essence: “I am the long-awaited One who will do and say things never seen or heard before. I’m here to declare that the time of God’s intervention in the affairs of man in a very personal way has come and I am His agent to carry them out among you.”

There was a lot of suffering among the Jewish people when Jesus came. They were subject to Roman rule, oppressed by high taxes and literally held captive on many levels. In many ways it was very similar to Isaiah’s audience when the words were first given. But what do these ancients words have to say to us today?

“Help in Darkness” “Used by permission, © Ray Majoran,

Are you brokenhearted? Being held captive by your life-draining addiction? Needing release from the darkness of your soul that has imprisoned you? Is your faith crippled by the sinful desires that torment you day and night? Are you feeling helpless and hopeless? You may not believe me, but you’re actually in a very good position to experience the miracle of new life and hope in my Savior and best Friend, the Lord Jesus.

If you go back to Isaiah 61 and read the rest of the chapter you’ll see that in the vision God gave Isaiah of the coming Messiah, He (Jesus) will transform the turbulence of your life and turn you into a powerful display, not only of what knowing Jesus can do to change your life, but to enable you to become a living, breathing illustration of what yielding your life and allegiance to Jesus can look like.

God wants to use your present “turbulence” to enable you to become, in Isaiah’s words: “a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.” God’s desire is to turn you from wallowing in self-pity and spiritual worthlessness to a warrior dedicated to His honor and fame. Or in the words of Ron Hutchcraft: “He wants to use the turbulence to give you such a beautiful relationship with Him that you will be a stage to show His glory. Ultimately, the Bible says, ‘you will be named ministers of our God.’ That means you’ll be equipped by the hard times to be a powerful instrument of God in other hurting lives.”

The trials and troubles of our lives are never meant to hurt or disqualify us from God’s service; but rather, to equip and enable us to be more than we ever dared dream we could be. As I look at my life and the lives of many others, whatever measure of effectiveness God has given us has grown out of difficult circumstances in which we felt worthless and ruined for anything useful in God’s Kingdom. But by His grace and with His cleansing forgiveness, He’s lifted us up to greater heights of usefulness and purpose than we ever dared dream possible.

You may feel hopeless to make much needed change, but with His help you CAN! Trust Him! Whatever is holding you back, give it to Jesus, your Sovereign Lord, and allow Him to turn your turbulence into transformational triumph to His honor and fame.

Blessings, Ed 😊

Stay In Your Lane?

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:15-16 NLT)

Have you ever been cruising along, minding your own business, chillin’ to the tunes on your radio, when suddenly you notice the guy in the car next to you is moving into your lane? Maybe they’re texting, talking on the phone, or just not paying attention, but almost instinctively you hear yourself saying (shouting?) “Hey, buddy, stay in your own lane!”

Unfortunately, that’s a phenomenon that happens on more occasions and in more areas of our lives than we like to think. You walk into the kitchen while your husband or wife (whoever assumes that role in your family) is fixing dinner and you offer to help. Maybe not always, but if it’s something “special” or out of the ordinary, you might hear something like – “Just stick to what you know!” with the clear implication, “This is MY area of expertise, not yours!”

It happens in politics, education, health care, marriage/family, sports, news reporting, even in the Church. There are “specialists” in most every area of life who are seeking to “pigeon hole” our lives, demanding that we “stay in our lane,” with the clear implication: “This is OUR area of expertise. We know better how to make decisions here, so stay out of our way, we’ll handle this!”  

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John Stonestreet wrote in a recent Breakpoint: “… the biggest issue with this ‘stay in your lane’ approach to the Church is the question of what exactly the Christian lane is in the first place. Dutch statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper put it best: ‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!’ In other words, because the head of the Church is Christ, who is Lord of everything, Christ’s lane is the entire cosmos.”

So, where does that put us, as Christ followers? What is “our lane” exactly? Should we not engage in politics? Education? Health Care? And all the other areas of life that are being distorted and violated by those who don’t have a conscience? That’s certainly what Satan would be pleased for us to do.

But Scriptures like those above state clearly Christ’s lordship over literally EVERYTHING! As Stonestreet writes: “This means it all belongs to Him. Christian musicians should make music as if God is sitting next to them on the piano bench. Christian bakers should make sourdough as if God is going to have a slice. Christian citizens of a democratic republic should strive, with humility and wisdom, to influence and govern and live together as if Christ is over it all, because He is. We contend for the well-being of our neighbors, even when it’s unpopular. The question isn’t whether Christians should engage politically, but whether we will do it well. We don’t live in a theocracy, and pastors aren’t policy makers. But Christians are to apply God’s truth about everything to everything.”

So, what IS our “lane?” Essentially, it’s anything the Lord equips and instructs us to do. Our role is to do good works that God prepared in advance for us to do, regardless of what area of life it may include, because the reality is, Christ’s Lordship, thus, our domain of Christian service, encompasses every conceivable aspect of human existence.

Food for thought.

Blessings, Ed 😊

For All to See

“And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see…You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:5, 8-9 NLT)

Salvation from sin and deliverance from the evil one are of incalculable value. How do I know that? Because when Peter speaks of the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:7) it’s described as “precious,” which literally means “of inestimable worth.” Its value is so great it can’t be calculated. Why is that important for us to know? Because that’s what Jesus believed you are worth to Him!

For a human being to wander through life aimlessly and without purpose is to slap God in the face and pretend Jesus’ death was for naught. It’s to take a priceless painting and use it for a liter box. It’s to ignore your inheritance as a child of God and to continue to live as a spiritual pauper.

What is the channel through which this priceless Treasure is obtained? “through your faith!” Read carefully the verses above and notice what God is doing while we wait for the final consummation of our faith. He’s protecting us until the Lord returns for His own. The word Peter uses in verse 5 that’s translated “protecting” is a word that means to “protect by military guard,” but it’s not a few soldiers that have nothing better to do. It paints the picture of a whole garrison, a post where many soldiers are stationed. Why? To protect you from Satan’s attempts to derail your faith. That’s their sole purpose.

The word literally means: “by watching and guarding to preserve one for the attainment of something.” What is so vitally important that God has placed you in His “protective custody” to guarantee you don’t miss it? Peter reveals it in verse 9: “The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.”

When Jesus returns He will obviously be the center and focus of everyone’s attention, as well He should be. But at some point on that very special day, He’s going to shift the focus to those who will be receiving a very special gift. And what is that gift? Our salvation!

Notice the “credentials” of these privileged ones: “You love Him even though you have never seen Him. Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him, and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” Why? Why do we rejoice with such joy? Because our faith is anchored in who Jesus is and what He accomplished for us on the cross. And what is our reward for that faith? “The reward for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls.”

“Yeh,” you may be wondering, “but I thought I was already saved.” See, that’s the thing, you are being saved, but the final chapter of our development as a child of God won’t be celebrated until we see Him face to face. That’s when the books will be opened and the names will be announced; that’s when we who have quietly and conscientiously been going about pursuing the Kingdom of God will hear our names. But it’s not like He’ll be reading name after name after name leading to one huge celebration.

In my mind’s eye I see everyone huddled together, millions of us waiting for our name to be read, anticipating our audience with the King, almost like our graduation from school or an awards ceremony when we finally receive the reward for which we’ve been longing. I don’t know exactly how to describe what I’m thinking, but it’s like a time lapse, like time stands still while Jesus calls our name and we go before Him. But rather than a ceremonial pat on the shoulder or shake of our hand, He takes us in His arms and holds us. It’s the kind of embrace you never want to end, it’s so satisfying, like you’ve lived your whole life for this moment. Then you hear His words: “I’m so proud of you! I know you struggled. I know you wanted to quit, but you hung in there. You trusted Me when it seemed I was far away. Today I’m celebrating you and I want everyone here to know how special you are to Me. Welcome home!”

It’s such a private moment, yet, it’s the reward of our life of loving without seeing, yet trusting; rejoicing with a glorious, inexpressible joy to which we’ve never quite been able to express until today…”FOR ALL TO SEE!”

Blessings, Ed 😊

The Loudness of Patient Silence

“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.” (Romans 5:5 NLT)

One of the first times I drove alone was when I was about 11. Of course, my dad was close by and gave me strict instructions – “Only go in a circle!” So, I loaded up a few of my friends and we took a “drive” around the dirt infield of our neighborhood ball field in my dad’s 1953 Mercury. I could barely see over the wheel, but I had an absolute blast.

When I was 14 or 15 my dad and I were on our way to visit my mom in the hospital a few hours away. He’d just gotten off his shift as a machinist and was worn out. So, again, he asked me to drive at night through the mountains of West Virginia in our 1956 Cadillac. I’ve only been in two accidents, neither my fault.

Why am I giving you this meaningless information? Because at 75 I’ve been driving a long time. I’m quite confident and competent behind the wheel, yet my beloved wife will still often bring a pillow and sit in the back seat. She says it just makes her feel safer. Earlier in our marriage she was the proverbial “nag,” but over time has learned to just be quiet and let me drive.

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As I age, I don’t remember directions as well, even to places I might have been a few times, so I plug in my GPS, which I’ve learned, doesn’t always know the way either. So, sometimes my beloved will plug the directions in her phone. No one I’ve dated or even my first wife, ever complained about my driving, so it used to really bother me when my wife was so critical.

That’s why I related to the comment Jim Mitchell made in a Family Life devotion when he wrote: “Nothing feels worse as the driver than taking a wrong turn and having your spouse immediately comment on it. No matter what words she uses, all you hear is, ‘Hey stupid, you took a wrong turn. I noticed.’ Maybe it comes with a subtitle for easy translation: ‘You are incompetent.’”

Conversely, nothing feels better after taking a wrong turn than hearing … nothing. You actually have breathing room to find your way back on track. Oh, you’re certain she noticed the wrong turn. And she may very well be biting her tongue hard over there. But the patient silence speaks volumes: ‘I’m just thankful you’re keeping us safe. You’re doing a great job. I trust you.’ So empowering. Wrong turns are inevitable. But giving your spouse a little room for error can make the trip more enjoyable for both of you. That’s helpful navigation.”

Fortunately, we have opportunity to exercise “patient silence” in other settings. At home, work, or even at church. What’s my point? As Paul writes in the verse above, patience is an avenue leading to “complete harmony” with other believers.

This may come as a shock and surprise, but we who love and follow Jesus aren’t all alike. And the plot thickens when someone like me who has walked with the Lord for many years discovers he can be wrong. As long as there’s air in these old lungs, I pray I’ll always be learning new things – about God, about the Bible, about myself, about others.

Regardless of how long we’ve walked with Jesus, we must be patient with one another. None of us will always get it right. I know I don’t “knock it out of the park” with every post, but I want to. I want to be so sensitive to the Lord that I always hear Him and record His thoughts accurately. But just as important, I want to be sensitive to His leading when I hear a fellow believer when they say or do something that is clearly not in line with what Scripture teaches.

Rather than quickly and publicly correct them, I want to be patiently silent until such a time as I can lovingly, privately and guided by the Spirit, have a conversation with them. A conversation that won’t embarrass or cause them to be defensive, but will help both of us to see things more clearly, thus deepening our love and appreciation for one another, not driving a wedge between us.

Food for thought.

Blessings, Ed 😊  

A Deep Sadness

“I am dying from grief; my years are shortened by sadness. Sin has drained my strength; I am wasting away from within.” (Psalm 31:10 NLT)

Grief can be a debilitating disease of the soul. While grief can be healthy and helpful, it can also drive us to a destructive self-analysis that can be crippling. If you’ve been reading my blog for any period of time you likely know that God has given me a heart for my neighbors.

A few weeks ago, I put another “note” on each door in my neighborhood, the essence of which said: “Jesus is the issue with which we must come to terms. To miss Jesus is to miss eternal life – in this life and the next.” I included my name, phone, and email address and asked anyone with questions or concerns to please contact me.

No one has responded, but a young couple, whom my wife and I have grown to love, came to dinner with us a short time before I passed out the note. It was a night of endless chatter about their work, their health, and on and on, but I was frustrated because I had no opportunity to share what the Lord had given me with them.

Yesterday, I learned that one of them had died of the cancer we knew he had, but didn’t expect it to take him so soon. So, as I write today I’m enveloped by a deep sadness. The “Why” questions are bombarding me, coupled with the obvious concern – did anything I write or say to him make any difference in the closing moments of his young life?

Will he be eternally separated from God because I was too lax in my pursuit of his soul? The answer, of course, is no. Where he is spending eternity is based on the decision he made, nothing more, nothing less. However, He died on my watch. Was there something I could have said or done that may have influenced him to choose Christ? Even his partner urged him to speak with me, but to no avail.

As I write I’m asking the Lord to help me make sense of what has happened, and to teach me what I can do to never feel this way again. On the one hand, I’m grieving the loss of a friend whom I loved and whose company I enjoyed. But, on the other hand, I’m wallowing in my own guilt and shame for having let him slip into eternity without knowing whether or not at some point, maybe in the closing moments of his life, He had an encounter with Jesus.

Why do I feel this way? Because we are eternal beings enmeshed in the minutia of existence on this planet. Virtually everything we see, feel, hear, touch, or taste during our life on earth points us to the temporal, that which will not last. Yet, it’s to that we sell our soul! But why?

Why can’t we see the shallowness and frailty of this world-focused existence? Why must we put off the only thing in this life that really matters? Could it be we’re so entangled in selfishness we’re literally blinded to the light of life found only in Jesus? Can we, as Jesus followers, be so concerned about ourselves and what people will think of us, that it prevents us from sharing the only hope for a great life to come?

Two things the Lord is teaching me. One is, God can be trusted regardless of the circumstance. And two, I (we) can’t let ANYTHING keep us from sharing His love every opportunity we have, not only with our “lives,” but with our lips.

Food for thought.

Blessings, Ed ☹

Was It Your Fault?

“Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” (Romans 14:12-13 NLT)

If you’ve ever been in an auto accident, among the first things that the police and your insurance company want to establish is who was at fault. Unfortunately, we too often carry that mentality into our relational “accidents.” A spouse is unfaithful, a teen gets pregnant out of wedlock, an account is short at work, someone takes their own life – the list is virtually endless of ways that unfortunate things happen in our lives.

Paul reminds us in the verses above that we will all one day stand before the Lord to give an account of OUR lives, no one else’s! There will be no: “they made me…” or “I didn’t know…” or “You can’t blame ME for that…” The Lord has perfect insight and understanding of everything we do, say, or think. There’s no putting anything past Him, and, gratefully, He is a perfect Father who judges accurately, redemptively, compassionately, and fairly.

It’s interesting to me to notice that the preceding verse to the ones above is a quote from Isaiah 49:18 that says: “’As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bend to Me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God.’”

Photo by Angela Roma on

When we die we’ll all see as we’ve been seen. We’ll all understand perfectly what we did wrong and why. No one will argue with God that He’s unfair or “if you’d only been there…” He WAS there and He not only saw everything that happened, He understands without error exactly why you did what you did.

My mom was an alcoholic when I was a child. I can’t count the number of times I heard her say to me and others: “Well, if you’re going to accuse me of drinking, I might as well do it.” She needed no accusation, but in some twisted way, maybe she felt more justified in her addiction to believe someone else was “causing” it.

We all have an addiction to sin that only Jesus can cure, but healing can only come when we’re willing to face the fact that the only one driving that addiction is us – ME! No one is making anyone be unfaithful to what they know is true. Can someone else contribute to our decisions? Satan will certainly do his best to use anyone he can to tempt us to sin, but in the end, it’s nobody’s fault but our own.

It’s not unusual for us to blame someone else for things we do: “You MADE me drink, drug, look at porn, be unfaithful, nag, drive too fast, ___________ “ and you can fill in the blank. But the bottom line is we choose to do what we do. And I can almost hear someone saying: “Yeh, but I saw this episode of Blue Bloods and this guy was going to kill the guy’s family if he didn’t _________.”

Okay, but ultimately, it’s still the person’s decision what they’re going to do, and, fortunately, 99.9% of the time no one’s holding a gun to our head. It’s all me and I’m the one who will stand before God to give an account of it.

One more thing. I’ve made some very bad decisions that contributed to the bad decisions of others. Did I make them do what they did? Not literally, but if I hadn’t done what I did, they likely wouldn’t have done what they did. Will they give an account to God for their behavior? Yes, they will. But my point is, please consider the consequences of your choices for others before you do something you may regret.

Hopefully, someone will come to you when you get to heaven shouting “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!” And with a hug and a huge smile say: “Because of you I gave my life to Jesus – and it’s all your fault!”

Blessings, Ed 😊

The Only Question You Need To Ask

“’To whom will you compare Me? Who is My equal?’ asks the Holy One.” (Isaiah 40:25 NLT)

*The world in which we live can be confusing and discouraging. The essential element of maintaining peace and harmony in our own spirit is keeping our focus on the one true God of the Bible. Sylvia Gunter has given us a reminder of how we can do that. This is a “keeper” that I wanted to share. Enjoy! Blessings, Ed. 😊 (used with permission)

The daily news can sound rather hopeless. There are wars and rumors of wars, global warming, a failed economy, personal financial ruin, the pandemic, and the list could go on. For some it is not the big global issues that have struck your heart with fear. It is the family member facing a debilitating disease, the broken relationship that seems irreconcilable, or the problem that seems too big to handle.

Our circumstances can lead us to ask a lot of “Why?” “How?” and “What if?” questions. All of our questions are answered in the most important question, the “Who” question.

Who is a God like you, O sovereign Lord?

“You have begun to show to Your servant Your greatness and Your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works You do?” (Deu 3:24)

There is none like the God of Israel.

“You ride on the heavens to help us and on the clouds in Your majesty. You are the eternal God, our refuge, and underneath are Your everlasting arms. You will drive out our enemy before us. You are great, and Your name is mighty in power. Who should not revere You, O King of the nations? This is Your due. Among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like You.” (Deu 33:26-27, Jer 10:6-7)

Who is a God like you?

“My whole being exclaims, “Who is like You, O Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.” (Ps 35:10)

There is none other like you,

“…O Lord, God of lsrael, in heaven above or on earth below. You keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way. You have kept Your promise. With Your mouth You have promised and with Your hand You have fulfilled it.” (1 Kings 8:23-24)

Who, O God, is like you?

“Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?” (Ps 71:19, 77:13)

There is none like you, O Lord.

“No deeds can compare with Yours. For You are great and do marvelous deeds, You alone are God. You put to death and You bring to life, You have wounded and You will heal, and no one can deliver from Your hand.” (Psa 86:8,10; Deu 32:39)

As the swirl of your life feels like it is going to overcome you, take a moment to gaze into the night sky and enjoy the stars in their full splendor. God is so mighty that He spoke this vast universe into existence. At the same time He is so intimate that He calls each star by name and not one of them is missing. How much more so does He care about us and what concerns us today?

Hear Him speak tenderly to your heart.

Who is a God like me? says the Holy One.

“To whom will you compare Me? Who is My equal? Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? I bring out the starry host one by one and call them each by name. Because of My great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isa 40:25-26)

I AM God and there is no other.

“I AM God, and there is none like Me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” (Isa 46:9-10)

Taken from Prayer Portions pg 47 © 1991,1995 Sylvia Gunter. Click here to learn more For archive of past

The Brightness of Your Shining Life

“You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT)

In a recent Ron Hutchcraft devotion, he wrote: “You now can tour the retired Lightship Nantucket. But before the development of modern navigational technology, the work of that ship actually saved a lot of lives. See, there are deadly shoals that extend south of Nantucket, and the main shipping lanes to New York City run right along the outer edge in what’s called the Ambrose Channel. Now, for many decades, the Lightship Nantucket was stationed at the eastern approach to the channel – at what was called the ‘Times Square of the Atlantic.’ Well, she dared not leave her position there – because all ship navigation was fixed on that lightship. If the lightship moved, every ship would follow her – possibly to disaster.”

Do you realize there are “deadly shoals” in your neighborhood, your workplace, your church, yes, even in your home. Satan is no respecter of anything but himself and he will create obstacles to anyone he can, anyplace he possibly can, especially in your own heart and life. Think of those shoals as temptations that lure you, hoping to cause you to crash on the rocks beneath the current that aren’t even visible to the untrained eye.

Notice a couple of things about the words of Jesus in the above verses. He begins with broad strokes, covering the city in which we live, work, worship, shop, etc. Then He gets more personal and speaks of the lamp that brightens and illuminates our house. Lastly, He moves to everyone in our spheres of influence.

A couple of things are assumed here. First, your life has a much greater audience than you realize. You never really know who might be watching your life. I was shooting some hoops at a local recreation area near where I lived when I was in high school. I noticed a guy standing at the fence surrounding the courts watching me. I hadn’t been a believer very long, but our school was relatively small, so at some point he must have heard that I had become a Jesus follower.

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As I left the court and passed where he was standing he said to me: “I’m watching you.” He wasn’t threatening me or trying to hassle me, he was simply making an observation, which I took to mean, he was watching to see if anything was really going to change in my life.

People whose names you don’t even know, as well as many whose names you do know, are watching you. A part of them wants you to fall, to fail, to give them an excuse to fail. But many more are watching, rooting for you, praying for you, asking the Lord to steady your feet and keep you on course.

Too often we forget how much influence we have on another person, especially someone who knows us well. They may not say anything, they may not give you any indication that they’re watching your life or even care that you stay strong for Jesus, but they are and they do.

Like the Lightship Nantucket whose Captain dared not let it drift, knowing even drifting a little could risk the lives of many, please don’t allow your life to drift. Please don’t allow Satan to fool you into believing you can relax your morals, risk your purity, ignore your disciplines. The light of your life is guiding others, illuminating the face of Jesus, guiding them on their path to learn who He is and why it’s so important to stay close to Him.

You may be the only person someone knows who is following Jesus. Stay anchored in Him and never stop allowing the Holy Spirit to use the brightness of your life to point others to Him!

Blessings, Ed 😊

Whose Voice Is the Loudest?

“Look at My Servant, whom I have chosen. He is My Beloved, who pleases Me. I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise His voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally, He will cause justice to be victorious. And His name will be the hope of all the world.” (Matthew 12:18-21 NLT)

The above verses are the words of God spoken to Isaiah (42:1-4) regarding His Son, the Lord Jesus, hundreds of years before Jesus was born on earth. Why are they so important? For many reasons, not the least of which was Jesus wasn’t coming to roll over people and demand His own way. Quite to the contrary, He was coming quietly and would live a very unassuming life.

Jesus was a carpenter, likely a trade His earthly father taught Him, but even when He began His public ministry, He went about it in a way that wouldn’t draw a lot of attention to Himself. Yes, of course, once He began to heal and help people, He struggled to find a private spot to go when He wanted to be alone. But His plan wasn’t to make much of Himself, but of His heavenly Father.

Jesus wasn’t a loud boisterous person who demanded people’s attention. He said of Himself in Matthew 29:11: “Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” When speaking to large crowds, I suspect they had to be quiet and very attentive to be able to hear His words. That hasn’t changed for us today.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

Every day in numerous ways, voices cry out to us. It may be the literal cry of our infant child, or our heartbroken teen, or an angry boss, of a needy neighbor or friend. It may be the noise of traffic or the sounds of workers in our neighborhood. These “voices” can come from many sources, but Satan’s design for all of them is the same – to drown out the still, quiet voice of God.

A good friend, who happens to be one of my Pastors, said in a gathering I attended: “Remove the noise so God’s voice is the loudest.” Think about that for a minute. What is implicit in that directive? First, we have to desire to hear God’s voice; otherwise, why make the effort.

But isn’t that the point? We want to make the effort to hear God’s voice, but why? Because we believe whatever God has to say is worth hearing. Additionally, God’s voice won’t usually be the loudest, so it’s easy to miss what He’s saying if we’re not attentive. So, how do we quiet the voices vying for our attention?

We do what Jesus did, we separate ourselves to a quiet place. Finding that place may be a chore for you, especially if you have small children, but I will guarantee you it will be worth the effort. The reality is, we likely won’t be nearly as in demand as Jesus in the prime of His ministry, but He found a way to spend time with His Father, and so can we.

Every day each of us has 96 15-minute segments of time. Surely we can squeeze 15 minutes a day – only 1 of those 96 segments of time – to read God’s Word and listen to His voice! It’s less than 2% of your day. Yes, of course, Satan is going to battle you for every second you spend with God, but over time, it will get easier and the dividends you’re paid for your effort will increase.

I’m learning to listen to His voice and share my thoughts with Him in almost any environment. In a doctor’s waiting room, while driving (I don’t bow my head and close my eyes 😊), as I walk my pups, between people coming to church as I greet, while I’m eating (if I’m eating alone), showering, shaving, the list is almost endless of ways you can carve out time to speak to and listen to the Lord.

You just have to want His voice to be the loudest.

Blessings, Ed 😊

The Most Loving Thing We Can Ever Do

“Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” (2 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT)

One of the most frightening, yet, most satisfying things I’ve done and do, is to share my faith with someone I don’t know well or may have just met. It’s frightening because a person’s soul may be on the proverbial line, and it’s satisfying when they open their heart and mind to Jesus. In the churches I served, one vital component of my tenure as pastor was pouring what I know about sharing my faith into others who were hungry to learn.

In a recent Turning Point devotional David Jeremiah shared these statistics: “According to a Lifeway Research survey, 66 percent of Christians ‘are not familiar with any “methods for telling others about Jesus.”’ Additionally, 70 percent of the Christians interviewed ‘have not shared with a stranger how to become a Christian in the past six months.’ John Sorensen, president of Evangelism Explosion, said, ‘Now, perhaps more than ever, people are open to conversations about faith, yet this study reveals few Christians actually take the opportunity to engage in personal evangelism.’”

Evangelism Explosion is the training I took and used to train people in my church. During the training we would split up and go into neighborhoods, knocking on doors, and sharing with anyone who would listen. In one training event I attended we were sent into a neighborhood where there’d been a number of break-ins and robberies, so we thought we’d be wasting our time. But I was amazed at the number of people who not only opened their doors but invited us in to hear the Good News we were eager to share.  

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

It can be intimidating to share when you don’t feel confident in what to share, but another common fear is that someone will ask you a question to which you’re not trained to answer, or they’ll become confrontational or argumentative. In more than 50 years of sharing my faith, I’ve never had either of those things happen, and it’s not because I’m so smart or well versed. It’s simply because God has chosen the person with whom we share before He chose us to share with them.

Yes, of course, people ask questions, we want them to; otherwise, we can’t tailor our presentation to their need. And yes, I’ve been asked questions I didn’t have an answer for, but I felt quite comfortable saying to them: “That’s a great question, one for which I don’t have an adequate answer. So, how about you do some research, and I’ll do some research and let’s meet in a week to share what we find out.”

Something else we too often allow Satan to magnify in our mind is that it’s about what we know, but that’s focusing on the wrong thing. Yes, we should have a track to run on, but sometimes our “track” is interrupted, and we have to be flexible. In those times it’s critical that we realize the bottom line isn’t “what” we know, it’s “Who” we know. I’ve grown quite confident that whenever I’m led in a direction that causes me to shift my planned outline, the Holy Spirit will guide me in how I need to respond.

The most comforting and encouraging aspects of sharing our faith with someone is realizing that God is using us to help someone understand, not only how to prepare for heaven, but how to have a growing, intimate relationship with the King of the universe. Explaining to someone the great news of who Jesus is and what He accomplished on our behalf, isn’t about “hell insurance.” It’s about knowing, loving, serving, and walking faithfully with the One who literally sacrificed His life in our place. Why did He make such a sacrifice? To open to us the opportunity to walk with Him in life’s pathways, assuring us that we’ll never walk alone.

That’s the most loving thing we can ever do for anyone. Please don’t deprive yourself of any opportunity He gives you to offer that tremendous gift to someone who needs to hear it.

Blessings, Ed 😊