Get Both Free!


If you’ve been waiting to read the rest of our story, you can get the e-book now. For 5 days, November 28 – December 2, it will be FREE on Amazon before it goes up to the regular price.

If you’re waiting for the paperback version, pray. It’s been a 3 day nightmare of formatting issues I’ve never experienced before. But, God will prevail and I’ll keep you posted for the print version too.

Not only can you get the NEW RELEASE free, but I’ve made The Miracle of Us: Confessions of an Online Dater FREE through this Thursday so you can refresh your memory or read the beginning of our story for the first time.

If you read our story years ago and need a refresher of hope or if you’ve never experienced what trusting God for next steps is like, you can read our incredible story here. FREE this week only. November 27 – December 1

We pray you had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of beautiful memories. May these next weeks leading up to Christmas draw you into the hope, peace, and joy of Jesus as we anticipate celebrating his birth.

Grateful


In spite of the messiness of the world right now between election issues, shootings, floods, hurricanes, etc., nothing changes my love for Jesus and the fact that every day God provides multiple areas of thankfulness. If I were to list them all, I could write volumes of books. I’m sure everyone could. Here are a few of mine…

  • Jesus, my Lord and Savior is always at the top
  • My husband
  • My children and grandchildren
  • My family – mom, dad and my brother’s family
  • My dear friends
  • My pastors and church family
  • Music
  • Nature – ocean, flowers, animals, blue skies, and thunder storms
  • Books
  • Teaching
  • My current state’s leaders
  • Little things every day that remind me God is always with me

I’m also thankful that Beyond the Miracle is finished and ready for readers. The ebook will be out next week, but if anyone is interested in an advance reader copy, I’ll gladly set you up for this Thanksgiving weekend. Let me know in the comments below or send me your email address to laura@laurabennet.com

I’d ask that you be willing to grab a free ebook copy when it releases on Amazon and write a review – even a few words. If you don’t do Amazon, you can review it on Goodreads.

I’m thankful I get to write.

Thirteen years after the miracle meeting, courtship, and fairytale wedding of the author and her husband, Laura Bennet shares the raw and real story of the unforeseen and sometimes devastating trials they experienced, and how God used those challenges to heal and grow each of them and their marriage. Heartfelt encouragement and caution for couples ready to tie the knot or for those who have come undone and wonder if there is hope. The miracles don’t end when you say “I do,” but they may not look like what you expected.

I pray you have a gratitude-filled Thanksgiving and reflect this week on some of the little things you might forget about during each day. I pray for God’s peace to cover you, and his love through Jesus to fill you. Nothing earned, simply received.

Why Faith?


Fort Myers Beach at Sunset 2018

These are days of walking by faith.

If ever there was a time in which we must cling in faith to the unseen God—YH WH, Yeshua—by the power of his Holy Spirit in us, it is now.

But why?

Unless someone has absolutely no contact with the world, the events all around us from natural disasters to various forms of political unrest, are obvious. We have entered a time when no one is immune in some way or another to many forms of destruction of property, finances, beliefs, families, etc.

And while there is nothing new under the sun, according to King Solomon’s words in the Bible, the challenges experienced by millions over thousands of years have escalated and compounded in recent years.

So what holds people together? What is it that makes us persevere in the face of multiplying hardships?

Faith.

Every night most of us go to bed without questioning whether we’ll wake up the next morning. We sit down on our favorite chair not imagining its collapse. For many, turning on the shower or lights doesn’t make us hesitate and wonder if they will go on. Every day we exhibit some form of faith.

But if we engage in all those daily activities without giving a thought to having faith, what do we do when faith actually makes a real difference in how we think, live, and treat others?

According to Hebrews chapter eleven, it’s by faith that we understand this world was created and is sustained by God. A loving God who made each of us so intricately that science is still just figuring out how it all works.

People all through the ages have sought God and listened to him instruct them in his ways, many of which seem crazy.

By faith, Noah built a massive boat to save his family from rains that had not yet been experienced. Abraham and Sarah had a child at the age when most people have already passed away. Moses raised a stick to split a sea to save his people. Rahab believed in a God she had never known and saved her family when Jericho’s mighty walls crumbled. David, as a young shepherd boy, slew a giant with a sling shot and stone, and became a king.

That’s only a few of the countless stories passed down through the years.

Some might say “tall tales.” But I’ve seen God do enough crazy and miraculous things in my life and in the lives of others to know the truth of what God will do when we have faith.

That same chapter says that people have conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained promises, shut the mouths of lions, stood in the midst of flaming furnaces, and escaped death. They routed armies, fought various battles, saw their sick healed, and some even experienced loved ones raised back to life from the dead.

In every case, their weakness or fear was turned to strength and courage because of faith.

We can certainly use some of that today, don’t you think?

Imagine if each of us had faith enough to believe that giving a bottle of water or a hug to someone might change their life. What if we gave a few extra dollars to help buy someone’s groceries or a meal? Maybe faith looks like traveling to a disaster area to help pull people from fire, flood, or rubble. (We’re seeing that happen here in Florida right now.)

Faith might be worshiping God in public to offer hope, praying for a neighbor, or running for an elected office. Even simple social media posts created in faith encourage thousands, or millions.

It’s true that some have been and are currently being tortured and killed because of their faith. Persecution is real and not only happening in Ukraine, Armenia, or China. Those who choose faith in Jesus are empowered by God so that even if their body is harmed, they will live forever.

God tells us that those who put their trust in him will never be disappointed. He will never leave us and is always faithful to us whether we are faithful to him or not.

There will come a day when we will each be in the presence of Almighty God. He knows whether we believe what his written word, and his living word, Jesus, says to us. We’ve either responded to his love for us by putting our faith in him, or we’ve turned our back in disbelief.

If now is the time for faith, that day will be the one that matters most.

What have you put your faith in?

I choose Jesus.

Don’t Be Surprised


Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com

Every day I see a new headline or post that makes me shake my head even though I know that I shouldn’t be surprised. Over two thousand years ago, Jesus told his followers not to be alarmed when famine, wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, and disease would start taking place all at once in multiple areas. He said that people would hate and betray each other and many believers would be deceived.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul gives a list of how many would act. He said that people would:

  • Not acknowledge God
  • Claim to be wise
  • Idolize people and lifestyles
  • Degrade their bodies with one another
  • Lust for the same sex
  • Commit indecent acts
  • Have depraved minds
  • Be full of evil, greed, murder, and deceit
  • Gossip about and slander each other
  • Be God haters
  • Be arrogant, insolent, and boastful
  • Be senseless, heartless, and ruthless
  • Know the truth, but deny it
  • Encourage others to do the same

Sounds a lot like television, movies, social media, politics, and the news, doesn’t it?

He also reminds us that one has only to look and acknowledge creation around us to know there is a God who made everything including us, so we have no excuse.

Everyone has free will. God loves us, but he won’t force anyone to love him back. If the act of giving up himself, his son, Jesus, to die on the cross and take all our sinfulness on him isn’t enough to show his love for us, what would it take for people to respond with gratitude, praise, and love in return?

But I understand that the majority of people won’t.

It makes me sad to see the heartbreaking mess the world is in, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus warned us. So did Paul, who was once someone who murdered those who followed Jesus. No one is beyond God’s grace. He doesn’t want anyone to be separated from him. But if that is someone’s choice, God loves them enough to allow their choice and let them go their own way.

Maybe things aren’t too different than they were then. Maybe they’ve simply escalated to where they are now. Perhaps, it’s just that now we have the technology to see everything all over the world as it happens so we are aware. But we’ve been warned.

And we have a God who loves us and will see us through to the moment when Jesus returns to draw those of us who love him to his side. In the midst of all the evil, heartache, and chaos, Jesus is our hope and peace.

I may be surprised when I see the things that are happening in the world because I can’t understand why people would choose those things instead of an abundance of peace, joy, love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. (The fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives when we receive Jesus.)

But I’m not surprised. He told us not to be alarmed. I believe Him. I’m resting there in the midst of the storm until I see him face-to face.

Afraid Yet Filled With Joy


Fear seems to be dominating the world right now.

War, shootings, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, food shortage, gas prices, violence breaking out all over the world, and political battles with court cases pummel us from every angle. Headlines rarely have something positive to report (unless you watch or read some positive news source like CBN, Newsmax, Epoch Times, Dailywire, TBN – just to name a few where you can see truth and positive stories).

Even in our daily activities, we’re stunned by shut downs, breakdowns, and everything down. Today, my husband went to a local Dunkin’ Donuts for a business coffee meeting and found them closed due to lack of help. And we live in one of the best, growing, open states!

But I love that in Matthew 28:8, it says that the women who had gone to the tomb where Jesus had been buried left there feeling “afraid yet filled with joy.” Why?

The tomb was empty.

Jesus had risen from the dead just as he said he would. Kind of a trippy, frightening, yet exciting experience for them, right? Also much like what those of us who are in relationship with Jesus feel today. Everything happening in the world is an indication that Jesus will take us to meet him soon. We don’t know exactly when that “soon” is, but while we watch the fearful events of the current day, we are also filled with joy.

I can’t wait to be with Jesus face to face.

Like a bride anticipating the moment she walks down the aisle to see her groom awaiting her. Heart fluttering. Palms a little sweaty while holding a stunning flower bouquet. The look of adoration in his eyes.

Verse 9 says “Suddenly, Jesus met them.”

When they least expected it, but expectantly anticipated it, Jesus was there. With them. Greeting them. Love flowing. Joy exploding. Peace replacing fear.

They worshiped at his feet, and he reassured them. “Don’t be afraid.”

That is exactly where we find joy and peace in the midst of fear. At the feet of Jesus. In his presence. His perfect love for us throwing fear away. No matter what things look like, how they appear, Jesus is there with us, reassuring us, promising us that he is in control. We can trust him.

And then he told the women to go tell everyone else where they could see him.

That’s what I want to do with everything I live and write, whether on my blog or in a book.

You can find Jesus in the room with you. Sitting in your car. Standing next to you at work. You may not see him like the women did when he physically walked on the earth, but he is here, there. If you speak to him, acknowledge him, seek him, he’ll suddenly meet you right where you are. He loves you and wants to have a relationship with you. He’ll speak to you through his spirit to your spirit. And when you agree that you need him, you believe he died for you, God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit will live in you.

God designed us to hear him. If we resolve to seek him when we are lost, afraid, wondering how to navigate life, and set our eyes on him, he will make us able to not be afraid. He will help us think like he thinks, having great wisdom that brings peace, humility, calmness, and patience.

In spite of awful situations in our life or around us, we can find joy in his presence. Even if we feel afraid.

That’s more good news, isn’t it? And these days, we need some good news!

I have more good news for those patiently waiting for the release of Winds of Change, book 4 in the Winds of Redemption series. The e book version is finally out! It will be FREE from June 11 – 15th. Click the picture to get yours!

Bailey Davis is headed to a California college to learn landscape design. New friends and beautiful surroundings offer her a great start and a promising future. But when she’s faced with prejudice, opposition to her faith, and the persecution of her and some friends, will standing for truth run her straight into danger?

Newly engaged Dylan Davis encourages his daughter’s dreams and independence. Their unforgettable road trip to settle Bailey at school launches them both into a new season of life. Until Bailey goes missing and Dylan must face the demons of his past.

As their faith is tested from every side, Baily and her father must dig deep to continue trusting the God who miraculously brought them together once before.

If you haven’t read the first three books in the series, you can find them here.

In the Name of Submission – cont.


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We’re diving deep into what God means when he talks about submission.

We began with I Peter 3:1 which tells wives to submit to their husbands—and often it’s left right there without further understanding of what God is communicating.

That’s why we’re looking back at the previous chapter to get an idea of what “in the same way” means. You can read Part 1 here if you want to get caught up.

Today, we’re going back to start in chapter 2 verse 17 where it says that submission means showing proper respect to others and loving those who believe and fear God.

This kind of surprised me.

I expected the passage to talk about everyone, not just other believers. But then I understood why we start with other believers.

Think about it.

If we can’t respect and love others who are part of the church (entire world church, not just your church) in which Jesus is teaching us to love, how will we than be in a position to show that same attitude to the rest of the world?

Often, the world looks at the church and doesn’t see any difference. Can we blame them for not wanting to be a part of that? If the Jesus they see in us is gossiping, backbiting, disrespectful, and unkind why would they want him?

Bet you never coupled the word “submission” with that, did you? Neither did I.

Verse 17 continues by saying that we should give honor to the king. What if the “king” or something in that authoritative role doesn’t seem to deserve honor? What if they act in ways that are wrong or dishonoring to themselves and others?

I believe what he’s saying is that we honor the position God has established. Back in verse 13, Peter makes it clear that God is the one who created and established authoritative roles. Whether that is a president, governor, law enforcement official, teacher, pastor, husband, or parent, those roles were all set up by God for our benefit.

People may not use their authority rightly or well, but we should still show honor and respect. Not only that, but every single person is wonderfully and fearfully created by God. Every one deserves our honor for that reason alone, regardless of how they behave. This is a great book that breaks that down.

In verse 18, Peter takes it a step further telling us to submit even when someone is harsh, not only to those who are good and considerate. Wow! I confess I’ve thought that a person I’m dealing with didn’t deserve respect so why would I submit?

But it takes the grace, love, patience, and forgiveness of Christ to continue to show honor and respect, and to submit even when someone is not nice. Remember, that Jesus chose when and how to speak when he was confronted. He did not retaliate when he was insulted. The key word there is “retaliate.” He entrusted himself to God, knowing that God was in control of the situation and would deal with the person. (vs. 21)

Also, worthy to consider is that sometimes our submissive, honoring action is to remove ourselves from a situation or speak loving truth to someone who is acting harshly. God will lead us in how to handle the situation if we ask him.

**(Please note that “harsh” isn’t necessarily the same as abusive and/or dangerous. God does not call us to put ourselves into harmful relationships or stay there if we’ve allowed ourselves to get into them.)

So, now we’ve seen what “in the same way” means.

Next time we’ll move on to Chapter 3 and look at what Peter says specifically to spouses.

Yes, spouses. Not only wives. 😉

In the Name of Submission


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Submission is often a dreaded word.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a concept I’ve struggled with for most of my life. In part, I believe that’s because I didn’t understand it. And I think, unfortunately, the church as a whole is somewhat to blame.

The real problem lies in the way some have interpreted or defined “submission.”

It’s been coupled with obedience to mean that no matter what someone, specifically someone in authority, tells you to do, you must acquiesce without question. While obedience to God is good and right, when taken outside of that meaning, submission can be dangerous.

Many in authority, have used it to control. It’s been used to manipulate, subjugate, and dictate. Some have excused their actions, naming submission as their grounds for such. In extreme cases, submission has been used as reason to abuse.

No wonder it’s a hard term to get a handle on.

I’ve read about it, studied God’s word regarding it, and prayed hard over it, begging God to help me understand what he meant by submitting. For me, like many in bad situations, it perpetuated unhealthy relationships. A few pastors lovingly admonished me to submit in abusive settings. I know they meant well, and I’m sure they were intending to communicate the positive order God gave for family.

Certainly “submission” isn’t the bad guy here.

Submission actually has a good and fitting role IF we understand and implement it the way God intended.

I believe that way too often, we all take scripture verses out of context and end up misinterpreting them. Grossly. Anyone can find anything in the Bible to use out of context to support their own perspective.

Maybe you’ve heard of the man who sought God’s wisdom for a particular situation and opened his Bible to a couple of random passages that told him some nonsensical instruction.

“Judas went and hung himself.”

“Go therefore and do likewise.”

I’m a hundred percent certain that God is never telling anyone to follow those passages in that way.

But as silly as that example is, we do the same thing all the time. We say things like “God will never give you more than you can handle.” It’s a shortened, paraphrased verse taken out of context. Sorry, but that’s not what the Bible actually says. (See I Corinthians 10:13)

And unless we intentionally read what’s before and after a passage, as well as take it within the context of the entire Bible and all of what it says about God’s character, also taking into account the original language, we can badly misinterpret and misrepresent God’s word and intent.

This brings me to the book of I Peter in the Bible.

The first verse of chapter 3 starts like this. “Wives, in the same way, be submissive to your husbands…”

I can’t tell you how many times throughout my life someone has quoted that verse to me. I’ve analyzed it, struggled with it, and literally cried over it.

Because I love Jesus and want to obey his word. I love my husband and want to have the right attitude towards him.

I’ve looked at the verses before and after it, but this past week one phrase captured my attention.

“…in the same way…”

Wait. In what same way? What way was Peter talking about?

So, I decided to go back, way back, and look at what came before so I could get a better grasp of what “same way” it was talking about and why it was written here in this context.

Over the next couple of posts, I’d like to unpack what I found. Maybe it will be helpful to those who have wrestled with submission like I have.

First of all, this letter that Peter wrote to various believers in the surrounding areas was penned as an encouragement and a reminder to the people that they were chosen and loved by God. He admonished them to live in such a way that those around them who didn’t know about Jesus, would see their lives and end up believing and glorifying God as a result.

In Chapter 2 starting with verse 13, Peter starts breaking down each area of life and what it looks to live that way.

He tells the people to submit to authority for the sake of the Lord. That made me ask why for the sake of the Lord? God doesn’t need us to do anything for him. He’s capable of doing anything and everything in his own power.

Answer? He is at work in every situation so our submission aligns us with what he’s doing. It’s for the sake of what he’s doing in his kingdom that our submitting to him and those around us helps bring it about.

In verse 15, it tells us that when we do good by submitting, it “silences ignorant talk of foolish men.” Uh, we could use some of that right now, couldn’t we?

And lest you think that submission makes us doormats, Peter goes on in verse 16 to tell us to “Live as free men.” We’re not submitting ourselves into slavery, but choosing to be servants of Christ. That might look different in every situation. Sometimes submitting to God means laying our pride or agenda aside, but sometimes it might mean standing firm in obeying God instead of someone who demand we submit to their wrong plans.

Our obedience to God may lead us into situations that are challenging and even treacherous, but God doesn’t take us there without a plan for greater good. He knows who can stand under certain circumstances and what the outcome will be.

Daniel went into the lion’s den for submitting himself to God even though it meant NOT following orders of the king because those orders were directly in conflict with God. It was a severely dangerous situation from which God rescued Daniel.

There are believers being held in prison right now for obeying God. It’s not a good situation for them and their families. But when we look at the work God is doing through it and the people who are coming to know Jesus and be healed as a result, we can see the good God is bringing.

Submission is a broader term than we often think it is.

Next post we’ll unpack more about this word and see where it takes us especially when we get to wives.

In the meantime, whenever I think “submission,” I’m thinking “for the Lord’s sake.”

The Answer to Everything


What would you do if you could have the answer to everything?

Would you pay for it? Sell everything you have for it? Go without eating to get it? Would you go off alone for days if it meant you could obtain it?

What if I told you that the answer to everything is within your grasp, totally free, and the only thing you need to give up for it is yourself?

What is the answer?

You may be surprised. But it makes sense.

God’s presence is the answer to everything. Every prayer. Every need. Every dilemma, tragedy, crisis, challenge, or question.

We see this in the story of Moses.

Most of us have heard the “legend” of the burning bush. A particular movie even satirized it by making it a singing bush. But when we look more closely at the story in the Bible, we see the way it can relate to our life.

Moses was a baby who was supposed to be killed, but by a miracle, he was saved and actually raised in the palace of the king of Egypt by the princess. Growing up, he had every privilege. Fine food, clothes, servants, education, and status even though he was born the son of a Jewish family with a price on his baby head. (Only God can do something like that.)

He grew up and realized his true identity meant he had a role to fulfill, but he tried to do it his way and ended up slinking out of town after murdering a man.

So, forty years later, this humiliated (humbled) murderer is tending sheep, not his own, but his father-in-law’s sheep—an honorable, yet humble profession—on the far side of the desert (talk about alone time), when God appears.

In a bush. Burning with fire.

Naturally, Moses is intrigued and decides to check it out. How can a bush be burning, but never burn up? Physics defied. But that’s God for you.

First thing God tells Moses is that he’s on holy ground. In other words, Moses is in the very presence of God. Then God gives Mo (you don’t mind if I call him that, do you?) some specific encouragement like “you’ve got this” and instruction “say I AM sent you and use your staff.” Mo wasn’t very confident anymore after forty years living in the desert with sheep, but God gave him a sidekick to help him. (I love the way God reunites families!)

God told him up front the basics of what would happen. The king (Pharaoh) would resist, but eventually come around after some serious plague persuasion, and then the people were supposed to ask their neighbors for gold and silver to take with them. (Why would they need gold and silver in the desert?? That’s another story.)

Here are some things I love about this story:

  • Once again (see last week’s post), God came to someone (Moses) when he was alone, far from anyone, minding his own business. God calls us where we are at.
  • God does whatever it takes to get our attention. He knows what will turn our head and make us take notice. Granted, today, if any of us saw a bush on fire, we’d probably be quick to take a video and post it on social media.
  • God sees us. He told Moses that he saw the misery of his people.
  • God is concerned for the condition and circumstances we’re in. His love for us is great, and his heart breaks when we are hurting.
  • God has a good, spacious, place for us beyond the current situation. He never says it will be without obstacles, but it will be great. Milk and honey may not be your jam, but the idea is sweet, nourishing, and abundant.
  • God promises to bring us out of our misery. We have to be willing to do what he says to get out. He does his part, but without our obedience it won’t happen.
  • God has more for us than simply taking us out of a bad situation. When he removes us, he lets us take abundance with us and leads us somewhere better.

We all know the part of the story where the Israelites come to the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army hot on their heels. Ever been in that place where it seems like there’s no way out?

God parts the waters, the army drowns, and the people make it to the other side safely.

What was the answer to all their questions? Prayers? Needs?

God’s presence. He saw them. Sent help. Went ahead of them. Cut off the danger behind them, and then led them with fire by night and smoke during the day.

Okay, so today, we may not have smoke and fire, but when we accept the presence of God through believing in Jesus, we have God’s spirit—Holy Spirit—living with us. In us, to be exact. Surrounding us, covering us, filling us up.

But it’s easy for us to let life’s circumstances draw us away from God’s presence. After all, when the hot water heater breaks and leaks all over the floor, it’s understandable that we might be focused on water around our ankles and forget the Spirit of God that we don’t see is right there with us.

Let’s say something like that happens. And even though we’re surrounded by crisis, when we know that God sees, has a plan, knows what we need, and wants better for us, we can take a moment to rest in his presence that is there even when we think we might drown. Let him send rescue. Remember that he wants to take us out of misery and give us more. Ask him for instructions.

So, what burning bush has he sent your way lately?

What Is Evil?


There are some things we would all agree with as being the epitome of evil. Serial killing, sex trafficking, murdering the innocent and helpless, and vicious brutality would all be in the category of “evil.”

But what if some work of the devil is much more subtle? What if we tolerate or even participate without even realizing that what we are thinking, doing, or accepting is actually evil?

In the book of Acts in the Bible, in the fourteenth chapter, we can see some of these subtleties of evil in Luke’s account of the apostles’ journeys and activities. It tells of how Paul and Barnabus were teaching in the Jewish synagogue—a place we would consider peaceful and full of kindness—and many people were encouraged and believed what they taught.

But then there were those who acted badly, and eventually, even viciously.

Here’s how we know they were being used of Satan to subtly perpetrate evil.

  • They refused to believe. Everyone can choose to believe or not. God doesn’t force anyone to receive his love. But the word “refused” reveals a heart of rebellion, not simply disinterest.
  • They stirred up the crowd. Specifically, they targeted the Gentiles who were different than them. Can anyone say “racism?” They were causing distrust and doubt among people groups.
  • They poisoned people’s minds against their brothers. We’re not talking siblings here, but other members of the same group of people being turned against each other. Sowing dissension, division, and hatred.
  • They plotted to mistreat the men who were teaching. It’s interesting that the people plotting were from both groups—a portion of the Jews and Gentiles came together to cause harm together.
  • They attracted people from other towns to create a mob. Then this mob stoned Paul and left him for dead.

Sound like anything we’ve seen or heard of lately?

Here’s the thing about what Paul and Barnabus were doing. It was all good. No one was forced to agree with them or believe what they taught. They simply shared what they knew—what they had experienced for themselves.

No threats. No violence.

The Bible says they:

  • Spoke effectively.
  • Spent considerable time with the people.
  • Confirmed their message with miracles.
  • Ran away from trouble.
  • Healed a crippled man.
  • Were humble and never claimed to be any better than any other person.
  • Spoke of God’s kindness, provision, and joy.
  • Strengthened and encouraged people.
  • Prayed for people.

Hmm…

It seems pretty clear when it’s examined like that, doesn’t it?

Maybe there are four groups of people.

Some may, for whatever reason, choose to perpetrate evil acts. Others may subtly, in their hearts, refuse any message of good and therefore create hatred. Perhaps there are those, who without realizing it, are sowing seeds of dissension and division, setting brother against each other—or by their participation are allowing it.

The last group are those who choose love and kindness. They show grace for others and speak truth in love with acceptance. Sometimes that may mean not to speak at all or to speak about something encouraging and hopeful. Changing the subject can be a loving strategy.

Tolerance and acceptance doesn’t mean ignoring and allowing evil.

We can accept that everyone has a choice to believe what they want, and we can honor them by not demanding they agree with our choices. But if someone chooses to act in a way that will harm another, we can also step in and take action to protect. Not to defend our position, but certainly to defend someone’s life.

Paul chose to return to the people even after they stoned him. He claimed that we would endure hardship for the kingdom of God and was willing to put his life on the line.

So, where are we? In which group do we find ourselves?

Is it possible that we are ignorantly participating in evil without realizing it or considering the cost?

Or are we loving people and showing them kindness? The Bible says it’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4), and that the anger of man will not bring about the righteousness of God (James 1:20). How are we doing with that?

The disciples were able to live showing kindness to others while they shared their testimony of what they’d seen and heard because they were filled with the Holy Spirit and joy.

I want to be like them. Like Jesus.

How about you?

The Joy Set Before Him


“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2-3

It was for us, you and me, that Jesus endured the cross and rose again to life. Because of his sacrifice, we can be in relationship with the living God now in these last days on earth and forever in heaven. Never underestimate the power of his love and grace for us. No matter where we’ve been, what we’ve done, or who we think we are or aren’t, God created us, has a plan for us, and redeemed us through Jesus.

All we have to do is say “Yes. I want that relationship. I’m sorry for going my own way. Thank you, Jesus.”