Conviction Takes Courage – Because Jesus Said So

Today’s reading is Acts 23.  During the previous chapters, Paul was on his journey to evangelize Christianity and spread the Gospel to the Gentiles.  In chapter 21, Paul was urged by the disciplines not to travel to Jerusalem due to the danger he would be in.  Paul was convicted and knew he needed to go there.  Paul was eventually arrested in Jerusalem for taking Greeks into the temple and was attacked by a Jewish mob.  Chapter 23 brings us to Paul’s trial before the Sanhedrin, where he is professing his belief in the Risen Christ, and he is not backing down.   The Sanhedrin wanted Paul to be punished and likely, put to death.

The verses take us through the story where a group of Jews banded together and set a plot to kill Paul. As a point to remember, Paul was a Jew, a Roman citizen, and a Pharisee.  He was well known and connected.

In the book of Mark, he provided direct insight from Jesus about the persecution and future struggles of those who would spread Christianity.

In Mark 13-9-11, Jesus said the following:

9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to the councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues.  You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for the testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”

In many parts of the world today, Christians are still persecuted and murdered for their faith.  Although we might not face the threat of death in our day-to-day life, the conviction of living by Christ’s Word can be a challenge. Many times, Christians are judged harshly for holding strong convictions and beliefs.  Neighbors, friends, and even family may ostracize you because they do not like or agree with your beliefs.   Maybe you don’t get invited to parties, co-workers avoid you, or perhaps being a Christian feels lonely.

We can be assured that although we will endure struggles in this world, Christ is with us.  Christ is with us in the moments we are being challenged and will provide us the courage and words to stand by our convictions.  The “difficult road” is to live a life according to the Gospel, yet we will endure persecution and strife.

Some great verses to remind us of Christ’s presence in our lives.

James 1:2-4 When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

1 Peter 1:6-7 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Paul was ultimately saved and sent away from the mob who wanted to kill him.  While Paul was being held captive, Christ came to Paul and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”

Christ is with us also and encourages us to continue the fight to spread His Gospel, and most importantly defend the teachings and guidance in the Bible.  Because we disagree with someone based on Biblical guidance or reference does not mean we are hateful, discriminatory, or hostile.  We can deliver the message and teachings of Jesus with a kind word and compassionate heart.  Standing by our convictions and beliefs may lead to more difficult situations, uncomfortable conversations, and perhaps increased sacrifice.  But we can know with our whole heart that God will provide solace and rest for us in those moments.  We can stand tall with conviction and know that our God is with us.

Persecuted

As I read Acts 22 I thought about how all of the disciples during this time period suffered persecution but, the types of persecution Paul suffered were second worst only to what Jesus suffered. The extreme persecution Paul would face was revealed to Ananias when he questioned Jesus about restoring Paul’s sight. There are many parallels between Jesus’s and Paul’s sufferings. They both knew before going to Jerusalem that there was a high probability they would die. They were courageous and willing to do God’s will despite the consequences. Both had the entire city of Jerusalem in an uproar. The Jews conspired to have them both killed. Both were handed over to the Gentiles. They both faced hostile crowds calling for their death.

It’s easy to identify when we’ve been persecuted, other people dislike us, their paranoid or jealous. How quickly do I identify my wrongful persecution towards others because of my dislike of them, I’m jealous or critical of them? For the most part, my persecution is done in secret within my heart, sometimes I catch my attitude after it’s already started down that road and I have to ask myself if I really understand what the other person is saying, what their intent actually is. Sometimes if things don’t look the way I think it should look or sound the way I think it should sound, I’m against it and I think other people are wrong. It’s ok if I don’t agree with others as long as I don’t criticize them. I often have a different opinion than good friends and that’s actually a good thing if everyone can discuss their differences and simply agree to disagree. How many times do different opinions tear relationships apart? I have found that good conversations with people I disagree with can change attitudes about differences. I’ve actually changed my mind about my opinions after good conversations with people who have a different view than me and sometimes, they have changed their views. I  recognize that I’m not always right, ugh.

It’s easy in today’s world to get caught up reacting in worldly ways rather than responding in Godly ways. Today’s world has gone so over the top crazy. It’s acceptance of anything and everything that is against God’s ways and so completely condemning towards anyone who speaks God’s truth. It’s important as we profess truth that we do it out of a heart of love for others, not getting caught up in the hostility that today’s world thrives in.

Not everybody likes truth, they just want life to be whatever they want it to be no matter how right or wrong that is. They don’t understand the chaotic world we would live in if everyone lived with that kind of attitude, however, don’t we see our world and our country, turning more and more that way. The people on this road who speak out against God‘s truth are the ones that speak the loudest, and the world is conforming to their ways. If you speak God’s truth, you’re discriminatory, old fashioned, unloving, hateful, unaccepting of others and your persecuted for believing in God’s truth. It’s going to get worse.

I often hear Christians say that God loves them just the way they are, this is true, but God loves us too much to leave us that way. God will continue to show us His truth and enlighten us to the life He wants us to live, it’s important we are courageous and share that with others, especially those we love the most despite what’s popular. Often times, God’s truth isn’t popular, even in many churches. Be courageous for Christ despite the possible consequences.

He fell from a third story window, and lived.

A man fell asleep while listening to preaching well into the night. Unfortunately this tired guy was sitting near an open window and therefore plummets to the ground and dies. The great news is God had a different plan for him and also for a good friend of mine!

On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight. As Paul spoke on and on, a young man named Eutychus, sitting on the windowsill, became very drowsy. Finally, he fell sound asleep and dropped three stories to his death below. 10 Paul went down, bent over him, and took him into his arms. “Don’t worry,” he said, “he’s alive!” 12 Meanwhile, the young man was taken home alive and well, and everyone was greatly relieved. (Acts 20:7, 9-10, 12)

One of the recent and beautiful answers to prayer this year has been meeting our brother and sister in Christ, Blake and Meggan Panzino and their three amazing boys. Blake has a fascinating and almost unbelievable story similar to Eutychus. But again, God had a different plan! Blake is taking over the remainder of the post for today. Thank you Blake for sharing your story with us!

As a new follower of Christ I was on fire for the Lord. I would spend hours studying the Bible, it was as if every word was speaking directly to me… And then I read about Eutychus.

I was also only a few years removed from sleepwalking out of a 3rd story window. My life was saved that day for the first time and then again a few years later when a friend shared the glory of the gospel!

During my recovery from that fall I felt a gentle tug at my heart but I resisted.

On the surface I could point to the ever present pride and ego raging throughout my body, that was definitely part of it. My misunderstanding of the gospel played a part as well. When I focus harder though there was an even greater block to me accepting my salvation… I didn’t think I was worthy. I didn’t think a sinner like me could ever be pure enough to come before the throne.

I had to put down the preconceived notions of a rule book meant to keep me from “fun” in order to see that he was calling me to a life more abundant than I could ever have planned for myself.

What does your calling look like? Sometimes its indirect and sometimes it is quite literally your story verbatim.

God wants more for us. Your wake up call may not resemble a 30 foot fall out of a window (it might) but what is it? How is he calling you? How are you responding? With pride and arrogance thinking your way will lead to favor? Or humbly submitting and recognizing that you can’t do this on your own strength?

Today’s reading: Acts 20-21

Acts 19

Today’s reading:  Acts 19

Have you ever been in a situation where you think someone is going to ask you to explain or defend your theological beliefs?  I have shied away from those conversations many times out of fear I don’t know enough or will say the wrong thing.  Rather than draw others to Jesus, I have been afraid I will turn others away from him because I say the wrong thing or completely confuse them with explanations that make no sense.

I love how our pastor Mike Baker usually describes his response to people when they ask him to opine on a hot topic.  When asked, “what do you think about…”, his response is always, “Why do you care what I think?  Let’s see what God has to say about the topic.”

The apostle Paul was known for his willingness to take on any subject with anyone.  Paul’s third missionary journey, as described in Acts 19, was no exception.  Check out these examples.

The chapter begins with Paul meeting up with a group of “disciples” in Ephesus.  Right off the bat, he asks them if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed (verse 2).   Why in the world would Paul lead with this question?  Did the actions of these men cast a doubt on whether they were really Chrisfollowers, or had someone tipped off Paul to their questionable theology?  I’m not sure, but I’m positive I would never have “picked that scab.”  I would have been way too fearful that my question would have been greeted with a counter-challenge that I was ill-prepared to address.  Turns out, Paul’s question led the group to discover they knew about John the Baptist, but didn’t really know about Christ or the Holy Spirit. When Paul shared the gospel message and challenged them to put their trust in Christ, they were quick to accept and be baptized.  As Paul prayed over them, they received the Holy Spirit.

If Paul wouldn’t have been bold enough to ask the question, these men may have never put their faith in Jesus Christ.

Jump forward to verse 23.  Craftsmen in Ephesus made their living making various idols, gods and shrines to the Greek goddess Artemis.  Paul had gone on record stating that gods made by human hands were/are no gods at all.  This caused riots in the city not only because it challenged the religious beliefs of the Ephesians, but also because it threatened their livelihood.

And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all (Acts 19:26).

If Paul wouldn’t have been bold enough to speak the truth and risk offending Ephesian business men (which he did), large numbers of people in Ephesus and the province of Asia may have never come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Just like God used Paul to share the gospel message and lead others to faith in Jesus in the first century, God still works through us to lead others to faith in Jesus in the 21st century.  But we must be faithful to our calling.  When we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit and are filled with his presence and power, God does amazing things.  Be bold!

 

 

Don’t Be Afraid

One night, the Lord spoke to Paul in a supernatural vision and said, “Don’t ever be afraid. Speak the words that I give you and don’t be intimidated, because I am with you. No one will be able to hurt you, for there are many in this city whom I call my own.”
Acts 18:9-10

Acts 18 reminds us that Paul is a real person.  It is easy to read stories about him and put him on a pedestal. But, today’s reading reminds us that he is probably more like you and me than we think.

Paul was now in Corinth, one of Greece’s largest and most prosperous cities. He first took his message to the Jews in the synagogue, but they rejected his preaching and abused him. Paul responded by shaking his cloak out at them. He then took his message to the Gentiles. He has faced much opposition to this point.

We do not read any details as to what Paul may be feeling, but when the Lord speaks to him in verses 8 and 9, we get insight into what he might be experiencing. It says in the verse above that Paul experienced a vision. This must mean that Paul was not sleeping, but probably up during the night agonizing over the repeated frustrations he continued to experience as he preached the gospel. Paul hears God tell him four things:

1) “Do not be afraid,”
2) “Speak, and do not keep silent,”
3) “I am with you,”
4) “No one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”

After receiving this vision from God, Paul stayed another 18 months in Corinth. We can take refuge in the realization that God reminded Paul that He was with him even in his turmoil.

God knows where we are and what we are facing. He even knows the future problems that we will face, but He asks us to persevere and encourages us just as he did with Paul.

Mars Hill

Athens was a city that was spiritually lost.  As I read about the city of Athens and the Athenian council called Areopagus, I read how, at this time that Paul was on a second missionary journey where there were around 10,000 people.  The hard part to believe was there were twice as many idols as there were people.

16 While Paul was waiting in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. (Acts 17:16-18)

Paul is amazing.  He is brave. He saw the situation he was surrounded by and took action.  Paul inspires me to want to draw closer to God.  In our world that have idols surrounding us always.  I’m convicted and repent for the times I take my eyes off God and focus on the idols of the world.

The Lord was able to show Saul what a genuine relationship is with the only true God we have.  Paul did not hold back the truth.  There are moments when we need this ourselves.  Often we need, even though it is not always warm and fuzzy, to have accountability partners.  After Saul, who was living life for himself, became Paul, who then lived his life for Christ, he understood God’s purpose for his life.

Eternal life will not be measured by the length of time; the quality will measure it. Paul saw a need and said something. I’m sure there were mixed reviews.  Some kept following idols.  Some found eternal life that day.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” (Acts 17:24-25)

I pray that we will all draw closer to the Lord this week.  That we will grow in our love and knowledge of Him so that when we are standing on the hill, we can share the gift of eternal life.  We can set aside the idols of the world and look to the one who is standing by our side always.

Jeremiah 9:23-24

23 This is what the Lord says: ”

Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

Live eternally today.

 

No condemnation

Today’s Reading: Acts 15 and 16
Over the last couple years, Jillian and I have made time for our kids on Friday nights with a movie night. One of the most recent movie nights we chose the movie “The bridge to Terabithia“. I had seen this movie several years ago and we’ve read the book as well. But when you’re seeing it with your children again, you see it with different eyes. The book and the movie tells a story about a friendship and relationship between a new girl, Leslie, at school and an outcast boy, Jesse. Throughout the course of the story, they become really good friends. At one point in the story the young girl asked to go to church with a family of her new friend.
Leslie’s experience from the church experience was jubilant and excited she was so excited about hearing the gospel of Jesus. But in the same moment the Jesse’s sister tells Leslie that if she didn’t believe a certain way that she would be “Damned to Hell“. But the Leslie how couldn’t believe a loving God be could be so condemning. !!!Warning spoiler alert!!!!!As the story progress. The girl has an accidental death not long after her visit to church. And the boy is heartbroken and questions will she go to heaven or hell since she didn’t have a relationship with Jesus.
This revelation was a hard revelation to see with the kids in this movie. The kids asked how did the child die? They asked what was going to happen to her? And I had to reassure them that she was going to be OK. They have a solid foundation in Christ and we have had several times that someone in our lives have died and transitioned to the eternal life.
This week’s reading in Acts 15 and 16 highlights some very critical perspectives that we have in the church. This interaction in the first chapter brings Paul and Peter together.
Acts15:1-2;7-11

But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.
And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
This interaction shows how some mentalities or perspectives are about condemnation or about punishment. But both of them Peter and Paul wants to show the compassion of Christ not condemnation of the spirit. In this particular situation we are shown compassion and love of Christ that we should share the gospel with everybody no matter what. There are no stipulations that we need to enforce in order to share the gospel of Christ. We don’t have to go to the old ways of connecting with God. We have a new mediator through Christ to intercede for us on our behalf. We don’t have to fear anymore about condemnation because when we accept Christ at any point in our journey on this earth: birth, life or death; Jesus will accept us without any stipulations. He loves us unconditionally.
In the second story we are also shown how Christ interceding for us does not promote condemnation. Christ longs for compassion a relationship with us.
Acts 16: 25-30

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer[e] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

In the second chapter we are presented with Lydia and the officer in the jail. Christ could have allowed Paul to escape with the guard killing himself. But Christ gave compassion to Paul and to the officer. By showing his compassion he actually saved the all the prisoners and the guard and the guard’s family. In the compassion of Christ we see how the relationships are built and how they can grow. But when we focus on the condemnation of people this stops our relationships, that stops progression, that stops love.
In the these scenarios we are not to see how condemnation will bring Christ to us, but we are shown the compassion of Christ in some of the most tense intense times in the new church. We have this same spirit that Paul and Peter had during this first church. The Holy Spirit that allows us to be compassionate to one another over rules any of the potential condemnation of our past. No matter where we are in our life we can always come back to Christ. He is such a Benevolent father that he continuously wipes away all of our sins and all of our hurts, and all of our pains, and wants to give us love and compassion. If he can do this and we are in him we have to work diligently to give more compassion than condemnation.
Be blessed

First Missionary Journey

When you face opposition what do you do? I’ll be honest, my first response is to give up!

Today’s reading in Acts 14, encourages us to continue to Go and do what God has called us to do.  Even when it gets harder than we could have imagined!

During this first missionary trip, Paul and Barnabas went to the town of Lystra. Here, they healed a man who had not ever been able to walk. The crowd who witnessed this miracle thought Paul and Barnabas were gods in human form. They brought bulls and wreaths to offer sacrifices to them. Paul and Barnabas attempted to redirect their praise to God, but the crowd did not relent.

The crowd got so riled up that they began to stone Paul. Believing he was dead, they dragged him outside the city. When the disciples gathered around him, Paul got up and went back inside the city.
I am pretty sure that I might have walked in the other direction, not back into the scene of angry people. After he went back into the city, the next day they left for Derbe.

After preaching the wonderful news of the gospel there and winning a large number of followers to Jesus, they retraced their steps and revisited Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. At each place they went, they strengthened the lives of believers and encouraged them to go deeper in their faith.
Acts 14:21-22

Once again, after the stoning, Paul continues on his journey and encourages the people to remain true to the faith. Paul doesn’t get mad at God, he continues serving Christ. He does not even complain. He just keeps on doing what God has called him to do – preach the Gospel.

The Gospel message has not changed, and the numbers of people who need to hear the Gospel are still beyond our ability to reach. We have a responsibility to continue the message just as Paul and Barnabas had. We also can expect rejection. But, it is the message of the Gospel that is rejected, not us. May we be as bold and brave as Paul, to continue to get up and spread the message of Jesus to others, no matter the consequences. We are to be the salt and light to the world.

Now wherever you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19

Setting Off

Good morning. Happy Friday! How has Satan been trying to get in your way of sharing God this week?

A bit strong to start off with? Yeah, probably. But after hearing a message from the past Sunday from Ephesians 6 on the frank reality of spiritual warfare, that question has been shaping my perception of some of my usual behaviors and actions. And in reading Acts 13, I think this chapter gives a clear warning of what we’re up against sharing the word of God, but how much that pales to the empowerment and encouragement Christ blesses upon those who heed His command. 

Acts 13 is an important turning point in the mission of spreading the Gospel, when Paul and Barnabas are first sent by God into the Gentile world to grow the church, and Christ’s Great Commission in Matthew 28 begins springing to action. Not surprisingly, they encounter literal practitioners of evil opposing them in cities built around sin and temptation. More surprisingly, when sharing the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles who rush in to hear and accept the spirit, certain Synagogue members grow jealous of their influence, trash the Gospel and their Savior these men spoke of, and drive them out of town. I’m sure these roadblocks would have been insurmountable for men of weaker faith, but these two quite literally shake it off and soldier on.

It should not surprise us that from the very beginning of the church sharing Jesus’s name to the outside world, Satan has been closely behind, spreading doubt, jealousy, anger, and all sorts of guilty reactions to man’s own sin, both in the hearts of unbelievers, and in those of unprepared or unwary believers. If you’ve ever felt nervous in a situation where you’re able to share the Gospel with someone who may react very poorly; if you’ve felt embarrassment or shame at the outcome or method of sharing the Gospel; maybe even envy or jealousy of the works of other Christians: then maybe you’ve experienced firsthand how Satan tries to discourage & tear down believers. He has to, because there’s nothing more dangerous to Satan’s power than the name and the message of Jesus Christ.

How do we combat this? Well, circling back to Ephesians 6:10: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Paul and Barnabas were blessed with this strength through whole-hearted learning, genuine devotion & commitment to the Word, and sharing in prayer (James 5:16: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”). Thanks to the armor and strength of God, Paul was able to share an amazing message to the Gentiles in Antioch in this passage, sharing in the hope of salvation and promise of eternal life with many who hadn’t known of it. In our daily life, this rings true as well: we have so many opportunities to share an incredible message with the world. But if we have not spiritually prepared and lifted the sword and shield of the Lord’s word beforehand, Satan can and will try to keep that from happening with all his might.

I am thankful today that despite all Satan’s best attempts, Scripture has already ordained and God has already guaranteed His victory for us over death. I pray for vigilance and deliverance from the very immediate threat of the Deceiver attempting to separate us from God’s love and doubt our ability to do good works in His name; to find strength in Christ to overcome any obstacle in sharing this love with others; and for wisdom to discern truth from lies, good from evil, and Godly things from wicked traps. And most of all, I pray for haste for the day when Satan is cast aside and nothing keeps us from our dwelling place with God.

Do You Believe God Still Does the “Supernatural” today?

Today’s reading is Acts 11-12.

In these chapters we see what I will call the following “supernatural” events….

  • Jesus speaking to Peter in a dream and showing him a vision making certain foods now clean to eat and also representing that forgiveness is possible for Gentiles, not only Jews, through repentance and belief in Jesus.
  • A man declaring an angel had appeared to him to tell them to go to Joppa to get Peter who would give them a message to help their family be saved.
  • A prophet Agabus accurately telling of a future famine.
  • An angel freeing Peter from prison.
  • Herod being struck down and being eaten by worms because he did not give glory to God.

Where do you draw the line in what “supernatural” things God still does today? Do you believe angels still appear delivering messages and even physically helping people today? Do you still believe Jesus appears to people or that people hear the audible voice of God? Do you believe real prophets still deliver messages God gave them (I’m not talking about psychic call lines)?

I find most Christians, including myself, likely believe some of these things still happen today, but for some reason may question others. If someone told you one of these things happened to them today, you would either think the person was completely nuts, it was just a coincidence, they were dreaming, or they just imagined something?

In 2019, I was struggling to make a decision if I was going to step down from my role as a Managing Director and solely focus on financial planning for clients. In fact, I had been struggling for years with this decision. In September of 2019 I made the decision, although I still wondered if it was right and what the future would hold. I told our Managing Partner my decision and drove back from Champaign to meet with one our new advisors I was coaching. He proceeded to tell me that he normally doesn’t tell people this (because many would think he was crazy), but God had given him a spiritual gift of prophesy…not in his own life but for the lives of others. He told me that he was praying for me that week and God clearly laid it on his heart that I was going to have some major professional change, although he didn’t know exactly what, and that the change was going to be a great thing for my future. He felt he was supposed to and should tell me this. Because my Managing Partner and I agreed my decision was confidential and would not be made public yet, I some how kept it together until he left my office despite being absolutely blown away. Keep in mind, he would have had absolutely no idea that less than 2 hours previously I told my Managing Partner of my decision. I had told no one except my wife. When he walked out, I broke down and thanked God for delivering that message through him to give me peace and confidence moving forward.

I would say before this I believed in angels helping people, but someone hearing the audible voice of God or prophesying for the future..I wasn’t so sure I believed. But why? If God did those things in the Bible, why not today? Most in the Bible who experienced these events were regular people and some of the worst sinners (take Saul/Paul for example). Does God not have the same power now as then as well? Most Christians believe that God orchestrates seemingly normal events and occurrences for His purpose and plan. But doing “supernatural” things like those listed earlier..c’mon..get real.

I would challenge all of us to reflect on why we may put limits on what God either can or does do still today. Does this also reveal a lack of faith and add more stress, worry, and anxiety because we put limits on what God can and will do today in your life or our world? How would your life be different if you believed God can and still does “supernatural” things like those which occurred in the Bible today? If God did them then… again, why not now?