A Friend in Heaven

Here are a few lovely thoughts from the inspirational Bishop of Liverpool, John Charles Ryle based upon John 11 where Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the grave:

• You have a friend in heaven of almighty power and boundless love who weeps with those who weep.
• You are thought of, cared for, provided for, and defended by God’s eternal Son. You have an unfailing Protector, who never slumbers or sleeps, and watches continually over you.
• You are a “friend of Jesus Christ” even after you die! The friendships of this world are often fair-weather friendships and fail us like summer-dried fountains, when our need is the greatest; but the friendship of the Son of God is stronger than death and goes beyond the grave. The Friend of sinners is a Friend who sticks closer than any brother or sister ever can.
– Adapted from J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of John

Overcoming the Violent Tyranny of Death – John 11:17-44

In John’s narrative of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, a gnawing statement surfaces not once, twice, but three times. “Jesus, if you’d been here, this would not have happened!” Couldn’t Jesus have prevented the death of his friend, Lazarus? The neighbors mumble: “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” (John 11:37). Could he not have prevented all this horrible pain and heartache we see in front of us? Mary and Martha both lament Jesus’ delay in coming to heal their brother.

Dios Escondido! Literally, “A Hidden God!” At times God does seems so hidden that it appears that He doesn’t care at all. The world seems so inhospitable. Despair is a natural result of divine hiddenness. What are you presently enduring and you are wondering why God seems hidden… silent to your cry for help?

In the Gospel of John, chapter 11, we notice three things about Jesus: We have a Savior who challenges our faith, who shares our grief, and who triumphs over the violent tyranny of death!

  • A Savior who challenges our faith (vv.17-27)

How does he challenge Mary and Martha’s faith? Two primary ways. Jesus initially appears indifferent and unconcerned about the violent tyranny of death.

He challenges their faith by His scandalous delay… (vv.15 and 40).  It leads to greater blessing. “I was not there so that you may believe.” “To see the glory of God”

He challenges their faith by His outrageous claim (v.25-26). That the life that comes through believing in Christ is not interrupted by physical death.

Two groups of believers are mentioned here.

First, “He who believes in me, though he dies…” Here Jesus refers to those who have already died. What about those who have died, those whose bodies are now dissolving in the dust? All of us have relatives and dear ones who are in that category. This is a word of hope addressed to those left behind: “He who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live.”

D. L. Moody once said, “One day you will hear that D. L. Moody of Northfield, Massachusetts is dead. Don’t you believe it! In that day I will be more alive than I have ever been before.” That is what Jesus is saying here: “Though he dies [death seizes someone you love], if he believes in me, yet shall he be living.” What a hope that brings!

Then the second group: “Whoever lives and believes in me…” That is talking about us. We are not dead; we have not yet passed from this earthly scene; what about our future? The word of Jesus to us is, “Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.” Actually the Greek phrasing here is very strong. It literally says, “He will never, ever die forever.” He will pass from this scene, yes, through what to all appearances looks like death, but there will be no darkness, no loneliness, no separation; he will pass immediately into life.

Why does Jesus do this? – Two purposes… The stated purpose of Lazarus’ sickness – to reveal God’s glory (vv.4, 40). God’s glory is thus seen in his victory over death–indeed, it is “possible only through death–first the death of Lazarus, and then the death of Jesus himself!”

To stimulate faith in His followers – Martha’s confession (vv.14, 27)

What do I need to confess?  Our tendency to doubt and challenge Jesus and His plans and ways.  “If you would have been here, this would not have happened.”  Remember the lament of Frodo in the Lord of the Rings:  “I wish the ring had never come to me.”

  • A Savior who shares our grief (vv.32-37).

Jesus rails against the violent tyranny of death and grieves with his friends. He groans because “the violent tyranny of death which had to be overcome stands before His eyes” (Calvin 1959:13).

How does Jesus grieve?  Jesus’ grieves like we grieve. He is  simultaneously mad and sad.Jesus immersed himself in the grief that death brings.

Notice his sharp anger…Verse 33.  He was “deeply moved in spirit” is a word that is associated with a sense of indignation, of anger. It is a word that the Greeks used to describe a horse snorting with anger. Jesus is indignant, he is moved with anger.

See his profound grief.  Verse 35 is the shortest verse in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” However, there surely is a connection between 11:35 (“Jesus wept – burst into tears”) and Rev. 7:17 (“God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes”): because of his tears ours shall be wiped away.

Why?  He is angry at death and saddened with grief. In both cases the reason is the same, namely, his love for his friends. The love of God for us and his wrath toward that which corrupts and destroys us are two sides of a single coin.

He had come for the express purpose of turning their tears into joy.  He wept in sympathy for human sorrow.  He groaned as he beheld the evidences of death’s grim power.  See how he loved him.” I think they misunderstood. It is true Jesus loved Lazarus, but he is not weeping for that. He knows he is on his way to raise him from the dead. He knows that in a few minutes this whole weeping crowd will be transformed into rejoicing people who can hardly believe what has happened; and that Mary and Martha are going to have their dear brother back again in their arms. No, he knows that. He is weeping because he is sharing their heartache.

Can there be anything more beautifully descriptive of the nature of our God than this? He sympathizes with us. It is a precious thing to have someone sympathize with us.

Where do you go in the midst of your pain and grief? In coming to Jesus in the midst of suffering, the sisters provide a model for all believers.

What is the traditional approach to dealing with grief? Stoic, bite your upper lip.  Show no emotions.  What is the liberal approach to dealing with death and grief? It’s a natural thing… the circle of life.  Flippant, casual attitude…NO! Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15 that death is the last enemy that will be destroyed.

What are we to do when our friends and family experience grief like Mary and Martha? Move humbly into the situation not with answers but with God’s presence and with your prayers. Weep with those who weep. Provide a ministry of tears!

He does not sympathize as a spectator who is powerless to do anything to reverse the situation. “Christ does not come to the grave as an idle spectator, but like a agitated wrestler preparing for a contest because the violent tyranny of death which He had to overcome stands before His eyes” (Calvin 1959:13)

  • Our Savior triumphs over the violent tyranny of death by restoring life (v.38-44). He restores our lives.

We read in verse 43: “Jesus called in a loud voice, Lazarus, come out!” At the sound of that voice, the king of terrors at once yielded up his lawful captive, and the insatiable grave gave up its prey. At once “He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes.”

A life which knows no death.  John 8:51 – Anyone who keeps my word will never see death.  He tasted death for us (Hebrews 2:9).

The Irony –  Jesus is the one who gives life. The irony, of course, is that he gives life by giving up his own life on the cross. A further irony is that by giving life to Lazarus, Jesus sets in motion his own death (See John 12)

  • How shall we now live?  So what?

Has what happened to Lazarus physically, happened to you spiritually?  John 5:25 – “An hour is coming and now is…when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear (in faith) will live.”

Have you come to a point where you have and are trusting in Jesus as your resurrection and as your life?  If you do, you will receive the life that is no longer subject to the power of death.  The life that comes through believing in Jesus is not interrupted by physical death.

Faith in Jesus Christ as the resurrection and the life brings freedom from fear, especially our fear of death (cf. Heb 2:14-15). The call to loose Lazarus and let him go picks up “the biblical imagery of `loosing’ for victory over death and the powers of evil.  As such, this story speaks to all Christians bound by the fear of death and, on another level, bound by various sins. The Christian is in union with the one who himself is resurrection and life and if the Son will unloose you (set you free) you will be free indeed!

Prayer: O Father, may your salvation surround us who live and walk under the shadow of death. Draw near to your dying children. By simple faith in your undying grace may they have peace in the hour of their departing. Draw near to those caught up in the rawness of a new grief. Enable them to weep well, free from bitterness or despair.

Empower by Your Spirit all who care for the dying; in hospitals or at home, in a hospice or on a battlefield; give them your quiet strength. Be close to those who fight against untimely death – those who spend their days working for the elimination of cancer, AIDS, and other diseases; the carnage on our highways, and the butchery of warfare. Empower all of Your preachers of the gospel of grace and peace. By your tireless Spirit, may inadequate words take flesh and become powerful agents in helping people to begin living eternal life now. Through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!

Prayer of Supplication and Confession – Easter Sunday

O Mighty Father, the tomb calls forth my adoring wonder,
for it is empty and Christ is risen!
Grant me to be crucified with Christ
that I may live a new life,
for I wish to be dead and buried to sin,
to selfishness, to the world;
that I might not hear the voice of the charmer and be seduced by his lusts.
Purge me from selfishness, pride, the fear of man,
and the desire to be highly esteemed by others.
Grant me to stand with my dying Savior,
to be content to be rejected, and to be willing to hold to unpopular truths.
Grant me more and more of His resurrection life:
may it rule me, may I walk in its power,
and be strengthened through its influence,
through Jesus Christ my resurrected and ascended Lord! Amen.

Sad Hearts Sing – The Walk to Emmaus

Prayer:  O God, open the eyes of our hearts to see You  for who you are today – the risen Savior who conquers all of our enemies.  Renovate our unbelieving hearts so that they burn with devotion and love for our risen Savior and Lord.

I don’t know about you, but  I still get chills every time I read this narrative on Jesus’ walk to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35.  It still amazes me that the first afternoon and early evening of Jesus’ resurrected life was spent with two obscure people.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, hope disappointed assaults our ability to trust the plan and promises of God.  I still remember the pain of our miscarriage in 1991.  The bright hopes of holding a new baby in your arms dashed and destroyed.   I still remember the despair and depression that gripped my heart when job opportunities closed one by one and I was without a ministry assignment for a year in 1996.

What does our Lord do when his follower’s hearts are gripped with despair and discouragement?

  • What does our risen Lord do?  Jesus draws near to his despairing, hopeless people.  Jesus joins his depressed and confused followers on their journey (vv.13-24).

The hopes of Cleopas and the other disciple were dashed and destroyed.  Their hearts were gripped by sadness and gloom. They were disillusioned. We get the impression that these men were discouraged and disappointed because God did not do what they wanted Him to do. That which causes these disciples despair should have been the surest ground of their hope –  the dying of the Lord Jesus. They had expected that Jesus would usher in the Messianic kingdom, and nothing of the sort happened at least for those guided by the eyes of sight and not the eyes of faith!

 

What was their basic problem? They did not know and believe all that the prophets had written about the Messiah. They saw the Messiah as a conquering King, but they did not see Him as a Suffering Servant. As they read the Old Testament, they saw the glory but not the suffering, the crown but not the cross. Like many who would come after the, they were blind to the total message of the Bible… that the cross precedes the crown.

  • Why does he do it?  For what purpose does He draw near? Our living Lord joins us in the journey for two fundamental purposes:  To make Himself known and to renovate our hearts (vv.25-35).

The living Christ reveals Himself for who He is – the Risen Savior who has conquered sin, death, hell and the devil.  How does He make himself known to us? By opening His Word and sharing His table.

He opens the scriptures, for they testify of him.  The expounding of those scriptures which speak of Christ has a direct tendency to warm the hearts of his disciples, both to convert and comfort them.  The crucial function of interpreting the Scriptures is to reveal Christ, His sufferings and glories to follow from all of the Scriptures – Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.

The word of God defined and structured Jesus’ life.  How did Jesus come to understand that he was the Christ?  God whispering in his ear”  No, but by reading the Bible.  He read the O.T. and discovered his identity.  v.27.  All of its parts point to Jesus Christ.

Imagine the greatest Teacher explaining the greatest themes from the greatest Book and bringing the greatest blessings to men’s lives:

Perhaps Jesus started at Genesis 3:15, the first promise of the Redeemer, and traced that promise through the Scriptures. He may have lingered at Genesis 22, which tells of Abraham placing his only beloved son on the altar. Surely He touched on Passover, the levitical sacrifices, the tabernacle ceremonies, the Day of Atonement, the serpent in the wilderness, the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53, and the prophetic messages of Psalms 22 and 69. The key to understanding the Bible is to see Jesus Christ on every page. He did not teach them only doctrine or prophecy; He taught “the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).

Cleopas would have thought about isaiah 53:3-4…Is that the kind of Redeemer we want?

Two things about Jesus in v.26 – It was necessary for the Messiah to SUFFER (TO DIE).  It was necessary for the Messiah to RISE.

What do you have to know to be a Christian?  You have to know that Jesus died and that Jesus rose again and that it is for you.

Why was it necessary for Jesus to suffer?
Because of who you and I are. We are rebels.  Our envy, pride, our using our status and material wealth in improper ways…  our antagonism towards God.   We are not neutral.

Because of God’s demand for justice.  Man’s rebellion against God had to be justly punished.  God’s son could only pay such a high price (Isaiah 53:5-6)  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

Iniquities – wicked actions willingly done.  Trespasses/transgressions – moving and living outside the safe boundaries of God’s law. He had to be perfect to make an adequate and perfect sacrifice for our sins. Only if he died, could he be man’s redeemer.

Because of God’s love for us. The willful rebellion of man… the righteousness judgment of God and the infinite love of God.  It is staggering that God should love sinners.

 

We buy ugly houses.  Totally renovate them and made them beautiful.  That’s you and me.  God buys ugly people with his blood at the cross and he loves us into beauty.  He renovates us at the cost of his own body and blood.  He transformed those who are overwhelmed with iniquity and conforms us into the image of His beauty. It’s the tale as old as time – beauty and the beast.  The only way for the beast to be free of his beastliness is for beauty to love Him unconditionally.

Why was it necessary for him to rise again? Jesus physically rose again to demonstrate God’s victory over death.  Some scholars say that it doesn’t really matter that Jesus rose from the death.  It is a metaphor for new life, the cycle of spring. This type of Easter Bunny Christianity will not rescue you at death’s door. Death is the result of sin in this world and we will only be delivered from its finality and curse through faith in a crucified, risen Savior.

John Updike summarizes it well in his Seven Stanzas of Easter: “Make no mistake: if He rose at all, it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules, reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall.”

Let us not mock God with metaphor and analogy making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of earlier ages. Let us walk through the door.

Jesus physically rose again so that you might experience new life now. Their hearts burned. They enjoyed real fellowship and communion with the living God. They finally experienced joy in the midst of their sorrows.

He meets them at his table and is revealed to them in the breaking of bread. Blessed art thou O God.  Maybe they saw the nail marks in his hands.  When the bread was broken.

 

  • What are the results? There are at least four results…

Obstructed eyes are opened. Jesus is alive and He is right here with us.  The reference to their eyes is reminiscent of the correlation of sight with understanding, faith, and salvation.  Luke 1:78-79; 2:30; 6:39-42; 10:23; 11:34; 18:35-42; 19:42; 4:18-19.

Slow hearts are turned into burning hearts.  There is a complete reversal of emotions.   Unbelieving, obtuse people are made to burn in devotion for Christ. How frequently I have been slow of heart of believe the promises of the Lord in His Word!  I have failed frequently in orienting myself fully around Jesus’ teaching.

Gospel Community – A fractured community is drawn back together. When the women’s testimony to the resurrection is dismissed by the disciples, fractures begin developing in their company.  They all begin to drift away from their high hopes and the community of discipleship. Cleopas and his friend return to the community of disciples to bear witness to Jesus’ resurrection.

Gospel Communication – Bold witnesses – It is the duty of those to whom Christ has revealed himself to let others know what he has done for their souls. Notes what the two men do after their encounter with the risen Christ. When you are converted, instructed, comforted, you go and strengthen your brothers.

 

 

How are Christ’s followers prepared to be his witnesses of all these things?  Possibility (vv.1-12) gives way to probability (13-35)  and probability to actuality (vv.36-49) and then to resolution (vv.50-53).

Even in death the righteous have a refuge

Proverbs 14:32 reads: “When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.”

“The wise man of Proverbs saw beyond this dying world; and caught the sunbeams of glory brought to light by the Gospel!’ — Charles Bridges

2 Timothy 1:10b – “Our Savior, Christ Jesus, has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Learning Faith in a Risen Savior from a Doubter like Me

In First Person: Doubting Thomas is synonymous with one who refuses to believe something without direct, personal evidence. Doubting Thomas now serves as a succinct way to describe a skeptic. I’m sad about that because I am Doubting Thomas. My name is Aramaic and it means twin. You might read about me in the New Testament and hear my Greek name – Didymus. Some people call me the Great Apostle to the Parthenians or the Missionary to India, but honestly I would rather be called Doubting Thomas. It reminds me of God’s amazing and sovereign grace in stooping to rescue me and grant saving faith to a doubter like myself. May I tell you a bit of my story.

I grew up a commercial fisherman around the Sea of Galilee. Jesus, a carpenter turned preacher from Nazareth, came to Capernaum and challenged me and several of my friends to become His disciples. For three years I followed – I was a loyal, outspoken, courageous and oftentimes a rather pessimistic follower of Jesus, but nonetheless I was closely attached to Jesus who loved me in spite of myself.

DOUBTING THOMAS: The day my world fell apart.

We had just finished a very moving Passover seder and we retreated to our normal place for evening prayer – the Garden of Gethsemane. It’s usually a very quite, peaceful place. Not that night. All of sudden there were torches, swords, and soldiers. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was Judas betrayed our Lord with a kiss. The soldiers grabbed Jesus and whisked him away. Fear overcame me and I fled trying to save my skin. Our worst nightmares became reality on Friday. I watched at a distance as they spiked Jesus to a cross on the Roman killing grounds of Golgotha . As Jesus’ life drained away, so did all of my hopes and dreams. Maybe some of you here today have personally experienced the shock into which intense grief plummets you, like it did me on that Friday long ago. The next days are a blur. On Sunday I was so disillusioned and full of despair that I just couldn’t bring myself to gather with my friends for our evening meal.

Monday morning, the disciples came barreling into my house: “Thomas, we were in the upper room. We locked the doors for protection. Yet, all of a sudden, Jesus appeared saying ‘Peace, Shalom.’ Then he showed us his hands. There were scars where the nails had been. He pulled back his tunic and showed us where the spear penetrated his side. But he wasn’t weak or sick or dying. He was alive. Jesus is risen from the dead!”

“I don’t believe it.” “I don’t believe a word of it. You’re hallucinating and seeing only what you want to see. Jesus is dead. I saw him die. Guys, he’s dead, and the sooner you accept that fact, the better off you’ll be. Give it up!” Peter pleaded with me. “Thomas, I saw him myself, I tell you, and he was as real as you are!”

With an edgy, icy, cynical, angry, unbelieving tone:  I emphatically said: “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” But over the next week my anger, despair, and disillusionment subsided. My life was about the change in an incredible way.

Transition: I was on the road to a despairing, cynical unbelief but Jesus rescued me. Let me tell you about the night when Jesus challenged me to “stop becoming an unbeliever and become a believer.”

THOMAS THE BELIEVER: The day my life changed forever. – It was Sunday night – one week after Jesus’ purported resurrection. I was eating with my friends in the same locked room. Suddenly, Jesus stood among us and greeted us, “Shalom, peace be with you.”

All the blood drained from my face. For a minute I thought I was going to faint. Jesus turned to me and spoke without any hint of ill will or frustration, “Put your finger here, see my hands.” Jesus holds out his scarred hands for me to examine. I initially recoil and step back. Jesus begins to open his outer garment and says, “Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Then, Jesus reaches out and put a hand on my shoulder. Then all I could do was fall on my knees and proclaim, “My Lord and my God!”

What are the practical Implications from my life? What can you learn from a doubter like me? 

What was it about Jesus that dissolved my doubts into a living, vibrant faith in my Lord? Basically five things: What I saw, what I heard, what I said, what I didn’t do and what I did.

WHAT I SAW – Oh the remarkable evidence that our Lord supplied us of His resurrection. He graciously appealed to our senses. He showed us “His hands and His side.” He exhorted us to see and test that he had a real body and was not just a disembodied spirit. “Handle Me and see,” were His words, — a spirit has not flesh and bone, as you see Me have.”

WHAT I HEARD – The way He spoke to us upon His resurrection. “Peace” and not blame—“peace” and not fault-finding—“peace” and not rebuke–was the first word which I heard from my Master’s lips after His resurrection. He could have rebuked me sharply, but he dealt very gently with me. My life is a testimony to how kind and merciful Christ is to those who doubt. Jesus bears with the infirmities of all His people. How do you respond to people when their faith is feeble and their love is cold?

Remember my case and be compassionate and tender. Our Lord has many weak children in His family, many dull pupils in His school, many raw soldiers in His army, many lame sheep in His flock. Yet He bears with them all, and casts none away. Happy is that Christian who has learned to deal likewise with his brothers.

Secondly, it was absolutely startling to hear Jesus quote my very words. Jesus challenged me to take the test that I had suggested.

WHAT I SAID.  Don’t miss the lesson I learned that day: Jesus did not rebuke me or prohibit me from calling him God.  For me, the bodily resurrection of Jesus proved His divinity. The Apostle Paul would say to you this day of resurrection: Christ Jesus… “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.”

Some claim that my confession of faith is the greatest recorded in the Bible. However, you need to know that my confession was weak in that it depended on sight. Remember Jesus words to me, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Faith which results from seeing is good; but faith which results from hearing is more excellent. Blessing is promised to those who come to faith without the aid of sight. The Apostle Peter writes in I Peter 1:8-9: “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Have you personally believed? Have you come to a place in your life where you call Jesus your Lord and your God? Faith is not taking a blind leap in the dark. I come to you this morning as an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus. My own skepticism and unbelief ought to serve as testimony that the resurrection of Jesus was not an illusion induced by wishful thinking. IT HAPPENED.

Why does it matter? We daily rest our sinful souls on Christ alone with confidence, as one who is perfect man as well as perfect God. He is man, and therefore can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He is God, and therefore is “able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him.” Those of you who look to Jesus by faith, and can say with me, “My Lord and my God” have no cause for fear in this life or the next.

WHAT I DIDN’T DO. I was absent the first time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, and consequently I missed a blessing. Mark well how much Christians may lose by not regularly attending the public assemblies of God’s people. I was shut out in the cold chill of unbelief, while others were warmed and filled with an encounter with the resurrected, living Christ.

We shall all do well to remember the charge of the Apostle Paul—to not “Forsake our own assembling together, as is the manner of some.” (Heb. 10:25.) The very assembly for prayer and praise from which we stay away, may be the very gathering that would have cheered, established, and relieved our burdened hearts. My life stands as a testimony to this fact!

WHAT I DID. I WENT OUT FOR THE SAKE OF HIS NAME. The inspiring commission which our Lord conferred upon us. When you’ve got good news, you’ve gotta tell somebody. We heeded Jesus’ last command – to make disciples of all ethnic groups. By God’s grace, I first went to reach the Parthenians – most notably the present-day countries of Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Ultimately, I was sent to the great country of India. In 52 AD, I began preaching Christ, establishing churches, and winning to Christ the Brahmins of India. Many have since followed in my train: William Carey, the father of Modern missions heeded God’s call to India and said: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God”, Francis Xavier “Tell the students to give up their small ambitions and come eastward to preach the gospel of Christ.” – Henry Martyn – “The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.”, and Amy Carmichael – “You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving.”

Jesus had told us not to be afraid of those who can kill the body. For me personally, My day came to hold onto this promise of His. It was off the east coast of India. In the year 72 AD near present-day Madras, I was thrown into a pit, then pierced through with a spear thrown by a Brahmin. You say, wow what a sacrifice!

Have you seen your hopes and dreams destroyed lately? Are you being tempted to doubt God’s provision, God’s goodness and God’s plan? Take a cue from my life:

I was a bruised reed that Jesus didn’t break. He snatched me from the fires of despair and unbelief. He wants to do the same for you!