“Where there is faith” An Introduction – Hebrews 11: 1-40

Faith. It takes faith to have faith. It is a gift from God. You may have faith. Or you may have a kind of faith. Only you know what you mean when you say “faith.” There must be an object of your faith in order to say “faith.”

I have faith. I also have a faith. But there have been times when I have lost faith and no longer had faith in faith. I had placed my faith in people and things which resulted in utter disappointment, faithfully. I no longer have faith in people or things. The tough lessons in life have prevailed.

To have faith, whether in someone or something, belief must proceed it. So to believe is to have faith. You can believe in unbelief too, so it takes faith to not believe as well. Whatever it is you believe, your faith will surely lead.

I believe in God. Therefore, I have faith in God. My faith in God is because I believe in Him.

I only have faith in God our Father. He only and He alone is the object of my faith. And so, my faith will take me where He leads. To have faith in Him means I will follow Him. I have faith in Him until my journey ends. We follow what we believe because we have faith in it.

My father was a young, orphaned boy, growing up in the small town of Bloomington, Texas. He told me that he was wild, undisciplined, and had no structure in his life. During his teen years he was told he would amount to nothing and wind up in prison. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. All the wrong he seemingly was meant for was thwarted by the Marine Corps. After twenty years of service my father retired from the Marine Corps as a Gunnery Sergeant. He was faithful to his country, faithful to the Corps, and faithful to the core. He believed. He had faith in what he believed. Once a Marine, always a Marine. My father exemplified faithfulness. He was faithful to the end.

My father followed what he believed. Belief proceeded faith. Because of his faithfulness I am here today with faith and in faith. So that:

By his faith, I can know the security of the unshaken ground I stand upon.
By his faith, I can know freedom.
By his faith, I cannot know freedom not.
By his faith, I can have life.
By his faith, I can believe.
By his faith, I can have faith.

By his faith I can have faith but not because his faith was imposed upon me. No. But rather as his heir I received the legacy of his faith in service which extended life and freedom to me in order that I can have faith, faith in God the Father. We don’t share each other’s faith in the sense that your faith becomes my faith, and mine becomes yours. No. We come to faith in God individually. By my father’s faithfulness, by my faithfulness, God continues to be faithfully extended throughout the world. We believers in God share God by our faith in Him.

We can’t begin without faith. We can’t remain without faith. We can’t end without faith. In all things, faith, or in some things faith. We are either faithful or unfaithful to whatever we have placed as the object thereof. We can exert faith just as much as we can exert unfaithfulness. So to be partially faithful is to be unfaithful. So to be fully faithful is to be faithful. We are either faithful or unfaithful. To the good and to the bad. To the right and to the wrong. For today, for tomorrow, for never, forever. But, where there is faith, there is faith.

The Word in Motion: Interactive

Who or what is the object of your faith?
How does faith look in the life of a believer?
Are you faithful?
Can you breach faith?
What is the purpose of faith?

Next devotional: 
 Part I
“Where there is faith: The men of old”
Hebrews 11: 1 – 40


Photo credit by the author. Location: Lake Geneva (“Lac Leman”) in Geneva, Switzerland

Copyright 2013 The Word in Motion


“Waiting Wrongly, Waiting Well” – A Conclusion

We can set about our way and therefore get what we want. We think we know better and can go about life dictating our relationships, situations, and thus circumstances. We rush because we are afraid. We have the insatiable appetite to control and get our reward before the time it is due. We fill our spaces with people and things to such an extent we are unable to see clearly. Our vision is cluttered and we lose sight of how to discern that which is in front of us. Waiting becomes confusing and doesn’t make sense to us. It’s like the still of silence. We can’t stand it so we have to break the quietness and fill it with empty chatter.

Example of waiting wrongly:

  • Abraham and Sarah: they waited wrongly initially for the Lord’s timing to fill Sarah’s womb, because they rushed ahead by other means.

Example of waiting well:

  • Ruth: she waited well with Naomi then received Boaz as her husband which led to her being grafted into the lineage of Christ.

Characteristics of waiting-well:

  • God opens the doors so nothing is forced. Don’t force or make things happen. Respond as the situation necessitates so that the door will open easily and smoothly, and not forced or rushed. The difference will more likely indicate whether God’s will is at work or not.
  • Don’t push the moments but wait appropriately for the right moment. Do not try to control or push situations with words or actions. Rather, allow the situation to unfold as it is meant to be. It surely will in time.
  • Keep the situation loosely held until such time God reveals the situation more.  Trust God in His providence and sovereignty. If you are waiting for a relationship to lead to marriage then have the long-term in mind. Such an important decision means you can afford to wait. Wait for each other, and take time to get to know each other. Enjoy each other’s company and grow together. In time all things will reveal the truth if you remain steadfast and prayerfully before the Lord.

Questions to ask yourself in a season of waiting:

  • Are you “ready-ed” and in a situation where you are as prepared as you can be?
  • Is your life in order so that you can welcome what you are waiting for rather than delay it?
  • Is your history cleaned up? Are there things in your life that will deter what you’re waiting for? In other words, is your life currently free from the past and open to the future?
  • Have you allowed your character to be changed by God?
  • Have you worked on improving yourself rather than looking for something or someone else to improve you?
  • Do you have “old pics and old ways?” What are your surroundings saying to others about you? These are clues to your past and present, and your future. So if you’re serious with someone you are considering a relationship with should they believe you? The risk is that you may lose the one you’ve been waiting for. Waiting the second time around is harder and usually longer than the first time around.

Have you chosen to do what is right in your own eyes, figuring out life the way you see it? Or do you wait for the Father by being obedient to the small daily tasks in life, following His Word rather than your own emotions and temptations?

Beloved ones, what is it you’re waiting for? Waiting comes with a price. Not all who wait are willing to pay. While waiting may mean different things to different people, waiting is a measure of time. Time takes waiting and waiting takes time.

Photo credit by the author. Location: overlooking the bay from the Mondrian South Beach Hotel, Miami, FL

Copyright 2013 by The Word in Motion




“Waiting well: God’s Unmistakable Traces” Ruth 1 – 4

I am waiting. Waiting for short-term things and long-term things. Either way, the waiting seems forever. I grow tired of waiting. It is heavy at times. Yet, I try. I have lived long enough to know that if I invoked my own will and accord my future would suffer the consequences. Time goes by so quickly it seems to steal the moments. We cannot get time back. Time itself cannot be returned to us. I often tell others “your thirties are to make up for your twenties, but your forties are forever.” I don’t have time for wrong turns or U-turns. It is frivolity. However, I do have time to wait for the good things that God will provide. In this sense, I know the waiting is for God and He is leading the journey I am on. Often, I feel unsure and full of doubt. So I purpose that it is best to wonder rather than to wander.

Waiting well. If you have waited for God in your life I am sure you can recount all the moments He manifested Himself to assure you that your waiting was well. These are “God’s unmistakable traces.”

The Book of Ruth begins with the story of a family that left Bethlehem to Moab during a time of great famine. While the decision to move may have seemed right and subsequently promising, life in Moab eventually dealt a heavy blow. Naomi and her two daughters-in-law were left widowed and in desperate need of care. Shattered lives and shattered dreams could not have been at the forefront of their minds. To have suffered such a loss in those times meant no chance for a life worth living much less a life at all. For women, life from a human sense could only be found through a husband. But for Naomi to have lost her sons, too, meant absolute desolation. She had nothing. Her two daughters-in-law were what was left of the family she had known and reminders of her sons. Orpah and Ruth were it. They too had to deal with the loss of their own husbands and never having had children. We don’t know why. Orpah chose to stay in Moab and leave Naomi, while the other, Ruth the Moabitess, chose to cling to her mother-in-law Naomi on the long journey home to Bethlehem.  We don’t know why Orpah chose to stay. I think she has been criticized far too much. She must have felt the urge to remain and find a new life over again in Moab. Perhaps the urge was from God? It was good for her. Often we think we know what is best for others. But as has been stated before, we don’t know everything. Life is in the hands of God the Father. God’s intended purpose in this story could not have included both women, nor could it have been split between the two. He only had one in mind. It’s not necessary to be too concerned. God’s plan for Orpah was already written and I believe she was well taken care of as she remained in Moab. Why would God not have taken care of Orpah when He knew what was already predestined in their lives and had set out for there to be only one perfect kinsman-redeemer?

And so it was, Naomi and Ruth. Here were two women, side by side, committed to walk out the journey together not fully knowing or realizing what would await them in Bethlehem. How devastating to know that what was possible was seemingly impossible now. All hope was lost. Thoughts of what could be were overcome by what was. Alone they walked, together many, many miles to Bethlehem. They could have easily been in harm’s way, but they seemingly traveled unnoticed. Surprised? It was providence at work and yet another trace of God in their lives.

It was the beginning of the barley harvest and times in Bethlehem had turned for the better. Ruth, supportive of Naomi, suggested that she glean in the field hoping to gain favor so that she may return with a portion. Unbeknown to Ruth, Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, in the field where she would glean and his name was Boaz.

In Ruth chapter 2 verse 3, it states “…and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.” The words “and she happened” is interpreted in the Hebrew to mean “chance upon chance.” It was chanced. In other words, what may seem by accident was the providential, unseen hidden hand of God at work.

As only God would orchestrate, Boaz noticed Ruth in the field and she found favor in his sight. He protected her and ensured that she would glean a hefty amount of barley to take home. Interestingly, Boaz had heard of Ruth and all that she had done for her mother-in-law after the death of her husband. He knew she had left her homeland of Moab to follow Naomi to a place she didn’t know. This was an example of tremendous character on the part of Ruth. Her reputation preceded her. She didn’t have to prove herself to others or to Boaz. She didn’t even have to flaunt in front of him to get noticed. We live in a time where women will throw themselves to men as an act of desperation rather than throw themselves to the feet of the Lord God. I believe when our character has been drenched in the model of Christ that we exude Him in our countenance. Character begets character and it will get noticed by someone with character. The qualities will proceed from us toward others and it will draw those whom have it as well. Therefore, Ruth drew Boaz without trying.

Ruth was so overwhelmed by such kindness that she fell on her face before him.  She knew her place and called herself a foreigner. She quite possibly knew the culture at the time and where foreigners fit, if any, into the Israelite environment, society, and community. Here Ruth was following the script. God’s script. He was opening doors for her. She was led by God. Boaz was doing God’s work too. He had the character of God, and he had godly boundaries. He could have easily taken advantage of Ruth but he did not. Rare is the man who can resist and think more of a woman than himself, his needs and desires.

“Go-el” is Hebrew for kinsman-redeemer, which was Boaz. He was one of their closest relatives. But was he the absolute closest?

In chapter 3 verse 12 Boaz admits that he is a close relative but that there is one closer than him. An admission that would take the best of men. A man that was looking after himself would try to manipulate the situation for his good. However, Boaz was a man of integrity and godliness. He offered full disclosure. Boaz was a man of strength. He was willing to let it go for the right reasons. I believe He had to show God his faithfulness. In either case, he was prepared for the consequences and knew one way or the other that he would be involved.  He trusted God.

Later in chapter 4 verses 4 –6 Boaz confronts the situation and declared to the closest relative what was involved in the situation. The relative wished to redeem the land but changed his mind when it came to Ruth. He was unable to redeem because it would jeopardize his inheritance and that which he had obviously planned with heirs already. More unmistakable traces of God. Therefore, Boaz was free to pursue Ruth. Everything was right. There were no conflicts and the door was wide open for Boaz and Ruth to be together. The waiting was over. All they waited for came to pass. As God had planned Ruth became Boaz’s wife and bore him a son. Furthermore, the child would be a restorer of life to Naomi who had lost her sons and a sustainer of her old age. More importantly, it was amazing that the young woman Ruth never birthed children with her first husband Mahlon but did with Boaz. Another unmistakable trace of God. He had a greater plan for Ruth. It had to be in order to have the lineage through King David, via Ruth and Boaz. Had there been prior children, from either Boaz or Ruth, this lineage would not have been possible and far more complicated.

Ruth waited well and followed her God through and through. She trusted in the Lord and exhibited patience throughout despite the overwhelming odds of surviving desolate times. Especially when the temptation to take matters into her hands would have overcome the best of us. Throughout the story of Ruth were God’s unmistakable traces, leading, guiding, and directing providentially in such a way that enabled her to wait well.  Life could not have been better planned but by the hand of God. Only by His providence could these events have been orchestrated so perfectly and in time.


The Word in Motion: An Interactive

Is there such thing as “waiting well?”

What does “waiting well” mean to you?

Have you ever waited well?

What do you do when you grow weary of waiting well?

Can you mistake waiting well for being misguided?

Photo credit by the author. Location: overlooking the bay from the Mondrian South Beach Hotel, Miami, FL

Copyright 2013 by The Word in Motion

“Waiting wrongly: The promised son Isaac” Genesis 15 – 21

Someone once told me, “I don’t wait. I’m good at making things happen.” There comes a time in life, when God sits back and allows us to weave and coerce our lives and those around us for as long as we choose. So as a result, what may appear to be good that comes in our lives, really isn’t the good that comes from God. If you’ve experienced this you know what I mean. All who serve God can attest to these words, both the good and the bad.

Waiting wrongly. When we are determined to set out on our own and “makes things happen” we surely do. We humans do extremely well at making things happen. So much, that we can make a terrible mess. Sadly, we not only wreak havoc for ourselves but the lives of those we include in our self-made happenings. If you haven’t learned this lesson then the pain hasn’t been great enough. Greater pain awaits you still.

It is a delicate thing concerning waiting. We have to be able to discern what is waiting wrongly and waiting well. Do we remain lifeless and idle, or living and active?  How does it look in the life of a believer following Christ?

Genesis 15 – 21 is the story of the promised son Isaac. God had promised Abram and his wife Sarai a child. However, unbeknown to them the child would come in their older age. In Genesis chapter 15 we see the story unfold where God promised Abram an heir from his own body. However, in chapter 16 something happened that set things on a different course. Abram’s wife Sarai took matters into her own hands and decided to use Hagar, her Egyptian maidservant, as the surrogate to conceive the child with her husband Abram. Things got worse when Hagar became pregnant and then mistreated her mistress Sarai, mocking her. No doubt Hagar must have felt elevated in status to Sarai, after all, she bore Abram the son Sarai could not. How devastating to Sarai to witness the consequences of her hand, along with Abram’s consent. In what appears to be an effort by Abram to restore to Sarai her status and thus putting Hagar in her place as a servant, he stated (Gen 16: 5) “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in our sight.” Sarai feeling the tension of the consequences by her own hand retaliated against Hagar who fled, but the Lord God had her return to submit to Sarai’s authority. More importantly, Hagar bore Abram a son named Ishmael which is a Semetic name meaning “God hears.”  The boy’s name an attestation of God hearing Hagar’s lamenting her affliction. God had a reason for Hagar to remain in the household. In verses 7 – 13 we see God’s divine intervention in Hagar’s life. She was sent back with instruction from God and an obvious faith experience  she needed in order to remain and live as a servant.

Meanwhile, between chapters 17 – 18 God renamed Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, and reminded Abraham of the covenantal blessings, as well as his future son Isaac to be born the following year. Thirteen years passed when the time came that Ishmael, Abraham and the men of his household were circumcised. Here, the progression of time has taken place and the details were much clearer with a timeframe given for the birth of Isaac.  Thirteen years is a long time to face the consequence of human impulses and persuasions rather than the faithful provision of God. Sarai, Hagar, and Ishmael had to learn to live together. Abraham was Ishmael’s father too. The years had to weigh on Sarah of her decision to arrange her life without waiting for God. The daily reminders had to set in at some point. It must have been painful for all involved. Finally, in chapter 21 the birth of the promised son Isaac takes place. Verse 2 states “So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.”

However, the consequences of waiting wrongly still lingered when Sarah once again turned against her maidservant Hagar, as well as the boy Ishmael for mocking, and had driven them out of the household for good. Interesting how it was Ishmael mocking. We don’t know whether he was mocking the baby Isaac or Sarah. Nonetheless, the threat, whether real or perceived was too much for Sarah, that she had Abraham send them out to the wilderness. The relationship was still in discord. We don’t know fully whether all lessons were learned in the thirteen years that passed. Hagar was caught up in the tangled web of Abraham and Sarah and so was Ishmael. Though Isaac was the promised child of God, Ishmael and his mother Hagar received blessings along the way.

Divine intervention came for Abraham and Sarah despite their waiting wrongly and impatiently taking matters into their own hands. It is not always the case for the rest of us. We cannot always expect to be rescued, especially without consequences. The length of waiting often represents the change required in us to guarantee the ultimate result. This time there could be no turning back to old thoughts or old ways. The renewal had to result in behavior aligned to God’s will to ultimately manifest in His will for the world. Did Abraham and Sarah understand the promise?  Could they have understood the magnitude of it to this day in time? Sometimes the heavy length of waiting is for the deeper purposes of God that is beyond our comprehension.

It is not our business to know everything concerning the matters of God in our lives or the lives of others. When left up to us we get it wrong most of the time. We read our human thoughts, experiences, and influences into such matters that we end up being led falsely by ourselves rather than by the One True God. We are not omniscient like God. It is the prerogative of the Father to keep things to Himself. Our focus should be obedience and faithfulness to Him.

Throughout the narrative of Abraham and Sarah age did not matter to God. In fact, it was of little concern. It was all about God’s timing, and Abraham and Sarah’s waiting.

Here are a few characteristics that cause us to wait wrongly:

  • Impatience: we choose too quickly too soon. We lose our perspective of time. We may think that we are being proactive. We resolve to take matters into our hands and set out on a course that is not intended for us. Impatience leads to hurtful results and we end up starting over in the waiting process.
  • Rebellion/disobedience: we choose not to follow scripture and make compromises and rationalize our thoughts and behavior. This often reflects on how deeply we believe in our Savior Jesus Christ. We often follow what we believe and have faith in. If we choose disobedience then we no longer hold to our faith in Him. We make Him “less than.” Your behavior reflects your faith in Christ.
  • Loneliness: our choices are often wrong because we don’t want to be alone. We are intimidated by isolation or seasonal, periodic aloneness and feel we have to have people in our lives to fill the void. We settle for those we might not otherwise give our attention to, or settle for behavior we might not otherwise accept. We lose our spiritual perspective.

In the end, Abraham and Sarah waited for their promised son Isaac. Through this they waited for God’s word to come to pass. However, in the course of God’s plan they waited wrongly because of Sarah’s self-made happenings in which she coerced the situation and brought Hagar into the equation. Sarah never took to Ishmael during the first thirteen years of his life.  So the good she had sought after wasn’t very good at all. We can wait for good things and in this case we can wait for bad things. When we have been bridled by waiting the rush to take matters into our hands is not so appealing. We consider the consequences in every step of our journey with God. The Lord is waiting for us to wait on Him and to do what only He does best to move in our lives.

 The Word in Motion: An Interactive

Is there such thing as “waiting wrongly?”

What does “waiting wrongly” mean to you?

Have you ever waited wrongly?

What are your personal risks in waiting wrongly?

Is redemption possible in a season of waiting wrongly?

Photo credit by the author. Location: overlooking the bay from the Mondrian South Beach Hotel, Miami, FL

 Copyrght 2013 by The Word in Motion


“Waiting Wrongly, Waiting Well” An Introduction

Waiting. We wait for many things. We wait for things we want. The things we want come in time. On the other hand, we wait for things we do not want. The things that we do not want come in time too. So we wait for what we want and do not want, the good as well as the bad. So what does it mean to wait? How does it look in the life of a follower of Christ?

Waiting is counter to our human nature. Waiting takes patience as so few of us have it. For those who possess patience, waiting requires even more patience, most of the time. For the Christian, waiting can take on the extreme. I don’t mean the common cliché “I’m waiting for God.” I mean plain old waiting. We can wait for God to come through on a number of things such as, a re-location, acceptance into a college, university, or educational institution, a way-ward spouse to return, a spouse-to-be, healing, salvation of a loved one, a promotion, and the list goes on.  So, we wait for good things.    Waiting is a process measured by time. In God there is no time. He governs all things in their time and has created time itself. His time is not our time and cannot be compared nor contrasted in the time that humankind lives within. In waiting, there is a natural time, such as the birth of a child, healing of an illness or broken bones. It cannot be hurried as waiting is built into the process. In waiting, there is also a supernatural time, such as those things that cannot be reasonably explained because faith is involved. You cannot rush what is meant to be because all that is meant and purposed is bordered by time established by God. Therefore, time takes waiting, and waiting takes time.

The Word in Motion: An Interactive

What are you waiting for? 

How long have you been in a season of waiting?

What has the Holy Spirit taught you in the midst of waiting?

Why not wait?

What challenges have you faced during your season of waiting?   


Photo credit by the author. Location: overlooking the bay from the Mondrian South Beach Hotel, Miami, FL

Copyright 2013 The Word in Motion

First thoughts on “Waiting wrongly, Waiting well.”

Waiting. The word evokes so many thoughts in my mind. Difficulty, impatience, endurance, hopefulness and hopelessness, worry, anticipation, and time. Waiting is a matter of time. Though it has much ado about our time, it is sovereignly God’s time.

In a world of choices and preferences, each person measures time on a different scale. Whether it be their own or God’s, the fact that these differences are real seems to me that there is a conflict. If I am waiting on God’s time for something to occur, but it is dependent on someone else’s time, then what time table am I really on?

I have found that if my waiting goes into the years, and I am aware of the waiting process, then more likely my waiting is due to someone else. Yes, there are things in between I am to do to live a productive life. No one, nor especially God, expects me to wait for nothing. Conversely, there are others that may be waiting on me, too. The challenge of it all is that we are all waiting on each other and we don’t even know it.

My biggest dilemma in these situations is to understand when my waiting is enough. God doesn’t disclose everything. How do I know that I have waited long enough?  How do I know that it is time to move on and to move out? Has the situation exhausted itself? Could there be anything more to do or not to do? Am I ready for that time to come?

I have waited for many things in my life. It was hard and difficult. Usually accompanied by frustration, sorrow, and disappointment. It took seventeen years for my most recent promotion to come to fruition. There were many that said “it’ll come.” Those words were so frugal. That’s what you say to get it out of the way and bypass uncomfortable conversations. It’s what you say to appease and move on.

People wait on many things. Waiting for a spouse to come home from military service, a wayward child, a job offer, a promotion, to win gold, to find a marital partner, for healing, recovery, and the next paycheck that cannot come soon enough.

I believe it takes wisdom to know the time. I wish it were as easy to look at my watch and therefore know. The mere fact that I mention this means that it isn’t enough to watch my watch. I need wisdom. God’s wisdom. He is the author of time and is time itself.

I am waiting for other things now. The list has grown shorter but broader. When you have  waited through it all and the seeming reward has come to pass, waiting is not a foe. You not only know what it takes to wait, but more importantly, you now have what it takes to wait.

Time takes waiting and waiting takes time.

In His Service,


Copyright 2016 by The Word in Motion

“Faithful is the Father”

August 13, 2016 was my father’s 86th birthday. Throughout the years past I would call him and ask “Dad, where do you want to go eat on your birthday?” and he always said, “Anywhere, mija! Let’s go!” I enjoyed our time together. We would talk about my job, and his garden. He would catch me up on family and I’d tell him about my friends.

I miss those days, as I missed yesterday. It’s been four years since his passing and it doesn’t seem real to me. I can still hear his voice and see his smile. At times I can still feel his presence. He was a strong man. Throughout my life he remained my strength. There was no man like him. He was good, honorable, loving, and faithful.

Before he died I told him that God didn’t have to shield me in my young life because I had a father that knew how to do it. He smiled. I truly believe God entrusted my father to do the Father’s business in my life. It continued through the ensuing years.

It pains me to write this, but I must. I cannot write or speak of my father without feeling the loss. He was always there. He was there for me in the beginning, through the important moments, and in the end. He had the right words at the right time. He never spoke out of turn, or spoke without purpose. His words were few but resounding. When he spoke I listened. His actions followed his words. There was never a time I did not trust him or his intentions. I just knew he was true. Everything about my father was good. Most of all he loved me. And I still love him. For some reason I cannot speak of him in the past tense. For me, he will always be present tense in my life.

I realize there are many who do not have a father or cannot speak of their father the way I do. For you, I am sorry.

The greatest attribute of my father was his faithfulness. He was always faithful. As my father was faithful, so is God the Father. He is longing to be with you, to hear your voice and to be present in your life. There is no greater relationship known to humankind than the one with The Father. Faithful is the Father.

And so, on this day I remember you, Dad, as I remember you everyday of my life. You are my strength, my all and all, my everything. I miss you. I cannot wait to see you again.

I love you.

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

(Ephesians 4: 6)

Copyright 2016  by The Word in Motion

“Keep it High”- A Conclusion

“Paul and Silas: The release” 

 Acts 16: 22 – 39

              Many years ago when I became a born-again Christian I began to pray for the salvation of my parents. It was an endless request to God as I looked for many ways to witness Christ as Son of God. Over time it occurred to me that the best way to evangelize was not so much by words, but by my actions. I made the choice to live out my salvation witness to my parents. However, during those ensuing years there were many times I did not think salvation was possible and I felt as though I had missed opportunities along the way to share Christ. It seemed that the next 26 years were more for me than for them. In this sense, I grew spiritually and began to understand what it meant to be a servant of God and to serve my parents out of Christ’s love rather than to be consumed with the where and the when of evangelistic success. I took the long-term view and discarded the short-term range. I chose to keep it high and focus on their hopeful salvation whether it came at the end of their lives or mine. Thus, I began to see God’s hand more powerfully than ever. I wasn’t responsible for my parent’s response to Christ. The moment I gave up the notion that their salvation rested on my shoulders I became a better servant of God to do His will and His work no matter what it required of me or the outcome. As such, I felt released. The iron bars fell. His strength in me was the transcendence of His Spirit at work in the midst of life’s circumstances.

The imprisonment of Paul and Silas was a backdrop, the scene, of the inspired Word of God. The iron bars and shackles were but merely accessories that adorned the men of God that graced the prison that night. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household” (verse 31). From the scriptures it appeared that the jailer took Paul and Silas away from prison deep into the night and brought them to his household. Not only was the jailer and his household saved but they were also baptized. There was much celebration that night! It is amazing how God transforms people and situations where in this case there was a reconciliation between them. The gospel message not only transforms but reconciles and brings peace. It is a beautiful example of how God’s people extend care for one another.

When daylight came word was sent to the jailer that the chief magistrates wanted Paul and Silas to be released.  The jailer reported these words back to Paul. They were free to go. However, it was not going to be that easy for the chief magistrates. At this point Paul decided to inform them that he and Silas were Roman citizens. In verse 37 Paul says, “They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison, and now are they sending us away secretly?” Though they were publicly beaten with rods they were not going to be released privately. Paul confronts their deeds and insists they follow though.  In the beginning, Paul made a very strategic decision. He had the gospel in mind. Knowing this, to have cried “I’m a Roman citizen” would have shown a lack of trust in God as well as divided loyalties. That is, does he trust in his citizenship or in God?  What impact would this have made to his Christ-witness?  More likely, confusion may have erupted and have done the gospel message a disservice. Paul assessed the situation from the beginning. He was a Jewish man with Roman citizenship. However, he was foremost a bond-servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It takes a tremendous amount of wisdom to have done what Paul did. The situation would present itself again and the chief magistrates would be confronted with their actions by the same measure it was brought about. It was important that Paul’s innocence be a matter of public record as he and Silas were never publicly charged. For Paul to have taken the release privately, after a public beating, would mean the situation would have been unresolved in the minds of the eye-witnesses. In a sense, Paul and Silas would have been dubbed “Christian fugitives” of sort. To Paul, everything hinged on the reputation of the gospel.  He kept the end in mind. He kept it high.

The chief magistrates were afraid when they heard that Paul and Silas were Romans and they kept begging them to leave the city. Alas, the release. Paul and Silas’s path to prison was not any less than out of it. Nothing can imprison the Spirit of the Lord.

To keep it high means to have God in view. Despite your circumstances and the situation you may be in, you must have the future in front of you all the time. Paul and Silas did. I am convinced that had Paul and Silas lost their view of Christ and chose the short-term range the outcome may have been very different and would have lost the purpose God had for them, and all New Testament believers since then and now.

I am filled with wonder the positive outcome I experience every time I make a decision by keeping it high. You will not go wrong when your current decisions are based on the future view of Christ. They will serve you well.

During the years I prayed for my parent’s salvation I chose to live out my witness instead. I kept it high and learned to be a servant of God. I realized that their decision to choose Christ ultimately had nothing to do with me. Twenty six years later I led my mother to Christ. It was during this time I learned to serve her and show God’s love for her. When she died it meant everything to know that she was in heaven. Shortly thereafter, I learned of my father’s commitment to God. They are both in the presence of our Lord and Savior.

To know that God not only had a plan for my parent’s salvation He had a plan during that time to mold me into His servant. Despite where we are in life’s journey God will use our situations and circumstances to bring about His purpose for us, and those around us as well.  The benefits of Christ have far reaching effects that extend beyond His chosen instruments.  No matter the time, the place, or the season you are in, have the gospel in mind, His reputation in sight, all so that you keep in Him. And when you do, you keep it high.

Copyright 2013 by The Word in Motion

“Keep it High” – Part II


Paul and Silas: The imprisonment” 

Acts 16: 22 – 39

            Have you even been doing God’s work only to find yourself in a hard and difficult situation? In my eight year reign attending seminary I found myself in some of the most challenging of life’s experiences. I often asked myself, “Really?” Many times I questioned my purpose, my place, and my heart. I pondered “Am I really where you want me, God?” However, each time I witnessed an unmistakable trace of God which catapulted me deeper, further, higher. I grew relentless in my pursuit of Him and it drove me blazingly on my journey toward the glorious Son of God.

            In the Book of Acts chapter 16, verse 22 the scene opens where Paul and Silas had caused an uproar in the city and the chief magistrates ordered that they both be beaten with rods. After they had been beaten with many blows they were thrown into prison.

            Paul was in the thick of his purpose with God. He was on God’s missionary journey, persecution and all. The trials and tribulations were part of it. Not because it seemed to slip in but because it was written and ordained by the Father. It had to be. The Lord said “for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9: 16). Sometimes reminders of our sinful past give us strength to endure the hardship that comes our way. We can never pay for our sins. How on earth can we determine such a price? Left up to us we would selfishly estimate far too low. Left up to others it would be far too high.  Only by grace can our sins be atoned for. They were paid for by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our payment remitted in full by His death and resurrection. Therefore, it is best that we be reminded of the crucifixion that Christ bore for the sins of all humanity, past, present, and future. As it puts all things in perspective.  

            The jailer received the charge to keep Paul and Silas securely so he threw them into an inner prison and fastened their feet with stock. “But about midnight…” Some time has passed since they were in prison. Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God while the other prisoners were listening.  This reminds me of a scene in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” when a new inmate Andy Dufresne (played by actor Timothy Robbins) on assignment while serving time played over the prison intercom the song “Sull’aria” (from the opera “Le Nozze di Figaro”) sung by two sopranos. When the prisoners of Shawshank heard this beautiful aria they stopped what they were doing, stood still, looked high up toward the speakers and listened with awe and wonderment. It was audacious. Oh, how the prayers and hymns of Paul and Silas caught the attention of the prisoners that evening. It appears no one was sleeping that night. No doubt the other prisoners had heard of the apostle Paul. What company! A man of God among the vilest offenders that day. Singing praises to the Lord during difficult circumstances indicates the heart of His chosen ones. They were confident in their Lord without knowing the outcome. Their lives were not yet over. There was much work needed to be done and God’s journey continued.

            Verse 26 says, “…and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened.” The timing of this event was no coincidence. Though the praise itself did not cause the earthquake it is clear that it was a result of God’s hand.

            The jailer, having been asleep, arose and noticed that the prison doors opened and decided to draw his sword in an attempt to take his own life supposing that all the prisoners had escaped. However, Paul intervened. He chose not to escape but rather tried to bring calm to the situation and announced to the jailer “for we are all here” (verse 28). Can you imagine what the jailer was thinking? The prisoners were on his watch, especially the controversial apostle Paul. His whole life was riding on their imprisonment.  To find that the doors were wide open must have derailed him to such an extent he had no hope, and no good excuse to the magistrates.   He was in the grip of fear. However, God uses every moment, emotion, and situation to bring about His plan. In verse 30, the jailer trembling, fell down before Paul and Silas and said, “What must I do to be saved?”

            I’ve heard people talk how a life threatening circumstance, near death experience, and the hopelessness of fear brought them to their knees before the Almighty God. Our Father knows what it will take to gain our attention and will use circumstances and natural disasters to do it.

            When you are a true follower of Christ you will more likely stand out in the crowd. As such, you cannot follow the crowd. You know whom it is that you follow and it is not man. Followers of Christ will constantly go against the grain and cannot be controlled. It is a difficult path to follow the Lord.  You will constantly be tested of your allegiance. While those in the crowd may profess to be Christian the result of their outward actions will prove not to be any different from unbelievers. Few will choose to give up themselves and give of themselves to follow God.  The weakness to please man is much too great.

            To follow Christ means you may not attain reward, riches, or promotion. The apostle Paul was a true follower of Christ. His allegiance to God was known not only by his verbal proclamations, but by the actions he demonstrated in his life. Even more, the actions of God that led him.

 The Word in Motion: An Interactive

It’s one thing to surrender to man, but have you surrendered to God?

What does it mean to serve God?

Is your Christianity a long-term view or a short-term range?


The Next Devotional

A Conclusion

“Keep it High”

“Paul and Silas: The release”

 Acts 16: 22 – 39

Copyright 2013 by The Word in Motion

“Keep it High” – an Introduction

Paul and Silas: Acts 16: 22 – 29      

              The best you can experience on earth cannot touch Heaven. When you do for God it never looks nor feels like you are doing anything for yourself. But you are. Rewards may not be realized on earth but they will come at the end of your journey when you are finally in the presence of our Savior.  It is incomprehensible.

            Many times when I engage my friends in conversations I say “I will keep it high.” At first, I got confused looks and questions such as, “What do you mean by that?” However, after several years of my saying this my friends know what I mean.

            When you are a servant of Christ you do not live unto yourself. You learn to live taking the back seat, back row, and back burner in most aspects of your life. It is a mark of being a distant second to the one who takes first place, God. The closer you are to the Father the further away you will be, that is, to your very self. In so doing, the higher things become to you.

            So as a servant of God I do not live for myself. I live lesser to me.  Each time I try to extend my hand something in my mind tells me “you better pull it back.” Then I let it go. I have learned to let a lot go. In this sense, I am letting go of myself, my plans, my thoughts, and my hand. As such, I can never go before myself. Mostly I cannot even stand up for myself. Life’s spiritual lessons run deep that I recognize apart from the Father I can do nothing. It has become easier to take it on the chin, turn the other cheek, give up my seat, wait a little longer, relinquish my turn, and to step down. All at the cost to remain blameless, but not for myself, but for God so that He can do what He does without my getting in the way. The lesser I am the greater He becomes. Simply, smoothly, purely.

            I have learned to hold the end in mind, His reputation in sight, all so that I can keep in Him, and when I do, I keep it high.

 The Word in Motion: An Interactive

What does it mean to you to “keep it high?”

Have you ever taken a step down so that someone else can take a step up?

Do you live for yourself instead of for God?

What things are first place in your life?

How will you relinquish yourself this week?


The next devotional:

“Keep it High”

“Paul and Silas: The imprisonment”

 Acts 16: 22 – 39

Copyright 2016 by The Word in Motion