Are You Bold Enough?

Do you consider yourself bold?

Yesterday I was reading in Acts about Peter and John. After Jesus went back to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, the apostles did some amazing things. Peter healed a beggar at the temple gate. When the Sadducees and the priests heard Peter and John speak and saw the power of their words, they felt threatened and put the two in jail.

The next day after questioning the men, the rulers and teachers of the law couldn’t solidify any accusations, so they told them not to speak any more in Jesus name and let them go. Upon the release, Peter and John went back to their own people and prayed what I like to call the “Boldness Prayer.”

“Now Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29

They had just been released from prison, but prayed for God to help them speak with great boldness. The next verse says, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the world of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31)

In the very next chapter, we find them arrested again for sharing the gospel. But God sent an angel in the night to lead them out and direct them to go in the temple courts and tell the people the good news of Jesus. Now consider this – they’ve been arrested twice. The second time, an angel led them out and told them to go and do the very thing that caused their arrests.

The next morning when the elders gathered together and sent for the men in jail, they discovered the jail doors locked and no one inside. When the apostles were discovered at the temple, the rulers seized them once more.

This time the priests and teachers of the law were out for blood. However, a well-respected Pharisee named Gamaliel made a convincing argument that if the apostle’s purpose was from man, it would eventually fizzle out. But if their purpose was from God, it could never be stopped. So the chief priests and rulers flogged and released the men. Here’s the part that got me. After the disciples were flogged, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” They REJOICED! These men had been arrested again and again and were severely beaten, but rejoiced. When released they were told not to speak in the name of Jesus. But do you think they stopped?

“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” Acts 5:42

Let’s take a closer look at that last verse. First, the apostles have just been flogged. Flogging wasn’t like a spanking; it was much more brutal. After the flogging, they were told not to talk about Jesus anymore. But they did it anyway – day after day. Not once. Not twice. Continually! The verse says they never stopped.

If I was flogged for talking about Jesus, IF (and that’s a very big if) I was bold enough to speak about Him again, I’m sure I would be secretive about it. But the apostles did it in the temple courts where everyone could see. But there’s more. They also went from house to house! They continually shared the good news of Jesus. When God answers a prayer, He goes all out. They prayed for boldness, and they certainly got it.

There are two huge lessons that stand out to me in this story. First, when you pray for boldness in Jesus name to further the kingdom of Christ in any way, God will answer in a big way. Then, as Gamaliel said, “But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men: you will only find yourself fighting against God.” (Acts 5:39) If God is in it, there is no stopping it.

Do you need a little boldness to accomplish what God has put in your heart to do? Just pray and ask. You just might be amazed at what God can do through you.


Comments are closed.

I Don’t Want to Be An Easy Christian

It’s easy to be a Christian when things are good. I can wear my sparkly cross bracelet to church among people just like me and feel at home. When I’m headed to a women’s conference, I can wear my Christian t-shirts and walk in a group of women who love Jesus just like me, and I am safe in my Jesus bubble.

I proclaim how much I love Jesus on my social media profiles. I quote scripture and share graphic quotes, but it’s easy. Click, like and share. It’s just that simple.

But this morning, I was reading the story of Jesus’ betrayal in Matthew 26, and I feel like someone has slashed me with a knife. You see, I’m like Peter. I’m full of emotion and quick to tell God that I will never deny Him.

Let’s go back to the story and let me bring you up to speed. Jesus is having what is called the “Last Supper” with his disciples. He is breaking bread and drinking wine with them and telling them it is like his body which He would later offer up on the cross. They drank the wine, while Jesus told them it was like His blood which would be poured out for them. This is where we get “communion.” But let’s face it, the disciples still didn’t get it. They didn’t fully understand what Christ was saying or the meaning of what they were doing.

Jesus even said one of them would betray Him, and all of them would “fall away” on account of Him. In other words, they would turn their backs on Jesus. Peter was somewhat of a hot head. And he was full of emotion about what Jesus told him and said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And the Bible tells all the other disciples said the same.

Of course, they did. They were sitting in a room with Jesus and men just like themselves. They were all His followers. No one was busting the door down. They were having a meal together. They were in a safe space. It was easy.

But then they left the room where they ate, and Jesus took a few of them to a place called Gethsemane. The Bible tells us that Jesus became “sorrowful and troubled.” He said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38)

Jesus went up a little farther to be alone to pray, but the disciples stayed to wait on Him. And they fell asleep. Their Lord asked them to pray but it was hard because they were tired. It was night, and they just had a meal. Jesus came back and woke them. He was a little frustrated they couldn’t stay awake to pray. After waking them, Jesus left again to speak to His Father. The disciples once more fell asleep! This time when He found them sleeping, He left them and returned to pray.

I must ask, where was the enthusiasm from dinner time? Where was the high emotion? It wasn’t as easy anymore because they were tired, but it still wasn’t hard. Not yet.

The third time Jesus woke the disciples, it was to let them know people were approaching. Judas came with a large crowd armed with clubs and swords. He walked to His Teacher and kissed His cheek, the secret signal to the soldiers to identify the right person to arrest. Jesus told them He would go peacefully, because He said, “This has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” (Matthew 26:56)

The situation was a little scary, but Jesus agreed to go with the soldiers. The next lines of this verse had me in tears this morning. It says, “Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” ALL THE DISCIPLES DESERTED HIM AND FLED! Did you get that?

When it was easy to be a follower, they were all in. But when the going got tough, they ran away. And I had to ask myself this morning, “Would you have run?”

And I honestly don’t know. I want to tell you that I would have stayed right by Jesus’ side. But I’m so much like Peter, and I have to be honest. Maybe I would’ve run. Y’all have no idea how much that hurts my heart to say. I don’t want to be like that. But I wonder if many of us are the same?

It’s not quite as easy to be a Christian in America anymore. It’s not as hard as some countries where Christians are being run from their homes or beheaded, but it’s also not as easy as it once was. Are you as quick to talk about Jesus at work where you know your friends are critical of Christians? Do you ever hesitate to share Christ because you aren’t sure how people will respond?

I don’t want to be an easy Christian. I want to be a no-matter-what Christian. When my best friend dies of cancer at age 39, I want my reaction to that death to honor God and reflect Him. When someone slams my son’s head into a locker at school and bloodies his ear, I want to show Christ to both the school and the boy who did it. When my non-Christian friends call me narrow-minded, I want to be able to smile and pray for them to understand. When people judge me by how I look and how I vote and say things about me that aren’t true, I want to show grace and learn the tactful art of keeping my tongue in my mouth and my foot out of it.

You see, I want to be a Christian. Period. I want to follow God. Period. Not just when it’s easy. Not just when things are going good. Not just when I’m at church or Bible study. Not just at home. Not just when I’m safely behind my computer. All the time. But I’m stopping today to pause and ask myself this hard question.

Do I claim Christianity only when it’s easy? Or am I truly a Christ follower no matter what?

I challenge you to ask yourself the same today. And then, friend, let’s start living like it.


Comments are closed.

Now What? Where Do We Go From Here?


I’m not sure how to process my emotions over the last week. Every day I’ve gotten on social media and had to get right back off or bite my tongue. People have said some of the most rude and hateful things.

Many Trump supporters have gloated. They’ve called liberals “cry babies” and made memes to mock the other side. Flip the coin and it’s no better. Many (and I mean many) Hillary supporters have called our newest president ugly names, used vulgar language and have shown the same hate they claim comes from the Republicans. Hate doesn’t make “love win.” It just doesn’t work that way. Hate breeds more hate.

I don’t know about you, but I’m emotionally spent. I’ve fallen to my knees and sobbed to the Lord. God, heal this nation. Help us to get through this and get along. But every day the people I’ve seen are more and more resolute they are choosing hate.

Let’s pause a minute. Neither of our candidates was a great choice. We can talk and talk about why each was a poor selection, but that doesn’t matter any more. It’s over. Trump is in office for the next four years. Now what?

God has been very clear with me about how we got into this current state. We walked into it – step by step, sometimes begrudgingly, but more often than not we were happily skipping and running into the mire.

We have made an idol higher than God. And that idol is SELF. We’ve put our own needs, thoughts, and ideas first. It’s time to focus on me. I have to be true to myself. How often do we here those words as we seek to justify a sin-filled life? And if we dare open the Word of God, we are looking for a justification for our actions. We would rather put our self on top and live in sin than turn from our wicked ways and let God change us. How dare we open the Living Word of God and try to make it fit our lifestyle? The Word of God changes us. We don’t change it.

So now what? What do we do to change the world around us? To create positive change? It isn’t yanking people from their cars and beating them to death. It isn’t closing our eyes to the real fear of those around us. It isn’t standing in the middle of streets chanting about how much we hate the president. How does that change anything? All of those things only create more of a divide. The divide that satan started and then let us run with it, because we were doing a better job than he was.

In order to change the world around you, you have to start with yourself. Alan and I have shared this with many married couples in distress. They are unhappy and want to know – what now? I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can’t change anyone. Not with your protests, your memes, your Facebook posts – not even with this post can I change you. The only person you have the ability to change is yourself. So start there. Start with you.

Get on your knees and ask God to empty you of you and fill you with Him. Spend time reading His Word. It’s powerful and will change you. That, my friend, is where I’m starting. I’m starting on my knees and I’m asking God for revival to start right here in my own heart. You see, revival starts with one. And if each one of us focuses on soul changing, hand raising, life altering revival with that person in the mirror, we CAN change this nation, and we can change the world. Are you willing?

Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it!

All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing.

We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. 2 Corinthians 5:16-20



Comments are closed.

What if America Really is Going to Hell in a Hand Basket?


What if our worst fears come to reality?

Throughout this election process, we’ve spent months either on our knees in prayer or holding our knees to keep them from knocking. Let’s face it. We’ve all been a little bit afraid.

As the preliminary races whittled down the candidates to two main choices, many of us watched in horror as the reality of our options were placed before us. Media painted them as a jerk and a crook. We were to choose the lesser of the two evils. And to make matters worse, they both led some of the biggest smear campaigns in history. What ever happened to focusing on the platform issues and letting the other party’s character speak for itself? Their mud slinging did nothing to assuage our fears and help us settle on a candidate; it did the opposite. Fears escalated as the American people decided they really didn’t trust either one.

As I watched the candidates debate, my stomach soured and my faith in this nation dwindled. Meanwhile, news stories about “too much nationalism” came out. Our own president almost acts embarrassed by our country. Whatever happened to national pride? Since when is it wrong to feel happy about where you are from?

Yesterday I cast my early ballot, but walked away wondering if I should have asked for a paper copy after reading some polls were rigged. We can’t even trust the voting stations anymore.

This morning I was praying for America – begging God to heal our broken nation. I asked Him to help both Hillary and Trump to recognize Truth and be changed by it. And as I prayed, a story from the Bible came to mind. You can call it what you will – but I know the Lord placed it there.

It was the story of Jesus predicting His death to His disciples. He laid out the entire event before it happened. Jesus told them He would go Jerusalem, and once there, He would suffer at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law. Then Christ explained He would be killed but would come back to life on the third day.

Imagine your close friend, your mentor, just told you something like that. How would you respond? I’m sure I would’ve responded the same way Peter did.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Matthew 16:22 NIV

Jesus didn’t say, “It’s okay buddy. God has a plan in all of this.” No. He reply was much stronger!

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23 NIV

That’s pretty harsh. But, you see, Christ’s death and resurrection was God’s greatest gift to humanity. Through that death and new life, we – you and me – can have eternal life. So, when Peter suggested to Jesus that it wasn’t going to happen, Jesus wasn’t having any part of that. He was saying, “You are just concerned about yourself. This is a God thing. Don’t get in my way.”

So as I was praying for America today, God brought this story to mind and how it relates to our situation. You see, if the worst happens – if Hillary gets in office and inadvertently shares state secrets and continues the gut-wrenching horror of late term abortions – or if Trump gets into office and mouths off to Vladimir Putin and causes Russia to drop an atomic bomb – the end result is people will be looking for hope. And the only Hope to be found is in Christ. You see, our only purpose here is to bring Christ glory. So if it takes the world getting more wicked and vile to make people turn to God, then that is what He will allow.

If that seems cruel to you, remember He allowed His only Son to die for the same reason – to bring you life. God desperately wants this world to know Him and experience His saving grace. So while I’ve been praying for things to get better when the election is over – for the newly elected president to make positive change – things are going to get worse. There may be some positive change. I’m not trying to be doom and gloom. But God is pointing out that things have to get bad, really bad, for people to turn from their wicked ways and come to know Him.

So, fellow Christian, the time is now. First, we have to stop getting so distracted over things that divide us – political parties, movements, the need to weigh in on things where we need to keep our mouths shut. Satan is using those things to destroy us.

We also need to be plugged in to God’s Word, and then let the power of the Holy Spirit that fills us change those around us. In other words, stop being so shy about sharing your faith. Let Christ empower you.

For those of you who don’t know God, or you know of Him but you don’t talk to Him and you really aren’t sure where you are going when you die, the time is now. The same God who created this entire universe is all knowing and all-powerful. He has the power to save you if you just admit you are a sinner who desperately needs Him. Ask Him to save you. He will fill you with hope you never thought possible.

So friends, America may get worse before it gets better. But do not fear. You may weep and wail. You will see things you never thought would happen. But don’t lose hope – Jesus will return. So if our worst fears come to reality, have hope and know that God is and forever will be on the throne.

Psalm 47

1 Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.

2 For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth.
3 He subdued nations under us,
peoples under our feet.
4 He chose our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.

5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
sing to him a psalm of praise.

8 God reigns over the nations;
God is seated on his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the nations assemble
as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God;
he is greatly exalted.


3 responses to “What if America Really is Going to Hell in a Hand Basket?”

  1. Sally Hale says:

    Carol what a message. It’s been hard to know how to pray. This will help . I have to put young children in his hand. We all have a challenge we need to never give up. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dan Parker says:

    Thanks for the good word.

  3. […] What if America Really is Going to Hell in a Hand Basket? […]

It’s All in Who You Know


Try to make it in any business and you’ll find this statement to be true. If you know someone on the inside, they can help bring you on board. It’s the basis of LinkedIn, the popular job networking site. You connect with everyone you know and all your friends connect with everyone they know. Then see if you can link with some of your friends’ connections that might be an asset to you. Which connection can help you get a job?

In showbiz, it helps to know someone who can get you an audition for great parts. In the music industry, when you have a personal connection with someone from a label, you’re more likely to get your music heard. Even in the writing industry, every new writer is encouraged to attend conferences, because in those conferences you can make personal contacts with people in publishing.

It’s the word “know” that stuck out in my quiet time reading this morning. I am reading the Bible through and am in Ezekiel. God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel to give messages to the Israelite nation. Frustrated with the people’s worship of idols, God tells Ezekiel again and again to warn the people He’s about to bring wrath on them.

Each time God shares what He’ll do, He adds, “Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

“The inhabited towns will be laid waste and the land will be desolate. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 12:20 NIV

After reading a few chapters, I noticed that phrase repeated over and over. So I did a little research. In the book of Ezekiel, the phrase “Then you will know I am the Lord,” is repeated 34 times! I investigated further and found variations of the same phrase consistently throughout the entire Old Testament.

“They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.” Exodus 29:46 NIV

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other.” Joel 2:27

The Hebrew word for “know” is “yada.” The definition says, “to know, recognize, understand; to have sexual relations.” Woah. Wait. Did that just say the S-word? Did we just jump way off course?

Not really. You see, the idea behind the sex part of this definition isn’t the actual physical intercourse so much as it is the physical intimacy. Two people cannot get any close than sexual intercourse. So using the word “yada” means “to know someone in the closest possible way.” That’s what God is trying to get across to us. It’s what He’s been saying since the Old Testament times.

I want you to know me.
I want you to know I am your God.
I want you to know how much you mean to me.
I want you to know I am Creator and Ruler over all things.
I want you to know I’m with you when you are going through hard times.
I want you know I would never leave you.
I want you to know I see you.
I want you to know I hear your prayers.
I want you to know my ways are not like yours.
I want you to know I loved you so much I allowed my Son to die for your sins.
I want you to KNOW!

God brought His wrath on the Israelites for not knowing Him. They were driven from their Promised Land and sent into exile. Then as the New Testament dawned, God came up with another plan. A plan so people could know Him. He put skin on and came in the form of a man – Jesus. But His plea is still the same. Will you know me?

He’s not asking “do” you know me so much as “will” you? You see “do” you know God, simply asks, “Do you believe He exists?” Do you know who He is? And most people will admit they believe. But what the Creator of all things really wants to know is “Are you willing to know Him?” Would you agree to know Him in the closest possible way? Because knowing God on that level and understanding how He became flesh, died and rose again is the key to eternal life.

You see it really is true. The best things in life really are in Who you know. Will you accept the knowledge of Him today?


2 responses to “It’s All in Who You Know”

  1. Thank you, Carol!

  2. I love God’s timing, the way He connects dots, and reaffirms truth. The emphasis in our study of Hosea was “yada” this past week. Through Hosea and Gomer and the nation of Israel, God pleads for His Bride to know Him intimately. Though we’re prone to wander, our hearts and deepest desires can never be satisfied away from the true Lover of our souls. Great post, Sista!!