What do we do when our friends — defined as those closest to us, such as family, neighbors, co-workers, buddies — say things routinely that we find disturbing? Disturbing not because they’re offensive to us but because they’re offensive to things we believe in, that we cherish, that we hold to be true? Do we let the moment(s) pass, hoping the hurt will go away? Do we confront the person, ever so gently? If we say something, what do we hope will be the outcome? Renewed friendship? Deeper appreciation for one another’s core values? And if it doesn’t work out that way … then what?

“Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” — 2 Timothy 2:25 (NLT)

“Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” — 1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT recently ruled in a 5-4 decision not to uphold a Louisiana state law that would have required abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges.

While the court’s ruling was based on procedural grounds and court precedent, the wider public understandably sees the verdict as a setback for the pro-life movement and a victory for those supporting abortion.

Taking this into the political realm, the decision was seen by many as a rebuke of the Trump/Pence pro-life agenda and, of course, a smack-down of those of us who use the Bible’s words to support the life of the unborn infant.

The deeper reality of the court’s ruling is “None of the Above.”


THE REAL TARGET is Almighty God. The rebuke was to His will for our lives.

So, how are we to engage with our closest friends and associates, and those of a general public that gather on social media to trade their opinions and engage in discussion?

I chose two avenues. One was to post a message to my “wall.” Here it is:

“King David wrote these words 3,000 years ago: ‘You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.’ God inspired that message (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21). How do we square God’s message to us with today’s US Supreme Court ruling on abortion? Satan and his demons are rejoicing, but shame on those who rejoice along with them.”

The other avenue was to post the same message on the wall of a “friend” who rejoiced at the decision, especially gloating at a supposed defeat of Trump’s appointees. (Actually, the defection came from an appointee of President George W. Bush. Trump’s  two appointees voted to approve the Louisiana statute.)

I don’t know what my friend did with her post. I don’t see it on her timeline, nor is my comment visible. I know she was unwilling to engage in dialogue with me. That “dialogue,” by the way, would have entailed my being pummeled by her coterie of friends, none of whom know me, and all of whom take glee in saying nasty things to me.


I KNEW THAT going in. I routinely engage in discussion with those whose views differ from mine, not because I am argumentative, but because I believe strongly that I, along with others, are called by the Lord to speak up for values that He has laid out in the Holy Bible.

Recently, I posted a Meditation titled, “Correcting False Testimony,” in which I argued for the faithful to challenge men/women in authority who misrepresent the Word of God, and a fellow blogger mentioned the other dilemma, what if the other person is not a church leader but a dear friend?

Those discussions can be the most difficult because, unlike the post regarding church leaders, we can’t walk away from the moments in which our friends are unbiblical. We can walk away from the church leaders and find another church.


HOW DO YOU handle those situations? Our text source above reminds us to “gently instruct” others and to respond to their questions “with meekness and fear” (other translations say “gentleness and respect”). Another verse (Gal. 6:1 NET) tells us to restore a lost brother or sister with a “spirit of gentleness.”

So, we’re pretty clear we’re to represent the Lord as His hands and feet, not prideful or boasting, not snarky or sarcastic, but loving, gentle, caring, and compassionate.

Who said being a Christian was going to be easy?

I freely admit that I pray before writing anything — my blog, e-mails to friends, postings on social media — because I want to represent the King, not my heart.

Also, I freely admit that I often walk away from a confrontation with friends on social media because (a) we’ve already discussed the issue and they’re unmoved to change, and (b) I don’t have the desire to be a human piñata for their ill-tempered comrades.



This post assumes that we are “in the right” and that we are following Scripture’s teaching. That needs to be part of our prayer, that we are living out the Gospel and speaking what the Gospel actually says. 

Then, when we speak, we must be mindful of Paul’s words in Colossians 4:6 (ESV):

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”


 Abba, Father, we humbly come to You, knowing that we are Your unworthy ambassadors. Still, our hearts burn to speak up for the Truth of Your Word, the reality of Your love, the power of Your grace. Help us, guide us, lead us, O Lord, to be faithful servants of the King. In Jesus’ name. AMEN


Nothing can be more damaging to the body of Christ than when presumed Christians—whether clergy, academics, or church leaders—demean the Word of God with false testimony. The quandary facing the rest of us is what should we do about it? When someone with a fancy title says something we believe is non-biblical, do we feel unqualified to correct them? What message do we want the world to hear, the false testimony of an authoritative name or the honest and faithful witness of one of His humble followers? The answer is clear: We speak up. That doesn’t make it easy to do, just correct.

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.’” — Jeremiah 14:14 (NIV)

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” — James 3:1 (NASB)

COULD OUR LORD GOD be any clearer in His proclamation that those who claim to speak in His name actually should be speaking His words? 

How do we respond when someone claiming to be a church leader, officially trained and sanctioned, declares publically that “God did not write the Bible” but that “Jesus is the Word,” as though these are separate entities? 

God told us that He wrote the Bible. See 2 Timothy 3:16 (NET): “Every scripture is inspired by God” and 2 Peter 1:20-21 (CSB) “No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation … men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 

Jesus, speaking to the Father in prayer (John 17:17 ESV), declared the Father’s word to be truthful: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”


THIS COMES ESPECIALLY as supposed church leaders misrepresent the Bible’s teaching regarding same-sex marriage, sanctity of life, respect for authority, and other issues that are foundational to a soundly run society.

So many of those voices are intermingled with the secular political left that it’s hard to keep separate the so-called Christian voices from the decidedly pagan ones. In fact, one has to wonder what the starting point is for those claiming to be of the body of Christ, but whose shrill voices rise to condemn fellow Christians who are faithful to the Bible’s teachings.

Why? The Bible tells us that Satan is behind the false teaching. He disguises himself as “an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) and teaches a false doctrine (John 10:10a; Gal. 1:7). Jude tells us in verse 11 of his one-chapter book that false teachers have substituted the truth of God for personal pride or human adoration.

The Old Testament shows us the true prophet Micaiah telling King Ahab of Israel that he would not survive a coming battle. Before delivering that prophesy, he was told by the king’s messenger that the king’s prophets were projecting victory and that Micaiah should, too.

Michaiah, however, was true to his faith in God, and said: “As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak” (2 Chron. 18:13).

The rest of the chapter (2 Chronicles 18) tells how Satan had promised to put “a deceiving spirit” in the mouths of the king’s prophets, which is exactly what he did.

Should we be surprised that it’s still happening? 


OF COURSE, ANYONE can be misinterpreted, and we should give any writer/speaker some leeway pending clarification, but a self-proclaimed church leader should present basic doctrine in a clear enough manner that we can take his/her words at face value, especially when, over time, that person has not provided clairification but has let the words stand.

What do we do when someone who claims to be a church leader condemns their Christian brethren who quote from the Bible — God’s Word — as authority for values and practices supporting what God has proclaimed and then states that the Bible-quoters are “weaponizing” the Bible for their personal agenda? 


How would those “church leaders” respond to God’s Word as referenced in the source text quotations above? The first one cautions against falsifying God’s word; the second one cautions against misrepresenting one’s leadership role.


OUR LORD CALLS US to witness for His Kingdom. He has given us the blueprint for how to respond to false witnesses. There are four steps: (1) Be prayed in, (2) Live lives that glorify God, (3) Quote God’s Word, and (4) Pray for those who offer false testimony.

Let’s unpack those four steps.

  1. BE PRAYED IN. Paul tells us: “Never stop praying.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT). Other translations say: “Pray continually” (NIV); “Pray without ceasing” (ESV), and “Pray at all times” (GNT). The reason for this is clear. Jesus reminds us in John 15 that we need to “abide” in Him and He will “abide” or “remain” in us, because, He says, without Him we can do nothing. “You can do nothing without me” (John 15:5 GNT). Let’s let those words sink in as we meditate on them. Let’s not breeze over them quickly because they’re familiar. They mean exactly what they say: We cannot represent the Lord unless we are connected to Him and He lives in our hearts.
  2. LIVE LIVES THAT GLORIFY GOD. Jesus told us: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 ESV) and Peter reminded us: “Conduct yourselves with such honor among the Gentiles that, though they slander you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us” (1 Peter 2:12 BSB). Still, if we’re prayed-in and asking the Holy Spirit to guide our lives, we are more likely as we mature in faith to act out the Fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV). Without a Godly witness to back up our words, we’re just “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthian 13:1 CSB) or “like a man (or woman) who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:23b-24 NIV).
  3. QUOTE GOD’S WORD. Jesus, who provides the ultimate model for how to live our witness did exactly that when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Three times, we are told, Satan challenged His Sonship, and each time Jesus quoted from Scripture to rebuke him. If God’s word is on our lips, we will speak His truth, not our own version. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8 ESV) we are advised.  In fact, Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit will guide our tongue: “At that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say” (Luke 12:12 GW).


FINALLY, WE ARE TO PRAY for those who witness falsely. We are to pray that the Lord will change their hearts, to soften the stone so it becomes like flesh, to cause them to rebuild their homes on solid rock instead of shifting sands, that those with ears would listen … and take in … and obey.

We are to do that with gentleness and love, not with judgment or rancor, we are to do that believing that God can change their hearts and will work on them, and we are to check our own hearts to be absolutely certain that we are not substituting our will and values for the Lord’s. 


Nothing could be worse for us than to pray for others from a position of arrogance and human pride. Instead, we must pray from a position of humility and awe.

Lest we quit out of frustration, let us claim Jesus’ promise:

“For people, this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26 NCV)


Our Father God, we praise Your holy and glorious name. You are so gracious and loving towards us. We ask You to forgive us for  our pride and arrogance, our self-centeredness, our selfishness. Empower us, O Lord, to be bold and courageous in our witness and guide us to live lives beyond reproach that our witness, both in action and in word, will glorify You. In the holy and mighty name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen


If we who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are going to live out our mandate to extend grace, love, compassion, and forgiveness to a darkened world, we need to call on God’s Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom and the courage to proceed. Jesus was clear in John 15 that we cannot succeed without His help. This is not a Sunday-only mandate but a daily, forever mandate until He returns or we are called home. 

“I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to strengthen you, not to tear you down.” — 2 Corinthians 13:10 (NLT) 

“No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” — Ephesians 4:29 (CSB)

HOW OFTEN HAVE WE HAD an opportunity to spread grace, only to let the opportunity pass, the window close, the moment drift away.

What happens when I fail to honor God by spreading grace? Am I too busy with my own affairs, or perhaps I’m uncertain of how to proceed, or maybe I’m waiting for the other person to go first, or I figure this might not be the right time.

In the abstract, any of those reasons could be considered valid ones. For example:

  • I have a schedule to keep;
  • Too many people are around;
  • I might have missed cues that would have given the moment context; or
  • I’m looking for the other person’s receptivity. 


DRAWING FROM the abstract to the specific, I often fail to act out of fear. Forget all of the highfalutin excuses, I may have buckled through lack of courage.

I would prefer to do my talking through my fingers on the computer keyboard than vocally in a social setting. I feel more confident with the printed word that I can see and modify than with the spoken word that can’t be seen but is said, sometimes vaporizing into nothing but sometimes hanging heavy over the table like a large cloud. 

Jesus told us not to be afraid to testify for our faith. We’re not the first humans who have clammed up when the Lord calls us to speak on His behalf.

Moses, himself, needed plenty of shoring up. “Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” – Exodus 4:12 (NLT) 

With that as a model, we — I — can be more confident in speaking grace into a situation with the Lord’s help. What is required in this and every other situation is to be “prayed in.”

The apostles Peter and John asked the Lord to supply them with even more courage after they were jailed overnight after speaking — with great courage — in front of the religious leaders. (see Acts 4:29)


WHAT DOES speaking grace look like?

Depending on the situation, it could be consoling someone who is hurting or struggling with his/her faith. It could be offering a kinder explanation for someone else’s intemperate behavior. It could be offering encouragement or thanking someone or forgiving someone. 

Basically, it’s extending ourselves beyond our self-centered wants and needs, considering the other person more important than we are (Philippians 2:3), serving others rather than expecting them to serve us (Matthew 20:28), or just making known that we, as men and women, see the exterior, the veneer, of another person’s life, but Almighty God sees into the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).



When the Lord place us in a situation, He justifiably expects us to use those moments to extend His grace to others. We must remember that while we, as fallen creatures, see many people outside of our zone of grace, no one exists beyond God’s zone of grace.

If we use the authority that God has given us to strengthen others, rather than tear them down, we should find more and more people that formerly existed outside our zone of grace falling within its every widening walls.


O Lord, our Heavenly Father. Sometimes, we just feel so overwhelmed with the task of carrying the Gospel to a broken, unbelieving, cynical world; yet, when we place our trust in You, we labor not with our own strength and wisdom but with Yours. We pray for grace and mercy as Your Spirit prepares us for the good work to be done on behalf of the Kingdom, not for our glory, O Lord, but for Yours. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray.  AMEN

Expect Your Growth in Christ To Be Gradual

When you give your life over to Jesus Christ, you can expect He will go to work immediately to change your heart to be more like Him, but He will not snap His fingers and make it happen overnight. He wants to build your character and encourage you to trust in Him, so the process will be constant, but gradual. You’ll be in Good Hands!

Hebrews 2:1 (NLT): “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 (NASB): “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”

GROWTH IN OUR WALK with Christ can be slow, sometimes exceedingly slow.

But the Lord has assured us that He will be with us every step of the way, guiding and directing, teaching and convicting, disciplining and blessing. He’ll pull us along the path, through storms and rainbows, until He delivers us in glory “without stain or blemish.” (Eph. 5:27)

The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1 (CEV): “Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.”

That means our growth will take place against both a backdrop of failure and success, of sadness and happiness, of sorrow and joy. 

Each turn will bring its own opportunity to learn. As we struggle with obedience and reliance on Him, the spiritual blessings will flow.

Our job through this process is to remain faithful, stay in prayer, and lean into the Holy Spirit, the counselor advisor our Lord promised us before He returned to the Father.


EACH CHALLENGE WILL LAST its season, to be replaced by the next one. At any time, we might be in a period of tribulation, heading into tribulation, or heading out of it. Whichever phase we’re in, the cycle continues, each time growing us closer to the Lord.

The current coronavirus challenge is one challenging season impacting all of us, throughout the world, at the same time. It presents a unique opportunity for the body of Christ to testify to our faith, both by how we act and by what we say.

Perhaps this is the time to renew family acquaintances, meet the neighbors from six feet away, or engage in the productive meditation that leads to service when we are called.

Soon, perhaps, we’ll enter a season of coasting, enjoying the wind beneath our wings. The Lord generously gives us fallow times, resting times, to build us up for the challenges ahead.

Let’s enjoy each season for what it offers. Whether in periods of rest or of turmoil, we should put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) to protect us against the enemy, who is sure to misrepresent God’s role in this picture.

James tells us we are sanctified through the trials we endure, provided we count on God’s help: “And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”* (James 1:4 (CSB) 

Amazing Grace!


O gracious and merciful Father, all praise, honor, and glory are Yours, O God. We thank You for sending us the Holy Spirit to be our ezer kenegdo — our counselor and advisor. Lead us through the storms, O Lord, and bless us when the storms are over. Thank You most of all, O Lord, for salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. For it’s in His name that we pray. Amen

Challenge — The Bible in 50 Words

I recently saw online and in a recent blog post the “Bible in 50 Words” and wanted to try my hand.

If you’d like, please create your own list! I’m sure I would learn something from other versions. Why “50”? The number has some symbolic value related to God’s tabernacle in the wilderness, but it doesn’t rank with “3” (Trinity) or “7” (completeness).

I walked through Scripture in chronological order, hitting the high points, and without repeating a verb, all of which are past tense, except two in the continuing present.

FAILURE ALERT: I ended up with 60 words because I refused to strike some names, yet I still wanted to add Joshua, Caleb, Samuel, Josiah, Gideon, Mary’s husband Joseph, John the Baptist, Apollos, Barnabas, John Mark, Tamar, Rahab, Mary and Martha. I shortened Mary Magdalene to Magdalene and Holy Spirit to Spirit. 

Hopefully, apart from the fun of doing the exercise, it should help me evangelize if I can present the Bible in short form.

*Since God obviously and clearly loves women, I starred their names to help them stand out. 



God created

Adam breathed

*Eve hid

Noah built

Abraham followed

*Sarah laughed

Jacob deceived

Joseph dreamed

Moses led

*Ruth gleaned

Elijah prayed

Nehemiah governed

*Esther believed

David fought

*Bathsheba bathed

Solomon wrote

Isaiah prophesied

Jeremiah wept

Daniel obeyed

Hosea suffered

Amos challenged

*Mary conceived

Peter walked 

John loved

Judas betrayed

*Magdalene embraced

Christ saves

Paul changed

James taught

Spirit guides

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