Bible Studies, Christian Growth

Suffering Saints


I have very little trouble comprehending cause and effect situations. Parents tell their children not to throw balls inside the house but they ignore the commands. In rebellion, they play a game of toss; the ball hits a vase and it shatters on the floor. The story does not end with the breakage; the children broke the rules and they will face the consequences. Mother and dad had made their will clear and will implement swift disciplinary measures. As a Pharisee, Saul was the cause of suffering by many saints.

 “But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house; and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison (Acts 8:3 NAS).” He persecuted believers, worshipers of the risen Christ. He was going around causing havoc; “what goes around, comes around.” God instructed a disciple named Ananias to go to Saul. “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My names sake (Acts 9:15-16 NAS).” .

Paul endured under great suffering. (2 Corinthians 23-33) I detect a fine line between discipline, punishment, testing and suffering. Through the lives of the apostles, I perceive their joy in suffering for Christ. In the words of Paul, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me (Philippians 1:29-30 NAS).”  Apostle Peter also encouraged those undergoing persecution.

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (1 Peter 4:12-14 NAS).”  Through the suffering of saints, I sense the advancement of the cause of Christ. In effect, He saves the lost.

Bible Studies, Christian Growth, Devotionals

Up in a Puff of Smoke



Up, in a puff of smoke! It alludes to rapid ruin for a structure. Yet, scripturally, smoke is symbolic of God’s glory, presence and power. His glory filled the Jerusalem temple. “And one cried to another and said, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory! And the foundations of the threshold shook at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke (Isaiah 6:3-4 Amplified Bible).”

Smoke wafted through the screen door of the camper and ascended through the opened vent in the ceiling. Watching, I pondered on the idiom-where there’s smoke, there’s fire. In this case, I knew my husband was burning leaves. There is validity in the statement. Sometimes we can only see smoke; the fire, though not dominant, is there. Where there is smoke, there is sacrificial fire. Elijah made an offering unto holy God.

“Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You, the Lord, are God, and have turned their hearts back [to You]. Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice and the wood and the stones and the dust, and also licked up the water that was in the trench (1 Kings 18:37-38 Amplified Bible).” The Lord can still today turn our hearts back to Him. We need only to repent and return.

Christian Growth, Devotionals

A Prompter


Have you ever worked in hometown theatrical groups? Maybe you enjoyed drama club in high school or college. In your speaking roles, the director expected you to know the dialogue. Even if you were an extra with only a small speaking part, memorization was mandatory. Oops, you forgot your line. Off stage, a prompter fed you your lines.

The Holy Spirit is prompting the faithful. “And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say (Luke 12:11-12 Pilgrim Study Bible).” Feed on His word and He will feed you your lines.