Are You Discontent?

What I love about the book of Exodus is that it describes a massive journey of this huge people group who look and sound a lot like our culture.

You see prior to chapter fifteen the nation of Israel was held in bondage in Egypt. Moses comes and says, “The Lord has told me we are going to get out here.” Then he goes before Pharaoh and says let my people go.  Pharaoh struggles and God brings down plagues.

Israel sits and watches God do mighty things:  water turned to blood, Locusts all over the place, frogs everywhere, the first born killed unless you had provided a Passover lamb.  That only names a few.

After the plagues they continue to watch God do mighty things to get them out of captivity, including the parting of the Red Sea.  They saw the water rise up on the sides, and then they walk across on dry land.

Moments later we find ourselves in Exodus 15.  The people are triumphantly praising God for what He has done.

In Your lovingkindness You have  led the people whom You have redeemed; In Your strength You have guided  them  to Your holy habitation. Exodus 15:13

 

Then we take a short jaunt to verse 22-27 and the people say, “There is no good water.  This water is bitter. What are we going to do?  Are we going to die?” The Lord in verse 25, tells Moses to throw a tree branch into that water and I will make it the best water you ever drank.

Now they have gone through the plagues, they have seen the red sea being parted, and God has now provided them with water after their grumblings.  We get to chapter 16 and the nation says, “What about food?”

They grumble again, and they are plagued with discontentment. In verse 4 the Lord says, “I will rain down bread from the heavens.”

I know I have said it before but we need to truly understand that these people watched God perform the plagues, part the red sea, provide water, and send bread.  And then they say, “What about meat?” We see their discontentment shine through again.

The Lord says in verse 12 “I will give you meat in the evenings and manna in the mornings.”

The struggle is real.  By now they are over it, right? You read to verse 16 and you think “Man these people need to get it together.”  They have seen time and time again how the Lord has provided.  Yet they are so discontent.  Nothing is enough for them.

You hope it is coming to an end.  Instead we get to chapter 17 verses 1-7 and they have moved from grumbling to quarreling against Moses.  Why?  Water, again!  They have made a full circle. The nation never got that God’s enough is more than enough.

When discontentment is ruling over our lives, we are always questioning how we are going to get to the next thing.  It becomes all about how I am going to get myself to the next step. The whole time, the Lord is saying “My plan for you is more than enough.  My enough is enough.” Are we living in light of God’s enough or are we struggling to accomplish the next thing we think we need?

About the Writer:
Liz is just a girl who spends her days in seminary classes, spends her afternoons interning with First Baptist Dallas Women’s, and spends evenings with her friends laughing and challenging the definition of community to be something much deeper. If you need her you can probably find her watching Dancing with the Stars while on Pinterest, challenging the worldly norm of a 28 year old.

 

 

Step Out & Speak Up

Real Talk: I wasn’t sure what to share with y’all about one of the bravest, most courageous, women in the Bible: Esther. I was chatting with a friend about the struggle of how I didn’t want this to be a cliche message that everyone has heard and already knows about the book of Esther. And that’s when she reminded me about this important truth: Esther wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the extraordinary things she did without the encouragement and push from her beloved Uncle Mordecai. As my friend was sharing with me what the Lord had been teaching her about this new found revelation from the book, I was shocked that I  had never seen the story of  Esther in this light before.

What we usually read and hear quoted most often is one of my favorite passages in the Bible because it rings true in so many different seasons of life, but I’ll give a little bit of backstory from the book first. Up to this part of the story, we know that Esther has been chosen by King Ahasuerus to be his new queen out of all the other women competing for this position. What we come to find out as we dive deeper into the book is that Esther and her uncle are Jews, and the king’s right-hand man, Haman, wants to completely destroy Mordecai and his people. What the king and Haman do not know is that Esther is a Jew as well. Mordecai hears of Haman’s plot and quickly informs Esther’s servants to relay this message to the queen.

This is where Mordecai’s words of wisdom and prophecy reach Esther’s very fearful ears.

Esther 4:14: For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Esther needed to be reminded of what she already knew was the right thing to do. But I tend to think, and this is purely my own conjecture, that if Esther did not have Mordecai in her life to speak the very blunt truth, and to remind her that she had an opportunity to speak up and possibly save the lives of thousands of Jews within the kingdom, would she have had the courage to speak up to the king?

Do you have a Mordecai in your life? Or maybe you’re that Mordecai in someone else’s life. When you find yourself becoming comfortable where you are, but you need to speak up or step out, do you have a friend or loved one who encourages you to take that brave, risky step? Sweet friend, don’t allow the enemy to whisper those lies that you’re not smart enough, brave enough, pretty enough, or skilled enough to do that hard thing God is calling you to do. Keep stepping out and speaking up. I promise it will be worth it!

About the Writer:
Anna is a full-time student finishing up her degree at Liberty University while also working full-time at First Baptist Dallas in the Young Married and Singles Ministries. In her spare time when she’s not writing papers for school, she enjoys laughing with friends, road trips to new places, and drinking copious amounts of iced coffee.

Why Queen Esther Matters for Feminism Today

Let me be the first to admit that when the topic of biblical womanhood is brought up in a Bible study, sermon, blog, or the dinner table, my eyes glaze over and I go to my happy place.  I have lost count of how many times I’ve heard the Proverbs 31 woman be cited as the optimal goal for Christian women. While this woman has great qualities and seems like a nice lady who puts her family first, she is not the only woman mentioned in the Bible. Can I hear an “Amen!” from all the women allergic to the kitchen?  (I’m convinced “gathering food from afar” can mean driving to Whole Foods!

While it’s important to look at the biblical model for households, it is also equally important to look at how God used women to accomplish His goals outside of the kitchen. As a Girls Minister, who works with teenagers for a living, let me tell you, one of the reasons women young and old have rejected biblical womanhood is because most teaching leaves out exciting Biblical stories with women in the starring roles. Thus enters the allure of the feminist movement.

Today we are going to look at a woman with a leading role in the Bible and in history, Queen Esther. Esther lives a real-life Cinderella story, has an entire Biblical book named after her, and manages to change the mind of a king and the direction of a country through her wisdom, beauty, timely words, and place of royalty. EScreen Shot 2017-05-23 at 5.19.51 PM.pngsther has an important message for Christian girls and women who desperately want an exciting life and an impactful existence, and who secretly wonder if they must side with the feminist movement in order to accomplish these goals. Let’s look at why Queen Esther matters for the feminist movement of today.

Esther 4:14 is the most quoted verse in the entire biblical book of Esther.

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?  Esther 4:14

This is her uncle appealing to Esther to stand up for the Jews who were being mistreated and to use her high position in order to get her convictions heard before the king.  The verse directly contrasts the idea that the Bible oppresses women.  God placed Esther as Queen in order to lead a revolution!

  1. Esther only used effective methods and means. If Esther lived in 2017, she would not have attended the Women’s March. How do I know this? She had seen the King’s first wife, Queen Vashti, behave in a feminist protest by refusing to obey her husband, to submit to his God-given authority, or to follow the norms for the culture of the day- which resulted in her losing her crown. Esther was not about to repeat the same mistake.
  1. Esther had a systematic plan in mind and motion. Esther was not interested in merely yelling loud enough or long enough to get someone’s attention. She wanted results and to keep her husband’s heart, interest, and trust. Esther did not make him change his mind as a result of a tantrum. She carefully planned and respectfully appealed to her king and husband.
  1. Esther kept her dignity resulting in her keeping her crown. Esther was not rash in the way she planned to confront injustice. Esther did not demand action, but requested her voice be heard and her plan carried out. Because of her patience and calm demeanor, her husband was open to hearing her concerns.
  1. Esther was her own person while remaining submissive. Esther had her own ideas about culture, society, justice, and equality – and that is more than okay! In fact, Esther’s differing opinion from her husband’s is a main plot of this story! She was her own person, with her own ideas, who respectfully brought her request to the king, and he listened.

There are ungodly and unequal ideas, laws, practices, and crimes that must change for women in 2017. Culture needs to progress in how women are treated, and Christians need to stand for those who are mistreated. In the midst of creating a better world for women, there is value in learning how women in the Bible used their power, influence, grace, patience, beauty, and position to change the minds of kings and the direction of history.

About the Writer:
Julia is the Girl’s Ministry Director at First Baptist Dallas. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who trained at the world-renowned Meier Clinics.  Julia is a professional speaker for Just Say Yes, speaking nationwide on the topics of suicide, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders. Julia is passionate about her three favorite topics theology, psychology, and ryanology. She has been married to her junior high sweetheart, Ryan, for eight years and loves ministering to teenagers alongside her best friend and favorite boss. Julia has a heart to see people experience the same freedom through Christ that she has experienced!

Respect and Influence in Your Home

In the story of Esther, we see that the queen of the land had the ability to influence not only the king, but other women in the kingdom who were watching from a distance. While the cultural practices are very different today from those in Esther’s day, I think that we can glean a very challenging application from these pages.

God’s divine providence placed Esther in a role where she had the authority to sway the heart and the actions of King Ahasuerus. She had great favor in his eyes. (Esther 2:17) If we step back and look at our spheres of influence, we might realize that we are all given more authority and ability to effect change than we realize.

In the first chapter, a story unfolds where the previous Queen Vashti was insubordinate to the king and, in response, one of the princes suggested that she be removed from her place of honor, with the reasoning that “the queen’s conduct will become known to all the women causing them to look with contempt on their husbands.” (Esther 1:17) By contrast, Queen Esther’s words and actions towards King Ahasuerus were humble and respectful even in a time when she could have approached him with extreme emotion and haste.

Instead of running immediately to the king, she gathered information, prayed over several days, and prepared a plan. When it came time for Esther to meet with the king, she demonstrated her respect for him by the way in which she approached him. She was patient and gentle with her words and her actions. How different could my home look if this were the manner with which I approached my husband every day, in an attitude of prayer, humility, and respect?

As wives and mothers, we make decisions throughout the day that influence and set the tone for our families. The positive or negative energy that we display to our family is reproduced and multiplied around us. In this power, we carry both a great responsibility and a great opportunity.

Instead of reacting quickly out of emotion, let us act with patience and courage. Let us pray and take careful measure in the way that we respond to our families. For we are each placed into these roles by God and He has plans to use us for a specific purpose.

About the Writer:
Audra has a passion for encouraging women in their roles at home in both marriage and motherhood. She enjoys sharing her journey of refinement and learning through these important transitions on her blog called The Homegrown Project.

For Such a Time as This

The Old Testament is filled with the heroes of faith from Noah, Abraham, and Moses to Gideon, Samson, and Samuel. (Hebrews 11:1-40) But tucked away between the pages of Nehemiah and Job is the small book of Esther depicting the story of the beautiful Esther, a Jewish heroine of faith and courage.  Her life is a wonderful example of the true providence of God in our own lives when we walk in faith and give all our worries to Him.

Resembling a character in a fairy tale, Esther grows up an orphan, only to become the Queen of Persia, wife to Xerxes (Greek for the Hebrew name Ahasuerus), king of Persia from 486-464BC. Not too long into her reign, Queen Esther is sent a message from Mordecai, her cousin and former caregiver, to make intercession for the Jews with the King. Haman, the arrogant antagonist in the story, has devised a plot by lying to the King and convincing him to sign a decree allowing Haman to destroy Mordecai, and all the Jews for not “observing the kings laws” by their refusal to bow down and worship, or pay homage to him.

At first, Esther objects to Mordecai’s request to make intercession with the king; and rightfully so because, if anyone, including the Queen, approached the King in the inner court without first being summoned, that person is subject to death unless the King holds out the golden scepter.  Through a messenger, Esther expresses to Mordecai her hesitancy to do as he has requested.

 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14

Scripture tells us Esther requests Mordecai and all the Jews of the land to fast with the purpose of prayer for three days, as would she and her servants. Our story ultimately has a happy ending, but not without prayer, fasting, AND God’s divine intervention! Through a sleepless night, the king “accidentally” reads that Mordecai once foiled an assassination plot against the King and decides to reward him.

In an recent article titled “The Moral Tipping Point”, Franklin Graham points out we are perilously close to the moral tipping point for the survival of the United States of America. Truth is sometimes covered in lies and deception, making it difficult to discern. So, what can we do? The only hope for any nation, family, or person, is our God. Do you ever wonder why we are here at this time in history?

So, what can we do? We walk in FAITH, (Hebrews 11:1) with endurance and not by sight, always submitting to the leadership of the Holy Spirit who resides within us to serve and disciple others in His Word, praying unceasingly (I Thess. 5:17).

Not all of us can fast because of work, health issues, or other reasons, but we can all pray. Are we praying for our spouses, our children, and our grandchildren to continually fear God and hate evil? Are we praying for our friends and families to apply scripture in all areas of life, and for His truth to prevail? Are we being called “for such a time as this?”A Gift Like No Other


If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked was, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

About the Writer:
Beverly has been an educator, administrator, educational sales representative, Sunday school teacher, and mentor; but most importantly is a wife, mother, and grandmother with a passion for sharing Christ.

Recommendation for an Excellent Counselor

“Don’t make mountains out of molehills,” goes the saying. Poor ants . . . everything looks
like a mountain to them — even the molehill itself! Sometimes I feel like an ant — so small and insignificant in God’s universe, left to forge ahead around the never-ending obstructions thrown into my path.mountains-out-of-molehillsOne day not too long ago, God had been doing some surgery on my heart,
revealing to me the need to deal with some hurts from the past. The inner turmoil needed to be extracted by the root — its gnarly edges were finding their way into everyday life, into my peaceful pasture —confusing my ability to deal with the present. I was having huge amounts of anxiety from the tiniest triggers and having dreams, flash backs, body shakes, and other reactions. But as I sat down with the Lord to try to figure it out with Him and process through it, I couldn’t. My mind would block me — let me go so far, then go blank — like a door in my mind was locked with a key I didn’t have. I was getting even more worked up and discouraged, but wanting to figure it out so I could apply God’s Word to solve everything.

Then I looked down at the book I was studying and saw what John had written:

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27

In the midst of a passage about the blessing of having a Counselor, the Holy Spirit, inside of us and the futility of trying to see results on my own terms, rather than submitting to the ways and methods of my Father; I found great comfort and peace.

For someone like me who knows how wonderful it is to lay down her burdens at the feet of Christ and walk in His way of freedom and joy, it is a good reminder to me that “I” don’t figure out how to use God’s Word to heal myself. The Holy Spirit is the one who speaks from the Father what I need to hear when I am able to hear it (John 16:13). And His words have the power to heal and illuminate (Jeremiah 17:14),( Matthew 4:16-17).

My heart was encouraged because, even if the current anxiety seemed like a mountain to me, it was only a molehill to the God who created heaven and earth. He was looking after me to provide a way for me to have peace. As ominous and threatening to overtake my future as the shadows of the past seemed, He was fully aware and able to blow them away with a gentle whisper of His voice.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.
He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad because they were quiet,
So He guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men! Psalm 107:28-31

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Where Were You God?

Have you ever felt like God didn’t show up when you needed him the most? And did that make you wonder if He truly cares about the pain you are experiencing? My husband and I struggle with infertility. Over the past three years we have experienced multiple miscarriages after doing fertility treatments. And to be honest with you, after the third miscarriage I felt trapped in a horrible nightmare and began to question whether God cares about the deep pain these pregnancy losses are causing. Because if He did, wouldn’t He show up and perform a miracle?

In the book of John, Lazarus falls ill. Mary and Martha (Lazarus’ sisters) send word to Jesus that Lazarus is sick. Jesus does not come to their aid immediately. In fact, Jesus waits days to come to their town and during that time Lazarus dies and is even buried. When Jesus finally comes Mary and Martha both greet Him at different times with the same bold statement, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:32) Thank you ladies for saying what we were all thinking! And exactly what has gone through my head during our infertility journey, “Lord, if you had been here, these miscarriages wouldn’t have happened.” I imagine while waiting on Jesus to show up, Mary and Martha had to wonder if Jesus truly cared about their situation. Did He understand the grief their circumstance were causing? Now, if you read ahead you know that when Jesus does arrive. He is on the verge of performing a miracle, resurrecting Lazarus from the dead. But something beautiful happens when Jesus greets Mary and Martha as well.

          When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled. John 11:33

As they are walking to Lazarus’ tomb Jesus begins to weep along side Mary and Martha. He isn’t crying and troubled because He is shocked by the death of Lazarus and unsure how it happened. Rather Jesus is pained by the heartache death is causing them. He was weeping because He could see the outcome while they couldn’t. He knew that Lazarus was about to walk out of the tomb, but they couldn’t see that just as we can’t see the outcome of our situations.

wherewereyougod_pictureGod does hear our cries and He feels our pain. When we think He isn’t showing up, He is really weeping beside us as He works out His sovereign plan. While we tend to focus on the grave and what we have lost, God focuses on the miracle to come, the empty tomb. While we experience pain through our infertility, the story of Lazarus reminds us that God does deeply care and has a bigger plan. So as we wait, we may experience pain and sadness, but we do so with the expectation that God is working behind the scenes to create our empty tomb.

About the Writer:
Joni H. is a former elementary school teacher turned stay at home wife and mom to her son. She enjoys serving at First Baptist Dallas along side her husband as small group leaders in their Young Marrieds Sunday school class. She loves spending her free time crafting, attempting Pinterest projects, and above all spending time with her family.

Role Models Run Riot

Reading the Bible, one shifts at some point from looking to the individuals in the Bible as amazing role models to focusing on how God graciously and miraculously used them in spite of their, at times, colorful personality flaws or even downright sinfulnactsess. Other than Jesus Christ Himself, God in the flesh, I can’t think of one person who didn’t, along with their great deeds of faith, have some pretty convicting failures stacked against them. Sometimes their foolishness strikes me as funny, but most of the time it fills my heart with such gratitude to know that my God doesn’t require perfection to let us be part of His story. In Acts, chapter 23, Paul gives an excellent example of righteous justice gone bad. Paul knew the Jewish laws well and knew that his rights for a fair hearing were being wrongly denied. And how did he respond? He stood up
for himself by calling out his judges’ wrong.

“Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, ‘Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day.’ The high priest Ananias commanded those standing beside him to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to him, ‘God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit to try me according to the Law, and in violation of the Law order me to be struck?’” (Acts 23:1-3)

However, in standing up for his rights, he too violated God’s commands and was called out for speaking against the high priest’s authority (Acts 23:5).

In the process of representing the resurrection of Christ, his own hot temper and sinfulness, one might say, ruined the chance God gave Paul to represent Him. He even had to confess publicly—how humiliating! However, as we read further, that very night the Lord appeared to Paul with encouraging words:

But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, ‘Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.’ Acts 23:11

I love how God does not require us to be 100% christlike all the time in order for Him to accomplish His work through us and bring praise to His name! We stand on the foundation of Christ alone for righteousness. How encouraging to be able to bask in God’s forgiveness by humbling ourselves when wrong (as Paul did), and still know God can continue to use us to spread the message of hope and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3-4

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Sound Asleep in a Less Than Perfect Room

sound-asleepRecently my husband and I traveled to Portland, Oregon.  We strolled downtown and anticipated our stay at the Sentinel Hotel, described on their website as “a luxury hotel with vision” with signature amenities: pillow menu, luxurious linens, beehives on the rooftop for producing local honey, and hand crafted ice cream.

Our day ended with a lovely meal. Fully satisfied and relaxed, we walked to our welcoming suite at the Sentinel. Everything seemed perfect for a restful night’s sleep. We crawled into the luxurious, king size bed with fluffy pillows,  and turned out the lights. But then it started:  so . . . much . . . noise!

The MAX Light Rail clanged on its tracks. People exited restaurants and clubs. Horns honked. Buses rumbled. A woman belted out an off-key song at the top of her nicotine- damaged lungs. Accoutrements offered by the Sentinel did not provide sound sleep, not even in that perfect room!

But, long ago in a different place, the apostle Peter experienced sound sleep in a less than perfect room where sleep would have seemed unlikely!

Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. . . When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. Acts 12:1-6

Peter was resting in prison! No king size bed. No pillow (not even one). No luxurious sheets. How could this be?

His friend had just been murdered by Herod. He was bound with chains between two soldiers. Peter’s future seemed bleak!

How . . . could . . . he sleep? Here are some reasons sleep was a reality for him.

  •  Peter had learned to trust Jesus— the One who walked on water, the One he once denied. Peter knew Jesus conquered death and the grave—Jesus was alive.
  •  Others prayed for Peter. He was chained by men, but Peter was kept by Jesus.

While real physical circumstances may sabotage your sleep, your soul can rest in sweet assurance and peace because of Jesus. The psalmist wrote, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8 NKJV).

Clearly, Peter learned to rest in Jesus, even when circumstances where frightening, uncomfortable, and uncertain. What about you? I pray you rest in knowing you are kept by Jesus.
God’s grace continues to prove sufficient in my middle-aged life. Most nights I sleep well; however, on that rare occasion when my mind is working overtime or my heart is heavy, not so much.  But be sure, I rest well and completely in Jesus – and that is something Advil PM can’t provide.coffee-cup


About the Writer:

Cindy serves the Lord and receives great joy by teaching for almost 23 years in the Vessels Sunday School class, and through Oasis Women’s Bible studies at First Baptist Dallas.

 

Why Jesus matters for the Muslim, Jew, and You!

The book of Acts reads like a national best-seller with exciting plot twists, great character development, surprise characters, and supernatural creatures. Acts will make you excited to be a Christian. It reminds readers that the Holy Spirit is real; this thing called Christianity is alive, powerful, and exciting; that being a Christian is not boring but the greatest adventure anyone has ever be called to; and God is all-powerful and full of surprises for his followers! Do I have your attention yet? Good!

jews-praying-at-temple-mountThe biblical story I want to point you to today is found in Acts 10 and records the Roman centurion, Cornelius’, conversion to Christianity. Cornelius is thought to be the first Gentile (anyone who isn’t born a Jew) convert to the Christian faith. This is important for people who believe that Christianity is a predominately American religion that is insignificant for the rest of the world. The first Christians were Jews and they marveled that a Gentile could become a follower of Christ. Cornelius was, “a devout man and one who feared God will all his household…and prayed to God continually” (Acts 10:2). But even though Cornelius was a devout man who was constantly praying, God sent Peter to tell Cornelius about Jesus. Even though Cornelius was praying to the right God, he was not praying through the right mediator, Jesus Christ. Peter ends up telling Cornelius about Jesus, “through His name (Jesus) everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins”(Acts 10:43). Cornelius and his household accepted Christ right then and received the Holy Spirit.

So why does the biblical account of Cornelius’ conversion matter for us in 2017? A few weeks after studying this story, I found myself in an Uber with a Muslim driver. This man was telling me how he and I, a Muslim and a Christian pray to the same God. Honestly, I was tired, jet lagged, hungry, wanted to get home, and didn’t feel like trying to recall all my apologetics arguments. But then God brought to my mind the story of Cornelius. I told my Uber driver that the Bible says it is impossible to accept God while rejecting Jesus. The idea that all religions are basically praying to the same God is a lie being told in our schools, homes, friend groups, media, and even some churches. That’s why we must know the story of Cornelius, who though he was sincere, devout, religious, and even praying to the right God; he was sincerely wrong until He accepted Christ as his Savior. That is not my word. . . . , that is God’s view of people who try to come to Him without Jesus.

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name (Jesus) under heaven that has been given…by which we are saved. Acts 4:12

Christians that teach Jesus is the only way to Heaven are often labeled intolerant. This is why we as believers must rest in the fact that pointing people to Jesus is not harming them. Salvation is more than about hurting someone’s feelings. Salvation is the difference between life and death in this life, but more importantly determines our eternal destiny. You are never ultimately hurting someone by telling them the Truth of the gospel in love.

About the Writer:
Julia is the Girl’s Ministry Director at First Baptist Dallas. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who trained at the world-renowned Meier Clinics.  Julia is a professional speaker for Just Say Yes, speaking nationwide on the topics of suicide, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders. Julia is passionate about her three favorite topics theology, psychology, and ryanology. She has been married to her junior high sweetheart, Ryan, for eight years and loves ministering to teenagers alongside her best friend and favorite boss. Julia has a heart to see people experience the same freedom through Christ that she has experienced!