Saturday, December 24, 2022

God Didn’t Send Us a Check on Christmas

“The Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
– Isaiah 61:1

David Livingstone was a famous explorer and missionary who served overseas in the 1800s. He led three expeditions into the heart of Africa, making hundreds of discoveries along the way, speaking out against slavery, and taking the gospel to places where no European had ever set foot.

Although he was hailed as a hero in England, Livingstone was dirt poor and had very little help with his missionary expeditions. One day he received a letter that asked, “Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you.” But David Livingstone replied, “If you have men who will only come if they know there is a GOOD road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.”

Many Christians WANT to be a part of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with people who aren’t saved. But they insist on sharing the gospel on their own terms. “Count me in … as long as I won’t be gone more than a week.” “I’d be happy to help … if there’s a good road that’ll get me there.” Sadly, most Christians refuse even to walk across the street to share the Gospel. When pressed to throw a lifeline to lost and dying people, it’s easier just to send a check.

Aren’t you glad that when our world desperately needed a Savior, God didn’t just send a check? He sent His SON. And God didn’t wait for a good road before He sent Jesus to earth to save us from our sins. Jesus came to earth to build the road. He Himself IS the road to healing, freedom and salvation. Long before Jesus was born, Isaiah 61 made that clear. The chapter begins: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (v. 1).

If you have any doubt that these verses describe Jesus Christ, you need only turn to Luke 4. After Jesus had been baptized in the Jordan River and spent 40 days fasting and praying in the desert, he returned to his hometown of Nazareth and went to synagogue on the Sabbath. Luke tells us, “He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him” (vs. 16-17). Jesus unrolled the scroll and read those prophetic verses from the Book of Isaiah. Then he sat down and told them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (v. 21).

Now, according to the prophecy foretold by Isaiah, what did the Spirit of God anoint the Son of God to do?

#1: Jesus came to preach good news to the poor. Jesus’ greatest sermon is his Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 5-7. He began this great sermon with the first beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To be poor in spirit means to be humble and empty, admitting our own unworthiness before God and our utter dependence on Him. So, first and foremost, Jesus came to reach those who were humble enough to understand the bad news: that we are all spiritually bankrupt without Christ. And Jesus also came to bring the Good News: that He had made a way where there seemed to be no way. He would conquer sin and death.

#2: Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted. The brokenhearted are those who feel as if life has chewed them up and spit them out. After pouring so much blood, sweat and tears into their hopes and dreams, their hopes have been dashed, and their dreams have been shattered.

But Jesus specializes in binding up broken hearts. The Hebrew word used in Isaiah 61:1 literally means “to bandage or wrap up a serious wound.” But figuratively, it means “to inspire with confidence, give hope and courage to, to encourage.”

#3: Jesus came to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Jesus came to set us free from our captivity to sin and death. In John 8:34, Jesus tells his disciples, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” And two verses later, He follows it up by saying, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36). Jesus came to free us from our slavery to sin, which leads to eternal damnation in hell. Most people are slaves to their own sin, and they’re blind to that fact. But once their eyes are opened and they realize they are slaves to sin and death, Jesus can set them free.

Jesus’ mission was far too important to just send a check. So, on that first Christmas, God sent His Son. And now He is sending you—probably not to the jungles of Africa—but He is sending you to your neighbor, a friend or coworker. And He’s certainly sending you to your own family. All the people around you who don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ are slaves to sin. They desperately need Jesus. So, this Christmas, God isn’t sending them a check. Since you have what they need, He is sending them YOU.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us for our Christmas morning service tomorrow at 10 a.m.: in person at 17746 George Blvd., Victorville, CA, or online on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit


Friday, December 23, 2022

Is There Peace on Earth?

 “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
– Isaiah 9:6

2022 has had its fair share of doom and gloom. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Inflation. Crazy high gas prices. Mass shootings at elementary schools, department stores and nightclubs. But despite how bad things appear, the LORD speaks to us through His word today.

In Isaiah 9, we read: “Nevertheless, [one day] there will be no more gloom for those in distress. In the past He humbled the land … but in the future He will honor [the nation]” (v. 1). He was talking about the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, but he could just as well have been talking about America today. He goes on to share the hope that is to come: “My people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned!” (v. 2). And then God tells us that His plan won’t be carried out by a massive army, a league of nations or a great political leader. God’s amazing plan will rest in the hands … of a child.

Verse 6 begins: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.” At least SOME people in Isaiah’s day must have thought, “Seriously, God? A child?” To which God responded, “Yes. A child.” A very special, one-of-a-kind child. A baby boy—“a son”—born to us as a gift. And the verse concludes: “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

These are four beautiful and powerful titles that the promised child king—Jesus Christ—would bear. And here are four wonderful insights we can take from these four titles of Jesus:

Insight #1: As our Wonderful Counselor, Jesus is all-knowing. The word “wonderful” in Isaiah 9:6 is a translation of the Hebrew word “pele,” which is defined as “a phenomenon lying outside the realm of human explanation; a miracle, a marvel, something extraordinary, incomprehensible, inexplicable.” The Apostle Paul summarizes Jesus’ wisdom and counsel beautifully in Colossians 2:3: “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Remember, Jesus KNOWS you better than anyone else and UNDERSTANDS you better than anyone else, so He can GUIDE and ADVISE you better than anyone else

Insight #2: As our Mighty God, Jesus is all-powerful. The Bible is crystal clear: Jesus … is … God. In John 8:58 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am.” In this verse Jesus is calling Himself the holiest name of God, I AM—Yahweh. And the Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15-16 that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created.” And Isaiah 9:6 makes it clear that Jesus is Mighty God. “Mighty” is a translation of the Hebrew word “gibbor,” meaning “strength; power; hero; warrior.” If you need a warrior at your side to help you fight your battles, Jesus is your man.

Insight #3: As our Everlasting Father, Jesus is ever-present. In our time of need, Jesus is right where you and I need Him to be. He really, really cares for us. His plans for you are filled with love, and His work in your life is filled with love. Just like a loving father, Jesus protects and nurtures, leads and disciplines us … ALL for our good.

These first three titles of Jesus form a crescendo, leading us to the fourth and final title of Jesus. Because Jesus is all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present and loving, only Jesus can truly be our Prince of Peace:

Insight #4: As our Prince of Peace, Jesus offers us true and lasting peace with God and people. On Christmas morning 1863, the great American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow heard the distant ringing of church bells. It had been just over two years since his beloved wife Frances had burned to death in a house fire. And not too many months after that, Henry’s son was severely injured in the Civil War. There’s little doubt that Longfellow had sunk into a deep depression. So, as he wrote the poem that became “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day,” he poured out his discouragement: “And in despair I bowed my head / ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said / ‘For hate is strong, and mocks the song / Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’”

Have you ever been there? Hurting. Discouraged. Broken. It feels like your world is crashing down around you. Meanwhile, people at church keep singing about “peace on earth and good will to men.”

But Longfellow was a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. So, he found hope in the midst of his despair. As he heard the bells, Longfellow was reminded that he could find true, lasting peace and wholeness through Jesus Christ. And he added this final verse: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep / ‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep! / The Wrong shall fail / The Right prevail / With peace on earth, good-will to men!’”

2022 has been a hard year for many of us. But “God is not dead; nor doth He sleep.” No matter how depressing this year has been, you CAN experience true peace this Christmas—because Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is smart enough, strong enough and loving enough to bring wholeness to whatever is broken in your life. So, give Him your broken pieces this Christmas. He is the only one who can make you whole. In fact, that’s why he came to earth in the first place. He is ready to be your Wonderful Counselor, your Mighty God, your Everlasting Father … and your Prince of Peace.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us Sunday for our Christmas morning service at 10am: in person at 17746 George Blvd, Victorville, CA, or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit

Some Good News for Christmas

  “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” – Genesis 3:15

In the grand history of planet earth, the birth of Jesus Christ is the Dividing Line.

In the year 525 A.D., a monk named Dionysius Exiguus invented something that still impacts our lives today: the modern calendar. Aside from being a monk, Dionysius Exiguus was a theologian and a mathematician. He wanted to create a way to know the exact date Easter would fall, next year and the year after that. So, he developed a new calendar system where year 1 was the birth of Christ. He recognized that Jesus’ birth was the dividing line of history. Every year after Jesus’ birth would henceforth be recognized as A.D., or “Anno Domini” – Latin for “in the year of the Lord.”

It took a few hundred years for Exiguus’ calendar to catch on, and there have been some adjustments along the way. For instance, we now know that his dating system was off by about 4 years, so Jesus wasn’t born in 1 A.D. He was most likely born in 4 B.C. But that doesn’t change the fact that our calendar can date any event in history based on when it occurred in respect to the birth of Christ. Even our calendars proclaim Jesus’ birth as the dividing line of history.

This Christmas season, let’s look at Christmas from the B.C. side of the Dividing Line—and see how the Old Testament prophesies Jesus’ birth.

The first glimpse of the coming Savior of the world appears in the third chapter of the Bible: Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, their eyes were opened to the world of sin and death. In that moment their relationship with God was ripped in two. God confronted Adam and Eve with their sin, and he spelled out the consequences for them. But first, he laid out the consequences for the serpent, beginning in verse 14: “You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” I think it’s clear this punishment was directed at the serpent as a species. And I think it’s equally clear that in verse 15, God was announcing a punishment on Satan, who was possessing the snake that tempted Eve: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

This is where we find the first glimpse of the coming Savior. Theologians call it the “protoevangelium”—Latin for the “first good news.” Minutes after Adam and Eve sinned for the very first time, God announced His plan to deliver fallen man and crush sin in one fell swoop. One of Eve’s descendants would save the day. Satan would bruise the Savior’s heel. And the Savior would crush Satan’s head. When Satan saw Jesus die on the cross, he thought he had won. But the cross of Jesus Christ, and his resurrection from the dead three days later, actually drove the final nail in Satan’s coffin.

No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed. Isn’t that just like God?

Here are three wonderful insights we can take from this first foretelling of the Savior:

Insight #1: God has a solution before you’ve even figured out you have a problem. Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they knew they had a problem. But they had no idea just how much devastation their sin would cause. Their sin would corrupt every living thing on earth. It broke their relationship with God, with each other and even with the animals. From that point forward, every one of their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids would be born with a sinful nature … every descendent except for one. But long before Adam and Eve could understand the consequences of their sin, God already had a solution in place. In fact, He had the incarnation of Jesus Christ in mind even before the foundations of the world were set in place.

Insight #2: As long as you are following Christ here on earth, Satan will continue to strike at your heels. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised that we will be shielded from all of Satan’s attacks. Persecution isn’t a possibility for followers of Christ. It’s guaranteed. And much of that persecution comes directly or indirectly from Satan. But never forget: A blow to your spiritual heel is never fatal. If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, your soul and spirit are safe in God’s hands, and nothing Satan does—no matter how ruthless or vicious—can snatch you out of your Father’s hands.

Insight #3: Remember that Satan is a dead man walking. He is a defeated foe. Satan’s fate was sealed by the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 12, Satan is described as a great dragon who is wreaking havoc here on earth. And in Revelation 12:11 we read these marvelous words about the Christians who stand strong against Satan’s attacks: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Satan might look like a big scary dragon at times, but from Jesus’ vantage point he’s more like a pesky Chihuahua nipping at your heels.

God had a solution for Adam and Eve’s problem before they even understood the extent of their problem. And God has a solution for your problems before you’ve even figured out what your problems are. It’s been that way from the beginning. Before you and I even knew we needed saving, God sent Jesus to save us. And that’s good news indeed.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us for worship this Christmas season: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. For more information, visit

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Give Thanks … Even When You’re Attacked

 “He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.”
– Daniel 6:27

Two friends met on the street one day. One looked really sad, so his friend asked, “What has the world done to you, my old friend?” The sad fellow said, “Three weeks ago, my uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars. And two weeks ago, a cousin I never even knew died and left me eighty-five thousand dollars, free and clear.”

His friend responded: “Wow! That’s a lot of money. Sounds to me like you’ve been very blessed.” But the first man responded, “You don’t understand! Last week my great-aunt passed away. I inherited almost a quarter of a million from her.”

Now the man’s friend was really confused. He asked, “Then why do you look so glum?”

He responded: “Because this week—I haven’t gotten anything!”

Being thankful is a choice. You can choose to be grateful for the quarter million dollars God blessed you with last week, or you can choose to gripe and complain about the hundred bucks He didn’t give you this week. Being thankful is a command of Scripture. But like every other command, it requires a conscious choice. And in one of the most famous stories in the Bible, Daniel shows us how to be thankful—even when we’re under attack.

By Daniel 6, Daniel was a respected leader who had served under a series of Babylonian kings. When Babylon was overthrown by Persia, King Darius came into power. Darius appointed 120 satraps, or governors, to rule throughout the kingdom. He also appointed three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. Verse 3 tells us, “Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps … that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” The other two administrators and the satraps were deeply jealous—and they wanted him dead.

So, they cooked up a law to trap Daniel. They couldn’t find any flaws in his conduct, so their only shot was to scheme up something religious. They knew Daniel was a man of prayer. Every day, three times a day, he went to his upstairs room, opened the windows and knelt to pray and give thanks to God. So, the two other administrators and some of the satraps went to the king and flattered Darius as they proposed an order: “Anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except for you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den” (v.7). Somehow, King Darius fell for it, and he put the decree in writing.

What did Daniel do after he learned about the law aimed squarely at his faith in the One True God? He could have gone into hiding for a month. He could have closed his windows and prayed silently. But he didn’t. Daniel went home, and “three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (v. 10). Because Daniel was so consistent, his enemies easily caught him red-handed.

When they reported him, King Darius was devastated—but his hands were tied, because a law of the Persians could never be revoked. Even as Daniel was tossed him the lions’ den, Darius said: “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” (v. 16). The ONLY way Daniel wouldn’t be mauled to death would be if His God worked a miracle and closed the mouths of the hungry lions.

We know how the story turns out. At sunrise, the king rushed to the lions’ den. When he called down into the pit, Daniel answered: “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight” (v. 22). And King Darius issues a decree that contains one of the most beautifully concise descriptions of God in the whole OT: “He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end. He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

I’d like to offer you three steps from Daniel 6 to help you stay thankful when you’re under attack:

Step #1: Keep calm, and take your concerns to God (v. 10). When Daniel first found out that his critics had set a trap that would likely get him killed, he didn’t blow a gasket. He didn’t fly off in a rage. He didn’t hunt down his accusers and give them a piece of his mind. He didn’t even post a rant on Facebook. He simply went home and carved out some one-on-one time with God.

Step #2: Remember that God hasn’t changed (v. 10). So, give thanks to God, just as you’ve done before. When you are criticized, God is no less worthy of your praise and thanks than He was before you were criticized. There’s nothing your critics can say or do that changes who God is. God is good. God is just. God is compassionate. God is a faithful Provider. And He is always, always worthy of your thanks and praise.

Step #3: As long as you’re not doing it in a self-serving way, express your thankfulness to God openly. Notice that Daniel didn’t close his mouth OR his windows when he was commanded to stop giving thanks to God. He prayed with his windows open BEFORE the law was passed, and he prayed with his windows open AFTER the law was passed. And when he was sitting in the lions’ den and Darius asked if he was okay, he took the opportunity to give thanks to God again in earshot of the king and everyone else who was listening.

I think it’s a shame when we have a lot to thank God for, and we keep it to ourselves. Let’s not do that! Let’s be very vocal expressing our thanks to God.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Pastor Dane’s latest book (“Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God”) is NOW available at Amazon. For more information, visit or

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Give Thanks … Even When You’re Depressed

“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”
– Job 1:20-21 

In her best-selling book, “The Hiding Place,” Corrie ten Boom tells the story of how she and her family resisted the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands during World War II. When the Nazi Gestapo began rounding up Jews in Amsterdam and sending them to concentration camps, Corrie and her family risked their lives by helping Jews hide and escape. During the first four years of the Nazi occupation in the Netherlands, it’s estimated that Corrie ten Boom and her family helped save the lives of 800 Jews.

But on February 28, 1944, the German secret police raided Corrie’s house, where she was hiding six Jews and resistance workers. The Gestapo didn’t find the hidden Jews, but they arrested Corrie and several other family members. Eventually Corrie and her older sister Betsie were transferred to the Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany, where they were disgusted to find that their barracks were infested with fleas. When Corrie began to complain, Betsie insisted that they give thanks instead, quoting 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  

Corrie finally joined her sister in thanking God for the fleas. The two of them began hosting evening Bible studies for their fellow prisoners, and many women accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. To their surprise, the camp guards never disrupted those evening studies, and they never came to their barracks to harass or rape the women. After several months, Corrie realized the very fleas she had so despised had actually been a blessing. God had sent the fleas to keep away the cruel guards and pave the way for many prisoners to find hope and salvation in Christ.

If fleas in a concentration camp are actually a blessing from God, which blessings might you and I have missed because we’ve mistakenly seen them as a curse? In the Bible, Job is the perfect example of how to be thankful—even when we’re grieving and depressed.

According to Job 1:1, “Job was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” He was also wealthy and devoted to the large family God had blessed him with. But Satan wasn’t buying it. He challenged God: “What do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? He’d curse you right to your face, that’s what’” (v.11). Well, God gave Satan free rein to do his worst, and that’s exactly what the devil did. In the space of a few hours, Job’s sheep were burnt to a crisp in a freak lightning storm, the rest of his herds were stolen by raiders, and his 10 sons and daughters were all killed when a dust storm caused the house where they were eating to collapse on them.

Job was grief-stricken. His first reaction was to do what was customary in his culture when someone was overcome with sadness. He tore his robe and shaved his head. But what he did next is remarkable: “He fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised’” (vs. 20-21). And as chapter 1 draws to a close, the writer of Job offers this beautiful commentary: “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (v. 22). Job sank into a deep depression. But still, somehow, he was thankful.

When we’re grieving and slipping into depression, we can pull these three steps right from Job 1:21:

Step #1: Look BACK. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb.” Job urges us to focus on God’s past blessings. When you and I are depressed, our tendency is to have tunnel vision. We become consumed with the thoughts of today’s misery. So, like Job, we must pull off the blinders and remember that we came into this world with nothing. Everything we own has been a good and gracious gift from God: our clothing, food, jobs, our homes.

Step #2: Look AHEAD. “Naked I will depart.” When we’re down in the dumps because our water heater is busted, our identity was stolen, or our car was repossessed, we need to remember that when we die, we won’t be able to take it with us anyway. If you are experiencing depression because something you value has been taken from you, here is the perspective that can help you be thank-full: “God gave it to me in the first place, and sooner or later He was going to pass it on to someone else. So, I’m going to thank God for the time that I had it. I was never the owner. I was simply the manager of that item for a short time. Thank you, Jesus!”

Step #3: Look UP. “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” When you’re depressed, the more you look up to God, the better off you’ll be. Satan was convinced that when all Job’s stuff was taken from him, he would curse God and die. But Job wasn’t duped by the father of lies. Instead of cursing God, Job “fell to the ground in worship…. Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

May the same be said of you and me when we find ourselves in the pit of grief and despair. While most people are blaming God, resenting God and turning their backs on God, let’s worship and praise God. And through it all, let’s make sure we do not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. In the end, it will be crystal clear to everyone that God is faithful, God is just, and God IS at work for our good.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Pastor Dane’s latest book (Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God) is NOW available at Amazon. For more information, visit or

Monday, November 14, 2022

Give Thanks … Even When You’re Stressed

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

The famous 17th century Bible scholar, Matthew Henry, was once mugged by thieves and robbed of his wallet. He wrote these lines in his diary: “Let me be thankful, first, because I was never robbed before; second, because, although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because, although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

Yes, there’s always something to be
thankful for. And at this time of year, as our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving, I’d like to focus on 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” No matter what you’re going through, God has called you to give thanks in ALL circumstances—even when you’re anxious, worried and stressed out. In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat of Judah offers a powerful example of doing just that.

In this exciting chapter, Jehoshaphat learned that three enemy nations—the Moabites, Ammonites and some of the Meunites—had merged their armies and were marching toward Jerusalem. This combined army was massive, so when the king found out about it, he was terrified: “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah (v. 3). Notice what Jehoshaphat DIDN’T do. There’s no mention of him drafting more soldiers, or strengthening the defenses around Jerusalem. Instead, he mobilized the people of Judah to fast and pray.

When the people gathered to pray, Jehoshaphat laid the cold, hard facts before God: “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do …” And then the key words: “… but our eyes are upon You” (v. 12). God’s spirit responded through one of the Levites: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v. 15). The Lord went on to instruct them: “Tomorrow march down against them….Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you” (v. 17). The next day, Jehoshaphat carried out one of the most unorthodox military strategies in the history of warfare. Instead of having cavalry or spearmen lead the charge, he put his PRAISE TEAM in the front line to sing to God. We even have some of their lyrics recorded for us in verse 21: “Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever.” God’s response? He set ambushes that caused the three armies to turn on each other. When Jehoshaphat and his men arrived at the scene, they found nothing but dead bodies. God wiped out all three enemy armies without the Israelites even having to lift a sword. Just as God had prophesied, the battle belonged to the LORD. No one can convince me there’s not power in thankfulness and praise.

When we’re stressed, how can we possibly give thanks to God?

Step #1: Begin by humbly taking your problems and stresses to God. There are any number of things King Jehoshaphat COULD have done when he heard the news of the invasion. But his first reaction was to do something entirely different—the same entirely different thing that you and I should do when someone drops a huge stressor in our lap. Jehoshaphat’s first response was to pray … REALLY pray … and to mobilize everyone around him to pray. Jehoshaphat was able to be thankful later, because he was prayerful first. If you want to lean on God in the midst of your stress, anxiety and fear, you need to start responding to your stresses differently. Instead of acting first and praying later, you need to pray first and act later.

Step #2: Take hold of both the commands and the promises of God. One of the reasons we get so stressed out is because we don’t even TRY to obey God’s most oft-repeated command in the whole Bible: “Do not be afraid.” And the Holy Spirit can help us “fear not” when we remember and believe the promises of God. God has made certain promises to you and me, and we need to believe them and take hold of them.

Step #3: Praise God for who He is, and thank God for what He’s done. It will feed your faith and lower your anxiety. Nine times out of 10, when we’re stressed it’s because we’ve taken our eyes off God. Praising God for who He is, and thanking Him for what He’s done, re-directs our attention to God and reminds us that He is much bigger and stronger than our problems. That being the case, there is always, always, ALWAYS something to praise and thank God for.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Pastor Dane’s latest book (Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God) is NOW available at Amazon. For more information, visit or

Sunday, October 30, 2022

God Can See You Through the Perfect Storm

 I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost. – Acts 27:22

In October 1991, a freak storm hit the New England coast. Even those who had lived in New England all their lives said it was, hands down, the worst storm they’d ever seen. Three storm systems, including the dreaded nor’easter, suddenly converged over the Atlantic, producing wind gusts up to 120 miles per hour and 30- to 60-foot waves. The locals dubbed it “The Perfect Storm.”

Three weeks earlier, Captain Billy Tyne boarded his fishing trawler, the Andrea Gail, with his crew of five fishermen. They set out for a one-month fishing trip off the shores of Newfoundland, where they knew the fishing was amazing. They hauled in a quarter-million dollars’ worth of fish—but they never saw a penny of it. On their return trip, the Perfect Storm hit, and the Andrea Gail got caught in the middle of it. In Captain Billy’s final radio transmission, he said, “She’s comin’ on boys, and she’s comin’ on strong!” After those fateful words, the radio went dead. To this day, the trawler and its crew have never been recovered.

Well, 1900 years earlier, a similar freak storm swept across the Mediterranean Sea. Just like the Andrea Gail, the ship caught in that storm went down. But miraculously, not a single one of the 276 men on board died. Every one of them made it to shore safely, including the Apostle Paul. God had made him a promise that he would get to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in Rome, and absolutely NOTHING was going to stop God from keeping that promise. Not even The Perfect Storm.

In Acts 27, after appealing to have his case heard by Emperor Nero, Paul was sent to Rome on a ship with his two companions, Dr. Luke and Aristarchus. Other prisoners were on board as well. If all went well, they’d reach Rome in a few weeks, before the bad winter weather came. But the winds changed and forced them to take a detour that added several hundred miles to the trip. When they reached the port city of Myra, they switched to a larger, sturdier ship to take them the rest of the way. But the wind still fought them, so it was October before they reached a small port called Fair Havens. Sailing the Mediterranean was sketchy in October and impossible in November. In Acts 27:10, Paul warned the captain that the voyage would be disastrous if they continued. But Paul was overruled.

The captain decided to sail another 40 miles to a more sheltered harbor, the port city of Phoenix. But in verse 14, “a wind of hurricane force, called the Northeaster”—like the one in the Perfect Storm—came up. The ship was tossed helplessly for days. The crew “passed ropes under the ship itself to hold it together” (v. 17), and soon, they started throwing the cargo overboard … then the ship’s tackle. For two weeks, the ship was battered by the storm. Luke writes in verse 20, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.”

But not Paul. When they had gone days without food, he told the men, “I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed” (v. 22). And he shared a vision he’d had the night before, in which an angel told him: “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you” (v. 24). On the last night of their harrowing voyage, Paul urged everyone to eat to keep up their strength. The next day, they ran the ship aground on a sandy beach—and, just as the angel had promised, no lives were lost.

There are many wonderful lessons we can pull from this amazing chapter. Here are three highlighted by Pastor Warren Wiersbe:

Life Lesson #1: Storms often come when we disobey the will of God, and we sometimes suffer because of the unbelief of others. Paul warned the captain that disaster awaited them if they sailed on from Fair Havens. We don’t know if God had revealed that to him or if it was simply based on Paul’s experience. But Paul clearly had divine insight. That insight was ignored, and all 276 men on board suffered because of that unbelief and disobedience. The same holds true in our families, in our workplaces, in our church and in our nation. Storms come and many people suffer because of the disobedience and unbelief of a few.

Life Lesson #2: Storms have a way of revealing character. It’s easy to trust and serve God when the sun is shining and the seas are calm. It’s much harder to trust and serve Him when our ship is coming apart at the seams. None of us LIKE being scared half to death. None of us enjoy being in the middle of a miserable, painful storm. But that’s where you’ll find out who you really are. Are you a committed follower of Christ, or are you just a fair-weather Christian? Life’s storms will show you AND those around you what you’re made of. Storms will reveal if you’re the real deal.

Life Lesson #3: Storms can give us opportunities to serve others and bear witness to Jesus Christ. Most of the passengers on that ship probably wouldn’t have given Paul the time of day if it had been smooth sailing to Rome. But their ears were wide open to what he had to say in the midst of the storm. The same holds true for you and me during our storms. People listen more carefully to what I say at a funeral than they do at a wedding. And you’ll find that during the worst of storms, people around you will be much more open to you serving them and sharing the hope of Christ. So, let’s not curse our trials. Let’s accept them for what they are: opportunities to grow, serve and bear witness to Jesus Christ. 

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Pastor Dane’s latest book (Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God) is NOW available at Amazon. For more information, visit or

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Better, Stronger and Faster are on the Horizon

 “Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.” – Romans 13:11-12

Superheroes have always fascinated me. And when I was growing up, one of my favorites was Steve Austin: “The Six Million Dollar Man” of TV fame. The show began with one of the best title sequences of all time. We see astronaut Steve Austin in his space suit, flying an experimental aircraft. But something goes terribly wrong. His plane crashes, and it’s engulfed in flames. The next thing we see is an operating room, and the narration begins.

“Steve Austin—astronaut. A man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic man. Steve Austin will BE that man. Better than he was before: Better. Stronger. Faster!” Sure enough, after his six-million-dollar surgery, Steve Austin had two bionic legs that let him run up to 60 miles per hour. He had a bionic left eye that gave him telescopic vision. And he had a bionic right arm that made him the strongest man on earth. Now, I admit it: “The Six Million Dollar Man” was a pretty corny show. But those words from the title sequence have still inspired me over the years: “Better than he was before: Better. Stronger. Faster.”

Here’s a question for you: As Steve Austin was soaring over the earth in his experimental aircraft he was completely healthy—two healthy legs, two healthy arms, two healthy eyes. So, BEFORE his plane crashed, how far was Steve Austin from being “better, stronger, faster”? Probably a few days. But what about AFTER Steve Austin’s accident? As he was lying on that operating table with two crushed legs, a severed right arm and a damaged left eye, at THAT point how far was Steve Austin away from being “better, stronger, faster”? Just minutes away.

If Steve Austin had been a real man, most people would have looked at him in his hospital bed and said, “He is definitely NOT better than he was before! After his accident he is LESSER, WEAKER, SLOWER.” And yet, when Steve Austin was at his WORST point, he was actually the closest to his BEST point. When he was at his WEAKEST, he was closest to being at his STRONGEST. When he was flat on his back, he was minutes away from being at his fastest. The night was nearly over. The day was almost there.

In today’s world, it’s been a rough couple of years for a lot of us. After having Covid, many of us feel worse than we did a year or two ago—lesser, weaker, slower. But God’s Word has some great news for you today: “Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here” (Romans 13:11-12). Thank about that. If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, it doesn’t matter how bad you FEEL right now. You might FEEL lesser, weaker and slower than you did a year or two ago. But we walk by faith and not by sight.

In God’s word, Hebrews 11 is nicknamed “The Faith Chapter.” It’s filled with over a dozen examples of biblical heroes who persevered through extreme difficulties … by faith. Noah persevered for more than 100 years as he built a huge wooden ship in the middle of the desert. But Noah walked by faith, reminding himself of what God said was up ahead. Abraham persevered for 30 years, trusting God’s promise that he and his wife would have a son in their old age. That took a lot of faith, because Abraham was 70 years old when God first made that promise to him. He was 100 by the time Isaac was born. But Abraham walked by faith, reminding himself of what God said was up ahead. Moses persevered for 40 years, carrying out God’s marching orders to lead over a million Israelites to the Promised Land of Canaan. Moses was repeatedly criticized and slandered, and he received death threats. But he walked by faith, reminding himself of what God said was up ahead.

Hebrews 11:13-15 tells us, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance…. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” These biblical heroes looked ahead, beyond what their eyes could see. And they saw with the eyes of faith what God had promised them was up ahead. Noah saw a flood that wasn’t yet there. Abraham saw a son who wasn’t yet born. Moses saw a homeland that the Israelites hadn’t yet reached.

And if you look ahead with those same eyes of faith, you can see what awaits you up ahead. No more pain. No more disease. No more cancer. No more depression. No more war. No more divorce. No more funerals. No more crime. No more poverty. Heaven is nearer than it was last year. Your complete physical healing is nearer than it was last month. Your brand new, top-of-the-line, pain-free, resurrected body is nearer than it was just yesterday. Despite how beaten up and broken down you may feel, if you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ you are closer than you’ve ever been to being better than you’ve ever been: BETTER, STRONGER, FASTER!

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Pastor Dane’s latest book (Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God) is NOW available at Amazon. For more information, visit or

Monday, October 17, 2022

Make the Most of Your Time With Kings

 “God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.
 – Acts 26:22

Mother Teresa dedicated her life to doing what Jesus Christ tells his followers to do in Matthew 25:35-36. She gave food to the hungry. She gave clean water to the thirsty. She gave a home to homeless strangers. She gave clothes to the naked. She gave free medical care to the sick.

And just three and a half years before she died, 83-year-old Mother Teresa was invited to Washington D.C. to be the keynote speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. On February 5, 1994, Mother Teresa spoke to an audience of 4,000, which included some of the highest-level leaders in the United States, including President Bill Clinton. As the frail little Catholic nun stepped up to speak, her head didn’t even extend above the microphones mounted on the podium. Here is a small part of her impassioned message: “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child.... Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

When given an audience that included the leader of the free world, that’s what Mother Teresa said. If you had been given that opportunity, what would you have said to them? Let’s take a look at what the Apostle Paul said when he was given a similar opportunity.

Paul had been cooling his heels in prison for two years while the corrupt Governor Felix waited for him to bribe his way out. Finally, Governor Felix was booted out of office, and Paul was called into court to stand before the new Roman governor of Judea, Porcius Festus. And Governor Festus responded ... by asking Paul if he wanted to go to Jerusalem and stand trial there.

Paul knew he’d been given the runaround by Governor Felix, and it seemed Governor Festus was doing the same. So, Paul gave him this very respectful but eloquent response: “I am now standing before Caesar’s court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!” (Acts 25:10-11).

God had promised Paul that he’d get a chance to share the Gospel in Rome, and Paul probably decided it was time to “get this show on the road.” The quickest way to get there would be to claim his right as a Roman citizen to have his case appealed to the highest court in the empire. So, Paul asked for his court case to be transferred to the Caesar himself, Emperor Nero.

In Acts 26, before Paul was transferred to Rome, he was given the opportunity to share his personal testimony with a lower-level ruler: King Agrippa. Paul spoke to the king respectfully, saying that he considered himself “fortunate to stand and offer my defense” before King Agrippa. Then, in a courtroom filled with powerful leaders, he shared his testimony: the story of his own persecution of Christians, his life-changing revelation on the Road to Damascus, and his mission to share the gospel of Jesus Christ from that day forward. And in verse 26, he pointed out that the king was familiar with both the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah and the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection. In front of everyone in the room—all the political, military leaders and religious leaders—Paul asked the king a question that could lead to him embracing the truth that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God: “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do” (v. 27).

But instead of responding with a genuine, heartfelt answer, King Agrippa took the easy way out by asking a question of his own: “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (v. 28). That is what we called a missed opportunity. King Agrippa heard the good news of Jesus Christ, and I believe the Spirit of Almighty God was whispering in his ear, “Today is the day of salvation.” But King Agrippa said, “No!” He squandered that moment. He put Jesus off until tomorrow. And as best we can tell, for King Herod Agrippa II, tomorrow never came. He never turned from his sin and received the grace of Christ.

I’d like to share two life lessons that we can draw from this passage.

Lesson #1: When given the opportunity to stand before high-ranking leaders, treat them with kindness and respect. Regardless of the way Paul was treated by governing leaders, he spoke to them with kindness and respect. As Chuck Swindoll puts it: “When God grants us the rare opportunity to stand before prestigious people and high-ranking government officials, it is best to demonstrate courtesy and grace. Regardless of their lifestyle, speak with respect…. To come on like gangbusters will surely be an offense, and the door of opportunity will slam shut…. Despite his chains and their differences, [Paul] addressed them with kindness and respect.”

Lesson #2: Don’t squander your God-given opportunities to truly believe, repent and submit to God’s will for your life. King Agrippa heard Paul share about his experience on the Road to Damascus and how it changed his life forever. And King Agrippa COULD have had his own Road to Damascus experience right then and there. But foolishly, King Agrippa squandered his God-given opportunity. He chose not to believe, not to repent and not to submit to God’s will for his life. What a tragedy!

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you are being offered your own Road to Damascus moment. You have the God-given opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ, turn from your sin and submit to God’s will for your life. The question is, are you going to respond like Paul or like Agrippa? Will you take hold of this opportunity, or will you squander it? 

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Pastor Dane’s latest book (Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God) is NOW available at Amazon. For more information, visit or

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

How to Handle Criticism

I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” – Acts 24:16

Two taxidermists stopped in front of a store window in which a great horned owl was on display. They immediately began to criticize the way it was mounted: “Its eyes don’t look natural. Its wings are out of proportion with its head. Its feathers are matted, and its feet could be improved.” When they had finished with their criticism, the old owl turned his head ... and winked at them.

Evidently, even an owl minding his own business is not above negative criticism. Sooner or later, you’re going to be criticized by a family member, friend, coworker or neighbor. And if you find yourself in a significant position of leadership, you’ll likely have criticism coming at you from all sides.

Sometimes the best response to criticism is no response at all. During the Civil War President Abe Lincoln told one of his military officers, “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how—the very best I can, and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything.” These words so impacted British Prime Minister Winston Churchill that he mounted them on his office wall.

Yes, there are times when we shouldn’t respond to criticism. But what about the times when we NEED to respond? In those cases, there is no better place to turn for advice than Acts 24. In the city of Caesarea, as the Apostle Paul stood in the courtroom of Governor Felix, he was given the opportunity to respond to the harsh criticism and accusations leveled against him by his critics. And he responded masterfully. We would do well to take note of and mirror Paul’s seven guidelines for responding to harsh criticism.

GUIDELINE #1: REFUSE TO BE CAUGHT UP IN THE EMOTION OF THE CRITICISM. As Paul begins his defense in verse 10, he doesn’t let his emotions take the lead. So, ask yourself: “When I am harshly criticized, do I tend to respond more like Dr. Spock from Star Trek or more like the Incredible Hulk? Do I respond to criticism with a level head, or do I tend to lose my head? Strive to respond to criticism like Paul … calmly and rationally.

GUIDELINE #2: STICK TO THE FACTS. In verses 11-13, Paul presents the facts of his case. He respectfully points out that there’s not a single eyewitness among his prosecutors. Their accusations and criticism are nothing other than speculation and hearsay. So, when responding to criticism, do what Paul does: Stick to the facts.

GUIDELINE #3: TELL THE TRUTH WITH A CLEAR CONSCIENCE. In verse 16, Paul mentions his efforts to maintain a clear conscience in the sight of both God and man. That’s significant! He wasn’t a religious snob who said, “To heck with man’s laws! I only pay attention to God’s laws!” On the other hand, he didn’t just do everything that was right by man but wrong by God. So, when you’re under attack, you may not think speaking the truth will pay off in the end, but it will. “The truth will set you free.”

GUIDELINE #4: IDENTIFY THE ORIGINAL SOURCE OF THE CRITICISM. Paul respectfully points out in verse 19 that those who had first made accusations against him in Jerusalem were nowhere to be found on court day. Where were they? Who knows? Criticism tends to come from people who are the least qualified to give it. So, when responding to criticism, it’s a good idea to identify the original source of the criticism. 

GUIDELINE #5: DON’T SURRENDER OR QUIT. Paul’s prison sentence in Caesarea lasts more than two years. Think about that for a moment. The charges against him are unsubstantiated hearsay. He’s never convicted of a crime. And we learn in verse 26 that Governor Felix leaves Paul in jail for a very selfish reason: He’s hoping Paul will offer him a bribe! No matter. Paul refuses to compromise his integrity by throwing in the towel and taking the easy way out. And it pays off in the end. Paul eventually makes it to Rome.

GUIDELINE #6: DON’T BECOME IMPATIENT OR GROW BITTER. Instead of growing bitter while under house arrest, Paul takes the opportunity to serve Jesus Christ right there. And it’s most likely during his two-year incarceration in Caesarea that his missionary companion, Dr. Luke, is able to conduct interviews and do the research necessary to later write the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. I am very grateful for these two books of the Bible and for Paul’s no-retreat-no-surrender attitude that helped pave the way for them to be written.

GUIDELINE #7: STAND ON THE PROMISES OF GOD. Because Paul knew that God’s promises are as good as gold, he didn’t need to be anxious or worry about his unforeseen roadblock in Caesarea. God had promised him that he’d make it to Rome, so no matter how long and drawn out his incarceration was, he knew he would eventually make it to Rome. God had said so. So, when you are harshly criticized, hold onto the promises of God. Paul was able to endure some of the harshest criticism imaginable as he stood firmly on the promises of God. And so can you.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Pastor Dane’s latest book (Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God) is NOW available at Amazon. For more information, visit or



Saturday, October 1, 2022

Are You a Bulldog for Jesus?

“The Lord stood near Paul and said, ‘Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.’” – Acts 23:11

A man who loved to hunt purchased two Irish setters that he trained to be world-class bird dogs. One morning, the dog’s owner saw an ornery little bulldog shuffling and snorting down the alley beside his house. With drool hanging off his gums, the bulldog crawled under the fence into the man’s backyard and started to pick a fight with his two Irish setters. Well, those setters chewed that bulldog up one side and down the other. The intruder crawled back under the fence and went on his way, and the man figured that would be the end of it.

But the next day, around the same time, up the alley came the same bulldog, shuffling and snorting just as he had the day before. And, once again, he crawled under the fence, picked a fight with the two Irish setters and got the stuffing beaten out of him. So, the bulldog crawled back under the fence and went home. And the next day? Same time. Same dog. Same result.

The next day the man left for a business trip. When he returned a week later, he asked his wife for an update on the dogs. She said, “Honey, every morning at the same time, that little bulldog crawled under our fence and fought with our two setters. He didn’t miss a day! And now, every time our setters hear that bulldog snorting down the alley and see him squeezing under the fence, they start whining and run into the house. Now that little bulldog struts around our backyard like he owns the place.”

I got to thinking: That scrappy little bulldog – THAT’S THE APOSTLE PAUL! Paul took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’. Paul was chased out of Pisidian Antioch, stoned in Lystra, flogged in Philippi, arrested in Jerusalem and had his life threatened numerous times. But he refused to back down. He just kept coming, taking whatever blows were necessary to spread the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. I don’t know about you, but I want to be that determined. I want to be that resilient. I want to be that tough for Jesus.

In Acts 22 and 23, Paul was rescued from an angry mob by a Roman commander, Commander Lysias, three times in a 24-hour period. When Paul got back to the safety of the barracks after his third rescue, he must have wondered if the NEXT mob would be the one that would take him out. But then Jesus spoke to Paul with this promise: “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome” (Acts 23:11).

But the mob had other ideas. The morning after Jesus’ promise to Paul, more than 40 men hatched a fresh plot to murder him. They asked the chief priests and elders to have the commander send for Paul “on the pretext of wanting more accurate information about his case. We are ready to kill him before he gets here” (v.15). However, Paul’s nephew—a young man we’ve never heard of before and won’t hear of again in Scripture—learned about the plot. He went to Commander Lysias and urged him not to send Paul into the conspirators’ trap. So, late that night, when most of the conspirators were home in their PJs, the commander had Paul escorted out of the city. Just to be safe, he sent along some company: 200 armed foot soldiers, 70 horsemen and 200 spearmen. Even if the 40-plus conspirators had realized Paul was being escorted out of the city, they wouldn’t have stood a chance against 470 armed soldiers. They were outnumbered 11 to one.

So the Apostle Paul, our determined bulldog, lived to fight another day. Here are three Life Lessons we can draw from this passage.

Life Lesson #1: When God makes you a promise, you can afford to be bold in carrying out His marching orders. I like to remind people: There is no safer place to be than in the center of God’s will. When you are right where He wants you to be, doing exactly what He wants you to do, you can afford to be bold and courageous for Him. Why? Because He’s made you some promises. He’s promised that He will be with you. He’s promised to never leave you nor forsake you. He's promised that the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say when you’re under attack. Since God’s promises are as good as gold, allow His promises to embolden you to say what He leads you to say and do what He calls you to do.

Life Lesson #2: Most of the time God doesn’t use extraordinary means to accomplish His purposes. He uses ordinary people and circumstances to carry out His will. For every time that God does the extraordinary, He works thousands of times through ordinary people and everyday circumstances. Occasionally God will part the Red Sea, hold the sun in place or raise someone from the dead. But every day, God works in unremarkable ways through thousands of ordinary people. In Acts 23, He fulfilled His promise to protect Paul by working through Paul’s nephew and Commander Lysias. There’s a good chance neither of those men was saved. But God used them anyway to work all things together for the good of His servant Paul.

Life Lesson #3: Somewhere inside you there’s a bold, scrappy bulldog. So, let him loose. Be a bulldog for Jesus. As long as we allow Jesus to hold our leash, you and I need to be more bulldog-like. Jesus doesn’t want us to be like the two Irish setters who start whining and running into the house at the first sign of an attack. We need to be like the bulldog: standing strong in our faith, holding firm in our convictions, and speaking boldly for Jesus. And when we take some lumps for our Lord, we need to lick our wounds and do it all over again the next day.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. Dane’s latest book, “Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God,” is scheduled for release on Amazon in October.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Jesus Brings Radical Changes

“Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on [Jesus Christ’s] name?”
– Acts 9:21

It was around the year 1920. There was a certain old farmer who lived with his family in the middle of nowhere. One day they climbed into their horse-drawn buggy and headed into the nearest big city to take care of some important business. When they got there, the farmer parked his buggy in front of a massive building. He turned to his youngest son and said, “Little Johnny, you can come with me if you want. But the rest of you stay here. We won’t be long.”

Johnny jumped at the chance to go inside the huge building with his dad. He’d never seen anything like it. Truth be told, neither had his dad. Inside, the receptionist directed them to the elevator that would take them to the fifth floor. The farmer and his son stood in front of the elevator, bewildered, watching the doors open and close as people got in and out. After a few minutes, they saw a little old lady shuffle into the elevator by herself. Once alone inside the elevator, she turned and faced the farmer and his son as the doors closed.

About 30 seconds later, the elevator doors re-opened, and the farmer and his son couldn’t believe their eyes. Before them stood a gorgeous young woman, who gave them a dazzling smile as she stepped out of the elevator. INCREDIBLE! A decrepit old woman went in, and a beautiful young woman came out. So, the farmer turned to his son and said, "Quick, boy—go get your Ma!"

That farmer was pretty shallow, wasn’t he? He wanted to trade his wife in for a newer model. It never even crossed the old codger’s mind to step into the elevator himself to become a better man for her. But when you think about it, you and I aren’t very different from that farmer. We work much harder trying to get the people AROUND us to change than we do trying to change OURSELVES.

Well, some two thousand years ago, a man stepped into God’s elevator and allowed himself to be radically changed: the Apostle Paul. In a matter of moments, Paul went from destroying churches to building them. He went from exterminating Christians to nourishing them. He went from hating Jesus to loving Him.

In Acts 8, Paul was a zealot who stood by, giving approval to the stoning death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr. From there, he set out to arrest as many Christians as he could, often campaigning to have them executed. Saul hated Christians with a passion. Because, from the bottom of his heart, he hated Jesus Christ—so much that he tried to eradicate the name of Jesus not only from the lips of Christians in Jerusalem, but from the lips of Christians around the world.

But that all changed in Acts 9 when Paul met Jesus Christ. He was knocked flat on the road to Damascus, temporarily blinded. He gave his life to Christ and was baptized. And the next thing people knew, he was proclaiming the name of Jesus in the synagogues. The man who had been bent on getting rid of Christians was now trying to make more Christians. And during his years on the mission field, Paul traveled somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 miles, spreading the word of Christ. Within about 30 years, Paul helped plant dozens of churches, wrote half the books of the New Testament, and through those books, he has led hundreds of millions of people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul changed the world. But before Paul could change the world, Jesus Christ had to first change HIM.

I’d like to share three powerful life lessons we can draw from Paul’s transformed life.

Life Lesson #1: Even the greatest Christians have checkered pasts. No matter what you’ve done, no matter how far you’ve strayed from God, there is hope for you in Christ. If you’ll let Him, God will forgive you. God will save you. God’s grace is greater than our disgrace.

Lesson #2: God doesn’t just SAVE hell-bent sinners. He RECRUITS them to change the world. Even after you’re saved, Satan is very good at whispering in your ear, “You’re a nobody. You don’t belong at church. You’ve got nothing to offer. You can’t lead anyone to Christ. You’re useless!” And that’s when Jesus calls you to stand up and say, “Get behind me, Satan! Jesus Christ has filled my life with purpose, and I will do great things for Him, not because I’m great, but because He’s great in me. ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!’”

Lesson #3: You have precious little time to impact the lives around you. So, hit the ground serving. Finish strong. Far too many Christians START strong and FINISH weak. Regardless of how badly you started your Christian journey, you can finish strong. Honestly, Paul didn’t start his ministry years very well either. In fact, as he saw it, he had been the worst of sinners. But he sure did finish well. Once he made up his mind to give Jesus Christ his all, he fought the good fight and finished the race strong. And so can you!

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. Dane’s latest book, “Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God,” is scheduled for release on Amazon in October.