Blessings and Warnings

What a great day it has been today! It really doesn’t get any better than this. It has been a day of blessings over and above the norm and certainly better than I deserve. Started the day with our weekly Bible study group and it was a sweet time of fellowship. Again, one of the group shared a word of personal testimony about what God has done in their life and how His hand has been continuously guiding them ever since they turned their heart and life over to Him. We all recognize that his testimony is a common theme among all of us who have said yes to Jesus. We even got through a few more scriptures in chapter 12 of John as we inch our way through God’s Word. It is such an encouragement and blessing to spend time with these guys each week and I love each one of them.

More Blessings. Reassurance had the opportunity to be a part of an annual singing at Gravel Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Phil Campbell this afternoon. We heard some wonderful songs presented by numerous people who included children, teenagers, young adults and yes, older adults. Also had some great congregational singing which almost lifted the roof off the place. As usual, every time we go to minister somewhere, it is us who always gets ministered to and us that are blessed by being there. Ain’t it great how God works! 

Now for a warning. I remember a children’s song from my early years that talks about how we are influenced by others. The song had a couple of phrases in it that went something like this; “Be careful little eyes what you see.” and “Be careful little ears what you hear.” One day this week as I was listening to the radio in my car I heard something that brought that song back to my mind. A very well-known preacher and author from the West Coast had a short question and answer segment on a local Christian radio station. I’m not going to reveal what the topic was, but what struck me as I listened to his answer was the fact that many thousands, maybe even millions of people who were listening to that program would take his answer to be the undeniable truth just because of who he is. They would not check his answer against God’s Word, they would simply accept it to be so. What a tragedy. It is a real travesty that we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the real truth of God’s Word to us and that we have to rely on someone else to tell us what the Bible says. And this happens not only on the radio and television, it occurs every week from the pulpit of some of our local churches. And no one seems to bother to check it out. As a matter of fact, the real tragedy is that most folks who call themselves Christian’s spend very little personal and private time in God’s Word. God help us! So, be careful little (and big) ears what you hear.

I hope you have a wonderful day in the Lord tomorrow and this coming week is one of great blessing for you and your family. Let me remind you of something. “What if you wake up tomorrow with only those things you thanked God for today?” Sobering, isn’t it?


Sober Reminders

Good evening to everyone. I hope this finds each of you well and ready for a great day in the Lord tomorrow. I also want to remind you to set your clocks ahead an hour before retiring tonight. Sure wouldn’t want you to be late.

We had a great turnout at our Bible study this morning. It was so good to see some that had not been there in a while due to health issues. But God has been good and has done a great work in the lives of several of our group. We heard another great story by one of our brothers this morning about how he was brought from death unto life and how God has worked in his life ever since that day. Although each story we hear is different it is also the same. We are continually reminded that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word is powerful and His promises are wonderful. He never fails.

In the past few weeks I have experienced a number of sober reminders of just how short and so very fragile life really is. Three people I have known from different walks of life have passed on from this world and into eternity. One was an elderly gentleman who had an impact on my life as somewhat of a mentor during some of the early years of my walk with the Lord. He lost his wife in an automobile accident a number of years ago and never seemed to have gotten over that. The second one was a high school classmate and a member of my graduating class. He battled cancer for several years and won a few of the rounds but lost the final battle. I’m not sure what is relationship was with the Lord but I do know that if he placed his faith and trust in Jesus somewhere along the way, then he has a home with Him. The latest one was a precious cousin of mine who was a few years younger than me. She had suffered numerous illnesses for the past ten years or more but maintained a constant positive attitude and never wavered from her faith in Christ. She was a tremendous witness to her family and all of those who came in contact with her. However, she has now found her final rest in presence of the Lord. My heart goes out to her family, especially her mother, my aunt. She has gone through the loss of her parents, her siblings and her spouse but now has experienced the loss of a child. I can only imagine that this must be the most difficult of all. 

All of the above instances have a common thread running through them. Life is short and death is sure. Our situations and circumstances are different but we all have to face the fact that our time is coming. I have been reminded this week that we don’t know when that time may be but we can know that we have hope in His promises. The biggest question is “Where do we stand with the Lord?”. Is our calling and election sure? It can be because He made a way for us. Thanks be to God that the end is just the beginning! 


A Real Man

Boy, what a beautiful day it has been! A little cool but the sunshine made up for it. I love this time of year because nature is beginning to wake up from a long nap. Trees and flowers are budding and the robins are building nests. I’m sure we will see a little more of the cold temperatures but we have been given a glimpse of what is coming. However, God’s creation is a marvelous sight to behold.

This morning in our Bible study we continued with chapter 12 of John’s gospel. We had left off with verse 11 and had covered the story of Jesus’ return visit to the home of His dear friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus some time later after He had raised Lazarus from the dead. We saw where Martha was busy taking care of her guests but Mary’s was worshipping at the feet of Jesus. We are also again made aware that the Jewish religious leaders were plotting to kill Jesus but this time we see that they planned to do the same with Lazarus. The story then continues in verse 12 with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey and the people laying the palm branches in front of Him and shouting Hosanna. A close look at these verses reveal that this was all a fulfillment of prophecy from the book of Isaiah. All of this fuss again infuriates the Pharisees because they think the people are beginning to follow Him instead of them.

Later a group of Greeks approach some of the disciples requesting a meeting with Jesus and they brought the request to Jesus. Jesus’ response to the request is the main topic for tonight’s post. I realized as we read through verses 24-28 that most of the time we don’t grasp the fact that Jesus was not only God Incarnate he was also a real man. He makes a statement in verse 24 that should shake us every time we read it. Jesus says “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Certainly He was talking about what was about to happen at Calvary. This is even reinforced by His words in verse 27. “Now my soul has become troubled; what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” Can’t you just hear the agony in His voice? The fact that he was going to suffer great physical agony and pain was weighing heavy on His mind and His heart. This was the man, Jesus, speaking. What a reminder it is for us. We forget that the crown of thorns they put on His head was very painful, The beating with the cat-of-nine-tails hurt. It hurt when they drove the nails through His hands and His feet. When the spear pierced His side there is no doubt that the pain caused His face to grimace. Are we getting the picture? Folks, Jesus was a man taking this physical punishment and the pain was unbearable. However, He bore it all for you and me.

We need to constantly be reminded that He came to earth in the human form and became a man just like us. The Bible says He was tempted in all manner such as we are. And the pain He suffered was just like the pain we would have had in the same situation. The difference is that He did it for us. It was pain and agony that we should have born but He chose to bear it in our stead.

Don’t be mistaken, I have not forgotten the other side of His suffering. Because He was also God, the fact that He would have to become sin for us was a greater suffering. But we also need to be reminded that He came to do the will of His father and the Bible says it pleased the Lord to crush Him, that He would render Himself a guilt offering. In other words, what Jesus did for us on the cross satisfied God that our sin debt had been paid.

The whole point for this post is to help us understand that the tremendous suffering that Jesus endured was real pain and agony both physically and mentally. He is the only One that came make the claim that He truly understands what we go through. The only One that can have complete empathy for  us. He understands our hurts in every circumstance and loves us to the point that He died for us. Is there a friend greater than this? Is there a man greater than this? May we always remember that God Incarnate was also man. A real man.

He Did It All For Me
He did it all for me. Each drop of blood was shed for even me. When the Savior cried, bowed His head and died, Oh praise the Lord He did it all for me.

Can I Get A Witness?

Good evening everyone. I hope each of you have had a great and enjoyed the Spring like weather with the warm temperatures. I told several people this week that it was hard to believe it is February with weather like this. I am not a real big fan of cold weather and it seems the older I get the harder it is to tolerate the cold temperatures. And I’m sure the blood thinner I take doesn’t help either. So this has been a blessing for me.

I’m sure you are wondering why I have titled the post as I have. I think by the time I finish tonight you will certainly understand why. As I have mentioned before, my good friend Bob Moore and I started a weekly Bible study about a year ago and we meet on Saturday mornings. It is open to anyone who would like to attend and we have anywhere from 6 to 15 each week depending on everyone’s schedule. We began last year in the gospel of John and have just now reached chapter 11. I believe it has been a blessing to everyone involved and I also believe that each one of us is growing in his faith. Most of us attend different churches and are involved in different types of ministry which sets the stage for the process of iron sharpening iron just like the Bible says. And God’s Word never fails. 

Last week we changed the venue somewhat and begin using our time to allow some members of the group to share their personal testimony and story with the group. We only have enough time each week for two guys to share and the time seems to fly. Last week we heard two great testimonies and each one was very different from the other. But the thing they each had in common was the fact that a wonderful change had been made in their life when they said yes to Jesus. And they have never been the same and continue to serve Him faithfully to this day. What a blessing that was last week and I thought it couldn’t get any better than that. But I was wrong.

Today we again heard testimonies from two more in the group and these guys have either never shared before or have shared very little. But that did not make any difference in the impact that they had on the rest of the group. Their stories were simple, but real and sincere. But even more that, they were very powerful. One man in this seventies and one man in his eighties shared what Jesus means to them and what God has done in their life. They moved all of us to tears because their testimonies were wrought with emotion and they just can’t get over it. And it is obvious that they have a great hunger for God’s Word and that is why they are a part of the group. Again, I was so blessed by them that I have been walking on clouds all day. I can’t wait to hear more personal stories next week. We already have two more guys who have volunteered to share and I know what a blessing it will be to all of us. God is so good!

I think you may be getting the picture of why the title. But let me add a little more to it. I remember a time when it wasn’t uncommon for a pastor to forego preaching a sermon and open up the floor to the congregation to share their hearts. Some would have a word of personal testimony of how they were saved or what God had done for them. Some would just want to praise Him. Others would share a burden on their heart and ask the folks there to pray for them. And some would just sit and soak it all in. However, it was always a spirit-filled time of unusual worship and praise and I truly believe everyone left there with their hearts full of blessings from the Lord. So what happened? Why does this not occur anymore? Have we got too sophisticated? Are we just looking for some kind of entertainment? Or have we just got too complacent? Whatever the reason, my prayer is that we would experience revival in our hearts and then see it bear fruit in our lives. I long for that day. Can I get a witness?  

“No-Name”; The Blind Man

This evening we are going to finish our series of “No-Names” by moving back to the New Testament. So far we have looked at three “no-names” in the Old Testament and two in the New Testament. With tonight’s post we will even the score and be reminded that these are but a few of the many in the Bible that their names were never given but they were used by God in some way, shape or fashion to carry out His plan. And most of the time doing so without being aware that they were playing such an important role. This continues in our story tonight found in the ninth chapter of John where we find the details of Jesus restoring the sight of a blind man. So let’s get on with the paraphrased version.

Jesus had just finished an encounter with the religious elite that didn’t end too well. They were quite arrogant about their father being Abraham and Jesus left nothing to the imagination when He said “Before Abraham was born, I am.” There was no doubt that He was stating the fact that He was God Incarnate and this made the Jews livid. They picked up rocks to throw at Him but He hid Himself and went out of the temple. This was certainly not from fear but from being aware that His appointed time to die was still ahead. Very shortly after that He saw the man who had been blind from birth and this is where our story begins.

During those days the Jews held to an unfounded interpretation of the scriptures that any person who was deformed or handicapped in any way was the recipient of God’s judgement for sin either they or their ancestors had committed. So this belief prompted His disciples to ask a simple question, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that caused him to be born blind?” Jesus responded with an unexpected answer. “Neither this man or his parents sinned but this happened so that the works of God could be displayed in him.” He then made clay from His own spittle and some dirt from the ground and applied it to the blind man’s eyes. He then told the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam and so the blind man did as he was instructed. In a short while the man returned and his sight had been restored.

This miracle caused quite a stir among the neighbors and they kept asking him what had happened to him. He kept repeating the story of his encounter with Jesus so they began to inquire where Jesus was. When he responded that he did not know they brought him to the Pharisees. The Pharisees began to ask him the same questions. What happened and where was Jesus. They were not believing that Jesus had done this for this man and became very concerned when the man called Jesus a prophet. They really thought that had Jesus this time because He had done this on the Sabbath. But to make sure, they began to question the man’s parents about what happened. They explained that the man had been born blind but they did not know how he was now able to see. Out of fear of the religious leaders they took the fifth and told them to talk to their son because he was of an accountable age.

At this point the Jews went to the man a second time and told him to give glory to God, not to Jesus, because He was a sinner. The blind man was so thankful for what had happened to him that he could not contain himself. His response to the Jews in verse 25 is one of the greatest testimonies in the Bible. “Whether He is a sinner, I don’t know. But one thing I do know. Though I was blind, now I see.” he stated. As they pressed the man further he didn’t hold back. He reminded them that this man had done something for him that none of them had done and they certainly couldn’t explain where He had come from. He even made the statement that Jesus had to be of God or He could not have done what He did. He put the religious, learned, pious elite in their place and they reacted by putting the man out of the temple.

If we follow the story all the way through, we will see that Jesus finds the man, confirms that He is God and the man believes. In other words, not only had the blind man been healed of his physical infirmity, but now He had been healed of his spiritual sickness of sin and made whole again. The Bible says He believed and worshipped Jesus. This is exactly what happens when one is saved.

This story reminds each of us that have been saved of how we were just like the blind man. We could not see, we had no hope and were on our way to a dreadful end. But jesus came by, Jesus had mercy on us, Jesus gave us spiritual eyes to see who He is and then, like the blind man, He healed us on the inside and made us one of His own. Oh, what a Savior! Oh Hallelujah! His heart was broken on Calvary. His hands were nailed scarred, His side was riven. He gave His life-blood for even me. I truly believe that this “no-name” blind man kept telling the story even though he had been put out of the temple. And who knows how many believed because of his testimony.

I think we should be reminded that we have only seen a glimpse of just a few people with unknown names in the Bible that God saved and used. But what about those countless others through the ages that have had the same encounter and experience and no one knows there names. But they are written in the Lamb’s book of Life and God certainly knows who they are. And I believe there are still many out there today that fit the bill. To God be the glory! 


“No-Name”; The Mother of Moses

As I mentioned in my short post last week, tonight we are returning to the Old Testament to find another  “No-Name” character that played a significant role in insuring that God’s plan for mankind remained intact and on schedule. We should be reminded that God’s timing is always perfect because He has put things in the order that He intends for them to occur. The “No-Name” we will share tonight is the woman chosen to be the mother of Moses. Our story is found in chapter 2 of Exodus and particularly in the first ten verses.

The background for our story starts with the death of Joseph and afterwards when a new king of Egypt came into power that did not know who Joseph was. The Israelites had greatly multiplied and this was causing great concern among the Egyptian rulers. So out of fear they made slaves of the Israelites and afflicted them with hard labor. The Egyptian king finally decreed that all male children that would be born to Jewish women were to be thrown into the Nile.

Our story then begins very simply. There was a man from the house of Levi who married a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and bore a son. She saw that he was a very beautiful child and so she hid him for three months. When it got to the point where she could no longer hide him she constructed a wicker basket and made it water-tight using tar and pitch. She placed her son in the basket and hid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. Obviously this was an attempt to protect the child and in hopes that he would be found and cared for by someone else.

We all are familiar with the story and know that the daughter of Pharoah discovered the basket while bathing in the Nile.  One of her maids retrieved the basket and when it was opened she saw the crying child and felt sorry for him. The child’s sister asked Pharoah’s daughter if she would like for her to find a Hebrew woman to nurse him and she agreed with that suggestion. So she brought the child’s mother to Pharoah’s daughter and she was instructed to take the child and nurse him and that she would be paid for her services. Over time the child grew and so the mother eventually brought him to Pharoah’s daughter. She then named him Moses because she drew him out of the water. From this point on we never see the mother of Moses mentioned again.

I might mention that the only thing we know about Moses’ father is that he came from the priestly tribe of Levi. There is no indication that he was involved in the early days of his childhood, unlike his mother. And certainly no mention of his name. On the other hand, we know from the story that his mother wanted to protect him and save his life if at all possible. And by God’s grace this happened. I might also point out that there is a possibility that both his mother and father had involvement with Moses as he grew into a young man. It certainly can’t be ruled out. But I would venture to guess that they had no idea how God would use Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.

Although there was no mention of her name, Moses’ mother serves to prove once again that God uses ordinary people to be a part of extraordinary things even when they don’t realize that it is happening. I’m convinced that it is ok to be a “No-Name” in God’s scheme of things. And as a reminder, it is all for His glory!

A Break In The “No-Name” Action

The hour is late. And I’m not fully prepared to share my thoughts on our “No-Name” that is next in the series. It has been a long day and a very busy weekend and not quite enough time to turn my thoughts into words. However, it has been a wonderful and fruitful weekend as you will see below.

Reassurance had the opportunity to minister to a group of fellow believers in a very small local church on Friday evening. As we shared it was very obvious that the Holy Spirit was present in our midst and what a great time of worship and fellowship with folks of like mind and in love with Jesus.

This morning was our weekly Bible study over at the hospital medical office building and what a joy it is to spend time with these brothers in Christ and sharing our hearts one with another. I believe we are beginning to really understand what it means to bear one another’s burdens. As we’ve journeyed through the book of John we have discovered more truths along the way that we have not seen before. I think I can speak for all of us that we have grown in our understanding and thus our walk with the Lord. I know for certain that I have. As a reminder, this bible study is open to anyone who would like to attend. We are going through the book of John verse by verse and have just completed chapter 11. Give me a call if you would like further details.

This evening Reassurance was blessed to have another opportunity to minister to other believers in a church north of Memphis. We were there as part of a benefit fundraiser for their youth group to be able to participate in summer camp this year. It was a great event and not only were we able to share encouragement through song we were also ministered to by others. We are learning that as we minister to others we actually are the ones being blessed. We thank God for the opportunities He is giving us to share our faith through our music and our prayer is that He gets all the glory for any and everything that is accomplished.

Next week we will share our next “No-Name” character as we move back to the Old Testament. God bless each of you and have a blessed day in the Lord tomorrow. 

“No-Name”; The Samaritan Woman

Tonight we are returning to the New Testament to continue our “No-Name” series. The story is found in the gospel of John, chapter 4 and is one of the most well-known among all the encounters Jesus had with people during His ministry on earth. I would dare say that anyone who has spent any time at all going to church and/or Sunday school has heard the story of the woman at the well. The Samaritan woman.  But few have really considered the potentially significant role she played in spreading the good news of the gospel. I realize that the previous “No-Name” stories we have heard during this series have been rather lengthy. So tonight I will attempt to condense the paraphrased version of the story and get to the valuable lesson of it in short order. So here goes.

Shortly after Jesus had been seen by John the Baptist who had made the statement that Jesus must increase and he must decrease, Jesus left Judea and headed for Galilee. It so happened that on His way to Galilee He passed through Samaria and a city called Sychar. This city was very near what was known as Jacob’s well which was main source for water for that area. Jesus was tired from His journey and stopped at the well to rest and perhaps have a drink of cool water. During the afternoon as Jesus rested there, a Samaritan woman came to draw water as was normal for that time of day. Jesus asked her for a drink of water because His disciples had gone into the city to purchase food. The woman certainly never realized that this would begin a conversation with the Lord that would radically change her life.

The woman had recognized that Jesus was a Jew from the beginning so she replied with a question. “Why do You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” she asked. This question reveals the hatred that these two groups had for each other and shows the woman’s surprise that He even had spoken to her. So, it is not hard to imagine her even greater surprise with the answer He gave her. Jesus said to her “If you were aware of God’s gift and who I am that says give me drink, you would have asked Him instead and He would have given you Living Water”. She understood that He was referring to Himself but she didn’t understand how He could get living water without anything to draw with and because the well was so deep. She even tried to compare Him to Jacob and his sons implying that He would certainly not be greater than them. Jesus patiently explained that He was talking about something greater than the water from the well. He was talking about satisfying the thirst much greater than the physical thirst for water. That He was talking about a spiritual well that would never run dry. His response prompted her to ask for this water.

We know how the story goes from here. Jesus tells her to go get her husband and bring him and she replied that she had no husband. Of course Jesus knew that and even knew that she had been married five different times and was living with a man who was not her husband. In other words, He knew her reputation and her history of sinful living. At this point she realized that He was not an ordinary man and after more conversation with Him, explained that she knew that the Messiah was to come and declare all things to His people. Jesus said to her “I am He”. The woman then left her water pot at the well, went into the city and told the men to come and see a man who told her all the things she had done. She posed a question to the men that indicates she believed Jesus was the Christ. And the men left the city to go meet this man Jesus.

Here we see another person whose name that we are never given, be an instrument in God’s hand to play a role in the furtherance of the gospel. This “No-Name” became a witness in her own right and was responsible for many of the Samaritans from the city  becoming believers as stated in verse 39. She simply shared what Jesus had done for her. Further proof that God uses people, even those whose names are never revealed, for His purposes to bring others to Him. Again, we should all be like the Samaritan woman at the well and share with others what He has done for us. 



“No-Name”; Pharoah’s Cupbearer

The “no-name” we looked at last week was found in the New Testament in the book of Acts. As we learned, it was Paul’s nephew and He made it possible for Paul to escape harm and possibly death. He had overheard a plot of a group of the Jewish religious leaders of that day to kill Paul and thus informed Paul of the plan. Paul then informed the Roman captain of the guard and they devised a pan to move Paul under cover of darkness to insure his safety. The plan was successful and the rest is history.

This week we are going back to the Old Testament for another story of a “no-name” that God used to take care of one His own. The story revolves around Joseph and how God was using him to continue with His master plan and keep His covenant with Abraham. The story is found in the book of Genesis and begins in chapter 40 and continues through chapter 41. We will begin with a brief summary of the events leading up to this.

In preceding chapters in Genesis we can read about the life of Joseph up to the start of our story. We know that he was loved by his father more than any of his brothers and his brothers hated him for that. We know that God had given him a special gift to interpret his own dreams when they occurred. When he told his brothers his dreams and then gave them the interpretation of his dreams, the brothers realized that, according to Joseph, the dreams revealed that at some point he would rule over his brothers. This did not set well with his brothers so they planned to kill him. However one of them did not want him to be killed so he convinced the others to put Joseph in a deep pit to die from starvation or from attack by a wild animal. However, he planned to go back for Joseph by himself and return him to his father. After they placed him in the pit a caravan of traders came by on their way to Egypt and the brothers sold Joseph to them. And off they went to Egypt.

Upon arrival in Egypt, Joseph was sold to a man named Potiphar who was an officer to Pharoah, specifically the captain of the bodyguard. Potiphar was so pleased with Joseph over time that he put him in charge of everything concerning his household. Potiphar’s wife had her eye on Joseph and began to make advances toward him when Potiphar was away. Joseph refused to have anything to do with her but eventually she cornered him and pulled his robe of when exposed his nakedness. Joseph fled from her but she kept his robe. She then used the robe to back up her lie that Joseph had attacked her. Potiphar then had Joseph placed in the jail where the king’s prisoners were kept. However, he found favor in the eyes of the chief jailer because God was with him. The chief jailer then placed Joseph in charge of the other prisoners and this is where we pick up our story of “No-Name”; Pharoah’s Cupbearer.

The king’s baker and cupbearer had displeased the king in some way and so they were put in jail where Joseph was in charge of the prisoners. They were to be held there until their fate would be determined by the king. While they were there, both of them had a dream that they did not understand. They were so dejected that it showed on their faces thus prompting Joseph to ask them what was their trouble. When they explained to Joseph that there was no one to interpret their dreams, Joseph asked them to tell him the dreams. When they had finished, Joseph began to explain to them what they meant.

The cupbearer’s dream consisted of three grape-vine branches that produced a cluster of grapes on each which the cupbearer then squeezed into the king’s cup and then gave the cup to the king. Joseph interpreted his dream to mean that in three days the king would spare his life and restore him to his cupbearer position. The baker’s dream consisted three baskets of white bread on his head and in the top basket were many baked good for the king. However, the birds were eating the baked goods and not the king was not. Joseph interpreted his dream to mean that in three days the king would have him hanged and the birds would eat his flesh. And as the Bible so vividly describes, it all came to pass just as Joseph had said. The cupbearer was restored and the baker was executed.

After Joseph had favorably interpreted the cupbearer’s dream he asked the cupbearer to remember him and put in a good word for him in hopes that he would be released from the jail. However, the cupbearer did not remember to do that and Joseph continued to be confined for another two years. But God had not forgotten him and the plans he had for his life. So the story is not finished.

When the two years had passed Pharoah himself two dreams. The first was that seven fat cows came up out of the Nile and started grazing. Then seven ugly cows came up out of the Nile and consumed the fat cows but there was no change in their appearance. His second dream was that seven plump ears of corn grew up on a single stalk . Then seven other ears, scorched and thin, sprouted up and consumed the seven plump ears. He was so troubled by the two dreams that he called all of his magicians and wise men together and told them the dreams but they were unable to interpret them. This is the point where our “No-Name” cupbearer remembers what Joseph had done for him. He then spoke to Pharoah and told him about Joseph’s ability. He calls for Joseph and Joseph successfully interpret’s the dreams. He makes Pharoah aware that the two dreams are actually the same and that they represent seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. He also advises Pharoah that he has a plan for the situation and explains it to Pharoah. As a result Pharoah appoints Joseph to head up this plan and eventually Joseph becomes a powerful man in Egypt, second only to Pharoah himself. Another “No-Name”, the cupbearer, has made a difference!

God again insured that He had His man in the right place at the right time to do His will to carry out His plan. A man whose name was never mentioned. A man who probably never realized the impact he had on the future of mankind. As I have said before, we have no idea how many “no-names” that God still uses today to carry out His plan. We should all pray that He uses us whether anyone else knows our name or not. I, for one, would be proud to be a “No-Name” for His service.







“No-Name”; Paul’s Nephew

Last week we started our series of no-name characters of the Bible by introducing the first one as Abraham’s servant. We saw a loyal and obedient man to his master and obviously a man of prayer. He relied on God to provide the sign he needed to confirm that the woman God had set aside as a wife for Isaac would be the one to offer him water for himself and his camels. As we saw, God granted his desire and answered his prayer. And what a great example of how God uses people to carry out His plans whether or not He reveals their name. But God knows their name and that’s all that matters.

This evening we will move to the New Testament with another wonderful story of how God used another no-name to protect His servant Paul. The Bible clearly reveals this boy as the son of Paul’s sister which would, of course, be Paul’s nephew. As we see in the story found in the book of Acts, chapter 23, Paul’s nephew was in the right place at the right time to hear the details of a plot against Paul and thus warn him of the plot. Certainly, this was not by accident or coincidence. God had this boy in place at the appointed time to ensure His plan for Paul would not be interrupted. So let’s move on to the background information before we give the full details of our story.

Paul was in Jerusalem as directed by the Holy Spirit but at the same time against the wishes of many of his friends and converts. Paul loved the people of Jerusalem being a Jew himself and knowing that the gospel had been first given to them. Paul was certainly aware of how the Christians in Jerusalem were being persecuted by the Jewish religious leaders and was willing to go and minister to them in spite of the risk. He had even made the statement that He was willing to die there for the cause of Christ. Although He was gladly received by the brethren there and even though they praised God for what He had done in the Gentile world there was some concern over some of the stories they had been hearing that Paul had been teaching them to abandon the Law. This, of course, was not the case but Paul honored their request to go through a vow ritual to show that He was keeping the Law himself and was not teaching anything contrary to the Law. But this was not good enough for some of the Jewish religious leaders from Asia so they began to stir up discontent. They went as far as to take him by force to harm him but the Roman soldiers intervened to keep anything from happening that would appear to be an uprising. Paul was able to speak his piece before the mob and eventually revealed to the Roman soldiers that he himself was of Roman citizenship. The commander of the soldiers were very afraid that they themselves would be in trouble for false arrest. At this point is where the real story begins.

The next day the commander released Paul because he wanted to know exactly why the Jews had accused him. He ordered the chief priests and the Sanhedrin to assemble to give Paul a chance to speak his defense. As Paul spoke, the high priest Ananias ordered someone to strike Paul on the mouth and Paul responded, not knowing who Ananias was, that he was a white washed wall and that God would strike him instead. This angered the group greatly. Paul then perceived that there were both Sadducees and Pharisees present so he appealed to Pharisees being one himself. His comments created a great dissension between the two sects and a great argument arose and the soldiers move Paul back to the barracks for fear of harm coming to him. The next day the Jewish religious leaders developed a plot to kill Paul and took an oath to follow through with it. However, this is the point where Paul’s’ nephew overheard the conversation regarding the plot and went to the barracks and informed Paul. Paul had his nephew then taken to the commander so he could also expose the plot to him. The commander then devised a plan to have Paul moved to Caesarea by night and refer the case to Felix the Governor for resolution. The plan was thus carried out and Paul was safely moved as instructed. God had again used a no-name to insure that His will was being done and that His plan would be continued without interruption.

We need to point out that in verse 11 of chapter 23 God had told Paul to take courage; for he had been His witness in Jerusalem for His cause and He would do the same in Rome also. We know by reading the rest of the book of Acts that Paul was a witness to Felix the Governor and later to Festus the Governor in Caesarea and ultimately to King Agrippa. He was then sent to Rome just as God had promised. And all of the this because another no-name, Paul’s nephew, was where God wanted him to be for His purpose.