Huge Cloud of Witnesses



Since we have such a huge cloud of witnesses watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.

Hebrews 12:1 TLB


Looking For Faith


Weekly Bible Study

Looking For Faith

May 14, 2014

“Without faith it is impossible to please God” Hebrews 11:6

Tracy’s formative years were a mixed bag of happiness, frustration and danger. Her mother had plummeted into deep depression when her husband, Danny (Tracy’s Dad), was shot and killed during a convenience store robbery. Danny was just there to buy a treat for Tracy when a young pair of inexperienced teens stormed in to buy beer. The clerk asked for I.D. and guns came out and bullets flew. At the end, three were dead, two wounded over a six-pack of beer which ended up broken on the floor.

Kitty, Tracy’s mother, couldn’t cope and found friends who helped her escape into the world of drugs and alcohol. Danny’s death brought nearly $1 million in insurance settlements and law suits but rather than help, the money became a cancerous demon that drove Kitty to an early death, found slumped over her toilet bowl, syringe in her arm.

After the funeral and further legal proceedings, Tracy was adopted by her aunt and uncle who lived in San Francisco. Tracy was 10! Her aunt and uncle loved her and devoted themselves to giving her the best life possible.

Tracy went to church with her new parents and loved all of her classes and Christian friends. She seemed to latch onto the teachings of Christ with gusto. She always insisted on praying each night before bed and at meals. She witnessed to her friends and before long she was leading a neighborhood Bible class for kids. Tracy was a bright light.

Then she met Evan. He was handsome, smart, athletic, adventuresome and wealthy. He was her prince charming. She was twenty and he was 25, the CEO of his own social media business—and his own god. Evan wanted to add Tracy to his very long list of sexual conquests. Tracy thought they were in love. She was terribly wrong. Then she was used and discarded. Her faith seemed hollow, cursory, fake. Was it real at all?

Hebrews 11:1-3, 6 To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see. It was by their faith that people of ancient times won God’s approval. It is by faith that we understand that the universe was created by God’s word, so that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen. . . And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Seeking answers, Tracy was devastated when she read this section of Hebrews. Instead of a reassuring answer, she was slapped with the admonition that she cannot please God without faith. And faith in God was exactly what was missing as a consequence of believing in Evan. Tracy was not alone even if she felt like it. God was with her. His Holy Spirit guided her forward into chapter 12. And then it jumped off the page!

Hebrews 12:1-2 So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.

Her heart leaped with joy and her spirit soared as she remembered that Jesus is “the author and perfecter of our faith.” God is not waiting with a big rock, ready to smash her for her weakness and frail faith. After all, He created her and knows she needs support, especially when the things she sees seem stronger than those she doesn’t. Jesus will give her an infusion of faith when hers is weak. His forgiveness trumps satan’s attack of guilt and fear.

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

2 Cor. 5:7 We live by faith, not by sight.

1 Thess. 5:8-9 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Time passed quickly as Tracy read many verses to encourage and uplift her spirits. Slowly she remembered that God’s salvation is a free gift, not earned. And her life in Christ is also not earned…she does not have to perform for God. His gift of eternal life is given through faith in Jesus, the Savior. And those times of stumbling and falling may give scrapes and bruises but they do not nullify her promise of absolute forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ. There are consequences to our sins but they do not include eternal damnation.

Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

George Muller Devotionals


George Müller cared for 10,000 orphaned children in Bristol during the 19th Century. He never made appeals for money, trusting implicitly in God, he received £1,500,000 in answer to prayer. At present day prices, this would be well over £86,000,000.

Day 1

Triumphant Faith

“Don’t be afraid, just believe.” Mark 5:36

As long as we are able to trust in God, holding fast in our heart that He is able and willing to help those who rest on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and in all matters that are for His glory and their good, the heart remains calm and peaceful. It is only when we practically let go of faith in His power or His love that we lose our peace and become troubled. Remember that it is the very time for faith to work when sight ceases. The greater the difficulties, the easier for faith. As long as there remains certain natural prospects for help, faith does not rise up as easily as when all natural prospects fail.

All children of God, whatever their position in the world or in the church, should put their trust in God for everything connected with their body, their soul, their business, their family, their church position, their service for God, etc. And it is impossible to do so without enjoying the blessedness that results from it. First comes the peace of God that keeps the heart and mind like a garrison, and second comes a true liberty with regard to circumstances, times, places, and people.

Faith is above circumstances. No war, no fire, no water, no business panic, no loss of friends, no death can touch it. It goes on its own steady course. It triumphs over all difficulties. It works most easily in the great difficulties. Those who really confide in God, because they know the power of His arm and the love of His heart as demonstrated in the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son, are helped, whatever their trials and difficulties might be.

Compiled and edited by Lance Wubbels.

Coarse Talking


“Coarse and foolish talking are not suitable” Ephesians 5:4

Greg came home early to pack for his favorite twice-yearly Men’s Fellowship gathering at Camp Angelus above the San Joaquin Valley. Away from the wilting heat, smog and everyday life, nearly 500 Christian men gathered to sing, pray, learn, share and be changed by a desire to serve God with all their hearts.

By dinner, most of the men had checked in, found their room assignments and changed into comfortable clothes. They headed for the dining room to find a dazzling spread of snacks to satisfy their light hunger and prepare them for the evening’ speaker, Dan Wilson.

Dan was a young pastor of an impressive church with more than 3,500 in attendance. He was fast becoming well-known among pastors and book readers. His first book, Jesus Broke the Rules was selling quickly, even though some thought the cover art of a muscular Christ, punching gigantic pillars into rubble seemed rather worldly and crude as though Jesus used his powerful physique to accomplish his examples.

Within seconds, the wood-paneled conference room was filled with men laughing uproariously, tears running down their cheeks. Dan was charismatic and excelled with comedic illustrations. Just before he finished, Dan managed to slip in a prayer and send the men on their way, recalling some of their favorite stories.

At one of the tables, four men were still smiling, except for Steve. “That guy was fantastic,” Bill said. “His stories about wives and husbands hit the nail right on the head. But I’m not sure my wife would appreciate the humor as much as we did. But that’s the difference between men and women, right?”

As the others were nodding heads in agreement Steve said, “Are you sure we should have been laughing? At first I thought he was funny too but then I was convicted by the Holy Spirit and I think most of his stories were crude and foolish. I don’t think we would have been laughing so hard if Jesus had appeared.”

Silence at the table. Steve knew they were upset so he left the table, headed for a walk to clear up his mind and talk with the Lord. This was a first for him. Before tonight, he would have been laughing just as hard as everyone else. God was changing him and he wanted the change. Allowing himself to become crude and foolish for the sake of getting a laugh paled in comparison to walking closer with the Lord.

o Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

o Ephesians 5:4 Dirty stories, foul talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, remind each other of God’s goodness, and be thankful.

o 2 Timothy 2:15-16 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.

o 1 Timothy 6:20 Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.

o Matthew 12:34-37 You serpent’s brood, how can you say anything good out of your evil hearts? For a man’s words depend on what fills his heart. A good man gives out good—from the goodness stored in his heart; a bad man gives out evil—from his store of evil. I tell you that men will have to answer at the day of judgment for every careless word they utter—for it is your words that will acquit you, and your words that will condemn you.

o Colossians 3:8 But now you must get rid of all these things: anger, passion, and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips. Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits.

o Colossians 4:6 Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.

Our words can harm, hurt, divide and create sinful images in the mind. But God’s word is always pure and precise. If we choose to use each other as examples or measuring sticks, then our words will ultimately do harm. But when we choose to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance then our words will represent God, bringing healing and comfort to all who hear.

He Has Risen—Just As He Said!




“I was dead, but look, I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys to death and Hades.” Rev 1:18

Without doubt, the most important event on the calendar for followers of Christ, His Church, is what we call Easter. This is the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the moment in history when our Savior had the final say over death and hades. He had completed the most agonizing part of his triumphant purpose by willingly giving his life to pain and death, crumpled on Calvary’s cross. But that was only the beginning, not the end.

After three days in the tomb, Jesus rose, shed His death clothes and gave His final instructions to His disciples. And because of that, we too have the promise of eternal life just as He gave to the thief on the cross beside him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the focal point of our hope as found in the following Scriptures:

Rom 4:24 God will count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.

Acts 2:24, 32: God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this.

Matthew 28:1-10 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee) went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women, “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

Luke 24:46-48 He also said to them: “This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

1 Cor 15:1-8 Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place. 3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.

Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus…

Eph 1:19-20 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.

Col 2:12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

Romans 10:9-10 If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

1 Peter 1:21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because He raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory.

There are many scriptures which relate the risen Lord being seen as a living testimony of His resurrection. His absolute victory over death and its decay gives all the believers in Jesus Christ an unwavering hope of everlasting life with Him. Although we shall die, unless Jesus returns with the trumpet blast and angelic shout first, we shall not perish but taste life that never ends, residing in the New Jerusalem with Almighty God and the resurrected Son.

Follow Me

Follow Me

I find my human logic pulls me

In the opposite direction Christ has prepared.

He says, “Follow me.”

And I happily reply,

“Thank you for the invitation, Lord.

As soon as I sell my stuff, give my notice

And write a few last minute letters

To friends and missionary supporters, I’m there.”
Then He stops, turns slightly toward me,

His gaze penetrating my soul,

And extends his tanned and calloused hand,

 “Follow Me!”
Now I get it.

He means right now.

Tears flood my face

But my Spirit soars

As I take His hand. 



“You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free”  John 8:32




How often do we struggle with our behavior, thoughts, attitudes and actions? Others may not be aware of our struggles but they are hiding just below the surface. Many years ago a visiting pastor stood behind the pulpit, sharing the Word of God. He was unknown in the church. In appearance he seemed unremarkable. A man in his fifties, glasses, dark hair, dark suit.


            His message was tearing at our facades; who we really were when we were not at church. Did our neighbors see us as our Christian friends did? How about or fellow workers. What version of us do they see?


            Then he drove home his point vividly: “Here at church, people see me as I am right now, smiling and friendly, standing upright, the picture of Christian behavior. But what about on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and throughout the week, is this what they see?” As he said this, he stepped from behind the pulpit and walked slowly across the stage, revealing to us his deformed and crippled right leg. Each step required effort as he drug that leg sideways, causing his entire body to lope along with effort. “Do my neighbors and co-workers see a different person from the one I present at church?”


            Faith in Christ CAN set us free if we walk in the truth.


  • John 8:36  So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed!
  • Romans 8:1-2  So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death.
  • 2 Cor. 3:16-17  Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. Now, the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom.
  • Gal. 5:1  Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free men, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.
  • Gal. 5:13-14  As for you, my brothers, you were called to be free. But do not let your freedom become an excuse for letting your physical desires rule you. Instead, let love make you serve one another. For the whole Law is summed up in one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • 1 Peter 2:16-17  Live as free men; do not use your freedom, however, to cover up any evil, but live as God’s slaves. Respect all men, love your fellow believers, fear God, and respect the (President).
  • Romans 7:6  Now, however, we are free from the Law, because we died to that which once held us prisoners. No longer do we serve in the old way of a written law, but in the new way of the Spirit.
  • Romans 6:20-23  When you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. Well, what good did you receive from doing the things that you are ashamed of now? The result of those things is death! But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God; as a result your life is fully dedicated to him, and at last you will have eternal life. For sin pays it wage—death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.


Freedom is one of the primary pillars on which America was founded. Over the decades, those freedoms have been eroded and the original foundations have given way to vicious assaults by evil men who do not walk in the freedom of Christ. “Thinking themselves wise, they became fools,” according to Romans 1:22.


True freedom, freedom in Christ, can NEVER be taken away from one who has put their faith in Christ. Just as Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice for our sins (Jn. 10:18), he also guards our lives for all eternity.


Renewing Your Mind



“Be transformed by the renewing of your minds”  Romans 12:2


A common expression when I was growing up was: “I have half a mind to tell them a thing or two!” To which, my Grandfather usually said, “Half a mind is probably all they have.”

It should not surprise anyone then that God, the creator of all minds, has a few things to say about them.

  • Romans 12:2  Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature. CEB
  • Ephesians 4:20-24  But that isn’t the way Christ taught you! 21 If you have really heard his voice and learned from him the truths concerning himself,22 then throw off your old evil nature—the old you that was a partner in your evil ways—rotten through and through, full of lust and sham.23 Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better. 24 Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy and good. Clothe yourself with this new nature.
  • Psalm 26:2-3  Examine me and test me, Lord;  judge my desires and thoughts.
    Your constant love is my guide; your faithfulness always leads me.
  • Isaiah 26:3-4   He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Trust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength.
  • Matthew 22:36-38   “Teacher,” he asked, “which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and the most important commandment.
  • Romans 14:5  Some people think that a certain day is more important than other days, while others think that all days are the same. We each should firmly make up our own minds.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:14-16   Whoever does not have the Spirit cannot receive the gifts that come from God’s Spirit. Such a person really does not understand them, and they seem to be nonsense, because their value can be judged only on a spiritual basis.15 Whoever has the Spirit, however, is able to judge the value of everything, but no one is able to judge him. 16As the scripture says, “Who knows the mind of the Lord?  Who is able to give him advice?” We, however, have the mind of Christ.
  • Colossians 3:1-4   Since you became alive again, so to speak, when Christ arose from the dead, now set your sights on the rich treasures and joys of heaven where he sits beside God in the place of honor and power. Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here. You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person does. Your real life is in heaven with Christ and God. And when Christ who is our real life comes back again, you will shine with him and share in all his glories.
  • 1 Peter 1:13   Therefore, once you have your minds ready for action and you are thinking clearly, place your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.


Millions of dollars have been made over the years through “Think and Grow Rich” programs. And not just in the world. This type of Positive Thinking has also permeated the Church. Why would people continue to buy these books and listen to these types of sermons? Because the mind is a powerful tool and we can, indeed, think our way into change.

However, believers have the mind of Christ which stands for holiness, purity, self-sacrifice, the mind of a servant, thinking more highly of others than ourselves.

The mind of Christ in us brings peace beyond human understanding, carrying an eternal promise of perfection with God. 

No Weapons Turned Against Us Will Succeed!


“But no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged” Isaiah 54:17




            In 1953 the movie Shane hit the theaters, starring Alan Ladd as the mysterious, confident stranger. Shane shows up at a farmer’s (Starrett) place to find rest and work. Feeling uneasy about the stranger wearing a gun, Starrett tells Shane he has no work. Shane apparently leaves.


            Moments later, cowhands from a local cattle baron ride up to the same place, intentionally riding through the vegetable garden to threaten Starrett into selling his place. The cowhands are menacing, all wearing guns, and leaving no doubt as to the future for Starrett and his wife and son if they do not sell soon.


            But then something happens to change the mood of the menacing cowboys from snarling to cautious as their attention is focused on a quiet stranger who has appeared at the corner of Starrett’s house, leaning against the building, staring ominously at the bullies.


            Since life is spiritual, it is obvious to everyone that this quiet, gun-toting stranger is a man to be reckoned with and the brazen cowboys are not sure just what he is capable of. A few words are spoken back and forth and the men begrudgingly leave after a few empty threats.


            Shane’s presence diffused what could have turned into a tragedy for the Starrett’s. The weapons formed against Joe Starrett and his family were abruptly stopped because of the potential power of the stranger.


            This simple example represents the powerful promises of almighty God to His followers: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13:5)


            In the midst of all our daily struggles and attacks of satan, God has promised that He has already defeated the enemy of our soul and we should, therefore, walk with confidence, realizing every battle is in His mighty hands. No matter the outcome, it is part of God’s plan for our lives.


  • Ecc. 9:18  Better to have wisdom than weapons of war
  • Is. 54:17  But in that coming day, no weapon turned against you shall succeed, and you will have justice against every courtroom lie. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. This is the blessing I have given you, says the Lord.
  • Hab. 3:19  The Lord God is my strength; he will give me the speed of a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.
  • Ps. 23:1  Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.
  • Rom. 8:1  No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are “in” Jesus Christ. For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death.
  • 2 Cor. 10:3-4  The truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds. Our battle is to bring down every deceptive fantasy and every imposing defense that men erect against the true knowledge of God. We even fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ.
  • 1 Tim. 6:12  Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life, to which you were called and have made a good confession before many witnesses.
  • John 10:27-30   My sheep recognize my voice and I know who they are. They follow me and I give them eternal life. They will never die and no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. And no one can tear anything out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.
  • Rev. 12:10-11  Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has happened at last! God’s salvation and the power and the rule, and the authority of his Christ are finally here; for the Accuser of our brothers has been thrown down from heaven onto earth—he accused them day and night before our God. 11 They defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony; for they did not love their lives but laid them down for him.


Until we establish in our minds, once and for all, that we are victorious in every situation in life because of God’s promises to us through our faith in Christ, we will walk in uncertainty, fear and frustration.