To speak my mind and heart remains an uphill battle for me.  Especially in the face of attacks targeting the Bible’s truthfulness and even our Lord Jesus.  Why so difficult?

Unfortunately, I’m a people-pleaser, which doesn’t please the Lord at times.  I logged in as a Country Club Manager on a seminary vocational test.  ‘More peanuts, anyone?  Pretzels?  Everyone happy?  Everything hunky-dory?’

But at times, I need to speak my mind and heart.  Don’t chew on my fingernails fearing flak with someone’s nasty thumbs-down hurled my way.  Getting the old heave-ho.  Thrown on modern culture’s junk heap.   It’s part of the territory in this day and age, isn’t it?  Probably always has been.

Paul and Barnabas minister on Cyprus, Barnabas’ home island.  The Holy Spirit leads them there.  They encounter someone named Bar-Jesus, who dabbles in occult, magic arts, along with being a confidante of Cyprus’ Roman political leader, Sergius Paulus.

Bar-Jesus means ‘Son of Jesus’.  Sounds like a good name to me.  But it isn’t and he isn’t as he tries his level best to keep Sergius Paulus from embracing the faith and becoming a true ‘son of Jesus’.

But Paul has something to say about this.  Better fasten your seat belts!  Acts 13: 9-11–“But Saul…filled with the Holy Spirit…said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?  And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you,  and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.'”  Nothing meek and mild or Caspar Milquetoast about Paul.  Forget the peanuts and pretzels.

No people-pleaser, like you-know-who!  Gives him a huge piece of his mind and heart.  With both barrels.  If I were in Paul’s shoes, I’d feel a bit weak in the knees.  All shook up and freaked out– ‘Please Lord, use someone else.  Give me a break.  Cut me some slack.  Leave me out!’

But God calls His own to step up to the plate.  ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus’ like Paul did.  Be the odd one out, if necessary.  Risk unwelcome glances and whispers.  Even in your face howling and bellowing.  Speak up.  Doesn’t that sound more like what it means to take up the cross and follow Jesus?

“And (Jesus) said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it'” (Luke 9:23-24).

Lord Jesus, give me your courage to stand up for you.  Amen.

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