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Joel Ryan

Joel Ryan is a children’s book author, writing professor, and contributing writer for Crosswalk,, Stand Firm Men’s Magazine, and others. He is passionate about telling great stories, defending biblical truth, and helping writers of all ages develop their craft. Joel discusses, analyzes, and appreciates the great writings of the past and present on his website, Perspectives off the Page.

What Is God’s Purpose for Marriage?

Like many married men, I can remember my wedding day like it was yesterday.

I can tell you what it felt like to see my then bride-to-be walking down the aisle in her wedding dress. I can tell you about the way she styled her hair, about the perfume she wore, and the blue high heel shoes she borrowed from her grandmother. I can tell you about our first dance, our rings, and our vows. And I can tell you of the joy we’ve shared joining together with Christ to live as husband and wife. Then and always. In sickness and in health. Till death do us part. You know the rest.

What God established that day has proven to be both glorious and good – very good.

Though the years that followed have been anything but easy, perfect, or mess-free, our marriage has remained one of the greatest gifts God has ever given us. That being said, there are several things we must understand about the purpose of marriage as God intended.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Andre Hunter

Should We Approach Our Faith as Religion or Relationship?

Practicing Christians will often try and distance themselves from the stigma of bad religion or being seen as religious. One of the ways they do this is by approaching their faith more as a relationship with God than an actual religion. But is this approach actually necessary or even biblical?

Why Did Judas Take 30 Pieces of Silver for Jesus?

The fact that Judas betrayed his master Jesus was terrible... but as we shall see, the fact that he betrayed Jesus for the paltry sum of 30 pieces of silver made the situation even more tragic, and oddly poetic.

6 Invaluable Tips from Paul on Sharing Your Story

For many Christians, the thought of having to share their story with others can be a source of great fear and consternation. 

When it comes to the story of what God has done in our lives, we certainly want to get things right. Sadly, our fear of failure, embarrassment, or rejection often causes us to remain silent or keep our story to ourselves. The good news is, there is no formula for how to tell your story. 

Your story is as unique as the life God has given you. No Christian has the same story. And you don’t have to be eloquent or a great public speaker for God to speak through you. That’s the good news. 

The bad news is, there is no formula for how to tell your story. 

The Bible doesn’t give us a checklist of what to include. We are given examples but not necessarily hard rules to follow. For some, that can be incredibly frustrating. 

What we know, however, is that God has called each of us to be bold in sharing the gospel, always being, “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). This is our story. 

But how do we do this?

Perhaps one of the best examples we are given in the Bible comes from the apostle Paul.

As a young man, Paul, who went by his Jewish name Saul, was an up-and-comer amongst the religious leaders of Jerusalem. A Jew and a Greek-speaking Roman citizen with an elite education, Paul had a lot going for him. However, in his zeal and pious fervor, Paul would become relentless in his hatred and persecution of early Christians. That is, until Jesus Himself appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, changing his life forever. 

From then on, Paul would demonstrate a passion for the gospel, a love for the church, and an eagerness to tell his story, contending for the faith with courage, confidence, and clarity, wherever he went.  

In many ways, Paul was a masterful communicator and one of the most effective ministers of the gospel, often by sharing his own story. 

From his testimonies given in Acts 22 and Acts 26, as well as his many letters, there are several tips we can learn from Paul when sharing our story with others. 

Here are six tips to consider:

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/shironosov

4 Powerful Reminders from the Miracle of Peter Walking on Water

Throughout His ministry, Jesus’ power over sickness, the spiritual and material world, and even death was made evident through His many miracles. On most occasions, Christ’s disciples were some of the first to see Jesus perform His miracles. In some instances, they were the only eyewitnesses.

In fact, one of Christ’s most iconic miracles involved Jesus’ demonstration of power over nature when He walked on water to meet His frightened disciples on the Sea of Galilee one evening (Matthew 14:28-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:16-24).

This was not the first time Jesus had asserted His authority over creation by calming the seas. Only months prior, Jesus had settled a storm while on a boat with His disciples (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35; Luke 8:22-25).

The second time, however, Jesus crossed the water on foot to meet His disciples in their moment of peril. While the focus of this story is rightly placed on Christ’s authority over creation, Jesus was not the only one to walk on water that evening.

We know, of course, that Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, stepped out of the boat to meet his lord on the seas, doing what no human apart from Jesus had done before or has done since.

Much has been written about the spectacular seaside miracle in the ministry of Jesus, including Peter’s momentary courage and subsequent lapse in faith; but what really happened that stormy night, and what can we learn from Peter’s walk with Jesus on the Sea of Galilee?

Photo credit: Unsplash/Torsten Dederichs

Why Exactly Were Tax Collectors so Hated?

For Jews living in Jerusalem and the surrounding regions during the first century, paying taxes to the Roman Empire was understandably a source of great consternation and displeasure. Those responsible for collecting those funds on behalf of Rome were just as loathed, perhaps even more than any contemporary tax agent or auditor.

Why Should We Bother Reading the Book of Numbers?

Though many Christians may gloss over the book of Numbers because of the extensive list of names and numbers found in chapters 1 and 26, the fourth book of the Bible explores several important and beautiful theological themes that Christians today should study.

Why Would Jesus Call a Zealot to Be His Disciple?

In the first century, the Zealots were a notorious sect of Jewish patriots who sought to overthrow the Roman occupation of Palestine through violence, terror, and political intimidation, often resorting to murder, assassination, and militant action to further their agenda. Ironically, one of Jesus’ own disciples, Simon the Zealot, was a member of this group before being called to follow Christ.

Why Does Jesus Give His Mother to John While on the Cross?

Jesus had no gold, no earthly treasure, and no real estate to give to Mary after His passing. In fact, everything He had owned was seized and divvied up amongst the Roman soldiers at the foot of the cross (Matthew 27:35). With Jesus gone, who then would be responsible for Mary’s financial and physical well-being?

Who Was Joel the Prophet and What Did He Prophesy?

What we ultimately know about Joel, who he was, and when he ministered, are probably less important than his actual ministry and message. According to Macarthur, “the message of Joel is timeless, forming doctrine which could be repeated and applied to any age.”

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