The Thief

Luke 23:39-43
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”   NIV

Jesus, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God being crucified between two criminals. Matthew and Mark’s account of the story says that these men were thieves. They were caught, tried, and convicted. They deserved what they were getting. And then there is Jesus. The One who did nothing wrong, being crucified between the two guilty.

The first thief tells Jesus, “Save yourself and us.” Hold it! He had the penalty coming. HE got what he deserved. You know, “Do the crime; do the time.” The other thief simply asks Jesus to REMEMBER him. “Do the crime; do the time” applied to him as well, but as he looked at the face of the sinless Christ, he was not only reminded of his own crimes, but also of his lostness. To this man Jesus says, “Today you will be with Me.” We may not know what the thief’s name is, but we know what his new address is going to be!

Maybe you have felt like a “criminal.” Maybe you felt like all the bad things that have happened to you, you deserved. You know, “Do the crime; do the time.” You’re not expecting exoneration. You simply wanted someone to remember you…not forget your name. Not that you want or expect anything, but just to feel like you’re not forgotten. That you do exist.

Good news! When you, in all of your weakness and flaws and wrongdoing, turn to Christ, not only will He remember you, but He says, “Where I am, that’s where you will be also.” He doesn’t leave you out in the cold on your own.

Isa 49:16
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.   NIV

Remember, in Christ, you’re known, and you have a place.

Gene Pietrini

The 7000


1 Kings 19:14, 18
14 He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”   NLT

After the great victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, Elijah falls into depression and despair after Jezebel threatens to take his life.  He complains to God that he is the only faithful one in all of Israel.  God corrects him.  There are, in fact, 7000 others who have continued to follow, love, and serve Him, without having turned their backs on God and following other gods.

Now Elijah was pretty hot stuff…literally.  He prayed and the fire of God fell from heaven.  He was a prophet who had a larger-than-life personality.  But even he got his eyes on himself and thought nobody was as faithful as he was.

We have no idea who the 7000 were.  Were they men, women, children, a mixture of all the above?  We will never know this side of heaven, but God knew each one.  He not only knew their names, their gender, their backgrounds…but He knew that they had persevered, exhibited backbone in the face of persecution, and had shown courage under fire.  And he let Elijah know that.

As one writer says, “The “Elijahs,” because of their very prominence, cannot escape commemoration; the “anonymous servants” need special commemoration because of the less prominent nature of what they do.  Their value lies in the silent witness of sheer goodness, integrity of character, and their faith in God.”

Instead of being the 1 of 7000…I am 1 of THE 7000.  It is such an honor to know that I can stand with other men who are also committed to the standard of Christ…that it’s OK to be a “…silent witness of sheer goodness, integrity of character, and faith in God.”

My name may not be mentioned, but I know I’m in good company!

Gene Pietrini

“The hunger for attention is an enemy of self-love.”
Edmond Mbiaka



Israel did not yet have kings to rule over them.  Initially, God’s plan was to have judges rule over the people.  Shamgar is one of the minor judges Israel.  How minor is minor?  Well, he gets one verse.
Judges 3:31
31 After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad; and he also delivered Israel.   NKJV
He didn’t have horses, and chariots, and swords.  He had an “ox goad.”  A farming implement used to prod the ox pulling the plow.  A long stick with a pointed end.  The Philistines on the other hand, as the occupying force in Israel, were better manned and better equipped militarily.  They had the swords, the shields, the horses, and the chariots.


But this one man, a farmer by trade, killed six hundred of the trained, better-equipped enemy with a farming tool.  He may have only had one verse written about him…not many Christians may know his name or the minute details of his story, but what he did was pretty impressive.

People may not know your name.  They may not think much of you or highly of you.  No one may be writing about you in their blog because you’re not newsworthy.  But God knows who you are, and in the midst of spiritual battles, if you stand up to the enemy, He will take whatever you offer to Him to defeat the forces of darkness.  You may not get your name in the papers for what you’ve done, in fact you may not even have one verse written about you.  But God knows.  And your willingness to fight for His kingdom is huge in His sight.  Don’t get sidelined because you’re not the main attraction in some men’s eyes.

In God’s eyes, you are.
Gene Pietrini
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

It was March 4, 1921.  Congress had approved for there to be a burial for an unidentified American soldier from World War 1.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in Arlington National Cemetery overlooking Washington, D.C.  Nothing is known of him except for the fact that he fought for his country.

On the backside of the tomb, these words are inscribed:
Here rests in honored glory
An American soldier known but to God.

And isn’t that what really matters?
That God sees, and that God knows?
Even if no one else knows who you are?
There’s a real purity in that.

There are people mentioned in the Bible that are not named, and some whose names are mentioned but very little is said of them.  That does not make them insignificant, or less significant than those who are mentioned often and of whom much is written.  Because nothing we do for Christ is insignificant, regardless of how big or how small it may be.

We should do what we do as unto God, with the sole purpose of bringing honor to Him and pleasing Him.  But it’s amazing what HE can do with what we bring to Him.

Maybe you are one of those unknown or unsung heroes.
Maybe no one else sees you or what you do, but rest assured that God’s Word is true.

Heb 6:10-11
10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.   NIV

Matthew 6:4
4  Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  NIV

May He, Himself, be your reward.

Gene Pietrini