Tag Archives: sharing Christ

September 6 – It’s Not A Suggestion

Ezekiel 32-34

The last thing Jesus said before ascending into heaven was, “get out there and tell people about Me.” (Matthew 28). The Great Commission, as it is known, is a call to action for all believers.

Ezekiel tells us how important it is to warn people about the consequences for not listening to God. He calls us watchmen, we who see the sword coming to destroy, and who blow the trumpet and warn the people.

Ezekiel says if the people don’t heed the warning, their destruction is on them. But look at 33:6. If the watchman (that’s you and me) knows there is danger ahead and doesn’t warn the people…

that man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. (33:8)

Ezekiel repeats that fact in verse 9. God is that serious about holding us responsible for telling our family, neighbors, friends about the Truth. We have the Good News, that Jesus paid the price for sin and offers forgiveness as a gift.

But the flip side of the Good News is really bad news! That is eternal hell, separated from God, in agony and regret.

The Bible is clear, if we  don’t warn people about the consequences for rejecting God’s grace, the forgiveness of sin, they will die in their sin…

and it will be our fault.

 

September 2 – God Reveals Himself

Ezekiel 20-21

Everything that happened to the children of Israel happened for one reason. Many believe things happened because they were God’s chosen people, people He loved best and blessed most. I’m not so sure about that.

God makes it clear that the things that happened to Israel happened to reveal Himself to them and the world. (20:5,9,12,14,20,22,26,37,41,44,48)

Everything that happened to Israel happened because He loves you and me, because He wants us to know Him. I read Ezekiel and hear God say, “Connie, I love you. See me. Obey me. Know me.”

I believe the same holds true today. Everything that happens to us happens in order to reveal God to the world. So, if you have a minute, I’d like to share how God has revealed Himself to me this past month.

I’m actually writing this on Saturday September 3. It’s been quite a week.

I shared with you a while back that I was selling two condos in order to buy a house on the island where I have had a vacation home for a few years. My prayer was that God would open and close doors as He saw fit. I promised I’d not push on any door He closed, and that I’d walk through the open ones. Not my will, but Thine dear Lord.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to share all the details of my journey (nor would it interest you) but here are the highlights:

Both condos sold the first weekend they went on the market. That threw me into panic mode as it would leave me homeless as soon as they closed. One was a cash offer, so I had some flexibility there. The buyer agreed to rent to me for two weeks after we closed. She even let me name the price. Blessed!

I began an urgent search for houses. My realtor goes to my church and worked hard to find what I was looking for. I thought he’d succeeded, and put a bid on a cute little house in a neighborhood I liked. I walked through that open door.

They rejected my offer. I countered. They rejected the counter. My realtor felt they were asking $50,000 over what the comps showed. I walked away from that closed door. And looked at about twenty more homes.

I had to go back north to take care of my Ohio condo. So I left my realtor and a dear friend, Mary Jo, in charge of house hunting for me. The next Friday I got a call from Mary Jo. “Connie,” she said. “You’ve got to see this house. I would buy it myself. And I don’t think it’ll be on the market long.”

Another open door? I immediately started packing for the thirteen hour drive. I called my sister who said she would go with me. She was at work, and rearranged her schedule. We’d go down Friday, see the house on Saturday, and head back to Ohio on Sunday because she had obligations on Sunday night. We braced ourselves for a grueling weekend.

We were about two hours down the road when she got a frantic call from her daughter. Something was up, and she needed her mom. After several minutes of trying to figure how that was going to happen, I pulled into a Comfort Inn. My sister would call her husband to come get her, and I’d go to Georgia on my own.

I got to Georgia at about 1:00 on Saturday and went straight to the house where my realtor and Mary Jo were waiting for me. It was perfect! It was close to everything. It had been remodeled recently. And I loved it. My realtor put a call in to the other realtor with my offer. I felt God had opened this door for me to go through.

While they were on the phone, the other realtor got another call from someone with cash. Long story short, the owner asked us both to give us our last best offer. They would decide which offer to accept on Monday. I put in my offer. Open door, you know.

I went to my vacation home (it was still mine as closing hadn’t happened yet). I was set to go north the next day, Sunday, when I got a call from my realtor. He said there was an open house on Sunday he thought I might want to see in case the house I was waiting on didn’t go through. I really had no pressing reason to hurry back north, so I said I’d stay and go to the open house.

Ok. Are you still with me? This house is on the north side of the island. I’d been looking on the south end. It’s in a nice neighborhood, but it’s seven miles from my desired area. But I didn’t want to miss an open door. Remember I’d promised God I’d continue to walk until He closed the door.

Sunday after church, we pulled into the drive at the open house. Cute! We walked up to the front porch. Perfect! I walked through the front door and immediately fell in love. I told my realtor I like this one better than the one I had put an offer on just the day before. It was bright, and open, and I could immediately see my furniture in there.

Needless to say I put an offer on it. My realtor went right to work putting together the necessary papers, dot.looped them to me and the seller, and by 10:00 Sunday night I had a home ($35,000 less than the house I had an offer on the day before).

We withdrew the offer on the other, more expensive house.

Now here is where I see God reveal Himself. If my friend had not seen the house on the south end of the island and called to tell me about it, I would not have gone to the island that weekend. If my sister had indeed gone with me I would not have been available to go to the open house and see the home I eventually bought.

He revealed Himself in the quick sell of two properties, through the realtor who gave up his Sunday evening to get this done, through timing, timing, timing. He even revealed Himself in that, the house I traveled thirteen hours to see is still on the market after the inspection revealed several serious issues.

 

Now it all hasn’t been smooth sailing. I closed on this house Monday, moved my furniture in on Wednesday, and was welcomed by Hurricane Hermine on Friday. The large oak tree in my back yard blew over, damaging a fence and my new neighbor’s enclosed porch. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

I could tell you that one of the tree guys I spoke to said, after looking at the root system, that this could have just as well demolished my house and the neighbor next door. I could tell you about the guy who is painting my house, who was able to clean up the tree in my yard and my neighbors today, the day after the storm, when the tree guys had me on a waiting list.

Right now I am sitting on my back porch, listening to the happy sounds of children in the pool of the family who found my tree in their back yard. The sun is shining, and the humidity is thankfully low. And I know God is in it all, because everything that happened revealed a God who directs our paths when we let Him, and who wants everyone to see Him in me, in us who know Him.

Because He is not willing that any should die without Him. Let’s allow Him to continue to reveal Himself in the details of our lives, and let people know Who it is that directs our steps.

August 27 – Comfort Zones

Ezekiel 1-4

I almost never sleep through the night. I toss and turn, covers on, covers off, until it’s time to get up… and I fall into a deep sleep. Ugh!

If I lie too long in one position my body begins to ache. So reading what God told Ezekiel to do makes me very glad He wasn’t talking to me! The prophet was to build a ramp, pitch a camp, put battering rams against it, and face the city of Jerusalem. Then Ezekiel was to lie down on his left side, (I assume on the ground in sight of the people) and take the sin of Israel on himself. Then he was to lie there on his left side for thirteen months without turning from side to side.

And if that’s not hard enough, after the 390 days, God told Ezekiel he was to turn over on his right side, take the sin of Judah on himself, and lie like that for forty more days. No turning allowed. In fact, God was going to tie him up so he couldn’t switch sides even if he wanted to.

I am reminded that God is more interested in getting His message out there than He is in my comfort. He is serious about sin, and He wants people to know that. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one goes to God except through Jesus, and God wants people to know that. People who die without Christ go to hell. God wants people to know that, too.

And everyone who humbles themselves and repents of sin can be saved. That’s the message God is passionate about. That’s what He wants everyone to know. And if you have to take a stand for the Truth, or lose your house, your health, your career, or just get up out of your recliner, that’s secondary to getting the message out there.

Dear God, Forgive me if I am more concerned about the size of my paycheck, the air-conditioning in my home, what kind of car I drive, or if I have a sinus headache, than I am about lost souls. I want your passion for sinners to be my passion. Please give me the courage and the strength to get out of my comfort zone and get your message across. I want to say, “no matter what the cost,” and mean it. Show me how I can serve You today. And may I do what you ask without thought of my comfort. 

July 4 – Passing The Mantle

2 Kings 1-4

I’ve often said that Elijah is one of my favorite Old Testament characters, but Elisha is right up there, too. I love how, when Elijah was heading toward the place God was going to take him into heaven, Elisha stuck to the old prophet like glue. It’s almost like Elisha didn’t want to miss a second of being in the presence of this incredible man of God.

Elijah wore a mantle; a long scarf or shawl. And he used that mantle to part the water of the Jordan River so he and Elisha could cross on dry ground. Elisha saw Elijah being whisked away into heaven. The only thing left was Elijah’s mantle.

So Elisha picked up that mantle, and went on his way. The first thing the young prophet did was take Elijah’s mantle and use it to part the river again. This time Elisha crossed alone. But he went on to continue the work Elijah had begun.

Makes me wonder about two things: One, what is my mantle? I believe Elijah’s mantle represented his faith in God. What is it in me that says to people around me – this is a godly woman, a child of God, someone who serves Jesus out of love? It makes me ask myself what is the work I am doing today that will need to continue when I’m gone.

Then, I wonder if there are some whom I have touched and who will carry on my mission when God calls me home. I have no biological children. But are there those who are born again because I’ve introduced them to the Savior? And will they continue God’s work of sharing Christ after I’m gone?

When I die, and all that’s left of me is my mantle – will anyone even want to pick it up?

May 30 – The Testimony Of God’s Mouth

Psalm 119:1-88

Have you ever had an argument with someone over Scripture? Maybe with someone who doesn’t believe the Bible at all, or maybe someone with an opinion not consistent with God’s Word? Some people might enjoy debate. I don’t.

God tells us to be ready to give an answer for the hope we have in His Son. But I am thankful he doesn’t call us to engage in a war of words in order to win someone to the Lord. I have found that when I do, the other person isn’t as interested in what I say as to how I say it. It’s like they try to set a word trap for me to fall into so they can twist it to prove their point. I find myself wanting to shake the dust off my feet and keep moving.

The psalmist expresses how I feel about this. In verse 85 he says: The arrogant have dug pits for me, men who are not in accord with Your law.

He goes on to say it feels like persecution to the point of destruction. Then the psalmist says “Help me!”

What he says in the verses following is my prayer:

But as for me, I did not forsake your precepts. Revive me according to Your lovingkindness, so that I may keep the testimony of YOUR mouth. (emphasis mine)

If you are one who came to know the Lord by losing a debate, I praise God with you. If you have led someone to the Lord by winning a debate, I thank God for you. You have a gift!

For the rest of us, let’s stand firm in the Word of God alone, and allow Him to speak through what He inspired men to write.

He can say it all so much better than I can, anyway.

April 27 – My Territory

I Chronicles 6

This chapter continues to list genealogies. And it tells about the territories that were given to the Levites, cities of refuge, and the pasturelands. It’s kind of repetitive. Not exactly an exciting read.

I’m sitting here watching my nephew play with his two pre-school children. They are snuggled together on my couch, each with a stuffed animal, and using silly voices to talk to each other. There are lots of giggles.

This is my territory. It’s not the condo we’re in here on this lovely island. It’s the people God has given me to love and care for. These are the precious ones I want to have in my life my whole life.

It occurs to me that when God gave cities and land in the Promised Land to the Israelites, he gave it to families. It was never about the land. It was all about the people. It was about the families.

I don’t ever want to get so caught up in “things,” a career, fame and fortune, that I neglect the dear ones God has blessed me with. It’s the people here in this condo complex where I live. It’s people in the workplace, in school, or wherever God has opened doors for me.

It’s never about my address.

It’s about the souls God allows me to share life with. May I protect my territory by praying for them, for introducing them to the Savior.

When I get to heaven I certainly won’t be wearing those designer jeans, or carrying the key to an ocean front property. No one will care if I’m CEO of a major company.

But I want to take my territory with me into eternity. I want the souls of those people I love to be with me forever.

Lord, help me to care for the territory You have given me. I pray for my sisters, their families, and the families of the next generation. I pray for my neighbors, my friends, co-workers. Give me the opportunity to introduce them to You. And may You find their hearts eager to accept Your grace. I want to be a good steward of the territory You’ve given me. May You find me faithful.

March 8 – But I Like It Here

Numbers 31-32

What is our responsibility to each other as members of God’s family? The sons of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh were comfortable living east of the Jordan River. They knew the land God had promised Abraham was to the west. But they liked it where they were.

Moses agreed to letting them stay there on one condition: Help your brothers take the Promised Land.

Just because they weren’t going to make their home there, it didn’t give them a free pass out of the battle.

So the question is, what is your responsibility in the welfare of your church fellowship and in the global Church? You may be comfortable in your relationship with the Savior, secure in your place in heaven. But does that mean you can put your feet up and let others fight the battles?

There is more ground to gain, more souls needing salvation, more sins to defeat. Moses told the two and a half tribes if they didn’t help win the war, “you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”

Dear one, not putting on the armor of God and engaging in the war against Satan is sin. Not telling your neighbor about Christ is sin. Not inviting people to church, supporting missions, or praying for the lost, are sins.

What is our responsibility? To join forces with other Christians and get the job done. We need to be supporting, encouraging, praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ as we all do our part to further God’s Kingdom one soul at a time.

October 10

Mark 4:30-34, 35-41, 5:1-20; Matthew 13:31-35, 24-30, 36-52, 8:23-27, 28-34; Luke 13:18-21, 8:22-25, 26-39

The man had lived for years in a cave like a rabid dog. He was out of his mind, wild and violent. No one could get near him. But when he met Jesus all that changed. Jesus healed the man and restored his sanity.

The townspeople saw the man clothed, sitting with Jesus and in his right mind. And they were afraid. This miracle was beyond anything they had ever seen. Their reaction? They asked Jesus to leave.

So Jesus left the area and the man begged to go with him. I certainly can understand that. He wanted to stay near to Jesus where he was safe and accepted. But Jesus told the man he wanted him to go back into his hometown and tell the people there how much God had done for him. The man obeyed.

I think the hardest people to witness to may be the people who know you the best. They know your secrets. They’ve seen you lose your temper. If you were saved as an adult, they know the lifestyle you led before Christ. This man knew the townspeople had seen him naked and violent and crazy. He was probably the butt of a lot of jokes and the stories about his antics were probably exaggerated. 

But Jesus told the man to go home, look those scoffers in the eye, and tell them how God changed his life. He wanted the man to live with those people and demonstrate the difference Jesus had made. 

He wants us to do that, too. A mission field isn’t always across the ocean. It’s in our living rooms, our neighborhoods, our work places. Every day there is someone we meet who needs to know how God has changed us. They need to see in us something better than what they have without Christ. Yes, we might have to accept the fact that they look at us with suspicion because they know we aren’t perfect. But that doesn’t release us from the responsibility, and the privilege we have to share the Savior with them.

I pray God will give you the opportunity to tell someone today how much he has done for you. Like the man we read about today, let’s be obedient. Is that too much to ask of us who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb? I don’t think so.