Tag Archives: sharing the Gospel

July 13; Blind and Numb

Isaiah 29-32

Who would intentionally blind themselves? Who chooses to live life in a stupor? Yet God says in 29:9:

Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine; stagger, but not from beer.”

Now, before you suggest we all take needles to our eyes and have a lobotomy, let me remind us God is warning His people about the consequences that are coming their way because of sin. Then He says, “Go ahead. Put your head in the sand if you want. Numb yourselves against the Truth if that’s how you want to handle it.”

In verse 11 He goes on to say they are taking His warnings like nothing more than words on a scroll. They give the scroll to someone, but the recipient can’t open the scroll. They hand the scroll to someone else, but that person can’t even read.

“Well,” the people of God say, “We tried to warn them.”

These people come near to me with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (29:13)

First of all, are you aware of the Truth of Scripture, or have you blinded yourself and numbed yourself to the warnings? If that’s the case, stop right here and get out your Bible. You have the Truth at your fingertips. Ingest it.

Secondly, if you know the Truth, how are you sharing it? Or are you? Do you think everybody should just “know” what God says simply by watching your lifestyle? Do you expect people to understand God when they are ignorant of who He even is? I hope you aren’t just throwing a verse or two their way and expecting them to get it. People without the Truth have blinded themselves. They are numb toward anything from God. How are you reaching them?

And lastly, where is your heart in relationship to God’s? That may be the most important question of all.

As you read these chapters today, let me encourage you to allow God to speak to you as though you were one of those ancient Jews. Be Ariel. Be Jacob. Be those obstinate children and hear God’s warnings – and His promises!

He wants to talk to you today about your heart’s condition, about your knowledge of His Truth, and about your witness as one entrusted with this precious gift. Hear Him.

Or are you going to blind yourself and numb yourself toward His Words?

June 22; Sitting On A Fortune

2 Kings 11:4-12:16, 13:1-3,22-23; 2 Chronicles 24

Young King Joash gave a directive to the priests. Go and collect the taxes from the people in Judah, and use the money to repair the temple. Then he waited. And waited. Repairs were not being made.

He went again to the priests and asked them why they weren’t using the tax money to repair the temple like he’d told them to. The result of this meeting was the temple repairs.

I’m not sure why it took so long for the priests to get the job done. Maybe they were hoping the stock market would make an upward turn or something. They were sitting on a fortune. Just sitting. I guess the “why” doesn’t matter.

I’m not about to criticize the priests, because I’m not always so quick to get started on things God asks of me, either. “Go into all the world…,” and I can’t even walk across the street. “Love one another…,” and I can hold back from showing love to people I think don’t deserve it. “Be holy…, come out from among them and be separate…, offer your body as a living sacrifice..,” and I continue to blend in with the world.

So many things God has commanded come to mind right now. And I realize I am sitting on a fortune without using it for what it is intended. I have Jesus. I have forgiveness through His precious blood. I have eternity in paradise. I have the Truth, and sometimes I just sit on it.

“Why” doesn’t matter. But now that I realize my sin, what am I going to do? The answer to that question matters a lot!

 

June 4; Cutting Ties

Provers 25-27

Solomon doesn’t have anything good to say about fools, lazy people, or troublemakers. In fact, he advises us to avoid them, not to get caught up in their drama, and certainly not to try to debate them into changing. In fact, sometimes old Solomon is pretty harsh when he talks about these folks.

But there is wisdom in what Solomon says. We can expend our energy, our resources, and our time on people who are toxic and who have no intention on changing. We end up enabling their poor attitudes and unhealthy lifestyles. Solomon warns us about the likelihood of their sin rubbing off on us.

That’s kind of contrary to the wisdom of the day. We’re told to be inclusive, tolerant, accepting, welcoming anyone and everyone into our lives, and in turn, our fellowships. Jesus, however, did say that if someone isn’t interested in hearing the Truth, walk away. Cut ties. Shake the dust off your feet and move on. Then, I believe He would tell us to pray for that person, and ask God to soften that hard heart and prepare that person to accept the Truth in the future.

What kind of people have you surrounded yourself with? Fools? Sluggards? Troublemakers? It might be time to be cutting some ties.

April 29; Go Home And Bless Your Family

2 Samuel 6:12-23; I Chronicles 15-16; Psalm 15

What is worship? That’s been a hot topic for the last 30+ years since the “contemporary” movement burst on the scene. If you’ve been with me very long, you know my take on that, and honestly, I’ve sat here for quite a while trying to look for something else to talk about today. But God isn’t letting this one go.

The example of worship here in 2 Samuel and I Chronicles is that of a rocking worship service. However, remember, so is I Chronicles 13 and 2 Samuel 6, and God was not pleased with that one. It’s an example of disobedient worship that looks an awfully lot like worship that God accepts. So what’s the difference?

First, I don’t believe it has anything to do with what songs were being sung. I say that because both accounts tell us they were celebrating with song, singing joyful songs. The truth is, as I see it, hymns can be as worshipful as praise songs.

Second, I don’t think it has anything to do with the musical instruments being played. Both examples tell us the worshipers played lyres and harps. I believe an organ can be as worshipful as a bass guitar.

The worship looked very much alike in these two accounts. So, again, what was the difference?

I think a huge difference between these worship services is obedience. It wasn’t the worship production. It was the heart of the people. It wasn’t how they looked while worshiping, it was their obedience to God that made the difference.

The other thing I see as a difference between the two examples of worship here in the Old Testament, and maybe the most important difference, is found in I Chronicles 16:43. After his time of worship, David went home to bless his family. He didn’t bask in the euphoria of a worship experience, then walk away unaffected. He took his experience and put it to work.

Dear one, if you are going to church on Sunday mornings for a worship experience, stay home. Go to a movie to be entertained. Worship does not end at the last “Amen.”

If you aren’t involved every day in some kind of ministry, in some kind of witnessing, and in living a Christ-like life on Monday, why are you worshiping? Do you think God needs your words, or is edified by your soaring emotions once a week?

The purpose of our church services is not to make us feel good, but to edify us, strengthen us, and equip us to go home and bless our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, the uttermost parts of the world.

I hope you worshiped God yesterday with a fellowship of believers. I hope your emotions were touched. But I pray that you learned something about God, that you were encouraged in your faith, that you were challenged and changed.

Now, get out there and bless someone.

April 27; Pass It On

I Chronicles 12:23-40; Psalms 2, 78

I volunteer in an after-school Bible club for kids. Our Good News Clubs, under the umbrella of Child Evangelism Fellowship is an amazing privilege and blessing. We actually had a picnic today with all the volunteers from our county. If you are one of them, thank you! I love serving with you in this important ministry. I think we all agree that sharing the Word of God with the next generation is something we cherish, and watching these children grow in understanding is truly indescribable.

Psalm 78 is a history-of-God-lesson; one of many times God’s history with the Jewish people is recorded. Why read about this over and over? The psalmist said, unapologetically, that they will not hide the things God has done from their children, so their children will tell the next generation, “even the children yet to be born, and they in turn will tell their children.” (verse 6)

I hope you are involved in sharing the good news of Jesus with children. Not all of us can volunteer for Good News Club, or teach a Sunday School, or work with Bible School. But I bet you know a child. I bet you have children or grandchildren, nieces and nephews of your own.

The next time one of those precious ones crawls up into your lap, why not tell them a Bible story? Why not tell them about an encounter you have had with God? Maybe your kids think they are too old for snuggling. The next time you are alone with them in the car, or sitting on the front porch, why not share something you read in God’s Word that morning?

Let’s keep the Word of God active in our lives, and pass it on to the next generation. And pray that after we are gone, those kids will be passing it on to yet another generation of people for whom Christ died.

February 2; Reluctant Or Not

Genesis 1:1-4:17

Now we are introduced to a very reluctant hero. Moses, a Jewish boy raised as an Egyptian prince, a fugitive, a shepherd, meets God face to face. Wow! And he is told by God that he is to be the one to lead the Jews out of slavery and into the Promised Land.

I can’t help but love Moses’ response, and at the same time be challenged by it. He responded to God with: “Here I am, Lord. Please send someone else.”

Has God heard the same response from me? I’m ashamed to say how often that has been the case. And sometimes I secretly think, “Well, if I don’t do what God is asking me, He’ll raise up someone else to do it instead.” Isn’t that a convenient philosophy?

Here’s what I want to be true in my life: If God nudges me to speak to someone about Him, or to invest myself in the life of a non-believer in order to draw them to the Savior, if He lays on my heart a ministry, or a change in career or address so He can use me to enlarge His kingdom, I want to be the one to see that the job gets done. Even if I am reluctant, I want to be obedient.

Because if He asks me to do something, He will equip me to do it.

May God find us faithful. Because I believe if He asks us to do something, He’s counting on us to get it done.

January 4; Gibberish

Genesis 10-11:26; I Chronicles 1:5-7,17-27

When my mom stepped into her first grade classroom on the first day of school, she couldn’t speak English. Her German-born parents spoke only German in their home. Her siblings were her best friends. I’m sure she picked up some English words from the neighborhood and church. But she was a German-speaking six-year-old in an English speaking school.

I have a friend who was telling several of us about her granddaughter’s Spanish immersion school. Grandma was extolling the virtues of such a progressive education. Her granddaughter was coloring at the kitchen table. So to make her point, Grandma asked the six-year-old, “Sara Beth, do you understand your teacher?” Sara Beth simply answered, “No.”

The language barrier is real.

I think about Mom when I read the Tower of Babel account in Genesis. How confusing it must have been to be that little girl plopped in a situation where no one speaks or even thinks in the same language you do, and then expect you to follow directions. How confusing it must have been for those building the tower to be talking to their co-worker one minute, then all of a sudden realize you have no idea what he is saying. Some people seem to understand. But you have no clue what that gibberish is supposed to mean.

I’m convinced that sometimes our communication breaks down for the same reason when we are sharing the Gospel. Those of us who know Jesus speak a different language than those who don’t. We understand and speak the language of the Holy Spirit.

We understand what sin is, what repentance involves. We get that Satan is a created being, a real fallen angel, and hell is a reality. We take for granted that everybody knows that Jesus died on a cross to pay for sin, and that Jesus is part of the Trinity which is God. We get that this world is not all there is.

What we forget is that the majority of the world – maybe the majority of the people in your world – have no idea what we are saying when we share any of that. It sounds like gibberish to them.

My Mom slowly learned to speak English. She learned the basic words first, then was able to put together sentences, and understand simple instructions from her teacher. Before long the was having conversations in English, then it dawned on her she was actually thinking and dreaming in English. She got it!

If you are sharing Jesus with someone and find yourself frustrated because you can’t understand why they don’t get it, remember they don’t understand the language. It might take time, repetition, patience. But don’t give up. To them, it may sound like gibberish at first, but once they get it, it will change their lives. Before long they will be speaking, thinking, and understanding the language of the Spirit.

It just occurred to me that after Mom learned English, she stopped speaking German. (being anything German was not a popular thing here in the States during the 1940’s) Eventually she even lost her ability to speak German. (The old passed away, all things became new; from 2 Corinthians 5:17)

Not only that, Mom taught her siblings how to speak English. She helped her mother learn to speak English. She shared with them what she finally understood for herself. Isn’t that what often happens when someone finally understands what Jesus did for them, and accepts His forgiveness? They get it. And they share it!

That’s my prayer for all of us. May we never grow tired of sharing Jesus with that one who is slow to understand. And may we be so immersed in the language of the Holy Spirit, that we recognize the world’s language is gibberish to us.