Tag Archives: witness

2 Kings 11-13; As His Father Did

As we are introduced to one king after another in the northern and southern kingdoms of the Jewish nation, we are told whether they were good kings or bad. And very often we find out whether or not they followed in their fathers’ footsteps.

There are a lot of things about my own dad I would like to exhibit in my life. His quick wit and generosity, his love of God’s creation and his sense of adventure. But there are also some things I don’t want to model, like his quick temper and critical spirit.

When I take inventory of myself, I see a lot of Dad in me, both the good and the bad. It makes me stop and consider what influence I am having on the little ones in my life. Would it be a good thing or a bad thing if they did as Aunt Connie did?

One of my nephews has a birthday today. He’s a daddy himself, with four precious children who will have to decide one day whether they want to  follow in his footsteps or not. I hope they choose to be like their father who loves God and follows Him unashamedly. Happy birthday, Ryan. I have tears of joy in my eyes as I remember the past thirty something years, watching you grow into the man you are today. I wonder what kind of influence I have been on you, your brothers and sister, your cousins, and now the next generation of people I love with all my heart.

When I read about Elisha here in 2 Kings I see the kind of influence I’d like to have myself. Elisha was a godly man, a man who never compromised his faith, a man everyone knew as a man of God. And when Elisha died, his influence didn’t die with him. Touching Elisha’s bones brought life.

I have Steve Green’s “Find Us Faithful” running through my head.

You see, this life I’m living isn’t just about me. In fact, it’s not about me at all. As a Jesus follower, my life is about Him, and the impact I have on my world in His Name. It’s living a life that would inspire my loved ones to live lives doing what is “right in the eyes of the Lord” because they saw that in me.

Even after I am gone, I want the fire of my devotion to continue to light their way, my footprints to lead them to believe in Jesus as their Savior.

I hope you’ll go to You Tube and listen to “Find Us Faithful” today. May it be the prayer of your heart, as it is the prayer of mine. And may we live lives that would please God if our children did as their father or mother or aunt did.

My dear Heavenly Father, thank you for my parents and the influence they still have on me today, years after they’ve gone to live with you. God, I want to be gentle like my mom, to pray like she prayed, to love You like she loved You. I want to be self-sacrificing like Dad was, and to be uncompromising in my belief the way he stood firm. God, I want my love for You to translate into something my nieces and nephews want for themselves. And I pray my sweet great-nieces and nephews will see Jesus in me, and be drawn to You. Find me faithful, Lord. Find us all faithful.

June 22 – The Bride Of Christ

Ecclesiastes 30-31

There is an old woman who has been following me around lately. Most of the time I’m not even aware that she’s there. But once in a while I look in the mirror and see her gazing back at me. Sometimes I look down and see her hand holding my pen. Truthfully, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore her. I certainly can’t deny her. I just signed up for MediCare.

The description of a worthy woman here at the end of Ecclesiastes has me examining my life. And before you men out there quit reading this post because you think it doesn’t apply to you, let me remind you that believers are described as “the Bride of Christ.” So don’t think you’ve dodged a bullet. This Scripture is for you, too.

Looking beyond the material description of the Proverbs 31 woman, I want to use it to check my relationship with my eternal Bridegroom.

Can Jesus trust me? Do I represent Him well, or do people see a bit of evil in me? Do I serve Him with delight? Do I care for the people in my home, in my church, in my community? Am I concerned about their souls? Do I put on the whole armor of God, keeping the light of my witness burning? Is Jesus recognized and honored by my neighbors because of me? Do I plant seed by sharing the Gospel? Do I know Scripture so that when I do open my mouth, it’s with wisdom from God?

The proverb tells us beauty is fleeting. It certainly won’t matter how many wrinkles we have when we leave this life to meet our Bridegroom. What will matter is the life I lived while I had the chance.

There are so many things about this Proverbs 31 woman that speaks to our life in Christ. I hope you read it and allow God to speak to you about your own relationship with Him today.

Feb 25 – Restitution

Numbers 5&6

God instructed that a person who committed a sin against another person was to first confess that sin. Then, they were to make restitution in full for the sinful act, plus add another 1/5, and give it all to the person who had been wronged. It wasn’t enough to pay for the damage. You had to pay the damage, and a little more.

I’ve sinned against God. I’ve confessed my sin. But there is no way I can make restitution. I am totally unable to pay the penalty for sin, which is death. The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) I can’t do that, much less die plus add 1/5.

So the One I sinned against, paid it all for me Himself. Inconceivable. I can stand before God, account paid, guiltless of the sins I’ve committed against Him because Jesus shed His own blood and died in my place.

I will not suggest that I can, by being a good person, ever repay God for sending Jesus to the cross for me. Jesus’ grace isn’t a loan.

Yet because of what He did for me, I WANT to live my life to honor Him. I find myself wanting to resist temptation, to spend time in His Word, to talk to and about Him, share Him with people who don’t yet know Him.

I want my life to stand out from the crowd because I want people to see this amazing Savior in me.

No, there’s no need to pay restitution to God when Jesus has already done that. But I want my life, the choices I make, to show Him how much I love Him, how grateful I am that He paid it all for me.

And blesses me every day with Himself.

Jan 29 – Why Jacob?

Genesis 48-50

Did you read about Jacob’s funeral today? Jacob, the father of Pharaoh’s trusted servant Joseph, received quite a burial. Even the Egyptians wept for him for seventy days. I can only imagine the funeral procession, with Jacob’s large family, plus all Pharaoh’s servants, all the elders, all Joseph’s household, Pharaoh’s chariots and horsemen who traveled to Canaan for the graveside service. This was a man who was given the ultimate honor.

But why? What was Jacob to Pharaoh except the father of Joseph?

Then it hit me. As a Christian, people look at me as the child of my Heavenly Father. Do they honor God because of how I live my life? They should.

My mom, especially when the cancer slowed her down, was so appreciative if one of us girls would visit someone who was ill, did something for someone in need, because she felt that, by extension, she was a part of that act of kindness. I loved being Moms’ arms and legs when she couldn’t get out and do those things herself.

Even today, twenty years after her death, I love it when someone says my Mom would be proud of me, or when I think something I do reflects positively on her.

How much more so my Heavenly parent?

Dear Father, I want to be the kind of daughter who reflects positively on You. I want people to honor You because of what I do, what I say, how I treat people. Make me ever aware that my life, by extension, represents You to people who still need to know of Your saving grace. 

My Heart

Earlier this year a friend of mine posted a picture on FaceBook of her twenty-something son, standing on the beach, a beautiful sunset behind him, looking lovingly into the eyes of another young man. Below the picture she had written, “Comments welcomed.”

My heart broke as I remembered her son who had been a student of mine in middle school. A quiet, shy, nice boy. A really good boy from a good family.

One of the comments I read said, “The heart wants what the heart wants.” And it made me think of Jeremiah 17:9: The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked above all things.

There is nothing in our hearts that want to obey God’s Law until that heart is given to God. Without a repentant heart we are self serving, ego driven, self centered people looking out for number one. Like Muslims who obey Allah so they’ll be surrounded by virgins when they die, or Christians who go to church for a worship experience.

A true believer obeys God for Jesus’ sake. They go to church, resist sin, share the Gospel, not for what they gain, but because they just love Jesus so much they can’t help themselves. They don’t go to church to be entertained or to avoid hell. They go to church to give God the worship due Him.

Scripture tells me to guard my heart. And the best way I know how to do that is to give it to God. Take myself, my control, my desires, out of the picture. I want to love Him like He deserves to be loved, serve Him like He demands, fellowship with him through prayer and reading His Word like he longs for me to do, and share Him with those who don’t know Him because he died for them.

Here’s my heart Lord. Guard it. Use it. Take it. Keep it beating or don’t. It’s Yours. For Jesus’ sake.

Be Ye Kind

My dad loved to tell the story about a time I, as a young child, disobeyed him. (I know, hard to believe) The story goes that as he was taking off his belt to swat my behind, I began to sing a little chorus I had learned in Sunday School. It goes like this:

Be ye kind, be ye kind, be ye kind to one another.

Dad said he couldn’t help but laugh, and put his belt back on.

Paul tells us to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving, “even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Kindness isn’t something we do to get out of trouble. Tenderheartedness isn’t something we do to get attention. And forgiving someone isn’t always easy.

Kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness aren’t only things we do, but rather things we are in Christ. I didn’t say tolerant. I didn’t say to ignore sin or allow yourself to be abused. But kindness should be evident in our dealings with others regardless of the situation. Our tender hearts should recognize pain, or grief, or anxiousness in others and encourage us to reach out to them. And certainly our lives should be lived in an attitude of forgiveness, knowing how much God has forgiven us.

Our world lacks kindness, as we witness in the news every day. Many people are too self centered to have tender hearts toward another. And too many times people allow unforgiveness to fester and grow into rage.

Let’s us, as God’s children, be the change we need in our world by allowing God’s kindness, God’s tenderheartedness, and His forgiveness to be evident in us, in Jesus’ name.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph 4:30-32)

Being A Christian

Faith may be believing in things you can’t see, but there is nothing unseen about living a Christian life. Paul, in Romans 12, tells us to be transformed by using our minds. He says God gives his people gifts. We need to recognize ours and use them.

The list of things Paul says to do require intention, thought, action. Being a Christian is not praying a prayer, then saying, “Whew! I dodged that bullet! No hell for me,” then continuing life as usual. In fact, if that is your experience I question your salvation according to Scripture.

Being a Christian does begin with faith, and with repentance, with accepting Jesus’ work on the cross on your behalf. But Scripture tells us a natural outcome of your salvation is a changed life, something people can see.

Being a Christian involves radiating Jesus. It’s the person who studies God’s Word to show himself a child of God, one who loves, is kind, diligent, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, rejoicing in hope, patient, prayerful, giving, humble. The list goes on.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean walking around with a sappy smile on your face and saying, “God bless you.” It’s getting your hands dirty, using your mind by studying God’s Word. It’s about reasonable service to the One who saved you.

I hope you take time to read Romans 12 today and allow Paul to challenge you in your walk with the Lord. Let’s not conform to the world, but be transformed into the people God delights in using to reveal himself to those around us.

And may He find us faithful.

Minimum Wage

We are a society that wants to be paid for what we do. Minimum wage keeps rising, yet many people will say they aren’t making what they feel they are worth. Very often as a young teacher, I felt underpaid. And let me tell you, I never turned down a raise.

We like to be recognized. One of the first things we teach our children is to say, “Thank you”. Showing gratitude is, and should be engrained in us all.

It feels good to be appreciated. It even encourages us to do more, work harder.

But Jesus warns us about expecting good things to happen for us just because we obey him. Does a master thank his servant for doing what a servant is expected to do? Jesus tells us our attitude should be humility.

Even after leading someone to the Savior, teaching a great Sunday School lesson, or taking food to a shut-in, we should say, “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.” (Luke 17) We may serve God and still not be able to pay the bills, or still battle that disease, or never have that condo on the ocean or that BMW in the garage. But, dear one, God doesn’t owe us any of that.

If we call ourselves Christians expecting to reap rewards or to enjoy status as children of the King, we’re in it for the wrong reasons. We are servants. Let’s act like it. Let’s serve our Master out of gratitude and with joy just for the privilege of serving Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Let me be clear. There’s nothing minimum about serving the God of Creation. Our Master gives HIMSELF to us. Let that sink in. I think you’ll look for more and more ways to serve him just because you can.

Dear Master, I bow before you recognizing that I have nothing to offer you but myself. And I am humbled in knowing that’s all you ask of me. Show me how I can serve you today, not in order for you to bless me, but just because you deserve to be served. Here I am, Lord. I’m yours. And may you be glorified in all I do and say today.

Bright Lights and Sweet Aromas

Paul tells us to look at his life, he has nothing to hide. (2 Corinthians 2&3) He calls his life a Christ-like fragrant perfume rising up to God. He compares his life to Moses who, after receiving the Law, shown so brightly he had to put a veil over his face because the light blinded the people. Paul suggests his life is like that.

Paul also says that this sweet aroma offends those who don’t know Christ, the light is hated by those who reject Jesus. But Paul doesn’t let that stop him from living to please God.

I am convicted. Sometimes I wonder if what people see in me offends them at all. Or do I just blend in? Is there a veil over my face to hide the fact I spend time with God each day? Do I splash enough of the world on me to disguise the scent God loves?

I can be such a hypocrite.

I want to impact my world the same way Paul did his. Oh, I don’t feel called to be an itinerate preacher. Paul lived an honest, open life that pointed everyone who met him to the Savior. He ruffled feathers, but pleased God. That’s the life I want to live.

May others see Jesus in me, know it’s real, and want him in their lives, too. May God love my scent, and be the light in me.

My Ichthus Phobia

Reading Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, I am reminded to live my life aware that people are watching.

Years ago, my dad bought me an ichthus, a magnetic fish for my car. I told him I was afraid to put one on my car because I didn’t want people to judge Christians if I pulled out in front of someone, drove too fast, or didn’t use my blinker. Dad said, “Maybe you should change how you drive.”

The truth of the matter is people are watching me and judging me whether or not I have a fish on my car, a cross around my neck, or a Bible in my purse. And they are often not only judging me, but they’re judging you, too, by the way I live.

It’s not just, “Connie is a bad driver.” It’s “Christians are bad drivers.” You’ve heard them. “Christians are haters.” “Christians are judgmental.” “Christians are hypocrites.”

How do they come up with this stuff?

By watching you and me. By hearing the language we use at the ballgame, by seeing inconsistencies at work, by how we treat our neighbors.

Satan loves to stop us from actively sharing Jesus by convincing us we are unworthy, too sinful, too much of a hypocrite to speak up for Christ. If that’s what you are thinking, I guess I’d like to throw a little of my dad’s advice your way:

Maybe you should change how you live.