Aug 10, 2006

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

This post is in response to all who criticize witnessing. To all those who believe we need to wait for the Spirit's calling, when He's already called us to make disciples. This is to all those who don't go and share their faith. This post is a reminder to me, that this is what I've been called to do: Serve Christ.

Put your faith in action! We need more harvesters!

Jesus didn't say, "Pray that some people will become disciples" He said, "GO and MAKE disciples."

It seems to me that some people just want to find an excuse not to witness. Jesus Himself has commanded us to share our faith. That doesn't mean "show them that we are nice" or "sing songs on the street hoping someone might listen" it means going out and sharing our faith publicly.

Sharing our faith means doing it the way Jesus taught us. This means using the law:

Jesus uses the law Himself:
Matthew 19:17-22 (NASB)

....if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." Then he said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property."
Paul even uses the law:
Romans 2:17-29
"you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? For "THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU," just as it is written."

Come on guys, let's not play games. You cannot sit at your house and just think, "hopefully if I mow their lawn, they'll think I'm so nice and then they'll find Christ" NO. Look at Paul's missionary journeys, everywhere he went, he was preaching the gospel. He didn't sit around hoping someone might find Him. Jesus said, "I will make you fishers of men." This does not imply that the fish will be jumping in the boat!

I do not share my faith as I should, but I am trying. It is our job to seek and save the lost. This is our command. If you say otherwise, you ignore Christ's teachings.

If sinners be dammed, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one GO there UNWARNED and UNPRAYED for. -Spurgeon

God does the saving, He knows His children. What a gracious gift that He's allowed us to participate in this!

Aug 9, 2006

Real Joy In Every Moment

Real Joy In Every Moment: by Brent Barnett (Dose of Truth: StudyLight Devotional)

There are lots of ideas floating around out there as to how a person can truly be happy, yet the answer is right within us, if we are Christians.

Christ lists nine ways in Matthew 5:1-12 that we can be happy. These ways include being pure in heart, being humble, being gentle, being peacemakers, hungering for righteousness, being merciful, and having an eternal perspective about life. And let us not forget that we are to have joy when we are persecuted and suffer for righteousness’ sake and for Jesus’ sake. Christ’s message to us is that joy is possible at all times and in all areas of life, if we live as He is commanding us to live. Those listening to this discourse were hoping that Christ would conquer Rome and set up a Jewish empire. They wanted their circumstances changed so that they could be happy. Yet Christ gave up His life, He did not fix their circumstances, and He did not set up an earthly kingdom. Still He said that they could be happy, if and only if they let the kingdom of Christ rule in their hearts. The happiness that Christ was referring to was clearly not circumstantial in nature. Christ’s happiness is a satisfaction and fullness that can come only from investing in heaven and trusting in Christ through faith, Who then becomes our very life. We must give up our selfish ambitions, repent of our sin, and ask Christ to be our Lord and Savior. Only through Him can any man find the joy he is seeking. After all, as Psalm 16:11 says, "In His presence is fullness of joy."

The believer is thus to be characterized by an eternal happiness. This is not a fleshly, conjured up type of smiling, niceness, and politeness no matter what. Such is fake and worldly. What Christ is after is a happiness that stems from a hope in a Person, even if our face is downcast, even when tears fall, and even when we are in great pain. Joy is an issue of the heart, and it gives us the strength in our inner person to carry on in obedience and faithfulness. As Nehemiah 8:10 says, "Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." True joy transcends circumstances such that, even when we are suffering, we can have joy in our hearts. We may feel pain in the members of our bodies, but we can have joy in our spirits and in our hearts. We may be mocked, ridiculed, persecuted, and harassed, yet we can be happy. How is this possible? It is because we are always in the presence of God. As long as we are in His presence, we can have fullness of joy. There is nothing like knowing that one is full when earth has rendered him empty of all that he thought he needed to sustain his happiness.

Yet even Christians sometimes fail to experience joy in both good times and bad. Sometimes we get so caught up in the issues and pleasures of life that we forget to rejoice in the Lord. Rejoicing in the Lord is a choice. This is why Paul commands us twice in Philippians 4:4 to rejoice in the Lord always. Just because we are in the presence of God (seeing that He indwells our hearts) does not mean that we necessarily will experience joy unless we by faith rest in Him. We must make a choice to let Christ be our joy, to let Him give us joy, and to believe that He will do just that. If we falter in our faith, we will try to manufacture our own joy, which will not last and will fail. Only when we find our happiness in the person of Jesus as we rest in Him can we experience true joy. We must rest in Him, love Him, enjoy Him, worship Him, and trust in the fact that our lives are indeed hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). Constant communion with God is possible through Christ Who works in and through us.

Some well-meaning Christians try to have joy in their circumstances. Circumstances can be brutal, awful, difficult, and hopeless. There may be nothing happy about them. But the wonderful reality about happiness that comes from the Holy Spirit is that it can occur despite the circumstances. We are not to try to have joy in our circumstances but rather in God, Who is in complete control over our circumstances. We can rest in His character as we know He promises to cause all things to work together for our good (Romans 8:28). There is no other source of happiness than Jesus Himself.

John 15:11 says, "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." John reminds us that we will not have fullness of joy unless we abide in Christ, which he defines as keeping the commands of God (John 15:10). In other words, obedience to God is central to experiencing the joy of God. If we do not follow His will and listen to the Holy Spirit in accordance with God’s Word, we will lose out on our joy. There may be some there, seeing that we know we are saved, yet the fullness of joy is gone because we are not being and doing what God would have us be and do. The darkest times of life are the times of disobedience because there is a lack of joy even if circumstances are easy. In fact, the brightest and most joyous times can actually be when we triumph in faith and obedience during the most difficult and oppressive of times. If we want joy that is supernatural and truly divine, then we must walk in obedience, resting in God all the while.

Life has happiness in it because God made it. Even sin has pleasure, though it is passing away along with this world. Thus, God doesn’t want us to try to find joy in that kind of pleasure, for He desires to give good and perfect gifts, pleasures that endure forever (Psalm 16:11). When we put our confidence in God and choose to have His joy, we can have access to a fruit of the Spirit which is unspeakably wonderful. It transcends the issues of life and draws our minds to heaven. His joy is a pleasure that is forever, and we can experience it even this very moment if we walk in faith and obedience.

Aug 2, 2006

Problem with Pride

I have a huge problem with pride. I want to be right, I want people think I’m smart, I want to sound smart and I want people to like me because I’m smart. Stupid, isn’t it. So when my husband started questioning some of my beliefs, I got really mad. And it wasn’t justified anger; it was prideful anger, the kind that leads to sin. I wanted him to believe ME more than I wanted him to believe God's truth.

Pride is something I am constantly battling. And what’s hilarious is that sometimes I don’t even recognize it. For instance, we were at a prayer meeting and all I could think was, “Everyone’s looking at me. They all think I’m ugly.” And instead of turning from those thoughts, I walked out of the church and sat in my car until it was over.

I’ve had a history of panic attacks and I am very afraid of people. One of the first verses I memorized was Isaiah 2:22 “Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; for why should he be esteemed?”

I was speaking with my friend about this. Remember how Nathan rebuked David? I know that God rebukes and instructs us not only through His Word, but also through His children. She said, “Why do we think, “Everyone must be looking at me” Why would they be? What makes us think that we are so special that everyone must be looking at us? Do you realize it’s an inward form of pride?”

I hadn’t. And the very reason God gave her the grace to say that to me is worthy of His praise. Sometimes we sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, thinking we just need more esteem to be a better follower of Christ. Hopefully you realize that that’s not the truth. The truth is, the only confidence we need is in Christ. And when we start sulking and trying to esteem “me” we put ourselves in front of Christ. And this is a very dangerous thing to do!