Seeking God: Tickled Ears

Seeking God: Tickled Ears

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and wil.jpgRead: Psalm 81:1-13, Mark 11:17

Christ: You have turned my Father’s house into a den of thieves. There remain many thieves and liars in my Father’s house today. I came so that you would be able to tell the difference between a word from them and a word from Me.

Think: If I spend time with Jesus, reading about Him in the gospels, I will get to know his voice. I will learn how he would react to the things going on around me. Like those games of “Who said it?” I will immediately be able to spot out Jesus’s answer.

Pray: Dear Lord, thank you that you do not let us live on a broken earth without you truth and wisdom. Help us to tell apart the sheep from the wolves. Save us from being eager to believe that which sounds good but has no grounds in your Word. Amen.

Seeking God: Taking the stand

Seeking God: Taking the stand

Read: Psalm 17:1-5, John 14:6

Christ: The only way to come to the Father is through me. There is the idea that all people can find God through different means, but that is not how God sees it. That is man’s idea. Mankind creates his own sort of gospel because he doesn’t like to be told what to do. That’s the definition of sin – proudly believing you have what it takes to save yourself.

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me..jpg

Think: I thought that way once. We don’t like to be the one to say – Not just anyone can come into the holy throne room of heaven. Not even a perfectly devout person will be allowed without Jesus there to vouch for him.

Pray: Jesus, I cower behind your white robes like a shy child. I could never, would never attempt to stand up in the holy court to represent myself. Braver people than myself might think it possible, but they have never been cut to the heart by the awe of righteousness. If they had, they’d know. Thank you for being my advocate because it is too much for me. Amen.

Seeking God: We are going to fly

Seeking God: We are going to fly

Read: Psalm 30:1-12, John 6:40

Christ:  And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. -John 6:39

I will raise you up. Away from this sinking ship of a life you are leading. But don’t think my power is only food for the end of days. I will raise you up NOW.

eveningskies.jpg

Think: How would I live my day today if I knew that at the end of it I’d be raised up into Heaven?  Would I respond to that annoying person in the supermarket any differently? Would I be as quick to put down the remote and help with dinner? Would my focus inward be turned inside out?

Pray: Dear Jesus, we believe but we don’t act like it. I need raising up of my cold hard heart. Take and share it so that my belief shines brightly for all to see. Amen.

Why witness?

Why witness?

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

1 Peter 3:15

I always read this verse as “always be prepared to give a lecture on Christian apologetics”. Unfortunately, it took me a long time to understand that “the reason for the hope that you have” is not the same as “the reason that you should believe”.

In college I volunteered for a pro-life organization. Part of the job included wielding signs on campus’s main thoroughfare and starting conversations with strangers on this heavy topic. Needless to say it was mostly enduring insults and dodging half-drunk sodas, but I did have a couple good conversations. One in particular sticks out because of my own ignorance of this verse.

My friend Michelle wanted to know why I felt so strongly about Pro-life issues. However, the stress of publicly declaring my stance on abortion had got me so flustered that it took me a few minutes to put together a coherent sentence. And she, not being a Christian, but a seeker (and a good friend) listened to me patiently.

I was kicking myself as she walked away. I hadn’t presented the answer as well as I should have. I had approached her, not as a friend telling another friend of the peace of God, but as an opponent, spitting out counter-arguments like some ball machine in a tennis court. I just kept swinging even though I had lost the point of the interaction.

Many Christians like myself fail at witnessing because we simply don’t know how to go about it. That’s why we need to be prepared for whatever situation may come; the potential impact of sharing the Gospel is just too wonderful to ignore.

But just look at what happens when a person believes in Jesus (from cru.org):

  • They become children of God.
  • Their bodies become temples of God.
  • All of their sins are forgiven.
  • They begin to experience the peace and love of God.
  • They receive God’s direction and purpose for their lives.
  • They experience the power of God to change their lives.
  • They have assurance of eternal life.
  • Witnessing will stimulate your spiritual growth, lead you to pray and study God’s Word, and encourage you to depend on Christ. You will experience the tremendous privilege and honor of representing Jesus to the world (2 Corinthians 5:20).

To say this is an important part of living out our faith would be a grave understatement. Missionaries aren’t just wacky families who decide to uproot their lives and head to Rwanda (although they are much needed!). They can be ordinary, local folks like you and me. After all, there may not be anyone else as well-suited for the people around you than you are.

It frightens me to think that close friends and members of my own family may choose to reject Christ in the end. I know it’s hard to believe that Jesus will come back and dole out justice, but don’t let that fool you into procrastination. It is not God’s will that even one is lost.

Here is an excellent article in getting started with sharing the reasons for your hope with others.

Why We Witness by Bill Bright

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God, thank you for blessing us with the opportunity to be partners with you in gathering up your scattered sheep. Help us to learn the right ways to witness our faith to the world. Steer us in the direction of people who will have ears to hear. Speak through our mouths and tear down the arguments of the prideful. We honor you and give you all the glory forever. Amen.

 

Miracle surgery restores sight to children: Why drag God into it?

Miracle surgery restores sight to children: Why drag God into it?

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

John 9:1-3

I  love the videos of people seeing or hearing for the first time. I saw this one on my Facebook feed today and of course, had to watch it.

Two blind sisters see for the first time

20/20/20 is a foundation that pays for children to have these surgeries done, who could otherwise never afford them. Without them, the children would be needlessly blind. The surgery given to them is called a “miracle”, and indeed it is. So many happy tears, faith and hope in humanity: restored.

Then I saw the comments on the Facebook post. Do we see joy for these girls? Encouragement to the good people who have made this happen? Do we see praise for the existence of mercy in this dark world?

Nope. Just a bunch of people turning on each other, scoffing and spitting on those who chose to praise God for His work. Just like in real life. I stand back from my immediate reaction and think: The Internet is only an extension of the actual broken world full of actual broken people (myself included). Why wouldn’t it be like this?

Capture

Why drag God into it? I used to think like that too. One spring break I went on a trip to Mexico to build houses with my youth group. The first night we were there,we huddled in a group and took turns praying. One person prayed: “Thank you Jesus, for all the work you did today.” I’ll never forget the ignorant yet innocent question I blurted out within that circle of believing Christians: “What did he do?”

It was an honest question. I didn’t mean it rudely, but it didn’t make sense to me. Wasn’t that me out there, carrying sheets of dry wall all day in the blistering sun? Wasn’t that us, nailing planks together, and toiling our arms off painting the wall? What work did Jesus do today? How does he get credit for work that I did physically? I don’t understand.

I’ll also never forget the looks of disgust I received. I often wonder about that moment in time. Why did no one ever take me aside? No one ever approached me regarding my little outbust. Especially those leaders. Wouldn’t that have been the perfect opportunity to teach a seeking 14 year old something amazing about the Gospel?

And these commenters, the people all around you as you go through your day who ask, “What did he do?” What do you tell them?

Do you recoil in disgust that someone has the audacity to either know or refuse to know God? Or do you take them aside lovingly and explain to them the hope that you have in Him?

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

And if you cannot talk to them, can we not pray for them? That one day, when God sees it fit, they will also know the joy of faith and hope and belief.

It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'”

Romans 14:11