Browsing Category "Evangelism"
28 Apr
2013

The Eternal Significance of a Turtle

 

(Journal Entry: 6-12-2010)  A Turtle’s Journey Across the Road

Yesterday I prayed for an eternal opportunity for the day. I got through much of the day without seeing the opportunity, and was praying about it in the car driving to pick up the pizza.  Then I noticed a little turtle crossing the street.  It was trying with all its might but it was very slow and didn’t have much of a chance.  I drove past with a strange notion that maybe that was my opportunity that I had been praying for; maybe God wanted me to save that turtle.  It seemed a bit impractical because I was suppose to be picking up the pizza, not saving turtles, so I hesitated and drove by it. 

Though I drove past, I continued to feel compelled to go save the poor thing so I turned the car around.  I was too late.  After finding it smashed on the road, I had the sinking feeling that God had prompted me to save it in the first place, and if I had been more careful to listen to Him, right now the little turtle would be happily continuing his little turtle journey to the pond on the other side of the road. 

The Lord graciously reminded me that my hesitations can bring much bigger consequences than smashed turtles.  I must learn to respond immediately when prompted by the Spirit. 

(Journal Entry: 6-13-2010)  Do Not Ignore It

Update: I opened to Deuteronomy 22 today, and God used verse 4 to speak plainly regarding yesterday’s lesson.  “If you see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it.  Help him get it to its feet.”  I believe I was suppose to get that turtle.  Maybe not so much because its wrong to let a turtle die, but because I felt a nudge of the Spirit, and ignored it until it was too late.  Seems the Lord is training me to recognize what that nudge feels like, so that in the future I can respond immediately.

(4-28-2013, Almost 3 Years Later)  To The Street Corners

This morning during prayer I became grieved over my own lack of vision and joy.  Christ suffered so severely in my place and my life is hidden in Him for all of eternity, and I lack vision and joy?  I considered various times recently I could have become dead to myself and alive in Christ, but chose to be dull instead.   

On Friday the 26th I was picking up the pizza and saw a woman wandering down the street, not trying to get any place quickly.   I had the notion to stop to speak to her about the things of eternity.  Though it would have only been a 5 minute stop, I was concerned the pizza might get cold and so went on my way. 

This morning I felt strongly that I had ignored the Spirit’s nudge that Friday, and so asked for grace.  God, in His mercy and kindness, chose to respond to my prayer by providing Matthew 22:9 & 10.  When I read “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.  So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find…”, I knew Christ was speaking plainly to me regarding that woman on the road.  I believe I was suppose to have stopped, as the Spirit had prompted.  

This whispering of the Spirit in Mat 22 “go to the street and invite to the banquet anyone you find”, reminded me of three years earlier, when He confirmed His prompting to save the turtle by providing Deuteronomy 22, “If you see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it.” 

I marvel at how He cares.  Why are You mindful of me, Lord?  You.  Infinite and Almighty, you are there with me while I pick up pizza, prompting me to stop for both turtles and souls.  Who am I that You should care and see and record each deed, each word, each thought, “a scroll of remembrance was written in His presence”  Malachi 3:16.  Because of your love and grace, You are mindful of me, God Almighty; Oh, that I would more mindful of You.

Coincidence: The Thief that Stole the Glory Due God

 On Wednesday, March 13th, I awoke with Hebrews 11:6 on my mind and my heart.   The quiet darkened bedroom a lovely sanctuary containing this unspoken verse, spoken only to my soul. 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

And then in the moments that followed, still in the darkness of that quiet morning, the Lord began the conversation.  Though I had not read that verse recently, and though I rarely read Hebrews, and though by no means intended to, I opened my bible precisely to Hebrews 11 and the first thing I laid my eyes on, the very first thing I read, was Hebrews 11:6. 

A chill ran down my back as thanksgiving poured from my mouth because the blessing of His presence was so evident.

The next day, on March 14th, I spoke to an ‘atheist’, though I think she was probably more of an agnostic.  She told me that both of her parents were born-again believers.  Being a mother myself, my heart was heavy for these believers who were most likely heavily praying for their atheist daughter.  She told me that her parents became Christians on their honeymoon, by the same evangelist, on the same day, but at separate times during the day and without knowledge of the other one’s decision.  It was only later in the day that they realized they both had the same experience. 

After telling me that she said, “isn’t that cool?”  And of course, I agreed enthusiastically and proceeded to ask her how she perceives such evidence for God’s providence.  She shrugged her shoulders and quickly answered with one word, “coincidence”. 

What a thief this ‘coincidence’ word is to the glory due God’s name. 

God Provided the Donkey and Colt

I told her that it couldn’t possibly be coincidence.  The Lord then used my experience the morning before to explain to this young lady that not one sparrow falls to the ground without the Lord knowing about it, that it is all Providence, not coincidence.  I recounted heartily how God had spoken the morning before, how the verse was on my heart while I laid in my bed and then the Lord provided it exactly that morning during my devotions.  I described the chills that ran down my back, that I knew beyond any doubt that it was God, not coincidence that gave me that verse in the quiet and then in the written word. 

And she said, “but that has never happened to me personally”. 

I told her just because she hasn’t personally experienced God, that others haven’t had personal experiences.  I told her she has never truly sought the Lord for herself, but has depended upon her parent’s faith, and so now she has concluded something that isn’t so.  

She was, in fact, experiencing God at that very moment, if she’d just have the faith to see it.  The Lord used the very verse He provided the morning before, that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  That verse was actually intended for her, it was not only mine!  She had not personally experienced God because she has never diligently sought Him for herself. 

She agreed with me that it was true she had never diligently sought God for herself.  I left her with a hug and a 15 page packet about the scientific evidence that God exists. 

I have no doubt that all this occurred because God truly does reward those who diligently seek Him.  I am sure this young woman’s parents have been praying for their daughter, that she would come to a personal faith in Christ.  I believe that was why I woke with the verse on my heart on March 13th, and then I immediately opened to the verse for my devotions, and then the next day was given opportunity to use the experience for the glory of the Lord in the life of another.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, and He most surely does reward those who diligently seek Him.  Please pray that this young woman would come to faith because the Lord’s hand is upon her already.

13 Mar
2013

Surrendering to God’s Will Might Be A Leap of Faith

Yesterday morning, I was outside while a woman was walking by my house.  I believe the Holy Spirit quickened my heart to speak to her regarding the things of God, but I hesitated and disregarded the thought.

Leap of Faith

When I prayerfully examine what it is that makes me hesitate, it always comes down to fear.  My most spiritual objection is, “what if it isn’t the Holy Spirit, but just my own whim of a thought?”   But there is great selfishness driving that thought as well, because if I only act when I am positive the Holy Spirit is guiding me, then I never need to worry about faith.  Faith is like walking off a cliff; you might fall, you might not, there is no guarantee.  All you know is God is there, and so whether you fall or float…God.  That’s it.  Just, God.

Then there’s also the discomfort of being inconvenienced by doing the exact opposite of what I had in mind to do.  Instead of living as anticipated, God suddenly said it was time to leap outside of my own comfort zone into a world where I had no control.  I mean, it was 9 a.m., I simply stepped outside to get our trash can from the side of the road, I had no intention to embark on a gigantic leap into the unknown.

Now doesn’t that sound like the Spirit we know?  The One who counsels us and convicts, ever urging to love our neighbors deeper, and fuller.  The Spirit who conforms this fleshly temple to love the world as He does.  I can easily let that woman pass by without any care of her whatsoever, but not God.  No, the indwelling Spirit jumps and pushes, like a mother about to give birth.  The Holy Spirit loves all, at all times, whether I’ve had my Wheaties yet or not.  It is the will of God that “all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” 1 Tim 2:4.  This is the God I worship; The One whose heart yearns for the gospel proclaimed, so that all men might turn, and be saved.

The worst that could happen is that I am rejected and thought a fool.  Am I willing to fall for You, my Savior?  Gracious Holy Spirit, why have I not surrendered all to You by now?  Sure, there are times when I say ‘yes’, but why not always?  Give me faith like Moses, who esteemed “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” Heb 11:26.  Risen Lord, I plead with you to purge this pride, fear, and selfishness that so often guides my behavior; I want to buy from you ‘gold tried in the fire’, Rev 3:18, and salt so this sacrifice might be seasoned, Mark 9:49.

Faith is simple.  When God nudges you to action, don’t second guess it, or over think it.  As believers, the Spirit dwells within us already and so the good deeds that come into our heads should not be brushed off as whims, but rather prayerfully regarded.  Keeping in step with the Spirit is as simple as faith.  With the indwelling Spirit and your own surrendered will, you can discern God’s will at any situation, at a moment’s notice, and at every turn, by simply asking who you see plainly in front of you.  Do you see the visible or the invisible?  Faith is the result of “seeing Him who is invisible” Heb 11:27.  “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go…” “And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8

God loves everyone, at all times, and in all places, and “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, Eph 2:10.  By renewing the mind, God’s good and perfect will becomes clear, Rom 12:2.  We see the ‘good works’ which He has prepared beforehand, but we must also ‘walk in them’ by taking the next step, which is often more like a leap.  So, may I encourage you, dear believer, next time the gospel is on the tip of your tongue, don’t hesitate, just leap.  Just, God.

12 Mar
2013

Evangelism with Fear and Trembling

I spoke with a woman about the gospel the other day, or perhaps I should say I stumbled through the gospel, trying to speak.  All the essential elements of the gospel were there and she responded somewhat positively, but I’m sure my voice trembled and I was so nervous; it was embarassing.  I prayed about it afterward and pleaded with God to help me improve, so I’m not such a fool for next time.  

The Lord’s Response: 1 Corinthians 1 & 2

The Lord answered that night during evening devotions, when my husband handed me his bible because mine was downstairs.  I providentially opened directly to 1 Corinthians 1 and the following verses were the Lord speaking that night, providing comfort and confirmation.

“…in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”  1 Cr 1:21-25

And then in 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5,

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

A Fool for the Gospel

That night God did not confirm that He would help me preach the gospel without fear, in fact, He confirmed the opposite.  He confirmed that the fear and the trembling was all a part of His plan, and that He was going to use it for His glory.  He said that when I am weak, then I am strong.  When I think I can’t do it, that’s just the time to dive in, that’s exactly the moment the Lord was waiting for.  He promised me power in my weakness and strength in my fear.   

Jesus, You love the world more than you love my comfort.  If you tap me on the shoulder, and tell me to talk to that one or the other one, then make me a fool, Lord.  Though I tremble with stage fright, I don’t want to miss my queue, so push me out on stage.  I’d rather die a fool for You than live having missed the show.

The Gospel: The Greater Thing

 
Son of Man“Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”  John 1: 48-51

On January 3rd, 2013, during my morning devotions, I opened to the last part of John, verses 1:48-51.  These verses struck me as very significant and applicable, though I didn’t fully know why.   It seemed as though Jesus was encouraging my belief that He speaks directly to me through His word.  As if He were saying, “because I said unto thee” (John 1:50)… then fill in the blank with all these various ways which I have noticed the Lord speaking through His word…”believest thou?”.   And then He said, “Thou shalt see greater things than these”. 

I knew I would see greater things than the Lord speaking through His word.  But this is really something to consider because I am absolutely stunned that the Lord speaks to His people through His word.  Why do I think He’s saying I’ll see anything greater?  And what is possibly greater than that?

I read John 1:51, “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man,”  but I didn’t really gather what it meant.  I was out of time so figured I’d come back to it later. 

The Wonder of God

After my morning devotions, my girls and I worked on their devotional books for church.  I was amazed to find out what the prescribed verses for that day was in their workbooks.  It was John 1: 47-48.  Then, driving my son to His doctor’s appointment, we passed a church with a sign that said, “Greater Things”, I think it was publicizing a series of sermons or something.  I tried to think nothing of it but I know God too well for that.  God is so cool.

Writing this out sounds crazy, but God is amazing and I am only writing what happened as it happened.  Interpret it as you like, but remember God knows every detail, every single hair on our heads, and He documents every single word ever spoken and He knows every single thought ever thought from every single person in all of history.  “He tells the number of the stars” Psalm 147.  Though I don’t understand why He would be mindful of man, I see no bounds to what He can and can not do. 

The Greater Thing

Came To ServeDays passed and I realized that I was heavily thinking about the Gospel, day in and day out, more than ever.  That great event when God became man and chose death by torture for Himself, thereby paying our sin-debt.  I am amazed by it; utterly stunned.  It is the central thought in my waking moments and the driving force behind my prayers.  I am thinking about it while I do dishes, while I make the bed, while I am shopping.  These meditations of the gospel produce abundant thanksgiving and worship and compassion.  

Compassion for those who have not heard of this life-giving and eternal event which fills my heart, mind, and soul.  This joy and wonder about God’s plan of salvation drives me to memorize scripture and prepare my own gospel presentation to anyone and everyone that would listen.  I only need 5 or 6 minutes of their time.  I have been a Christian for 23 years and never before have I been so driven by the Gospel. 

John 1:51

I have since realized with awe-struck wonder what John 1:51 means; “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” It is speaking about the Gospel; Jesus is the bridge between man and God.  I believe God opened this thought to me: God has bridged the gap between Himself and mankind through His Son, Christ Jesus, and that is even greater than God speaking to man through His word. 

The Gospel is the greater thing, and God has graciously increased my understanding of the magnitude of His mighty work at Calvary, I understand a little better my part and privilege to share that understanding to the world He so dearly loves, in His good timing, in His good ways, and for the glory of His good name.  Praise be to God.

Is God Selfish? An Atheist Knows Not What He Says

I watched a street preacher speak to a crowd with an atheist ready to pounce.  He wanted to know why ‘good’ people don’t go to heaven, feeling hell was unjust, and he called God selfish, and he called God a curse word.  I was impressed with the preacher’s calm demeanor and his loving persistence with the man, and the crowd, which was clearly antagonistic.  

“The Heavens Are Not Pure in His Sight”

The man in the video, full of sin like every man, boasts about his own goodness (after all, he did go to Ethiopia to help humanity).  He wants God to judge him based on his own goodness.  And God will judge him based on his own goodness just as he desires, but what a foolish desire for “God puts no trust in His holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in His sight” Job 15:15.   Jesus, who was sinless, gave all for humanity, and graciously offers a way for God to judge us by His own righteousness.  We are welcome to trust in our own goodness, as that man desires, but we are also welcome to trust in His goodness.  

This is a gift freely offered, but instead of an appropriately thankful response, Jesus continues to get sneers and condemnation from mankind.  The man’s accusation is rooted in ignorance of who God is, who we are, and how horrific sin is.   Sin is costly.  That man offers no answer to the severity and magnitude of the rampant injustice on earth.  God does.  

God is Just: Do Not Hope He Will Sweep Your Sin Under the Rug

How does it feel to be wronged by someone else?  Does it hurt, does it hurt a great deal?  What if God were to just brush it aside like that man wants Him to, is that just, is it good and unselfish?  As the victim of someone else’s sin, you need objective  justice, not a perpetrator telling you it was good for them and besides, it’s minor and relative anyway so it’s okay, no biggie.  Who’s to say it’s minor?  The perpetrator of course, but not objective truth, not goodness, not God.  It is right that your pain is not swept under the rug, but expressed in a just way.  Punishment is necessary, this is basic justice and it is good and right; “without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin”  Heb 9:22.  Blood was shed, justice was paid in full, at the cross, unless we chose to stay under God’s just wrath.  Even if the perpetrater, and all the world, brushes aside your pain as relative, Christ does not, He knows better than anyone the painful terror of that sin.   

Is Sacrifice Selfish?

What do you call a man who take a bullet for you?  Do you call that selfish?  Would this man say these things if he were on the hill that dark night at Calvary when the moon turned red?  Would he be yelling at Christ telling Him that He was so #%@! selfish?  Would he say that to the bloody Christ, the one man in all of history who was truly good and innocent?  Sin is costly!  If God is good, then every lie I told, every wrong thought, every wrong deed is costly; and the payment is hell.  But praise God, the good news is that I don’t have to pay it because Christ already did.  May God have mercy on this man’s soul, may he someday hear what is was that Christ said over and over again while paying for our sin on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.

Is this our idea of selfish?  Would that man yell those things if he were standing in the crowd witnessing this?…

4 Jan
2013

Caution: Excessive Prayer May Lead to Increased Evangelism Activity

Praying too much can get messy.  Even in cases when the believer is initially opposed to the idea of sharing the gospel, when consistent prayer continues, the believer’s desire starts to change.   The resolution to pray more might have started out with the sole desire to simply have special quiet times with God.  But the more time spent in quality prayer, the harder it becomes for the believer to stay in control of his own plans.

This is because God loves the world so much that as the believer devotes meaningful time with Him, God fills him with His love, just as the believer requested.   But then it keeps going.  God keeps filling and filling until it starts spilling and spilling, and then it completely messes up the believer’s carefully controlled environment. 

Before he knows it, he ends up caring so deeply for the souls around him that he’s watching for opportunity to share the gospel even with strangers, and he’s perfectly fine with rejection on a daily basis, and his world is never again the same.  This believer is willing to be routinely rejected in order to find one person ripe for the harvest; because love so compels him to each one, for God is not willing that any should perish.  

He lives a life filled with joy, thanksgiving, and awe.  Because God is with Him, he is fearless and his hope is constant.  This fellow’s love for others runs deep and compels him to gospel driven conversation and purposeful living.  He can’t help himself, it is out of his control, for day after day, and throughout the day, he continues to kneel before the throne room of Almighty God, listening and obeying the One who died not only for him, but for all who might hear and believe.   

This is what can result from too much prayer.

18 Dec
2012

Yesterday’s Conversation with God

It sounds nuts, but God and I have these little conversations, and I’m really not kidding.   Frankly, I would agree with you that I am crazy except ever since I have been earnestly seeking Him in the mornings and at intervals throughout the day, He has shown Himself so clearly and so regularly that I’ve learned to look forward to it every morning. 

I go to a quiet conservative church, nobody is rolling in the aisles, in fact only a few people raise their hands during worship at all, I say that because I want you to understand that I am not any different than you.  I am recording these occurrences online because I hope you will grasp that God desires to talk personally with you as well.   As you present your body “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” and as you are “not conformed to this world” but are “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1&2), you will recognize the voice of Good Shepherd teaching, comforting, and guiding you.  “…And the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice.” John 10:4b 

It is logical when you consider that God is omnipresent and all knowing; He knows the past, the present, and the future.  He knows every hair on every person’s head.  He designed all the complexities of our DNA, can He not also design the details of our lives?  He knows what will happen 5 minutes into the future as well as what a nation will do 500 years into the future.  Yes, He can and does speak personally to His children through His word, and the more the child of God believes that, the more directly and frequently He speaks. 

Desire and anticipate His voice, and prayerfully ask for ears to hear (believe He intends to speak to you; this request to hear pleases the Lord, and also remember the Spirit dwells within you, waiting to do this very work) then read until you sense He is looking right at you, and speaking to your soul, for His glory.  You can not have this ‘sense’ without faith; it is absolutely essential.  But with faith, and with fear and love for God, you will hear His voice.  Once that occurs, what else is there to do but fall on your knees in worship?  Now prayerfully speak to God about the particular passage He pointed out to you.  Then meditate on it during the day, and cherish, and obey His voice.  That is a conversation with God, and it can happen daily.

Yesterday’s Converstion 

During my morning devotions I read Romans 10:14 – 18, I will just write down the first part so you get the gist of it, “How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed, and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard…”.  I then pleaded with the Lord, specifically crying out with the words of Isaiah, “Here I am, send me”.   

Later that day, after church, I prayed for guidance on scripture to memorize so that I can be fully prepared for gospel presentations as the Lord provides the opportunities.  The Lord has already helped by leading me to John 3:16, then the 10 commandments and Romans 3:23, but I wanted additional scripture to memorize that would express the holiness of God.  The Lord chooses when and if He will answer, but I am grateful to have the privilege to ask Him for guidance.  Please understand that I never know how the Lord might direct or what He will say when I open scripture, and I certainly never expect an immediate answer to any request for guidance but He chose that day to answer immediately. 

I opened an unused KJV bible to Isaiah 9 and read near the end of that chapter.  I recalled that during my morning devotions, I read in Romans about the sending out of preachers, and my prayer in response to that reading was Isaiah’s words, “Here I am, send me”.  Perhaps the Lord would use that very verse during this midday conversation since I happened to open to Isaiah.  I didn’t know where that verse was, though I recalled it to be toward the beginning of Isaiah, and that’s just where I was.   Immediately after thinking that very thing, without flipping the page I had just opened, my eyes fell squarely on Isaiah 6:8, “Also, I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, Here am I; send Me.” 

So I knew which verses to memorize to describe the holiness of the Lord to the lost.  I only had to look above Isaiah 6:8, which was my earnest cry to the Lord that morning, to find the perfect passages, Isaiah 6:1b-5:

“I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.  Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”  And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.  So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”

I could easily brush that off as a little coincidence if such things only happened on rare occasions.  But I can testify to anyone willing to read this that it is not rare in the least.  This occurs all the time, almost daily, certainly weekly, and for years.  I used to write it down because it was so strange and I didn’t know when it would happen again, if at all, but now I anticipate it and I write it down so that I can better understand and remember, and hopefully, to strengthen the faith of others.  And I can tell you that I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years and the Lord didn’t move like this until I started seeking Him with all of me, earnestly asking for eyes and ears of faith to see God at work and to hear His voice.   I’ve never seen the dead being raised, or someone instantly healed or any such thing, but I have absolutely no doubt that the Lord speaks to me personally through His word.  And I’ve come to realize that to be just as miraculous. 

 

Choosing an Evangelistic Methodology

Lately my heart has been greatly burdened for the lost.  The Lord has been quickly answering evangelistic petitions because He came to seek and to save the lost.   Books and experts on the topic of witnessing and evangelism abound and the variety of methodologies abound, perhaps because the Lord made each of us so different.  I do not want be tossed back and forth like the waves by using my own intellect to wonder through such books.  Desperately needing the counsel of the Holy Spirit, this morning I asked the Spirit to guide me to an evangelistic methodology that would be appropriate for me.   

The Lord graciously chose to immediately provide Matthew 5:17-20 in response to this petition. 

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Therefore, by the plain direction of the Holy Spirit, I am enrolled as a lifelong student learning how to rely on the Ten Commandments and on the fulfillment of the commandments in Matthew chapter 5, on the surety of Judgement to come, and on the impossibility of righteousness without Christ, to assist sinners in comprehending their personal need for the Savior.  Obeying this call is not possible without continual prayer to become more and more dependent on the Spirit.  My only job is to get out of the way and to respond as the Spirit quickens, keeping spiritual lenses on at every moment to see properly when the Lord provides natural openings and opportunities for relaying the message that is so closest to His heart.  Praise be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

21 Nov
2012

To Market for Eggs and Souls

“…And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shown you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there…”  Acts 20:20-22

For a number of years now I have found it difficult to make a simple errand, such as picking up eggs at the local grocery store, without feeling “bound in the spirit” for the souls around me.   I can’t seem to go anywhere without thinking about people’s souls.  Needless to say, it is very inconvenient and I usually end up ignoring the promptings in my heart, sometimes due to time restraints, but often out of disbelief and fear. 

The work of evangelism is both glorious and emotionally draining at the same time; it is what I want to do more than anything else, and what I don’t want to do more than anything else.  It is full of meaning and purpose, and yet every time my stomach churns and I want to just crawl away into a cave and eat Captain Crunch cereal and forget all about the world.  Why can’t I be normal and just buy my eggs and leave?  I can’t.

Praying for the Opportunity

So then I pray for guidance, “Lord, I don’t have much time at all, but I’ve got a minute to pass out one gospel of John.  Jesus, I don’t want to spook anyone so please give me discernment to know who and when…”  The Lord always answers that prayer with just the right timing, but I’ve got to act on it right away or the moment is eternally gone, and I’ve lost the opportunity I had just prayed for. 

This happened twice recently.  A few days ago, while my girls were playing at the park, there was a young woman waiting for her ride and just standing around; I felt compelled to offer her a bible, yet I was hesitating.  I didn’t want to; what if I spooked her?  But I felt only more compelled the more I continued to hesitate. 

Finally, I obeyed the Lord’s prompting and asked her if she had ever read scripture. It was the beginning of a beautiful conversation but as soon as it started, her ride arrived and I was out of time.  If I had only obeyed right away there would have been plenty of time to have shared the gospel with this dear young lady who showed interest; it was obvious I missed a perfect opportunity.  

Another Missed Opportunity

This hesitating happened yesterday as well.  I was running an errand and was in a bit of a rush but I had at least one moment to pass out one gospel of John.   I prayed for the right opportunity.   Then I saw it, and I knew it; as I was walking to my car, I saw a woman cleaning her windshield in the parking lot, and taking her time at it.  I knew it would be nothing to simply ask if she would like a gospel of John.  I hesitated, and lost the right moment. 

Later I noticed she was sitting in her car waiting for someone, bored with nothing to do.  Another missed opportunity for a short but meaningful conversation and, what’s worse, she would have had plenty of time with nothing else to do but look at the scripture I would have provided. 

When I miss those moments I pray for the those I think the Lord was prompting me to talk to, and I ask for His grace, and I ask for more confidence and for instant obedience for the future.  Sometimes I do it right, and those times are always so rewarding and exhilarating; they are highlights in my life. 

God Answers Evangelistic Prayers Quickly

I’ve been praying about setting aside an hour a week just for street evangelism and the Lord has been quick in answering these prayers.  For instance, I prayed that my girls would be well cared for, and the Lord quickly provided another homeschool mother eager to care for my girls on Wednesdays while at co-op.  So that need has been satisfied.  

For safety reasons, I need another woman to go with me.  Yesterday morning during my devotions I prayed about this need, specifically asking for another woman evangelist that would be available around 11:30 on Wednesdays.   Then, that morning at church, I spoke to an evangelist who mentored another woman in street evangelism on Wednesday afternoons, but this other woman was moving out of town.   And so, seeing that the Lord was answering my specific prayer from that morning, I simply said, “then would you be available on a weekly basis to mentor me on Wednesday afternoons, at about 11:30 am?”  She quickly responded with ‘yes’, she would be available after Thanksgiving.  Perfect.  Thanks be to God. 

Good Fruit in Only a Minute

It takes only a minute or two to pass out a tract and so just about any trip outside my home can become a mini mission trip, even when time restrains me.  And I am believing more and more that this burden for souls is not my imagination, but rather the working of the Holy Spirit within me, and as such it must not be disregarded.  The more I act on this belief, the stronger I believe it next time because I taste the good fruit my action has produced, and I get to personally witness the kingdom of God advancing. 

I even taste the good fruit when I am rejected.  Rejection is an honor, even a joy, because my Lord was dispised and rejected, and He has promised comfort and blessing when the world rejects me because of Him.  “Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” Matthew 5:11

I have sat idle too long, waiting for the world to come to me.  Though I have been a believer for 23 years no one has ever asked me about my quiet hope.  I going to them instead.  I’m going fishing!