Monday, May 28, 2012

Stimulated Toward Love and Good Deeds

Our church does something called, "Go Night" once per month.  Basically, we go out to a neighborhood in our community and we distribute invitations to church and talk with anyone who is outside and willing to talk... sometimes it leads to the gospel, other times it ends very quickly... but it always gets me out of my comfort zone.  Today, we had a picnic at the park afterwards and I was sitting at a table talking with a gentleman from our church and he slipped me a 3 x 5 card that had some scripture from Psalm 119 on it.  I read it and then we started talking about it... kind of a strange way to start a conversation, but it was such an encouragement to me that he would choose a spiritually beneficial topic and lead the conversation that way.  The conversation continued and he asked if I ever went out specifically to talk with people about the gospel.  Humbled, I had to say that I have only done it a couple times.  I do not see evangelism as my spiritual gift, but that is not an excuse for not doing it.  I am much more comfortable talking with someone I know about the gospel than someone I don't... but all those things really are excuses for my lack of faithfulness to the Lord in the area of sharing the gospel in word.  He asked me how I might approach a gentleman sitting on a park bench and pointed him out.  I explained how I might make small talk and find out a little bit about him and then bring up church and see if he was comfortable taking the conversation beyond surface level and then if he is... lead into the gospel if he is unsaved or asking him about his walk with the Lord if he is saved.  The conversation continued and then I got up to get another piece of watermelon... and when I got back, the gentleman that I was talking with was gone.  He had gone over to talk with that guy on the park bench.  I was so convicted and challenged by that.  It's possible that nothing will come of that conversation, but that is up to the Lord... not me.  God doesn't always lead us to stand at a street corner with a megaphone sharing the gospel, but I must be much much more aware of those around me that may no know Christ and take the opportunities He gives and follow His lead in sharing with them the glorious truth of the gospel. I am so thankful for this example from this guy at church.  He really lived out Hebrews 10:23-25 for me this evening.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
God, make me a more faithful steward of the gospel.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Careful Obedience

It's been a while since I've read Joshua, so I am reading it again.  I was encouraged and challenged by God's command to Joshua to be obedient in verses 7-9.  Take a look...
Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
These incredible promises from God are interwoven with commands to obey Him fully. The reason we meditate on the Word... the reason we memorize it... the reason we read it is all to obey it. It is a great think to have the spiritual discipline of spending time in the Word, but we must be careful to do all that we are commanded to do! Any part of the Word that we read and choose to ignore only hardens our heart toward the Lord. May God humble us by shining His light into our darkness--the areas in which we have ignored His clear commands, and may He turn our hearts to love-driven, joyful obedience.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

It's not too often I get to celebrate the incredible mom that the Lord has blessed me with... especially since her birthday is in the same week as Mother's Day! I was sitting in my room this morning pondering what I ought to write in the card we got for mom and my thoughts wandered to different friends of mine who don't have their mom with them anymore. The more I pondered these things, the more I realize just how blessed I am to not only have a mom to strengthen me with prayer, encourage me, push me, rebuke me, etc... but to have a mom who is incredibly brilliant and active and humorous and young at heart and wise and godly and bold and lovely... I am so blessed to have my mom. My heart goes out to those that do not have a mom with them today. For the men and women fighting overseas... some of which are mothers... others are husbands of a wife who is a mother... others are sons and daughters of mothers. For those who don't have a relationship with their mom due to some life decisions. For those that don't have a mom with them because they have moved on into eternity. My mom has had perhaps the biggest impact on me of any human on the face of the planet... and truly, I can't imagine missing that person who has had that much impact on my life... but many are missing that person in their life today. I just want to take the time to encourage you if you don't have a mom with you today with these words from "Be Still My Soul".

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

My prayer for you today is that in missing your mother, God would grant you greater knowledge of Him and His supreme ability to fulfill all of your needs... to fill every void... to comfort and encourage your heart. God has blessed me with an incredible mother. I don't know how long He will bless me with her... but one thing I do know... I ought to make the most of my time with her. She is so wise. She is so virtuous. My encouragement of those of us that do have our moms with us today... let's minister to their needs more than we are. Let's serve them like Christ would have us do. Let's honor them as we are commanded to do. Mother's Day is a day where we focus on them, but it doesn't have to be Mother's Day for us to choose to make sacrifices for them. Let's love on them... encourage them... pray for them!
Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: "Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all." Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Happy Mother's Day to the most amazing mom ever. I love you, mom!