Who Gets To Disseminate The Message?

But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher?And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things! – Romans 10:14-15 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans10:14-15&version=HCSB

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The Message

On the contrary, what does it say? The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart. This is the message of faith that we proclaim:  If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.  Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him.  For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Romans 10:8-13 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans10:8-13&version=HCSB

Lift From On High

Lord, I have heard the report about You; Lord , I stand in awe of Your deeds. Revive Your work in these years; make it known in these years. In Your wrath remember mercy! – Habakkuk 3:2 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Habakkuk3:2&version=HCSB

Fortunately, God does remember mercy, for His “mercy triumphs over judgment.”  Those who ignore Him till death do they part will be judged without mercy; those, however, who do not ignore Him but repent and believe in Him will receive the free gift of salvation, the ultimate mercy.

Thank you God for having Jesus die in my place, my substitute, so that I can now truly live.

He’s Got Your Back

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Philippians%201%3A6&version=HCSB

There are times when I wonder if the aforementioned is really the way it is. What about you?  Do you ever have doubts?  Do the struggles of life cause you to question your commitment to Christ?  Do you sometimes wonder if God is really going to complete that good work in you that He started? 

 When you graduate from college and your degree doesn’t land you a job and your struggling to make ends meet, do you wrestle?  

When your child blows you off and everything they have been taught over the years, do you struggle? 

 When you’re working 9 to 5 and your husband is a traveling salesman and your kids need shuttle service to soccer practice, dance, piano lessons, and your kids gripe and complain about helping you with laundry, dishes, household chores – are you frazzled?  

When your company down sizes and your job moves to Sri Lanka and your benefits cease and the bills pile up and the bank is threatening foreclosure – do you question God’s goodness?  

When your father or mother has Alzheimers and they become a shell of what they were all those years they raised you, supported you, loved you, took care of your kids, and . . . do you get bitter and angry with God?

Life is really tough at times.  God allows us to go through painful trials periodically.  It’s at those times that it is easy to lose sight of Him.  It’s easy to doubt His goodness.  It’s easy to become jaded and drift.  It’s easy to get lukewarm and it’s easy to get cold.  It’s really hard to get hot and stay hot.  It’s certainly not impossible. In fact, it is quite possible – but solely through the power given believers in Jesus by means of the Holy Spirit.  We can’t do it on our own, in our own strength, using our own chutzpah and charisma.  By ourselves we don’t have what it takes.

In the midst of the swirling chaos, in the middle of the daggers of slander and gossip hurled at you, in the center of family upheaval, job crisis, economic difficulties, loss of loved ones – in the eye of the storm, I choose to believe the truth:

“. . . He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

How To Make a Flaw Flawless

“No matter the bunps, no matter the bruises, no matter the scars, still the truth is the cross has made, the cross has made you flawless,                         no matter the hurt, or how deep the wound is, no matter the pain, still the truth is the cross has made, the cross has made you flawless” – lyrics from “Flawless” by Mercy Me.

Every day I wake up and marvel that God loves me, a flawed human being.  Yet, because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross in my place, by faith in Him I am now and forevermore flawless.

Wow.

What Have We Been Given?

“Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free” (John 8:36 HCSB).

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:18-19 NIV).

What have we been given?  Freedom, freedom in Christ.  What else have we been given?  We have been given the ministry of reconciliation.  This is addressed to all believers in Christ, not just professional clergy.

It was a beautiful California summer.  I was a camp counselor at Hume Lake for a cabin full of rowdy high school boys from Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, Ca.  It was a little rough at the start.  They wanted to goof off while I wanted to talk about God during the times we were supposed to talk about God.  I was bummin’.  One of the guys approached me afterwards and started asking me questions about God.  It was a divine appointment.  He ended up receiving Christ as his Savior right then and there.  It was incredible.  God gave freedom through me opening my mouth and sharing the truth.  It was the ministry of reconciliation.

It was a Thanksgiving holiday weekend and a couple hundred junior high, senior high, and college kids from Emmanuel Faith were in Yuma, Arizona.  We went down every year to do bible studies, tell bible stories, sing Spanish songs, and basically love on the kids in a couple small towns in Mexico.  I loved going every year.  This year I was a team leader.  I was the one leading the bible study.  The kids were semi-attentive but I noticed an old grandmother sitting in the back listening intently.  When I finished, I grabbed our interpreter and struck up a conversation with the lady.  She wanted to know Jesus.  It was another divine appointment.  This old, old lady came to know Jesus at the end of her life.  Freedom given by God.  It was the ministry of reconciliation.

It was a ministry assignment given to a group of us from Moody Bible Institute.  We were to go with a church group that ministered in Cook County Jail in Chicago.  It was a rough place.  I was preaching the one night and a gang-banger came up to me afterwards and wanted to know more about Jesus.  Yes indeed, another divine appointment.  This hard core gang-banger, doing time for who knows what, gave his life to Jesus right there with a hundred other gang-bangers all around us.  Freedom given by God.  It was the ministry of reconciliation.

Now I’m 50 years old.  I have a seminary degree and I am an ordained minister.  What regrets do I have?  Many, but the biggest regret I have is that there are only a handful of other stories I could tell about the times I responded to the Spirit’s prompting to open my mouth and do the ministry of reconciliation.  Regrettably, the majority of the time I chickened out, I chose not to share Christ, I chose not to show someone the freedom they could have in Jesus.  That is my biggest regret.

What have you been given?  Are you willing to share it with others?

21st Century American Metrics

Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a disgrace to any people. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Proverbs%2014%3A34&version=HCSB

In these United States, sin is exalted and righteousness is a disgrace.  This reality begs the question:  Am I ready and willing to do whatever it takes to be a part of the solution or am I content to gripe and complain on social media?