Remember the Children!

Four beautiful little girls, curly hair bouncing in the sunlight upon the plain: They are the daughters of a wealthy man, a righteous man, a man of high standing, a man who knows God.  They are Lot’s daughters, descendants of the chosen and blessed son of Noah: Seth. Born in the tents of Abraham among family and beloved servants, their childhood was protected and promising. In Genesis eleven, Lot leaves Ur of the Chaldees, and heads out with his grandfather, Terah and his uncle, Abram, to another place: Haran, in the land north of Canaan.  In the next chapter, he heads south with Abram, taking all their wealth with them.  God had prospered their way.   But by chapter thirteen, there is strife between the herdmen.(v. 8)

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.(Genesis 13:10)  A decision was made, Abram said they needed to part, not wanting to be a poor testimony to the people around them; and Lot made a agriculturally strategic move.  Certainly, God would continue to bless his way—he was the nephew of Abram, and God was with Abram! He wouldn’t be in the wicked cities, but in the plain.  Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. (Genesis 13:12)

It wouldn’t matter that the men of Sodom were wicked: He was a righteous man—he knew the ways of God and had taught them to his little girls… pitched his tent toward Sodom. How long was it until Lot sat in the gate of Sodom? (Genesis 19:1) Little by little, Lot’s family was influenced by their surroundings.  The girls made friends with the children, his wife swapped stories with the other women of Sodom at the community well. Lot was well respected and rose in affluence among the men of the city.  Were the men of Sodom any less wicked when Lot arrived than when the angels arrived?  Probably not; however, even wicked men can put their “best foot forward” and be civil.

Did Lot choose to overlook their wickedness and be tolerant of their lifestyle?  Did he preach to them?  Did he himself embrace the ways of the true God, or had he been more of a spectator?  The Bible calls him “just” (2 Peter 2:7) which would mean that he had a true understand of God and His righteous ways; however, something went desperately wrong… pitched his tent toward Sodom.

His beautiful daughters are now married to ungodly men who mock Lot when he warns them of God’s judgment.  Did his tolerance translate into hypocrisy in their eyes?  Whatever the case, it cost him the lives of his children.  His daughters died along with the wicked under the fierce judgment of God, whether they knew better or not.  All the influences of a righteous uncle during their childhood could not save them from the destruction brought on by their lifestyle choices and acquaintances. .. and he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Even Lot’s wife did not believe that the God of Abraham would truly judge her.  God’s command was simple, delivered directly by messengers from heaven!  She did not read about it in a letter from God: She heard the words spoken while standing in the very presence of heavenly citizens!  And yet, she turned.  Such a simple act, just a small thing… and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Now, alone in a cave, the worst is yet to come for Lot.  His wife is gone, his married daughters and their husbands, possibly grandchildren are gone.  Was there an heir for him that was left in the city of Sodom?  We don’t know. .. and he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Where did his younger daughters learn about drunkenness?  Where did they learn about incest?  How did they come to such a wicked solution? If they had kept on the path of righteousness, it is very possible that one of their children would have been Isaac’s wife and an heir to all of God’s promises. After all, Abraham married his half-sister, and Rebekah was Nahor’s granddaughter, making Isaac her second cousin. The relationship would have been similar for Lot’s children!   …but he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Abraham lived for one hundred, seventy-five years.  As far as we know, Lot lived for one hundred years.  He became the patriarch of two nations who were the enemies of God’s people, but even hundreds of years later, when God’s prophecies concerning Abraham’s descendants would finally become a reality, God remembered Lot…

And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession. ..And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. Deuteronomy 2:9, 19

What a life!  What a tragic story!  How bazaar!  Even though entire cities and plains are destroyed by fire and brimstone which rained down from heaven—the evidence still seen in that area today—God spared one man, his wife, and two daughters.  And even though the wife was destroyed and the daughters were immoral, God still remembered His promises!

The lessons for us today are many:

  1. Where have you pitched your tent?  This world and the god of this world are after our children, ready to devour them at every turn! Focus on God!  Make Him real in your life and show that reality to your children. Is there not a cause?  (1Samuel 17:29)
  2. Be careful of your tolerance. Choose carefully when you need to be a Daniel, standing alone FOR CHRIST.  That’s a difficult thing.  We just watched a student production of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.  It’s a satire about a town which holds a lottery every year where one person is chosen to be stoned.  The point is that we need to be careful that we are holding on to God’s Word, not man’s traditions.  Sometimes, the two may be difficult to discern; however, there is a God in heaven Who will ALWAYS lead you aright if you ASK Him to!  It is possible to be intolerant and still show the love of Christ!
  3. Believe! We serve an Awesome, Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Prayer-answering God of the Universe!  Is any thing too hard for the LORD? (Genesis 18:14)  He is the same God of Genesis!  He is still in charge!  He is still leading and directing even the lives of wicked men so that He may be glorified, and He wants to pour out His blessings on your life.  He is holy, and He requires the same of His children!
  4. Don’t believe a lie.  How often I’ve heard a parent of a grown, wayward child make excuses for their compromising example. They shake their heads and wonder where they went wrong, when the answer is often as plain as the nose on their faces!  They just refuse to see it and change….and he pitched his tent towards Sodom.

This is quite the harsh article, but I pray that it will stir a heart—maybe just one—who will take a second look at life and turn the tent!

Only one live, twill soon be past.

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

AWH…CHOO! Sniffle, Sniffle.

ID-100158158Well, for the past four days, I’ve laid around doing nothing.  Wish it could have been on the beach, but it was on the couch with a box of tissues, a bounding headache, and a fever.  Today is the first day that I can actually function!

No one likes to get sick.  We try not to be babies, but I find myself groaning and complaining to my dear husband.  I’m sure at times like these he wishes that his office was elsewhere!

Isn’t the human body amazing?  Why would a few raised degrees of body heat throw us off so much?  You’ll have to ask your doctor that one, but there is a lesson there for us!  :)  There is an enemy germ in me, which has thrown my body into attack mode.  It’s working hard to make me better, but in the meantime, simple operations seem impossible—even writing a blog!

That can happen in our spiritual “bodies” as well.  When we allow something to attack our spirit—a  confrontation which leaves our spirits torn, or an ungodly entertainment that soils our souls, an unexpected heartbreak which leaves our hearts shattered—everything goes into “fix-it” mode.  Our minds are clogged with unwanted thoughts; our hearts are clouded with unlovely attitudes, and until we are cleansed, life shuts down.

Sadly, there are times when we have allowed the “sickness” to go on for so long, that our spirit-bodies build a resistance to the Spirit’s wooing.  It’s as though there is this huge tough callous over an infected wound, and we don’t want to deal with it; and at times like these, God may need to get out the “big guns” to get our attention! Unlike an incurable disease, often “spiritual sickness” which was caused by wrong choices just need to be reversed into making right choices.

“You make that sound so simple.  You don’t understand. It’s complicated.”

Have you noticed that that is the popular phrase now?  Life is complicated.  What made it so complicated?  You’re not going to like this…SIN. :(  Talk to Eve if you want to know about a complicated situation and the devastating consequences of wrong choices!  But Eve did not die.  Yes, her life was never the same, and I’m sure there were many days when she said, “If only I hadn’t…”  But she did, and hopefully she learned from it and went living the life that God gave her in the way that God intended it to be lived.

When God stops us with sickness or difficult situations, we will always benefit by keeping still and looking up!  Take the time to pray.  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7) This verse was the first verse I ever remember memorizing.  It’s a dear, old friend with more benefits that a bowl of hot chicken soup!

And don’t forget Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God…  In a world that is moving at high gear 24/7, we would do well to stop and “have a little talk with Jesus.” (Just a side note: when we were in Israel, we saw neon signs in the business windows which flashed: 24/6!  They know how to “keep the Sabbath.”)

We often leave off the rest of the verse: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Oh, how that needs to be done in this age!  We exalt our God when we obey Him, live clean and holy lives before this sin-cursed world, and travel down life’s bumpy road with the joy of the Lord in our hearts and beaming from our faces!

…neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

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What am I doing here?

As a high school student, I remember walking to our lockers in the morning with my friend, and one of us would turn to the other and say, “What are we doing here?”  At the time, the answer was fairly simple for me: get an education and head to college.  I’m sure it was much the same for my friend even though she was heading for marriage instead of college.  Perhaps she had days when it seemed pointless to keep going just to get that piece of paper while wearing the funny hat.  She certainly didn’t need a diploma to get married, and as far as I know, she never had a career which required a diploma either; so I understand her question.

Don’t we all ask that same question at different times along life’s pathway?  What are we doing here?  Even as Christians, who have the Word to lighten our way, as well as a promised eternal destination, the question still lingers: What are we doing here?

Take a moment to think about life…

  1. We work: A job is a necessary part of living, providing for our needs and wants, and can be a source of great satisfaction.
  2. We marry: Many of us find our true loves and choose to share life with that one person.
  3. We have children: If the Lord is gracious in allowing us to have children, they become a huge part of our lives.
  4. We love God and try to serve Him: As  born-again believers, Jesus Christ becomes a part of our lives.

So maybe life looks like thispieChart_jpg (3)

Perhaps the percentages are different:One part might take up bigger chunks of time, and we could certainly include a lot more categories, but you get the idea.

On our quest for an answer, we may look at verses to help us to find the answer, like:

Romans 12:1,2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

I once heard a missionary preach on this verse, and he put it like this: As you are going, teach and make disciples.  That statement gives us a clue, and we can build upon it every day of our lives, answering the question, “What am I doing here?”  At my job, think Christ!  In my home, remember Jesus!  At church, worship and focus on Jesus Christ!  He is the only One that can give meaning and purpose to life. So then, our chpieChart_jpg (1)art will look something like this:

God becomes the hub of our lives, affecting every part of it.  If we try to put God one piece of the pie, the rest of life falls apart!

Perhaps you’re asking, “But how do I do that?”  So glad you asked!  :) The answer is actually simple: fall in love with Jesus!  Remember when that certain someone filled your every waking moment?  He or she affected the way you ate and dressed, where you went, what you watched.  I remember following the Oakland A’s because a young man liked that team! Now, I don’t even know who they are!

However, falling in love with Jesus takes TIME!  Spend time with Him and you can’t help but love Him. Talk to Him, read His love letter, talk about Him, write down your thoughts about Him and you will find that He will be the hub of your life: the One that everything centers around!

The following verse gives us a glimpse at what it looks like to fall in love with something; sadly, this man was in love with his stuff! But as you read it, apply it to our relationship with Christ.

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. Luke 12: 18

and I said, I know what I will do, I will change my schedule and put time with my Savior first; and in my life, I will give every part to Him. (The Wanda Translation :) )

Believing vs. Embracing

Have you ever been invited to a party, such as Thirty-One or Pampered Chef?  Perhaps you knew nothing about the products which would be sold until you received a catalog or brochure introducing you to the produces, and it–coupled with the fact that it was a friend who invited you–piqued your interest.

You go to the party and like what you see–so much so, that you sign up to host a party, and then another party, and another.

Next thing you know, you are the local coordinator, traveling to seminars to learn more about the products and to gain more skills which will make you a better representative of the company. Why?  Because you loved the product.

However, at that same party, there were others who liked the products just as much as you did, but they went home with their purchases and never pursued the matter any further.  In fact, when the next invitation came, they stayed home.

What is the difference between these party goers:  believing and embracing. Both believed in the product.  Both accepted the invitation and attended the same party, but one went away unchanged while the other had a life transformation.

Do you ever wonder why some seekers seem completely unchanged even after they have professed to trust Christ as their Savior? We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.However, we see  “Christians” who still go places they shouldn’t go, say things they shouldn’t say, do things they shouldn’t do…in fact, the world looks on and says, “He’s a Christian?”

Jesus Christ is not a new purse or cooking utensil.  When we meet Him in the Word of God, we are faced with a decision.  We can believe that He is the Son of God and that He went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins; but if it stops at “believing,” we will come away unchanged, no matter how dramatic the encounter.

The transformation happens when we embrace what we believe.  We love Him so much that we can’t imagine life without Him!  And because of that love, and the joy of knowing that His precious promises are ours, we can’t spend enough time with Him.  We can’t help to tell other about Him!  We want to live a life that will please Him, no matter the cost.

You may say, “But Thirty-One became that woman’s career.”  Career is defined as: a job for which you are trained and in which it is possible to advance during your working life, so that you get greater responsibility and earn more money.  As a born-again believer, Jesus Christ is our career; however, the definition changes somewhat. Career: a life for which you are trained and in which it is possible to advance during your Spiritual life, so that you get greater responsibility and earn more treasures in heaven: aka, crowns for your Lord and Savior!

Perhaps I’ve simplified or commercialized this thought too much.  Or even worse, perhaps I’ve left out the main ingredient!  We do not “choose” salvation or embracing like we would a purse or a career.  We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19  Is it possible that too many “conversions” are man-led and not Spirit-led? And what do we do with Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen?   That has to be put into the mix. My purpose is NOT to end the year with more questions, but to stir you to consider your own salvation. As the children’s song says:

Oh, you can’t get to heaven without S-A-L-V-A-T-I-O-N!

Sing it out, loud and clear: S-A-L-V-A-T-I-O-N!

Shout it out, far and near: S-A-L-V-A-T-I-O-N!

End your year by not only believing. Embrace Jesus Christ, and begin a new year with a changed life that will change your world, for this life and the next!

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

James 2:19

Chosen

Mary visits ElizabethHave you ever wondered what Mary felt like as she received the amazing announcement concerning her future? I have, and the result is Chosen, a short story.  It is my Christmas gift to you, dear reader.  Thank you for stopping by, and taking the time to hit the like key AND even leave a comment! May this special season bring you new thoughts of wonder and understanding of our Awesome God!

You can find the story under “Short Stories,” or just click here!

Dost Thou Not Care?

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said,

Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?

bid her therefore that she help me.

Luke 10:40

 

“Dost thou not care?” The words still ring in my ear!

“Dost thou not care?” How could I have said such a thing

To the Holy Son of God; my Savior and Friend, so dear?

“Dost thou not care?” To the One who bore my sting!

 

“Dost thou not care?” It played over and over

Every time we met, I can hear them still:

“Dost thou not care?” Till my heart can bear it no more!

“Dost thou not care?” There on Calvary’s hill!

 

Oh, how He cares! Even in the rebuke He made,

His love showed clear, in His voice, in His eyes.

When He came once again, and we stood near the grave,

And we talked of my loss, of a brother’s last goodbye,

 

And I saw it afresh, as He stood there and wept.

How could I ever have thought less?

Oh, how He cared for each soul that He met.

Every word, look, and touch was love’s caress.

 

Oh, how He cares, and cares, and cares!

He cares with a perfect will and way,

His purpose for coming was to show that He cares!

Though I did not see it on that horrible day.

 

“Dost thou not care?” Though it plagues me still,

It serves as a goad to prod my sinful heart,

And turns my thoughts, my way, and my will:

To show His loving kindness and to do my part.

 

Dost thou not care–Oh yes! He cares!

That Good Part

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part,

which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42

That good part always involves people, not things. That good part stops to talk with the elderly church member who lives alone and craves fellowship more than you are craving food because the preacher went longer than usual.

That good part calls the stay-at-home mom who is overwhelmed with those active little tykes, instead of spending more time on facebook.

That good part stops to talk with the cashier and show concern for her day even, though your day is out-of-control crazy, running way behind schedule.

That good part takes a meal to a shut-in, joins the choir, cleans the church, sends a note a fellow follower, offers a hand at the next church gathering, takes a turn in the nursery.

And what is it that we are so busy about?  I am such an expert at this because I am guilty of all of the above!  Our lives are so jam-packed with activity!  Why do we even put porches on our houses anymore? Certainly not to sit out there and relax!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  This Monday morning, I have purposed to STOP after a wonderful, wild, weekend full of great, memory making activities, and read the Bible for ME!  As a pastor’s wife, it’s easy to fall into the trap of reading the Bible for others: preparing for the children’s church, or the Ladies’ Sunday school class, or the Wednesday evening Master Club class, or a blog! But this morning was for ME!  It wasn’t much because I need to get busy :), but my time in God’s Word was just enough to keep my perspective on this coming holiday season. I need that good part more than the others who may benefit from it.  My heart is filled with joy for serving my Master, and once again I revel at my spot at His feet.

It isn’t by accident that Chapter Ten of Luke begins with Jesus sending out the seventy, and includes the words: Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.(20)  How our hearts should, first of all, rejoice in that fact that we are God’s blood-washed children!

Scene Two in the chapter is the story of the Good Samaritan.  What a wonderful follow-up to the previous account of the seventy, lest we get too proud in thinking that we have the corner on the market of serving! the seventy did amazing things–the Samaritan chose that good part.

And then God, the Heavenly Author of this Wonderful Book, concludes the chapter with the story of Mary and Martha!  I love these two women! I always find myself coming to Martha’s defense; however, Jesus’ final words in the chapter are certainly the capstones of the entire chapter:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

May you fill this entire holiday season with all those needful things, choosing that good part, and you will find that the joy, and understanding, and personal relationship with the God of the Universe and His Precious Son, shall not be taken away from YOU! Blessing to you all, and may your home and heart be filled with thankfulness!

The Undo Button

This is my favorite feature on my laptop, especially because I often accidentally brush the touchpad with my thumb which signals my computer to highlight and delete a portion of my writing!  How wonderful to be able to undo the unwanted action!

Oh, if I could only do the same with some of my words and actions: a harsh, critical word, a roll of the eyes, a Mr. Sticky sticky bun! What if we could just hit a button and the unwanted words and their affects would be gone, or the extra sugary calories would be eliminated from my system!  Sad to say, it doesn’t work that way; however, God does give us some advice!

Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.Ps 141:3

Here, the Psalmist is asking for help—asking the Lord to guard his mouth.  That’s a great way to start every day: make it an active part of your prayer time in the morning and throughout the day!  When you feel those nasty words building in the back of your mind, think of your lips as a beautiful door that the Lord has given you to send for blessings and not cursings.

 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD,
my strength, and my redeemer.Ps 19:14

Here’s another “watch your words” verse, spoken straight from the heart of prayer.  If we ask for the LORD’s criteria for the words we speak—words that are acceptable in [His] sight–that will illuminate those “undo” moments of speech!

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. Pr 12:22

This verse happened to be a memory verse from last year’s Bible Club.  I can still hear the kids saying the word abomination!  It really made an impression on them and me!  It’s quite a strong word. Who wants to be abominable in God’s sight?  That thought alone sparks me to keep my words truthful.  Abomination or delight—seems like a no-brainer!

 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.Pr 4:23

And here’s the key: keeping our hearts—working hard at it—knowing that all the issues of life flow from the heart.  Backing up to the heart and making certain it is scrubbed clean with the word is the best antidote for keeping our words and actions clean as well.

The following three verses have been Club Verses for various children’s programs we have used over the years.  Somehow, just reading them in sequence seems to sum it all up!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.Col. 3: 16
  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.1 Cor. 15: 58
…for one is your Master, even Christ. Matt. 23:10

There’s no “undo” button in the Christian life, but there is a “can-do” one!

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13

Ready, Set, WAIT!

IMG_7323Well, the last job is done for the winter—tilling the garden.  Dear old Tilly is out there now, purring away until the gas is gone.  A good wash and she gets to rest for the season.

The garden is ready, but for what?  It’s ready to rest; however, any seeds that are still in the ground are also ready to sprout as soon as the weather gets warmer.  Even while the snow is on the ground, that seed is ready—ready for the sun! The question is: Am I ready for the Son and His Word to sprout in my life?

It’s not by accident that the next few verses in Luke eight are about soil. The chapter starts with an account of Jesus and his followers going from town to town “preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God.” As though to encourage the sowers, Jesus tells the parable about the four soils: wayside, rocky, thorny, and good. Our responsibility is to give the Word.  There’s nothing wrong with the Seed—the Word of God, and there may be nothing wrong with the sower—YOU!  Doing a heart-check is always good to be sure that the Spirit has free reign and our motives are correct; however, it is also good for us to remember that the fruit of the hearer is NOT our responsibility.  I can no more make someone respond to the Word of God than I can make my tomato plants grow!  How comforting!

SOOO, what about when WE are the soil, we are the receiver of the Seed–what is our responsibility to the Seed of the Word?  The question becomes: Am I responding to God’s Word correctly?  1 Corinthians 15:58 gives us some pointers on the issue:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

  1. Be steadfast—unwavering, unfaltering, resolute, persistent, committed, dedicated, unswerving, firm. (Aren’t synonyms helpful?)
  2. Unmovable—unaffected, unmoved, untouched, unbothered, unbending, inflexible, unyielding, unwavering, rigid, obdurate (that’s a new one to me!), adamant, unreceptive (INTERESTING!), unrelenting, not influenced or swayed
  3. Always abounding in the work of the Lord IS the fruit of always bounding in the Word of the Lord! Be ready. Even though you may be in a ‘winter’ time of fruitfulness, know that God is always working in your heart, your children, your ministry. Be ready!  Be set! Be willing to wait!

Just a Little Talk About Jesus

wwjdWWJD—What would Jesus do?  What a wonderful mantra. (By the way, that word ‘mantra’ means: in Hindu and Buddhist religious practice, a sacred word, chant, or sound that is repeated during meditation to facilitate spiritual power and transformation of consciousness.  Somehow, it doesn’t seem fitting to use it in reference to Jesus Christ!) HOWEVER, the idea is a good one: WWJD—repeat it before every move we make!

But at times it’s hard to translate out movements into that little four word phrase.  What exactly would Jesus do in this or that twenty-first century situation, and life becomes complicated.  I suppose that is why Luke 8 was so refreshing to me during my devotions the other day:

And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, Luke 8:1

What DID Jesus do:

  1. He went throughout every city and village

He walked from village to village—he went everywhere.  For me, that means I need to get out of my house, off the mountain and be out there!  In our world of technology, we can hide behind a computer screen or other electronic devise and never say a word to anyone! We fill the gas tank and never speak to a human. We check ourselves out at the store. We use the MAC machine!

  1. He SHOWED the “glad tidings of the kingdom of God

I love this phrase!  We have such Good News to tell!  Jesus died for our sins! We can live this life free of guilt and shame and worry!  Heaven is our future home and I live this life in the shadow of His wing, leaning on the Everlasting Arms of Jesus, only by His grace! What glad tidings!

And notice that He preached and showed the Good News or Gospel.  We are all “preaching.”  Like the children’s song says: Do you know, Oh Christian, You’re a Sermon in Shoes?  Our words preach. Our actions and reactions preach!  Our walk preaches much more than our talk preaches!  But, our words become the icing on the cake.  Proverbs 25:11 says:

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

What a beautiful picture; and although his description is a little wordy, Adam Clarke describes it best:

Is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Is like the refreshing orange or beautiful citron, served up in open work or filigree baskets, made of silver. The Asiatics excel in filigree silver work. I have seen much of it, and it is exquisitely beautiful. The silver wire by which it is done they form into the appearance of numerous flowers; and though these wires are soldered everywhere at their junctions with each other, yet this is done with such delicacy and skill as to be scarcely perceptible. I have seen animals formed on this filigree work, with all their limbs, and every joint in its natural play. Fruit-baskets are made also in this way, and are exquisitely fine. The wise man seems to have this kind of work particularly in view; and the contrast of the golden yellow fruit in the exquisitely wrought silver basket, which may be all termed picture work, has a fine and pleasing effect upon the eye, as the contained fruit has upon the palate at an entertainment in a sultry climate. So the word spoken judiciously and opportunely is as much in its place, as the golden apples in the silver baskets.

What better words to give than a reference to our Savior.  You may not be used to saying such things.  Start small: Just a “Praise the Lord” or “Thank God” will get you into the habit of referencing your Savior in the market place or work place or even among friends and family.  Then a testimony of what God has done for you lately is another step leading to an opportunity to share how He saved your soul.

If you’re like me, it seems as though every topic under the sun is easier to talk about than our relationship with Christ.  Not so in the New Testament church. When Peter and John were taken before the Jewish council and commanded not to speak of Jesus they said: For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:20) This literally means that they were “bubbling over” with the Gospel, like a pot on the stove—it was the natural thing to do!  That’s what I want!

Can you imagine the change that we would see in America if we started to “bubble over” with the Good News of God’s kingdom?  Speaking that word of witness is the most rewarding thing your can do for your soul!  If brings such joy!  It refreshes the spirit and strengthens the soul AND it really makes Old Scratch nervous.  Don’t you think he’s had enough victories in the lives of Christians?  If nothing else, at times the thought of defeating Satan is enough to drive me to speak or hand out a Gospel tract!  Sweet victory in Jesus!