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!

Is the seed yet in the barn?

ID-1009077This morning, I finally filled by bird feeders.  I’m so thankful that the little birdies do not have to depend upon me for their survival, because I’m not very faithful in feeding them – especially when I’ve run out of seed!  But now the feeders are clean and full and there’s plenty more, not in the barn, but in our garage!

Feeding the birds and watching them is a hobby of mine.  I especially love to watch  the yellow finches in the spring when their tiny feathers regain their brilliant yellow coloring.  I also get really excited when the colorful blue buntings are sited – a rarity.  I haven’t been able to draw in the bluebirds, although they do use our houses; and although I couldn’t see them one summer, I could hear their conversation on the day the babies were to leave the comfortable security of the home and fly!  They chattered all morning!

It may take awhile, but my little feathered friends will return once the word gets out that the seed is there!  Once more, my front window will be filled with bird flights and song!

But what if I had left the seed “in the barn?”  I made the effort to purchase the forty pound bag!  I even emptied into the rodent-proof plastic container in the garage. (Speaking of rodents – did I tell you about the red squirrel that was in our toilet?  Now I have your attention!  Our garage is underneath our house, the other half is our basement where the wood stove burns cheerily and keeps us warm.  So…the basement door is kept open.  I guess the little fellow came in through the garage and decided to see what was upstairs but got thirsty!  He should have worn his life jacket!)

I’m sure you’ve already guessed the spiritual application behind this blog. Is the seed yet in the barn?  The seed is the Word of God.  How are you doing at getting the Word out?  We have so many venues today that we can use, but probably the most effective way is still the words you speak.  Movies are great, blogs are wonderful :), billboards can shout out the Word; but nothing speaks louder than your own voice!  Why?  Because YOU are there, behind the voice, with your heart showing through!

It doesn’t always mean going through the “plan of salvation” with someone. There are lots of seeds that have to be planted; or perhaps the better illustration would be the farmer or gardener who knows the work that has to be done before the seed hits the ground!  Plowing, raking, fertilizing, weeding, digging…so much happens before the joy of planting the seed takes place.

Last night, I had the privilege of talking and  praying with a young boy about salvation.  His little heart was so tender.  He prayed that Jesus would come into his heart and take away his sin and be his Savior.  It was a wonderful blessing, but many, many hours went into that moment.  His parents’ faithfulness in taking him to church and teaching him at home, praying with him, reading the Bible with him…all this took place before last night.  I believe God’s Word took root in his tender heart, and I look forward to watching that little life grow!

Take the seed with you – carry a Gospel tract.  I’m especially in favor of that kind of witness because it was through a Gospel tract that I found the truth, became a believer, got saved, was converted, trusted Christ! Choose your phrase!  I love to hand a cashier a tract and say, “This is the best news you’ll get today!”  True?!

The seed in my feeder will cause a flurry of activity.  “It’s here,” the birds chirp one to  another.  Are you in a church that is preaching God’s Word?  This is easy to tell, because the preacher stands up there and opens the Bible and preaches!  (Sorry, did that sound sarcastic?)  I once head a young girl say that she NEVER hears her pastor preach!  during the preaching, she’s in a class where they watch DVDs.  I’m not saying that DVDs can’t be effective, but shouldn’t an eleven year old be able to sit and listen to the Word of God being preached?  What are we teaching our children?  Is the seed left in the barn?

If I had a birdcage in my home, and it housed a little canary, that tiny life would be dependent on my faithful feeding.  Unlike the birds outside who can go to the neighbors or the forest and fields to get nourishment, my little canary would only receive the food a placed in his cage.  How much of God’s Word are YOU feeding to your children?  And don’t forget to stuff yourself while you’re at it!

Is the seed in the barn?  Oh the power that is waiting to explode, now resting in that precious Book, the Bible!  Go ahead, try it – scatter a few and watch God work!  Your efforts are backed by God’s promises.  “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

May no one be able to say of us: “I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.” Psalm 142:4

Is the seed yet in the barn? Habakkuk 2:19

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Hebrew 4:12

Our Song of Victory!

I recently had a piano student prepare a beautiful hymn arrangement, and I asked her to play it for an offertory at church.  I was surprised to hear her say that my daughter had recently played the same piece, and a lesson came to mind:

We all have the same story to tell: Jesus Saves! And each of us is to tell the story in our own way.  Even though both my daughter and this student played the same hymn arrangement, I doubt that anyone listening would have known that.  Why?  Because each played with their own style. The notes were the same, but the delivery was certainly not – and both played it beautifully!

Perhaps Priscilla J. Owens can help us out here.  She wrote the following words, published in 1882 for the Union Square Methodist Church Sunday school in Baltimore, Maryland.

(Thank you for that information: http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/j/e/jesussav.htm)  Take a look at the words below and notice all her suggestions (I’ve highlighted them for you! )

We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Bear the news to every land, climb the mountains, cross the waves;
Onward! ’tis our Lord’s command; Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Waft it on the rolling tide: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Tell to sinners far and wide: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Sing, you islands of the sea; echo back, you ocean caves;
Earth shall keep her jubilee: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Sing above the battle strife: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
By His death and endless life Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Sing it softly through the gloom, when the heart for mercy craves;
Sing in triumph o’er the tomb: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

Give the winds a mighty voice: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Let the nations now rejoice: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!
Shout salvation full and free; highest hills and deepest caves;
This our song of victory: Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

What a wonderful story we have to tell to a lost and dying world!  Several years ago, I was subbing for an English teacher who had given the students the assignment of writing a speech about themselves.  It seemed as though she may have given them questions to get them started.  One question must have been, “What are you afraid of?”  To my surprise, many of the boys especially wrote that they were afraid of dying, probably because a young man from the area had just been killed in Iraq.  I wanted to stand before them and shout the Gospel! Unfortunately, that is outlawed in our public schools! How sad!

We have a story to tell, dear Christian.  It isn’t the eloquence of your delivery that is important, it isn’t how smart you are, or how much Bible you know; it isn’t your audience that matters – what matters the most is that you ARE telling those you meet the best news they will ever hear: Jesus saves!  If you have truly been born-again than you have all that you need to tell others!  Just tell them what happened to you, and God will do the rest!

“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,”  Ephesians 6:19

Wooing Not Demanding

ID-100159550The law says, This do and you will live.

The gospel says, Live, and then you will do.

The law says, Pay me what you owe me.

The gospel says,I freely forgive you everything.

The law says, Make yourself a new heart and new spirit.

The gospel says, A new heart will I gave you, and a new spirit will I put within you.

The law says, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.

The gospel says, Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loves us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The law ways, Cursed is everyone who doesn’t continue in all things written in the book of the law to do them.

The gospel says, Blessed is the man whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

The law says, The wages of sin is death.

The gospel says,The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The law demands holiness.

The gospel gives holiness.

The law says, Do.

The gospel says, Done.

The law extorts the unwilling service of a slave.

The gospel wins the loving service of a son and friend.

The law makes blessings the result of obedience.

The gospel makes obedience the results of blessings.

The law places the day of rest at the end of the weeks’s work.

The gospel places it at its beginning.

The law says, If.

The gospel says, Therefore.

The law was given for the restraint of the old man.

The gospel was given to bring liberty to the new man.

Under the law, salvation was wages.

Under the gospel, salvation is a gift.

God is Enough – Hanna Whitall Smith

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