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Posts Tagged ‘witnessing’

Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. 2 Cor. 9:7 (MSG)

 

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Against all odds, thousands of nut-colored seeds unfolded beneath ground and thrust their heads bravely through the hard crust of the last Montana snow. Each tiny sprig of green represented survival—a seasons-long battle spent dormant tucked below the inhospitable prairie soil.

They also represented the Farmer’s hard work.

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Before the sun cast its morning glow across the cliffs and beyond the creek, the Farmer sat astride the John Deere tractor with his favorite hat—the one my grandma hated—perched on his head. Nearly every day of every season; year after year, the Farmer worked the land.

In the summer, burnished stalks of wheat swayed in the wind until the heads bent low and heavy from the weight of their burden. By the time the prairie grasses stood bronzed by the sun, crops had been stripped and were left bare but for the craggy stubble alternating with the brown of the earth. Just before the cold held the land firmly in its grasp, the Farmer tilled the soil—turning and breaking the sandstone that ruptured the surface with a hatchet—and then carefully poured seed into neatly made furrows. If the seed was healthy and conditions were right then the Farmer and his wife—the one who taught me to make my first pie—might have something to show for their hard work.

What would have happened, though, if the Farmer failed to buy good seed? Or, if he had only planted every other field? Would the results have been abundant if the Farmer was unmotivated or shrugged his shoulders? God has a plan—I don’t really need to do anything.

The scenario seems foolish, I know. But, don’t we sometimes take the “hands-off” approach to sharing ourselves with others? I do—more often than I’d like to confess. Honestly, it is just hard to share Christ with others! I’ve mentioned before that I am a people pleaser—maybe we all are to an extent. But, I REALLY want others to like me. To respect me. And honestly?   I even want a few people to think I am special. Can anyone out there relate?

But this week, I read Hebrews 13:15-16.

“So let’s go outside, where Jesus is, where the action is—not trying to be privileged insiders, but taking our share in the abuse of Jesus. This “insider world” is not our home. We have our eyes peeled for the City about to come. Let’s take our place outside with Jesus, no longer pouring out the sacrificial blood of animals but pouring out sacrificial praises from our lips to God in Jesus’ name. Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others.” MSG

I have a problem—a problem with holing up in my spiritual tower like an old, miserly Scrooge hiding away in his chamber and unwilling to share with others. Instead of coins, though, I have received the abundant and eternal treasure of the one and only Savior! If I fail to share the truth of Christ with a world struggling to survive the seasons and trials of life then I am not doing my work. I will be like a Farmer failing to plant the seed and work the ground.

Friend, my heart aches to take as many people as I can to heaven with me—by God’s grace and the work of the Spirit. Today, then, my prayer is that I would set aside the burden of self for the burden of people who need to hear about Jesus and the hope that He offers. Lord, give me a heart to join you outside—despite the conditions of rejection, derision, or animosity. Teach me to cast off my grudging, reluctant participation for an active,   hands-in-the-dirt approach to sharing holy love and true Life with others. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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I’m an idealist. I believe in the Biblical standard, “Love your neighbor as yourself”.

I don’t care if your skin is black, brown, white—or a funky “Sunset Orange” from the tanning booth. Pigment does not make the person; God does—and each one is created to be unique and beautiful.

You might vote as a registered Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian in November. And, gasp, in a season like this, you may decide no vote is better than any vote. I won’t allow differences of political conviction to sever relationships–even if we strongly disagree with each other

Are you a Buddhist? A Muslim? An atheist? Well…I’m a Christian and I’m going to love you enough to tell you about my Jesus….to raise your name up to heaven before the One who I know is the Way—because I care about where you spend the life after this one. What sort of friend would I be if I refused to live my faith out loud because of my own fear of rejection?

In this splintered, broken world people murder each other in cold blood because of prejudice…hatred…and unbridled, misdirected emotion absent of rational thought.

In a world of people crying out for peace, rogue policemen steal the breath of innocent men because they are draped in the beautiful, bronzed skin God gave them. An embittered man destroys five heroic souls who proudly wear the color blue–an emblem signifying a willingness to stand in the gap for those they serve.

Terrorists fill our streets with the blood of their hatred and the world shrinks back in fear—uncertain of the future and dreading the next brutal attack.

It seems the world has gone mad. It’s been ripped off its axis and sent spinning into a black hole of war and anarchy.

I want to remind my heart and yours…God is not pacing in His throne room.

He knows the beginning from the end. The evil and suffering in the world do not go unnoticed and soon—perhaps much sooner than we think—the Lion of Judah will return for His people.

Until then, we who already know Jesus must love others. How else can a groaning earth and aching people have any hope? Any chance of experiencing Christ? Any promise of eternal life unless we who know the Truth follow His example and just…love…others.

Scripture for Reflection

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Cor. 13:13 MSG)

 

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:35 MSG)

 

I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. (2 Timothy 4:2 MSG)

 

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