Faithful Witnesses

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

I often long to peer over God’s shoulders to see what destinations lie ahead on the map of the life He has given me. But this walk of faith usually means that I can not know the roads that He may choose. He only asks us to be faithful witnesses to those we meet along the way.

Never Too Late!

On the verge of celebrating 66 Christmas times I look back with some nostalgia mixed with unspoken regrets. It is too late for some of the career choices I had hoped to make. It is too late for some of the ministry I had once thought I would do. It is too late for more children. It is too late for another talk with Dad, a different way I could have treated my family or even better stewardship of the money that has passed through my hands. But Martha’s encounter with Jesus at the edge of Bethany gives me hope that:

It is never too late for Him to come. It is never too late to listen to His word. His heart has been with me and you every moment of every hour and He has come to share this day with us. Even now; tombs will be opened, grave clothes removed and life renewed at the sound of His voice! No matter the moment, no matter thehour it is never too late for Jesus!

 

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Frost Warning

Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Luke 10:2 NKJV

With a frost warning coming tonight I rushed out to pull in the last of the peppers. Some were large and ready for harvest. A few others were okay though yet mature. But saddest of all were the blossoms left on the plants when I pulled them and shook the soil from their roots. The frost was here and their beauty and promise were never to be fulfilled.

God tells me stories in the garden. Some stories give me comfort, some direction but frost is like a heavenly alarm clock. The raw jangling of the cold, the grey of clouds and the whistle of North winds shake my world up. There is a frost warning coming for each of us. The time for promises unkept is past. My worn out excuses for immaturity sound hollow in my ears. God’s plan, His will and Kingdom are all that really matter. Don’t just send laborers out into your harvest Lord. Send me!

Tending Sheep Feeding Lambs

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” John 21:15

When I struggle with longings to do more for the Lord I have to remind myself that Jesus did not say, ” If you love me do a dance, sing a song or say a prayer.” What is on His mind is taking care of others!

What ever Happened to Sin?

With all the debate about highly paid kneeling athletes one might be led to believe that racism is something new and shocking. In a way it is good and healthy to be able to talk about right versus wrong but that conversation apparently begins and ends with only one or two subjects. Any conversation about sin in the church seems to run into a dead-end. We don’t want to judge or worse be thought of as hypocritical because of our personal failures. Yet while here on earth, Jesus minced few words when it came to pointing out sin. He regularly pointed out that the Pharisees were adulterers, covetous and in danger of hell for their hard-hearts and attitudes.

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The preaching of God’s grace was never meant to end up as an accommodation of sin. Yes we are all weak and we are all in need of a great Savior to forgive us. But sin remains sin. Adultery has grown to be so much the norm that we forget that it still destroys families. Gambling which is simply the marriage of stealing and covetousness continues to march through our nation with new and bigger casinos in every state. The idea of honoring the Sabbath has been so completely abandoned that even a brief Sunday morning feel-good meeting is too inconvenient to sacrifice the chance for overtime pay. Jesus’ sermon on the Mount has lost its message as a revolutionary overthrow of sin and is  today looked at as some kind of nice collection of sweet ideas.

 

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15

Maybe those kneeling athletes who have at least started a debate about racism have stumbled onto a starting concept that we as Christians ought to consider following. What would happen if we began to take a stand no matter the price for the things that Jesus taught us to do? What if like the Amish and Old Order Mennonites, people actually knew that we would do without conveniences in order to live for Jesus Christ? What if this year instead of a trip to a theme park we spent a week volunteering in a homeless shelter. What if we turned off the Super Bowl and went to church to pray? Just standing for the national anthem will not move us one inch closer to God while our children grow up without a father or mother in the home because of the failure of yet another marriage. We need to do more than smile and just talk about grace. It is time for the mighty power of that grace to be allowed to radically change our lives and we will discover that there is nothing more joyful, more peaceful and more liberating than being cleansed from real sins by a real God who really sent His Son into the world to save sinners: of whom I am chief!