Friday, May 15, 2015

Never Tire Doing What Is Right!

“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” - (quote from Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). Dumbledore knows that only if everyone is willing to make sacrifices and cling to what is good in a world soon to be engulfed in darkness will victory ever be achieved.  Likewise, in a world that is inundated with temptation, we as people must strive to live with integrity and stand up for what we know is right even if we are the only one standing.

I think we are living in definitely darker times than ever before. Everywhere you look, you are being bombarded by something, a new law being pushed by the liberals, our rights being called into question, altered or even taken away, people are dying quite literally for their faith while no one does anything to stop them, and the threat of nuclear war by countries like Iran, Russia and North Korea are on the imminent horizon against those who support Israel and the United States.

It is hard as a Christian, not to get so tired of things, that we simply want to turn it all off. Stop paying it any attention. Walk away. Get some perspective on what we need to do.

But the truth is, that we are called into battle every single day. We are called to run a race with the intent on not only finishing, but winning.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ~ "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." (NIV).

Philippians 3:13b ~ "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

2 Timothy 4:7 ~ "For I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

It is so easy to take our eyes off of Jesus, when the wave of the world overwhelms us, and we become like Peter trying to walk on the water to Jesus, who takes his eyes off of Him, and begins to sink.

Matthew 15:28-31 ~ "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he as afraid and, beginning to sin, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" (NIV)

That is exactly the formula we need to keep at the forefront of our mind. When we take our focus off of Jesus, the waves of this life and world will seek to drown us in the chaos and pain all around. To suffocate us, fill us up with the lies the world offers, until we can't see what is happening and we just let go.

We need to keep at our walk of faith and service to God even when we are tired. We might be physically tired, but we should never get tired of doing things for God. If anything, it is a testament of our faith, that we should get tired doing God's work every single day. It is interesting in John 4:6 ~ "Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour." that Jesus got tired.

If you think about it, He was never alone, until He hung on the cross. He was always about the Father's business while He was here, only when He cried out on the cross, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" that we see the separation between the sin of the ALL world poured out on the Son of God that God could not look at Him because He beared it all. Sin is what keeps us separated from God. It was the only time where Jesus felt the distance between Him and His Father.

So one of the things we have to remember in talking to people about our faith is the one thing most Christians lack, and that is tact. We are well-meaning in our intentions, but our biggest issues come in learning how to apply skill and grace in dealing with others. We have all seen this first hand, whenever we talk to someone who realizes we are a Christian, and we can see the immediate distaste someone has when they hear it. It is obvious that they have had a bad experience with Christianity at some point in their life. Now they want to get as far away from that as possible.

Tact is making a point without making an enemy. Sometimes our biggest issue is turning a dialogue into a monologue. We don't come up for air, and that drives such a wedge between the person we are talking to, that all they want is to get as far away from us as possible.

In order to meet someone on their terms, consider asking questions. People LOVE to talk about themselves. Then engage them and respond appropriately. Remember you can't argue or manipulate people into Heaven, but we can argue and manipulate them out of Heaven. Conversion has to be the work of the Spirit. Our job might not be the harvest, but the simply planting of a seed, nurturing it, watering it, caring for it, before the harvest. We never know when the harvest will come or if it will come. Just like a farmer who plants seeds, even with all the right care, some seeds don't grow. That has to be the work of the Holy Spirit working in their hearts to open their eyes, ears and minds to hear the truth. Remember the Word of God never returns void.

Isaiah 55:11 ~ "so is my Word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (NIV).

We have to remember not to be rude, untactful and insensitive when talking to people about Jesus. Sometimes people will take it the wrong way, when backlash occurs from those we are talking to, and we sit back and smile, saying, "Oh, look I'm being persecuted, I must be doing something right!" You aren't being persecuted, you're just being stupid.

We have to learn to adapt to the situations we are in, when talking to someone about Jesus. A person can't appreciate the good news without the bad. Remember there is no forgiveness without repentance; no conviction without confession. We need to flexible to the persons needs and recognize that there is no set script on how to engage someone in conversation. Sometimes the best witness to someone is simply live out the Bible everytime your with them. Let them see how great life can be for a believer and follower of Jesus. Don't be a sour lemon Christian. Why would anyone want to join that, if you look like that life is one of struggle, heartache and most of all not fun at all?

Make sure we take time to recharge in the Spirit. Let us remember to pray or say grace and thank God for all our blessings during meal times. Start your day and end your night with spending some time in prayer and reading the Word of God. Acknowledge God not only in your prayer requests but also in the answers when we receive them. We must not forget God in our giving, whether financial tithing or even our time. Have you ever considered tithing your time daily for God? Out of 24, what difference would your life be, if you gave God 2 hours and 40 minutes? Might make all the difference in the world.

Isaiah 40:29-31 ~"The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings of eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint." (NIV).

The point is, don't give up! Run the race to win. Pray daily! Spend time in the Word of God every day. One day, we will see how all the efforts we made down here on earth, will have when we get to Heaven.

Hebrews 12:1-3 ~ "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men. so that you would not grow weary and lose heart." (NIV).

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