Practical Ways to Show Our Neighbors the Gospel

Practical Ways to Show Our Neighbors the Gospe

When I first became a christian, the idea of sharing the Gospel with unbelievers was intimidating and scary to me. In my mind I pictured going door to door and having them all slammed in my face. I wasn’t interested in that kind of rejection! So I did what any other person would do and I stayed in my own little bubble of friends and lived my life the best way I knew how. Sure, I’d share my faith if someone asked but I really liked being comfortable. My faith was miles wide but only inches deep. I had become complacent in my comfort.

Three years ago some faithful sisters in Christ decided that God was calling them to start a Bible study in their home. Every week we poured over scriptures, shared our struggles and prayed. It was such a beautiful season of growth and our friendships and our faith deepened. We prayed that God would use us mightily in our town. We prayed for the impossibles. We prayed to be filled. Little did we know as our small group sat around that table, that God would not only answer our prayers, but that He would send many of us clear out of our comfort zone and beyond state lines even! We all had to readjust as the comfortable life we had known was now being changed. For my own personal testimony, I moved into a town where I knew no one. We had no church, no close family and no friends. When I look back on that season, there is so much I learned about living the Gospel.

friends-775356_1920

  • The first thing I learned is to just say, “Hello”. We may not all be social butterflies but we are all called to love our neighbors. How can you love someone if you do not talk to them?
  • The second lesson was on hospitality. We moved into this huge house with all our children and felt just lost. But, God knew what He was doing. As we struggled to adjust to our new home and circumstances, our neighbors across the street invited us over for dinner. They left candy in our mailbox for the girls and left a sweet and thoughtful gift for me as well. Their kindness and invitation was a confirmation to me. God had brought us here. And, then to my utter shock we visited the church down the road and we were once again invited to dinner by another sweet couple! I marveled. God used these people to pour love on us and I saw Jesus in their love.
  • Thirdly, I learned that we must be brave and share what God has done for us with others! We decided after being so blessed by other’s boldness in loving us to do the same. We started inviting everyone over for dinner…I mean everyone! And, do you know what happens when you spend intimate time with people? You learn so much about each other! Talking about our faith happened naturally and it didn’t feel forced. The Gospel can be shown very clearly if we are willing to share what God has done in our lives!
  • And, lastly I learned the importance of being a blessing! I honestly feel as if I’ve been more on the receiving end of this lesson than the giving. We’ve had meals brought over to us, people offer to watch our children, baby clothes, diapers, toys, and countless prayers. God has used others to minister to us in such amazing ways. The sacrifices people have made for us have shined such bright light into our life and compelled us to keep going as we walk through hard seasons of foster care, homeschooling and parenting.

It has become clear to me that sharing the Gospel with those around us isn’t all that complicated. We don’t need to go door to door to share Christ. We just need to invite people in, feed them and love them. It may not always feel comfortable but that’s ok. Sometimes being a little uncomfortable is exactly what we need!

StockSnap_3NMQKZB5WS.jpg

Advertisements

Saying No to Bitterness

I was recently faced with someone with a lot of bitterness and as a result of being truthful to them, I was hurt by their response and their cruel words to me. I doubt that the person meant the hurtful words that they said, but they were obviously hurt themselves by what life has thrown at them and I got the brunt of it.

When my emotions got the better of me and I found myself playing out what I could have said in the shower, I realised I need to be really careful, really careful that I do not become bitter myself.

Bitterness can suck people in, when someone is bitter and angry lashing out at others, it can be easy to be bitter towards that person.

Prayer to our Heavenly Father is vital in these situations, to know how to forgive and not let bitterness overcome. I need His strength to forgive, it is possible only through Him.

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

God forgave us, he has forgiven us all our sins and so I need to forgive any hurt I might feel. Jesus Christ even showed love to his enemies while on the cross, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). I want to be more like Jesus and forgive those who hurt me, I know that it will set me free. I want to ask the Lord, to help me to say “NO!” to bitterness.

His Love is Better than Life

There are some beautiful psalms written by David, “A Man After God’s Own Heart.” No wonder David is called this name! These songs of praise to God depict David’s heart toward His King as they are stuffed full of awe, praise and thankfulness.

Lately, I have spent time praying for a house for our family, for our new homeschooling year, for other needs, for family and friends, but this morning as I read in Psalm 63, I am urged to pray for the souls I love in a different way. My eyes were shifted off the need so much and onto Jesus! I need Him to not just perform an answer to my prayers by meeting the need, but above all that He will reveal Himself even more in our lives.

“You, God, are my God,

earnestly I seek you;

I thirst for you,

my whole being longs for you,

in a dry and parched land

where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary

and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life,

my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live,

and in your name I will lift up my hands.

I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;

with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:1-5

We all need more of Jesus. A deeper longing, and a stronger walk with the King Himself. We need Him to be Lord over every area of our lives. More of Jesus!

I pray not just for my prayers to get answered, but I pray they get answered in a way that clearly, quickly and deeply points our souls to the King. In all of our needs, I pray that as God hears and answers our prayers, we would continue to look to the prize, Jesus Himself. His love is better than life.

We Change He Doesn’t

Thinking back to the way life use to be with family and friends is entertaining. We laugh and joke about the past and how different things were. A while ago one of my young grandsons asked me what it was like to live back in the “Olden days”. I quickly told him I have no idea that Papa (my husband who is older than me) might know and to ask him.

Though we like to joke around, if we think back with any seriousness we quickly realize that much has changed. Life did seem simpler. The lines between fact and fantasy were clearer. We know that life on imperfect earth is hard. It seems nothing stays the same and that can be overwhelming.

The One that created us has wonderfully reminded us in His word that He never changes.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8

Though we change and everything around us changes, Jesus is a constant. He never changes. The promises found in Him are forever.

We, who trust in Jesus, need not fear the changes we experience. These changes are reasons for us to run quickly to Jesus and receive His secure steadfast unchanging love. God’s grace and mercy towards us IS Jesus and Jesus is forever!

A Hard Season of Wait

So often waiting feels like a trial, like a piece of us is suffering a loss of what we believe is already ours. I have learned among a long season of delay, how much I would have missed if the results were microwaved instead of slowly cooked.

I would have missed some major character shaping that God has done in me. I would have missed the awe-inspiring testimonies that only God could write because of the wait, and now I have these precious jewels to share with others for forever. Oh how the gems gained are *always worth the dig to get them out!

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

(James 1:2-4)

Put That Phone Down!

Put That Phone Down!The worst thing happened tonight at bath time! I was putting peanut into the tub when my phone slipped out of my pocket and landed right in the warm bubbly water.  I don’t have one of those fancy water proof phones or a water proof case so I’m hoping a 48 hour soak in rice will save the day! But 2 hours into this forced phone fast, it is shocking how addicted I have become to that little piece of technology.

We live in a culture that is so saturated by technology and instant gratification that its completely normal to have our phones within arms reach at all times.  Even now as I type this, my mind keeps wandering back to my phone.  What if someone texts me? What if someone calls?  No podcasts?! No Camera?! No Calendar?! No music?! I feel like something has gone terribly wrong and I think maybe it has.

The problem however, is not that my phone is taking a vacation but rather that this is such a struggle for me to begin with!   How is it that I have become so dependent on being “connected” with my smart phone?  And then the convicting thought, “Why am I more dependent on and connected to my phone than I am my God?” Ouch.

All the hours of time wasted scrolling through Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram and yet how much time do I spend seeking God’s face? How many times a day do I check to see if I have any texts or notifications? A ton guys…like ever 5 minutes! If I prayed as much as I stared at that little screen.  Now that would be something.  That would be world changing!

1 Corinthians 6_12So yes, I’m withdrawing pretty hard right now from something I didn’t realize had taken control of me.  But I’m also feeling pretty thankful that God has given me this realization.  So sisters I want to encourage you to take a step back and think about those things in your life that maybe should be re-evaluated too!  In your life what things are time wasters and time stealers?  What has become more important than it should be and distracts you from more important work? I want to encourage you to turn off your phones, step away from facebook, and do something.  Read a story to your children, paint a picture, journal, pray, or bake even.  Don’t let anyone or anything other than God rule your heart and mind.  We must be diligent about this!

In a few days, I won’t be forced to be unplugged anymore but this time things will be different! Maybe instead of looking at my facebook before climbing out of bed, I’ll look out the window and thank God for another beautiful day! Maybe instead of mindlessly scrolling while drinking my coffee, I’ll read some Psalms.  Maybe this is exactly what I needed and maybe it’s exactly what you need too!

Being Active for Jesus

Now that I have shared my weight loss story, you can probably imagine I was not a very active teenager.

I hated running in particular and walked when it was cross country at school.

I tried running short distances when I was told to at school, but everyone was faster than I was! Even my two younger sisters.

I was lazy, but I also had worked it up in my mind that I should stay away from running and all sports.

I was lethargic and didn’t want to move, it was miserable. The Lord does not want this for us, in the Bible Proverbs shares a lot on laziness, giving wisdom that it will not make a profit and in Colossians it talks about working heartily for the Lord, you cannot do that if you’re lazy, which I was.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

As well as losing weight, God helped me to overcome my laziness. I got into exercise classes and that gave me energy to work heartily for the Lord.

After a few years of doing exercise classes, I decided to revisit running. Not putting myself under any pressure to compare myself to others and how fast they were running, but running on my own. I found I had worked up a lot of endurance.

After a while of practicing running, my friend asked if I wanted to join her to do the 10k race for life. I jumped at the chance to have something to work towards.

I not only completed the race, I did it well. My parents had come to support me and were so proud.

God is so good helping me to overcome this aversion I had to do anything active, especially as my children take after their Dad and are extremely active. God knew I needed to be active for them and he gave me the strength to do it. And, He still is giving me the strength to run with my kids.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.