This Easter weekend Gabe, my trusted dog and companion, and I were walking our neighborhood enjoying the sights, sounds and for him the smell of the journey. Not long into our trek I saw a nail in the road. I picked it up and thought about how a nail could inconvenience, someone to say the least.
It wasn’t long after that on our nearly two mile jaunt that I spotted another nail. This time my thoughts turned toward the nails of the cross being that it was Easter weekend. I put in my pocket with thoughts of the crucifixion. However this time I wondered if I can find a third nail, symbolizing the nails that pierced the body of Jesus, the Messiah. And I did!
It was then that these thoughts came to mind about being intentional in our witness for Christ.
- When I saw the first nail I didn’t think anything about it. It was an inconvenience. I wonder if we sometimes see people like that. Just another person who is interrupting our walk through life.
- The second nail jumped out at me. It jarred me into thinking about spiritual things. There are people I meet who need to know about the Truth of the Cross.
- The third nail brought the lesson home. After finding the other nails, I began a hunt for a third nail. After all it was actually Good Friday morning and I was sensing that God was speaking to me. The lesson this time was intentionality. It was a reminder that I need to be seeking people who need to hear and see the message that Christ has forgiven us of sin and promises eternal life if we accept Him into our lives.
Like you, I encounter lots of people in the places I go. Some are fellow Christians, most are not. I pray that I will see people as God sees them and never miss an opportunity to speak the Name above all names, Jesus, to someone.
I want to be intentional in my witness!
This past week, I have had two friends who are being intentional in witnessing to others and asked for prayer. One friend asked for prayer as he verbally witnesses to a young man. Another is serving his friend and praying that will see Christ in his actions and conversation.
Let’s be intentional. As we walk through life, let’s become acutely aware of our surroundings and be quick to share how the Love of Jesus kept Him on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.
Allan Taylor’s insights and practices are extremely helpful and they work!
Appreciate this blog by Ken Braddy sharing one of Allan’s books.
Jesus saves all of you! What I mean is that when you accept Christ into your life, your entire being…soul…spirit…body is claimed by the Lord.
Jesus saves us from our past, continues to change our present and is preparing us for our future. 1 Corinthians 1:11 states “Some of you were like this but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.” Paul in the prior verses had listed many sins and he is reminding us that we are forgiven completely and to embrace life accordingly.
How can we give God our entire selves?
- Be Wholly committed …don’t compartmentalize. God has saved all of you for His purposes.
- Be Holy. Your identity has changed and you are a child of God.
- Be Honest. Ask the Lord to help you examine your motivations, your thoughts and actions.
- Be Thoughtful. Renew and reframe your thought life. Ask God to transform your thinking.
- Be Healthy. God has given you a body to contain your core being. Treat your body well so that you may live for the purposes of Christ.
Gods saves all of us and He asks us to surrender ourselves to him. We are to allow him to be Lord of all of our lives. This is where discipleship comes in. We must first acknowledge His Lordship and then we must put practices into place in our lives that continue to refine us in His image as He works in us.
“Do you not know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in your, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Cor: 6:19-20
“God raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by His power” 1 Cor 6:14
As Christ followers we are united around one thing. That Jesus, Deity wrapped in flesh, was crucified for all mankind for the forgiveness of our sins, and that He conquered death by being raised from the dead. Evangelicals agree that we can surrender our lives to God, and that He transforms us through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The Believers in Corinth believed in the Risen Christ as well, but they found themselves disagreeing and taking sides about other issues. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians addresses this and reminds them that “Christ crucified” is central to faith and unity. Any deviation or doctrine teaching that Christ didn’t die for all mankind is unbiblical and at that point divides us. Paul would not have tolerated misconstruing the message, life, and death of Jesus and neither should we. When Paul uses the phrase, “Christ crucified” in 1 Corinthians 1:23, he is portraying the entire message of God in just a few words. That message is John 3:16 which the late Billy Graham proclaimed when He said “God loves you”.
How can we stay united to the central message of Christ crucified?
- Know the entire message of the Bible which is that God loves you and provided redemption for all humans through the cross of Christ. Anything less is false doctrine.
- Know the person or speaker. Often we read, listen or watch national or local speakers. Research what they write, their beliefs, their affiliations and endorsements.
- Open your Bible. A good life-long practice I use is to always open my copy of the God’s Word when someone is sharing. The Bible is our authority.
- Stay united by abiding in Christ. When we are not daily abiding in Christ we tend to succumb to our own desires, thoughts and opinions. Reading the Bible and praying each day keeps us centered in Christ.
- Proclaim Christ crucified as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 1:23. When we work together to speak of this truth we unite ourselves as the Body of Christ. Share Jesus in your conversations as well as your actions and lifestyle.
- Keep focused on the main truth which is God’s redemptive love for all. We can have differing opinions about some things, but we must stay united on the key truths of the Biblical message.
- Give grace. Live in grace. Speak the truth in love. Overlook non-essential petty issues. Build bridges with people and not walls.
People are going to have opinions especially in our day when it comes to things of faith. Believe what the Bible says. Live in such a way that contributes to unity and not division.
Let the Spirit rule in your life.
I have experienced the joyous birth of babies.
I have been with people as they took their final breath.
I have talked with people who were victims, violated and exploited.
I have ministered to people who perpetrated violence and aggression against others.
I have been around people who were geniuses and people who were mentally challenged.
I have friends who have different skin color or who are from another country entirely.
The Lord is the One who enables us to accept people as He sees them. Throughout the Bible we read the message that God values human life and calls for justice and dignity for all.
This weekend many in our nation are studying Acts 16 and Psalm 139 as churches and our nation observe the sanctity of life. In the New Testament passage, the apostle Paul encounters a slave girl owned by people exploiting her for ability to fortune tell. In Acts 16 ff we read that Paul called out her demonic spirit and that her owners were infuriated by this act. They were just using her for their own gain. It is sad to say that many girls and children are used by other in hideous ways.
Psalm 139 reminds us that we are wonderfully made by God. The psalmist says that God knits us together as babies in our mother’s womb. The words of this psalm are truly inspirational as they depict a loving God who in His omniscience knows all and everything about us. He cares from the moment we are conceived to the time of our final breath…and beyond!
What can you do show you value life?
- Take care of yourself. Value your own life. You are wonderfully made. Live to your created potential.
- Take care of others. We all need community, friends and a helping hand. Reach out to someone who needs a word and/or act of encouragement.
- Speak up! When you see injustice, do something. Act on behalf of those who cannot do for themselves. You may know them or know about them. Do something.
- Be sensitive! Your words and actions are impacting someone every day that you are around. Value the people that are in your circle and lift them up!
- Pray and Respond. Talk to God about the value of life and then do something. Love God…Love People.
In my Evernote folders I have one that says “I Value Life”. In this folder are documents, articles, blogs that help me to organize and encourage me in my life journey. It is my prayer that we will value life as much as Jesus does and be willing to give all of ourselves to demonstrate love to others as we value them.
We all want our families to know the Lord and to live for Him. How do we create an environment where our families know Jesus? How do we share Jesus with family or extended family members that see us every day? What can we do?
As we explore the Bible we find an interesting encounter in Acts 16 where Paul and Silas are spreading the Gospel in Philippi. City officials chose to have them beaten and thrown into jail. Later that night, a miraculous earthquake occurs in which the chains worn by Paul and Silas were sprung loose. In fact the doors of the jail were opened but all the prisoners remained inside. The Philippian jail keeper thinking that the prisoners had escaped was about to take his own life, when Paul called out and told him there were no escapes. This was the turning point for the jailer as he then spoke with Paul and asked, “What must I do to be saved?” The jailer and his whole family accepted the salvation of Christ that night.
What about your family? What can you do to make sure they know Jesus?
- Pray specifically for each family member. This helps keep you aware of circumstances in their lives. God knows. You need to know too.
- Remain faithful. Our kids and other family members are watching our actions perhaps more than listening to our words. While perfection eludes us, consistency is within our grasp. Stay faithful in your prayer life, studying the Bible and living a Spirit filled life.
- Speak truth in love. Share about your walk with Christ or insights from Scripture as normal conversation.
- Be real…not religious. Genuineness is easy to spot and appreciated by all. Your trials, issues, problems are seen by all. Your reality and how you allow Christ to work in and through you is evident.
- Read the Bible with those in your home. Reading Scripture uplifts and encourages and often challenges. Seek the heart of the Author.
- Attend church. Children, students and well all of us, need to be around other believers. Surround your family with like-minded people who can support you in your desire to see your family know Jesus.
- Take responsibility. Spiritual development is not something we leave to others. It is your responsibility to do all you can to help your family know the Lord.
The Philippian jailer and his family all came to know Jesus through a crisis event. They continued to live for Jesus as later Paul would write the letter to the Philippian church which included this family, Lydia and countless others.
May the Lord bless as you seek to be consistent in your walk with Christ so that your family will respond in faith to Him.