Tag Archives: sharing the Gospel

I Chronicles 14-16; The Things We Do For God

David was a man of action. Through his story, we can see that when he was obedient to God his actions were blessed. When David got ahead of God, or disobeyed Him, we see God remove Himself from the situation. There are no blessings there.

I appreciated Warren Wiersbe’s insight on the subject. (With The Word; Thomas Nelson 1991) I’m using his outline from chapter 15 as I share what God has laid on my heart today.

David had gotten excited about returning the ark of God to Jerusalem. He planned a big celebration, including a parade. He got a brand new cart to act as a parade float, and placed the ark up there for all to see. He assembled the band, and headed out with great fanfare (chapter 13).

But David learned doing things his way, even though he meant well, ends in disaster.

So now in chapter 15, David is determined to let God call the shots. “No one but the Levites may carry the ark of God…” because those are God’s rules. There was still a joyful parade, but they had inquired of God first, and God blessed their work. Wiersbe reminds us to “Do God’s Work Biblically.” Sometimes it seems we in 2017 are more concerned about being politically correct than biblically correct. David would tell us that is a recipe for disaster.

Wiersbe also encourages us to “Do God’s Work Joyfully.” 15:16 says “David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps, and cymbals.” Who doesn’t love a parade?

Does what you are doing in God’s name bring you joy? Or is it a burden, done with a hint of resentment? If we are privileged to do the work for our great God, shouldn’t there be joy in the doing? If there isn’t, perhaps you are undertaking  a job meant for someone else. Your joy in the doing might be found in a different task. God loves a cheerful giver, of our money and our time.

Wiersbe looks at verses 25-26 and tell us to “Do God’s Work Sacrificially.” Seven bulls and seven rams were sacrificed during the procession, which probably means the parade took a few steps, then stopped so a sacrifice could be offered. Not exactly convenient if you were a cymbal player wanting to get home in time to see the first pitch of the big game on TV.

Let’s face it, doing God’s work often takes sacrifice, and not just monetarily. I am reminded God’s work required the ultimate sacrifice for my Savior. I think I can afford to miss the first pitch or the whole game if there is something I can be doing for God, and do it without regret.

Dr. Wiersbe points out that we are to “Do God’s Will Fervently.” David and the people held nothing back, were not distracted, and did not care what others thought. They were focused on God, plus nothing. And they didn’t stop until that ark was safely home, work completed.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We’ve got things to do for God; to share the Gospel, to represent Him to lost souls, to care for the needy, to love our neighbors. The list goes on.

Let’s go about our tasks biblically, joyfully, sacrificially, and fervently for Jesus’ sake and for His glory!


Numbers 25-27; Leading By Example

When Moses found out he was about to die, he prayed that God would raise up a man to take his place. I was struck today about how he prayed:

Moses said to the Lord, “May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.” (27:15-17)

Moses knew that, left to their own devices, the Jews would go astray like sheep without a shepherd. He prayed two things about the one who would come after him. And I can’t help but think we should be praying the same thing for our own leaders, those dear ones who accept the responsibility as pastors of our church fellowships.

  1. Moses prayed that his successor would “go out and come in before them.” This seems to be speaking of the kind of example our leaders should present. Does your pastor (or do you if you are a pastor) demonstrate how to share the Gospel, and not just talk about it on Sunday mornings? Is he (or she) a presence in your community, does he talk about Jesus over coffee at McDonalds? Are people coming to your church on Sunday because of the contact your pastor has made? I knew a pastor one time who said that visitation wasn’t his gift. I’m sorry, but I question his calling. I don’t think a pastor should be making excuses for not “going out and coming in” before the people he is called to shepherd. We sheep learn by example. Moses knew that, and he prayed for a leader that would be that example.
  2. Now before you get too hard on your pastor for not being the perfect example, Moses didn’t let us off the hook. He prayed that his successor would “lead THEM out and bring them in” as well. I am reminded that Jesus wasn’t just speaking to preachers when He commanded that we get out there and make disciples. We aren’t to sit comfortably in our sheep pen while the shepherd is out there knocking on doors. We are all to be sharing our faith, calling on people God puts on our hearts, striking up conversation with people in the grocery line if God prompts us to do that. Are people coming to church because you have made the effort to invite them? It’s not just the pastor’s job to share the Gospel.

But it is his job. I will say that both of my pastors, the one in my Ohio church and the one here in Georgia, are men who are leading by this example. Going to school board meetings, or Rotary Club, or striking up a conversation with the waiter who brings coffee, or helping a neighbor pull weeds, finding opportunities to share Jesus… and taking those opportunities, these dear men aren’t just preachers on Sunday mornings. They live their faith openly every day. And they challenge us to do the same. I think this is what Moses had in mind when he prayed like he did.

Yes, our pastors have a grave responsibility to lead by example. Pray for yours. His is a very difficult job, and Satan would love nothing more than to shackle him to his desk.

And pray that God will prompt each of us to get busy, too. May we be people who eagerly put ourselves out there and lead people into our fold.

For Jesus’ sake. May He find us faithful.

Numbers 13-14; Turn Down The Volume

When I was a middle school teacher I found that, when the kids in my classroom started to get noisy, the louder I spoke, the louder they got. If I tried to teach over their chatter, the noise level rose (and so did my frustration level).

It’s like that with arguments, isn’t it? Voice level rises, and anger escalates.

Ten spies came back from checking out the Promised Land, and threw fear into the people. I can almost see the Jews getting caught up in the frenzy. So rather than trying to out-shout them, Moses and Aaron fell to the ground, face down in front of the people gathered there. Joshua and Caleb tore their clothes, a sign of distress and grief.

That got the people’s attention.

Several of my closest friends at the middle school and I had our breaks scheduled at the same time. Usually, unless there were papers to grade, lessons to tweak, or parents to talk to, we would meet in the teacher’s lounge for a cup of coffee and a few laughs. Most of the time five or six of us would sit around the table and talk about recipes, husbands, and TV shows, for twenty minutes. It was a much needed break from our day.

Two of the women were friends in school and out. They socialized together with their husbands, and enjoyed a special friendship. Most of the time, they would join the rest of us. But occasionally, they would sit together on the couch, heads together, and whisper about something they didn’t want the rest of us to hear.

What do you do when someone whispers? Do your ears perk up, your senses heighten? Well, mine did. I could be in the middle of a conversation with another teacher at the table, but as soon as my friends on the couch began to whisper, I found myself trying to listen to them, too.

I couldn’t help myself. The whispering got my attention, even if I really didn’t care what they are saying.

I got to thinking about how I share Christ with others. Do I stand on a street corner and shout “Repent! The end is near!”? Do I take my Bible and hit them over the head with it? Do I talk about Jesus, or do I live His love? Do I listen to my friend, instead of rushing in with answers? Do I argue? Debate? Lecture?

Moses and Aaron fell on their faces, rather than trying to out-shout the crowd. I think I can learn a lesson from this. Oh, if you read on you’ll find out that some of the people didn’t heed what Moses had to say. They ended up facing God’s judgment in spite of his warning.

But at least Moses got their attention, and was faithful to say what God wanted him to say. I want that to be true about me, too.

So, maybe I should learn to turn down the volume. Someone said, “if you want people to hear you… whisper.” I want my life to whisper, “Jesus.”

I’m thinking that, if I want someone to hear my testimony, I should get together with them in a quiet place. I should demonstrate my love for God by quietly serving, by reaching out to them in friendship.

Then, I want to be ready to give an answer for the hope I have in my Savior. I just need to get their attention first so that they’ll ask me to.





Numbers 7-9; Whose Responsibility Is This, Anyway?

I’m teaching a Sunday School class this quarter for the older ladies of our church. Our ages range from 60-80something. These women bless me and challenge me every week.

We’ve been looking at Jesus’ last days on earth in human form, and have been impressed with the Savior’s urgency in preparing his disciples for what was to come. Jesus was going to die, then come back to life, and there would be work for them to do amid hardship, persecution, and blessing.

Our lesson book is challenging us to get busy ourselves in sharing the Gospel, reminding us that there are people out there going to hell without Jesus.

I was praying Sunday morning as I was getting ready for church. Standing in front of the mirror with hair drier humming, I prayed, “God, these women have walked with you for decades. They are prayer warriors. They continue to use their gifts to serve you. Many have health issues. Some are widows the church should care for. They’ve put in their time, and this lesson is telling them to get busy. What can I possibly say to these dear women who are at the end of their service?”

The thought came to me, “Do you think I’m done with them, that they are of no use to Me?”

Point taken. I taught the lesson, and reminded them God does have something for them to do, someone they need to share the Gospel with, some whose lives God wants them to touch for eternity.

This thought was reinforced today as I read 8:23-26. Priests had mandatory retirement at age 50. After serving in the temple for 20 years, their responsibilities were passed on to younger men.

But here’s the good news for us old geezers: “They may assist their brothers in performing their duties…”

God doesn’t want us to turn in our union cards just because the pages of our calendars show more days behind us than ahead.

There’s a flip side to this coin. My Ohio church family does amazing things in the community. It’s a small congregation of people who love the Lord, and who work hard. And the bulk of the work is done by the dear ones who are in their 70’s and 80’s.

They work with backaches, arthritis, hernias. They work with hearing loss, and fatigue. But whenever there is a job to be done, these amazing people are the first in line. I love them so much.

But, young people – where are you? God’s footprint for an effective church includes you. It’s easy to let someone else do a job if that job is a bit inconvenient. They’re retired. I’m working. They’ve got experience. I don’t. Their kids are grown. Mine demand my attention.

Lets’ be honest here. We all find the time to do things that are important to us.

So whose responsibility is the work of the church? It’s all of us who know the Lord. It’s yours. It’s mine. There is something for all of us to do.

Let’s be faithful.


Genesis 42-43 Trust Me

Reuben was Jacob’s first born son. So it’s not surprising that Reuben would be the one to take charge, go to his father, and promise to protect Benjamin if only Jacob would let him take the young man back to Egypt. Reuben even swore that if anything happened to Jacob’s precious son, Jacob had permission to kill two of Reuben’s sons.

“We need food, Dad, or all of us will die. Trust me.”

But Jacob refused to let Reuben take Benjamin into Egypt. Even after Reuben made such a demonstrative offer. Could it be that Reuben’s trustworthiness was in doubt, especially after his encounter with Bilhah, Jacob’s wife? Just saying.

Later, when the grain was gone and Jacob’s family was facing starvation, Judah stepped up. His promise to his dad to care for his youngest brother wasn’t dramatic, it wasn’t laced with promises he couldn’t keep. Judah went sincerely and humbly and said, “Dad, I’ll be responsible. If I don’t bring Benjamin back to you, it’s on me.”

What is it that elicits trust in someone? Obviously we look at past behavior. We probably consider the situation and hear what the other person is saying. We weigh what we know about that person’s character, with our need to trust them in the moment.

So today I’m asking myself if God can trust me. Have I been trustworthy in the past? Am I sincere about wanting to follow Him and obey Him? Is my character like that of Jesus, the ultimate example of being worthy of trust?

Or am I all talk? All show? No follow-through? Good intentions that go nowhere?

God wants to entrust me with the eternal souls of people He loves more than Jacob loved Benjamin. Am I up to the challenge? Can I say, “Trust me” and mean it?


Genesis 19-20 Do The Right Thing

Abimelech thought Sarah was Abraham’s sister. And she was. They had the same father. But that wasn’t the whole story.

Sarah must have been a stunning mature woman because when Abimelech saw her, he liked what he saw, and took her into his house. (I want to know where she got her face cream) He had every intention of sleeping with this woman.

God appeared to Abimelech in a dream before he did the deed, and told him Sarah was Abraham’s wife. He replied, “I DIDN’T KNOW!”

I read a couple commentaries on this passage and was puzzled at what one of them had to say on the subject. The author said that Abimelech’s heart did not condemn him because he was not “knowingly and wittingly” sinning against God. He goes on to say that God knows the honesty of the heart and will acknowledge it.

So why are we sending missionaries into remote tribes in Africa? If they don’t know they’re sinning and will get a free pass, aren’t we complicating things by telling them about Jesus? And why did Jesus tell us to go tell the world about Him if people who don’t know about Him aren’t condemned when their hearts are honest?

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Does that mean what I think it means?

Here’s what I see in the account of Abimelech and Sarah. Abimelech was sinning. Maybe not physically, but certainly in his mind. God told him to stop. He did acknowledge the fact that Abimelech didn’t know Sarah was a married woman, that he’d been deceived. God got his attention before Abimelech went any further.

Yes, I know you did this with a clear conscience, and so I have kept you from sinning against me. That is why I did not let you touch her. Now return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not return her, you may be sure that you and all yours will die. (Gen 20:6-7)

Abimelech listened to God’s warnings. He didn’t go through with his plan to take Sarah as his wife. And that’s how God wants us to respond to His attempts to get us to stop sinning, too.

You’ve heard His warnings. They may have come through the voice of your pastor on a Sunday morning. They may be your mother’s voice in your head, or from the uneasiness you get when reading His Word. His warnings may come when you find it hard to pray because of that sin you are planning, or living with. You may feel guilt, or shame, or sadness, or uneasiness, and those may be God’s way of getting your attention before you go any further in that sin.

The problem comes when we get so used to living with God’s promptings, we become masters in ignoring them. We learn to live with guilt. We stop trying to pray. And we postpone spending any time in His Word.

Hear God say, “Stop.” Consider the truth that every sin comes with a death penalty. And understand that God wants to stop you before you go any further, because He loves you. He wants you to obey Him because He wants to fellowship with you. He wants you to confess your sin and allow His blood to cover that sin.

Maybe you honestly don’t know that what you are doing is a sin. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t trying to get your attention to point that important fact out to you. Ignorance doesn’t get a free pass, and He will stop at nothing to get you to recognize sin so He can forgive you when you ask.

Abimelech did the right thing in response to God’s warnings. I pray we all will do the same.



Genesis 14 – Be Prepared

Abram was not a soldier. He was a nomad, traveling with a bunch of people carrying all their worldly possessions, and leading their livestock, not knowing where they were heading. But when time came to go rescue Lot, Abram called up 318 trained men to go get him.

Did Abram’s readying those men for battle indicate a lack of faith in the God he followed? Or something else?

Sometimes people get so comfortable in the knowledge that “God is Sovereign” that they figure God’s will will be done with or without them; that if a person is on God’s “chosen” list, he or she will be saved whether or not I share the Gospel with them. I’m not so sure about that, according to Scripture.

Abram trained those men long before there was a hint of a battle. Then, when God called, they sprang into action, prepared to face the enemy.

We’re called to train like an athlete, or a soldier. Put on the armor of God. Fight the good fight. Pack your bags and be ready to go like the Jews at Passover. God can defeat armies, rescue lost nephews like Lot without the action of people. But He has chosen to use us instead. I wonder what story we would be reading in Genesis if Abram had decided to sit back and let God rescue Lot Himself, or if Abram had not prepared for battle in advance.

Dear one, read your Bible. Study God’s Word. Pray. Plan ahead. Be ready to share the Good News of Jesus at a moment’s notice. Then get ready. God wants to use you to win this next battle.