Saturday, December 31, 2016

With Someone In Mind

Many of these stories that I write come about as a means to respond to a particular person. Either I am writing to someone or I am writing about someone and the situation they have gotten themselves into. I also write about myself - my discoveries, my joys or my sorrows - but ALWAYS I write about God and how He is the solution in all of these scenarios.

Today's story was written with someone in mind. It was one brought to me by a friend - the story of a young woman (married for a few years with children) who professes to be a Christian yet possesses few of the characteristics.

The woman is contemplating divorce as she has found someone more interesting than her current husband. What should our response be to a situation like this? We see these things nearly everyday. What is our responsibility in this world towards the lost or to the straying believer?

First, let us pray. Prayer should be our first and best response. God is the one who changes hearts, not us. Our words can only bring rejection in the ewars of the hearer without God's Holy Spirit laying the ground work.

Second, make sure we have the facts. Is there more than one person involved. Have we talked to both sides in the matter. Perhaps one person is exaggerating things or even telling a lie. Make sure we know where both parties are coming from.

Third, examine scripture for verses that speak to the issues involved. In my friend's case it might be adultery, selfishness or idolatry. Search your Bible for verses that deal with these things. The Internet is a good place to find things like this. I use Google and ssearch for "verses about idolatry."

And now for the tricky part . . .

An experienced sea captain will first chart a course before setting sail. He knows, for example, where the waters are shallow and there is danger of running aground. Experience has taught him the safest routes to arrive at a particular destination. Talking with non-believers or "wanderers" is no different.

What is the ultimate destination? How are we going to get there without endangering ship or crew? From this point forward it is always best to have an experienced captain piloting the ship. His name is Jesus.

Once again, prayer is essential, but the first thing that needs to be done is to make Him known. It is possible that a person knows OF Jesus but doesn't really KNOW Him. That needs to change. How do we do this? Tell stories! Tell them the things He has done. The Bible is filled with them.

The thing we need to remember is we are not steering the boat. Our job is to get people to consider getting IN the boat. And even THAT is not our job. The Holy Spirit does that, SO what do we do? We are the ones who are already on the ship, encouraging others to come join us.

As much as we want a son or a daughter to know Jesus, our job is simple. We are to love them and to pray for them. That's it. If we REALLY want someone to know Jesus let us turn our passion into prayer.

I don't pray nearly as much as I should or as passionately as I should. Yet prayer is the weapon of the Christian in this battle for the lives of our family and friends. I also don't do a good enough job of "Letting go and letting God." I want to be the one to fix things! But only God can do that.

"16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way." - Ephesians 1:16-23

We cannot change people's minds or hearts, but God can. If we truly want to see someone change, let us introduce them to someone who can actually change them. "Love and pray" should be our charge. And tell them about Jesus and what He can do for them. If we desire to go beyond those simple commands and do more we are taking over the responsibilities of God and that is not a good thing. Let us pray. And let us become less than we want to be so that HE can become more.

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

People Get Ready - Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck
Love Train - O'Jays

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