A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Witness for Jesus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Witness for Jesus. Show all posts

June 25, 2023

A Witness For Jesus Christ In Times of Chaos

Is anyone else feeling the urgency to reach the lost and the skeptics in this hour chaos and deception? As I watch the news reports of fading justice in our nation, along with what looks like Russia descending into a "civil war", I recognize that I must rely on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to show me the truth. And what is the truth? As my husband often tells me regarding what the world shows us, "It's all kabuki theatre", meaning what is being presented to us as truth is all about showmanship, rather than any real content. In other words, it's a performance meant to convince us of the presenter's viewpoint, rather than giving us any substantial facts by which to make our own decisions.

That got me to thinking along so many paths ... with all the cascading events happening in the world, how do I reach those who need to know Jesus? What is my best approach? And how do I avoid all the pitfalls, missed opportunities, and wrong approaches that the evangelistic movement has participated in over the last few decades? How do I reach the lost and skeptics like Jesus did? Because I know, without a doubt, that time is running short.

My husband and I have no lack of testimonies of the times we failed to reach someone for the Lord. Whether it was the time a friend could have been interested in pursuing Jesus if we had had the answer to his question, "Where are dinosaurs in your Bible"?; or our inability [and spiritual immaturity] to authoritatively explain our reasons why we don't believe God controls everything in our lives -- which could have shown a believer that we too often blame God for our wounds, when it is the devil that is the initiator of our pain. Needless to say, these shortfalls only made us more determined to seek better ways to represent Jesus to those who so desperately need Him. And I'm seeing just how desperate people are becoming, and just how much they are going to need His Presence in their lives in the near future. 

When I encounter a non-believer, I now focus on not just knowing the truth of the Bible in the following verse, but doing it: So prepare your minds for action, be completely sober [in spirit—steadfast, self-disciplined, spiritually and morally alert], fix your hope completely on the grace [of God] that is coming to you when Jesus Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:13). I am prepared and alert for those opportunities that present themselves to tell of my faith in Jesus. I'm not afraid or self-conscious -- in fact, I am confident of who I am in Christ, and who He is in me, so that I do not let the Enemy cower me into silence. I know that the Holy Spirit will give me the words I need because this time in history requires that we stand on our faith; and to continue to stand, even in the midst of rebuttal, repudiation, contempt and chaos. There are lost souls that need our witness in this hour!

So, how should we witness? First, I believe we need to recognize the mindsets of those who intentionally reject their need for Christ, whether they identify as atheist, agnostic, or just disinterested. We are now in an age of advanced technology, and our faith can look superstitious, and/or devoid of any connection to science or modern culture. Furthermore, in this era of equity and inclusion, many Christians can appear intolerant, judgmental and bigoted. And need I even mention the label that is most associated with Believers ... hypocritical. Sadly, many atheists can back up their position for non-belief better than Christians can justify theirs for faith. We need to grow up into a mature faith to be effective in modeling the benefits of salvation through faith in Jesus!

And what about those who profess belief, but find themselves doubting in these perilous times? They need our mature and wise witness, too. It can be difficult to counsel a fellow believer when you see them straying from the path of righteousness to which Jesus calls us. We don't want to appear condemning, or holed-than-thou, but again I find that Scripture gives me advice that best suits this situation. And again, our perspective when delivering the message is more important than following any "evangelical code of conduct". Consider the Amplified version of 2 Timothy 4:2: ...  preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching. The core of what I heard is this: we should be prepared at all times to speak to our fellow Christians when we see them in doubt or unbelief. We need to be willing to correct, rebuke and encourage, "with great patience and careful instruction". 

You see, Jesus is our model! It was a time of great chaos in the Roman Empire when He appeared on the scene. Religion was in conflict with Roman authority, and then He brings the Kingdom of God into the mix, offending both factions. [Can you see that Christianity is in conflict with the culture and the governing authorities? And, as Kingdom ambassadors, we often find ourselves at odds with both the organized Church/Religion and the powers-that-be?] Rather than trying to convince those He encountered with how wrong they were, Jesus approached them about their attitude. What if we went right to the heart of the matter and testified that we aren't trying to convince them that Christianity solves all the issues of the world [that they are interested in], but rather, we are interested in why they are having trouble in submitting to Jesus as the Son of a God who loved them so much, He was willing to die for them. 

Another issue that skeptics have is their pride in thinking they have all the answers. They will declare that Jesus has nothing to offer them. So when we share that they couldn't come to Him [even if they wanted to on their own] except for the fact that it is the Father who draws them, we can introduce a truth that there is a greater Power in the Universe than man. This life is fleeting, and what does one have to show at the end of it? What hope is there after your last breath? And so many times we are met with the arrogant reasoning of the flesh ... "I think God knows I'm a good person", meaning "So, I know I'm going to Heaven" -- whatever that means to a person who has no relationship with the Savior. But how are they going to answer Jesus when they stand before Him and He asks, "So what did you do for My Kingdom"?

It is so important that we speak in our authority as someone who knows the difference from living in our flesh and living in the Spirit. Our own testimonies of being drawn to Jesus through no desire of our own, and the miraculous ways it has changed our life, can spark a fire in their heart to take that first step.

It's time to face reality ... We find ourselves in an age where man's arrogance has led us to the precipice of destruction. The human race is dangerously close to passing the point of no return, and it is incumbent upon those of us who have been snatched from the edge to witness in our power and authority. It is time to educate, equip, and train others to go and speak into the world that the only way we can turn the tide of this upheaval in the world is to humble ourselves before the One who created us. It is time to surrender our very lives to follow His ways, faithfully teaching and encouraging; in patience and in love. But we also go forth in boldness and courage! Chaos does not scare us, and Evil does not deter us. Christ goes before us, battling with us, and Evil will be defeated, leaving righteousness in His wake. The way we live our lives will be a witness of our obedience to Him; He who is Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, and the Prince of Peace! 

Ephesians 6:19-20.   And pray for me, that words may be given to me when I open my mouth, to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news [of salvation], for which I am an ambassador in chains. And pray that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly and courageously, as I should. 


June 11, 2023

Perilous Times Call For Plain-Spoken Truth and Persistent Perseverance

 It has become unquestionably clear to me that Evil has pervaded our culture in every sphere of our existence. What does that look like? It can be encapsulated in 2 Timothy 3:1-8 ... "But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. 6 For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate morally weak and spiritually-dwarfed women weighed down by [the burden of their] sins, easily swayed by various impulses, 7 always learning and listening to anybody who will teach them, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres [the court magicians of Egypt] opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, unqualified and worthless [as teachers] in regard to the faith". 

I hope you didn't skip over this familiar and important passage of the Bible. Paul knows he is facing his impending death, and he writes to Timothy, a "baby Christian" to encourage him to stand strong in his faith; to endure in the face of everything the Enemy will throw at him to confound and confute his faith. Paul goes on to describe all the characteristics of people who are lovers of self, rather than lovers of God. And make no mistake ... within that vast group of sinners, the Church is not found innocent. Now read that passage again with intention. Increasingly, we can see that "difficult days that will be hard to bear" are upon us. We see the arrogance and greed extend from our government at the highest levels to the corporate titans to the scammers who take advantage of the vulnerable on the internet. We see the actions of those who are "devoid of natural human affection" as the numbers of innocent people who are killed or injured in our cities rises to alarming statistics. We see immorality intensify to obscene, blasphemous, and debased levels -- children sold for sexual pleasure; the government [through our education system] seeking to claim our children for themselves and lead them into a debauched culture of men claiming to be women, and women denying their role in creation; thereby stealing and corrupting the innocence of childhood.

But, lest there any of us who claim security in our faith, we need to understand that Paul doesn't hold the Church guiltless either. And I want to make myself clear -- I do not disparage all members of the Church! I understand that it is the institution of the Church that has not lived up to the commission Jesus called His followers to. I am fully aware that individual followers are committed to being devout and obedient servants of His Kingdom here on earth. It is not up to me [or anyone else] to judge their hearts or measure the worth of their faith. That, Jesus will do at the Judgment Seat. But each of us can judge the fruit of the institution, and those who walk in religion, seeking to control and dictate belief systems through misleading and false teachings, or deceptive, man-made doctrine. Following Jesus is easy; we have His Word to guide us, and it is the Holy Spirit who counsels and reveals God's will for the faithful. The institutionalized Church, if not careful, can switch the focus of Jesus's teachings from His truth to their own interpretation, resulting in people losing sight of Him as they seek to please the leadership and themselves.     

A man I greatly admire, Victor Marx, recently posted a meme that stated, "Too many Christians want a seat at the table that Jesus would have flipped over". "The table" he is talking about is the seat of power and reputation/recognition that the Church has become for far too many who claim their faith in Jesus. The Lord flipped the tables of the moneychangers in the Temple because they were profiting off the poor; requiring inflated payment for the poor to have access to the sacrificial animals and entry into the House of His Father. The Temple was to be open and available to all; it is the Father's will that all have access to His love and to His Presence.

But is it really any different today? I have personally seen the 10 Ways the Enemy Has Infiltrated the Church, from a powerful article written by Evangelist Chuck Lawless. I have seen 1) Rivalry in the Church, 2) Immaturity among believers, 3) Tolerating sin in the congregation, 4) Believers turning on believers, 5) Sexual immorality in the church, 6) Misuse of Christian liberty [to condemn others], 7) Idolatry in the church, 8) Competition over spiritual gifts, 9) Unwillingness to forgive a repentant believer, and 10) False teaching in the church. I do not point these out from a superior attitude -- it is always my heart for God to purify anything He finds unholy in my heart. My intention is to call ourselves to account for the ways we might be limiting access to God for anyone seeking Him. 

I mean, are we really glorifying our Lord if we are fighting over ministry turf; allowing internal strife between members; tolerating sexual sin; promoting someone or a ministry above our holy God [worshiping the gods of our heart]; competing over whose spiritual gift is greater; being unwilling to forgive a repentant brother or sister in Christ; or being unable to discern a false teaching from the grace of Jesus to allow for a difference of opinion that doesn't contradict the Gospel and the Father's will? 

For instance, does it really matter if we baptize in the Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit -- or we simply baptize in the Name of Jesus? Isn't that make Baptism into a religious ritual rather than a pronouncement of our allegiance to Heaven? Didn't Jesus say He and the Father are One, and if we've seen Him, we've seen the Father? Isn't the purpose of declaring a name is that you know who you are declaring your spiritual allegiance to -- the Light or the dark side? Jesus allowed His followers to eat from the wheat fields on the Sabbath, breaking a strict religious rule. When He declared that “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath”, He is proclaiming that He exercises authority over the Sabbath. He also exercises authority over baptism, and if we choose to be baptized, He knows the condition of our heart, and that we understand the significance of this action. He never desired that our faith be difficult, once we choose to believe. Why do we make it so?

Finally, I think there can be no disagreement that we are seeing the brutality of mankind on the earth. And when the Rule of Law is no longer operating, then the message the masses receive is that there are no rules; or the rules are made to be broken; or it's ok to make your own rules and just do what makes you feel good about yourself -- none of which were ever taught by the Creator and Redeemer of all mankind. Therefore those men [and women] will come to despise the One who made the rules to guide us all to a peaceful and harmonious life. And they will deny His power and authority to guide their lives because it comes in conflict with their own self-interests. 

It is evident from the threats of war, famine, disease/plagues, and persecution from those who love power and those who hate God, that we are indeed in perilous times. Is the glorious return of our Lord imminent, or will He give us a reprieve by some miracle of His mercy and grace? No one can say for sure, but this I do know ... it is time to receive HIS TRUTH, not the truth of the world, and most certainly time to discern if you are hearing the truth in your place of worship. It is not time "to tolerate unsound doctrine and inaccurate instruction [that does not challenge them with God’s truth]; but wanting to have their ears tickled [with something pleasing], they will accumulate for themselves [many] teachers [one after another, chosen] to satisfy their own desires and to support the errors they hold." It is perilous enough that you need to know what you believe and why! Don't rely on another's faith -- own your own. And remember what Jesus said to His disciples in those ancient times ... Listen carefully, I have told you in advance. So go and find out what HE said because His words "will not pass away". For it is most assuredly the time to determine that we will stand in persistent perseverance. And He will stand with us! Praise Him, above all Names, for He is worthy to be praised! 

Luke 21:28    Now when these things begin to occur, stand tall and lift up your heads [in joy], because [suffering ends as] your redemption is drawing near.”

November 25, 2022

You Will Be My Witnesses


This day after Thanksgiving, I find myself meditating on the future; specifically how we Christians are fulfilling our commission from the Lord to be His witnesses to the end of the earth. That's a very serious request made to each of us! And what does it mean to be "His witness"; to witness about Him to another? As I considered the definition of what constitutes a witness, it struck me that there is a difference between being a witness in the sense of a noun, and being a witness in the sense of a verb.

If you identify as the noun form of witness, then you are likely to be stationary; an observer, a spectator, a viewer/watcher. If you align yourself with those who approach being a witness as a verb, then the definition is different -- the dictionary actually portrays movement as you become a witness. You begin by being an observer and a watcher, then move into undergoing an experience, and end up endorsing and validating. To me, that implies that becoming a witness for Jesus involves receiving the power to make that progression. We all know that power to be the Holy Spirit!

And my inspiration for approaching just what kind of witness I want to be for my Lord comes from a note I received from Asher Intrater, President of Revive Israel, an Israeli Messianic Jewish organization that seeks to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom to those Biblical "ends of the earth". Asher reminded me of Paul's declaration [near the end of his life] that he had "finished his race" and met the goals set before him by the Lord. And that spoke to my spirit of Hebrews 12:1, which says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us... Can you see the action and progressive faith in this call to run our race?

Asher reminded me that in a race, each runner has a starting and ending point. These points both anchor and propel the runner to intimately know his or her race, plot out the track, and then aim precisely for the tape at the end of the race, breaking through it for their victorious ending. But how are we to accomplish this race and the goal of being a quality witness for the Lord, who has given so much to us? What kind of witness am I destined to be? Jesus speaks to the Disciples [who have gathered in the Upper Room after His resurrection] that they don't need to be concerned where they are on the timeline of the earth's existence, but "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:6-8).

Now, you may be thinking, "But that was  for THOSE Disciples! That power had to be greater for the tremendous calling they were given"! And you might be asking if this verse even applies to you? So, I have a question for you -- isn't it the same Spirit, and the same Lord who exists today? And isn't the need for witnesses of Jesus just as great today? And here is the really important question ... Can you believe that promise in Acts 1 is for you?

I want each of you reading this post to know that the world is desperately in need of witnesses that testify to the power and authority of Jesus in their lives. People need to hear of the ways He has worked miracles and wonders in your life; changed your circumstances from poor [by worldly standards] to rich in spiritual wealth; and restored lives that were torn asunder and discarded. 

So many people [both the Unsaved and the Saved[ don't know how to get that power! They don't intimately know the Holy Spirit and are unaware that through Prayer and Obedience, and the Laying on of Hands, that power of the Holy Spirit is available to all! Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to fall upon you [as Jesus promised]! Ask for it! Declare that you want to be an effective witness for Him! 

Too many of us have been convinced that all the work has been done because Jesus declared on the Cross that "It is finished". Too many think our job now is to wait patiently for Him to return and whisk us out of this cruel world. But that's not experiencing the fullness of our relationship with God! And I want to state that it is so important that we not be afraid of experiencing God! Being a bold witness for God is the highest calling of our lives. With the power of the Holy Spirit, you can have the strength, the courage, the capabilities, and the deep faith/conviction to be passionate witnesses for Christ!

And remember that analogy of a race well-run? Effective and impactful witnesses for the Lord Jesus will bear fruit in their lives. At the end of the race, there will be testimonies of salvation among those they witnessed to. The seeds they sowed along their track will result in generations declaring that the Kingdom of God is here! Seeing others being Born Again, and then seeing and entering the Kingdom, will propel them across the finish line. It's just as it was when Jesus called those 12 men to become His witnesses ... Disciples making Disciples! Being a witness is not just something we do; it is who we are! It is our spiritual identity! 

My final thought: As the Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit, may we all run our race as part of Jesus's long distance relay team. Let us run our predetermined distance, stretching with all our might to pass the baton to the next person on Jesus's team so they might continue their race with power and confidence. And let us be convinced, as we witness, that God will empower our efforts and we will be part of the crowd of witnesses that has gone before us, each generation serving to encourage the next that God will see His Gospel taken to all the nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues. Amen!

#witnessforthelord #runyourrace #totheendoftheworld #witnessforjesus

2 Timothy 2:1-2    You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.