Archive | Gospel RSS feed for this section

Don’t Let Worry Stop Your “Good News” Witness

25 Jun

Let’s face it. Sometimes “good news” isn’t exactly what we’re expecting!

Some examples:

  • The parachute company says, “Don’t worry. You’ll get a full refund.”DontWorry_LOLwithGod_Graphic_Freedigitalphotos
  • The rescue crew says, “Don’t worry. Your house didn’t float very far at all.”
  • Your insurance company says, “Don’t worry. We’ll pay the full book value ($312) for your 1956 T Bird.”
  • Your boss calls and says, “Don’t worry. While you’re home, sick, I’ll do all your work PERSONALLY.”
  • Your lawyer says, “Don’t worry. Grand Juries always over-react.” *

Good news? Don’t think so! I wouldn’t want news like that!

When it comes to human stuff, “good news” can always be up for debate.

The only forever good news I’ve ever known is the news about Jesus — the Gospel!

I learned a new word today:  Euaggelion (pronounced yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on).

It’s Greek for “good news” “gospel” or “glad tidings.” ** And I was surprised to find it doesn’t just apply to salvation—how a person becomes a Christ-follower. It can also mean the good news of the whole Bible, God’s revelation to us. The whole counsel of God. The complete thread of redemption from Genesis to Revelation.

Good news indeed!

But sometimes we don’t act like the Bible and God’s message of salvation is good news. Maybe …

  • we’ve  forgotten the incredible gift God gave in Jesus.
  • we downplay its significance for today, thinking it’s not relevant for our culture.
  • we’ve lost our zeal (energy and excitement) for the things of God?

These are all possibilities. We do need to remember the significance of the good news, and value and get excited about it.

But I think there’s something more.

I think worry stops our witness.

  • We watch the news and worry about catastrophes and growing evil—as if God has lost control of the universe.
  • We worry about success and results instead focusing on eternal rewards and loss.
  • We worry about our kids future instead of giving them doctrinal truth and living out the gospel in front of them.
  • We worry about what people might think of us if we get sold out for God.

We let our worries dictate our actions, instead of making the daily choice to obey the Lord and His Word.

Jesus told us what to do: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).

Jesus came to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom (Luke 4:43), and He gave us our marching orders:

We are to proclaim the Good News that the King has come to save us (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) and the King will return to take us home (15:20-24).

And yet so often we refuse to talk to our neighbor, our co-worker, our friends, our family members. We’re worried and fearful.

The truth is,

We need a revival of the Word of God in our hearts, and an understanding of the power of the Gospel, before we’ll ever be willing to share it with the world.

So if you are worried about witnessing, pray for that revival. Get into the word and study what God has done and will do.

If our hearts are right and we do understand the implications of the gospel both now and in eternity, we will DO something with this good news; we won’t hide it away and keep it for ourselves.

What worry might be holding you back from sharing the Good News with others?

* Humor adapted from “Good News,” Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3954, 8-1-13

Graphic:  Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

**  Euaggelion:  http://biblehub.com/greek/2098.htm

Advertisements

Are You Anchored?

28 Nov

Growing up as a Navy brat, I came to appreciate (clean!) military humor … like this funny “Prayers of Military Officers.”River_PleaseGod_LOLwithGod

One day, three O-6s were hiking together and unexpectedly came upon a wide, raging, violent river. They needed to get to the other side, but had no idea of how to do so.

The Air Force Colonel called out to God, praying, “Please God, give me the strength to cross this river.”  

POOF! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across. It did, however, take him more than an hour and he almost drowned a couple of times.

Seeing this, the Army Colonel prayed to God saying, “Please God, give me the strength and tools I need to cross this river.”  

POOF! God gave him a rowboat and oars. He was able to row across but it still took almost an hour, it was very rough, and he almost capsized several times.

The Navy Captain saw how things worked out for the other two, so when he prayed to God, he said, “Please God, give me the strength, tools and intelligence to cross this river.”  

POOF! God turned him into a Marine Lance Corporal. He looked at the map, hiked upstream a couple of hundred yards, and walked across the bridge.

LOL!

AnchorCookiesI just finished making a very special batch of Springerle cookies. I normally make them for Thanksgiving and Christmas, using a holly design, but this batch of the anise-flavored treat was in honor of my father-in-love’s 90th birthday. (These are the cookies prior to baking, hand painted with anchors.

Many years ago, Dad (Robert F. Wilson) served in the Navy on the USS Rudyerd Bay (an escort carrier), but now he serves as a docent on the USS Midway, now a museum in San Diego.

Part of our birthday celebration included honoring his naval career—hence the anchor theme.

But I have to tell you, there’s something that I celebrate even more than Dad’s career. I celebrate his character!

Many years ago, Dad anchored his life in Jesus Christ, and that choice affected not only his life and ministry through the years, but also his marriage, home, parenting and grandparenting. He trusted the Lord for salvation, and his family would all testify today that he reminds us a lot of Jesus in his character—especially his faithfulness, wisdom and love.

Hebrews 6:18 speaks of the hope we have in Christ and the God who cannot lie; and verse 19 says, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast ….”

The Father, in steadfast faithfulness and love (Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalm 36:5; 119:901 Corinthians 1:9), sent His to be the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14).

When we place our faith in what the Savior has done for us—redeeming us from sin and giving us eternal life—we are firmly anchored in Him!

To be “anchored” in Christ is to be securely fastened to Him. Just as an anchor keeps a boat from drifting, our AnchorQuote_DWilson_LOLwithGodRedeemer, our Anchor, is unmovable. In His faithful love we are held sure and steadfast.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

To be anchored in the truth of scripture is absolutely vital to our Christian testimony and our ability to bring glory to God and serve Him.  When the Category 5 storms of life come—tough trials and temptations—we know we will not run aground. 

It truly is a blessing to be unshakably anchored in the Rock of our salvation.

In the words of an old hymn by Priscilla Owens, “Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life?”

We have an anchor that keeps the soul,
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

Are you anchored in the power of a saving relationship with Jesus … or are you trusting in lesser things that will fail you in the storms of life? 

If you are not “anchored” in Christ, you can become a Christian right now.

– Dawn

Old Anchor and wild river graphics, adapted, from Pixabay

Six Ways to Reclaim Christmas

30 Nov

Have you noticed how many funny Christmas decorations have evolved that have nothing to do with Christmas? ChristmasDinosaur_cropped

This animated Tinsel Dinosaur made me LOL.

But it really has nothing to do with Christmas.

ChristmasYoda_croppedNeither does this Christmas Yoda I snapped at our local mall. (I think the mall was trying to blend Thanksgiving and Christmas with that purple Pilgrim hat!)

Some of the “Christmas” songs we sing have nothing to do with Christmas either.

Like “Jingle Bells” – I mean, who is “Miss Fanny Bright,” anyway?

Or Jingle Bell Rock. (Ri-i-i-i-ight. I’m sure adding the word “Rock” makes anything Christmas-y.)

Don’t get me wrong. I love all the fun of the holiday season – peppermint bark and gingerbread men, reindeer, Hallmark Channel holiday romances, twinkling lights outside and on Christmas trees, caroling, snowmen and sleigh rides (not many of those in Southern California), colorful packages under the tree, mistletoe ….

But the word is “CHRISTmas.” And though many in the media and the politically correct do their best to change the meaning of this holiday, Christians celebrate the coming of Jesus, the Christ (Messiah). Christians believe Jesus is the prophesied Anointed One who came to be the Savior of the world (Psalm 2:6-7; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9).

Christmas is all about Jesus, not Father Christmas … or a tinsel dinosaur.

Let’s keep the meaning of Christmas clear. A statement (author unknown) that has guided my life since college days is especially true during this season:

“The world waits for a daily demonstration of the Christ who lives in you.”

Don’t believe me?

A few years ago, an atheist in Britain, brought up “in the Christian tradition,” wrote about Christmas. He said, “… the birth of Christ, while a nice story (the manger and so on) isn’t really central to the Christian belief system.” (I would argue with him. Jesus had to come before he could die and be our Savior.)

But he continued: “All the important stuff happened at the other end of his life, when we celebrate Easter.” (At least he recognized the importance of the resurrection of Christ!) But then he noted even the message of Easter is muddied with “rabbits and chocolate.”

His argument was, Christians’ actions don’t make the Christian message clear.

At first, I thought I’d ignore the man’s sarcastic remarks as just an atheist’s worldview. But he did have a good point. The world is watching to see whether we live – whether we demonstrate – what we say we believe.

“If Christians cannot work out what Christmas is about,” he said, “then how can they expect anyone else to? … once the Christianity goes entirely, we are left simply with bad shopping and bad telly, and that would be a terrible thing. But it is up to Christians to reclaim this festival.”

Ouch … and Amen.

So, I thought, how can we Christians “reclaim” Christmas? I thought of six ways:

  1. We can carefully examine our hearts – how might we have let the world’s definition of Christmas color our lives?
  2. We can faithfully return to our Bible – the scriptural account of the birth of Jesus – and set it center-stage in our hearts.
  3. We can intentionally magnify the reason for the season in our families (in our conversations and activities).
  4. We can willingly support our churches in sharing the message of Christmas and the Gospel.
  5. We can creatively present Christmas in its truth and beauty to our neighbors.
  6. We can lovingly respond (not react) to attempts in our culture to strip away the meaning of Christ’s birth.

Reclaiming Christmas involves awareness of what is going on around us, and commitment to attitudes and actions that are biblical so our lives glorify God not only during this season, but all the year long.

I recognize there is controversy among Christians concerning Christmas celebration. I believe individual Christians must go to the Lord and determine how much of the secular trappings and celebration to include; but every Christian can celebrate the birth of Christ and consider fresh ways to incorporate biblical truth in the heart, home and culture. Are we doing enough to make the message clear? Do our children understand? Our neighbors?

Luke2-14_ChristmasCardFor example, the world is quick to speak of the peace and goodwill of Luke 2:14, which is on many Christmas cards, even secular ones. Peace is a longing in every soul. But people ignore the first part of this scripture: “Glory to God in the highest.”

Christians recognize this truth: there is no lasting peace without the Prince of Peace, Jesus. One of the ways we honor God and bring Him glory is to publicly recognize His Son and why He came. He came to save.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins … For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost … For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him (Matthew 1:21; 18:11; John 3:17).

Another example … the word “believe” is often seen during this season. The world wants us to believe in Santa and the nostalgic “magic” of Christmas. But it’s not about the magic; again, it’s about the message.

When we reclaim Christmas, we will remember the one thing we must believe: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Ultimately, Christmas is not about a day. It’s about a decision.

It’s a decision to embrace the Savior who came to bring the life, peace, joy and hope we would never have without Him. It’s a decision to make Him known and glorified.

Which of the six ways to reclaim Christmas inspires you the most? How will you demonstrate the reality of Jesus’ birth this holiday season?

Credits: Dinosaur from Improvementscatalog.com & Christmas Card from Zazzle.com

— Dawn

%d bloggers like this: