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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

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The Secret of the ‘Next Chapter’

14 Nov

I love mysteries … the humorous kind. I ran across a website called “Stop, TrustGodWithTheNextChapterOfYourLife_LOLwithGodYou’re Killing Me” that made me think of a funny Christian mystery I read in the past. I wish I could find more of them.

I think I love mysteries because there is the “thrill of the unknown.” Part of the adventure is not knowing what twist might occur in the story.

And I love humorous mysteries because I love to LOL with God … especially in the middle of a surprise!

Years ago, I was one of those people who skipped to the end of a book. I wanted to see how everything would end before I decided whether I’d buy it. It finally “dawned” on me how I was destroying the mystery of anticipation!

So I stopped reading the ending and now read each new chapter of a book in succession.

(The only exception is when I read the Bible. Sometimes I skip to the end because all those last chapters remind me God has a plan, and that gives me hope in the midst of the world’s chaos!)

I think I’ve learned the secret of life’s “next chapter” … the anticipation of a new adventure with God. I don’t have to know what’s going to happen tomorrow.

In fact, that might not be best.

In a negative sense, we’re not to worry about tomorrow. Matthew 6:34 says, “…do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Worry doesn’t make sense (Matthew 6:25, 27), because the eternal God is already present with us in our future. God invites us to throw all our anxieties on him, because He truly cares about us and cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). He will give us the strength we need to face anything that it tough, but our worrying about it today won’t help.

But in a positive sense, is it really best to know everything about tomorrow? Might it steal something precious from those moments?

Think of a child’s anticipation of a trip to Disneyland, or waiting for gift-giving on Christmas Day. Think of a bride’s anticipation of her wedding day.

NancyAndRobertWolgemuth_WhatASurpriseMy friend, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, is marrying Robert Wolgemuth today, November 14, 2015. Her story about their love and courtship is just plain amazing. And it’s something that totally surprised her.

She wrote, “… no one could have been more caught off guard by this turn of events than I. In recent years, I have found myself in the most settled, contented, healthy, fruitful place of life and ministry ever. I did not have the slightest inkling that He was about to call me to step out into a whole new realm of faith and service.

“Enter the God of love, mystery, and surprises!”

Nancy tells women,

“…God is good, and He can be trusted to write your story.” 

Yes, the will of God is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). It may lead us through seasons we cannot understand this side of heaven, but we can rest in Him and believe He is writing a big story for His glory, our good and—in working through us—blessings for others.

He is preparing unimaginable things in heaven for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9), and we get to experience a foretaste of that on earth.

In the words of an old hymn:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine; Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine … Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.  This is my story ….”

The secret to receiving and enjoying God’s good will is to trust Him with the next chapter of your life … and the next … and the next.

It is anticipation with surrender and contentment.

Anticipation with surrender says, “Yes, Lord, I will follow You” all along the way—even when my story’s chapters don’t unfold exactly as I thought they would. Even when I might have written my script in other ways.

Anticipation with contentment allows me to rest in God and His will for my life and leaving lots of room for Him to take me on unexpected detours.

In the big story of our lives, each unfolding chapter allows us to LEARN DEPENDENCE on the Lord … and to praise Him for His goodness and grace as our story unfolds.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I don’t think Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth would either!

Are you worrying … or are you anticipating the next chapter of life with Your Creator? Be ready for the God of love, mystery and surprises!

– Dawn

Graphic adapted from photo at Pixaby

 

 

Why Not Say ‘Yes’?

9 Jan

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, two young church members were going door to door to invite people to visit their services. When they knocked on one door, it was immediately clear the woman who answered was not happy to see them.

She told them in no uncertain terms that she did not want to hear their message, and before they could say anything more, she slammed the door in their faces. To her surprise, however, the door did not close; in fact, it bounced back open.

She tried again, really putting her back into it, and slammed it again with the same result – the door bounced back open.

Convinced these rude young people were sticking their foot in her door, she reared back to give it a slam that would teach them a lesson.

Just then, one of them said quietly: “Ma’am, before you do that again, you really need to move your cat.” [1]

CatStuckInDoor_cropped_LOL

For many years, opportunities knocked on my door and I refused to answer. Even some opportunities I believe came from the Lord.

I was either too afraid to get out of my comfort zone, too afraid of what people might say if I “blew it” or too afraid of failure.

I hate to admit it, but it wasn’t a Bible verse that inspired me to answer those doors. It was a movie. And I didn’t even see the movie.

I read a review about a silly Jim Carrey movie, “Yes Man.”

In the 2008 film, based on a book by Danny Wallace, Carrey’s charactera lonely manattended a motivational seminar and heard the speaker tell the audience, “Say ‘yes’ to everything.” The exercise was designed to build self-confidence and greater purpose.

According to the review, Carrey’s character acquired new skills as he continued to say “yes”which leads to a happier life.

For me, a Christian, saying “yes” means a lot more, especially when it involves the Lord. It’s a matter of obedience, regardless of my fears and potential discomfort.

When opportunities come, I still pray for discernment and check to be sure the opportunity doesn’t violate scripture, but then I pray, “Lord, I’m going for this unless you give me a clear ‘no’ or ‘wait.'”

Refusing to walk through doors God prepares for us means we’re willing to settle for the blessings of the past.

God told Israel:

“. . . I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

God, the Creator, may want to do something new in and through us! And He will strengthen us for whatever He calls us to do (Ephesians 3:16).

Canadian author Connie Cavanaugh wrote a book in 2011 that gave me more insight for my new-found “say yes” freedom.

In Following God One Yes at a Time, she wrote (emphasis mine),

“Fear can become a barrier behind which we cower, too afraid to say the next yes. Or fear can be the pathway on which we move forward, one yes at a time, perhaps slowly and painfully, but hand-in-hand with God.

“Every time we choose to believe God and say ‘yes’ with our feet,” Connie said, “a brick comes off the wall fear built and gets placed squarely in front of us to become a stepping-stone that takes us toward fulfillment of God’s dream for us.” (2)

Connie explained the kind of follow-ship that leads to fulfillment of our dreams and God’s will for us. “Following him,” she said, “requires the simple trust and immediate obedience of a child who believes God will make the way to Him simple, immediate and possible.” (3)

I still have so much more to learn about following God, but now I’m eager to say “Yes!”

In fact my focus word for 2015 is “dauntless,” which means “fearless determination.” I’m determined to walk through every door God opens with fearless faith and freedom!

How about you? Are you ready to walk through the doors God opens for you?

Is there a door you’re refusing to walk through right now? If so, what is keeping you from obedience and a fresh adventure with God?

(1) “Prospecting for the Lord,” http://www.broadcaster.org.uk/section2/jokes/christianjokes.html
(2) Connie Cavanaugh, Following God One Yes at a Time (Harvest House Publishers, 2011), pp 150-151.
(3) Cavanaugh, ibid., p. 14.

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