The Right Way To Ask And Receive

prayer, Philippians 4:6, supplicationWhat is our first response to a problem or need?  When an obstacle appears, what do we do?  Do we worry?  Do we apply critical thinking and try to come up with the best plan?  As children of God, our first response should always be to approach our Heavenly Father in prayer.

Consider Philippians 4:6.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6 (NASB)

Right away, we can see that the best response to a problem or need is to take it directly to God in humility and thanksgiving.  I believe that many Christians have been taught that this is the right way but often fail to follow through with it.  We let the worry and strife occupy our thoughts instead of using our will to focus on God and His provision.  Thankfully, this can be learned and part of the process of becoming a mature believer is to learn to take it to the Lord as our first response.

Once we have given our focus and our thoughts to the Lord and have placed our petition at His feet, what comes next?  In my mind, this is where trust and obey becomes most important.  We can learn to pray all day but until we do so in faith and trust then we are just as likely to fall back into worry as anything else.  And because it is God who increases our faith, part of our daily walk with Him should be to continually ask Him to increase our faith and to help us learn to lean on Him more and more.  If we can do this during the times of relative calm then when the next storm comes we will be that much more prepared to stand firm in Him.

Finally, if we are praying about a need and we are looking for an answer to our prayer then we must stay in a place where we can see and receive that answer.  For example, even if I have laid my petition at His feet and have trusted Him to bring about the answer in His time but then go and engage in sinful practices then it is likely that I will miss God’s answer to my prayer.  If I am watching a movie or show that I know does not please the Lord or if I allow my temper to get the best of me and I quarrel with a brother or sister then my greatest need is repentance and I will not be in a place where I can really see or understand what God is doing around me.  I call this “being out of position” and because we are still human beings living in a fallen world it is a very easy thing to do.

Being out of position does not mean that God won’t answer my prayer.  Our sinfulness has never been an impediment to God’s will being carried out (praise God for that!).  But it does mean that I may not be able to perceive how God has answered my prayer and I will certainly miss the blessing that comes from being intimately involved with God’s work here on Earth.

I also want to emphasize that God works through human hands and human minds.  It is a good thing when we make a plan, commit it to the Lord and then follow through in a way that would please Him.  Taking a problem or need to God does not mean that we then sit on our hands and do nothing.  Part of trusting and obeying is to continue to do those things that we know are right and to do our very best to solve problems with what we have already been given.  Trust God to work while we are also working.  He will always take what little we have to offer and multiply it to great effect.

I Mean You No Harm

fruits of the spirit, Quiet time, Galatians 5:22Talk about a movie phrase.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone actually say “I mean you no harm” in real life before.  It’s a phrase devised by Hollywood script writers and is analogous to “I come in peace” (also a phrase I have not heard in real life).

With the way our world and our nation seems to be going, I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if we all started our conversations with “I mean you no harm” as a preface or preamble to our human interactions (I’m kidding, mostly).  Fear is at an all time high.  Mistrust and suspicion have become our de facto mode of interacting with one another.  Social unrest, racial inequality, hate speech and bigoted ways of thinking seem to be defining our current reality and as Christians I wonder how we should respond.

Let’s go back to “I mean you no harm” for just a moment.  Is there a way that we can model gentleness of disposition and such a peaceful spirit that it can’t help but show through us?  I believe there is.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)

The Bible shows us that yes, we can show forth peace in a visible and remarkable way.  As we surrender our old selves with our selfishness, fear, anxiety, anger and all of the old things that used to define us God replaces those things with the defining characteristics of His Spirit.  This does not happen instantaneously but is a gradual, day by day process as we learn to love the Lord and walk with Him.

This is why daily renewal is so vital to our growth and maturity as Christians.  Without that time to reconnect with the heart of our Lord we will gradually fall back into our old ways of acting and thinking and the fruit that we produce will not be the fruit of the Spirit.  If you’ve ever wondered why some Christians look and act so much like the unsaved, this is why.  A Christian who is not walking in renewal and who is not making personal Bible study and prayer time a priority will not grow in the Lord and will not be able to live and speak the right kind of message.

Our response to our unsaved family, friends, co-workers and neighbors will in some way determine their path through this life and where they ultimately spend eternity.  Are we showing with our attitude and actions the fruits of the Spirit or are we perpetuating the cycle of selfishness, anger and fear?  It will be one or the other.  There is no middle ground.

Whose Power?

power, authority, Acts 17:28What kind of music listener are you?  Are you more of a left-brain, analytical listener who primarily focuses on the words and lyrics of a song?  Or are you more of a right-brain listener who hears the melodies and harmonies while the words and lyrics seem to fade into the background?

Usually, I am a more of a right-brain listener.  I can enjoy a song for months or years and simply not notice or pay attention to most of the words.  This may sound like an odd trait but it does lead to some surprising moments when I do finally discover what those lyrics in that song that I enjoyed actually were.  I try to stay away from artists and bands that I know stand for promiscuity or violence or other undesirable topics so usually my lyrical discoveries are harmless.

But sometimes, very rarely, I will notice a lyric and it will stick in my brain and cause the wheels to start turning.  Recently it was the phrase “and love will come around if you want it enough”.  I heard that and my immediate thought was “that’s not true at all!”  Why?  Because logically, just wanting something really hard does not, in and of itself, cause something to happen.  And it is dangerous to think otherwise although there is an entire school of thought dedicated to just this process.

It is called the “Law of Attraction” and it is completely and unequivocally false.  From the official definition: It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality.  There are self-help books, magazines and entire websites devoted to teaching you how to use the so-called “law of attraction” to make whatever you want into reality.  (And if this is old news to some of you, I apologize.  I am aware that the law of attraction has been around, in some form or other, since ancient times.)  Disturbingly, many people today still believe that the law of attraction is a real thing and that some universal cosmic power is working through their thoughts and energies to bring their desires to fruition.

As Christians, it is our duty and responsibility to remind (sometimes gently, sometimes more directly) those around us that the only true power that exists in this universe is the power of our creator who is God eternal and everlasting.  All other power is derived from Him and is only exercised insofar as He allows it to be used.  I go back to Acts 17:28 which says “for in Him we live and move and have our being” and Colossians 1:16-17 which says For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things exist.

It follows that if He created all things and in Him all things exist then the only life, the only existence and the only power that we have is that which He allows us to have.  It is not given unto us to be able to use the power of our minds and wishes to get what we want.  But what we do have is a God who loves us and gave His life for ours. We have a God who delights in giving us good gifts and not just the things we want but the things we really need to be whole and complete in Him.

All power belongs to Him and Him alone.

 

The Hopeful And Persistent Prayer

prayer, persistence, Matthew 7, Luke 18Has God ever given you an exclamation point?  Has He ever emphasized something so strongly to you that it was just as if He had sent you a personal message that ended in enthusiastic punctuation?  Recently, God did that for me and I want to share the story with you.

Throughout my week I focus on the current Sunday School lesson and I also use a couple of daily devotional guides.  These materials are from several publishers and written with different goals in mind and come in various formats.  I might be in the book of Genesis in my Sunday school material while my prayer guide may have me reading out of the book of Romans.  And because it is God’s word (that is living and powerful) no matter what I am reading it is always timely and effective.

But this one day was a little bit different.  My Sunday school material took me to Matthew chapter 7 and to these verses:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!    Matthew 7:7-11 (NASB)

These verses in Matthew serve to remind us to be persistent in our prayers because we have a God who loves us and desires to give us good gifts.  I pondered these verses for a few minutes after I read them and I felt thankful and encouraged.  And then I flipped over to my prayer guide and it focused on these verses:

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, “In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’”And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge *said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18:1-8 (NASB)

In Luke 18 Jesus tells a story about a persistent widow and a secular judge.  The theme is persistence in prayer,  just the same as it was in my prior reading from Matthew chapter 7.  At this point, I felt the exclamation point coming on and I felt very strongly that God was encouraging me to keep praying and to be encouraged and hopeful in my prayers.

I find it interesting and impactful that Jesus ends verse 8 with the question “when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”  Does it not show our faith when we are persistent in our prayers and hopeful in our expectation of an answer from our heavenly father?  And does it not show a lack of faith and when our prayers falter and we begin to lose hope?  In my mind, Jesus is asking us to remain faithful, hopeful and prayerful up until the very end.  He’s just told us that He is bringing justice “quickly” but it remains up to us not to lose heart and to exercise our faith in God in the meantime.

In case you need it, here is the exclamation point spelled out for you (actually, here are a couple of them): Keep praying!  Keep hoping!  Keep on believing in the God who desires to give you good gifts and will see you through to the end!

The Words We Need Most

prayer, encouragement, Ephesians 3:14-19For just a few moments, I want to talk a little bit about prayer and a lot about encouragement.  We, as believers, need both prayer and encouragement to be spiritually healthy.  Prayer is our line of communication to God through the Holy Spirit and encouragement should make up a large part of how we communicate with each other.  In my experience, prayer is talked about and stressed as an essential spiritual exercise far more than encouragement is in our churches and homes.  In that, I think we might be missing opportunities for growth and fellowship as a body of believers.

For an excellent example of both prayer and encouragement working together, let’s look at the third chapter of the book of Ephesians.

 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3: 14-19 (NASB)

Can you read the above passage and not feel encouraged?  I know I can’t!  Paul is telling the church at Ephesus (and by extension, us) that he is praying for us.  And this prayer that he is praying is not a small prayer but is a bold prayer for power, for strength in the inner man and for us to be able to fully understand the love that God has for us.  What an amazing, encouraging prayer!

As modern day Christians living in troubled times, we need amazing prayers and we need strong encouragement.  Just as Paul did in the book of Ephesians, one of the best ways to encourage a fellow believer is to tell them that you are praying for them and then be specific in how you are praying for them.  It’s one thing to tell someone “I’m praying for you”.  And we should be saying that.  But it is altogether better to say “I’m praying that God would touch you and heal your body and encourage you in your spirit.”  That makes it personal and even more encouraging to the receiver.

Along with those prayers we need to make sure our words and our attitudes are uplifting to those around us, and especially to those who are fellow believers.  The people in our churches and homes should be the ones we treat the best and this includes our spouses and children.  They need to hear us speaking grace to them (unmerited favor) and they need to see that we love Jesus and are not ashamed of our calling or position in Christ.

As we go, unbelievers are watching what we do and say and the way we treat each other just might be the thing that convinces them that the love and grace of Jesus is real and necessary.  Our encouragement can be that powerful when it is done in Jesus’ name.

We have such an amazing and unlimited resource in the love of God and the more we give it away and share it with others the more we will feel it in return.  We have a responsibility to take that love and use it to shine light in to the dark places around us and to proclaim the good news to all.  Let’s make sure that we are praying big, bold prayers and that we are always looking for opportunities to encourage those around us.  It just might be the very thing that makes all the difference in the world to them.

 

 

Love, Prayer, Forgiveness and Surrender

love, prayer, surrender, forgivenessIf we were, just for a moment, to talk about a few of the most powerful actions and ideas available to us then my top four would be 1) love in action, 2) prayer, 3) surrender and 4) forgiveness.  In these, Jesus Christ is our model and we can be assured that in order to become more Christlike we must work towards being excellent at all four.

And I say “work towards” because we don’t start our walk with Christ being strong in these areas and none of us, no matter how long we have been a child of God, are perfect in all four.  We’ve all got work to do or perhaps it’s more accurate to say we must continue(or begin) to surrender our selves to the Holy Spirit so that He can work in us and on us.  It is the work of God to change us, it is the responsibility of the person to surrender themselves so that they may be changed.

(So there’s number 3 from our list, right there, and please bear with me even if this is not in numerical order!)  Just as Christ surrendered his position in heaven and left his throne to come and live as a man, and just as Christ then surrendered his life for all so must we surrender our rights and desires to Him.  Our surrender is what allows us to accept Jesus Christ as savior and Lord and it is our daily (or even hourly) surrender that allows us to continue to grow and know Him better.

Closely related to surrender is forgiveness(number 4 from our list).  God forgives us of our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness and this forgiveness is applied to our past, present and future!  The entirety of the sin debt of every man, woman and child who has ever lived or will ever live has already been paid for.  The enormity of that act is difficult to comprehend but what it means for us is that we no longer have the right to withhold forgiveness from anyone or anything.  God forgave it all, every last sin, at the exact moment that the sin debt was laid on His only son Jesus.  For us, who have been so forgiven, we are now free to surrender our right to retribution, hatred, revenge and all thoughts of “getting even”.

Not only that, we must forgive ourselves and not hold on to guilt or failure.  And sometimes, we even need to forgive a situation or circumstance.  Sometimes things happen that aren’t in our plan and are not welcomed or appreciated and if we aren’t careful we can develop bitterness that will poison our lives and everything that we touch.  God’s children must forgive and the only way this can be done is in the power of the Holy Spirit and in Jesus’ name.  We simply lack the ability to forgive and let go apart from the power of God in us.

So then, how do we access the power of God in us and live lives that are filled with the Holy Spirit?  We do this through prayer (number 2, here it is!) and meditation on God’s Word.  The Bible says we are to “pray continuously” and that we should “always, in everything, make our requests known to God with thanksgiving” and then, once we’ve done that, we can start to be amazed at what God can do through us and around us.  Prayer is powerful, not because of the words we say but because of who we are praying to; Jesus, in whom we live and move and have our being.  When we choose to communicate and cooperate with God it will always make an eternal and life changing difference.

And all of this, everything that we do, must be done out of a Christlike love for all people and to show love in action (number 1, here we are!)  Not love in feeling, which ebbs and flows and is only based on human emotion, but love like Christ has for all people and love that motivated Him to give up his own life to save all mankind.  Again, only God can change us to have a love like that and only through prayer, surrender and forgiveness can we share it with others.

God’s love never fails and never changes and He chooses to share it with us.  All that he asks is that we love Him in return by the way that we live our lives and the way that we treat others.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 1:13 (NIV)

 

The Choice Between Vision And Blindness

vision, goals, sinHopefully by the time that you read this today you will have eaten a meal.  Can I ask you a silly question?  Why did you do it?  Why did you eat or drink what you did?  My guess is, it was because you were hungry and thirsty and your body was telling you that you needed nourishment.  In other words, you had physical motivation to eat and drink.  Motivation is important, both in the physical realm and in the spiritual realm.  With that in mind, let’s consider the following quote by a fellow blogger:

It’s the vision that motivates the practice. – Tom Smith

Do you know what else can serve as an excellent motivator?  A vision, or a goal (I will use these two terms interchangeably from here on out).  As Mr Tom Smith so aptly stated, the practical work of whatever it happens to be can be motivated by the goal that we have in mind or the vision that we have been given.  This is an important truth that is applicable in many areas so I will ask you, do you have a vision?  Do you have a goal or goals that you are working towards that helps to shape your thoughts and actions?

Using a very relevant example, I write these posts and run this blog because God gave me a vision of sharpening and encouraging His people by writing and speaking His truth.  I have been charged to teach and to edify both with the written and the spoken word until the Lord tells me to stop or calls me home to be with Him.  For me, this is an excellent motivator to do as He has asked.

I believe that God wants the very best for us.  I believe He wants us to be who He created us to be before Sin entered the world and caused us to be evil and less.  I believe that He has a vision for each of us based on the talents and abilities that He has given us.  He wants to use our experiences, our personalities and even our worst failures in combination with His power and His grace to produce something marvelous and something unique to each of us.

Do you have a God-given vision and purpose?  Have you asked for one and sought it out?  I am certain that He has one for you but until you come to the place where you are ready to receive it, you will remain blind and directionless.  The great news is that you have a choice.  You can choose to receive all that God offers by crying out to Him and seeking His will for your life.  When you want it more than anything else, you will have it.

We Are Temporary, We Are Eternal

eternal, temporary, good worksAs I looked out the window this morning, the sky immediately caught my attention.  Higher up and farther in the distance I could see clear, blue sky with a few fluffy, white clouds.  As I focused on that which was far off, I noticed how beautiful a scene it was and that I was grateful for the coming day and for God’s creation.  Continuing in my study of the sky I could see that closer to me and lower in the sky, dark storm clouds had gathered and, depending on where I focused, they sometimes completely obscured the clear blue sky that was beyond.  And soon enough, the dark clouds opened and it began to rain.

As the rain started, everything turned grey and visibility out my window was quickly reduced.  Within moments I could no longer see the blue sky in the distance but only a hazy grey curtain of falling water.  My attention was now completely focused on the downpour and it didn’t take very long for me to completely forget about the beautiful picture I had witnessed earlier and the clear, blue sky and white fluffy clouds that awaited me in the distance.

And it’s only now, when I’ve had some time to sit down and think, that I realize the significance of what I saw.  God has given me eyes to see the multitude of blessings that He has bestowed upon me and upon this world.  He has given me physical eyes to see the beauty of his creation and spiritual eyes to perceive the eternity that waits for me.  I am so blessed; we are so blessed, to be called Children of God!

But, as I go, do I choose to focus on the circumstances and the storm that is close around me or do I choose to see that which lies beyond?  Am I a person of the here and now or a person who, by his actions, chooses to have eternal significance through the power of the Holy Spirit?  This is a choice that has to be made every day and, sometimes, on a moment by moment basis.

That which is eternal versus that which is temporary and the consequences to each is something that we all have to face.  This is the dichotomy (a big word that means a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different) of our existence; that we occupy a specific space and time within temporary bodies and have relatively short life-spans while also possessing eternal souls that will last forever.  We are temporary and transient yet we are also eternal.

How do we best reconcile those two, completely different natures?  How can we live as eternal beings while still residing in temporary bodies?  Is it even possible to do so?

Yes, it is possible and we have actually been given all of the tools that we need to do so if we will follow the instructions that God has given us in His word.  Only by living our lives in accordance with God’s word can we make a difference in this temporary world while also having eternal significance.  Although our residence here on earth is temporary, God asks us to be involved and to love His creation and to always, with everything that we do, acknowledge Him and give Him glory and honor.  If we do this then we take that which is temporary and we give it eternal significance by offering it up to the Father, in Jesus’ name.  A kindness that we bestow on someone today, although we may forget it by tomorrow, will be written in the annals of heaven and celebrated and we will be rewarded for those deeds by the Father, in due time.

 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:31-40 (NIV)

 

 

Hope And Blessings In The Darkness

faith, hope, uncertaintyWe all find ourselves in dark places from time to time.  Places where answers are hard to find and the future seems uncertain.  In those times our world seems to shake around us and the foundations we have laid for ourselves no longer seem capable or strong enough to last.  What we thought we knew no longer applies and we find ourselves perplexed and dismayed.

Everyone searches for hope in the darkness but few seem to find it.  Why is that?  Could it be that we often look in the wrong place for hope?  Could it be that we are ignorant of the source of true hope?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)

As a child of God, our hope should be in God and God alone.  He is the only one with the power and the authority to speak calm into our turmoil and light into our darkness.  But even in this there is a proper time and a proper order that God alone knows.

When we find ourselves in a place of need, desperately searching for an answer, our first response should be to cry out to God.  But what if God does not answer right away? What if God does not answer in the way that we think He should?

Then we are blessed to be able to exercise our faith.  Faith is the assurance of that which we hope for and it is our conviction that even though we can’t see our way out we know that God can!  With just a word God created the world and everything in it.  When God speaks, all creation must take heed.  God’s word still has the power to completely change our lives and to perform miracles in places without hope.

God’s will is to take us home to be with Him in perfect fellowship for all eternity.  But we often forget that only He knows the path that will lead us home.  Sometimes the darkness is allowed to persist and the uncertainty lingers.  And the more uncomfortable our situation the faster we want out and the more we struggle against it.

Sometimes we must be led through the darkness in order to increase our faith and so that we may be a guide for others who are following behind us.  Our dark periods are not just for us alone and have far reaching spiritual ramifications that we will never fully understand until we see Jesus face to face.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,  while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NASB)

We must learn to use our eyes of faith and see beyond that which is temporary to that which is eternal.  Whatever we are going through now and whatever situation we find ourselves in on this earth will change.  Good or bad, it will pass away and it will not persist.  In the light of eternity, it is momentary.  But even these moments, as confusing and uncertain as they often seen, can be used by the Lord God of all to produce in us an eternal weight of glory that is far beyond all comparison.

Trust in God, even in the darkness.  Don’t forget your hope and remember to look forward to the day when all is revealed and your reward is received.  It will be worth it all.

What Comes Next?

witnessing, praise, Psalm 9In the last post, we talked about what constitutes a proper memorial for a Christian.  We know that we have the privilege to remember all that God has done for us and then celebrate, rejoice and give thanksgiving to the Lord for his goodness and provision.  And this should be an ongoing practice for all of us who are born again.  Today’s battles are tomorrow’s victories and the next day’s rejoicing.  But what comes next?  Because I assure you, there is still more to do!

I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.  Psalm 9:1 (NASB)

Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion;
Declare among the peoples His deeds.  Psalm 9:11 (NASB)

That I may tell of all Your praises,
That in the gates of the daughter of Zion
I may rejoice in Your salvation.  Psalm 9:14 (NASB)

Notice how David, in Psalm 9, links praise with declaration.  In the three verses above, praising God is always accompanied by telling someone else about what God has done for him.  And so it should be with us!  We should rejoice privately, absolutely, but we also need to be rejoicing publicly and making sure that those around us know how blessed we are to be children of the most high God.

In verse 1 of chapter 9, David says he will “tell of all your wonders”.  In verse 11, he says he will “declare among the peoples His deeds.  And in verse 14 he says “that I may tell of all your praises”.  Clearly, David was so enthusiastic about what God was doing that He had to go and tell someone else.  I wonder, do we have that same level of enthusiasm when it comes to telling others about the goodness of the Lord?  Are we excited about the prospect of encouraging someone else with our stories of God’s victories over our troubles and strife?

I truly believe that one of the greatest tragedies in modern America is the relative silence of so many of God’s children.  We enjoy His blessings and we rest secure in His salvation but never share His goodness with those who need it most.  We see the lost and the hopeless all around us but allow them to continue on their way, never introducing them to the God who makes all things new.  We have been given the keys to the kingdom of God and are assured of every spiritual blessing but so often seem to be more interested in stockpiling and hoarding than dispersing and sharing.  (And by the way, the fastest way to rid yourself of many of God’s blessings is to try to keep them to yourself instead of using them to bless others.  Blessings are always meant to be shared!)

Let me conclude this by saying that God has gifted each one of His children in a unique way.  Some of us are artistic, others are builders and still others can teach or sing.  These gifts are often our best vehicle for sharing the good news with others.  If you are a quiet and shy person like I am then you will be glad to know that you can share your faith with others in more ways than just words alone.  As long as you are committed to sharing your faith and allowing God’s blessings to be channeled through you to others then God will give you opportunities to do what you do best under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit.

Take heart, God can use even you.  (I know, because if He can use me then He can most certainly use you!)